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See, thro' this air, this ocean, and this earth,
What if the foot, ordain'd the duft to tread,
All are but parts of one ftupendous whole,
refreshes in the breeze,
Warms in the fun,
As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns,
Cease then, nor order imperfection name:
And fpight of pride, in erring reafon's spight,
Of the NATURE and STATE of MAN, with Respect to HIMSELF as an Individual
THE bufinefs of man is not to pry into God, but to ftudy himself. His middle nature; his powers and frailties, and the limits of his capacity, 43. The two principles of man, felf-love and reason, both neceffary; self-love the stronger, and why? their end the fame, 83. The PASSIONS, and their use, 83 to 120. The predominant paffion, and its force, 122 to 150; its neceffity, in directing men to different purposes, 153, &c. its providential ufe, in. fixing our principle and ascertaining our virtue, 167. Virtue and vice joined in our mixt nature; the limits near, yet the things feparate, and evident. What is the office of reason? 187, &c. How odious vice in itself, and how we deceive ourselves into it, 209. That however, the ends of providence and general good are answered in our pasions, and imperfections, 230, &c. How usefully they are distributed to all orders of men, 233. How useful they are to Society, 241, and to the individuals, 253. In every state, and in every age of life, 263, &c.
NOW then thyfelf, prefume not God to scan ; The proper ftudy of mankind is Man. Plac'd on this ifthmus of a middle ftate, A being darkly wife, and rudely great : With too much knowledge for the sceptic fide, With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride, He hangs between'; in doubt to act, or rest, In doubt to deem himself a god, or heast; In doubt, his mind or body to prefer, Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err; Alike in ignorance, his reafon fuch, Whether he thinks too little, or too much : Chaos of thought and paffion, all confus'd; Still by himself abus'd, or dif-abus'd; Created half to rife, and half to fall; Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all; Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd: The glory, jeft, and riddle, of the world!
Go wond'rous creature! mount where science guides, Go measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides, Inftruct the planets in what orbs to run, Correct old time, and regulate the fun; Go foar with Plato to th' empyreal sphere, To the firft good, first perfect, and first fair; Or tread the mazy round his follow'rs trod, And quitting sense call imitating God, As eastern priests in giddy circles run, And turn their heads to imitate the fun. Go, teach eternal wifdom how to ruleThen drop into thyself, and be a fool!
Superior beings, when of late they faw A mortal man unfold all nature's law,