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write a complete system of the doctrine of happiness, as to examine some of the most important particulars belonging to it; and to treat the subjects in such a manner as was best adapted to a thinking, and, for the most part, an enlightened audience. This last circumstance will plead in my behalf, whenever some passages may appear more philosophical and abstracted than usual. I had the happiness to address myself to hearers, who, in general, were fully competent to such disquisitions, and able to profit by them. The more rare this happiness is, the less excusable should I have been, had I discoursed to them as to children, and not always endeavoured to lead them to farther advances in knowledge. And there can certainly be no harm in it, if the doctrines of religion aud morality are delivered in various methods; and, at times, even so as that men, more addicted to reflection, may be taken and satisfied with them.-- Experience has likewise taught me, that even people of more slender knowledge, and of inferior cultivation, learn more from such discourses, so soon as they cease to be strange to them, than from others, composed in a hebrew idiom, and exactly fitted to the scholastic system, on which most commonly they never bestow one thought. Indeed discourses in general need not always operate imme: diately on the spot, unless in the case of charitable collections, but should be calculated to produce permanent effects on persons not totally ignorant and incapable of making reflections of their own. Let a
man preach to these as he will, they will never be able to take in the whole scope of the discourse at one view, or even to form clear conceptions of any part of it. Here or there, they will comprehend some detached sentence, some thought that strikes them, and will perhaps occasionally recollect it again; and, if only this happens, and that frequently, they must be always considerable gainers by it.
Should several of the subjects here treated of appear to others not clerical, or not theological and biblical enough; in regard to the former, I intreat them to consider, that eyery pulpit has its own circle of hearers, and that these hearers have their peculiar exigencies; and, in regard to the latter, to weigh in their own minds whether any thing that relates so nearly to human perfection and happiness, can be either untheological or unbiblical. To me at least, every truth is a religious and biblical truth, that has for its object the substantial improvement and the lasting happiness of mankind; though it should not, as it were, immediately relate to God and to the fue ture world, and is no where expressly and scientific cally treated of in the Bible, which presupposes many things, which but slightly touches upon others in few words, and leaves the farther exposition and application of all to ourselves, or which even delivers the very fame things in a different phraseology. The force of the scriptural doctrines by no means lies in the words wherein they were anciently promulgated to the jews and the heathens, but in the
truth and the importance of the doctrines themfelves. In proportion as the civilization, the language, the manners and customs, the mode of thinking and of living, the compass of human knowledge and of human exigencies, undergo alteration; so also may and should, not indeed the essentials, but the compass, the application, and the method of delivering the doctrines of religion and wisdom be altered and adapted. In the sermon concerning the christian pastoral office, which is the last in this collection, I have more circumstantially explained myfelf upon this fubject.
For the reft, the greater the importance of a right estimation of things, and the stronger the certainty of the fact, that it is the foundation of all real virtue and piety, and the furest way to happiness both in the present and the future life, so much the better grounded is my hope, that, under the bleffing of God, this labour may not be without its use.
• THE AUTHOR...
CEORGE JOACHIM ZOLLIKOFER was
U born at St. Gall in Switzerland, the 5th of August 1730. His father David Anthony Zollikofer, is still remembered there as an eminent practitioner in the law, and as a pious and upright man. That he omitted nothing in the literary education of his son may well be imagined; it is however still more manifest, that by his own virtuous example he became his moral tutor, a tutor to whom posterity is under such infinite obligations through his pupil. Education at that time had not yet become a subject of philosophical disquisition: among the Germans at least no one had hitherto enlarged upon Locke's principles in a view to render them of more general
utility. ' The various helps for awakening the curio. fity, for opening the understanding and moulding the hearts of children, which so much abound in our days, being then utterly unknown, the formation of the character and habits was left generally to example, and that end was attained, perhaps even more fecurely. Yourg Zollikofer, when arrived at the proper age, was put to the gymnasium of his native town; from whence, being intended for the church, he was sent to profecute his studies, first at Bremen, and afterwards at the university of Utrecht, . where the divinity professors are said to have been then in high repute. It is well known that the generality of students at these great seminaries, are wont to adhere pertinaciously to what has been inftilled into them by their academical tutors; never venturing to advance one pace beyond the string of ideas that during several years have been constantly imprinted on their minds, in acquiring new ones for themselves, or even presuming impartially and repeatedly to examine the stock they have obtained from others, and forming new combinations among them, Every thing therefore, in regard to their general usefulness afterwards when they come into office, depends on what sort of tutors the young men have had during their stay at college; they being nothing more than organs through which the knowledge infused into them at the universities is brought into circulation, exactly as they received it. It would be beyond the design of these few pages to expatiate on