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AVING propofed to write fome pieces on Human
Life and Manners, fuch as (to use my Lord Ba

con's expreffion) come home to Men's Bufinefs 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 whatfoever, it is neceffary firft 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 ftudying too much finer nerves and veffels, the confirmations and ufes of which will for ever efcape our obfervation. The difputes are all upon these last, and I will venture to say, they have less 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 feemingly, oppofite; in paffing over terms utterly unintelligible; and in forming a temperate, yet not inconfiftent; and a short, yet not imperfect fyftem of Ethics.

This I might have done in profe; but I chose verse, 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 firft, and are more eafily 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 profe itself, and nothing is truer than that much of the force, as well as grace, of arguments or inftructions depend upon their concifenefs. I was unable to treat this part of my subject 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 reafoning. If any man can unite all thefe, 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 a general map of MAN, marking out no more than the greater parts, their extent, their limits, and their connexion, but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in the charts which are to follow. Confequently these Epiftles in their progrefs (if I make any progrefs) will be lefs dry, and more fufceptible of poetical ornament. I ain here only opening the fountains, and clearing the paffage to deduce the rivers, to follow them in their course, and to obferve their effects, would be a task more agreeable.



( v )




creature, and of all creatures to Man. The gradation
of fenfe, inftinct, thought, reflection, reafon; that Rea-
fon 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 defire,

ver. 259,
The confequence of all, the abfolute fubmiffion due to Pro-
vidence, both as to our prefent and future ftate,

vér. 281, &c. to the end

The Limits of his Capacity,

ver. 19, &c.

The two Principles of Man, Self-love and Reafon, both


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