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from his height;-whereas, could we get up to him,-it is great odds whether we should find any thing to make us tolerable amends for the pains and trouble of climbing up so high.-Nothing, perhaps, but more dangers and more troubles still;—and such a giddiness of head besides, as to make a wise man with he was well down again upon the level.-To calculate, therefore, the happiness of mankind by their stations and honours, is the most deceitful of all rules ;-great, no doubt, is the happiness which a moderate fortune, and moderate desires, with a consciousness of virtue, will secure a man.-Many are the silent pleasures of the honest peasant, who rises chearfully to his labour :-look into his dwelling,where the scene of every man's happiness chiefly lays;-he has the same domestic endearments,—as much joy and comfort in his children,- and as flattering hopes of their doing well,—tơenliven his hours and glad his heart, as you could conceive in the most affluent station. And I make no doubt, in
general, but if the true account of his joys and sufferings were to be balanced with those of his betters,--that the upshot would prove to be little more than this,--that the rich man had the more meat,--but the poor man the better stomach ;--the one had more luxury,– more physicians to attend and fet him to rights;—the other, more health and soundness in his bones, and less occasion for their help; --that, after these two articles betwixt them were balanced,--in all other things they stood upon a level ;--that the sun shines as warm,
- the air blows as fresh, and the earth breathes as fragrant, upon the one as the other;—and that they have an equal share in all the beauties and real benefits of nature.-These hints may be sufficient to shew what I proposed from them,--the difficulties which attend us in judging truly either of the happiness or the misery of the bulk of mankind, -the evidence being still more defective in this case (as the matter of fact is hard to come at)—than even in that of judging of their true characters; of both which, in general, we have such imperfect knowlege, as will teach us candour in our determinations upon each other,
But the main purport of this discourse, is to teach us humility in our reasonings upon the ways of the Almighty.
That things are dealt unequally in this world, is one of the strongest natural arguments for a future state,—and therefore is not to be overthrown: nevertheless, I am persuaded the charge is as far from being as great as at first sight it may appear;—or if it is,-that our views of things are so narrow and confined, that it is not in our power to make it good.
But suppose it otherwise,—that the happiness and prosperity of bad men were as great as our general complaints make them ; rand, what is not the case,—that we were not able to clear up the matter, or answer it reconcileably with God's justice and providence,—what sall we infer? — Why, the most becoming conclufiou is,—that it is one instance more, out of many others, of our ignorance :—why should this, or any other religious diíficulty he cannot comprehend,- why should it aların him more than ten thousand other difficulties which every day clude his most exact and attentive search?-Does not the meanest flower in the field, or the smallest blade of grass, baffle the undertanding of the most penerating mind?-Can the deepest enquirers after nature tell us, upon what particular size and motion of parts the various colours and tastes of vegetables depend;—why one shrub is laxative, ---another restringent ;-why arsenic or hellebore should lay waste this noble frame of ours, -or opium lock up all the inroads to our sensés,—and plunder us in fo merciless a manner of reason and understanding ?-Nay, have not the most obvious things that come in our way dark sides, which the quickest fight cannot penetrate into; and do not the clearest and most exalted understandings find themselves puzzled, and at a loss, in every particle of matter?
Go then,- proud man!-- and when thy head turns giddy with opinions of thy own wisdom, that thou wouldst correct the measures of the Almighty,-- go then,--take a full view of thyself in this glafs;-confider thy own faculties,-how narrow and imperfect; how much they are checquered with truth and falsehood;— how little arrives at thy knowlege, and how darkly and confusedly thou discernest even that little as in a glass :consider the beginnings and ends of things, the greatest and the smallest, how they all conspire to baffle thee;—and which way ever thou prosecutest thy enquiries,— what fresh subjects of amazement,-and what fresh reasons to believe there are more yet behind which thou canst never comprehend.—Consider,these are but part of his ways;-how little a portion is heard of him? Canst thou, by searching, find out God ?--wouldst thou know the Almighty to perfection ?--'Tis as high as heaven, What canst thou do?--'tis deeper than hell, how canst thou know it?
Could we but see the mysterious workings of providence, and were we able to comprehend the whole plan of his infinite wisdom and goodness, which possibly may be the case in the final consummation of all things ;-those events, which we are now so perplexed to account for, would probably exalt and magnify his wisdom, and make us cry out with the Apoftle, in that rapturous exclamation,-0!