« PreviousContinue »
This I might have done in profe; but I chose verfe, and even rhyme, for two reafons: The one will appear obvious; that principles, maxims, or precepts fo written both ftrike the reader more ftrongly at first, and are more eafily retained by him afterwards. The other may feem odd, but it is true; I found I could exprefs them more fhortly this way than in prose itself, and nothing is truer than that much of the force, as well as grace, of arguments or inftructions depends on their concifeness. I was unable to treat this part of my fubject more in detail, without becoming dry and tedious; or more poetically, without facrificing perfpicuity 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 confidered 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. Confequently these Epiftles in their progress (if I make any progrefs) will be lefs dry, and more fufceptible of poetical ornament. I am here only opening the fountains, and clearing the paffage: to deduce the rivers, to follow them in their courfe, and to observe their effects, would be a task more agreeable.
F. Man in the abstract, — That we can judge only
That it is partly upon his Ignorance of future events,
The pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretend-
How much farther this order and fubordination of
The extravagance, madness and pride of fuch a de-
Of the Nature and State of Man, with respect
THE bufinefs of Man not to pry into God, but
Its providential Ufe, in fixing our Principle, and
Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the
How useful they are to Society,
And to the Individuals,
ver. 241 &c.
In every state, and every age of life, ver. 271, &c.