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S w I F T.
OU may affure yourself, that, if you come over this spring, you will find me not only got back into the habits of study, but devoted to that hiftorical task, which you have fet me these many years. I am in hopes of fome materials which will enable me to work in the whole extent of the plan I propose to myself. If they are not to be had, I muft accommodate my plan to this deficiency. In the mean time Pope has given me more trouble then he or I thought of; and you will be furprized to find that I have been partly drawn by him and partly by myself to write a pretty large volume upon a very grave and very important fubject; that I have ventur'd to pay no regard whatever to any authority except facred authority, and that I have ventured to ftart a thought, which muft, if it is pufh'd as fuccefsfully as I think it is, render all your Metaphyfical Theology both ridiculous and abominable. There is an expreffion in one of your letters to me, which makes me believe you will come into my way of thinking on this fubject; and yet I am perfwaded that Divines. and Freethinkers would both be clamorous against it, if it was to be fubmitted to their cenfure, as I do not intend that it fhall. The paffage I mean, is that where you fay that you told Dr. * the
Grand points of Christianity ought to be taken as infallible Revelations 1), &c.
It has happened, that, whilft I was writing this to you, the Dr..came to make me a vifit from London, where I heard he was arrived some time ago: He was in haste to return, and is, I perceive, in great hafte to print. He left with me eight Differtations), a small part, I understand, of his work, and defired me to perufe, confider, and obferve upon them against monday next, when he will come down again. By what I have read of the two first, I find myfelf unable to ferve him. The principles he reafons upon are begged in a difputation of this fort, and the manner of reafoning is by no means close and conclufive. The fole advice I could give him in confcience would be that which he would take ill and not follow. I will get rid of this task as well as I can, for I esteem the man, and fhould be forry to difoblige him where I cannot serve him.
As to retirement, and exercife, your notions are true: The first should not be indulged fo much as to render us favage, nor the last neglected fo as to impair health. But I know men, who, for fear of being favage, live with all who will live with them; and who, to preferve their health, faunter away half their time. Adieu: Pope calls for the paper.
1) In this maxim all bigotted Divines and free-thinking. Politicians agree: the one, for fear of difturbing the eftablished Religion: the other, left that disturbance fhould prove injurious to their administration of government.
2) Revelation examined with candour.
P. S. I hope what goes before will be a strong motive to your coming. God knows if ever I fhall fee Ireland; I fhall never defire it, if you can be got hither, or kept here. Yet I think I fhall be, too foon, a Free - man. Your recommendations I conftantly give to thofe you mention; tho' fome of 'em I fee but feldom, and am every day more retired. I am lefs fond of the world, and lefs curious about it: yet no way out of humour, disappointed, or angry: tho' in my way I receive as many injuries as my bet ters, but I don't feel them, therefore I ought not to vex other people, nor even to return injuries. I pafs almost all my time at Dawley and at home; my Lord (of which I partly take the merit to myself) is as much estranged from politics as I am. Let Philofophy be ever so vain, it is lefs vain now than Politics, and not quite fo vain at prefent as Divinity: I know nothing that moves ftrongly but Satire, and those who are asham'd of nothing elfe, are fo of being ridiculous. I fancy, if we three were together but for three years, fome good might be done even upon this Age.
I know you'll defire fome account of my health: It is as ufual, but my spirits rather worse. I write little or nothing. You know I never had either a taste or talent for politics, and the world minds nothing else. I have perfonal obligations which I will ever preserve, to men of different fides, and I wish nothing so much as public quiet, except it be my own quiet. I think it a merit, if I can take off any man from grating or fatirical fubjects, merely on the fcore of Party; and it is the greatest vanity of my life that I've contributed to turn my Lord Bolingbroke to fubjects moral, useful, and more worthy
136 LETT. TO AND FROM Dr. SWIFT.
his pen. Dr.'s Book is what I can't commend fo much as Dean Berkley's 3), tho' it has many things ingenious in it, and is not deficient in the writing part: but the whole book, tho' he meant it ad Populum, is, I think, purely ad Clerum.
3) A fine original work called, The Minute Phi