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that strength of limbs, and fagacity of mind, which gives him a right to a lordship over his kindred animals.
There is also a relation between this natural birth, and the spiritual birth of a man; which has been already mentioned.
The moment a human creature breatheth air, there is almost a total change in its nature; it enjoys a new world, and a new set of senses, and, though it had life and growth before, yet that life was but death in respect to this. So, when a man relinquishes the prejudices, and vitious customs, and turpitudes of this life, and devotes himself sincerely to the truth and holiness of a spiritual state, there is as intire a change wrought; and the former corrupc ftate is, in respect to this regenerate one, no other than death; and the Scriptures speak of it as such, calling the works of that state, dead works.
Now, suppose human nature capable of reasoning during the time of its existence between concepti. on and birth ; let us fee, whether its reasoning, in respect to this life, would not be analogous to the reasoning of an adult man, in respect to the life, which is to come.
We argue very juftly, from our state of growth; and continual increase of natural Powers, and moral improvements, that human nature is designed for a longer continuance in being, than the usual time al. lotted for it here. From its strong appetites, in re. spect to life, and knowledge, and holiness, in such whose nature is not vitiated by immoral habits, we reasonably infer, that there must be a time and place for their gratification, and consequently, a state after this.
In the other case, the imperfect man should reafon in a similar manner. Considering the narrow. ness of his sphere, and the greatness of his desires, the fewness of his objects, and the capacity of his nature, he must conclude, that he was made to en. joy a better life, and that such a narrow confinement
object in this be a staten finitely more nt of it in
could not be the ultimate end of creation. Suppose. a question put to him by the author of his nature; Whether would he choose to venture forward into this future state of being, though unknown to him, or fall back into nothing? It cannot be doubted but that he would, and ought to embrace the former; and prefer the possibility of existing happily, to not existing at all.
But suppose a revelation made to him, that this Future state was to be a state of trial, and that, according to his behaviour, he should either enjoy ha ppiness, or suffer misery ; would he not enter into it upon these terms? He certainly would. If therefore this be likely to be the reasoning of a man in an embryo state, in regard to this world ; it is also becoming the reason of an adult man, in re. gard to the next world. In respect to which, this reasoning is stronger : For, if this life should be the object of desire to a person in an embryo ftate; though this be a state of trial, temptation, and difs ficulty: The next is infinitely more desirable to one, who considers the revealed account of it in this. For it is to be a state of eternal enjoyment, without temptation; of everlasting pleasure, without an allay of pain.
What then shall we say to those, who even cen: sure their Creator for their existence, and endeavour to reason themselves into the hopes of returning to nothing? The Analogy of reason fhews, that their sentiments are both foolish and impious, and concludes against them in a forcible manner: For, if we may suppose, that a man would choose to enter into this world, knowing it to be a statę of trial, even for the sake of its temporal degree of happiness; much more would he choose this life, knowing it to be the means of a probability of eternal happiness in a state beyond it. L ET us now consider the Analogy between the Immaturity of Man's Life in this world, to
eternal life, what of it? And what of trial, and ex
the matuman's life, id instructie
the maturity of it; and the whole life of man here,' to his future life. .
The Bible tells us, that temporal life is a probationary state to eternal life: For the world palletb away, and the luft thereof; but be that doeth the will of God, abideth for ever: And Analogy con- firms this.--For why should not temporal life be to eternal life, what the immaturity of temporal life, is : to the maturity of it? And what are the first twen- · ty years of man's life, but a state of trial, and exer
cife, and discipline, and instruction, to enable him - to act some useful Part in the world ? A common
niechanic, after having learned the necessary qualification of language, shall be obliged to serve many years to acquire the skill of a trade, whereby he is to support himself; and they who are educated for the liberal arts, shall study with intensenefs, and traverse the globe for knowledge, in order to be use. ful to mankind. The great Roman orator was twenty fix years engaged in preparatory studies, before he was qualified to make one oration. And shall eternity of happiness be made to depend upon less pains, and less trials, than the short enjoyment of a transient world ? . .
And further, in this state of temporary probation, it is to be observed, that children do many things, the reason of which they do not, and cannot see, merely in obedience to authority; but they have fome kind of sense, that what is required of them, though at present uneasy to them, will some time or other procure them pleasure. Analogus to this, in the mature state of man's life, the divine author of ir may require things of him, the reasonableness of which though he should not see, yet should he presume it ; and act as chearfully upon the divine testimony, as upon the 'clear evidence of human reason: For the mature state of a man here is only childhood, in respect to the perfect state he will enjoy hereafter. It is, perhaps, upon this...
account, as well as innocence, that our Saviour says, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God: Verily I say unto you, whoscever hall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, pall in no wise enter therein.
And except a man be born again, be cannot see the kingdom of God. I EŤ us now, in the second place, state the analoL gy between worldly cunning and true morality, or between that which is improperly called prudence and religion ; that is, the Analogy between the moral and spiritual man. .
There is a sort of virtue, or prudence, very consistent with the character of a bad man, even an atheist : An avaritious man shall be temperate, because it is a means to increase wealth ; an ambitious man shall be generous, because it is a means to make friendship, and procure applause; the atheist Thall be temperate and generous, and, in many 0.. ther respects, so far virtuous, as he evidently sees a moral practice is the means to preserve health, prolong life, and to give a true relish to the pleasures of the world : But that, which constitutes true virtue, is acting thus in obedience to the divine lawgiver, and in hopes of a future reward. It is the Analogy between this last true prudence, and the improper prudence, or worldly cunning, which is to be considered.
Prudence, in general, is the habit of choosing i proper means to acquire a desirable end ; and world
ly prudence is the choosing the likeliest means, to obtain temporal prosperity. In this, men are ex* ceedingly fagacious, and industrious, and enterprising: They compare past things with the present, and judge, with a good degree of certainty, of what is the immediate matter of action, and with probability of futurity: They can lay schemes, the event of which shall be at some years distance ; they can expend money upon manufactures in the
of the .com, though alexecute, a me
most diftant parts of the globe, and encounter many difficulties to bring home their wealth. The perils of the ocean, the fickliness of climates, and hostile opposition, though all united, shall not deter them, from attempting to execute, a mercantile or an ambitious project. Now should not the Analogy of things teach us, that mankind ought to be more sagacious, more industrious, and more enterprising, in spiritual things, since they are of infinitely more importance ? . But this is not the whole of worldly prudence: Many men fail in the execution of their projects; the mariner perishes at sea, the merchant becomes a bankrupt upon land, the farmer is impoverished by severity of weather, and the warrier is taken or kila led in battle: But do these calamities and disap. pointments hinder the rest of mankind from engaging in the same pursuits? Will not men, notwithftanding this, go to sea, enter into a precarious trade, plow their land, and go to battle? It would be folly not to do these things : Yet, in fpiritual things, they are deterred with every difficulty ; all truths must be made demonftrable to them, their reward must be made sure, and almost unconditional; the numbers of those that are to be saved must be computed ; and, if the appearance of things is, that a great part of mankind are, bringing damnation upon themselves, this shall frighten many a weak mind, even from attempting to be saved.
But let Analogy have its full force, and the folly of this spiritual imprudence shall appear : For, jnce in all other things men are not hindered from reasonable pursuits, bý evident and unavoidable difficulties ; neither should they in their religion, in the work of their salvation, which is of infinitely more importance than all those things, which mankind pursue with such eagerness and fagacity. Our Saviour, therefore, very properly answered that question of more curiosity than use: Lord, are
things, not to do and, and enter into a
truths muy are deterred things : Yet, in