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OF THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN, WITH
RESPECT TO THE UNIVERSE.
ARGUMENT. of man in the abstract.-1. Toat we can judge only with re.
gard to our own system, being ignorant of the relations of systems and things.---2- That man is not to be deemed im. perfect, 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.-3. That it is partly upon bis ignorance of future events, and partly u poji the hope of a future state, that all his happiness in the present depends.-4. The pride of airning at more knowledge, and pretending to inore perfection, the cause of man's error and misery. The impiety of putting himself in the place of God, and judging of the Atness or unfituess, perfection or imperfection, justice or injustice, of his dispensations.-5. The absurdity of couceiting himself the final cause of the creation, or expecting that perfection in the inoral world which is not in the natural..-6. The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence, while, on the one hand, be demands the perfecs tions of the angels, and, on the other, the bodily qualiticatious of the brutes ; though to possess any of the sensitive faculties in a higher degree would render hinn miserable.-7. 'That throughout the whole visible world au universal order and g adation in the sensual and mental faculties is observed, wbich causes a subordination of creature to creature, and of all creatures to man. The gradations of sense, instinct, thought, reflection, reason: that reason alone countervaiis all the otber faculties.-8. How much further this order and subordination of living creatures may extend above and below us ; were any part of which broken, not that part only, but the whole counected creation, must be destroyed.-9. The extravagance, madness, and pride, of such a desire.-10. The consequence of all, the absolute submission due to Providence, both as to our preseut and future state.
AWAKE, my St. John! leave all meaner things
Let us (since life can little more supply
1. Say first, of God above or man below
known, 'Tis our's to trace him only in our own. He who through vast immensity can pierce, See worlds on worlds compose one universe, Observe how system into system runs, What other planets circle other suns, What varied 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 dependences, Gradations just, has thy pervading soul Look'd through ; or can a part contain the
whole? Is the great chain that draws all to agree, And drawn supports, upheld by God or thee?
2. Presumptuous man! the reason wouldst thou Why form'd so weak, so little, and so blind! (find, First, if thou canst, the harder reason guess Why form'd no weaker, blinder, and no less ? Ask of thy mother-earth, why oaks are made Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade! Or ask of yonder argent fields above, Why Jove's satellites are less than Jove!
Of systems possible, if 'tis confess'd That wisdom intinite must form the best, Where all must full or not coherent be, And all that rises rise in due degree; Then in the scale of reasoning life 'tis plain There must be, somewhere, such a rank as man; And all the question (wrangle e'er so long) Is only this,—If God has plac'd him wrong?
Respecting man, whatever wrong we call, May, must be right, as relative to all. In human works, though labour'd on with pain, A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain; In God's, one single can its end produce, Yet serves to second too some other use: So man, who here seems principal alone, Perhaps acts second to some sphere unknown, Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal : 'Tis but a part we sce, and not a whole. (strains
When the proud steed shall know why man reHis fiery course, or drives him o'er the plains : When the dull ox, why now he breaks the clod, Is vow a victim, and now Egypt's god; Then shall man's pride and dulness comprehend His actions', passions', being's, use and end; Why doing, suffering, check’d, impell’d; and why This hour a slave, the next a deity.
· Then say not man's imperfect, Heaven in faults
3. Heaven from all creatures hides the book of
Lo, the poor Indian! whose untntor'd mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind; His soul proud science never taught to stray Far as the solar walk or milky way;
Yet simple nature to his hope has giv'n,
4. Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense
5. Ask for what end the heavenly bodies shine,