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received and dwelt under; and, further, that the state of society in every age of the world has been as happy and had as little affliction as would be at all sufficient to keep them within bounds.
When Adam and Eve had an innocency without blemish, they had peace without alloy. Ah! how sweet was their peace, full of love and in the enjoyment of the presence of the ALMIGHTY FATHER! When they had wickedly resolved to deviate from the path of IMPLICIT reliance on His goodness, and His will, perfect love, and perfect allegiance (the greatest attainment of man, and the greatest attainment of angels) no longer reigned in their hearts, and a life of some toil and some trouble was needful to aid in employing their busy and checquered thoughts, and keeping them out of mischief; so in His chastisements HE was, and remains to be, good and kind. If we trace history from that day to the present, we may observe the fact strikingly exemplified. At one period mankind were so wicked that the thoughts of their hearts were only evil continually, and the LORD said, "My spirit
shall not always strive with man;" and the flood came and took them all away, save eight persons.
Again they became very wicked, and with few exceptions remained so; famine and pestilence were then frequent. The race, though still lamentably naughty, has gradually improved in sincerity, mutual good will, and rational practical religion; famine and pestilence have gradually retired, and neither have been extensively known in any Christian country for many years past. Now some will say this is all to be accounted for by the more industrious habits of mankind; the more general drainage connected with extended cultivation; and the less extirpating mode of conducting wars. People have been more industrious and provident, therefore, shortness of crops have been met by previous industry and economy; and more rational, sober, cleanly, and orderly habits, improvements in medical science, together with the remedy applied to the cold, agueish state of fenny lands, and various other obvious causes, have led to these improvements in the health and
condition of man. But permit this question, Is it a reason, because the GoD of nature choose to work by natural causes, that therefore we are not to depend on HIM for temporal as well as spiritual blessings? If the benevolent AUTHOR of creation stamp this fiat on the circumstance of man that his propriety shall promote his prosperity, and his virtue his happiness; does this invalidate the doctrine of an overruling PROVIDENCE? But further, let us ask such reasoners, where are now the dearths of rain for years in unvarying continuity? Oh! but say they, we and the present race of civilization generally dwell in countries that never have been thus circumstanced; but how do you know that these countries never have been thus circumstanced? It is contrary to the evidence of Scripture which some wise men believe, all without one exception have believed who have read them with a WILLINGNESS to believe; and although civilization has travelled to the westward and northward, we know a little of the present and late circumstances of Palestine, of Persia, of Greece, of Italy; and had such things
occurred since those twin circumstances the reformation and the art of printing, we know that they would have been handed down to us. But well may we adopt the exclamation, "Man sees not THEE," when we contemplate the great and good, and continually recurring gifts on the one hand, and the indifferency of man on the other.
How inexpressibly desirable is it that all classes, but particularly the King and his confidential servants, might turn the attention of their powerful minds more particularly to grapple with those irregularities which appear to lead to the greatest and most numerous offences against GOD, if it be admitted that there is no other road to national greatness, happiness, and honour, so easy, so tangible, so effectual, so substantially enduring; for here are no clashings of honest interests, here is no taking from one man and giving to another, but here is snatching from the devil some of that which he has stolen, and using it to the honour of GOD who gave it; in whose hands, and in the administration of the Spirit of Life, it is pure in the sight of IMMACULATE WISDOM,
and beneficial to man, here is substantial benefit to each and to all without alloy and without purchase.
The writer of these few pages is so fully convinced that if all strove in the secret of their own hearts after the knowledge of the will of God concerning them, and obeyed it promptly and simply, in humility and integrity; that all would be so taught of the same DIVINE TEACHER, that sorrow, distress, and disappointment would be but little experienced, except so far as was needful to keep down any evil tendencies which still remained; that he feels as confident of it as of any fact that is obvious to his outward senses; and although one man cannot make another man acceptable to God, yet "ten righteous would have saved a city once;" and "the fervent humble prayer of a righteous man availeth much;" so if all sought and obeyed, how would it lighten the burthens of those, whether few or many, who are concerned to seek first the kingdom of GOD and His righteousness.
This would form an epoch in the history of man, and the names of the Sovereign and his