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the course of those which flow toward the planet itself. The planet also continually changing place, no possible influx of particles towards it can produce the effect required, because, that direction of such influx, which would be favourable in one situation, must of course be quite contrary in another. And upon the planet itself, if there are any animals or vegetables, any material substances, in which there is either secretion, motion of fluids, corruption, decay, or renovation, the contrariety of the 'course of the particles, by which such internal motions are carried on, must be such as to produce absolute confusion; for we must at last conceive, throughout all created space, an infinite number of streams of small particles flowing in all directions, which could, by the very supposition, produce no regular motion in the material system. Besides, we know that the forces of attraction and gravitation are not as the surfaces of bodies attracting one another; but as the number of particles contained in them, which requires a power that shall freely pervade the most solid bodies, not merely affect their surfaces. We likewise know, that elastic matter tends every way, or endeavours to diffuse itself wider and wider, and to repel its own particles, and every surrounding body. This power, or tendency, (to use the common improper term,) is by no means consistent with any theory of streams of particles flowing any one way; but is easily explicable by that of an Infinite Mind within all matter.
There is, in short, no solution of the various and opposite tendencies of the parts of the material system, that is pot palpably absurd, besides having recourse to an Infnite mind, in which the visible world has its being, and by which it not only was at first put into motion, like a clock
a wound up and set agoing; but is continually, from moment to moment, actuated according to certain fixed rules or methods, which are what we call the Laws of Nature.
If therefore we find it necessary, on account of the neÇessary inactivity of matter, which has nothing in its nature equal to the complicated motions, wbich we see in the system of the world, to conclude, that the Infinite author of nature does continually, either mediately or immediately, exert bis indefatigable power in conducting and
actuating the inanimate machine ; we cannot suppose less, than that he bestows as much of his attention and superintendency upon the moral system, as upon the natural; for the latter, having been produced for the sake of the former, shows the former to be of superior value.
The superintendency of a world infinite in extent, and containing an infinite number of particulars, would evidently be no more than what Infinite power and Omnipresence would be fully equal to. So that the thought of any shadow of difficulty in governing the universe, ought never to enter into our minds.
To suppose great part of the scheme of Providence carried on by the ministration of angels, or other created beings, comes to the same as ascribing all to the immediate agency of the Supreme. For every created being in the universe, the highest seraph, as well as the meanest reptile, derives all his powers from the Supreme, and depends, from moment to moment, upon the Universal Author of existence, for his being, and the exertion of all his powers.
The promiscuous distribution of happiness and misery in this life, or what we commonly call good or bad fortune, is no sort of objection to the doctrine of a Providence. The continual and certain consequences of virtue and vice respectively, the immediate interposition of heaven, on every occasion, would have been wholly inconsistent with a state of discipline. And yet there is a general scheme as visibly carried on in the moral world, as in the natural ; though many particulars in both lie out of the reach of our weak faculties.
To say, that it is disparaging the Divine wisdom to allege the necessity or propriety
of a continual exertion of power in the natural world, which ought rather to be supposed to have been so constituted at first as to proceed of itself, without the continued application of the Almighty hand; this objection, duly considered, has no manner of weight;, for, if the material world was to exist at all, it was necessary it should be what by the very nature of matter it must be ; that is, inanimate and inactive. And if so, it must be actuated, or be motionless, or at least, it must have no complex motions. The truth is, a self
moving complicated material machine, is a contradiction in terms; and therefore what could not possibly exist.
If we consider that the Infinite mind inhabits all created and uncreated space, we shall think it as proper in Him to actuate continually the immense machine of the Universe; to every atom of which he is immediately present, as for a human mind to actuate the body it inhabits. And no one in his senses ever thought it would have been better, that the body should have been made to perform its functions like a clock once wound up, than that it should be continually, from moment to moment, at the command of the mind to actuate it at pleasure.
In the same manner, with respect to the moral world, it is not lessening the wisdom or power of the universal moral Governor to suppose interpositions necessary. There are various considerations which show the contrary.
In general, that of the present frail and pitiable state of Human Nature ; the circumstance of an evil being's
; having got an ascendancy over mankind; of the first introduction of vice being through temptation, which may be our peculiar misfortune ; of our being perhaps one of the lowest orders of moral agents; these circumstances may render it proper, that we at least should have some extraordinary assistance given us, that there should be some peculiar interpositions in our favour. Now, to suppose a positive providential economy and superintendency carried on, is supposing the easiest possible scheme for gaining such ends as might be wanted for the advantage of our species.
Communities seem to require a providence, to reward or punish their behaviour in their rational and public character, as on occasion of the observance or breach of laws of nations, or alliances. The reward and punishments of the future state will be personal. Good men, being guilty of faults, ought to suffer in this world, though they come to final happiness in the next; that evil may not wholly escape : which seems to infer the propriety of a providence. The wonderful discovery of the perpetrators of horrid crimes, particularly murder, is a strong presumption of the truth of this doctrine.
But revelation puts this matter wholly out of doubt; as it every where goes upon the supposition of a continual Divine superintendency over the natural and moral world.
For it represents this world as God's world, created, preserved, continually conducted, and hereafter to be judged by him. It exhibits a scheme of Divine conduct of the affairs of the world in general, and of one nation in particular,* which is altogether inconsistent, without taking in the idea of a Providence. Prophecy, and miracles, of which elsewhere, necessarily suppose Divine interposition ; and Holy Scripture, in a variety of places, expressly affirms the doctrine of Providence. For it informs us,
“ That God preserveth and upholdeth all things by the word of his power; and that they continue to this day according to his ordinance. That he has appointed seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter; and that they shall not cease while the earth remaineth. That with him is the foundation of life. That he preserves man and beast, and gives food to all flesh. That in his hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of every creature. That in him we live, and move, and have our being, who holds our souls in life, and will be our guide even to death. That he preserves us while we sleep, and when we wake; when we go out, and when we come in ; even from the womb, making us to dwell in safety. That he is the universal King and Judge of all, and does according to his will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth. . That angels, archangels, principalities and powers, thrones and dominions, are subject to him, and that they rejoice to do his command-ments, hearkening to his word. That he gives fruitful seasons on earth, and crowns the year with his goodness; and again, at his pleasure shuts up heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her increase; turning a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives to whomsoever he will. That he puts down one, and sets another up. That by him kings reign, and princes bear rule. That unless he keep the city, the watchmen watch in vain. That he increases the nations; and again destroys them; that he enlarges and straitens them at his pleasure. That whenever he speaks concerning a nation, to build and to plant, or to pluck up and destroy it, his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure. That from him comes every good and perfect gift; and at the same time, there is no (penal) evil in the world which he has not sent. That he kills, and makes alive; that he wounds, and heals ; brings down to the grave, and brings up again, at pleasure. That the preparations of the heart, and the answer of the tongue, are from God, who gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those who know understanding; and when it seems good to him, hides the thing from the wise and prudent which he reveals to babes. That he makes poor, and makes rich; brings low, and lifts up. That riches and honours come from him. That the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; nor bread to the wise, nor favour to men of skill : but it is the hand of God that has wrought all these things. That though the horse be prepared against the day of battle, safety is from God. That he makes wars to cease, and sends the sword among the nations at his pleasure. That the wrath of man shall be made to work out his praise, and the remainder shall be restrained. That when the lot is cast, the disposing of it is of God. That he works all things according to the coussel of his own will, and is accountable to no one."
* See page 166, Vol. 2.
The truth of the doctrine of Providence is, therefore, established upon reason and revelation.
To proceed to another subject: The account we have in Scripture of our species in general suffering by the first offence of our grand parents, may seem at first view some. what difficult to understand ; as if it were a hardship that we should be in any respect losers by what we are innocent of. That we should be in danger of being condemned to any future or final punishment upon any account but our own personal voluntary guilt, is contrary to the whole tenor of Scripture, and would indeed, render revelation, as well as reason, wholly useless for directing us to the means of working out our own salvation, and avoiding des truction. That perfect Justice should determine one person to final destruction for what was done by another, many