Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

or Injustice. They correct Sloth, cbaftife Luft, teach Prudence, encourage Diligence, and gloriously reprefent all other moral Virtues with an Air of the most lively Veneration and lafting Felicity. There's no Room left here for obliging fome Humourifts, by gloffing over their vicious Actions, or flattering their Offences.

Indeed the late laborious Dr. Patrick raises a mighty Difpute upon the infuing Royal Leffon; and ftrenuoufly contends, that this Chapter ought not to be afcrib'd to Bathsheba and Solomon, as if it was all meerly Cunjecture, without the leaft Ground, or any good Reason to be affign'd for it: But that this King Lemuel was fome other Prince, in a foreign Country, whofe Mother's Name was unknown, though believ'd to be of a prophetick Spirit; that he was rather a Jewish Lady, not Bathfheba, marry'd to fome Prince of another diftant Kingdom; and that Lemuel, her fuppofed Son, was not Solomon, but fome great Perfon, or a different Prince in Chaldæa. But the learned Grotius fancies Hezekiah to be the King bere mention'd or meant, under the Name of Lemuel, upon a very flender Reafon; only because this Chapter follows the Collection of Solomon's Proverbs, Chap. 25. made by his Servants: And how judiciously foever, or otherwife, I leave to the Determination of wifer Difputants. After All, the Doctor himself grants, which is fufficient for the Fuftification of the Method of my Proceeding; that, It is generally taken for granted, both by Hebrew and Chriftian Writers, that King Lemuel, whofe Mother gave him the Precepts contained in this Chapter, was Solomon :' Whom Bathsheba took Care early to inftruct in his Duty; being, as fome of no fmall Name fancy, divinely inspir'd with the Gift of Prophecy. So much for the Matter in Debate; with as much Brevity as poffible, and without wholly omitting this Variety of Opinions: which, at full Length, would be highly impertinent to my prefent Undertaking.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

How foever that be in the Controverfy among the Learned, my fole Bufinefs in this Book will be only Practical. Í fhall do like the Whetstone in Horace; fungar vice cotis-to fharpen-upReligion and Morality a little, or to give a keener Edge to the Practice of both in this dull Iron-Age. I fhall endeavour to whet People to all Virtues, by gently correcting or curing their Contrary Vices. Good wholfome Counsel, moral Advice, and a little fmart Satyr, will not hurt their Persons, and do them no great Harm as to their Manners. I have not study'd the Art of Rhetorick or foothing Language, fo much as a good Life and fome inftructive Lampoon in the Performance. A Moral Writer fhould rather chufe to act the Part of a prudent Physician, than to play the Flatterer or fine Orator. And if his Phyfick be proper for the Patient, it is no Matter for the Plainnefs of the Pill without gilding, or the Bitterness of the Potion without obliging the Palate. However, I have been as Tender as poffible in the following Touches; without either those extreme Severities of probing the Wound too deep on the one Hand, or those defective Indulgences of Palliating the Cure on the other: at least without any Favour, Flattery or Affection on either Side, according to the Nature of their Diftempers and Indifpofitions.

Panegyrick and Satyr are so carefully mingled in this Compofition, that we hope it will prove a tolerable, boneft, inoffenfive Family-Book; a Leffon of most Duties both Civil and Domeftick, or a kind of Looking-glass, at least for Ladies, and other young People, to fee their Virtues and Vices in at full View: fairly reprefenting both Wisdom and Folly in their properColours as well as real Complexions.

1. As to the Panegyrick; It commends only the Good, and rewards Virtue with the most deferved Honours of Applaufe. Who would ever have blam'dPliny Junior, for fo magnificently praising the Civil Virtues of the Emperour Trajan; if he had not defac'd all his Excellencies, and fully'd his Glories by the extreme Cruelty which be exercifed against the Profeffours of Christianity. 'Tis im

poffible

[ocr errors]

poffible to extol a wife, just and righteous Prince or Princefs with too much Magnificence; fo long as the Panegyrift keeps within the Rules of good Faith and Bounds of good Manners. They justly deferve the highest Encomiums of Rhetorick; require the loudest Harangues of Eloquence, and demand the loftieft Flights both of Art and Nature, by their fingular Merits, upon the Pinnacle of Honour and Virtue. Virtuous People are the most valuable, praife-worthy and inestimable. They should wear Crowns of Laurel, for their better Distinction. They cannot be too well recommended, in the brightest Characters and fineft Eulogies of Glory, to the Efteem, Reverence and Admiration of the World. But whosoever was the Author of the Satyr against Virtue, Poet or Pedant, he only acted the Part of the Antipodes to common Reafon. 'Twas no more than a vain Piece of Blafphemy against her unblemish'd Beauty,without hurting her eftablifh'd Character.

II. As to the Satyr; It condemns only the Bad, and punishes Vice with the most deferved Lafhes of Difgrace. Who could ever yet find Fault with Juvenal, the Prince of Satyrifts, for difpraising the Vices, Follies and Vanities of degenerate Rulers or Regents, Noblemen or Magiftrates, &c. with fo much Severity; when they still peremptorily perfifted in their corrupt Practices, and proceeded in their licentiousCourfes of living with the utmost Irreligion as well as Immorality? It is impoffible to degrade fuch lewd Debauchees fufficiently with the greatest invectives against their Viciousness. Who can spare their foaring aloft in the Height of Pride and Ambition, Cruelty and Oppreffion, Treachery and Falfhood. They cannot be debased too low, or difgraced by the smartest Strokes of the Pen, with too much Abhorrence and Deteftation, for their unpardonable Liberties. But what little lewd, vile Wretches foever, fhall become Encomiasts of Vice after all: Such Libertines will certainly merit the most exquifite Punishments, or Reproaches of Life, that Satyr can invent; not to pursue the Metaphor of the Lah

1

Lash any farther, among common Offenders, either to the Cart, or the Whipping-Poft, for Correction. Greater Per fons may perhaps profper in their Iniquities for a while, and flourish by fuch diffolute Practices. But lo then the Chaff they are like, according to the Royal Pfalmift, fuddenly fcatter'd in the Whirl-Wind! All their Bleffings are driven away at a Blast of the divine DifpleaJure. Their falfe Glory goes off in a Breath of Air. The Levity flies apace, and nothing of Value remains unvanifh'd. Who therefore can forbear checking Vice, either walking in the Counsel of the ungodly, ftanding in the Way of Sinners, fitting in the Seat of the Scornful, riding, triumphant in the Chariot of Vanity, or unlawfully Domineering in the full Career of a profperous Iniquity, Wicked nefs and Injustice?

This impartial Compofition then, or exact Mixture of the Moralities and Immoralities of People; as well in Praise of the Good and Virtuous,according to their Merits, as in Difpraife of the Bad and Vicious, according to their Demerits, among both Sexes, young or old peradventure may have its defired Effect, either of obliging the One, or reforming the Other, upon a strict Perufal of the Book to the clofer Practice of their Duties. However, in fine, 'tis hop'd the candid Reader will eafily perceive, that I have faid nothing of Party-Malice, Immodefty or Immoderation in this Work, or at least 1 think fo, according to the beft of my Knowledge: and have advanc'd no new Doctrines to offend any Kingdom; where either the facred Scripture is not reckoned difaffected to the Government of it, or the Government of it is not really diffatisfied with the facred Scripture. But without any farther Prefacing, this Royal Leffon contains the Character of a virtuous King and Queen; and they who beft deferve it, are most truly intitl'd to the greatest Glories of its Coronation. Adieu.

The

« PoprzedniaDalej »