Page images
PDF
EPUB

Without satiety, tho' e'er so bless’d,
And but more relish'd as the more digress'd;
The broadeft mirth unfeeling folly wears,
Lels pleasing far than Virtue's very tears : 320
Good, from each object, from each place acquir’d,
For ever exercis'd, yet never tir'd;
Never elated, while one man's oppress'd ;
Never dejected while another's bless’d,
And where no wants, no wishes can remain, 325
Since but to wish more Virtue is to gain.

See the sole bliss Heav'n could on all bestow ! Which who but feels can taste, but think can know: Yet poor with fortune, and with learning blind, The bad must miss; the good, untaught, will finds 330

VARIATIONS.

And raise his base on that one solid joy,

Which conscience gives, and nothing can destroy. These lines are extremely finished. In which there is such a soothing sweetness in the melancholy harmony of the verfification, as if the poet was then in that tender office in which he was most officious, and in which all his soul came out, the condoling with some good man in affliction.

NOT ÉS. by an enumeration of its Qualities, all naturally adapted to give and to increase human Happiness; as its CorItancy, Capacity, Vigour, Efficacy, A&tivity, Moderation, and Self-sufficiency.

VER. 329. Yet poor with fortune, &c.] The poet here obferveth, with some indigna:icn, that as ease and as evia

Slave to no sect, who takes no private road,
But looks thro' Nature, up to Nature's God;
Pursues that Chain which links th’immense design,
Joins heav'n and earth, and mortal and divine ;
Sees, that no Being any bliss can know, 335
But touches some above, and some below;
Learns from this union of the rising Whole,
The first, last purpose of the human soul;
And knows where Faith, Law, Morals, all began,
All end, in Love of God, and Love oF MAN. 340
For him alone, hope leads from goal to goal,
And opens still, and opens on his soul;

NOTES.

dert as his truth was, yet Riches and false Philosophy had so blinded the discernment even of improved minds, that the pofleflors of the first placed Hapiness in Externals, unsuitable to Man's Nature; and the followers of the lat. ter, in refined Visions, unsuitable to his Situation ; while the simple-minded man, with NATURB only for his guide, found plainly in what it should be placed.

VER. 341. For him alone, hope leads from goal to goal;] But this is not all ; when the fimple-minded man, on his first setting out in the pursuit of Truth, in order to Happiness, hath had the wisdom,

To look thro' Nature up to Nature's God. (instead of adhering to any sect or party, where there was so great odds of his chusing wrong) that then the benefit of gaining the knowledge of God's will, written in the mind, is not confined there; for standing on this sure foundation, he is now no longer in danger of chusing wrong, amidt such diversities of Religions; but by pur

'Till lengthen’d on to Faith, and unconfin’d,
It pours the bliss that fills up all the mind.

1

NOTES.

suing this grand scheme of UNIVERSAL BENEVOLENCE
in practice as well as theory, he arrives at length to the
knowledge of the REVEALED will of God, which is the
consummation of the system of benevolence:

For him alone, Hope leads from goal to goal,
And opens still, and opens on his soul,
'Till lengthen'd on to faith, and unconfin'd
It

pours the bliss that fills up all the mind.
Ver. 341. For him alone Hope leads from goal to goal, &c.)
Plato, in his first book of a Republic, hath a remarkable
passage to this purpose:“ He whose conscience does not

reproach him, has chearful Hope for his companion, " and the support and comfort of his old age, according

to Pindar: For this great Poet, O Socrates, very elegantly says, That he who leads a juft and holy life has

always amiable Hope for his companion, which fills his “ heart with joy, and is the support and comfort of his “ old age. Hope, the most powerful of the Divinities, in

governing the ever changing and inconftant temper of “ mortal men.” Tớ dà undir saulõ ädixeon guveidoto ndocia ελπίς αει πάρει, και αγαθη γηρόδρόφο», ως και Πίνδαρο- λέγει. Χαριέλλως γάρ τοι, ώ Σώκρατες, τετ' εκείνο: άπεν, ότι ος αν δικαίως και οσίως τον βίον διαγάγη, γλυκιά οι καρδίαν ατάλλασα yngor ópe. orraope inpris, & parisa Ovalar wohúspapor yvápar xv6sprâ. In the fame manner Euripides speaks in his Hercules furens.

Ouro do árne agiso, osis inzion

Πίπoιθν αίί: σο δ' άπορούν, ανδρός κακά. ver. 1ος. “ He is the good man in whose breast hope Springs eternally: But to be without hope in the world is the portion “ of the wicked."

He sees why Nature plants in Man alone 345
Hope of known bliss, and Faith in bliss unknown :
(Nature, whose dictates to no other kind
Are given in vain, but what they seek they find)
Wife is her present; she connects in this
His greatest Virtue with his greatest Bliss; 350
At once his own bright prospect to be blest,
And strongest motive to alift the rest.

Self-love thus push'd to social, to divine,
Gives thee to make thy neighbour's blessing thine.

NOTE $.

VER. 353. Self-lore thus pofid to secial; &c.] The soet here marks out the Progress of his good man's Benevolence, pushed through natural religion to revealed, 'till it arrives to that height which the sacred writers describe as the very summit of Christian perfection ; and fhews how the progress of human differs from the progress of divine benevolence. That the divine defcends from whole to parts; but that the human must rise from individual to universul. His argument for this extended benevolence is, that, as God has made a Whole, whose parts have a perfect relation to, and an entire dependency on each other, Man, by extending his benevolence throughout that Whole, acts in conformity to the will of his Creator ; and therefore this enlargement of his affection becomes a duty. But the poet lath not only shewn his piety in this observation, but the utmost art and address likewise in the disposition of it. The Fjay on Nan opens with exposing the murmurings and impious conclusions of foolish men againt the present constitution of things; as it proceeds, it occasionally detects all those false principles and opin nions that led them to conclude thus perverselyHaving

Is this too little for the boundless heart?

355
Extend it, let thy enemies have part :
Grasp the whole worlds of Reason, Life, and Şenle,
In one close system of Benevolence :

NOT t s.

[ocr errors]

now done all that was necessary in Speculation, the ads
thor turns to Practice'; and ends his Eflay with the recom-
mendation of an acknowledged virtue, CHARITY; which,
if exercised in the Extent that conformity to the will of
God requireth, would effectually prevent all complaints
against the present order of things ; such complaints being
made with a total disregard to every thing but their own
private system, and seeking remedy in the disorder, and át
the
expence

of all the relt. This observation,
Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake,
is important ; Rochefaucault, Esprit, and their wortliy
disciple Mandeville, had obferved, that Self-love was the
Origin of all those virtues Mankind most admire ; and
therefore foolishly supposed it was the End likewise; and
so taught, that the highest pretences to disinterestedness
were only the more artful disguises of Self-love. But our
author, who says somewhere or other,

Of human Nature, Wit its worst may write,
We all revere it in our own despite,

MS: saw, as well as they and every body else, that the Passions began in Self-love ; yet he understood human Nature better than to imagine they terminated there. He knew, that Reason and Religion could convert Selfishness into its very oppofite ; and therefore teacheth, that

Self-love but serves the virtuous mind co wake : And thus hath vindicated the dignity of human Nature, ảnd the philosophic truth of the Chriftian doctrine.

« PreviousContinue »