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The fame Self-love, in all, becomes the cause
'Twas then, the studious head or gen'rous mind, Follow'r of God or friend of human-kind,
COMMENTARY. There is not any where shewn greater address in the disposition of this work than with regard to the inference before us; which not only giveth a proper and timely support to what was before advanced, in the second epistle, concerning the nature and effects of Self-love; but is a necessary introduction to what follows, concerning the reformation of Religion and Society, as we shall see prefently.
Ver.283. 'Twas then, the studious head &c.] The poet hath now described the rise, perfection, and decay of civil Policy and
seemeth here to mean Socrates and Ariftotle; who, the polite and flourishing age of all the pagun world, spoke of Greece; and those bene best of God, and wrote best of factors to Mankind, which he
Poet or Patriot, rose but to restore
285 The Faith and Moral, Nature gave
before; Re-lum'd her ancient light, noç kindled new; If not God's image, yet his shadow drew: Taught Pow'r's due use to People and to Kings, Taught nor to slack, nor strain its tender strings, The less, or greater, fet so justly true, 291 That touching one must strike the other too; 'Till jarring int'rests, of themselves create Th’according music of a well-mix'd State.
COMMENTARY. Religion, in the more early times. But the design had been imperfect, had he here dropt his discourse : there was, in after ages, a recovery from their several corruptions. Accordingly, he hạth chosen that happy Æra for the conclusion of his song. But as good and ill Governments and Religions succeed one another without ceasing, he now leaveth facts, and turneth his discourse (from y 282 to 295) to speak of a more lasting reform of mankind, in the Invention of those philosophic Principles, by whose observance a Policy and Religion may be for ever kept from finking into Tyranny and Superftition:
'Twas then, the studious head or gen'rous mind,
The Faith and Moral, Nature gave before ; &c. The easy and just transition into this subject from the foregoing, is admirable. In the foregoing he had described the effects of Self-love; and now, with great art, and high probability, he maketh Mens obfervations on these effects the occasion of those discoveries which they have made of the true principles of Policy and Religion, described in the present paragraph; and this hę evidently hintcth at in that fine transition,
'Twas then, the fiudious head, &c.
Such is the World's great harmony, that springs From Order, Union, full Consent of things: 296
CONNENTARY. VER. 295, Suck is the World's great barmony, &c.] Having thus described the trile principles of civil and ecclesiastical Policy, he proceedeth (from • 294 to 303) to illustrate his account by the similai-harmony of the Universe :
Suck is the IVorld's great harmony, tbat springs
From Order, Union, full Consent of things! Thus, as in the beginning of this epistle he supported the great principle of mutual Love or Association in general, by confi--derations drawn from the properties of Matter, and the mutual
dependence between vegetable and animal life; so, in the conclufion, he hath inforced the particular principles of Civil and Religious Society, from that universal Harmony which springs, in part, from those properties and dependencies.
Such is the " this, which he hath created World's great harmony, &c.] “s and brought into being, and An harmony very different 66 which admits of a mixture from the pre-established har “ of Evil, is the best. But if mony of the celebrated Leib “the best, then Evil consenitz, which establisheth a Fa
“quently is partial, comparatality destructive of all Reli “ tively small, and tendeth to gion and Morality. Yet hath “ the greater perfection of the the poet been accused of ef « whole." This Principle is pousing that impious whimsy. espoused and supported by Mr. The pre-established harmony was Pope with all the power of built upon, and is an outrage reason and poetry. But neious extenfion of a conception ther was Plato a Fatalift, nor of Plato; who, combating is there any fatalism in the arthe atheistical objections about gument. As to the truth of the origin of Evil, employs the notion, that is another this argument in defence of question; and how far it clearProvidence; “ That amongst eth up the very difficult con“ an infinite number of pof- troversy about the origin of
fible worlds in God's idea, Evil, is still another. That it
103 Where small and great, where weak and mighty,
made To serve, not suffer, strengthen, not invade ;
NOTES. is a full solution of all difficul- | Theodicée, was a thorough ties, I cannot think, for rea Fatalift : For we cannot well sons too long to be given in suppose he would give that this place. Perhaps we shall freedom to Man which he had never have a full solution in s taken away from God. The this world: and it may be no truth of the matter seems to great matter though we have be this; he saw, on the one not, as we are demonstrably hand, the monstrous absurdity certain of the moral attributes of supposing with Spinoza, of the Deity. However, Mr. that blind Fate was the auPope may be justified in re thor of a coherent Universe; ceiving and inforcing this Pla but yet, on the other, could tonic notion, as it hath been not conceive with Plato, that adopted by the most celebrat God could foresee and coned and orthodox divines both duct, according to an archeof the ancient and modern typal idea, a World, of all pofchurch.
sible Worlds the best, inhabited This doctrine, we own then, by free Agents. This difficulwas taken up by Leibnitz; but ty therefore, which made the it was to ingraft upon it a most Socinians take Prescience from pernicious fatalism. Plato faid, God, disposed Leibnitz to take God chose the best : Leibnitz Free-will from Man: And thus said, he could not but chuse the ; he fashioned his fantastical hybeft. Plato supposed freedom pothesis; he supposed that when in God to chuse one of two God made the body, he imthings equally good: Leibnitz prefied on his new criated Maheld the supposition to be ab- chine a certain feries or suite furd; but however, admitting of motions; and that when he the case, he maintained that made the fellow foul, a corGod could not chuse one of respondent series of ideas ; two things equally good. Thus | whose operations, throughout it appears, the first went on the whole duration of the unithe system of Freedom ; and on, so exactly jumped, that that the latter, notwithstanding whenever an idea was excited, the most artful disguises in his , a concordant motion was ever
More pow'rful each as needful to the rest,
For Forms of Government let fools contest
M MEN T A R Y. Ver. 303. For Forms of Government let fools contest;] But now the poet, having so much commended the invention and inventors of the philosophic principles of Religion and Government, lest an evil use should be made of this, by Mens resting in theory and speculation, as they have been always too apt to do in matters whose practice makes their happiness, he cautions his reader (from ý 302 to 311) against this error. The seasonableness of this reproof will appear evident enough to those who know, that mad disputes about Liberty and Prerogative had once well nigh overturned our Constitution ; and that others about Mystery and Church Authority had almost destroyed the very fpirit of our Religion.
NOTES. ready to satisfy the volition. stood: the author, against his Thus, for instance, when the
own express words, against the mind had the will to raise the plain sense of his system, has arm to the head, the body was been conceived to mean, That so pre-contrived, as to raise, at all Governments and all Relithat very moment, the part gions were, as to their forms required. This he called the and objects, indifferent. But as PRE-ESTÁ ELISHED HARMO this wrong judgment proceedNY; and, with this, he pro ed from ignorance of the reamised to do wonders.
son of the reproof, as explainVer. 303. For Forms of Go- ed above, that explanation iş vernment &c.] These fine lines alone fufficient to rectify the have been strangely misunder mistake.