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Some disparity between men compared with one another, and between the creatures in every other class considered, in the like comparative view, might be necessary to link together the several species, fo as to make one coherent cliain, without any void or chasm.

Or however this be, it is easy to see the preferableness of the present confticution to its contrary; as being better fitted to promote the happiness of such an order of creatures as we are. Were our mental powers so exactly alike, as that one man could not go beyond another, but every man mutt have within himself the whole fource of intellectual furniture, there would be no room for that converse between man and man, which is, in the present state of things, one of the chief pleasures, as well as improvements, of the mind : to be sure, it could not be carried on with that mutual fatisfaction it now may; nor. could it turn out to so great advantage, Besides, if there was. no such thing as one man's excelling another, as there could not be upon the present supposition, the strongest ftimulus, that now prompts us to exert ourselves in order to enlarge our intel. lectual powers, would be wanting; and by means thereof our very powers themselves, so far as we can judge, must be in danger of being rendered inactive, and of decreasing in their fitness for exercise. And farther, if our capacities had been precisely the same, that subordination in the human species, those superiorities and inferiorities could not have taken place, without which life itself could not have begn enjoyed, in such a world as our's, with 'tolerable comfort. And what is of yet greater importance, there would not have been the occasion for those interchangeable offices of humanity and social kindness, which, upon the present scheme, not only enlarge our fphere of mutual serviceableness, but give opportunity for the exercise of many virtues perfective of our nature, and fitted to yield us high degrees of happiness we muft otherwise have been strangers to. The plain truth is, the conveniences and pleasures, por. sible to be enjoyed by the human kind, do not seem to have been attainable, in a world constituted as this is, by an union of counsels and endeavours ; every one doing his part in order to promote the good of the whole ; and different capacities are the requifite expedient to this purpose. These not only fit the several individuals for reciprocal services, but secure their mus tual dependance on each other; hereby properly linking them together, and making way for those various exertments which are necessary for the common benefic. If mankind could at all have enjoyed the advantage of society, without this inequality of powers, it is very evident that they could not have enjoyed it to so good a purpose as with it. Their being variously endowed, is that which puts it in their power to be variously useful to each other, fo as that the happiness of every individual may hereby be increased beyond what it could ócherwise


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have been. And it is the insufficiency there is in every man for his own happiness by himself fingly, and alone, and his being obliged to depend on others for many things, without which he must be very uncomfortable, that is, in reality, the only effectual bond that unites the human species, securing their attachment to each other, and stimulating them to those mutual services, upon which the good of all the individuals does very much depend.'

The following paragraphs set in a strong light the power of common sense in the discernment of moral good and evil, ią fome effential respects.

• The first power in our nature (call it common sense, moral fence, moral discernment, or give it any other name that may be thought better] is that by which we are enabled at once, without the labour of a long train of reasoning, to distinguish between moral good, and moral evil, in 'all instances that are of primary importance, and effentially connected with the good of the moral world.

• There is an unalterable difference between virtue and vice, or, what means the same thing, between moral good and moral evil. They have their respective natures, and are unchangeable opposites. Vice cannot be made viriue, nor, on the contrary, can virtue be made vice. They are in themselves what they are, and will remain fo without variation, or the shadow of turning. It is on the one hand, fit and right, that we should be pious towards God, righteous towards our fellowmen, and lober with respect to ourselves; and, on the other, unfit and wrong, that we ihould be in pious towards the Deity, ụnjust in our treatment of men, and intemperate in the gratification of our animal appetites: nor is it posible this moral order should be inverted. No will, no power, either of men or angels, or even the Supreme Ruler himself, can make it right to be impious, instead of pious, towards God; or unrighteous, instead of righteous, towards men; or intemperate, inftead of sober, in regard of ourselves. To fuppose this, would be to erase the foundation of the moral system, to, destroy the relation that subfifts between the Creator and his çrea. tures, and between the creatures with respect to one another, and to make virtue and vice nothing more than arbitrary names, having in themselves no certainly fixed nature.

. And as virtue and vice, moral good and moral evil, are thus different from each other, so is this difference obviously, and at once, perceivable by all morally intelligent minds, unless they have been greatly corrupted. There may indeed be instances of moral conduct, in matters of compasatively small importance, with respect to which it may be difficult to diftin. guish between the right and wrong. And the analogy here, it may be worthy of notice, is very exact between the natural, and the moral world. Light and darkness may be so mixed, that one can scarce know which to call it. Sweet and bitter may be fo blended together, that it may be difficult to say which is prevalent. Colours may be so dilated, and placed on a portrait, that the eye of a kilful painter may not be able to difcern the precise point where one begins, and another ends. But, notwithstanding these mixtures, light is never the fame thing with darkness, nor bitter with fiveet, nor one colour that of another; and they are, unless in such complicated cases, readily and at once diftinguished from each other. In like manner there may be, and often are, in the moral world, cases wherein the boundaries between good and evil, and the spot that divides them, may not be easily, if at all, discerned, so as to be able to say, with precision, here virtue runs into vice, and vicę into virtue. But this hinders not but that, in the main and essential branches of morality, the virtuous and the vicious conduct may obvioufly be perceived, where the mind's percepsive power has not been, in a great degree, vitiated, and hurt. And, in very truth, the God of Nature has, in his abundant goodness, só formed our minds, and given us such a power of discernment, that it owing, unless we are ideots, or madmen, to some heinous faultiness, we ourfelves are justly chargeable with, if we are not able, without difficulty, to discern the difference between right and wrong, in the more important points of moral obligation. Will any man, who has not strangely perverted the proper use of his perceptive powers, pretend, that he cannot, or that he does not see it to be fit and right, on the one hand, that fuch a creature as he is, fo related to God, and dependant on him, should yield to him the love of his heart, and the obedience of his life ; and, on the other, that it would be unfit and wrong to withdraw his affec. tion from him, and behave with disrespect towards him? Will any man, in the due use of his discerning power, calmly and deliberately say, that he cannot perceive it to be right, that he thould do to others, as he would they should do to him, in like circumftances, and wrong, unalterably wrong, that he should do otherwise? Will any man, not having darkened his heart, declare, speaking the truth, that he does not see it to be right, that he hould govern his paffions, and keep his fensual appetites within the restraints of reason ; and wrong, evi. dently wrong, to give way to anger, wrath, malice, and to take an unbounded liberty in gratifying his aniinal nature ? That man, be he' who he may, if not void of common sense, is wholly inattentive to its dietates, who perceives no moral difference between revering, and mocking his Maker; between being honest and knavish in his transactions with his neighbour ; between being chalte and lewd; between living soberly and in the practice of drunkenness; or if he does not perceive the former to be amiable virtues, and the latter detestable, infa- ! mous vices. The moral difference, in these ways of conduct, is


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felf-evident. There needs no argumentation, no series of in. termediate ideas, to point it out.' .

The object of the third and last fection, or part of this work is, to answer the principal obje&tions which have been urged against the benevolence of the Deity.

The author, after some pertinent observations on the mixed appearance of good and evil in the world, and a brief refutation of the Manichean nation of two independent oppofite principles in the universe, desires his readers to keep in mind, through the whole of what may follow, this important remark.-That no objection ought to be efteemed sufficient to set aside the

pos: sitive proof that has been given of the Deity's benevolence, which, when thoroughly examined, will be found finally to terminate in ignorance.' Having discussed at large the propriety of the reinark just cited, he proceeds to a diftinct consideration of the partial objections that have been urged against the benevolence of the Deity.

And they may, he says, be reduced to these three, viz. the imperfcet powers of so many of the creatures who are capable of happiness; the moral disorders which have taken place in the world, and the nutural evils which are so numerous, and turn so much to the disadvantage, especially of man.

• The firit objection against the infinite benevolence of the Deity is taken from the imperfection of so many of the creatures. on this earth of our's What a diminutive creature, comparatively speaking, is even man, the most perfect of them all? how small his capacity for happiness ? and how much smaller still the capacities of the inferior perceiving beings, through their several ranks, in the descending scale of fubordination? and could it be thus, if God was infinitely good ? could not an infinitely benevolent Creator have communicated nobler capacities for happiness; and if he could, how can his not doing it be reconciled with the idea of him as an infinitely benevolent ting?

In answer to this difficulty, it may be said, the bringing into exiflence an absolutely perfect creature is not within the seach of infinitę goodness, aided by. almighty power. The very idea of a creature is effentially connected with compara-:-tive imperfection; as it derives its being from another, is dependent on that other for its continuance in being, and is ne-. ; cesarily finite in its nature and powers. To fuppose a created being infinite, would be to suppose it equal with its creators which is too absurd to be admitted. Absolute perfection, there tore, is an incommunicable glory of the only true God. And thoula there be a creation, comparative imperfection must exist in it, otherwise it could not exiit at all. Consequently, if such in perfection is an evil, it is such an one 16. must take place, or There could be no display of the divine benevolence. --But the


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trath is; meer imperfection is no evil, to be sure no positive one : nor may God, with the leaft proprięty, be considered as the author of it. This matter has been fe

fer in a clear and strong point of light by archdeacon Law, in his thirty-second ņote on archbishop King's " Origin of Evil." His words are these. “ God is the cause of perfection only, not of defect, which so far forth as it is natural to created beings hath no cause at all, bat is meerly a negation, or non-entity. For every created thing was a negation or non-entity, before it had a positive be ing, and it had only fo- niuch of its primitive negation taken away from it, as it had positive being conferred on it; and therefore, so far forth as it is, its being is to be attributed to the sovereign cause that produced it : but so far forth as it is not, its not being is to be attributed to the original non-entity, out of which it was produced. For that which was once nothing would fill have been nothing, had it not been for the cause that gave being to it, and therefore, that it is so far nothing. still, that is, limited and defective, is only to be attributed to its own primitive nothingness. As for instance, if I give a poor man a hundred pounds, that he is worth so much money is wholly owing to me, but that he is not worth an hundred more is owing wholly to his own poverty. And jult so, that I have such and such perfections of being is wholly owing to God, who produced me out of nothing; but that i have such and such defects of being is only owing to that non-entity out of which he produced me."

The doctor goes on to consider the objection in various points of view, and obviates it under each, with answers, at least highly plausible.

He then proceeds to the second objection taken from those moral disorders, which, it is pleaded, could not have exiftence in the creation, if it were produced and governed by an infinitely holy and benevolent being.

Such a maker and ruler of the universe, it is said, must have taken effectual care for the prevention of moral evil, and, the unhappiness arising therefrom. It cannot be supposed, that a being infinitely averse from moral impurity would tave suffered the works of his hands to be defiled with it. It cannot be imagined, that an infinitely benevolent being would have left creatures of his own forming to such immoral conduct as would reflect dishonous on his goodness, by bringing unhappinels and misery into a world of his contriving and making? It is not possible that such a being as the Deity is represented to be, Tould place his creatures in circumstances wherein they might pervert their powers, and involve themselves in ruin, Thefe things cannot be.' They are not worthy of an infinitely holy and good God: especially, if it be considered, that the existence of moral evil cannot be conceived of without permission, at least, from the Deity : nay, it cannot be supposed,


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