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EXPLANATORY, EXPERIMENTAL, & PRACTICAL.
IN my travels, as I walked through many regions and countries, it was my chance to arrive at that famous continent of Universe. A very large and spacious country it is: it lieth between the two poles, and just amidst the four points of the heavens. (a) It is a place well watered, and richly adorned with hills and valleys, bravely situated and for the most part (at least where I was) very fruitful ; also well peopled, and very sweet air *
The people are not all of one complexion, nor yet of one language, mode, or way of religion; but differ as much (it is said) as do the planets them
(a) Description of the World.
* This may be considered as a description of the world in its present state; for, notwithstanding it has lost much of its pristine purity by sin, we may yet observe the most beautiful and lively traces of God's goodness since "the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen and understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and God-head," Rom. i. 20.
selves some are right and some are wrong, even as it happeneth to be in lesser regions,*
In this country, as I said, it was my lot to travel; and there travel I did, and that so long, even till I had learned much of their mother-tongue, together with the customs and manners of them among whom I was. And, to speak truth, I was so much delighted to see and hear many things which I saw and heard among them: yea, I had to be sure, even lived and died a native among them (I was so taken with them and their doings) had not my Master sent for me home to his house, there to do business for him, and to oversee business done. †
Now there is, in this gallant country of Universe, a fair and delicate town, a corporation called MANSOUL; a town for its building so curious, for its situation so commodious, for its privileges so advantageous, I mean with reference to its original) that
*The world is here delineated in that disordered state to which it was reduced by the fall of our first parents. Before that fatal event, all was harmony, beauty, and united praises to the beneficent Creater; but sin introduced discord, a comparative deformity, disease, and death, and entailed a curse on the whole creation; thenceforward the mind became depraved and debilitated in all its faculties, so that the understanding, will, and affections were not only totally alienated and estranged from God, but branched out into various species of error and discordancy, in proportion as mankind increased, whose hearts, being thus infected, became utterly blind, and their imaginations vain; giving themselves up to commit all those abominations to which a human being is naturally inclined, which so provoked God, that after much forbearance and long-suffering, he swept them all off, except one family of eight persons, from the face of the earth, by a deluge of water, Gen. vii. 23.
+ It is a self-evident fact, that, were it not for the miraculous workings of the quickening spirit of God, such is the proneness of our nature to all kinds of iniquity, that we should give in to the various seeming pleasures of this life, and by that means ensnare the soul; we should be content with the paltry and unsatisfactory enjoyments of this world, remain regardless of the goodness of God, and, what is worst of all, be doomed to eternal misery in the life to come.
I máy say of it, as was said before of the continent in which it was piaced, "There is not its equal under the whole heaven "*
As to the situation of this town. it lieth between the two worlds: and the first founder and builder of it, so far as by the best and most authentic records (b) I can gather was one (c) SHADDAI;† and he built it for his own delight, Gen. i 26. He made it the mirror and glory of all that he made, even the top-piece, beyond any thing else that he did in that country. Yea, so goodly a town was Mansoul, when first built, that it is said by some the gods, (d) at the setting up thereof, come down to see it, and sung for joy. Aud as he made it godly to behold, so also mighty to have dominion over all the country round about. Yea, all were commanded to acknowledge Mansoul for their metrip itan, all were enjoined to do homage to it. A, the town itself had positive commission and power from her King, to demand service of all, and also to subdue those that any ways denied it.
There was reared up, in the midst of this town, a most famous and stately palace; (e) for strength it may be called a castle: for pleasantness, a paradise:" for largeness, a place so copious as to contain all the world, Eccles. iii. 11. This place, the King
(b) The Scriptures. (c) The Almighty. (d) Created Angels. () The Heart.
*The soul of man is an inestimable jewel: it is the breath of God, a particle of the divine nature; originally pure and hols, but now horribly disfigured by sin. The soul is all that is absolutely and super-eminently valued in the composition of man; for according to its bias and disposition, so is the being who possesses it. The care of this precious deposit is therefore of the utmost consequence: for "what will it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what can he give in exchange for his soul?" Matt. xxvi. 25.
+ All-sufficient; or mighty. The etymology of this word is a matter of doubt among the learned.