The one will appear obvious; that principles, maxims, or precepts, so written, both strike the reader more strongly at first, and are more easily retained by him afterwards: the other may seem odd, but it is true: I found I could express them more shortly this way than in prose itself; and nothing is more certain than that much of the force as well as grace of arguments or instructions depends on their conciseness.
I was unable to treat this part of my subject more in detail without becoming dry and tedious; or more poetically without sacrificing perspicuity to ornament, without wandering from the precision, or breaking the chain of reasoning.
Doubt was born of the corruption of society; Nature and Man were said to be against faith in the rule of a God, wise, just, and merciful.
In 1710, after Bayle’s death, Leibnitz, a German philosopher then resident in Paris, wrote in French a book, with a title formed from Greek words meaning Justice of God, Theodicee, in which he met Bayle’s argument by reasoning that what we cannot understand confuses us, because we see only the parts of a great whole.
It is a rationalistic effort to use philosophy in order to, as John Milton attempted, justify the ways of God to man.
Alexander Pope Essay On Man
It is concerned with the part evil plays in the world and with the social order God has decreed for man.
Because man cannot know God's purposes, he cannot complain about the existence of evil and must accept that Whatever is, is right.
More than any other work, it popularized optimistic philosophy throughout England and the rest of Europe.
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.