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ROTERD A M,
translated into English.
By N. BAILE T.
Unlike in Method, with conceal'd Design,
Persius Sat. I. Dryden.
Ι ο Ν Φ Ο Ν.
J. PEMBERTON, J. HOOKE, C. RIVINGTON,
Τ Η Ε
HERE are two Things I would take some Notice of : The first relates to my Author, and the
second to my self, or the Reasons why I bave atT
tempted this Translation of him. And in speaking of the first, I presume I mall save my self much of what might be said as to the second.
Tbo' Erasmus is so well known, especially to those versed in the Latin Tongue, that there seems to be but little Occasion to say any Thing in his Commendation ; yet since I have take% upon me to make him an English-man, give me leave to Say, that in my Opinion, be as well deserves this Naturalization, as any modern Foreigner, whose Works are in Latin, as well for ibe Usefulness of the Matter of his Colloquies, as the Pleasantzess of Style, and Elegancy of the Latin.
They are under an egregious Mistake, who think there is nothing to be found in them, but Things that favour of Puerility, written indeed ingeniously, and in elegant Latin. For this Book contains, besides those, Things of a far greater Concern ; and indeed, there is scarce any Thing wanting in them, fit to be taught to a Christian Youth, defign'd for liberal Studies.
The Principles of Faith are not only plainly and clearly laid down, but establish'd upon their own firm and genuine Bafis. The Rules of Piety, Justice, Charity, Purity, Meekness, brotherly Concord, the Subjection due to Superiors are so treated of, that, in a Word, scarce anyThing is omitted that belongs to a Man, a Subject, or a Christian.
Neither are those. Things omitted, which respect a Medium of Life, by which every one may chuse out Safely what Ratio of Life bé bas moft Mind to, and by which he may be taught, not only Civility and Courtesy, but also may know how to behave himself in the World, so as to gain himself the good Will of many, and a good Name among all, and may be able to discern the Fol
lies and Childishneiles of Fools, and the Frauds and Villainies of Knaves, so as to guard against 'em all.
And neither are there wanting Sketches, and that ample ones too, of Poetical Story, or Pagan Theology, universal History, sacred and profane, Poetry, Criticism, Logick, Natural and Moral Philosophy, Oeconomics and Politics ; to which are added, a good Number of Proverbs and Apothegms used by the most celebrated of the Antients.
But there is one Thing in an especial Manner, that pould recommend this Book to all Protestants in general, and cause them to recommend it to be read by their Children, that there is no Book fitter for them to read, which does in so delightful and instructing a Manner, utterly overthrow almost all the Popish Opinions and Superstitions, and erect in their Steud, a Superstructure of Opinions that are purely Protestant.
And notwithstanding whatsoever Erasmus hath said in his Apology concerning the Utility of his Colloquies, that he could say with Modesty, according to his wonted Dexterity, to temper, and alleviate the Bitterness of the Wormwood that be gave the Papists to drink in the Colloquies, it is past a Question, that he lays down a great many Things agreeable to the Protestant Hypothefis, so. that (if you except Transubstantiation) he reprehends, explodes and derides almost all the Popish Opinions, Superstitions and Customs.
Therefore if this golden Book be read with Attention, I doubt not but it will plainly appear, that the Scripture was in all Things preferr’d by the Author before them all'; and that he accounted that alone truly infallible, and of irrefragable Authority, and did not account the Councils, Popes or Bishops fo.
And as to the praying to Saints, it was his Opinion, the christian World would be well enough without it, and that he abhor'd that common Custom of asking unworthy Things of them, and flying to them for Refuge more than to the Father and Christ.
That he look'd upon all external Things of very small Account, of whatsoever Species they were ; Either the Choice of Meats, Processions, Stations, and innumerable other Ordinances and Ceremonies, and that they were in themselves unprofitable, although be, for the sake of Peace and Order, did conform himself to all harmless Things that publick Authority had appointed. Not judging those Persons, who ont of a Scrupulousness of Conscience thought otherwise, but wishing that those in Authority would use their Power with more Mildness.
And that he esteem'd, as Trifles and Frauds, the Commitnity of good Works, of all Men whatsoever, or in any Society whatsoever; that he abhor'd the Sale of Pardons for Sins, and
derided the Treasury of Indulgences, from whence it is a plaine Inference, that he believ'd nothing of Purgatory,
And that be more than doubted, whether auricular Confession was instituted by Christ of the Apostles, and he plainly condemns Absolution, and laugh'd at the giving it an unknown Tongue. From whence we may fairly infer, that he was against having the Liturgy (which ought to be read to Edification) in an unknowun Tongue. But be either thought it not safe, or not convenient, or at least not absolutely necessary to speak his Mind plainly as to that Matter.
Likewise, be particularly laugh'd at all the Species of popular erd monaftical Piety; such as Prayers repeated over and over, without the Mind, but recited by a certain Number with their Rofaries, and Ave Maria's, by' which, God being neglected, they expected to obtain all things, though none were particularly ram'd: Their tricenary, and anniversary Maffes, nay, and all tbose for the Dead : The dying and being buried in a Franciscan's and Dominican's Garment or Cowl, and all the Trum. pery belonging to it, and did, in a Manner, condemn all sorts of Monastical Life and Order, as practised among the Papists.
He shews it likewise to have been his opinion, as to the Religaes of Christ, and he and she Saints, that he judg'd the Worbip of them a vain and foolish Thing, and believ'd no Verire to be in any of them, nay, that the most, if not all of them, were false and counterfeit.
And to crown the Whole, he did not spare that beloved Principle and Custom of the Papists, so zealousy practis'd by them upon Protestants, viz. the Perfecution and Burning of Hereticks.
And now, of how much Use and Advantage such Things, and from such a person as Erasnius may be, and how much they may conduce to the extirpating those Seeds of Popery, that may have been unhappily siwn, or may be subtilly inftills into the Minds of uncautious Persons, under the specious Shew of Sanctity, will, I presume, easily appear. Though the Things before-mention'd
may be Reason sufficient for the turning these Colloquies of Erasmus into English, that so useful a Treatise may not be a Book seald, either to Persons not at all
, or not enough acquainted with the Latin Tongue, as to read them with Edification; yet I did it from another Motive, i. e. the Benefit of such as having been initiated, desire a more familiar Acquaintance with the Latin Tongue (as to the Speaking Part especially, to which Erasmus's Colloquies are excellently adapted) that by comparing this Version with the Original, they may be thereby allisted, to more perfectly understand, and familiarize themselves with those Beauties of A 3