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length, all other disputes were absorbed in the popish controversy.
From the pamphlets which these different periods of time produced, it is proposed, that this Miscellany shall be compiled; for which it cannot be supposed that materials will be wanting; and, therefore, the only difficulty will be in what manner to dispose them.
Those who have gone before us, in undertakings of this kind, have ranged the pamphlets, which chance threw into their hands, without any regard either to the subject on which they treated, or the time in which they were written; a practice in no wise to be imitated by us, who want for no materials; of which we shall choose those we think best for the particular circumstances of times and things, and most instructing and entertaining to the reader.
Of the different methods which present themselves, upon the first view of the great heaps of pamphlets which the Harleian library exhibits, the two which merit most attention are, to distribute the treatises according to their subjects, or their dates; but neither of these ways can be conveniently followed. By ranging our collection in order of time, we must necessarily publish those pieces first, which least engage the curiosity of the bulk of mankind; and our design must fall to the ground, for want of encouragement, before it can be so far advanced as to obtain general regard : by confining ourselves for any long time to any single subject, we shall reduce our readers to one class; and, as we shall lose all the grace of variety, shall disgust all those who read chiefly to be diverted. There is likewise
one objection of equal force, against both these methods, that we shall preclude ourselves from the advantage of any future discoveries ; and we cannot hope to assemble at once all the pamphlets which have been written in any age, or on any subject.
It may be added, in vindication of our intended practice, that it is the same with that of Photius, whose collections are no less miscellaneous than ours; and who declares, that he leaves it to his reader, to reduce his extracts under their proper heads.
Most of the pieces which shall be offered in this collection to the publick, will be introduced by short prefaces in which will be given some account of the reasons, for which they are inserted; notes will be sometimes adjoined, for the explanation of obscure passages, or obsolete expressions; and care will be taken to mingle use and pleasure through the whole collection. Notwithstanding every subject may not be relished by every reader; yet the buyer may be assured that each number will repay his generous subscription,
VIEW OF THE CONTROVERSY
Mons. CROUSAZ AND MR. WARBURTON,
ON THE SUBJECT OF
MR. POPE's ESSAY ON MAN,
IN A LETTER TO THE
EDITOR OF THE GENTLEMAN'S MAGAZINE, VOL. XIII.
MR. URBAN, It would not be found useless in the learned world, if in written controversies as in oral disputations, a moderator could be selected, who might in some degree superintend the debate, restrain all needless excursions, repress all personal reflections, and at last recapitulate the arguments on each side; and who, though he should not assume the province of deciding the question, might at least exhibit it in its true state.
This reflection arose in my mind upon the consideration of Mr. Crousaz's Commentary on the Essay on Man, and Mr. Warburton's Answer to it. The importance of the subject, the reputation and abilities of the controvertists, and perhaps the ardour with which each has endeavoured to support his cause, have made an attempt of this kind necessary for the information of the greatest number of Mr. Pope's readers.
Among the duties of a moderator, I have mentioned that of recalling the disputants to the subject, and cutting off the excrescences of a debate, which Mr. Crousaz will not suffer to be long unemployed, and the repression of personal invectives which have not been very carefully avoided on either part; and are less excusable, because it has not been proved, that either the poet, or his commentator, wrote with any other design than that of promoting happiness by cultivating reason and piety.
Mr. Warburton has indeed so much depressed the character of his adversary, that before I consider the controversy between them, I think it necessary to exhibit some specimens of Mr. Crousaz’s sentiments, by which it will probably be shewn, that he is far from deserving either indignation or contempt; that his notions are just, though they are sometimes introduced without necessity; and defended when they are not opposed ; and that his abilities and parts are such as may entitle him to reverence from those who think his criticisms superfluous.
In page 35 of the English translation, he exhibits an observation which every writer ought to impress upon his mind, and which may afford a sufficient apology for his commentary.
On the notion of a ruling passion he offers this remark : “ Nothing so much hinders men from obtaining a complete victory over their ruling passion, as that all the advantages gained in their days of retreat, by just and sober reflections, whether struck out by their own minds, or borrowed from good books, or from the conversation of men of merit, are destroyed in a few moments by a free intercourse and acquaintance with libertines; and thus the work is always to be begun anew. A gamester resolves to leave off play, by which he finds his health impaired, his family ruined, and his passions inflamed; in this resolution he persists a few days, but soon yields to an invitation, which will give his prevailing inclination an opportunity of reviving in all its force. The case is the same with other men : but is reason to be charged with these calamities and follies, or rather the man who refuses to listen to its voice in opposition to impertinent solicitations ?”
On the means recommended for the attainment of happiness, he observes, “ that the abilities which our Maker has given us, and the internal and external advantages with which he has invested us, are of two very different kinds ; those of one kind are bestowed in common upon us and the brute creation, but the other exalt us far above other animals. To disregard any of these gifts would be ingratitude ; but to neglect those of greater excellence, to go no farther than the gross satisfactions of sense, and the functions of mere animal life, would be a far greater crime. We are formed by our Creator capable of acquiring knowledge, and regulating our conduct by reasonable rules; it is therefore our duty to cultivate our understandings, and exalt our virtues. We need