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abilities made foui no purpose ? A brute arrives at a point of perfection that he can never pafs; in a few years he has all the endowments he is capable of; and were he to 'live ten thousand more, would ha the same thing he is at present. Were a human foul thr pose had in her accomplishments, were her faculties to be full blown, and incapable of farther enlargements, I could imagine it might fall away infenfibly, and drop at once into a ftate of annihilation. But can we believe a thinking being, that is in a perpetual progress of improvements, and travelling on from perfection to perfec. tion, after having just looked abroad into the works of its Creator, and made a few discoveries of his infinite goodness, wisdom and power, must perish at her first fetting out, and in the very beginning of her inquiries ?
MẠN, confidered in his present ftate, feems only fent into the world to propagate his kind. He provides himfelf with a successor, and immediately quits his post to make room for him.
He does not seem born to enjoy life, but to deliver it down to others. This is not surprifing to consider, in animals, which are formed for our use, and can finish their bufinefs in a short life. The filk-worm, after having spun her task, lays her eggs and dies. But in this life man can never take in his full measure of knowledge ; nor has he time to fubdue his passions, establith his foul in virtue, and come up to the perfection of his nature, before he is hurried off the ftage. Would an infinitely wise Being make fach glorious Creatures for so mean a purpose ? Can he delight in the production of such abortive intelligences, fuch fhort-lived reafonable beings? Would he give us talents that are not to be exerted? Capacities that are never to be gra ified ? How can we find that wisdom which shines through all his works, in the formation of man, without lookin 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 fucceffions, are only to receive their first rudiments of existence here, and
to be transplanted into a more friendly climate, wher, they may spread and flourish to all eternity.
THERE is not, in my opinion, a more pleasing and triamphantconfideration in religion, than this of the perpetual progress which the foul makes towards the perfection of its natore, without ever arriving at a period in it. To look upon the foul as going on from strength to ftrength, to consider that she is to shine for ever with new acceffions of glory, and brighten to all eternity; that she will be still 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 spirit to perfection, will be sufficient to extinguish all envy in inferior natures, and all contempt in fuperior. That cherubim, which now appears as a God to a human 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 shall look down upon that degree of perfection, as much as she now falls short of it. It is true, the higher nature still advances, and by that means preserves his distance and superiority in the scale of being; but he knows that, how high foever the station is of which he stands pof.
sessed at prefent, 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 souls, where there are such hidden stores of virtue and knowledge, such inexhausted 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 soul, considered 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 transporting, as to consider ourselves in these perpetual approaches to Him, who is not only the standard of perfection, but of happiness!
CH A P. V.
ON THE BEING OF A GOD.
ETIRE;The world shut out;--Thy thoughts
call home ; Imagination's airy wing repress ;Lock up thy senses ; Let no passion ftir ;Wake all to Reason ; — Let her reign alone ;Then, in thy Soul's deep filence, and the depth of Nature's filence, midnight, thus inquire :
What am I? and from whence? --I nothing know, But that I am; and, since I am, conclude Something eternal: had there e'er been nought, Nought itill had been : E:ernal there must be, But what eternal ? --- Why not human race? And ADAM's ancestors without an end? That's hard to be conceiv'd; since ev'ry link
Of that long-chain's succeffion is fo frail ;
it true; new difficulties rise;
ES, noble lady, I swear by this blood, which was once
so pure, and which nothing but royal villainy could have polluted, that I will pursue Lucius Tarquinius the proud, his wicked wife, and their children, with fire and sword: nor will I ever suffer any of that family, or of any other whatsoever, to be King in Rome. Ye Gods, I call you to witness this my oath!- There, Romans, turn your eyes to that fad spectacle--the daughter of Lucretius, Collatinus's wife he died by her own hand. See there a noble lady, whom the lust of a Tarquin reduced to the necessity of being her own executioner, to atteft her innocence. Hospitably entertained by her as a kinsman of her husband's, Sextus, the perfidious guest, became her brutal ravisher. The chaste, the generous Lucretia could not survive the insult. Glorious