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And Middle natures, how they long to join
COMMENTARY. VER. 233. See, thro' this air, &c.] And further (from Ver. 232 to 267.) that this breaking the order of things, which, as a link or chain, connects all beings from the highest to the lowest, would unavoidably be attended with the destruction of the Universe: For that the several parts of it must at least compose as entire and harmonious a Whole, as the parts of a human body, can be doubted of by no one : Yet we see what confusion it would make in our frame, if the members were set upon invading each other's office.
What if the Foot, &c.
NOT E S. really and essentially different, how thin foever the partition is by which they are divided. Thus (to illustrate the truth of this observation) when a geometer considers a triangle, in order to demonstrate the equality of its three angles to two right ones, he has the picture or image of some sensible tri: angle in his mind, which is fense; yet notwithstanding, he must needs have the notion or idea of an intellectual triangle likewise, which is thought ; for this plain reason, because every image or picture of a triangle must needs be obtusangular, or rectangular, or acutangular; but that which, in his mind, is the subject of his proposition is the ratio of a triangle, undete mined to any of these species. On this account
Above, how high, progressive life may go! 235
COMMENTAR Y. Who will not acknowledge, therefore, that a connection, in the disposition of things, so harmonious as here described, is transcendently beautiful ? But the Fatalists suppose such an one. - What then? Is the First Free Agent, the great Cause of all things, debarred a contrivance infinitely exquisite, because some Men, to set up their idol, Fate, absurdly reprelent it as presiding over such a system?
NOTE s.. it was that Aristotle said, Nonuste Tivo diocei, rē un pava 1άσματα είναι, ή έδε ταύτα φανλάσματα, αλλ' εκ άνευ φανάσpatwy. The conceptions of the mind differ somewhat from sensible images; they are not sensible images, and yet not quite free or disengaged from sensible images.
VER. 243. Or in the full creation leave a void, &c.] This is only an illustration from the Peripatetic plenum and vacuum : the full and void here meant, relating not to Matter, but to.. Life,
From Nature's chain whatever link you strike, Tenth, or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
246 And, if each system in gradation roll Alike effential to th' amazing Whole, The least confusion but in one, not all That system only, but the Whole must fall. 250 Let Earth unbalanc'd from her orbit fly, Planets and stars run lawless thro' the sky; Let ruling Angels from their spheres be hurlid, Being on Being wreck’d, and world on world; Heav’n’s whole foundations to their centre nod, And Nature trembles to the throne of God. 256 All this dread ORDÉR break---for whom? for
thee? Vile worm !---oh Madnefs! Pride! Impiety!
NOTE s. Ver. 247. And, if each Aftem in gradation roll.] The verb is exactly chosen, as not alluding to the motion of the pla. netary bodies of each system ; but to the figures defcribed by that motion.
Ver. 251. Let Earth unbalanc'd] i.e. Being no longer kept within its orbit by the different directions of its progressive and attractive motions; which, like equal weights in a ba. lance, keep it in an equilibre.
Ver. 253. Let ruling Angels, &c.] The Poet, throughout this Work, has, with great art, used an advantage which his employing a Platonic principle for the foundation of his Er
fay, had afforded him; and that is the expressing himself (as · here) in Platonic language; which, luckily for his purpole,
IX. What if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread, Or hand, to toil, afpir’d to be the head? 260 What if the head, the eye, or ear repin'd . To serve mere engines to the ruling mind ? Just as absurd for any part to claim To be another, in this gen’ral frame: Just as absurd, to mourn the tasks or pains, 265 The great directing Mind of All ordains.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole, Whose body Nature is, and God the foul ;
COMMENTAR Y. VER. 267. All are but parts of one stupendous whole,] Our Author having thus given a representation of God's work, as one entire whole, where all the parts have a necessary depend. ance on, and relation to each other, and where cach partis cular part works and concurs to the perfection of the Whole; as such a system tranfcends vulgar ideas; to reconcile it to common conceptions, he shews (from Ver. 266 to 281.) that God is equally and intimately present to every fort of subjlance,
NOT E s. is highly poetical, at the same time that it adds a grace to the uniformity of his reasoning.
Ver. 259. What if the Foot, &C.] This fine Illustration in defence of the Syftem of Nature, is taken from St. Pauly who employed it to defend the System of Grace.
Ver. 265. Just as absurd, &ci] See the prosecution and application of this in Ep. iv. P.
VER. 266. The great directing mind, &c.] “ Veneramur “ autem & colimus ob dominium. Deus enim fine dominio, " providentia, & causis finalibus, nihil aliud eft quam Fa“ TUM & NATURA.” Newtoni Princip. Schol. gener. fub finem. VER. 268. Whole body Nature is, &c.) Mr. de Croufaz re
That, chang’d thro’all, and yet in all the same; Great in the earth, as in th’æthereal frame; 270
COMMENTARY: to every particle of matter, and in every instant of being ; which eases the labouring imagination, and makes us expect no less, from such a Presence, than such a Dispensation.
NOT E s. marks, on this line, that “' A Spinozist would express him“ self 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, bis offspring : And the reason is, because a religious theilt and an impious pantheist both profess to believe the omnipresence of God. But would Spinoza, 25 Mr. Pope does, call God the great direiling 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,
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
“ Spreads undivided, operates unspent." The Philosopher:-“ In ipso continentur & moventur uni