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perfectly good , provided it be not opposed by some positive evidence , that he does not actually produce all the happiness that can be produced , and that his creatures here will never be made truly happy . But such evidence cannot be adduced ,
unless it be true that the omnipotence he is possessed of can give existence to any effect by a merejiat , without the use of means connected necessarily , or independently oi > his will , with the end they are to accomplish ; but this cannot be true , unless his omnipotence excludes the exercise of wisdom ^ which , without such a connection between means and ends , can have
no existence , ana yet which all his works compel us to ascribe to him . Again , as the exercise of wisdom implies the carrying on of a process consisting of several steps , it is reasonable , with respect to any process under the management of a wise being , to conclude , so long as it does not produce the effect seemingly intended by the agent , that it is not comgletgd , *
And as this is actually the case with respect to the present state of things , where we discern unequivocal marks of a design to produce happiness , and yet where happiness is plainly produced but in a very imperfect degree , it is highly rational to believe ^ that the process so clearly carried on and s@ clearly unfinished here , will , in some future period , by Him who has instituted it ,
and of whose perfect goodness we possess , within our own moral frame , such strong presumptive evidence , be terminated , in regard to every one of us , and to the entire satisfaction of all intelligent and benevolent beings . If it should be objected that this blessed consummation mav , for aught we
know to the contrary , be impossible in the nature of things , and therefore not lie even within the sphere of omnipotence , it seems sufficient to observe that , so far from our seeing any reason to render this supposition at all probable , the very circumstance of our discerning the existence of a noble , extensive ' plan , bearing evident signs of its not being completed , affords >
strong presumption , considering the manifest wisdom of HingL who formed the plan , of the possibility of its being perfected ^ especially when we reflect that all the means or instruments of operation are at the disposal of the Supreme Artist—that he knows the precise force and tendency of each of them—and that he has no less a length of time to subdue every difficulty , and remove every obstacle , than the infinite duration of
eternity . Permit me to add one word more . In order to keep within proper limits the discussion to which the thoughts here Iai 4 before you may give rise , I would beg leave to observe , that both the existence and the government of God are in this essay
EssayjDn Divine Wisdom . . 19
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1807, page 19, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2376/page/19/