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people, to act consistently, we should facilitate and not impede the production of mortality. Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage the contrary habits; we should make our streets narrower, and implore the return of the plague; we should build our villages near stagnant pools, and encourage settlements in bogs and morasses. We should above all reprobate those benevolent, but much mistaken men, who have foolishly thought they were doing a service to mankind, by projecting schemes for the total extirpation of particular disorders. Truly, according to the dilemma here stated, it appears that great and irremediable vice and misery, in some shape or other, is what a reasonable man must expect to find the lot of the larger portion of his fellow-creatures, even supposing them to practise the degree of virtue and morality which has been found to exist in the best regulated and most civilized societies; and that one great and inevitable source of vice and misery is gradually increased among the lower orders, without any counterpoise, in proportion as the situation of the other ranks is ameliorated. But can this be the ordination of Providence? Has he made the attainment of moral virtues so unequally possible among men? It is impossible to believe it upon any authority less than his own positive declaration. Nor is it any defence of the justice of such an arrangement to say, “that at some particular periods in the progress of society men are more strongly tempted in a particular manner than at others;” for it is evident that, according to the preceding exposition of the plan of Providence, it is not a substitution of one species of temptation for another, but an exoneration of a degree of temptation from the higher orders, to place the burthen upon the shoulders of the lower. It seems that the last are the only persons to whom the option of early marriage is to be denied, though they have at the same time fewer enjoyments to substitute for it, and infinitely fewer means of avoiding the temptations to vice, which an involuntary abstinence from marriage necessarily multiplies. Their mental resources being most deficient, they are more in want of other gratifications, and of the means of humanizing their minds by the enjoyments of the social affections. Whereas the higher and middle orders, who want it least, have a perfectly free option of marriage. The denial of this fact, which is sometimes attempted, camot, I think, be maintained. That their pride, their desire to retain the enjoyments attached to a life of celibacy, the profits arising from pursuits with which the care of a wife and family is incompatible, the various pleasures and advantages, in short, which in a civilized state men in the higher and middle classes must sometimes resign upon marriage, prevent them from entering into that contract for fear of losing those advantages, is very certain; and the result forms one of the leading arguments in the first book of this treatise. But they have evidently the power of choice. If they choose to sacrifice one enjoyment for the sake of the other, by descending a degree in the scale of society, they may gratify their wishes with innocence, and exchange a part of their pecuniary or other advantages for the comforts of a family. If they prefer the ease and disincumbrance of a single life to the social comforts of the marriage state, they can never have

a right to complain of the sacrifices by which alone those enjoyments can be innocently obtained, since they are of their own imposing. Before they can prove that vice or misery arising from an involuntary abstinence from marriage are any part of the lot bestowed upon them by Providence, they must prove that the same Providence hath made the enjoyment of luxury, and the aqquisition of riches, a necessary condition of their existence. Providence, for example, cannot be arraigned for reducing a man to the necessity of abstaining either from marriage, or his wine; nor would it be any mitigation of the crime of irregular intercourse, if a man should say that, by the constitution of human affairs, he could not enjoy the comfort of a wife without parting with his bottle. He has it clearly in his power to support the former in health and temperance, if he choose to abstain from the latter;-the choice is his. But when he has made it, he is certainly bound to abstain from illegal gratification, having the power of enjoying that which is legal. As this, however, is not the case with the poor, if it could be proved that they, among whom perhaps the matural passion is at least equally strong, with less power of escaping its effects, be absolutely precluded from the option of an early marriage; if the weight of the greatest of all temptations be laid exclusively where the smallest means of resisting it are bestowed; if there be no possibility of bestowing upon the lower orders the gratifications which their religion holds out as innocent, and the domestic enjoyments of a family, (those cordial drops in the cup of a poor man, which by lulling his most restless passions to a repose that his intellectual faculties could never produce, lift him to a level with his superiors in the scale of happiness and contentment, and in the power of practising the moral duties);-then may we be tempted to think that the impartiality of Providence may be plausibly impeached, and that the sins and vicious indulgences of the lower orders must be held harmless in its sight. To say in defence of so partial a dispensation, “that the Scriptures most clearly and precisely point out to us, as our duty, to restrain our passions within the bounds of reason; and that it is a palpable disobedience of this law to indulge our desires in such a manner as reason tells us will unavoidably end in misery;” would scarcely be admitted as conclusive in any place where the hearers were not restricted from answering, so long as the argument is exclusively used in reference to the lower orders; which in this question of the free option of marriage or celibacy it certainly is, according to the reasoning just referred to. But let Providence speak for itself on this occasion, and in language of its own inspiration. St. Paul who, in addition to his inspired wisdom, was a man of the world, and a politician liberally educated, takes occasion to address the Corinthians upon the subject of matrimony. They were natives of a rich luxurious city, employed in many occupations sufficient to engross a man's whole and undivided attention, (as is the case in every advanced stage of society;) and where of course it would have interfered with the general and individual prosperity that all should have been distracted from their attention to pursuits advantageous to the public by the care of families; he therefore writes thus to them. “It is good for a man not to touch a woman; nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband :” (1 Cor. vii. 1, 2.9.): and to the Hebrews, a nation in a somewhat less advanced state of society, he says, “ Marriage is honourable in all; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge:” (Heb. xiii. 4.) The meaning of the former passage plainly is, that it is proper enough, there is no harm, that a man should abstain from marriage provided he can abstain from women; but let him, who finds he cannot otherwise abstain, have recourse to matrimony. That this is the true meaning appears from what follows: “I speak this by permission, not of commandment; but eyery man has his proper gift of God; one after this manner, another after that: I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I” (in a life of celibacy); “but if they cannot, let them marry.” The meaning of the whole is so direct that it is impossible to mistake it. It is plainly this: in a complex society some may serve their country by devoting their whole time and talents to the advantage of the public in naval, military, commercial, or political pursuits; others to the exclusive service of God and the souls of their fellow-creatures; to severe study or to literary labours. Others again by marriage may serve both God and their country in bringing up families, and leading them in the paths of religion and virtue. Let those, then, who can contentedly devote their whole time to the former pursuits, and by distracting their minds continue pure from carnal indulgences, remain single even as St. Paul. But if ever they find their purity in so much danger that they cannot otherwise preserve it, let them marry; “for whoremongers and

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