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ON-THE IMMORTALITY OF TIIE SOUL...
AMONG other excellent arguments for the immortality of the gaul, there is one drawn from the perpetual progressof ihe soul to its perfection, without a possibility of ever : arriving at it;. which is a hint That I ilo not remember to: have seen opened and improved by others who have writ- ten on this subject, though it seems to me to carry a great weight with it. How can it enter into the thoughts of: man, that the soul, which is capable of such immense pero fections, and of receiving 11: w improvemeiits
to all etesenity, shall fall away into nothing almost
s soon as it is created ! Are such abilities made for no purpose? : A brute arrives at a point of perfection that he can never pass; illa a few years he has all the endowmen's he is capable of; and were he to live ten thousand more, would be the same thing he is at present. · Were a human soul thus ata : stand in her accomplishments, were her faculeies to be · full blown, and incapable of farther enlargements, I'condu imagine it would fall away insensibly, and drop at once into a state of annihilation. But can we believe a thinking being that is in a perpetual progress of improvement, and travelling on from perfection to perfection, after having just looked abroad into the works of her Creator, and made a few discoveries of his infinite goodness, .wisdom, and power, must- perish at her first setting ont, and · in the very beginning of her inquiries ?
Man, considered in his present state, seems only sent into the world to propagate his kind. He provides himself with a successor, and immediately quits his post 10 make room for him.
He does not seem born to enjoy life, but to deliver it down to others. This is not surprising to consider in ani. mals, which are formed for our use, and can finish their : business in a short life. The silk-worm, afrer having spun her task, lays her eggs and dies. But in this life, man can
which rise up
never take in his full measure of knowleilge; nor has lie time to subdue his passions, establish his soul io virtue, and come up to the perfection of his nature, before he is hurried off the stage. Woulil an infinitely wise Being make such glorious creatures fir se mean a purposo? Can he delight in the production of such abortive iviellig nces, such short-live:l reasonable beings? Would be give us ialents that are not to be exerted? Capacities that are never to be gratifird? How can we fiad that wisdom which shines through all his works, in the formation of man, without looking on this world as only a nursery for the nex!, and beheving thót the several generalions of rational creatures,
and disappear in such quick succession, are only to receive their first rudiments of existence here, and afterward to be transplanted into a more friendly climate, where they may spread and flourish to all eterniiy.
There is no!, in my opinion, a more pleasing and triumphant consideration in religion, ihan this of the perpe. tual progress which ihe soul makes towards the perfection of its nature, without ever arriving at a period in it. To look upon the soul as going on from strength to strength, 10 consider that she is to shine for ever with new accessions of glory, and brighten to all vivrnity; that she will be s:ill adding virtue to virtue, and knowlerige to knowledge ; carries in it something wonderfully agreeable to thit ambition which is natural to the mind of man. Nav, it must be a prospect pleasing to God himself, to see bis creation for ever beautifying in his eyes, and drawing nearer to him, by greater degrees of resemblance.
Methinks this single consideration, of the progress of a finite spirit to perfection, will be sulhcient to extinguish all envy in inferior natures, and all contempi in superior That cherub, which now appears as a God to a biman soul, knows very well that the period will come about in eternitv, when the human scul still be as perfect as he himself now is : pay, when she shall look down upon that degree of perfection, as much as she now falls short of it. It is true, the higher nature still advances, and by that aneans preserves his distance and superiority in the scale of being; but he knows that, how high soever the station is of which he stands possessed at present, the inferior nature will at length mount up to it, and shine forth in the same degree of glory.
With what astonishment and veneration may we look into our souls, where there are such hidden stores of virtue and knowledge, such inexhausted sources of perfection! We know not yet what we shall be, nor will it ever enter into the heart of man to conceive the glory that will be always in reserve for him. The soul, considered in relation io its Creator, is like one of those mathematical lines, that may draw nearer to another for all eternity without a possibility of touching it: and can there be a thought so transporting, as to consider ourselves in these perpetual approaches to Hiin, who is not only the standard of
perfection, but of happiness?
ON THE BEING OF A GOD.
Retire; The world shut out ;--Thy thoughts call.
What am I ? and from whence?-I nothing know,
Grant matter was elernal : still these orbs
Then each aton,
ORATIONS AND HARANGUES
JUNIUS BRUTUS OVER THE DEAD BODY OF.
LUCRETIA: Yes, noble lady, I swear by. this blood; which was once so pure, and which nothing but royal villany could have polJuted, that I will pursue Lucius. Tarquinius the proud, his wicked wife, and their children; with frie and sword: nor: will I ever suffer any of that family, or of any other whatesoever, to be king in Rome. Ye gods.I call you to wit. ness this my oath! There, Romans, turn your eyes to that:sad spectacle the daughter of Lucretius, Collalinus'. wife-she died by her own hand. See there a noble lady, whom the lust of a Tarquin reduce: 10- the necessity of being her own executioner, to attest her innocence. Hospitably entertained by her..as a kinsman of her husband's, Sextus, the perfidious. guest, became her brutal ravisher. The chaste, the generous Lucretias, could not: survive the insult. Glorious woipan! But once only treated as a slave, she thought.life no longer to be endured.. Lucreria, a woman, disdaining a life that depended on a tyrant's will; and shall we, shall men, with such an.ex.: ample before our eyes, and after five-and-tweniy years of ignominious servitude, shall we, through a fear of dying, defer one single instant: to assert: our liberty ! No, Romans, now is the time; the favourable moment we have so long waited for. is come.. Tarquin is not at: Rome. The Patricians are at the head of the enterprise. The city