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in any attempts to accelerate this progress beyond a certain term. For what would a greater comprehension of mind, and a greater power of combining ideas, avail us, without a stock of ideas to combine and comprehend? It is well known, that if we expect that boys should ever make valuable men, they must continue some time in the state of boys, or they will never make men worth forming. In the very warmth and impetuosity, and consequently the occasional irregularities, of youth, we often perceive the germ of the most exo cellent characters. But then these irregularities of youth, by which their minds are stored with a sufficient variety of strong impressions, must not be continued beyond the season of youth, or that state of peculiar sensibility, in which something still more new shall be able, in a great measure, to lessen the effect of preceding impressions, otherwise habits will be formed which will preclude all farther progress. In a course of time the mind acquires an insensibility to new impressions. A man is then in a manner incapable of extending his views,
and thereby he loses the great privilege of his rational nature. His mind, for want of an acceflion of new ideas, or farther knowledge, may even contract, and he may link into a state approaching that of a brute animal, and one that is old and intractable. - This, however, I observe by the way, though I shall have some farther use for the observation hereafter; my object being to shew, that for the very same reason that a man excels other animals, a believer in divine revelation, and especially a Christian, is superior to other men; his comprehension of mind being enlarged by such knowledge ás revelation brings him acquainted with, so that he is capable of being much more happy in himself, and of a more generous ardour in promoting the happiness of others. Also, being less sensible to present impressions, he will be more drawn out of himself, and be more free from that anxiety and distress to which persons who attend to themselves only are necessarily subject. - It may not be improper to consider as the first great article of revealed religion, be
cause it is by this means more strongly im. pressed upon the mind, though it is also the dictate of nature, to be the doctrine of the being of a God. It fo much stands or falls with the belief of revelation, that at present they generally go together, and they who are unbelievers in revealed religion, though they may retain the belief of a God, have little motive to attend to the subject, so that they are generally practical, though not absolutely speculative atheists.
Now the belief, the habitual and practia cal belief, of the being of God, a Being infinitely wise, powerful, and good, the author of universal nature, and the doctrine of a Providence, which is connected with it, contributes greatly to the enlargement of the mind of man, extending our views beyond what we immediately fee and hear around us. Without this man is comparatively a Being of narrow views, but little advanced beyond the brutes, and has but little motive to attend to any thing be, yond himself, and the lowest gratifications. Without this faith he must be liable to be
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disturbed and unhinged by every cross event.
But the belief of a God, and of a Providence, of a Being who created all things, who has assigned to every creature his proper station, and who superintends the whole chain of events, relieves and enlarges the mind, and also gives us a lively interest in the concerns of others. The idea of a God is that of the father of all his creatures, and especially of all mankind; and this suggests the farther idea, that all men are brethren, the children of one common parent; and with this idea are intimately connected a thousand other pleasing ideas, and especially a sense of a common interest, and an obligation to promote it ty every means in our power. With this favourable impression, we are prepared to respect, and to love, all mankind, as brethren, and to bear with one another as such. Whereas, without this idea, we feel as so many unconnected individuals, turned adrift upon the wide world, where we must each of us scramble for ourselves as well as we
can, and shall seldom think of attending to others, any farther than a regard to our own interest may make it expedient.
Thus, by means of faith in the being and providence of God, we are nobly carried out of, and beyond, ourselves, and are led to conceive a generous regard for others; and by this we lose nothing but a mean selfishness, and with it a tormenting anxiety, which is at the same time the characteristic, and the punishment, of a narrow, contracted mind. · There is no true, well-founded patriot. ism that has any other foundation than this, Without this there will always be room for suspicion and distrust, a suspicion of private and selfish views, suited to a mind destitute of this great and enlarged principle, of all mankind constituting one family, under one great head; the idea of an universal parent, who regards us all as his children, and who requires that we regard each other in the same pleasing light.
Without faith in God, and a belief of his universal benevolent providence, men must be liable to be peculiarly distressed and disa
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