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ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE IV.
Of the Nature and State of Man, with respect to
1. FALSE Notions of Happiness, philosopbical and popular, an.
swered from ver. 19 to 27. II. It is the End of all Men, and attainable by all, ver. 30. God intends Happiness to be equal ; and to be so, it must be social, since all particular Happiness depends or general, and since be governs by general, not particular Laws, ver. 37. 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, ver. 51. But, notwithstanding that inequality, the balance of Happiness among Mankind is kept even by Providence, by the two Passions of Hope and Fear, ver. 70. III. Wbat the Happiness of Individuals is, as far as is consistent with the constitution of this world; and that the good Man has bere the advantage, ver. 77. The error of imputing to Virtue wbat are only the calamities of Nature, or of Fortune,
IV. The folly of expecting that God should alter bis general Laws in favour of particulars, ver. 121. V. That we are not judges wbo are good ; but that wboever they are, they must be bappiest, ver. 133, &c. VI. That external goods are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with, or destructive of, Virtue, ver. 165. Tbat even these can make no Man bappy without Virtue : Instanced in Riches, ver. 183. Honours, ver. 191. Nobility, ver. 203. Greatness, ver. 215. Fame, ver. 235 Superior Talents, ver. 257, &c. With pictures of buman Infelicity in Men possessed of them all, ver. 267, &c. VII. That Virtue only constitutes a Happiness, whose object is universal, and whose prospect eternal, ver. 307, &c.
That the perfection of Virtue und Happiness consists in a conformity to the ORDER of PROVIDENCE bers, and a Resiguation to it bere and bereafter, ver. 326, &c.
OH HAPPINESS ! our being's end and aim !
Good, pleasure, ease, content ! whate'er thy name: That something still which prompts th' eternal sigh, For which we bear to live, or dare to die, Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies,
5. O'erlook’d, seen double, by the fool, and wise. Plant of celestial seed! if dropt below, Say, in what mortal soil thou deign'st to grow? Fair op'ning to some court's propitious shine, Or deep with di'monds in the flaming mine? Twin'd with the wreaths Parnassian laurels yield, Or reap'd in iron harvests of the field ? Where grows!--where grows it not? If vain our toil, We ought to blame the culture, not the soil : Fix'd to no spot is happiness sincere,
15 'Tis no where to be found, ar ev'ry where : 'Tis never to be bought, but always free, And fled from monarchs, St. John! dwells with thee.
Ask VER J. Ob Happiness! &c.] In the MS, thus:
Oh Happiness! to which we all aspire,
Ask of the learn’d the way? The learn’d are blind; This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind; Some place the bliss in action, some in ease, Those call it pleasure, and contentment these ; Some sunk to beașts, find pleasure end in pain ; Some swell’d to gods confess, ev'n virtue vain ! Or indolent, to each extreme they fall, To trust in ev'ry thing, or doubt of all.
Who thus define it, say they more or less Than this, that happiness is happiness?
Take nature's path, and mad opinion's leave; All states can reach it, and all heads conceive; 30 Obvious her goods, in no extreme they dwell ; There needs but thinking right, and meaning well ; And mourn our various portions as we please, Equal is common sense, and common ease. Remember, Man, “ the universal cause
35 “ Acts not by partial, but by gen’ral laws :" And makes what happiness we justly call Subsist not in the good of one, but all. There's not a blessing individuals find, But some way leans and hearkens to the kind; No bandit fierce, no tyrant mad with pride, No cavern'd hermit, rests self-satisfy'd: Who most to shun or hate mankind pretend, Seek an admirer, or would fix a friend : Abstract what others feel, what others think,
45 All pleasures sicken, and all glories sink :
Each has his share ; and who would more obtain,
ORDER is Heav'n's first law; and this confest,
Fortune After ver. 52 in the MS.
Say not, “ Heav'n's here profuse, there poorly saves, “ And for one monarch makes a thousand slaves." You'll find, when causes and their ends are known,'
'Twas for the thousand Heav'n has made that one. After ver. 66 in the MS.
'Tis peace of mind alone is at a stay: