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REV. W. BATES, D. D.
n the utility of Biography or personal history, there is a general concurrence of opinion. Some there are, who, in point of utility, judge its claims to be superior to those of general history. Without presuming to decide those claims, it may be asserted .without much hesitation, that to the generality of readers, Biography is a species of reading, the most instructive, interesting and amusing. Its legitimate object, is, in the faithfulexhibition of particular characters, to rouse the mind to a noble emulation of the virtues of the good, and excite its abhorrence of vice, in all the Proteus forms it may assume.
Hence the Biographer selects those characters, of whom the por traiture will be the best calculated to prockuce these important results.
They are,” as an excellent living author observes, “ by no means persons raised to the highest elevations, or distinguished by: the most extraordinary achievements. •. För: 'not to observe that such characters are rarely remarkable for goodness and worth, it is easy to see, that they fall not within the reach of common imitation-that they exhibit nothing that leads to self-reflectionnothing that occasions moral comparison—nothing to stimulate, to encourage in the course we pursue. Neither are eccentric characters the best suited to instruct and impress. Eccentricity is sometimes found connected with genius, but it does not coalesce with true wisdom. For the purposes of Biography those lives are the most eligible, that are the most