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See plastic Nature working to this end,
15 See life diffolving vegetate again:
COMMENTARY. dictate of the Creator; and that. Man, in this, did but follow the example of general Nature, which is united in one close system of benevolence.
VER. 9. See plastic Nature working to this end,] This he proveth, first (from * 8 to 13) on the noble theory of Attraction, from the economy of the material world; where there is a general conspiracy in all the particles of Matter to work for one end; the use, beauty, and harmony of the whole mass.
Ver. 13. See Matter next, & c.] The second argument (from 12 to 27) is taken from the vegetable and animal world; whose Beings serve mutually for the production, fupport, and fuftentation of each other.
But this part of the argument, in which the poet tellus, that God
Connects each being, greatest with the least;
To express pelld &c.] To make Matter the first part of this thought, lo cohere as to fit it for the our Author says, form’d; and uses intended by its Creator, to express the latter, impelld, a proper configuration of its in
All forms that perish other forms supply,
Has God, thou fool! work'd solely for thy good, Thy joy, thy pastime, thy attire, thy food?
COMMENTARY. awaking again the old pride of his adversaries, who cannot bear that Man should be thought to be serving as well as served ; he takes this occasion again to humble them (from y 26 to 49) by the fame kind of argument he had so successfully employed in the first epistle, and which our comment on that epistle bath confidered at large.
NOTES. Ver. 22. One all-extending,
VER. 23. Greatest with the all-preserving Soul] Which, in leaft;] As acting more strongthe language of Sir Isaac New ly and immediately in beasts, ton, is, Deus omnipræsens eft, whose instinct is plainly an exnon per virtutem folam, sed ternal reason ; which made an etiam per subftantiam : nam old school-man say, with great virtus fine substantia subfiftere elegance, Deus est anima brunon poteft. Newt. Princ. schol.
torum : gen. fub fin.
In this 'tis God directs
Who for thy table feeds the wanton fawn,
Know, Nature's children all divide her care;
What care to tend, to lodge, to cram, to treat him!
See all thing! | Lord hath made all things for for my use!] On the contrary, himself. Prov. xvi. 4.
And just as Thort of reason He must fall,
Grant that the pow'rful still the weak controul;
COMMENTARY. VER. 49. Grant that the pow'rful fill the weak controul;] However, his adversaries, loth to give up the question, will reason upon the matter; and we are now to suppose them objecting against Providence in this manner. We grant, say they, that in the irrational, as in the inanimate creation, all is served, and all is serving : But, with regard to Man, the case is different; he ftandeth single. For his Reafon hath endowed him both with power and address sufficient to make all things ferve him ; and his Self-love, of which you have so largely provided for him, will dispose him, in his turn, to ferve none: Therefore your theory is imperfect.-Not so, replies the poet (from y 48 to 79) I grant that Man, indeed, affects to be the Wit and Työ rant of the whole, and would fain shake off
- that chain of love, Combining all below and all above : But Nature, even by the very gift of Reason, checks this tyrant. For Reason endowing Man with the ability of setting together. the memory of the past with his conjectures about the future ; and paft misfortunes making him apprehensive of more to come, this disposeth him to pity and relieve others in a ftate of suffering. And the passion growing habitual, naturally extendeth its
NOTES. Ver. 50. Be Man the Wit fensible of pain or pleasure: and and Tyrant of the whole :] Al so encouraged Men in the exluding to the witty system of ercise of that Tyranny over that Philosopher, which made their fellow-creatures, conseAnimals mere Machines, in quent on such a principle.
Say, will the falcon, stooping from above,
life his learned hunger craves,
COMMENTARY. effects to all that have a sense of suffering. Now as brutes, have neither Man's Reason, nor his inordinate Self-love, to draw them from the system of Benevolence; so they wanted not, and therefore have not, this human fympathy of another's misery. By which paffion, we see, those qualities, in Man, balance one another; and so retain him in that general Order, in which Providence hath placed its whole creation. But this is not all; Man's interest, amusement, vanity, and luxury, tie him still closer to the fystem of benevolence, by obliging him to provide for the support of other animals; and though it be, for the most part, only to devour them with the greater gust, yet this does not abate the proper happiness of the animals so preserved, to whom Providence hath not imparted the uselefs knowledge of their end. From all which it appears, that the theory is yet uniform and perfecta