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morality, and the source of all the pleasing hopes and secret joys that can arise in the heart of a reasonable creature. I considered those several proofs drawn,

First, from the nature of the soul itself, and particularly its immateriality; which though not abfolutely necessary to the eternity of its duration, has, I think, been evinced to almost a demonstration.

Secondly, from its passions and sentiments, as particularly from its love of existence, its horror of annihilation, and its hopes of immortality, with that secret satisfaction which it finds in the practice of virtue, and that uneasiness which follows in it upon

the commission of vice.

Thirdly, from the nature of the Supreme Being, whose justice, goodness, wisdom, and veracity, are all concerned in this point.

But among these and other excellent arguments for the immortality of the foul, there is one drawn from the perpetual progress of the foul to its perfec. tion, without a posibility of ever arriving at it; which is a hint that I do not remember to have seen opened and improved by others who have written on this subject, tho' it seems to me to carry a very great weight with it. How can it enter into the thoughts of man, that the foul, which is capable of such immense pese fections, and of receiving new improvements to all eternity, shall fall away into nothing almost as soon as it is created ? Are such abilities made for no pur. pose A brute arrives at a point of perfection that he can never pass: in a few years he has all the endow. ments he is capable of ; and were he to live ten thousand more, would be the same thing he is at present. Were a human soul thus at a stand in her accomplishe ments, were her faculties to be full blown, and incar pable of farther enlargements, I could imagine it might fall away insensibly, and drop at once into a state of annihilation. But can we believe a thinking being that: is in a perpetual progress of improvements, and travel. ling on from perfection to perfection, after having just looked abroad into the works of its Creator, and

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nade a few discoveries of his infinite goodness, wis. dom, and power, muft perish at her first fetting out, and in the very beginning of her enquiries ?

A man, copfidered in his present itate, feems only sent into the world to propagate his kind. He provides himself with a fucceffor, and immediately quits his post to make room for him.

Hæres
Heredem alterius, velut unda fupervenit undam.

Hor. Ep. 2. l. 2. v. 175
-Heir crowds heir, as in a rolling flood
Wave urges wave.

CRE ECH. He does not seem born to enjoy life, but to deliver it down to others. This is not surprising to consider in animals, which are formed for our use, and can finish their business in a fort life. The filk-worm, after having spun her talk, lays her eggs and dies. But a man can never have taken in his full measure of knowledge, has not time to subdue his passions, eftablih his soul in virtue, and come up to the perfection of his nature, before he is hurried off the stage. Would an infinitely wife Being make such glorious creatures. for fo mean a purpose? Can he delight in the production of such abortive intelligences, such short-lived reasonable beings? Would he give us talents that are not to be exerted i capacities that are never to be

gra. tified ? How can we find that wisdom which thines through all his works, in the formation of man, with. out looking on this world as only a nursery for the next, and believing that the feveral generations of rational creatures, which rise up and disappear in fach quick successions, are only to receive their first rudiments of existence here, and afterwards to be tranfplanted into a more friendly climate, where they may spread and flourish to all eternity.

There is not, in my opinion, a more pleasing and triumphant confia tion in religion than this of the perpetual progress which the foul makes towards the perfection of its nature, without ever arriving at a

period in it. To look upon the foul as going on from strength to strength, to consider that the is to Mine for ever with new accessions of glory, and brighten to all eternity ; that she will be ftill adding virtue to virtue, and knowledge to knowledge; carries in it fome. thing wonderfully agreeable to tbat ambition which is natural to the mind of man. Nay, it must be a prof. pect pleasing to God himself, to see his creation for ever beautifying in his eyes, and drawing dearer to him, by greater degrees of relemblance.

Methinks this single confideration, of the progress of a finite spirit to perfection, will be sufficient to extinguish all envy in inferior natures, and all contempt in superior. Thar cherubim, which now appears as a God to a human soul, knows very well that the period will come about in eternity, when the human soul shall be as perfect as he himself now is : nay, when she shall look down upon that. degree of perfection as much as she now falls short of it. It is true, the higher nature still advances, and by that means preserves his distance and superiority in the scale of being; but he knows that, how.high foever the statiog is of which he stands poffefled at present, the inferior nature will at length mount up to it, and thine forth in the same degree of glory.

With what aftonishment and veneration may we look into our own souls, where there are such hidden ftores of virtue and knowledge, such inexhautted sources of perfection? We know not yet what we shall be, nor will it ever enter into the heart of man to conceive the glory that will be always in reserve for him. The foul, considered with its Creator, is like one of those mathematical lines that may draw nearer to another for all eternity without a poflibility of touching it : and can there be a thought fo tranfporting, as to consider ourselves in these perpetual approaches to him, who is not only the standard of: perfection, but of happiness!

On the Animal World, and the Scale of Beings.

(Spect. No. 519.)

T

templating the material world, by which I mean that system of bodies into which nature has so curiously wrought the mass of dead matter, with the reveral relations which thole bodies bear to one another ; there is still, methinks, fomething more wonderful and furprising in contemplations on the world of life, by which I mean all those animals with which every pari

of the universe is furnished. The material world is only the shell of the universe: the world of life are irs inbabitants.

If we consider those parts of the material world which lye the nearett to us, and are therefore subject to our observations and enquiries, it is amazing to conlider the infinity of animals with which it is stocked. Every part of matter is peopled : every green leaf fwarms with inhabitants. There is scarce. a single humour in the body of a man, or of any other animal, in which our glasses do not discover myriads of living creatures. The furface of aniinals is also covered with other animals, which are in the same manner the basis of other animals that live upon it; nay, we find in the most solid bodies, as in marble itself, innumerable ecils and cavities, that are crowded with such imperceptible inhabitants, as are too little for the naked eye to discover. On the other hand, if we look into the more bulky parts of nature, we see the seas, lakes, and rivers, teeming with numberless kinds of living Creatures : we find every mountain and marsh, wilderness and wood, plentifully stocked with birds and beafs, and every part of matter affording proper necellaries and conveniences for the livelihood of multi. tudes which inhabit it.

The author of the Plurality of Worlds draws a very good argument from this confi leration, for the peopling of every planet; as indeed ii seems very pro

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bable from the analogy of reason, that if no part of matter, which we are acquainted with, lies wate and useless, those great bodies, which are at such a diftance from us, should not be desart and unpeopled, but rather that they should be furnished with beings adapted to their respective situation.

Existence is a blessing to those beings only which are endowed with perception, and is in a manner thrown away upon dead matter, any farther than as it is subservient to beings which are conscious of their existence. Accordingly we find, from the bodies which lye under our obfervation, that matter is only made as the basis and support of animals, and that there is no more of the one, than what is necessary for the existence of the other.

Infinite goodness is of fo communicative a nature, that it seems to delight in the conferring of existence upon every degree of perceptive being. As this is a (peculation, which I have often pursued with great pleasure to myself, I shall enlarge farther upon it, by considering that part of the scale of beings which comes within our knowledge.

There are some living creatures which are raised but just above dead matter. To mention only that species of thell-fith, which are formed in the fashion of a cone, that grow to the surface of several rocks, and immediately die upon their being fevered from the place where they grow. There are many other creatures but one remove from these, which have no other sense besides that of feeling and raste. Others have still an additional one of hearing; others of smell; and others of fight. It is wonderful to observe, by what a gradual progress the world of life advances through a prodigious variety of species, before a creature is formed that is complete in all its {enfes ; among these there is such a different degree of perfection in the sense which one animal enjoys beyond what appears in another, though the sense in different animals be diftinguished by the fame common denomination, it seems almost of a different nature. If 3

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