« ZurückWeiter »
This I might have done in profe; but I chose verse, and even rhyme, for two reasons. will appear obvious; that principles, maxims, or precepts fo written, both strike the reader more strongly at first, and are more easily retained by him afterwards: The other may seem odd, but is true. I found I could express them more shortly this way than in prose itself; and nothing is more certain, 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 facrificing perspicuity to ornament, without wandring 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, is only to be considered as a general Map of Man, marking out no more than the greater parts, their extent, their limits, and their connection, but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in the charts which are to follow. Confequently, these Epistles in their progress (if I have health and leisure to 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, may be a talk more agreeable.
ESS AY on M A N,
H. St. John, Lord Bolingbroke.
E P I S T L E I.
to the UNIVERSE.
OF Man in the abstract-I. That we can judge only
with regard to our own fyftem, being ignorant of the relations of systems and things, $ 17, &c. II. That Man is not to be deemed imperfect, but a Being suited to his place and rank in the creation, agreeable to the general Order of things, and conformable to Ends and Relations to him unknown, x 35, &c. III. That it is partly upon his ignorance of future events, and Vol. III.
partly upon the hope of a future flate, that all his happiness in the present depends, x 77, &c. IV. Tlie pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretending to more perfetion, the cause of Man's crror and misery. The impiety of putting himself in the place of God, and judging of the fitness or unfitness, perfection or imperfection, jufiice or injuslice, of his dispensations, * 109, &c. V. The absurdity of conceiting himself the final cause of the creation, or expecting that perfection in the moral world, which is not in the natural, x 131, &c. VI. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence, while on the one hand he demands the Perfe£tions of the Angels, and on the other the bodily qualifications of the Brutes; though, to poljefs any of the sensitive faculties in a higher des gree, would render him miserable, y 173, &c. VII. That throughout the whole visible world, an universal order and gradation in the sensual and mental faculties is observed, which causes a subordination of creature to creature, and of all creatures to Man. The gradations of sense, instinct, thought, reflection, reason; that Reafon alone countervails all the other faculties, x 207. VIII. How much further this order and subordination of 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, y 233. IX. The extravagance, madness, and pride of such a desire, $ 250. X. The consequence of all, the absolute submission due to Providence, both as to our present and future state,
281, &c. to the end.