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the arts and sciences, in order to qualify him for attending a herd of swine.
In connexion with the consideration just stated, we may observe, that the difference which obviously obtains between man and the irrational animals, in respect to actual enjoyment on earth, furnishes strong presumptive evidence in behalf of the important truth for which we contend. This world seems suited to the ample and final gratification of the latter. From the various physical objects with which they are surrounded, they derive supreme and unalloyed pleasure. The cattle that browse in the fields, the birds that carol in the air, and the fishes that sport in the water, enjoy sensual happiness, superior both in kind and degree, to any of which the human being partakes. The delights of sense are far too meagre to gratify his towering appetites. Instead of affording him substantial and enduring enjoyment, they always contribute, when too eagerly pursued and immoderately grasped, to impair his health, mar his peace, and entail upon him a train of numberless calamities. He fails not to discover, sooner or later, that they are little better than “ vanity and vexation of spirit.” Now, this important difference between the rational and the merely sentient being, points, we think, to a corresponding difference in their respective destinations. If the existence of man were to be finally cut short at death, it would seem as if the benevolent purposes of Heaven in his creation, were, in a measure frustrated. He falls like other animals while, unlike them, he has not been fully blessed. His mind—the very principle of his dignity—that which appears to constitute him their superior, and to crown him as the lord of this lower world,-renders bim less capable of enjoyment amid the scenes of his pre-eminence.
Man, on the supposition that there is no futurity, is of all earthly beings, the most miserable. His existence, limited to the present world, is an enigma that serves only to confound those ideas of the divine wisdom and benignity, which every thing else in nature is so admirably fitted to excite. If he is not to live in another state where perfect happiness is attainable, it is difficult to conjecture for what end he was formed.
A further argument in support of the immortality of the mind, has been derived from the inequality which marks the dispensations of Providence in the present world. There is not here that exact accordance between character and condition, which we should calculate on finding in the government of a holy and just Divinity. It often happens, that a greater share of prosperity is enjoyed by the bad, than by the good. Solomon, the most acute observer of human life, thus asserts the fact : “ There is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness." Some writers, indeed, have laboured, by a species of subtile reasoning, to show, that the inequality of which we now speak, is more in appearance than in reality.* They contend, that although much difference is visible in the
The following passage occurs in a letter from Lord Bolingbroke to Swift. He speaks of Pope's Essay on Man, which his poetical friend was then engaged in writing :
“It is a noble subject; he (Pope) pleads the cause of God, (I use Seneca's expression,) against that famous charge which Atheists in all ages have brought -the supposed unequal dispensations of Providence; a charge which I cannot beartily forgive your divines for admitting. You admit it, indeed, for an extreme good purpose, and you build on this admission the necessity of a future state of rewards and punishments. But what if you should find that this future state will not account, in opposition to the Atheist, for God's justice in the present state, which you give up? Would it not have been better to defend God's justice in this world, against these daring men, by irrefragable reasons,
outward circumstances of men, yet the balance of advantages and disadvantages, in all the various conditions of life, may be so evenly adjusted by an impartial Deity, that the amount of actual enjoyment is nearly, and, perhaps, quite the same. Happiness, say these authors, depends primarily upon the state of the mind—its views, its feelings, and its wishes. External prosperity is no unfailing index of internal tranquillity. In the midst of wealth, and honour, and power, the human being may be really miserable. On the other hand, seeming adversity does not infallibly denote mental infelicity. Tattered garments, scanty fare, and a diseased body, may belong to one, within whose breast there mantles the sunshine of an unclouded calm. There is some plausibility, we grant, in this representation of things. We do not, however, think it necessary to enter into an elaborate argument for the purpose of exposing its fallacy. We would only ask you to go abroad through the numerous walks of actual life, and see how far these ingenious speculations of the closet, correspond with what you there behold. We shall be egregiously deceived if you do not find little within the range of your observation, however extended it may be, to corroborate the philosopher's assumption, that the happiness of the mind is independent of external circumstances—that when the body is afflicted with want or racked with pain, perfect serenitude may pervade the soul. You will soon discover, that such a position is most strikingly confuted by the facts that come before your eye; yes, and you may be still more fully convinced of its unsoundness, if it should ever be your lot to know, from personal experience, the effect of some of and to have rested the proof of the other point on revelation? I do not like concessions made against demonstration, repair or supply them how you will."
those evils which the speculating sage, as be muses in his easy chair, surrounded with every comfort, accounts so very tolerable, evils which, though they may be readily mitigated and counteracted in theory, are generally found more obstinate and unmanageable in practice. In short, this is a question on which it is safest to follow the common sense of mankind, and we are very sure, that no one but a philosopher ever thought of denying or doubting the unequal distribution of good and evil, which characterizes the doings of Providence here below. If, then, there is a Deity who sits upon the throne of nature—a throne of which righteousness and judgment are the foundation,- he cannot fail to make a due distinction, sooner or later, 6 between them that serve him, and them that serve him not.” As surely as he is just, and holy, and good, all present inequalities shall be rectified at a future period, and in a future state. The happiness or misery of every accountable agent in the universe, must be ultimately in the exact ratio of his moral deserts. As this is not the case with man on earth-as vice here is often more prosperous than virtue,—we may fairly presume that his being is to be prolonged in another and retributive world. The supposition, that the soul is immortal, seems necessary, then, to vindicate the divine character and proceedings. Without it, we shall be completely foiled in all our attempts to
Assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.” An additional argument for the future existence of the soul, has been built on the general belief of mankind in relation to this subject. It is certain, that the expectation of life beyond the grave, however it may have been obtained-whether it be a deduction of reason, or a remnant of information originally communicated from the Deity to the first man, and by him handed down to his posterity,—has formed an article of the popular creed in all periods, and in almost all countries. It is found to prevail, at this day, among some of the rudest tribes on our earth. The untutored savage, who dwells afar from the radiance of revelation, and on whom the dimmer light of philosophy has not shone, comforts himself amid the privations and calamities incident to his present state, by looking forward to
“Some safer world in depths of woods embrac'd,
Some happier island in the wat'ry waste." Now, the question has been asked, can we reasonably imagine, that an expectation thus deeply seated in the human bosom, and widely diffused throughout the human race, is wholly unfounded? Is it consonant with the benignity of the Creator, to suffer a whole order of intelligent beings to indulge a hope of immortality which is nerer to be realized ?....But this argument will strike different minds with a different degree of force, and as its strength may be thus variously estimated, the judicious thinker will not be tempted to lay upon it an undue stress.
A similar remark is applicable to an argument which curious observers have sometimes derived from the analogies of nature. For example, the natural history of insects presents a remarkable fact, which shows, that it is possible even for material animals to undergo a very considerable and striking change in their modes of being-a change as little credible to one who was not aware that it had been indubitably ascertained, as the continued existence of the human spirit in a new form, after the dissolution of the clay fabric, with which its existence, and