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religion before them, in the face of all difficulties that could be thrown in their way, and to die with all the marks of joy and confidence, without ever confessing the imposture ?
If the leading facts above-mentioned cannot be disputed, except upon such principles as must invalidate all antient history, and set aside all human testimony, every argument a priori, such as those which arise from the consideration of the sufficiency of the light of nature, the natural incredibility of miracles, &c. will certainly not deserve a hearing. How specious foever they may be represented, their influence will not be
It will be clearly perceived that, whether it might have been reasonable to expect it, or not, God who made the world has actually interposed at various times in the government of it; giving some of his creatures, at least, such information respecting their conduct here, and their expectations hereafter, as he judged to be useful and convenient for them; and whatever difficulties may attend the speculative consideration of a future life, it will not be doubted but that we shall in fa&t live again, give an account of ourselves to God, and receive according to our works.
Analogy between the methods by which the
perfection and happiness of men are promoted, according to the dispensations of natural and revealed religion.
THE perfection of intelligent beings
consists in comprehension of mind, or that principle whereby ideas of the past and the future mix with those of the present, and excite one common sensation ; in which the good and evil so perfectly coalesce, and are so intimately united, that the medium only is perceived. Consequently, if happiness be apprehended to prevail, in that portion of time of which we have this perfect comprehension, and every part of which Vol. II.
may be said to be prefint to us, we are confcious cf pleasure only in the contemplation of it, the pain being loit, and absorbed, together with so much pleasure as was equivalent to it. By this means happiness comes to be of a more flable nature; and it is less in the power of tingle accidents to produce a sense of misery.
If we have any reafca to think that our existence will, upon the whole, be comfortable and happy; fince (man being immortal) our happiness mui be infinite upon the whole, though it be limited and finite at any particular time, the thought is so great and fo glorious, that the full apprehension of it mult contribute ftill more to overpower the sense of any present evils, and give fuch an intenieneis to all pleasurable feelings, as cannct fail to make cur prefent state unfreak.bl: more eligible than it could otherwise have been.
Such is the constitution of human nature, and such are the influences to which we are expcied in this world, that this comprehen
fion of mind must necessarily be enlarged with the experience of every day. Infants are sensible of nothing but what passes in the present moment. The instant that the impression of actual pain is removed, they are perfectly easy in mind, not being difturbed either with the remembrance of the past, or the apprehension of the future. By degrees, ideas, which have frequently been present to the perceptive power at the same time, begin to be associated; fo that one of them cannot occur without introducing the other, and so making the perception complex. By this means expectation begins to awake in the infant mind; but still, from the moment that, by the intervention of an affociated circumstance, the idea of any pleasure is conceived, the child is impatient till it be enjoyed. Indeed, it is generally several months before children show the least sign of patience in waiting for any thing. The most evident signs of preparing to give them food, serve only to quicken their appetite, and their impatience to get it fatiffied; nor are they easy, till the meat be actually in their mouths.
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