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Thirdly, from the nature of the Supreme Being, whose justice, goodness, wisdom, and veracity, are all concerned in this point.

But among these, and other excellent arguments for the immortality of the foul, there is one drawn from the perpetual progrefs of the foul to its perfection, without a possibility of ever arriving at it; which is a hint that I do not remember to have feen opened and improved by others, who have written on this subject, though it feems to me to carry a very great weight with it. How can it enter into the thoughts of man, that the foul, which is capable of fuch immenfe perfections, and of receiving new improvements to all eternity, fhall fall away into nothing, almoft as foon as it is created? Are fuch abilities made for no purpose? A· brute arrives at a point of perfection, that he can never pafs: in a few years he has all the endowments he is capable of; and were he to live ten thousand more, would be the fame thing he is at prefent. Were a human foul thus at a stand in her accomplishments; were her faculties to be full blown, and incapable of farther enlargements; I could imagine fhe might fall away infenfibly, and drop at once into a state of annihilation. But can we believe a thinking being, that is in a perpetual progrefs of improvements, and travelling on from perfection to perfection, after having just looked abroad into the works of its Creator, and made a few difcoveries of his infinite goodness, wifdom, and power, muft perith at her firft fetting out, and in the very beginning of her inquiries?

A man, confidered only in his prefent ftate, feems fent into the world merely to propagate his kind. He provides himself with a fuccefsor; and immediately quits

his poft to make room for him. He does not feem born to enjoy life, but to deliver it down to others. This is not furprifing to confider in animals, which are formed for our use, and can finish their business in a fhort life. The filk-worm, after having spun her task, lays her eggs and dies. But a man cannot take in his full meafure of knowledge, has not time to fubdue his passions, eftablish his foul in virtue, and come up to the perfection of his nature, before he is hurried off the stage. Would an infinitely wife Being make fuch glorious creatures for fo mean a purpose? Can he delight in the production of such abortive intelligences, fuch short-lived reasonable beings? Would he give us talents that are not to be exerted? capacities that are never to be gratified? How can we find that wisdom which fhines through all his works, in the formation. of man, without looking on this world as only a nursery for the next; and without believing that the several generations of rational creatures, which rife up and difappear in fuch quick fuccefsions, are only to receive their first rudiments of existence here, and afterwards to be transplanted into a more friendly climate, where they may spread and flourish to all eternity?

There is not, in my opinion, a more pleafing and triumphant confideration in religion, than this of the perpetual progrefs, which the foul makes towards the perfection of its nature, without ever arriving at a period in it. To look upon the foul as going on from ftrength to ftrength; to confider that he is to shine for ever with new accefsions of glory, and brighten to all eternity; that she will be ftill adding virtue to virtue, and knowledge to knowledge; carries in it fomething wonderfully agreeable to that ambition, which is natural

to the mind of man. Nay, it must be a prospect pleafing to God himfelf, to fee his creation for ever beautifying in his eyes; and drawing nearer to him, by greater degrees of refemblance.

Methinks this fingle confideration, of the progress of a finite spirit to perfection, will be fufficient to extinguish all envy in inferior natures, and all contempt in fuperior. That cherub, which now appears as a god to a human foul, knows very well, that the period will come about in eternity, when the human foul fhall be as perfect as he himself now is: nay, when she shall look down upon that degree of perfection as much as fhe now falls fhort of it. It is true, the higher nature still advances, and by that means preserves his distance and fuperiority in the fcale of being; but he knows that, how high foever the station is of which he stands possessed at present, the inferior nature will at length mount up to it; and fhine forth in the fame degree of glory.

With what aftonishment and veneration, may we look into our own fouls, where there are fuch hidden ftores of virtue and knowledge, fuch inexhausted fources of perfection! We know not yet what we shall be; nor will it ever enter into the heart of man, to conceive the glory that will be always in referve for him. The foul, confidered with its Creator, is like one of thofe mathematical lines, that may draw nearer to another for all eternity, without a pofsibility of touching it and can there be a thought fo transporting, as to confider ourfelves in thefe perpetual approaches to HIM, who is the standard not only of perfection, but of happiness!

ADDISON.

CHAPTER V.

DESCRIPTIVE PIECES.

SECTION I.

The Seafons.

AMONG the great blefsings and wonders of the creation, may be clafsed the regularities of times and feafons. Immediately after the flood, the facred promife was made to man, that feed-time and harvest, cold and heat, fummer and winter, day and night, fhould continue to the very end of all things. Accordingly, in obedience to that promife, the rotation is conftantly prefenting us with fome ufeful and agreeable alteration; and all the pleafing novelty of life arifes from these natural changes: nor are we lefs indebted to them for many of its folid comforts. It has been frequently the task of the moralift and poet, to mark, in polished periods, the particular charms and conveniences of every change; and, indeed, fuch difcriminate obfervations upon natural variety, cannot be undelightful; fince the blessing, which every month brings along with it, is a fresh inftance of the wisdom and bounty of that Providence, which regulates the glories of the year. We glow as we contemplate; we feel a propensity to adore, whilft we enjoy. In the time of feed-fowing, it is the feafon of confidence: the grain which the husbandman trufts to the bofom of the

earth fhall, haply, yield its feven-fold rewards. Spring prefents us with a scene of lively expectation. That which was before fown begins now to discover figns of fuccefsful vegetation. The labourer obferves the change, and anticipates the harveft: he watches the progrefs of nature, and fmiles at her influence; while the man of contemplation walks forth with the evening, amidst the fragrance of flowers, and promifes of plenty; nor returns to his cottage till darkness clofes the scene upon his eye. Then cometh the harvest, when the large with is fatisfied, and the granaries of nature are loaded with the means of life, even to a luxury of abundance. The powers of language are unequal to the defcription of this happy feafon. It is the carnival of nature: fun and fhade, coolness and quietude, cheerfulness and melody, love and gratitude, unite to render every fcene of fummer delightful.--The divifion of light and darkness is one of the kindest efforts of Omnipotent Wisdom. Day and night yield us contrary blefsings; and, at the fame time, afsift each other, by giving fresh luftre to the delights of both. Amidst the glare of day, and bustle of life, how could we fleep? Amidft the gloom of darknefs, how could we labour?

How wife, how benignant, then, is the proper divifion! The hours of light are adapted to activity; and thofe of darkness, to reft. Ere the day is pafsed, exercife and nature prepare us for the pillow; and by the time that the morning returns, we are again able to meet it with a smile. Thus, every feason has a charm peculiar to itself; and every moment affords fome interefting innovation.

F

MELMOTH.

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