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are surrounded with wonders on every hand; and man to be inattentive to the wonders which sur therefore we cease to admire, or to fix our atten- round him, what can be more pleasing and con lion on any one of the wonders daily performed by genial to a rational and devont miud, than con God. We have never been accustomed to con- templations on the works of the Most High? template or to inhabit a world where benevolence “ What can be more gratifying," says Sturm and wisdom are not displayed ; and, therefore, we “ than to contemplate, in the heavens, in the are apt to imagine, that the circumstances of our earth, in the water, in the night and day, and terrestrial existence could not have been muoh indeed, throughout all nature, the proofs which otherwise than they actually are. We behold they afford of the wisdom, the purity, and the the sun in the morning, ascending from the east goodness of our great Creator and Preserver ! -a thousand shining globes are seen in the ca. What can be more delightful than to recognize, nopy of the sky, when he has disappeared in the in the whole creation, in all the natural world. west. We open our eyelids, and the myriad in every thing we see, traces of the ever-workof objects which compose an extensive landscape ing providence and tender mercy of the great are, in a moment, painted on our retina,---we Father of all !" wish to move our bodies, and, in an instant, the joints and muscles of our hands and feet perform their several functions. We spread out our wet clothes to dry, and in a few hours the moisture is
SECTION IV. evaporated. We behold the fields drenched with rain, and in a few days it disappears, and is On the Goodness or Benevolence of the DEITY. dispersed through the surrounding atmosphere, to be again imbodied into clouds. These are all The Benevolence of God is that perfection common operations, and, therefore, thoughtless of his nature, by which he communicates hape and ungrateful man seldom considers the obliga- piness to the various ranks of sensitive and intions he is under to the Author of his existence, telligent existence. for the numerous enjoyments which flow from The system of Nature, in all its parts, exhibits these wise arrangements. But were the globe an unbounded display of this attribute of the we inhabit, and all its appendages, to remain in Divine Mind, both in relation to man, and in their present state--and were only the principle relation to the subordinate tribes of animated of evaporation and the refractive and reflective existence. In relation to Man-the magnificence properties of the air to be destroyed we should and glory of the heavens—the variegated colouring soon feel, by the universal gloom which would ene which is spread over the scene of nature-the sue, and by a thousand other inconveniences we beautiful flowers, shrubs, and trees, with which should suffer, what a miserable world was allotted the earth is adorned, which not only delight the for our abode. We should most sensibly per eye, but perfumo the air with their delicious ceive the wisdom and goodness we had formerly odours--the various kinds of agreeable sounds overlooked, and would most ardently implore the that charm the ear-the music of the feathered restoration of those arrangements for which we songsters, which fill the groves with their me. were never sufficiently grateful. And why should lody-the thousands of pleasant images which we not now-while we enjoy so many comforts delight the eye, in the natural embellishments of flowing from the plans of infinite Wisdom- creation-the agreeable feelings produced by the have our attention directed to the benevolent con- contact of almost every thing we have occasion trivances within us, and around us, in order that to touch the pleasure attached to eating, drinkgrateful emotions may be hourly arising in our ing, muscular motion, and activity-the luxuriant hearts, to the Father of our spirits ? For the es. profusjon, and rich variety of aliments which the sence of true religion consists chiefly in gratitude earth affords—and the interchanges of thought to the God of our life, and the Author of salva- and affection-all proclaim the Benevolence of tion ; and every pleasing sensation we feel from our Almighty Maker, and show that the commuthe barmonies and the beauties of nature, ought nication of happiness is one grand object of all to inspire us with this sacred emotion. “Hearken his arrangements. For these circumstances unto this, O man ! stand still, and consider the are not essentially requisite to our existence wonderful works of God. Contemplate the Wo might have lived, and breathed, and walked balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works though every thing we touched had produced of Him who is perfect in knowledge."-"He pain; though every thing we ate and drank hard nath made the earth by his power, he hath esta- been bitter; though every movement of our hands blished the world by his wisdom. When he ad feet had been accompanied with uneasiness uttereth his voice, there is a noise of waters in and fatigue ; though every sound had been as harsh the heavens ; he causeth the vapours to ascend as the saw of the carpenter; though no birds had from the ends of the earth, and bringeth the winds warbled in the groves; though no flowers had out of his treasures." While it is shameful for docked the fields, or filled the air with their per
fumes ; though one unvaried scene of dull uni- most perfect contrast to the selfish and revengefu. formity had prevailed, and beauty and sublimity dispositions of man, which as far transcenus had been swept from the face of nature ; though human benevolence, as the heavens in extent the earth had been covered with a mantle of black, surpass the earth-a character calculated to exand no radiant orbs had appeared in our nocturnal cite our highest love and admiration, and which sky. But what a miserable world should we then we are called upon, in the Sacred Oracles, to have inhabited, compared with that which we imitate and revere. “Be ye merciful, as your non possess ! Life would have passed away Father who is in heaven is merciful: for he without enjoyment; and pain would have over- maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the balanced the pleasure of existence. Whereas, in good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the the existing constitution of things, all the objects unjust."-"O that men would praise the Lord for around us, and every sense of which we are pos- his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the sessed, when preserved in its natural vigour, have children of men.” a direct tendency to produce pleasing sensations, From such considerations, we learn, even from and to contribute to our enjoyment: and it is the system of nature, that mercy is an attribute chiefly when we indulge in foolish and depraved of the Deity ; for, if mercy consists in bestowing passions, and commit immoral actions, that the favours on those who are unworthy, or who merit benevolent intentions of the Deity are frustrated, punishment, the greatest sinners in all ages have and pain and misery produced.
shared in it, and every individual of the human If we consider, further, that the inexhaustible race now existing enjoys a certain portion of bounty of the Creator, and the numerous pleasures those comforts which flow from the benevolent we enjoy, are bestowed upon a guilty race of men, arrangements which the Creator has established. the benevolence of the Deity will appear in a "He maketh the sun to rise on the evil and on the still more striking point of view. Man has dared good." Though the nations in ancient times, to rebel against his Maker; he is a depraved and as well as at present, “ walked in their own way ungrateful creature. The great majority of our indulging in impiety, falsehood, lewdness, war, race have banished God from their thoughts, devastations, revenge, abominable idolatries, and trampled upon his laws, neglected to contemplate every other violation of his law, he still supported his works, refused to pay him that tribute of the functions of their animal frames, and caused reverence and adoration which his perfections the influence of the sun, the rains, and the dews, demand, have been ungrateful for his favours, to descend upon their fields, that they might be have blasphemed his name, and have transferred refreshed with his bounty, and filled " with food to ** four-footed beasts, and creeping things," that and gladness.” If mercy were not an essential homage which is due to him alone. It has been attribute of the Deity, he would have cut them the chief part of their employment, in all ages, down in the midst of their first transgressions, to counteract the effects of his Beneficence, by shattered to pieces the globe on which they dwelt, inflicting injustice, oppression, and torture, upon and buried them in eternal oblivion. But whether each other; by maiming the human frame, burn- Divine mercy will extend to the final forgiveness ing cities and villages, turning fruitful fields into of sin, and the communication of eternal happia wilderness, and by every other act of violence, ness to such beings, can be learned only from the carrying death and destruction through the world. discoveries of revelation. And if water, air, and the light of heaven, had I n relation to the inferior animals—the imbeen placed within the limits of their control, it mense multitude of living creatures with which is more than probable, that whole nations would the earth is replenished, is a striking evidence have been occasionally deprived of these elements, of the vast profusion of Divine Beneficence. 80 essential to human existence. Yet, notwith More than a hundred thousand species of anistanding the prevalence of such depraved disponmated beings are dispersed through the differ. sitions, the streams of Divine benevolence to ent regions of the air, the water, and the earth, wards our apostate race have never yet been besides myriads which are invisible to qhe uninterrupted. The earth has never stopped in its assisted eye. To estimate the number of incareer, and thrown nature into a scene of confu- dividuals belonging to anyone species is beyond sion; the light of heaven has never ceased to the power of mara What countless myrfads illume the world ; the springs of water have never of herrints for example, are contained in a single been dried up, nor has the fertile soil ceased to shoal, which is frequently mote thao six miles enrich the plains with golden harvests. God long and three miley kroad., To estimate the « hath not left himself without a witness," to his number of individuals irrall the different species beneficence, in any age, in that he hath unceas would, therefore, to as impossible as to count the ingly bestowed on the inhabitants of the world grains of sand in the Arabian deserts. There
rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling is not a single spot, in any region of the globe, their hearts with food and gladness.” This is but what teems with animated beings. Yet, ad one of the characters of Deity which forms the this vast assemblage of sensitive existence is
amply provided for by the bountiful Creator. cover a train of contrivance to bring about aa " These all wait upon him, and he giveth evil purpose. No anatomist ever discovered a them their meat in due season.” They enjoy system of organization calculated to produce not only life, but also a happy existence. The pain and disease; or in explaining the parts of the sportive motions and gesticulations of all the human body, ever said, This is to irritate ; this to animal tribes the birds skimming through the inflame ; this duct is to convey the gravel to the air, warbling in the groves, and perching on the kidneys; this gland to secrete the humour which trees the beasts of the field, bounding in the forms the gout. If, by chance, he come at a forests, and through the lawns—the fishes sporta part of which he knows not the use, the most he ing in the waters-he reptiles wriggling in the can say is, that it is uselses; no one ever suspects dust, and the winged insects, by a thousand that it is put there to incommode, to annoy, or wanton mazes - all declare that they are re- forment. Since, then, God hath called forth his joicing in their existence, and in the exercise of consummate wisdom to contrive and provide for those powers with which the Creator has fur- our happiness, and the world appears to have nished them. So that, wherever we turn our eyes, been constituted with this design at first, so we evidently perceive, that “the earth is full of long as this constitution is upheld by him, we the goodness of the Lord;" and that" his tender must, in reason, suppose the same design to conmercies are over all his works." This subject tinue."--Paley's Moral Philosophy, Book II. is boundless but it would be inconsistent with Chap. 5. the limited plan of this work, to enter into any Thus, I have endeavoured, in this and the preparticular details. And it is the less necessary, ceding section, to exhibit a few specimens of the when we consider, that every instance of Divine Wisdom and Goodness of God, in the system of Wisdom is, at the same time, an instance of nature. These might have been multiplied to an benevolence; for it is the ultimate object of all indefinite extent, but the instances adduced, I the wise contrivances in the system of Nature, presume, are sufficient to sbow, that the economy that happiness may be communicated to the va- of the material world is not altogether a barren rious ranks of sensitive and intelligent existence. subject, to a pious and contemplative mind. Goodness chooses the end, and wisdom selects Every intelligent believer in Revelation will the most proper means, for its accomplishment; readily admit, that it would be a highly desirable so that these two attributes must always be con- object, to induce upon the mass of Christians such sidered in simultaneous operation. And, there a habit of devout attention to the visible works of fore, the instances I have already specified, of creation, as would lead them, in their social and the Wisdom and Intelligence of the Creator, may solitary walks, to recognize the agency of God, also be considered, as exemplifications of Divine in every object they behold; to raise their thoughts Benevolence. I shall, therefore, conclude this to Him as the Great First Cause, and to extopic with the following extract from Dr. Paley. pand their hearts with emotions of gratitude,
16 Contrivance proves design; and the promi- How very different must be the sentiments and nent tendency of the contrivance, indicates the the piety of the man who looks on the scene disposition of the designer. The world abounds of wisdom and magnificence around him, with with contrivances; and all the contrivances we a “brute unconscious gaze," as thousands of are acquainted with, are directed to beneficial professed Christians do--and the grateful and purposes. Evil, no doubt, exists ; but it is never pious emotions of him who recognizes the be that we can perceive, the object of contrivance, Devolent agency of God, in the motions of his Teeth are contrived to eat, not to ache ; their fingers, and his eyeballs ; in the pulsation of aching now and then, is incidental to the con- his heart; in the picture of external objects trivance, perhaps inseparable from it; or even, every moment forned on his retina; in the reif you will, let it be called a defect in the con- flection of the rays of light, and the diversified trivance, but it is not the object of it. This is a colours they produce; in the drying of his clothes; distinction which well deserves to be attended to. in the constitution of the aimosphere ; in the In describing implements of husbandry, you will beauty and magnificence of the earth and the hardly say of a sickle, that it is made to cut the heavens; and in every other object that meets his reaper's fingers, though froth the construction eye, in the expanse of nature! The numberless of the intstringent, and the manner of using it, astonishing instances of Divine agency, which this mischief often happens. But if you had every where present themselves to our view in occasion to describe itistruments of torture or are the scene around us, seem evidently intended ocution, This, you could say, ig'io extend the si- 10 arrest the mind to a consideration of an news; this to dislocate the johts ; this to break "ever-present Deity;" and I envy not the sene the bones; this to scorch the soles of the feet. timents or the feelings of that man who iman Here pain and misery are the very objects of the gines, that he stands in no need of such sensible contrivance. Now nothing of this sort is to be mediums, to impress his mind with a sense of found in the works of naturo, We never dis. the benevolent care and omnipresence of God.
CONTAINING A CURSORY VIEW OF SOME OF THE SCIENCES WHICH ARE RELAT20
TO RELIGION AND CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY.
THEOLOGY has generally been viewed as a rather as so many independent branches of secu. study of a very limited range : and, hence, when lar knowledge, than as subservient to the elucida. it has been admitted into the circle of the sciences, tion of the facts and doctrines of religion and to the a much smaller space has been allotted for its dis- accomplishment of its benevolent designs. Hence, cussion, than has been devoted to almost any it has happened that Philosophy and Religion, other department of human knowledge. When instead of marching hand in hand to the portals of considered, however, in its most extensive sense, immortality, have frequently set themselves in
in its relations to the Divine Being-to his past hostile array; and combats have ensued equally and present dispensations towards the human race, injurious to the interests of both parties. The --to the present circunstances and the future Philosopher has occasionally been disposed to destiny of mai -and to the physical and moral investigate the economy of nature, without a refercondition of all the sentient and intelligent beings ence to the attributes of that Almighty Being who of which we have any intimation—it ought to be presides over its movements, as if the universe viewed as the most varied and comprehensive of were a self-moving and independent machine; all the sciences; as embracing, within its exten- and has not unfrequently taken occasion, from sive grasp, all the other departments of useful certain obscure and insulated facts, to throw out knowledge, both human and divine. As it has insinuations hostile to the truth and the characGod for its object, it must include a knowledge ter of the Christian Revelation. The Theoloof the universe he has formed-of the movements gian, on the other hand, in the heat of his intemwhich are continually going on throughout the perate zeal against the infidel philosopher, has unwide extent of his empire, in so far as they lie guardedly been led to declaim against the study open to our inspection of the attributes which of science, as if it were unfriendly to religion appear to be displayed in all his operations--of has, in effect, set the works of God in opposition the moral laws he has framed for the regulation to his word—has confounded the foolish theories of holy intelligences—of the merciful arrange of speculative minds with the rational study of the ments he has made for the restoration of fallen works of Deity-and has thus prevented the mass man of the plans by which the knowledge of his of mankind from expanding their minds, by the will is to be circulated and extended in the world contemplation of the beauties and sublimities of in which we live-of the means by which truth, nature. and moral purity, and order, are to be promoted It is now high time that a complete reconciliaamong our apostate race, in order to their resto
order to their resto
tion were effected betwe
tion were effected between these contending parration to the happiness they have lost-together ties. Religion ought never to disdain to derive with all those diversified ramifications of know. her supports and illustrations from the researches ledge, which have either a more remote or a of science ; for the investigations of philosomore immediate bearing on the grand object now phy into the economy of Nature, from whatever specified. Like the lines which proceed from motives they may be undertaken, are nothing the circumference to the centre of an immense else than an inquiry into the plans and opera circle-all the moral* arts and sciences which , tions of the Eternal Mind. And Philosophy have been invented by men-every department ought always to consider it as her highest honour, of human knowledge, however far it may, at first to walk as an handmaid in the train of that relje sight, appear to be removed from religion-cay gion which points out the path to the regions of be considered as having a direct bearing on Thee eternal bliss. By their mutual aid, and the subology, as the grand central point, and as having a serviency of the one to the other, the moral und certain tendency to promote its inportant objects. intellectual improvement of man will be promot
It is much to be regreited, that Theology has ed, and the benevolent purposes of God, in the 80 seldom been contemplated in this point of kingdom of providence, gradually accomplished. view-and that the sciences have been considered But when set in opposition to each other, the
human mind is bewildered and retarded in its • The epithet moral is here used in its application
progress, and the Deity is apt to be considered to arts, because there are certain arts which must as set in opposition to himseli-as proclaiming be considered as having an immoral tendency, such one system of doctrines from the economy of reas the an of war, the art of boxing, of gambling, &c. ant which, therefore, cannot have a direct ten
velation, and another, and an opposite system, dency to promote the objects of religion.
from the economy of nature. But if the Chris
tian Revelation and the system of the material other objects seldom noticed, which would appes world derived their origin from the same Al no less interesting, and, in some instances, much mighty Being, the most complete harmony must more novel and gratifying to the general reader, subsist between the revelations they respectively and to the youthful mind. All the diversified unfold ; and the apparent inconsistencies which forms of matter, whether existing on the surface occur must be owing chiefly to the circum- or in the bowels of the earth, in the ocean, the stances of our present station in the universe, and atmosphere, or in the heavens, form the legilj. to the obscure and limited views we are obliged mate objects of this department of the science of to take of some of the grand and diversified ob- nature. jects they embrace. And, therefore, we have Were we, therefore, to sketch a comprehenreascn to believe that, when the system of nature sive outline of the subjects of Natural History, shall be more extensively explored, and the lead- we might, in the first place, take a cursory suring objects of revelation contemplated in a clearer vey of the globe we inhabit, in reference to its light, without being tinged with the false colour- magnitude, figure, motions, and general arrange ing of party opinions and contracted views, and ments-the form, relations, and extent of its conwhen rational inquirers shall conduct their re- tinents—the numerous islands which diversity searches with a greater degree of reverence, humi- the surface of the ocean--the magnitude, the direclity and Christian temper, the beauty and harmo- tion, and the extent of its rivers, and the quantity ny of all the plans and revelations of the Deity, in of water they pour into the ocean—the direcreference both to the physical and the noral world, tion, elevation, and extent of the different ranges will be more distinctly perceived and appreciated. of mountains which rise from its surface-iho
In the following cursory sketches, it forms no plains, morasses, lakes, forests, dels, and sandy part of my plan to trace even an outline of the deserts, which diversify its aspect-the extent, different sciences which are connected with reli- the motions, the colour, and the different aspects gion, much less to enter into any particular de of the ocean, and the facts which have been ascer tails, in relation to their facts and principles. It tained respecting its saltness, its depth, its bottom, would be comparatively easy to fill up the remain- and its different currents. We might next take ing sheets of this volume with skeletons of the a more particular view of some of the most redifferent sciences ; but such meager details as markable objects on its surface, and give a detaä behooved to be brought forward, could not be of the facts which are known respecting the his. interesting to the general reader, and would fail tory of volcanoes—their number—the countries in accomplishing the object proposed. My de in which they are situated—the awful phenosign simply is, to select some leading facts, or mena they exhibit-and the devastations they general truths, in relation to some of the physical have produced ; the history of earthquakes, their sciences, for the purpose of showing their connec- phenomena and effocts, and the countries most tion with the objects of religion and the interests subject to their. ravages-basaltic and rocky of rational piety. At the same time, such de- wonders, natural bridges, precipices, cataracts, finite descriptions will be given as will enable ice islands, icebergs, glaciers, whirlpools, mine common readers to appreciate the objects and ral wells, reciprocating fountains, boiling springs, bearings of the different branches of knowledge sulphuric mountains, bituminous lakes, volcanic which may be presented to their view.
islands- the various aspects of nature in the The first science* I shall notice is that of different zones, and the contrasts presented be
tween the verdant scenes of tropical climes, and NATURAL HISTORY.
the icy cliffs of the polar regions. We would This science, taken in its most comprehensive next take a survey of the subterraneous wonders sense, includes a knowledge and description of which lie beneath the surface of the earth-the all the known facts in the material universe. immense chasms and caverns which wind in va.
It is to be regretted, that most books published rious directions among the interior strata of our under the title of Natural History, to which com- globe-such as the great Kentucky cavern, and mon readers have access, contain nothing more the grotto of Antiparos-the mines of salt, coal, than a ger.eral description of animals, as if this copper, lead, diamond, iron, quicksilver, tin, gold, science were confined merely to one class of and silver--the substances which compose the beings; whereas there is an infinite variety of various strata, the fossil bones, shells, ard petri
• The term science, in its most general and exten- factions, which are imbedded in the different sive sense, signifies knooledge, particularly that layers, and the bendings and disruptions which species of knowledge which is acquired by the exer: appear to have taken place in the substances tion of the human faculties. In a more restricted sense, it denotes a systematic species of knowledge, which compose the exterior crust of the earth, which consists of rule and order, such as Mathema. We might next survey the atmosphere with which ucs, Astronomy, Natural Philosophy, &c.- In the discussions contained in this work, it is used 1 its the earth is environed, and give a detail of the most general sense, as denoting the various depart. facts which have been ascertained respecting ita utents of human knowledge, in which sense history, specific gravity and pressure, the elementary prine hoth natural, civil, and sacred, may be termed science
ciples of which it is compounded, its refractive