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All are but parts of one stupendous whole, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul;
Ver. 266. The great directing Mind, &c.] “Veneramur autem et colimus ob dominium. Deus enim sine dominio, providentia, et causis finalibus, nihil aliud est quam FATUM et NATURA" Newtoni Princip. Schol. gener. sub finem.
Ver. 267. All are but parts] These are lines of a marvellous energy and closeness of expression. They are exactly like the old Orphic verses quoted in Aristotle, De Mundo. Edit. Lugd. folio, 1590, p. 378; and line 289 as minutely resembles the doctrine of the sublime hymn of Cleanthes the Stoic; not that I imagine Pope or Bolingbroke ever read that hymn, especially the latter, who was ignorant of Greek.
Ver. 268. Whose body Nature is, &c.] Mr. de Crousaz remarks, on this line, that“: A Spinozist would express himself in this manner.” I believe he would; for so the infamous Toland has done, in his Atheist's Liturgy, called Pantheisticon: but so would St. Paul likewise, who, writing on this subject, the omnipresence of God in his Providence, and in his Substance, says, in the words of a pantheistical Greek Poet, In him we live, and move, and have our being ; i. e. we are parts of him, his offspring: and the reason is, because a religious theist and an impious pantheist both profess to believe the omnipresence of God. But would Spinoza, as Mr. Pope does, call God the great directing Mind of all, who hath intentionally created a perfect Universe ? Or would a Spinozist have told us,
“ The workman from the work distinct was known ?" a line that overturns all Spinozism from its very foundations.
But this sublime description of the Godhead contains not only the divinity of St. Paul ; but, if that will not satisfy the men he writes against, the philosophy likewise of Sir Isaac Newton.
The Poet says,
“ All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul;" &c. The Philosopher : -“In ipso continentur et moventur universa, sed absque mutua passione. Deus nihil patitur ex corporum motibus ;:illa nullam sentiunt resistentiam ex omnipræsentia Dei.—Corpore omni et figura corporea destituitur.-Omnia re
That, chang'd through all, and yet in all the same; Great in the earth, as in th' ethereal frame; 270
NOTES. git et omnia cognoscit-Cum unaquæque Spatii particula sit semper, et unumquodque Durationis indivisibile momentum, ubique certe rerum omnium Fabricator ac. Dominus non erit nunquam, nusquam.” Mr. Pope ;
“ Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals, all.” Sir Isaac Newton :-“ Annon ex phænomenis constat esse en- . tem incorporeum, viventem, intelligentem, omnipræsentem, qui in spatio infinito, tanquam sensorio suo, res ipsas intime cernat, penitusque perspiciat, totasque intra se præsens præsentes complectatur.”
But now admitting there were an ambiguity in these expressions so great that a Spinozist might employ them to express his own particular principles ; and such a thing might well be, because the Spinozists, in order to hide the impiety of their principle, are wont to express the Omnipresence of God in terms that any religious Theist might employ; in this case, I say, how are we to judge of the Poet's meaning ? Surely by the whole tenor of his argument. Now take the words in the sense of the Spinozists, and he is made, in the conclusion of his epistle, to overthrow all he had been advancing throughout the body of it: for Spinozism is the destruction of a Universe, where every thing tends, by a foreseen contrivance in all its parts, to the perfection of the Whole. But allow him to employ the passage in the sense of St. Paul, That we and all creatures live, and move, and have our being, in God; and then it will be seen to be the most logical support of all that had preceded. For the Poet having, as we say, laboured through his Epistle to prove, that every thing in the Universe tends, by a foreseen contrivance, and a present direction of all its parts, to the perfection of the Whole; it might be objected, that such a disposition of thing's
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
implying in God a painful, operose, and inconceivable extent of Providence, it could not be supposed that such care extended to all, but was confined to the more noble parts of the creation. This gross conception of the First Cause the Poet exposes, by shewing that God is equally and intimately present to every particle of Matter, to every sort of Substance, and in every instant of Being. W.
Ver. 269. That, chang'd thro' all,] “ Every ear,” says a critic of the truest taste," must feel the ill effect of the monotony in these lines. The cause of it is obvious. This verse consists of ten syllables, or five feet. When the pause falls on the fourth sylable, we shall find that we pronounce the six last in the same time that we do the four first ; so that the couplet is not only divided into two equal lines, but each line, with respect to time, is divided into two equal parts." Webb’s Remarks on the Beauties of Poetry.
Ver. 270. Great in the earth,] It is remarkable that perhaps the most solid refutation of Spinoza is in the fifth volume of Bayle's Dictionary, p. 199.
Ver. 274. operates unspent ;] To Lucretius, who, in these very bold and magnificent lines, has asked,
“Quis regere immensi summam ? quis habere profundi
Ignibus ætheriis terras suffire feraceis ? • Omnibus inque locis esse omni tempore præsto? To this question, I say, we may answer, “ That Great Being who is so powerfully described by Pope in this passage."
See on this subject the fine and convincing Discourse of socrates with Aristodemus, in the first book of Xenophon's Memorabilia..
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part,
NOTES. Ver. 276. In a hair as heart ;] How much superior to a conceit of Cowley, addressed to J. Evelyne, Esq.
“ If we could open and intend our eye,
E'en in a Bush, the radiant Deity!" Very sublime is the idea of the Great First Cause in a fragment of Empedocles :
- Φρήν ιερή, και αθέσφατος έπλετο μούνον, Φροντίσι κόσμον άπαντα καταΐσσουσα θονήσι.
Ammonius, p. 199. M. du Resnel has translated all this passage of Pope unfairly and absurdly.
Our author strove hard to excel four fine lines of his master Dryden, and has succeeded in the attempt; they are in a speech of Raphael in the “ State of Innocence," amidst much trash:
“ Where'er thou art, he is ; th' eternal Mind
And thro: the universal mass does move." Ver. 280. He fills, he bounds,] This is a noble passage. Akenside entered the lists on this subject with our author. It will be pleasant to compare two such writers :
- Thee, O Father, this extent
X. Cease then, nor ORDER Imperfection name : : Our proper bliss depends on what we blame.
After Verse 282 in the MS.
Reason, to think of God when she pretends,
Book. i. 569. The Pleasures of Imagination. I will here add, as the best commentary on the prevailing doctrines of this first Epistle, a very exalted passage from Plotinus, in which he has introduced a subline prosopopeia of Nature, or the Universe, speaking of the design of Creation; and I will give it in the forcible and energetic translation of Cudworth, book i. p. 881, without apology for any antiquated expressions that this truly great divine and philosopher has made use of:
“ That which God made was the Whole, as One thing; which he that attends to may hear it speaking to him after this manner: ‘God Almighty hath made Me, and from thence came I perfect and complete, and standing in need of nothing, because in Me are contained all things; plants, and animals, and good souls, and men happy with virtue ; and innumerable demons, and many gods. , Nor is the earth alone in me adorned with all manner of plants and variety of animals ; or does the power of soul extend at most no farther than to the seas, as if the whole air, and ether, and heaven, in the mean time, were quite devoid of soul, and altogether unadorned with living inhabitants More