Imatges de pàgina
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for everlasting happiness. But thanks be to Divine fove, the
virtuous and happy part of our species, when they shall here-.
after be separated from the rest of mankind, will appear to be
a great multitude, which no one can number, gathered out of all na-,
tions, and kindred, and people, and tongues. « Nay, we cannot tell
how much greater a proportion they will, on the whole, bear
to the rest of mankind, than the state of things hitherto in
this world has given us reason to hope. For it is not impoflible
but that, before the end of the present ftate, a general refor-
mation may take place, and knowledge, peace, and virtue pre-
vail much more than they have ever yet done. This many
have thought a reasonable object of expectation, and it seems
to be very plainly foretold in the scriptures. -But be this as,
it will ; while all may, a great number, we cannot doubt, will
escape the fatal effects of vice, and be brought through the
dangers of this world to endless bliss.-It may be enquired here,
why the circumstances of the world have not been so ordered,
as that this number should be greater ; and some of the prin.
cipal objections against Providence are reducible to this enquiry :
But it is one of that sort of enquiries which has been before
shewn to be unreasonable. It is an enquiry which might
have been made, though this number had been greater, or
though it had been so great as to include every individual of
mankind. For, on this last fuppofition, the fame general
principle would have led an objector to ask ; Why are not
more of mankind brought on the stage, since more may? Why
is the earth fo thinly stocked with them, since it might have
been always full ?" Or, though always full, “ Why was it not
inade larger, or created sooner ?" In short; had this
earth been so little as to be capable of holding only a num-
ber of men, equal to those who will be formed in it, as it is
now, for future happiness, and had all these been so advan.
tageoutly circumstanced as that not one of them should miscarry:.
Had this, I say, been the case, it could scarcely have been
thcught that there was room for complaint, or the least reason
for questioning the goodness of the Deity. But to the views of
benevolence there can be no difference between such an earth
and the present, the quantity of happiness resulting from both
being, by supposition, the fame. This is true of two such
ftates, abstracting from all conneftions. What they may be
when viewed in the relations they may have to other states, or
when considered as parts of a system, it is not possible for us to
discover. There inay in this case be a preference due to the
latter
; or it may

be the unavoidable result of a general plan. of government productive, on the whole, of the greatest abfolute good.

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• There is one observation more of a particular nature on the present fubject, which is so important that it would be inexcusable to omit it. What I have in view is the conformity observed by Dr. Butler, between that loss of huinan creatures which I have been considering, and the course of nature in other instances. Almost all kinds of vegetables and trees have a vast profusion of seeds prepared for them, far the greatest part of which is lost; and, in some instances, not one of them in many myriads grow up to any thing. The like is very obfervable in the animal world ; and were one to enter minutely into this part of natural history, it would be surprising to observe what a superfluity of eggs is provided for some insects, what an inconceivable multitude of creatures are loft in embryo, or born only to be destroyed ; and what great numbers of even: those that proceed some way towards a ftate of maturity perish before they arrive at it.

• Should it be said here that, as this world is constituted, a great waste of this fort could not but happen, which rendered it necessary that a considerable overplus should be provided ; and that the greatness of the numbers lost cannot be regarded by a Being in whose eye nothing is great, to whom the production of any one number of any objects is as easy as the production of any other ; and who, therefore, can with no more reason be censured for any such loss, than for the non-existence of the Beings he has not created : Should this, I say, be objected, it would be obvious to answer, that what is in some degree equivalent to it, may, with equal reason, be applied to the particular case under consideration.

In thinking of the analogy of nature in this instance, we should by no means forget the untimely deaths that happen among our own species. Many perish in the womb; and the greater part of those that see the light, and are put in the way to the enjoyments and happiness of grown men in the present life, fall short of them, and are nipped in their bloom. Such facts as these have a tendency to make the deepest impression on every considerate person. They shew us that what we are taught to believe with respect to the future lot of mankind is entirely agreeable to all that we see of the world. Nor have we any reason for suspecting that this part of its constitution is faulty, as, I hope, the preceding obfervations will prove. It is obvious that the main objections to it lead us equally to object, in all cases, to the creation of a smaller rather than a greater number of Beings. There is nothing like injustice, or even unkindness, implied in it to any Being. It is consistent with an -infinite overbalance of good; and, for these reasons, the inere circumstance of its unaccountableness as occasioning a waste of

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being (which is the most that is puzzling in it) cannot be of any great consequence. The seeming waste may, for aught we know, answer important ends, and appear at last to be the greatest frugality. How hard is it that we fhould be willing to trust the wisdom of nature no further than it keeps within fight? How inconceivable is it that, in this or any other instance, a creature of yesterday and a reptile of the dust fhould be able to see further, or to contrive better, than that original intelligence from whence all things sprung ?-I feel particular fatisfaction whenever I make such reflexions, and therefore I hope I shall be excused if I am too often recurring to them.'

In the last section the author represents the proper improvement of this subject, and considers the influence which it ought to have on our tempers and lives.

In the second dissertation be 1, explains the nature, reafonableness, and efficacy of prayer, and answers the objections which have been raised against it ; 2. represents the importance of prayer as an instrumental duty, the happiness of a devout temper, and the particular obligation to public worship; and lastly, the manner in which this duty ought to be performed, in order to render it an acceptable and profitable service, This differtation is in a great measure practical.

His design in the third is to itate the reasons which we have to expect that virtuous men shall meet after death in a state of happiness.

We have great reason, he says, to believe, that all the scenes of this life will, in a future state, be presented to our memories ; and that we shall then recover the greatest part, if not the whole, of our present consciousness. The scriptures teach us this in a very striking manner. It is not therefore to be doubted, but that we shall hereafter have a distinct remem brance of our virtuous friends and kindred; and this remembrance, one would think, must be attended with some revival of particular regard, and have a tendency to draw us to one another, as far as it will be poffible or proper.

But what, he fupposes, affords the plainest evidence on this fubject, is the following confideration : There is great reason to believe that virtuous men, as beings of the same species, who have begun existence in the same circumstances, and been trained up to virtue in the same state of trial and discipline, will be hereafter placed in the same common mansions of felicity. It is groundless and unnatural to imagine, that after paffing through this life, they will be removed to different worlds, or scattered into different regions of the universe. The language of the scriptures seems plainly and expressly to determine the contrary. They acquaint us, that mankind are to be raised

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from the dead together, and to be judged together ; and that the righteous, after the general resurrection and judgment, are to be taken together to the heavenly state, there to live and reign with Christ, and to share in his dignity and happiness. When we are said, in consequence of the clear discoveries made by the Gospel of a future state, to be, as it were, already come to the city of the living God, it is plainly implied, that we are to join the general allembly of just men, and of angels in the realons of light, and to be fixed in the fame mansions with them.-Now, is it poffible, that we should be happy hereafter in the same seats of joy, under the same perfect government, and as members of the same heavenly fociety, and yet remain strangers to one another ? Shall we be together with Chrift, and yet 110f with one another ? Or shall we lose one another in that multitude which cannot be numbered ?. Being in the same happy ftate with our present virtuous friends and relatives, will they not be accessible to us ?. And if accessible, ihall we not fly to them, and mingle hearts and souls again?

The author corroborates these arguments by several passages from St. Paul's epistles, in which the apostle afferts, that he expected to see and know again his Thessalonian and Corinthian converts. He then proceeds to represent the happiness with which the reunion of virtuous men will hereafter be attended ; and the pleasures arising from friendship, under this glorious and enchanting view.

The last differtation is designed chiefly to answer an objection against Christianity, urged by Mr. Hume in his Essay on Miracles.

The principles on which this objection is built are chiefly that the credit we give to teftimony, is derived solely from experierice ; that a miracle is a fact contrary to experience ; that the previous incredibility of a fact is a proof against it, diminishing, in proportion to the degree of it, the proof from testimony for it; and that ro testimony should ever gain credit to an event, unless it is more extraordinary that it should be false, than that the event should have happened. Every one of these assertions, as this writer endeavours to' evince, are either false, or need such explanation to render them true, as will render them of no use to the purpose which they are intended to serve.

The reader who is desirous of farther satisfaction, with refpe&t to the folution of this obje&tion, will find a pleasure in the perusat of this dissertation,

Vou. XXIII. January, 1767

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1F1. A Series of Letters, discovering the Scheme projected by France,

In M DCC LIX. for an Intended invasion upon England with flat-bottom'd Boats; and various Conferences' and Original Papers touching that formidable Design.' Pointing at the secret and true Motives, which precipitated the Negociations, and Conclusion of the laf Peace. To which are prefixed, the secret Adventures of the Young Pretender ; "and the Conduct of the French Court respecting him during bis Stay in Great Britain, and after bis Return to Paris. · Also the chief Cause that brought on the late Banishment of the Jesuits from the French Dominions ; a Se-: cret as yet concealed from the Jesuits themselves : with the real Examination of Father Hamilton, taken at Fontainbleau, October, 1756, who was employed 10 afafinate the Young Pretender. Together with the particular Case of the Author, in a Memorial to his late Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, By Oliver Mac Allester, Esq. In 2 Vols. "410. Pr. ll. 55. Williams.

o do this author justice, we acknowledge that his

publication is almost of as much service to the interests and concern of this nation, as the adventures of a certain merry wag who calls himself Gil Blas de Santillane. After this declaration, the reader will be the less surprised at our author's modefty in telling Sir Joseph Yorke, the British embarfador at the Hague, that he doubted not from his majesty's bounty and generosity but to receive twenty thousand pounds, and a pension of two thousand pounds a year for his services.'

That we may not misirepresent or depreciate the merit of Mr. Mac Allefter's services, we shall place them, as they appear to us from this publication, in the following divisions : First, a dull, trite, tedious recapitulation of the rebellion in the year 1745: Secondly, ditto of the perjury of Jaines I. in the affair of Overbury, together with the birth, parentage, be. haviour, life, character, and confession, of the inalefactors of the house of Stuart, who were executed seventy-eight years ago at Whitehall, for the abominable crimes of popery and tyranny: Thirdly, such passages as employ above three-fourths of the book, and, fupposing them to be authentic, can be of no 'consequence to his inajesty, his ministry, or his subjects : Fourthly, those which have all the appearances of fable, and teem to be coined in the wantonness of imagination, without the least tendency to any public purpose : And;. lastly, that service for which our autkor modestly claimed the abov mentioned reward, and which we shall lay before our readers in his own words, as we find them in his petition to his late royal bighnels Williain duke of Cumberland,

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