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SAVIL, AND BOW obe
SAVILL AND EDWARDS, PRINTERS, CHANDOS STREET,
À LTHOUGH some of the Works of the justly celebrated A Archdeacon Paley, especially his Natural Theology and Evidences, are more read than his Moral Philosophy, and have met with more unmixed approbation, this last has been exercising great influence, not only directly, but indirectly. Having long been an established Text-book at a great and flourishing University, it has laid the foundation of the Moral Principles of many hundreds—probably thousands—of Youths while under a course of training designed to qualify them for being afterwards the Moral instructors of Millions. Such a Work therefore cannot fail to exercise a very considerable and extensive influence on the Minds of successive generations. And accordingly, to supply any needful explanations, illustrations, or modifications of its principles, and above all, to correct any considerable errors in them, cannot be deemed a superfluous or an unimportant task.
Besides several other well-known Writers, as Dugald Stewart, Sir J. Mackintosh, &c., who are opposed to Paley's utilitarian theory, there is one Writer-Dr. Whewell—whom it is the more important to particularize, from his having been a distinguished Professor of Moral Philosophy in Paley's own University. And from a Work of his accordingly I have cited some extracts.
I am far from thinking that Paley's Work ought not to be one of the Text-books employed. But the study of it should be accompanied with cautions to the Young Student against adopting the whole of his System.
The Reader is entreated to make due allowance for the somewhat invidious position in which an Editor may sometimes be placed. When it is found needful to supply omissions, to suggest objections, and to controvert something that has been advanced, he may be represented as seeking to exalt himself at the Author's expense, and as looking out for blemishes, and passing over excellences ; unless he is continually repeating (which would be intolerably tedious) 'this is very true;' that is a just and valuable remark ;' and the like. But the more reasonable view would be, to understand approbation of what is edited to be the rule, and censure, the exception; and to regard everything, against which no objection is stated, as having the approval of the Editor, up to this point at least, that it is deemed worthy of careful perusal, and entitled to respectful attention.
I have confined myself to the first volume; which may be regarded as an entire Work ; being a Treatise on what is most properly called 'Moral Philosophy : though I have introduced incidentally a few remarks that have reference to the second volume, that on Political Philosophy.
The Work is printed complete, according to Paley's own division into Chapters; any Annotations that appeared needful being placed at the end of each Chapter, so as to interrupt as little as possible the continuity of the Work.