In all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones. You call this a Paradox and demand my Reasons. They are these:1. Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stor’d with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreable.2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do a 1000 Services small and great and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old Woman who is not a good Woman.3. Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produc’d may be attended with much Inconvenience.4. Because thro’ more Experience, they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather inclin’d to excuse an old Woman who would kindly take care of a young Man, form his Manners by her good Counsels and prevent his ruining his Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes.5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement.6. Because the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin and make her for Life unhappy.7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy.8thly and Lastly They are so grateful!!
Benjamin Franklin
Providence then - and this is what is most important to grasp - is not the same thing as a universal teleology. To believe in divine and unfailing providence is not to burden one's conscience with the need to see every event in this world not only as an occasion for God's grace, but as a positive determination of God's will whereby he brings to pass a comprehensive design that, in the absence of any single one of these events, would not have been possible. It may seem that this is to draw only the finest of logical distinction, one so fine indeed as to amount to little more than a sophistry. Some theologians - Calvin, for instance - have denied that the distinction between what God wills and what he permits has any meaning at all. And certainly there is no unanimity in the history of Christian exegesis on this matter. Certain classic Western interpretations of Paul's treatment of the hardening of Pharaoh's heart and of the hardened heart of Israel in Romans 9 have taken it as a clear statement of God's immediate determination of his creatures' wills. But in the Eastern Christian tradition and in the thought of many of the greatest Western theologians, the same argument has often been understood to assert no more than that God in either case allowed a prior corruption of the will to run its course, or even - like a mire in the light of the sun - to harden the outpouring of God's fiery mercy and always for the sake of a greater good that will perhaps redound even to the benefit of the sinner. One might read Christ's answer to his disciples' question regarding why a man had been born blind - 'that the works of God should be made manifest in him' (John 9:3) - either as a refutation or as a confirmation of the distinction between divine will and permission. When all is said and done, however, not only is the distinction neither illogical nor slight; it is an absolute necessity if - setting aside, as we should, all other judgments as superstitious, stochastic and secondary - we are to be guided by the full character of what is revealed of God in Christ. For, after all, if it is from Christ that we are to learn how God relates himself to sin, suffering, evil and death, it would seem that he provides us little evidence of anything other than a regal, relentless and miraculous enmity: sin he forgives, suffering he heals, evil he casts out and death he conquers. And absolutely nowhere does Christ act as if any of these things are part of the eternal work or purposes of God.?
David Bentley Hart