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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.

THE

CONTENTS.

EPISTLE I.

Of l be Nature and State of Man, withrespeil
to the U N i v E R s I,

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
suited to his place and rank in the creation, agreea-
ble tothe general Order of Things, and conformable
to EndstfWRelations/o himuninoivn,yer. 33 &c. That it is partly upon his Ignorance of future events,
and partly upon the Hope of a future state, that all
his Happiness in the present depends, ver. 77, &c.

The pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretend-
ing to more Perfection, the cause of Man's error
and misery. The impiety of putting himself in the
place of God, and judging of the fitness or unfit ness,
perfection or imperfection, justice or injustice of his
dispensations; ver. 113, &c.

The absurdity ofconceiting himselfthe final cause of the
creation, or expecting that perfection in the moral
world, which is not in the natural, ver. 137, &c.

The unreasonableness of his complaints against Provi-
dence, while, on the one hand, he demands the Per-
fections of the Angels; and, on the other, the bodily
qualification of the Brutes; though to possess any of
the sensitive faculties in a higher degree, would ren-
der him miserable^ ver. 173, &c.

That throughout the whole visible world, an uni-
versal order and gradation in the sensual and
mental faculties is observed, which causes a sub- •ordination of creature to creature, and of all crea-
tures to Man. Tl)e gradation of sense, instinct,
thought, reflection, reason; that Reason alone
countervails all the other faculties, ver. 207.

Hoiv much farther this order and subordinations/"
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.

Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the
limits near, yet the things separate and evident:
IVhat is the office sf Reason, ver- 195, &c.

How odious Vice in itself, and how we deceive our
selves into it, ver; 217, &c.

That, however, the Ends of Providence and general
Good are answered in our Passions and Imperfec-
tions, ver. 219, &c.

How usefully these are distributed to all Oiders of
Men, ver. 241 &c.

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.

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