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I will not presume to give my Opinion, either in Praise or Dispraise, of the following Translation in general; The many Testimonies, given in Behalf of it by the Translatour's learned and ingenious Friends, in their commendatory Verses, which, as they were to all the former Editions of this Work, are likewise prefix'd to this, render all that can be said in Praise of it superfluods, and in Blame of it ineffectual: for who will dare to censure a Work, that has deservedly

, found so favourable a Reception, and gain'd such a general Approbation and Applause? What Mr. Waller writes to Mr. Evelyn on bis Translation of the firft Book of Lucretius only, may with greater Justice be apply'd to out Translatour :

For bere Lucretius whole we find,
His Words, bis Musick, and his Mind;
Thy Art has to our Countrey brought
All that he writ, and all be thought.

Waller

1

Now all translated Books, whatever Subjects they treat of, are, or ought to be, intended for the Benefit and Instraštion of such as understand not the Languages in which the Originals are written, and if they fail of that End, they are always, and at belt, but useless Amusements : But if they affert Principles, and advance Maxims and Propoli. tions, that are repugnant to the Do&trine of the Christian Faith, or to the Precepts of Morality and Good Manners, they may prove of ill Consequence to some, particularly to the unwary or leß intelligent, Readers. It were better that Books of that Nature, (and most of the Writings of the Antient Heathens are such, in a beß or greater Degree,) were never translated at all, than that, by being render'd into modern Languages

, they should fall into the Hands of all Sorts of Readers ; many of whom, not being capable to judge of the Strength or Weakness of the Arguments they find in them, are often seduced into Errours. Such Books are a fors of edgʻd Tools, ibut either ought to be kept from the

Weak,

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Weak, and the Illiterate ; or, when they are put into their Hands, they ought to be instructed bow to use them with. out Danger. This being granted in general is sufficient to justifie my Undertaking, and to prove the Usefulness of it, in writing the following Notes and Animadverfions on this English Lucretius.

I foresee nevertheleß, that some will blame, and perhaps censure me feverely, for having bestow'd so much Time and Labour on an impious Poet : For this, will they say, is that very Lucretius, who believes, and endeavours all he can to prove, the human Soul to be corporeal and mortal ;

, and who, by so doing, denies a future State, either of Happines or Misery; and takes away all Hopes of our Salva

' tion in a blessed and eternal Futurity: This is he, who flatly denies ibe Providence of God; which is the chief Basis and Support of the Christian Religion : and lastly, this is be who teaches, and asserts to be true, that Atheiftical Hypothesis of Democritus and Epicarus concerning the indivisible Principles, and the Nature of all Things. This, I confeß, seems at first fight to be a grievous Accusation ; but yet, if duly confider'd, it will appear to be of little Moment: For not to mention that, for the same Reason that we ought not, as some pretend, to read Lucretius we ought likewise to abstain from Reading all, at leasť most of the Authours of Antiquity, since in their Writings are containd many impious, propbane, false, ridiculous, and fabulous Asertions ; insomuch that all our Poets, Orators, Historians, and Philosophers must be rejected and thrown away, as Debauchers of Youth, and Corrupters of Good Manners, if their Writings were once to be try'd by the Standard of our Faith, and by the Doctrine of Christianity; not to mention, I say, all this, I dare boldly affirm, that whatever Propositions Lucretius advances, contrary to the Christian Religion, are fo visibly and notoriously false, and consequently so eafily answer'd, that they can not in the least startle any one, who professes our Holy Belief : For Instance ; Lucretius, in his third Book, after baving, as be thinks, fully demonstrated the Corporality of the humane

Soul,

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Soul, brings no leß than fix and twenty Arguments to prove its Mortality likewise : But all of them, when they come to be maturely consider'd, are of so little Validity, and so obvious to be confuted, that, far from being able to stagger in the least the Faith of a Christian; no Man, I think, tbobut of mean Capacity, can, on such fender and unconvincing Proofs, believe, even if he would, that the Soul dies with the Body. Nor are bis Arguments, by which he labours to overthrow all Belief of a divine Providence, and to wrest the Power of Creation out of the Hands, even of Omnipotence itself, more cogent or persuasive; as will, i bope, be made appear in the following Notes and Animadversions ; in which I bave made it my chief Study to shew the Weaknes, and to expose to my Readers the Insufficiency, of them. How well 1 bave succeeded in my Attempt must be left to the Judgment of the Publick : the Design, I am sure, was well-meaning and boneft ; and if the Performance be answerable, it may justly challenge a favourable Reception : For, what Christian will not be pleas’d to see, that not even the most penetrating Wit of Lucretius has been able to advance any Thing solid against the Power of that infinite God whom be adores; especially considering that if any such Impieties could have been defended, be certainly was capable of defending them :

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-Si Pergama dextrâ Defendi pollent, certè hâc defensa fuissent.

Virgi

Moreover : What Danger can arise to any Man, thi' but of common Understanding, while be reads that ridiculous Doctrine of the Epicurean Philosophers concerning their Atoms, or minute indivisible Corpuscles, which they beld to'be the first Principles of all Things ? An Opinion se absurd, that even the bare mentioning of it confutes it. So far therefore from being of dangerous Consequence to us is the Reading those Absurdities of the Antients concerning the Nature of Things, that, on the contrary, we may gain from thence the great Advantage of acquiring a more perfect

Knowledge

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Knowledge of Nature, and of the wonderful Works of God : For Nature has imprinted on all Men an innate Desire of Trutb ; and to know the falfe Opinions of others, will excite and stir them up to be the more diligent in the Enquigy

and Search of it, will render them the more capable to judge and determine concerning it, and to retain in their Minds the more firmly the Convictions it imprints upon them. As Light is then most beautiful when it first rises out of Darkneß ; fo Truth is then most delightful when it first emerges out of Errours. For, as my Lord Roscommon finely expresses it,

Truth stamps Conviction on your ravish'd Breaft,
And Peace and Foy attend the glorious Guest.

Elay on translated Verse, Nor is all that Lucretius has written, impious, false, or ridiculous : on the contrary, many excellent Tbings are contain'd in bis Poem; many that well deserve to be read and remember'd even by Christians : How excellently does be declaim against Ambition, and all manner of Injustice and Cruelty ; against Superstition, and the Fear. of Deatb; against Avarice, Luxury, and Luft ; against all the other Passions of the Mind, and dishonest Pleasures of the Body! Is be not continually exhorting bis Memmius to Sobriety, Temperance, Chastity, Magnanimity, and all the rest of moral Virtues ? Insomuch that what Diogenes writes of Epicurus seems to be true ; That he was falsely accus'd by Some Persons of indulging himself too much in Pleasure, and that it was a meer Calumny in them to wrest, as i bey did, to a wrong Sense the meaning of that Philosopher, and to interpret what be said of the Tranquillity of tbe Mind, as if it bad been spoken of the sensual Delights of the Body. To the same Purpose likewise Cassius, that great General of the Romans, after he had embrac'd the Epicurean Philosophy, writing to Cicero, explains this Matter in the following Words: They, Says be, whom we call Lovers of Plea

Jure,

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fure, are indeed Lovers of Goodness, and of Justice; and Men who practise and cultivate all manner of Virtues : For there is no true Pleasure without a good and virtuous Life: ij, qui à nobis penudovou vocantur, sunt peróxenon plnovechioi, omnesque virtutes do colunt du retinent : * 35 sur vidéas a veu tô xe LABS rj Sordows Sõive as the same Cassius there cites tbe very Words of Epicurus; who bimself takes Notice of this Calumny, and complains of the Malice and Difingenuousness of bis Accusers, who, not understanding it aright, bad misrepresented his Doctrine concerning PleaJure : When we alert, Says be. That Pleasure is the chief Good and greatest Felicity of Man, we mean not the Pleasures of the Luxurious and Libidinous; not the Pleasures of the Taste, the Touch, or any other sensual Enjoyments, as Some ignorant Persons, or such as disent from our Opinions, or as take them in a wrong Sense, maliciously give out : but what we call Pleasure is, to be exempt from Pain of Body, and to bave a Mind serene and void of all Cares and Perturbations: For not the Company of lascivious Boys and Women, not luxurious Eating and Drinking ; not to feed on Fish, and the other delicious Meats that load the Tables of the Wealthy ; nor any other sensual Delights, can procure a bappy Life ; But a right and sound Reason, that Searches into, and discerns the Causes, why some Things are to be desir'd, others to be avoided; and that chases and expells those Opinions, by Means of which the Mind is disquieted, and vexed with Passions and Anxieties. Thus we see there is norbing fo prudent, nothing so true, nothing so virtuous, but wbat, by being misrepresented, may be made to appear its Contrary. Nor indeed is it probable, that so many excellent and wife Men, wbo were such great Ornaments and Supports of the Roman Commonwealth, would so afsiduously bave frequented the Gardens of Epicua rus, or have engag'd themselves to one another in the strictest Ties of Friendship, as even their Defamers allow they did, bad they not been fully convinced of the good Morals and Innocence of Life of that Philosopher, who first founded their Şect : Galen, in Art. Medo witnesses of him,

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