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The Works of the Reverend John Fletcher, Vol. 4 of 4

Excerpt from The Works of the Reverend John Fletcher, Vol. 4 of 4: Late Vicar of Madeley Some persons think all mysticism contrary to reason; and a work is deemed mystical if it contain truths a little more profound, or thoughts more sublime than what they are already acquainted with. A few remarks on this dangerous prejudice may not be unworthy of the serious reader's attention. The rational mysticism, found in many excellent works, both ancient and modern, is a thin veil covering the naked truth, to improve her beauty, to quicken the attention of sincere seekers, to augment the plea-sure of discovery, and to conceal her charms from the prying eyes of her enemies. Poems, in general, and the sacred oracles in particular, abound with this mysticism, which consists in figures, allusions, comparisons, metaphors, types, allegories, apologues, and parables. David, for instance, simply tells us, God is attentive to the prayers of sincere seekers. Homer presents the same truth veiled in a prosopop ia, when he says, "Prayers are the daughters of Jupiter and consequently of celestial origin, and their influence Divine. To this mysticism, which personifies virtues, vices, and the passions; dignifies animals with reason, and imparts life and speech to inanimate beings, our poets are "indebted for the most sublime beauties of their works: had this imagery been wholly banished from my performance, I could not, with any propriety, have given it the name of a poem. When a wise mysticism veils disagreeable truths, it may be compared to leaves of gold which bitter pills are sometimes covered with. Thus the Prophet Nathan, by concealing a terrible rebuke under a well-chosen apologue, brought King David to pass a just sentence upon the seducer of Uriah's wife. Thus Fenelon, under the character of Mentor; and Racine, under the personages acting in his Esther, and Athalia, presumed to give lessons of wisdom and moderation to Lewis XIV., which would not have been received but through the prudent mysticism of the authors. In imitation of these I have sometimes introduced the apostles giving advice to Christians, at other times the feathered tribes offering instruction to the human race, but not like Fontaine, who says, - De la simple nature encontez les lecons, &c.To simple nature's sacred lore attend, Your ears to scaly tribes submissive bend, Creation always speaks the numbers penn'd;Foresight and diligence in them are join'd, By animals I lecture all mankind. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works."
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