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Eft brevitate opus, ut currat sententia, neu se
Impediat verbis lassis onerantibus aures :
Et sermone opus est modo tristi, fæpe jocoso,
Defendente vicem modo Rhetoris atque Poetæ,
Interdum urbani, parcentis viribus, atque
Extenuantis eas consultò.

HOR.

MORAL ESSAY S.

Ε Ρ Ι S T L Ε 1.

TO

Sir Richard Temple, Lord Cobham.

ARGUMEN T. Of the Knowledge and Characters of MEN. THAT it is not sufficient for this knowledge to con

fider Man in the Abstract: Books will not serve the purpose, nor yet our own Experience singly, y 1. General maxims, unless they be formed upon both, will be but notional, y 10. Some Peculiarity in every man, characteristic to himself, yet varying from himself, x 15. Difficulties arising from our own Pallions, Fancies, Faculties, &c. * 31. The shortness of Life, to observe in, and the uncertainty of the Principles of action in men, to observe by, x 37, &c. Our own Principle of action often bid from ourselves, Ý 41. Some few Characters plain, but in general confounded, dissembled, or inconsistent, * 51. The same man utterly different in different places and seasons, *71. Unimaginable weaknesses

in the greatest, ý 70, &c. Nothing constant and certain but God and Nature, ♡ 95. No judging of the Motives from the actions ; the same actions proceeding from contrary Motives, and the fame Motives influencing contrary actions, x 100. II, Yet to form Characters, we can only take the strongest actions of a man's life, and try to make them agree: The utter uncertainty of this, from Nature itself, and from Policy, ý 120. Characters given according to the rank of men of the world, 135. And some reason for it, y 140. Education alters the Nature, or at least Character of many, ý 149. Actions, Passions, Opinions, Manners, Humours, or Principles all subječt to change. No judging by Nature, from ø 158 to 178. III. It only remains to find (if we can) his RULING Passion: That will certainly influence all the rest, and can reconcile the seeming or real inconsistency of all his actions, x 175: Instanced in the extraordinary character of Clodio, $ 179. A caution against mistaking second qualities for first, which will destroy all possibility of the knowledge of mankind, y 210. Examples of the strength of the Ruling Paffion, and its continuation to the last breath, 222, &c.

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