Philip Skelton.

Truth in a mask .. online

. (page 1 of 11)
Online LibraryPhilip SkeltonTruth in a mask .. → online text (page 1 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook







Ades* &? primi kge lit or is or am.

Garrit anlles
Ex re fabettas.

Ho R.

DUEL IN Printed.

Reprinted for M. Co o p E R at the Globe in

[iii j







YOUR Lord/Kip may re-
member, that, during the
fhort Space of Time in
which I was charged with the
Care of your Education, I alk-
A z ed,



ed, and obtained Leave to de-
dicate the following ALLUSIONS
to you : Although for many
and weighty Reafons, which,
in Charity, I forbear to mention
here, I chofe to quit you fo
foon; yet, fo far as You were
confidered, it was with the
greateft Regret 1 did it. As
neither of us can juflly charge
the other with the Caufe of
this Separation, fo give me
Leave to hope, that thefe little
* Performances will not be lefs
acceptable to you on that Ac-
count, efpecially as they are
not prefented with lefs Good-
will and Efteem. As your
Lordfhip, and every body elfe
who knows me, are fenfible I
am very far from being a Flat-
terer ,-


terer ; and as I have not now
the Honour to be a Relative
to you in any Senfe ; fo, I
hope, I fhould not be fufpected
of Defign or Infmcerity, though
fome of my Sentiments, on this
Occafion, fhould be delivered
in the ufual Style of Dedica-
tions, That Style, however, and
the Bafenefs of thofe who ufe
it, as an Inftrument of their
own Defigns, and an Incentive
to the Vanity of their Pa-
trons, I, from my Soul, abhor;
and the Publick, to your Ho-
nour, (hall obferve, that I, who
know you, can, without the;
leaft Fear of offending, addrefs
you in quite another Manner.

THAT Eftate, that Rank, and

thofe natural Endowments, which,

A 3 in


in another Dedication, might
be called yours, and much en-
larged on to flatter your Pride,
on this Occafion, (hall be called
the Property of your Country,,
and of Mankind,, and be men-
tioned only to alarm you. Do
not, my Lord, let any low, de-
figning Flatterer perfuade you,
that fuch Talents were abfolute-
ly left owed on. you by a wife and
provident God. Do not liften
to him ; the Wretch gapes' at a
Reward for his deteftable Ca-
fuiftry. I muft infift on it, they
were only depofited with you
for the publick Ufe, and muft
be accounted for to the real
Owner. Infinite Wifdom could
never intend fo much for the
Ufe of one Man, No, my Lord r



we have (I fpeak in Behalf of
the Publick, of which I make
a Part) a juft Right to the ut-
moft Improvement, and the beft
Application you can poffibly
make, of all the aforemention,-
ed Talents, particularly the great
Abilities with which God hath
enriched your Mind, in Com-
parifon of which we efteem
your Fortune and Title as
Trifles. My Intention in fpeak-
ing thus to you, is to apprife
your Country of the great Things
they have a Right to expect from
you; and you, of the mighty-
Debt, which, in a few Years,
you muft begin to difcharge.
It is happy for you, my Lord,
that, to your excellent Talents,
God hath joined the mod a-
A 4 miable

miable Difpolitions, without the
Afliftance of which, it is incom-
parably more difficult for Rea-
fon and Principle to govern a
great, than a little Mind: Yet,
though good Difpofitions are
qualified to reflect fuch Luftre
on great Talents, and lend
good Principles fuch powerful
Succours, they may be, and
often are, fo unhappily turned,
as totally to fubdue the latter,
and, by that Means, fatally
corrupt and pervert the for-

How amiably will your good
Nature adorn your Title, if it
humbles you to a prudent De-
gree of Condefcenfion for Per-
fons in a lower Rank! How
happily will it help you to ap-

DE D1C AT 10 N. IX

ply and enjoy your Fortune, if
it opens your Heart with Ten-
dernefs and Generofity to pro-
per Objeds ! How glorioufly will
it employ your Talents, if it at-
taches them to the Service of
your Country, and the Good
of Mankind ! But if it opens
your Ears to Flatterers, and your
Affedions to the Followers of
vicious Pleafures, your great E-
ftate will not hinder you from
being a Beggar, nor your Title
from being the Contempt of
Mankind, nor your fine Talents
from being ftyled a good-natured
Fool. It is true, there is no be-
ing either a good or an agree-
able Man without good Nature j
yet fo it happens, that more
young Gentlemen,, of Rank and



Fortuue , are deftroyed by
that one good Quality, than
by all their bad ones put toge-

THE advifeable Difpofition
with which you are blefled, will
make the Wifdom and Good*
nefs of all, who approach you,
your own, provided you can
diftinguifh between the real and
pretended Friend, between the
ufeful and agreeable Advice.
The Art of doing this is high-
ly necefiary now, and will be
more fo every Day; becaufe
People of your Lordfliip's Rank
feldom get a Sight of real Per-
fons or Things, and are doomed
to be treated with mere Ap-
pearances during their whole



As to Perfons, fufpecl thofe
who comply with you in every
thing, and feem to live only ta
give you Pleafure ; be aflured
they pleafe you only for their
own Sakes, and Self is the grand
Object that terminates their Views
in all the Complaifance they fliew
you. Rather depend on hi m ,, who,
on fome Occafions, where Truth,
and the Duty of a Friend, require
it, difobliges, in order to fet you
right. Such a Perfon, it is to be
prefumed, hath no Eye to him-
felf, no By-ends of his own. Be
neither carried away by the feem-
ing Wifdom, with which one fort
of Advice may be inculcated ;
nor deceived by the Artifice, with
which another may beinfinuated ;
but (trip the Subftance of what is,


xii DE D i c AT i o N.
recommended to you, of all its
Circumftances ; maturely conjfi-
der it in itfelf, and compare it
with your Duty, your Honour,,
and your real Intereft on the

As to Things, my Lord, you
are fure to be greatly, perhaps
fatally, deceived by them, if you
do not examine them with Can-
dour, I fliould rather fiy, in-
fpect into them with Severity.
They are fektom what they ap>-
pear to be. All is not good, that
pleafes , nor all evil, that dif-
gufls. Pleafure, and that of the
loweft and groffeft Kind, is the
Quagmire, in which the wealthy
Heirs of this inactive and aban-
doned Country generally plunge
themfelves, their Fortunes, and


their Honours , it is the foul Sink,
in which they are carried down
to Contempt and Deftru&ion ;
it is a Sand-bank, which, though
covered itfelf by the Water, is,
neverthelefs, rendered both infa-
mous and formidable enough by
the Wrecks of a thoufand great
Eftates and Families. Here floats
an empty Title ; there flounders
a fickly Heir ; in another Place,
fluctuate the fliattered Remains
of a great Fortune, that are al-
ready mortgaged to the Bottom ;
in a fourth Place, Reputation is
the Sport of the Winds ; and
the Soul is finking, at a vaft Di-
ftance, from all the Aids of
Religion. May Heaven give
you an early Difcernmcnt in
this Matter, and not leave'you to



the late Tuition of Time and

Experience !

I AM the more emboldened to
fuggeft fuch Sentiments as thefe
to you, and hope for Succefs, the
rather, becaufe I have found in
you a found and clear Judgment,
a Readinefs to refign your Incli-
nations to that, and the Advice
of your Friends, and a Firmnefs
in the Midft of artful Sollicita-
tions, and fevere Trials, which
few Men are Matters of. On
thefe excellent Gifts, and Difpo-
fitions, I cannot help creeling the
higheft Hopes, efpecially when I
fee a true Love, and a deepSenfe
of Religion affording them the
moft folid Foundation, and the
moft unerring Dire&ion. You
have the Honour and Happinefs,



my Lord, to be defcended from
Anceftors, eminently diftinguifli-
ed for true Piety, and its infepa-
rable Effect, Virtue. And it is
a very fenfible Pleafure to your
Friends, that this glorious Cha-
racter of the Family, infinitely
ou.tfhining all its Honours, is not
likely to die in you. Let others,
in this libertine and abandoned
Age, abfurdly bend their Prin-
.ciples to their Vices ; do you,
my Lord, fubdue the wild and
degenerate Part of your Nature
to the Dictates of divine Wifdom.
Coniider what Reftridions the
Reformation of your Affedlions
may require, rather than what
Indulgences the Gratification of
them may plead for. Confi-
der what Principles are neceflary
3 to

to the Prefervation and Well-
being of Society, and to the
Refinement of human Nature,
in order to its being exalted
to a Condition more commen-
furate to its Wifhes and the
Dignity of its original Frame
and End. In the next Place,
candidly confider the Chriftian
Religion, as an Hiftory of Facts,
and you will find it true $ and
as a Syftem of moral Precepts,
and you will find it excellent.

I HAVE found, by Experience,
that the naked Truth is difpleaf-
ing to moft People, and even
fhocking to many. I have, there-
fore,in the following AL LU s IONS,
given religious Truth fuch aDrefs
and Mafk, as may perhaps, pro-
cure it Admittance to a Confer-

ence with fome of its Oppofers
and Contemners. I have alfo led
it out of the direct Path, where
the difingenous never look for
it; becaufe they are afraid of
finding it, that it may have an
Opportunity of meeting them in
their own Ways. It is alfo as ne-
eeflary, that Truth fhould thus
go in Search of many, who fin-
cerely admire it, but are carried
to a great Diftance from it, by
the Purfuitof a counterfeit Truth.
Light feems, at leaft, to fall with
greater Brightnefs and Power on
our Eyes, when reflected from a
Mirror, than in a direct Beam.
Reafon, in like Manner, ftrikes
with more Force at a Rebound ^
and, what we can fcarcely con-
b ceive


ceive, when applied diredly to
ourfelves, we often fuffer our
Minds to be convinced of, when
fet at a Diftance in fomewhat
elfe, in which our Prejudices are
not concerned. The Paflage to
rnoft Mens Minds is narrow and
winding ; and therefore thofe
Truths, that cannot be thrown
in dire&ly, muft fometimes be
infinuated by Approaches, that
don't feem to point too fully on
them. Our blefled Saviour, who
made the Heart, knew the Intri-
cacy of its Inlets, and entered it
with wonderful Addrefs by his
Parables : His Example alone is
fbfficient Authority for the Ufe
of fuch Performances , but whe-
ther the following ALLUSIONS are


in any fort or degree fo execut-
ed, as to anfwer the End pro-
pofed by them, is humbly fub-
mitted to Time, and the Reader.
I fhall only here obferve to your
Lordfhip, that though fbme
Knowledge of Church Hiftory,
and a near Acquaintance with
the prefent reigning Controversies
in Religion, may be neceflary to
make them underftood minutely ;
yet the great Lines of thefe
Draughts are fo confpkuous, that
their Likenefs will eafily be dif-
cerned by every Reader of com-
mon Capacity. Give me Leave,
however, to pleafe myfelf with
the Imagination, that they will
be received by your Lordfhip*
as a Teftimony of the moft


fincere Affection and Efteesa,


Tour Lord/hip s

Nov. 14,




Caterpillar changed into aBut-
ter flj-> Hluftrating the 'Exaltation
of Man y fomewhat more than a Reptile^,
into a State of Glory -, Page I


The Branch revolting from the Stem,
brings his Complaint againfl the
Head which overshadows if, p. JO


fbe Sheep throw off the Tyranny of a
Shepherd-, and experience the Foll$
of 'unbounded Liberty* p. 20



The Ejfefts of Party-Divifions repre-
fented in a Common-wealth of Bees,

P- 3<>


A State of Nature no more defenjllle by
Oxford Logic than by Common Senfe^



Reafon and Revelation compared to the
Sun and Moon, and the Behaviour
of the World under the Want of one^
and Def eft of the other i p. 69


Popery, Proteftantifm> and Puritanifm
deferibed by the Uivifions among the
Hierapolitans, p. 8^


'the Church an Edifice deformed by Po-

pery much more than by Gothic Ar-
c 'hit eft ure, p. ioi


The Gofpel an univerfal Medicine, but
counterfeited or ill adminiftered by
Quacks , p. 121


New Light no better than a Dark
Lanthorn, and ufed to as bad-Pur-
pofes, p. 136


The different SucceJjTes of Induftry and
Indolence, p.


I'he various Difputes concerning the
Origin of Power, and the Rounds of
Obedience; ilhtjjfcj$ie3 in the Tryal
of the Rivers jor'with drawing their
tribute from the Ocean, p. 189

AL L u-



A Hiftory of the Church and Clergy,
independent of the State, and united
'with it, under the Characters of Mifs
Yeridet and her Nurfe, p, 220


( I )

The Firft.

A Caterpillar happening to fpy a
more convenient and inviting
Leaf, than that on which it crawled,
advanced towards it, and being juft up-
on the Point to pafs from the one to
the other, was accofted by a Fellow-
Worm, a Citizen of the fame Leaf, in
the following Speech. c Brother, be-
' ware of venturing from your prefent
Situation in queft of a better ; I own
that Leaf you attempt affords more
tender Food, fparkles with brighter
Drops of Dew, and makes a loftier
Figure than this we live on. But
4 then, the Way thither is dangerous.
1 Should you, in palling from hence to
< it, drop from the Edge of either Leaf,
B ' conlider


c confider the Height you are to fall
' from, confider the certain Ruin and
c Death you are to fuffer, but above

* all, confider the Lofs you will fuftain
' in never becoming a Butter-Fly. A
Butter-Fly, (faid the other) what is
that ? It is the mod beautiful Kind of
1 Bird (faid -he) into which every Ca-
e terpillar ;s by Nature converted at a
c certain Age. What AfTurance can
c I have, laid the travelling Worm
' that fuch a Change (hall happen to
c me, (hould I live to that Age in
4 which you fay it always happens ?
* for could I be well afTured of it, I

* fhould be lefs willing to hazard my

* Life for Pleafure or Promotion ; the
Difference between one Leaf and an-
other being nothing in Comparifon
with the Happinefs of becoming a
Bird. You may be fully fatisfied re-
plied the other, provided you can
credit what I tell you, without a Pof-
fiblity of having any other Intereft
in fo doing, than the Pleafure of pre-

3 " ferving


(3 )

* ferving my Friend and Fellow In-
< fed'. ^

" I LIVED in a miferable Ignorance
<c of the happy Change incident to
Caterpillars, till the Rifing of Yef-
{C terday's Sun, which no fooner began
" to fhine upon us over the Edge of
<c that Leaf to which you afpire, and
" which you know for fome Time
<c throws its Shadow upon ours, but
<c I was furprized with the Sight of a
<c Creature the moft beautiful I had e-
" ver beheld, fituated fo near me, that
" I could view it to full Advantage,
" which, whilft I was doing with
" great Amazement and Pleafure, it
" told me that my Aftonifhment at its
" Figure and Colour would be much
" encreafed,. did I know that it was a
" Creature of the fame Origin and
< c Kind with my felf. Surely, it is im-
<* pofTible, faid I, that a Creature, whofe
<f Body is covered with fuch elegant
" Down, and whofe Look is rendered
* c fo majeftick by thofe tall and flreight
B 2 " Horns




" Horns that (hoot from your Fore-
<c head, mould have ever been in the
odious and abjedt Condition of a Ca-
terpillar. It is impoffible, faid I a-
gain with a deep Sigh, that fo glo-
cc rious a Bird, whofe Wings rifing to
" fuch a Height from your Back, dif-
<e cover fuch Variety of Colours fo
" beautifully difpofed, that the fined
" Flowers, or even the moft fparkling
<c Gems in the Drops of Dew, are
" fcarce equal to them, mould have
" any Affinity with fuch a wretched
cc crawling Worm as I am."

" BE not fo incredulous anfwered
" the wonderful Birdj it is but a few
<{ Days fince I found my felf awaking
<f out of a State little differing from that
<c of Death, and burfting a certain Shell
" in which I had lain protected, I know
" not how long. I perceived I was
" hanging at the very fame Place to
" which I had fixed myfelf fome Time
before when a Caterpillar. The
l< Wonder of this foon gave Way to
i the

( 5)

" the greater Pleafure and A mazement
" that ' attended my Transformation,
which was infinitely encreafed upon
" my moving thefe^ Wings, and find-
" ing I could pafs with fuch Expedi-
{t tion thro' the Air. I no fooner
" knew my Power, but I employed
" it in the Gratification of my Curio-
" fity. I roam'd from Flower to Flow-
" er, from Tree to Tree, and faw
" Things impofUble to be defcribed by
" me, or conceived by you. Tranf-
< ported with the Beauty, the Magni-
" ficence, and Variety of fuch Objects,
" I fpend my Days in Pleafures, as in-
<l expreffible as the Wonders that ex-
c< cite them. My Under ft anding is no
<c lefs enlarged, than the Means afford -
<e ed to its Improvement by thefe
<c Wings, with which, as I can tranf-
" port myfelf in a Moment to a great-
" er Diftance than you can in many
" Days ; fo, with the like won-
{C derful Agility of Mind, I can
tc vary the Objects of my Con-

Bj templa-


" templation, even while I remain
<c fixed in the fame Place. Whilft my
" Body can make fuch fwift Flights
" on thefe Wings, I can, with the
" greateft Eafe and Expedition, re-
<c move to the Means of new Delights,
< l when cloyed with the Old ; or elude
<c thole Dangers with unimaginable
" Agility, which to the flow paced
" Caterpillar, are unavoidable. But
<{ fuch is the Activity of my Thoughts,
' that they leave even thefe Wings far
" behind, and make fuch noble Sallies
" from my felf, that I can forefee the
" Dangers, and tafte the Delights of
<c Places, to which I am not yet ar-
" rived. Preferve thy felf, my Friend,
" concluded the lovely Bird, for this
11 happy State, to which, if thou be
<c not wanting to thyfelf in Care and
" Prudence, Nature (hall one Day bring
" thee.

' So faying he flapped his Wings
e and rofe into the Air, farther than
my Eye could well attend him, and

c returned

returned again, accompanied by fe-

* veral others, as beautiful as himfelf.
They feemed to divert themfelves
c by fporting with each other in the
e Air, whilfl the Sun, me- thought,

* {hone on their Wings with more
1 Pleafure and Luftre, than on all the

* Works of Nature. In Hopes of be-

* coming one of thefe, I am refolved
1 to take all pofTible Care to prefer ve
' my Life, and not rifque it for fuch
' Enjoyments as Caterpillars are capa-
' ble of j and you, my dear Friend, de-
' fift from your dangerous Attempt.

* In the fame delightful AfTurance of
f an happy Transformation, fo far def-
pife the Pleafures of your prefent

* reptile Condition, as by no Means to

* hazard thofe that are incomparably
' more defirable for them.'

HERE he ceafed, and the rafh, ad-
venturous Caterpillar replied. c For

* all this incredible Tale, Sir, I have
c only your Word, which others, more
4 eafy of Belief than me, may liften to

' if

(8 )

* if they pleafe ; but for my Part, I
1 will chufe thofe fmaller Enjoyments,
4 which I fee before me on that other

* Leaf, becaufe they are certain and
' fenfible, rather than abftain in Hopes
' of higher Delights, which I have on-

* ly another's Word for. Nature courts

* roe to Enjoyment, and I will not re-
' fift. As for you, you may take your

* own Way, and diftracl the prefent
' Moment which alone you can com-

* mand, with an idle and whimficat

* Concern for the Future, of which
you have neither Knowledge nor

* Poffefllon. But why do I trifle away

* my precious Moments in this whim-

* iical Speculation ? It is Lofs of Time

* to conlider how to fpend it, when In-

* flindfc is fo ready both to prompt and
' to direct Fare thee well, my Friend;
' live thou in Hopes, whilft I live in
c Pleafures ; and much Good may thy
gay, party-coloured Wings do thee,
< when thou {halt have tucked them

c on,

( 9)

- on, thou. believing and obliging Ca-
1 terpillar.'

WITH this he attempted the Paf-
fage, but fell to the Ground forely
bruifed ; which, together with the
Heat of the Earth on which he lay,
in a few Moments put an End to the
Life of the poor incredulous Worm.
The other, purfuant to his Refolution,
lived careful of his Life, fixed himfelf
to a Place pointed out to him by his
winged Advifer, and the next Seafon
changed his narrow Shell for the wide
Range of the Air, and the Privilege
of vifiting a thoufand Fields, with all
the Sweets the Spring and Summer pro-



The Second.

ON the Bank of the Thames ftood
a young Oak, that by the FrelTi-
nefs of its Bark, and the Vigour of its
Shoots, proved itfelf found and the Soil
ftrong ; it gained upon the Clouds by
fwift Advances, and feemed to afpire
towards Heaven with more exalted
Head than all the Trees of the Foreft.
Its upright Stem that rofe to a vaft
Heighth, without any conliderable
Branches, looked graceful in a Calm,
and waved majeftick in the Wind.
Below, it was cloathed with a plain and
comely Bark, nor wanted it above the
Ornaments of fair and goodly Leaves.
The Birds feemed to rejoice in perch-
ing on its Twigs , and as it raifed them


nearer Heave ;i than any other Tree,,
feemed to fing their Maker's Praife
among its Branches with peculiar De-
light. For this all other Trees are faid
to have hated, and even its Brother
Oaks to have envied it. To what no-
ble Heights it would have afcended is
impoffible to tell, had not one of its
Branches diflented from the Stem, and
carried off with it a great Part of the
Strength that fhould have fed and ag-
grandized the Head. It fwelled and
fpread into variety of lefTer Ramifica-
tions, and feemed to fet up for an in-
dependent Tree. It was crooked and
mifhapen, and rather inflexible than
flrong, The Owls perched upon its
Boughs, and the Ravens netted among
its Branches. When the Head of the
Tree perceived its Pride, its diflenting
and rebellious Spirit, it ceafed to
fhoot higher into the Air, but fpread
above into large and fhady Branches,
that took up a wide Space, and afforded
a fecure Shelter againfl Storms, from


which it protected even the rebellious
Branch that grew beneath. But fo un-
reafonable was that ambitious and male-
content Bough, that it broke forth at
laft, into the following bitter Expoftu-
lation. " O thou overgrown Branch
" (for it would not call it Head) with
" what AfTurance canft thou intercept
" the Sun and the Dew from me, who
" have an equal Right to them with
" thy felf ? With what Juftice canft
" thou draw to thee all the Sap and
" Subftance of thofe common Roots,
" to which the feveral Branches of the
<c Tree are equally intitled ? Permit
" me thou proud OpprefTor to enjoy
" my natural Rights. Is it becaufe I
am lowly minded, and have placed
<c my felf in an humble Station, that
" thou beared thy Head fo far above
" me, and infultefl me with the Rain
" atfecond Hand? How much Strong-
" er had our Tree been, how much
" more majeftick had it appeared, hadft
4 thou fuffer'd me to mix with thee,,

" and


( '3 )

" and make one Top of both. Our
<c united Strength and Beauty had
" raifed us far above all other Trees,
" and made us <%ueen of the Foreft.
" Then mould the Britifh Oak have
" exceeded the Cedar of Libanus \
<{ then mould the Thames have reflected
" nobler Shades in its clear and peace-
" ful Streams, than all the Rivers of
" other Lands, than the Rhone, the
" Wefer, or the Tiber. Ceafe then
" thy Pride, and give me room to
" rife, or I mail gaul thy Sides, and
" join the Thorn, and thy other Ene-
11 mies to deftroy thee.

To this the Oak's fhady Head reply-
ed, with a Sigh that was heard thro*
all the Grove. " Inftead of anfwering
" thy Speech, made up of Complaints
" and Infults, with 'that Difdain which
" the lofty Top might look down
" with on ftraggling and difTenting
" Branches, I (hall reafon with thee

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Online LibraryPhilip SkeltonTruth in a mask .. → online text (page 1 of 11)