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From thee to Nothing.-On superior powers
you strike, 245 Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
And, if each system in gradation roll Alike essential to th' amazing Whole, The least confusion but in one, not all That system only, but the Whole mult fall. 250 Let Earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fiy, Planets and Suns run lawless through the sky; Let ruling Angels from their spheres be hurlid, Being on Being wreck’d, and world on world; Heaven's whole foundations to their centre nod,
255 And Nature trembles to the throne of God. All this dread Order break--for whom? for thee ? Vile worm !oh Madness! Pride! Impiety!
IX. What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread, Or hand, to toil, aspir’d to be the head ?
260 What if the head, the eye, or ear, repin'd To serve mere engines to the ruling Mind? Just as absurd for any part to claim To be another, in this general frame: Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains 265 The great directing Mind of all ordains.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul ; That, chang'd through all, and yet in all the same; Great in the earth, as in th’æthereal frame ; 270
Warms in the fun, refreshes in the breeze,
X. Cease then, nor Order Imperfection name : Our
proper bliss depends on what we blame. Know thy own point: This kind, this due degree Of blindness, weakness, Heaven bestows on thee. Submit.-In this, or any other sphere, Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear : Safe in the hand of one disposing Power, Or in the natal, or the mortal hour. All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee; All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see; 290 All Discord, Harmony not understood : All partial Evil, universal Good. And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's fpite, One truth is clear, WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.
Reason, to think of God, when she pretends,
E P I S T L E
Of the Nature and State of Man with respect 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, ver. 1 to 19. The Limits of his Capacity, ver, 19, &c. II. The two Principles of Man, Self-love and Reason, both necessary, ver. 53, &c. Self-love the stronger, and why, ver. 67, &c. Their end the same, ver. &i, &c. III. The Paffions, and their use, ver. 93 to 130. The Predominant Passion, and its force, ver. 132 to 160. Its Necessity, in directing Men to different purposes, ver. 165, &c. Its providential Use, in fixing our Principle, and ascertaining our Virtue, ver. 177. IV. Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the limits near, yet the things separate and evident: What is the Office of Reason, ver. 202 to 216. V. How odious Vice in it. felf, and how we deceive ourselves into it, ver. 217. VI. That, however, the Ends of Providence and general Good are answered in our Passions and Imperfections, ver. 238, &c. How usefully these are distributed to all Orders of Men, ver. 241. How useful they are to Society, ver. 251. And to Individuals, ver. 263. In every state, and every age of life, ver. 273, &c.
NOW then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study Mankind is Man. Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state, A being darkly wise, and rudely great : With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side, 5. With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride, He hangs between ; in doubt to act, or rest; In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast; In doubt his Mind or Body to prefer; Born but to die, and reasoning but to err;
10 Alike in ignorance, his reason such, Whether he thinks too little, or too much : Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd; Still by himself abus’d or disabus’d; Created half to rise, and half to fall;
15 Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all ; Sole judge of Truth, in endless Error hurl'd: The glory, jeit, and riddle of the world!
Go, wondrous creature! mount where Science guides, Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides ;
Ver. 2. Ed. ist.
The only science of Mankind is Man.
For more perfection than this state can bear
Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,
Superior beings, when of late they saw
Then drop into thyself, &c.
Shew by what rules the wandering planets stray,