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Of the Nature and State of Man with respeet
to Himself, as an Individual.
I. THE business of Man not to pry into God, but to study himself
. His Middle Nature; his Powers and Frailties, * 1 to 19. The Limits of his Capapicy, ý 19, &c. II. The two Principles of Man, Self-love and Reason, both necesary, ♡ 53, &c. Selflove the strongir, and why, 67, &c. Their end the same, y81, &c. III. The Passions, and their use, v 93 to 130. The Predominant Paffion, and its force, y 132 to 160. Its Necesity, in directing Men to different purposes, v 165, &c. Its providential Uje, in fixing our Principle, and ascertaining our Virtue, x 177. IV. Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the limits near, yet the things separate and evident: IVhat is the Office of Reason, $ 202 to 216. V. How odious Vice in itself, and how we deceive ourselves into it, ý 217. VI. That, however, the Ends of Providence and general Good are answered in our Pafions and Imperfections, $ 238, &c. How usefully these are distributed to all Orders of Men, x 241. How useful they are to Society, ý 251. . And to Individuals, ♡ 263. In every state, and every age of life, ø 273, &c.
EPIS T L E II.
1. Now then thyself, presume not to God to scan,
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
VARIATIONS. VER. 2. Ed. ift.
The only science of Mankind is Man.
COMMENTARY. VER. 2. The proper liudy, &c.] The Poet having shewn, in the first epistle, that the ways of God are too high for our comprehension, rightly draws this conclufion : and methodically makes it the subject of his Introduction to the second, which treats of the Nature of Man.
But here presently the accusers of Providence would be apt to object, and say, Admit that we had run into an excess, while we pretended to censure or penetrate the designs of Providence, a matter indeed too high for us; yet have not you gone as far into the opposite extreme, while
NOTES. Ver. 3. Platd on this isihmus, &c.] As the Poet hath given us this description of man for the very contrary purpose to what Sceptics are wont to employ such kind of paintings, namely, not to deter men from the search, but to excite them to the discovery of truth; he hath, with great judgment, represented Men as doubting and wavering between the right and wrong object; from which state there are great hopes he may be relieved by a careful and
Vol. III. facing p.44
Self Love still stronger, as ils Objects nigho,
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic fide, 5 With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
COMMENTARY. only send us to the knowledge of our own Nature: You must mock us when you talk of this as a study; for who can doubt but we are intimately acquainted with ourSELVES ? The proper conclusion therefore from your proof of our inability to comprehend the ways of God, is, that we should turn ourselves to the study of the frame of NATURE. Thus, I say, would they be apt to object; for, of all Men, those who call themselves Freethinkers are most - given up to Pride ; especially that kind of pride, which confifts in a boasted knowledge of their own nature, the effets of which are so well exposed in the first Epistle. The Poet, therefore, to convince them that this ftudy is less easy than they imagine, replies (from * 2 to 19.) to the first
Nores. circumspect use of Reason. On the contrary, had he fupposed Man so blind as to be busied in chusing, or doubtful in his choice, between two objects equally wrong, the case had appeared desperate, and all study of Man had been effectually discouraged. But M. Du Resnel, not seeing the reason and beauty of this conduct, hath run into the very abfurdity, which I have here shewn, Mr. Pope so artfully avoided. Of which, the learned Reader may take the following proofs. The Poet says
“ Man acts between; in doubt to act, or reft. Now he tells us 'tis Man's duty to act, not rejt, as the Stoics thought; and, to this their principle, the latter word alludes, whose Virtue, as he fays afterwards, is
“ Fix'd as in a Frost,
“ But strength of mind is EXERCISE not rest. Now hear the Translator, who is not for mincing matters,
Seroit-il en naillant au travail condamné ?