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sion of his powers, to bring doubt upon the conclusion, that his ultimate destiny will be thus sublime: for a temporary and partial obstruction to his progress may be finally beneficial, and it is evidently the design of his Creator to lead him on to perfection by slow degress, and from a low origin. At all events, it is certain that every human being possesses a capacity for this illimitable improvement, and that if the great majority of mankind are to continue for ever ignorant,
vicious, and miserable, this capacity, unlike any thing else in the creation, is given in vain.
And, however great and lamentable the present errors and imperfections of mankind may be, yet it is obvious that they have made, and that they are making, a gradual advancement towards a better state. Already they have gained much, and what they have acquired they will retain. Never was their knowledge 'so varied and extensive as it is at present; never were they in such favorable circumstances for enlarging and perfecting their acquisitions. In many instances we at present recognize such a liberality of thinking among the common people, as would have been sought in vain, a few years ago, in tlae most enlightened philosophers; and the youth how comanences his career where the aged used to terminate their course. It is impossible to foresee where this will end ; it is impossible to predict the extent to which this
improvement may be carried, or the influence it may have in diffusing an enlightened and com, prehensive view of what is wise and just in conduct, in checking the indulgence of gross self, ishness, in controlling the turbulent, and eradi. cating the malignant passions, and in forming virtuous and benevolent habits.
But even though all this should be a dream, and we should be obliged to admit the me, lancholy conclusion, that error and misery are connected by an indissoluble bond with the present state, and that the experience of the past, and the discoveries of the future, will avail nothing to deliver mankind from their influence; yet, if there be a hereafter, surely it is more reasonable to conclude, that these disorders will cease then, that the discipline under which the mind will be placed in this new state of being will correct, not increase its perversion, and that, instructed by experience, and purified by suffer, ing, it will at length see thiogs as they are, and estimate them as it ought, affording to its faculties their proper exercise, and to its affections their proper objects, than, that its errors will continue through endless ages, or till they have effected its utter destruction. · To all this reasoning, however, which should seem no less solid than cheering, it has been objected, that the fundamental principle upon which it is founded, is not just ; that the strict
connexion which it supposes between the purpose and the event, does not invariably happen; that there are in nature adaptations which do not always secure the intended result, designs which are not completed, and that in fact there are many cases in which the object of nature is evidently and completely defeated; that every blossom, for example, does not ripen into fruit, nor every embryo attain the maturity of which it is capable, and for which it was obviously designed; that in every instance of this kind, there is as great a failure of the design of the Deity, as can well be imagined, and that as this is not supposed to be inconsistent with his
perfections, so there may be the same apparent frustration of his plan with regard to human beings, without any impeachment of his wisdom or goodness.
To this objection, which is much more ingenious than solid, two answers may be given. In the first place, it may be replied, that though all analogical reasoning is founded upon a comparison of the lower with the higher parts of creation, and of the higher with the lower, yet this objection supposes that comparison to be carried farther than it can justly be extended, pamely, to the final destiny of creatures of different orders. Because a being of an inferior order terminates its existence at a certain period, and with certain phenomena, we cannot con
clude that a being of a superior order will do the
A striking conformity between a particular organization in a fly and a man, may lead to the conclusion, that that organization is designed to answer a similar purpose in both. This deduction from analogy is fair and conclusive. But, if because at a certain period, this insect changes its state, and thereby loses for ever its conscious existence, it be inferred, that a change of state in man, in many respects similar, is also attended with a final loss of conscious existence, this deduction from analogy is not fair and conclusive; because there may be something in the nature of a being possessing the faculties of a man, to prevent that change from being final, which does not exist in an insect possessing only the properties of a fly: being already distinguished from the fly by the faculty of reason, he may possess this other distinctive property of surviving his apparent dissolution; or their common Creator may have something in view, by appointing the change in the one which he may not have in the other. The analogy to this extent, therefore, does not hold: but to this extent, the ob. jection under consideration supposes it to hold: for it supposes that human beings may be
pre'maturely destroyed, because the rudiments of an insect or vegetable are so. It is therefore a false analogy
Another very important view may be taken of
this subject. Nothing is more evident, than that in many instances, the inferior part of the creation is made chiefly, if not entirely, for the use of the superior. The vegetable world is formed for the animal, and in like manner to minister to the convenience and comfort of the higher, appears in many cases to be the final cause of the existence of the lower orders of the animal creation; and, supposing these lower orders to be at the same time happy, as far as they are capable of being so, (which is always the case,) this is a plan of admirable wisdom and beauty. Supposing, for example, it were wise and good in the Deity to give to the superior animals of our globe their present constitution, a constitution, that is, to the support of which, many of the fruits of the earth, and many of the inferior animals, are necessary, then it is an instance of wisdom and goodness to make such a provision, that these fruits and animals shall always suffi. ciently abound: for were they from any cause to fail, the most disastrous consequences must ensue to those higher orders, for which chiefly the inferior exist. Now, the only way by which it seems possible, by a general law, (and we have seen that it is by general laws that the Diety executes the purposes of his government,) to guard against such a calamity, is to provide in every period more of these inferior beings than is absolutely necessary at any; and there will