Very excited to finally announce my next publication: a very different kind of project than any I’ve done before, and one that I’ve been working on again and off again for a year or more (I once thought it would be ready in April, which is either a testament to hope or an indictment of my work habits). It’s a transcribed and newly edited edition of the classic moral treatise A Gentleman Instructed in the Conduct of a Virtuous and Happy Life.
This book has become hard to find, at least as far as I could tell; the only editions I could dig up were either very rough pdf scans, used books, or a half-hearted ‘historical’ edition available on Amazon for a goodly price and without even a summary or chance to look inside. So, almost by accident, I decided to make a new, readable, and affordable edition for modern audiences.
“For what can even fancy paint more charming and more glorious than grandees neither abject in adversity nor insolent in prosperity; than courtiers peaceable in the noise of affairs, temperate in the midst of excess, unchangeable in vicissitudes, and constant in all the turns of Fortune, untainted with lust, composed in tumults, and smiling at all those things that are either expected or feared by others; than men who have the power to do what they will and the will to do nothing but what is just and reasonable?”
At the turn of the 18th century in England, after a century of wars and revolutions and just prior to the age of infidelity and unbelief, the Jesuit father William Darrell wrote this marvellous treatise for the instruction of young noblemen, casting it defiantly against the creeping skepticism and flippancy of his day. In it the noble and witty Eusebius instructs the naive, but eager Neander in both Christian morals and the duties of a gentleman, presenting his lessons with a striking blend of religious rigorism and wry sarcasm that led to the book becoming a perennial favourite, running through ten editions in the author’s lifetime alone.
Now this classic work of morality returns in a freshly edited new edition for modern readers, who will find in it far more of the familiar than they might expect. From popular entertainment making a mockery of religion to men and women spending their lives drifting from diversion to diversion, and from free and easy profanity to financial irresponsibility, the life of virtue and the follies of mankind remain ever relevant, even as their trappings change with the centuries.
Laced with wit and wisdom, this remarkable little book is a must-have for any would-be Christian gentleman.
At the moment, the anticipated release date is Wednesday the 23rd, one week from today, so just in time for Black Friday! If you know of any would-be gentlemen in your life, or friends and family with an interest in history or moral theology or rare books, or just someone who would might enjoy a witty bit of work from the early 18th century, this could be an ideal gift.