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given of the beautiful imagery in Il Penseroso of Milton. Very different was the opinion of the ingenious and acute Dr. Balguy on the Essay on Man ; who, in various passages of his excellent treatise, entitled, “Divine Benevolence,” has manifestly copied many of its doctrines and reasonings; who has written two sermons on the vanity of our pursuits after knowledge, which contain, as hath been already observed, little more than is comprehended in ten lines of this Essay; and who has even done Pope the honour of prefixing to his admirable sermons, as a motto, the following sentence from the preface to this Essay; "If I could Aatter myself that these Essays have any merit, it is in steering between the extremes of doctrines seemingly opposite ; in passing over terms utterly unintelligible; and in forming a temperate, yet not inconsistent system.”
DEO OPT. MAX.
FATHER of All! in ev'ry Age,
In ev'ry Clime ador'd,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord !
Ver. 1. FATHER of All!] For closeness and comprehension of thought, and for brevity and energy of expression, few pieces of poetry in our language can be compared with this Prayer. I am surprised Johnson should not make any mention of it. When it was first published, many orthodox persons were, I remember, offended at it, and called it, The Deist's Prayer. It were to be wished the Deists would make use of so good a one.
Ver. 4. Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!) “It is of very little consequence,” says Seneca, De Beneficiis, " by what name you call the first Nature, and the divine Reason, that presides over the universe, and fills all the parts of it. He is still the same God. You may give Him as many names as you please, provided you allow but one Sole Principle every where present."
“ Notwithstanding all the extravagances and miscarriages of the Poets,” says Cudworth, chap. 4, we shall now make it plainly appear, that they really asserted, not a multitude of selfexistent and independent Deities, but one, only, unmade Deity; and all the other, generated or created gods. This hath been already proved concerning Orpheus, from such fragments of the Orphic Poems as have been owned and attested by Pagan writers.” Cudworth proceeds to confirm this opinion by many strong and uncontested passages from Homer, Hesiod, Pindar,
Thou Great First Cause, least understood :
Who all my Sense confin'd
And that myself am blind;
Yet gave me, in this dark Estate,
To see the Good from Ill ;
Left free the Human Will.
Sophocles, and especially Euripides, book i. chap. iv. sect. 19.; and Aristophanes, in the first line of Plutus, distinguishes betwixt Jupiter and the gods : Ω Ζεύ και θεοί.
Ver. 6. my Sense confin'd] It ought to be confinedst, or didst confine; and afterward, gavest, or didst give, in the second per
See Lowth's Grammar. Ver. 9. Yet gave me,] Originally Pope had written another stanza, immediately after this;
Can sins of moments claim the rod
Of everlasting fires ?
Which Nature's self inspires ? The licentious sentiment it contains, evidently borrowed from a well-known passage of Guarini in the Pastor Fido, induced him to strike it out. And perhaps also the absurd metaphor of a rod of fires, on examination, displeased him.
Ver. 12. Left free] An absurd and impossible exemption, exclaims the Fatalist; “ comparing together the moral and the natural world, every thing is as much the result of established laws in the one as in the other. There is nothing in the whole universe that can properly be called contingent; nothing loose or fluctuating in any part of Nature; but every motion in the natural, and every determination and action in the moral world, are directed by immutable laws; so that, whilst these laws remain in their force, not the smallest link of the universal chain of causes and effects can be broken, nor any one thing be otherwise than it is.” All the most subtile and refined arguments that can be urged in a dispute on Fate and Free-will, are introduced, in a conversation on this subject, betwixt the angels Gabriel and Raphael, and Adam, in