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EPISTLE III. of the Nature and State of Man with respect
ARGUMENT. 1. The whole universe one system of society.Nothing
made wholly for itself, nor yet wholly for another The happiness of animals mutual.-2. Reason or instinct operate alike to the good of each individual.-Reason or instinct operate also to society in all animals.-3. How far society is carried by instinct ;-how much far. ther by reason.-4. Of that which is called the state of nature. -Reason instructed by instinct in the invention of arts ;-ard in the forms of society.---5. Origin of political societies ;--origin of monarchy;---patriarchal government.---6. Origin of true religion, and government, from the same principle of love ;--origin of superstition and tyranny, from the same principle of fear. The influence of self-love operating to the social and public good.--Restoration of true religion and government on their first principle..--Mixed government. Various forms
of each, and the true end of all. HERE then we rest :-" the Universal Cause
Acts to one end, but acts by various laws." In all the madness of superfluous health, The trim of pride, the impudence of wealth, Let this great truth be present night and day, But most be present, if we preach or pray.
1. Look round our world; behold the chain of love Combining all below and all above. See plastic Nature working to this end, The single atoms each to other tend, Attract, attracted to, the 'next in place Form'd and impelld its neighbour to embrace. See matter next, with various life endued, Press to one centre still, the general good: See dying vegetables life sustain, See life dissolving vegetate again : All forms that perish other forms supply, (By turns we catch the vital breath, and die)
Like babbles on the sea of matter borne,
Has God, thou fool! work'd solely for thy good,
Know Nature's children all divide her care;
See man for mine!” replies a pamper'd goose
Grant that the powerful still the weak control;
For some his interest prompts him to provide,
To each unthinking being, Heav'n, a friend,
2. Whether with reason or with instinct blest,
Who taught the nations of the field and wood To shun their poison, and to choose their food ? Prescient, the tides or tempests to withstand, Build on the wave, or arch beneath the sand? Who made the spider parallels design, Sure as De Moivre, without rule or line? Who bid the stork, Columbus like, explore Heav'ns pot his own, and worlds unknown before Who calls the council, states the certain day, Who forms the phalanx, and who points the way?
3. God in the nature of each being founds Its proper bliss, and sets its proper bounds ; But as he fram'd the whole the whole to bless, On mutual wants built mutual happiness: So from the first eternal order ran, And creature link'd to creature, man to man." Whate'er of life all-quickening ether keeps, Or breathes thro' air, or shoots beneath the deeps, Or pours profuse on earth, one nature feeds The vital flame, and swells the genial seeds. Not man alone, but all that roam the wood, Or wing the sky, or roll along the flood, Each loves itself, but not itself alone, Each sex desires alike, till two are one. Nor ends the pleasure with the fierce embrace: They love themselves a third time in their race. Thus beast and bird their common charge attend, The mothers nurse it, and the sires defend; The young dismiss'd to wander earth or air, There stops the instinct, and there ends the care; The link dissolves, each seeks a fresh embrace, Another love succeeds another race. A longer care man's helpless kind demands; That longer care contracts more lasting bands : Reflection, reason, still the ties improve, At ouce extend the interest and the love; With choice we fix, with sympathy we burn; Each virtue in each passion takes its turn; And still new needs, new helps, new habits, rise, That graft benevolence on charities.
Still as one brood, and as another rose,
4. Nor think in Nature's state they blindly trod;
See him from nature rising slow to art! To copy instinct then was reason's part: Thus then to man the voice of nature spake “ Go, from the creatures thy instructions take; Learn from the birds what food the thickets yield; Learn from the beasts the physic of the field; Thy arts of building from the bee receive; Learn of the mole to plough, the worm to weave; Leard of the little nautilus to sail, Spread the thin oar, and catch the driving gale.