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world, than he who has never expert "enced adverfity." There is nothing, perhaps, in which mankind are more apt to make false calculations than in the article both of their own happiness and that of others; as there are few, I believe, who have lived any time in the world, but have found frequent occafions to fay with the poor hunted ftag in the fable, who was entangled by thofe horns he had but just before been admiring;
O me infelicem! qui nunc demum intelligo;
If we look back upon the fentiments of paft ages, we shall find, the opinion for which I am contending has prevailed from the remoteft account of time. It must undoubtedly have entered the world as early as religion herself; fince all inftitutions of that kind muft neceffarily be founded upon the fuppofition of a particular Providence. It appears indeed to have been the favorite doctrine of some of the most distinguished names in antiquity. Xenophon tells us, when Cyrus led out his army
army against the Affyrians, the word which he gave to his foldiers was, ΖΕΥΣ ΣΥΜ ΜΑΧΟΣ ΚΑΙ ΗΓΕΜΩΝ, Jupiter our auxiliary and conductor:" and he represents that prince as attributing fuccefs, even in the sports of the field, to divine providence. Thus, likewife, Timolean (as the author of his life affures us) believed every action of mankind to be under the immediate influence of the gods and Livy remarks of the firft Scipio Africanus, that he never undertook any important affair, either of private or public concern, without going to the Capitol in order to implore the affiftance of Jupiter. Balbus the Stoic, in the dialogue on the nature of the gods, exprefly declares for a particular providence: and Cicero himself, in one of his orations, imputes that fuperior glory which attended the Roman nation, fingly to this animating perfuafion. But none of the antients. feem to have had a ftronger impreffion of this truth upon their minds, than the immortal Homer. Every page in the works of that divine poet will furnish proofs of this obfervation. I cannot however forᎠ .
bear mentioning one or two remarkable instances, which just now occur to me. When the Grecian chiefs caft lots which of them should accept the challenge of Hector, the poet describes the army as lifting up their eyes and hands to heaven, and imploring the gods that they would direct the lot to fall on one of their most distinguished heroes:
Λαοιο-θεοισι δε χειρας ανεσκον,
Ωδε τις ειπεσκεν, ιδων εις κρανον ευρυν.
So likewise Antenor proposes to the Trojans the restitution of Helen, as having no hopes, he tells them, that any thing would fucceed with them after they had broken the faith of treaties :
νυν ορκία πίςα
Ψευσάμενοι μαχομεθα τω κ νυ τι καρδιον ημερ
a The people pray with lifted eyes and hands,
And indeed Homer hardly ever makes his heroes fucceed (as his excellent translator juftly obferves) unless they have first offered a prayer to heaven. " He is per"petually, fays Mr. Pope, acknowledging "the hand of God in all events, and afcribing to that alone all the victories, triumphs, rewards, or punishments of men. "The grand moral laid down at the en"trance of his poem, Aos ♪ TEXSIETO Bern, Διος δ' ετέλειετο βέλε, "The will of God was fulfilled, runs through "his whole work, and is, with a moft re"markable care and conduct, put into the "mouths of his greatest and wifeft perfons on every occafion."
UPON the whole, Clytander, we may fafely affert, that the belief of a particular providence is founded upon fuch probable reasons as may well justify our affent. It would scarce therefore be wife to renounce an opinion, which affords fo firm a support to the foul in those seasons wherein the ftands moft in need of affiftance, merely because it is not poffible, in questions of this kind, to folve every difficulty which attends them. If it be highly confonant to our general notions D 2 of
of the benevolence of the Deity (as highly confonant it furely is) that he should not leave fo impotent a creature as man, to the fingle guidance of his own precarious faculties; who would abandon a belief fo full of the most enlivening confolation, in compliance with those metaphyfical reafonings which are ufually calculated rather to filence, than to fatisfy, an humble inquirer after truth? Who indeed. would wish to be convinced, that he ftands. unguarded by that heavenly fhield, which can protect him againft all the affaults of an injurious and malevolent world? The truth is, the belief of a particular providence is the most animating perfuafion that the mind of man can embrace it gives ftrength to our hopes, and firmness to our refolutions; it fubdues the infolence of profperity, and draws out the fting of affliction. In a word, it is like the golden branch to which Virgil's hero was directed, and affords the only fecure paffport through the regions of darkness and forrow. I am, &c.