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§ 3. Innumerable inftances of this Trope might be produced, but the following fhall fuffice. In the facred Writings we have frequent inftances of the Irony. Thus the Prophet ELIJAH, 1 Kings xviii. 27. fpeaks in Irony to the Priefts of Baal, "Cry aloud, for he is a GOD; "either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is

on a journey, or peradventure he sleeps, and must be awaked." So the Prophet MICAJAH, 1 Kings xxii. 15. bids AHAB "go to battle against "Ramoth-Gilead, and profper." We meet with an Irony in Job xii. 2. "No doubt but ye are the "People, and wisdom shall die with you." That passage may be considered as an Irony, Ecclef. xi. 9. " Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, ss and let thine heart chear thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the way of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes." Nay, the Almighty himself appears to speak ironically, Gen. iii. 22. And the LORD GOD faid, The man is s become as one of us to know good and evil." And in the fame manner we may apprehend our LORD's rebuke to the Jewish Doctors, when he fays,

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In eo vero genere quo contraria oftenduntur, Ironia eft. Illufionem vocant; quæ aut pronuntiatione intelligitur, aut perfona, aut rei natura. Nam fi qua earum verbis diffentit, apparet diversam effe orationi voluntatem. QUINTIL. lib.viii. cap. 6. § 2,

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fays, Mark vii. 9. " Full well ye reject the comSS mandment of GOD, that ye may keep your s own tradition :" where, by the word xaxas, καλως, which our Translators render full well, it is evident our LORD intends quite the contrary of what his language feems to import.

§ 4. CICERO, representing the forces of CATILINE as mean and contemptible, fays, "O war, "moft terrible indeed! since CATILINE is to "march out with fuch a Praetorian band of de"bauchees *." HORACE, after he has defcribed the tumults, hurries, and dangers of Rome, concludes,

Go now, and study tuneful verfe at Rome †.

Mr DRYDEN finely ridicules the Egyptian worfhip in a laughing, ironical commendation of their Leek and Onion Deities:

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Th' Egyptian rites the Jebufites embrac❜d,

Where Gods were recommended by the taste :

Such fav'ry Deities must needs be good,

As ferv'd at once for worship and for food ‡.

That is a very poignant Irony in Archbishop TILLOTSON, who, speaking of the Papists, says,

• If

* O bellum magnopere pertimefcendum! cum hanc fit habiturus Catilina fcortorum cohortem prætoriam. CICER, in CATIL. Orat, 2. § 11.

I nunc, & verfus tecum meditare canoros!

HORAT. Epift. lib. ii. epift. 2. ver. 76.

DRYDEN'S Abfalom and Achitophel,

"If it seem good to us to put our necks once "more under that yoke which our Fathers were "not able to bear; if it be really a preferment "to a Prince to hold the Pope's stirrup, and a "privilege to be disposed of him at pleasure,

and a courtesy to be killed at his command; "if to pray without understanding, to obey st without reason, and to believe against sense; "if Ignorance, and implicit Faith, and an In"quisition be in good earnest fuch charming and "desirable things; then welcome Popery, which, « wherever thou comeft, doft infallibly bring all "these wonderful privileges and blessings along "with thee *"

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§ 5. Under the Irony wè may include the Sarcafm, which may be defined to be an Irony in its fuperlative keennefs and asperity. As inftances of this kind we may consider the speech of the Soldiers to our blessed LORD, when, after they had clothed him in mock majefty, they bowed the knee before him, and faid, " Hail King of "the Jews," Matt. xxvii. 29. So again, when our LORD was upon the cross, there were fome that thus derided him, Mark xv.32. "Let CHRIST, "the king of Ifrael, descend now from the cross, that we may fee and believe." By the way it may be observed, that custom has so much prevailed that not only excessively keen Ironies are called Sarcasms, but any fevere sayings with an

uncommon

* TILLOTSON's Works, vol. iii. page 392. Octavo edit. + From cagnaw, I frip off the fefb.

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uncommon edge, and that cut remarkably deep, bear the fame name, though upon examination they will appear not to be Ironies, but plain expressions. Thus PYRRHUS the fon of ACHILLES, when PRIAM reproached him with cruelty, and put him in mind of his father's contrary conduct, infults him in the following Sarcafm:

Thou then fhalt bear the tidings, and fhalt go
A fpeedy courier to the fhades below;
There tell ACHILLES of my barb'rous deeds,
And what a wretch his noble fire fucceeds

6. Ironies and Sarcafms have a great advantage in them to infuse strength and vehemence into our discourses, and may be very ferviceable to correct vice and hypocrify, and dash pride and infolence out of countenance. They add ridicule to dislike, and fet up an infamous character as the butt of contempt, than which there is nothing that can wound with forer mortification and a keener anguish. Perhaps these Tropes are never ufed with greater advantage, than when they are followed with something very severe and cutting in plain and clear language, by which a vile and detestable character is thrown as it were from one rack of torture to another. An example of this fort we may find G in

* Cui Pyrrhus; referes ergo hæc, & nuntius ibis
Pelidæ genitori illi mea triftia facta,
Degeneremque Neoptolemum narrare memento.
VIRGIL. Æneid. lib. il. ver. 547.

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in CICERO, when speaking of Piso, he fays, "You have heard this Philofopher. He de"nies that he was ever desirous of a triumph: "O wretch! O plague! O fcoundrel! when you destroyed the Senate, fold its authority, fubjected your Confulate to the Tribune, over"turned the State, betrayed my life and safety "for the reward of a province, if you did not "desire a triumph, what can you pretend you "did desire +?""

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§ 7. Let us take heed upon whom and upon what occasions we employ the Irony or Sarcafm; ever dreading scattering abroad arrows, firebrands and death, and excusing ourselves with faying, that we are only in sport. A cruel fatire, though it passed from our lips rather for the fake of wit, than out of a principle of illnature, may make fuch a wound upon a tender and innocent mind, as even whole years or life itself may never be able to heal. Let us in our wit and fatire imitate the true Hero, who, though he always wears a fword, yet never ufes it but upon a proper occasion.

Teach

+ At audiftis, Patres Confcripti, Philofophi vocem, negavit fe triumphi cupidum unquam feciffe. O fcelus! O peftis ! O labes! cum extinguebas fenatum, vendebas auctoritatem hujus ordinis, addicebas tribuno plebis confulatum tuum, rempublicam evertebas, prodebas caput & falutem meam una mercede provinciæ, fi triumphum non cupiebas, cujus tandem rei te cupiditate arfiffe defendes? CICER. in PISON. 24.

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