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“As for this book of Aphorisms, it is “ like my lord Bacon's of the fame title, a 66 book of jefts, or a grave collection of trite "and triling obfervations; of which though
many are true and certain, yet they signify nothing, and
afford diversion, but no “ inftruction; most of them being much in“ferior to the fayings of the wife men of “ Greece, which yet are so low and mean, " that we are entertained every day with
more valuable sentiments at the table-conversation of ingenious and learned men.
I am unwilling however to leave him in total disgrace, and will therefore quote from another Preface a passage less reprehensible.
“ Some gentlemen have been disingenuous “ and unjust to me, by wresting and forcing my meaning in the Preface to another book,
if I condemned and exposed all learning, though they knew I declared that I greatly “ honoured and esteemed all men of superior “ literature and erudition; and that I only “ undervalued false or fuperficial learning, " that signifies nothing for the service of Vol. III.
“ mankind; and that, as to physick, 'I ex
pressly affirmed that learning must be joined “ with' native genius to make a physician of “ the first rank; but if those talents are sepa« rated, I afferted, and do still infift, that a “ 'man of native fagacity and diligence will prove a more able - and useful practiser,
than a heavy notional scholar, encumbered fc with a heap of confused ideas.'
it's He was not only a poet and a physician, but produced likewise a work of a different kind, 4 true and impartial History of the ConSpiracy against King William, of glariqus Mea mory, in the Year 1695: This I have never seen, but fuppose it at least compiled with integrity. He engaged likewise in theological controversy, and wrote two books against the Arians; Just Prejudices against the Arjan Hys pothefis; and Modern Arians unmasked. Another of his works is Natural Theology, or Moral Duties considered apart from Positive; with some Observations on the Desirableness and Necesity of a supernatural Revelation. This was the last book that he published. He left behind him The accomplished Preacher, or an
Esay upon Divine Eloquence; which was printed after his death by Mr. White of Nayland in Effex, the minister who attended his deathbed, and testified the fervent piety of his last hours. He died on the eighth of O&ober, 1729,
BLACKMORE, by the unremitted enmity of the wits, whom he provoked more by his virtue than his dulness, has been exposed to worse treatment than he deserved; his name was so long used to point every epigram upon dull writers, that it became at last a bye-word of contempt: but it deserves observation, that malignity takes hold only of his writings, and that his life passed without reproach, even when his boldness of reprehension naturally turned upon him many eyes desirous to espy faults, which many tongues would have made haste to publish. But those who could not blame, could at least forbear to praise, and therefore of his priyate life and domestick character there are no memorials.
As an author he may juftly claim the ho nours of magnanimity. The incessant attacks of his enemies, whether serious or merry, are never discovered to have disturbed his quiet, or to have lefsened his confidence in himself; they neither awed him to silence nor to caution; they neither provoked him
to petulance, nor depressed him to complaint. While the distributors of literary fame were endeavouring to depreciate and degrade him, he either despised or defied them, wrote on as he had written before, and never turned aside to quiet them by civility, or repress them by confutation.
He depended with great fecurity on his own powers, and perhaps was for that reason less diligent in perusing books. His literature was,
I think, but fmall. What he knew of antiquity, Į fufpect him to have gathered from modern compilers: but though he could not boast of much critical knowledge, his mind was stored with general principles, and he left minute researches to those whom he considered as little minds.
With this disposition he wrote moft of his poems. Having formed a magnificent defign, he was careless of particular and fubordinate elegancies; he studied no niceties of versification ; he waited for no felicities of fancy; but caught his first thoughts in the first words in which they were presented: nor does it appear that he saw beyond his own perform