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When earthquakes swallow, or when tempests sweep Towns to one grave, whole nations to the deep?
mutable; and, while it exists itself, all its attributes will exist likewise. To say, therefore, a thing should be, without its inseparable and constitutive attributes, is the same as to say, it should be, and not be. A miller works in his mill, and becomes white: a collier works in his mine, and becomes black: yet were neither of these incidents intended by either ; but, other and better ends being purposed to be answered, they were necessarily attended by these collateral incidents. So it is in the universe. The good leads, the evil follows: the good is always designed, the evil only admitted: the good has existence, by being the final cause of all things ; the evil has existence, because it cannot be avoided : the good appears to be something in character and form, which all beings some way or other are framed to enjoy : the evil, on the contrary, appears to be something which all beings some way or other are framed to avoid; some by talons, others by teeth; some by wings, others by fins; and, lastly, man, by genius ripened into arts, which alone is superior to the sum of all other preparations.
“Again, some evil, though evil, is yet productive of good, and therefore had better be, than not be, else there had not been the good. For example, human nature is infirm; exposed to many and daily hardships; to pinching colds and scorching heats; to famines, droughts, diseases, wounds. Call this all of it evil, if you please. Yet what a variety of arts arise from this evil, and which, if this evil had not urged, had never existed ? Where had been agriculture, architecture, medicine, weaving, with a thousand other arts too many toenumerate, had man been born a self-sufficient animal, superior to the sensations of want or evil? Where had been that noble activity, that never-ceasing energy of all his various powers, had not the poignancy of evil awakened them from the very birth, and dispelled all symptoms of lethargy and drowsiness? Nay more; courage, magnanimity, prudence, and wise indifference; patience, long-suffering, and acquiescence in our lot; a calm and manly resignation to the will of God, whatever he dispenses, whether good or bad; these heroic virtues could never have had existence, had not those things called evils first established them into habit, and afterward given occasion for them to energize, and become
“No ('tis reply'd), the first Almighty Cause Acts not by partial, but by gen’ral laws;
conspicuous. But the most important circumstance of all is, that the very being and essence of society itself is derived from the wants and infirmities of human nature, 'Tis these various infirmities, so much more numerous and lasting in man than in other animals, which make human societies $o eminently necessary; which extend them so far beyond all other animal associations, and knit them together with such indissoluble bands. Let each individual be supposed self-sufficient, and society at once is dissolved and annihilated. For why associate without a cause? And what need of society, if each can support himself? But mark the consequence; if society be lost, with it we lose the energy
of every social affection; a loss, in which every man loses something, but in which a good man loses his principal and almost his only happiness: for what then becomes of friendship, benevolence, love of country, hospitality, generosity, forgiveness, with all the charities
Of father, son, and brother? A man detached from human connexions and relations (if such a monster may indeed be supposed) is no better than an ignorant inhuman savage; a mere Cyclops, devoid of all that is amiable and good."
In another part of the same manuscripts he adds, “ But a few days ago, and 'twas a lovely world. All was florid, cheerful, and gay. Yesterday my friend's house was burnt. To-day arrived the news of the death of an old servant, who was diligent, careful, and of long-approved fidelity. Now 'tis all disastrous, black, and dismal. Wretched man! Wretched universe ! how miserable a mansion, and how helpless its inhabitants! Happy existence may indeed well be desired; but what value is existence only pregnant with anxiety ? Wisely murmured! cries the leading principle, the god-like particle of reason and common
The events which thou lamentest are strange and unheard of. Thou never knewest before that thy species was mortal, or that fire could do any thing but prepare thee thy food. Murmur on, and grieve thee with a laudable obstinacy. 'Twill infallibly cancel what is gone and over; render past, not past; and done, not done: for what so easy, so practicable, and obvious ? Besides, thou, for thy part, hast no desire
Th' exceptions few; some change since all began : And what created perfect?—Why then Man?
to acquire those virtues which none can learn, but who have been partakers of the pains, the crosses, and calamities, and disasters, of human life. Man-like constancy, brave steady endurance, a cheerful acquiescence in the universal dispensation, are to thee but trifles of mean importance. They are only of use in a bustling world, when the winds rage, the storms descend, thunders roll,
"With terror thro' the dark aërial hall.' Thou hast never dreamt of a world like this: thou hast never framed thyself but for a fine Elysian one, where spring perpetual smiles with verdant Aowers; where sunshine and zephyrs are happily blended; just exactly such a spot as thou hast ever found old England, where never was a frost, never a fog, never a day but was delicious and serene. But hold, Reason ! we have never found old England that paradise which thou describest.–Fools then, and idiots ! why act you as though you had? Why are your tempers and manners adapted to one kind of world, while your real situation is found to be in another?-Would you travel to Greenland in your shirt, and not be cold ? --to Guinea in your cloak, and not be warm? Must things submit to you, or you to things? Or is it not as absurd to suppose that the world should be new-modelled, that it might correspond to the weakness and caprices of mankind, as that the foot should be fitted to the shoe, and not the shoe to the foot; the horse to the saddle, and not the saddle to the horse ?--Be thankful rather to that Divine Providence, who hath given thee powers to make even this life a happy one ; who hath wisely contrived, that, where proper care is had, from the greatest of calamities may be learnt, if thou wilt endeavour, the noblest of all virtues."
Ver. 148. And what created perfect ?] No position can be more true and solid; for perfect happiness is as incommunicable as omnipotence. But the objector will not be equally satisfied by being told, that there can be any exceptions or any change under the guidance of a gracious and powerful Creator. Bayle is for ever repeating, in answer to his antagonists, " I only maintain, that the objections concerning the origin of evil cannot be solved by the mere strength of reason; and I always believed that this
If the great end be human Happiness,
155 Why then a Borgia, or a Catiline ?
NOTES. was saying no more than what all our divines confess concerning the incomprehensibility of predestination.”
Ver. 150. Then Nature deviates, &c.] “ While comets move in very eccentric orbs, in all manner of positions, blind Fate could never make all the planets move one and the same way in orbs concentric; some inconsiderable irregularities excepted, which may have risen from the mutual actions of comets and planets upon one another, and which will be apt to increase, till this system wants a reformation.” Sir Isaac Newton's Optics, Quest. ult.
Ver. 155. If plagues, &c.] What hath misled Mr. De Crousaz in his censure of this passage, is his supposing the comparison to be between the effects of two things in this sublunary world; when not only the elegancy, but the justness of it, consists in its being between the effects of a thing in the universe at large, and the familiar known effects of one in this sublunary world. For the position enforced in these lines is this, that partial evil tends to the good of the whole :
« Respecting Man, whatever wrong we call,
May, must be right, as relative to all.” Ver. 51. How does the Poet enforce it? If you will believe this Critic, in illustrating the effects of partial moral evil in a particular system, by that of partial natural evil in the same system, and so he leaves his position in the lurch. But the Poet reasons at another rate. The way to prove his point, he knew, was to illustrate the effect of partial moral evil in the universe, by partial natural evil in a particular system. Whether partial moral evil tend to the good of the Universe, being a question which, by reason of our ignoWho knows but He, whose hand the lightning
forms, Who heaves old Ocean, and who wings the storms; Pours fierce Ambition in a Cæsar's mind, Or turns young Ammon loose to scourge mankind ?
y analogy, in; and it is a tof our particular, ich is abso
rance of many parts of that Universe, we cannot decide but from known effects; the rules of good reasoning require that it be proved by analogy, i. e. setting it by, and comparing it with, a thing clear and certain ; and it is a thing clear and certain, that partial natural evil tends to the good of our particular system. W.
“ All ills arise from the order of the universe, which is absolutely perfect. Would you wish to disturb so divine an order for the sake of your own particular interest? What if the ills I suffer arise from malice or oppression ? But the vices and imperfections of men are also comprehended in the order of the universe.
• If plagues,' &c. Let this be allowed, and my own vices will be also a part of the same order.”
Such is the commentary of the academist on these famous lines.
Voltaire, having written his poem on the dreadful earthquake at Lisbon, in direct opposition to the maxim of “ Whatever is, is right,” speaks of it thus in a letter to his friend, M. de Cideville, 1756; “Comme je ne suis pas en tout de l'avis de Pope, malgré l'amitié que j'ai eu pour sa personne, et l'estime sincere que je conserverai toute ma vie pour ses ouvrages, j'ai cru devoir lui rendre justice dans ma preface, aussi-bien qu'à notre illustre ami M. l'Abbé du Resnel, qui lui a fait l'honneur de le traduire, et souvent lui a rendu le service d'adoucir les duretés des ses sentimens.”
Ver. 157. Who knows but He, &c.] The sublimity with which the great Author of Nature is here characterized, is but the second beauty of this fine passage. The greatest is the making the very dispensation objected to, the periphrasis of his title. W.