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which I possess; and can pass through this turbid, this fickle, Meeting period, without bewailings, or envyings, or murmurings, or complaints.
THE SAME SUBJECT.
ALL men pursue good, and would be happy, if they knew how; not happy for minutes, and miserable for hours ;but happy, if possible, through every part of their exist.
Either therefore there is a good of this steady durable kind, or there is none. If none, then all good must. be transient and uncertain; and if so, an object of lowest value, which can little deserve either our attention or inquiry. But if there be a better good, such a good as. we are seeking; like every other thing, it must be derived from some cause, and that cause must be either external, internal, or mixed, in as much as except these three, there is no other possible. Now a steady, durable good, cannot be derived from an external cause, by reason all derived from externals mult fluctuate, as they fluctuate. By the same rule, not from a mixture of the two; because the part which is external will proportionally destroy its efsence. What then remains but the cause internal; the very cause which we have supposed, when we place the sove.eign good in mind-in rectitude of conduct ?
ON THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL.
Among other excellent arguments for the immortality of the foul, there is one drawn from the perpetual progress of the soul to its perfection, without a poslibility of ever
arriving at it; which is a hint that I do not remember to have seen opened and improved by others who have write ten on this subject, though it seems to me to carry a great weight with it. How can it enter into the thoughts of man, that the soul, which is capable of such immense per. fections, and of receiving new improvements to all eter. nity, lhall fall away into nothing almost as soon as it is ereated! Are such abilities made for no purpose? A brute arrives at a point of perfection that he can never pass; in a few years he has all the endowments he is capable of ; and were he to live ten thousand more, would be the fame thing he is at present. Were a human soul thus at a stand in her accomplishments, were her faculties to be fulf blown, and incapable of farther enlargements, I could imagine it might fall away. infensibly, and drop at once into a state of annihilation. But can we believe a thinking being, that is in a perpetual progress of improvements, and travelling on from perfection to perfection, after having just looked abroad into the works of its Creator, and made a few difcoveries of his infinite goodness, wisdom, and power, must perith at her first setting out, and in the very beginning of her inquiries >
Man, considered in his present ftate, seems only fent into the world to propagate his kind. He provides himself with a succeffor, and immediately quits his poft to make room for hiin,
He does not seem born to enjoy life, but to deliver it down to others. This is not surprising to consider in animals, which are formed for our use, and can finish their business in a short life. The filk-worm, after having spun her talk, lays her eggs and dies. But in this life, man can never take in his full measure of knowledge; nor has he time to subdue his passions, establish his soul in virtue, and come up to the perfection of his nature, before he is hurried off the ftage. Would an infinitely wife Being
make such glorious creatures for so mean a purpose? Can he delight in the production of such-abortive intelligences, such short-lived reasonable beings? Would he give us talents that are not to be exerted? Capacities that are never to be gratified? How can we find that wisdom which shines through all his works, in the formation of man, without looking on this world as only a nursery for the next, and believing that the several generations of rational creatures, which rise up and disappear in such quick successions, are only to receive their first rudiments of existence here, and afterwards to be transplanted into a more friendly climate, where they may spread and flourish, to all eternity?
There is not, in my opinion, a more pleasing and triumphant consideration in religion, than this of the perpe-tual progress which the foul makes towards the perfection of its nature, without ever arriving at a period in it. To: look upon the soul as going on from strength to strength, to consider that she is to shine for ever with new accefmsions of glory, and brighten to all eternity; that she will still be adding virtue to virtue, and knowledge to knowledge; carries in it something wonderfully agreeable to that ambition which is natural to the mind of man. Nay, it must be a prospect pleasing to God himself, to see his creation for ever beautifying in his eyes, and drawing nearer to him, by greater degrees of resemblance.
Methinks this single consideration, of the progress of a finite fpirit to .perfection, will be sufficient to extinguish all envy in, inferior natures, and all contempt in superior.That cherub, which now appears as a god to a humani soul, knows very well that the period will come about in eternity, when the human soul shall be as perfect as he himself now is: nay, when the ihall look down
that degree of perfection, as much as the now falls short of it... It is true, the higher nature, itill advances, and by that:
means preferves his distance and fuperiority in the scale of being; but he knows that, how high soever the station is of which he hands possessed at present, the inferior nature will at length mount up to it, and thine forth in the fame degree of glory.
With what astonishment and veneration may we look into our fouls, where there are such hidden ftores of vire tue and knowledge, such inexhaufted sources of perfection! We know not yet what we shall be, nor will it ever enter into the heart of man to conceive the glory that will be always in reserve for him. The foul, confidered in relation to its Creator, is like one of those mathematical lines that may draw nearer to another for all eternity, without a possibility of touching it: and can there be a thought fo tranfporting, as to consider ourselves in thefe perpetual approaches to Him, who is not only the stand ard of perfection, but of happiness.
ON THE BEING OF A GOD.
RETIRE; the world' fhut ont;thy thoughts call
What am I? and from whence nothing know,
And Adam's ancestors without an end ? That's hard to be conceiv'd; frnce ev'ry link Of that long chain’d succession is so frail ; Can every part depend, and not the whole: Yet grant it true ; new difficulties rife; I'm still quite out at sea; nor see the shore. Whence earth, and these bright orbs ?-Eternal too? Grant matter was eternal: till these orbs Would want some other father : much.design Is seen in all their motions, all their makes; Design implies intelligence, and art : That can't be from themselves or man; that art Man can scarce comprehend, could man bestow? And nothing greater, yet allow'd, than man. Who motion, foreign to the smallest grain, Shot thro' vaft masses of enormous weight? Who bid rude matter's reftive lump affume Such various forms, and gave it wings to fly? Has matter innate motion? Then each atom, Afferting its indisputable-right To dance, would form an universe of dust. Has matter none? Then whence these glorious forms, And boundless flights, from shapelets, and repos'd ? Has matter more than motion? Has it thought, Judgment, and genius? Is it deeply learn'd In mathematics? Has it fram'd such laws, Which, but to guess, a Newton made immortal? If art to form; and counfel to conduct; And that with greater far than human skill; Resides not in each block;ma GODHEAD reigns.-And, if a God there is, that God how great!