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diverfified. Where is that skilful botanist, who can enumerate all the hidden qualities of the vegetable world?
Some plants are naturally hot; others cold ;-fome fweet; others bitter;-some serve for our food; others for our phyfic:-some are poison to us; others, though they grow, perhaps, in the fame bed, are approved antidotes against it.
Contemplate his condefcenfion to man, in the economy of animals. -The favage beaft, frequent the most solitary deferts; confcious, as it were, that their fociety would be dangerous; whereas those that are tame, and serviceable to us naturally affect to herd together. -Thou fceptic!-Can this proceed from chance?-You infift, that the fun obferves but his ftated courfe when he warms the rarth; that the air moistens it in like manner, which is accidentally ferviceable to plants, as they are to animals, and animals to men, particular beings to one another and the universe to all;-But whence proceeds this chain of causes? If things were from eternity self-existent, how came this fubordination ?-When did they enter into covenant one with another? How could fome agree to be fubfervient to others?-How did they exift originally? In a feed, flower, or grain, &c? Were they great or small? Which preceded, and which fucceeded? For animals cannot fubfift without plants; nor they without the earth; nor can she bring forth her fruit without the benign influence of the heavenly bodies. If they were all produced at once, how came fo many, and fuch different Beings to agree?—At the bare mention of infinite wisdom and goodness, all thefe difficulties,-upon the infidel plan utterly inexplicable,refolved at once.-Yes; none but an unwife man doth not confider this; and none but a fool cannot understand it.
If we caft our eyes on the portrait of a friend, we naturally and immediately reflect on the artist who drew it. Now if a picture, which can but look, a voice yet directs our minds to the living agent, by whofe skill it was painted; much more should the exqui
fite workmanship and curious compofition of the man himself induce us to contemplate, and pay divine adoration to his Maker?
And thus evident to common fenfe are not only his eternal power, his omniscience and omnipotence; but all the invifible things of his godhead, even every moral attribute-by the things that are made, we see the former; by the manner in which they are made and exist, we see the latter. Man alone may here ftand forth as a demonftration of both.
The frame and structure of man's body is fo admirably contrived, that the most celebrated artists borrow from it all their ideas of fymmetry and proportion, and the dependance of every part on one another; and of each particular on the whole, is an inconteftible proof of an intelligent Being; for how can a work, which displays all the beauties of contrivance refult from chance? The vulgar, indeed, attribute the lofs of an arm, eye, leg, or any other member to accident or chance; but when they see the lame walk, or the blind receive their fight, they readily exclude chance, and acknowledge the patient's cure to be owing to the skilful operations of the furgeon, or oculift.
Again, with our fenfes, we fee, hear, feel, tafte and fmell. Now the fame Being that made fenfible objects, furnished us with our fenfes; for the former would be of no ufe without the latter; nor the latter without the former. And fince they have so close a connexion with one another, which were firft produced ?—If man made sensible objects, why does he not continue to exercise his creating power?-Or, if he gave himself his fenfes, why does he ever lose them? They were, doubtless, the effects of a fuperior caufe. And why has he a faculty of fpeech but to communicate his thoughts?—Now; did he make himself a fociable creature?——— And fince he is happily distinguished from the rest of the creation by his rational endowments, must he not be chiefly defigned for rational exercises and entertainments ?-All these are but fo many arVOL. III. E
guments of the divine goodness. For what could have induced him to create, and call out of the womb of nothing fuch an infinitude of felf-confcious and intelligent Beings, but that he might have fit objects to communicate fome portion of his happinefs to?-Uninterrupted experience muft convince all, who have not extinguished every fpark of gratitude within them, that fuch was the benevolent defign of God: fo fearfully and wonderfully are we made that our prefervation feems to be little less than one continued series of miracles.
Not only our fenfes are all made capable of pleasure from external objects; but our fouls enjoy a kind of delegated power of creating objects, which, though they exist but in thought, impart the highest and most exquisite entertainment and fatisfaction to our rational, immortal, and fpiritual nature. Short-fighted man! canst thou look no further than thy natural parents for these distinguishing gifts? The very contexture and fymmetry of thy bones were as absolutely hid from them, when they were the cafual instruments of thy existence, as though they had been made fecretly, and fashioned beneath in the earth.-Did their eyes fee, or their contrivance mould thy fubftance, yet being imperfect, or in their book were all thy members defigned, which day by day were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them?
Could they, from whose foul every veftige of original rectitude was perhaps obliterated by habitual immorality; could they impart to thee a mind, on which the distinction of just and unjust, virtue and vice, is fo deeply engraven, that the moment thy natural faculties enabled thee to look inwards, thou faweft the great out-lines of univerfal duty?—No ;-this must be an emanation from uncreated excellence; the Divinity himfelf that ftirs within us, and intimates. his own eternal justice.-Nay, the more important those duties are which our future exiftence may require, the greater is their evidence and clearness; and the more vigorously do cur natural fentiments
excite us to the practice of them. Such are the duties of gratitude, charity, and compaffion: fuch are the amiable obedience and love of children to their parents.
Can reason be so depraved as to admit the fuppofition, that God formed us thus, without intending we fhould live fuitably, or be accountable to himfelf?-The confcience of all mankind, the fears and remorse which infeparably accompany every wilful deviation from the law written in our hearts; that self-applauding satisfaction which is the companion of virtue :-These fentiments, of which we ourfelves are not mafters, clearly demonftrate, that the great author of them is perfect in holiness, justice, and mercy, the fame in nature though different in degree: because his vicegerent confcience approves, or condemns us, in proportion as we obey the dictates of thofe immutable virtues. What then, if, in his difpenfations with the fons of men, his justice be fometimes hidden behind the veil of his providence; yet must it be clearly seen, as being understood by his works in the human foul from the creation of the world.
What can we say suitable to the dignity of the fubject ?-Thou inexhaustible fountain of infinite perfection! God the Lord every where revealed!Shall we contemplate thee in things above, or in things below?—Thou haft made all, and the universe is but a transcript of thyself. "Blefs the Lord, fays David, all his works, ye heavens, waters, winds, thunder, rains, rivers, and feas; and chiefly thou, O my foul, praise his holy name for ever."
To offer all the proofs which this fubject would admit of, would be to attest every atom in creation; a labour as fuperfluous, as it is endless; fince even favages by the mere force of innate religion can fpell fomething of a Deity in every page, in every line of the vaft volume of the universe.
The most barbarous nations have had different ideas of God, different indeed according as their different imaginations could make room to entertain them. In every part of the habitable world,
world, the natives have always had, and ftill profefs fome fort of religion, have proper times fet apart for prayer, facrifices, and other holy rites and ceremonies; and though they differ according to the various countries in which they are observed; yet all agree to own, at least to mean one all-knowing, all-powerful, and Supreme Being: and the very diverfity of them is an undeniable argument that this notion is co-extenfive with human nature, and not the effect of example or tradition.
Within these two last centuries several confiderable places have been found out, and the curious traveller is daily making new dif coveries; and though in fome places the barbarous natives have no established laws for the punishment of vice, or the reward of virtue; but live in the open air, ignorant of all the arts of life; yet even these have certain indifputable notions, though dark and imperfect, both of God and religion; as if it was even more natural to mankind to acknowledge the Deity than to form themselves into focieties, to fecure from the injuries of the weather, or make provifion for their daily fubfiftence.
Unfophifticated reason, however weak and unimproved, has, in the most barbarous nations, been ever capable of inferring this prime and fundamental principle. Such univerfal confent, prior to all instruction, must be admitted to be the voice of nature. And though many of the heathen philosophers, in the pride of difputation, affected to deny almost every popular tenet; yet we do find but few even nominal Atheifts recorded in the annals of the antients; and these, it appears, rather expofed the numerous train of false deities, than denied the existence of a true God: as many amongst us content themselves with knowing what is falfe, without enquiring what is true; and ridicule fuperftition, without examining into the merits of their most holy religion.
The fceptics were the only perfons who profeffedly fufpended their affent to the being of a God: but they affected even a doubt