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forth, to secure advantages to themselves in the first instance; (for every class must be lodged, and clothed, and fed ;) and then, for the benefit of their wealthier neighbours; who in their turn supply their more industrious brethren with the means of purchasing food and raiment. If there were no class set apart for manual toil, it is evident that all must starve; if, on the contrary, a perfect equality were to prevail, and all were engaged in labour ; supposing that such a state of society could exist, it would be productive of nothing but penury and barbarism. The present division of society, therefore, is, upon the whole, the most calculated to bring into successful cultivation the best powers both of body and mind; and to produce to the several orders the greatest possible degrees of happiness.--By the distinction of rich and poor, a provision seems wisely to be made for that encouragement, which is necessary to be given to one class, so that they may be induced to toil for the benefit of another; yet in such a way, that each is made instrumental to the comfort and well being of the whole.

But further; not only is a certain and regular gradation observable in all the works of Providence, but we may perceive that its blessings appear to be, in a great variety of instances, very unequally distributed. So much indeed is this the case, that inequality appears to be a law throughout the creation. There are no two men exactly alike; no two persons, between whom you cannot point out some difference; so that, in some respect or other, the one has, generally speaking, an advantage over the other. One is better looking ; has an understanding differently moulded; is blessed with a better temper, or a stronger constitution of body. Examine the state of different countries ; some enjoy purer notions of religion; possess the advantage of a more perfect form of government; or they have a milder climate, and a more productive soil, than others.--In short, look around you, wherever you will; consider man, as he varies in any one nation, or as nations themselves differ ; you will still see that the blessings of existence are scattered very unequally ;-and that, if a spirit of captious refinement be permitted to operate, it will have ample room for exercise in the real or fancied advantages, possessed by some individuals or countries over those, who seem to have been less favoured. And yet, upon full and dispassionate inquiry, this very inequality is attended by consequences, which prove that such a state of things is not produced by any partiality in that Supreme Power, which created all things, and which directs all things, when created, to the purposes of its own unfathomable wisdom and boundless goodness. This consideration however brings me to the second division of my subject; in which I proposed to shew,

That the outward disadvantages in society; the distinctions in rank and fortune; are frequently corrected by the possession of various blessings, so as to lessen the seeming inequality. I have just observed that inequality seems to be a law of our nature. Men are born with different endowments of mind, different perfections of body; different qualifications for fulfilling the purposes of existence; different capacities for enjoying it.

One person is born with a constitution naturally more healthy; with a temper more cheerful than another; with an understanding more vigorous; a body more active. It must however be observed, that these varieties do not take place according to the artificial distinctions of rich and poor, great and humble; but in a manner very often quite the reverse.— The children of the poor, for instance, are frequently observed to be stronger and better-looking than those of the rich; and the difference in favour of the poor is continually manifested through life. A man of inferior station is often observed to be more healthful in his body, more quick and vigorous in his mind, than many, who are his superiors in rank or fortune. Moreover, you not unfrequently have instances of persons, quite in a lower class, elevating themselves to respectability and wealth by industry and meritorious conduct, accompanied by good natural abilities while children, and other connexions of the wealthy and great, descend from the situation in which they were born, because their judgement has been deficient, or not properly cultivated; or because they have fallen into temptations to idleness and vice, from which those born in a lower sphere have been happily exempt.-For, when we are considering the actual advantages of one condition above another, we must always take into account the temptations, to which they are severally exposed; and consequently the hazards they must run, not only of injuring their health and impairing their character; not merely of lowering themselves in the estimation of the wise and good among their fellow creatures; but, what is in

finitely more important, of lessening their chance of a favourable sentence “in the day, when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ”a. Now it is certain, that the higher and more wealthy orders are exposed to various temptations, which squander their time, produce disquiet and annoyance, reduce their fortune, and destroy their health ; so that a poor man, if he be but honest and industrious, often passes his life happily, because he has a constant occupation for his time; because labour keeps his body in health; and because, while he feels that he is usefully and properly employed, he enjoys the comfort of an approving conscience. Whereas the rich, if he fail to turn his talents to a right account; if he neglect to acquire and employ the knowledge suited to the place, which Providence has assigned to him ;-such an one is continually miserable from want of occupation; or tormented with uneasy thoughts, because his occupations are unprofitable to himself or mischievous to others.

Let us now proceed to the third head. We have already seen that the inequality, which is sometimes complained of in human society, is analogous to many other parts in the scheme of Divine Providence, which we are enabled distinctly to trace. We have shewn, that it appears essential to the comfortable enjoyment, if not the very existence, of society; and moreover that the disadvantage, which appears to exist in one respect, is frequently compensated in others. But, more completely to vindicate the ways of God to men, and to repress that spirit of discontent, which so often arises within our proud, but ignorant, bosoms, we go still further. We are prepared to shew that, in the most important respects, the rich and poor are really upon a footing of perfect equality; and, that the assertion of the text is undeniably true; “ The rich and poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all."

a Rom. ii. 16.

If we look upon life in its true light, namely as short and preparatory to another, which is of infinite duration ; it will immediately be seen that what befalls us here is of small importance, compared with that lot, which will be assigned to us hereafter. It will matter but little, what situation we fill in this life, if we can but obtain a good one in the life to come :-and it is an indisputable truth, although we do not reflect upon it so frequently or so seriously as we ought, that the very best allotment which can be bestowed upon us here, is that, which will best prepare and qualify us for happiness hereafter.—Now it is certain that, in religious advantages ; in those opportunities and blessings, which are connected with eternity; there is no difference in favour of the rich over the poor" God is no respecter of persons.”— He regardeth not the condition of those, who are to be judged before His unerring tribunal ; He inquireth not, whether they be rich or whether they be poor; whether they have acted the part of the great or the lowly upon earth; but His inquiries will be, whether they have performed their duty in the station that has been assigned to them, whatever it may have been ; whether they have improved to the utmost of

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