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the other, whose advantages were inferior, will not he have just ground for complaint ? By no means. If the advantages, he enjoyed, were fully fufficient, he stands self-condemned for having abufed them; nor could he in reason expect them to be more than sufficient, much less to be greatly above what was sufficient, and least of all, to be equal to the greatest advantages, ever allowed to any other person. Upon the whole, nothing is more evident, than that the being, who has actually proved obedient, by whatever means he has been brought to goodness, is, according to the nature and fitness of things, rewardable; and that the foul, which fins, does in strict justice deserve to die.

The case of that very considerable part of the human species, which is cut off io immature age, without any opportunity of going through any trial in life, feems, at first view, to lessen the force of what I have been saying of the necessity of a state of discipline, to form the mind to virtue. For what is to become of thofe, who die in infancy? Are they annihilated ? Are they happy or miserable in a future state, who have done neither good nor evil? Or do they go through a ftate of discipline in their separate existence?

To what may be said on this point, I have the following brief answers to offer: First, what I have above said of the necessity of a state of discipline, must be understood to be meant of a species in general. Perhaps the circumstance of the bulk of a species's having gone through a state of discipline, may be sufficient for making such an impression upon the others, who happened to escape it, as may keep them to the steady practice of virtue in all future ftates. This may be the case; and yet it might be absurd to imagine a whole species raised to happiness, without at least a considerable part of them going through a discipline for virtue, and thereby being qualified to instruct their more unexperienced fellowbeings in the importance of keeping to their duty, and the fatal danger and direful effects of swerving from it. So that what was above said of the necessity of a state of discipline for every species of rational agents in the uni3

verse,

verse, ftands upon the same foot, notwithstanding this,' difficulty,

But if every period of the existence of free agents be, in fact, a state of trial and discipline, in which it is poffible (though still less and less probable according to their farther improvements in virtue) that they should fall; we may then conceive of the poflibility of furmounting this disliculty by suppofing that those of the human species, who do not go through a state of difcipline in this life, may be hereafter made partakers of a lower degree of happiness (as we are in Scripture informed, that the manfions of future blits are various) which may prove their ftate of trial, as the paradifiacal was intended to have been for our fpecies, and the angelic was of Satan and his angels. And as Adam, and the rebellious angels, fell from a higher state than that which we are placed in, so may many of those of our species, whose first state of difcipline may commence after this lite is over, and after our world is judged and brought to its confummation. If so, those of us who have pait through this mortal life in such a manner as to be found fit objects of the Divine Mercy, will have great reason to congratulate ourselves on our having pased ihe danger, and being more secure of our happiness, thau those whom we are now apt to envy for their getting out of life so easily: For we know not what we ought to wish for, But He, who made us, knows.

If any reader should imagine, that I intend to eftablish any one hypothesis as the real account of this matter; he mistakes my design. All I mean by what I have advanced, is only to shew, that the circumstance of a considerable part of our species's passing through no state of discipline in this life, does not invalidate the necessity of a discipline to be gone through by every species of free creatures, in order to their being effectually attached to virtue, and so fitted for higher degrees of happiness and glory,

If after all that has been said, and more, which might be offered, if it were proper, there Tould remain difficulties with respect to the august æconomy of the infinitely wise and good Governor of the World ; if such short-fighted beings as we are, should no way be able U

to

to reconcile the seeming contradictions, and surmount the supposed difficulties ; this is no more than might have been expected. We are, through the meanness of our faculties, ignorant of infinitely more particulars than we know, in all extensive subjects; and we see but part of one scene in the immense drama of the moral world. But in what little we fee, we observe a thousand times more than would have been sufficient to prove a wise and good government already begun, and going on to perfection. If therefore, we have any candor, or any judgment to form a reasonable deduction of one thing from another, we cannot avoid concluding, that what we do not comprehend of the Divine Scheme, is of a piece with what we do comprehend, and that the whole is established upon, and conducted by, perfect and unerring rectitude.

The very circumstance of the difficulty we find in comprehending the whole of the Divine Scheme, both in the natural and moral world, while at the same time, we find we can enter into them so far, and fee so much of wisdom and contrwance, is a beauty, and a proof that the Author is one whofe ways are immensely above our ways, and his thoughts above our thoughts.

Considering the superabundant care that has been taken for putting, and keeping us, in the way to happiness, I think it may be fairly concluded, that whoever is not satisfied with the Divine Wisdom and Goodness apparent in the conduct of the moral world, would not be satisfied with any poslible degree of them. And it is only going on in the fame way of finding fault, whereever we do not understand, and we shall at last take exception against all possibility of guilt and consequent unhappiness, and blame our Maker, if we are not brought into the world at once perfect seraphs; if this earth is not the third region of the heavens; if we cannot give ourselves up to the most fordid lusts and passions, and yet be prepared for, and admitted to the conversation of angels and archangels. But when weak short-fighted man has racked his narrow invention to start or to solve, a thousand imaginary difficulties in the æconomy of the infinite Governor of the Universe, it will be found at last, that tho clouds and darkness are round about him, yet righteousþess and justice are the habitation of his throne.

SECT.

THE

SECT. VI. Wherein the requisite Concurrence of moral Agents consists.

Our Species under a threefold Obligation ; the first reSpecting themselves, the second their Fellow-creatures, and the third, their Creator. Of the first of these, to wit, Tbe due Çare and Regulation of the mental and animal natures. THE requisite concurrence of moral agents, of what

ever rank or order, or their .conformity to the grand delign of the Universal Governor, which is the ground-work of universal harmony, perfection, and hap-, piness throughout the creation, consists in their acting according to truth, rectitude, and propriety (in their respective stations, whether higher or lower in the scale of being, whether in states of discipline, or reward) in all cases or circumstances that regard either themselves, their fellow-beings, or their Creator. Whatever moral agent strictly and universally observes this rule, he is of that character, which we and all rational beings call good, is amiable in the fight of the Supreme Judge of Ředitude and Goodness; and it is as certain, that every such being must be finally happy, as that the nature of things is what it is, and that perfect wisdom and goodness must act rightly in governing the world.

What makes the duty of such poor, short-lighted creatures as we are, who are yet but in the infancy of our being, is likewise the grand rule which every angel and archangel in heaven observes. Nay, it would be blasphemy to think of the Supreme Governor of the Universe, as conducing his immense and august æconomy otherwise than according to the facred rule, which himself has prescribed for the conduct of his reasonable creatures, and which is an attribute of his own infinitely perfect nature, I mean, immutable and eternal rectitude.

In what a light does this thew the Dignity of Human Nature! What may we yet come to be ? Made in the image of God himself! and taught to imitate his example! to what heights may we thus come to be raised? Would to God, we could be brought to consider our

Own

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own importance ? Did we sufficiently reverence ourselves, we should act a part worthy of the honours, for which our Creator gave us our being.

The rectitude of that part of our conduct, which regärds ourselves, consists in the due care of our minds and our bodies, which two parts constitute our whole nature in the present state.

Our mental powers are generally considered under the heads of intelligence, and passion. The office of the first, to judge, and distinguish between what ought to be pursued, and what avoided ! of the latter, to excite to action. Where these two capital powers of the mind hold each her proper place, where the understanding is faithfully exerted in the search of truth, and the active powers for attaining the real good of the creature, fuch a mind may be properly said to be duly regulated, and in a good condition.

The proper exertion of the understanding is in inquiry into important truth; and that understanding, which is furnished with extensive and clear ideas of things, and enriched with useful and ornamental knowJedge, is applied as the Divine Wisdom intended every rational mind in the universe should be, if not in one ftate, yet in another; if not universally in a state of difcipline, as that we are now in, yet in a state of perfection, to which we hope hereafter to be raised. And whoever, in the present state, is blest with the proper advantages for improving his mind with knowledge (as natural capacity, leisure, and fortune) and neglects to use those advantages, will hereafter be found guilty of having omitted an important part of his duty.

Having in the foregoing book treated pretty copiously of the improvement and conduct of the understanding, there is the lefs occafion to enlarge upon that subject in this place. Let us therefore proceed to consider wherein the rectitude of that part of our conduct, which regards the active powers of the mind, confifts.

In general, it is evident, that the will of every individual being in the universe ought to be effectually formed to an absolute and implicit submission to the disposal of the Universal Governor, which is saying, in

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