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In 1720 Dr. John Clarke published his Enquiry into the Cause and Origin of Evil, a work full of found reasoning; but almost every argument on this most difficult of all subjects had been urged many years before any of the above-mentioned treatises appeared, namely 1678, by that truly great fcholar and divine Cudworth, in that ineftimable treafury of learning and philofophy his Intellectual System, to which fo many authors have been indebted, without owning their obligations.
I thought this little account of the writers who had preceded Pope, on the subject of this Effay, not improper to be subjoined in this place. WARTON.
ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE II.
Of the Nature and State of Man, with respect to Himself, as an Individual.
I. THE bufinefs of Man not to pry into God, but to study himself. His Middle Nature; his Powers and Frailties, Ver. 1 to 19. The Limits of his Capacity, Ver. 19, &c. II. The two Principles of Man, Self-love and Reason, both necessary, Ver. 53, &c. Self-love the ftronger, and why, Ver. 67, &c. Their end the fame, Ver. 81, &c. III. The PASSIONS, and their use, Ver. 93 to 130. The Predominant Paffion, and its force, Ver. 132 to 160. Its Neceffity, in directing Men to different purposes, Ver. 165, &c. Its providential Ufe, in fixing our Principle, and afcertaining our Virtue, Ver. 177. IV. Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the limits near, yet the things separate and evident: What is the Office of Reason, Ver. 202 to 216. V. How odious Vice in itself, and how we deceive ourselves in it, Ver. 217. VI. That, however, the Ends of Providence and general Good are answered in our Paffions and Imperfections, Ver. 238, &c. How usefully these are diftributed to all Orders of Men, Ver. 241. How useful they are to Society, Ver. 251. And to Individuals, Ver. 263. In every ftate, and every age of life, Ver. 273, &c.
KNOW then thyfelf, prefume not God to scan,
The proper ftudy of Mankind is Man.
Ver. 2. Ed. ist,
Plac'd on this ifthmus of a middle state,
The only fcience of Mankind is Man.
VER. 2. The proper fiudy, &c.] The Poet having fhewn, in the first epiltle, that the ways of God are too high for our comprehenfion, rightly draws this conclufion; and methodically makes it the fubject of his Introduction to the fecond, which treats of the Nature of Man.
But here presently the accufers of, Providence would be apt to object, and fay, “Admit that we ran into an excefs, when we pretended to censure or penetrate the designs of Providence, a matter, perhaps, too high for us; yet have not you gone as far into the oppofite extreme, while you only fend us to the knowledge of OURSELVES. You must mock us when you talk of this as a study; for who can doubt but we are intimately acquainted with our own Nature? The proper conclufion, therefore, from your proof of our inability to comprehend the ways of God, is, that we should turn ourselves to the ftudy of the frame of general NATURE." Thus, I fay, would they be apt to object; for, of all Men, thofe who call themselves Freethinkers are most given up to Pride; especially to that kind which confifts in a boasted knowledge of Man, the effects of which pride are fo well expofed
VER. 3. on this ifthmus] From Cowley, in the Ode on Life and Fame. As alfo line 2o5. in the 4th Epiftle,
To Kings, or to the Favourites of Kings.