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conftant appetite for mirth, and such a robust constitution as no noxious vapours can affect? Can fuch an uninterrupted series of profperous events be long the portion of any man on earth? No, doubtless; and every man that asks his heart the question, I prefume, will be of my opinion. I make no queftion, however, but that many would be apt to say, nay; and speak no more than their real fentiments; had I but an eftate equal to fome of my neighbours; were I as healthy as fome of them are; had I the learning of fuch a philofopher, or divine; was I the favourite of my prince, as such a courtier is; were my children as dutiful, my friends as tender and indulgent, as those of fome others are; or had my merit the reward it justly deserves, I should then be easy and happy, be chearful and contented. Alas! fhould you fucceed in fuch your defires, how great would the advantage arifing from it be?-Why, no more than this: you would find how delufive a thing hope is; that happiness, in the distant prospect, is far different from what it is in the actual poffeffion, and that the imagination goes here below, as far beyond the mark it aims at, as it falls short of those everlasting joys, "which hath not feen nor ear heard; neither hath it entered into the heart of man to con"ceive."
That fuch and fo deplorable is the ftate and condition of human life is a truth, we are all too feelingly convinced of; and a very little reflection will render us as certain, that we must be the work of an almighty and beneficent God; and if fo, we cannot fuppofe that he made any thing to be of neceffity miferable; for if he, who is infinitely good and perfect, has thought fit to place us in such a state of infelicity, we may, doubtless, have a wellgrounded hope from his goodness, and our own present unhappy fituation, that he has made other and better provifion for us, and that there will be a life after this, where all tears shall be wiped "from our eyes." For can we fuppofe, that our affectionate
Creator will be deaf to our fighs, or take any pleasure in our diftreffes? Is not the inferior part of the creation free from that load of ills which we groan under; and do not even the brute beafts enjoy a happiness suitable to their respective natures? No intruding cares dash the current of their delights; and fhall we suppose, that man, the nobleft part of the creation, and the exprefs image of his Maker, is the only object unregarded, and that the ever-gracious king of heaven fet him up alone to be a monument of his divine vengeance?-Such fuppofitions as these would derogate from the perfection of the divine nature, and yet would be mournful truths were there no life after this.
"For who did ever yet, in honour, wealth
"Or pleasure of the fenfe, contentment find?
SIR JOHN DAVIES.
But what shall we fay, if befides the unavoidable evils to which we are continually expofed, we should take a survey of the GREAT WORLD and view therein all nature moving with the utmost harmony, and confpiring with a loud and conftant voice, to proclaim the justice and goodness of God; and yet turn our eyes towards the LITTLE WORLD, 'I mean man, and there fee treafon and villainy flourish; tyranny and oppreffion prove fuccessful; the just and noble made a prey to the fons of violence, and the meek and lowly objects of perfecution and reproach; merit and industry, in poverty and rags; and ignorance and vice, in pomp and grandeur; the righteous man defpifed, evilly entreated, and neglected, and his oppofite careffed, loaded with preferments, courted, and almost idolized? Providence feems here as filent as the grave, and the unbeliever will be ready to conclude, fince these things are fo, God doth not fee nor regard the fate nor actions of mankind.
It is too notorious to be denied, that this is the posture of things below ; and yet, that a wife and juft God prefides over the world is very manifest in all things elfe. He feeds the beafts of the forest; he fends his showers at their appointed season, to replenish the earth; he lets fall the refreshing dews, and caufes the fruits to fpring forth in their feafon; and shall we fuppofe that he will not find a time to reward distressed virtue, and to avenge the cause of the injured and oppreffed?—And yet we plainly fee, that too often they meet with no redress in this life; for the virtuous are frequently oppreffed by the frowns of the world, and lay down their forrows only at the grave; and the wicked run through a long series of fuccefsful villainies, and yet die at laft unpunished. Is it then any unfair conclufion to affert, that these disorders can no where be rectified but in a life to come? Nay, would it not reflect dishonourably on God, were it to be otherwife?-Moreover, were the wicked to meet their punishment, and the righteous their rewards in this life, all virtue would be merely mercenary; but fince it is otherwife, may we not be as certain that there will be a life after this, as that there is a fupreme Being the creator, the preferver, the fole governor of the univerfe in whom we live, move, and have our being.
"Come then, fince now in safety we have past
"But claims by nature immortality:
"God, who created it, can make it end,
"We queftion not, but cannot apprehend
"He will; because it is by him endued
With strong ideas of all perfect good;
"With wond'rous pow'rs to know, and calculate
Things too remote from this our earthly state; "With sure prefages of a life to come,
"All falfe and ufelefs; if beyond the tomb
"If ev'ry rule of equity demands,
"That vice and virtue from the Almighty's hands,
"When each shall meet their well adjusted doom:
"A fyftem of confummate skill appear,
"And every cloud difpers'd, be beautiful and clear.