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ESSAY ON MAN.
OF THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN, WITH
RESPKCT TO THE UNIVERSE.
THE ARGUMENT. OF Man in the abstract. That we can judge only
with regard to our own system, heing ignorant of the relation of systems and things. That man is not to be deemed imperfect, but a being suited to his place and rank in the
creation, agreeable to the general order of things, and conformable to ends and relations to him unknown. That it is partly upon his ignorance of futurt events and partly upon the hope of a future state, that all his happiness in the present depends The pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretendiog to more perfection, the cause of man's error and misery. The impiety of puiting himself in the place of God, and judging of the fitness or unfitness, perfection or in perfection, justice or injustice, of bis dispensations. The absurdity of conceiting himself the final cause of the creation, or expecting that perfection in in the moral world, which is not in the natural. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence, while on the one hand he demands the perfection of the Angels; on the other, the bodily qualificatirns of the brutes; 'hough to possess any of the sensia tive faculties in a higher degree would render him miserable. That throughout the whole visible world, an universal order and gradation in the sensual and mental faculties is nbserved, which causes a subordinmion of creature to creature, and of all creatures to
man. The gradation of sense, instinct, thought, re. Aection, reason; that reason alone countervails all the other faculties. How much farther this order and subordination of living creatures may extend, above and below us; were any part of wbich broken, not tbat part ouly, but the whole connected creation, must be destroyed. The extravagance, madness and pride of such a desire The consequence of all, the absolute submission due to Providence, both as to our present and future stale.
St. John! leave all meaner things To low ambition, and the pride of kings. Let us, (since life can little more supply,
Than just to look about us, and to die) Expatiate free o'er all this scene of man; A mighty maze! but not without a plan: Awild, where weeds and flow'rs promäsc'ous shoof Or garden tempting with forbidden fruit. Together 'let us beat this ampte field, Try what the open, what the covert yield: The latent tracts, the giddy heights explore, Of all who blindly creep, or sightless soar; Eye nature's walks, shoot folly as it flies, And catch the manners living as they rise; Laugh where me must, be candid where we can, But vindicate the ways of God to man. Say, first, of God above, or Man below, What can we reason, but from what we know?
of man, what see we but his station here, rom which to reason, or to which refer? Through worlds unnumber'd, though the God be
known, Tis ours to trace him only in our own. He, who through vast immensity can pierce, Bee worlds on worlds compose one universe, Observe how system into system runs, What other planets circle other suns, What vari'd being peoples every star, May tell why Heaven has made us as we are, But of this frame, the bearings and the ties, The strong connexions, nice dependencies, Bradations just; has thy pervading soul Look'd through? or can a part contain the whole?
Is the great chain, that draws all to agree,
Presumptuous man! the reason would'st thou find,