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with, but also powers of abstraction beyond what the mass of mankind can possess. As it is, many of the most important objects are accomplished by unconscious co-operation; and that, with a certainty, completeness, and regularity, which probably the most diligent benevolence under the guidance of the greatest human wisdom, could never have attained.

For instance, let any one propose to himself the problem of supplying with daily provisions the inhabitants of such a city as London—that 'province covered with houses.' Let any one consider this problem in all its bearings, reflecting on the enormous and fluctuating number of persons to be fed,—the immense quantity of the provisions to be furnished, and the variety of the supply (not, as for an army or garrison, comparatively uniform)—the importance of a convenient distribution of them, and the necessity of husbanding them discreetly, lest a deficient supply, even for a single day, should produce distress, or a redundancy produce, from the perishable nature of many of them, a corresponding waste; and then let him reflect on the anxious toil which such a task would impose on a Board of the most experienced and intelligent commissaries, who, after all, would be able to discharge their office but very inadequately. Yet this object is accomplished far better than it could be by any effort of human wisdom, through the agency of men who think each of nothing beyond his own immediate interestwho are merely occupied in gaining a fair livelihood; and with this end in view, without any comprehensive wisdom, or any need of it, they co-operate, unknowingly, in conducting a system which, we may safely say, no human wisdom directed to that end could have conducted so well-the system by which this enormous population is fed from day to day-and combine unconsciously to employ the wisest means for effecting an object, the vastness of which it would bewilder them even to contemplate.

I have said, “no human wisdom;' for wisdom there surely is in this adaptation of the means to the result actually produced. And admirable as are the marks of contrivance and design in the anatomical structure of the human body, and in the instincts of the brute creation, I know not whether it does not even still more excite our admiration of the beneficent wisdom of Providence, to contemplate, not corporeal particles, but rational, free agents, co-operating in systems no less manifestly indicating design, yet no design of theirs; and though acted on, not by gravitation and impulse, like inert matter, but by motives addressed to the will, yet advancing as regularly, and as effectually, the accomplishment of an object they never contemplated, as if they were the mere passive wheels of a machine. If one may, without presumption, speak of a more or less in reference to the works of Infinite Wisdom, I would say, that the branch of Natural Theology with which we are now concerned, presents to the reflective mind views even more striking than any

other. The heavens do indeed declare the glory of God;' and the human body is 'fearfully and wonderfully made;' but Man, considered not merely as an organized Being, but as a rational agent, and as a member of society, is perhaps the most wonderfully contrived, and to us the most interesting, specimen of divine Wisdom that we have any knowledge of. Ioaà à δεινά, κ' ουδεν ανθρώπου δεινοτερον πέλει.

Now, it seems to me that, to this proof, that it is the design of almighty Providence that mankind should advance in civilization, may be added one drawn from the fact that, in proportion as the religion of the Bible is embraced, and men become subjects to the revealed law of God, civilization progresses.

And here I would remark, that I do not profess to explain why, in so many particular instances, causes have been permitted to operate, more or less, towards the frustration of this general design, and the retardation, or even reversal, of the course of improvement. The difficulty in fact, is one which belongs, not to this alone, but to every branch of Natural Theology. In every part of the universe we see marks of wise and benevolent design; and yet we see in many instances apparent frustrations of this design; we see the productiveness of the earth interrupted by unfavourable seasons—the structure of the animalframe enfeebled, and its functions impaired, by disease—and vast multitudes of living Beings exposed, from various causes, to suffering, and to premature destruction. In the moral and political world, wars, and civil dissension—tyrannical governments, unwise laws, and all evils of this class, correspond to the inundations—the droughts—the tornados, and the earthquakes, of the natural world. We cannot give a satisfactory account of either;—we cannot, in short, explain the great diffi

culty, which, in proportion as we reflect attentively, we shall more and more perceive to be the only difficulty in theology, the ecistence of evil in the Universe.

Yet how many, in almost every past age (and so it will be, I suppose, in all future ages), have shown a tendency towards such presumption as that of our first parents, in seeking to pass the limits appointed for the human faculties, and to be as Gods, KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL.'

'But two things we can accomplish; which are very important, and which are probably all that our present faculties and extent of knowledge can attain to. One is, to perceive clearly that the difficulty in question is of no unequal pressure, but bears equally heavy on Deism and on Christianity, and on the various different interpretations of the christian scheme; and consequently can furnish no valid objection to any one scheme of religion in particular. Even atheism does not lessen our difficulty ; it only alters the character of it. For as the believer in a God is at a loss to account for the existence of evil, the believer in no God is equally unable to account for the existence of good ; or indeed of anything at all that bears marks of design.

Another point which is attainable is, to perceive, amidst all the admixture of evil, and all the seeming disorder of conflicting agencies, a general tendency nevertheless towards the accomplishment of wise and beneficent designs.

• As in contemplating an ebbing tide, we are sometimes in doubt, on a short inspection, whether the sea is really receding, because, from time to time, a wave will dash further up the shore than those which had preceded it, but, if we continue our observation long enough, we see plainly that the boundary of the land is on the whole advancing; so here, by extending our view over many countries and through several ages, we may distinctly perceive the tendencies which would have escaped a more confined research.'

free agents, co-operating in systems no less manifestly indicating design, yet no design of theirs; and though acted on, not by gravitation and impulse, like inert matter, but by motives addressed to the will, yet advancing as regularly, and as effectually, the accomplishment of an object they never contemplated, as if they were the mere passive wheels of a machine. If one may, without presumption, speak of a more or less in reference to the works of Infinite Wisdom, I would say, that the branch of Natural Theology with which we are now concerned, presents to the reflective mind views even more striking than any

other. The heavens do indeed declare the glory of God; and the human body is “fearfully and wonderfully made;' but Man, considered not merely as an organized Being, but as a rational agent, and as a member of society, is perhaps the most wonderfully contrived, and to us the most interesting, specimen of divine Wisdom that we have any knowledge of. Ionaù tà δεινά, κ' ουδέν ανθρώπου δεινοτερον πέλει.

Now, it seems to me that, to this proof, that it is the design of almighty Providence that mankind should advance in civilization, may be added one drawn from the fact that, in proportion as the religion of the Bible is embraced, and men become subjects to the revealed law of God, civilization progresses.

And here I would remark, that I do not profess to explain why, in so many particular instances, causes have been permitted to operate, more or less, towards the frustration of this general design, and the retardation, or even reversal, of the course of improvement. The difficulty in fact, is one which belongs, not to this alone, but to every branch of Natural Theology. In every part of the universe we see marks of wise and benevolent design; and yet we see in many instances apparent frustrations of this design; we see the productiveness of the earth interrupted by unfavourable seasons—the structure of the animalframe enfeebled, and its functions impaired, by disease—and vast multitudes of living Beings exposed, from various causes, to suffering, and to premature destruction. In the moral and political world, wars, and civil dissension—tyrannical governments, unwise laws, and all evils of this class, correspond to the inundations—the droughts—the tornados, and the earthquakes, of the natural world. We cannot give a satisfactory account of either;—we cannot, in short, explain the great difficulty, which, in proportion as we reflect attentively, we shall more and more perceive to be the only difficulty in theology, the existence of evil in the Universe.

Yet how many, in almost every past age (and so it will be, I suppose, in all future ages), have shown a tendency towards such presumption as that of our first parents, in seeking to pass the limits appointed for the human faculties, and to be as Gods, KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL.'

‘But two things we can accomplish; which are very important, and which are probably all that our present faculties and extent of knowledge can attain to. One is, to perceive clearly that the difficulty in question is of no unequal pressure, but bears equally heavy on Deism and on Christianity, and on the various different interpretations of the christian scheme; and consequently can furnish no valid objection to any one scheme of religion in particular. Even atheism does not lessen our difficulty; it only alters the character of it. For as the believer in a God is at a loss to account for the existence of evil, the believer in no God is equally unable to account for the existence of good; or indeed of anything at all that bears marks of design.

Another point which is attainable is, to perceive, amidst all the admixture of evil, and all the seeming disorder of conflicting agencies, a general tendency nevertheless towards the accomplishment of wise and beneficent designs.

' As in contemplating an ebbing tide, we are sometimes in doubt, on a short inspection, whether the sea is really receding, because, from time to time, a wave will dash further up the shore than those which had preceded it, but, if we continue our observation long enough, we see plainly that the boundary of the land is on the whole advancing; so here, by extending our view over many countries and through several ages, we may distinctly perceive the tendencies which would have escaped a more confined research.'

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