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But of this frame, the bearings and the ties,
The strong connexions, nice dependances, 30
Gradations just, has thy pervading soul
Look'd through 1 or can a part contain the whole? -
Is the great chain, that draws all to agree, - Y
And drawn supports, upheld by God, or thee ?


Ver. 29. But of this frame, the bearings] “Imagine only some person entirely a stranger to navigation, and ignorant of the na- ture of the sea or waters, how great his astonishment would be, when finding himself on board some vessel anchoring at sea remote from all land-prospect; whilst it was yet a calm, he viewed the ponderous machine firm and motionless in the midst of the smooth ocean, and considered its foundations beneath, together with its cordage, masts, and sails above. How easily would he see the whole one regular structure, all things depending on one another; the uses of the rooms below, the lodgments, and the conveniences of men and stores! But being ignorant of the intent, or of all above, would he pronounce the masts and cordage to be useless and cumbersome, and for this reason condemn the frame and despise the architect 2 O my friend! let us not thus betray our ignorance; but consider where we are, and in what universe. Think of the many parts of the vast machine, in which we have so little insight, and of which it is impossible we should know the ends and uses: when, instead of seeing to the highest pendants, we see only some lower deck, and are in this dark case of flesh, confined even to the hold and meanest station of the vessel.” I have inserted this passage at length, because it is a noble and poetical illustration of the foregoing lines, as well as of many other passages in this Essay. Characteristics, vol. ii. p. 188.

The whole doctrine of Plato is contained in this one short sentence: Mépoc pièv évéka 6Aov, Kai oix {\ov Évska piépovc àrepyā&srat. See a very fine passage in A. Gellius, lib. 6. cap. 1. containing the opinion of Chrysippus on the origin of evil.

Ver. 32. Can a part contain the whole 2) “Hobbes (says Dr. Campbell) acknowledged God the author of all things, but thought, or at least pretended he thought, too reverently of him to believe his nature could be comprehended by human understanding. But what gave a handle to some to treat him as an

II. Presumptuous Man the reason would'st thou find, 35

Why form'd so weak, so little, and so blind?
First, if thou canst, the harder reason guess,
Why form'd no weaker, blinder, and no less 2.
Ask of thy mother Earth, why oaks are made
Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade? 40
Or ask of yonder argent fields above,
Why Jove's Satellites are less than Jove?


atheist, was, the contempt he expressed for many of those scholastic terms, invented by assuming men, who would impose their own crude notions of the Divine Being, on their fellow-creatures, as so many articles of faith.” One of the most false and pernicious tenets of Hobbes, was the debasing and disparaging human nature, and saying, that man was to man a wolf; and attempting, as Cudworth expresses it, to “villanize mankind.”

Ver. 35. Presumptuous Man () Voltaire, tom. iv. p. 227, has the following remarkable words: I own it flatters me to see that Pope has fallen upon the very same sentiment which I had entertained many years ago: Wous vous étonnez que Dieu ait fait l'homme si borné, si ignorant, si peu heureux. Que ne vous étonnez-vous, qu'il ne l'ait fait pas plus borné, plus ignorant, et plus malheureux? Quand un Français et un Anglais pensent de meme, il fait bien qu'ils aient raison.

Ver. 41. Or ask of yonder, &c.] On these lines M. Voltaire thus descants: “Pope dit que l'homme ne peut savoir pourquoi les Lunes de Jupiter sont moins grandes que Jupiter? Il se trompe en cela, c'est une erreur pardonable. Il n'y a point de Mathematicien qui n'eut fait voir,” &c. [Vol. ii. p. 384. Ed. Gen.] And so goes on to shew, like a great mathematician as he is, that it would be very inconvenient for the Page to be as big as his Lord and Master. It is pity all this fine reasoning should proceed on a ridiculous blunder. The poet thus reproves the impious complainer of the order of Providence: “You are dissatisfied with the weakness of your condition: but, in your situation, the nature of things requires just such a creature as you are ; in a different situation, it might have required that you should be

Of Systems possible, if 'tis confest That Wisdom infinite must form the best, Where all must full or not coherent be, 45 And all that rises, rise in due degree ; Then, in the scale of reas'ning life, 'tis plain, There must be, somewhere, such a rank as Man : And all the question (wrangle e'er so long) Is only this, if God has plac'd him wrong? 50

Respecting Man, whatever wrong we call, May, must be right, as relative to all. In human works, tho' labour'd on with pain, A thousand movements scarce one purpose gain; In God's, one single can its end produce ; 55 Yet serves to second too some other use.

NOTES. still weaker. And though you see not the reason of this in your own case; yet, that reasons there are, you may see in the case of other of God's creatures.

“Ask of thy mother Earth, why oaks are made Taller or stronger than the weeds they shade? Or ask of yonder argent fields above, Why Jove's Satellites are less than Jove?” Here (says the Poet) the ridicule of the weeds' and the Satellites’ complaint, had they the faculties of speech and reasoning, would be obvious to all; because their very situation and office might have convinced them of their folly. Your folly, says the Poet to his complainers, is as great, though not so evident, because the reason is more out of sight; but that a reason there is, may be demonstrated from the attributes of the Deity. This is the Poet's clear and strong reasoning; from whence, we see, he was so far from saying, that Man could not know the cause why Jove's Satellites were less than Jove, that all the force of his reasoning turns upon this, that Man did see and know it, and should from thence conclude, that there was a cause of this inferiority as well in the rational, as in the material Creation. W. Ver. 53. In human works,) Verbatim from Bolingbroke. Fragments 43 and 63.

So Man, who here seems principal alone,

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Touches some wheel, or verges to some goal; - -
'Tis but a part we see, and not a whole. 60

NOTES. Ver. 60. 'Tis but a part] A new method of accounting for the origin of evil has been advanced by Hume in his Dialogues, p. 196. “I scruple not to allow,” said Cleanthes, “that I have been apt to suspect the frequent repetition of the word infinite, which we meet with in all theological writers, to savour more of panegyric than of philosophy; and that any purposes of reasoning, and even of religion, would be better served, were we to rest content with more accurate and more moderate expressions. The terms, admirable, excellent, superlatively great, wise, and holy, these sufficiently fill the imaginations of men; and any thing beyond, besides that it leads into absurdities, has no influence on the affections or sentiments. Thus, in the present subject, if we abandon all human analogy, as it seems your intention, Demea, I am afraid we abandon all religion, and retain no conception of the great object of our adoration. If we preserve human analogy, we must for ever find it impossible to reconcile any mixture of evil in the universe with infinite attributes; much less can we ever prove the latter from the former. But supposing the Author of Nature to be finitely perfect, though far exceeding mankind, a satisfactory account may then be given of natural and moral evil, and every untoward phenomenon be explained and adjusted. A less evil may then be chosen, in order to avoid a greater : inconveniences be submitted to, in order to reach a desirable end : and, in a word, benevolence, regulated by wisdom and limited by necessity, may produce just such a world as the present.” This seems to have been borrowed from Voltaire. Questions sur l'Encyclopedie, 9 Partie, p. 348. I have heard Dr. Adam Smith say, that these Dialogues concerning Natural Religion were the most laboured of all Hume's works. They were the occasion of Dr. Balguy's publishing that capital treatise, entitled, Divine Benevolence: which benevolence he undertakes to vindicate like this Essay on Man, but with greater consistency, and closeness of reasoning, without having recourse to a future existence. Wollaston, in a celebrated passage, has given a striking and pathetic picture of the evils and

When the proud steed shall know why Man re


His fiery course, or drives him o'er the plains;
When the dull Ox, why now he breaks the clod,
Is now a victim, and now Egypt's God:
Then shall Man's pride and dulness comprehend 65
His actions', passion's, being's, use and end;
Why doing, suff'ring, check'd, impell'd ; and why
This hour a slave, the next a deity.

Then say not Man's imperfect, Heaven's in fault; Say rather, Man's as perfect as he ought: 70

Ver. 64. In the former editions,
Now wears a garland an Egyptian God:
altered as above for the reason given in the note.


miseries of this present life, in order to shew (as many divines do in their discourses) the absolute necessity of another, for the defence of the dispensations of Providence. Dr. Balguy, from p. 110 to p. 127, has minutely, and step by step, confuted every part of this statement of the evils and miseries of life; and ends by saying, “that Wollaston has only attended to one side of the question. He has dwelt largely on the melancholy parts of human life; but in great measure overlooked its enjoyments. A pen like his could, with equal ease and success, have painted the happiness of our present state, and given it the appearance of a paradise.” This is the passage of Wollaston, which Bolingbroke has so much ridiculed. Works, vol. ii. p. 110.

Ver. 64.—Egypt's God:] Called so, because the God Apis was worshipped universally over the whole land of Egypt. W.

Wer. 70. as he ought:} Consequently man is not in a lapsed or degenerate state. He is as perfect a being as ever his Creator intended him to be ; nor, consequently, did he stand in need of any redemption or atonement. The expression, as he ought, is imperfect; for, ought to be.


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