Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

purpose? A brute arrives at a point of perfection that he can never pass; in a few years he has all the endowments 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 at al ftand.in her accomplishments, were her faculties to be fallblown, and incapable of farther enlargements, I could imagine it might 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 improvements and travelling on from perfection to perfection, after having juft looked abroad into the works of his Creator, and made a few discoveries of his infinite goodness, wisdom, and power, must perish at her forft setting out, and in the very beginning of her inquiries

MAN, considered in his present fate, seems only sent into. the world to propagate his kind. He provides himself with a fucceffor, and immediately quits his post to 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 animals, which are formed for our use, and can finish their business in . a short life. The filk-worm, after having spun her takk, lays her eggs

and dies. But in this life man can never take in his full measure of knowledge; nor has he time to subdue his paífions, establish his foul in virtue, and come up to the perfe&tion of his nature before he is hurried off the stage. Would an infinitely wife Being make such glorious creatures for so mean a purpose ? Can he delight in the production of such abortive intelligences, such short-lived reasonable beings? Would he give us talents that are not to be exerted? Capa. cities that are never to be gratified ? How can we find that wisdom which shines thro' all his works, in the formation of man, without looking on this world as only a nursery for the

next, and believing that the several generations of rational creatures, which rise up and disappear in such quick succesa sions, are only to receive their first rudiments of existence here, and afterwards to be transplanted into a more friendly climate, where they may spread and flourish to all eternity?

There is not, in my opinion, a more pleasing and criumphant consideration in religion, than this of the perpetual progress which the 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 Itrength to strength, to confider that he is to shine for ever with new accessions of glory, and brighten to all eternity; that she will be fill adding virtue to virtue, and knowledge to knowledge; carries in it something wonderfully agreeable to that ambition which is natural to the mind of man. Nay, it must be a prospect pleasing to God himself, to see his creation for ever beautifying in his eyes, and drawing nearer to him, by greater degrees of resemblance.

METHINKS this single confideration, of the progress of a finite spirit to perfection, will be sufficient to extinguish all envy in inferior natures, and all contempt in fuperior. That cherubim, which now appears as a god to a human soul, knows very well that the period will come about in eternity, when the human soul shall be as perfect as he himself now is: nay, when the shall look down upon that degree of perfection, as much as the now falls short of it. It is true, the higher Nature ftill advances, and by that means preserves his dia ftance and superiority in the scale of being ; but he knows that, how high soever the station is of which he stands pofsessed at present, the inferior nature will at length mount up to it, and shine forth in the fame degree of glory. 1 H6

WITH:

WITH what astonishment and veneration may we look into our souls, where there are luch hidden stores of virtue and knowledge, such inexhausted fources 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 foul, considered in relation to its Creator, is like one of those mathematical lines that may draw nearer to another for all eternity, without à possibility of touching it: and can there be a thought fo transporting, as to consider ourselves in these perpetual approaches to HIM, who is not only the standard of perfection, but of happiness?

SPECTATOR..

CHAP. V.

[ocr errors]

ON THE BEING of A GOD:
RETIRE;

The world fhut out; -Thy thoughts
call home;-
Imagination's airy wing repress;
Lock up thy fenfes ;-Let no passion ftir ;
Wake all to Reafan ;Let her reign alone :-
Then, in thy soul's deep filence, and the depth
Of nature's filence, midnight, thus inquire :

What am I ? and from whence !--I nothing know,
But that I am; and since I am, conclude
Something eternal: had there e'er been nought,
Nought still had been : Eternal there must be.
But what eternal ?- Why not human race?
And ADAM's ancestors without an end !--
That's hard to be conceiy'd; fince ev'ry link

TO

Of that long chain's succession is so frail;
Can every part depend, and not the whole ?
Yet grant it true; new difficolties rise ;
I'm still quite out at sea; nor see the shore.
Whence earth, and thefe bright orbs :-Eternal tool.com
Grant matter was eternal; still these orbs
Would want some other father-Much design
Is seen in all their motions, all their makes :
Design implies intelligence and art;
That can't be from themselves--or man; that art
Man can scarce comprehend, could man bestow?
And nothing greater, yet allow'd, than mad.
Who, motion, foreign to the smallest grain,
Shot thro’ vast masses of enormous weight ?
Who bid brute Matter's restive lump assume
Such various forms, and gave it wings to fly
Has matter innate motion? Then each atom,
Asserting its indisputable right
To dance, would form an univerfe of duft:
Mas matter none ? Then whence these glorious forms,
And boundless flights, from shapeless, and repos'd?
Has matter more than motion? Has it thought,
Judgment, and genius ? Is it deeply learn'd
In mathematics? Has it fram'd such laws,
Which, but to guess, a Newton made immortal!
If art, to form ; and counsel, to conduct;
And that with greater 'far, than human skill,
Refides not in each block;-a GODHEAD reigns !
And, if a GOD there is, that GOD how great!

YOUNG:

BOOK

BOOK V.

ORATIONS AND HARANGUES.

С НАР. І..

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 villainy could have. polluted, that I will pursue Lucius Tarquinius the proud, his wicked wife, and their children, with fire and sword :nor will I ever suffer any of that family, or of any other whatsoever, to be king in Rome. Ye gods! I call you to witness this my oath !-There, Romans, turn your eyes to. that fad spectacle--the daughter of Lucretius, Collatinus'swife-she died by her own hand. See there a noble lady, whom the last of a Tarquin reduced to the necessity of being her own executioner, to atteft her innocence. Hospitably entertained by her as a kinsman of her husband's, Sextus, the perfidious gueft, became her brutal ravisher. The chafte, the generous Lucretia could not survive the insult. Glorious

woman!:

« PreviousContinue »