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ESSAY ON MAN.
OF THE NATURE AND STATE OF MAN, WITH RESPECT TO THE UNIVERSE.
OF Man in the abstract.That we can judge only with regard to our own system, being ignorant of the relation of systems and things. That man is not to be deemed impertect, 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 future 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 pretending to more perfection, the cause of man's error and misery. The impiety of putting himself in the place of GOD, and judging of the fitness or unfitness, perfection or imperfection, 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 perfec tion of the Angels; on the other, the bodily qualifications of the brutes; though to possess any of the sensitive 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 observed, which causes a subordination of creature to creature, and of all creatures to
man. The gradation of sense, instinct, thought, flection, reason; that reason alone countervails all t other faculties. How much farther this order a subordination of living creatures may extend, abo and below us; were any part of which broken, n that part ouly, but the whole connected creatio must be destroyed. The extravagance, madness ar pride of such a desire The consequence of all, the a solute submission due to Providence, both as to o present and future state.
AWAKE, my St. JOHN! leave all meaner thing
Try what the open, what the covert yield:
What can we reason, but from what we know?
Of man, what see we but his station here, thefrom 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.
the great chain, that draws all to agree, And drawn, supports, upheld by God, or thee?
Presumptuous man! the reason would'st thou find,