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Where small and great, where weak and mighty
To serve, not suffer, strengthen, not invade;
Draw to one point, and to one center bring
For forms of government let fools contest;
Whate'er is best administer'd is best:
For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight;
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 general frame,
And bade self-loye and social be the same.
ARGUMENT. Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to Happiness. False notions of happiness, philosophical and popular....It is the end of all men, and
attainable by all....God intends happiness to be equal; and to be so, it must be social; since all particular happiness depends on al, and since he governs by general, not particular, laws.... 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....But, notwithstanding that inequality, the balance of happiness among mankind is kept even by Providence, by the two passions of hope and fear ... 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....The error of imputing to virtue what are only the calamities of nature or of fortune.... The folly of expecting that God should alter his general laws in favour of particulars....That we are not judges who are good; but that, whoever they are, they must be happiest.... That external goods are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with, or destructive of, virtue.... That even these can make no man happy without virtue: instanced in riches, honours, nobility, greatness, fare, and superior talents ; with pictures of human infelicity in men possessed of them all..., That virtue only constitutes a happiness whose object is universal, and whose prospect eternal.... That the perfection of virtue and happiness consists in a conformity to the order of Providence here, and a resignation to it here and hereafter,
O HAPPINESS! our being's end and aim !
Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies,
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,
Who thus define it, say they more or less
Take Nature's path, and mad Opinion's 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;"