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INTENDED TO GUARD THEM AGAINST SOME PREVALENT ERRORS.
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AND J. MATCHARD, NO. 190, PICCADILLY.
AN attentive observer of mankind must so frequently have been disappointed, by writers who take public affairs in hand, as to be likely to receive this performance with an expectation of its affording him, some new proof of weakness and vanity. It must often have occurred to such a person, that men in the obscurest situations, and of the most consined capacity, will be smitten with a passion for setting the world, or the Church to rights; and conceive themselves capable of such an undertaking, while it is notorious, perhaps, that their own immediate province, though of small dimensions, is in the greatest disorder*
The book now before the reader was written under such an impression of this preposterousness, as to lead the writer often to examin* himself] and to take care, that he was not imposed on by his own heart, or the forward spirit of the times, to go out of his props? line. And though he is not sure, that after all he is not deceived into an attempt for which he is unqualisied; yet the consideration abovementioned has certainly had one effect: it has made him careful to avoid all arrogance of behaviour, and all unchristian temper, in the delivery of his opinions. He hopes, therefore, that his behaviour will secure to him, the credit of good intention; and that if his attempt be condemned, he himself will come off with this mild verdict, ' that he has 'committed a pardonable weakness/
There was another thing, that dictated the studious observance of becoming temper. It seemedexpedient, from the quality of some subjects with which the author has concerned himself, that his publication should be anonymous. This circumstance laid him under an extraordinary obligation to behave well. It is difficult to sind an apology for disrespectful language, under any circumstances: if it can at all be excused, it is, when he who utters it lets us know from whom it comes; but he who dares to use it, and yet dare not put his name to the abuse, gives us reason to conclude, that his cowardice is equal to his insolence]
The reader perhaps may hereafter think, that these implied pledges of decorum in what is to follow, are forgotten in some parts of dhe work; where opinions may seem to be uttered in too dictatorial a manner. But this could not be avoided, without adopting a tameness of expression: and to be frequently apologizing for it, would have given the work a disgusting cast of servility. This manner, however, does certainly require some apology; and it is here made once for all, by stating the impossibility of invariably avoiding the fault, without committing a
It is hoped likewise, that if things evidently bad in themselves, and of injurious" tendency to mankind, be mentioned in terms; expressive of some degree of indignant feeling, this will not be considered as any violation of becoming temper. To speak of such things in extenuating terms, is neither virtue, nor piety, nor patriotism; and least of all is it to be called benevolence, though sometimes honoured with that name. The law of kindness does not require us, to call libertinism,