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The person chiefly concerned in improving this edition of Mr. Locke's Works, having long entertained a high esteem for that author's writings, and being informed that a new edition was preparing, became naturally desirous of seeing one more complete than any of the foregoing; and of contributing his assistance towards it (so far as the short time allowed for that purpose would give leave) by not only collating former editions, and correcting those numerous errors which had crept into most of them; but also by inserting, or giving some description of such other pieces as are known to have come from the same hand, though not appearing in any catalogue or collection of his works.
The farther liberty has been taken to subjoin a few things by other hands, which seemed necessary to a right use of Mr. Locke's discoveries, and a more ready application of the principles whereon they are founded, v. g.
1. To the Essay on Human Understanding is prefixed a correct analysis, which has been of considerable service by reducing that Essay into some better method, which the author himself shows us, (preface and elsewhere) that he was very sensible it wanted, though he contented himself with leaving it in its original form, for reasons grounded on the prejudices then prevailing against so novel a system; but which hardly now subsist.
This map of the intellectual world, which exhibits the whole doctrine of ideas in one view, must to an attentive reader appear more commodious than any of those dry compends generally made use of by young students, were they more perfect than even the best of them are found to be.
2. There is also annexed to the same Essay a small tract in defence of Mr. Locke's opinion concerning personal identity; a point of some consequence, but which many ingenious persons, probably from not observing what passed between him and Molyneux on the subject, [letters in September and December, 1693, and January, February, May, 1694,] have greatly misunderstood.
It may perhaps be expected that we should introduce this edition of Mr. Locke's Works with a particular history of the author's circumstances and connexions; but as several narratives of this kind have been already published by different writers, viz. A. Wood, (Ath. Ox. Vol. 2]; P. Coste, [character of Mr. Locke here annexed]; Le Clerc, (first printed in English before the Letters on Toleration, 1689, but more complete in the edition of 1713, from whence the chief part of the subsequent lives is extracted]; Locke's Article in the Supplement to Collier Addend.; and by the compilers of the General Dictionary, Biographia Britannica, Memoirs of his Life and Character, 1742, &c. &c. and since most of that same account which has been prefixed to some late editions, by way of Life, is likewise here annexed; there seems to be little occasion for transcribing any more of such common occurrences, as are neither interesting enough in themselves, nor sufficiently characteristic of the author. We have therefore chosen to confine the following observations to a critical survey of Mr. Locke's writings, after giving some account of his literary correspondence, and of such
anonymous tracts as are not commonly known to be his, but yet distinguishable from others that have been imputed to him. Besides those posthumous pieces which have been already collected by Des Maizeaux, and joined with some others in the late editions, there is extant,
1. His Introductory Discourse to Churchill's Col. lection of Voyages, (in 4 vols. fol.] containing the whole History of Navigation from its Original to that Time, (A. D. 1704) with a Catalogue and Character of most Books of Travels *.
These voyages are commonly said to have been published under his direction. They were presented by him to the university of Oxford [v. Collier's Dict.]. That he was well versed in such authors is pretty plain, from the good use he has made of them in his essays; and the introductory discourse is by no means unworthy of him, though deemed too large to be admitted into this publication : whether it may be added, some time hence, in a supplemental volume, along with some of his other tracts hereafter mentioned, must be submitted to the public, and those who are styled proprietors.
2. For the same reason we are obliged to suppress another piece usually ascribed to him, and entitled, The History of our Saviour Jesus Christ, related in the Words of Scripture, containing, in Order of Time, all the Events and Discourses recorded in the Four Evangelists, &c. 8vo. printed for A. and J. Churchill, 1705, concerning which a learned friend, who has carefully examined it, gives the following account: “I am inclined to think that this work is the genuine production of Mr. Locke. It is compiled with accuracy and judgment, and is in every respect worthy of that masterly writer. I have compared it with Mr. Locke's Treatise on the Reasonableness of Christianity, and find a striking resemblance between them in some of their expressions in their quotations from scripture, and in the arrangement of our Saviour's discourses." Under each of these heads this ingenious writer has produced remarkable instances of such resemblance, but too particular and minute to be here recited : on the last he adds, that whoever reads the Treatise on the Reasonableness of Christianity with the least attention, will perceive that Mr. Locke has every where observed an exact chronological order in the arrangement of his texts, which arrangement perfectly corresponds with that of the History. It would have been very difficult to throw a multitude of citations from the four Evangelists into such a chronological series without the assistance of some Harmony, but Mr. Locke was too cautious a reasoner to depend upon another man's hypothesis ; I am therefore persuaded that he compiled this Harmony, the History of Christ, for his own immediate use, as the basis of his Reasonableness of Christianity. And though the original plan of this history may have been taken from Garthwaite's Evangelical Harmony, 4to. 1633, as Dr. Doddridge supposes, yet the whole narrative and particular arrangement of facts is so very different, that Mr. Locke's History in 1705 may properly be termed a new work.
* To the present edition this work is added.
3. Select Moral Books of the Old Testament and Apocrypha, paraphrased, viz. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus, in one vol. 12mo. 1706. This useful work is given by tradition to Mr. Locke, and his name often written before it accordingly. It was printed for his old booksellers A. and J. Churchill, and is thought by some good judges to bear evident marks of authenticity: of which I shall only observe farther, that by the method there taken of paraphrasing these writers in one close, continued discourse, where the substance is laid together and properly digested, a much better connexion appears to be preserved, and the author's sense more clearly