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E P I S T L E IV. Of the Nature, and State of Man with respect to
Happiness. I. FALSE Notions of Happiness, Philosophical and Po
pular, answered from x 19 to 77. II. It is the End of all Men, and attainable by all, x 30. God intends Happiness to be equal; and to be so, it must be social, fince all particular Happiness depends on general, and since he governs by general, not particular Laws, x 37.
be As it is necessary
for Order, and the peace and welfare of Society, that external goods should be unequal, Happiness is not made to consist in these, ♡ 51. But, notwithstanding that inequality, the balance of Happiness among Mankind is kept even by Providence, by the two Pasions of Hope and Fear, x 70. III. What the Happiness of Individuals is, as far as is consistent with the constitution of this world; and that the good Man has here the advantage, x 77. The error of imputing to Virtue what are only the calamities of Nature, or of Fortune, x 94. IV. The folly of expecting that God
& should alter his general Laws in favour of particulars, V 121.
V. That we are not judges who are good ; but that, whoever they are, they must be happiest, Ý 133, &c. VI. That external goods, are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with, or destructive of Virtue, x 165. That even these can make no Man happy without Virtue : Instanced in Riches, x 183. Honours, ♡ 191. Nobility, X 203. Greatness, x 215. Fame, x 235. Superior Talents, Ý 257, &c. With piętures of human Infelicity in Men poßeffed of them all, Ý 267, &c. VII. That Virtue only constitutes a Happiness, whose obječt is universal, and whose proSpeet eternal, x 307, &c. That the perfection of Virtue and Happiness confits in a conformity to the Order of Providence here, and a Resignation to to it here and hereafter, X 320), Eçc.
N:Blakey inv.et dels
Know then this Truthlenough for Man to know) Virtue alone is Happynes below.
Grayon Man.Ep. 1V.
EPIS T L E
H HAPPINESS!. our being's end and aim!
Oh Happiness! to which we all aspire,
COMMENTARY. THE two foregoing epistles having considered Man with regard to the Means (that is, in all his relations, whether as an Individual, or a Member of Society) this last comes to consider him with regard to the End, that is, Happiness.
It opens with an Invocation to Happiness, in the manner of the ancient poets, who, when destitute of a patron God, applied to the Mufe, and, if she was engaged, took up with any fimple Virtue next at hand, to inspire and prosper their undertakings. This was the ancient Invocation, which few modern poets have had the art to imitate with any degree either of spirit or decorum : but our author hath contrived to make it subfervient to the method and reasoning of his philosophic composition. I will endeavour to explain so uncommon a beauty.
It is to be observed that the Pagan deities had each their several names and places of abode, with some of which they were fupposed to be more delighted than others, and consequently to be then most propitious when invoked by the favourite name and place: Hence we find, the hymns of Homer, Orpheus, and Callimachus to be chiefly employed in reckoning up the several names and places of abode by which the patron God was distinguisted, Our poet hath made these two circumstances VOL. III.
That something still which prompts th'eternal figh,
COMMENTARY. serve to introduce his subject. His purpose is to write of Happiness; method therefore requires that he first define what men mean by Happiness, and this he does in the ornament of a poetic Invocation, in which the several names, that happiness goes by, are enumerated.
Oh Happiness ! our being's end and aim,
Good, Pleasure, Ease, Content! whate'er thy Name : After the Definition, that which follows next, is the Propofition, which is, that human Happiness confifts not in external Advantages, but in Virtue. For the subject of this epistle is the detecting the false notions of Happiness, and settling and explaining the true ; and this the poet lays down in the next sixteen lines. Now the enumeration of the several situations in which Happiness is supposed to reside, is a summary of false Happinels, placed in Externals :
Plant of celestial feed! if dropt below,
NOTES Ver. 6. O’erlook’d, seen double,] O'erlook'd by those who place Happiness in any thing exclusive of Virtue ; seen double by those who admit any thing else to have a share with Virtue in procuring Happiness; these being the two general mistakes that this epistle is employed in confuting.