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to such a point, and no farther ? A thousand more questions might be asked on this head, which no man living can answer.

7. But surely we understand the air we breathe, and which encompasses us on cvery side. By that admirable property of elasticity, it is the general spring of nature. But is elasticity essential to air, and inseparable from it? Nay, it has been lately proved, by nurnberless experiments, that air may be fixed, that is, divested of its elasticity, and

generated, or restored to it again. Therefore it is no otherwise elastic, than as it is connected with electric fire. And is not this electric or ethereal fire, the only true essential elastic in nature ? Who knows by what power dew, rain, and other vapours, rise and fall in the air ? Can we account for the phenomenon of them upon the common principles? Or must we own, with a late ingenious author, that those principles are utterly insufficient, and that they cannot be rationally accounted for, but upon the principle of electricity ?

8. Let us now descend to the earth which we tread upon, and which God has peculiarly given to the children of men. Do the children of men understand this ? Suppose the terraqueous globe to be seven or eight thousand miles in diameter, how much of this do we know ? Per haps a mile or two of its surface : so far the art of man has penetrated. But who can inform us, what lies beneath the region of stones, metals, minerals, and other fossils ? This is only a thin crust, which bears an exceeding small proportion to the whole. Who can acquaint us with the inner parts of the globe ? Whereof do these consist? Is there a central fire, a grand reservoir, which not only supplies the burning mountains, but also ministers (though we kuow not how) to the ripening of gems and metals; yea, and perhaps to the production of vegetables, and the well being of animals too? Or is the great deep still contained in the bowels of the earth? A central abyss of waters? Who hath seen ? Who can tell ? Who can give any solid satisfaction to a rational inquirer ?

9. How much of the very surface of the globe is still utterly unknown to us! How very little do we know of the polar regions, either north or south, either in Europe or Asia ! How little of those vast countries, the inland parts either of Africa or America ! Much less do we know what is contained in the broad sea, the great abyss, which covers so large a part of the globe. Most of its chambers are inaccessible to man, so that we cannot tell how they are furnished. How little do we know of those things on the dry land, which fall directly under our notice! Consider even the most simple metals or stones : how imperfectly are we acquainted with their nature and properties! Who knows what it is that distinguishes metals from all other fossils ? It is answered, “Why, they are heavier." Very true: but what is the cause of their being heavier ? What is the specific difference between metals and stones ? Or between one metal and another ? Between gold and silver ? Between tin ard lead ? It is all mystery to the sons of men.

10. Proceed we to the vegetable kingdom. Who can demonstrate that the sap, in any vegetable, performs a regular circulation through its vessels, or that it does not ? Who can point out the specific difference between one kind of plant and another ? Or the peculiar, internal conformation and disposition of their component parts? Yea, what man living, thoroughly understands the nature and properties of any one plant under heaven?

11. With regard to animals: are microscopic animals, so called, real animals or no ? If they are, are they not essentially different from all other animals in the universe, as not requiring any food, not generating or being generated ? Are they no animals at all, but merely inanimate particles of matter, in a state of fermentation? How totally ignorant are the most sagacious of men touching the whole affair of generation ! Even the generation of men. In the book of the Creator, indeed, were all our members written, “ which day by day were fashioned, when as yet there were none of them.” But by what rule were they fashioned ? In what manner ? By what means was the first motion communicated to the punctum saliens ? When, and how, was the immortal spirit superadded to the senseless clay ? It is mystery all : and we can only say, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

12. With regard to insects, many are the discoveries which have been lately made. But how little is all that is discovered yet, in comparison of what is undiscovered ? How many millions of them, by their extreme minuteness, totally escape all our inquiries ? And, indeed, the minute parts of the largest animals, elude our utmost diligence. Have we a more complete knowledge of fishes than we have of insects ? A great part, if not the greatest part, of the inhabitants of the waters, are totally concealed from us. It is probable, the species of sea animals are full as numerous as the land animals. But how few of them are known to us! And it is very little we know of those few. With birds we are a little better acquainted: and, indeed, it is but a little. For of very many we know hardly any thing more than their outward shape. We know a few of the obvious properties of others, chiefly those that frequent our houses. But we have not a thorough, adequate knowledge even of them. How little do we know of beasts! We do not know whence the different tempers and qualities arise, not only in different species of them, but in individuals of the same species ; yea, and frequently in those which spring from the same parents, the same both male and female animal. Are they mere machines ? Then they are incapable of pleasure or pain. Nay, they can have no senses ; they neither see nor hear; they neither taste nor smell. Much less can they know, or remember, or move, any otherwise than they are impelled from without. But all this, as daily experiments show, is quite contrary to matter of fact.

13. Well; but if we know nothing else, do not we know ourselves ? Our bodies and our souls ? What is our soul ? It is a spirit, we know. But what is a spirit? Here we are at a full stop. And where is the soul lodged ? In the pineal gland ? In the whole brain ? In the heart ? In the blood ? In any single part of the body? Or, (if any one can understand those terms,) "all in all, and all in every part ?" How is the soul united to the body? A spirit to a clod? What is the secret, imperceptible chain that couples them together ? Can the wisest of men give a satisfactory answer to any one of these plain questions ?

And as to our body itself, how little do we know! During a night's sleep, a healthy man respires one part in four less when he sweats, than when he does not. Who can account for this? What is flesh? That of the muscles in particular ? Are the fibres that compose it of a determinate size? So that they can be divided only so far ? Or are they resolvable in infinitum ? How does a muscle act ? By being inflated, and consequently shortened? But what is it inflated with? If with blood, how and whence comes that blood ? And whither does it go, the moment the muscle is relaxed ? Are the nerves pervious or solid ? How do they act ? By vibration or transmission of the animal spirits ? Who knows what the animal spirits are ? Are they electric fire ? What is sleep? Wherein does it consist ? What is dreaming? How can we know dreams from waking thoughts ? I doubt no man knows. Oh how little do we know, even concerning ourselves! What then can we expect to know, concerning the whole creation of God !

II. 1. But are we not better acquainted with his works of providence, than with his works of creation? It is one of the first principles of religion, that his kingdom ruleth over all : so that we may say with confidence, “Oh Lord our Governor, how excellent is thy name over all the earth!" It is a childish conceit, to suppose chance governs the world, or has any part in the government of it: no, not even in those things that, to a vulgar eye, appear to be perfectly casual. “ The lot is cast into the lap; but the disposal thereof is from the Lord." Our blessed Master himself has put this matter beyond all possible doubt : Not a sparrow, saith he, falleth to the ground without the will of your Father which is in heaven : yea, (to express the thing more strongly still,) “ Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered."

2. But although we are well apprized of this general truth, that all things are governed by the providence of God; (the very language of the heathen orator, “ Deorum moderamine cuncta geri ;") yet how amazingly little do we know of the particulars contained under this general! How little do we understand of his providential dealings, either with regard to nations, or families, or individuais ? There are heights and depths in all these, which our understanding can in no wise fathom. We can comprehend but a small part of his ways now; the rest we shall know hereafter.

3. Even with regard to entire nations, how little do we comprehend of God's providential dealings with them! What innumerable nations in the eastern world once flourished, to the terror of all around them, and are now swept away from the face of the earth; and their memorial is perished with them! Nor has the case been otherwise in the west. In Europe also we read of many large and powerful kingdoms, of which the names only are left: the people are vanished away, and are as though they had never been. But why it has pleased the Almighty Governor of the world, to sweep them away with the besom of destruction, we cannot tell : those who succeeded them being, many times, little better than themselves.

4. But it is not only with regard to ancient nations, that the providential dispensations of God are utterly incomprehensible to us: the same difficulties occur now. We cannot account for his present dealings with the inhabitants of the earth. We know," the Lord is loving unto every man, and his mercy is over all his works.” But we know not how to reconcile this with the present dispensations of his providence. At this day, is not almost every part of the earth full of darkness and cruel habitations ? In what a condition, in particular, is the large and populous empire of Indostan! How many hundred thousands of the poor, quiet people, have been destroyed, and their carcasses left as the dung of the earth! In what a condition, (though they have no English ruffians there,) are the numberless islands in the Pacific ocean! How little is their state above that of wolves and bears! And who careth either for their souls or their bodies ? But does not the Father of men care for them? Oh mystery of providence!

5. And who cares for thousands, myriads, if not millions of wretched Africans ? Are not whole droves of these poor sheep, (luman, if not rational beings!) continually driven to market, and sold, like cattle, into the vilest bondage, without any hope of deliverance, but by death? Who cares for those outcasts of men, the well known Hottentots ? It is true, a late writer has taken much pains to represent them as a respectable people. But from what motive, it is not easy to say; since he himself allows, (a specimen of their elegance of manners,) that the raw guts of sheep and other cattle are not only some of their choicest food, but also the ornaments of their arms and legs; and (a specimen of their religion) that the son is not counted a man, till he has beat his , mother almost to death; and when his father grows old, he fastens him in a little hut, and leaves him there to starve! Oh Father of mercies! are these the works of thy own hands ? The purchase of thy Son's blood ?

6. How little better is either the civil or religious state of the poor American Indians! that is, the miserable remains of them : for in some provinces not one of them is left to breathe. In Hispaniola, when the Christians came thither first, there were three million of inhabitants. Scarce twelve thousand of them now survive. And in what condition are these, or the other Indians who are still scattered up and down in the vast continent of South or North America ? Religion they have none: no public worship of any kind! God is not in all their thoughts. And most of them have no civil government at all; no laws, no magistrates; but every man does what is right in his own eyes: therefore, they are decreasing daily; and very probably, in a century or two there will not be one of them left.

7. However the inhabitants of Europe are not in so deplorable a condition. They are in a state of civilization; they have useful laws, and Tre governed by magistrates; they have religion; they are Christians. I am afraid, whether they are called Christians or not, many of them have not much religion. What say you to thousands of Laplanders, of Finlanders, of Samoiedes, and Greenlanders? Indeed, of all who live in high northern latitudes ? Are they as civilized as sheep or oxen ? To compare them with horses, or any of our domestic animals, would be doing them too much honour. Add to these, myriads of human savages, that are freezing among the snows of Siberia, and as many, it not more, who are wandering up and down in the deserts of Tartary. Add thousands upon thousands of Poles, and Muscovites; and of Christians, so called, from Turkey in Europe. And did “God so love" these, " that he gave his Son, his only begotten Son, to the end they might not perish, but have everlasting life!" Then why are they thus ? Oh wonder above all wonders !

8. Is there not something equally mysterious in the divine dispensation, with regard to Christianity itself? Who can explain why Christianity is not spread as far as sin? Why is not the medicine sent to every place where the disease is found ? But, alas! it is not : "the sound of it is” not now “gone forth into all lands." The poison is diffused over the whole globe: the antidote is not known in a sixth part of it. Nay, and how is it that the wisdom and goodness of God suffer the antidote itself to be so grievously adulterated, not only in Roman Catholic countries, but almost in every part of the Christian world? So adulterated, by mixing it frequently with useless, frequently with poisonous ingredients, that it retains none, or at least a very small part, of its original virtue. Yea, it is so thoroughly adulterated by many of those very persons whom he has sent to administer it, that it adds tenfold malignity to the disease which it was designed to cure! In consequence of this, there is little more mercy or truth to be found among Christians than among pagans. Nay, it has been affirmed, and I am afraid truly, that many called Christians are far worse than the heathens that surround them ; more profligate, more abandoned to all manner of wickedness; neither fearing God, nor regarding man! Oh who can comprehend this? Doth not He that is higher than the highest regard it?

9. Equally incomprehensible to us are many of the divine dispensations with regard to particular families. We cannot at all comprehend, why he raises some to wealth, honour, and power; and wny, in the mean time, he depresses others with poverty and various afflictions, Some wonderfully prosper in all they take in hand, and the world pours in upon them; while others, with all their labour and toil, can scarce procure daily bread. And perhaps prosperity and applause continue with the former to their death; while the latter drink the cup of adversity to their life's end; although no reason appears to us, either for the prosperity of the one, or the adversity of the other.

10. As little can we account for the divine dispensations, with regard to individuals. We know not why the lot of this man is cast in Europe, the lot of that man in the wilds of America ; why one is born of rich onoble, the other of poor parents; why the father and mother of one are strong and healthy; those of another weak and diseased : in consequence of which he drags a miserable being all the days of his life, exposed to want, and pain, and a thousand temptations, from which he finds no way to escape. How many are, from their very infancy, hedged in with such relations, that they seem to have no chance, (as some speak,) no possibility, of being useful to themselves or others ? Why are they, antecedent to their own choice, entangled in such connections? Why are hurtful people so cast in their way that they know not how to escape them? And why are useful persons hid out of their sight, or snatched away from them at their utmost need ? Oh God, how unsearchable are thy counsels! Too deep to be fathomed by our reason; and thy ways of executing those counsels not to be traced by our wisdom !

III. 1. Are we able to search out his works of grace, any more than his works of providence ? Nothing is more sure, than that " without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” Why is it then, that so vast a majority of mankind are, so far as we can judge, cut off from all means, all possibility of holiness, even from their mother's womb? For instance: What possibility is there that a Hottentot, a New Zealander, or an inhabilant of Nova-Zembla, if he lives and dies there, should ever know what holiness means? or, consequently, ever attain it? Yea, but one may bay, “ He sinned before he was born, in a pre-existent state; therefore he was placed here in so unfavourable a situation; and it is mere inercy that he should have a second trial.” I answer: Supposing such

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