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The infinite and impartial goodness of God, in the creation and preservation of the buman family, briefly displayed.
IN the antecedent department we have in the most brief manner, pointed out a few of the nations of antiquity, who rebelled against the laws, and infringed the rights of God; and who became the victims of their own degeneracy and ingratitude. To particularize what could be said on this lamentable topic, would be to swell our work to many volumes; but our limits will not permit us to enlarge, as we must leave room for more interesting matter. The subject of the present department is of the most important nature, in which every rational being is interested. Indeed, the infinite goodness of God manifested in the creation, is so great and glorious, that I scarcely know how to begin to paint any part of it in its native colours. Wherever I cast my intellectual eyes, I see the harmonies and
beauties of nature. I am always desultory and precipitate in my composition, and never transcribe, but must necessarily be so here, as the beauties and benefits of nature are so diversified and abundant, that it would take a folio volume to give a methodical description of the most diminutive part thereof. I shall be plain and simple in my phraseology, as I conceive the present subject does not require the flowers of rhetoric, or the embellishments of fancy, to adorn and beautify it, no more than a diamond requires paint to enhance its beauty. My object is, to pluck a few flowers from the garden of nature, and present them to the reader as a small specimen of the beneficence and beauty of the Creator : for if the archi. tecture is so beautiful, how much more beautiful must the Architect be!
My highest ambition in this work is, to promote the glory of God, and the bappiness of men. If only one unhappy person is comforted by the perusal of these strictures, if but one “ doubting Thomas" has his doubts removed ; finally, if one ungrateful sinner is led to forego his base crime, and to admire, to love and serve his God, my object is gained, I am abundantly rewarded.
I feel the most cogent desire to refute the objections raised by philoso. phical unbelievers against Providence, to accomplish which requires systematical disquisition; the wapt of which, therefore, will no doubt manifest the insufficiency of the author. Was my power equal to my will, there should not be a solitary individual under the broad canopy of heaven, who would not be constrained by the most indubitable testimony, and reasonable argumentation, to admire and love his Creator. I would point them to that happy state of being, in reservation for all who love and fear God; and would give them a glimpse of future glory, through the dark clouds of this wretched life. The magnificence of nature it is impossible for man to know, much less express : how can a worm so feeble as man, intellectually embrace the beauties, the benefits, and the wonders of nature ?
The earth alone is covered over with animals, vegetables, and minerals, which it is out of the reach of all man. kind united to scrutinize; how vain then is it, for our proprietors of museums and academies. to say, That they are the great repositories of all the arts and sciences, and even the Book of Nature! There are harmonies and beauties in nature, which no man or nation will ever be able to develope. Let others shew their
shew their knowledge, by pointing out the scientific properties of fire, air, meteors, thunder, volcanoes and fossils; and shew their wisdom, by their metaphysical researches : I will think myself useful to my fellow creatures, if I am enabled to convince them of their ignorance. Our illumination consists in our humility, as our force consists in the sense of our weaknesse Those who are fools in their own esti. mation, will most assuredly be illumi. nated with a ráy from heaven. That man who feels a deep sense of his own infirmities, and a grateful sensibility of the divine favours, will never walk in
darkness. The astronomer, who points out with the utmost accuracy the mo. tions, periods, and velocity of the heavenly bodies; the opposite forces of the planets, called the centripetal and centrifugal, the one tending to, the other flying from the centre; yet with all bis boasted learning, he may live and die in intellectual darkness. He may see the order, harmony, beauties and bene? fits of creation, without venerating and adoring the Almighty Anthor of all those beauties and benefits. He views the seasons walking band in band, pouring out their abundance, which he participates with untbankfulness. Alas! blessings have been poured upon us in super-abundance, but our abuse of them has rendered them the most formidable eurses ; hence we impeach Providence with the consequences of our own delinquency and ingratitude.
God has granted to man the knowledge of a supreme Intelligence, in order to win him to his own happiness; but map from this simple sentiment, has manufactured a thousand religions,