« ZurückWeiter »
things were regarded; and I have done well to pro
Who the author is, there is no need of inquiring. This will be unavoidably known in the vicinity; but his writing without a name (as well as not for one,) will conceal it from most of those to whom the book may come.
And the concealment of his name, he apprehends, may be of some use to the book; for now, not who, but what, is the only thing to be considered. *
It was a vanity in one author, and there may be too many guilty of the like; to demand, “ Reader, whatever you do, account the author somebody.” But, I pray, sir, who are you, that mankind should be at all concerned about you ? He was almost as great a man as any ecclesiastical preferments could make him, who yet would not have so much as his name in this epitaph; he would only have “ Here lies a shadow-ashes—nothing." There shall be no other name on this composure:
66 Here is written, or rather attempted, by one who is a shadow ashes-nobody.”
However, he is very strongly persuaded that there is a day very near at hand, when books of such a tendency as this, will be the most welcome thing imaginable to many thousands of readers, and have more than one edition. Yea, great will be the army of them that publish them! 1716 is coming.t
• This treatise was originally published without the Author's
† What may have been the Author's expectations of the year 1716, are not known.-ED.
A vast variety of new ways to do good will be fallen upon; “paths” which no fowl of the best flight at noble designs has yet known; and which the vulture's most piercing eye has not yet seen; and where the lions of the strongest resolution have never passed.
In the mean time, North Britain will be distinguished (pardon me, if I use the term, Goshenized,) by irradiations from heaven upon it, of such a tendency. There will be found a set of excellent men in that reformed and renowned Church of Scotland, with whom the most refined and extensive essays to do good will become so natural, that the whole world will fare the better for them. To these, this book is humbly presented by a great admirer of the good things daily doing among them; as knowing, that if no where else, yet among them it will find some reception; they will “ not be forgetful to entertain such a stranger!”
The censure of “ writing too much,” (though he should go as far as Terentianus Carthaginensis tells us Varro did,) he accounts not worth answering And, I pray, why not also “ preaching too much?” But Erasmus, who wrote more, has furnished him with an answer which is all that he ever intends to give : “ The censure of others upbraids me that I have done so much; my own conscience condemns me that I have done so little: the good God forgive my slothfulness !”
ESSAYS TO DO GOOD.
Much necessity for doing Good.
Such glorious things are spoken in the oracles of our good God, concerning those who devise good, that A BOOK OF GOOD DEVICES, may very reasonably demand attention and acceptance from those that have any impressions of the most reasonable religion
I am devising such a book; but at the same time offering a sorrowful demonstration, that if men would set themselves to devise good, a world of good might be done, more than is done, in this present evil world. It is very certain the world has need enough. There requires much to be done, that the great God and his Christ may be more known and served in the world; and that the errors which are impediments to the knowledge wherewith men ought to glorify their Creator and Redeemer, may be rectified. There requires abundance to be done, that the evil manners of the world, by which men are drowned in perdition, may
be reformed; and mankind rescued from the epidemical corruption and slavery which has overwhelmed it. There needs abundance to be done, that the miseries of the world may have adequate remedies provided for them; and that the miserable may be relieved and comforted. The world has, according to the computation of some, above seven bundred millions of people now living in it.
What an ample field among all these to do good! In a word, the kingdom of God in the world calls for innumerable services from us.
To do such things is to do good. Those men devise good, who form any devices to do things of such a tendency; whether they be of a spiritual or of a temporal pa
You see the general matter, appearing as yet, but as a chaos, which is to be wrought upon. Oh! that the good Spirit of God may now fall upon us, and carry on the glorious work which lies before us!
It is to be supposed, my readers will readily allow, that it is an excellent, a virtuous, a laudable thing to be full of devices, to bring about such noble purposes. For any man to deride, or to despise my proposal, “ That we resolve and study to do as much good in the world as we can,” would indicate so
black a character, that I am not willing to suppose it in any of those with whom I am concerned. Let no man pretend to the name of a Christian, who does not approve the proposal of a perpetual endeavour to do good in the world. sion can such a man have to be a follower of the Good One? The primitive Christians gladly accepted and improved the name, when the Pagans by mistake styled them, Chrestians; because it signified, useful ones. The Christians who have no ambition to be such, shall be condemned by the Pagans; among whom it was a term of the highest honour, to be termed, “a Benefactor:” to have done good was accounted honourable. The philosopher being asked why every one desired so much to look upon a fair object ? he answered, That it was a question of a blind man. any man ask, as not understanding it, What is the worth of doing good in the world? I must say, It sounds not like the question of a good man. The “spiritual taste” of every good man will make him have an unspeakable relish for it. Yea, he is unworthy to be considered as a man, who is not for doing good among men. An enemy to the proposal, that mankind may be the better for us, deserves to be reckoned little better than a common enemy of mankind.
How cogently do I bespeak a good reception of what is now designed! I produce not only religion, but even humanity itself, as full of a “fiery indignation against the adversaries” of the design. Excuse me, Sirs; I declare, that if I could have my choice, I would never eat, or drink, or walk with such a one, as