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in the (a) English tongue ; by Mr. John Wesley, price three-pence. I had purposed to have said a good deal upon it: but the time is elapsed. But, in this three-penny pamphlet, you have all the disputes that have been bandied about so lately. And you will get your minds more established by this threepenny pamphlet, than by reading all the books that have been written for and against. It is to be had, at both doors, as you go out.
“I beg leave” (adds my reverend friend), “ to transmit you this here said same three-penny wonder."
Upon the whole, this must have been a droll sort of mountebank scene. Attended, however, with one most melancholy and deplorable circumstance, arising from the unreasonable and unseasonable prolixity of the long winded holderforth : which cruelly, injudiciously, and despitefully, prevented poor Zany from puffing off, with the amplitude he fully intended, the multiplex virtues of the doctor's three-penny free-will powder.
Never do that by delegation, says an old proverb, which you can as well do in propriâ personà. Had Doctor John bimself got upon the stage, and sung,
“Come, buy my fine powders, come buy dem of me; Hare be de best powders dat ever you see :" Who knows, but the three-penny doses might have gone off, "at both doors," as rapidly as peas from a pop-gun?
My business, for a few spare hours, shall be, to amuse myself, by analysing this redoubtable powder. The chemical resolution of so inestimable a specific into its component parts (a specific,
“ The like whereto was never seen,
(a) Query. Does the said lay preacher, whoever he may be, know aught of any other tongue?
may, moreover, be of very great and signal use. It were pity, that the materia medica, of which it is made
up, should remain a secret. Especially, as the good doctor designed it for general benefit. To make which benefit as universal as I can, I do hereby give notice, unto all pbilosophers, divines, and others, who have poisoned their intrails, by unwarily taking too deep a draught of Necessity: that they may, at any time, by help of the following decomposition, have it in their power to mix up, for their own immediate recovery, a competent quantum of the famous Moorfields powder: whose chief ingredients are,
An equal portion of gross Heathenism, Pelagianism, Mahometism, Popery, Manichæism, Ranterism, and Antinomianism; culled, dried, and pulverized, secundum artem : and, above all, mingled with as much palpable Atheism as you can possibly scrape together from every quarter.
Hæ tibi erunt artes. Follow the above prescription, to your life's end, and you will find it a most pleasant, speedy, and infallible antidote against every species and effect of the baneful necessitarian nightshade. It is the felix malum,
-Quo non presentius ullum (Pocula si quando sævæ infecere novercæ, Miscueruntque herbas, et non innoxia verba) Auxilium venet, ac membris agit atra Venena (a).
But though Mr. John Wesley is the vender, and the ostensible proprietor, of this efficacious threepenny medicine; the original discovery of the nostrum is by no means his own. He appears to have pilferred the substance, both of his arcana medendi, and of his cavils against the true philosophy of colours, from the refuted lucubrations with which a certain north British professor hath edified and en
(a) Georgic. l. 2. 127.
riched the literary public. Let the simple, however, be on their guard, lest Mr. Wesley's spiritual medicines have as pernicious influence on their minds, as the quack remedy, which he (a) recommends for the gout, had on the life of Dr. T-d, the late worthy dean of N-ch.
By way of direct Introduction to the following sheets, allow me to premise an extract from the commentary of a very great man on those celebrated lines of Juvenal :
“Nullum numen habes si sit pudentia ; sed te nos facimus, fortuna, deam, coloque locamus.
“ Dicit autem hoc poëta, ob fortunam : quæ non solum nullum numen est, sed nusquam et nihil est. Nam cùm sciamus omnia in mundo, maxima et mi. nima, providentiâ Dei gubernari ; quid restat de fortunâ, nisi vanum et inane nomen? Unde, rectè dicitur, tolle ignorantiam è personis, fortunam de
(a) In Mr. Wesley's book of receipts, entitled “ Primitive Physic," he advises persons, who have the gout in their feet or hands, to apply raw lean beef steaks to the part affected, fresh and fresh every twelve hours. Somebody recommended this dangerous repellant, to Dr. T. in the year 1764, or early in 1765. He tried the experiment. The gout was, in consequence, driven up to his stomach and head. And he died, a few days after, at Bath ; where I happened to spend a considerable part of those years; and where, at the very time of the dean's death, I became acquainted with the particulars of that catastrophe.
I am far from meaning to insinuate, because I do not know, that the person who persuaded Dr. T. to this fatal recourse, derived the recipe immediately from Mr. Wesley's medical compilation. All I aver, is, that the recipe itself is to be found there. Which demonstrates the unskilful temerity, wherewith the compiler sets himself up as a physician of the body. Should his quack pamphlet come to another edition, it is to be hoped that the beef steak remedy will, after so authentic and so melancholy a probatum est, be expunged from the list of specifics for the gout. It is, I acknowledge, an effectual cure. Cut off a man's head, and he will no more be annoyed by the tooth-ache. Alas, for the ingenium velox, and for the audacia perdita, with which a rash empiric, like Juvenal's Græculus esuriens, lays claim to universal science!
Grammaticus, Rhetor, Geometres, Pictor, Aleptes,
rebus sustuleris. Quia enim homines rerum omnium causas non perspicimus, ut est mortalium cæcitas; fortunam nescio quam vagam, irritam, instabilem, nobis fingimus. Quòd si causas rerum latentes et abditas nobis inspicere daretur; non modò nullam esse talem fortunam videremus, verùm etiam omnium minima, singulari Dei providentià, regi. Et sic fortuna, nihil aliud est, quâm Dei providentia, sed nobis non perspecta. Et rectè divinus ille Seneca : fortuna, fatum, natura, omnia ejusdem Dei nomina, varie sua potestate utentis (a).” i. e.“ The poet in this place, levels his arrows at fortune or chance : which is not only no goddess, but a mere nothing, and has no existence any where. For since it is certain, that all things in the world, both little and great, are conducted by the providence of God; what is chance, but an empty unmeaning name? Hence it has been rightly observed, Take away man's ignorance, and chance vanishes in a moment. The true reason why any of us are for setting up chance and fortune, is, our not being always able to discern and to trace the genuine causes of events: in consequence of which, we blindly and absurdly feign to ourselves a supposed random, unreal, unsteady cause, called luck, or contingency. Whereas, were we endued with sufficient penetration to look into the hidden sources of things, we should not only see that there is no such power, as contingency or fortune; but so far from it, that even the smallest and most trivial incidents are guided and governed by God's own express and special providence. If, therefore, the word chance, have any determinate signification at all, it can mean neither more nor less than the unseen management of God. In which sense, the admirable Seneca makes use of the term : Fortune (says that philosopher) and fate, and nature, are but so many dif
(a) Lubini Comment. in Juvenal, Sat. 10. p. 454. Edit. Hanoviæ, 1619.
ferent names of the one true God, considered as exerting his power in various ways and manners.". But, with Seneca's good leave, as the words fortune, chance, contingency, &c. have gradually opened a door to the grossest atheism; and as they require much subtilty and prolixity of explanation, in order to their being understood in any other than an atheistical sense; it is more than expedient, that the words themselves should be totally and finally cashiered and thrown aside.
I have only to add, that if, in the succeeding essay, any reader should imagine I express my meaning with too much plainness; it may suffice, to observe, that there is no end to the capricious refinements of affected and excessive delicacy.
Quod verum, atque decens, curo, et rogo, et omnis in hoc sum.
Language, like animal bodies, may be physiced, until it has no strength left. We may wbet its edge, as the fool sharpened his knife, and as some are now for reforming the church, until we have whetted the whole blade away.