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nuity or folly of their inventors, and are mere fancy-pictures, with probably very dissimilar features from what the reality will present. I have merely a general anticipation of a state of very high improvement, of knowledge, liberty, peace, virtue, and felicity, to which man will be, in the latter days, conducted by Christianity. That such an anticipation is well founded, is what I attempt to prove; and all. If we love our fellow-creatures, we can scarcely be indisposed to inquire into their future destiny, nor backward to hail with gladness intimations of brighter scenes than have occupied the past, and occupy the present of their history. That prospect seems to me to be grounded on the plain declarations of Scripture, the express assertions of prophecy, as well as supported by rational deduction from observation and fact. Indeed, the expectation of its realization was very generally entertained. Of late, a more gloomy system has prevailed, both with religionists and philosophers, which dooms the human race for ever to alternations of good and evil, instead of allowing the hope of a gradual advance. This change is much owing to disappointed hopes. It is a revulsion of feeling after the bold expectations which, twenty-five years ago, floated on men's minds. But that embittered feeling should now be corrected. It should not become philosophy, nor the minds of the rising generation be bowed to

despair, unless there be convincing proof that all was fallacious. Let us rather revert, now that the storm is passing, to the inspiring faith of elder times. For ages, holy and benevolent men entertained this glorious hope, received it as a truth with gratitude, and cherished it with devotion. It was the spring and solace of their souls. In their career of successful exertion, it was the heart-stirring motive that impelled their efforts, and they hailed each triumph over vice and misery as a pledge of its truth, and an earnest of its accomplishment: and in their failures, it saved them from despondency. It was the common faith of Christians, or rather of the world; for here the speculations of philosophers harmonized with the dictates of Heaven's commissioned teachers; and the songs of idolatrous bards pealed in transient, yet blissful, unison with the predictive strains of the harp of Judah. It ascended in evidence and loveliness from the inspiration of poetry, to that of prophecy; and from the plausibility of conjecture, to the certainty of revelation. When theological warfare raged; when systems were created, and systems destroyed; it passed unattacked and untouched through the confusion, reverenced, like the heralds of old in battle, as the sacred minister of heaven and peace, alike by hostile and infuriate parties. At length came that period of wild and daring speculation, when the unprecedented convulsions of the political world were only paralleled

by those of the moral world, and both seemed fraught with anarchy and desolation. The bonds of society were loosened ; altars, and thrones, and empires fell; and their destroyers, wild with conquest and frantic with impiety, threatened to blot out the light of revelation, and subvert the throne of God. The philosophers of the day discarded the Christian hope of another world, a world of immortality and perfect bliss, and gave us in exchange, the vision of complete happiness, equality, and perpetuity here, to be realized by the omnipotence of human energy. This sparkling bubble has burst-and at their theories men smile now, as at the incoherencies of slumber, or the ravings of insanity. But the reaction has been too strong, Society, like the individual, is liable to passion; may be intoxicated with hope, or paralized by despair. Events then fired their expectations; but they mistook the direction of the current, and were dashed upon the rocks. They connected their extravagancies with the rational hope of an immense improvement in the state of mankind ; and there is danger lest both should be exploded together; lest a valuable truth should be discarded because it has been linked with baseless reveries and palpable absurdities. An opposite system has been raised on the ruins of this : a system not less deadly to the hopes and best feelings of mankind. We are forbidden to hope more than a temporary ad

vance, to be compensated by succeeding gloom. Because men no longer imagine, with some, that man may raise himself even to immortality; they abandon the prospect of improvement, for the heartless notion of running an eternal round of transitory prosperity, followed by war and vice and misery. To this, a celebrated Essay on Population has greatly contributed; though the facts there adduced, by no means warrant all the inferences of the author himself, still less those of many of his followers; yet they have made it the fashion to despair. Because man read not rightly then the page of observation, he is now taught to doubt that of revelation. The avenues of the mind are barred against hope, as though she were the most unwelcome visitant. It is true these fancied chains are but withs, which need no Herculean strength to tear them asunder: the verbal critic nibbles at a text, and thinks that when he has mangled a word, he has destroyed a principle. The philosopher sets up a calculation of the impossibilities that impede Omnipotence; and the politician points to the supposed failure of one attempt to ameliorate the state of man as a demonstration of his miserable and degraded destiny. Let not the sneers of such, or the dread of reputed enthusiasm, prevent the assertion of what is true, scriptural, important, useful, and consolatory, at a time when most it is needed. Let us cling to Scripture; let us lay hold on

prophecy : on the summit of that mountain all is brightness and sunshine, while clouds darken and desolate the plain below. The two systems are in full contrast. How different the views they give us of God and man, the present and the future! We may surely demand that a belief so abhorrent to our nature should rest on no slight foundation. On no partial evidence let that sentence be pronounced, which consigns to the darkness of the grave our dearest expectations.


“ If that be true which Nature never told,

Let Wisdom smile not on her conquered field;
No rapture dawns, no treasure is reveald!
Oh! let her read, nor loudly, nor elate,
The doom that bars us from a better fate;
But, sad as angels for the good man's sin,
Weep to record, and blush to give it in !"

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The first appeal is to experience. What is the language of the past ? Has the human race been stationary, gradually deteriorating, alternating between improvement and degradation, or gradually advancing ? Let facts decide. Not minute, partial, isolated events, but the broad facts of universal history. Was the human race ever in a state superior to the present? If so, point to the record, and in that interesting narrative, let us forget the humiliating contrast. Was it in that first, dimly-seen stage of being, the infancy

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