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collection of books, which that philosopher declined to accept. He had many conversations and disputes with Bayle on the Manichean controversy; and in 1709 wrote the famous Dialogue entitled The Moralists, as a direct confutation of the opinions of Bayle; though he had before touched on this subject, 1699, when the first edition of the Enquiry concerning Virtue and Merit was published: as did his disciple Hutcheson, 1725. In 1710, Leibnitz wrote his famous Theodicée; without entering into the metaphysical refinements of that piece, it may be more amusing to our reader just to mention the agreeable fiction with which he ends his philosophical disquisition. He feigns (in continuance of a Dialogue of Laurentius Valla), that Sextus the son of Tarquin goes to Dodona to complain to Jupiter of the crime which he was destined to commit, the rape of Lucretia. Jupiter answers him, that he had nothing to do but to abstain from going to Rome: but Sextus declares positively, that he could not renounce the hope of being a king, and accordingly to Rome he goes. After his departure, the high priest, Theodorus, asks Jupiter, why he did not give another will to Sextus? Jupiter sends Theodorus to Athens to consult Minerva; she shews to Theodorus the great palace of the Destinies, in which were placed all the pictures and representations of all possible worlds, from the worst model to the best. Theodorus beholds, in the latter, the crime which Sextus was doomed to commit; from which crime arose the liberty of Rome, and a mighty empire; an event so interesting to a great part of the human race. Theodorus was silenced.
In 1720 Dr. John Clarke published his Enquiry into the Cause and Origin of Evil, a work full of sound reasoning; but almost every argument on this most difficult of all subjects had been urged many years before any of the above-mentioned treatises appeared, namely, 1678, by that truly great scholar and divine Cudworth, in that inestimable treasury of learning and philosophy his Intellectual System, to which so many authors have been indebted, without owning their obligations.
I thought this little account of the writers who had preceded Pope, on the subject of this Essay, not improper to be subjoined in this place. Voltaire wrote his Candide with the professed design of ridiculing the fundamental doctrine of this Essay; and in his philosophical Dictionary; in his poem on the Destruction of Lisbon; in his additions to the Encyclopedie; and in many parts of his Works and Letters; he seized every opportunity of combating
and exposing the opinion of Optimism. And he joined with Hume in saying, “That the only solid method of accounting for the Origin of Evil, consistently with the other attributes of God, is not to allow that his power is infinite.” “Sa puissance est très grande ; mais quinous a dit qu’elle est infinie, quand ses ouvrages nous montrent le contraire? Certes, j'aime mieux l'adorer borné que mechant. Il ne reste que d'avouer que Dieu ayant agi pour le mieux, n'a pu agir mieux. Cette necessité tranche toutes les difficultés et finit toutes les disputes. Nous n’avons pas le front de dire, Tout est bien ; nous disons tout estle moins mal qu'il se pouvoit.” “We ought,” says Hume, “to allow that the Creator of the universe possesses that precise degree of power, intelligence, and benevolence, which actually appears in his workmanship ; nothing farther can ever be justly proved; and the supposition of farther attributes is mere hypothesis.” Thus endeavouring to deprive us of our most comfortable hopes, and most salutary expectations. But he should remember, that, if this be all that reason and philosophy can be able to prove, life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel. Notwithstanding these loose principles of Voltaire, yet, one is glad to find, from the same hand, a full confutation of the impious tenets advanced in the Systeme de la Nature. Tom. iv. of Questions sur l'Encyclopedie, page 285. And in the beginning of this article, in this same volume, he has confuted Spinoza, and pointed out his many contradictions, sophisms, and obscurities; proving clearly that he did not understand his own opinions. In vol. vii. of the same work, page 283, he has demolished the artful arguments of Bayle, who endeavoured to prove that atheism was a tenet less mischievous to the happiness of man than idolatry.
VOL. III. E
ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE II.
Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to Himself as an Individual.
I. The business of Man not to pry into God, but to study himself. His Middle Nature; his Powers and Frailties, Ver. 1 to 19. The Limits of his Capacity, Ver. 19, &c. II. The two Principles of Man, Self-love and Reason, both necessary, Ver. 53, &c. Self-love the stronger, and why, Ver. 67, &c. Their end the same, Wer. 81, &c. III. The PAssions, and their use, Wer. 93 to 130. The Predominant Passion, and its force, Ver. 132 to 160. Its Necessity, in directing Men to different purposes, Wer. 165, &c. Its providential Use, in firing our Principle, and ascertaining our Virtue, Ver. 177. IV. Virtue and Vice joined in our mixed Nature; the limits near, yet the things separate and
evident: What is the Office of Reason, Ver. 202 to 216. W. How odious Vice in itself, and how we deceive ourselves in
it, 217. VI. That, however, the Ends of Providence and general Good are answered in our Passions and Imperfections, Ver. 238, &c. How usefully these are distributed to all Orders of Men, Ver. 241. How useful they are to Society, Ver. 251. And to Individuals, Ver. 263. In every state, and every age of life, Ver. 273, &c.