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All must be false that thwart this one great End;
Man, like the gen'rous vine, supported lives; The strength he gains is from th' embrace he gives. On their own Axis as the Plannets run,
Yet make at once their circle round the Sun;
Government, in fact, mutually approach each other, or recede, by many, and often insensible gradations?" Aristotle is of opinion, in the seventh chapter of the seventh book of his Politics, that there are some nations who cannot live under a free Government.
Ver. 305. For Modes of Faith let graceless zealots fight;] These latter ages have seen so many scandalous contentions for modes of faith, to the violation of Christian Charity, and dishonour of sacred Scripture, that it is not at all strange they should become the object of so benevolent and wise an Author's resentment. W.
He borrowed this from Cowley; who, extolling the piety of his friend Crashaw, the Poet, who went over to the Romish Church, and died a Canon of Loretto, says,
Pardon, my Mother Church, if I consent
That Angels led him, when from thee he went;
When join'd to so much piety as his :
His Faith, perhaps, in some nice tenets might
wrong; his life, I'm sure, was in the right." Cowley also, possibly, might take the hint from Lord Herbert of Cherbury; who hath this distich in his works:
"Digladient alii circa res religionis:
Quod credas nihil est, sit modo vita proba."
But "digladient is a barbarism; he should have said, digladientur, or contendant," says Dr. Jortin.
Ver. 313. On their own Axis] This illustration is plainly taken from the Spectator, No. 588, said to be written by Mr. Grove: "Is therefore Benevolence inconsistent with Self-love? Are their motions contrary? No more than the diurnal rotation of the earth is opposed to its annual; or its motion round its own centre; which might be improved as an illustration of Self-love; that whirls it about the common centre of the world, answering to
So two consistent motions act the Soul;
And one regards Itself, and one the Whole.
Thus God and Nature link'd the genʼral frame, And bade Self-love and Social be the same.
universal benevolence. Is the force of Self-love abated, or its interest prejudiced by benevolence? So far from it, that benevolence, though a distinct principle, is extremely serviceable to Selflove, and then doth most service when it is least designed."
Ver. 315. act the Soul;] It should certainly be actuate, or act upon. He has used this expression again, Iliad xv. v. 487. This acted by a God."
Such inaccuracies are not worth remarking, but in writers so correct and eminent as our author, lest they should give a sanction to errors. Dr. Lowth in his Grammar has pointed out several in our Author's Works.
Ver. 318. And bade Self-love] The Remarks of Warburton on the Essay on Man, on the Moral Epistles, and the Alliance betwixt Church and State, were translated into French by M. De Silhouette; for which translation, supposing it contained opinions unfavourable to the despotic government of France, he was much censured, and had nearly been prosecuted, when he became Controller General of the Finances; and he immediately bought up and destroyed all the copies of this work that could be found.
Voltaire, writing to M. De Cideville, in June 1759, says of M. De Silhouette, "Le genie de M. De Silhouette est Anglois, calculateur, et courageux; mais si on nous prend des Guadeloupe, si ces maudits Anglois ont plus de vaisseaux que nous, et meilleurs, si les frais de la visite qu'on veut leur rendre sont perdus, si les depenses immenses d'une guerre juste, mais ruineuse, absorbent les revenus de l'état, ni M. De Silhouette, ni Pope, n'y pourront suffire."
In this passage (Ver. 318) Pope uses the very words of Bolingbroke: "Thus it happens that Self-love and Social are divided, and set in opposition to one another in the conduct of particular men, whilst in the making laws, and the regulation of government, they continue the same." Minutes of Essays, section 51, addressed to Pope.
OUR Poet having, in the three former Epistles, treated of Man in all the three respects in which he can be considered; namely, first, of his Nature and State with respect to the Universe; secondly, With respect to Himself; thirdly, With respect to Society seems to have finished his subject in the three foregoing Epistles. This fourth Epistle, therefore, on Happiness, may be thought to be adscititious, and out of its proper place, and ought to have made part of the second Epistle, where Man is considered with respect to Himself. I formerly mentioned this to Dr. Akenside and Mr. Harris, who were of my opinion.
ARGUMENT OF EPISTLE IV.
Of the Nature and State of MAN with respect to
I. FALSE Notions of Happiness, Philosophical and Popular, an
swered from Ver. 19 to 27. II. It is the end of all Men, and attainable by all, Ver. 30. God intends Happiness to be equal; and to be so it must be social, since all particular Happiness depends on general, and since he governs by general, not particular Laws, Ver. 37. As it is necessary for Order, and the peace and welfare of Society, that external goods should be unequal, Happiness is not made to consist in these, Ver. 51. But, notwithstanding that inequality, the balance of Happiness among Mankind is kept even by Providence, by the two Passions of Hope and Fear, Ver. 70. III. What the Happiness of Individuals is, as far as is consistent with the constitution of this world; and that the good Man has here the advantage, Ver. 77. The error of imputing to Virtue what are only the calamities of Nature, or of Fortune, Ver. 94. IV. The folly of expecting that God should alter his general Laws in favour of particulars, Ver. 121. V. That we are not judges who are good: but that whoever they are, they must be the happiest, Ver. 133, &c. VI. That external goods are not the proper rewards, but often inconsistent with, or destructive of, Virtue, Ver. 165. That even these can make no Man happy without Virtue: Instanced in Riches, Ver. 183. Honours, Ver. 191. Nobility, Ver. 203. Greatness, Ver. 215. Fame, Ver. 235. Superior Talents, Ver. 257, &c. With pictures of human Infelicity in Men possessed of them all, Ver. 267, &c. VII. That Virtue only constitutes a Happiness, whose object is universal, and whose prospect eternal, Ver. 307, &c. That the perfection of Virtue and Happiness consists in a conformity to the ORDER of PROVIDENCE here, and a Resignation to it here and hereafter, Ver. 326, &c.