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Above, how high, progreffive life may go!
Beast, bird, fish, infect, what no eye can fee,
And, if each fyftem in gradation roll Alike effential to th'amazing Whole,
Where, one step broken, the great scale's deftroy'd: From Nature's chain whatever link you ftrike, 245 Tenth or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
VER. 238. Ed. Ift.
Ethereal effence, fpirit, fubftance, man.
connection in the difpofition of things, as is here described, is tranfcendently beautiful? But the Fatalifts fuppofe fuch an one.-What then? Is the First Free Agent, the great Caufe of all things, debarred from a contrivance fo exquisite, becaufe fome Men, to fet up their idol, Fate, abfurdly reprefent it as prefiding over such a system?
VER. 243. Or in the full creation leave a void, &c.] This is only an illustration, alluding to the Peripatetic plenum and vacuum; the full
and void here meant, relating not to Matter, but to Life.
VER. 247. And, if each fyftem in gradation roll] The verb alludes to the motion of
The least confufion but in one, not all
That system only, but the Whole must fall. 250
Let ruling Angels from their spheres be hurl'd,
IX. What if the foot, ordain'd the duft to tread,
Just as abfurd for any part to claim
To be another, in this gen'ral frame:
All are but parts of one ftupendous whole,
VER. 267. All are but parts of one ftupendous whole,] Having thus given a representation of God's creation, as one entire whole, where all the parts have a neceffary dependence on, and relation to each other, and where every Particular works and concurs to the perfection of the whole; as fuch a fyftem would be thought above the reach of vulgar ideas; to reconcile it to common conceptions, he fhews (from y 266 to 281) that God is equally and intimately present to every fort of fubftance, to every particle of matter, and in every inftant of being; which eafes the labouring imagination, and makes it expect no lefs, from fuch a Prefence, than fuch a Difpenfation.
VER. 265. Just as abfurd, &c.] See the Profecution and application of this in Ep. iv. P.
VER. 266. The great direting Mind &c.] Veneramur autem & colimus ob dominium. Deus enim fine dominio, providentia, & caufis finalibus, nihil aliud eft quam FATUM & NATURA. Newtoni Princip. Schol. gener. fub finem.
VER. 268. Whofe body Nature is, &c.] A certain examiner remarks, on this line, that A Spinozist would ex"prefs himself in this Man"ner." I believe he would,
and fo, we know, would St. Paul too, when writing on the fame fubject, namely the omnipresence of God in his Providence, and in his Substance. In him we live and move and have our being; i. e. we are parts of him, his offspring, as the Greek poet, a pantheist quoted by the Apostle, obferves: And the reason is, becaufe a religious theift and an impious pantheift both profess to believe the omnipresence of God. But would Spinoza, as Mr. Pope does, call God the great directing Mind of all
That, chang'd thro' all, and yet in all the fame ; Great in the earth, as in th'æthereal frame;
who hath intentionally created a Spinozift have told us, a perfect Univerfe? Or would
The workman from the work diftinct was known,
a line that overturns all Spinozifm from its very foundations.
But this fublime defcription of the Godhead contains not only the divinity of St. Paul;
but, if that will not fatisfy the men he writes against, the philofophy likewife of Sir Ifaac Newton.
The poet fays,
All are but parts of one ftupendous whole,
The Philofopher :-In ipfo continentur & moventur univerfa, fed abfque mutua paffione. Deus nihil patitur ex corporum motibus; illa nullam fentiunt refiftentiam ex omnipræfentia Dei.-Corpore omni & figura corporea deftituitur. - Omnia
regit & omnia cognofcit.—Cum unaquæque Spatii particula fit femper, unumquodque Durationis indivifibile momentum ubique, certe rerum omnium Fabricator ac Dominus non erit nunquam, nufquam.
Breathes in our foul, informs our mortal part,
Sir Ifaac Newton: --Annon ex phænomenis conftat effe entem in
corporeum, viventem, intelligentem, omnipræfentem, qui in fpa
Warms in the fun, refreshes in the breeze,
tio infinito, tanquam fenforio | fuo, res ipfas intime cernat, penitufque perfpiciat, totafque intra fe præfens præfentes complectatur.
But now admitting, for argument's fake, there was an ambiguity in these expreffions, fo great, as that a Spinozift might employ them to exprefs his own particular principles; and fuch a thing might well be, because the Spinozifts, in order to hide the impiety of their principle, are used to exprefs the Omniprefence of God in terms that any religious Theift might employ. In this cafe, I fay, how are we to judge of the poet's meaning? Surely by the whole tenor of his argument. Now take the words in the fenfe of the Spinozifts, and he is made, in the conclufion of his epiftle, to overthrow all he has been advancing throughout the body of it: For Spinozifm is the deftruction of an Universe, where every thing tends, by a forefeen contrivance in all its parts,
to the perfection of the whole. But allow him to employ the paffage in the fenfe of St. Paul, That we and all creatures live and move and have our being in God; and then it will be feen to be the most logical fupport of all that had preceded. For the poet having, as we fay, laboured through his epistle to prove, that every thing in the Univerfe tends, by a foreseen contrivance, and a prefent direction of all its parts, to the perfection of the whole; it might be objected, that such a difpofition of things implying in God a painful, operofe, and inconceivable extent of Providence, it could not be fupposed that fuch care extended to all, but was confined to the more noble parts of the creation. This grofs conception of the First Cause the poet exposes, by fhewing that God is equally and intimately prefent to every particle of Matter, to every fort of Subftance, and in every inftant of Being.