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Liew. I Conyers
Τ Η Ε
IVES are usually Read with a greater Pleasure and Application, than any other kind of Writing;
and it must be own'd, that when rightly chosen, they give us the most useful views of Humane Nature, and the justest Representations of Virtue and Vice, with their different Consequences and Effects.
But then it's observable, that the World is chiefly fond of knowing their Story, who have Acted the most Embroyld and Buhe Parts of Life; bave commanded Armies, or manag’d Surprizing Turns of State; have by Policy or War made themselves Famous, the Subje&t of common Observation and Dil course; or Hurry'd on by Ambition, and other Destructive Passions, have laid Countries Waste, and done fatal Mischiefs to Mankind.
And so far have Mens Inclinations been Gratify'd and Encourag'd that the World is dailymore and more over.stock’d with this fort of Lives, which, as commonly written bave a Fatal Influence upon our Minds, and prove very Pernicious to Religion. They give a
dangerous Turn to our Thoughts, and Infe&t the Soul with wrong Notions of things. The little regard that's had to Justice and Piety, in the Characters of Princes and Warriours And the Praises that are given to all their Successful Actions, however violent and bloody; the Magnificent Descriptions of Armies and Battles, with the Glory that fill surrounds the Head of the Fortunate and Bold: All these Inflame those Passions in us, which our Religion requires us to Subdue. A wild Ambition Fires the Mind, and drives it furiofly on, in pursuit of mistaken Honour, untill at last the true Temper of Chriftianity is quite destroy’d; that Humility and Meekness, that Deadness to the World, and Submiffior to the Will of God; with that Justice and Charity to Men,wbich make 2.) so great a part of the Christian Life: For 's will be hard to persuade Mankind that violence and Injustice are Crimes, while those who committed them are applauded in Story; or that to be Meek and Lowly, are necelary Duties, while even in Chriftian An. pals, the Cruel ond vain-Glorious make the greatest Figures, anil are the constant Subject of Panegyrıck and Praise.
To remedy these Mischiefs in some meafare, It were greatly to be desir'd, that the World were furnish'd with a fufficient numBer of another kind of Lives; of those who
I have been Great in Religion and Goodness;
and study'd to Conquer their Corruptions as their most Dangerous, if not only Enemies;
who have spent their Lives in the service of í God, and made it their conftant Business to s do Good to Mankind.
Such Lives as these, we might reasonably hope, wou'd very much serve the Interests of Religion, by proving an Antidote to the Porson of those other Histories, which are so Destructive to it. They wou'd represent Piety, not in Notion but in Life, with all its Charms about it ; and shew not only the Polfibility, but Delightful Easiness of a Religious Conversation. The Pleasure of Narrative wou'd fill engage our Attention, and prevent a Weariness, which few can escape, when only Books of Reasoning and Argument are before them. And bright Examples of Holiness faithfully Represented, cou'd hardly fail of awakening good Thoughts in our Minds; of rouching us with sad Reflections upon our own Behaviour, so different from what we Read of others; and exciting strong Desires of following such Patterns.
This is the End propos'd in Publishing the following, Life. It is bop'd that the Cha
racter of One, in whom every Christian E
Grace did so eminently shine, may contri.
deratiou of his Early Piety, may Animate the Youth among us; of his constant Devotions, may quicken our Zeal; of his Justice, his Charity, and universal Goodness, may ftir up lasting Resolutions in our Minds, of following so great an Example of these through all the parts of Virtue and Holinefs.
And so well was the Character of that Excellent Person establish'd and known that he was very few days laid in his Grave,when several good Men, without being acquainted! with one anothers Thoughts
, conspir'd in Opinion, that a faithful Account of his Life and Virtues was what might benefit the World, which they accordingly at several times propos’d, to a Perfon nearly concern'd in his Memory; and who they believ'd wou'd be most Zealous to have such a work undertaken.
Nor wou'd these Hopes have appeard in the least Ill grounded, had Mr. Bonnell's Life been the work of a Pen, which 'twas once expected, or rather desir’d, wou'd have been employ’d in it ; which cou'd have set bis Virtues in their true Liglit, and drawn bis Character with all its just Advantages. But since these expectations have faild, the world must be satisfi'd with this Work, as 'tis now Publisb'd ; of which I can only say, that I have put the Informations, which were giver me, faithfully together; for tho' I was