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We find in all human Works of the same Hand, a certain Similitude, whereby a critical Observer may, in most cases, determine the Author, with. out any other information. The lines and colouring of a picture shall have such peculiar Characteristics, as to perpetuate the name and credit of the Ar. cist, without any written elogy: And pieces. seen in different countries shall very justly be attributed to the same Author. The proportions of a building shall tell who is the architect, with more truth and praise, than a name graved in stone. A stile in writing shall be as distinguishable a mark to ascertain the works of the Ingenious, as the characters in which they record their works, or their bodily
Features, which diftinguish them living. • This Observation extends also to moral conduct ; Mankind, notwithstanding the great variety of modes of action, being constant as to national principles, considered in collective bodies ; and also each man to his own principle, considered as individuals. Hence arises thac opinion which one man forms of another, from a mode of action, which shall inable him to judge with great probability, whether any parcicular action be justly attributed to any particular. person. If a man who has acquired the character of being ambitious, should do any act which may be differently considered, his principle of action being known shall determine the Judgments of men to believe that, to be an act of ambition,
In like manner the libidinous, revengeful, Avaritious; and, on the other hand, the chaste, the merciful, the generous, having all peculiar principles and modes of action, of which they are very tenacious, shall seldom deceive mankind by declar.. ing what they with should be thought their designs, if their real principles bę contrary to what they de. clare. This analogy of Judgment in moral conduct is of great use to mankind, being the support of equity and order in the world : For virtuous men
are hereby defended against Nanderers, and the vi
cious are often brought to deserved punishment. . As we thus Judge with great probability of the moral conduct of mankind by analogy, and thereby discover their real designs ; so may we also, with great probability, judge of the divine will, from that beautiful and copious analogy discoverable in
all his works. The works of God are either :: natural or moral. Such things as' are void of all
freedom of choice in themselves, are called natural
temporal temporal concerns, so ought they in spiritual; if they act in one case upon probabilities, attended with many 'objections, so ought they in the other'; if they even act in some temporal Instances against probability, upon-account of some great possible emolument to arife from it ; so ought they in religious concerns, though they appear improbable: If men forego a present temporal advantage, for the sake of a greater future temporal benefit; fo should they forego all temporal advantages, for an eternal spiritual reward, when thår eternal reward cannot be obtained any other Way : If men are actually rewarded and punished in many instances observable in the experience of the world, for particular virtues and vices; they should also believe, that the governor of the world will eternally reward, and punish, a total vir tuous and a total vicious habit, in another state of things : If men own, that natural evils are propagated, and that the Grandchild, or later descendant, does often suffer, in mind, and body, for the vices of a Parent ; why should not they own, that moral Stains may descend too, and that all mankind may be tainted by the fin of their common parent? - This is analogical reasoning, and must be allowed to be a proper foundation, whereon to estais blith similar truths, and oblige mankind, either tô give up all principle of action, founded upon Judgment and election, or to act consistently upon it, in all similar cases. : riis • If we examine the reasoning which our Saviour made use of, we shall find most of it of this kind, When he has a mind to recommend spiritual husbandry, he does it by the parable of the steward : When he recommends watchfulness in religion, he does it by the story of the ten virgins: When he means to be understood of spiritual distributions, he explains himself by temporal talents, and an earthly king: When he designs to exhort to repentance, and to thew the compassion of our Heavenly Fa.
poses of that Seould we believe with intelligence we.
ther, he does it by the parable of the prodigal fon returning to his father in a penitent state of mind, And in the same manner; upon many other occafions, arguments from analogy are applied with infinite force. If ye, bring evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children ; how much more shall your father, which is in Heaven, give good gifts to them, that ask him ?
This kind of reasoning also holds between the material and spiritual world, instances of which shall be given: -- Although matter be intirely distinct from, and inferior to Spirit, being in itself inert, and incapable of action; yet very capable of being acted upon ; the motions, the appearances; and vas rious changes of the material system, being the effect of some intelligent Spirit, the mind and purposes of that Spirit may not improbably be gathered from them. Could we believe; as some have done, that the planets were endued with intelligence, we could not but admire their wisdom. But since we know, that they are void of all intelligence themselves, and move by the direction of one infinite ind telligence, our adoration is properly directed thither, and we analogically infer, that the author of order and regularity in the heavenly bodies; must. also love itz and therefore requires it, in moral be: ings, whether angels or men.When we observe in the material world, that most things tend to effect natural good, and that there are plain marks of things having been once in another and a better state ; we infer analogically the famë of moral beings! And since natural good and evil are only fo, with relation to some beings which are capable of perceiving them, as such ; hence it is reasonable to infer; that natural good and evil have been al. ways the concomitants of moral good and evil ; and that the latter were the occafion of the former. And further, since every artist loves to exhibit to
view, such works as are the effects of the best of his skill, and a credit to the artificer; so the divine author of the universe probably, at first, fashioned things in a better order, than we at present find them: And the alceration of that order must not have been owing to any defect of care in the supreme author, but to the perverseness of free creatures, who abused their liberty. · Hence also, when a man looks abroad into the natural evils of the world, and sees the waste of things by heat, or cold, drought or moisture, by inundations, hurricanes, and earthquakes; he should also look into himself, and inquire for the moral causes of such things; which may lead him to many useful sentiments, necessary to a sound belief of that revelation, which gives us a fair account of the concomitancy of moral and natural evil; For man was at first created, upright, and the world was made beautiful for its inhabitant : He finned, and was then undeserving of fo noble a dwelling ; therefore his habitation was rendered less comfortable, and the earth was made as productive of thorns and thiftles, as human nature was of immoralities. Mankind increased in Sin, so as to deserve a total de struction, except one Family : Upon this they were destroyed, and the whole surface of the earth was again altered by a general flood. The righteous family, which furvived, possessed a better earth, pro. ductive of fruits with less toil than the former, yet still subject to many natural evils: Which earth Thall at last be destroyed by fire, when the wicked shall be doomed to eternal fire, and a more glori. ous earth shall be made for the habitation of the righteous. . . Thus do moral and natural evils go hand in hand : As perfect morality, and a beautiful earth, began this order of things ; fo shall perfect morality, and a beautiful earth, end them. And thus may we argue analogically from natural good and evil,