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I intreat your Lordship's Pardon for this bold Intrufion; and take Leave to fubfcribe,
Your Lordship's most devoted,
moft obedient and,
moft humble Servant,
By way of an Epiftolatory Address from the Author, to the Reverend Fathers the ESUITS.
OV already perceive, my Fathers, what is the Drift of this Treatise, by the Title of it. 'Tis only to compare the moral Precepts of the Pagans with the Doctrine of your Society, of which the Bull is a Vindication. Nothing in Nature can be fairer than fuch an Undertaking, and yet, perhaps, nothing will feem to you more bateful and more intolerable.
For as no body fo well knows your uncommon Merit; and fince you have ftil'd your felves, A Society, not of Men, but of Angels, and the Spirits of Eagles, the Lights of Mankind, the Præceptors of all the World, the Reformers of Manners,
who have banish'd Vice, and made Virtue
* to flourish (a)." Good God! you'll fay,
(a) Such is the Character the Jefuits of Flanders give of their Society, in their Book intitled, Image du premier fiécle de la Societaté de Jefus. See Pages 410,406,27,53,401,30,36,622. A 4
Shall fach Men be compar'd with Philofo phers, Orators, and Poets! • What, shall WE, who are a Company of Phoenixes, Men eminent both for Learning and Wif • dom; new Sampfons; fhall WE who are the guardian Angels and Protectors of • the Church; WE generous Lions, whe came into the World arm'd with Headpieces, whofe youngest Novices are worth Men of a hundred Years old, and whofe • Brothers are more than Philofophers. • Shall WE, in short, who are that Lace • of Gold, Blue, Silk, Purple and Scarlet, which the Scripture calls the Breastplate • of Judgment, and who are worn upon the Breaft of the High-Priest of the Jews; Shall we be parallel'd with the profane • Vulgar!
Don't exclaim fo loud, my Fathers, moderate your Complaints. You fee already that I don't conceal your Titles: I neither alter nor diminish them. I fhall punctually exhibit the reft of 'em in due Time and Place, and will take care to omit none; for the moft zealous of all your Panegyrifts, let him be who he will, cannot be more im patient than I am to fet you forth in your true Colours and Magnitude.
'Tis true, and I cannot help confeffing to you, that notwithstanding the high Opinion you entertain of your felves, I tremble for you not a little. I very much fear, that when the Publick has read your Doctrine,
they will think your whole Society falls Somewhat short of what they are in your Efteem, viz. A Company of Angels (b), foretold by Ifaiah in thefe Words (c), Go forth, ye fwift Meffengers.' I fear the World will allow you but a scanty Portion of that pompous Character given you by Ef cobar; and that they will not fo readily believe as that honeft Father, that you are the True Doctors of the Church, that your Maxims are as fo many Revelations, proceeding out of the Mouth of the Lamb (d), and given to the chief Authors of your Society as his chofen Scribes: I fear alfo, that when the Reader comes to fee the difference betwixt the Pagans Morality and yours, betwixt the Bull which canonizes your Errors, and Reafon which condemns them, I fear that they will then call to mind all your pompous Titles, and Say to you with Cicero, That (e) it is a
very ugly thing for a Man to talk much of himself; especially with Thrafo that vainglorious Hector, to brag of things • that are falfe, and to make Sport for the Company!
(b) Ibid. p. 401.
(c) Ifaiah xviii. 2.
(d) Ego folummodo memoro referationem factum ab agno fuis Autoribus Jefuitis. Efcob. in idea operis in fine.
(e) Deforme etiam eft de feipfo prædicare, falfa præfertim 3 & cum irrifione audientium imitari militem gloriofum. Cicer. de Offic. L. i. c. 38.