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than all that we can conceive, may be necessary. And the higher the nature, the more noble a happiness it is capable of. The perfect happiness enjoyed by the Supreme Being is the necessary consequence of the abfolute and unlimited perfection of his nature.
The Supreme Mind, in laying the plan of an universe, molt evidently have proposed a general scheme, which should take in all the various orders of being; a scheme in which all, or as many as posible of the particulars should come to happiness, but in such a manner, as that the happiness of the whole should be consistent with that of individuals, and that of individuals with that of the whole, and with the nature of things, or, more properly, with the Divine Rectitude. We cannot imagine Infinite Wisdom proposing a particular scheme for every individual, when the end might be gained by a general one. For, to gain various ends by one means, is a proof of wisdom. As, on the contrary, to have recourse to different means, to gain an end, which might have been obtained by one, is of weakness.
Let the universal plan of things have been what it would, it is evident, that, in order to general and universal perfection, it is absolutely necessary, that, in general, all things inanimate, animate, and rational, concur in one design, and co-operate, in a regular and uniform manner, to carry on the grand view. To suppose any one part or member to be left out of the general scheme, left to itself, or to proceed at random, is absurd. The consequence of such an error must unavoidably be, a confusion in the grand machinery, extending as far as the sphere of such a part or member extended. And as it is probable that no created being, especially of the lowest ranks, has extensive enough views of things, to know exactly the part it ought to act, it is plain, that proper means and contrivances must have been used by Him who sees through the whole, for keeping those beings to their proper sphere, and bringing them to perform their respective parts, so as to concur to the pere fection and happiness of the whole.
The inanimate is the lowest part of the creation, or the lowest order of being. As it is of itself incapable happiness, it is plain that all it is fit for, is to contribute to the happiness of beings capable of enjoying it. To make inanimate matter perform its part in the grand scheme, nothing will answer, but superior power or force, as, by the very fupposition of its being inanimate, it is only capable of being acted upon, not of acting. So that every motion, every tendency to motion, in every single atom of matter in the universe, must be effected by the agency of some living principle. And without being acted by some living principle, no one atom of matter in the universe could have changed its ftate from motion to rest, or from rest to motion ; but must have remained for ever in the state it was first created in.
The Supreme Mind being, as we have seen, universally present in every point of infinite space, where there is, or is not, any created being, material or immaterial, must be intimately present to every atom of matter, and every spiritual being, throughout the universe. His power is, as we have seen, necessarily infinite, or irrefiftible; and his wisdom perfect. It is therefore evidently no more, nor so much, for a Being, endowed with such an advantageous fuperiority over the material creation, to actuate the vast universe, as for a man to move his finger or eye-lid. His presence extending through infinitude, puts every atom of matter in the universe within his reach. His power being irresistible, enables him to wield the moit enormous masses, as whole planets at once, with any degree of rapidity, with as little difficulty, or rather infinitely less than a man can the lightest ball. And his wisdom being absolutely perfect, he cannot but know exactly in what manner to direct, regulate, and actuate the whole material machine of the world, so as it may the best answer his various, wise, and noble purposes. And it is certain, that all the motions and revolutions, all the tendences and inclinations, as they are commonly, for want of better terms, called ; all the laws of nature, the cohesion of bodies, the attraction and gravitation of planets, the efflux of light from luminous bodies, with all the laws they are subject to, must be finally relolved into the action of the Su. preme Being, or of beings employed by him, whatever intervening instrumentality may be made use of. Thus the inanimate creation is wrought to the Divine purpose by superior power, or force.
To bring the animal, irrational natures to perform their part in the general fcheme, it was necessary to endow them with a few strong and powerful inclinations, or appetites, which should from time to time folicit them to ease the pain of desire by gratifying them; and' to give them capacity enough to consult their own preservation by means fit for the purpose, which are easily found. Besides inflinct, they leem to be endowed with a kind of faculty in some measure analogous to our reafon, which restrains and regulates instinct, so that we observe, they shew something like thought and fagacity in their pursuit of their gratifications, and even thew' some traces of reflection, gratitude, faithfulness, and the like. Their apprehensions being but weak, and their sphere of action narrow, they have it not generally in their power, as creatures of superior capacities, and cndowed with extensive liberty, to go out of the track prescribed them, and run into irregularity. By these means, the brute creatures are worked to the Divine purpose, and made to fill their subordinate sphere, and contribute, as far as that extends, to the regularity, perfection, and happiness of the whole.
We come now to what we reckon the third rank of being, the rational,creation; which must likervile, according to the Divine Srheme, concur with the other parts, and contribute in their sphere to the perfcction, and happiness of the univerfal system.
The rational world being the pare the most neceffry, and of the greateit importance, as their happiness was the principal view the Supreine Being muit have hari in the creation, their concurrence is what can the least be dispensed with. Should the whole material system run to ruin; should funs be lost in eternal darkness; planets and comets rush out on all fides into the infinite expanse, or the fixed stars leave their tiations, and dah against one another; and should an universal fentence of annihilation be passed upon the animal world ; the
deltruction of both the inanimate and animal creation would not be so great a disturbance of the Divine scheme, would not be such an important breach of the general order and regularity necessary to universal
perfection and happiness, as a general defect of concurrence or irregularity and opposition, in the rational world, for whose happiness the inferior creation was brought into being, and whose happiness, should it totally mifcarry, the Divine scheme must be totally defeated.
Of the Nature of Man, and Immortality of the Soul.
Scheme, and to observe whạt wife means have been contrived by the Divine Wisdom and Goodness for bringing us to the requisite concurrence in consistence with our nature and state, it will be necessary to confider a little the human nature and character.
It is commonly said, that we understand matter better than spirit; that we know less of our souls than of our bodies. But this is only a vulgar error. And the truth is, that we know nothing of the internal substance of either one or the other. But we know enough of the properties and fate of both, to know how to seek the good of both, would we but act according to our knowledge.
That which raises the human make above the brute creatures, is our having capacities, which enable us to take more extensive views, and penetrate farther into the natures and connections of things, than inferior. creatures; our having a faculty of abstract reflection; so that we can at pleasure, call up to our minds any, subject we have formerly known, which, for aught that appears, the inferior creatures cannot do, nor excite in themselves the idea of any absent object, but what their senses, either directly or indirectly, recal to their memory; and lastly, that we are naturally, till we come to be debauched, more masters of our passions and appetites, or more free to choose and refuse, than the inferior creatures,
It is impossible to put together any consistent theory of our nature, or itate, without taking in the thought of our being intended for immortality. If we attempt to think of our existence as terminating with this life, all is abrupt, confused, and unaccountable. But when the present is considered as a ftate of discipline, and introduction to endless improvement hereafter ; though we cannot say, that we see through the whole scheme, we yet see so much of wisdom and design, as to lead us to conclude with reason, that the whole is contrived in the most proper manner for gaining the important end of preparing us for immortal happiness and glory.
And that it is reasonable to believe our species formed for immortality, will appear first, by confidering the nature of the mind itself, which is indeed, properly speaking, the being; for the body is only a system of matter inhabited and actuated by the living spirit.
That the mind inay, in a dependence upon the infinite Author of life and being, continue to exist after the dissolution of the body, there is no reason to question. For individuality and indiscerpibility being infeparable properties of mind, it is plain that a mind can die only by annihilation. But no one can fhew that there is any connection between death and annihilation. On the contrary, the mortal body itself is certainly not annihilated at death, nor any way altered in its essence, only. its condition and circumstances are not the same as when animated by the living principle, which is also the case of the mind. But if the mind be a principle originally capable of thought and self-motion by its own nature ; it follows, that it may, for any thing we know, think and act in one state as well as another; in a future as well as in the present. If it were possible to conceive of a material, thinking, and self-moving principle, which is a fiat contradiction, inactivity being infeparable from the idea of inatter; yet it would not thence follow, that the thinking principle must lose its existence at the diffolution of the gross body. The moral proofs for the future existence of the human species would still remain in force, whether we were considered as embodied fpirits, or as mere