Sidor som bilder

there Darkness; and the divine approbation; God Saw that it was good.

But God created light, and divided it from darkness, and made it a creature worthy of his approbation, and our admiration. What chaos was to an infinity of forms to be created, darkness was to light and such ignorance is to knowledge, in the state of man, which is usually called natural.

Light also as it were by a second creation (or reformation) in the bodies of the fun and moon was conveyed more usefully to mankind : So there was a light of religion in the world, before it shone more usefully to mankind, in those great luminaries, Moses and Jesus Christ : And as the first material light was created by the Deity, so was the first knowledge of religion revealed.

The Analogy between the light of revelation, and that of the heavens, is in many respects worth notice ; and the fimilitude is fuch, that the language belonging to one, may with great propriety, be transferred to the other; and a comparison may be made, without a duplicity of expression.

For it is equally true of them both: That light shines very unequally on the world, though it is always shining some where; Its day is equal to months in some places, and only hours in others. It comes pure from Heaven, yet often meets with a foul atmosphere in its paffage, whereby it is clouded and bent in its course. It fhews many things different from what they are, yet never misleads any one of an honest fagacity. It shines indifferent. ly upon all objects, is totally rejected by fome, transmitted by others, bent and distorted by a third kind, and usefully imbibed by a fourth. It hardly shines at all in the night, very faintly in twilight, and gradually increases to a full brightness: All climates have not the same degree of it; and

With Solomon wisdom excelleth folly (that is vice as well as ignorance) as far as light excelleth darkness. Eçcles. ii. 31.


fometimes Eclipses seem to deprive the world of it totally; yet it breaks forth again, and gives Joy and beauty. It is the means of the knowledge of many things, yet is very little known itself. It not only renders the world visible, but also enlivens it, and promotes the vegetation of poison, as well as wholesome food,

Is not all this equally true of revelation and ma terial light? They who censure the former, have the same reasons to traduce the latter ; and whatever objections are raised to the bible in the spiritual world, there are similar objections to the volume of nature in the visible world.

The infidel who extols the praise of natural knowledge, in order to depreciate the revealed, should also prefer the light of a flint struck out with steel, to the sun; and sleeping always in the day, should walk by torch-light in the night: If he should by chance awaken in the day, his employment should be to examine the folar light and carp at it, What a profusion of waste is here, when a candle will serve as well? How deceiving this light must be, that passes through so many mediums, which bend its course, and has fo many millions of miles to travel before it reaches us? After all it can not dress human food; and the culinary fire, which does this, can also warm the human body better. j

He should also fay, that there were many minute objects he could not see at all, and that distant objects he faw very imperfectly, yet being aided by glasses, and thereby made acquainted with many secrets in nature, he should break them, and attribute all his knowledge, to nocturnal lucubrations ; or insist upon it, that the sun fhould have been made fitter to inform the fight; or that the eye should have been so framed, as to take in more natural objects with less confusion.

For he said before of the Bible ; that there was no occasion for it; and that if there was, it was


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


so corrupted with copying, during the course of fome thousands of years, that there was no dependance upon it ; that its languages were various and intricate : And that the natural reason of man dilcovered every truth, which human nature required the knowledge of.

But this fool should also consider, that the fire of the earth, which, with humán art became so useful, was itself owing in a great measure to the folar influence, whose rays it is daily imbibing ; and that the boasted light of nature was originally divine revelation, and the improvement of it (if it has not rather fallen short of the first knowledge) owing to the Bible, even in those who deny the divinity of revelation.

ET us now consider the ANALOGIES be

tween the great law of Spiritual Beings, and the general law of Material Things, between the divine influence upon fpirit, by GRACE; and the di. vine influence upon matter, by ATTRACTION,

That whereby the order of material things is preserved is Attraction, which in respect of the tendency of matter to a common centre, is called Gravitation. And that which keeps all spiritual beings in one unlimited society, is Benevolence, or CHĂRITY, which as ultimately tending to the supreme being, is divine love.

All matter, although in its nature inert, is in notion, nor is there any such thing as absolute reft. The Analogy of nature should incline us to believe that the spiritual part of man, which is in its nature active, is always thinking; although there is not always a consciousness of it, any more than a sense always of the motion of matter.

Every particle of matter attracts all other particles of matter, so does every good man love the whole race of men.

This is largely difcuffed by the Author in another place.


As the attraction of a particle of matter in this part of the terrestrial Globe is inconsiderable (though in nature it be something) to a particle of matter in China or Peru: So is the love of an inhabitant of this land inconsiderable (though it be something) to an inhabitant of those countries.

As a particle of matter of our Hemisphere, trans ferred to a particle in those places mentioned, shall, if brought to continuity, adhere by a very strong attraction: So shall an inhabitant of this land, brought into society with an inhabitant of those places, cleave to him with an extraordinary degres of benevolence. :. Attraction of cohesion is exceedingly stronger than attraction of gravitation. When a stone is held in the hand, the parts which are not actually grasped, are kept from falling by their firm ad hesion to those which are grasped: Yet those parts are not void of the principle of gravitation, but the stronger principle prevails over this: So love of one's Nation, and family affection are much stronger than general benevolence. When a good man exerts himself in any extraordinary act for the benefit of his country or family, he is not then void of a more general benevolence to the human species: But the stronger principles of patriotism and domestic love, prevail over the weaker principle of the love of mankind.

But although this be true both of Matter and Men, in the most obvious and common Phænome. na of the material and civil World. Yet upon a closer view it is plain, that the great Laws of the universe such as GRAVITY, and CHARITY, certainly prevail in great instances over the laws of the individuals, and smaller communities of matter and men. And therefore, although a short and small beam, faftened only by one end in a wall, shall remain hoa rizontal, by the law of cohesion, which in that in. ftance is stronger : Yet increase the length and


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

breadth of a beam in an equal proportion ", and in the same situation it shall break, by the prevalent law of Gravity. Do not ftupendous masses of matter often tumble from ragged precipices, upon this principle?

So also the planets and comets move round their Suns, and though thrown off by a projectile force, are retained by gravity, so as in every revolution to approach nearer : And in time perhaps may be quite abforbed ; the general law of the universe pre- : vailing over all laws of finaller communities and in dividuals.

In like manner in the civil state of things, Benevodence or Charity extending to the human fpecies prevails over all less extended principles of affection, towards civil coinmunities and individuals: And also analogous to the prevalent law of gravity, although human nature feems to be moved by vio. lent appetites and instincts into a kind of moral ex. centricity and pursuit of worldly objects, yet it iš drawn back to God, the attractive centre of Love, to whom every good man makes daily approaches and with whom he shall at last be united. * And inasmuch as all love to the divine being in this world must be expreft by acts of Love towards

See Borelli. 10. The force of Gravity upon the Comets is likely to produce this effect fooner than in the planets; considering their great number and their great diftance from the Sun in their Aphelia, where their actions upon each other must have some effect to disturb their Motion. The resistance which they meet with in the atmosphere of the Sun, when they defcend into the lower parts of their Orbits, will also affect them. By the retardation of their motion in these lower parts, their gravity will be in abled to bring them 'nearer the Sun, in every revolution, till at length they fall into him, and supply fewel to that immense body of Fire. The Commet of 1680 passed at a distance from the furface of the Sun, no greater than the 6th part of his Diameter ; it will approach ftill nearer in the next Revolution, and fall into his body, at length. . The fixed Stans may receive fupplies in thç fame manner, by Comets falling into them. Maclaurin on Nequr

[merged small][ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »