Page images

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
with regard to our own fyftem, being ignorant

of the relations of fyftems 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, agreea-

ble to the general Order of Things, and conformable

to Ends and Relations to himunknown, ver. 33 &c.

That it is partly upon his Ignorance of future events,
and partly upon the Hope of a future ftate, that all
his Happiness in the prefent depends, ver. 77, &c.

The pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretend-
ing to more Perfection, the cause of Man's error
and mifery. The impiety of putting himself in the
place of God, and judging of the fitness or unfitness,
perfection or imperfection, juftice or injustice of his
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 Per-
fections of the Angels; and, on the other, the bodily
qualification of the Brutes; though to possess any of
the fenfitive faculties in a higher degree, would ren-
der him miferable,
ver. 173, &c.
That throughout the whole vifible world, an uni-
verfal order and gradation in the fenfual and
mental faculties is obferved, which causes a sub- -
ordination of creature to creature, and of all crea-
tures to Man. The gradation of sense, instinct,
thought, reflection, reafon; 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,

ver. 233.

The extravagance, madness and pride of fuch a de-
ver. 259
The confequence of all, the abfolute fubmiffion due to
Providence, both as to our prefent and future ftate,
v. 281, &c. to the end.


Of the Nature and State of Man, with respect
to Himself, as an Individual.

THE bufinefs of Man not to pry into God, but
to ftudy himself, his Middle Nature; his Pover

[blocks in formation]

Its providential Ufe, in fixing our Principle, and
afcertaining our Virtue,

ver. 175.

Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the
limits near, yet the things feparate and evident :
What is the office of Reason, ver 195, &c.
How odious Vice in itself, and how we deceive our
felves into it,
ver. 217, &c.
That, however, the Ends of Providence and general
Good are answered in our Paffions and Imperfec-
ver. 219, &c.
How usefully these are diftributed to all Oiders of


How useful they are to Society,

And to the Individuals,

ver. 241 &c.

ver. 249,&c.

ver. 263.

In every state, and every age of life, ver. 271, &c.

« PreviousContinue »