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never-broken silence with which the old bounty goes forward, has not yielded yet one word of explanation. One is constrained to respect the perfection of this world, in which our senses converse. How wide! How rich! What invitation from every property it gives to every faculty of man! In its fruitful soils—in its navigable seain its mountains of metal and stone-in its forests of all woods—in its animals—in its chemical ingredients—in the powers and path of light, heat, attraction, and life, is it well worth the pith and heart of great men to subdue and enjoy it. The planters, the mechanics, the inventors, the astronomers, the builders of cities, and the captains, history delights to honour.
But the moment the mind opens, and reveals the laws which traverse the universe, and make things what they are, then shrinks the great world at once into a mere illustration and fable of this mind. What am I? and What is ? asks the human spirit, with a curiosity new-kindled, but never to be quenched. Behold these outrunning laws, which our imperfect apprehension can see tend this way and that, but not come full circle. Behold these infinite relations,—so like, so unlike; many, yet one. I would study, I would know, I would admire for ever. These works of thought
have been the entertainments of the human spirit in all ages.
A more secret, sweet, and overpowering beauty appears to man when his heart and mind open to the sentiment of virtue; then, instantly, he is instructed in what is above him. He learns that his being is without bound ; that, to the good, to the perfect he is born, low as he now lies in evil and weakness. That which he venerates is still his own, though he has not realised it yet. He ought. He knows the sense of that grand word, though his analysis fails entirely to render account of it. When in innocency, or when by intellectual perception, he attains to say—“I love the Right; Truth is beautiful within and without for evermore. Virtue, I am thine: save me; use me; thee will I serve day and night, in great, in small, that I may be—not virtuous, but virtue:" then is the end of the creation answered, and God is well pleased.
The sentiment of virtue is a reverence and delight in the presence of certain divine laws. It perceives that this homely game of life we play, covers, under what seem foolish details, principles that astonish. The child amidst his baubles is learning the action of light, motion, gravity, muscular force; and in the game of human life, love,
fear, justice, appetite, man, and God, interact, These laws refuse to be adequately stated. They will not by us or for us be written put on paper, or spoken by the tongue. They elude, evade our persevering thought, and yet we read them hourly in each other's faces, in each other's actions, in our own remorse. The moral traits which are all globed into every virtuous act and thought,in speech, we must sever, and describe, or suggest by painful enumeration of many particulars. Yet, as this sentiment is the essence of all religion, let me guide your eye to the precise objects of the sentiment, by an enumeration of some of those classes of facts in which this element is conspicuous. : The intuition of the moral sentiment is an insight of the perfection of the laws of the soul. These laws execute themselves. They are out of time, out of space, and not subject to circumstance. Thus, in the soul of man there is a justice whose retributions are instant and entire. He who does a good deed, is instantly enrobled himself. He who does a mean deed, is by the action itself contracted. He who puts off impurity, thereby puts on purity. If a man is at heart just, then, in so far, is he God; the safety of God, the immortality of God, the majesty of God, do, enter into that man with justice. If a man dissemble, deceive, he deceives himself, and goes out of acquaintance with his own being. A man in the view of absolute goodness, adores with total humility. Every step so downward is a step upward. The man who renounces himself, comes to himself by so doing.
See how this rapid intrinsic energy worketh everywhere! righting wrongs, correcting appearances, and bringing up facts to a harmony with thoughts. Its operation in life, though slow to the senses, is, at last, as sure as in the soul. By it, a man is made the Providence to himself, dispensing good to his goodness, and evil to his sin. Character is always known. Thefts never enrich; alms never impoverish; murder will speak out of stone walls. The least admixture of a lie,---for example, the smallest mixture of vanity, the least attempt to make a good impression, a favourable appearance,will instantly vitiate the effect; but speak the truth, and all nature and all spirit helps you with unexpected furtherance. Speak the truth, and all things alive or brute are vouchers; and the very roots of the grass underground there do seem to stir and move to bear you witness. See again the perfection of the Law as it applies itself to the affections, and becomes the law of society. As we are, so we associate. The good, by affinity, seek the good ; the vile, by affinity, the vile. Thus of their own volition, souls proceed into heaven,-into hell.
These facts have always suggested to man the sublime creed, that the world is not the product of manifold power, but of one will, of one mind; and that one mind is everywhere,-in each ray of the star, in each wavelet of the pool, active; and whatever opposes that will is everywhere balked and baffled, because things are made so, and not otherwise. Good is positive. Evil is merely privative, not absolute. It is like cold, which is the privation of heat. All evil is so much death or nonentity. Benevolence is absolute and real. So much benevolence as a man hath, so much life hath he; for all things proceed out of this same spirit, which is differently named love, justice, temperance, in its different applications, just as the ocean receives different names on the several shores which it washes. All things proceed out of the same spirit, and all things conspire with it. Whilst a man seeks good ends, he is strong by the whole strength of nature. In so far as he roves from these ends, he bereaves himself of power, of auxiliaries ; his being shrinks out of all remote channels; he becomes less and less,