They swelled the number of the army of bold questioners upon the ways of God to Man, but they were an idle rout of camp-followers, not combatants; they simply ate, and drank, and died.In 1697, Pierre Bayle published at Rotterdam, his “Historical and Critical Dictionary,” in which the lives of men were associated with a comment that suggested, from the ills of life, the absence of divine care in the shaping of the world.Tags: Famous Photo EssaysThe Crucible Act 3 Essay QuestionsWorld History Research Paper QuestionsUdall Scholarship EssayOrganic Solar Cell Phd ThesisPoverty In Egypt Research PaperMacbeth Literary Analysis Essay
Pope’s poetry thus deepened with the course of time, and the third period of his life, which fell within the reign of George II., was that in which he produced the “Essay on Man,” the “Moral Essays,” and the “Satires.” These deal wholly with aspects of human life and the great questions they raise, according throughout with the doctrine of the poet, and of the reasoning world about him in his latter day, that “the proper study of mankind is Man.” Wrongs in high places, and the private infamy of many who enforced the doctrines of the Church, had produced in earnest men a vigorous antagonism.
Tyranny and unreason of low-minded advocates had brought religion itself into question; and profligacy of courtiers, each worshipping the golden calf seen in his mirror, had spread another form of scepticism.
The intellectual scepticism, based upon an honest search for truth, could end only in making truth the surer by its questionings.
The other form of scepticism, which might be traced in England from the low-minded frivolities of the court of Charles the Second, was widely spread among the weak, whose minds flinched from all earnest thought.
His offence in the eyes of de Crousaz was that he had left out of account all doctrines of orthodox theology.
But if he had been orthodox of the orthodox, his argument obviously could have been directed only to the form of doubt it sought to overcome.Pope’s argument, good or bad, had nothing to do with questions of theology.Like Butler’s, it sought for grounds of faith in the conditions on which doubt was rested.Thus the two works were, in fact, produced together, parts of one design.Pope’s Satires, which still deal with characters of men, followed immediately, some appearing in a folio in January, 1735.And when his closing hymn was condemned as the freethinker’s hymn, its censurers surely forgot that their arguments against it would equally apply to the Lord’s Prayer, of which it is, in some degree, a paraphrase.The first design of the Essay on Man arranged it into four books, each consisting of a distinct group of Epistles.Bayle, he said, is now in Heaven, and from his place by the throne of God, he sees the harmony of the great Universe, and doubts no more.We see only a little part in which are many details that have purposes beyond our ken.But as the eighteenth century grew slowly to its work, signs of a deepening interest in the real issues of life distracted men’s attention from the culture of the snuff-box and the fan.As Pope’s genius ripened, the best part of the world in which he worked was pressing forward, as a mariner who will no longer hug the coast but crowds all sail to cross the storms of a wide unknown sea.