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10. 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, Hearen bestows on thee. Submit-In this or any other sphere, Secure to be as bless'd 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; All discord, harmony not understood ; All partial evil, universal good : And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite, One truth is clear, Whatever is is right.
AN ESSAY ON MAN.
OF THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN WITH RESPECT
TO HIMSELF AS AN INDIVIDUAL.
1. THE business of man not to pry into God, but to study
himself. His middle nature; his powers and frailties. The limits of his capacity. 2. The two principles of man, self-love and reason, both necessary. Self-love the stronger, and why. Their end the same. 3. The passions, and their use. The predominant passion, and its force. Its necessity, in directing men to different purposes. Its providential use, in fixing our principle, and ascertaining our virtue. Virtue and vice joined in our mixed nature; the limits near, yet the things separate and evident: what is the office of reason. 5. How odious vice in itself, and how we deceive ourselves into it. 6. That, however, the ends of Providence, and general good, are answered in our passions and imperfections. How usefully these are distributed to all orders of men: how useful they are to society; and to the individuals, in every state, and every age of life.
1. Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
With too much knowledge for the sceptic side,
Superior beings, when of late they saw
Could he, whose rules the rapid comet bind,
Trace science then, with modesty thy guide;
2. Two principles in human nature reign,
Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the soul;
Or, meteor-like, flame lawless through the void, Destroying others, by himself destroy'd.
Most strength the moving principle requires ; Active its task, it prompts, impels, inspires. Sedate and quiet the comparing lies, Form’d but to check, deliberate, and advise. Self-love still stronger, as its objects nigh; Reason's at distance, and in prospect lie: That sees immediate good by present sense ; Reason the future and the consequence. Thicker than arguments, temptations throng; At best more watchful this, but that more strong The action of the stronger to suspend, Reason still use, to reason still attend. Attention habit and experience gains; Each strengthens reason, and self-love restrains. Let subtle schoolmen teach these friends to fight, More studious to divide than to unite; And
grace and virtue, sense and reason split, With all the rash dexterity of wit. Wits, just like fools, at war about a name, Have full as oft no meaning, or the same. Self-love and reason to one end aspire, Pain their aversion, pleasure their desire; But greedy that, its object would devour; This taste the honey, and not wound the flower: Pleasure, or wrong or rightly understood, Our greatest evil or our greatest good.
3. Modes of self-love the passions we may call ; 'Tis real good or seeming moves them all.