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fectly indifferent whether we observe those laws or not. His friends and his enemies fare frequently alike: nay, the former are often punished with the heaviest afflictions, and the latter rewarded with every earthly enjoyment.

There has, in fine, been from the first ages of the world, down to this present moment, an almost universal agreement and consent of all mankind, in the belief or apprehension of a future state of existence; and yet this turns out to be nothing more than a delusive imagination, though impressed so deeply by nature itself on every human breast.

What now can be imagined more strange and inexplicable; more absurd and inconsistent; more replete with disorder, confusion, and misery; more unworthy the wisdom, the goodness, of the Supreme Being, than the frame of man, and the constitution of the world, according to the representation here given of them?

But when, on the other hand, you extend your view beyond the limits of this life, and take in the consideration of another, what an alteration does this instantly make in the appearance of every thing within and without us! The mist that before rested on the face of the earth vanishes away,

and discovers a scene of the utmost order, beauty, harmony, and regularity. The moment our relation to another world is known, all perplexity is cleared up, and all inconsistencies are reconciled.

We then find ourselves composed of two parts, a material body, and an immaterial soul; and the seemingly incompatible properties of matter and spirit, instead of being intermixed and incorporated together in one substance, have each their distinct province assigned them in our compound frame, and reside in separate substances, suited to their respective natures. But though different from each other, they are closely united together. By this union we are allied to the visible and invisible, the material and spiritual world, and stand, as it were, on the confines of each; and when the body reverts to earth, the soul betakes itself to that world of immaterial spirits to which it belongs.

Those extraordinary faculties and powers of the human mind, which seem far beyond the uses which this short life requires, become highly proper and suitable to a being that is designed for eternity, and are nothing more than what is necessary to prepare it for that heavenly country which is its proper home, and is to be its everlasting abode. There they will have full room to open and expand themselves, and to display a degree of vigour and activity, not to be attained in the present life. There they will go on improving to all eternity, and acquire that state of perfection to which they are always tending, but have not time in this world to arrive at.

When once it is certain that we are to give an account of ourselves hereafter, there is then a plain reason why we are free agents; why a rule is given us to walk by; why we have a power of deviating from, or conforming to it; why, in short, we undergo a previous examination at the bar of our consciences before we appear at the tribunal of our great Judge.

Our earnest thirst for fame, for happiness, for immortality, will, on the supposition of a future existence, serve some better purpose than to disappoint and distress us. They are all natural with objects that correspond with them, and will each of them meet with that gratification in another life, which they in vain look for in this.

Nay, even that unequal distribution of good and evil, at which we are so apt to repine, and those heavy afflictions which sometimes press so hard upon the best of men, are all capable of an easy solution, the moment we take a future life into account.

This world then is only part of a system: it was never intended for a state of retribution, but of probation. Here we are only tried; it is hereafter we are to be rewarded, or punished. The evils we meet with, considered in this light, assume a very different aspect. They are wise, and even benevolent provisions, to put our virtues to the proof; to produce in us that temper, and those dispositions, which are necessary preparations for immortal glory.

Thus does the supposition of a future state clear up every difficulty, and disperse the darkness

which otherwise hangs over this part of God's creation. With this light of immortality held up before us, we can find our way through the obscurest parts of God's moral government, and give a satisfactory account of his dealings with mankind. It is therefore a most convincing proof of the reality of a future state, that it answers so many excellent purposes, and seems so indispensably necessary to give harmony and regularity to the designs of the Almighty in the formation of this globe, and its inhabitants; and to be the finishing and winding up of one uniform and consistent plan of divine conduct. For, as in the material world, when we find that the principle of gravitation, upon being applied to the several parts of the universe, explains, in the justest and most satisfactory manner, the situation, appearances, and influences of the heavenly bodies, and even accounts for all the seeming irregularity and eccentricity of their motions, we make no scruple of allowing the existence and the operation of such a power: so, in the moral system, when we see that the admission of another life gives an easy solution of the most surprising and otherwise unaccountable phenomena; and is, as it were, a master-key, that unlocks every intricacy, and opens to us the great plan of Providence in the administration of human affairs; we can no longer, without doing violence to every rule of just reasoning, refuse our assent to the truth and reality of such a state.



ANSWER me, burning stars of night!

Where is the Spirit gone
That past the reach of human thought

As a swift breeze hath flown ?-
And the stars answered—“We roll

In light and power on high; But of the never dying soul,

Ask that which cannot die."

O many toned and mainless wind!

Thou art a wanderer free;
Tell me if thou its place can find,

Far over mount and sea?
And the wind murmured in reply—

“The blue wave I have crossed, And met its bark and billows high,

But not what thou hast lost.”

Ye clouds that gorgeously repose

Around the setting sun,
Answer, Have ye a home for those

Whose earthly race is run?-
The bright clouds answered. "We depart;

We vanish from the sky;
Ask what is deathless in thy heart

For that which cannot die."

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