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It is wonderful to observe by what a gradual progress the world of life advances, through a prodigious variety of species, before a creature is formed, that is complete in all its senses; and even among these, there is such a different degree of excellence, in the sense which one animal enjoys beyond what appears in another, that though the sense in different animals is distinguished by the same common denomination, it seems almost of a different nature. If, after this, we look into the several inward perfections of cunning and sagacity, or what we generally call instinct, we find them rising, after the same manner, imperceptibly one above another; and receiving additional improvements, according to the species in which they are implanted. This progress in nature is so very gradual, that the most perfect of an inferior species, comes very near to the most imperfect of that which is immediately above it.

The exuberant and overflowing goodness of the Supreme Being, whose mercy extends to all his works, is plainly seen as I have before hinted, in his having made so very little matter, at least what falls within our knowledge, that does not swarm with life. Nor is his goodness less seen in the diversity, than in the multitude of living creatures. Had he made but one species of animals, none of the rest would have enjoyed the happiness of existence: he has therefore, specified, in his creation, every degree of life, every capacity of being. The whole chasm of nature, from a plant to a man, is filled up with diverse kinds of creatures, rising one after another, by an ascent so gentle and easy, that the little transitions and deviations from one species 'to another, are almost insensible. This intermediate space is so well husbanded and managed, that there is scarcely a degree of perception, which does not appear in some one part of the world of life. Is the goodness, or the wisdom of the Divine Being, more manifested in this his proceeding 24

There is a consequence, besides those I have already mentioned, which seems very naturally deducible from the foregoing considerations. If the scale of being rises by so regular a progress, so high as man, we may, by parity of reason, suppose, that it still proceeds gradually through those beings, which are of a superior nature to him; since there is infinitely greater space and room for different degrees of perfection, between the Supreme Being and man, than between man and the most despicable insect.

In this great system of being, there is no creature so won derful in its nature, and which so much deserves our particu

lar attention, as man; who fills up the middle space between the animal and the intellectual nature, the visible and the invisible world; and who is that link in the chain of being, whichforms the connexion between both. So that he who, in one res pect, is associated with angels and archangels, and may look apon a being of infinite perfection as his father, and the highestorder of spirits as his brethren, may, in another respect, say to corruption, thou art my father, and to the worm, thou art my mother and my sister."




MAN, considered in himself, is a very helpless, and a very wretched being. He is subject, every moment, to the greatest calamities and misfortunes. He is beset with dangers on all sides; and may become unhappy by numberless casualties, whichhe could not foresee, nor have prevented had he foreseen them.X

It is our comfort, while we are obnoxious to so many accidents, that we are under the care of ONE who directs contingencies, and has in his hands the management of every thing that is capable of annoying or offending us; who knows the assistance we stand in need of, and is always ready to bestow it on those who ask it of him.

The natural homage which such a creature owes to so infinitely wise and good a Being, is a firm reliance on him for the blessings and conveniences of life; and an habitual trust in him, for deliverance out of all such dangers and difficulties as may befall us.

The man who always lives in this disposition of mind, has not the same dark and melancholy views of human nature, as he who considers himself abstractedly from this relation to the Supreme Being. At the same time that he reflects upon his own weakness and imperfection, he comforts himself with the contemplation of those divine attributes, which are employed for his safety and his welfare. He finds his want of foresight made up, by the omniscience of him who is his support. He is not sensible of his own want of strength, when he knows that his helper is Almighty. In short, the person who has a firm trust in the Supreme Being, is powerful in his power, wise by his wisdom, happy by his happiness. He reaps the benefit of every divine attribute; and loses his own insufficiency in the fullness of infinite perfection. To make our lives more easy to us, we are

commanded to put our trust in him, who is thus able to relieve and succour as; the Divine Goodness having made such a reliance a duty, notwithstanding we should have been miserable, had it been forbidden us.

Among several motives which might be made use of to recommend this duty to us, I shall only take notice of those that follow.

The first and strongest is, that we are promised, he will not fail those that put their trust in him.

But without considering the supernatural blessing which accompanies this duty, we may observe, that it has a natural tendency to its own reward; or, in other words, that this firm trust and confidence in the great Disposer of all things, contribute very much to the getting clear of any affliction, or to the bearing of it manfully. A person who believes he has his succour at hand, and that he acts in the sight of his friend, often exerts himself beyond his abilities; and does wonders that are not to be matched by one who is not animated with such a confidence of success. Trust in the assistance of an Almighty Being, naturally produces patience, hope, cheerfulness, and all other dispositions of mind, which alleviate those calamities that we are not able to remove.

The practice of this virtue administers great comfort to the mind of man, in times of poverty and affliction; but most of all, in the hour of death. When the soul is hovering, in the last moments of its separation; when it is just entering on another state of existence, to converse with scenes, and objects, and companions, that are altogether new; what can support her under such tremblings of thought, such fear, such anxiety, such apprehensions, but the casting of all her cares upon HIM who first gave her being; who has conducted her through one stage of it; and who will be always present, to guide and comfort her in her progress through eternity.




PIETY, and gratitude to God, contribute in a high degree, to' enliven prosperity. Gratitude is a pleasing emotion. The Fense of being distinguished by the kindness of another, gladdens the heart, warms it with reciprocal affection, and gives to any possession which is agreeable in itself, a double relish, from its being the gift of a friend. Favours conferred by men, I acknowledge, may prove burdensome. For humah virtue is

never perfect; and sometimes unreasonable expectations on the one side, sometimes a mortifying sense of dependence on the other, corrode in secret the pleasures of benefits, and convert the obligations of friendship into grounds of jealousy. But no thing of this kind can affect the intercourse of gratitude with Heaven. Its favours are wholly disinterested: and with a gratitude the most cordial and unsuspicious, a good man looks up to that Almighty benefactor, who aims at no end but the happiness of those whom he blesses, and who desires no return from them, but a devout and thankful heart. While others can trace their prosperity to no higher source than a concurrence of worldly causes; and, often, of mean or trifling incidents, which occasionally favoured their designs; with what superior satis-faction does the servant of God remark the hand of that gra-cious power which hath raised him up; which hath happily conducted him through the various steps of life, and crowned him with the most favourable distinction beyond his equals ?

Let us farther consider, that not only gratitude for the past, but a cheering sense of divine favour at the present, enters into the pious emotion. They are only the virtuous, who in their prosperous days hear this voice addressed to them, "Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a cheerful heart; for God now accepteth thy works." He who is the author of their prosperity, gives them a title to enjoy, with complacency, his own gift. While bad men snatch the pleasures of the world as by stealth, without countenance from the great proprietor of the world, the righteous sit openly down to the feast of life, under the smile of approving heaven. No guilty fears damp their joys. The blessing of God rests upon all that they possess: his protection surrounds them; and hence, “in the habitations of the righteous, is found the voice of rejoicing and salvation." A lustre unknown to others, invests, in their sight, the whole face of nature. Their piety reflects a sunshine from heaven upon the prosperity of the world; unites in one point of view, the smiling aspect, both of the powers above, and of the objects below. Not only have they as full a relish as others, of the innocent pleasures of life, but moreover, in these they hold communion with their divine benefactor. In all that is good or fair, they trace his hand. From the beauties of nature, from the improvements of art, from the enjoyments of social life, they raise their affection to the source of all the happiness which surrounds them: and thus widen the sphere of their pleasures, by adding intellectual, and spiritual, to carthly joys.

For illustration of what I have said on this head, remark that cheerful enjoyment of a prosperous state, which king David had when he wrote the twenty-third Psalm; and compare the highest pleasures of the riotous sinner, with the happy and satisfied spirit which breathes throughout that Psalm. In the midst of the splendour of royalty, with what amiable simplicity of gratitude does he look up to the Lord as "his Shepherd;" happier in ascribing all his success to Divine favour, than to the policy of his councils, or to the force of his arms How many instances of divine goodness arose before him in pleasing remembrance, when with such relish he speaks of the "green pasturesand still waters, beside which God had led him; of his cup. which he had made to overflow; and of the table which he had prepared for him in the presence of his enemies!" With whatperfect tranquility does he look forward to the time of his passing through"the valley of the shadow of death;" unappalled by that spectre, whose most distant appearance blasts the pros perity of sinners! He fears no evil, as long as "the rod and the staff" of his Divine Shepherd are with him; and, through all the unknown periods of this and of future existence, he commits himself to his guidance with secure and triumphant hope: "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." What a purified, sentimental enjoyment of prosperity is here exhibited! How different from that gross relish of worldly. pleasures, which belongs to those who behold only the terrestrial side of things; who raise their views to no higher objects than the succession of human contingencies, and the weak ef forts of human ability; who have no protector or patron in the heayens, to enliven their prosperity, or to warm their hearts with gratitude and trust!




THE city of Sidon having surrendered to Alexander, he ordered Hephaestion to bestow the crown on him whom the Sidonians should think most worthy of that honour. Hephæstion being at that time resident with two young men of distinction, offered them the kingdom; but they refused it, tel ling him that it was contrary to the laws of their country, to admit any one to that honour, who was not of the royal family. He then, having expressed his admiration of their disinter

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