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The kind Entertainment the Town gave to the Lady's Library, the Success it met with, and the great Call there was for it, even from the moft diftant Counties, though it was fwell'd out into three Volumes, and fold at a pretty handsome Price, made. me think that a GENTLEMAN'S LIBRARY might be a Copy of no great Hazard to a Bookfeller, and make an Edition of particular Ufe and Service to young Gentlemen coming into the World.
Whatever Advantages we have from Education, from Example, or Precept, on our firft Entrance on the Stage of Life, we meet with Accidents and Temptations to withdraw us from Morality, and stand in need of fupplemental Inftruction, and a new Di
rector, to confirm us in our Conduct. Views of Pleafure, and Infability of Humour, lead us into athoufand Inconveniences, against which, we are neither armed by Prudence, Reafon, or Continence.
As to the Precepts contained in this Treatife, I have put them together, according to my Power, in a Manner that may make them useful and entertaining. To this End, as often as my Memory ferv'd, I have interfpers'd them with Quotations in Poetry, Examples from Hiftory, and Axioms that were in Gredit with the Sages of Antiquity. The gay Part of the World are fo ftartled at Morality, when merely fuch, when theythink it is all dry and crabbed, and the whole Volume penn'd for Inftruction, without any Regard to their A 4 Pleasure
Pleasure, that they cannot perfuade themselves to give it a Perufal, or hold any Conversation with a Book, that does not by fome Art infinuate itself to their Fancies, and give them Diverfion, to make the Use digested:
Sed veluti, pueris abfynthia tetra medentes Cum dare conantur, prius oras pocula circum Contingunt dulci mellis flavóque liquore. fays Lucretius; as we anoint the Rims of the Cup with Honey to engage Children to drink up the bitter Potion, fo I have laboured to humour the Squeamishness of the Times, foften the Harshness of Difcipline and Duty, and give them down in a Vehicle that is fweet and palatable: And to be yet the lefs defpotic and magifterial in my Rules, I have all along endea
vour'd, rather to recommend than inforce, to counsel than oblige; for as Monfieur Bruyere, with much Modefty, premised to his Book, What I have written is not defigned for Maxims; thofe are like Laws in Morality; and I have neither Genius nor Authority to qualify me for a Legiflator.
Demofthenes, in an Oration, to perfuade the Athenians not to change any Law upon fmall and frivolous Pretences, informs us of a Cuftom which prevail'd among the Locrians, That whatever Man fhould propofe to make any new Law, muft do it with a Rope about his Neck; which he was to be ftrangled in, if he did not carry his Point. This was fuch a Guard and Defence to the Laws, that they had but one new one
made in more than two hundred Years. Had the prefcribing Rules in Morality now ftood on the. fame Terms of Danger, I fhould have been lefs forward in venturing to give this Affiftance: However, I fhould have evaded the Penalty, because, as I fhall anon more particularly obferve, I have intruded but very little Novelty: If I have injured the Matter in the Difpofition, and discredited good Counsel by an aukward Delivery, I am at the Stake, and muft fubmit to the Cenfure; but hope the World will not proceed with Rigour on Faults that owe their Being to an Impotence of Judgment, and Want of Power in Nature, to discharge myself with more Sufficiency.