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these without dimination of any of them, 1 freely confess 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 than the greater parts, their extent, their limits, and their connexion, but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in the charts which are to follow. Consequently these Epistles, in their progress, (if I have health and leisure to make any progress,) will be less dry, and more susceptible of poetical ornament. I am here only opening the fountains, and clearing the passage. To deduce the rivers, to follow them in their course, and observe their effects, may be a task more agreeable.
AN ESSAY ON MAN.
ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE I.
Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to the Universe.
Of man in the abstract. I. That we can judge only with regard to our own system, being ignorant of the relations of systems and things, ver. 17, &c. II. That man is not to be deemed imperfect, but a being suited to his place and rank in the creation, agreeable to the general order of things, and conformable to ends and relations to him unknown, ver. 35, &c. III. 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. IV. The pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretending to more perfection, the cause of man's error and misery. The impiety of putting himself in the place of God, and judging the fitness or unfitness, perfec tion or imperfection, justice or injustice, of his dispensa. tions, ver. 109, &c. V. The absurdity of conceiting him self the final cause of the creation, or expecting that perfec
tion in the moral world, which is not in the natural, ver. 131, &c. VI. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence, while on the one hand he demands the perfection of the angels, and on the other the bodily qualifications of the brutes; though to possess any of the sensitive faculties in a higher degree, would render him miserable, ver. 173, &c. VII. That throughout the whole visible world, an universal order and gradation in the sensual and mental faculties is observed, which causes a subordination of creature to creature, and of all creatures to man. The gradations of sense, instinct, thought, reflec tion, reason; that reason alone countervails all the other faculties, ver. 207. VIII. How much farther this order and subordination 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, ver. 233. IX. The extravagance, madness, and pride of such a desire, ver. 250. X. The consequence of all, the absolute submission due to Providence, both as to our present and future state, ver. 281. to the end.
AWAKE, my St. John! leave all meaner things
Try what the open, what the covert yield;
I. Say first, of God above, or man below,
Of man, what see we but his station here,
II. Presumptuous man! the reason wouldst thou
Of systems possible, if 'tis confess'd,
Respecting man, whatever wrong we call,
In human works, though labour'd on with pain, A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain: In God's one single can its end produce;
Yet serve to second too some other use:
So man who here seems principal alone,
When the proud steed shall know whyman restrains
Then shall man's pride and dulness comprehend
Then say not man's imperfect, Heaven in fault:
III. Heaven from all creatures hides the book of fate, All but the page prescribed, their present state; From brutes what men, from men what spirits know. Or who could suffer being here below? 80 The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to-day, Had he thy reason, would he skip and play? Pleased to the last, he crops the flowery food, And licks the hand just raised to shed his blood. Oh blindness to the future! kindly given,
That each may fill the circle mark'd by Heaven; Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd,
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions soar Wait the great teacher, Death; and God adore. What future bliss, he gives not thee to know, But gives that hope to be thy blessing now.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast.
Lo, the poor Indian! whose untutor'd mind
He asks no angel's wing, no seraph's fire;
IV. Go wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense,
V. Ask for what end the heavenly bodies shine, Earth for whose use? Pride answers, ''Tis for mine: