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Physic of Metaphysic begs defence,
and confuted in the following words of an excellent Philosopher, who having demonstrated the absolute impossibility of any subtile matter or elastic fluid's being able to perform the office here assigned to it, as it must impel every particle of matter an infinite number of different ways at once, and incessantly, goes on thus, “When it is said that the higher we rise in the SCALE OF NATURE towards the supreme cause, the views we have from Philosophy appear more beautiful and extensive ; we may observe that the scale of material causes in philosophy is not like the rising scale of Beings in the creation : though the supposed seale here seems to have been taken from that. In the scale of Beings, the beginning is low: and every species rises in perfection as we ascend: there is an amazing variety, from dead matter, to living spirit: nor does the gradation end there. This is full of instruction and delight: we see ourselves in the middle of the scale, and are certain of rising higher, as rational beings were not made for utter extinction. But it is not so in a scale of material CAUSES. There are no degrees of perfection in matter. All matter is equally an inactive substance, that resists a change of its state. The higher we had ascended in such a scale, we should have met with the more obscurity. We see it is so in reality to those who pretend to mount this way. The first sort of matter might perhaps have been seen easily; the second, but darkly; and the third, not at all. This had been the way for the Deity to conceal himself; and this is the view which this philosophy endeavours to give us. It is equivocal language to speak of rising towards the supreme cause through a scale of material causes. No philosophy ever yet discovered the second step of the scale. I see a stone fall. I am certain there is but one step here. A fluid that impressed a crushing force on a small piece of matter, would as much overcome my strength to wade through it, as if I had endeavoured to walk in the bottom of an ocean of Mercury, or something more dense. Thus we see their second step is a fiction, to divert the attention, and set us a gazing at something that cannot be seen. The views that we have from this Philosophy are indeed very dark and mysterious. Philosophers speak of not excluding the Deity out of nature, as of a favour: but they endeavour to exclude him from every thing we can point out, to discover him. They
See Mystery to Mathematics fly!
REMARKS. endeavour to make us easy, by telling us, he is every where active, and every where present : but at the same time they try to restrain his activity, to quadrate with their hypothesis ; and make him present only that SUBTILE MATTER may exercise his power and knowledge. Nothing can derogate more from the Government and Influences of the Deity." —Baxter, Appendix to his Inquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul, p. 194. * W.
Ver. 645, 646. Physic of Metaphysic, &c.-And Metaphysic calls, &c.] Certain writers, as Malbranche, Norris, and Berkeley, have thought it of importance, in order to secure the existence of the soul, to bring in question the reality of body: which they have attempted to do by a very refined metaphysical reasoning: while others of the same party, in order to persuade us of the necessity of a Revelation which promises immortality, have been as anxious to prove that those qualities which are commonly supposed to belong only to an immaterial Being are but the result from certain dispositions of the particles of matter, and consequently that the soul is naturally mortal. Thus, between their different reasonings, these good men have left us neither Soul nor Body; nor the Sciences of Physics and Metaphysics the least support, by making them depend upon, and go a begging to, one another.
* W. Ver. 654. thy uncreating word:] After this noble and energetic line, the expression in the next, of—“ lets the curtain fall," is an unhappy descent in style and imagery.
BY THE AUTHOR
WHEREAS certain Haberdashers of Points and Particles, being instigated by the spirit of Pride, and assuming to themselves the name of Critics and Restorers, have taken upon them to adulterate the common and current sense of our Glorious Ancestors, Poets of this Realm, by clipping, coining, defacing the images, mixing their own base allay, or otherwise falsifying the same; which they publish, utter, and vend, as genuine: The said Habers dashers having no right thereto, as neither heirs, executors, administrators, assigns, or in any sort related to such poets, to all or any of them; Now We, having carefully revised this our Dunciad, beginning with the words The Mighty Mother,
* Read thus confidently, instead of“ beginning with the word Books, and ending with the word flies," as it formerly stood: read also, “ containing the entire sum of one thousand seven hundred and fifty-four verses," instead of “ one thousand and twelve lines;" such being the initial and final words, and such the true and entire contents of this poem.
Thou art to know, Reader! that the first Edition thereof, like that of Milton, was never seen by the Author (though living and not blind): the Editor himself confessed as much in his Preface: and no two poems were ever published in so arbitrary
The Editor of this had as boldly suppressed whole Passages, yea the entire last book, as the Editor of Paradise Lost added and augmented. Milton himself gave but ten books, his Editor twelde ; this Author gave four books, his Editor only three. But we have happily done justice to both; and presume we shall live in this our last labour, as long as in any of our others. Bentl.
and ending with the words buries All, containing the entire sum of One thousand seven hundred and fifty-four verses, declare every word, figure, point and comma, of this impression to be authentic: And do therefore strictly enjoin and forbid any person or persons whatsoever, to erase, reverse, put between hooks, or by any other means, directly or indirectly, change or mangle any of them. And we do hereby earnestly exhort all our brethren to follow this our Example, which we heartily wish our great Predecessors had heretofore set, as a res medy and prevention of all such abuses. Provided always, that nothing in this Declaration shall be construed to limit the lawful and undoubted right of every subject of this Realm, to judge, censure, or condemn, in the whole or in part, any poem or poet whatsoever.
Given under our hand at London this third
Day of January, in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred thirty and two.
Declarat' cor' me, John BARBER, Mayor,