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of all men, and attainable by all, ver. 30. God in tends happiness to be equal; and, to be so, it must be social, since all particular happiness depends on gene. ral, 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 inequali. y, the balance of happiness among ?nankind 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 has here the advan. tage, ver. 77. The error of imputing to virtue what are only the calamities of nature, or of fortune, ver. 94. IV. The folly of expecting that God should alter his general laws in favour of particulars, ver. 121. V. That we are not judges who are good; but that, whoever 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. 167. That even these can make no man happy without virtue; instanced in riches, ver. 185. Ho. nours, ver. 193. Nobility, ver. 205. Greatness, ver. 217. Fame, ver. 237. Superior talents, ver. 257, &c With pictures of human infelicity in men possessed of them all, ver. 269, &c. VII. That virtue only con. stitutes a happiness, whose object is universal, and whose prospect eternal, ver. 307. 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, ver. 326, &c.
EPISTLE IV. Oh Happiness ! our being's end and ainı ! Good, pleasure, ease, content ! whate'er thy name : That something still which prompts the eternal sigh For which we bear to live, or dare to die • Which still so near us, yet beyond us lies, O'erlook'd, scen double, by the fool and wise, Plant of celestial seed ! if dropp'd below Say, in what mortai soil thou deign'st to grow
Fair opening to some court's propitious shine, Or deep with diamonds in the flaming mine? 10 Twined 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, Tis no where to be found, or every where; Tis never to be bought, but always free, . And fled from monarchs, St.John! dwells with thee.
1. Ask of the learn'd the way? The learn'd are blind. This bids to serve, and that to shun mankind; 20 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 gods, confess e'en virtue vain : Or, indolent, to each extreme they fall, To trust in every thing, or doub: of all.
Who thus define it, say they more or less Than this, that happiness is happiness?
II. Take nature's path, and mad opinions leave; All states can reach it, and all hecas conceivo: 30 Obvious her goods, in no extreme they dwell; There needs but thinking righi, and meaning well; And, mourn our various portions as we please Equal is common sense, and common case.
Remember, man, 'the Universal Cause
Each has his share; and who would more obtain,
Order is Heaven's first law; and this confessid, Some are, and must be, greater than the rest,
50 More rich, more wise ; but who infers from hence That such are happier, shocks all common sense Heaven to mankind impartial we confess, If all are equal in their happiness : But mutual wants this happiness increase ; All nature's difference 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 : 60 Heaven breathes through every member of the whole One common blessing, as one common soul. But fortune's gifts, if each alike possess’d, 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 Heaven's just balance equal will appear, While those are placed in hope, and these in fear: 10 Not present good or ill, the joy or curse, But future views of better or of worse. O, sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise, By mountains piled on mountains, to the skies ? Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys, And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
III. 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, 80 But health consists with temperance alone; And peace, O virtue! peace is all thy own. The good or bad the gifts of fortune gain; But these less taste them, as they worse ohtain.
Say: in pursuit of profit or delight,
Oh, blind to truth, and God's whole scheme below,
What makes all physical or moral ill ? There deviates nature, and here wanders will. God sends not ill, if rightly understood, Or partial ill is universal good, Or change admits, or nature lets it fall, Short, and but rare, till man improved it all. We just as wisely might of Heaven complain, That righteous Abel was destroy'd by Cain, As that the virtuous son is ill at ease When his led father gave the dire disease. 120 Think we, lind some weak prince, the Eternal Cause Prone for his favourites to reverse his laws!
IV. Shall burning Ætna, if a sage requires, Forget to thunder, and recall her fires ! On air or sea new motions be impress'd, Oh blameless Bethel ! to relieve thy breast ? When the loose mountain trembles from on high, Shall gravitation cease if you go by ? Or some old temple, nodding to its fall, For Chartres' head reserve the hanging wall? 130
V. But still this world (so fitted for the knave) Contents us not. A better shall we have? A kingdom of the just then let it be: But first consider how those just agree. The good must merit God's peculiar care! But who, but God, can tell us who they are ? One thinks on Calvin Heaven's own spirit sell; Another deems him instrument of hell : If Calvin feel Heaven's blessing, or its rod, This cries, there is, and that, there is no God. 140 What shocks one part will edify the rest, Nor with one system can they all be bless'd. The very best will variously incline, And what rewards your virtue, punisn mine. WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.—This world, 'tis true, Was made for Cæsar-but for Titus too; And which more bless'd ? who chain'd his country
say, Or he whose virtue sigh'd to lose a day?
VI. “But sometimes virtue starves while vice is fed.' What then? Is the reward of virtue bread ? 150 That, vice may merit, 'tis the price of toil; The knave deserves it, when he tills the soil ; The knave deserves it when he tempts the main; Where folly fights for kings, or dives for gain The good man may be weak, be indolent; Nor is his claim to plenty, but content. But grant him riches, your demand is o'er : No-shall the good want health, the gond wan