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Nor ends the pleasure with the fierce embrace;
IV. Nor think, in nature's state they blindly trod; The state of nature was the reign of God: Self-love and social at her birth began, Union the bond of all things, and of man. Pride then was not; nor arts, that pride to aid; Man walk'd with beast, joint-tenant of the shade; The same his table, and the same his bed; No murder clothed him, and no murder fed. In the same temple, the resounding wood, All vocal beings hymn’d their equal God: The shrine w.th gore unstain'd, with gold undress'd, Unbribed, unbloody, stood the blameless priest: Heaven’s attribute was universal care; And man's prerogative to rule, but spare. Ah! how unlike the man of times to come ! Of half that live the butcher and the tomb; Who, foe to mature, hears the general groan; Murders their species, and betrays his own. But just disease to luxury succeeds, And every death its own avenger breeds; The fury-passions from that blood began, And turn’d on man a fiercer Savage, man. See him from nature rising slow to art! To copy instinct then was Reason's part:
Thus then to man the voice of Nature spake :—
W. Great Nature spoke; observant men obey'd; Cities were built, societies were made: Here rose one little state; another near Grew by like means, and join'd through love or fear. Did here the trees with ruddier burdens bend, And there the streams in purer rills descend ? What war could ravish, commerce could bestow; And he return’d a friend, who came a foe. Converse and love mankind may strongly draw, When love was liberty, and nature law: Thus states were form'd; the name of king unknown, Till common interest placed the sway in one 'Twas Virtue only, or in arts or arms, Diffusing blessings, or averting harms; The same which in a sire the sons obey'd, A prince the father of a people made.
VI. Till then, by Nature crown'd, each patriarch sate, King, priest, and parent of his growing state; On him, their second Providence, they hung; Their law his eye, their oracle his tongue.
He from the wondering furrow call'd the food;
So drives self-love, through just and through unjust To one man's power, ambition, lucre, lust: The same self-love, in all, becomes the cause Of what restrains him, government and laws: For, what one likes if others like as well, What serves one will, when many wills rebel? How shall we keep, what, sleeping or awake, A weaker may surprise, a stronger take? His safety must his liberty restrain : All join to guard what each desires to gain. Forced into virtue thus by self-defence, Ev’n kings learn’d justice and benevolence: Self-love forsook the path it first pursued, And found the private in the public good. 'Twas then, the studious head or generous mind, Follower of God or friend of human-kind, Poet or patriot, rose but to restore The faith and moral Nature gave before ; Relumed her ancient light, not kindled new ; If not God’s image, yet his shadow drew; Taught power's due use to people and to kings; Taught not to slack nor strain its tender strings; The less or greater set so justly true, That touching one must strike the other too; Till jarring int’rests of themselves create Th’ according music of a well-mix’d state. Such is the world's great harmony, that springs From order, union, full consent of things: Where small and great, where weak and mighty made To serve, not suffer, strengthen, not invade; More pow'rful each as needful to the rest, And in proportion as it blesses, blest; Draw to one point, and to one centre bring Beast, man, or angel, servant, lord, or king. For forms of government let fools contest; Whate'er is best administer'd is best: for modes of faith let graceless zealots fight; His can’t be wrong whose life is in the right: In faith and hope thee world will disagree, But all mankind's concern is charity : All must be false that thwart this one great end; And all of God, that bless mankind, or mend. Man, like the gen’rous vine, supported lives: She strength he gains is from th’ embrace he gives On their own axis as the planets run, Yet make at once their circle round the sun ; So two consistent motions act the soul; And one regards it elf, and one the whole. Thus God and Nature link'd the gen'ral frame. And bade self-love and social be the same.
of THE NATURE AND STATE of MAN, witH REspect TO HAPPIN ESS
I. False motions of happiness, philosophical and popular, answered. II. It is the end of all men, and attainable by all. God intends happiness to be equal; and to be so, it must be social, since all particular happiness depends on general, and since he governs by general, not particular laws. As is is necessary for order, and the peace and welfare of society, that external goods should be unequal, happiness is not made to consist in these. But notwithstanding that inequality, the balance of happiness among mankind is kept even by Providence, by the two passions of hope and fear. III. What the happiness of individuals is, as far as is consistent with the constitution of this world; and that the good man has here the advantage. The error of imputing to virtue what are only the calamities of nature, or of fortune. IV. The folly of expecting that God should alter his general laws in favour of particulars. W. That we are not judges who are good; but that whoever they are they must be happiest, WI. That external goods are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with, or destructive of, virtue. That even these can make no man happy without virtue: instanced in riches, in honours, nobility, greatness, fame, superior talents, with pictures of human infelicity in umen possessed of them all. VII. That virtue only constitutes a happiness, whose object is universal, and whose prospect eternal. That the perfection of virtue and happiness consists in a conformity to the order of Providence here, and resignation to it here and hereafter. -
O HAPPINEssl our being's end and aim,