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is like poysoning a Fountain that runs for ever: A Man may do Mischief this way, it may be, as long as the World lafts. He is a Nufance to future Ages, and lays a Snare for those who are yet unborn. All Infolence upon Religion, Injuries of Right, and Infults of Virtue of this kind, muft be publickly retracted, and fubmit to open Penance; without this Satisfaction there can be no Indemnity, nor any Pardon expected from the Court Above..
Eulab. There's no reason for't: He
that spreads the Infection had need be
quick with his Antidote, otherwife he
must be guilty as far as the Mortality reaches. And to illuftrate the Cafe farther; he that fires a House, and does not play all his Engines to put it out, deferves to fuffer the Law. And therefore I think the Opinion of the Ancients not at all uncharitable in affirming that those who leave an ill Book behind them, and Murther in their Graves, will have new Torments as long as the Mischief works, and lie under a growing Mifery. These are fad Conclufions, and I with all Mercenary and Libertine Authors would confider it.
Crit. What is your Opinion of thofe Bookfellers that encourage thefe dange
rous Authors, take off their Counterband Goods, and make them as publick as 'tis poffible? Don't we fee Books written against the Trinity, against the Canon of the New Teftament, against the first Principles of Religion, expos'd to Sale with all the Liberty of the most ufeful and inoffenfive Commodities? Not to mention thofe numerous Pamphlets and Poems, where Virtue is burlesqu'd, and Vice recommended with all the Art, and Scandal imaginable. 3. side?
Eulab. Your Obfervation is too true: Nothing is more common than this Ratsbane upon the Compter: Tho' they know 'tis prepar'd for Execution, and made palatable to be taken down; nay, that 'tis bought for that very Purpofe. Now in my Opinion this is fo horrible a Practice, that had thefe Men kept Shop in the Sickness Year, they had better have retail'd the Plague, fent it into the Countrey by all the Carriers, and gi ven it Vent and Paffage to the best of their Skill. For whatever they may think on't, Atheism and Lewdnefs is the I Kings moft fatal Mortality, and the Plague 8. 38. of the Heart, the inoft frightful Diftemper. Infection is fafer lodg'd in the Veins than the Will, and a Man had much
better be poyfon'd in his Blood, than in his Principles.
Crit. I can't fay you are over tragical upon the Occafion, unless their Business will excuse them; they fay felling Books is their Trade, and they muft not baulk their Interest.
Eulab. In anfwer to this, I defire to ask, does an Apprenticeship difcharge them from the Duties of Chriftianity? Is Irreligion part of their Freedom? Is the Mystery of Trade, and the Mystery of Iniquity the fame? Are they to join with Atheists and Libertines, to attack the Creed, to run down Justice, and banish Sobriety from the Face of the Earth? Suppofe felling Butter and Cheefe is my Trade; and I am offer'd a good Wholefale Bargain out of the Countrey; if upon Information or examining the Goods I find them all poyfon'd; and that my Customers that take them off, muft either be dangeroufly fick, or die of the Diet: Is the Vendibleness of the Commodity, and the Plea of my Bufinefs, a fufficient Warrant to close with the Offer, and purfue the Advantage? Suppofe Captain Hind had taken a Boy under. Indentures, to teach him the Practice of the Road: And that this Youth upon his fetting up, fhould be E 4
indicted for borrowing a little Money in his way! Crit. Whither are you going! I hope you don't intend to parallel the Bufinefs of Towns and Cities, with Shooters Hill or Salisbury Plain!
Eulab. Not at all, I affure you: Ionly mention this Inftance to make the reafoning bear in the Application.
Crit. Why, how will the young Man defend himfelf?
Eulab We'll fet him at the Bar, and then you'll hear him argue, than he has ferv'd an Apprenticeship, that his Master had Money with him; that he has gone through the Difcipline and Fatigue of that Condition, and hopes he may follow his Calling now his Time is up: Do you fancy the Bench and Jury would allow of these Allegations?
Crit. No: This would hardly bring him off.
Eulab. Then you fee the Pretence of Trade is not fufficient to justify an ill Practice.
Crit. Pray let's fhift the Scene a little, and get out of this melancholy Walk. What do you think of Dedicatory Epifiles; we generally find them very diverting ?
Eulab. I fancy fo, but feldom to the Author's Advantage: For the Flattery on thefe Occafions is often fo grofs, and the Panegyrick fo much over ftrain'd; the Colours are fo very glowing, and the Pencil fo much beyond the Life: That were it not for the Name on the Picture, no Body could guefs for whom 'twas drawn.
Crito. Nothing provokes the Raillery of our Society more than fuch Flights as thefe: We think an Author ready to run mad with Ceremony, that he dwindles to a Zany, and is civil even tọ Vaulting and Tumbling.
Eulab. This fuperlative Stuff, I fuppofe, made my Lord Bacon remark * that * Advanc. the Mufes fuffer'd, and the Character of of Learn Learning funk by fuch Applications.
Crit. For all that, the Author finds his Account in them: And fometimes the Dedication brings more into the Pocket than all the Book befides.
Eulab. Such Returns of the Adventure are not very common, but granting they were; the Trade is but unreputable. To creep after Money in fuch a fervile Pofture looks mean and fcandalous, What Man that has either Spirit or Confcience would idolize Fortune at this rate, or fall down before a Golden