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Know thy own point: This kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee.
Submit. In this, or any other sphere,
Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear;
Safe in the hand of one disposing Pow'r.
Or in the natal, or the mortal hour.
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All chance, Direction, which thou canst not see;
All discord, Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good:
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,
One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.
THE ORIGIN OF SUPERSTITION AND TYRANNY.
WHO first taught souls enslav'd, and realms undone,
Th' enormous faith of many made for one;
That proud exception to all Nature's laws,
T' invert the world, and counter-work its Cause?
Force first made Conquest, and that conquest, Law;
'Till Superstition taught the tyrant awe,
Then shar'd the Tyranny, then lent it aid,
And Gods of Conq'rors, Slaves of Subjects made:
She 'midst the ligtning's blaze, and thunder's sound,
When rock'd the mountains, & when groan'd the ground,
She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray,
To Pow'r unseen, and mightier far than they
She, from the rending earth and bursting skies,
Saw Gods descend, and fiends infernal rise;
Here fix'd the dreadful, there the blest abodes;
Fear made her Devils, and weak Hope her Gods;
Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust,
Whose attributes were Rage, Revenge, or Lust;
Such as the souls of cowards might conceive,
And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believe
Zeal then, not charity, became the guide ;
And hell was built on spite, and heav'n on pride.
Then sacred seem'd th' ethereal vault no more;
Altars grew marble then, and reek'd with gore;
Then first the Flamen tasted living food;
Next his grim idol smear'd with human blood;
With heav'n's own thunders shook the world below,
And play'd the God an engine on his foe.
So drives Self-love, thro' just and thro' unjust,
To one Man's pow'r, abition, lucre, lust:
The same Self-love, in all becomes the cause
Of what restrains him, Government and laws.
For what one likes if others like as well,
What serves one will, when many wills rebel?
How shall he keep, what, sleeping or awake,
A weaker may surprise, a stronger take?
His safety must his liberty restrain :
All join to guard what each desires to gain.
Forc'd into virtue thus by Self-defence,
Ev'n king's learn'd justice and benevolence :
Self-love forsook the path it first pursu❜d,
And found the private in the public good.
'Twas then, the studious head or gen'rous mind, Follow'r of God, or friend of human kind, Poet or patriot, rose but to restore
The Faith and Moral, Nature gave before;
Re-lum'd her ancient light, not kindled new ;
If not God's image, yet his shadow drew :
Taught Pow'r's due use to People and to Kings,
Taught not to slack, nor strain its tender strings,
The less, or greater, set so justly true,
That touching one must strike the other too;
'Till jarring int❜rests of themselves create
Th' according music of a well-mix'd State.
Such is the world's great harmony, that springs
From Order, Union, full Consent of things:
Where small and great, where weak and mighty, made
To serve, not suffer, strengthen, not invade;
More pow'rful each as needful to the rest,
And, in proportion as it blesses, blest;
Draw to one point, and to one centre bring
Beast, Man, or Angel, Servant, Lord, or King.
For Forms of government let fools contest;
Whate'er is best administer'd is best :
for Modes of Faith let graceless zealots fight,
His can't be wrong whose life is in the right:
In Faith and Hope the world will disagree,
But all mankind's concern is Charity :
All must be false that thwart this One great End;
And all of God that bless Mankind or mend.
Man, like the gen'rous vine, supported lives;
The strength he gains is from th' embrace he gives.
On their own axis as the Planets run,
Yet make at once their circle round the Sun ;
So two consistent motions act the Soul;
And one regards itself, and one the Whole.
Thus God and Nature link'd the gen'ral frame,
And bade Self-love and Social be the same.
OH Happiness! our beings 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,
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 diamonds in the flaming mine?
Twin'd with the wreaths Parnassian laurels yield,
Or reap'd in iron harvests of the field?
Where grows it not? If vain or toil,
We ought to blame the culture, not the soil;
Fix'd to no spot is Happiness sincere,
'Tis no where to be found, or ev'ry where ;
'Tis never to be bought, but always free,
And, fled from monarchs, St. John ? dwells with thee,
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 beasts, find pleasure end in pain;
Some, swell'd to God's, confess ev'n Virtue vain;
Or indolent, to each extreme they fall,
To trust in every 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 Opinions leave:
All states can reach it, and all heads conceive;
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
"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 satisfied:
Who most to shun or Hate Mankind pretend,
Seek an admirer, or would fix a friend :
Abstract what others feel, what others think,
All pleasures sicken, and all glories sink :
Each has his share; and who would more obtain,
Shall find the pleasure pays not half the pain.
Order is Heavn's first law; and this confest,
Some are, and must be, greater than the rest,
More rich; more wise; but who infers from hence,
That such are happier, shocks all common sense.
Heav'n to mankind impartial we confess,
If all are equal in their Happiness:
But mutual wants this Happiness increase;
All Nature's diff'rence, keeps all Nature's peace;
Condition, circumstance, is not the thing;
Bliss is the same in subject or in king;
In who obtain defence, or who defend,
In him, who is, or him who finds a friend:
Heav'n breathe's thro' every member of the Whole
One common blessing, as one common soul.
But Fortune's gifts if each alike possest,
And each were equal, must not all contest?
If then to all men Happiness was meant,
God in externals could not place Content.
Fortune her gifts may variously dispose,
And these be happy call'd, unhappy those ;
But Heav'ns just balance equal will appear,
While those are plac'd in Hope, and these in Fear:
Not present good or ill, the joy or curse,
But future views of better, or of worse.
Oh sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise,
By mountains pil'd on mountains, to the skies!
Heav'n still with laughter the vain toil surveys,
And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
Know, all the good that individuals find, Or God and Nature meant to mere mankind, Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of Sense, Lie in three words, Health, Peace, and Competence.