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Eft brevitate opus, ut currat fententia, neu fe
OF the Knowledge and Characters of Men..
THAT it is not fufficient for this knowledge to con fider man in the abftract: Books will not ferve the purpose, nor yet our own experience fingly, ver. I.. General maxims. unless they be formed upon both,, will be but notional, v. 10. Some peculiarity in characteristic to himself, yet varying from himself, v. 15. Difficulties arifing from our own paffions, fancies, faculties, &c. v. 31. The fhortness of life to obferve in, and the uncertainty of the principles of action in men to obferve by, v. 37, &c. Our own principle of action often hid. from ourselves, v. 41. Some few characters plain, but in general confounded, diffembled, or inconfiftent, v. 51 The fame man utterly different in different places and feafons, v, 73. Unimaginable weakneffes in the greatest, v. 77, &c. Nothing con ftant and certain but God and Nature, v. 95. No
judging of the motives from the actions; the fame actions proceeding from contrary motives, and the fame motives influencing contrary actions, v. 100, II. Yet to form characters, we can only take the strongest actions of a man's life, and try to make them agree: The utter uncertainty of this, from nature itself, and from policy, v, 120. Characters given according to the rank of men of the world, v. 135. And fome reason for it, v. 140. Education alters the nature, or at least character, of many, v. 149. Actions, paffions, opinions, manners, humours, or principles, all fubject to change. No judging by nature, from v. 158 to 178. III. It only remains to find (if we can) his RULING PASSION: That will certainly influence all the reft, and can reconcile the seeming or real inconfistency of all his actions, verfe 175. Inftanced in the extraordinary character of Clodio, verfe 179. A caution against mistaking fecond qualities for firft, which will deftroy all poffibility of the knowledge of mankind, v. 210. Examples of the ftrength of the Ruling Paffion, and its continuation to the last breath, verfe 222, &c.
YES, you defpife the man to books confin'd,
Who from his study rails at human kind; Tho' what he learns he speaks, and may advance Some general maxims, or be right by chance. The coxcomb bird, fo talkative and grave, That from his cage cries cuckold, whore, and knave,