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gkie the Lye, or (if need be, and they are sure it can be done with Sasety) a Challenge- Pray observe my reasonable and prudent Precaution, that it may be done with Sasety; for that Man would be inexcufably rash and fool-hardy, who should put himself in danger of turning put of this World, in desence of an Argument to prove there is no other beyond it; for if he should too late find himself mistaken, (and none of us can pretend to Demonstration on our Side of the Question,) it would be a damned unlucky Experiment, without a .Possibility of Recovery. I insist upon it, therefore, that no Irrisor should pretend to use the Language of Defiance, till he is very sure of his Man, lest he should catch a Tartar, which more than once or twice I have known to be the Case, to the great Discredit of our Cause, and Dishonour of our Champions. The Poet has given us an admirable Description of one of this Class in.the.Character.of Perithous, in his Dispute with Achelous. a He describes him as a Man of a b fierce Temper, that neither c seared the Gods, nor regarded Men, and therefore gives his Antagonist the Lye d, and calls him a e credulous superstitious Puppy, to give any Credit to such ridiculous Absurdities as had been related in theJStory of a mir.aculpus Transformation. It was well for him that Lelex *, the principal Person of the Company, was a Man of more Age and Gravity than himself; had he tjeen a furious hot-mettled FellowP more Mischief
'IRRIDET credentes, utque b Deonqn
C 3 might might have been done in half an Hour, than might have been repaired in half an Age.
Some of the Gentlemen of this Class may probably have Ambition enough to shine in a higher Degree or Sphere of Lise; if so, they must be assured, that higher Attainments will be expected from them, and theresore I would advise those who cannot read to put themselves under some diligent and industrious Tutor, that they may, without Delay, make themselves able to read at least such Books as shall be recommended to them by their Superiors. And as for those who can read already, I humbly propose that they should begin with reading the History of Tom Thumb, Rabin Hood, Curl's modest Collection of Poems, Tryals, &c. Independent Whig, Fable of the Bees, Sh—r/s Charafferistics, Barbeyrac, but, above all, Bayle's Di£lionary; which Book alone is a Treasure of Learning to them who are able to read it, and in* deed to those that are not, if they are so happy as to live in siich a Neighbourhood, as to hear it read sometimes, or some of its shining Parts repeated in Converfation. I have known Wonders done solely by this Book. I knew a certain Gentlemen, of a very robust Constitution, and a good bodily Understanding, who never seemed to have either Talents or Ambition for any thing higher than a simple Risor in Matters of Religion, though a good Fox-hunter, and a very. good Bowler. This Man had the good Fortune to. be confined above two Months by a Fit of the Gout* in which he read some of the easiest Parts of this stupendous Book, only by way of Amusement in the. Interval of his Pains; but, to the Surprize of all that knew him, it had so marvellous an Effect upon. 3iis Understanding, he immediately commenced an accomplished Querist. I have heard htm flourish with the Wit and Criticisin of that renowned Author for above an Hour together, without the least Sign of Fear or Diffidence, and would make no more of the Parson of the Paristi than he would of a Tom-tit, or a Butterfly. If this ingenious Gentleman should have the good Fortune to have such another Fit, I would. venture to fbretel, that he would be as accomplished a Paralogician as any Man of his Talents can be supposed to 'be.
And as the Students in other Academies are distinguished by certain Habits, Badges, or Marks of Distinction, expressive of their Quality, Rank, and Station, so I would humbly propose, that the three abovementioned Classes should be distinguished from the rest by wearing a Cockade of red and yellow Ribbands, curiously and artsully plaited together, but of difserent .Sizes, in Proportion to their .different Standing and Degrees; and if it mould happen that any of the Military Gentlemen should be admitted among them, who are already distinguished by a smart Cockade of black Ribband, in all such Cases, that due Honour may be paid to their distinct Capacities, they shall be allowed to mix them, (or, to speak in the Language of Heraldry) to quarter the different Atchievei ments of the two united Families.
The Antiquity of this threesold Distinction of the RISORS is very great. King David, if he were the Author of the first Pfalm, plainly points at them, though he spitesully and maliciously marks them out by Nick-names, and opprobrious Characters. But I £ud by the Latin, (which you know, with a little EmC 4. .broidery broidery of French, is gciferally the Top of our Attainments) that the very Names of DERISORS and IRRISORS are directly mentioned in the very Sense that we mean them, though not, perhaps, in the fame Degrees of Subordination that we have assigned them. The Latin Version of the Hebrew calls them Deri/ores, in conseffu Derisorum non sedit. The Syriac (I mean the Latin Version) calls them Irrisores, super sede Irrisorum non sedit. And it appears, by the Writings of the Believers themselves, that there has been a very ancient Tradition, which some pretend to carry higher than Noah's Flood, that in the latter Times, (not improbably our own Times, these Days of Light and Philosophy) the Gentlemen of this Class should make a shining Figure in the World, and greatly distress the Patrons and Desenders of Priestcraft and Superstition. The Author of the Book commonly called Peter's Second Epistle, mentions it, in the third Chapter, in a very particular and emphatical Manner, Knowing this first, that, in the last Days, shall arise IRRISORF.S, fays Beza's Latin Version, ILLUSORES, fays the Vulgar Latin; which our English Version has spitesully and maliciously translated Scoffers, a Word of a. ridiculous and opprobrious Sound, though the Original certainly meant nothing more than this Rank or Class of Philosophers which we have been describing, because he immediately meni tions the fame Persons under the Character of'^uerists^ which is the next Degree to that of the Irrisors\
The Students, who have acquitted themselves well in these lower Classes, and after due Examination. (which shall be constantly had at every Anniverfary Meeting) shall appear qualified for higher Degrees and
Services. Services, shall then be admitted to the Degree of §hceri/ls, answering to that of Inceptors or Bachelors in the University. They shall not only be allowed to laugh and banter, but to puzzle and perplex Converfation, to interrupt every thing that looks like close Reasoning in the Way of common Logic, to which the Gentlemen of this Class are not permitted to make a direct Reply, but to beat them out of their Play, by pouring in smart and unlucky Questions one upon the Neck of another, with a very arch Face, without staying for an Answer. This, let me tell you, is a very useful Exercise, which I have seen played off more than once with very good Effect. We were some of us not long ago at Lord W—'s Table, where my little Captain is allowed the Liberty of talking his own Way, without Check or Restraint; upon his opening a little too deep, he was interrupted by a smoky old Parson, who fat beside him in a Lay Habit: As soon as he could recover himself from his Confusion, he cocked up his short Chin in a Posture of Defiance, looked fierce as a Cock-Sparrow, and begun as follows: Doctor, I knew not you were a Parson, but as I find you are, and make no doubt but you are a Man of Learning, I want to be satisfied in some Doubts which I hope you will be able ti resolve me. 'Pray tell me what you think of the Story of Adam and Eve, was it not a damned hard Cafe that this Jhould be so severely puniJhed only for eating an Apple ?— And is it not fill a greater Hard/hip upon us poor Devilsr their Posterity, to be puniJhed for their Faults, in which We had no manner of Concern P Is not this very hards Doctor ?— As the Doctor was beginning to reply, he proceeds, Don't you think, Doctor, that Adam was m a fine Situation, in a delightful Garden with the finest