« PoprzedniaDalej »
should want the strongest motive to encourage us onward in the pursuit of virtue.--In short, MAN has a post assigned him in the Creation, and that na ignoble one : he is of consequence, and ought to ben lieve himself so. But, to fancy the whole was de. signed for him alone, is no better than downright madness.
I thought the readiest way to check this absur. dity, would be to sketch out a plan of the UNIVERSE; that, by considering the grandeur of the whole, Man might be made sensible of his own littleness and insignificance, except in the very place wherein he stands. When he views the Heavens, and considers their immensity; the number, the distance, the largeness and the brightness of the Orbs whick roll about him, can a Man be then so vain to cry, all these are his? ar, if he look at home and survey the Earth, stored with innumerable species of animals, all formed with exquisite beauty and exactness, and supplied with every requisite to make them rajoice in their
* existence, will there not appear some better reason for all this, than merely to supply his luxury, or give him subjects whereon to exercise his power ? - Do not the insect kinds, formed in the utmost perfection, (the greatest part of which are to his naked eye invisible and almost all of them useless to him) plainly say, they were not made for him 2-—How little either of the Heavens or of the Earth is he acquainted with ! and how imperfect is his knowledge even of that little which he thinks he knows! . ..
. Mean and ridiculous is that idea of the Deitt which limits his care to Man: but how must the soul be filled with amazement, love, and adoration, that considers him as the impartial parent of the whole UNIVERSE, and equally extending his beneficence to every one of his creatures, according to the rank it bears. The primary intent of the Almighty in the existence of every Being must have been to make it happy ;' and the relation in which it stands to every other creature is only sucksas: is most conducive
towards the felicity of the whole. Every individual was made principally for its own sake: the meanest insect as well as the proudest monarch. We all are fellow-creatures.
The following piece is a hint only of what I judged would be a noble subject for a larger poem; and if thereby' some able genius may be excited to undertake it, my pains have been well bestowed. In the mean while, I hope this sketch may not be entirely useless, to set forth the Omnipotence, Wisdom, and Goodness of the Creator, by a general view of his Works; a way I thought most likely to curb the Pride of Man.
I have advanced nothing but what the disco. veries of the learned have made most reasonable to believe. The notes subjoined will, I hope, both vindicate me and entertain my readers.
PAGE. ADDRESS. to the Supreme Being,..........
.... 1 Sun, at rising, at noon, and setting ......... ....... 2
its dimensions and motions ; opinions of philosophers on its constitution and properties...................note ib. Moon, at rising.................
distance, dimensions, and motions.............. n. ib. e believed to be (as well as all other planets in the
Solar system) an habitable world,... Sun's oblique motion in the ecliptic........ Moon's changes and occasion of the tides,............... 8 Address to man, inviting him to view the heavenly bodies. ib. The Earth, its distance from the Sun, dimensions & motions, n. 9 The solar system not created at the same time the other
heavenly bodies were, .......... ................., n. 10 A reasonable supposition that other orbs are inhabited by
beings superior to man,........................... 11 Moses's account of the creation explained,............. n. ib. Each fixt star a Sun,.......