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“ and Physician of nature? May not some “ harsh discipline be necessary to good?
May not many natural evils be necessary
to prevent future moral evils, and to cor“rect the tempers of the agents, nay, to in“ troduce moral good ? May not all the pre“ sent disorders, which attend this state of “ prevalent order, be rectified by the direct
ing Providence in a future part of our “ existence? This belief, this trust in a Deity, “ in his providence, and in a future state, are “ the only sure supports to a good mind: “ let us then acquiesce in what the governing Mind, who presides over the world, is ordering in the wisest manner (though not yet fully known to us) for its most universal good."
In the same charming manner, another great writer justifies the ways of God to man, and silences the murmurs and arguments which ungrateful, unreasonable, and inconsiderate men have made against his goodness and providence. After a fine declamation on the power of God, exhibited in the visible world, Wollaston, in his Religion of Nature delineated, obseryes, “Our phi
losophy dwells only in the surface of nature; we cannot fathom any.first princi
“ ples ; God gives numerous proofs of his
goodness and beneficence. Many beings
may be said upon the whole to be happy, 6 and there are none who have not many “ enjoyments; whereas, did God delight in “ the infelicity of his creatures, who de“pend upon him, it must be natural to him * to make them unhappy, and then not one 6 of them would be otherwise in any respect; 56 the world in that case, instead of being such $. a beautiful, admirable system as we see it “ to be, and in which there is only a mixture 6 of evils,” (and that mixture, I think Wollaston might have added, was not originally intended, but was caused by disobedience and opposition to the will of God,) “ could “have then been only, a scene of mere misery, “ horror, and torment.” “ Right reason, hap: "piness, and truth,” this fine and elegant writer observes,“may be considered as one 6 and the same; therefore that either the ene“ mies of truth (or wicked men) should be " ultimately happy, or the religious observers “ of it (good men) ultimately unhappy, is “ such injustice, and an evil so great, that 5 sure no Manichean will allow such a supe.
riority of his evil principle over the good
one, as is requisite to produce and main6 tain it*.”
In the same chapter in which it is recorded that “ God created man in his own “ image," it is mentioned, that “God saw
every thing that he had made, and behold " it was very good :" man was thus created as good as it was the intention of his Creator he should be. It is not asserted, that God created man a“ perfect being;" and consequently it is to be inferred that he was liable to error: and even upon the supposition that he had résisted the temptation of the Tempter in the important injunction of obe. dience commanded him, it is by no means to be concluded that either Adam or his posterity might not have been frequently culpable in their future conduct, sufficiently so as to have made it necessary for them to have implored the forgiveness and mercy of God 3 since it is declared in Scripture, that God chargeth even his angels with follý. At the same time, as God was pleased to create man in his own image, there is every reason to be of opinion, that, if Adam had not disobeyed God by his original transgression, no vicious
* Quarto ed. p. 39.
or malignant passion would ever have existed in his mind, because all these were infused into it at the time, and were the consequence of that transgression. And I think this opi, nion is fully and fairly supported by the immediate; alteration that took place in the mind of Adam at his fall. Before this fata! event, it is clear Adam was not conscious of any impropriety or indecency in appearing naked in the presence of God: after it hę was; and “God said, Who told thee that
thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the “ tree whereof I commanded thee that thou “ shouldest not eat?? But to suppose, as Lord Bolingbroke does, that man was created ab origine with the same evil in his heart as at present exists in it--to suppose the antediluvians were originally created with such hearts, that there was nothing but evil conti, nually in them, and to that excessive degree, that God himself declared, that it repented him that he had made them; and ultimately, from his natural hatred and abhorrence of such wickedness, was compelled to destroy them--to suppose God created the inhabit, ants of Sodom and Gomorrahi with sạch sinful and wicked dispositions, as the Scriptures declare to have attracted the sudden and im
mediate vengeance of Godto suppose men, created good and rational, to have perpetrated irrational extravagancies; for example, as in the case of king Baasha, that he should think it right to immolate his own firstborn son; or that beings, whom God had created good, should be capable of practising evil for 'good, as in sacrificing their children to devils, practising, as acts of religion, such a worship as that of the Dea Syria, the Phallos, &c. making their children pass through the fire, worshipping stocks and stones as God-to
the human race, created good and rational, to have perpetrated and adopted these irrational extravagancies from nature, and of their own free will, unless a greater and more preponderating influence had been imposed on that nature, and on that free will, than was imposed on it when first created, is a vile and most unnatural supposition, as contrary to reason as it is to Scripture. It is likewise unphilosophical, because it is a conclusion not warranted by any thing we see in the general course of nature; on the contrary, it contradicts the whole course of it, which every where, and in all its parts, inclines the mind of man to entertain noble and sublime ideas of the infi