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Then shar’d the Tyranny, then lent it aid,
NOTES. The ancient Pagan Gods are
himself. But there was anohere very exactly described. ther, and more fubftantial This fact is a convincing evi- caufe, of the resemblance bedence of the truth of that ori- tween a Tyrant and a Pagan ginal which the poet giveth to god; and that was the making Superftition; for if these phan- Gods of Conquerors, as the poet taims were first raised in the says, and so canonizing a tyimagination of Tyrants, they rant's vices with his person. must needs have the qualities That these gods should suit a here assigned to them. For people humbled to the stroke Force being the Tyrant's Vir
of a master, will be no wontue, and Luxury his Happiness, der, if we recolle&t a generous the attributes of his God would saying of the ancients; That of course be Revenge and Luft; day which fees a Man a savez in a word, the anti-type of I takes away balf his Virtue,
Such as the souls of cowards might conceive,
grew marble then, and reek’d with gore :
265 Next his grim idol smear’d with human blood; With Heav'n's own thunders shook the world
So drives Self-love, thro' just and thro' unjust,
His Safety must his Liberty restrain;
NOTES. Ver. 262. - find hoev'n on no one was content to go to pride.] This mighi be very heaven without being received well said of those times when there on the footing of a God.
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