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in framing it, and indulge the imagination with an ideal picture. That there should be room for the exercise of benevolence, a disposition of the mind, which, in fact, contains within itself many virtues, was undoubtedly in the contemplation of the Creator. The contrast of condition which arises from the unequal distribution of wealth, is well fitted to excite this; and a crowd of Christian graces follow in its train: the humility which visits the cottager, encourages his industry or cheers his distress; the denial of selfish gratification, for the purpose of raising laborious poverty; the prudence which withholds relief from the clamorous, to give it, though at the expense of time and trouble, to unobtrusive merit; the reciprocal emotions of gratitude and goodwill; and "all the charities" of neighbour, friend, and patron, have their origin in the just exercise of benevolence. When man is in a more perfect state, he will stand in no need of these opportunities, which are, in effect, trials: but no preparatory dispensation could be more consistent with the

divine goodness, than that which makes the general well-being of the members of society

depend upon their right performance of their respective duties.

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CHAPTER VI.

On the Evils of an uncivilized State.

THE circumstances of those countries which have either never reached a state of tolerable civilization, or having reached it, have fallen back to the different degrees of rudeness in which we find them now, remain still to be examined. But first, it is right to observe, that the nature of these evils is widely different from the case of partial poverty, arising from the inequality of ranks. That has appeared to be, in a great measure, the certain result of general improvement. On the other hand, the evils of barbarous countries are the offspring of no such necessity, but of moral degradation : they militate against the apparent design of Providence, since it has been largely shown

that the natural instincts and reason of mankind tend to their union, improvement, and civilization. In as far, therefore, as they originate in a departure from those principles of reason of which the Deity has left no man naturally destitute, they are not chargeable upon God, but upon man.

But it will be argued, that these wide and extensive deviations from the divine plan must have come within the prescience of the Deity; and it would have been more consonant with the character of his goodness to have prevented them by the original constitution of things. Here it is just and reasonable to answer, that such an objection, in order to be valid, ought to proceed upon a knowledge far more complete than we possess, either from conjecture or revelation, of the extent and nature of the divine counsels; and in particular with respect to the prescribed duration of the world, and the continuance of this inferior and preparatory state. A chain of mountains, of which the height is immense, when seen within the con

VOL. II.

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fined horizon which our visual powers can embrace, makes but a trifling inequality upon the surface of the whole globe. So the evils of barbarism, which seem a formidable aggregate when brought together, and drawn up in array against the divine goodness, would probably appear of trivial weight and force, when viewed as part of the comprehensive scheme of Providence; and especially if the number actually suffering under them could be ascertained, and the sum of evil divided by the series of ages to which it belongs.

By the principle which regulates population, civilization, throughout the universe, is constantly tending to an equilibrium. But the radiation both takes place slowly, having a vast space and a dense medium to pass through; and is subject to a diminution of force from the obstacles by which it is opposed; such as barren soils, and the climate of extreme latitudes difficulties inherent in the nature of the system, and only to have been prevented by a constitution altogether unlike ours. Under

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