Philip Skelton.

Truth in a mask .. online

. (page 6 of 11)
Online LibraryPhilip SkeltonTruth in a mask .. → online text (page 6 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


that Party, and join themfelves to thofe
who had added to, and corrupted the
Temple, than to afTociate with fuch as
feemed in a fair Way to pull it down
upon their own Heads, not confidering
that the Firmnefs of the Work made
this impoffible.

IN this Condition ftands the nobleft
Edifice fn the World -, diftorted in its
Figure, by a rude and Got hick Addi-
tion;



tion; difgraced, by idle and fantaftick
Ornaments ; and fpoiled of its antient
Glories, by pretended or ignorant Re-
formers : So unhappily are its Beauty,
its Majefty, and Grandeur impaired ;
that many prefer the Temples of China,
or the Mofques of Turkey, to it; and
fome had rather worfhip in the open Air.



ALLUSION

The Ninth.

FOR many Ages, the Good of
Mankind had excited fome -, and
Curiofity and Avarice, Numbers, to
fearch for an univerfal Remedy, that
might cure all Diftempers incident to
the human Species. To this they were
encouraged by an old Opinion handed
down, from Time immemorial, and
generally fpread among the People,
M that



( 122 )

that there was really fuch a Thing in
Nature, though very hard to be found
out. Phyiick was narrowly fearched,
Philofophy was fiddly examined, and
even Magick fuperftitioufly confulred;
but all to no Purpofe, the fugitive Mi-
racle eluded all their Enquiries. Some
were fo weak as to think, and others
fo difingenuous as to pretend they had
difcovered it 5 but a little Time and
Experience fully demonftrated the
Falfhood of the one, and the Folly of
the other. Some were of Opinion,
that there was no fuch Thing, but they
were miftaken ; for, in the Garden of
TJranion, a wife and mighty Prince,
grew a Tree of excellent Beauty, and
wonderful Size, whofe Fruit, with
which it was continually loaded, were
a prefent Remedy againft all Kinds of
Maladies. The Subjects of this Prince
had once the Privilege of walking and
diverting themfelves in his Gardens^
the Air of which, whether it was owe-
ing to the admirable Qualities of cer-
tain



( 12 3 )

tain Simples, particularly this Tree, or
to ibme peculiar Influence of the Hea-
vens, was of fuch a benign Nature,
that it was impoffible to feel any Ail-
ment of Body, or Grievance of Mind,
from the Time one entered the Gate,
till one went out again. But fo foolifh
and ungrateful were the People, that
they abufed the Bounty of their Prince,
ftealing his Fruit, and breaking dowft
his Trees, in fuch a rude and unfightly
manner, that he was obliged to {hut
them out of it, and place a flrong Por-
ter to defend the Door. However, as
Uranion was the moft gracious and mer-
ciful of all Princes, he pitied the un-
happy Condition of his Subjects, who
laboured under a thoufand Diforders,
without any Remedy j and died fo faft,
that feveral Parts of his once fair and
populous Dominions were left deflitute
of Inhabitants.

WHILE he was reflecting, with great
Compaffion, on the Miferies of his Peo-
ple, and confidering how he might bed
M 2 affift



( 124 )

afiift them, without debafing the Ma-
jefty of his Perfon and Laws ; his Son,
who had all his Father's Goodnefs in
him, and was, moreover, related to
the People, by his Mother, generoufly
offered to quit, for a Time, the Glories
and Delights of the Royal Palace, with
the fined Gardens in the Univerfe, and
expofe himfelf to the contagious Air,
and all the Miferies that afflicted the
unhappy People, in order to make them
fenfible of their Ingratitude, and reduce
them to a more reverend and obedient
Difpofition.

Go then, faid the good Uranion ;
and as many as will follow your Rules,
and live in Sobriety and Temperance,
without which, you know, the uni-
verfal Remedy is of no Effect, mail,
on your Interceffion, and Recommen-
dation, receive a Portion of that Fruit
that cures all Diftempers.

CHARGED with this gracious Com-
miflion the young Prince left the Pa-
lace, and living among the loweft and

moil



(

rhoft miferable of the People, laboured
to recommend Submiffion and Obedi-
ence to them, declaring the glad Tid-
ings he had from his Father, propofing
the infallible Remedy to them, and
teaching them how to live, in order to
profit by it. Some liftened and obey-
ed ; others, wedded to their old Me-
thods of Cure, rejected the Tender of
his. The Pretenders to Phyfick, who
made a Livelihood by their imperfect
Skill ; or the Impoftures, with which
they abufed the People, fearing the
Ruin of their Craft, and envying the
wonderful Cures he performed, en-
deavoured to perfuade the People,
that his Fruit would poifon them;
but when this did not take Effect, they
perfecuted him with the greatefl Cruel-
ty, driving him from Place to Place,
blackening his Character, and at length
feizing on his Perfon, and putting him
to Death, in the moft '. ignominious
Manner, and with the fharpefl Tor-
tures they could invent.

M THE



( 126 )

- THE young Prince, forefeeing that
this would be the Cafe, had chofen
out, fome Time before his Death, cer-
tain trufty Perfons, whom he veiled
with a Power, to teach in his Name,
and diftribute the univerfal Remedy,
to as many as were difpofed to receive
it. To thefe he confirmed their Com-
miflion, after his Father had raifed him
up to Life again, and procured them,
iiich a continual Supply of the healing
Fruit, as was necefTary to the Profe-
cution of the happy Work they had in
Hand. Thofe who had confpired the
Death of his Son, the jufl Uranion dif-
perfed and deftroyed, in a Manner fu it-
able to his abfolute Power, and their mon-
ftrous Crime. After this, Uranion right-
ly judging, that it was beneath him to
interfere perfonally with fo ungrateful
and fo degenerate a People, constituted
his Son fole Minifter, devolving on him
the Power of tranfadting all Affairs
whatfoever, throughout his Dominions.
All Application was to be made, either

to



( I2 7 )

to him, or, thro' his Recommendation
and Affiftance. No Petition was to
be preferred, whether it were for the
univerfal Remedy, or any other Grant
or Favour, but fuch as the Prince mould
authorize and forward by his Seal.

THE Perfons, to whom the Prince
committed the Work of reclaiming
the People, and difpenfing the univer-
fal Remedy, acquitted themfelves of
that Duty with great Integrity for a
long Time, during which the Kingdom
vifibly recovered, both as to the Num-
ber and Health of the Subjects : But,
at length, many covetous and ambitious
Perfons, getting in among them, began
to make Merchandize of the falutiferous
Fruit. One of the moft confiderable,
who dwelt in. a Town very com-
modioufly lituated for Trade, creeled
a Monopoly of this kind of Traffick,
and claimed, for himfelf and Company,
the fole Right of vending the univerfai
Remedy. Not fatisfied with this in-
tolerable



tolerable Piece of Impudence, they
fqueezed th& Juice out of the Fruit,
alledging, that it was not intended
for common Ufe, and that the People
muflbe fatisfied with the Rind ; which,
to make it go down the better, they
fteeped in a compound Kind of Pickle,
that gave it quite another Tafte,
and fuch a one, as none but a very
depraved Palate could relifli. The
Fruit thus drained of its own fimple
and wholefome Juice, thus bloated
and adulterated with many Ingredients
of evil or oppofite Qualities, poifoned
the Blood of thofe who took it, and
brought Sicknefs and Death, inftead
of Health.

To this ill Effect, the carelefs Man-
ner, in which it was adminiftred, con-
tributed greatly ; for thefe mercenary
Managers, contrary to the Directions
of the young Prince, who had ordered
it to be difpenfed gratis, and taken by
the Temperate only, at their extreme

Peril,



Peril, both fold it, and with ft a
Licence, to take it even in the Midft
of a Debauch; fo that, notwithftand-
ing this Precaution, they both took it
themfelves, becaufe it was of a very
agreeable Flavour, and gave it to the
People, becaufe it fold at double Value,
where the Licence was tacked to it
without obferving the neceflary Rules j
by which Means, they and the People
were infected with innumerable Difor-
ders, many of which were never heard
of before, and proved all mortal in the
End. By this Means, they reduced
the Nation to a worfe State of Health,
than it had laboured under, before the
Ufe of the univerfal Remedy; and not
only that, but rendered them alfo-
more Regardlefs of the Honour and
Obedience they owed their Sovereign.
This latter they brought about, by pre-
tending, that the Fruit was of no Ufe,
except they cooked and prepared it ;
by affecting to receive and prefer thofe
Petitions for it, which ought to have

been



been preferred to Uranion, by his Son
only, and by perfuading the People,
that the King would receive no Peti-
tions, but fuch as were penned in a
myfterious Jargon of their own, in
order that they might make a Penny,
by drawing them with their own Hands.
By thefe Means, they held the People
in fuch a Slavery to themfelves, that
they forgot their true and real Depen-
dance, on the Bounty of their King,
and the Interceffion of his Son. Some
of them turned Publick-Notaries, and
earned unrighteous Bread, by ingroffing
thefe Petitions, which rendered them,
and the poor Petitioners, odious to
U rani on. Others, commenced Cooks,
and made Money, by dreffing out the
univerfal Medicine, fo, as to make it
pleafe the vitiated Tafte, and fit eafy
on the fqueamim Stomach of fuch, as
could reward them handfomely for their
Pains. Others again went about from
Place to Place, creeling Stages in the
Country-Towns, on which they fet

the



the Royal Bounty to Sale. Thefe im-
pudent Empi ricks and Quacks allured
the People, that the Medicine which
they had to fell, as they had managed
it, could infalliby cure all Diftempers,
without the Trouble and Confinement
of a Regimen ; by which Artifice,
they drew in the Generality of the
People, to exchange their Sterling for
fuch counterfeit or fophiflicated Stuff>
as ruined their Health, and mortened
their Days, inflead of refloring to them
found Conftitutions, and fecuring their
Lives. They fold their pretended Re-
medies at Random, among the poorer
Sort j but undertook the Conftitutions
of the Rich, like the Repair of Build-
ings, for a certain Salary by the Year.
Uranion faw thefe Abufes, with all
the Concern and Indignation, that a
gracious and juft King can feel, upon
feeing his Subjeds puflied on to all
Manner of Wickednefs, and even Re*
bellion, and with their Eyes opened to
apparent Definition, by thofe whom

he



C 13* )

lie had appointed to preferve them in
their Duty, and their Health. To
appear in Perfon, and make Ufe of the
Royal Authority, to put a Stop to thefe
monftrous Practices and Corruptions,
had been fuch a reverfing of his former,
wife and righteous Methods, as was
beneath him to ftoop to. To withdraw
the Fruit, and difcontinue the Supplies
ftipulated for between his Son and
the People, was dishonouring the young
Prince, and infringing the Covenant
made thro' him. To fend the Prince
again amongfl thofe, who had treated
him fo ungratefully and barbaroufly
already, and who were as likely now
as formerly, to be guilty of the fame
Cruelty (for the Modern Quacks were
greater Gainers by their Impoftore, than
the former, and every whit as covetous
and malicious) feemed fuch an Abufe
of Goodnefs, in Favour of Wretches
fb altogether unworthy, that he did
not entertain the leaft Thoughts of it.
The Prince, who always endeavoured

to



( J 33 )

to make as favourable a Reprefentation
of the People as he could, interceded
with his Father, to let Matters ftand
as they were; alledging, that no better
Method could be thought of, than
that which the Managers had fo grofsly
perverted; that there were ftill fome,
who not only diftributed the Fruit pure
and without a Price, but alfo protefted
againft the impudent Traffick, which
their Brethren made of it; that the
Impofture was too grofs, and its ill
Effects too grievous and too fenfible,
to be long patiently endured, and that
the People, having their Senfes ftill
open, would at length take the Courage
to hear with their Ears, and fee with
their Eyes, the miferable Havock that
was made among them. Uranion, in-
finitely patient, and averfe to precipitate
Refolutions, yielded to the Importu-
nities and Interceffion of his Son : But
the Quacks, fearing left the People
mould one Day fee through an Impo-
fture, that at once picked their Pockets,

ruined



( 134)

mined their Constitutions, and fvvept
them out of the World, fet themfelves
to contrive how they might moft effe-
ctually prevent their ever ufing their
Senfes. To accomplifh this they took
feveral Ways, one was to tincture the
Pickle, in which the Fruit was fleeped
for vulgar Ufe, in a certain Opiate that
occafioned Madnefs. The Generality
of thofe who fwallowed this, loft all
Ufe of their Reafon, and were reduced
to a Condition little better than that
of Brutes ; after which, as they were
not fenfible of any Diforders under
which they laboured, fo they made no
Complaints : But on others , whofe
Brains were ftronger, this Drug had
not fo entire an Effect. To thefe the
Quacks pretended, that the Univerfal
Remedy could work no Cure on them,
unlefs they underwent certain chirurgi-
cal Operations, that were necefTary to
prepare them for the Fruit. As foon
as they got Leave to ufe their Lancets,
they pierced the Drums of their Ears,

broke



broke the Coats of their Eyes, cut out
their Palates, maimed the olfactory
Nerves, and fo mangled the fenfible
Parts on the Ends of their Fingers,
that they could pafs a Cucumber, or
a Pumpkin on them, for the all-healing
Fruit.

I N fhort, fo little Good and fuch a
World of Mifchief was done by thefe
Empiricks, that many began to think
the univerfal Remedy a Cheat, and to
doubt, whether there was any fuch
thing or not, But the People at length
opened their Eyes ; and feveral of thofe,
who had been driven to Deftruction,
recovering their Underftandings, went
about declaiming againft, and detecting
the Impofture of the Empiricks ; in-
fomuch that many, taking their Con-
ftitutions out of their Hands, betook
themfelves to Temperance, and the
Affiftance of fuch as gave the Fruit
gratis ; by which Means they , in a
fhort time, recovered their Health, and
returned, like good Subjects, to their

Allegiance.



Allegiance. They petitioned the King
in their own Mother Tongue, and had
their Submiffion fo warmly recommend-
ed by the Prince, that they were imme-
diately received into Favour, and fuch
plentiful Portions of the univerfal Re-
medy were conferred upon them, that
they had not only fufficient for their
own Ufe j but alfo for as many of their
Friends as would confent to return to a
like Mind with themfelves.



ALLUSION

The Tenth.

THIS World we live on is a new
thing in the Univerfe, and but
of late Creation. The Inhabitants of
our neighbouring Planets have fcarcely
yet got over their Wonder at the ftrange
Revolution that happened in our Sy-
ftem about fix thoufand Years ago,
when there was Room made for this,
i by



('37)

by the Departure of an old World,
that revolved in the fame Orbit which
we now defcribe about the Sun. This
PredecerTor of our Earth had a Moon
or Satellit, of a Magnitude much more
confiderable than ours, which, in like
Manner , reflected a borrowed and
changeable Light upon its Inhabitants.
It happened that a Comet of unufual
Size came within the Orbit of the old
World, and approached fo near it, as
to abforb its Moon in her Perigee, or
greateft Approximation to the primary-
Planet, by which its attractive Force
became fo powerful, that it drew in that
alfo, being then in its Aphelium^ or
greateft Diftance from the Sun, and
carried both away with it from the
Center of our Syftem, into thofe cold
and dark Regions that lie between the
Orbit of Saturn and the fixed Stars.
There (whether it was that the Attracti-
on of the Comet decreafed with its
Heat, or from what other Caufe, is not
known) they were again difengaged
N from



from it, and left fo equally fufpended
between the Attractions of the furround-
ing Syftems, that they have remained
ever fince in the fame Point of the
Heavens, fixed and immoveable. The
Inhabitants of this old World muft
have been of a Nature very different
from ours, or they had all perifhed long
ago at fueh a Diftance from the Source
of Light and Heat, fuppofing it poflible
for them to have furvived the fiery Em-
braces of the Comet. Many and un-
fpeakable were the Miferies that attend-
ed this melancholy Situation into which
they fell. They endeavoured to relieve
themfelves from the Cold by Fires,
and from the Darknefs by Tapers made
of the moft combuftible kinds of Wood
that could be found. Thefe, we may
be fure, fupplied the Abfence, and an-
fwered the Ends of a Sun, but very im-
perfectly. It required fo great and fo
continual Labour to prepare and feed
them, that few could provide themfelves
with them 3 and even to thefe they af-
forded



( '39 )

forded fuch a niggardly degree of Heat
and Light, with fuch glimmering and
contracted Views of things, that, had
there not been an abfolute Neceffity for
fome fuch Expedient, they had been in-
tirely laid afide.

AFTER feveral Ages fpent in this
uncomfortable State of Cold and Dark-
nefs, there arofe one, who, from the
extraordinary degree of Wifdom and
Power with which he was endued,
feemed to be fent by the Author of
Nature, for the Relief of the Pyran-
drlam ( for fo are the Inhabitants of the
old World called from their bearing
Torches) and to remedy, as much as
the Nature of things would admit of,
the Miferies of living at fuch an im-
menfe Diftance from any Sun. This
extraordinary Perfon, who was wonder-
fully Ikilled in the Secrets of Nature,
took a great deal of Pains to teach them
the Art of making a kind of portable
Lamps, which infpired thofe who bore
them with a kindly and agreeable
N 2 Warmth,



Warmth, and diffufed fuch a plentiful
Light about them, that they could fee
clearly all round, and particularly if
they held them right, to a prodigious
Diftance before them. The Pyran-
driam exprefled a World of Gratitude
to their Benefactor for the admirable
and ufeful Invention j they erected
Temples to him after his Departure;
and wrote the Hiftory of his Life and
Tranfactions in Terms full of Refpect,
in which they dwelt copioufly on the
Rules and Precepts that he gave them,
about the Method of making and ma-
naging their Lamps. This Book was
kept at the publick Expence, with in-
finite Care and Exadtnefs ; and that
the Art contained in it might be ren-
dered univerfally beneficial, Copies of
it were taken by as many as defired
them, which certain Officers, appoint-
ed for that purpofe, took Care to cor-
rect faithfully and fcrupuloufly by the
Original. There was one thing in the
Art of preparing thefe Lamps, which

made



( 14* )

made it neceffary for the Pyrandrian-s-
to erect themfelves into particular So-
cieties or Corporations, and have fre-
quent Meetings 5 and it was founded
on this Obfervaticn in Natural Philo-
fophy, that Fire is preferved by the
Union, and extinguifhed by the Sepa-
ration of that combuftible Matter on
which it fubfifts. When therefore a
new Lamp was to be lighted up, or
one that had been extinguifhed to be
rekindled, or fuch as were declining in
Warmth or Luftre wanted to be re-
newed, the Method was to call an Af-
fembly, where every one was to repair
with his Lamp trimmed. When they
were met, all the Tapers were fet to-
gether, and not only the dark one
took Fire, but all -the reft were ob-
ferved to coalefce and return from thefe
Meetings with frem Brightnefs and Vi-
gour.

As the Precepts on which this Art
was founded, lay fcattered here and
there through the Hiflory of its Au-
thor,



( 142 )

thor, it required fome Judgment to put
them together ; and the Unfkilful fome-
times miftook in preparing their Lamps,
fo that while one could not get his
Gompofition to take Fire at all, ano-
ther had mixed his fo unhappily, that
it blew up the whole AfTembly that
came together to kindle it. To reme-
dy thefe Inconveniencies, and prevent
the Contempt into which the Art by
this Means might fall, the moft noted
for Skill and Succefs in making Lamps
and for the extraordinary Brightnefs of
their own^ met, and made an AbftracT:
of the Rules in which the whole Art
was contained. This they publifhed for
vulgar Ufej and it was found by the"
Experience of many Ages, to be of ex-
cellent EfFeft in directing the Judgments
of the Pyrandrians, fo various in them-
felves to the one great Point intended
by the Author > to wit, the making a
good Lamp.

ALTHOUGH the Benefit of thefe
Lamps, and the Certainty with which,

by



( '43 )

by the Help of the Abftract, they vvere-
prepared, was too manifeft to be denied ;
yet there wanted not thofe, who not
only fpoke contemptuoufly of the Au-
thor, but endeavoured to oppofe the
Progrefs of the Invention. It cannot
rationally be fuppofed, that they had
any other Motive for fo doing, than the
Fear of having their Lives, which,
they fay, were none of the beft, ex-
pofed by the Light: But, although this
was the fole Motive of all who oppof-
ed the Art, yet they {hewed their Op-
pofition in different Ways; fome o-
penly endeavoured to blow out the
Lamps, but were mortified to find,
that, by fo doing, they only difperfed
the Snuff and Ames ; infomuch that
they burnt with double Brifknefs and
Luftre. Others tried to depreciate
them, by making others of their own
Invention, which, they pretended, an-
fwered the End much better; but the
contrary was manifeft ; for they were
foon difcovered to be only the old

wooden



( H4 )

wooden Torches, a little better dried
than formerly by the Pleat of the
Lamps.

THERE were a third kind, more
artful than the former, who pretended
to be true Pyrandrians> and, with a fort
of counterfeit Lamps, which, for an
Hour or two, burnt extremely like the
right ones, entered into their Aflemblies,
and there, in a kind of plaufible Ha-
rangues, laboured to difluade the Py-
randrians from the Ufe of the Abftracl.
This they did to make way for the Op-
polition they intended againft the Hi-
ftory itfelf; but covered their Defign
under -the higheft Encomiums on the
Excellence of the Lamps, the Wifdom
of the Invention, and the Goodnefs of
its Author. It is true, at firft they
made a new Abftract of their own,
which took prodigioufly for fome time j
for the Inhabitants of the old Pyran-
drian World were, like ours, and all
other planetary People, extremely fond
of Novelty and Change. But it was

not



( '45 )

not long 'ere this Abftradt fell into
Contempt upon comparing it with the
original Hiftory, and finding it widely
different from -that, and very defective
in Practice. The pretended Pyran-
drians^ finding this Artifice detected,
with an Aflbrance peculiar to their Seel,
fet themfelves to rail at all Abftradts,
denying their own, and condemning
that, and the old one, as equally fpuri-
ous and pernicious. They infifted that,
feeing the Invention, as it lay in the
ancient Hiftory, was both perfect and
intelligible, all Abftracls or Explana-
tions muft be either vain or prejudicial ;
that, if the Author had thought other-
wife, he had furnimed the Pyrandrians
with fuch of his own Contrivance, and
not left his Art to be mangled, under
a Notion of mending it, by Bunglers
and Pretenders j and that there was juft
Caufe of Fear, left, in procefs of time,
the Hiftory fhould be quite laid afide,
the Abftradt only ufed, and by that
Means the Art, in a long Succeffion of
O Ages,



( '46 )

Ages, t>e entirely loft. Although the
true Pyrandrians declared, they laid no
other Strefs on the Abftraft, but as it
was authorized by a ftric"r. Conformity
with the Hiftory, as it gave an entire
and concife View of the neceftary In-
gredients in a good Lamp, and as the
Expedient had been found eminently
ferviceable in fo entirely removing thofe
Inconveniencies mentioned before, that
proceeded from a lax, unguarded, and
undirected Perufal of the Hiftory, that
they were now generally forgot j al-
though they referred every one to the
Hiftory, and took all poflible Pains to
preferve it genuine, and in full Autho-
rity ; yet thofe, who oppofed the Ab-
ftrac"l, went on, and, with a World of
popular Sophiftry and Declamation,
purfued this firft neceffary Step to that
primitive Darknefs, which their real
Principles and fecret Practices required.
They ufed fo much Art and Caution,


1 2 3 4 6 8 9 10 11

Online LibraryPhilip SkeltonTruth in a mask .. → online text (page 6 of 11)