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if it be right to judge of the importance of the object, by the magnitude of the means employed to secure it, a purpose truly excellent.
If we examine the higher faculties with which man is endowed, and judge of the purpose
for which they are imparted, by that to which they are adapted, we cannot mistake the ends they are designed to answer. All the nobler properties by which he is distinguished, may be arranged with sufficient accuracy for the present purpose, under his intellectual powers, and his social and moral tendencies. He can observe the beauty and order of the world in which he is placed; he can investigate the causes of its phenomena; he can ascertain the laws by which it is governed; he can penetrate into the secret recesses of nature, and contemplate the process by which many of the wonders which surround him are formed; he can extend his view beyond the boundaries of his own world, calculate the distances of the worlds above him, ascertain their magnitude and trace their movements: he can perform a still more difficult task ; he can retire into himself, investigate the principles and propensities of his own nature, and reason respecting the very faculties by which he conducts the astonishing process of thought. Endowed with affections which lead him out of himself, and attach him to his fellow-beings, he can rejoice in their joy, and weep for their woe; he feels bound to them by tender and endearing ties; without their society, he is gloomy and sad; so long as he cherishes the generous affections in his intercourse with them, cheerfulness smiles upon his features, and happiness dilates his heart. He can sit in judgment on the nature of his own conduct, distinguish between good and evil, and while he glows with admiration at the contemplation of every generous and sublime affection, he feels indignation and disgust at the selfishness which considers only its own good, and the vice which pursues it at the expense of the general happiness. He can hold intercourse with the Great Being who gave him existence, and who crowns him with good ; and though a mysterious veil, which he cannot pierce, shroud the Sovereign Spirit from his mortal vision, yet he can feel a solemn and endearing consciousness that he is continually present with him; that he is above him, and beneath him, and around him; he can hear his voice instructing him in his duty, and perceive his hand directing him in his course, and rejoice in his promise, that he shall re-awake from the sleep of death, burst the fetters of the tomb, enjoy immortal youth, and pursue with unwearied step, through the countless ages of eternity, attainments which rise higher and higher in infinite progression, and which perpetually fill and enlarge his capacity. Forgetting the enjoyments of the present life, which is but as a moment of time compared with eternal duration, he is capable of acting with a view to his immortal dignity and happiness, and of resigning all which he now holds dear and valuable, if necessary, to promote his future felicity.
For what can a being thus wonderfully endowed be called into existence ? For what are such faculties given him? To be for ever misdirected and abused; to be wasted on littleness and devoted to folly; to adorn and secure the triumph of evil, and to afford to the universe an eternal spectacle of majestic desolation, and fallen and perverted grandeur? Or, to add to the beauty of the fair creation, by proving that one principle pervades it; that one Almighty power directs its operation ; that in the higher, as well as in the lower part of the works of God, nothing is made in vain; that the means are universally adapted to the end, and the end invariably secured by the means ?
If this be not the case, how singular is it that man should furnish the only instance in the creation, of a complicated adaptation of means which answer no end, or rather of an admirable and exalted provision, entirely perverted from its purpose! If we examine any other part of the world, if we look beneath us or above us, we can perceive nothing analogous to it. All the inferior animals fulfil the object of their creation; they take no thought of to-morrow; they look not before nor after ; the sun shines upon them, they bask in its beams, and are content: the verdant surface of the earth presents them with a rich repast ; they eat, they lie down to rest, they rise with the morning's dawn, pursuing from day to day the same unvarying round, and happy without knowing or desiring to know more. Those exalted intelligences of which
. we are accustomed to conceive as forming the highest orders of creation, and fulfilling the highest counsels of the Sovereign Spirit, however sublime their capacities, and illimitable their desires, are filled with that adorable object which they continually contemplate and serve. Why, then, is man the only creature in the universe who possesses a nature which falsifies every appearance, and disappoints every expectation; a capacity which enables him to soar with the Seraph, and a destiny which levels him with the brute?
The few attainments which he at present makes, should by no means render it incredible, that his distant and advanced progress will be thus sublime; for those attainments, inconsiderable as they are, afford an animating assurance of his ultimate perfection. They form the commencement of a course, which as it is to continue through an interminable series of ages, so it must promote an illimitable improvement.
They may terminate, it is obvious, in a perfection of knowledge and happiness, as great as the imagination can conceive ; for in order to do so, they require no change in their nature, but only an increase in their degree: the very acquisitions which an enlightened and virtuous man has already made, carried on to their possible extent, may place him at a point as high in the scale of creation, as that which the first-born Seraph at present occupies. Nor does what we know of his past, oppose what we thus augur of his future progress. Who that saw Newton when an infant, leaning on his mother's bosom, and had never witnessed an instance of a similar progress, would have believed that that little and fatuous creature would, in the short space of a few years, be able to measure the distances of the stars, and to teach to a listening world, the laws which regulate their mighty movements? The attainments of such a being in his progress from infancy to manhood, are infinitely more wonder. ful than any which we suppose him afterwards to make; for in the one case, it is an astonishing progress commencing from nothing; in the other, it is only the continuance of a course already greatly advanced : so that it is not even so incredible, that a man should arrive at the attainments of an angel, as that an infant should gain the acquisitions of a man.
Neither ought any present neglect or perver