« PoprzedniaDalej »
Concerning Men, Manners, and Things,
By N. BAILEY.
Unlike in Method, with conceal'd Design,
Laugh'd at his Friend, and look'd him in the Face:
Perfius Sat. I. Dryden.
Printed for J. DARBY, A. BETTES WORTH, F. FAYRAM,
HERE are two Things I would take fome Notice of: The first relates to my Author, and the fecond to my felf, or the Reasons why I have attempted this Translation of him. And in Speaking of the first, I prefume I shall fave my felf much of what might be faid as to the fecund. Tho' Erafmus is so well known, especially to thofe verfed in the Latin Tongue, that there seems to be but little Occafion to say any Thing in his Commendation; yet fince I have taken upon me to make him an English-man, give me leave to fay, that in my Opinion, he as well deferves this Naturalization, as any modern Foreigner, whofe Works are in Latin, as well for the Ufefulness of the Matter of his Colloquies, as the Pleasantnefs of Style, and Elegancy of the Latin.
They are under an egregious Miftake, who think there is nothing to be found in them, but Things that favour of Puerility, written indeed ingeniously, and in elegant Latin. For this Book contains, befides thofe, Things of a far greater Concern; and indeed, there is fcarce any Thing wanting in them, fit to be taught to a Chriftian Youth, defign'd for liberal Studies.
The Principles of Faith are not only plainly and clearly laid down, but eftablifh'd upon their own firm and genuine Bafis. The Rules of Piety, Justice, Charity, Purity, Meekness, brotherly Concord, the Subjection due to Superiors are fo treated of, that, in a Word, Scarce anyThing is omitted that belongs to a Man, a Subject, or a Chriftian.
Neither are thofe Things omitted, which respect a Medium of Life, by which every one may chufe out fafely what Ratio of Life he has moft Mind to, and by which he may be taught, not only Civility and Courtesy, but also may know how to behave himfelf in the World, fo as to gain himself the good Will of many, and a good Name among all, and may be able to difcern the Fol
lies and Childishnjes of Fools, and the Frauds and Villainies of Knaves, fo as to guard against 'em all.
And neither are there wanting Sketches, and that ample ones too, of Poetical Story, or Pagan Theology, univerfal Hiftory, facred and profane, Poetry, Criticifm, Logick, Natural and Moral Philofophy, Oeconomics and Politics; to which are added, a good Number of Proverbs and Apothegms used by the most celebrated of the Antients.
But there is one Thing in an efpecial Manner, that should recommend this Book to all Protestants in general, and cause them to recommend it to be read by their Children, that there is no Book fitter for them to read, which does in fo delightful and inftructing a Manner, utterly overthrow almost all the Popish Opinions and Superftitions, and erect in their Stead, a Superstructure of Opinions that are purely Proteftant.
And notwithstanding whatsoever Erafmus hath said in his Apology concerning the Utility of his Colloquies, that he could fay with Modefty, according to his wonted Dexterity, to temper, and alleviate the Bitterness of the Wormwood that he gave the Papifts to drink in the Colloquies, it is past a Question, that he lays down a great many Things agreeable to the Proteftant Hypothefis, fo that (if you except Tranfubftantiation) he reprehends, explodes and derides almost all the Popish Opinions, Superftitions and Customs.
Therefore if this golden Book be read with Attention, I doubt not but it will plainly appear, that the Scripture was in all Things preferr'd by the Author before them all; and that he accounted that alone truly infallible, and of irrefragable Authority, and did not account the Councils, Popes or Bishops fo.
And as to the praying to Saints, it was his Opinion, the christian World would be well enough without it, and that he abhor'd that common Cuftom of asking unworthy Things of them, and flying to them for Refuge more than to the Father and Chrift.
That he look'd upon all external Things of very small Account, of whatsoever Species they were: Either the Choice of Meats, Proceffions, Stations, and innumerable other Ordinances and Ceremonies, and that they were in themselves unprofitable, although he, for the fake of Peace and Order, did conform himself to all harmless Things that publick Authority had appointed. Not judging those Perfons, who out of a Scrupuloufness of Confcience thought otherwife, but wishing that thofe in Authority would use their Power with more Mildness.
And that he esteem'd, as Trifles and Frauds, the Community of good Works, of all Men whatsoever, or in any Society whatsoever; that he abhor'd the Sale of Pardons for Sins, and
derided the Treasury of Indulgences, from whence it is a plain Inference, that he believ'd nothing of Purgatory.
And that be more than doubted, whether auricular Confeffion was inftituted by Chrift or the Apostles, and he plainly condemns Abfolution, and laugh'd at the giving it an unknown Tongue. From whence we may fairly infer, that he was against having the Liturgy (which ought to be read to Edification) in an unknown Tongue. But he either thought it not fafe, or not convenient, or at least not absolutely necessary to Speak his Mind plainly as to that Matter.
Likewife, be particularly laugh'd at all the Species of popular and monaftical Piety; fuch as Prayers repeated over and over, without the Mind, but recited by a certain Number with their Rofaries, and Ave Maria's, by which, God being neglected, they expected to obtain all things, though none were particularly nam'd: Their tricenary, and anniversary Maffes, nay, and all thofe for the Dead: The dying and being buried in a Fran cifcan's and Dominican's Garment or Cowl, and all the Trumpery belonging to it, and did, in a Manner, condemn all Sorts of Monaftical Life and Order, as practifed among the Papifts.
He fhews it like wife to have been his Opinion, as to the Reliques of Chrift, and he and fhe Saints, that he judg'd the Worip of them a vain and foolish Thing, and believ'd no Vertue to be in any of them, nay, that the most, if not all of them, were falfe and counterfeit.
And to crown the Whole, he did not spare that beloved Principle and Custom of the Papifts, fo zealously practis'd by them apon Proteftants, viz. the Perfecution and Burning of Hereticks.
And now, of how much Ufe and Advantage fuch Things, and from Juch a Perfon as Erafmus may be, and how much they may conduce to the extirpating thofe Seeds of Popery, that may have been unhappily fown, or may be fubtilly inftill'd into the Minds of uncautious Perfons, under the fpecious Shew of Sanctity, will, I prefume, eafily appear. Though the Things before-mention'd may be Reafon fufficient for the turning thefe Colloquies of Erafmus into English, that so useful a Treatife may not be a Book feal'd either to Perfons not at all, or not enough acquainted with the Latin Tongue, as to read them with Edification; yet I did it from another Motive, i. e. the Benefit of fuch as having been ini tiated, defire a more familiar Acquaintance with the Latin Tongue (as to the Speaking Part especially, to which Erasmus's Colloquies are excellently adapted) that by comparing this Verfion with the Original, they may be thereby affifted, to more perfectly understand, and familiarize themselves with thofe Beauties of