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Conspiring order, fitness, harmony,
Use, and convenience ; will you not agree,
That such effects could not be undesign'd,
Nor could proceed but from a Knowing Mind?
Old systems you may try, or new ones raise,
May shift and wind, and plot a thousand ways;
May various words, and forms of diction, use,
And with a different cant th’unjudging ear amuse;
You may affirm, that Chance did things create,
Or let it Nature be, or be it Fate;
Body alone, inert and brute, you 'll find,
The cause of all things is by you assign’d.
And, after all your fruitless toil, if you
A Cause distinct from Matter will allow,
630 It must be conscious, not like matter blind, And thew you grant a God, by granting Mind.
Vapinus next, a hardy, modern chief,
A bold opposer of Divine Belief,
Attempts Religion's fences to subrert,
Strong in his rage, but deftitute of art;
In impious maxims fixt, he Heaven defy'd,
An unbelieving anti-martyr dy'd.
Strange, that an Atheist pleasure should refuse,
Relinquilh life, and death in torment chuse !
Of science what a despicable share
Vaninus own’d, his publish'd dreams declare.
Let impious wits applaud a Godless Mind,
As blest with piercing fight, and sense refin’d,
Contriv’d and wrought by Nature's careful hand
All the proud schools of learning to command;
CRE A TI O N. Book III.
Let them pronounce each patron of their cause
Claims by distinguish'd merit just applause ;
Yet I this writer's want of sense arraign,
Treat all his empty pages with disdain,
And think a grave reply mif-spent and vain :
To horrow light, his error to amend,
I would the Atheist to Vaninus fend.
At length Britannia's foil, immortal shame!'
Brought forth a fage of celebrated name,
Who with contempt on blest Religion trod,
Mock'd all her precepts, and renounc'd his God.
As awful shades and horrors of the night
Disturb the mother, and the child affright,
Who fee dire fpectres through the gloomy air
In threatening forms advance, and thuddering hear
The groans of wandering gholts, and yellings of
From the same spring, he says, devotion flows,
Conscience of guilt from drcad of vengeance rose;
Religion is the creature of the spleen,
And troubled fancy forms the world unfeen ;
That timorous minds, with self-tormenting care,
Create those awful phantoins which they fear.
Such arms were us’d by impious chiefs of old,,
Vain as this modern hero, and as bold.
Who would not this philosopher adore,
For finding worlds discover'd long before?
Can he one: flower in all his garden now,
Which in his Grecian master's did no: grow ?
And yet, imperious, with a teacher's air,
Boastful he claims a right to wisdom's chair ;
Gasping with ardent thirst of false renown,
With Grecian wreaths he does his temples crown,
Triumphs with borrow'd spoils, and trophies not
The world, he grants, with clouds was overspread;
Truth ne'er erected yet her starry head,
Till he, bright Genius, rose to chace the night,
And through all nature shone with new-sprung light.
But let th' enquirer know, proud Briton! why
Hope should not Gods, as well as fear, supply? 705
Does not th' idea of a God include
The notion of beneficent and good,
Of one to mercy, not revenge, inclin’d,
Able and willing to relieve inankind?
And does not this idea more appear
710 The object of our hope, than of our fear? Then tell us, why this passion, more than that, Should build their altars, and the Gods create ?
But let us grant the weak and timorous mind To fuperftitious terrors is inclin'd;
715 That horrid scenes, and monsters form’d in air, By night the children and the mother scare; That apparitions, by a fever bred, Or by the spleen's black vapours, fill the head ; Docs that affect the fage of sense refin'd,
720 Whose body's healthful, and serene his mina ?
Yet more, insulting Briton ! let us try Your reason 's force, your arguments apply. You say, since spectres from the fancy flow, To timorous fancy Gods their being owe;
Since phantoms to the weak seem real things,
Religion from mistake and weakness springs.
But though the vulgar have illusions seen,
Thought objects were without, that were within ;
Yet we from hence absurdly should conclude, 730
All objects of the mind the mind delude;
That our ideas idle are, that none
Were ever real, and that nothing 's known.
But, leaving phantoms and illusive fear, Let us at Reason's judgement-feat appear; 735 There let the question be severely tryd; By an impartial sentence we abide : Th’Eternal Mind's existence we fustain By proofs fo full, by evidence so plain, That none of all the sciences have shown
740 Such demonstration of the truths they own.
Spinosa next, to hide his black design,
And to his side th' unwary to incline,
For heaven his enfigns treacherous displays,
Declares for God, while he that God betrays ;
For whom he's pleas'd such evidence to bring,
As saves the name, while it subverts the thing.
Now hear his labour'd scheme of impious use :
No substance can another e'er produce ;
Substance no limit, no confinement, knows,
And its existence from its nature flows;
The substance of the Universe is one,
Whuch is the self-existent God alone.
The spheres of æther, which the world inclose,
And all th' apartments, which the whole compose ; 755
The lucid orbs, the earth, the air, the main, .
different being they contain ;
Are one prodigious aggregated God,
Of whom each sand is part, each stone and clod;
Supreme perfections in each infect shine,
Each shrub is facred, and each weed divine.
Sages, no longer Ægypt's fons despise,
For their cheap Gods, and favoury Deities!
No more their coarse Divinities revile !
To leeks, to onions, to the crocodile,
You might your humble adorations pay,
Were you not Gods yourselves, as well as they.
As much you pull Religion's altars down,
By owning all things God, as owning.none :
For should all beings be alike divine,
Of worship if an object you afsign,
God to himself must veneration Thew,
Must be the idol and the votary too ;
And their assertions are alike absurd,
Who own no God, or none to be ador'd.