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AN ESSAY ON MAN.
IN FOUR EPISTLES TO ST. JOHN, LORD BOLINGBROKE. BY ALEXANDER POPE. WITH NOTES, AND ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATIONS.
F THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN WITH RESPECT TO THE UNIVERSE.-Of Man, in the abstract. That we can judge only with regard to our own system, being ignorant of the relations of systems and things. That man is not to be deemed imperfect-as he came from the hand of the Creatorbut 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. 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. 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 of the fitness or unfitness, perfection or imperfection, justice or injustice, of his dispensations. The absurdity of conceiting himself the final cause of the creation, or expecting that perfection in the moral world which is not in the natural. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence, while on the one hand he demands the perfections of the angels, on the other the bodily qualifications of the brutes. That to possess any of the sensitive faculties in a higher degree would render him miserable. That throughout the whole visible world a 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, reflection, reason; that reason alone countervails all the other faculties-save the spiritual. How much farther this order and subordination of living creatures may extend above and below us; wepe any part of which broken, not that part only, but the whole connected creation must be destroyed. The extravagance, madness, and pride of such a desire. The consequence of all, the absolute submission due to Providence, both as to our present and future state.
WAKE, my ST. JOHN! leave all meaner things
Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man,
I. Say first, of God above, or man below,
He who through vast immensity can pierce,
What other planets circle other suns,
* That is, to put man in right relations with the laws of life, health, and happiness.
See Spurzheim's "Natural Laws of Man" for an elaboration of this thought.
AN ESSAY ΟΝ ΜΑΝ.
What varied being peoples every star,
II. Presumptuous man! the reason wouldst thou find,
Of systems possible, if 'tis confest,
In human works, though labored on with pain,
In God's, one single can its end produce,
When the proud steed shall know why man restrains
When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod,
* In other words, man was made to fill a certain sphere on earth-was made just as God intended him to be, with all the faculties and functions necessary for his use in perpetuating his race. But man has “fallen," become “perverted;" has violated the laws of his being, and, by dissipation, crime, and disease, is not permitted to "live out half his days." God made him man. He becomes, by his own perversity, what he most assuredly is, a miserable sinner in more ways than one.