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Say, shall my little bark attendant sail,
Pursue the triumph, and partake the gale?
THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER.
DEO OPT. MAX.
It may be proper to observe, that some passages, in the preceding Essay, having been unjustly sus pected of a tendency towards fate and naturalism, the author composed this Prayer as the sum of all, to show that his system was founded in free-will, and terminated in piety: That the First Cause was as well the Lord and Governor of the universe as the Creator of it; and that, by submission to his will (the great principle enforced throughout the Essay, was not meant the suffering ourselves to be carried along by a blind determination, but the resting in a religious acquiescence, and confidence full of hope and immortality. To give all this the greater weight, the poet chose for his model the Lord's Prayer, which, of all others, best deserves the title prefixed to this paraphrase.
ATHER of all ! in every age,
In every clime ador'd,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
Thou Great First Cause, least understood;
To know but this, that thou art good,
And that myself am blind;
Yet gave me, in this dark estate,
To see the good from ill; And, binding nature fast in fate, Left free the human will:
What conscience dictates to be done, Or warns me not to do,
This, teach me more than hell to shun, That, more than heaven pursue.
What blessings thy free bounty gives,
For God is paid when man receives:
Yet not to earth's contracted span
Let not this weak, unknowing hand
If I am right, thy grace impart,
Save me alike from foolish pride,
At aught thy wisdom has deny'd,
Teach me to feel another's woe,
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.
Mean though I am, not wholly so,
Through this day's life or death.
This day, be bread and peace my lot:
To thee, whose temple is all space,
One chorus let all being raise !
IN FOUR EPISTLES TO SEVERAL PERSONS.
Est brevitate opus, ut currat sententia, neu se
The Essay on Man was intended to have been comprised in four books:
The first of which, the author has given us under that title, in four epistles.
The second was to have consisted of the same number: 1. Of the extent and limits of human reason. 2. Of those arts and sciences, and of the parts of them, which are useful, and therefore attainable, together with those which are unuseful, and therefore unattainable. 3. Of the nature, ends, use, and application of the different capacities of men. 4. Of the use of learning, of the science of the world, and of wit; concluding with a satire against a misapplication of them, illustrated by pictures, characters, and examples.