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himself, and in both to be happy; having, to this purpose, endowed them with correspondent faculties and desires. He can have no greater pleasure from a bare review of his works than from the survey of his own ideas; but we may be assured that he is well pleased in the satisfaction derived to beings capable of it, and for whose entertainment he hath erected this immense theatre. Is not this more than an intimation of our immortality ? Man, who, when considered as on his probation for a happy exiftence hereafter, is the most remarkable instance of divine wisdomn, if we cut him off from all relation to eternity, is the most unaccountable compofition in the whole creation. He hath capacities to lodge a much greater variety of knowledge than he will be ever master of, and an unsatisfied curiosity to tread the secret paths of nature and providence: but with this, his organs, in their present structure, are rather fitted to serve the necessities of a vile body, than to minister to his understanding; and, from the little spot to which he is chained, he can frame but wandering guesses concerning the innumerable worlds of light that encompass him, which, though in themielves of a prodigious bigness, do but just glimmer in the remote spaces of the heavens; and wher), with a great deal of time and pains, he hath laboured a little way up the steep ascent of truth, and beholds with pity the groveling multitude bencath, in a moment his foot slides, and he tumbles down headlong into
Thinking on this I am obliged to believe, in justice to the Creator of the world, that there is another state when man shall be better fituated for contemplation, or rather have it in his
power to remove from object to object, and from world to world; and be accommodated with senses, and other helps, for making the quickest and most amazing discoveries. How doth such a genius as Sir Isaac Newton *, from amidst the darkness that involves human understanding, break forth, and appear like one of another species! The vast machine we inhabit lies
open to him; he seems not unacquainted with the general laws that govern it; and while with the transport of a philosopher he beholds and admires the glorious work, he is capable of paying at once a more devout and more rational homage to his Maker. But alas ! how narrow is the
prospecteven of such a mind! And how obscure to the compass that is taken in by the ken of an angel, or of a soul but newly escaped from its imprisonment in the body! For my part, I freely indulge my
soul in the confidence of its future grandeur; it pleases me to think that I, who know so small a portion of the works of the Creator, and with flow and painful steps creep up and down on the surface of this globe, 'Thall ere long shoot away with the swiftness of imagination, trace out the hidden springs of nature's operations, be able to
* Sir Isaac was at this time in the full vigour of his intellectual faculties, and remarkable for his modesty, assailed as it was hy the publication of the highest possible commendations ef him every where,
keep pace with the heavenly bodies in the rapi, dity of their career, be a SPECTATOR of the long chain of events in the natural and moral worlds, visit the several apartments of the crea. tion, know how they are furnished and how inhabited, comprehend the order, and measure the magnitudes and distances of those orbs, which to us seem disposed without any regular design, and set all in the same circle; observe the dependance of the parts of each system, and (if our minds are big enough to grasp the theory) of the several systems upon one another, from whence results the harmony of the universe. In eternity a great deal may be done of this kind, I find it of use to cherish this generous ambition; for, besides the secret refreshment it diffuses through my soul, it engages me in an endeavour to improve my faculties, as well as to exercise them conformably to the rank I now hold among reasonable beings, and the hope I have of being once advanced to a more exalted ftation.
The other, and that the ultimate end of man, is the enjoyment of God, beyond which he cannot form a wish. Dim at best are the conceptions we have of the Supreme Being, who, as it were, keeps the creatures in suspence, neither discovering, nor hiding himself; by which means, the libertine hath a handle to dispute his existence, while the most are content to speak him fair, but in their hearts prefer every trifling fatisfaction to the favour of their Maker, and ridicule the good man for the fingularity of his
choice. Will there not a time come when the Free-thinker shall see his impious schemes overturned, and be made a convert to the truths he hates? When deluded mortals shall be convinced of the folly of their pursuits; and the few wise, who followed the guidance of Heaven, and, fcorning the blandishments of sense, and the sordid bribery of the world, aspired to a celestial abode, shall stand possessed of their utmost with in the vision of the Creator? Here the mind heaves a thought now and then towards him, and hath some transient glances of his presence: when in the instant it thinks itself to have the fastest hold the object eludes its expectations, and it falls back tired and baffled to the ground. Doubtless there is some more perfect way of conversing with heavenly beings. Are not spirits capable of mutual intelligence, unless immersed in bodies, or by their intervention ? Must superior natures depend on inferior for the main privilege of sociable being, that of conversing with, and knowing each other? What would they have done had matter never been created? I suppose not have lived in eternal solitude, As incorporeal substances are of a nobler order, fo be sure their manner of intercourse is answerably more expedite and intimate. This method of communication we call intellectual vision, as something analogous to the sense of seeing, which is the medium of our acquaintance with this visible world. And in some such way can God make himself the object of immediate intuition to the blessed; and as he can, it is not
improbable that he will, always condescending, in the circumstances of doing it, to the weakness and proportion of finite minds. His works but faintly reflect the image of his perfections; it is a second-hand knowledge: to have a just idea of him it may be necessary to see him as he is. But what is that? It is something that never entered into the heart of man to conceive; yet what we can easily conceive, will be a fountain of unspeakable and everlasting rapture. All created glories will fade and die away in his presence. Perhaps it will be my happiness to compare the world with the fair exemplar of it in the Divine Mind; perhaps, to view the original plan of those wise designs that have been execut, ing in a long succession of ages. Thus employed in finding out his works, and contem, plating their author, how shall I fall proftrate and adoring, my body swallowed up in the immenlity of matter, my mind in the infinitude of His perfections ! *
* By the Rev. Mr. HENRY GROVE. See Spect. NO 588, No 601, and N° 626; and Bioc. BRITAN, art. Grove HENRY.
Next Saturday will be published, in a neat pocket voluine, the same with the Spectator, GUARDIAN, and ENGLISHMAN, The Lover, to which is added the READER. N. B. There are a small number printed in 8vo. upon royal and demi paper, to complete sets of the Author's Works. Spect. in folic, No 663, Dec. 15, 1714.
See STEELE'S “ Epift. Correspondence," vol. II. p. 445; and the edition in 8vc. of The Lover and The Reader 1789, with notes ; printed for and by the Editor, Mr. Deputy NICHOLS.