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IN FOUR EPISTLES
TO SEVERAL PERSONS.
Est brevitate opus, ut currat sententia, neu se
SIR RICHARD TEMPLE, LORD COBHAM.
Of the Knowledge and Characters of MEN.
THAT it is not sufficient for this knowledge to consider Man in the Abstract: Books will not serve the purpose, nor yet our own Experience singly, Ver. 1. General maxims, unless they be Some peculiformed upon both, will be but notional, Ver. 10. arity in every man, characteristic to himself, yet varying from himself, Ver. 15. Difficulties arising from our own Passions, The shortness of Life, to Fancies, Faculties, &c. Ver. 31. observe in, and the uncertainty of the Principles of Action in Our own Principle of action men, to observe by, Ver. 37, &c. often hid from ourselves, Ver. 41. Some few characters plain, but in general confounded, dissembled, or inconsistent, Ver. 51. The same man utterly different in different places and seasons, Ver. 71. Unimaginable weaknesses in the greatest, Ver. 77, &c. Nothing constant and certain but God and Nature, Ver. 95. No judging of the Motives from the actions; the same actions proceeding from contrary Motives, and the same Motives influencing contrary actions, Ver. 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, Ver. 120. Characters given according to the rank of men of the world, Ver. 135. And some reason for it, Ver. 141. Education alters the Nature, or at least the
Character, of many, Ver. 149. Actions, Passions, Opinions, Manners, Humours, or Principles, all subject to change. No judging by Nature, from Ver. 158 to 174. III. It only remains to find (if we can) his RULING PASSION: That will certainly influence all the rest, and can reconcile the seeming or real inconsistency of all his actions, Ver. 175. Instanced in the extraordinary character of Clodio, Ver. 179. A caution against mistaking second qualities for first, which will destroy all possibility of the knowledge of mankind, Ver. 210. Examples of the strength of the Ruling Passion, and its continuation to the last breath, Ver. 222, &c.