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AS this celebrated maxim of the fagacious Preacher properly understood and obferved by the fons of men, it would doubtlefs have a confiderable tendency to render them more attentive and vigilant, as well as more calm and tranquil, than they generally are, amid the variegated fluctuating scenes of human life. It would lead them to make


the best use and improvement of that rapid fucceffion of events and, occurrences, with which the prefent period of their exiftence is diverfified. It would teach them, that betwixt the cradle and the grave, betwixt the birth and death of man, is the grand and awful interval, in which his best interests and highest happiness are to be fecured or loft for ever; and that his All depends upon a faithful improvement of those "times and feasons," in which the feveral purposes of Heaven, with respect to his true felicity, are to be executed.

Though it should feem from the text, as well as from the enumeration of particulars in the fucceeding verses, that these times and seasons," as well as the purposes to which they are adapted, were unalterably fixed, and that nothing could be done on the part of man, to hasten or retard, to prosper or


defeat them; yet, if we confider the whole drift of the argument in this book, the connection of this chapter with the preceding and following ones, and particularly what is faid at the close of the enumeration, we must be convinced, that all thefe " purposes, times, "and seasons," are placed before the will of man, and that he hath it in his power to improve or neglect them, to draw forth good or evil from them, and thus to establish his own happinefs, or his own mifery, for ever.

"What profit," fays the Preacher, "hath he that worketh in that wherein "he laboureth?" If all things are fixed by an unalterable decree, if this fucceffion of events will certainly come to pass, independent of any will of mine; what part is left for me to perform? "I know," replies the experienced Sage, "I know that there is no good in them, "but for a man to rejoice and to do "good

"good in his life." I know that all these occurrences, whether they be in the natural or the moral world, are intended to adminifter, to the wife and good man, fo many opportunities of calling forth a delightful train of virtuous joys in his own breast, and of enabling him to communicate them to his brethren.

Was a mere natural philofopher to take up the premises of the Preacher, what conclufion do you imagine he would draw from them? Why truly he would tell you, that there was no real diftinction betwixt moral and natural good and evil, that one happened by the fame inevitable neceffity as the other, that we must take things just as they come, and that with refpect both to good and evil, "whatever is, "is beft."


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