This work contains a portrait of the author, "The Life of Erasmus, and His "Epistle to Sir Thomas More. The volume is also "Illustrated with many curious Engravings, Designed, Drawn, and Etched by Hans Holbein."
Quoted from the Publisher's "Preface."
"The works of Erasmus, which have so greatly enriched the literature of the world, have survived the lapse of centuries that have passed; and, because they contain that "one touch of nature which makes the whole world kin," they will survive the lapse of untold centuries yet to come.
His description of the bigotry and superstition — the ignorance and credulity of the masses of his day, is as true now as it was when first given to the world; and his account of the pleadings and preachings — the pretensions and presumptions of the dominant priesthood — is as applicable to the twentieth, as to the fifteenth century in which it was written.
Under the pleasing mask of Folly our author has uttered truths which are indeed sublime, and in the witty language of the Jester he has exposed the fallacies of that Faith which has, not inaptly, been defined by an inspired writer in the New Testament, as "the evidence of things not seen, and the substance of things hoped for."
Like the late ROBERT G. INGERSOLL, ERASMUS was above all things a critic, and he has most severely criticised the priesthood of his day; while our talented American orator, from his tolerant spirit, and from the innate kindness of his nature, was inclined to mercy, and looked with eyes of pity and commiseration upon the entire priestly fraternity, they being, unfortunately, the inheritors of ancient ignorance and error, — which, indeed, they did not originate, and from which they have not the intelligence and resolution to free their minds."