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sons of wisdom and virtue from the contemplation of natural things. *
In order successfully to accomplish these designs, I found it necessary to avail myself of all the helps which the works of Naturalists could afford me: I have, therefore, made no scruple to borrow from BUFFON, DERHAM, PLUCHE, NIEUWENTYT, SULZER, BONNET, and other writers of this class, whatever was expressed with most precision and energy, and whatever was best calculated to give my readers the most correct ideas on the subject. I feel a pleasure in embracing this opportunity to acknowledge the assistance I have received from the Rector, Mr. LORENZ, who not only composed some of the Meditations, but whose extensive knowledge in Natural History has enabled him to furnish me with information, which I have endeavoured to detail for the edification of my Readers.
In this new edition I have made many corrections and improvements, which I hope will
* In the advertisement to the first German edition, the Author explains the motives which induced him to give his work the form of Meditations for every Day in the Year The motives were, 1. To provide a sufficient variety. And, 2. That the reader might be led to sanctify each day by contemplating the works of God.
give it a new advantage over that spurious work which has been published in three different places, by certain rapacious booksellers.
I would gladly have availed myself of the improvements which the Swedish Translator has made in my work, had I sufficient knowledge of that language.
Hamburgh, July 24, 1784.
Note. In the Preface to the second German edition, the Author says,
« I have made no considerable alteration in this new edition; I have only retrenched the Hynins which are found in the first edition, and substituted pieces written in prose. This plan appeared to me the most proper, especially as I had lately published a Collection of Hymns on the Works of God in the Empire of Nature,"*
• In order to unite the advantages of both editions, not only the substituted pieces are carefully translated in this, but the Hymns also which were in the first, are here given in prose. The poetic pieces in the last German edition, printed at Halle, 1785, are also translated into prose, and distinguished at the end of each meditation, or wherever else they occur, by inverted commas.
These Reflections have been presented twice already to the public in an English dress, by different hands. One of these publications professes to be only what it is.--An Abridgment, in one volume, 12mo, containing about one half of the original work. The other, in three volumes, professes to be the whole work, yet omits seventeen whole pieces, which were in the first German édition, and in the French translation, from which these volumes were taken. But, besides this, it omits a part in most of the Meditations, and in some cases a third of each. To the truly Christian reader, these omissions will appear of serious consequence, when he is informed that they contain those parts which chiefly relate to experimental Religion. Besides the above, there are other papers left out, and something of the translator's collecting substituted : and all this is done without ever mentioning the unwarrantable liberty thus taken.
A desire that the whole work of the pious Author should appear, from a conviction that it was well calculated to diffuse useful knowledge among the people at large, induced the Translator to undertake the task of giving a new version to the public. Judging that the stream must be purest at the fountain head, he endeavoured to procure, but in vain, the first German edition, as in that only, the Hymns are found, which the Author having published by themselves, left out in the two subsequent editions. Finding that the French Translator had retained those, and perceiving, from collating it with the third German edition, that it was a very correct and faithful version of the original text, the present Translator had no doubt but the devotional pieces taken from the first German edition, which he could not procure, were as faithfully translated as the rest of the work, he chose it therefore for the foundation of his own; reserving to himself the liberty of collating every Meditation with the text of the third German edition, printed at Halle, in 1784.
In the preface to the above edition, it is intimated, that many improvements and additions have been nade in the work : but the reader will find it still sadly defective. As the Translator discovered many inaccuracies in the
Astronomical papers, and in those on Natural History, he was in hopes of finding them rectified in this last edition : but he was disappointed.— The Planet Herschel, or Georgium Sidus, is not mentioned, though discovered March 13, 1781. Saturn has stidl only five satellites : the distances and periodical revolutions of the Planets are not corrected according to late and accurate observations. - Platina, is still ranked among the imperfect metals; and the increased catalogue of these last, well known to all the German and French chymists, is not once noticed. These were serious defects which the Translator thought himself obliged to supply in the best possible manner. Besides the above, many other inaccuracies are corrected, and it is hoped, that the work in consequence, will be considered more worthy the attention and approbation of the public than it has hitherto been.
Fidelity in the translation has been scrupulously studied; and this, probably, has produced too great a stiffness in some parts : but the Translator indulges the hope, that in general the style will be found easy and perspicuous ; and that the work carries no extra load of error or imperfection.
Lest any should be disappointed in reading