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Q N the Chain of Univerfal Being 
Page i 


On Cruelty to Inferior Animals -12 


On a Pr*-exijient State - - 27 

D i s QJT i s i T i o N IV. 
On the Nature ofy'ime 47 

3 D i s Q^U i- 



On the Analogy between Things Ma- 
terial ana Intdlettual - Page 84 

D i s QJJ i s i T i o N VI. 

On Rational Chrijliar.ity - i c i 


On Government and Civil Liberty 1 1 c 


On Religious Eftablijhmrnts - 152 

D I S QJJ *- 




TH E farther we inquire into 
the works of our great Crea- 
tor, the more evident marks we 
Jhall difcover of his infinite wif- 
dom and power, and perhaps in 
none more remarkable, than in. 
that wonderful chain of Beings, 
B with 

[ * 3 

with which this terreftrial globe is 
furnifhed ; rifing above each ether, 
from the fenfelefs clod, to the 
brighteft genius of human kind, 
in which, tho s the chain itfelf is fuf- 
fkiently vifible, the links, which 
compofe it, are fo minute, and fo 
finely wrought, that they are quite 
imperceptible to our eyes. The 
various qualities, with which thefe 
various Beings are endued, we per- 
ceive without difficulty, but the 
boundaries of thofe qualities, which 
form this chain of fubordination, 
are fo mixed, that where one ends, 
and the next begins, we are unable 
to difcover. The manner by which 
this is performed, is a fubject well 
worthy of our confideration, tho* 

I do 

[ a J 

I do not remember to have feen it 
much confidered ; but on an accu- 
rate examination appears to be 

Jn order to diffufe all poflible 
happinefs, God has been pleafed to 
fill this earth with innumerable 
orders of Beings, fuperior to each 
other in proportion to the qualities, 
and faculties which he has thought 
proper to beftow upon them : to 
mere matter he has given extenfion, 
folidity, and gravity ; to plants, 
vegetation i to animals, life and in- 
ftinct i and to man, reafon ; each of 
which fuperior qualities augments 
the excellence, and dignity of the 
pofiefTor, and places him higher 
in the fcale of univerfal exiftence. 
In all thefe, it is remarkable, that 
B 2 he 

[ 4 3 

he has not formed this necefTaryv 
and -beautiful fubordination, by 
placing Beings of quite different 
natures above each other, but by 
granting fpjpe additional quality to 
each fuperior order, in conjunction 
with all thofe poffefled by their 
inferiors ; fo that, tho' they rife 
above each other in excellence, by 
means of thefe additional qualities, 
one mode of exiftence is common 
to them all, without which they 
never could have coalefced in one 
uniform and regular fyftem, 

Thus, for inftance, in plants we 
find all the qualities of mere mat- 
ter, the only order below them, 
folidity, extenfion, and gravity, with 
the addition of vegetation ; in ani- 
mals, all the properties of matter, 

'[ 5 ] 

together with the vegetation of 
plants, to which is added, life, and 
inftinft; and in man we find all 
the properties of matter, the vege- 
tation of plants, the life and inftindt 
of animals, to all which is fuper- 
added reafon. 

That man is endued with thefe 
properties of all inferior orders, 
will plainly appear by a flight ex- 
amination of his compofition j his 
body is material, and has all the 
properties of mere matter, folidity, 
-extenfion, and gravity -, it is alfo 
veiled with the quality of plants, that 
is, a power of vegetation, which 
it inceffantly exercifes without any 
knowledge, or confentof his : it is 
fown, grows up, expands, comes 
to maturity, withers and dies, like 

B all 

C 6 ] 

all other vegetables : he poiTefies 
Jikewife the qualities of lower ani- 
mals, and fhares their fate ; like 
them, he is called into life without 
his knowledge or content -, like 
them, he is compelled by irrefifti- 
ble inftincls, toanfwerthe purpofes 
for which he was defigned ; like 
them, he performs his deftined 
courfe, partakes of it's bleffings, 
and endures it's fufferings fora fhort 
time, then dJes, and is feen no 
more : in him inftinct is not lefs 
powerful, than in them, tho' lefs 
vifible, by being confounded with 
reafon, which it fometimes concurs 
with, and fometimes counteracts ; 
by this, with the concurrence of 
reafon, he is taught the belief of a 
God, of a future itate, and the 

t 7 ] 

difference between moral good, 
and evil ; to purfue happinefs, to 
avoid danger, and to take care of 
himfelf, and his offspring; by this 
too he is frequently impelled, in 
contradiction to reafon, to relin- 
quilh eafe, and fafecy, to traverfc 
inhofpitable defarts and tempeftu- 
ous feas, to inflid, and fuffer all 
the miferies of war, and, like the 
Herring, and the Mackarel, to 
haften to his own deftru<5tion, for 
the public benefit, which he nei- 
ther underftands, or cares for. 
Thus is this wonderful chain ex- 
tended from the loweft to the high- 
eft order of terreftrial Beings, by 
links fo nicely fitted, that the be- 
ginning and end of each is invifible 
to- the moft Lnquifnive eye, and yet 
B 4 they 

[ 8 3 

they all together compofe one vaft 
and beautiful fyftem of fubordina- 

The manner by which the con- 
fummate vvifdom of the divine Ar- 
tificer has formed this gradation, 
fo extenfive in the whole, and fo 
imperceptible in the parts, is this : 
He conftantly unites the higheft 
degree of the qualities of each 
inferior order to the lowed degree 
of the fame qualities, belong- 
ing to the order next above it; 
by which means, like the colours 
of a fkilful painter, they are fo 
blended together, and fhaded off 
into each other, that no line of dif- 
tinction is any where to be feen. 
Thus, for inftance, folidity, exten- 
fion, and gravity, the^qualities of 
2 mere 

C 9 1 

mere matter, being united with 
the lowed degree of vegetation, 
compofe a ftone.; from whence this 
vegetative power afc.ending thro" 
an infinite variety of herbs, flowers, 
plants, and trees to its greateft per- 
fection in the fenfitive plant, joins 
there the loweft degree of animal 
life in the mell-fifti, which adheres 
to the rock ; and it is difficult to 
difiinrruim which polTefies the great- 
eft fhare, as the one mews it only 
by fhrinking from the finger, and 
the other by opening to receive 
the water, which furrounds it. In 
the fame manner this animal life 
rifes from this low beginning in the 
fhell-fim, thro* innumerable fpecies 
of infects, fifties, birds, and beafts 
to the confines of reafon, where, in 



the dog, the monkey, and chim- 
panze, it unites fo clofely with the 
lowed degree of that quality in 
man, that they cannot eafily be 
diftinguifhed from each other. From 
this lowefb degree in the brutal 
Hottentot, reafon, with the affiftanee 
of learning and fcience, advances, 
thro' the various ftages of human 
underftanding, which rife above 
each other, 'till in a Bacon, or a 
Newton it attains the fummit. 

Here we muft flop, being unable 
to purfue the progrefs of this a- 
ftonifhing chain beyond the limits 
of this terreftrial globe with the 
naked eye ; but thro* the perfpec- 
tive of analogy, and conjecture we 
may perceive that it afcends a great 
deal higher, to the inhabitants 


of other planets, to angels, and 
archangels, the loweft orders of 
whom may be united by a like eafy 
tranfition with the higheil of our 
own, in whom to reafon may be 
added intuitive knowledge, in>- 
fight into futurity, with innumera- 
ble other faculties of which we 
are unable to form the lead idea ; 
thro* whom it may afcend, by gra- 
dations almoft infinite, to thofe 
moft exalted of created Beings, who 
are feated on the footftool of the 
celeftial throne. 

D I S- 

I 12 ] 



MAN is that link of the chain 
of univerfal exiftence, by 
which fpiritual and corporeal Be- 
ings are united : as the numbers 
and variety of the latter his infe- 
riors are almoft infinite, (b pro- 
bably are thofe of the former 
his fuperiors ; and as we fee that 
the lives and happinefs of thofe 
below us are dependent on our 
wills, we may reafonably conclude, 
that our lives, and happinefs arc 
equally dependent on the wills of 


rhofe above us ; accountable, like 
ourfelves, for the ufe of this power, 
to the Supreme Creator, and Gover- 
nor of all things. Should this ana- 
logy be well founded, how crimi- 
nal will our account appear, when 
laid before that juft and impartial. 
Judge ! How will man, that fan- 
guinary. tyrant, be able to excufe 
himfelf from the charge of thofe in- 
numerable cruelties inflicted on his 
unoffending fubjects committed to 
his care, formed for his benefit, and 
placed under his authority by their 
common Father ? whofe mercy is, 
over all his works, and who expects, 
that this authority mould be exer- 
cifed not. only with tendernefs and. 
mercy, but in conformity to the 
laws of juftice and gratitude. 


t 14 ] 

But to what horrid deviations 
from thefe benevolent intentions are 
we daily witnefies ! No fmall part 
of mankind derive theirchief amufe- 
ments from the deaths and fuffer- 
ings of inferior animals , a much 
greater, confider them only as en- 
gines of wood, or iron, ufeful in 
their feveral occupations. The car- 
man drives his horfe, and the car- 
penter his nail, by repeated blows ; 
and Ib long as thefe produce the de- 
fired effect, and they both go, they 
neither reflect or care whether either 
of them have any fenfe of feeling. 
The butcher knocks down the 
ftately ox with no more companion 
than the blackfmith hammers a 
horfe-moe j and plunges his knife 
into the throat of the innocent lamb, 
3 with 

t <5 ] 

Vith as little reluctance as the tay* 
lor fticks his needle into the collar 
of a coat. 

If there are fome few, who, 
formed in a fofcer mould, view with 
pity the fufferings of thefe defence- 
lefs creatures, there is fcarce one 
who entertains the leaft idea, that 
juftice or gratitude can be due to 
their merits, or their fervices. The 
focial and friendly dog is hanged 
without remorfe, if, by barking in 
defence of his mailer's perfon, and 
property, he happens unknowingly 
to difturb his reft : the generous 
horfe, who has carried his ungrate- 
ful matter for many years with eafe, 
and fafety, worn out with age and 
infirmities contracted rn his fervice, 
is by him condemned to end his 

I 16 ] 

miferable days in a duft-cart, where 
the more he exerts his little remains 
of -fpirit, the more he is whipped, to 
fave his ftnpid driver the trouble of 
wh :;>ping fome other, lefs obedient 
to the lam. Sometimes, having been 
taught the practice of many unna- 
tural and ufelefs feats in a riding- 
houfe, he is at laft turned out, and 
configned to the dominion of a 
hackney-coachman, by whom he is 
every day corrected for performing 
thofe tricks, which he has learned 
under fo long and fevere a difci- 
pline. The fluggifh bear, in con- 
tradiction to his nature, is taught 
to dance, for the diverfion of a ma- 
lignant mob, by placing red-hot 
irons under his feet : and the ma- 
jeftic bull is tortured by every 


which malice can invent, for no 
offence, but that he is gentle, and 
unwilling to affail his diabolical 
tormentors. Thefe, with innu- 
merable other acts of cruelty, in- 
juftice, and ingratitude, are every 
day committed, not only with im- 
punity, but without cenfure, and 
even without obfervation ; but we 
may be allured, that they cannot 
finally pafs away unnoticed, and 

The laws of felf-defence un- 
doubtedly juftify us in deftroying 
thofe animals who would deftroy 
us, who injure our properties, or 
annoy our perfons ; but not even 
thefe, whenever their fituation in- 
capacitates them from hurting us. 
J know of no right which we have to 
C fhoot 

[ is 3 

ihoot a bear on an inacceffible 
ifland of ice, or an eagle on the 
mountain's top ; whofe lives can- 
not injure us, nor deaths procure 
us any benefit. We are unable to 
give life, and therefore ought not 
wantonly to take it away from the 
meaneft infect, without fufficient 
reafon ; they all receive it from the 
fame benevolent hand as ourfelves, 
and have therefore an equal right 
to enjoy it. 

God has been pleafed to create 
numberlefs animals intended for 
our fuftenance ; and that they are 
fo intended, the agreeable flavour 
of their flefh to our palates, and the 
wholefome nutriment which it ad- 
minifters to our (tomachs, are fuffi- 
cient proofs : thefe, as they are 

f >9 3 

formed for our uie, propagated by 
our culture, and fed by our care, 
we have certainly a right to de- 
prive of life, becaufe it is given and 
preferved to them on that condi- 
tions ; but this fhould always be 
performed with all the tendernefs 
and compaffion which fo difagree- 
abie an office will permit ; and no 
circumftances ought to be omitted, 
which can render their executions 
as quick and eafy as poffible. For 
this, Providence has wifely and be- 
nevolently provided, by forming 
them in fuch a manner, that their 
flefh becomes rancid and unpalat- 
able by a painful and lingering 
death ; and has thus compelled us 
to be merciful without compaffion, 
and cautious of their fuffering, for 
C 2 the 


the fake of ourfelves : but, if there 
are any whofc taftes are fo vitiated, 
and whofe hearts are fo hardened, 
as to delight in fuch inhuman facri- 
ficcs, and to partake of them with- 
out remorfe, they fhov.ld be looked 
upon as daemons in human fhapes, 
and expecl a retaliation of thofe tor- 
tures which they have inflicted on 
the innocent, for the gratification 
of their own depraved and unna- 
tural appetites. 

So violent are the pafllons of* an- 
ger and revenge in the human, 
breafl, that it is not wonderful that 
men mould perfecute their real or 
imaginary enemies with cruelty and 
malevolence; but that there mould 
exift in nature a Being who can re- 
ceive pleafure from giving pain, 

[ 21 ] 

would be totally incredible, if we 
were not convinced, by melancholy 
experience, that there are not only 
many, but that this unaccountable 
difpofuion is in fome manner in- 
herent in the nature of man ; for, 
as he cannot be taught by exam- 
ple, nor led to it by temptation, or 
prompted to it by intereft, it mud 
be derived from his native confti* 
tution ; and is a remarkable con- 
firmation of what revelation fo fre- 
quently inculcates that he brings 
into the world with him an original 
depravity, the effects of a fallen 
and degenerate ftate ; in proof of 
which we need only obferve, that 
the nearer he approaches to a ftate 
of nature, the more predominant 
this difpofition appears, and the 
C 3 more 

t M ] 

more violently it operates. We fee 
children laughing at the miferies 
which they inflict on every unfor- 
tunate animal which comes within 
their power : all favages are inge- 
nious in contriving, and happy in 
executing, the rnoft exqnifite tor- 
tures ; and the common people of 
all countries are delighted with no- 
thing fo much as bull-baitings, 
prize-fightings, executions, and all 
fpectacles of cruelty and horror. 
Though civilization may in fome 
degree abate this native ferocity, 
it can never quite extirpate it ; the 
moft polimed are not afhamed to 
be pleafed with fcenes of little lefs 
barbarity, and, to the difgrace of 
human nature, to dignify them 
with the name of fports. They 


arm cocks with artificial weapons, 
which nature had kindly denied to 
their malevolence, and with fhouts 
of applaufe and triumph, fee them 
plunge them into each other's 
hearts : they view with delight the 
trembling deer and defencelefs hare* 
flying for hours in the utmoft 
agonies of terror and defpair, and 
at laft, finking under fatigue, de- 
voured by their mercilefs purfuers : 
they fee with joy the beautifuf 
pheafant and harmlefs partridge 
drop from their flight, weltering in 
their blood, or perhaps pefifhing 
with wounds and hunger, under 
the cover of fome friendly thicker 
to which they have in vain re- 
treated for fafety : they triumph 
over the unfufpecting fifh, whom 
C 4 they 

they have decoyed by an infidious 
pretence of feeding, and drag him 
from his native element by a hook 
fixed to and tearing out his en- 
trails : and, to add to all this, they 
fpare neither labour nor expence to 
preferve and propagate thefe inno- 
cent animals, for no other end, but 
to multiply the objects of their per- 

What name mould we beftow on 
a fuperior Being, whofe whole en- 
deavours were employed, and whofe 
whole pleafure confifted in terrify- 
ing, enfnaring, tormenting, and de- 
ftroying mankind ? whofe fuperior 
faculties were exerted in fomenting 
animofities amongft them, in con- 
triving engines of deftruction, and 
inciting them to ufe them in maim- 

ifig and murdering each other ? 
v/hofe power over them was em- 
ployed in afiifting the rapacious., 
deceiving the fimple, and opprefP 
ing the innocent? who, without 
provocation or advantage, fhould 
continue from day to day, void of 
all pity and remorfe, thus to tor- 
ment mankind for diverfion, and 
at the lame time endeavour with 
their utmoft care to preferve their 
lives, and to propagate their fpe- 
cies, in order to increafe the num- 
ber of viclims devoted to his male- 
volence, and be delighted in pro- 
portion to the miferies which he 
occafioned ? I fay, what namede- 
teflable enough could we find for 
fuch a Being ? Yet, if we impar- 
tially confider the cafe, and our in- 

[ 26 ] 

fermediate fituation, we muft ac- 
knowledge, that, with regard to 
inferior animals, juft fuch, a, Being 
is a fportfman. 


C 27 J 


THAT mankind had exifted 
in fome ftate previous to 
the prefent, was the opinion of the 
wifeft fages of the moft remote an- 
tiquity. It was held by the Gym- 
nofophifts of Egypt, the Brach- 
mans of India, the Magi of Perfia, 
and the greateft philofophers of 
Greece and Rome -, it was likewife 
adopted by the fathers of the Chrif- 
tian church, and frequently enforced 
by her primitive writers ; why it 
has been fo little noticed, fo much 
overlooked, rather than rejected, 


[ * 3 

by the divines and metaphyficians 
of latter ages, I am at a lofs to 
account for, as it is undoubtedly 
confirmed by reafon, by all the ap- 
pearances of nature, and the doc- 
trines of revelation. 

In the firft place then it is con- 
firmed by reafon ; which teaches us, 
that it is impojlible that the con- 
junction of a male and female can 
create, or bring into Being an im- 
mortal foul : they may prepare a 
material habitation for it 5 but 
there mutt be an immaterial pras- 
exiftent inhabitant ready to take 
pofiefiion. Reafon allures us, that 
an immortal foul, which will exift 
eternally after the diffolution of the 
body, muft have eternally exifted 
before the formation of it-, for 

whatever has no end, can never 
have had any beginning > but mult 
exift in fome manner which bears 
no relation to time, to us totally 
incomprehenfible : if therefore the 
foul will continue to exift in a fu- 
ture life, it muft have exifted in 
a former. Reafon likewife tells 
us, that an omnipotent and benevo- 
lent Creator would never have 
formed fuch a world as this, and 
filled it with fuch inhabitants, 
if the preient was the only, or even 
the firft flate of their exigence, 
a ftate which, if unconnected with 
the pad and the future, feems 
calculated for no one purpofe in- 
telligible to our underflandings ; 
neither of good or evil, of happi- 
nefs or mifery, of virtue or vice, 
2 of 

f 30 1 

of reward or punifhment, but a 
confufed jumble of them all toge- 
ther, proceeding from no vifible 
caufe, and tending to no end. But, 
as we are certain that infinite 
power cannot be employed without 
effect, nor infinite wifdom without 
defign, we may rationally conclude, 
that this world could be defigned 
for nothing more than a prifon, in 
which we are awhile confined to re- 
ceive punimment for the offences 
committed in a former, and an op- 
portunity of preparing ourfelves for 
the enjoyment of happinefs in a 
future life. 

Secondly. Thefe conclufions of 
reafon are fufficiently confirmed by 
the face of nature, and the appear- 
ances of things ; this world is evi- 

dently formed for a place of punim- 
ment, as well as probation j a prifon, 
or houfe of correction, to which we 
are committed, fome for a longer, 
and fome for a fhorter period j fome 
to the fevereft labour, others to 
more indulgent tafks: and if we con- 
fider it under this character, we fhall 
perceive it admirably fitted for the 
end for which it was intended. It 
is a fpacious, beautiful, and durable 
ftructure: it contains many vari- 
ous apartments, a few very com- 
fortable, many tolerable, and fome 
extremely wretched : it is inclofed 
with a fence fo impaflable, that 
none can furmount it but with the 
lofs of life. It's inhabitants likewife 
exactly refemble thofe of other pri- 
fons : they come in with malignant 
3 difpofuions, 

[ 3* ] 

difpofitions, and unruly pafiions, 
from whence, like other confined 
criminals, they receive great part 
of punilhment by abufing and in- 
juring each, other. As we may 
fuppofe, that they have not all 
been equally guilty, fo they are not 
all equally miferable ; the ma- 
jority are permitted to procure a 
tolerable fubfiftenee by their la- 
bour, and pafs thro* their confine- 
ment without any extraordinary 
penalties, except from paying their 
fees, at their ditlharge by death. 
Others, who perhaps ftand in need 
of more fevere chaftifement, receive 
k by a variety of methods ; fome 
by the moft acute, and fome by the 
mod tedious pains and difeafes ; 
fome by difappointments, and many 
by fuccefs, in their favourite pur- 

fuits j 

C 33 3 

fuits -, fome by being condemned 
to fituations peculiarly unfortunate, 
as to thofe of extreme poverty, or 
fuperabundant riches, of defpica- 
ble meannefs, or painful pre-emi- 
nence, of galley- flaves in a defpotic, 
or minifters in a free country. IF 
we furvey the various regions of 
the globe, what dreadful icenes of 
wretchednefs every where prefent 
themfelves to. our eyes! in fome, 
we fee thoufands chained to the 
oar, and perpetually fufFering from 
the inclemency of all weathers, and 
their more inclement matters : irt 
fome, not fewer condemned to wear 
out their rniferable lives in dreary 
mines, deprived of air and day- 
light ; and in others, much greater- 
numbers torn from their native 
country, their families, and friends, 
D and 

[ 34 1 

and fold to the moft inhuman of all 
tyrants, under whofe lafh they are 
worn out with fatigue, or expire in 
torments. The hiftory of mankind 
is indeed little more than a detail 
of their miferies, fome inflicted by 
the hand of Providence, and many 
more by their own wickednefs, and 
mutual ill-ufage. As nations, we 
fee them fometimes chaftifed by 
plagues, famines, inundations, and 
earthquakes ; and continually de- 
ftroying each other with fire and 
fword , we fee fleets and armies 
combating with favage fury, and 
employing againft each other every 
inftrument of torture and death, 
which malevolence can invent, or 
ferocity make ufe of : we fee the 
dying and the dead huddled toge- 
ther in heaps, and weltering in each 
7 other's 

[ 35 1 

other's blood; and can we befpe&a- 
tors of this horrid tragedy, without 
confidering the performers as con- 
demned criminals, compelled, like 
the Gladiators of the ancients, to 
receive their punifhment from each 
other's hands ? The Orator, the Poet, 
and the Hiilorian may celebrate 
them, as heroes fighting for the 
rights and liberties of their refpec- 
tive countries , but the Chriftian 
Philofopher can look upon them 
in no other light, than as con- 
demned fpirits exiled into human 
flefli, and fent into this world to 
chaftife each other for paft offences. 
As individuals, we fee men afflicted 
with innumerable difeafes, which 
proceed not from accident, but; 
arc congenial with their original 
D 2 forma- 

i 36 j 

formations, and evidently the drf- 
pofitions of Providence, defigned 
for the moil important ends -, the 
ftone grows in the human bladder, 
under the fame direction as in the 
quarrj, and the feeds of fcurvyy 
rheum atifm, and gout are fown 
in the blood by the fame omnipo- 
tent hand, which has fcattered thofe 
of vegetables over the face of the 
earth. From thefe various inftru- 
rnents of torture, numberlefs are 
the miferies which mankind en- 
dure ; nor are thofe perhaps lefs nu- 
merous, tho* lefs vifible, which 
they fuffer from that treachery, in- 
juftice, ingratitude, ill-humour, and 
perverfenefs, with which they every 
hour torment one another, interrupt 
the peace of fociety, and imbitter 


[ 37 J 

'th'c comforts of domeftic life; to 
all which we may add, that won- 
derful ingenuity, which they pofleiSj 
of creating imaginary, in the ab- 
fence of real misfortunes, and that 
corrofive quality in the human 
mind, which, for want of the proper 
food of bufinefs or contemplation, 
preys upon itfelf, and makes foli- 
tude intolerable, and thinking a 
moft painful tafk. Who, that fur- 
veys this melancholy picture of the 
prefent life, can entertain a doubt, 
but that it is intended for a (late of 
punimment, and therefore muft be 
fubfequent to fome -former, in which 
this punimment was deferved. 

Laftly. The opinion of prse-ex- 
iftence is no lefs confirmed by re- 
velation, than by reafon, and the 
D 3 appear- 

I 38 1 

appearances of things ; for, altho' 
perhaps it is no where in the New 
Teftament explicitly enforced, yet 
throughout the whole tenour of 
thofe writings it is every where 
implied : in them mankind are con- 
Handy reprefented as corning into 
-the world under a load of guilt; 
as condemned criminals, the chil- 
dren of wrath, and obje6ts of divine 
indignation ; placed in it for a time 
by the mercies of God, to give 
them an opportunity of expiating 
this guilt by fufferings, and re- 
gaining, by a pious and virtuous 
conduct,- their loft ftate of happi- 
nefs'and innocence: this is ftiled 
working out their falvation, not 
preventing their condemnation, for 
that is already paft, and their onty 


[ 39 ] 

hope now is redemption, that is, 
being refcued from a date of cap- 
tivity and fin, in which they are 
univerfally involved. This is the 
very efience of the Chriftian difpen- 
fation, and the grand principle in 
which it differs from the religion 
of nature , in every other refpect 
they are nearly fimilar ; they both 
enjoin the fame moral: duties,, and 
prohibit the fame vices ; both in- 
culcate the belief of a future ftate 
of rewards and puniflhments : but 
here they effentially difagree ; na- 
tural religion informs us, that a 
juft and benevolent Creator could 
have no other defign in placing us 
in this world, but to make us hap- 
py, and that, if we commit no ex- 
traordinary crimes, we may hope 
D 4 to 

[ 40 '] 

to be fo in another ; but Chrifti- 
anity teaches a feverer, and more 
alarming lefibn, and acquaints us, 
that we are admitted into this life 
opprefled with guilt and depravity, 
which we muil atone for by fuffering 
its ufual calamities, and work off 
by als of poiitive virtue, before we 
.can hope for happinefs in another. 
Now, if by all this a prae-exiftent 
Hate is not conftantly fuppofed, 
that is, that mankind have exifted 
in fome ftate previous to the pre- 
fent, in which this guilt was in- 
curred, and this depravity con- 
tracted, there can be no meaning 
at all, or fuch a meaning as con- 
tradicts every principle of common 
Tenfe -that guilt can be contracted 
without a6bng, or that we can act 
2 -without 

C 41 1 

without exifting : fo undeniable is 
this inference, that it renders any, 
pofitive aflertion of a prse-exiftent 
ftate totally ufelefs-j as, if a man at 
the moment of his entrance into a 
new country was declared a cri- 
minal, it would furely be unnecef- 
fary to aflert, that he had lived in 
fome other before he came there. 

In all our refearches into abftrufe 
fubjefts, there is a certain clue, 
without which, the further we pro- 
ceed the more we are bewildered, 
but which being fortunately dif- 
covered, leads us at once through 
the whole labyrinth, puts an end 
to our difficulties, and opens a 
fyftem perfectly clear, confident, 
and intelligible. The doclrine of 
pras-exiftence, or the acknowledgr 


[ 4* ] 

ment of fome paft (late of guilt and 
difobedi^nce, I take to be this very 
elue ; which if we conftantly carry 
along with us, we (hall proceed un- 
embarraffed through all the intri- 
cate myfteries both of nature and 
revelation, and at laft arrive at ib 
clear a profpect of the wife and 
juft difpenfations of our Crea- 
tor, as cannot fail to afford com- 
pleat fatisfaclion to the moft inqui- 
fitive fceptic. 

. For inftance , Are we unable to 
anfwer that important queftbn, 
Whence came evil ? that is, why a 
Creator of infinite power, wifdom, 
and goodrtefs, mould have formed 
a world replete with ib many im- 
perfections, and thofe fo produc- 
tive of calamities to its inhabitants 5 


[ 43 ] 

this clue will direct us to this fa- 
tisfaftory reply, as far as the quef- 
tion relates to the evils of the pre- 
fent life becaufe he defigned it for 
a place of punifhment and proba- 
tion , for which it is perfectly a- 
dapted i and we can be no more 
furprifed to fee fuch a world as this 
make a part of the univerfal fyftem, 
than to fee a magnificent prifon, 
with all its appendages of punifh- 
ment, whips, pillories, and gibjbets, 
make a part of a large, populous, 
and well-governed city. Are we 
under difficulties to comprehend 
why the fame omnipotent and be- 
nevolent Creator -mould fill this 
world with inhabitants fo wicked, 
and fo miferable? this clue will im- 
mediately lead us to a folution of 


[ 4+ 1 

them, and point out the true rea^ 
fon becaufe they are fent hither to 
be puniihed, and reformed. Do 
we reject all thofe pafiages in the 
New Teftament, as derogatory to 
the divine wifdom and goodnefs, 
which declare, that mankind come 
into this world under a load of 
guilt and depravity, and under the 
difpleafure of their Creator ? no 
fooner are we brought by this clue 
within fight of a prse-exiftent ftate, 
in which this guilt and depravity 
may have been contracted, but our 
incredulity vanifhes, and we per- 
ceive plainly, that their admiffion 
into this world, under thofe cir- 
cumftances, is not only confiftent 
with the juftice of God, but the 
ilrongeft inftance of his mercy and 
benevolence ; 

[ 45 1 

benevolence ; as by it they are en- 
abled to purge off this depravity, 
ro expiate their offences, and to re- 
in ftate themfelves in his favour. 

Thus is a pras-exiftent ftate, I 
think, clearly dernonftrated, by the 
principles of reafon, the appear- 
ances of things, and the fenfe of 
revelation ; all which agree, that 
this world is intended for a place 
of punifhment, as well as proba- 
tion, and mufl therefore refer to 
ibme former period ; for, as pro- 
bation implies a future life, for 
which it is preparatory, fo punim- 
ment mud imply a former ftate, in 
which offences were committed, 
for which it is due ; and indeed 
there is not a fingle argument drawn 
from the juftice of God, and the 

[ 46 ] 

feemingly undeferved fufferings of 
many in the prefent ftate, which 
can be urged in proof of a future 
life, which proves not with fupe- 
rior force the exigence of another, 
which is already paft. 

D I S Q U I- 

t 47 3 


WE are fo accuflomed to con- 
nect our ideas of time with 
the hiftory of what paffes in it, 
that is, to miftake a fuccefHon of 
thoughts and actions for time, that 
we find it extremely difficult, per- 
haps impoffible, totally to feparate 
or diftinguifh them from each other: 
and indeed, had we power to effect 
this in our minds, all human lan- 
guage is fo formed, that it would 
fail us in our exprdfion: yet cer- 

[ 48 I 

tain it is, that time, abfirafted 
from the thoughts, aflions, and mo- 
tions which pals in it, is actually 
nothing : it is only the mode in 
which fome created Beings are or- 
dained to exiflv but in itfelf has 
really no exiftence at all. 

Though this opinion may feem 
chimerical to many, who have not 
much confidered the Tubject, yet 

.'it is by no means new,, for it was 
long fince adopted by fome of the 

"moft celebrated philofophers of an- 
tiquity, particularly by the Epicu- 
reans -,.and is thus well exprefTed by 

Xucretius : 

%empus Item per fe nan eft ; fed rebus ab ipfis 
fynfequitur.fenfm, tranfaclum quod fit in eevo, 
Turn qu<t res mjlat, quid ptnoJtinde fequatur*, 
Xtc t erfe, quemquamtempusfentire, fateudum efl> 
Stmatum ab ufum, msiui pldcidayie quietf. 


[ 49 J 

Time of itfelf is nothing ; but from thought 
Receives its rife, by lab'ring fancy wrought, 
From things confidered: while we think on fomc 
As prefent, fome as paft, and fome to come .- 
No thought can think on Time, that's dill coa- 

But thinks on things in motion, or at reft. 


From obferving the diurnal re- 
volutions of the fun, and the vari- 
ous tranfa&ions which pafs during 
thofe revolutions, we acquire con- 
ceptions of days; by dividing thefe 
days we form hours, minutes, and 
feconds -, and by multiplying them, 
months, years, and ages j then by 
meafuring thefe imaginary periods 
againft each other, and bellowing 
on each diftinct denominations, we 
give them the appearance of fome- 
thing real : yefterday, which is paft, 
E and 

[ 5 3 

and to-morrow, which is not yet 
come, afiume the fame reality as 
the prefent day -, and thus we ima- 
gine time to refemble a great book, 
one of whofe pages is every day 
wrote on, and the reft remain 
blank, to be filled up in their turns 
with the events of futurity j whilft 
\n fact this is all but the delufion 
of our own imaginations, and time 
is nothing more, than the manner 
in which paft, prefent, and future 
events fucceed .each other : yet is 
this delufion fo correfpondent with 
our prefent (late, and fo woven up 
with all human language, that with- 
out much reflection it cannot be 
perceived, nor when perceived can 
it be- remedied : nor can I, while' 
endeavouring to prove time to be 

t r ] 

nothing, avoid treating it as fome- 
thing in almoft every line. 

There feems to be in the nature 
of things, two modes of exiftence ; 
one, in which all events, paft, pre- 
fent, and to come, appear in one 
view ; which, if the expreffion may 
be allowed, I Ihall call perpetually 
inftantaneous ; and which, as I ap- 
prehend, conftitutes Eternity ; the 
other, in which all things are pre- 
fented feparately, and fuccefJively, ' 
which produces what we call Time. ' 

Of the firft of thefe human rea- 
fon can afford us no manner of 
conception; yet it afiures us, on 
the ftrongeft evidence, that fuch 
mud be the exiftence of the fu- 
preme Creator of all things, that 
iuch probably may be the exiftence 
2 of 

[ 52 1 

of many fuperior orders of creat-ed 
Beings, and that fuch pofTibly may 
be our own in another ftate : to 
Beings fo conftituted, all events 
paft, prefent, and future are pre- 
fented in one congregated mafs, 
which to us are fprcad out in fuc- 
ceffion to adapt them to our tem- 
porary mode of perception: in thefe 
ideas have no fuccefllon, and there- 
fore to their thoughts, actions, or 
exiftence, time, which is fucceffion 
only, can bear not the leaft relation 
wliatfoever. To exiftence of this 
kind alone can eternity belong; for 
eternity can never be compofed of 
finite parts, which, however multi- 
plied, can never become infinite ; 
but muft be fornething fimple, uni- 
form, invariable, and indivifible-, 

I 53 'J 

permanent, tho' inftantaneoils, and 
endlefs without progrefllon. There 
are fome remarkable expreffions 
both in the Old and New Tefta- 
ment, alluding to this mode of ex- 
iftence ; in the former, God is de- 
nominated / am * ; and in the lat- 
ter, Chrift fays, before Abraham was, 
I awf: both evidently implying 
duration without fuccefifion : from 
whence the fdioolmen probably 
derive their obfcure notions of 
fuch a kind of duration, which 
they explain by the more obfcure 
term of a punfium ftans. 

With the other mode of exiflence 
we are fufficiently acquainted, be- 
ing that in which Providence has 
placed us, and all things around 

* Pxod. iv. 14. f John viii. 58. 

E 3 us, 

[ 54 3 

us, during our refidence on this 
terreftrial globe j in which ail ideas 
follow each other in our minds in 
a regular and uniform fuccefiion, 
not unlike the tickings of a clock 
and by that means all objects are 
prefented to our imaginations in 
the fame progreflive manner : and 
if any vary much from that deftin- 
ed pace, by too rapid, or too flow 
a motion, they immediately be- 
come to us totally imperceptible. 
We now perceive every one, as it 
paifes, thro* a. fmall aperture fe- 
parately, as. in the Camera Ob- 
fcura, and this we call time ; but 
at the conclufion of this ftate we 
may probably exift in a manner 
quite different ; the window may 
be thrown open, the whole profp.eft 

[ 55 ] 

appear at one view, and all this ap- 
paratus, which we call time, be 
totally done away : for time is cep- 
tainly nothing more, than the fhift> 
ing of fcenes neceffary for the per- 
formance of this tragi-comical farce, 
which we are here exhibiting, and 
mud undoubtedly end with the con- 
el ufion of the drama. It has no more 
a real effence,independent of thought 
and action, than fight, hearing, and 
fmell have independent of their pro- 
per organs, and the animals to whom 
they belong, and when they ceafe 
to exift, time can be no more. 
There are alfo feveral pafTages in 
the fcriptures, declaring this anni- 
hilation of time, at the corifumma- 
tion of all things : And the Angel., 
which I faw ft and upon the fea and 
4 the 

[ 56 3 

tbe earth, lifted up his hand towards 
heaven, and fwcre by him that liveth 
for ever and ever, &c. that there 
jhould be time no longer *. 

To this opinion of the non-entity 
of time it has by fome been ob- 
jected, that time has many attri- 
butes and powers inherent in its 
nature ; and that whatever has at- 
tributes and powers, inuft itfelf ex- 
ift : it is infinite, fay they, and 
eternal ; it contains all things ; and 
forces itfelf on our imaginations in 
the abience of all other exiftence : 
but to this it may be anfwered, 
that the human mind is able in the 
very fame manner to realize no- 
thing j and then all the fame attri- 
butes and powers are applicable 
*Rev. x, 5. 

jo with 

[ 57 3 

with equal propriety to that nothing, 
thus fuppofed to be fomething : 

* Nothing, thou elder brother ev^n to (hade! 
Thou had'fl a Being, ere the world was made, 
And well fixM are alone of ending not afraid. 

I^vothmg is infinite, and eternal ; that 
is, hath neither beginning, nor end: 
it contains all things; that is, it be- 
gins where all exiftence ends ; and 
therefore furrounds, and contains all 
things : it/orces itfelf on the mind, 
in the abfence of all exiftence-, that 
is, where we fuppofe there is no ex- 
iftence, w.e muft fuppofe there is 
nothing: this exact refemblance of 
their attributes and powers, more 
plainly demenftrates, that time is 

From this non-exiftence of time thus 
, many conclufions will 

Lord Rochefter. 


[ 58 ] 

arife, both ufeful and entertaining k , 
from whence perhaps new lights may 
be thrown on feveral fpeculations re- 
ligious and metaphyfical, whole out- 
lines I fhall juft venture to trace, and 
leave them to be filled up by abler 

i ft. If time be no more than the 
fuccefiion of ideas, and actions, 
however thefe may be accelerated, 
or retarded, time will be juft the 
fame : that is, neither longer or 
ftiorter, provided the fame ideas, 
and actions, fucceed one another, 
as far, I mean, as it relates to Be- 
ings fo thinking and acting. For 
inftance, were the earth, and all the 
celeftial bodies, to perform the 
fame revolutions in one day, which 
they now perform in a whole year; 
and were all the ideas, actions, and 


[ 59 ] 

lives of mankind haftened on in the 
lame proportion, the period of our 
lives would not be in the lead ftior- 
tened ; but that day would be ex- 
actly equal to the prefent year : if 
in the fpace of feventy or eighty of 
thefe days a man was born, edu- 
cated, and grown up, had exercifed 
a profefiion, had feen his children 
come to maturity, his grand-chil- 
dren fucceed them 3 and, during this 
period had had all his ideas and ac- 
tions, all his enjoyments and fuffer- 
ings, accelerated in the fame pro- 
portion, he would not only feem 
to himfelf, and to all who lived in 
the fame ftate with him, and mea- 
fiired time by the fame ftandard, to 
have lived as long, but actually 
and in fad would have lived as 


C 60 ] 

Song as one, who refides on this 
globe as great a number of ou-r 
prefent years. 

2dly. This being the cafe, it fol- 
lows, that the life of every man 
mult be longer, or fhorter, in 
proportion to the number of his 
thoughts, and actions : for was it 
poflible for a man to think and aft 
as much in an hour, as in a year, that 
hour, as far as it related to him, would 
not only feem, but actually become 
a year. On the other hand, was it 
poflible for a man totally to abftain 
from thinking and acting for an 
hour, or a year, time, with regard 
to him, for that period, would 
have no exiftence , or, could he 
keep one idea fixed in his mind, 
and continue on-e fingle act during 

[ 61 ] 

the fame fpace, time, which is a 
fucceflion only of ideas and ac- 
tions, muft be equally annihilated : 
whether thefe ideas and actions are 
exercifed on great or little occa- 
iions, whether they are productive 
of pleafing or painful ienfations, 
with regard to this purpofe their 
effects will be the fame : neither 
their importance or confequences 
will add any thing to time, but 
their numbers and celerity moil un- 
doubtedly will. Our lives there- 
fore, when diversified with a vari- 
ety of objects, and bufied in a mul- 
tiplicity of purfuits, thoV perhaps 
lefs happy, will certainly be longer, 
than when dofcd away in floth, in- 
activity, and apathy. 

gdl.y. From hence it is evident, 


[ 62 ] 

that we can form no judgment of 
the duration of the. lives, enjoy- 
ments, and iufferings of other ani- 
mals, with the progrefiion of whofe 
ideas we are totally unacquainted, 
and who may be framed in that re- 
fpect, as well as in many others, 
fo widely different from ourfelves. 
The gaudy butterfly, that flutters 
in the funfhine but for a few 
months, may live as long as the 
flupid tortoife, that breathes for a 
century ; the infecl, that furvives 
not one diurnal revolution of the 
fun, may, for any thing we know, 
enjoy an age of happinefs j and the 
miferable horfe, that appears to us 
to furTer the drudgery of ten or 
twenty years, may finifli his labo- 
rious tafk in as many months, day?, 
or hours. 4thly. 

[ 63 ] 

4thly. For the like reafons we 
can judge but very imperfectly of 
what are real evils in the univerfal 
fyftem, whilft we remain in this 
temporal ftate of exiftence, in which 
all things are exhibited to us by 
fcraps, one after the other : for 
thefe detached portions, which 
viewed fepa.ately, feem but mif- 
fhapen blotches, may to Beings, 
who in an eternal ftate fee paft^ 
prefent, and future, all delineated 
on one canvafs, appear as well-dif- 
pofed fhades neceflary to render 
per feel: the whole mod beautiful 
landfldp. Nay, even pain, that 
taken fmgly is fo pungent and 
difagreeable a potion, when thrown 
into the cup of univerfal happijnefs, 

[ 64 T 

may perhaps add to it a flavour, 
which without this infufion it could 
not have acquired. 

5thlV. If time has itfelf no ex- 
iftence, it can never put an end to 
the exiftence of any thing elfe ; and 
this feems no inconclufive argu- 
ment for the immortality of the 
foul : for if any thing is, and no 
caufe appears to us why it fhould 
ceafe to be, we can have no good 
reafon to believe, that it will not 
continue. Whatever has no con<- 
nection with time muft be eternal : 
now the only property of the foul, 
with which we are acquainted, is 
thought, which bears no relation 
to m time; whence ic is reafonable 
to fuppofe, that the foul itfelf is 
equally unconnected with ir, and 


confequently eternal, Even in ma- 
terial Beings we fee continual muta- 
tions, but can perceive no fymp- 
toms of annihilation; and therefore 
we have furely leis caufe to fufped it 
in immaterial r from whence I am 
inclined to think, that the efiences 
of all things are eternal, that is, 
unrelative to time, and that it is 
only our manner of perceiving 
them, that caufes them to appear 
temporal to us; pad, prefent, and 
future being not inherent in their 
natures, but only in our progrei- 
five mode of perception. 

6thly. From what has been faiti* 
we may perceive into what amazing 
abfurdities many of our ableft divines 
and metaphyficians have plunged, in 
their inveftigations of eternity, for 
making which their receipt is ufually 
F this : 

I 66 ] 

this : they take of time a fufficient 
quantity, and, chopping it in fmall 
pieces, they difpofe them in ima- 
ginary lengths, which they diftin- 
guifh by the names of minutes, 
hours, days, years, and ages : then 
feeling in their own minds a power 
of multiplying thefe as often as they 
think fit, they heap millions upon 
millions ; and finding this power to 
be a machine, that may be worked 
backwards and forwards with e- 
qual facility, they extend their line 
both ways, and fo their eternity is 
compleated, and fit for ufe: they 
then divide it in the middle, and 
out of a fingle eternity they make 
two, as they term them, a parts 
ante, and apartepoft ; each of which 
having one end, may be drawn out, 
like a Juggler's ribband, as long as 


C 67 ] 

they pleafe. The contradictions fo 
manifeft in this fyftem, fufficiently 
declare its falfhood : for in adopt- 
ing it we muft acknowledge, that 
each half of this eternity is equal to 
the whole ; that in each the number 
of days cannot exceed that of the 
months, nor the months be more 
numerous than the years, they be- 
ing all alike infinite , that whether 
it commenced ye(terday,or ten thou- 
land years fince, the length of its 
duration muft be the fame; for the 
length depends not on the begin- 
ning, but on the end, but that can- 
not be different, where there is no 
end at all : the abfurdity of all thefe 
proportions is too glaring, to 
Hand in need of any refutation; for 
it is evident, that whatever contains 
F 2 parts, 

parts, length, or numbers, can never 
be infinite-, whatever had a begin- 
ning muft have an end, becaufe 
beginning and ending are the modes 
6f temporary exiftence : what has 
no end could have no beginning, 
becaufe both are equally incon- 
fiftent with eternity. In truth, all 
(heie abfurdities arife from apply- 
ing to eternity our ideas of time,, 
which, being two modes of exift- 
ence intirely different,, bear not the 
leaft relation to each other : time 
is in its nature finite, and iuccelTive ; 
eternity infinite, and inftantaneous -, 
and therefore their properties arc 
no more applicable to each other, 
than thofc of founds to colours, or 
of colours to founds ; and we can 
no more form eternity out of time, 


than, by mixing red, blue, and 
-green, we can compofe an anthem 
or an opera. 

ythly. From hence appears the 
necefllcy, in our confide rations on 
thefe fubjecls, of keeping our ideas 
of thefe two modes of exigence in- 
tirely and conflantly diftinci, as 
they thernfelves are in nature : by 
which means we ihall prefently 
fweep away many of thofe theolo- 
gical and metaphyfical cobwebs, 
which now encumber and difgrace 
our moft learned libraries -, and cut 
fhort many impertinent enquiries 
concerning the creation of the uni- 
verfe, God's foreknowledge and 
predeftination, the pras-exiftent. 
and future (tate of fouls, the in- 
juftice of eternal punilhments, and 
F 3 the 

[ 70 ] 

the fleep of the foul, with number- 
lefs others of the fame kind, all de- 
rived from injudicioufly blending 
and confounding thefe two kinds 
of exiftence together, and applying 
notions and expreflions to one, 
which can only with propriety be- 
long to the other. 

To enter largely into thefe ab- 
flrufe and intricate fubjects, would 
require a folio ; I lhall therefore 
only fay one word or two to each. 

It has been frequently afked, why 
God created the univerfe at the 
time in which he did create it, and 
why he fuffered millions of ages to 
pafs away before the commence- 
ment of fo glorious a work ? to this 
it may be replied with equal con- 
cifenefs and truth, that in facl: no 


C 7i ] 

fuch ages ever did or could pafs 
before it was created; nor was it 
created in any time at all ; for nei- 
ther the eflence or actions of God 
have the moft diftant relation to 
time ; he has been pleafed in his 
infinite wifdom to bellow on fome 
parts of his creation a temporal 
mode of exiftence, and from this 
alone time derives its origin : to 
iuppofe time antecedent to temporal 
exiftence, is to fuppofe effects to 
precede their caufes; and not lefs 
abfurd, than to imagine, that there 
could be perception before fenfitive 
Beings, or thought before intelli- 
gent Beings exifted. This very 
queftion proves the abfurd ity of 
connecting time and eternity toge- 
ther j for if God's power of creating 
F -i is 

t 7' ] 

is co&val with his exiftence, that 
exiftence eternal, and that eternity 
only time extended ; this evident 
contradiction follows, that God, 
tho' always equally able, yet in fact 
never could create any thing fo 
foon, but that he might have created 
it fooner: that is in other words, 
that he never could create any thing 
as foon as he could. All this puz- 
zle arifes from our foolifhly fuppo- 
fing, that eternal and temporal Be- 
ings mud aft in a manner fimilar 
to each other : if we do any thing, 
it mud be done at fome time or 
other ; but God acts in ways as dif- 
ferent from ours, as inconceivable 
to us ; his ways are not like our 
ways, nor his thoughts like our 
thoughts : one day is to him as a 

[ 73 ] 

thoufand years, and a thoufand years 
as one day j that is, neither of them, 
with his manner of exifting, think- 
ing, oracling, have any connection 

All difputes about God's fore- 
knowledge rind predeftination, are 
of the fame fpecies, and derive their 
birth intirely from the fame abfurd 
fuppofition. Foreknowledge and 
predeftination imply fuccefllon, and 
are relative to time, which has no 
relation to the efience or perception 
of the Creator of all things -, and 
therefore, in the fenfe ufually ap- 
plied to them, cannot with any pro- 
priety be attributed to him. He 
knows all things, and ordains all 
things; but as all things are equally 
prefent to the divine intuition, it is 

[ 74 } 

impofiible that he can foreknow 
or predeftinate any thing. 

Of the fame kind are all quefti- 
ons concerning the pras-exiftent,. 
and future ftate of the foul, arifing 
likewife from confounding our ideas 
of thefe two modes of exiftence, 
temporal and eternal : whenever the 
foul is united with a body, perceiv- 
ing all things by fticceffion thro* 
material organs, it acquires ideas 
of time, and can form none of ex- 
iftence unconnected with it ; but 
whenever this union is diffolved,. 
it probably returns again to its na* 
tlve mode of eternal exiftence, in 
which the whole circle of its per- 
ception being at once vifible, it has 
nothing further to do with time ; 
it. is neither old or young, it lives 


[ 75 ] 

no more in the feventeenth than in 
the feventh century, no nearer to* 
the end than the beginning of the 
world : all ideas of years and ages, 
of prse-exiftence and futurity, of 
beginning and ending, will be to- 
tally obliterated : and poffibly it 
will be as incapable of forming any 
conceptions of time, as it is now of 
eternity. The foul therefore being 
quite unconnected with time, when- 
ever it is unconnected with a body, 
cannot properly be faid to exift in 
another time, either prior or pofteri- 
or, but only in another manner. 
' Every argument alfo endeavour- 
ing to prove the injuftice and dif- 
proportion of eternal punimments 
for temporal offences, is founded on 
the fame erroneous principles, and 


[ 76 1 

admits of the fame anfwer , that all 
computations of the magnitude of 
fuch punifhments from their dura- 
tion, by heaping years and ages 
upon each other, are abfurd, and 
inconfiftent with that (late in which 
they are to be inflicted : crimes will 
there be punifhed according to the 
degrees of their malignity, but nei- 
ther for a long, or a fhort, nor for 
any time at all: for all punifhments 
muft be correfpondent to the ftate 
in which they are fuffered : in an 
eternal ftate, they muft be eternal, 
in a temporal they muft be tempo- 
ral ; for it is equally impofllble, 
that a Being can be punifhed for a 
time, where no time is, as that it 
ihould be punifhed everlaftingly in 
a ftate which itfelf cannot laft. As 

[ 77 ] 

therefore, from the nature of things, 
this difpenfation is necefiary, it can- 
not be unjuft, and from the infinite 
wifdom and goodnefs of the Author 
of nature, we may reafonably pre- 
fume that it cannot be difpropor- 
tioned to its feveral objects. 

The non-entity of time will ferve 
likewife to fettle a late ingenious 
conrroverfy, and fhew, that, like 
mod others of the kind, it is a dif- 
pute only upon words : this contro- 
verly is concerning the fleep of the 
foul j that is, whether it enters 
into a ftate of happinefs or mifery 
kn mediately on its diflblution from 
the body, or remains in a ftate of 
profound infenfibility, till the ge- 
neral judgment, and then receives 
its final fentence, and luffers its ex- 
ecution : 

[ 78 ] 

edition ; for if time is nothing but 
the thoughts and actions which pals 
in it, the condition of the foul, 
whether it fleeps or not, will be ex- 
actly the fame ; nor will the final 
fentence be one moment deferred 
by fuch a ftate of infenfibility, how 
long foever it may continue , for 
tho', during that period, many revo- 
lutions of the fun, and of empires, 
may take place, many millions of 
thoughts and actions may pals, 
which not only meafure time, but 
create it ; yet with regard to the 
Ibul fo deeping, none of thefe, that 
is, no time will pafs at all j and, 
if no time intervenes, judgment, 
however remote with regard to 
others, will as inftantly follow its 
difiblution, as if that had happened 
3 the 

t 79 1 

the precedent moment. But if, ac* 
cording to the foregoing principles,, 
the foul in a feparate ftate bears no 
relation to time, then no event in 
which it is there concerned can be be- 
fore or after another, either nearer or 
farther from any period, from death 
or judgment, from the creation or 
diffolution of this planetary fyftem: 
this we fee muft at once put an end 
to all difputes on this fubject, and 
render the ufe of foporiiics intire- 
ly needlefs. 

After all that has been here ad- 
vanced, I am not infenfible, that 
we are here fo constantly converfant 
with temporal objects, and fo to- 
tally unacquainted with eternal, 
that few, very few will ever be 


[ so ] 

able to abftract exiftence from time, 
or comprehend that any thing can 
cxift out of, and unconnected with 
it: in vain fhould I fuggeft, that 
the various planets are peopled by 
the divine wiidom with a variety of 
Beings, and even this terreftrial 
globe with innumerable creatures, 
\vhofe fituations are fo different, 
that their manner of exiftence is 
quite unknown and incomprehen- 
fible to each other-, that millions 
inhabit the impenetrable recedes of 
the unfathomable ocean, who can? 
no more form conceptions of any 
exiftence beyond the limits of that 
their native element, than we our- 
ielves can beyond the boundaries 
of time ; and that therefore in 
reality, time may be no more ne- 


C 81 ] 

ceffary to exiftence than water, tho* 
the mode of that exiftence we are 
unable to comprehend. But, I well 
know, thefe analogous arguments 
have little weight; the prejudice of 
education, the flrength of habit, 
and the force of language, all form- 
ed on the fuppofed union of exift- 
ence with time, will perfuade men 
to reject this hypothefis as vain and 
chimerical. To all bufy men, and 
men of bufmefs, to all jogging on 
in the beaten roads or profeffions, 
or fcrambling up the precipices of 
ambition, thefe confiderations muft 
appear unprofitable illufions, if not 
incomprehensible nonfenfe , for to 
endeavour to convince a merchant 
fubfifting on long credit, a lawyer 
G inriched 

[ 32 ] 

inricbed by delay, a divine who 
.has purchafed a next prefentation, 
a general who is in no hurry to 
fight, or a minifter whofe object is 
the continuance cf his power, that 
time is nothing, is an arduous tafk, 
and very unlikely to be attended 
with fuccefs. Whoever defires to 
tafte or underftand fuch abftracted 
fpeculations, muft leave for a while 
the noify buftle of worldly occu- 
pations, and retire into the fe- 
queftered fhades of folitude and 
contemplation : from whence he 
will return certainly not richer, 
poflibly not wifer, but probably 
more fufceptible of amufement 
from his own company for want 
of better, and more able to draw 

entertainment from his own imagin- 
ations : which in his journey thro* 
life he will often find an acquifition 
not altogether inconfiderable. 

r, 2 DIS 

[ 84 3 



AS all things, both material and 
intellectual, are derived from 
the fame omnipotent author, we 
lhall find, on an accurate examina- 
tion, that there is a certain analogy, 
which runs thro' them all, well 
worthy of our attention and admi- 
ration ; that is, that there are in 
the elements of the material world, 
and in the paffions and actions of 
mankind, powers and propenfities 
of a fimilar nature, which operate 


t 8 5 3 

in a fimilar manner, throughout 
every part of the material, moral, 
and political fyftem. But this 
theory, rather abftrufe, is difficult 
to be explained, and will be beft 
elucidated' b> examples, which eve- 
ry day fall within our obferva- 

In the material world, for in- 
ftance, we lee all diforders- cured 
by their own excefTes : a fultry calm 
fails not to produce a ftorm, which 
diffi pates the noxious vapours, and 
reftores a purer air; the fierceft tem- 
ped, exh-aufted by its own violence, 
at length fubfides ; and an intenfc 
fun-fl>ine, wftiift it parches up the 
thirfty earth, exhales clouds, which 
quickly water it with refrefhing 
(howers. Juft fo in the moral 
G 3 world, 

[ 86 ] 

world, all our paffions and vices, 
by their excefles, defeat themfelves; 
excefnve rage renders men impo- 
tent to execute the mifchiefs which 
they threaten ; repeated treacheries 
make them unable to deceive, be- 
caufe none will truft them ; and 
extreme profligacy, by the difeafes 
which it occafions, deflroys their 
appetites and works an unwilling 

Asjn the natural world, the ele- 
ments are reftrained in their molt 
deltrudtive effects, by their mutual 
oppofition ; fo in the moral, are the 
vices of mankind prevented from 
being totally fubverfive of fociety, 
by their continually counteracting 
each other : profufion reftores to 
the public the wealth which ava- 

[ 8? ] 

rice has detained from it for a time; 
envy clips the towering wings of 
ambition ; and even revenge, by it's 
terrors, prevents many injuries and 
oppreffions : the treachery of the 
thief difcovers his accomplices; the 
perfidy of the proftitute brings the 
highwayman to juftice ; and the 
villainy of the affaflm puts an end 
to the cruelty of a tyrant. 

In the material world, the mid- 
dle climates,, fartheft removed from 
the extremes of heat and cold, are 
the moft falubrious, and moft plea- 
lant : fo in life, the middle ranks 
a-re ever moil favourable to virtue, 
a-nd to happinels ; which dwell noc 
in the extremes of " poverty or 

. G 4 As 

[ 88 ] 

As throughouc the various regi- 
ons of the earth, advantages and 
inconveniences are diftributed with 
a more impartial hand than we on 
a tranfitory view are apt to ima- 
gine ; fo are they to the various 
conditions of human life : if the 
more fouthern climates are gilded 
with a brighter fun-mine, perfumed 
with more fragrant gales, and de- 
corated with a greater profufion of 
plants and flowers, they are at the 
fame time perpetually expofed to 
peftilential heats, infefted with 
noxious animals, torn ,by hurri- 
canes, and rocked by earthquakes, 
unknown to the rougher regions of 
the North. In like manner, if the 
rich enjoy luxuries, from which the 
poor are debarred, they fuffer many 

I 89 ] 

difeafes and difquietudes, from 
which thofe are fortunately ex- 

We behold with admiration the 
vivid azure of the vaulted fky, and 
variegated colours of the diftant 
clouds ; but, if we approach them 
on the fummit of fome lofty moun^ 
tain, we difcover that the beaute- 
ous fcene is all illufion } and find 
ourfelves involved only in a dreary 
fog or a tempeftuous whirlwind: 
j.uft fo, in youth, we look up with 
pleafing expectation to the plea- 
fures and honours, which we fond- 
ly imagine will attend rnaturer age, 
at which, if we arrive, the brilliant 
profpect vanifhcs in dilappointment, 
^nd we meet with nothing more 


[ So ] 

than a dull inactivity or turbulent 

The properties of the variousr 
feafons of the year, the gaiety of 
fpring, the vigour of fummer, the 
ferenity of autumn, and the gloom 
of winter, have been fo often afli- 
milated to the correfponding periods 
of human life ; the dangers and dif- 
quietudes of grandeur fo often com- 
pared to the tempeftuous fituation 
of lofty mountains; and the quiet 
fafety of inferior itations, to the 
calm fecurity of the humbler vale, 
that a repetition of them here would 
be impertinent, and ufelefs-, yet they 
all contribute to point out that 
analogy which uniformly pervades- 
every part of the . creation wit!* 
which we are acquainted. 


Between the material and politi- 
cal world, this analogy is ftill more 
confpicuous : in the former, every 
particle of matter, of which the vaft 
machine is compofed, is actuated 
by that wonderful principle of at- 
traction, which reftrains, impels, and' 
directs its progrefs to the deftined 
end ; in the latter, every individual 
of which the great political body is 
formed,' is actuated by felf-intereft, 
a principle exactly fimilar, which, 
by a conftant endeavour to draw all 
things to itfelf, reflrains, impels, 
and directs his paffions, defigns, and 
actions to the important ends of 
government and fociety. As the 
firft operates with force in propor- 
tion to the contents of the body in 
which it refides, fo does the latter -,. 


t 9 1 

in individuals it is fmall, in focie- 
lies greater, and in populous and 
extenfive empires moft powerful. 
As the one ads with power in pro- 
portion to its diftance, fo does the 
other ; for we conftantly find, that 
a fmall benefit beftowed on men- 
3s individuals, will influence them 
much more than a larger, which 
they may receive from national 
profperity ; and a trifling lofs, which 
immediately affects themfelves, is 
more regretted, than one more con- 
fiderable, which they feel only thro* 
the medium of public calamities. 
In another refpect, alfo, they great- 
ly refemble each other , they are 
both productive of many mifchiefs, 
yet both necefiary to the well-being 
^nd prefervatior. of the whole. It 
3 is 

{ 93 ] 

is attraction that plunges us in the 
ocean ; dalhes us againft the rocks ; 
tumbles us from the precipice ; and 
pulls down the tottering fabric on 
our heads : but it is this, alfo, that 
conftitutes all bodyj that binds to- 
gether the terreftrial globe, guides 
the revolving planets in their 
courfes, and without it not only 
the whole material fyftenl would be 
difiblved, but I am inclined to 
think, that matter itfelf muft be 
annihilated ; for, matter being in- 
finitely divifible, without this pro-* 
perty, it muft be infinitely divided; 
and infinite divifion feems to be 
nothing lefs than annihilation: for 
without attraction there could be 
no cohefion, without cohefion no 
folidity, and without folidity nd 

t 94 ] 

matter. In like manner, felf-in- 
tereft, or what we miftake for it, 
is the fource of all our crimes, 
and moft of our fufferings. It 
is this, that {educes the 'profligate, 
by the profpect of pleafure -, 
tempts the villain, by the hopes 
df gain , and bribes the hero 
with the voice of fame : but it is 
this alfo that is the fource of all 
our connections, civil, religious, 
political, and commercial that binds 
us together in families, in cities, 
and in nations, and directs our uni- 
ted labours to the public benefit : 
and without its influence, arts and 
learning, trade and manufactures, 
would be at an end, and all govern- 
ment, like matter by infinite divi- 
Con, would be annihilated. 

I 9.5 .3 

. The natural world fubfifts by a 
perpetual contention of the ele- 
ments of which it is compofed, the 
political by as conftant a conteft 
of its internal parties, ftruggling 
for fuperiority. In the former, the 
great fyftem is carried on by a con- 
tinual rotation of good and evil, 
alternately producing, and fucceed- 
ing each other : continued fun thine 
produces tempefts ; thefe discharge 
themfelves in refreshing rains; rains 
caufe inundations, which, after fome 
ravages, fubfiding, afllft commerce 
and agriculture, by fcouring out the 
beds of rivers, and fertilizing lands ; 
and funfhine returns again : fo in 
the latter, long peace, the political 
funfhine, generates corruption, lux- 
ury, and faction, the parents of 

I 96 ] 

deftrudYive wars ;. war for a time 
awakens national vigour, and pours 
down wealth and plunder,, then 
taufes inundations of poverty and 
diftreis; diilrefs calls forth induftry, 
agriculture, and commerce, and 
peace returns once more. 
, As night and day, winter and 
fummer, are alternately circulated 
over the various regions of the 
globe ; fo are poverty and wealth, 
idlenefs and induftry, ignorance 
and fcience, defpotilm and liberty, 
by an uniform procefs arifmg from 
their own natural constitutions, and 
their invariable effects upon each 
other. In poor countries, neceflity 
incites induftry, and cheapnefs of 
provifions invites traders and ma- 
nufacturers to refide j this foon in- 

[ 97 3 

troduccs wealth, learning, and li- 
berty ; and thefe are as foon follow- 
ed by profufion, faction, and licen- 
tioufnefs , commerce will keep no 
fiich company, bus, like a bird of 
paffage, migrates to climes by po- 
verty and cheapnefs better adapted 
to her conftitution : thefe, in their 
turns, grow rich, civilized, free, 
difiblete, and licentious in the fame 
manner, and arc fucceflively de- 
ferted for the fame reafori, and the 
Kime circle is again renewed. 

In the material world, the con- 
ftant circulation of the air, and flux 
and reflux of the tides, preferve 
thofe elements from a putrid flag- 
nation i fo in the political, contro- 
verfies, civil and religious, keep up 
vhc fpirirs of national communities^ 
H and 

[98] ; 

and prevent them from finking into a 
ftate of indolence and ignorance : 
but if either exceed the bounds of 
moderation, their confequences are 
extremely fatal ; the former pro- 
ducing ftorms and inundations, 
and the latter anarchy and confu- 
iion. Lord Bacon obferves, that 
war is to ftates, what exercife is to 
individuals ; and in this they are 
extremely fimilar ; a proper pro- 
portion may contribute to health 
and vigour, but too much emaci- 
ates, and wears out a conftitution. 
Thus, by a wife and wonderful 
difpofition of things material and 
intellectual, God has infufed into 
them all powers and propenfities 
greatly analogous, by which they 
are enabled and compelled, in a 


[ 99 3: 

iimilar manner, to perform their re- 
fpeclive parts in the general fyftem, 
to reftrain their own excefTes, and 
to call back each other, whenever 
they too far deviate from their 
deftined ends ; and has faid unto 
every thing, as well as to the ocean, 
to night and day, to winter and 
iummer, to heat and cold, to rain and 
funmine, to happinefs and mifery, 
to fcience and ignorance, to war 
and peace, to liberty and defpotifm, 
" Hitherto (halt thou go, and no far- 
ther." Thefe amazing inftances of 
infinite wifdom in the ceconomy of 
things, prefenting every where *a 
analogy fo remarkable, are well 
worthy of our higheft admiration j 
yet have been but little obferved, 
becaufe thefe divine difpofitions ap- 
H 2 pear 

[ 100 ] 

poar to us to be no more than the 
neceflary confequences of previous 
caufes, and the invariable opera- 
tions of nature, and we forget that 
nature is nothing more than the art 
of her omnipotent author. 


[ 101 ] 



TO feveral learned and. ingeni- 
ous writers, ,fome .doctrines 
of the Chriftian religion have ap- 
peared fo contradictory to all the 
principles of reafon and equity, 
that they , cannot aflent to them, 
nor believe that they can be derived 
from the Fountain of all truth and 
juftice. . In order therefore to fa- 
tisfy them felves and- others, who 
may labour under the fame difficul- 
ties, they have undertaken the ar- 
duous talk of reconciling revelation 
and reafon ; and great .would have 
H 3 been 

[ 102 ] 

been their merits, had they begun 
at the right end, that is, had they 
endeavoured to exalt the human un- 
derftanding to the comprehenfion 
of the fublime doctrines of the gof- 
pel, rather than to reduce thofe 
doctrines to the low ftandard of 
human reafon -, but, unfortunately 
for themfeives and many others, 
they have made choice of the latter 
method, and, as the fhorteft way to 
effect it, have with inconfiderate 
raihnefs expunged from the New 
Teitament every divine declaration, 
which agrees not exactly with their 
own notions of truth and rectitude; 
and this they have attempted by 
no other means, than by abfurd ex- 
planations, or by bold affertions 
that they are not there, in direct 
- -contradiction 

[ io 3 3 

contradiction to the fenfe of lan- 
guage, and the whole tenour of 
thole writings-, as fomephilofophers 
have ventured, in oppofition to all 
men's fenfes, and even to their own, 
to deny the exiftence of matter, for 
no other reafon, but becaufe they 
find in it properties which they arc 
unable to account for. Thus they 
have reduced Chriftianity to a mere 
fyftem of ethics, and retain no pare 
of it but the moral, which in fatl 
is no chara&eriftic part of it at all, 
as this, though in a manner lefs 
perfect, makes a part of every re- 
ligion which ever appeared in the 
world. This ingenious method of 
converting Chrittianity into Deiim, 
cannot fail of acquiring many rc- 
ipedlable profelytes ; for every vir- 
H 4 tuous 

C 304. ] 

tuous and pious man, who would 
be a Chriftian if he could, that is, 
who reverences the name of. Chrif- 
tianity,, but cannot, aiTent to it's 
tenets,, is gjad to lift under the 
itaadard .of .any leader, who can 
teach him. to-be a. Chriftian, .with- 
out believing, any one principle, .of 
that inftitution. 

Whoever will look back into the 
theological annals of this .country, 
will find, that during the laft. cen- 
tury, the fashionable philosophers 
were, for the mod part Atheifb, 
who afcribed every thing, to chance, 
fate, or neceffity j exclufive of all 
intelligence or defign : thefe mighty 
Giants, who fought'againft Heaven, 
being at length overthrown by the 
abfurdity of their owa principles, 


[ 105 ---] 

and the fuperior abilities of their ^ 
adverfaries, retreated, about the be- 
ginning of" the prefent, to the more 
tenable fort of Deifm ; .but here 
again, being frequently . worfted, 
they at laft took .flicker, under the 
covert-way of rational Chriftiamty, , 
where they now make, their ftand, , 
and attack . revelation- with, lefs . 
odium,. ... and more fuccefs, . than . 
from the open .plains of profefiol . 
Deifm, becaufe many are, jeady to - 
rejeft the whole- fubftance of the 
Chriftian inftitution, 
ftiocked at the thought of relin- 
quiming the. name. 

If Chriftianity is to be. learned 
out of the New Teftament, and . 
words, have any meaning affixed to 
them, . the . fundamental principles 


I 106 ] 

F oFit are thefe, * -That: mankind come 
into this world in a depraved and 
fallen condition ; that they are 
placed here for a while, to give 
them an opportunity to work out 
their falvation, that is, by a virtu- 
ous and pious life to purge off this 
guilt and depravity, and recover 
their loft Hate of happinefs and in- 
nocence, in a future life j that this 
they are unable to perform, without 
the grace and affiftance of God ; - 
and that after their bed endeavours, 
they cannot hope for pardon from 
their own merits, but only from the 
merits of Chrift, and the atonement 
made for their tranfgreffions by 
his fufferings and death. This is 
>clearly the fum and fubftance of 
the Chriftian difpenfation , and fo 

io 7 ] 

adverfe is it to all the principles of 
human reafon, that, if brought be- 
fore her tribunal, it muft inevita- 
bly be condemned. If we give no 
credit to its divine authority, any 
attempt to reconcile them is ufe- 
lefs; and, if we believe it, pre- 

fu-mptuous in the higheft degree. 
To prove the reafonablenefs of a 
revelation, is in fact to deftroy it; 
becaule a revelation implies in- 
formation of fomething which rea- 

fon cannot difcover, and therefore 
muft be different from 4ts deduc- 
tions, or it would be no revelation. 
If God had told us, that -we come 
into this world in a (late of perfect 
innocence, void of all propenfities 
to evil-, that our depravity proceeds 

entirely from the abufeof that free- 

will; with which he has been pleafsd < 
to endue us , that, if in this life we 
purfue a virtuous, conduct, we have 
a right to be rewarded, and if ;a 
vicious, we may expect to be pu- 
nifhed in another, except we prevent 
it. by repentance and reformation, 
and that thefe are always in our 
own power if God had informed 
us of nothing more,, this would 
have been no. revelation, . becaufe it 
is. juft what our reafon, properly 
employed, might have taught us^: 
but if he has thought proper, by 
fupernatural means, to allure us, 
that ou-r fituation, our relations, 
pur depravity, our merits, and our 
powers, are all of a kind extremely 
different from what we imagine,-,, 
and that his.difpenfations towards 


us are founded on principles 
which cannot be explained to us, 
becaufe, in our prefent flate, \ve 
are unable to comprehend them; 
this is a revelation, which we may 
believe, or not, according to our 
opinion of its authority j but let us 
not reafon it into no revelation at 

The writers of the New Tefta- 
ment frequently declare, that the 
religion which they teach, is a myf- 
tery, that is, a revelation of the dif- 
penfations of God to mankind, 
which without fupernatural infor- 
mation we never could have^ dif- 
covered ; thus St. Paul fays, " Ha- 
" ving made known to us the myf- 
" tery of his will." What then -is 
this myftery? net the moral pre- 

- c,epts 

C no. J 

oepts of the gofpel -, for they- are 
no more a myftery tHan the Ethics 
of Ariftotle, or the Offices of Ci- 
cero : the myftery confifts alone in 
thele very doctrines, which the Ra- 
tionalift explodes, becauie they dif- 
agree with the conclufions of his 
reafon; that is, becaufe they are 
myfteries, as they are avowed to be 
by thofe who taught them. 

But thefe bold advocates for rea- 
fon, underftand not its extent, its 
powers, or the proper application 
of them. The utmoft perfection of 
human reafon, is the knowledge of 
it's own defects, and the limits of 
its own confined powers, which are 
extremely narrow. It is a lamp 
which ferves us very well for the 
common occupations of life, which 
7 are 

L MI 1 

arc near at hand, but can fhew us no- 
profpect at a diflance : on all fpe~ 
cuiative fubjedts, it is exceedingly; 
fallacious, but in none fo frequent- 
ly mifleads us, as in our religious 
and political inquiries j becaufe, in 
the former, we draw conclufions 
without premifes ; and in the latter, 
upon falfe ones. Thus, for inftance,- 
reafon tells us, that a Creator, in- 
finitely powerful and good, could 
never permit any evil, natural or 
moral, to have a place in his works; 
becaufe his goodnefs muft induce 
him, and his power enable him, to 
exclude them : this argument is 
unanfwerable by any thing, but 
experience, which every hour con- 
futes it. Thus again, reafon affures 
us, that fufferings, though they 


[ in 3 

aiaybe juft punifhments for paft. 
crimes, and a means to prevent, 
them for the future, can never be 
compenfations for them -, much lefs 
can the fufferings of one Being 
atone for the guilt of another: a- 
gainft this no objection can be 
urged, except the belief of man- 
kind, in all ages and nations, and 
the exprefs declarations of revela- 
tion; which unanimoufly contradict 
it, and afford fufficient grounds for 
our concurrence. In thefe two in- 
ftances we are deceived by mifap- 
plying our reafon to fubjects in 
which we have no premifes to rea- 
fon upon; for, being totally igno- 
rant on what plan the univerfa! 
fyftem is formed and fupported, 
we can be Jio judges of .what is 


t 113 3 

good or evil with regard to the 
whole; and, as we know not for 
what ends either guilt or fuflferings 
'were ever admitted, we muft be 
unable to comprehend what con- 
nections between them may poffi- 
bly be derived from thofe ends. In 
our political difcuflions, reafon e- 
qually mifleads us , in thefe, fhe 
prefents us with fchemes of govern- 
ment, in which, by the moft ad- 
mirable contrivances, juftice is fo 
impartially adminiftered, property 
fo well guarded, and liberty fo ef- 
fectually fecured, that in theory it 
feems impoffible, that any people 
under fuch v/ife regulations ca : n 
poflibly fail of being happy, virtu- 
ous, and free , but experiment foon 
convinces us, that they are inade- 
I quate 

[ H4 ] 

q-jate to thcfe falutary purpofes, 
and that, in practice, they are pro- 
ductive only of anarchy and con- 
fufion. Here our errors arife frora 
reafoning on falfe premifes, that is, 
from fuppofmg thap mankind will 
act on principles incompatible with 
the vices, the follies, and the paf- 
fions of human nature. If realbn, 
therefore, is fo fallible a judge in 
the little and low concerns of hu- 
man policy, with which fhe is daily 
converfanr, how abfurd is the Ra- 
tionalift, who conftitutes her fole ar- 
bicer in the difcuffions of the moil 
fu blim fubjefts, of which fhe has 
not the leafb comprehension, the at- 
tributes and difpenfations of the 
Almighty, cur relations to him, and 


our connections with pad and fu- 
ture ftates of exiftence ! 

Of all men, who are called Chrif- 
tians, the Rationalift feems to have 
the lead pretence to that denomina- 
tion : the Church of England ac- 
knowledges the belief of all the 
doctrines of this inftitution in her 
Articles, though in them they are 
ill explained, and worfe exprefled ; 
the Church of Rome afTents to 
them all, but adds many without 
fufficient authority -, the Calvinift 
denies them not, but difgraces them 
by harfh, obfcure, and abfurd com- 
ments , the Quaker admits them, 
but is bewildered by enthufiaftic 
notions of partial infpirations ; and 
the Method ill fubfcribes to them all 
with the utmoft veneration, but 
I 2 (incon- 

(inconfiftently) depreciates the me- 
rit of moral duties, at the fame 
time that he infifts on the practice 
of the moft rigid , but the Ration- 
alift reprobates the whole, as im- 
pious, ridiculous, and contradicto- 
ry to the juftice of God, and the 
reafon of man. Nor is he lefs ad- 
verfe to the fpirit, than to the letter 
of this religion : the true Chriftian 
is humble, teachable, and diffi- 
dent-, the Rationalift is affuming, 
obftinate, and felf-fufficient : the 
Chriftian hopeth all things, feareth 
all things, and believeth all things ^ 
the Rationalift hopeth for nothing, 
but from his own merits, feareth 
nothing from his own depravity., 
and believeth nothing, the grounds 
of which he cannot perfectly under- 

[ H7 I 

(land. Why then muft he be a 
Chrlftian ? no man is now com- 
pelled to come in, nor more obliged 
to be a Chriftian, than a Free- 
Mafon j the belief of it is not ne- 
ceflary to his advancement in life, 
nor his progrefs in any profeffion ; 
we know, that he may be a lawyer, 
a phyfician, or even a divine, with- 
out it. If, on an impartial enqui- 
ry, he is a religions and moral 
Deift, why not own it ? Such 
were Socrates, Plato, and Cicero ; 
and it is (till a character by no 
means difgraceful to a virtuous 
man. I blame no one for. want of. 
faith, but for want of fincerity ; 
not for being no Chriftian,, but; for 
pretending to be one, without be- 
lieving. The profeffed Deiit gives- 
13 Chriftianity 

Chriftianity fair play ; if fhe cannot 
defend herfelf, let her fall -, but the 
rational Chriitian afiaflinates her in 
the dark : the firft attacks Chrift, 
as did the multitude, with fwords 
and (laves ; the latter, like Judas, 
betrays him with a kifs. 

B ! S- 



IF any one cafts his eye on the 
title of this eflay, ihort as it is, 
he will fcarcely be perfuaded to 
read any farther ; as he will ration- 
ally conclude, that, on a fubject fo 
hackneyed by the beft and word 
writers of all ages, from Ariftotle 
to the news-paper politicians of 
the prefent times, nothing can be 
added, which can afford either in- 
ftruftion or entertainment : but fo 
many abfurd principles, concerning 
government and liberty, have of 
late been diffcminated with unufual 
I 4 induftry; 

induftry, principles as falfe as mif- 
chievous, as inconfiftent with com- 
mon fenfe as with all human foci- 
ety ; that it feems neceffary that 
they fhould not pafs quite unno- 
ticed, efpecially as they require no- 
thing more, than to be fairly dated, 
to be refuted. The moft confidera- 
ble of them are the following ; to 
each of which I mall fay a few 

ift. That all men are born equal. 
2dly. That all men are born free. 
^dly. That all government is de- 
rived from the people. 
4thly. That all government is a 
compact between the governors 
and the governed. 
5thly. That no government ought 
to laft any longer, than it con- 

tinues to be of equal advantage 
to the two contracting parties, 
that is, to the governed, as to 
the governors. 

Firft then ; That all men are born- 
equal ; by which proportion, if it 
is only meant, that all men are 
equally born, that is, that one man, 
is as much born as another, I mall 
not difpute its truth : but in every 
other fenfe it is intirely falfe ; for 
we daily fee, that fome are born 
with beautiful and healthy bodies, 
and fome with frames diftorted, and 
filled with the mod deplorable dif- 
eafes ; fome with minds fraught 
with the feeds of wifdom and genius, 
others with thofe of idiotifm and 
madnefs -, fome, by the laws and 
conftitutions of their countries, are 
3 born 

[ 122 ] 

born to the inheritance of af- 
fluent fortunes and diftinguilhed 
honours, others to a life of poverty, 
labour, and obfcurity. How thefe 
can be faid to be born equal, I can- 
not comprehend. If by this propo- 
fition is to be underftood, that, at 
the time of their birth, all men are 
poffelTed of an equal fhare of power, 
wealth, wifdom, learning, and vir- 
rue ; when they are -equally incapa- 
ble of pofleffing any j this would 
be no lefs ridiculous, than to afferr, 
that all men are born with teeth of 
the fame length, when none of them 
are born with any teeth at all. Bur, 
fuppofing they were all born equal ; 
would this prove, what is always 
intended to be proved by it, that 
they ought always to continue fo ? 


t 123 3 

or can any argument be drawn from 
thence, againft their future inequa- 
lity, and fubordination ? mult no 
man prefume to be fix feet high, 
becaufe perhaps he was born of the 
fame fize as another, who is now but 
four ? m ft no man aflume power 
'over another, becanfe they were 
born equal, that is, becaufe an 
their birth they were both incapable 
of exercifing any .power whatever ? 
Thus, we fee, this mighty argument, 
drawn from the fuppofed natural 
equality of mankind, by which all 
powers and principalities are threa- 
tened to be overthrown, is intirely 
falfe, and if true, is nothing to the 
; piirpofe for which it has been ftf 
often and fo pompoufly intro- 

Secondly * 

[ 124 ] 

Secondly ; That all men are born 
free. This is fofar from being true, 
that the firft infringement of this 
liberty is being born at all , which 
is impofed upon them, without their 
confent, given either by themfelves 
or their reprefentatives , and it may 
eafily be fhewn, that man, by the 
conftitution of his nature, never 
fubfifts a free and independent Be- 
ing,, from the firft to the laft mo- 
ment of his refidence on this ter- 
reftrial globe : where, during the 
firft nine months of his exiftence 
he is confined in a dark and fultry 
prifon, debarred from light and air; 
'till at length, by an Habeas Corpus 
brought by the hand of fome kind 
deliverer, he is fet at liberty : but 
what kind of liberty does he then 

enjoy ? 

T. s 3 

enjoy ? he is bound hand and foot, 
and fed upon bread and water, for 
as long a period ; no fooner is he 
unbound, than he makes fo bad 
a ufe of his liberty, that it becomes 
neceffary that he mould be placed 
in a (late of the fevereft difcipline, 
firil under a nurfe, and then a 
fchoo 1m after, both equal tyrants in 
their feveral departments ; by whom 
he is again confined without law, 
condemned without a jury, and 
whipt without mercy. In this itate 
of flavery he continues many years 5 
and at the expiration of it, he is 
obliged to commence an involun*- 
tary iubject of ibme civil govern, 
ment-, to whole authority he muft 
fubmit, however ingeniouily he 
-may difpiue lier right, or be juftly 

[ 126 ] 

hanged for difobedience to her laws. 
And this is the fum total of human 
liberty. Perhaps it may be faid, 
that all this may be ingenious ridi- 
cule, but cannot be intended for 
ferious argument; to which I reply, 
that it is the moft ferious argument 
that can be offered, becaufe it is 
derived from the works, and the will 
of our Creator-, and evidently mews, 
that man was never defigned by him 
to be an independent and felf-go- 
verned Being, but to be trained up 
in a ftate of fubordination and go- 
vernment in the prefent life, to fit 
him for one more perfect in ano- 
ther : and, if it was not a reflection 
too ferious, I mould add, that, in the 
numerous catalogue of human vices, 
there is not one, which fo compleatly 
2 difqnalifies 

c i2 7 i 

difqualifies him from being a mem- 
ber of that celeftial community, as 
a factious and turbulent difpofnion, 
and an impatience of controul -, 
which frequently afTumes the ho- 
nourable title of the love of liberty. 
Thirdly ; That all government 
is derived from the people. This 
is another fallacious propofition ; 
which in onefenfe is true, but, with 
regard to the principles fo often 
eftablimed upon it, intirely falfe. 
It is true, indeed, that all govern- 
ment is fo far derived from the peo- 
ple, that there could be no govern- 
ment if there were no people to be 
governed : if there were no fub- 
jects there could be no kings, nor 
parliaments if there were no con- 
ftituents, nor fhepherds if there 
were no Iheep j but the inference 

I 128 ] 

"u'fually drawn from this propofi- 
tion is utterly falfe, which is, that, 
becaufe all government is derived 
from the people, the people have a 
right to refume it, and adminifter it 
themfelves, whenever they pleafe. 
But whatever claim they may have 
to this right, the exercife of it is 
impracticable, from the very na- 
ture of government -, for all go- 
vernment mud confift of the go- 
vernors, and the governed ; if the 
people at large are the governors, 
where mail we be able to find 
the governed ? All government is 
power, with which fome are in- 
truded, to controul the actions of 
others ; but how is it poffible that 
every man fhould have a power 
to controul the actions .of every 
: man ? this would be a form of 

[ "9 3 

government, which we have heard 
fometimes recommended as the 
moft perfect, in which all are go- 
verned by all j that is, in other 
words, where there is no govern- 
ment at all. I agree with thefe pre- 
tended patriots, that the people in 
every country have a right to refifl. 
manifeft grievances and opprefllons,. 
to change their governors, and even 
their conftitutions, on great and ex*- 
traordinary occafions ;, whenever 
they groan under the rod of tyran- 
ny, they have a right to make it 
off, and form a conilitution more 
productive of liberty , and, in like, 
manner, if they find themfelves 
torn by irreconcileable factions, and' 
debilitated by internal contentions,, 
they have an equal right to change 
K it 

^3 J 

it for a government more arbitrary 
and decifive. But we (hall not agree 
fb well in our definition of that im- 
portant and mifapplied term c the 
people;' by which I would be un- 
derftood to mean the whole body 
of a nation, advifed and directed 
by the moft refpcdable members 
of it ; who are pofTeffed of rank, 
property, wifdom, and experience : 
But who are thofe in this country, 
whom our modern demagogues dif- 
tinguifh by this name, and veil with 
this fupreme dominion ? Not the 
hereditary peers of the realm ; not 
the reprefentatives of this very peo- 
ple in parliament aflembled ; not 
the pallors of the church, the fages 
of the law, or the magi ft rates who 
are guardians of the public iafety ; 


not the poffefTors of landed proper- 
ty, the opulent ftockholder, or the 
wealthy merchant. Thefe are all 
reprefented as tools of minifters, 
lovers of flavery, united in a con- 
fpiracy to deftroy their country 
and ruin themfelves ^ they point out 
to us no defenders of our liberties 
*>r properties, but thofe who have 
themfelves neither; no public- fpirit, 
but in the garrets of Grub-ftreet ; 
no reformation, but from the pur- 
lieus of St. Giles's ; nor one Solon, 
or Lycurgus, but who is to emerge 
from the tin-mines of Cornwal, or 
the coal-pits of Newcastle. Thefe 
are not the people whom I mould 
chufe to truft with unlimited power, 
becaufe I know they are totally in- 
capable of employing it to any fa- 
K 2 lutary 

[ I 3 2 J 

lutary purpofe, even for themfelves; 
and, whatever might be our griev- 
ances, redrefs from fuch hands 
would be much more intolerable. 

Fourthly , That all government 
is a compact, between the governors 
and the governed. This imaginary 
compact is reprefented by fome, as 
a formal agreement entered into by 
the two contracting parties, by 
which the latter gives up part of 
their natural independence, in ex- 
change for protection granted by 
the former j without which vo- 
luntary furrender, no one man, or 
body of men, could have a right to 
controul the . actions of another ; 
and fome have gone fo far as to 
aflert, that this furrender cannot be 
made binding by reprcfentation, 


[ 133 ] 

that parents cannot confent to it for 
their children, or nations for indi- 
viduals, but that every one mud 
give his perfonal concurrence, and 
that on this alone the conftitution 
of every government is or ought to 
be founded : but all this is a ridi- 
culous fiction, intended only to 
fubvert all government, and let 
mankind loofe to prey upon each 
other , for, in fact, no fuch com- 
pact ever was propofed or agreed 
to, no fuch natural independence 
ever pofieffed, and confequent- 
ly can never have been given up. 
We hear a great deal about the 
conftitutions of different Hates, by 
which are underftood fome particu- 
lar modes of government, fettled at 
fome particular times, which ought 
Kg to 

f 134 3 

to be fupported with religious ve- 
neration through all fucceeding 
ages : in fome of thefe, the people 
are fuppofed to have a right to 
greater degrees of liberty than in 
others, having made better bargains 
for themfelves, and given up leis 
of their natural independence : but 
this, and all conclufions drawn from 
thefe premifes, muft be falfe, be- 
caufe the fads on which they are 
founded are not true ; for no fuch 
conflitutions, eftablifhed on general 
confent, are any where to be found 
all which, we fee, are the offsprings 
offeree or fraud, of accident, and 
the circumltances of the times, and 
muft perpetually change with thofe 
circumftances : in all of them, the 
people have an equal right to pre- 


C 135 I 

ferve or regain their liberty, vrheri* 
ever they are able. But the quei- 
tion is not > what right they have to 
liberty, but, what degree of it they 
are capable of enjoying, without ac* 
complifhing their own deftrudtion* 
In Tome countries this is very fmall, 
and in none can it be very great, 
becaufe the depravity of human 
nature will not permit it. Compact 
is repugnant to the very nature of 
government; whofe efience is com* 
puliion, and which originates al- 
ways from neceffity, and never from 
choice or compact ; and it is the 
rnoft egregious abfurdky, to reafon 
from the fuppofcd rights of man- 
kind in an imaginary flate of na- 
ture, a ftate the moil unnatural, 
becaufe ii> fuch, a ftate they never, 
K4 did 

did or can fubfift, or were ever 
defigned for. The natural ftate of 
man is by no means a ftate of foli- 
tude and independence, but of fo- 
ciety and fubordination , all the 
effects of human art are parts of 
his nature, becaufe the power of 
producing them is beftowed upon 
him by the author of it. It is as 
natural for men to build cities, as 
for birds to build nejls; and to live 
under fome kind of government, as 
for bees and ants ; without which 
he can no more fubfift than thofc 
focial and induftrious infects ; nor 
has he either more right, or power, 
than they, to refufe his fubmiflion. 
But if every man was pofieiTed of 
this natural independence, and had 
.a right to furrender it on a bargain, 


t 137 3 

he muft have an equal right to re- 
tain it ; then he has a right to 
chufe, whether he will purchafe 
protection at the price of freedom, 
or whether he prefers liberty and 
plunder to fafety and conftraint : 
a large majority of mankind, who 
have neither property nor prin- 
ciples, would undoubtedly make 
choice of the ktter, and all thefe 
might rob, and murder, and com- 
mit all manner of crimes with im- 
punity -, for, if this their claim to 
natural independence is well found- 
ed, they could not be juftly amena- 
ble to any tribunal upon earth, and 
thus the world would foon become 
a fcene of univerfal rapine and 
bloodfhed. This fliews into what 
absurdities we run,' whenever we 


[ 13 3 

reaibn from fpeculative principles, 
without attending to practicability 
and experience: for the real truth is 
no more than this, Every man, by the 
conftitution of human nature, comes 
into the world under fuch a degree 
of authority and reftraint as is ne- 
cefTary for the prefervation and hap- 
pinefs of his fpecies and himfelf ; 
this is no more left to his choice, 
than whether he will come into the 
world, or not ; and this obligation 
he carries about with him, fo long 
as he continues in it. Hence he is 
bound to fubmit to the laws and 
conftitution of every country in 
which he refides, and is juftly pun- 
ilhable for difobedience to them. 
To afk a man whether he chufes to 
be fubject to any law or government, 


. 139 ] 

ia to afk him, whether he chufes to 
be a man, or a wild beaft, and 
wifhes to be treated accordingly. 
So far are men from being poflefTed 
of this natural independence, on 
which fo many fyftems of anarchy 
have been erected, that fubmiffion 
to authority is eflential to humanity, 
and a principal condition on which 
it is beftowed : man is evidently 
made for fociety, and fociety can- 
not fubfift without government, and 
therefore government is as much a 
part of human nature, as a hand, 
a heart r or a head ; all thefe are 
frequently applied to the worfl of 
purpofes, and fo is government j 
but it would be ridiculous from 
thence to argue, that we mould 
live longer and happier without 
them. The Supreme Governor of 


[ 140 3 

'the world has not determined who 
ihall be his vicegerents, nor what 
forms of government fhall be a- 
dopted-, but he has unalterably de- 
creed that there mall be fome ; 
and therefore, though no particular 
governors can lay claim to a divine 
right of ruling, yet government it- 
fclf is of divine inftitution, as 
much as eating, and for the fame 
reafon, becaufe we cannot fubfift 
without it. 

Fifthly ; That no government 
ought to fubfift any longer, than 
it continues to be of equal advan- 
tage to the governed as to the go- 
vernors. If this propofition is a- 
dopted, and by advantage wealth 
and power are to be underftood, 
there is an end of all government 
3 . at 

[ '4i J 

at once y for the greateft lhare o 
thele muft be poffefTed by the go- 
vernors ; becaufe without it they 
could not govern : power and pro- 
perty always accompany each other, 
and power is government ; thefe 
therefore muft refide with thofe who 
govern ; and, how often foever thele 
may change hands, and the condi- 
tion of individuals be altered, with 
regard to the community, the cafe 
muft eternally be the fame : on this 
principle, therefore, the governed 
would have a perpetual right to 
refift, and every government ought 
to be difiblved at the moment of 
its commencement : on this prin- 
ciple, the lowefi of the people, in 
every country, may at any time be 
incited to rebel, and their rebellion 


be juftified ; for, while they feel 
themfelves opprefled with poverty, 
and condemned to labour, and be- 
hold their fuperiors enjoying all the 
pomps and luxuries of life, it will 
be eafy to perfuade them, that they 
receive greater benefits from go- 
vernment than themfelves, and 
that, for that reafon, they have a 
right to fubvert it : this right they 
are always ready to aflert, and will 
not fo eafily be difTuaded from the 
attempt, by being told, what is cer- 
tainly true, that they really receive 
as much benefit from government as 
thofe who govern ; becaufe, by that 
alone, they are every day prevented 
from tearing one another to pieces : 
but this argument will have but 
little weight, becaufe they will 
6 never 

I ] 

-never be convinced, that this is any 
benefit, and not rather an infringe- 
ment of their natural rights. 

In fhort, all thele wild and ex- 
travagant principles are the pro- 
duction of ignorance, or ambition, 
invented and propagated either by 
thofe who are unacquainted with 
human nature, and human govern- 
ment, or thofe who endeavour to 
render it impracticable in the hands 
of others, that it may fall -into their 
own , and all terminate in one ab- 
furd conclufion, which is, That go^ 1 
vernment is an unjuftifiable impo- 
fition, and violation of the rights 
of nature, and ought to be eradi- 
cated from the face of the earth. 
But, happily for the world, when- 
ever men prefume to reafon againft 


the courfe of nature, and the de^ 
crees of Providence, their argu- 
ments, however ingenious, have 
but little effect; for government 
there mud be, fo long as there are 
men, and the difpute will ftill con- 
tinue to be, that only of who (hall 

It is an old and. a jufl obfervar 
tion, that the loudeft advocates for 
liberty have always been the great- 
eft tyrants whenever they have got 
power into their hands ; and this 
mufl neceflarily be ; becaufe a love 
of liberty is an impatience of con- 
troul, and, when this impatience of 
controul is united with power, re- 
fiftance is an infringement of their 
liberty who pofiefs it, and is treated 
by them with feverity, in proper- 


tion to their impatience of controul; 
and thus the fame difpofition, which 
in a fubject conftitutes a patriot, 
in a prince creates a tyrant. This 
(hews, that an extraordinary zeal 
for liberty is nothing mose than 
an extraordinary fondnefs for pow- 
er, that is, a power to controul 
the actions of others, uncontrolled 
ourfelves ; and this love of liberty 
does not arife fo much from our 
fears of being ill-governed, as from 
our diflike of being governed at all. 
So true is this, that I am fully per- 
fuaded, that if an angel was fent 
from heaven, veiled with irrefifti- 
ble power, to govern any country 
upon earth, and was to execute his 
commiffion with the utmoft degree 
of vvifdom, juftice, and bcne- 
L voknce, 

volcnce, his dominions would very 
foon be deferted by moft of the in- 
habitants ; who would rather chufe 
to fbffer mutual injuries and op- 
prcffions, however grievous, under 
any government in which they 
themfelves had a mare, than to be 
compelled to be virtuous and hap- 
py by any fuperior authority what- 

The nfual fallacy of which de- 
mocratic writers avail themfelves, is 
this they constantly charge all the 
numerous evils inherent in all hu- 
man governments to the account 
of the governors; which for the 
moft part are imputable with more 
propriety to the governed: it is ow- 
ing to theif vices that there is any 
(uch thing as government, or an\r 

f *7 ] 

O'ccafion for it; and confequently all 
it's attendant evils muft be derived 
from the fame fource. It is their 
crimes, which require punifhment, 
and their venality which makes 
corruption necefiary ; war, with ail 
its horrors, fprings from their de- 
pravity, the violence of faction, the 
avarice of commerce, the ambition 
of the rich, and the profligacy and 
idlenefs of the poor : princes are 
made tyrants by the perverfenefs 
and difobedience of their fubjecls, 
and fubjefts become flaves from 
their incapacity to enjoy liberty. 
Every governor is in the fituation 
of a gaoler, whofe very office arifes 
from the criminality of thofe over 
whom he prefides , thefe fometimes 
fuffer much from the abufe of his 
L 2 power j 

power j but they would fuffer more 
from their mutual ill-ufage, if un- 
reftrained by his fuperintendant 
authority. A vicious and corrupt 
people can never be free, becaufc 
they are obliged to take ihelter 
\mder defpotifm, which alone can 
defend them from the oppreflions 
and injuries which they would 
every hour inflict upon eacii other-, 
and a virtuous people will never 
be flaves, becaufe they ftand in 
need of r.o fuch defence. 

We cannot fall into a more com- 
mon, or more pernicious error, than 
to imagine, that, becaufe liberty is 
our fupreme blefTing, we, for that 
reafon, can never have too much: 
if this was true, government would 
indeed be a grievance, and ought 


[ 149 3 

every where to be aboliflied ; but 
the bleffings of liberty, like all 
others beftowed upon mankind, 
are circumfcribed within certain 
bounds, and become misfortunes 
by excefs : dominion is not allotted 
to the few, for their own, but for 
the benefit of the many over whom 
they rule, and no greater degree of 
power mould ever be trufted in the 
hands of man, than is requifite for 
that end ; but to fo much every 
community muft fubmit for it's 
own prefervation , and this is. the 
only ftandard by which a juft pro- 
portion of liberty can be afcertain- 
ed. Every nation is by no means 
happy in proportion to the degree 
of freedom which it enjoys, but, as 
that degree is adapted to the cir- 
L 3 cumftances 

C '50 ] 

and the difpofitions of 
the people j and with them muft 
frequently change. The fame degree 
of power, which happily governs a 
fmall, induflrious, virtuous, and 
frugal ftate, is totally unable to re- 
ftrain the avarice, ambition, and fac- 
tion of an extenfive, rich, and luxu- 
rious empire : as the ftill and cryf- 
tal lake is quietly bounded by the 
flowery banks which furround it; 
whilft the turbulent and tempeftu- 
ous ocean can be confined only by 
tremendous rocks and afpiring 
mountains. The greateft degree 
of liberty, which any people can 
enjoy, is, to be governed by equi- 
table and impartial laws ; but thefe 
cannot be adminiflered, but either 
by their voluntary fubmiflion, or 


by fuperior force j if the firft is re- 
filled, the latter muft be exerted, 
and then liberty fubfifts no more : 
and hence it is evident, that thoTe 
who will not be contented with the 
greateil degree of this invaluable 
bleffing, muft quickly find them- 
felves deprived of the leaft ; and 
that every people, who, from falfe 
and impracticable notions of liberr 
ty, refufe to fubmit to any govern-^ 
ment of their own, muft very foon, 
from the constitution of human na- 
ture, be obliged to receive it under 
the yoke of fome foreign power, 
which is wifcr, and therefore ftrong- 
er, than themfelves. 

L 4. D I S- 




THE zealous advocates for re- 
ligious liberty, frequently at- 
tack us with this triumphant quef- 
tion, What has government to do 
with men's religion ? to which I an- 
fwer, Nothing , provided men's reli- 
gion had nothing to do with go- 
vernment : but our religious and 
political opinions and interefts are 
fo intimately connected, and fo 
blended together, that it is impofli- 
ble to divide them. Were religious 
controverfies relative to fpcculativc 

[ 53 3 

doctrines only, government would 
have neither right or inclination to 
interfere in them ; but fuch are by 
no means the objects of contention : 
thefe doctrines, believed by few, and 
underftood by fewer, are nothing 
more than the fignals of parties 
ftruggling for fuperiority, not for 
truth , for, as in civil contefts men 
perfecute each other for wearing 
ribands of different colours, fo do 
they in religious, for profeffing dif- 
ferent opinions ; not that they have 
any objections to the ribands, or 
the opinions, but becaufe both are 
the marks by which thofe are dif- 
tinguifhed who are adverfe to their 
purfuits. Proteftants never inftitute 
fevere penal laws agamft Papifts 
becaufe they believe tranfubftantia- 


t 154 ] 

tion, (for why ihould they not be- 
lieve it, if they can r) but, becaufe 
the profeffion of that doctrine is 
the tefl, by which thofc are known 
10 be members of * church which 
would infringe their, liberties, and 
devour a great part of their proper- 
ty ; on the other hand, the Church 
of Rome does not perfecute Pro- 
teftants becaufe they cannot affect 
to this doctrine, but, becaufe the 
difavowal of it is the %na] that 
they are defirous to pull down that 
fabric of wealth and power, which 
they have creeled for rhemfelves, 
and are unwilling to part with - 
opinions are held forth as marks of 
diiti, but ambition and in- 
tereli are the real caufes of the dik 


I '55 3 

It will perhaps be faid, that, not- 
withftanding this may be true, there 
are many, very many pious and 
honeft peribns, who, on the ftricteft 
examination, and cleared convic- 
tion, have adopted opinions on re- 
ligious fubjects, of which they arc 
laudably tenacious, and cannot re- 
linquifh without violating both 
their reafon and their confcience , 
and that of thefe, for which they 
are accountable to God alone, no 
government can have a right to 
take cognizance, much lefs to con- 
troul. To all this I readily agree, 
fo long as they continue to be opi- 
nions only ; but whenever they 
fhoot up into actions, which is their 
natural procefs, they then come 
within the line of human jurifdic- 


I 156 ] 

tion, and government is obliged to 
take notice of them, not from 
choice, but from necefihy, and felf- 
prefervation : for every religious 
feet holds principles more or lefs 
productive of arbitrary power, li- 
berty, or anarchy, which muft ne- 
ceffarily affect the civil constitutions 
under which they are profefied j as 
they are the moft dangerous, as 
well as the moft common combufti- 
bles, which knavery employs to fet 
folly and ignorance in a flame, 
whenever it may be fubfervient to 
her intereft. All religious feds, how- 
ever they may differ in other points, 
agree in one, which is the purfuit 
of power, and this by the fame prO- 
grefiive fteps" by firft imploring 
toleration, next claiming equality, 


[ 157 ] 

and then ftruggling for fuperiority 
over all the reft. Government can- 
not remain an unconcerned fpecta- 
tor of thefe contentions, in which 
her own exiftence is at flake,, but 
muft ftretc'h out a pacific hand 
to compofe them : this Ihe can ef- 
fect by no other method, than by 
taking one, which Ihe moft ap- 
proves, under her protection, 
maintaining it's minifters, and 
forming her public worlhip agree- 
able to it's doctrines ; that is, in 
other words, by an eftablifhment : 
and thus we fee, that fome religious 
eftablimment muft neceffarily make 
a part of every national conftitu- 
tion ; which necefiity proceeds not 
from any natural connection be- 
tween religion and government, 
5 but, 

[ 158 ] 

but, becaufe the artifice, ignorance, 
and fuperftition of mankind never 
fails to unite them : and hence, T 
apprehend, arifes that alliance be- 
tween church and {.late, which has 
been fo much dilcuiTcd, and fo little 

The eftablifhment of one religion 
ought always to be accompanied 
by an unlimited toleration of ail 
others, on the principles of both 
juftice and policy -, of juftice, be- 
caufe, although every government 
has a right to beftow her protection 
and emoluments on any .mode of 
religion which me moil approves, 
fhe can have no right to enforce the 
belief or exercife of that, or to pro- 
hibit the profefllon of any other, 
by compulfive penalties-, of policy, 
9 bccaufc 

[ 159 1 

becaufe fuch a toleration is the' m6flr 
effectual mears of putting an end 
to all rcligiou." difTenfions, which 
fpringing, for the noft part, from 
a love of fingularity and contra- 
diction, thrive under perfecution, 
and, when they "rufe tc beoppofed, 
they ceafe to exii L 

If fome eftablifhment is thus ne- 
cefTary, fo muft be feme ttfls, or 
fubfcriprions, by which the friends 
of this eftablifliment may be diftin- 
guifhed, and the principles of thole 
who are admitted into it afcertain- 
cd ; without which it would be no 
"tftablifhment at all : but every wife 
government will take care to make 
thefe as comprehenfrve as the rta- 
ture of their inftitutions will adnv:, 
m order to IcfTcn the number of her 
enemies ; 

C 160. ] 

enemies-, for moft affuredly fuch< 
will all be who are excluded. Who- 
ever are enemies to the religious 
conftitution of any country, what- 
ever they may pretend, can never 
be friends to it's civil ; for it is im- 
poffible that an honeft man, who 
Relieves his own religious profeffion 
to be true, and moft acceptable to 
his Creator, fnould ever be cor- 
dially attached to a conftitution 
which difcourages the exercife of 
it, and patronizes another, which 
appears to him to be falfe and im- 
pious. Extend this comprehenfioa 
as widely as poffible, it will exclude, 
many pious and worthy perfons, 
who are tenacious of different prin- 
ciples ; and narrow it to any degree, 
it will Hill admit all thofe who have 

none : 

L i6i 3 

none: nor is it inexpedient that 
they fhould be admitted ; for every 
flate has a right to avail itfelf of 
their affiftance, who, though they 
are not fo good men, may be better 
fubjects ; as thefe may be induced by 
intereft to fupport the constitution 
of their country, while thofe are 
compelled by principle to fubvert 

Thofe who will not conform to 
any Chriftian eftabliihment,. give 
thefe reafons for their difienti that 
the religion fo eftablifhed is imper- 
fect, corrupted, and difiimilar to 
the genuine purity of that holy in- 
flitution ; and that they are in duty 
bound to rejeclfuch a religion, and 
to fearch for another^ which ap- 
pears to them to be more perfect 
M. and 

[ 162 3 

and pure. The firft of thefe rea- 
fons is unhappily true, but no apo- 
logy for their conduct ; the latter, 
intirely a miftake, and therefore 
ought not to be regarded. 

Firft then, the charge of imper- 
fection and corruption may be made 
good againft any eftablifhed reli- 
gion that ever exifted. It muft be 
liable to many imperfections from 
k's own nature, and the nature of 
man ; in it's original inftitution, it 
muft lean to the errors and preju- 
dices of the times; and, how much 
foever it is then approved, it cannot 
long preierve that approbation, be- 
caufe, human fcience being continu- 
ally fluctuating, mankind grow 
more or lefs knowing in every ge- 
neration, and confequently mud 

I- 163 1 

change their opinions on religious, 
as well as on all other fubjects ; la 
that, however wifely any eftablifhed 
fyftem may beformedatfirftjitmuft, 
from the natural increafe or decreafe 
of human knowledge, be found or 
thought to be erroneous in the courfe 
of a few years ^ and yet the change 
of national religions cannot keep* 
pace with the alterations of na- 
tional opinions, becaufe fuch fre- 
quent reviews and reformations 
would totally unhinge men's prin- 
ciples, and iubvert the foundations 
of all religion and morality what- 
ever. It mud likewiie be corrupted 
by the very eftablifhment which 
protects it, becaufe by that it will 
be mixed with the worldly purfuits 
of it's degenerate votaries ; and it 
M 2 muft 

C 1.64, 1 

znuft be extremely diffimilar to iiV 
original purity, or it would be in- 
capable of being eftablilhedj for 
pure and genuine Chriftianity never 
was, nor ever can be the national 
religion of any country upon eartru 
Ir is a. gold too refined to be work> 
ed up with any human institution, 
without a. large portion of alloy. ; 
for, no fooner is this fmall grain of 
muftard-feed watered with the fer^ 
tile fiiowers of civil emoluments,, 
than it grows up into a large and 
fpreading tree, under the fhelter of 
whole branches the birds of prey 
and plunder will not fail to make 
for themfelves comfortable habits 
tions, and thence deface it's beauty;, 
and deftroy it's fruits. 


I -i5 ] 

Theie imputations on religious 
-eftablimments are certainly juft, 
but no reafons for diflenfions, be- 
caufe the inference which makes 
the latter propofition is intirely a 
miftake ; for no man can be bound 
in duty to deferc .a national reli- 
gion, on account of defects .conge- 
nial to it's nature, nor to fearch for 
perfection, which is no where to be 
found. Some religious filabliih- 
mentis abfolutely necffiary to the 
exiftence of every ftate-, but it is not 
necefiary that this mould be per- 
fect, and free from all errors and 
corruption, nor even that it fhould 
be fo efteemed by thofe who con- 
form to it : it is fufficiently perfect 
for this purpofe, if it contains no- 
thing repugnant to the principles of 
M found 

found morality, and the doctrines 
of Chrift. The mafs of the people 
in every country, being incapable 
of making any accurate inquiry 
into religious fubjects, muft have 
a religion ready made, or none at 
all ; and in this, thofe of fuperior 
abilities may confcientioufly join, 
without impeding their further re- 
fearches into the difpenfations of 
Providence, and the duties of man. 
Great and numerous muft be the 
inconveniences of any religious ef- 
tablilhment in the hands of men ; 
but what would be the condition of 
any nation in which there was none ? 
No uniform mode of public worfhip 
Could there be adopted $ no edifices 
built or repaired for the celebration 
f it^ nor cjinifters maintained to 

C 167 3 

perform it, except at the will of an 
ignorant and difcordant multitude, 
the majority of whom would chufe 
rather to have neither worfhip, 
churches, or minifters, than to in- 
cur the expences which muft at- 
tend them. Every man, who had 
any fenfe of religion, would make 
one for himfelf \ from whence in- 
numerable feels would fpring up, 
each of which would chufe a mi- 
nifter for themfelves; who, being de- 
pendent for fubfiftence on the vo- 
luntary and precarious liberality of 
his congregation, muft indulge their 
humours, fubmit to their paf!ion$ 3 
participate of their vices, and learn 
of them what doctrines they would 
chufe to be taught; and confequent- 
Jy none but the moft ignorant and 
M 4. illiterate- 

illiterate would undertake fo mean 
and beggarly an employment. A 
people thus left to the dominion of 
their own imaginations and paffions, 
and the inftru&ions of fuch teachers, 
would fplit into as many feels and 
parties, .iivificns ard fubdivifions, 
as knavtry and folly, arrifice, ab- 
furdity, and enthuiiufrra, can pro- 
duce j each of \vhich would be at- 
tacked with violence, and iupported 
.with obftinacy by all the reft. This 
evidently demonftrates, that feme 
religious eftablifhment muft be an- 
nexed to every civil government > 
the members of which are lo far 
from being bound in duty to defer t 
it, becaufe it falls fhort of their 
ideas of purity and perfection, that 
they are obliged by all the ties of 
, 2 bene vole ace 

[ i6 9 ] 

-benevolence and fociety to conform 
rto and fupport it, unlefs it requires 
any conceffions pofitively criminal. 
Should it ftill be infifted on, that 
every man is obliged to profefs and 
exercife that religion which ap- 
pears to him moft confonant to rea- 
fon, and moft acceptable to God, 
wirh which no government can 
have a right to meddle, or power 
to controul ; in anfwer 1 fhall unly 
fay, that all this is undoubtedly a 
miftake, which arifes from apply- 
ing propofitions to men, as mem- 
bers of national communities, which 
are applicable to them only as in- 
dividuals. Mankind, fo long as they 
refide on this terreftrial globe, 
sought always to be confidered in 
capacity, as individual^ 

r 170 ] 

and as members of fociety, that is, 
as men, and as citizens : in which 
different fituations, fo different are 
their relations and duties, that there 
is fcarce a propofition which we 
can affirm of them with truth in 
one, which is not falfe if applied 
to them in the other. It is by this 
mifapplication that the zealous ad- 
vocates for unbounded liberty, .civil 
and religious, deceive their follow- 
ers, and ibmetimes themielves, and 
draw conclufions equally .deftruG- 
tive of all government and religion. 
Thus, for inftance, they afiert that 
all men are by nature free, equal, 
and independent: this, when ap- 
plied to men as a general fpeeies, is 
true ; they then apply this afTertion 
SO men who are members of civil 
communities > 

t i 7 r ] 

communities, to whom fubordina*- 
tion is necefiary, and obedience to 
their fuperiors an indifpenfableduty, 
and therefore in regard to whom 11 
is abfolutely falfe , and yet from 
hence they endeavour to prove, that 
government is an infringement of 
the natural rights cf mankind. In. 
like manner they affirm, that every 
man is obliged to make choice of 
that religion, and to adhere to that 
mode of worfhip, which appear to 
his judgment to be the pureft, and 
moft acceptable to his Creator : this 
proportion, likewife, with regard to 
men confidered as individuals, is 
true ; but this again they apply to 
members of national communities, 
and eftabliilied churches : with re- 
gard to whom it is not truej for, as 

t 17* ] 

$uch, they are bound in duty t& 
.profefs that religion, and .practice 
that mode of wormip, which the 
laws of that community enjoin, pro- 
vided they find nothing in them po- 
fitively evil : yet from hence they 
would perfuade us, that -every indi- 
vidual has a right to defert, or even 
tooppofe, the eftablifhed religion of 
his country, whenever he finds, or 
fancies he can find a better. Thus 
are their unwary admirers deceived : 
the truth of thefe propofitions they 
cannot deny, and have not perhaps 
fagacity fufficient to difcover their 

It is remarkable, that Chriftianity 

conftantly addrefles us as men, never 

.as citizens; the only duty it requires 

-of us under that character, is fub- 


[ '73 I 

million to power in general, but 
prefcribes no rules for our political 
conduct : all thofe divine precepts 
of patience, meeknefs, long-fuffer- 
ing, non-refiftance of evil, contempt 
of the world, and indifference to the 
things of it, are given us as indivi* 
duals,, but not as- members of na- 
tional communities j becaufein that 
character they would have been im- 
practicable : for no Rate can adr 
minifter her, internal policy, and 
much lefs regulate her conduct with 
regard to foreign powers, in con- 
formity to thefe commands j be^ 
caufe the imperfections, the pak 
fions, and the vices of mankind will 
not permit it. Any one as an indi* 
vidual may pay obedience to them; 
to thofe who have little to do with 


[ m 3 

the bufy occupations of the world, 
it is an eafy and a pleating tafk ; for 
thofe who are deeply and earneftly 
engaged in the moft innocent of 
them, it is extremely difficult ; but 
for thofe who are employed in the 
great concerns of political commu- 
nities, in carrying on war, negotia- 
ting peace, and managing the in- 
trigues of contending factions, it is 
abfolutely impracticable. This I 
take to be the caufe of thofe fre- 
-quent declarations from the Author 
of this religion, that neither himfelf 
nor his doctrines are of this world ; 
but adverfe to all it's purfuits : and 
this perhaps may be the reafon of 
that aflertion, that it is eafier for a 
camel to go through the eye of a 
needle, than for a rich man to enter 


1 75 1 

into the kingdom of God j becatife, 
rich men being ufually moft engag- 
ed in thefe purfuits, moft attached 
to the world, and moft involved in 
the bufinefs of it, the extreme diffi- 
culty of their admifiion is thus forci- 
bly exprefled: or, if by a rich man, 
is here meant a great man, that is, a 
conqueror, a hero, or a ftatefman, 
this declaration may perhaps be li 1 - 
terally true-, and that it mould ift 
this place be ib underftood, ieeme 
-no improbable conjecture, as a rich 
-man, and a great man, in moft lan- 
guages are fynonymous terms. The 
iirft Chriftians law .their religion in 
this light, and refuied to have any 
concern with government, unlefs to 
obey it; they inquired not into the 
rights of thofe who ruled, nor their 


f 176 J 

own to liberty, and wifhed for no- 
thing, but to pals thro' this life un- 
incumbered with it's bufinefs, and 
well prepared for a better : fo long 
as they were a fmall fed:, diflenting 
from the religions of the countries 
in which they lived, this- inoffen five 
conduct was eafily preferved ; but, 
when princes, and nobles adopted 
their religion, and by fuch illuftrious 
examples it became almoft. univer- 
fal, thefe principles of inactivity 
were no longer tenable, without the 
total diffolution of all government ; 
for, if no man would govern, there 
could be none : neceffity therefore 
obliged them to take a part; a part 
foon awakened ambition, and love 
of power, thofe paflions fo natural to 
the human heart, and induced them 


[ 177 3 

to feize the whole; Chriftianity was 
eftabliftied, in confequence corrupt- 
ed, and little more of it remained, 
except the name. 

To this opinion of the incompati- 
bility of Chriftianity with the oc- 
cupations and cuftoms of the world, 
were all thofe numerous monaftic 
inftitutions, which every where ac- 
companied it's progrefs", indebted 
for their origin i inftitutions certainly 
favourable to the genuine fpirit of 
that religion, but, like the religion 
itfelf, fo adverfe to the nature of 
man, that they can never be made 
fit for general ufe : could they have 
been confined to thofe few, who arc 
capable of employing folitude in 
devotion and religious contempla- 
tion, they would undoubtedly have 
N been 

[ '78 ] 

been conducive to the practice of 
every Chriftian virtue ; but, as all 
were indifcriminately admitted, who 
pretended to fanclity, or who mif- 
took enthufiafm for piety, and a 
quarrel with the world for the 
love of God, they could not fail 
very foon to become nothing better 
than retreats for lazinefs, and femi- 
naries of fuperftition and vice : yet, 
notwithftanding all their abufes, I 
am inclined to think there are ftill 
within their walls fome few in- 
flances of patience and refignation, 
devotion and charity, carried to a 
higher degree of perfection than 
they are or can be in any other 
fituation, in which the fafhions, the 
pleafures, and bufmefs of life, and 
the corruptions of national efta- 

t 179 3 

blifliments, muft more or lefs ob- 
ftruct their progrefs ; where our 
virtue muft be endangered by con- 
tinual temptations, our meditations 
diverted from celeftial objefls by 
worldly purOits-, our devotions in- 
terrupted by amufements and im- 
pertinence -, and that ferene chear- 
fulnefs and happy complacency, fo 
efiential to the Chriftian profefiion, 
muft frequently be difturbed by in- 
juries and difappointments. The 
voluntary hardfhips which many 
of thefe reclufes impofed upon 
themfelves, were probably derived 
from a miftaken notion, that fuf- 
fering was an eflential part of their 
religion ; a notion which they had 
perhaps contracted from that con- 
ftant connection between them, 
N 2 which 

which they had fo long obferyed 
and felt during their perfecutions* 
and were not able fuddenly to a- 
bandon, in happier and more indul- 
gent times. 

But why then eftablifh a reli- 
gion, which is. fo improper for the 
purpofe ? Becaufe it is lefs impro- 
per than any other. The eftablifh- 
ment of fome religion is neceilary 
to the exigence of every ftate, and 
it is as neceflary that this fhould 
be, or be thought, a revelation 
from God. Mere Deifm never 
was, or can be, the eftablifhed 
religion of any country ; for, as 
all it's principles muft be derived 
from the reafon of fome, they will 
always be controverted by the rea- 
fon of others, and can therefore 
6 never 

uever obtain a general acquiefcence. 
The philofophcr, by learned in- 
veftigations, and the fprce of his 
own underftanding, may be con- 
vinced of the great truths of natu- 
ral religion ; but, without the fanc- 
tion of fupernatural authority, he 
will never be able to convince o- 
thers, who will neither believe his 
doctrines, or obey his precepts. 
If Chriftianity, therefore, is not 
adopted, fome fabulous fyftem muft 
fupply it's place ; and, if fome efta- 
blifhed religion there muft be, it is 
furely more eligible to make a true 
than a fictitious revelation the bafis 
of it. Nor will any one, I fuppofe, 
aflfert, that it would be preferable to 
eftablifh Paganifm or Mahometifm, 
and lay Chriftianity by for private 


[ 182 ] 

ufe ; which, disfigured as it is by 
worldly connections, is ftill fupe- 
rior to all other inftitutions. As 
members therefore of political com- 
munities, we are bound to accept 
it with all it's imperfections j tho', 
as individuals, we ought always to 
approach as near to it's original 
purity, as our own imperfections 
will permit. 







D I S CU I S i T I O N 









Printed for J. D E B RE T T, (SuccefTor to Mr. Almon/ 
oppofits Burlington-Houfe in Piccadilly. 




JL Yefterday read your Difquifitions 
on ieveral Subjects : I pafs over 
them all without animadverfion, 
except the feventh, which you 
have entitled on government 
and civil liberty nor would this 
have attracted my notice, but from 
its tendency to difieminate prin- 
ciples abfurd, falfe^ mtjchkvous^ 
as inconjiftent with common-fenje as< 
with all human Jociety . I f y ou t h i n k 
thcfe are hard terms, you muft be 
B content 

( O 

content to fubmit to them ; they 
are not of my coinage; they bear 
the ftamp of your own authority, 
for they are the very terms you 
have thought proper to beflow on 
thofe who differ from you in opi- 

I make no queftion of your fin- 
cerity in what you write, nor do I 
queftion your ability, but you have 
given every body great occafion to 
queftion your modefty and good 
manners ; the principles of Locke 
and Lord Somers, of Hooker, and 
of Puffendorf, to fay nothing of 
living authors, as honeft and as in- 
telligent, probably, as yourfelf, de- 
fervcd to be treated with refpecl: j 
harfh language is a difgrace to a 
good caufe, and the worft cannot 

( 3 ) 

fupport a bad one : I will endea- 
vour not to imitate your example. 

You have undertaken to fubvert 
the principles of Mr, Locke and 
his difciples by ridicule and by rea- 
ibnj your ridicule is mifplaced, and 
your reafoning is inconclufive : Your 
ridicule is mifplaced, for the fubjecl 
is of great importance j whether 
your reaioning be inconclufive or 
not, let the public judge. 

You have reduced your adverfa- 
ries principles of government to the 
five following proportions : 

I. That all men are born equal. 

II. That all men are born free. 

III. That all government is de- 
rived from the people. 

B 2 IV. That 

( 4 ) 

IV. That all government is a 
compact between the governors and 
the governed. 

V. That no government ought 
to laft any longer than it continues 
to be of equal advantage to the two 
contracting parties -, that is, to the 
governed, as to the governors. 

I acknowledge that mod of thefe 
propofitions are fairly and perfpicu- 
oufly dared ; and I hope to fhew 
that you have no other merit in 
treating them. 

That all men are born equal. 
This is the firft proportion which 
you are determined to demolifh; 
but you do not feem to me, from the 
nature of your attack, to compre- 

( 5 ) 

bend its meaning; if you cannot 
admit its truth, except upon the 
poor quibble of all men being 
equally born, you had better deny 
it altogether. You fpeak of the 
different fituations in which men 
are born with refpect to beauty, 
health, wifdom, genius, fortunes, 
and honours, and profcfs that you 
cannot underftand how they can be 
laid to be born equal ; nor was 
there ever a man of common fenfe 
who could underftand it ; nor can 
you produce a fingle author of any 
credit, or of no credit, fromAriftotle 
to the newfpaper politicians of the 
prefcnt times, who ever contended 
that men were born to this kind of 
equality. No, Sir, the ftate of 
equality we fpeak of is quite a dif- 

( 6 ) 

fcrent thing-, it is that ftate "where- 
in all power and jurifdiction is re- 
ciprocal, no one having more than 
another," it refpects that freedom 
from fubordination, which, ante- 
cedent to civil compact, belongs to 
every individual of our fpecies, who 
is arrived at years of difcretion ; it 
has not the moft diftant relation to 
one man's being two feet taller, or 
twice as ftrong as another ; the tall 
man may overlook the little man, 
but he has not thereby acquired the 
right of prohibiting him the ufe of 
his eyes , the ftrong man may over- 
come the weak one in a fingle com- 
bat, but that gives him no right to 
commence it , he can have no right 
to kick and cuff his fellow, becaufe 
he may be able to dp it with im- 


( 7 ) 

Power, wealth, and wifdom may 
be the means of introducing a fub- 
ordination amongft mankind, but 
thisfubordination muft be 'voluntary 
on one fide,or it will be nothing but#- 
juft force > rank tyranny, on the other. 
You are born a duke, marquis, earl, 
vifcount, baron, or what is more de- 
fpotic than all thefe put together, 
a tory country gentleman ; you have 
power enough to do a peafanr, or a 
mechanic, any poor plebeian, an 
injury ; but did your birth, when 
it gave you the power, give you alia 
the right of doing it. You are 
born to wealth ; thank your ancef- 
tors for your good fortune, but do 
not think that it entitles you to do- 
mineer over him who was born to 
none. You are poflefled of a great 
natural genius, your brain has been 


( 3 ) 

caft in a better mould than that of 
your neighbour j thank God for 
your intellectual pre-eminence ; ufe 
your wifdom for your own benefit 
and the good of others , but leave 
them to be judges of that good ; 
they may have no relifh for the 
good which your wifdom may point 
out; you can be no judge of rheir 
feelings, can have no right to com- 
pel them to be wife in your way, 
againft their will. 

But this natural freedom from 
fubordination, and that is the equa- 
lity contended for, is fo clear that 
no more need be laid on the fub- 
jeft, and you yourfelf feem to admit 
it, when you afk, * but, fup- 
pofing they were all born equal, 
would this prove what is always in- 

( 9 ) 

tended to be proved by it, that they 
ought always to continue fo?" 
Intended ! by whom ? 1 never yet 
faw a writer on the fubjed who had 
any intention of the kind. You 
again miftake, I will not fay mifre- 
prefent, for that implies a principle 
of which I hope you are incapable 5 
but you miftake the meaning of 
your opponents., and difplay your 
valour iq fighting a phantom of 
your own forming. Who has ever- 
laid that men, becaufe they were 
born equal, ought, were under an 
obligation, to continue equal ? Be- 
caufe we do not grant that any man 
has a natural right to rule over 
another, muft we of neceffity grant 
that he cannot have an adventitious 
one? You have no right to rule me, 
C nor 

nor have I any right to rule you ; 
we are at this inftant in a flate of 
equality with refpect to each other, 
the next may introduce a ftate of 
fubordination 3 for my own advan- 
tage I make an agreement with you, 
for a fum of money, or other con- 
fideration, I give you a right to 
difpofe of my time and labour ; I 
am no longer your equal, but it 
was my own -voluntary act which 
made me your inferior. Men are 
born equal ; for their own advan- 
tage, for the fake of enjoying peace 
and protection, they elect a magif- 
trate; they are no longer his 
equals, but it was their own volun- 
tary act \vhich made them his in- 
feriors j and they ought, (if that be 
the meaning of your ought) they 


ought take permitted to continue equal 
till they have conftituted to them- 
felves a fuperior. You triumph- 
antly afk, " muft no man ajjume 
power over another becaufe they 
were born equal ?" I plainly tell 
you, no he muft noti if he 
does, he a/fames what he has no 
right to : God has not given him 
the right, man cannot give it him ; 
nor can he acquire it by any other 
means than the concefiion of him 
over whom it is to be exerted. 
This concefiion is the only firm and 
true principle of civil fubordina- 
tion; it will laft, and bow down a 
man's neck to the voluntary yoke of 
legal government, when the ftrug- 
gles to fhake off an involuntary 
bondage, fhall burft into a thoufand 
C 2 pieces 

pieces the chains of defpotifrru 
Thus may you fee that this mighty 
argument, drawn from the equality 
of mankind, by which all powers 
and principalities are eftablifhad on 
their fureft bafes, is entirely true, 
and cannot be too often or too fo- 
lemnly introduced, efpecially when 
" many abfurd principles concerning 
government and flavery, have of late 
been dljjemlnated 'with mufual in- 

That all men are born free is 
the fecond proportion which of- 
fends you. I think the proof of 
this is included in that of the for- 
mer: For, if all men are born equal 
to each other, with refpect to their 
want of power over each other, they 
certainly muft be equally free : 


C '3 ) 

vhere there is no natural fubordi- 
nation, there can be no natural go- 
vernment, for government of every 
kind implies fubordination, and 
where there is no natural govern- 
ment there is natural freedom. In 
your endeavours to refute this pro- 
pofition, you have not, indeed, tri- 
fled with Sir Robert Filmer, by at- 
tempting to prove that men are not 
born naturally free, from children 
being born in fubjection to their 
parents, or in deriving royal defpo- 
tic authority from the paternal au- 
thority of Adam, you have not 
plagued your readers with this fo- 
lemn nonfenfe; but you certainly 
do trifle with their patience, in pro- 
ving the little claim man can have 
to freedom, from his being confined 


( 14 ) 

in the womb x fwathed by his nurfe> 
flogged by his fchoolmafter, or 
hanged by his magiftrate. All this 
is humour, but it is not argument : 
it is wit, but without judgment : 
I cannot employ my time in refuting 
it. You grow ferious, and repre- 
fent a factious and turbulent difpofi- 
tion, and an impatience of comroul, 
as difqualifying a man from being 
a member of a future celeftial com- 
munity. So, then, the affair is 
quite over with us, both here and 
hereafter : The Tories only are to 
go to heaven : they have long fhut 
the door of St. James in the face of 
the Whigs, and they think that St. 
Peter will be their porter, and per- 
form the fame fervice for them in 
an higher place. Sad reafoning 


( 15 ) 

this! Is every man who raifes a tu- 
mult, to tumble from his throne a 
tyrant oran ufurper unfit for heaven? 
Is every man who groans when he 
is opprefTed, or kicks when he is 
unjuftly goaded, turbulent and un- 
fit for heaven ? Is an impatience of 
controul, which may neither be di- 
rected by wifdom, nor prompted by 
goodnefs, nor founded in juftice, 
to be profcribed as unfit for the 
communion of the blefled ? On this 
fuppofition what mud become of 
St.Paul and the apoftles, and all the 
Chriftian martyrs ? they were men 
of turbulent difpofitions, for they 
turned the world upfide down ! Be 
a little charitable, I befeech you, 
and do not fo haftily confign to the 
company of the devil and his an- 

( 16 ) 

gels, thofe factious men, lords fpi- 
ritual and temporal, knights and 
citizens, gentlemen and yeomen, 
who were impatient of tke controul 
of James the Second, and who by 
that very impatience have featcd 
the Houfe of Hanover on the throne 
of Great-Britain. 

That all government is derived 
from the people is the third 
propofition, which you take upon 
you to pronounce to be entirely 
falfc. I do not fee that you bring 
any proof of what you afiert, or 
refer us to any other origin of go- 
vernment. All government, you 
fay, is power, with which fome are 
intrufted to controul the actions of 
others. Agreed but tell us by 
whom they are intrufted with this 
.2 power, 

po\ver. Truft is a relative term , it 
implies at lead two perfons, him 
who truftsj as well as him who is 
trufted ; the governors you fay are 
the perfons intruded, but you do 
not mention the perfons who in- 
truft. We fay, the people are the 
perfons who intruft ; this you de- 
ny, but you do not fubftitute any 
other perfon in the place of the peo- 
ple. Perhaps, in your language, 
the governors ajfumed this truft, 
that is, they took it by force or by 
fraud ; had they affumed your horfe 
or your coat in the fame way, I 
verily believe you would have faid> 
they ought to have been hanged for 
their aflumption ; and yet, an af- 
fumption of power over your li- 
berty and life is of more confe- 
D quence 

quence to your felicity and well- 
being, than a thoufand coats or 
horfes. Perhaps they afTumed it by 
divine appointment ; let them pro- 
duce their title to it, and ihew 
us, that God has conveyed by a 
deed of truft the lives and for- 
tunes of millions of his creatures to 
be difpofed of by the arbitrary wills 
of any of the fons of Adam : It is 
lucky for the defenders of this doc- 
trine, that Sir Robert Filmed s Patri- 
arcba has not yet been thrown into 
the flames by the common hang- 
man. God, we acknowledge it 
with thankfulnefs and humility, has 
an unlimited right over us ; he has 
formed us with capacities for hap- 
pinefs which cannot be fully at- 
tained without fociety, and fociety 
4 can- 

( '9 ) 

cannot fubfift without fome being 
intrufted with power to controul 
the actions of others ; in this way 
government, as well as every other 
conftitudon of nature, may be truly 
faid to be the appointment of God ; 
but what has this to do with the 
form of any particular government, 
with the degree of truft, the extent of 
the controul neceffary for the exiftence 
of government ? thele we know are 
infinitely various in different coun- 
tries ; and we contend, that in all 
jujl governments, the people have 
delegated to their governors the par- 
ticular degree of truft with which 
they are inverted, have limited the 
extent of the controul to which they 
are to be fubjeded. This truth for- 
ces itfelf upon your own mind, its 
D 2 power 

C 20 ) 

power is great, you cannot refift it ; 
you acknowledge in its full extent 
all that the \varmefl of your oppo- 
nents ever contended for , and you 
acknowledge it in the very place 
where you are reafoning againft it. 
In one page you fay, that " the in- 
ference ufually drawn from this 
propofition (that all government is 
derived from the people) is utterly 
falfe ; which is, that, becaufe all 
government is derived from the 
people, the people have a right to 
refume it, and adminifter it them- 
felves whenever they pleafe." In 
the oppofite page you acknowledge* 
*' that the people in every country 
have a right to refift manifeft grie- 
vances and oppreffions, to change 
their governors, and even their con- 


( 21 ) 

flitution, on great and extraordinary 
occafions." Now what does this 
amount to, but a right to refume 
and adminifter the government as 
they lliall fee fit, and whenever they 
are pleafed to think the occafion 
great and extraordinary ? for if they 
are pleafed to think it fo, it is fo in 
effect ; their thinking it fo does not 
make it fo, but the confluence 
'; e the &rr.e as if it was fo ; 
the governed may be in an error in: 
thinking any particular occafion 
great and extraordinary, or the go- 
vernors may be in an error in think- 
ing it not fo ; but there being no 
judge on earth to decide which is 
in the right, the adlions of bofh 
fides muft be the fame as if both 
were in the right, Thus you ao 

( 22 ) 

knowledge, with the moft zealous 
Lockian amongft us, the abftract 
right of the people ; as to the prac- 
ticability of exercifing it, that is 
quite another queftion, in the deci- 
fion of which a great many circum- 
ftances may arife, which cannot be 
forefeen in fpeculation or generally 
eftimated , it was exercifed at the 
Revolution ; and we truft that there 
will never, in this country, be occa- 
fion to exercife it again ; for we 
hope, arid are perfuaded, that the 
wifdom of the Houfe of Hanover 
will keep at an awful diftance from 
the throne, men profeffing princi- 
ples which have levelled with the 
duft the Houfe of Steuart. 

You are very fevere upon thofe, 
whom you are pleafed to call our mo- 

( 23 ) 

dern demagogues, becaufe they have 
not explained to your fatisfa&ion 
\vhat they mean by the terms " the 
people." You reprefent them, inju- 
rioufly enough, as excluding from 
that denomination the peers of the 
realm, and the reprefentatives of the 
people, the paftors of the church, 
and the fages of the law, the ma- 
giftrates, the land-holders, the ftock- 
holders, and the merchants, as ex- 
pecting public fpirit from the gar- 
rets of Grub-ftreet, reformation 
from the purlieus of St. Giles, a So- 
lon from the tin-mines of Cornwall, 
and a Lycurgus from the coal-pits 
of Newcaftle. This is mere decla- 
mation, if not fomething worfe, 
defamation. I never heard, nor, I 
will take upon me to fay, did you 


ver hear any one of the demagogues 
you fpeak of, annexing to the terms 
" the people," the fenfe you have 
here reprefented them as annexing. 
Your imagination has in this, as in 
other parts of your Difquifition, run 
away with your good fenfe ; your 
defcription is lively, but it is not 
juft ; you may have fupported your 
point, but you will have ruined^ 
with thinking men, the opinion 
they might have been difyofed to 
entertain of your candour. But that 
you may not be at a lofs to know 
what your modern demagogues un- 
ccrftand by the people; I will tell 
you what the Prince of Orange un- 
cierftood by them, for that, I take 
it, is the 1'cnfe in which they un- 
derftar.d the terms, and in which 


every man of fenfe muft under- 
Hand them. The Prince explains 
his fentiment, in the 25th para- 
graph of his declaration, wherein 
lie invites and requires all perfons 
whatfcever, (here is no exclufion 
even of tinners and colliers) all 
the peers of the realm, both fpi- 
ritual and temporal all lords, lieu- 
tenants, deputy-lieutenants, and all 
gentlemen, citizens, and other com- 
mons of all ranks, to come and aflift 
him in the execution of his defign, 
to re-eftablifh the conftitution of 
the Englifh government. 

We come to the fourth propofi- 
tion, that all government is a corn- 
pad between the governors and 
the governed. You would have 
better exprefled our meaning had 
E you 

( 26 ) 

you put into your proportion one 
little word more, and inftead of 
all government, faid, all juft go- 
vernment j for none of us are fo 
ignorant as not to know the effects 
of conqueft and violence, of cir- 
cumvention and fraud, in the 
infringement or fufcverfion of na- 
tural rights. 

You have the modefty to (tile 
all that has been written on this 
fu'bjecl:, by men of the moft com- 
prehenfive intellects, and the deep- 
eft penetration, " a ridiculous fc- 
//0#, intended only to fubvert all 
government, and let mankind loofe 
to prey upon each other." I do 
not believe that any one of thofe, 
in any age or country, who have 
embraced the opinion in queftion, 


( 27 ) 

ever entertained the lead particle 
of that intention which you have, 
with fo much liberality, and fo lit- 
tle delicacy, attributed to them alt. 
I can certainly, however, anfwer 
for one of the chief fupporters of 
this doctrine, that he had no inten- 
tion to fubvert government. Hear 
his own words when he is fpeak- 
ing of the papers which contained 
the beginning and end of hisTrea- 
tife of Government -, " Thefe (pa- 
pers) which remain, I hope, are 
fufficient to eftablijh the throne of 
our great reftorer, our prefent king 
William \ to make good his title in 
the confent of the people ; which, 
being the only one of all lawful 
governments, he has more fully 
and clearly than any prince in 
E ^ Chriften- 

Chriftendom." I have fo great an 
opinion of Mr. Locke's fincerity, 
that I cannot believe he fpeaks of 
a ridiculous fiflion^ when he derives 
the title of king William to the 
throne, from the confent of the 
people, and prefers it to that of 
every other prince in Chriftendom. 
I cannot believe that he intended 
tofufoert all government, becaufe 
he fays, he hoped not to fubverr, 
but to isftablijh the throne of our 
great reftorer. lr would be eafy 
to purfue this matter, and to (hew 
that all the other diftinguifhed pa- 
trons of a focial compact had as 
little intention to let mankind 
loofe to prey upon each other as 
Mr. Locke had. 


You call this compact a fiction; 
an hundred inftances might be 
produced of its reality, both in 
the hiftory of our own and other 
countries, and the coronation-oath 
dill fubfifts as a proof of it. But 
meaning to make this Anfwer as 
fhort as poffible, I will not take 
rip your time on this head, bun 
refer you to the eighth chapter of 
the fecond book of Mr. Locke's 
Treadle on Government ; and to 
a little book which has either never 
fallen into your hands, or you have 
forgotten its contents, and. from 
the perufal of which, you will fee 
abundant reafon to retract your 
hafty aflerdon, that a compact be- 
tween the people and their rulers 
h a ridiculous fiction. This book 


is intttled, The Judgment of whole 
Kingdoms and Nations, concern- 
ing the Rights, Power, and Pre- 
rogative of Kings, and the Rights, 
Privileges, and Properties of the 
People. This book is faid to be 
the work of I ord Somers ; but 
whether it be fo or not, I do not 
enquire; certain I am, that the 
learning and good reafoning cori.- 
fained in it would have done ho- 
nour to him, or any other man. 

In treating this fourth propofi- 
tion, you feem not to comprehend 
its meaning; it is painful to me to 
make this remark; on any ether 
fubjedt you would have reafoned 
better-, but this is a fubjeft which 
requires deep and ferious reflec- 
tion, more than a brilliancy of 


( 3' ) 

fancy or exprefiion. " Compact, 
you fay, is repugnant to the very 
nature of government, whole ef~ 
fence is compulfion." The efience 
of government, after it is eftabiijhed, 
is compulfion ; but the eflence of 
the efiablifhm~nt of government is 
compact, tacit, or exprefs. Thefe 
are quite different things ; you will 
prefently underftand the diftinc- 
tion. Suppofe an hundred com- 
mon failors to be iliipwrecked upon 
an ifland inhabited by favages, it is 
evident that there is no manner of 
government amongit tliele men ; 
fome may be taller, or ftronger, or 
younger, or wifer, than the refl, 
but ftill they arc all equal to each 
other with refpect to fubordina- 
tion; no one has any authority to 

( 3* ) 

regulate the actions of his fellow. 
For mutual prefervation they will 
ibon wilh to withdraw themfelves 
from this ftate of equality, and, 
in the ftricteft fenfe of the word, 
anarchy; they will elect a leader -, 
the wifeft probably and the boldeft 
man amongft them, will, by thtir 
common fuffrage, be made their 
governor; and, in order that this 
governor may be of ufe to them, 
they will promife to obey him 
whilft he acts for the common 
good. Now begins cpmpulfion, 
but it is cornpulfion arifmg from 
confent and compact; it is in its 
exiftence Jubjequent to the efta- 
blifnment of that government of 
which it conftitutes the cfTence. 

3 YOU 

( 33 ) 

You fay, by way of invalidating 
the notion of compact, that " if 
every man had a right to furrender 
his independence on bargain, he 
mud have an equal right to retain 
it." I admit that he has that right, 
but it is a right which his intereft 
will not fuffer him to retain for 
any length of time ; or if he does 
retain it, it mufl be at his own 
peril. Suppofe one of our hundred 
failors Ihould refufe to elect any 
leader, that one is in a date of na- 
tural independence with refpe<5t to 
all the reft , the leader has no au- 
thority over him; he is at liberty 
to protect himfelf, by his own 
ilrength, from the attacks of fa- 
vages and wild beads ; but a very 
few days experience would con- 
F vince 

r 34 > 

vince~ him, that his protection 
would be better fecured by an 
hundred arms than by one; he 
would foon be induced to become 
a member of that community into 
which the reft had entered ; he 
would be induced to it, but he 
ought not to be compelled to it. 

You feem to apprehend that 
robberies, and murders, rapine and 
bloodfhed, would univerfally take 
place if this right of retaining their 
independence belonged to man- 
kind-, this is an 'idle fear. Men 
would not retain it, becaufe it 
\vould be for their intereft to give ' 
it tip; they would not retain if, 
becaufe, inftead of their not being 
amenable to any human tribunal 
for their enormities, as you afferc, 


( 35 ) 

they would be anfwerable for them 
to every man they met. Every 
man would have a right to kill a 
murderer, to apprehend a robber, 
and to inflidt an adequate punifh- 
ment upon every other violator of 
the law of nature. This right 
which, in the words of Mr. Locke, 
" every man hath to punifli the 
offender, and to be the execu- 
tioner of the law of nature," r&- 
moves at once all the abfurdities 
you think your opponents have 
fallen into; and had you read 
often, and thoroughly digefted, 
the writings of that great man, 
who Hands unmoved as a rock 
of adamant amid the frothy ebul- 
Jitions of cenfure which have of 
been levelled at his principles, 
F 2 you 

( 36 ) 

you would neither have been fo 
free in the ufe of fuch unbecom- 
ing terms, as abfurdities, ridicu- 
lous fictions, extravagant princi- 
ples, fallacious proportions, &c. 
nor have thereby fet an example 
which the writer of this Letter dif- 
dains to imitate, though you have 
afforded him abundant opportunity 
of doing it with fuccefs. 

That no government ought to 
fubfift any longer than it continues 
to be of equal advantage to the 
governed as to the governors. 
This is the lad propofition which 
has become the object of your ani- 
madverfion , it is not fo clearly 
flated as the preceding ones ; nor 
does your attempt to refute it, 
render ic more intelligible; it 


( 37 ) 

makes a diftinction where there- 
ought to be no difference; it in- 
timates that the advantage of a 
governor may be different from 
that of the governed, whereas they 
ought always to be the fame , but 
ihould the cafe happen to be other- 
wife, who can have any hefitation 
in faying, that the advantage of 
the governor will be as light as air, 
when weighed againfl that of the 
people j the fa/us populi is, and 
ought to be, the fupreme law. 
Confider the advantage which each 
of the contracting parties expects 
to enjoy. The people look for the 
protection of their perfons and pro- 
perties, not only from foreign and 
domeftic violence, but from the 
encroachments of the prince him- 


( ai ) 

feif. The prince expefts pre-emi- 
nence j it a may be a painful pre- 
eminence, but he deems it defire- 
able, and accepts it. Put the pre- 
eminence of the prince, and the 
means of fuftaining it, to become 
incompatible with the protection 
of the people and the common 
fafety, and fhew us, if you can, 
the nature of the chain which, in 
fuch a circumftance, will bind the 
people to their prince ; it will be 
a chain unjuftly formed, by the 
will of one, to gall the necks of 
millions. The Handing armies of 
France, or Spain, or Rufiia, or 
Pruflia, or Germany, or Turkey, 
may rivet it in their refpeftive 
countries, but in all of them (for 
all thefe kinds of government. are 


C 39 ) 

the offsprings of force or fraud) 
according to your own moft juft, 
candid, and liberal conceffion, cc the 
people have an equal right to pre- 
ferve or regain their liberty when- 
ever they are able." Whofe prin- 
ciples now, think you, lay a foun- 
dation for fedition, treafon, tumulr*, 
rebellion, and fubverfion of govern- 
ment? Thofe of the man who 
aflerts, that " all the governments - 
we fee (no exception, you per- 
ceive, for our own) are the off- 
fprings of force or fraud, of acci- 
dent, and the circumftances of the 
times, and muft perpetually change 
with thofe circumftances; that in 
all of them, the people have an 
equal right to preferve or regain 
their liberty whenever they are 


C 40 ) 

able;" or thofe of him who con- 
tends, that the Houfe of Hanover 
reigns here by the content of the 
people, ' and that whilft it main- 
tains the conditions on which it 
was exalted to the throne invio- 
late, the compact ought to be per- 

You have not well explained the 
nature of the advantage which go- 
vernors and the governed derive 
from the instituted relation which 
they bear to each other j it does 
not confift in the pofleffing, or not 
pofleffmg, wealth and power. The 
pooreft man has fome property ; 
he has a perfon at lead which he 
wifhes to protect from violence. 
It is the fecurity of this little pro- 
perty, the protection of limb and 


,( 4 ) 

life from pain and extinction, which 
"conftitute the advantage he hopes 
to obtain by entering into fociety ; 
he knows that wealth either def- 
cends from anceftry, is flung into 
his lap by Fortune, or is to be ac- 
quired by induftry; he expects 
that government will fecurc to him 
the poflefiion of what he can ho- 
neftly get, but'he is 1 not wild enough 
to expect that it will put him in 
pofifefiion of what docs not belong 
to him. The principal advantage 
which the governor derives from 
his ftatibn, is the confcioufnefs of 
difcharging his high trufl with fide- 
lity. His power of executing, oV 
even of ordaining laws, of making 
war or peace, of conferring ho* 
nours or -rewarding merit; thefc 
G fend 

( 4*') 

and other apdendages of his high 
office, can be of no fort of advan- 
tage to him as an individual, ex- 
cept fo far as they are exerted in 
perfect coincidence with the ad- 
vantage of the community, as they 
enable him to fulfil the greateft 
of all human duties, the duty of 
the fupreme magi (Irate to the peo- 
ple, over whom he prefides. ' Jn 
the difcuffion of this lafl queftion I 
really expected, for the fubject na- 
turally led to it, that you would 
have taken a larger field, that you 
would have entered upon our Irifh 
or American difputes, and flbewn 
that it was the duty of both thefe 
people to have fufFered our govern- 
ment over them to fubfift, when 
the advantages refuking to them 


( 43 ) 

rhe governed, and to us the gover- 
nors, were no longer equal, or, 
which may be as true, were thought 
to be no longer equal : I expected 
that: you would have cleared up a 
doubt which has occupied the 
minds of our beft politicians, 
whether men have a natural right, 
a civil right is nothing to the pur- 
pofe, to withdraw themfelves from 
any civil community, when they 
are of opinion they can better fe- 
cure to themfelves the advantages 
of civil fociety elfewhere. Had 
you taken fuch a route as this, you 
might probably have bewildered 
me in brakes and thickets; I might 
have loft both fight and fcent of 
you ; but as you. have contented 
yo-urfelf wich running on in the 
G 2. beaten. 

C 44 ) 

beaten track j there is no need why 
upon this occafion j I fhould en- 
tangle myfelf in thorns and briers 
which lie out of my way. 

Having done with the propofi- 
tions, you come to general obfer- 
vations, and deicend, I fear, from 
rpafoning to railing, for what other 
name will the world give to the 
following extract, " In fhort, 
all thefe wild and extravagant prin- 
ciples are the production of igno- 
rance or ambition, .invented and 
propagated, either by thofe who arc 
unacquainted with human nature 
and human government, or thofe 
who endeavour to render it imprac- 
ticable in the hands of others, that 
it may fall into their own." 
I can hardly forbear the ufe of fome 


( 45 ) 

of your appellations. Confider T 
Sir, what you have faid -, were 
ill thofe Uluftrious men, who by 
the moft consummate virtue, and 
at the hazard of every thing that 
was dear to them, accomplished the 
Revolution, ignorant or ambitious ? 
Are the lords and commons of the 
p relent times, their number is not 
fittall, who refolutely maintain thofe 
principles, ignorant or ambitious ? 
Is there not one grain of public 
virtue, one ipark of pure patriot- 
ifm amongft them? Are they diftin- 
guifhed by nothing but ignorance 
or ambition? Do you think that 
they are not as well acquainted 
with human nature and human go- 
vernment as youril-lf? Muft every 
man be a fool or a knave, ignorant 


( 46 > 

of mankind, or defirous of rendering 
government impra<5ticable in the 
hands of others, that ft may fall 
into his own, who cannot fubfcribe 
to the political creed of the author 
ofDifquifitionson ieveral Subjects ? 
But you feem to me to entertain a 
bad opinion of human kind] this ap- 
pears in many parts of your Difqui- 
fiiion, but in none more remarkably 
than where you fay you are perfua- 
ded, that if an angel were fent from 
heaven, vefted with irrefiftible 
power to govern any country upon 
earth, and was to execute his corn- 
mi flion with the utmoft degree of 
wifdom, juftice, and benevolence, 
his dominions would very foon be 
deferted by mod of the inhabi- 
tants i who WQuld rather choofe to 


( 47 ) 

furTer mutual injuries and oppref- 
fions, however grievous, under any 
government in which they them- 
felves had a fhare, than to be com- 
pelled to be virtuous and happy by 
any fuperior authority whatever.'* 
What, if I Ihould (imply fay, that 
compulfion and happinefs could not 
xift together, there would be an 
end of your fine period ; and yet it 
is true, you may as foon compel a 
man not to feel compulfion, as to 
be happy when he is compelled to 
be fo. But the whole obfervation 
is without foundation j I conceive, 
that in the government you de- 
fcribe there would not be a (ingle 
murmur, there would be no com- 
pelling men to be virtuous, they 
would be virtuous out of choice ; 


( 48 ) 

their virtue would confift in a. per- 
fect obedience to this angel, and 
they could have no temptation to 
be difobcdient. The angel, on 
your fuppofuion, would have the 
utmoft wifdom to provide for the 
happinefs of each individual, the 
utmofl benevolence to induce him 
to make this proviiion, and irre- 
fiftible power to effect his purpofe. 
Shew me in all the world a prince 
with the perfections of this angel, 
and I will fliew you a people hap- 
py, content, grateful, and obedient, 
even to a degree beyond the paffive 
conceptions of the moll determined 

I have not wilfully rhifreprefented 
any thing you have faid, or de- 
fignediy treated .you with difref- 

( 49 ) 

pect; I have, therefore, no apolo- 
gies to make to you on that fcore ; 
but I ought to beg your pardon 
for my prefumption on another. 
I have indulged a fond hope, that 
by printing this Brochure in the 
manner I have done, it may have 
forne chance of arrefting the cu- 
riofity of pofteriry, by its exigence 
being continued to it under the 
covering and protection of your 
book ; that the feeble antidote it 
contains may reftore the conftitu- 
tion of fome Whig fuccumbing 
under the virulence of your poi- 
fon, when this mortal coil fhall be 
no more, and the authors of the 
poifon and its antidote fhall 
in peace. 

London, March 16, 1784^ 


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