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220
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
The planets wheel through the heavens; the earth revolves on its axis, and performs its vast annual circuit; the seasons come and go; the clouds rise and vanish: the rain, the hail, and the snow descend : and in all this man has no voice. There is a system of government above, beyond and around him. declaring a sovereignty which takes no counsel of him. But still, in the midst of all this, man possesses a conscious­ness of freedom. The metaphysician may be confounded with the seeming inconsistency of an omnipotence, ruling over all tilings, yet granting free agency to the subjects of its power. But common sense does not puzzle itself with an attempt to discover the precise point at which these seeming principles of opposition may clash or coalesce. It contents itself with the obvious fact that God is a sovereign, who has yet created beings, and given them their free­dom, prescribing boundaries to their powers and capacities indeed, but within these limits permitting them to act by their own volition.
Man then is free: he has the power to seek happiness in his own way. He enters upon existence and sets forward in the path of life. But as he passes along, a thousand tempters beset him. Pleasure conies to beckon him away, offering him present flowers, and unfold-
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