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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, VILOCYT ALCHTERHOUSE, LORD CARDROSS AND GLENDOVACHIE, ONE OF THE
1OXIN COMMISSIONERS OF POLICE, AND LORD LIEUTENANT OF THE COUNTIES OP STIKLING 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
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 Transposition of some words necessary.
Archdeacon of Norwich.
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 Pinax' 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: and '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.
to serve Him singly to serve ourselves were too partial a piece of Piety, not like to place us in the illustrious Mansions of Glory.
Sect. 11.—Rest not in an Ovation' but a Triumph over thy Passions. Let Anger walk hanging down the head; Let Malice go Manicled, and Envy fetter'd after thee. Behold within thee the long train of thy Trophies not without thee. Make the quarrelling Lapithytes sleep, and Centaurs within lye quiet. Chain up the unruly Legion of thy breast. Lead thine own captivity captive, and be Cæsar within thyself.
SECT. 111.-He that is Chast and Continent not to impair his strength, or honest for fear of Contagion, will hardly be Heroically virtuous. Adjourn not this virtue untill that temper when Cato could lend out his Wife, and impotent Satyrs write Satyrs upon Lust; but be chast in thy flaming Days, when Alexander dar'd not trust his eyes upon the fair Sisters of Darius, and when so many think there is no other wa; but Origen's. 2
Sect. IV.—Show thy Art in Honesty, and loose not thy Virtue by the bad Managery of it. Be Temperate and Sober, not to preserve your body in an ability for wanton ends, not to avoid the infamy of common transgressors that way, and thereby to hope to expiate or palliate obscure and closer vices, not to spare your purse, nor simply to enjoy health ; but in one word that thereby you may truly serve God, which every sickness will tell you you cannot well do without health. The sick Man's Sacrifice is but a lame Oblation. Pious Treasures, lay'd up in healthful days, plead for sick non-performances : without which we must needs look back with anxiety upon the lost opportunities of health, and may have cause rather to envy than pity the ends of penitent publick Sufferers, who
go with healthfull prayers unto the last Scene of their lives, and in the Integrity of their faculties return their Spirit unto God that gave it. EcT. V.-Be Charitable before wealth make thee
1 Ovation, a petty and minor Kind of Triumph.