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neous shoot to be pruned, and kept within its proper limits, so also the preservation of virtue, during the period of its allotted trials, was to require a diligent and strict attention, every excess of passion to be avoided, every immoral excrescence to be instantly lopped off. Now, on any failure in these points, some degree of turpitude would consequently ensue; which, if gradually and obstinately persisted in, and permitted completely to preponderate over virtue, would occasion such an alienation from God and goodness, as finally to generate most malignant beings. And, as there appears an existing liability, it
produces not only an existing possibility, but also an existing probability, that there may have been free agents inhabiting regions far remote from us, who wilfully, ungratefully, and wickedly nurtured evil passions into such maturity, as to engender and form monsters in vice. On this ground the origin of an evil agent is very rationally accounted for, and New Testament information fully supports these suppositions, by stating that evil being, therein called the devil, * to have been leader of those angels that kept not their first estate ; thereby confirming our belief that God never did create an evil being, but that the ultimate fate of every moral agent depends upon their own decision, and the energy exerted by them during those seasons in which they
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Rev. xii. 9.)
were destined to struggle with hardships, and to overcome evil by good. And it also entirely coincides with our conjecture respecting the nature of those difficulties with which he was ordained to cope, by expressly declaring his fall to have been occasioned through want of maintaining a successful combat with undue affections; and that he, instead of persevering in that love, gratitude, and obedience to his adorable Creator, which his great and elevated station in the scale of existence demanded from him, was, by cherishing a too high estimation of his own excellences and advantages, led to rebel against the donor of them: for pride was the condemnation of the devil. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! (Isa. xiv. 12.)
Should our readers be equally convinced with ourselves of the indispensable necessity of those permitted evils that serve to constitute probationary states, and of the absolute requisition of such states as parents of extreme felicity, they will with us adore the wisdom and goodness that has appointed them. Because there are persons, and it is to be feared many, on our small globe, who prefer vice to virtue, fitting (as the margin expresses it). themselves for destruction, by continually opposing that law which God has written in their hearts ; because there are other beings in the universe, who have revolted from virtue and obedience to their great Benefactor, and embraced a positive misery;—are its unnumbered inhabitants to be consigned to a negative happiness, and the ecstatic bliss of millions to be
curtailed ? That would be inconsistent with the goodness of our beneficent Creator, who kindly ordains the perfection of our virtue, as well as of our happiness, to consist in making virtue our choice; and the perfection of our wisdom to consist in discerning betwixt good and evil.
“This first of beings, wisest, best,
In every moral agent ;
Of sense in each dependent.
The monster Pride at length protub'd
Faithful to their Creator;
Implanted in their nature.”
Having now offered these very brief observations on the fall of those once glorious beings, whose distinguished rank in the universe has been already appreciated by a former quotation ;* which, at the same time, elucidates (if our suppositions were just as to the extraordinary endowments with which the highest orders of created beings were probably gifted) how the leader of these infernal hierarchies became possessed of those wonderful faculties, without which he could not have been capacitated for his evil enterprizes ; we must request our readers to recollect that our independent supposition on this subject resulted from contemplating the endless variety (though general analogy) pervading the appearance and character-the moral and intellectual gifts which are exhibited on the theatre of our small globe. And we shall now, by pursuing our former argument, endeavour more fully to demonstrate its justness ; for if, among its occupiers, the great Proprietor evinces so wonderful a distinction, as we find by perusing those pages
* For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, &c. (Eph. vi. 12.)
wherein a Locke, a Newton, and a Johnson, have compressed the result of their surpassing intellects, and comparing their highly illuminated minds with those faint glimmerings of reason which do but just advance the sense of some from out our mortal race above the instinctive knowledge possessed by the animal creation; thereby beholding the grand all-wise distributor of talents dealing them on our earth in the widely different proportion of that of one to ten-delineating, through the intermediate chain which joins these varied gifts, and raises man o’er man, an infinite diversity of mental shades, capacities, and powers, as well as of degrees in station and in rank;—observing, likewise, the gradual steps which mark the progress of the vegetable tribes, uniting some of their higher classes, the catch-fly and sensitive plants, unto the scarcely animated shell-fish that cleaveth to the rocks ; and from the dawn of instinct in these lowest creatures trace its ascent through fishes, birds, and beasts, till it assumes those faculties which nearly resemble reason, and form the link with man —then lift our eyes unto the volume of magnificence which night unfolds to view ; the glorious hosts of heaven, shining in solemn, silent splendour, more for the illumination of our minds than the lightening of our paths;-and we again perceive the operations of that same unvarying hand, displaying like regular succession, from orbs of least dimension to those of fullest magnitude; ordaining that one star should differ from another star in glory. (1 Cor. xv. 44.) Are we not, there