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THIRD VOLUM E.
HAVING propofed to write fome pieces on Human Life and Manners, fuch as (to ufe my Lord Bacon's expreffion) come home to Men's Bufinefs and Bosoms, I thought it more fatisfactory to begin with confidering Man in the abstract, his Nature and his State; fince, to prove any moral duty, to enforce any moral precept, or to examine the perfection or imperfection of any creature whatsoever, it is neceffary first to know what condition and relation it is placed in, and what is the proper end and purpose of its being.
The fcience of Human Nature is, like all other sciences, reduced to a few clear points: There are not many certain truths in this world. It is therefore in the Anatomy of the Mind as in that of the Body; more good will accrue to mankind by attending to the large, open, and perceptible parts, than by studying too much fuch finer nerves and veffels, the conformations and ufes of which will for ever escape our observation. The difputes are all upon these last, and, I will venture to fay, they have lefs fharpened the wits than the hearts of men against each other, and have diminished the practice, more than advanced the theory, of Morality. If I could flatter myself that this Effay has any merit, it is in fteering betwixt the extremes of doctrines. seemingly oppofite, in paffing over terms utterly unintelligible, and in forming a temperate, yet not inconfiftent, and a fhort, yet not imperfect, fyftem of Ethics.
This I might have done in profe; but I chofe 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