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ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE III.
Of the Nature and State of Man with respect to Society.
1. The whole Universe one system of Society, Ver. 7, &c. Nothing
made wholly for itself, nor yet wholly for another, Ver. 27. The happiness of Animals mutual, Ver. 49. II. Reason or Instinct operate alike to the good of each individual, Ver. 79. Reason or Instinct operate also to Society, in all animals, Ver. 109. III. How far Society carried by Instinct, Ver. 115. How much farther by Reason, Ver. 128. IV. Of that which is called the State of Nature, Ver. 144. Reason instructed by Instinct in the Invention of Arts, Ver. 166; and in the Forms of Society, Ver. 176. V. Origin of Political Societies, Ver. 196. Origin of Monarchy, Ver. 207. Patriarchal Government, Ver. 212. VI. Origin of true Religion and Government, from the same principle, of Love, Ver. 231, &c. Origin of Superstition and Tyranny, from the same principle, of Fear, Ver. 237, &c. The Influence of Self-love operating to the social and public Good, Ver. 266. Restoration of true Religion and Government on their first principle, Ver. 285. Mixed Government, Ver. 288. Various Forms of each, and the true end of all, Ver. 300, &c.
HERE then we rest : “ The Universal Cause
We are now come to the third Epistle of the Essay on Man. It having been shown, in explaining the origin, use, and end of the Passions, in the second Epistle, that Man hath social as well as selfish Passions, that doctrine naturally introduceth the third, which treats of Man as a sociấL animal ; and connects it with the second, which considered him as an INDIVIDUAL. And as the conclusion from the subject of the first Epistle made the introduction to the second, so here again, the conclusion of the second
• Ev'n mean Self-love becomes, by force divine,
The scale to measure others' wants by thine,” maketh the introduction to the third :
“ Here then we rest : « The Universal Cause
• Acts to one end, but acts by various laws.”” The reason of variety in those laws, which tend to one and the same end, the good of the Whole generally, is, because the good of the Individual is likewise to be provided for ; both which together make up the good of the Whole universally. And this is the cause (as the Poet says elsewhere) that
“ Each individual seeks a several goal.” But to prevent our resting there, God hath made each need the assistance of another; and so
“ On mutual wants built mutual happiness.” It was necessary to explain the two first lines, the better to see the pertinency and force of what followeth (from ver. 2 to 7) where the Poet warns such to take notice of this truth, whose circumstances placing them
Ver. 3. superfluous health,] Immoderate labour and immoderate study are equally the impairers of health. They whose station sets them above both, must needs have an abundance of it, which not being employed in the common service, but wasted in luxury and folly, the Poet properly calls a superfluity-Warburton.
Ver. 4. impudence of wealth,] Because wealth pretends to be wisdom, wit, learning, honesty, and, in short, all the virtues in their turns.Warburton.
Ver. 3—6.] M. Du Resnel, not seeing into the admirable purpose
VARIATIONS. Ver. 1.] In several Edits, in 4to.
Learn, Dulness, learn! “ The Universal Cause," &c.- Warburlon.
Let this great truth be present night and day;
5 But most be present, if we preach or pray.
Look round our world ; behold the chain of Love Combining all below and all above. See plastic Nature working to this end, The single atoms each to other tend,
in an imaginary station of Independence, and inducing a real habit of insensibility to mutual wants (from which wants general Happiness results), make them but tvo apt to overlook the true system of things ; viz. the men in full health and opulence. This caution was necessary with respect to Society ; but still more necessary with respect to Religion. Therefore he especially recommends the memory of it as well to the Clergy as Laity when they preach or pray; because the preacher who doth not consider the First Cause under this view, as a Being consulting the good of the Whole, must needs give a very unworthy idea of him ; and the supplicant, who prayeth as one not related to a whole, or indifferent to the happiness of it, will not only pray in vain, but offend his Maker by neglecting the interest of his dispensation.
Ver. 7. Look round our world ; 8c.] He now introduceth his system of human Sociability (ver. 7, 8) by showing it to be the dictate of the Creator ; and that Man, in this, did but follow the example of general Nature, which is united in one close system of benevolence.
Ver. 9. See plastic Nature working to this end,] This he proveth, first, (from ver. 8 to 13) on the noble theory of attraction, from the economy of the material world ; where there is a general conspiracy in all the particles of matter to work for one end ; the use, beauty, and harmony of the whole mass.
of the caution contained in these four lines, hath quite dropped the most material circumstances contained in the last of them; and what is worse, for the sake of a foolish antithesis, hath destroyed the whole propriety of the thought in the two first ; and so, between both, hath left his author neither sense nor system.
“ Dans le sein du bonheur, ou de l'adversité.”. Now, of all men, those in adversity have least need of this caution, as being least apt to forget, That God consults the good of the whole, and provides for it by procuring mutual happiness by means of mutual wants ; it being seen that such who yet retain the smart of any fresh calamity, are most compassionate to others labouring under distresses, and most prompt and ready to relieve them.-Warburton.
Ver. 9. See plastic Nature, &c.] M. Du Resnel mistook this description of the preservation of the material Universe, by the quality of attraction, for a description of its creation ; and so translates it
“ Voi du sein du Chaos éclater la lumière,
Chaque atome ébranlé courir pour s'embrasser,” &c. This destroys the Poet's fine analogical argument, by which he proves, from the circumstance of mutual attraction in matter, that man, while he seeks society, and thereby promotes the good of his species, co-operates with God's general dispensation ; whereas the circumstance of a creation proves nothing but a Creator.- Warburton.
Attract, attracted to, the next in place
Ver. 13. See Matter next, &c.] The second argument (from ver. 12 to 27) is taken from the vegetable and animal world; whose parts serve mutually for the production, support, and sustentation of each other. But the observation, that God
“ Connects each being, greatest with the least ;
Made beast in aid of Man, and Man of beast;
All serv'd, all serving”awaking again the pride of his impious adversaries, who cannot bear that man should be thought to be serving as well as served, he takes this occasion again to humble them (from ver. 26 to 49) by the same kind of argument he had so successfully employed in the first Epistle, and which the comment on that Epistle hath considered at large.
Ver. 12. Form'd and impelld, &c.] To make Matter so cohere as to fit it for the uses intended by its Creator, a proper Configuration of its insensible parts, is as necessary as that quality so equally and universally conferred upon it called Attraction. To express the first part of this thought, our author says form’d; and to express the latter, impelld.-Warburton.
Ver. 15. See dying vegetables) “ Thus in the several terrestrial forms, a resignation is required ; a sacrifice, and mutual yielding of nature, one to another. The vegetables, by their death, sustain the animals ; and the animal bodies dissolved enrich the earth, and raise again the vegetable world. The numerous insects are reduced by the superior kinds of birds or beasts ; and these again are checked by man, who, in his turn, submits to other natures, and resigns his form a sacrifice in common to the rest of things.” Shaftesbury's Moralist, p. 131.
In a letter of Dr. Warburton, transcribed from the manuscripts of Dr. Birch, in the British Museum, by the late Mr. Maty, are these remarkable words : “ As to the passages of Mr. Pope that correspond with Leibnitz, you know he took them from Shaftesbury ; and that Shaftesbury and Leibnitz bad one common original, Plato, whose system, of the best, when pushed as far as Leibnitz has carried it, must end in Fate.” A strange opinion once prevailed, that Leibnitz was not serious in his Theodicée. Le Clerc and De Maiseaux were of this opinion. But Mr. Jourdan, in his entertaining Voyage Litteraire, p. 150, has produced a letter of the celebrated and learned Mr. Le Croze, that effectually destroys this absurd supposition.—Warton.
Ver. 19, 20. Like bubbles, fc.] M. Du Resnel translates these two lines thus :
“ Sort du néant, y rentre, et reparoit au jour.”
Nothing is foreign; parts relate to whole;
Has God, thou fool! work'd solely for thy good,
He is here, indeed, consistently wrong: for having (as we said) mistaken the Poet's account of the preservation of Matter for the creation of it, he commits the very saine mistake with regard to the vegetable and animal systems ; and so talks now, though with the latest, of the production of things out of nothing. Indeed, by his speaking of their returning into nothing, he has subjected his author to M. De Crousaz’s censure.
“ Mr. Pope descends to the most vulgar prejudices, when he tells us that each being returns to nothing: the vulgar think that what disappears is annihilated,” &c. Comm. p. 221.-Warburton.
Ver. 22. One all-extending, all-preserving Soul] Which, in the language of Sir Isaac Newton, is,“ Deus omnipræsens est, non per virtutem solam, sed etiam per substantiam : nam virtus sine substantiâ subsistere non potest.” Newt. Princ. Schol. gen. sub fin.-Warburton. Ver. 23. Connects each being, ]
Spiritus intus alit, magno et se corpore miscet. Virg.-Bowles. Ver. 23. greatest with the least ;] As acting more strongly and immediately in beasts, whose instinct is plainly an external reason ; which made an old school-man say, with great elegance, “ Deus est anima brutorum :" “ In this 'tis God directs