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their attention to something foreign to their wild amusements ; that they force them to make a protracted, and, in many instances, a successful effort to think; that they enable them to acquire a command over what is invisible and immaterial; to rise from the mere animal state to tread in the precincts of an intellectual economy, the economy of thought and truth, in which they are to live for ever. Let them remember, that a number of ideas, decidedly the most important that were ever formed in human thought, or imparted from the Supreme Mind, will be so taught in these institutions, that it is absolutely certain they will be fixed irrevocably and for ever on the minds of many of the pupils : that it will be as impossible to erase them from their memory as to extinguish the stars; and in the case of many, perhaps the majority of these youthful beings, advancing into the temptations of life, these grand ideas thus fixed deep in their souls, will distinctly present themselves to judgment and conscience an incalculable number of times. And what a number, if the sum of all these reminiscences, in all the minds now assembled in a numerous school, could be conjectured! But if one in a hundred of these recollections, if one in a thousand, shall have the efficacy that it ought to have, who can compute the amount of the good resulting from the instruction which

shall have so enforced and fixed these ideas, that they shall infallibly be thus recollected ?* And when these institutions shall have become universal, and they will become universal, they will operate in the intellectual, the moral, and the political condition of the people, a great and glorious change ; the prospect of which, while it may well encourage

the man of benevolence to devote his best powers and his best days to secure and hasten it, must satisfy him that it is in man's own power, by wise and virtuous con-, duct, totally to remove the worst evils of the social state, and so to mitigate those which cannot be removed, as to render them light and inconsiderable.

When, then, a comprehensive view is taken of the provision which the Creator has made for human happiness ; when it is considered, that in innumerable instances pleasure is annexed to the performance of the animal and vital functions, and the exercise of the mental and moral faculties, when no other reason can be assigned for it but the pure benevolence of Him in whom we live, and move, and have our being : that the ordinary state of mankind is a state not of ease only, but of positive enjoyment, and that the season of pain and suffering is extraordinary,

* Evils of Ignorance.

coming comparatively seldom, and lasting comparatively but a short period ; that the natural and moral evils which prevail, though in themselves oftentimes great and terrible, are parts of the plan designed to form the character and 10 perfect the happiness of man; that the evils of the social state especially, though sometimes extremely calamitous, are, upon the whole, much less considerable than they appear, are accompanied with many mitigations, become less and less with every improvement which man works out for himself, and in the mean time accomplish some most useful purposes,—when these considerations are fully weighed, they will be sufficient to satisfy the mind that these evils are parts of a great whole, conspiring under the direction of unerring wisdom to the production of consummate happiness. Many things will still, indeed, remain a mystery to us : many things in nature, many things in Providence, many events disastrous to communities, many calamities befalling individuals. Of these we shall never be able to obtain a thorough comprehension in the present state, for the reason so often and so justly assigned, that in the present state we see only a part of the plan, and that, therefore, we cannot possibly have a clear understanding of the whole.

The vast plan of Providence, indeed, would not be what it is, would not be calculated for mil


lions of creatures and for eternity, if it presented no mysteries to us; if with our present faculties and in our present situation, we could comprehend the whole of it. That pain, therefore, in its various forms, is made the active and extensive agent that it is in carrying on the great scheme; that it falls with such fearful severity on some devoted communities, on some wretched individuals; that it is sometimes the consequence of events which no wisdom can foresee nor prevent, and sometimes of diseases which no skill can guard against nor mitigate: that this should be totally beyond our present comprehension is no more than must of necessity be, we being what we are, and the universe what it is. That it is adopted for wise and good reasons is an unavoidable inference from what we know of the benignity of the Creator : that in many instances it promotes our happiness, we actually experience, since it is often the monitor of danger, the corrector of error, the punisher of vice, the incentive to exertions which issue in the production of immeasurable and exquisite pleasures. That it does not indicate the imperfection of the benevolence of Him who appointed it, is certain. For, let it even be supposed that there really is in its appointment an apparent want of benevolence; of this apparent want of benevolence, two accounts may be given : it may arise either from the reality of the appear

ance, or from the ignorance, the confined views, and the disadvantageous situation of the observer for perceiving the whole plan of the Great Agent. “ It may be owing either to an actual want of goodness, or to the infinity and unfathomableness of it. The first of these accounts contradicts numberless phenomena of nature, is inconsistent with the perfection apparent in the general frame of the world, and opposés our most reasonable apprehensions concerning the nature and attributes of the First Cause. The latter account is in the highest degree easy, natural, and obvious. It is suggested to us by what we have experienced in similar instances, and agreeable to what, from the reason of the thing, we might have foreseen must have happened to such creatures as we are, in considering such a scheme as that of nature. Can we then doubt to which of these accounts we shall give the preference? Is it reasonable to suffer our conviction of a fact, for which we have good evidence, to be influenced by appearances which may as well be consistent as inconsistent with it; nay, by appearances which, on the supposition of its truth, we must beforehand have expected ?"*

Four Dissertations, &c. By Richard Price, D.D.F.R.S.

p. 105.

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