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and of the glorious changes that, in ages reaching beyond the powers of calculation belonging to the human mind, are to evolve the ever progressive fates of the highly endowed, though essentially imperfect portion of the intelligent family of the Creator that now people this province of his dominions.
6. But, in the last place, in all our attempts at anticipating what is to be the actual colour of coming events for so great a system as even our particular world--and the destined course of its generations throughout all their successions, we should ever keep in mind, that we have but small powers of conjecturing on such a subject--and that our best plan is to leave the results to Divine Wisdom and goodness. For this limitation in our power of conjecturing what are to be the precise results originates not merely in the short space to which our prospective views can extend-a limitation which belongs to us on all future subjects, even when these are of the most familiar kind--but in the infinity of causes that must be taken into account when we presume to think of so great a subject as the future events that are to make up the history of our world. These causes too, are often very deeply seated, and operate in spaces altogether invisible to our view—and they are also, as we have
seen, in connection with arrangements that have their place over a vast extent and that depend on high and mysterious energies.
We may learn something of the humility that becomes us in such great anticipations, even from the familiar events of domestic life--and from the incidents that have characterized our individual fates in this world. For what man, on looking back upon the occurrences of his own life, does not perceive that these have been different in kind as well as in the order of their occurrence, from what at the earlier and opening portions of his course, he had most fondly and confidently expected-and as life advances, who has not often been forced to make the reflection that Divine Wisdom has been working towards him in a way which far surpassed his conjectures—and has made his entire history a series of wonders to the very being in whose behalf all these wonders were to be wrought,--and by whose instrumentality, indeed, though he saw but partially, at any moment, the design, they have been brought about? And this is the case, because every man has principles and feelings and progressive powers belonging to his nature, far more numerous and more deeply-seated in his frame than he was ever aware of- because he stands in relations to other human beings of
whose influences upon himself, he could, previously 'to the result, have had little suspicion—and because from all these causes, he was not in a condition to form any just or adequate conception even of so familiar a thing as his own peculiar nature, and the changes to which, in the course of his mortal history, it was in a capacity of being subjected
The same observation may be applied with still greater force to the courses which families and communities are observed to run--because the multiplicity of interests that belong to them is still more extensive—and because principles are often affecting their history or shaping their destiny, the operation of which was hidden from the most sagacious view of those who were to be influenced by them. And most of all, then, are we incapable of saying what are to be the changes that are to characterize the future history of a world, or through what unexpected revolutions its final destiny is to be evolved.
It is wise in us thus to learn wisdom-and humility the best of all wisdom--even from the most humble and familiar instances and in thus calmly and considerately looking at our own lives, and at the changes which have characterized the history of the families and communities with which we have been connected, we are in a surer track for
forming a right conception of the unsearchable counsels of Providence respecting far higher and more extensive things, than if we had reversed the process, and, with the view of discovering the plan of the operations of Providence, had chosen only the path of a high and transcendental speculation.
For it has been finely remarked by Lord Bacon, with whose words we are fortunate in being able to conclude this speculation, “ That they be not the highest instances that give the surest information. For it cometh often to pass that mean and small things discover great, better than great can discover the small; and therefore Aristotle noteth well, · That the nature of every thing is best seen in its smallest portions. And for that cause he inquireth the nature of a commonwealth, first in a family, and the simple conjugations of man and wife, parent and child, master and servant, which are in every village. Even so likewise the nature of this great city of the world, and the policy thereof, must be first sought in mean concordances and small portions."
The truth is, that one plan pervades all the various departments of the dominion of Providence, from its humblest to its highest specimens—and that he who forms the justest notions of the maxims that are applicable to either his individual life~-or to
that of the neighbourhood with which he is more immediately connected, would also, provided he had the same power of comprehending all the circumstances, be in the best condition for speculating with correctness respecting the plans which guide the most comprehensive interests, so far at least as this earth is concerned, which have any relation either to the past or the coming history of the hu
The reason is, that it is one plan which characterizes all the departments of the moral kingdom of God, from its most limited to its most comprehensive arrangements and it has accordingly been beautifully remarked by Lord Bacon in another passage of his writings, when speaking of the analogies that pervade nature—that “ Neither are these only similitudes, as men of narrow observation may conceive them to be, but the same footsteps of nature treading or printing upon several subjects or matters.”
PROSPECTS OF THE HUMAN RACE CONFORMABLY
WITH THE PRECEDING VIEWS.
It seems to be involved in the views exhibited toward the conclusion of the preceding section,