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power and superiority; but, on the contrary, every one will find that station the most proper for him in which he is placed, and will probably think that he could not have been so happy in any other station. These, and many other particulars, are marked in divine revelation, as the several ingredients of our happiness in heaven, which all imply such a variety of joys, and such a gratification of the soul in all its different faculties, as I have been here mentioning.
Some of the rabbins tell us that the cherubims are a set of angels who know most, and the serar phims a set of angels who love most. Whether this distinction be not altogether imaginary, I shall not here examine ; but it is highly probable that, among the spirits of good men, there may
be some who will be more pleased with the employment of one faculty than of another; and this perhaps according to those innocent and virtuous habits or inclinations which have here taken the deepest root.
I might here apply this consideration to the spirits of wicked men, with relation to the pain which they shall suffer in every one of their faculties, and the respective miseries which shall be appropriated to each faculty in particular. But, leaving this to the reflection of my readers, I shall conclude with observing how we ought to be thankful to our great Creator, and rejoice in the being which he has bestowed upon us, for having made the soul susceptible of pleasure by so many different ways. We see by what a variety of passages joy and gladness may enter into the thoughts of man; how wonderfully a human spirit is framed, to imbibe its proper satisfactions, and taste the goodness of its Creator. We may therefore look into ourselves with rapture and amazement, and cannot sufficiently express our gratitude to Him who has encompassed us with such a profusion of blessings, and opened in us so many capacities of enjoying them.
There cannot be a stronger argument that God has designed us for a state of future happiness, and for that heaven which he has revealed to us, than that he has thus naturally qualified the soul for it, and made it a being capable of receiving so much bliss. He would never have made such faculties in vain, and have endowed us with powers that were not to be exerted on such objects as are suited to them. It is very manifest, by the inward frame and constitution of our minds, that he has adapted them to an infinite variety of pleasures and gratifications which are not to be met with in this life. We should therefore at all times take care that we do not disappoint this his gracious purpose and intention towards us, and make those faculties, which he formed as so many qualifications for happiness and rewards, to be the instruments of pain and punishment.
No. 601. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 1714.
ο άνθρωπος ευεργετός σεφυκώς.
ANTONIN, lib. ix. Man is naturally a beneficent creature. The following essay comes from an hand which has entertained my readers once before.
(NOTWITHSTANDING a narrow contracted temper be that which obtains most in the world, we must not therefore conclude this to be the genu
ine characteristic of mankind; because there are some who delight in nothing so much as in doing good, and receive more of their happiness at second hand, or by rebound from others, than by direct and immediate sensation. Now, though these heroic souls are but few, and to appearance so far advanced above the grovelling multitude as if they were of another order of beings, yet in reality their nature is the same ; moved by the same springs, and endowed with all the same essential qualities, only cleared, refined, and cultivated. Water is the same fluid body in winter and in summer; when it stands stiffened in ice as when it flows along in gentle streams, gladdening a thousand fields in its progress. It is a property of the heart of man to be diffusive: its kind wishes spread abroad over the face of the creation; and if there be those, as we may observe too many of them, who are all wrapped up in their own dear selves, without any visible concern for their species, let us suppose that their good-nature is frozen, and, by the prevailing force of some contrary quality, restrained in its operation. I shall therefore endeavour to assign some of the principal checks upon this generous propension of the human soul, which will enable us to judge whether, and by what method, this most useful principle may be unfettered, and restored to its native freea dom of exercise.
• The first and leading cause is an unhappy complexion of body. The heathens, ignorant of the true source of moral evil, generally charged it on the obliquity of matter, which, being eternal and independent, was incapable of change in any of its properties, even by the Almighty Mind, who, when he came to fashion it into a world of beings, must take it as he found it. This notion,
as most others of theirs, is a composition of truth and error.
That matter is eternal, that, from the first union of soul to it, it perverted its inclinations, and that the ill influence it hath upon the mind is not to be corrected by God himself, are all very great errors, occasioned by a truth as evident, that the capacities and dispositions of the soul depend, to a great degree, on the bodily temper. As there are some fools, others are knaves by constitution; and particularly it may be said of many, that they are born with an illiberal cast of mind; the matter that composes them is tenacious as birdlime ; and a kind of cramp draws their hands and their hearts together, that they never care to open them, unless to grasp at more. It is a melancholy lot this; but attended with one advantage above theirs, to whom it would be as painful to forbear good offices as it is to these men to perform them; that whereas persons naturally beneficent often mistake instinct for virtue, by reason of the difficulty of distinguishing when one rules them and when the other, men of the opposite character may be more certain of the motive that predominates in every action. If they cannot confer a benefit with that ease and frankness which are necessary to give it a grace in the eye of the world, in requital, the real merit of what they do is enhanced by the opposition they surniount in doing it. The strength of their virtue is seen in rising against the weight of nature ; and every time they have the resolution to discharge their duty they make a sacrifice of inclination to conscience, which is always too grateful to let its followers go without suitable marks of its approbation. Perhaps the entire cure of this ill quali. ty is no more possible than of some distempers that descend by inheritance. However, a great
deal may be done by a course of beneficence obstinately persisted in; this, if any thing, being a likely way of establishing a moral habit, which shall be somewhat of a counterpoise to the force of mechanism. Only it must be remembered that we do not intermit, upon any pretence whatsoever, the custom of doing good, in regard, if there be the least cessation, nature will watch the opportunity to return, and in a short time to recover the ground it was so long in quitting; for there is this difference between mental habits and such as have their foundation in the body: these last are in their nature more forcible and violent; and, to gain upon us, need only not be opposed; whereas the former must be continually reinforced with fresh supplies, or they will languish and die away. And this suggests the reason why good habits in general require longer time for their settlement than bad, and yet are sooner displaced: the reason is, that vicious habits, as drunkenness for instance, produce a change in the body, which the others not doing, must be maintained the same way they are acquired, by the mere dint of industry, resolution, and vigilance.
Another thing which suspends the operations of benevolence, is the love of the world; proceed. ing from a false notion men have taken up, that an abundance of the world is an essential ingredient in the happiness of life. Wordly things are of such a quality as to lessen upon dividing, so that the more partners there are the less must fall to every man's private share. The consequence of this is, that they look upon one another with an evil eye, each imagining all the rest to be embarked in an interest that cannot take place but: to his prejudice. Hence are those eager compe