In the reign of George the Second, questionings did spread that went to the roots of all religious faith, and many earnest minds were busying themselves with problems of the state of Man, and of the evidence of God in the life of man, and in the course of Nature.
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.
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.