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P REFAC E.
By the EDITOR of this IMPRESSIÓN.
HE many Editions this WORK has gone through, most evidently demonftrate how acceptable it hath been to the World. This Manner of Allegorical Writing, by way of Parable, hath been ever efteemed by Men of the brighteft and moft refined Genius in all Ages, as the most useful and inftructive, because the most engaging and agreeable, not only to Youth, but even thofe of riper Years,
The Divine PLATO and SOCRATES, the latter of whom the Oracle pronounced the Wifeft of Men, particularly recommended it among thofe of the Heathen World. But what Need we have Recourse to Paganifm, when the infpired Writers delivered down Truths the moft Excellent and Important to Mankind under Shade and Figure? and with good Reafon, fince downright Truths, in themfelves naked
naked and plain, would not fo ftrongly have infinuated themfelves into the Minds of Men. Nathan was very fenfible of this, when he denounced the Terrors of an Offended GOD to DAVID, who had received fo many fignal Favours at his Hands, and had been fo ungrateful as to affront him, by committing Two Sins, the most frightful and enormous, Adultery and Murder! Had the good Prophet reproved the Royal Delinquent in open Terms, it probably might have provoked his Refentment and Indignation; for Great Men cannot bear being told of their Errors: He therefore addreffed him in a Parable, which had it's happy Effect, and drew from the weeping and reprenting Monarch a thorough Sorrow and Contrition. And a greater than Nathan, or all the Prophets of the World, who beft knew the Hearts and Affections of Men, spoke to thofe whom he loved to inftruct, after this very Manner.
Mr. Bunyan has been very happy in his Idea of the Pilgrim: It is a delicate and familiar Topic, and wonderfully natural to reprefent, in all it's Degrees and Circumstances,
cumstances, the Life of every Man, who is a Stranger and Sojourner, and a Pilgrim, as all his Fathers have been: And he hath fo happily executed his Design, that no Performance yet of this Kind hath ever come up to it.
The Story of Balaam and Jehofaphat, written by S. John Damafcene, a Greek Father, hath been fufficiently applauded; and indeed it has it's peculiar Beauties and Excellencies. Dr. Patrick, Bishop of Ely, has wrote a much more voluminous Work under the Title of the PILGRIM, but the Colouring is very faint, and it wants all that fimple Plainness which so pathetically ftrikes the Heart: Such tedious Pieces as they, are wholly void of Life and Spirit, fo are they very unapt to ftir up those warm Affections and Religious Fires, which the Nature of fo eminent and important a Subject effentially requires.
It fares otherwife with our Author, through whom there reigns a wonderful Simplicity of Diction, attended with Sentiments the most furprizingly Touching. The Allegory is admirably well continued and interwoven, the Tranfitions cafy and
and natural, and all the Images are lively, ftrong and nervous; mixed with fuch a Spirit of true Piety, as hath not it's Equal, but in the Holy Scriptures; which our Author here plainly difcovers himself, to have thoroughly ftudied having almost every where expreffed himself in their Style and Language. And confequently, as in them, the Simple and Illiterate learn Improvement and Inftruction, and even the learned finds Matter wherewith to employ his Speculation. And one Thing particularly is obfervable in this Work, that a Man can scarce take it into his Hand, but he is tempted to go through with it, it fo agreeably engages the Attention by it's Narration, which in fome Places contains fuch moving Circumftances of Human Mifery and Distress, in it's plain Garb, as we no where find in the fineft Pieces of Art, however fet off with all the Pomp and Glitter, of accurate Phrafe and Rhethoric: And I believe no one in the World, of what Sect, Party, or Profeffion foever he be, can read feveral of the Episodes, efpecially the Paf fing of the River, in the Conclufion,