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All must be false that thwart this One great End; And all of God, that bless Mankind or mend. 310
NOTES. “ Government is, in itself, better than another (as, that 66 mixed or limited Monarchy, for example, is not pre“ ferable to absolute) but that no form of Government, s6 however excellent or preferable, in itself, can be suf. “ ficient to make a People happy, unless it be admini. “ stered with integrity. On the contrary, the best sort o of Government, when the form of it is preserved, and “ the administration corrupt, is most dangerous."
II. Again, to suppose the Poet to mean, that all Religions are indifferent, is an equally wrong as well as uncharitable suspicion. Mr. Pope, though his subject, in this Esay on Man, confineth him to Natural religion ; yet he giveth frequent intimations of a more sublime Dispensation, and even of the necessity of it; particularly in his second epistle ($ 149, &c.) where he confesseth the weakness and insufficiency of human Reason.
And likewise in his fourth epiftle, where, speaking of the good Man, the favourite of Heaven, he sayeth,
“ For him alone, Hope leads from goal to goal,
the bliss that fills up all the Mind. But Natural Religion never lengthened Hope on to Faith; nor did any Religion, but the Christian ever conceive that Faith could fill the mind with happiness.
Lastly, In this very epistle, and in this very place, speaking of the great Restorers of the religion of Nature, he intimates that they could only draw God's shadow, not
• It pours
" Re-lum'd her ancient light, not kindled new,
“ If not God's image, yet his shadow drew : as reverencing that truth, which telleth us, this discovery was reserved for the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, 2 Cor. iv. 4.
Man, like the gen'rous vine, supported lives; The strength he gains is from th' embrace he gives.
COMMENTARY. VER: 311. Mon, like the gen'rous vine, &c.] Having thus largely considered Man in his social capacity, the Poet, in order to fix a momentous truth in the mind of his reader, concludes the epiftle in recapitulating the two Principles which concur to the support of this part of his character, namely, SELF-Love and Social; and in fhewing that they are only two different motions of the appetite to Good; by which the Author of Nature hath enabled Man to find his own happiness in the happiness
NOTES. VER. 305. For Modes of Faith let graceless zealots fight;] These latter Ages have seen so many scandalous contentions for modes of Faith, to the violation of Christian Charity, and dishonour of sacred Scripture, that it is not at all strange they should become the object of fo benevolent and wise an Author's resentment.
But that which he here seemed to have more particularly in his eye was the long and mischievous squabble between W-d and Jackson, on a point confessedly above Reason, and amongst those adorable mysteries, which it is the honour of our Religion to find unfathomable. In this, by the weight of answers and replies, redoubled upon one another without mercy, they made fo profound a progress, that the One proved, nothing hindered, in Nature, but that the Son might have been the Father, and the Other, that nothing hindered, in Grace, but that the Son may be Creature. But if, instead of throwing so many Greek Fathers at one another's heads, they had but chanced to reflect on the sense of one Greek word, ATTEITA, that it fignifics both INFINITY and IGNORANCE, this single equivocation might have saved them ten thousand, which they expended in carrying on the controversy. However those Mifis that magrihed the Scene, enlarged the Character of the
On their own Axis as the Planets run,
COMMENTARY. of the Whole. This he illustrates with a thought as sublime as that general harmony which he describes :
« On their own Axis as the Planets run,
“ Thus God and Nature link'd the general frame, " And bade Self-love and Social be the same. For he hath the art of converting poetical ornament into philofophic reasoning; and of improving a fimile into an analogical argument; of which more in our next,
Nores. Combatants : and no body expecting common sense on a subject where we have no ideas, the defects of dulness disappeared, and its advantages (for, advantages it has) were all provided for.
The worst is, such kind of Writers seldom know when to have done. For writing themselves up into the same delufion with their Readers, they are apt to venture out into the more open paths of Literature, where their reputation, made out of that stuff, which Lucian calls ExóTO 6262500, presently falls from them, and their nakedness appears.
And thus it fared with our two Worthies. The World which must have always something to amuse it, was now, and it was time, grown weary of its play-thing; and catched at a new object that promised them more agreeable entertainment. Tindal, a kind of Bastard-Socrates, had brought our speculations from Heaven to Earth: and, under the pretence of advancing the Antiquity of Christianity, laboured to undermine its Original. This was a controversy that required another management. Clear sense, severe reasoning, a thorough knowSo two consistent motions act the Soul;
315 And one regards Itself, and one the Whole.
Thus God and Nature link'd the gen’ral frame, And bade Self-love and Social be the same.
NOTES. ledge of prophane and sacred Antiquity, and an intimate acquaintance with human Nature, were the qualities proper for such as engaged in this Subject. A very unpromising adventure for these metaphysical nurslings, bred up in the shade of chimeras. Yet they would needs venture out. What they got by it was only to be once well laughed at, and then forgotten. But one odd circumstance deserves to be remembered; tho' they wrote not, we may be sure, in concert, yet each attacked his Ado versary at the same time; faftened upon him in the same place; and mumbled him with just the same toothless rage. But the ill success of this escape soon brought them to themselves. The One made a fruitless effort to revive the old game, in a discourse on The importance of the doctrine of the Trinity; and the Other has been ever since, rambling in Space, and Time.
This short history, as insignificant as the subjects of it are, may not be altogether unuseful to pofterity. Divines may learn by these examples to avoid the mischiefs done
to Religion and Literature thro’ the affectation of being I wife above what is written, and knowing beyond what can be understood.
VER. 318. And bade Self-love and Social be the same.] True Self-love is an appetite for that proper good, for the enjoyment of which, we were made as we are. Now that good is commensurate with all other good, and a part and portion of Universal Good: it is therefore the Jame with Social, which hath the same properties.
E P I S T L E
Of the Nature and State of Man with respect
I. FALS E Notions of Happiness, Philosophical and
Popular, answered from x 19 to 77. II. It is the End of all Men, and attainable by all, ý 30. God intends Happiness to be equal ; and to be so, it must be social, since all particular Happiness depends on general, and since he governs by general, not particular Laws, v 37. As it is necesjary for Order, and the peace and welfare of Society, that external goods should be unequal, Happiness is not made to consist in these, x 51. But, notwithstanding that inequality, the balance of Happiness among Mankind is kept even by Providence, by the two Pallions of Hope and Fear, ý 70. III. What the Happiness of Individuals is, as far as is confi/lent with the conflitution of this world, and that the good Man has here the advantage, $ 77. The error of imputing to Virtue what are only the calamities of Nature, or of Fortune, x 94. IV. The folly of expecting that God Should alter his general Laws in favour of particua lars, ♡ 121. V. That we are 110t judges who are good; but that, whoever they are, they must be happiest, y 133, &c. VI. That external goods, are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with, or destructive of Virtue, x 165. That even these can