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AVING proposed to write some pieces on Human Life and Manners, such as (to use my lord Bacon's expreffion) "come home to Men's Business and Bofoms," 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 necessary 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 fciences, 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 uses of which will for ever escape our observation. The difputes are all upon these last; and I will venture to say, 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, fystem of Ethics.

This I might have done in profe; but I chose verse, and even rhyme, for two reasons. The one will appear obvious; that principles, maxims, or precepts fo written, both strike the reader more ftrongly at first, and are more easily retained by him afterwards: The other may feem odd, but it is true; I found I could exprefs them more shortly this way than in prose itself; and nothing is more certain, than that much of the force as well as grace of arguments or inftructions, depends on their concifenefs. 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 precifion, or breaking the chain of reasoning: If any man can unite all these without diminution of any of them, I freely confefs he will compafs a thing above my capacity.

What is now published, is only to be confidered as 2 general Map of Man, marking out no more than the greater parts, their extent, their limits, and their connection, but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in the charts which are to follow. Confequently, thefe Epiftles in their progrefs (if I have health and leisure to make any progress) 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 obferve their effects, may be a task more agreeable.








H. St. John, Lord Bolingbroke.



Of the Nature and State of Man with refpect to the Univerfe.

OF Man in the abstract.-I. That we can judge only with regard to our own system, being ignorant of the relations of fystems and things, ver. 17. &c. II. That Man is not to be deemed imperfect, but a Being fuited to his place and rank in the creation, agreeable to the general Order of things, and conformable to Ends and Relations to him unknown, ver. 35, &c. III. 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 present depends, ver. 77. &c. IV. The pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretending 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, justice or injustice, of his dispensations, ver. 109, &c. V. The abfurdity of conceiting himself the final caufe of the creation, or expecting that perfection in the moral world, which is not in the natural, ver. 131, &c. VI. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence, while on the one hand he demands the Perfection of the Angels, and on the other the bodily qualifications of the Brutes; though, to poffefs any of the sensitive faculties in a higher degree, would render him miferable, ver. 173, &c. VII. That throughout the whole vifible world, an universal order and gradation in the fenfual and mental faculties is obferved, which caufes a fubordination of creature to creature, and of all creatures to Man. The gradations of fenfe, inftinct, thought, reflection, reason; that Reafon alone countervails all the other faculties, ver. 207. VIII. 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. IX. The extravagance, madness, and pride of such a defire, ver. 250. X. The confequence of all the abfolute fubmiffion due to Providence, both as to our present and future state, ver. 281, &c. to the end.



AWAKE, my St. John! leave all meaner things

To low ambition, and the pride of Kings,

Let us (fince Life can little more fupply
Than just to look about us, and to die)
Expatiate free o'er all this fcene of Man;
A mighty maze! but not without a plan;

A Wild, where weeds and flowers promifcuous fhoot:
Or Garden, tempting with forbidden fruit.
Together let us beat this ample field,

Try what the open, what the covert yield!
The latent tracts, the giddy heights, explore
Of all who blindly creep, or fightless foar;
Eye Nature's walks, shoot Folly as it flies,
And catch the Manners living as they rife:
Laugh where we must, be candid where we can;
But vindicate the ways of God to man.

I. Say firft, of God above, or Man below,
What can we reafon, but from what we know?
Of Man, what fee we but his station here,
From which to reafon, or to which refer?

Through worlds unnumber'd tho' the God be known, 'Tis ours to trace him only in our own.

He, who through vaft immensity can pierce,
See worlds on worlds compofe one universe,
Observe how system into fyftem runs,

What other planets circle other funs,



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