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vite that more potent aid, and that reconciling and pardoning mercy, which can effectually compose every irregular motion of the passions, and reduce the tempest into a calm.
2. That there is no happiness without · well-regulated affections seems to be the unanimous voice both of religion and philosophy. Even Epicurus, who placed the chief good of man in pleasure, yet resolved this pleasure chiefly into mental tranquillity. And this combined suffrage of reason and religion stands confirmed by universal experience. Every man must be sensible, that true enjoyment can never consist with domineering pride or devouring envy, with profuse dissipation or insatiable avarice, or with any other of our malignant or sensual passions. A man must be in possession of himself, and at peace with his fellow-creatures, (at least he must not wantonly provoke their enmity or opposition) to enjoy any measure of true satisfaction. He must study to establish the just balance of his mind, and to
cultivate those mild and benevolent dispo- sitions, which, if they will not always con
ciliate the kindness of others, can seldom fail to abate and soften their resentments.'
A man who is thus at peace with God and with himself, and who thus seeks peace with his neighbour, can never justly be deemed unhappy. He may expect to come under the blessing of the meek, to whom it is promised, that they shall inherit the earth, and delight themselves in the abundance of peace *. And though, in the present mixed state, it should be otherwise; though he should meet with his full share of suffering from the political, and the other innumerable evils that overspread the world, he will not be left unprovided with a variety of topics which may afford him support and consolation amidst them all.
Amongst these, as the doctrine of a superintending Providence chiefly deserves attention, I shall endeavour, in the following section, to state briefly what has occurred to me in reflecting upon this important subject.
* Psalm xxxvii. 11.
SECTION II. The Doctrine of Providence a chief Topic of
Comfort to good Men.
The providence of God comprehends all ereatures, with all their operations, and every circumstance attending them; nothing is too vast or too minute for its notice or control.
All the events that happen throughout the universe may be ascribed to divine appointment, except the voluntary determinations of free agents *.
Therefore all events, such free volitions excepted, must bear some direct impression of God, of his wisdom or power, of his goodness or justice; in a word, of his in
* By a voluntary determination, I understand such a one as might have been forborne by the agent in the precise circumstances, internal and external, in which it was formed.
finite perfections. And it will make no difference as to our present argument, whether such events proceed immediately from the divine agency, or through the intervention of second causes; whether they are separate acts, or the consequences of general laws.
Of that energy by which effects are produced, and the course of things is continued, we know nothing. Of causation, whether original or secondary, we have no idea. How the world was made at the fiat of the Creator, how one body is put in motion at the impulse of another, or how the action of the mind is connected with the motion of a limb, we are entirely ignorant. It is sufficient to know that all effects either arise immediately from the power of God, without any medium or instrumentality, or according to those constitutions and laws which he has established.
Though our free volitions are exempt from every kind of necessity, moral as well as physical, they are nevertheless subject to the influence of our dispositions, our views, and external circumstances; all which
are under a divine superintending direction.
God, by restraining our evil inclinations and inspiring others, can easily change our determinations, without doing the least violence to our liberty. He tells Abimelech in a dream, I withheld thee from sinning against me*. And Laban says to Jacob, It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt, but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob from good to bad +: and it would appear from all the circumstances of the story, that the heart of Esau was under special influence, when he received his brother Jacob with so much kindness and generosity.
And as God can rule the will by a direct act, or by impressing the passions; he can do the same through the medium of the understanding. There is something unaccountable in those trains of ideas that pass through our minds; some of them we know
# Gen. xx. 6. Gen. xxxi. 29. . I Compare Gen. xxvii. 41.-xxxii. 11.-xxxiii. 4-9.