Page images
PDF
EPUB

E P I S T L E

III.

Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to

Society.

1. THE whole universe one system of society, ver. 7.

&c. Nothing made wholly for itself, nor yet wholly for another, ver. 27. The happiness of animals mutual, ver. 49. II. Reason or instinct operate alike to the good of each individual, ver. 79. Reason or instinct operate also to society in all animals, verse 109. III. How far society carried by instinct, ver. 115. How much farther by reason, ver. 128. IV. Of that which is called the State of Nature, verse 144. Reafon instructed by instinct in the invention of arts, ver. 166, and in the forms of society, ver. 176. V. Origin of political societies, ver. 196. Origin of monarchy, ver. 207.

Patriarchal government, v. 212. VI. Origin of true religion and government, from the same principle, of love, 231, &c. Origin of superstition and tyranny, from the fame principle, of fear, ver. 237, &c. The infiuence of self-love operating to the social and public good, ver. 266. Restoration of true religion and government on their first principle, ver. 285. Mixt government, ver. 288. Various forms of each, and the true end of all, ver. 300, &c.

HERE then we rest ? " The Universal Cause

“ Acts to one end, but acts by various laws.” In all the madness of superfluous health, The trim of pride, the impudence of wealth, Let this great trnth be present night and day; But most be present, if we preach or pray.

Look round our world; behold the chain of love Combining all below and all above. See plastic nature working to this end, The single atoms each to other tend, Attract, attracted to, the next in place Form’d and impelld its neighbour to embrace. See matter next, with various life endu'd, Press to one centre still, the general good. See dying vegetables life fuftain, See life dissolving vegetate again : All forms that perith other forms supply, (By turns we catch the vital breath, and die) Like bubbles on the sea of matter born, They rise, they break, and to that sea return, Nothing is foreign ; parts relate to whole ; One all-extending, all-preserving soul Connects each being, greatest with the least; Made beast in aid of man, and man of beast; All serv'd, all serving : nothing stands alone; The chain holds on, and where it ends, unknown.

Has God, thou fool! work'd solely for thy good, Thy joy, thy pastime, thy attire, thy food ? Who for thy table feeds the wanton fawn, For him as kindly spread the flowery lawn :

Is it for thee the lark ascends and fings?
Joy tunes his voice, joy elevates his wings,
Is it for thee the linnet pours his threat ?
Loves of his own and raptures fwell the note.
The bounding steed you pompoufiy bestride,
Shares with his lord the pleasure and the pride.
Is thine alone the feed that Arews the plain ?
The birds of heaven shall vindicate their grain,
Thine the full harvest of the golden year?
Part pays, and justly, the deserving steer:
The log that plows not, nor obeys thy call,
Lives on the labou rs of this lord of all.

Know, nature's children shall divide her care ;
The fur that warms a monarch, warm'd a bear.
While man exclaims, .“ See all things for my use!"
" See man for mine!” replies a pamper'd goose :
And just as short of reason he must fall,
Who thinks all made for one, not one for all,

Grant that the powerful fill the weak controul ; Be man the wit and tyrant of the whole : Nature that tyrant checks; he only knows, And helps, another creature's wants and woes. Say, will the falcon, stooping from above, Smit with her varying plumage, spare the dove? Admires the jay the inftet's gilded wings ? Or hears the hawk when Philomela fings? Man cares for all: to birds he gives his woods, To beafts his pastures, and to fish his floods; For some his interest prompts him to provide, For more his pleasure, yet for more his pride;

All feed on one vain patron, and enjoy
Th' extensive blessing of his luxury,
That very life his learned hunger craves,
He faves from famine, from the savage faves;
Nay, feasts the animal he dooms his feast,
And, till he ends the being, makes it blest :
Which sees no more the ftroke, or feels the pain,
Than favour'd man by touch ethereals lain,
The creature had his feast of life before;
Thou too must perish, when thy feast is o'er!
To each unthinking being, heaven a friend,
Gives not the useless knowledge of its end ;
To man imparts it; but with such a view
As, while he dreads.it, makes him hope it too ;
The hour conceal'd, and so remote the fear,
Death still draws nearer, never seeming near.
Great standing miracle! that heaven assign'd
Its only thinking thing this turn of mind.

II. Whether with reason, or with instinct bleft,
Know, all enjoy that power which suits them beft;
To bliss alike by that direction tend,
And find the means proportion's to their end.
Say, where full instinct is th’ unerring guide,
What Pope or council can they need beside!
Reason, however able, cook at best,
Cares not for service, or but serves when prest,
Stays till we call, and then not often ntar;
But honest instinct comes a volunteer,
Sure never to o'er-shoot, but just to hit;
While still too wide or fort is human wit ;

Sure by quick nature happiness to gain,
Which heavier reason labours at in vain.
This too serves always, reason never long ;
One must go right, the other may go wrong.
See then the acting and comparing powers
One in their nature, which are two in ours !
And reason raise o'er instinct as you can,
In this ’tis God directs, in that 'tis man.
Who taught the nations of the field and wood
To Thun their poison, and to chuse their food ?
Prescient, the ties or tempelts to withstand,
Build on the wave, or arch beneath the sand?
Who made the spider parallels design,
Sure as De Moivre, without rule or line ?
Who bid the stork, Columbus-like, explore
Heavens not his own, and worlds unknown before!
Who calls the council, states the certain day,
Who forms the phalanx, and who points the way!

III. God, in the nature of each being, founds
Its proper bliss, and fets its proper bounds:
But as he fram'd a whole, the whole to bless,
On mutual wants built mutual happiness :
So from the first, eternal order ran,
And creature fink'd to creature, man to man.
Whate'er of life all quick’ning aether keeps,
Or breathes thro' air, or shoots beneath the deeps,
Or pours profuse on earth, one nature feeds
The vital fame, and swells the genial feeds.
Not man alone, but all that roam the wood,
Or wing the sky, or roll along the food,

« EelmineJätka »