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language. It is far from being true, that we believe every thing, which we suppose ourselves to believe; much less do we believe all, that we acknowledge to be true. A multitude of those propositions, which are familiarly asserted by mankind, particularly on moral subjects, and those, often, of the highest importance, have their seat only on the lips; and are nearly of that class, which logicians term Verbal. Many of these are uttered only for the sake of bearing a part in conversation ; many others, out of complaisance to those around us, by whom they have been already adopted; and many more, because we wish to appear on that, which we suppose to be generally considered as the right, side. What is thus familiarly asserted, has, in most cases at least, never been understood, nor even examined, by the intellect; nor accorded with by the heart. It is certainly to be deeply regretted, that a subject of such immense importance, as that, which is the end of our being, should be regarded in a manner so loose; so indicative of ignorance, and stupidity; so unworthy of our rational nature ; so mischievous to our present and eternal welfare. It is to be deeply regretted, that a subject of such moment should not be clearly comprehended, engross the affections, and control the energy of the mind. This discourse is intended to remove, so far as may be, the evil, of which I complain ; and to convince those, who hear me, that the doctrine of the text is true, reasonable, and desirable.

The common apprehension of mankind concerning this subject is evidently this: that they were made to enjoy life; to acquire good, rather than to do it. This seems peculiarly to be the settled, and almost the only, belief of those, who are young. The period of youth is proverbially spoken of by all men as the season of enjoyment. It certainly cannot excite wonder, that what is so generally said should be believed by those, who are peculiarly interested in the declaration ; by youths themselves. They are now in possession of this season; and have inclinations, at least sufficiently strong, to seize the happy moment, and devote their powers to the attainment of the pleasures, thus declared to be inwoven in their destiny.

Let us consider this opinion; and see what foundation it has in nature, and truth.

1st. Does the state of the present world show, that enjoyment was intentionally the end, for which we were created ?

God, who made us, and the world, made both it and us, unquestionably, for some valuable end. It will not be doubted, that this end is, in the nature of the case, capable of being accomplished. If our enjoyment was this end"; the whole state of things is undoubtedly so ordered, that its accomplishment is at least possible : for it cannot be believed, that God has constituted things in such a manner, as necessarily to prevent the accomplishment of his primary purpose in their creation. That he was able to bring to pass whatever he was pleased to propose cannot be doubted. If, therefore, this was his purpose; the means of its accomplishment are all certainly furnished; and may unguestionably be discerned by a candid, and thorough, investigation. The end itself, also, must, according to this supposition, have been actually answered; and have constituted at least the general course of things.

But has this scheme been at all verified by the actual progress of events in the present world? Let the common and constant language of men, on this subject, answer the question. How great a part of that, which is uttered and written, is an exposition or complaint, of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow! How customary in the mouth of man are these phrases: “ This unhappy world;" " This miserable world;" “ This suffering world;" “ This melancholy world;" “ This vale of tears !!

How plainly has this been the language of every country, and every period of time! How continually have complaints of private unkindness, fraud, and violence, of the public oppressions and ravages of tyranny, of domestic slavery and public bondage, filled the mouths, and the books, of mankind! How often are neighbourhoods distracted by contention! How often are even families, the most endeared and the least unhappy societies, which can be found in the present world, wounded by the sins and follies of parents, the impiety of children, and their unworthy controversies and alienations! With how few intervals has war reigned and ravaged! Where is the nation, which has not bled? Where is the country, which has not been desolated ? How often has the suffering become too intense for utterance; and been poured out only in sighs, and groans, and tears!

Look at the cradle! Listen to the cries; mark the agonies ; of the new-born infant! Consider how many of our race are carried from this humble lodging to the grave.

Follow an individual through the progress of life. Contemplate the pains, diseases, accidents, and disappointments, to which even the brilliant periods of childhood and youth are regularly exposed. Remember, that half mankind become victims to death, under five years of age. Ponder the toil, the weariness, the hunger, the thirst, the ignorance, the errors, the sufferings, from famine and pestilence, from fraud and disappointment, from obloquy and infamy, from hope deferred and fears realized, from the loss of children, and the pressure of poverty, which harass middle age. Fix your eyes upon the decays, the diseases, the pains, the shrivelled intellect, the puerile passions, the unsupplied wants, and the forgotten sufferings, of declining life. Approach the bed of death. Listen to the groans, consider the agonies, of expiring man. Look into the grave, the final home. Behold man laid in this lowly bed; the prey of corruption, the feast of worms, and dissolving into his original dust.

When you have finished this solemn survey, tell me whether these objects are parts of a system, intended to produce enjoyment. Can you suppose, that God has intermingled these things in the constitution of a world of happiness? If this was the end, for which he formed the present world ; has he not been most evidently, and wonderfully, disappointed ?

Turn now your contemplations to the same object again ; and consider it for a moment, not as a scene of enjoyment, but as a state of trial: a state, in which the characters of its inhabitants were to be proved, and decided; a state, in which those characters were to be formed by their affections, and exhibited in their actions : a state, in which they were to show whether they would love, and do, that which is good, or that which is evil. Does not the whole face of things accord exactly with this scheme; and evince, that such was the great end of our creation? How obviously, how universally, are means of both these great courses of conduct presented to us every day: while we, as free agents, are. left to ourselves to choose, and to do, either, as we please? Does

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not this view of the subject go far towards explaining the evils of life, and the reason of their existence? They here stand as monuments of God's hatred of sin; and as motives to deter us from doing evil, and to compel us to do good.

It is not my intention to deny, that the Author of our being has furnished, and therefore intended to furnish, us with many comforts; to sooth the sorrows of the present life ; to blunt the thorns and briers, which so frequently wound us in our passage to the future world. As many blessings are, in my own view, communi. cated to our race, as would probably consist with proper expressions of God's anger against the iniquity of mankind: as many and as great, nay, if we may be allowed to judge from experience, more and greater, than are safe for man. We love the world, even now, more than our real interests would permit, or truth justify. If it were more replenished with the means of happiness; it is questionable whether heaven would not be totally disregarded, and eternity forgotten. Still, it presents afflictions enough, and more than enough, to compel the decision, that it was not designed, principally, as a place of enjoyment.

This, then, is the voice of God in his Creation, and providence. Let us proceed to inquire in what manner our Reason, in its investigation of the nature of this subject; will determine. For this purpose I ask,

2dly. Is not the most good enjoyed, of course, where the most is done?

Do not those manifestly live the happiest lives, who do the most good to each other? Does not this conduct make the hap. piest families, neighbourhoods, and nations? Concerning the two first of these classes there cannot, I presume, be a question. Concerning nations there would be as little doubt, were the public welfare more extensively the commanding object, and the individuals, who compose them, more devoted to this desirable em. ployment. The position, however, is equally true concerning na: tions, as concerning families and neighbourhoods. Whenever those, who are possessed of extensive power to diffuse happiness, exert that power for this delightful end, happiness is always proportionally enjoyed by the public. The same truth may be also

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advantageously illustrated by the consideration, that happiness is in this manner increased in families, and neighbourhoods, and that nations are composed of these smaller societies.

Thus it is evident, that enjoyment is subsequent to doing good. This is the cause ; that, the consequence. The way, then, for all men to be happy, is for all men to do good. To do good is, of course, the prime business of man : while enjoyment is a subordinate and secondary consideration.

3dly. Is not this the necessary nature of things in every other world, where happiness is found, as well as in ours ?

God has made a universe of Intelligent creatures, with capacities to do, and enjoy, good. But, wherever this is in their power, he has always used their faculties for the production of this good. However extensively, or efficaciously, the superintending agency of God is exerted, it is undeniable, that exclusively of his miraculous interpositions, and his general control of the system, the energy and activity of man are the immediate sources of human enjoyment. That this should be the fact is highly honourable to the wisdom and goodness of the Creator. Were men, were any intelligent creatures, unpossessed of any powers to do good; had they only a capacity and inclination to enjoy; were they not to exert their powers voluntarily in the promotion of happiness; they would not, and so far as I can see could not be in any degree excellent, or amiable in the sight of God; nor in any manner the

proper objects either of approbation, or reward. This, then, appears to be the great law, which regulates the moral universe. With the limitations, which I have mentioned, Angels are the immediate means of their own mutual happiness, Would they, let me ask, or could they, be happy, if they were not virtuous; or virtuous, if they did not do good? Could they be perfectly happy, if they were not perfectly virtuous; or perfectly virtuous, if they did not do good at all times with all their power? Could beings, who were useless to their Creator, and mere drones in the Creation; consuming, but not producing, the delicious sweets of happiness ; be capable of any enjoyment, suited to an intelligent, refined, and exalted nature?

4thly. Can God be supposed to approve of Intelligent beings, who do no good?

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