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BEFORE I take my last leave of Seneca, I will here discharge my conscience, as if I were upon my last leave with the whole world. I have been so just, both to the reader and to the author, that I have neither left out any thing in the original, which I thought the one might be the better for; nor added any thing of my own, to make the other fare the worse. I have done in this volume of Epistles, as a good husband does with his cold meat; they are only hash, made up of the fragments that remained of the two former parts; which I could not well dispose of in any other form, or so properly publish under any other title. Let me not be understood to impose this piece upon the public as an abstract of Seneca's Epistles, any more than I did the other, for the abstracts of his Benefits, and Happy Life. It is in works of this nature as it is in cordial waters, we taste all the ingredients, without being able to separate this from that; but still we find the virtue of every plant in every drop. To return to my allegory; books and dishes have this common fate; there was never any one of either of them that pleased all palates. And, in truth, it is a thing as little to be wished for as expected ; for an universal applause is at least two-thirds of a scandal. So that though I deliver up these papers to the press, I invite no man to the reading of them : and whosoever reads and repents, it is his own fault. To conclude: As I made this composition principally for myself, so it agrees exceedingly well with my constitution; and yet, if any man has a mind to take part with me, he has free leave and wel

But let him carry his consideration along with him, that he is a very unmannerly guest, that presses upon another body's table and then quarrels with his dinner.



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