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these events justify the adoption of the opinion, that human concerns are left to the guidance or decision of chance.
Lord Bacon observes in his Essays, that he would rather believe all the fables in the Talmud, Legends, and Koran, than that this universal frame is without a mind. And Cicero observes, since no man in his senses ever believed that a temple even was built by chance, what can equal the absurdity of supposing the world to have been so, or that it can be governed by it. And Sir Walter Raleigh, in his History of the World, observes, that Hermes, Orpheus, Euripides, Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus, in effect all learned men of judgment, acknowledge the providence of God. And the most sensible men have always been of opinion, that the continuance of the world as much depends on God's constant support and government, as its original existence did on his creation of it; and that, as the Poet observes, “ all 6 chance is direction which we cannot see :" in other words, that what we call chance, is one of the modes of God's government, which for wise reasons it is his pleasure to adopt. And the reason of man cannot upon any fair principle object to the occasional
adoption of a mode in which chance seems to be implicated, since man himself has often recourse to this very mode, as the very best which in many cases can be adopted ; as Dr. Paley proves in his Natural Theology. However, it may be observed, that even in cases which seem more than any other to depend on mere chance, and which unskilful men consider as wholly depending on it, men of more sagacity and knowledge think very differently ; and that these very cases are reducible to system : for example, in those games which are particularly denominated games of chance, those men who are skilful in them know how to calculate the chances, as they are termed, so as by their skill to acquire a very decided superiority over those with whom they contend, and who do not possess this knowledge; which proves that it is ignorance only which favours the opinion that things are governed by chance. But, allowing the utmost strength to the objection that its abettors can desire, nothing can be more unjust or unphilosophical than to argue against a rule from an occasional exception to that rule, when that exception may be fairly and reasonably accounted for. The general rule of God's pro
vidence, with respect to the human species, appears in these things; that having created such an intellectual free agent as man, with a design that he should enjoy a considerable portion of happiness in this life, and eternal happiness in another, on certain stipulated conditions; these conditions have always been made clear and intelligible to him. And that it should be fully in his power to accomplish these conditions, God has been pleased to ingraft in his soul, in the first place, a persuasion of the existence of a supreme Being, who has an authority over him, who can control the affairs of men, and whose favour it is his highest interest to obtain: in the second place, he has planted in the soul an idea of a future state, and of some rewards and punishments in that state: and in the third, he has given him a moral sense, which, if uninfluenced and unsophisticated, leads him to make and to observe a distinction between good and evil. These ideas may be said to be imprinted on the soul of man, though in different degrees of perfection: they prevail in some degree in all nations, however barbarous, or however civilized ; and therefore, as Cicero observes, what is thus universal, may be justly deno
minated to be the nature and character of the species : reason does not create these ideas, but she improves them, and revelation perfects them. Thus, by the providence of God, man has such an outline given him for his conduct, as is suitable to his character as a free agent and probationary being; and which outline, if he fills up according to the suggestions of reason and conscience, where there is no revelation, and according to reason, conscience, and revelation, where that unerring direction happily exists, such a man doubtless will always possess in his bosom those ideas and feelings, which will accomplish the happiness he was intended to enjoy in this life, and give him a reasonable persuasion if a Pagan, and an assured one if a Christian, - that when he dies he shall be happy in a future state. No man, therefore, can pretend to say, that in the most important of all things, his temporal and eternal happiness, any thing is left to chance; for both these are established on fixed and immutable principles. Again, with respect to the real prosperity of nations, no man will presume to maintain otherwise than that vir: tue is favourable and vice unfavourable to that prosperity; or than that both these
operate in the same manner on man, in his individual capacity. So far the providence of God is visible, manifest, immutable; and has always been so, from the creation of man to the present hour. This then is the rule. But there may, I apprehend, be very strong reasons assigned for an occasional exception to this rule, without suffering the mind to infer from that exception, that the administration of human affairs at all depends on chance: for as the providence of God has been pleased to place men in this life as candidates for those everlasting rewards it designs them hereafter, and these rewards being to be determined in proportion to their faith and obedience; if in this life the providence and conduct of God was so evidently decisive and conspicuous, that every good man was assuredly and certainly rewarded, and every bad man assuredly and certainly punished in this world; these certain rewards and punishments would so very sensibly affect us, and with so much preponderancy press on our hopes and fears, as to defeat God's intentions with respect to man as a free agent: for, having created him with a capacity of judging and determining for himself, it is by. no means his will that the religion and virtue,