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of it. In the World it will certainly meet with all these. Set it therefore to View amongst several of your Acquaintance first, who may survey the Argument on all Sides, and one may happen to suggest a Correction which is entirely neglected by others; and be sure to yield yourself to the Dictates of true Criticism, and jusi Cenfure, where foever you meet with them; nor let a Fondness for what you
have written, blind your Eyes against the Discovery of your own Miltakes.
When an Author desires a Friend to revise his Work, it is too frequent a Practice to disallow almost every Correction which a judicious Friend shall make; he apologizes for this Word, and the other Expresfion; he vindicates this Sentence, and gives his Reasons for another Paragraph, and scarce ever submits to Correction, and this utterly discourages the Freedom that a true Friend would take, in pointing out our Mistakes. Such Writers who are so full of themselves, may go on to admire their own uncorrect Performances, and expose their Works and their Follies to the World without Pity *.
* To cut off such Chicanery, it may perhaps be the most expedient for a Person consulted, on such an Occalion, to note down on a distinct Paper, with proper References, the advised Alterations, referring it to the Author, to make such Use of them as he, on due Deliberation, shall think fit.
HORACE, in his Art of Poetry, talks admirably well on this Subject :
Quintilio fi quid recitares, corrige, fodes,
Let good Quintilius all your Lines revise,
If you have not the Advantage of Friends to survey your Writings, then read them over yourself, and all the Way consider what will be the Sentence and Judgment of all the various Characters of Mankind upon them : Think what one of your own Party would say, or what would be the Sense of
an Adversary: Imagine what a curious or a malicious Man, what a captious or an envious Critick, what a vulgar or a learned Reader would object, either to the Matter, the Manner, or the Style : And be sure and think with yourself, what you yourself could say against your own Writing, if you were of a different Opinion, or a Stranger to the Writer : And by these Means you will obtain some Hints, whereby to correct and improve your own Work, and to guard it better against the Censures of the Publick, as well as to render it more useful to that Part of Mankind for whom you chiefly de.
Of Writing and Reading Contro
Of Writing Controverfies,
'HEN a Person of good Sense writes
on any controverted Subject, he will generally bring the strongest Arguments that are ufually to be found for the Support of his Opinion ; and when that is done he will represent the most powerful Objections against it in a fair and candid Manner, giving them their full Force; and at last will put
in such an Answer to those Objections as he thinks will dislipate and diffolve the Force of thein: And herein the Reader will generally find a full View of the Controversy, together with the main Strength of Argument on both sides.
When a good Writer has set forth his own Opinion at large, and vindicated it with its fairest and strongest Proofs, he shall be attacked by some Pen on the other side of the Question ; and if his opponent be a wise and sensible Writer, he will shew the best Reasons why the former Opinions cannot be true; i.e. he will draw out the Objections against them in their fullest Array, in order to destroy what he supposes a miltaken Opinion; and here we may reason: ably suppose that an Opponent will draw up his Objections against the supposed Ersor in a brighter Light and with stronger Evidence than the first Writer did, who propounded his Opinion which was contrary to those Objections.
If in the third Place the first Writer an. fwers his Opponent with Care and Diligence, and maintains his own Point against the Objections which were raised in the best
Manner; the Reader may then generally presume, that in these three Pieces he has a compleat View of the Controversy ; together with the most solid and powerful Arguments on both sides of the Debate.
But when a fourth and fifth and fixth Volume appears in Rejoinders and Replies, we cannot reasonably expect any great Degrees of Light to be derived from them; or that much further Evidences for Truth should be found in them: And it is fuffici. ently evident from daily Experience, that many Mischiefs attend this Prolongation of Controversies
among Men of Learning, which for the most Part do Injury to the Truth, either by turning the Attention of the Reader quite away from the original Point to other Matters, or by covering the Truth with a Multitude of occasional Incidents and Perplexities, which serve to bewilder rather than guide a faithful Enquirer.
SOMETIMES, in these latter Volumes, the Writers on both sides will hang upon little Words and occasional Expresions of their Opponent in order to expose them, which have no necessary Connexion with the grand Point in View, and which have nothing:10 do with the debated Truth.
SOMETIMES they will spend many a Page in vindicating their own Character, or their own little Sentences or accidental Ex