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chill the principles of life, and destroy the young one, she grows more assiduous in her attendance, and stops away but half the time.
When the birth approaches, with how much nicety and attention does she help the chick to break its prison! Not to take notice of her covering it from the injuries of the weather, providing it proper nourishment, and teaching it to help itself; not to mention her forsaking the nest if, after the usual time of reckoning, the young one does not make its.appearance. A chymical operation could not be followed with greater art or- diligence, than is seen in the hatching of a chick; though there are many other birds that show an infinitely greater sagacity in all the fore-mentioned partia culars.
But at the same time the hen, that has all this seeming ingenuity (which is indeed absolutely necessary for the propagation of the species), considered in other respects, is without the least glimmerings of thought or common sense. She mistakes a piece of chalk for an egg, and sits upon it in the same manner : she is insensible of any increase or dimipution in the number of those she lays : she does not distinguish between her own, and those of another species; and when the birth appears of never so different a bird, will cherish it for her own. In all these circumstances, which do not carry an immediate regard to the subsistence of herself or her species, she is a very idiot.
There is not, in my opinion, any thing more mysterious in nature, than this instinct in ani. mals, which thus rises above reason, and fails infinitely short of it. It cannot be accounted for by
any properties in matter, and at the same time works after so odd a manner, that one cannot think it the faculty of an intellectual being. For my own part, I look upon it as upon the principle of gravitation in bodies, which is not to be explained by any known qualities inherent in the bodies themselves, nor from any laws of mechanism, but, according to the best notions of the greatest philosophers, is an immediate impression from the first Mover, and the divine energy acting in the creatures.
GOD'S GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD AS CERTAIN
AS HIS CREATING IT. To acknowledge a deity, and yet suppose, as some of the heathen philosophers pretended to do, that he is altogether unconcerned either in the creation or government of the world, is owning him in words, and disowning him in reality. In like manner, to confess that God made the world, and all things therein, and at the same time deny his care and providence over it, is, in effect, maintaining a God without divine attributes. It is maintaining inconsistent opinions, and separating things essentially united. As sure as there is a God, so sure it is that he must be supremely wise, and infinitely good. But to create a world, and then leave it to itself, and all the confusion consequent thereupon, is a conduct impossible to be reconciled with either of those perfections.
If our clearest ideas are to be trusted, there would be no wisdom, no goodness at all in such a proce
dure. For whatever ends might be proposed in the production of such a forlorn world, they could not possibly be answered. Neither the Creator's glory, nor his creature's happiness, could be in any measure accomplished without a providence. And as to any other intention, we are not able to frame any conception of them. However they must needs likewise be ineffectual, and frustrate, on the same supposition.
But let us examine the grounds of this important doctrine somewhat more particularly. Strictly speaking, the creation necessarily requires the continued influence and perpetual support of its Creator. The natural world could not subsist a moment without the almighty hand, which first formed it. Should God be pleased at any time to withdraw his power and protection, all nature must sink in an instant. Most certainly every thing would immediately run to ruin, and probably fall to nothing. Both reason and revelation assure us, that by him all things consist.' That'he preserveth and upholdeth all things by the word of his power.' That “in his hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind: and that ' in him we live, move, and have our being. In this respect, therefore, God's providence not only stands on firm foundations, and sure evidence, but appears absolutely necessary; since the world could no more continue without his aid, than it could exist without it at first. The great machine of the universe, so wonderfully framed and fitted as it is, yet cannot go of itself; as unavoidably depending on its almighty Author, and naturally requiring his concurrence, to keep it not
only in order but in being. Nor does this argue any defect in his workmanship; because an independent system of creatures is not only absurd, but utterly impossible.
Should we go on to inquire, how he governs the world, and presume to search into the methods and measures of divine Providence, we may easily bewilder ourselves, in a speculation vastly too high for us. We have all the reason in the world to assure ourselves, that God's government is most perfect in all respects; but tu se 'ount for the direction and disposal of particular events, and to discover how far they come under, and coincide with general laws, seem undertakings far above our present faculties. We do not so much as know, with any certainty, whether there be any just ground for distinguishing, as we ordinarily do, between a general and a particular providence. All particular events, for ought we know, may be superintended and disposed by general laws. I might explain and confirm this observation by various instances and suppositions ; but I shall only mention at present that which follows; a supposition not only very ancient, but very natural, and therefore more easy to be conceived, and more apt to be entertained. What I mean is, that the particularities of human life may be specially provided for by a delegation of power and anthority to subordinate agents, by whose invisible intervention events may be directed agreeably to the will and wisdom of the supreme Governor; and that perhaps in perfect consistence with the stated laws of the natural world. What absurdity, what impropriety, in supposing sueh a provision as this for the tuition and government of mankind? Can we think it any derogation from the honour and majesty of the supreme Ruler, te invest certain beings of exalted powers and perfections with the administration of his providential decrees; they presiding over the several parts of the universe, while he himself, who alone is capable of it, informs and directs the whole? This seems perfectly conformable to that subordination and scale of beings, which prevail throughout all nature, as far as our faculties are able to search. Could we see further, we might probably find every system, every habitable globe, under the government of vicegerents; and perhaps the various districts and provinces of each divided among the host of heaven, and respectively administered according to the appointments of unerring wisdom. If this be agreeable to nature and reason, as must, I think, be allowed; I may safely add, that is by no means disagreeable to revelation : so far from it, that we find in scripture frequent intimations of this amazing scheme of Providence. I see not therefore why it may not be supposed a general law of God's moral government; and that such a one, as no way interferes; but perfectly consists with his laws of nature.