« ForrigeFortsett »
This I might have done in prose; but I chose verse, and even rhyme, for two reasons: The one will appear obvious; that principles, maxims, or precepts so written both strike the reader more Itrongly at first, and are more easily retained by him afterwards. The other may seem odd, but it is true; I found I could express them more shortly this way than in prose itself, and nothing is truer than that much of the force, as well as grace, of arguments or instructions depends on their conciseness. I was unable to treat this part of my subject more in detail, without becoming dry and tedious; or more poetically, without sacrificing perspicuity to ornament, without wandering from the precision, or breaking the chain of reasoning. If any man can unite all thefe , without diminution of any of them, I freely confefs he will compass a thing above my capacity.
What is now published, is only to be considered as a general map of Man, marking out no more that the greater parts, their extent, their limits, and their connexion, but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in their charts which are to follow. Consequently these Epistles in their progress (if I make any progress) will be less dry, and more susceptible of poetical ornament. I am here only opening the fountains, and clearing the paffage: to deduce the rivers, to follow them in their course, and to observe their effects, would be a talk more agreeable.
Of the Nature and State of Man, with respect
to the UNIVERSE.
O Man in the abstract, - That we can judge only
with regard to our own system, being ignorant of the relations of systems and things, ver. 17, &c. That Man is not to be deemed imperfect, but a Being fuited to his place and rank in the creation, agreeable tothe general Order of Things, and conformable
to Ends and Relations to bimunknown, ver. 33 &c. That it is partly upon his Ignorance of future events,
and partly upon the Hope of a future state, that all his Happiness in the present depends, ver. 77, &c.
The pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretend
ing to more Perfection, the cause of Man's error and misery. The impiety of putting himself in the place of God, and
judging of the fitness or unfitness, perfection or imperfection, justice or injustice of his dispensations,
ver. 113, &c. . The abfurdity of conceiting himself the final cause of the
creation, or expecting that perfection in the moral
world, which is not in the natural, ver. 137, &c. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Provi
dence, while, on the one hand, he demands the Perfections of the Angels; and, on the other, the bodily qualification of the Brutes; though to polless any of the sensitive faculties in a higher degree, would render him miserable,
ver. 173, &c. That throughout the whole visible world, an uni
versal order and gradation in the sensual and mental faculties is observed, which causes a sub- . ordination of creature to creature, and of all creatures to Man. The gradation of sense, instinct, thought, reflection, reason; that Reafon alone
countervails all the other faculties, ver. 207 How much farther this order and fubordination of
living creatures may extend, above and below us; were any part of which broken, not that part only, but the whole connected creation must be destroyed,
The extravagance, madness and pride of such a de
fire. The consequence of all, the absolute submission due to Providence, both as to our present and future state,
v. 281, &c. to the end,
Of the Nature and State of Man, with respeet
to Himself, as an Individual.
THE business of Man not to prý into God, but
to study himself, his Middle Nature ; his Power and Prailties,
ver. I, &c. The Limits of his Capacity,
ver. 19, &c. The two Principles of Man, Self-love, and Reason, both necesary,
ver. 53, &c. Self-love the stronger, and why,
ver. 67, &c. Their end the same,
ver. 81, &c. The PASSIONS, and their use, ver. 93, &c. The predominant Passion, andits force, ver. 131,&c.
to 160 Its neceffity, in directing Men to different purposes,
ver. 165, &c. Its providential Ufe, in fixing our Principle, and ascertaining our Virtue,
Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the
limits near, yet the things separate and evident :
What is the office of Reason, ver: 195, &c.
ver. 217, &c.
Good are answered in our Passions and Imperfec-
ver. 219, &c.
ver. 241 &c.