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Then shared the tyranny, then lent it aid,
sound, When rock'd the mountains, and when groan'd the ground,
250 She taught the weak to bend, the proud to pray, To Power unseen, and mightier far than they : She, from the rending earth and bursting skies, Saw gods descend, and fiends infernal rise : 254 Here fix'd the dreadful, there the bless'd abodes ; Fear made her devils, and weak hope her gods; Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust, Whose attributes were rage, revenge, or lust; Such as the souls of cowards might conceive; And, form'd like tyrants, tyrants would believe. Zeal then, not charity, became the guide; 261 And hell was built on spite, and heaven on
pride: Then sacred seem'd the ethereal vault no more ; Altars grew marble then, and reek’d with gore : Then first the flamen tasted living food; 265 Next his grim idol smear'd with human blood; With Heaven's own thunders shook the world
below, And play'd the god an engine on his foe.
So drives self-love, through just and through . unjust, To one man's power, ambition, lucre, lust: 270 The same self-love, in all, becomes the cause Of what restrains him, government and laws : For, what one likes if others like as well, What serves one will, when many wills rebel ?
How shall we keep, what, sleeping or awake, 275
'Twas then, the studious head or generous mind,
291 That touching one must strike the other too; Till jarring interests of themselves create The according music of a well-mix'd state. Such is the world's great harmony, that springs From order, union, full consent of things; 296
295 Such is the world's great harmony. The accordance of the different interests of man in a general good, illustrated by a concert of musical instruments, was a favorite image among the ancients. Cicero expands the conception with studied elegance :- Ut in fidibus, ac tibiis, atque cantu ipso,' &c.De Republ.
It is striking to find Milton denying his democracy in words like these :
And if not equal all, yet free,
Jar not with liberty, but well consist.-Par, L. v. 791. Warton justly observes that Thucydides, in three words, describes the beau ideal of government, aútbrojov, autódikor, αυτοτελή.
Where small and great, where weak and mighty,
made To serve, not suffer; strengthen, not invade; More powerful each as needful to the rest, And, in proportion as it blesses, bless'd ;- 300 Draw to one point, and to one centre bring Beast, man, or angel, servant, lord, or king. For forms of government let fools contest; Whate'er is best administer'd is best : For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight; 305 His can't be wrong whose life is in the right:
308 For forms of government let fools contest. Warburton, always perplexed and diffuse in his vindication of Pope, here spreads his perplexity over whole pages. The expression of the text 'is undoubtedly latitudinarian : words cannot more distinctly declare, not only that the value of governments is to be estimated by their practical effect,-a postulate easily allowable ; but that the value of religions depends on the conduct of their adherents.
306 His can't be wrong whose life is in the right. This principle is totally inadmissible: it would place the religion of a pious Mahometan in the same rank with that of a pious Christian; and, since individual instances of equality of virtue may be found under all systems of belief, would make the truth of all systems the same.
But the distinction between government and religion, so far as their effects are concerned, is obvious. Government, by its nature, exercises a direct coercive influence on the community: if this influence does not palpably suppress evil and promote good, government has shown itself unfitted for its office : but religion, by its nature, exercises no such direct coercive influence : it appeals solely to the will; and through the perversion of that will, it may fail of effect, and yet pos. sess every quality of truth, beneficence, and virtue. The appeal of government is public, general, and to be tried by its immediate and palpable results : the appeal of religion is private, personal, and admits of no test but Scripture ; no evidence but the noiseless change of the heart; and no.tribunal but Heaven.
In faith and hope the world will disagree,
Man, like the generous vine, supported lives; The strength he gains is from the embrace he
gives. On their own axis as the planets run, Yet make at once their circle round the sun ; So two consistent motions act the soul ; 315 And one regards itself, and one the whole.
Thus God and Nature link'd the general frame, And bade self-love and social be the same.
Yet, whether it lessen or increase the error of the poet, this conception is not original. Cowley, in censuring the proselytism of his friend Crashaw to the Romish church, says:
Pardon, my mother church, if I consent
Be wrong ; his life, I'm sure, was in the right.
Digladient (digladientur) alii circa res religionis :
Quod credis nihil est, sit modo vita proba, 318 And bade self-love and social be the same. Bolingbroke adopts those words: “Thus it happens, that self-love and social are divided in the conduct of particular men, whilst in the making of laws and the regulation of government they continue the same.'--Minutes of Essays, Sect. 51.
But, unless the distinction be strongly marked between self-love and selfishness, which is seldom done, nothing can be more fictitious than the theory. The system of Helvetius, that all virtue proceeds from selfishness, is a mere trifling with words, the paradox of a sensualist and an infidel. Every man knows that a multitude of benevolent actions are
daily done, which have no reference in the mind of the doer to either his personal reward, or his avoidance of personal suffering. The evil of the Helvetian theory lay in the practical consequence, that nothing was a virtue which had not its root in selfishness. The theory has passed away, with the other follies of a time in which every absurdity was the habitual minister to every vice : the practical tendency to circumscribe all good within the limits of individual interest will live as long as human nature.