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sideration, which no less debase the Dignity of human Nature, than they reflect Dishonour upon Chrijtianity.—Now if it could be proved as easily as it may be asserted, that Morality in general is the mere Product of political Invention, that Reason, Virtue, and Vice, are so many cant Words, and that Man in a State of Nature would act necessarily according to the Appetites of Sense, or the Propensities of Passion, the Sensualist would carry his point effectually.—But the Attempt to prove these Things demolishes itself. For how can it ever be demonstrated that there is no Difference as to these Matters between a Man and a Brute (as upon this Supposition there is none) but by the Use of a superior Faculty? How can Man reduce himself, in the way of Speculation, to a Level with a Brute, but by the Exercise of some Talent, some innate, distinguishing Principle that really implies his Superiority ?—Something similar at least and analogous to human Passions (as has already been observed) is visible in Brutes; their Actions are significant of Love, and Anger, and Grief, and Joy; &c. the Actions of an Ideot are frequently significant of the fame; while there is no Appearance of Reason in either. Reason consequently is something distinct from mere natural Appetite and Passion; a Principle superior to them, and designed to controul them. We have been told indeed of People, who, being uncivilized


by Commerce and Correspondence with Mankind, , and uninstructed by Education, live in a manner literally brutish; in the main, they may; but surely it cannot be demonstrated, that among the most barbarous Nations there are no general Notions, no moral Principles, no Distinctions of Right and Wrong; and even if it could be demonstrated, what would it prove more than that there may be a moral as well as a natural Ideot, and that Reason, as it may be injured, and even prevented in it's Operations and Functions by external Indispositions, and Defects in the Organs of the Body, so it may likewise fail of exerting and displaying itself for want of ordinary Care, and necessary Cultivation? That Ignorance and Error in general are to be imputed to Negligence, and not Incapacity, cannot be denied; and yet Education and Instruction, though they may enlarge and improve a natural Faculty, cannot possibly be supposed to make one. There is therefore a Principle in Man, as such, capable of Improvement, and liable to Corruption; this Principle is his Reason ; and as this Principle is something distinct from mere Appetite and Passion, so consequently must it's Suggestions and Dictates be. To act agreeably to these Dictates, is to act therefore specifically and essentially as a Man should do. We have here then a Test by which every Rule of Action, or System of Morality, may be tried: It must stand, or fall, proportipnably to it's Correspondence with, or Repugnance to the great Dictates and Principles of Reason. To this Test then let the Morality of Scripture be brought.—Indeed these Truths strike so irresistibly upon the Mind* that the Libertine finds himself obliged to quit his first Hold of Brutality; he takes his next Shelter therefore in the Infirmity of human Nature^ and pleads the Inability of Flesh and Blood to comply with the purer Precepts of the Gospel. Accordingly he compounds the Matter, and resolving all Morality into a few general Principles of common Justice and Honesty, supposes his Passions are indemnified in their Pursuit of sensual Gratifications.—Now if this Plea of the Sensualist be a rational one, every Passion, and every Vice may plead it's Privilege $ Malice, for instance, Covetousness, Ambition,- etc, for every Passion is predominant in some Subject or other; and if this Predominancy can be alledged in it's excuse, Morality will become the most precarious Thing in Nature, and branch itself into as many different Systems as there are different Inclinations, Tempers, and Constitutions of Mankind. The Reasonableness of a Rule is one Thing, and the Difficulty of obeying it another j but such Difficulty cannot supersede such Reasonableness, or dispense with our best Endeavours

to obey it. Is the Law itself holy, just, and

good? if so, the Law cannot in one jot, or in Vol. I. I ow one tittle, make Abatements and Allowances, though the Law-giver may, and, in certain Cases, we know to our Comfort, will. But among these Cases it would be absurd to number habitual, contemptuous, and presumptuous Neglect. For scriptural Morality, as it is agreeable to the Dictates of right Reason, so is it the revealed Will of God himself. Right Reason is the Will of God. Shall Appetite then, and Passion, and Infirmity, reply against Reason, and against God? No surely, not in Defence of a Transgression, though they may in humble Deprecation of Punishment.—The Fitness therefore and Propriety of scriptural Morality is evident from it's Agreeableness to Reason, or, in other Words, to the Will of God; and even the Rigour of it will appear to be infinitely less than the Libertine asserts it to be.—For though the great End and Design of scriptural Morality is to direct our Affections to their proper Objects, to remind us of our real Interests, and fix us in a steady and uniform Perseverance in our Christian Duty, under all possible Disadvantages and Afflictions, and preferably to all temporal Considerations, yet many, and substantial are the Pleasures, Comforts, and Satisfactions of a religious Life, in the ordinary Course of it. The Practice of Religion is our Convoy in our spiritual Voyage through Things temporal, to Things eternal. Now this Voyage we may certainly make as easy,

'and and delightful to ourselves, as the Nature of Our Situation will permit us; and though it be impossible to pass the Waves of this troublesome World, without being harrassed, more or less, with the Fatigues of Storms and Tempests, yet we may safely refresh ourselves in the Intervals of Serenity, and enjoy the Comforts of a Calm; provided all this while that we are neither diverted by the one, nor deterred by the other, from making for the Haven where we would be. Thus, to apply the Allegory to common Life, though the Evils, Inconveniences, and, possibly, Reproaches, Distresses, and Persecutions we are liable to upon account of our Adherence to the Principles of Religion, be many, and some of them grievous to Flesh and Blood, yet we are at Liberty to amuse and relieve ourselves with present good Things by such a discreet Use, and moderate Enjoyment of them, as will neither enamour us with the best that Can befal us here, nor unprepare us for the worst. And this Point may be gained consistently with many natural Gratifications, with temporal Pursuits, and the Exercise of our Passions. The

regular, uniform, habitual Practice of Piety and Virtue will effect it; for this will inspire us with Sentiments, and fill us with Expectations, that will set us above a sensual Love of Life, or a slavish Fear of Death; it will? enable us to use the Things of the World without abusing them; to please our

I 2 Senses;

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