Imágenes de páginas

been, to trim up the vegetable beaux: Obferve how fparkish a periwig adorns the head of a beech, and what a fine doublet of white fattin is worn by the birch. To conclude from all, what is man himfelf but a micro-coat * ; or rather a complete fuit of cloaths, with all its trimmings? As to his body, there can be no difpute. But examine even the acquirements of his mind, you will find them all contribute in their order towards furnishing out an exact drefs. To inftance no more; is not religion a cloak; honefty a pair of shoes, worn out in the dirt; felf-love a furtout; vanity a fhirt; and conscience a pair of breeches, which, though a cover for lewdness as well as naftinefs, is eafily flipt down for the fervice of both?

Thefe poftulata being admitted, it will follow in due course of reasoning, that thofe beings, which the world calls improperly fuits of cloaths, are in reality the moft refined fpecies of animals; or, to proceed higher, that they are rational creatures, or men. For is it not manifeft, that they live, and move, and talk, and perform all other offices of human life? Are not beauty and wit, and mein, and breeding, their inseparable properties? In fhort, we fee nothing but them, hear nothing but them. Is it not they who walk the streets, fill up parliament, coffee play, bardy houses? It is true indeed, that thefe animals, which are vulgarly called fuits of cloaths,

* Alluding to the word microcosm, or a little world, as man hath been called by philofophers.

cloaths, or dreffes, do, according to certain compofitions, receive different appellations. If one of them be trimmed up with a gold chain, and a red gown, and a white rod, and a great horse, it is called a Lord Mayor; if certain ermins and furs be placed in a certain position, we style them a Judge; and fo, an apt conjunction of lawn and black fattin, we intitle a Bishop.

Others of these profeffors, though agreeing in the main system, were yet more refined upon certain branches of it; and held, that man was an animal compounded of two dresses, the natural and the celestial fuit; which were the body and the foul; that the foul was the outward, and the body the inward cloathing; that the latter was ex traduce, but the former of daily creation and circumfufion. This laft they proved by fcripture; because in them we live, and move, and have our being: As likewise by philofophy; because they are are all in all, and all in every part. Befides, faid they, feparate these two, and you will find the body to be only a fenfelefs unfavoury carcafe.. By all which it is manifeft, that the outward. drefs muft needs be the foul.

To this fyftem of religion were tagged several fubaltern doctrines *, which were entertained



*The first part of the tale, is the hiftory of Peter. Thereby Popery is expofed. Every body knows, the Papists have made great additions to Christianity; that indeed is the great exception which the Church of England makes against them: Accordingly, Peter begins his pranks with adding a shoulder-knot to his coat. W. Wotton.


with great vogue; as, particularly, the faculties of the mind were deduced by the learned among them in this manner. Embroidery was sheer wit; gold fringe was agreeable converfation; gold lace was repartee; a huge long periwig was humour; and a coat full of powder was very good raillery: All which required abundance of finesse and delicatesse to manage with advantage, as well as a strict obfervance after times and fashions.

I have, with much pains and reading, collected out of antient authors, this fhort fummary of a body of philofophy and divinity; which feems to have been compofed by a vein and race of thinking, very different from any other fyftems, either ancient or modern. And it was not merely to entertain or fatisfy the reader's curiofity, but rather to give him light into feveral circumstances of the following ftory; that, knowing the state of difpofitions and opinions in an age fo remote, he may better comprehend thofe great events which were the iffue of them. I advise therefore


The actions of Peter, are the actions of a man intoxicated with pride, power, rage, tyranny, and felf-conceit. Thefe paffions are placed in the most ridiculous light and the effects of them produce to us the tenets and doctrines of papal Rome, fuch as purgatory, penance, images, indulgences, auricular confeffion, tranfubftantiation, and thofe dreadful monsters the pontifical bulls, which, according to this ludicrous author, derived their original from the famous bulls of Colchis, defcribed by Ovid.

Terribiles vultus, præfixaque cornua ferro;

Pulvereumque folum pede pulfa vere bifulco;
Fumificifque locum mugitibus implevere. Met. i. vii. V. 112.

the courteous reader, to perufe, with a world of application, again and again, whatever I have written upon this matter. And leaving these broken ends, I carefully gather up the chief thread of my story, and proceed.

Thefe opinions therefore were fo univerfal, as well as the practices of them, among the refined part of court and town, that our three brotheradventurers, as their circumftances then ftood, were ftrangely at a lofs. For, on the one fide, the three ladies they addreffed themfelves to, whom we have named already, were ever at the very top of the fafhion, and abhorred all that were below it but the breadth of a hair. On the other fide, their father's will was very precife; and it was the main precept in it, with the greatest penalties annexed, not to add to, or diminish from their coats, one thread, without a pofitive command in the will. Now, the coats their father had left them, were, it is true, of very good cloth; and, besides, fo neatly fown, you would fwear they were all of a piece; but at the same timne very plain, and with little or no ornament *. And

His defcription of the cloth of which the coat was made, has a farther meaning than the words may feem to import: "The coats, their father had left them, were of very good "cloth; and, befides, fo neatly fown, you would fwear they were all of a piece; but, at the fame time, very plain, with "little or no ornament." This is the diftinguishing character of the Chriftian religion. Chriftiana religio abfoluta et fimplex, was Ammianus Marcellinus's defcription of it, who was himself a Heathen. IV. Wotton.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »