« AnteriorContinuar »
D E S I G N.
HAVING proposed tr> write some pieces orfHutnart Life and Manners, such as (to use my Lord;Ba'oon:s expression) coirie home to Mert't Buslnifs and- Bofi1rit, I thought it more satisfactory: to beginwith corflidering Man in the abstract, his Nature and his State: since, to prore any moral duty,. toenforce any moral precept, or to examine the perfection or? imperfection of any creature •whatsoever, it is necessary first to know what condition jftid reiaiion it is placed in, and what is the proper end and purpose of its being.
The.- science of Human-Nature isv like all other sciences, reduced to a-se*u deaf points-:- there are not many certain truths in this world. It is therefore. in the anatomy of the Mind as in that of the Body: more good will accrue to mankind by attending to the large, open, and perceptible parts, than by studying too much siner nerves and vessels, the consirmations and uses of which will for ever escape our observation. The disputes are all upon these last, and I will venture to say, they have less sharpened the quits than the hearts of men against each other, and have diminished the practice more than advanced the theory of morality. If I could flatter myself that this Essay has any merit, it is in steering betwixt the extremes of doctrines seemingly, opposite; in passing over terms utterly unintelligible; and in forming a temperate, yet not inconsistent; and a short, yet not imperfect system of Ethics.
This I might have done in prose ; but I chose verse, and even rhyme, for two reasons: the one will appeal' obvious ; that principles, maxims, or precepts so written, .both strike the reader more strongly at sirst, and are more .easily retained by him afterwards. The other may seem odd, but it is true; I foun4 I could express them more
shortly shortly this way than In prose itself, and nothing is truer than that much of the force, as well as grace, of arguments or instructions depend upon their conciseness. I was unabk to treat this part of my subject more in detail, without becoming dry and tedious; or more poetically, without sacrisicing perspicuity to ornament, without wandering 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 willcompass 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 part's, their extent, their limits, and their connexion, but leaving the particular to be more fully delineated in the charts which are to follow. Consequently these Epistles in their progress (if I 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, would be a task more agreeable.
Of the Nature and State of Man, with refpeft to
creature, and of all creatures-to Man. The gradation
How much farther this order and subordination of living
The Limits of his Capacity, ver. i9, &c
The two Principles of Man., Sels-love. and, Reason, both
Self-love the stronger, and why, ver, 67, &c.
Their end the fame, ver. 8i, &c
ThePAssiONS, andtheirusej ver. 93, &cv
ThepredominantPaJJion, and its force, ver. i3i, &c-to i60.
ver. i65, Sec
How usefully these are distributed to all Orders of Men,
ver- 241, &c.
In ever-yjiate, and every age oflife,- ver. 271, &c.
Of the Nature and State of Man with refteft to
*TPHE whole Universe one fystemxbf Society, ver. 7, &cv
* Nothing made wholly for itself, nor yet wholly .for
The happiness of Animals mutual, ver. 49,
Reason or lnjiirift operates alike to the good of each Indi-
Reason or Instintl operates also to Society in all Animals,
How far Society carried by Instinct, ver. 115.
How much farther by Reason, ver. 131;
Of that which is called the State of Nature, ver. 147.
Reason instructed -by Instinct in the invention .of Arts,
And in the Forms of Society, ver. 179;
Original of Political Societies, ver. 199.
Origin of Monarchy, ver. 210.
Patriarchal Government, ver. 216.
Origin of true Religion and Government, from the fame
Origin of Superstition and Tyranny, from the fame Prin-
The influence of Self-love operating to thesocial and
Restoration of true Religion and Government on their
Mixt Government, ver. 289.
Yarious forms of each, and the true end of all,
ver. 303, &c.