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That the transactions of my life, and the observations and reflections I have made on
men and things, by sea and land, in various parts of the world, might not be buried in oblivion, and by length of time, be blotted out of the memory of men, it has been my wont, from the days of my youth to this time, to write down memorandums of every thing I thought worth noticing, as men and matters, books and circumstances, came in my way; and in hopes they may be of some service to my fellow-mortals I publish them. Some pleasing and some surprising things the reader will find in them. He will meet with miscellany thoughts upon several subjects.
He will read, if he pleases, some tender stories. But all the relations, the thoughts,
the observations, are designed for the advancement of valuable learning, and to promote whatsoever things : are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report.
About fifty years ago the midwife wheeled me in, and much sooner than half a century hence, in all human probability, death will wheel me out. When Heaven pleases, I am satisfied. Life and death are equally welcome, because equally parts of my way to eternity. My lot has been a swarthy one in this first state, and I am in hopes I shall exchange worlds to advantage. As God, without all peradventure, brought his moral creatures into being, in order to increase their virtue, and provide suitable happiness for the worthy, the most unfortunate here may expect immutable felicity at last, if they have endeavoured, in proportion to what power they had, to render themselves useful and valuable, by a sincerity and benevolence of temper, a disinterestedness, a communicativeness, and the practice of those duties, to which we are obliged by the frame of our nature, and by the relations we bear to God, and to the subjects of his government.
For my part, I confess that, many have been the failings- of my life, and great the defects of my obe
dience. But in the midst of all my failings and imperfections, my soul hath always sympathised with the afflicted, and any heart hath ever aked for the miseries of others. My hand has often relieved when I wanted the shilling to comfort myself, and when it hath not been in my power to relieve, I have grieved for the scanty accommodations of others. Many troublesome and expensive offices I have undertaken to do good to men, and ever social and free have I been in my demeanour, easy
I and smooth in my address; and therefore I trust that, whenever I am removed from this horizon, it will be from a dark and cloudy state, to that of joy, light, and full revelation. This felicitates my every day, let what happen from without. This supports me under every affliction, and enables me to maintain a habit of satisfaction and joy in the general course of
my The things of my childhood are not worth setting down, and therefore I commence my life from the first month of the seventeenth year of my age, when I was sent to the university, in 1720, and entered a pensioner, though I had a larger yearly allowance than any fellow-commoner of my college. I was resolved to read there, and determined to improve my natural faculties to the utmost of my power. Nature, I was sensible, had bestowed no