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nor flattering popular notions, nor excusing established practices, but calculated, in the matter of its inftruction, truly to promote human happiness, and, in the form in which it was conveyed, to produce impression and effect; a morality, which, let it have proceeded from any person whatever, would have been fatisfactory evidence of his good fense and integrity, of the soundness of his understanding and the probity of his designs; a morality, in every view of it, much more perfect than could have been expected from the natural circumstances and character of the person who delivered it ; a morality, in a word, which is, and hath been, most beneficial to mankind,

Upon the greatest therefore of all possible occasions, and for a purpose of inestimablo value, it pleased the Deity to vouchsafe a miraculous attestation. Having done this for the institution, when this alone could fix its authority, or give to it a beginning, he committed its future progress to the natural means of human communication, and to the

influence

influence of those causes by which human condi et and human affairs are governed. The seed being fown, was left to vegetate; the leaven being inserted, was left to ferment; and both according to the laws of nature : laws, never heless, disposed and controlled by that Providence which conducts the affairs of the universe, though by an infuence infcrutable, and generally undistinguishable by us. And in this, Chriftianity is analogous to most other provitions for happiness. The provision is made; and being made, is left to act according to laws, which, forming part of a more general syltem, regulate this particular subject, in com

many

others.

mon with

Let the constant recurrence to our obfervation of contrivance, design, and wisdom in the works of nature, once fix upon our minds the belief of a God, and after that all is easy. In the councils of a Being possessed of the power and disposition which the Creator of the universe inust possess, it is not improbable that there should be a

future

future state; it is not improbable that we should be acquainted with it. A future ftate reclifies every thing; because if moral agents be made, in the last event, happy or miserable, according to their conduct in the station and under the circumstances in which they are placed, it seems not very material by the operation of what causes, according to what rules, or even, if you please to call it so, by what chance or caprice, these stations are assigned, or these circumstances determined. This hypothesis, therefore, folves all that objection to the divine care and goodness, which the promilcuous distribution of good and evil (I do not mean in the doubtful advantages of riches and grandeur, but in the unquestionably important distinctions of health and fickness, strength and infirmity, bodily ease and pain, mental alacrity and depression) is apt on so many occasions occasions to create.

This one truth changes the nature of things : gives order to confusion: makes the moral world of a piece with the natural.

Nevertheless, a higher degree of assure ance than that to which it is possible to advance this, or any argument drawn from the light of nature, was necessary, especially to overcome the shock which the imagina. tion and the senses receive from the effects and the appearances of death; and the obstruction which from thence arises to the expectation of either a continued or a future existence. This difficulty, although of a nature, no doubt, to act very forcibly, will be found, I think, upon reflection, to reside more in our habits of apprehension, than in the subject ; and that the giving way to it, when we have any reasonable grounds for the contrary, is rather an indulging of the imagination, than any thing else. Abstractedly considered, that is, considered without relation to the difference which habit, and merely habit, produces in our faculties and modes of apprehension, I do not see any thing more in the resurrection of a dead man, than in the conception of a child; except it be this, that the one comes into his world with a system of prior consciousnesses

about

;

about hiin, which the other does not; and no person will say, that he knows enough of either subject to perceive, that this circumstance makes such a difference in the two cafes, that the one should be easy, and the other impossible ; the one natural, the other not so. To the first man the fucceffion of the species would be as incomprehensible, as the resurrection of the dead is

to us.

Thought is different from motion, perception from impact: the individuality of a mind is hardly consistent with the divisibility of an extended substance; or its volition, that is, its power of originating motion, with the inertness which cleaves to every portion of matter which our obfervation or our experiments can reach. These distinctions lead us to an immaterial principle: at least, they do this; they so negative the mechanical properties of matter, in the constitution of a fentient, still more of a rational being, that no argment, drawn from these properties, can be of any great

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