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As full, as perfect, in vile Man that mourns,
X. Cease then, nor Order Imperfection name: Our
proper bliss depends on what we blame.
Reason, to think of God when she pretends,
MEN T A R Y. VER. 281. Cease then, nor Order Imperfection name :] And now the poet, as he had promised, having vindicated the ways of God to Man, concludes (from x 280 to the end) that, from what had been said, it appears, that the very things we blame, contribute to our Happiness, either as Particulars, or as Parts of the Universal system; that our State of Ignorance was allotted to us out of compaffion; that yet we have as much Knowledge as is sufficient to shew us that we are, and always shall be, as bleit as we can bear; for that NATURE is neither a Stratonic chain of blind Causes and Effects,
(All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee) nor yet the fortuitous result of Epicurean Atoms,
(All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see) as those two species of atheism supposed it; but the wonderful Art and Direction, unknown indeed to Man, of an all-powerful, all-wise, all-good, and free Being. And therefore, we may be assured, that the arguments, brought above, to prove partial moral Evil productive of universal Good, are conclutive; from
NOTES. Ver. 278. As the rapt name Seraphim, signifying Seraph &c.] Alluding to the burner's.
Know thy own point: This kind, this due degree
COMMENTARY. whence one certain truth results, in spite of all the pride and cavils of vain Reason, That WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT.
That the reader may fee in one view the Exactness of the Method, as well as Force of the Argument, I shall here draw up a short fynopsis of this Epistle. The poet begins by telling us his subject is an Essay on Man: That his end of writing is to vindicate Providence: That he intends to derive his arguments, from the visible things of God seen in this system: Lays down this Propofition, That of all posible systems infinite Wisdom has form'd the best : draws from thence two Consequences, 1. That there must needs be somewhere such a creature as Man; 2. That the moral Evil which he is author of, is productive of the Good of the Whole. This is his general Thesis; from whence he forms this Conclusion, That Man should rest submissive and content, and make the hopes of Futurity his comfort; but not suffer this to be the occasion of PRIDE, which is the cause of all his impious complaints.
He proceeds to confirm his Thesis._Previously endeavours to abate our wonder at the phænomenon of moral Evil; shews, first, its use to the Perfection of the Universe, by Analogy, from the use of physical Evil in this particular system.--Secondly, its use in this system, where it is turned, providentially, from its natural bias, to promote Virtue. Then goes on to vindicate Providence from the imputation of certain supposed natural
Evils; as he had before justified it for the Permission of real moral Evil, in shewing that, though the atheist's complaint against Providence be on pretence of real moral Evil, yet the true cause is his impatience under imaginary natural Evil; the iffue of a depraved appetite for fantastical advantages, which, if obtained, would be useless or hurtful to Man, and deforming
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
COMMENTARY. and destructive to the Universe, as breaking into that Order by which it is supported. -- He describes that Order, Harmony, and clofe Connection of the Parts; and, by shewing the intimate presence of God to his whole creation, gives a reason for an Universe so amazingly beautiful and perfect. From all this he de. duces his general Conclusion, That Nature being neither a blind chain of Causes and Effees, nor yet the fortuitous result of wandering atoms, but the wonderful Art and Direction of an all-wise, all-good, and free Being; WHATEVER IS, is Right, with regard to the Disposition of God, and its Ultimate Tendency; which once granted, all complaints against Providence are at an end.
NOTE s. VER. 294. One truth is especially when the author, in clear, &c.] It will be hard to this very epiftle, has himself think any
caviller should have thus explained it; objected to this conclusion,
Respecting Man, whatever wrong we call,
'Tis but a part we see, and not a whole. But without any regard to the “ first losing his head on the evidence of this illustration, “ scaffold, we must have said there is one who exclaims : “ this is right; at the fight “ See the general conclusion, “ too of his judges condemn“ All that is, is right. So that “ ing him, we must have said " at the fight of Charles the “ this is right; at the fight of
NOTES. « some of these judges, taken its ultimate tendency ? Surely " and condemned for the WITH REGARD TO GOD; " action which he had own for he tells us his design is to “ed to be right, he must have vindicate the ways of God to “ cried out this is doubly right.” Man. Surely, with regard to Never was any thing more a its ULTIMATE TENDENCY; mazing than that the absurdi for he tells us again, all parties arising from the sense in tial ill is universal good, ý 291. which this critic takes the Now is this any encouragement grand principle, of whatever to Vice? Or does it take off is, is righi, did not shew him from the crime of him who his mistake: For could any commits it, that God provione in his senses employ a dentially produces Good out proposition in a meaning from of Evil? Had Mr. Pope abwhence such evident absur ruptly said in his conclusion, dities immediately arife? I have the result of all is, that whatobserved, that this conclufion, ever is, is right, the objector whatever is, is right, is a con had even then been inexcufasequence of these premisses, ble for putting fo absurd a that partial Evil tends to uni sense upon the words, when he verfal Good; which the au might have seen that it was a thor employs as a principle to conclufion from the general humble the pride of Man, who principle abovementioned; and would impiously make God therefore muft neceffarily have accountable for his creation. another meaning. But what What then does common sense must we think of him, when teach us to understand by what the poet, to prevent mistakes, kver is, is right? Did the poet had delivered, in this very mean right with regard to place, the principle itself, toMan, or right with regard to gether with this conclufion as God; right with regard to it- the confequence of it? self, or right with regard to
All Discord, Harmony not understood;
One truth is clear, “Whatever Is, is Right." He could not have told his that principle, unless he had reader plainer that this conclu written THEREFORE in great fion was the consequence of l Church letters.
Himself, as an Individual.
I. THE business of Man not to pry into God, but to Study himself. His Middle Nature ; his Powers and Frailties, Ý i to 19. The Limits of his Capacity, x 19, &c. II. The two Principles of Man, Self-love and Reason, both necessary, x 53, &c. Self-love the stronger, and why, x 67, &c. Their end the same, $ 81, &c. III. The Passions, and their use, x 93 to 130. The predominant Passion, and its force, V 132 to 160.
Its Necessity, in direEting Men to different purposes, x 165, &c. Its providential Use, in fixing our Principle, and ascertaining our Virtue, x 177. IV. Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the limits near, yet the things separate and evident : What is the Office of Reason, x 202 to 216, V. How odious Vice in itself, and how we deceive ourselves into it, ♡ 217. VI. That, however, the Ends of Providence and general Good are answered in our Pasions and Imperfections, Ý 238, &c. How usefully these are distributed to all Orders of Men, Ý 241. How useful they are to Society, N 251. And to the Individuals, ♡ 263: In every state, and every age of life, ♡ 273, &c.