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that the destiny or course of action appointed to the human race during the vast and future ages of their history, may be in many respects widely different from that which, during their infancy, has already characterized them. In making this statement, we desire it to be understood that we mean this difference will consist, not merely in the order or distribution of events or changes-but in their kinds and general aspects and character-so that the future and advanced periods of the history of mankind, will not exhibit merely a repetition of the same kind of occurrences with which the records of past ages have made us familiar-but, from the altered circumstances of the human family, will evolve events of a greatly different, and, as we venture to hope, an essentially improved description.

On this subject, indeed, there seems to be great vagueness in the apprehensions and language of men—and even those who have devoted themselves to philosophical speculation, and from whom greater accuracy of conception might have been expected, have yet, when enlarging on the imagined perfectibility of human nature, expressed themselves in terms which seemed to intimate an indistinct persuasion, that the essential elements or character of human nature itself might be expected to be chang

ed-and not simply that this expected change would take place in the new circumstances in which the world would hereafter be placed-in the new colour that would thus be henceforth given to human destiny-and in the consequent effects which these great changes would produce on the common principles which now and for ever must characterize our human nature.

There is, in short, a vast difference between an imagined change in human nature itself-and simply in the circumstances in which the human race will henceforth be placed, and in the new aspect which will be thus given to all their interests and changes-it is a new order of things-rerum novus ordo-for which we look-and not for the existence of races different in their intellectual and sentient principles, from those that have already passed through their destined period of existence; -and if we venture ever to anticipate great improvements in the general character of the human family itself—that change, however, is to be but the reflection of the new circumstances in which it is to be placed, and not any supposed alteration of the principles of conduct or modes of thought or of feeling which constitute the human race what they distinctively are.

We thus see, according to the beautiful analogy

alluded to in the preceding section-that there is the same “marking or printing of the footsteps of nature," which we thus expect to be discoverable in coming times, already impressed on those humbler and more limited specimens of human life with which we have hitherto been familiar-that the destiny or course of events in the life of an individual often assumes an almost entirely new character-even while all his former feelings remain the same-simply by a great change in the circumstances in which he finds himself, and by the natural action of these circumstances in modifying his powers--and giving a new aspect to his character-insomuch, that nothing is frequently more astonishing to the individual himself, than the change which has taken place—and the consequent evolution of powers, of which, at an earlier and less experienced portion of his course, he had not entertained a suspicion. The very same observation, too, may be applied to families and nations ;-and, on a still greater scale, when circumstances essentially different from those that had previously existed, shall be found to characterize the condition of the great family of mankind, we are entitled, by all reason and all analogy, to believe that the course of events which had distinguished their history during its earlier developments will give

place to courses of providence more in accordance with the advanced condition of the species-and which will be as different in their character and influences from those that had preceded them-as the strenuous labours-and great cares-and highly pitched aims of mature and aged life are from the restless and aimless courses which belong to infancy and opening youth.

Indeed, it does not seem to have been the intention of Providence, that the race of men, any more than the individuals that compose it, should attain to knowledge speedily—or in any other way than through a long period of preparatory ignorance and error;—many prejudices must first be entertained-many limited notions cherished,—and much toil and labour expended in fruitless pursuits, and in the mere exercise of activity, before, in either of these cases, the course is to be fairly opened, which either the race or the individuals of it are destined to run-and, accordingly, we perceive, that, as childhood expends its energies in mere physical motion-and youth pursues many fantastic and restless schemes, and cherishes many absurd follies---so, during the past history of our race, which we are entitled to consider as but its opening period, and as bearing but a small proportion to the whole extent of its career--its exertions

have chiefly been occupied in laborious attempts to become acquainted with its actual situation on the globe which it inhabits, and to gain some knowledge of the powers and methods by which its future course of improvement and of acquisition was to be determined.

Yet already the acquisitions which it has made, and especially since the mere infancy of its existence has been succeeded by the more matured energies of its youthful career, have been such as to warrant the belief that its powers of advancement are of no insignificant kind-and that a sufficient length of course, with still improving methods of pursuit, is alone necessary to carry it forward to the highest advances which the utmost enthusiasm of philanthropic zeal may imagine as its destiny. It is chiefly since the revival of learning-when a new aspect was given to the powers and opportunities of the human race--that this great step in its progress has been made--but during that comparatively short period, the progress has been such as to outstrip all that had been achieved or imagined possible during the far longer period by which this era of its existence had been preceded; --and it is accordingly known to all persons of but the slightest acquaintance with the history of human attainment, that during that time-so com

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