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THE STATIONER TO THE READER
I CANNOT omit to advertise, that a Book was published not long since, Entituled, Natures Cabinet Unlockt, bearing the name of this Authour : If any man have been benefited thereby this Authour is not so ambitious as to challenge the honour thereof, as having no hand in that Work. To distinguish of true and spurious Peeces was the Originall Criticisme, and some were so handsomely counterfeited, that the En. titled Authours needed not to disclaime them. But since it is so, that either he must write himself, or Others will write for him, I know no better Prevention then to act his own part with lesse intermission of his Pen.
PUBLISHED FROM THE ORIGINAL AND CORRECT MANU
SCRIPT OF THE AUTHOR;
BY JOHN JEFFERY, D.D.
ARCHDEACON OF NORWICH.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
DAVID, EARL OF BUCHAN, VISCOUNT AUCHTERHOUSE, LORD CARDROSS AND GLENDOVACHIE, ONE OF THE LORDS COMMISSIONERS OF POLICE, AND LORD LIEUTENANT OF THE COUNTIES OF STIRLING AND CLACKMANNAN, IN NORTH BRITTAIN.
My LORD,—The Honour you have done our Family Obligeth us to make all just Acknowledgments of it: and there is no Form of Acknowledgment in our power, more worthy of Your Lordship's Acceptance, than this Dedication of the Last Work of our Honoured and Learned Father. Encouraged hereunto by the Knowledge we have of Your Lordship's Judicious Relish of universal Learning, and sublime Virtue; we beg the Favour of Your Acceptance of it, which will very much Oblige our Family in general, and Her in particular, who is,
If any One, after he has read Religio Medici and the ensuing Discourse, can make Doubt, whether the same Person was the Author of them both, he may be Assured by the Testimony of Mrs. Littleton, Sir Thomas Browne's Daughter, who Lived with her Father, when it was composed by Him; and who, at the time, read it written by his own hand; and also by the Testimony of Others, (of whom I am One) who read the MS. of the Author, immediately after his Death, and who have since Read the Same ; from which it hath been faithfully and exactly Transcribed for the Press. The Reason why it was not Printed sooner is, because it was unhappily Lost, by being Mislay'd among Other MSS., for which Search was lately made in the Presence of the Lord Arch Bishop of Canterbury, of which his Grace, by Letter, informed Mrs. Littleton, when he sent the MS. to her. There is nothing printed in the Discourse, or in the short notes, but what is found in the Original MS. of the Author, except only where an Oversight had made the Addition or Trans. position of some words necessary.
PART THE FIRST
Sect. 1.—Tread softly and circumspectly in this funambulatory Track and narrow Path of Goodness : Pursue Virtue virtuously: Leven not good Actions nor render Virtues disputable. Stain not fair Acts with foul Intentions: Maim not Uprightness by halting Concomitances, nor circumstantially deprave substantial Goodness.
Consider whereabout thou art in Cebes's table, or that old Philosophical Pinax1 of the Life of Man: whether thou are yet in the Road of uncertainties; whether thou hast yet entred the narrow Gate, got up the Hill and asperous way, which leadeth unto the House of Sanity, or taken that purifying Potion from the hand of sincere Erudition, which may send Thee clear and pure away unto a virtuous and happy Life.
In this virtuous Voyage of thy Life hull not about like the Ark, without the use of Rudder, Mast, or Sail, and bound for no Port. Let not Disappointment cause Despondency, nor difficulty despair. Think not that you are Sailing from Lima to Manillia, when you may fasten up the Rudder, and sleep before the Wind; but expect rough Seas, Flaws, and contrary Blasts: ard 'tis well, if by many cross Tacks and Veerings, you arrive at the Port; for we sleep in lyons Skins in our Progress unto Virtue, and we slide not, but climb unto it.
Sit not down in the popular Forms and common Level of Virtues. Offer not only Peace-Offerings but Holocausts unto God: where all is due make no reserve, and cut not a Cummin-seed with the Almighty:
1 Pinax. Picture.-Dr. J.