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Then shall Man's pride and dulness comprehend
65 His actions', passions', being's, use and end; Why doing, fuff'ring, check’d, impell’d; and why This hour a slave, the next a deity.
Then say not Man’s imperfect, Heav'n in fault; Say rather, Man's as perfect as he ought: 70 His knowledge measur’d to his state and place; His time a moment, and a point his space. If to be perfect in a certain sphere, What matter, foon or late, or here or there? The blest to day is as completely fo, 75 As who began a thousand years ago. III. Heav'n from all creatures hides the book
of Fate, All but the page prescrib'd, their present state :
If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
butcher; and from thence takes occasion to observe, that God is the equal master of all his creatures, and provides for the proper happiness of each and every of them.
From brutes what men, from men what fpirits
know: Or who could suffer Being here below?
80 The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to day, Had he thy Reason, would he skip and play? Pleas'd to the last, he crops the flow'ry food, And licks the hand just rais’d to shed his blood. Oh blindness to the future! kindly giv'n, 85 That each
may fill the circle mark'd by Heav'n: Who sees with equal eye, as God of all, A hero perish, or a sparrow fall, Atoms or systems into ruin hurl’d, And now a bubble burst, and now a world. 90
Hope humbly then; with trembling pinions
Wait the great teacher Death; and God adore.
No great, no little ; 'tis as much decreed
COMMENTARY. VER. 91. Hope humbly then, &c.] But now an Objector is supposed to put in, and say, “ You tell us, indeed, that all things shall terminate in good ; but we see ourselves surrounded with present evil ; yet you forbid us all enquiry into the manner how we are to be extricated; and, in a word, leave us in a very difconfolate condition." Not fo, replies the
NOT E s.
What future bliss, he gives not thee to know,
What bliss above he gives not thee to know,
COMMENTARY. Poet, you may reasonably, if you so please, receive much comfort from the hope of a happy futurity ; a Hope implanted in the human breast by God himself, for this very purpose, as an earnest of that Bliss, which, always Aying from us here, is reserved for the good Man hereafter. The reason why the Poet chuses to insist on this proof of a future state, in preference to others, is in order to give his system (which is founded in a sublime and improved Platonism) the greater grace of uniformity. For Hope was Plato's peculiar argument for a future state; and the words here employed — The f:ul uneasy, &c. his peculiar expression. The Poet in this place, therefore, says in express terms, that God gave us HOPE TO SUPPLY THAT FUTURE BLISS, WHICH HE AT PRESENT
In his second epistle, Ver. 274, he goes still further, and says, this Hope quits us not even at Death, when every thing mortal drops from us : “ Hope travels thro', nor quits us when we die.”
NOT E s. VER.93. What future bliss, &c.] It hath been objected, that " the Syftem of the best weakens the other natural arguments for a future state ; because, if the evils which good Men suffer, promote the benefit of the whole, then every thing is here in order : and nothing amiss that wants to be set right: Nor has the good man any reason to expect amends, when the cvils he suffered had such a tendency." To this it may be replied, 1. That the Poet tells us, (Ep. iv. Ver. 361.) that God loves from whole to parts. 2. The v/tem of the best is so far from weakening those natural arguments, that it strengthens and fupports them. For if those evils, to which good men are fubject, be mere disorders, without any tendency to the greater
KFEPS HID FROM US.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast: 95 Man never Is, but always To be blest.
COMMENT A Ř Y. And, in the fourth epistle, he shews, how the same hope is a proof of a future ftate, from the consideration of God's giving man no appetite in vain, or what he did not intend should be satisfied ;
“ He sees, why Nature plants in Man alone
“ Are giv’n in vain, but what they seek they find.)” It is only for the good man, he tells us, that Hope leads from goal to goal, &c. It would then, be strange indeed, if it should prove an illusion.
NOT E s. good of the whole; then, though we must, indeed, conclude that they will hereafter be fet right, yet this view of things, representing God as suffering disorders for no other end than to set them right, gives us too low an idea of the divine wil. dom. But if those evils (according to the yem of the bell) contribute to the greater perfection of the Whole ; such a reason may be then given for their permission, as supports our idea of divine wisdom to the highest religious purposes. Then, as to the good man's hopes of a retribution, these still remain in their original force: For our idea of God's justice, and how far that justice is engaged to a retribution, is exactly and invariably the same on either hypothesis. For though the system of the best supposes that the evils themselves will he fuily compensated by the good they produce to the While, yet this is so far from fupposing that Particulars shall suffer for a general good, that it is essential to this system, that, at the completion of things, when the Whole is arrived to the state of utmost perfection, particular and universal good shall coincide.
The soul, uncasy, and confin'd from home,
Indian ! whose untutor'd mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind; 100
COMMENTARY, VER. 99. L), the poor Indian, &c.] The Poet, as we faid, having bid Man comfort himself with expectation of future happiness,--having shewn him that this HOPE is an earnest of it, and put in one very necessary caution,
“ Hope humbly then, with trembling pinions foar ;" provoked at those miscreants whom he afterwards (Ep. iii. Ver. 263.) describes as building Hell on fpite, and Heaven on pride, he upbraids them (from Ver. 99 to 113.) with the example of the poor Indian, to whom also Nature hath given this common HOPE of Mankind: But tho' his untutored mind had betrayed him into many childish fancies concerniog the nature of that future ftate, yet he is so far from excluding any part of his own species (a vice which could proceed only from the pride of false Science) that he humanely admits even his faithful deg to beur him company.
NO TE 9. « Such is the World's great harmony, that springs “ From Order, Union, full Consent of things. “ Where small and grea', where weak and mighty, made To serve, not fuffer, strengthen, not invade," &c.
Ep. ii. Ver. 295. Which coincidence can never be, without a retribution to good men for the evils suffered here below.
VER. 97.--- from home,] The construction is,—The foul being from home (confined and uneasy) expatiates, &c. By which words, it was the Poet's purpose to teach, that the present life is only a state of probation for another, more suitable to the effence of the foul, and to the free exercise of its qualities.