« PreviousContinue »
This I might have done in prose; but I chose verse, and even rhyme, for two reasons: The one will appear obvious; that principles, maxims, or precepts so written both strike the reader more strongly at first, and are more easily retained by him afterwards. The other may seem odd, but it is true; I found I could express them more Jhortly this way than in prose itself, and nothing is truer than that much of the force, as well as grace, of arguments or instructions depends on their conciseness. I was unable to treat this part of my subject more in detail, without becoming dry and tedious; or more poetically, without sacrificing perspicuity to ornament, without wandering from the precision, or breaking the chain of reasoning. If any man can unite all these , without diminution of any of them, I freely confess he will compass a thing above my capacity.
What is now published, isonly to be considered as a general map of Man, marking out no more that the greater parts, their extent, their limits, and their connexion, but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in their charts which are to follow. Consequently these Epistles in their progress (if I make any progress) will be less dry, and more susceptible of poetical ornament. I am here only opening the fountains, and clearing the passage: to deduce the rivers, to follow them in their course, and to observe their effects, would be a task more agreeable.
Of l be Nature and State of Man, withrespeil
f~\ F Man in the abstract,—That we can judge only
with regard to our own system, being ignorant of the relations of systems and things, ver. i']hkc.
That Man is not to be deemed imperfect, but a Being
The pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretend-
The absurdity ofconceiting himselfthe final cause of the
The unreasonableness of his complaints against Provi-
That throughout the whole visible world, an uni-
Hoiv much farther this order and subordinations/"
The extravagance, madness and pride ofsuch a de-
Its providential Use, infixing our Principle, and ascertaining our Virtuey ver. 175.
Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the
How odious Vice in itself, and how we deceive our
That, however, the Ends of Providence and general
How usefully these are distributed to all Oiders of
How useful they are to Society, ver. 249,&c.
And to the Individuals, ver. 263.
In every state, and every age of Use, ver. 271, &c.