Hence in questions of difficulty, if there appears the lowest presumption on one side, and none on the other; or if there be a greater presumption on one side (though of the lowest degree) than on the other, it determines the question, even in matters of speculation: and in matters of practice, a man will feel bound to act upon that low probability; inasmuch as he will then be doing what on the whole appears best. Nay, in affairs of great consequence, he will act, not only where the probabilities of his success or failure are even, but even where the chances appear against him.

It is plain, therefore, that analogical reasoning is of weight, in various degrees, towards determining our judgment and practice; and that it is a natural, just, and conclusive way of arguing; for no man doubts that the sun will rise to-morrow; and that he will be seen, where he is seen at all, in the figure of a circle, and not of a square.

Hence (viz. from analogical reasoning) Origen very sagaciously observed, "He who believes Scripture to have proceeded from Him who is the Author of Nature, may well expect to find the same sort of difficulties in it, as are found in the Constitution of Nature." And in the same way we may add, he who denies Scripture to be from God, on account of these difficulties, may, for the very same reason, deny the world to have been formed by Him. On the other hand, if

there be an analogy or likeness between that system of things which Revelation informs us of, and that system of things observable in the known course of Nature, this forms a presumption that they have both the same Author.

To form notions about the world, without foundation for our principles, or to apply principles which are certain to cases which they will not suit (e. g. to explain the results of medicine by mathematics), is mere hypothesis. But to join abstract reasoning with observation of facts, and from known facts, to argue with respect to others that are like them, is a just mode of argument. Hence from that part of God's government over intelligent creatures, which comes within our view, we may argue as to that larger and more general government beyond it; and from what is present, we may collect what is likely or credible, or not incredible, to be hereafter.

This method of reasoning being practical, and what our actions in life must be guided by; and being also conclusive in various degrees, according to the degree and exactness of the whole analogy or likeness, we will-(assuming that there is an intelligent Author of Nature,)—apply it to the subject of Natural and Revealed Religion.

As some persons form their notions of God's government upon hypothesis, without attending to what

is, in fact, the constitution of nature; so others indulge in vain speculations, how the world might have been framed and arranged after a better fashion than it is. Supposing, however, that the wisest of men were to arrange any other plan of nature, it would not probably be, after all, the very best, even according to his own ideas of best; whether he thought the exercise of the greatest virtue, or the production of the greatest happiness, constituted that best; or whether he combined those two (viz. virtue and happiness) into one and the same plan.

And as to the speculative emendations ;-whether all creatures should be made perfect and happy at once; or that they should always do what was right, and conducive to happiness, either from their having nothing to lead them wrong, or overpowering motives to guide them right; and that thus the awkward system of rewards and punishments could be dispensed with the above considerations, of themselves, may easily show us, that we have not faculties for such sort of speculations. For though the first principles of our nature lead us to judge, that some ends be preferable to others; and though we may admit that the production of the most virtue and happiness possible, be the ultimate end designed in the constitution of nature and conduct of Providence; yet we are not able to judge what disposition of things was best suited, or what

means might be necessary, to produce that end, even in this world of ours, supposing it were detached from the Universe. So far from it, we cannot judge of the best means of raising a single individual to perfection; and we are not even competent judges of each other's motives and actions.

Our whole nature leads us to ascribe all moral perfection to God, and to deny all imperfection of Him. This is a practical proof of His moral character, because it is the voice of God speaking in us. And hence we conclude, that virtue must be the happiness, and vice the misery of every creature: and that regularity, and order, and right, must finally prevail, in an universe under His government. But we are not at all competent judges as to the necessary means for accomplishing this end.

Leaving, then, these vain speculations, let us reflect upon what, by experience, we know to be the conduct of nature, with respect to intelligent creatures. This is resolvable into general laws; just as the laws of nature respecting inanimate matter may be collected from experience. Let us compare the known constitution and course of things, with what is said to be the moral system of nature; let us compare the acknowledged dispensations of Providence (or that government under which we find ourselves to be) with what religion teaches us to believe and expect. They

will be found to be very analogous, and of a piece; both may be traced up to the same general laws, and resolved into the same principles of Divine conduct.

This Analogy is both extensive and varied; in some few cases, amounting to a practical proof; in others not so; but still corroborative of what is proved in other ways. It will undeniably show that the system both of natural and revealed religion (considered merely as a system, and without adverting to the proof of it), is not a subject of ridicule; unless the system of Nature be so too. It will afford an answer to almost all objections against the system of natural and revealed religion; and also an answer, in a great degree, to the objections against the evidence of it. For objections against a system, and objections against the evidence in support of it, are very different things.

The Divine Government of the world (implied in the notion of Religion and Christianity) contains in it,-1st. That mankind will live in a future state, to be there rewarded or punished for their virtuous or vicious conduct here. 2ndly, That our present life is a state of probation for that future one. 3rdly, That this world being in a state of apostacy and ruin, Providence afforded an additional Dispensation, of great importance, and proved by miracles, but yet containing many strange and unexpected things. And 4thly, That it is a Dispensation carried on by a divine

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