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INTRODUCTION.

TYŁ USZFULNESS OF PROFANE HISTORY, ESPECIALLY WITH REGARD

TO RELIGION.

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besides the events and

THE study of profane history would be What is unworthy of a serious attention, and a ed in history, considerable length of time, if it were confined to the dry knowledge of ancient chronology. transactions, and an unpleasing inquiry into the eras when each of them happened. It little concerns us to know, that there were once such men as Alexander, Cesar, Aristides, or Cato, and that they lived in this or that period; that the empire of the Assyrians made way for that of the Babylonians, and the latter for the empire of the Medes and Persians, who were themselves subjected by the Macedonians, as these were afterwards by the Romans.

But it highly concerns us to know, by 1. The causwhat methods those empires were found. es of the rise ed; the steps by which they rose to the pires. exalted pitch of grandeur we so much admire ; what it was that constituted their true glory and felicity, and the causes of their declension and fall,

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It is of no less importance to study 2. The genius and char. attentively

attentively the manners of different nations, and of tions; their genius, laws, and customs; the great persons that gov. and especially to acquaint ourselves with erned them.

the character and disposition, the talents, virtues, and even vices of those men by whom they were governed; and whose good or bad qualities contributed to the grandeur or decay of the states over which they presided.

Such are the great objects which ancient history presents; exhibiting to our view all the kingdoms and empires of the world; and, at the same time, all the great men who were any way conspicuous; thereby instructing us, by example rather than precept, in the arts of empire and war, the principles of government, the rules of policy, the maxims of civil sociсty, and the conduct of life that suits all ages and conditions.

We acquire, at the same time, another ress of arts knowledge, which cannot but excite the and sciences.

attention of all persons who have a taste and inclination for polite learning. I mean the manner in which arts and sciences were invented, cultivated, and improved; we there discover, and trace as it were with the eye, their origin and progress; and perceive, with admiration, that the nearer we approach those countries which were once inhabited by the sons of Noah, in the greater perfection we find the arts and sciences; and that they seem to be either neglected or forgot, in proportion to the remoteness of nations from them; so that, when men attempted to revive those arts and sciences, they were obliged to go back to the source from whence they originally flowed.

3. The ori

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