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summate than the great outline of things below. The trees and the skies, the mountains and the seas, the rivers and the springs, appear as if the design had been to realise the idea of paradise. The freshness of the air, the silvery light of day, the magnificence of the clouds, the gorgeous and soothing colouring of the world, the profusion and exquisiteness of the fruits and flowers of the earth, are as if nothing but joy and delicious sensations had been intended for us. When we ascend to the animal creation, the scene is still more admirable and transporting. The birds and the beasts, the insects that skim the air, and the fishes that live in the great deep, are a magazine of wonders, that we may study for ever, without fear of arriving at the end of their excellence. Last of all, comes the crown of the creation, man, formed with looks erect, to commerce with the skies. What a masterpiece of workmanship is his form, while the beauty and intelligence of Gods seems to manifest itself in his countenance! Look at that most consummate of all implements, the human hand; think of his understanding, how composed and penetrating; of the wealth of his imagination; of the resplendent virtues he is qualified to display! "How wonderful are thy works, Oh God; in wisdom hast thou created them all!"

But there are other parts of the system in which we live, which do not seem to correspond with those already enumerated. Before we proceed to

people infinite space, it would be as well, if we surveyed the surface of the earth we inhabit. What vast deserts do we find in it; what immense tracks of burning sands! One half of the globe is perhaps irreclaimable to the use of man. Then let us think of earthquakes and tempests, of wasting hurricanes, and the number of vessels, freighted with human beings, that are yearly buried in the caverns of the ocean. Let us call to mind in man, the prime ornament of the creation, all the diseases to which his frame is subject,

Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs,
Intestine stone and ulcer, colic pangs,
Demoniac frenzy, moping melancholy,
And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy,

Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence,

Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums.

The very idea of our killing, and subsisting upon the flesh of animals, surely somewhat jars with our conceptions of infinite benevolence.

But, when we look at the political history of man, the case is infinitely worse. This too often

seems one tissue of misery and vice. War, conquest, oppression, tyranny, slavery, insurrections, massacres, cruel punishments, degrading corporal infliction, and the extinction of life under the forms of law, are to be found in almost every page. It is as if an evil demon were let loose upon us, and whole nations, from one decad of years to another, were struck with the most pernicious madness. Cer

tain reasoners tell us that this is owing to the freedom of will, without which man could not exist. But here we are presented with an alternative, from which it is impossible for human understanding to escape. Either God, according to our ideas of benevolence, would remove evil out of the world, and cannot; or he can, and will not. If he has the will and not the power, this argues weakness; if he has the power and not the will, this seems to be malevolence.

Let us descend from the great stage of the nations, and look into the obscurities of private misery. Which of us is happy? What bitter springs of misery overflow the human heart, and are borne by us in silence! What cruel disappointments beset us! To what struggles are we doomed, while we struggle often in vain! The human heart seems framed, as if to be the capacious receptacle of all imaginable sorrows. The human frame seems constructed, as if all its fibres were prepared to sustain varieties of torment. "In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the earth." But how often does that sweat prove ineffective! There are men of whom sorrow seems to be the destiny, from which they can never escape. There are hearts, into which by their constitution it appears as if serenity and content could never enter, but which are given up to all the furious passions, or are for ever the prey of repining and depression.

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Ah, little think the gay, licentious proud,
Whom pleasure, power and affluence surround,
How many pine in want! How many shrink
Into the sordid hut, how many drink

The cup of grief, and eat the bitter bread
Of misery!

And, which aggravates the evil, almost all the worst vices, the most unprincipled acts, and the darkest passions of the human mind, are bred out of po verty and distress. Satan, in the Book of Job, says to the Almighty, "Thou hast blessed the work of thy servant, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thy hand now, and take away all that he hath; and he will curse thee to thy face." The prayer of Agar runs, "Feed me with food convenient for me; lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain."

It is with a deep knowledge of the scenes of life, that the prophet pronounces, "My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord."

All reflecting persons, who have surveyed the state of the world in which we live, have been struck with the contrarieties of sublunary things; and many hypotheses have been invented to solve the enigma. Some have maintained the doctrine of two principles, Oromasdes and Arimanius, the genius of good and of evil, who are perpetually contending with each other which shall have the greatest sway in the fortunes of the world, and each alternately acquiring the upper hand. Others have


inculcated the theory of the fall of man, that God at first made all things beautiful and good, but that man has incurred his displeasure, and been turned out of the paradise for which he was destined. Hence, they say, has arisen the corruption of our nature. "There is none that doth good, no, not That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God." But the solution that has been most generally adopted, particularly in later days, is that of a future state of retribution, in which all the inequalities of our present condition shall be removed, the tears of the unfortunate and the sufferer shall be wiped from their eyes, and their agonies and miseries compensated. This, in other words, independently of the light of revelation, is to infer infinite wisdom and benevolence from what we see, and then, finding the actual phenomena not to correspond with our theories, to invent something of which we have no knowledge, to supply the deficiency.

The astronomer however proceeds from what we see of the globe of earth, to fashion other worlds of which we have no direct knowledge. Finding that there is no part of the soil of the earth into which our wanderings can penetrate, that is not turned to the account of rational and happy beings, creatures capable of knowing and adoring their creator, that nature does nothing in vain, and that the world is full of the evidences of his unmingled beneficence, according to our narrow and imperfect ideas of be

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