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Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
bus; illa nullam sentiunt resistentiam ex omnipræsentia Dei.--Corpore omni et figura corporeà destituitur.—Omnia regit 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 entem 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 an 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 hade 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 things implying in God a painful, operose, and inconceivable extent VOL. V.
Lives through all life, extends through all 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
Warburton. 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.
Warton. Ver. 274. operates unspent;] To Lucretius, who, in these very bold and magnificent lines, has asked,
“Quis regere immensi summam; quis habere profundi
Indu manu validas potis est moderanter habenas ?
Omnibus inque locis esse omni tempore præstó ?
“ 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.
Warton. 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,
We all, like Moses, should espy,
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 άθεσφισαίος έπλείο μένον,
Ammonius, p. 199.
As full, as perfect, in vile Man that mourns,
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:
And thro’ the universal mass does move." Warton. Ver. 277. As full, as perfect, &c.] Which M. Du Resnel translates thus,
“ Dans un homme ignoré sous une humble chaumière,
Que dans le Seraphin, rayonnant de lumière. i. e. As well in the ignorant man, who inhabits a humble cottage, as in the Seraph encompussed with rays of light. The translator, in good earnest thought, that a vile man that mourn'd could be no other than some poor Country Cottager. Which has betrayed M. De Crousaz into this important remark.—“For all that, we sometimes find in persons of the lowest rank, a fund of probity and resignation which
preserves them from contempt; their minds are, indeed, but narrow, yet fitted to their station,” &c. Comm. p. 120. But Mr. Pope had no such childish idea in his head. He was here opposing the human species to the angelic; and so spoke of the first, when compared to the latter, as vile and disconsolate. The force and beauty of the reflection depend upon this sense ; and, what is more, the propriety of it.
Warburton. 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.
Ver. 281. Cease then, nor ORDER Imperfection name:] And now the Poet, as he had promised, having vindicated the ways of God to Man, concludes (from ver. 280 to the end), that, from what had been said, it appears, that the very things we blame contribute to our happiness, either as unrelated particulars, or at least as parts of the universal system; that our state of ignorance was allotted to us out of compassion; that yet we have as much knowledge as is
And sanctify the mansion. All her works
powers of the great world
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 sublime 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:
After Verse 282 in the MS.
Reason, to think of God when she pretends,
Know thy own point. This kind, this due degree Of blindness, weakness, Heav'n bestows on thee.
sufficient to shew us, that we are, and always shall be, as blest as we can bear; for that NATURE is neither a Stratonic chain of blind causes and effects,
(All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee,) nor yet the fortuitous result of Epicurean atoms,
(All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see); as those two species of atheism supposed it; but the wonderful art and contrivance, unknown indeed to Man, of an all-powerful, allwise, all-good, and free Being. And therefore we may be assured, that the arguments brought above, to prove partial moral Evil
“ 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 further than to the seas, as if the whole air, and æther, and heaven, in the mean time, were quite devoid of soul, and altogether unadorned with living inhabitants. Moreover, 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 abyos, or Spermatic Reason of the World, made all things gods ; but some gods, and some demons, and some men, and some lower animals: not out of envy,