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ARGUMENT OF E P I S T L E IV. Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to
Happiness. I. FALSE Notions of Happiness, Philofopbical and
Popular, answered 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 on general, and since he 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. What the Happiness of Individuals is, as far as is consistent with the constitution of this world; and that the good Man bås bere the advantage, Ver. 77. The error of imputing to Virtue wbat are only the calamities of Nätüre; or of Fortune, Ver. 94. IV. The folly of expeeting that God should alter bis general Laws in favour of particulars, Ver. 121.
V. That we are not judges who are good; but that wboever they are, they must be happiest, Ver. 133, &c. VI. That external goods are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with, or destructive of, Virtue, Ver. 165. That even these can make no Man bappy without Virtue : Instanced in Riches, Ver. 183. Ho nours, Ver. 191. Nobility, Ver. 203. Greatness, Ver. 215. Fame, Ver. 235. Superior Talents, Ver. 257, &c. With pictures of human Infelicity in Mer polesed 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 i be perfection of Virtue and Happiness confifts in a conformity to the Order of Providence here, and a Resignation to it bere and bereafter, Ver. 326, &c.
Vol. III facing p-159
N.Blakey inv.at dels
wthen this Truthlenough for Man to know) Virtue alone is Happynéfi below
Grayons Man. (p.IT:
E P I S T L E
H HAPPINESS! our being's end and aim!
thy name : That something still which prompts th' eternal
figh, For which we bear to live, or dare to die,
Ver. I. Oh Happiness! &c.] in the MS. thus,
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 Muse; and if she was engaged, took up with any simple Virtue next at hand, to inspire and prosper their Undertakings. This was the antient 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 his subservient to the method and reasoning of his philosophic composition, I will endeavour to explain fo uncommon a beauty,
Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies, 5
It is to be observed that the pagan Deities had cach their several names and places of abode; with some of which they were supposed to be more delighted than others; and consequently to be then most propitious when invoked by the fa. vourite name and place: Hence we find, the hymns of Homer, Orpheus, and Callimachus to be chiefly employed in reckoning up the several titles and habitations by which the patron God was distinguished. Our Poet hath made these two circumstances 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 orna. ment of a poetic Invocation; in which the several names, that Happiness goes by, are enumerated.
“ O Happiness ! our being's end and aim, “ Good, Pleasure, Ease, Content! whate'er thy Name:
After the DEFINITION, that which follows next, is the PROPOSITION, which is, that human Happiness confifts not in external Advantages, but in Virtue. For the subject of this epiftle is the detecting the false notions of Happiness, and settling and explaining the true; and this, the Poet lays down in the next fixteen lines. Now the enumeration of the several fituations where Happiness is supposed to refide, is a fummary of false Happiness placed in Externals:
NO TE S. VER. 6. O'erlook'd, feen double, &c.] O'erlook'd by those who place Happiness in any thing exclusive of Virtue ; feen double by those who admit any thing else to have a share with Virtue in procuring Happiness; these being the two general mistakes which this epiftic is employed to confute.