Page images

And, in proportion as it blesses, blest ;
Draw to one point, and to one centre bring
Beast, man, or angel, servant, lord, or king.
For forms of government let fools contest;
Whate'er is best administer'd is best :
For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight;
His can't be wrong whose life is in the right.
In faith and hope the world will disagree,
But all mankind's concern is charity :
All must be false that thwart this one great end,
And all of God that bless mankind or mend.

Man, like the generous vine, supported lives;
The strength he gains is from th' embrace he gives.
On their own axis as the planets run,
Yet make at once their circle round the sun;
So two consistent motions act the soul,
And one regards itself, and one the whole.

Thus God and nature link'd the general frame, And bade self-love and social be the same.

The late Rev. Dr. Marsh, vicar of Beckenbam, fifty years ago replied to Pope's well-known lines:

For modes of faith let senseless

bigots fight; He can't be wrong whose life is

in the right.-Pope. In Chriệtian faith let Christian

nen be strong i He can't be right whose faith is

in the wrong.–Dr. Marsh.






1. False notions of happiness, philosophical and popular,

answered. 2. It is the end of all men, and attainable by all. God intends happiness to be equal; and, to be so, it must be social, since all particular happiness depends on general, and since he governs by general, not particular laws. As it is necessary for order, and the peace and welfare of society, that external goods should be unequal, happiness is not made to consist in these. But, notwithstanding that inequality, the balance of happiness among mankind is kept even by Providence, by the two passions of hope and sear. 3. What the happiness of individuals is, as far as is consistent with the constitution of this world; and that the good man has here the advantage. The error of imputing to virtue what are only the calamities of nature, or of fortune. 4. The folly of expecting that God should alter his general laws in favour of particulars. 5. That we are not judges who are good; but that whoever they are, they must be happiest. 6. That external goods are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with, or destructive of virtue. That even these can make no man happy without virtue:-instanced in Riches; Honours ; Nobility; Greatness; Fame; Superior talents, with pictures of human infelicity in men possessed of them all. 7. That virtue only constitutes a happiness, whose object is universal, and whose prospect eternal. That the perfection of virtue and happiness consists in a conformity to the order of Providence here, and a resignation to it here and hereafter.

O HAPPINESS! our being's end and aim !
Good, pleasure, ease, content-whate'er thy name,
That something still which prompts th' eternal sigh,
For which we bear to live, or dare to die;
Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies,
O’erlook’d, seen double, by the fool and wise ;
Plant of celestial seed! if dropp'd below,
Say in what mortal soil thou deign’st to grow ?
Fair opening to some court's propitious shine,
Or deep with diamonds in the flaming mine?
Twin'd with the wreaths Parnassian laurels yield,
Or reap'd in iron harvests of the field ?
Where grows?—where grows it not? If vain our toil,
We ought to blame the culture, not the soil :
Fix'd to no spot is happiness sincere;
'Tis no where to be found, or every

where: 'Tis never to be bought, but always free, And fled from monarchs, St. John! dwells with

thee. Ask of the learn’d the way? the learn’d are blive; This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind; Some place the bliss in action, some in ease, Those call it pleasure, and contentment these; Some sunk to beasts, find pleasure end in pain ; Some swell’d to gods, confess e’en virtue vain;

Or indolent, to each extreme they fall,
To trust in every thing, or doubt of all.

Who thus define it, say they more or less
Than this, that happiness is happiness?

Take nature's path and mad opinion's leave; All states can reach it, and all heads conceive; Obvious her goods, in no extreme they dwell; There needs but thinking right and meaning well; And mourn our various portions as we please, Equal is common sense and common ease. Remember man,

" the Universal Cause Acts not by partial but by general laws," And makes what happiness we justly call Subsist not in the good of one, but all. There's not a blessing individuals find, But some way leans and hearkens to the kind; No bandit fierce, no tyrant mad with pride, No cavern'd hermit, rests self-satisfied ; Who most to shun or hate mankind pretend, Seek an admirer, or would fix a friend. Abstract what others feel, what others think, All pleasures sicken, and all glories sink : Each has his share; and who would more obtain, Shall find the pleasure pays not half the pain.

Order is Heaven's first law; and, this confest, Some are and must be greater than the rest, More rich, more wise : but who infers from hence That such are happier, shocks all common sense. Heaven to mankind impartial we confess, If all are equal in their happiness :

But mutual wants this happiness increase;
All nature's difference keeps all nature's peace.
Condition, circumstance, is not the thing;
Bliss is the same in subject or in king,
In who obtain defence, or who defend,
In him who is, or him who finds a friend : [whole
Heaven breathes through every member of the
One common blessing, as one common soul.
But fortune's gifts, if each alike possest,
And each were equal, must not all contest?
If then to all men happiness was meant,
God in externals could not place content.

Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
And these be happy call'd, unhappy those;
But Heaven's just balance equal will appear,
While those are plac'd in hope and these in fear:
Not present good or ill the joy or curse,
But future views of better or of worse.

O sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise By mountains pild on mountains to the skies? Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys, And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.

Know all the good that individuals find, Or God and nature meant to mere mankind, Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense, Lie in three words--health, peace, and competence: But health consists with temperance alone, And peace, O virtue! peace is all thy own. The good or bad the gifts of fortune gain; But these less taste them as they worse obtain.

« PreviousContinue »