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to leave the fact itself unquestionableThat things are carried on in this world, sometimes so contrary to all our reasonings, and the feening probabilities of fuccess,-that even the race is not to the fwift, nor the battle to the strong,—nay what is stranger still—nor yet bread to the wise, who should last stand in want of it,-nor yet riches to men of understanding, who you would think best qualified to acquire them,—nor yet favour to men of skill, whose merit and pretences bid the fairest for it, but that there are some fecret and unseen workings in human affairs, which bafile all our endeavours,--and turn aside the course of things in such a manner, that the most likely causes disappoint and fail of producing for us the effect which we wished and naturally expected from them.
You will see a man, of whom was you to form a conjecture from the appearances of things in his favour, you would say was setting out in the world, with the fairest prospect of making his fortune in it ;--with all the advantages of birth to recommend him,-of personal merit to speak for him : and of friends to help and push him forwards : you will behold him, not- . withstanding this, disappointed in every effect
you might naturally have looked for, from them; every step he takes towards his advancement, something invisible shall pull him back, some unforeseen obstacle shall rise up perpetually in his way, and keep there.--In every application he makes--some untoward circumstance shall blast it.-He shall rise early.late take rest, and eat the bread of carefulness-yet
some happier man fall still rise up, and ever step in before him, and leave him ftruggling to the end of his life, in the very fame place in which he first
The history of a second, shall in all respects be the contrast to this. He shall come into the world with the most unpromising appearance,-shall fet forwards without fortune, without friends, without talents to procure him either the one or the other. Nevertheless, you will see this clouded prospect brighten up insensibly, unaccountably before him ; every thing presented in his way shall turn out beyond his expectations, -in spite of that chain of unsurmountable difficulties which first threatened him,-time and chance shall open him a way, - a series of successful occur.
rences shall lead him by the hand to the summit of honour and fortune, and, in a word, without giving him the pains of thinking, or the credit of projecting it, shall place him in a safe poffeffion of all that ambition could wish for.
The histories of the lives and fortunes of men are full of instances of this nature, - where favourable tines and lucky accidents have done for them, what wisdom or skill could not: and there is fcarce any one who has lived long in the world, who upon looking backwards will not discover such a mixture of these in the many successful turns which have happened in this life, as to leave him very little reason to difpute against the fact, and, I should hope, as little upon the conclufions to be drawn from it.
Some, Some, indeed, from a superficial view of this representation of things, have atheistically inferred, that because there was so much of lottery in this life, --and mere casualty seemed to have such a share in the disposal of our affairs,—that the providence of God stood neuter and unconcerned in their several workings, leaving them to the mercy of time and chance to be furthered or disappointed as such blind agents
directed. Whereas in truth the very opposite conclusion follows. For consider, if a superior intelligent power did not sometimes cross and over-rule events in this world, then our policies and designs in it, would always answer according to the wisdom and stratagem in which they were laid, and every cause, in the course of things, would produce its natural effect