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Why should it be thought with you a thing incredible that GOD should raise the dead !
St. Paul. Acts xxvi. 8.
Printed by R. Edwards, Crane Court, Fleet Street ;
AND SOLD BY T. HAMILTON, PATERNOSTER-ROW;
AND BY THE AUTHOR, ST. AUSTELL.
WHEN a Book on an abstruse and important subject is offered to the world, the situation of its Author, if in humble life, rarely fails to excite attention. Under these circumstances, it is much easier for him to awaken curiosity, than to gratify it. But it is always in his power to satisfy the reasonable inquiries of those, who feel solicitous to know something of the person who thus publicly introduces himself to their notice.
Curiosity is natural to the mind of man; and, when confined within proper limits, it has a beneficial tendency. It seeks, indeed, for gratification from various quarters; but it is not very fastidious whence or how it is ob- ' tained. It generally fixes upon extremes ; upon the great, and upon the little ;--and, as it respects authors, upon the giants, and upon the dwarfs in literary pretensions. On these accounts, it is not necessarily a flattering compliment to become the object of its pursuit.
The life and studies of the learned author, whom a liberal education—uninterrupted leisure—and acknowledged abilities, have raised to the chair of science, and invested with a degree of authority to impart instruction, are subjects well deserving the attention of the biographer. But curiosity frequently wishes to know something also concerning those who, in humble life, have been brought up in no school but that of nature; and who, in opposition to difficulties and discouragements, come forward and offer to the world, the fruits of their labour in the field of literature. It is a region in which they seem to be intruders, and where they professedly undertake investigations, which their confined means of knowledge, and unpromising powers, appear inadequate to perform.
Metaphysical researches are so far removed from manual labour and humble life, that many have expressed their surprise that they should ever have been united. Hence, as it respects myself, the question has repeatedly been asked, " What circumstances led to so unlikely an association?” The replies which this question naturally produced, induced several of my friends, in whose judgments I feel a strong confidence, and to whose good offices I stand indebted, to communicate their opinions, that it would afford some gratification to a great number of those, whose names are affixed to this work, if I would trace those incidents of my life, which gradually led to such an unlooked for event.
When their wishes were first expressed, I shrunk back from the suggestion, not only throughanapprehension that I should incurthe charge of vanity; but, especially, as on a review of my life, I saw nothing remarkable which was worthy of record. On this ground, I declined to comply with their desires. The renewed solicitations of these friends, soon, however, assumed the shape and tone of a request. And, consistently with that debt of gratitude which I owed them, I found it impossible to withhold a compliance without subjecting myself to the charge of being influenced by a passion nearly allied to that vanity, the imputation of which I dreaded to incur. This circumstance inclined me to alter my prior resolution.
In thus submitting to their importunities, I am furnished with an opportunity of apologizing for those imperfections, which, without doubt are included in my work; and of placing the disinterestedness and generosity of my Subscribers in a conspicuous light, by briefly declaring to the world on whom it has been bestowed. The little narrative may probably afford
some encouragement to