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All forms that perish other forms supply
natures be subjected to the superior nature of the world !". The Moralist, P.
130. Whatever censures Shaftesbury has incurred for his many indecent and groundless objections against the Christian religion, yet we ought candidly to confess, that two of his treatises, The Enquiry concerning Virtue, and the Moralists, deserve attention and applause. The former is written with great perspicuity of method and closeness of argument, and with a purity and simplicity of style very different from the over-ornamented, tumid style of many of his other works. The latter is perhaps the finest imitation of the manner of Plato, as Lord Monboddo has shewn at large, in our language. In both are advanced the most cogent arguments for an Intelligent First Cause, and the benevolence, wisdom, and goodness, of a superintending Providence. Our author has therefore been guilty of manifest injustice in insinuating, in the last book of the Dunciad, ver. 418, that the
Theocles, from whom he has copied so much, and so many of whose sentiments and arguments he has adopted, is a preacher of Fate and Naturalism. And what is still more inexcusable, the words of Theocles are imperfectly quoted in the note of this passage of the Dunciad, in order to give a colour to the insinuation ; for after the words “empowered Creatress," the two following ones“or Thou,” are unfairly omitted. See Characteristics, vol. ii. p. 345. The first book of the Enquiry ends with a sentence far remote from irreligion and epicurism : “Hence we may determine justly the relation which virtue has to piety; the first being not complete without the latter; since, where the latter is wanting, there can be neither the same benignity, firmness, nor constancy; the same good composure of the affections, nor uniformity of mind. And thus the perfection and height of virtue must be owing to the belief of a God!" Vol. ii. p. 76.
In a letter of Dr. Warburton, transcribed from the manuscripts of Dr. Birch, in the British Museum, by the late Mr. Maty,"are these remarkable words: “As to the passages of Mr. Pope that correspond with Leibnitz, you know he took them from Shaftesbury; and that Shaftesbury and Leibnitz had one common original, Plato, whose system at the best, when pushed as far as Leibnitz has carried it, must end in Fate.” A strange opinion once
Like bubbles on the sea of Matter born,
prevailed, that Leibnitz was not serious in his Theodicée. Le Clerc and De Maiseaux were of this opinion. But Mr. Jourdan, in his entertaining Voyage Literaire, p. 150, has produced a letter of the celebrated and learned Mr. Le Croze, that effectually destroys this absurd supposition.
I shall add to this long note, that it seems to be an insufferable instance of affectation in Bolingbroke, never once to have mentioned Shaftesbury, who was much his superior in learning and philosophy, and from whom he has borrowed so many sentiments and opinions. See also Letters of Shaftesbury to a Young Clergyman.
Ver. 19, 20. Like bubbles, &c.] M. Du Resnel translates these two lines thus :
“ Sort du neant y réntre, et reparoit au jour.” He is here, indeed, consistently wrong: for having (as we said) mistaken the Poet's account of the preservation of Matter for the creation of it, he commits the very same mistake with regard to the vegetable and animal systems; and so talks now, though with the latest, of the production of things out of nothing. Indeed, by his speaking of their returning into nothing, he has subjected his author to M. Du Crousaz's censure. “ Mr. Pope descends to the most vulgar prejudices, when he tells us that each being returns to nothing: the Vulgar think that what disappears is annihilated," &c. Comm. p. 221. W.
Ver. 22. One all-extending, all-preserving Soul] Which, in the language of Sir Isaac Newton, is, “ Deus omnipræsens est, non per virtutem solam, sed etiam per substantiam : nam virtus sine substantia subsistere non potest.” Newt. Princ. Schol. gen. sub fin. W.
Ver. 23. Greatest with the least ;] As acting more strongly and immediately in beasts, whose instinct is plainly an external rea
All serv'd, all serving: nothing stands alone; 25
Has God, thou fool ! work'd solely for thy good,
pays, and justly, the deserving steer: 40
Know, Nature's children all divide her care; The fur that warms a monarch, warm'd a bear.
son; which made an old schoolman say with great elegance, “ Deus est anima brutorum :"
“ In this 'tis God directs". Ver. 43. Know, Nature's children all] The poetry of these lines is as beautiful as the philosophy is solid. “They who imagine that all things in this world were made for the immediate use of Man alone, run themselves into inextricable difficulties. Man, indeed, is the head of this lower part of the creation; and perhaps it was designed to be absolutely under his command. But that all things here tend directly to his own use, is, I think, neither easy nor necessary to be proved. Some manifestly serve for the food and support of others, whose souls may be necessary to prepare and preserve their bodies for that
While Man exclaims, “See all things for my use !"
Grant that the pow'rful still the weak control;
After Ver. 46, in the former Editions,
What care to tend, to lodge, to cram, to treat him !
same time be happy in a consciousness of their own existence. It is probable they are intended to promote each other's good reciprocally: nay, Man himself contributes to the happiness, and betters the condition, of the brutes in several respects, by cultivating and improving the ground; by watching the seasons; by protecting and providing for them, when they are unable to protect and provide for themselves.” These are the words of Dr. Law, in his learned Commentary on King's Origin of Evil, first published in Latin, 1701, a work of penetration and close reasoning; which, it is remarkable, Bayle had never read, but only some extracts from it, when he first wrote his famous article of the Paulicians, in his Dictionary.
Ver. 45. See all things for my use !] On the contrary, the wise man hath said, The Lord hath made all things for himself. Prov. xvi. 4. W.
Ver. 46. Replies a pamper'd goose:] Taken from Peter Charron; but such a familiar and burlesque image is improperly introduced among such solid and serious reflections.
Ver. 50. Be Man the Wit und Tyrant of the whole :] Alluding to the witty system of that Philosopher, which made animals mere Machines, insensible of pain or pleasure; and so encouraged Men in the exercise of that Tyranny over their fellow-creatures, consequent on such a principle. W.
Nature that Tyrant checks ; He only knows,
life his learned hunger craves,
To each unthinking being, Heav'n a friend,
Ver. 51. Nature that Tyrant checks ;] What an exquisite assemblage is here (down to Ver. 70) of deep reflection, humane sentiments, and poetic imagery! It is finely observed, that compassion is exclusively the property of Man alone.
Ver. 68. Than fuvour'd Man, &c.] Several of the ancients, and many of the Orientals since, esteemed those who were struck by lightning as sacred persons, and the particular favourites of Hea
P. Ver. 68. By touch ethereal slain.] The expression is from Milton's Comus.