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Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part, 275
Wer. 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,
Very sublime is the idea of the Great First Cause in a fragment of Empedocles:
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" Acts thro' all places; is to none confin'd: Fills ocean, earth, and air, and all above, 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.
VARIATIONS. After Verse 282 in the MS.
Reason, to think of God when she pretends,
Well-pleas'd thou did'st behold. The gloomy fires
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 prosopopoeia 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 MoreKnow thy own point: This kind, this due degree Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee. Submit.—In this, or any other sphere, 285 Secure to be as blest as thou canst bear :
over, all things in me desire good, and every thing reaches to it, according to its power and nature. For the whole world depends upon that first and highest good, the gods themselves, who reign in my several parts, and all animals and plants, and whatsoever seems to be inanimate in me. For some things in me partake only of being, some of life also, some of sense, some of reason, and some of intellect above reason. But no man ought to require equal things from unequal; nor that the finger should see, but the eye; it being enough for the finger to be a finger, and to perform its own office. As an artificer would not make all things in an animal to be eyes; so neither has the Divine Aóyoc, or Spermatic Reason of the World, made all things gods; but some gods, but some demons, and some men, and some lower animals: not out of envy, but to display its own variety and fecundity: but we are like unskilful spectators of a picture, who condemn the limner, because he hath not put bright colours every where; whereas he had suited his colours to every part respectively, giving to each such as belonged to it. Or else are we like those who would blame a comedy or tragedy, because they were not all kings or heroes that acted in it, but some servants and rustic clowns introduced also, talking after their rude fashion. Whereas the dramatic poem would neither be complete, nor elegant and delightful, were all those worser parts taken out of it.’” The learned reader will be highly gratified by turning to a fine passage on this subject in Plutarch, De Animi Tranquillitate, vol. ii. p. 473. folio, 1620, and to the noble lines of Euripides there quoted: and would be gratified still more by attentively perusing the short treatise of Aristotle, IIspi Káguov, concerning the beauty and concord of the Universe arising from Contrarieties; which treatise, notwithstanding the different form of its composition, ought to be ascribed to this philosopher, for the reasons assigned by Petit in his Observations, b. ii.; and by a dissertation of Daniel Heinsius, as well as the opinion of our truly learned Bishop Berkeley.
Safe in the hand of one disposing Pow'r,
Ver. 287. Safe in the hand] “Be there two worlds, or be there twenty, the same God is the God of all; and wherever we are, we are equally in his power. Far from fearing my Creator, that all-perfect Being whom I adore, I should fear to be no longer his creature.” Bolingbroke. Si sic omnia dixisset! Ver. 289. All Nature is but Art, Cudworth observes, upon Lucretius's having said, “Usque adeo res humanas vis abdita quaedam Obterit,”——
that here he reeled and staggered in his atheism; or was indeed a Theist, and knew it not. “Nature is the art whereby God governs the world,” says Hobbes. Ver. 291. All Discord, Harmony] The words of Plato, in the Thaeot, are, kal rotiro Heyiornç réxync âyajotroueivrd Kaká. “This must be acknowledged to be the greatest of all arts, to be able to bonifie evils, or tincture them with good.” Cudworth, p. 221. Intellectual System.
I was surprised to see this philosophical doctrine amply illustrated in one of our quaint old writers, Feltham, in his Resolves, p. 130, 1633.
“The whole world is kept in order by Discord; and every part of it is but a more particular composed jarre. Not a man, not a beast, not a creature, but have something to ballast their lightnesse. One scale is not alwaies in depression, nor the other lifted ever high, but the alternate wave of the beame keepes it ever in the play of motion. From the pismire on the tufted hill, to the monarch in the raised throne, nothing but hath somewhat to awe it. Wee are all here like birds that boys let fly in strings; when
And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,
No TES. we mount too high wee have that which pulsus downe againe. What man is it which lives so happily, which feares not something that would sadden his soule if it fell? Nor is there any whom calamity doth so much tristitiate, as that hee never sees the flashes of some warming joy. Beasts with beasts are terrified and delighted. Man with man is awed and defended. States with states are bounded and upholded. And, in all these, it makes greatly for the Maker's glory that such an admirable harmony should be produced out of such an infinite discord. The world is both a perpetuall warre, and a wedding. Heraclitus call'd a Discord and Concord the universall Parents. And to raile on Discord, saies the Father of the Poets, is to speake ill of Nature. As in musick sometimes one string is lowder, sometimes another; yet never one long, nor never all at once. So sometimes one state gets a monarchy, sometimes another; sometimes one element is violent, now another; yet never was the whole world under one long ; nor were all the elements raging together. Every string has his use, and his tune, and his turne.” Feltham, we might imagine, did not know that this was a doctrine so old as Heraclitus, who speaks of Tlaxivrporoc àpuovia kóopov, a versatile harmony of the world, whereby things reciprocate backwards, and forwards, &c.; quoted by Cudworth, chap. iv. b. i. from Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, of two principles, a good God and an evil Demon; the Manichean doctrine.
BAYLE was the person who, by stating the difficulties concerning the Origin of Evil, in his Dictionary, 1695, with much acuteness and ability, revived the Manichean controversy that had been long dormant. He was soon answered by Le Clerc in his Parrhasiana, and many articles in his Bibliotheques. But by no writer was Bayle so powerfully attacked, as by the excellent Archbishop King, in his Treatise de Origine Mali,1702. About 1705, Lord Shaftesbury frequently visited Bayle, at Rotterdam, whose wit and learning he admired, and made him a present of an elegant watch by a delicatestratagem; and offered him a fine