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Diftribution ofthefecondpart, Page 3, 4. 



Something muft have exifted from all eternity, 5, 6. 
'There tnuft be an infinite and independent Being, 6 9. 
c he infinite and independent Being is indued with infi- 
nite power and Knowledge, 9 13. God is infinitely 
benevolent, 13 23. Five notions of infinite benevo- 
lence confidered, and compared together, 23 30. There 
is but one God, 30, 31. God is a fpiritual being, 31 
34. God is an eternal and omniprejent being, 34, 
35. God is an immutable being, 35. God is a free 
being, 35 37. Holinejs, juftice, veracity, mercy, 
arid all other moral perfections, ought to be ajcribed t 
God in an infinite degree, 37 41. God is to be con- 
federed by us not only as our creator, but alfo as cur 
governor, judge, and father, 41 45. The fore- 
going evidences for the divine attributes afford a pro- 

A 2 per 


per foundation for natural religion, 45 48. Na- 
tural religion receives great light and confirmation 
from revealed, 48 52. Religion prefuppofes free- 
will in the popular and practical Jenje, \. e. /'/ pre- 
fuppcfes a 'voluntary power over' our affeftions and 
a ft ions, 53 55. Religion does not prefuppoje free- 
will in the philofophical fenfe, i. e. it does not prefuppofe 
a power of doing different things, the previous circum- 
fianees remaining the fame, 56 66. The infinite power 
and knowledge of God exclude free-will in the pbilofo- 
pbicalfenfe, 6670. 


The genuinenefs of the fcriptures proves the truth 
of the faffs contained in them, 7277. The genu- 
insnefs of the Jcriptures proves their divine autho- 
rity, 77, 78. The truth of the principal faffs, con- 
tained in the fcriptures proves their divine authority, 
79, 80. Three different fuppofitions, which may be 
made concerning the divine inspiration of the fcriptures, 
80 84. The manner in which the fcriptures have 
been handed down from age to age, proves both their 
genuinenefs and truth, 84 86. The great importance 
of the fcriptures proves both their genuinenefs and 
truth, 86 96. The language, ftyle, and manner 
of writing ufed in the fcriptures, prove their genu- 
inenefs, 97, 98. The great number of particular 
circumftances of time, place, perfons, &c. mentioned 
in the fcriptures, prove both -their genuinenefs and 
truth, 99 104. The agreement of the fcriptures 
with hiftory, natural and civil, is a proof of their 
genuinenefs and truth, 104 122. The agreement 
of the books of the Old and New Teftaments with 
themfehes and each other, is an argument both of their 
gtnuincnefs and truth, 122 126. ~Tbe unity of 
dcfign, which appears in the difpenfations recorded in 



the Jcriptures, is an argument not only of their truth 
and genuinenejs, but aljo of their divine authority, 
126 136. Divine communications , miracles, and 
prophecies, are agreeable to natural religion, and 
Jeem even necejjary in the infancy of the world, 137 
141. 'The objections made againft the miracles re- 
corded in the Jcriptures, from their being contrary to 
I he courfe of nature, is of little or no force, 142 

149. 'The hiftorical evidences for the genuinenejs, 
truth, and divine authority, of the Jcriptures, do not 
grow lefs from age to age, but rather increafe, 149, 

1 50. The prophecies delivered in the Jcripiures prove 
their divine authority, 150 157. 'The objcurity of 
the prophecies does not invalidate this proof, 157 
1 60. 'The double ujes and applications of the types 
and prophecies are no objection to the evidences deducible 
from them, but rather a confirmation of thefe evidences 

1 60, 161. The application of the types and prophe- 
cies of the Old Teftamcnt, by the writers of the New, 
does not weaken the authority of thefe writers, but 
rather confirm it, 162 166. The moral characters 
of Chrift, the prophets, and apoftles, prove the truth 
and divine authority of the Jcriptures, 167 172. 
The excellence of the dottrines contained in the Jcrip- 
tures is an evidence of their divine authority, 172 
174. The many advantages which have accrued t 
the world from the patriarchal, judaical, and chrij- 
tian revelations, prove the divine authority of the 
Jcriptures, 174 177. The wonderful nature, and 
Juperior excellence, of the attempt made by Chrift and 
his apoftles, are evidences of their divine authority, 
177, 178. The manner in which the love of God, 
find of our neighbour, is taught and inculcated in the 
Jcriptures, is an evidence of their divine authority, 
178 1 80. The doRrine of the neceffary Jubjerviency 
of pain to pleajure, unfolded in the Jcriptures, is an 
evidence of their divine authority, 180, 181. The 
mutual inflrumsntality of beings to each other's hap- 

A 3 finefs 


pinefs and inifery, Unfolded in the Jcriptures, is an 
argument of their divine authority , 182 184. 'The 
divine authority of the Jcriptures may be inferred from 
the Juperior wifdom of the Jewifh laws, considered in 
a political light, and from the exquijile workman/hip 
Jhewn in the tabernacle and temple, 184. 'The want 
of univerfalify in the publication of revealed religion, 
is no objection to it ; but on the contrary, the time 
and manner in which the fcriptures were written, 
and delivered to the world, are arguments for their 
divine authority, 184 187. 'The exclujion of all 
great degrees of enthufiafm and impojlure from the 
characters cf Chrift, the prophets and apoftles, proves 
their divine authority, 187 189, 'The reception 
which Chrift, his fore-runners and followers, with 
their doftrines, have met with in all ages, is an argu- 
ment cf their divine authority, 189 191. The re- 
ception which falfe religiens have met with in the 
world, are arguments sf the truth of the chriftian t 

GHAP. 111. 
Of the RULE of LIFE. 


Of the Rule of Life, as dcducible from the Practice 
and Opinions of Mankind. 

The pr office cf mankind affords Jome diretHon in 
rejfeft of the rule of life, 197, 198. The opinions 
cf mankind afford a better direction in refpecJ of the 
rule of life, than their practice, 198, 199. The rule 
of life drawn from the fraftice and opinions of man- 
kind is favourable to the caufe of virtue, 199 207. 
This rule correfts and improves itfelf perpetually, 207 





Of the Regard due to the Pleafures and Pains of 
Senfation, in forming the Rule of Life. 

'The pleafures of Jenjation ought not to be made a 
primary purfuit, 211 215. 'The purfuit of fenftble 
pleafure ought to be regulated by the precepts of piety > 
benevolence ', and the moral Jenje, 215 218. Prac- 
tical rules concerning diet, 218 228. Practical rules 
concerning the commerce between the Jexes, 228- 238. 
Practical rules concerning the hardjhips, pains, and 
uneafmejfes, which occur in the daily intercourfes of life, 


Of the Regard due to the Pleafures and Pains of 
Imagination in forming the Rule of Life. 

pleajures of imagination ought not to be made 
a primary purfuit, 242 245. The purfuit of the 
pleafures of imagination ought to be regulated by the 
precepts of benevolence, piety, and the moral fenfe, 245 
248. Practical rules concerning the elegancies, and 
amufements of life, 248 251. Practical rules con- 
cerning mirth, wit, and humour, 251 253. Prac- 
tical rules concerning the polite arts, and particularly 
of painting, mufic, and poetry, 253, 254. Practical 
rules concerning the purfuit of Jcience, 255, 256. 
Practical rules concerning the ignorance, difficulties, and 
perplexities, in which we find ourf elves involved, 256 


Of the Regard due to the Pleafures of Honour, and 
jthe Pains of Shame, in forming the Rule of Life. 

The pleafures of honour ought not to be made a pri- 
mary purfuit, 259 262. The pleajures of honour 



may be obtained in their great eft degree, and higbeft 
perfection, by faying a ftrift regard to the precepts 
tf benevolence, piety, and the moral fenfe, 262 264. 
Practical obfervations on the nature of humility, and the 
methods of attaining it, 264 270. 


Of the Regard due to the Pleafures and Pains of 
Self-iotereft in forming the Rule of Life. 

The pleafures of f elf -inter eft ought not to be made a 
primary purfuit, 271 279. A ftrift regard to the 
precepts of benevolence, piety, and the moral fenfe y 
favours even grofs fclf-intereft, and is the only method 
by which the refined and rational can be Jecured 9 27 9, 
280. Practical obfervations on Jelf- inter eft and Jelf- 
annihilation, 280 282. 


Of the Regard due to the Pleafures and Pains of 
Sympathy, in forming the Rule of Life. 

The pleafures of fympathy improve thofe of Jen- 
Jation, imagination, ambition, and felf-iniereft j and 
unite with thofe of theopathy and the moral fenfe : 
they are felf-confiftent, and admit of an unlimited ex- 
tent j and confequently they may be our primary pur- 
fnit, 283 290. Practical rules for augmenting the 
benevolent affeftions, and fupprejfing the malevolent 
ones, 291, 292. Practical rules for the condutf of 
men towards each other in fociety, 292 300. Of 
the duties ari/ing from the principal relations of life t 




Of the Regard due ta the Pleafures and Pains of 
Theopathy, in forming the Rule of Life. 

The love of God regulates, improves, and perfetts 
all the other parts of our nature* and affords a plea- 
Jure Juperior, in kind and degree, to all the reft ; and 
therefore is our primary purjuit, and ultimate end, 
309 315. Practical rules concerning the theopa- 
thelic affections, faith, fear, gratitude, hope, truft, 
resignation, and love, 316330. Practical rules 
concerning the manner of exprejjing the theopathetic 
aff eft ions by prayer, and other religious exercijes, 331 
33 6 - 


Of the Regard due to the Pleafures and Pains of the 
moral Senfe, in forming the Rule of Life. 

The moral Jenje ought to be made the immediate 
guide of our aflions on all Judden emergencies, 337 
339. Practical rules for the regulation and im- 
provement of the moral Jenje, 339,^ 340. General 
corollaries to thejeven laftjeffions, 341 346. 

Of the Rule of Faith. 

An inquiry how far faith in natural and revealed 
religion, alfo in the particular tenets of chriftian 
churches, is neceffary for the purification and perfection 
f our natures, 347 358. 




and hereafter, in Confequence of their 
of LIFE. 


Of the Expectation of Individuals In the prefent 

// is probable, that moft or all men receive more 
happinefs than mifery, in their pajfage through the 
prefent life, 359 361. The balance cannot be much 
in favour even of the moft happy, during the prefent 
life, 361 363, Virtue has always the fairejl prof- 
peft even in this life, and vice is always expofed to the 
great eft hazards, 363. And yet it does not Jeem at all 
probable ', that happinefs is exaftly proportioned to virtue 
in the prefent life, 364, 365. 


Of the Expectation of Bodies Politic, the Jews in 
particular, and the World in general, during the 
prefent State of the Earth. 

// is probable, that all the prefent civil governments 
will be overturned, 366 370. // is probable, that 
the prefent forms of church-government will be dif- 

Jolved t 


Jolved, 370 372. // is probable, thai tbe Jews will 
be reftored to Palseftine, 373 375. The chriftian 
religion will be preached to, and received, by all nations, 
376 380. It is not probable, that there will be any 
pure or complete happinefs before the deftruclion of this 
world by fire, 380, 381. 


Of a future State after the Expiration of this Life. 

// is probable, from the mere light of nature, that 
there will be a future ft ate, 382 392. The chrif- 
tian revelation gives us an abfolute affurance of a 
future ftate, 393 395. The rewards and puni/h- 
ments of a future life will far exceed tbe bappinefs and 
mijery of this, both in degree and duration, 395 397. 
It is probable, that the future happinefs of tbe good will 
be of a Jpiritual nature ; but the future mijery of the 
wicked may be both corporeal and mental, 397 402. 
// Jeems probable, that the Joul may remain in a ftate of 
inactivity, though perhaps not of infenftbility, from death 
to the refurreftion, 402, 403. 

Of the Terms of Salvation. 

// follows from the foregoing theory of our intellectual 
pleafures and pains, as well as from other ways of con- 
fidering them, that the bulk of mankind are not qualified 
for pure, unmixed bappinejs, 404, 405. // follows 
from tbe declarations of the Jcripiures, that the bulk of 
mankind are not qualified for the manfeons of the ble/ed, 



405 407. A praftic a I application of this doftrine to 
tbe real circumftances of mankind, 407 418. 


Of the final Happinefs of all Mankind in fome 
diftant future State. 

// is probable from reafon, that all mankind will be 
made happy ultimately, 419 -425. It is probable 
from the Jcriptures, that all mankind will be made 
happy ultimately, 426 437. 


O B S E R- 






Containing OBSERVATIONS on the DUTY and 


\V HATEVER be our doubts, fears, or anxi- 
eties, whether fclfifh our fbcial, whether for time 
or eternity, our only hope and refuge muft be 
in the infinite power, knowledge, and goodnefs 
of God. And if thefe be really our hope and 
refuge, if we have a true practical fenfe and con- 
viction of God's infinite ability and readinefs to 
protect and blefs us, an entire, peaceful, happy 
resignation will be the refult, notwithftanding the 
clouds and perplexities wherewith we may fome- 
times be encompafied. He who has brought us 
into this ftace, will conduct us through it: he knows 
all our wants and diftrefles : his infinite nature will 
VOL. II. B bear 


bear down all oppofition from our impotence, igno- 
rance, vice, or mifery : he is our creator, judge, 
and king, our friend, and father, and God. 

And though the tranfcendent greatneis and glo- 
rioufnefs of this profpecl: may, at firft view, make 
our faith ilagger, and incline us to difbelieve through 
joy ; yet, upon farther confideration, it feems rather 
to confirm and eftablilh itfelf on that account ; for 
the more it exceeds our gratitude and comprehen- 
fion, the more does it coincide with the idea of that 
abfolutely perfect being, whom the feveral orders of 
imperfecl: beings perpetually fuggeft to us, as our 
only refting place, the caufe of caufes, and the fu- 
preme reality. 

However, on the other hand, it muft be acknow- 
ledged, that the evils which we fee and feel are ftrong 
arguments of the poflibility of ftill greater evils, of 
any finite evils whatever, and of their confiftency 
with the divine attributes. All finites are equally 
nothing in refpecl: of .infinite; and if the infinite pow<- 
er, knowledge, and goodnefs of God can permit the 
leaft evil, they may permit any finite degree of it, 
how great foever, for any thing that we know to 
the contrary. And this moft alarming confideration 
cannot but compel every thinking perfon to ufe his ut- 
moft endeavours, firft for his own prefervation and 
deliverance; and then, in proportion to his benevo- 
lence, for the prefervation and deliverance of others. 

Nor can fuch a perfon long hefitate what method 
to take in the general. The duties of piety, bene- 
volence, and felf-government, confidered in the ge- 
neral, have had fuch a ftamp fet upon them by all 
ages and nations, by all orders and conditions of 
men, approve themfelves fo much to our frame and 
conftitution, and are fo evidently conducive to both 
public and private happinefs here, that one cannot 
doubt of their procuring for us not only fecurity, but 
our Jummum bonum, our greateft pofiible happinefs, 



during the whole courfe of our exiftence, whatever 
that be. 

Thefe are the genuine dictates of what is called 
natural religion. But we, who live in chriftian 
countries, may have recourfe to far clearer light, 
and to a more definite rule : the chriftian revela- 
tion is attefted by fuch evidences hiftorical, prophe- 
tical, and moral, as will give abundant comfort and 
fatisfaction to all who feek them earneftly. A future 
life, with indefinite, or even infinite, rewards and 
punifhments, is fet before us in exprefs terms, the 
conditions declared, examples related both to en- 
courage our hopes, and alarm our fears, and aflu- 
rances of afiiftance and mercy delivered in the ftrong- 
efl and moft pathetic terms. 

Yet ftill there are difficulties both in the word of 
God, and in his works ; and thefe. difficulties are 
ibmetimes fo magnified, as to lead to fcepticifm, in- 
fidelity, or atheifm. Now, the contemplation of 
our own frame and conftitution appears to me to 
have a peculiar tendency to leflen thefe difficulties 
attending natural and revealed religion, and to 
improve their evidences, as well as to concur with 
them in their determination of man's duty and ex- 
pectations. With this view, I drew up the foregoing 
obfervations on the frame and connection of the 
body and mind ; and, in profecution of the fame 
defign, I now propofe, 

Firft, To proceed upon this foundation, and upon 
the other phenomena of nature to deduce the evi- 
dences for th& being and attributes of God, and the 
general truths of natural religion. 

Secondly, Laying down all thefe as a new founda- 
tion, to deduce the evidences for revealed religion. 

Thirdly, To inquire into the rule of life, and 
the particular applications of it, which refult from 
the frame of our natures, the dictates of natural 
religion, and the precepts of the fcriptures taken 

B 2 together, 


together, compared with, and calling light upon 
each other. And, 

Fourthly, To inquire into the genuine doctrines 
of natural and revealed religion thus illuftrated, 
concerning the expectations of mankind, here and 
hereafter, in confequence of their obfervance or vio- 
lation of the rule of life. 

I do not prefume to give a complete treatife on 
any of thefe fubjefts j but only to borrow from the 
many excellent writings, which have been offered to 
the world on them, fome of the principal evidences 
and deductions, and to accommodate them to the 
foregoing theory of the mind; whereby it may ap- 
pear, that though the doctrines of afibciation and 
mechanifm -do make fome alterations in the method 
of realbning on religion, yet they are far from lef- 
fening either the evidences for it, the comfort and 
joy of religious perfons, or the fears of irreligious 








Of the BEING and ATTRIBUTES of GOD, and of 


Something muft havg exifted from all Eternity ; or, there 
never was a 'Time when Nothing exifted. 

FOR, when we place ourfelves in fuch an imagi- 
nary point of time, and then try to conceive how 
a world, finite or infinite, mould begin to exift, abfo- 
lutely without caufe, we find an inftantaneous and 
irrefiftible check put to the conception, and we are 
compelled at once to reject the fuppofition : fo that 
the manner in which we reject it, is a proper authority 
for doing fo. It is fuperfluous, in this cafe, to inquire 
into the nature of this check and rejection, and dif- 
fent grounded thereon j fince, after all our inquiries, we 
muft (till find an infuperable reluctance to affent. 
The fuppofition will not remain in the mind, but is 
B 3 thrown 

6 O/ the Being and Attributes of God, 

thrown out immediately j and I do not fpeak of this, 
as what ought to follow from a proper theory of 
evidence and aflent, but as a fact, which every man 
feels, whatever his notions of logic be, or whether 
he has any or no ; and 1 appeal to every man for the 
truth of this facl. Now, no truth can have a greater 
reality to us, nor any falfehood a greater evidence 
againft it, than this inftantaneous, neceflary aflent or 
difient, I conclude, therefore, that there never was 
a time when nothing exifted j or, in other words, 
that fomething muft have exifted from all eternity. 


There cannot have been a mere Succejfion of finite depen- 
dent Beings from all Eternity ; but there muft exift, at 
hajl t one infinite and independent Being. 

IP an infinite fuccefllon of finite dependent beings 
be poffible, let M, N, 0, &c. reprefent the feveral 
links of this chain or feriesj N is therefore the mere 
effect of M> O of N y &c. as we defcend ; and 
as we afcend, M is the effect of L y L of K, &c. 
,ach particular being, therefore, is a mere effect* 
and therefore the fuppofition of fuch a fucceffion 
finite a parte ante, would be rejected immediately 
according to the laft propofition, fince A the firft 
term, would be an effect absolutely without a caufe. 
And the fame thing holds, whatever number of 
terms be added a parte ante. If, therefore, an infi- 
nite number be added (which I here fuppoie pofijble 
for argument's fake), ib that the feries may become 
infinite a parte ante t the fame conclufion muft be va- 
lid according to the analogy of all mathematical rea- 


and of Natural Rtligion. 7 

fonings concerning infinites : fmce we do not ap- 
proach to the poflibility of this feries in any ftep of 
our progrefs, but always remain in the fame ftate of 
utter inability to admit it, we can never arrive thither 
ultimately. Wherever the ultimate ratio of quanti- 
ties, fuppofed then to be infinitely great or fmall, is 
different from that of trie fame quantities fuppofed to 
be finite, there is a perpetual tendency to this ultimate 
ratio in every increafe or diminution of the quanti- 
ties: it follows, therefore, that an infinite fucceflion 
of mere finite dependent beings is impofiible to us ; 
which relative impofiibility, as I obferved before, is 
our ne plus ultra. Though we fhould fancy relative 
impoflibles to be pofiible in themfelves, as it is fome- 
times phrafed, the utter rejection, which forces itfelf 
again and again upon the mind, when we endeavour 
to conceive them fo, fuppreffes all nafcent tenden- 
cies to afient. 

The fame thing may be confidered thus : if there 
be nothing more in the univerfe than a mere fuccek 
(ion of finite dependent beings, then there is fbme 
degree of finitenefs fuperior to all the reft j but this 
is impoffible, fince no caufe can be afiigned for this 
degree rather than any other: befides, this fupreme 
finite being will want a caufe of its exiftence, fince 
it is finite ; which yet it cannot have, fmce all the reft 
are inferior to it. 

Or thus : if an infinite fucceffion of finite beings 
be poflible, let us fuppofe it in men: it will be ne- 
ceflary, however, to fuppofe one or more beings fu- 
perior to man, on account of the exquifitenefs of his 
frame of body and mind, which is far above his own 
power co execute, and capacity to comprehend : 
and if this being or beings be not infinite, 'we 
muft have recourfe to a fecond infinite fucceffion of 
finite beings. But then it will be natural to fup- 
pofe, that thefe beings, though able to comprehend 
man through their fuperior faculties, cannot comprc- 
B 4 hend 

8 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

hend themfelves, and fo on till we come to an infinite 
being, who alone can comprehend himfelf. 

There are many other arguments and methods of 
reafoning of the fame kind with thofe here delivered, 
which lead to the fame conclufion ; and they all feem 
to turn upon this, that as all finite beings require a 
fuperior caufe for their exiftence and faculties, fo 
they point to an infinite one, as the only real caufe, 
himfelf being uncaufed. He is, therefore, properly 
denominated independent, felf-exiftent, and necefla- 
rily exiftent ; terms which import nothing more, 
when applied to the Deity, thin the denial of a fo- 
reign caufe of his exiftence and attributes; notwith- 
ftanding that thefe words, on account of their differ- 
ent derivations, and relations to other words, may 
feem to have a different import, when applied to the 

If it be objected, that a caufe is required for an 
infinite being, as well as for a finite one j I anfwer, 
that though the want of a caufe for finite beings, 
with other arguments to the fame purpofe, leads us 
neceflarily to the confederation and admifllon of an 
infinite one ; yet, when we are arrived' there, we are 
utterly unable to think or fpeak properly of him: 
however, one would rather judge, that, for the fame 
reafon that all finitenefs requires a caufe, infinity is 
incompatible with it. 

If it be fuppofed poflible for a man, through logi- 
cal and metaphyfical perplexities, or an unhappy 
turn of mind, not to fee the force of thefe and fuch 
like reafonings, he muft, however, be at leaft in 
<equilibrio between the two oppofite fuppofitions of 
the propofition, viz. that of an infinite fucceffion 
of finite dependent beings, and that of an infinite 
independent being. In this cafe, the teftimony of 
all ages and nations, from whatever caufe it arifes, 
and of the fcriptures, in favour of the laft fuppofi- 
tion, ought t6 have fome weight, fince fome credi- 

and of Natural Religion. 9 

bility mud be due to thefej in whatever light they 
be confidered. If, therefore, they have no weight, 
this may ferve to (hew a man, that he is not fo per- 
fectly in ^equilibria, as he may fancy. 

This propofition will alfo be confirmed by the fol- 
lowing. My chief defign under it has been to pro- 
duce the abftract metaphyfical arguments for the 
exiftence of an infinite independent being. Some of 
thefe are more fatisfactory to one perfon, Ibme to 
another; but in all there is fomething of perplexity 
and doubt concerning the exact propriety of expref- 
fions, and method of reafoning, and perhaps ever 
will be ; fince the fubject is infinite, and we finite. 
I have given what appears moft fatisfactory to my- 
felf; but without the leaft intention to cenfure the 
labours t>f others upon this important fubject. If 
we underftood one another perfectly, not only our 
conclufions, but our methods of arriving at them, 
would probably appear to coincide. In the mean 
time, mutual candour will be of great ufe for the 
preventing the ill effects of this branch of the con- 
fufion of tongues. 


Vhe infinite independent Being is endued ivitb infinite 
Power and Knowledge. 

THIS Propofition follows from the foregoing; it 
being evident, that moft or all the ways there deli- 
vered, or referred to, for proving an infinite being, 
do, at the fame time, prove the infinity of his power 
and knowledge. To fuppofe a being without any 
power, or any knowledge, is, in effect, to take away 
his exiftence, after it has been allowed. And to fup- 
pofe an infinite being with only finite power, or finite 
knowledge, is fo difibnant to the analogy of lan- 
guage, and of the received method of reafoning, that 
it muft be rejected by the mind. 


io Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

1 But the infinity of the divine power and know- 
ledge may alfo be proved in many independent ways, 
and thefe proofs may be extended, in a contrary 
order, to infer the foregoing propofitiort. 

Thus, Firft ; When a man confiders the feveral 
orders of fentient and intelligent beings below him, 
even in the moft tranfient way, and afks himfelf 
whether or no mankind be the higheft order which 
exifts within the whole compafs of nature* as we term 
it, he cannot but refolve this queftion in the nega- 
tive; he cannot but be perfuaded, that there are beings 
of a power and knowledge fuperior to his own, as well 
as inferior. The idea, the internal feeling, of the 
actual exiftence of fuch beings forces itfelf upon the 
mind, adheres infeparably to, and coalefces with, the 
reflection upon the inferior orders of beings, which 
he fees. Farther, as we can perceive no limits fee to 
the defcending fcale, fo it is natural, even at firft * 
view, to imagine, that neither has the afcending fcale 
any limits ; or, in other words, that there actually 
exifts one, or more beings, endued with infinite 
power and knowledge. 

Secondly, When we contemplate the innumerable 
inftances and evidences of boundlefs power, and 
exquifice (kill, which appear every where in the 
organs and faculties of animals, in the make and 
properties of the vegetable and mineral kingdoms, 
in the earth, water, and air of this globe, in the 
heavenly bodies, in light, gravity, electricity, mag- 
netifm, the attraction of cohefion, &c. &c. with the 
manifeft adaptations and fubferviencies of all thefe 
things to each other, in fuch manner as to fhew both 
the moft perfect knowledge of them, and of all their 
properties, and the moft abfolute command over 
them ; when we confider alfo that vaft extent of 
thefe effects of power and knowledge, which tele- 
fcopes, microfcopes, and the daily obfervations and 
experiments of mankind, open to our view j the real 


and of Natural Religion 1 1 

exiftence, firft, of power and knowledge far beyond 
human conception, and then, of thofe that are 
actually infinite, forces itfelf upoa the mind, by the 
clofe connection and indiflbluble union between the 
feveral ideas here mentioned. 

For, Thirdly, Though no finite being can com-, 
prehend more than the finite effects of power and 
knowledge; nay, though to fuppofe infinite effects, 
i. e. an infinite univerfe, is thought by fome to in- 
volve a contradiction, to be the lame thing as fup- 
pofing an actually infinite number; yet it appears to 
me, that the other branch of the dilemma repels us 
with the greateft force. To fuppofe a finite univerfe, 
is to fuppofe a (top where the mind cannot reft ; we 
fhall always afk for a caufe of this finitenefs, and, not 
finding any, reject the fuppofuion. Now, if the 
univerfe be fuppofed infinite, this proves at once the 
abfolute infinity of the divine power and knowledge, 
provided we allow them to follow in a finite degree, 
from the finite evidences of power and knowledge, in 
that part of the univerfe which is prefented to our 

As to the foregoing objection to the infinity of 
the univerfe, we may obferve, that it arifes merely 
from the finitenefs of our comprehenfions. We can 
have no conception of any thing infinite, nor of the 
poffibility that any other being, conceived by us, 
can conceive this, &c. &c. But all this vanifhes, 
when we come to confider, that there actually is, that 
there neceflarily muft be, an infinite being. This 
being may conceive his own infinite works, and he 
alone can do ir. His own infinite nature, which we 
cannot but admit, is as much above conception as 
the infinity of his works. And all apparent contra- 
dictions, in thefe things, feem to flow merely from 
our ufmg the words denoting infinity, of which we 
can neither have any idea, nor any definition, but by 
equivalent terms, like thofe words of which we have 


12 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

ideas or definitions. In the fame manner as when 
the conditions of an algebraic problem are impoffible, 
the unknown quantity comes out indeed by the re- 
folution of the equation under an algebraic form, as 
in other cafes j but then this form, when examined, 
js found to include an impoffibility. 

As the infinity of the divine power and knowledge 
may be deduced from that of the uniyerfe, fo the 
laft may be deduced from the firft, fuppofed to be 
proved by other arguments. And it may be obferved 
in general, upon all inquiries into this fubjec"t, that 
the mind cannot bear to fuppofe either God or his 
works finite, however unable we may be to think or 
fpeak of them properly, when they are fuppofed to be 

Fourthly, As it appears from the train of reafon- 
ing ufed in this and the foregoing propofition, that 
an infinite being is abfolutely neceflary for the exift- 
ence of the vifible world, as its creator; fo the con- 
fideration of this leads us to the infinity of his power 
and knowledge. The things created mud be merely 
paflive, and fubject entirely to the will of him who 
created them. In like manner, all the powers and 
properties, of created things, with all the refults of 
thefe, in their mutual applications, through all eter- 
nitv, muft be known to him. And this follows in 
whatever manner we confider creation, of which we 
can certainly form nojuft idea. It is evident, as juft 
now mentioned, that an author of this world is ab- 
folutely required ; alfo, that this author muft have 
been from all eternity. It is therefore mofl natural 
for us to conclude, that there have been infinite effects 
of his almighty power from all eternity. But then 
this does not exclude creations in time, I mean of 
things made from nothing. For it feems to me, that 
our narrow faculties cannot afford us the leaft foun- 
dation for fuppofirig the creation of things from 
nothing impoffible to God. 


and of Natural Religion. 13 

Laftly, There is a great acceffion of evidencle for 
the infinity of the divine power and knowledge, and 
for the creation of all things by God, and their entire 
fubjection to him, from the declarations of the fcrip- 
tures to this purpofe. This acceflion of evidence can 
fcarce be neceffary in this age; but, in the infancy 
of the world, revelation feems to have been the chief 
or only foundation of faith in any of the divine attri- 
butes. And even now, it cannot but be matter of 
the greateft comfort and fatisfaftion to all good men, 
to have an independent evidence for thefe important 
truths.; and that more efpecially, if their minds have 
been at all perplexed with the metaphyfical difputes 
and fubtleties, which are often darted on thefe fub- 


God is infinitely benevolent. 

As all the natural attributes of God may be com- 
prehended under power and knowledge, fo benevo- 
lence feems to comprehend all the moral ones. This 
propofition tl^prefore, and the foregoing, contain the 
fundamentals of all that reafon can difcover to us 
concerning the divine nature and attributes. 

Now, in inquiring into the evidences for the divine 
benevolence, I oblerve, firft, that as we judge of the 
divine power.and knowledge by their effects in the 
conftitution of the vifible world, fo we muft: judge 
of the divine benevolence in the fame way. Our 
arguments for it muft be taken from the happinefs, 
and tendencies thereto, that are obfervable in the 
fentient beings, which come under our notice. 

Secondly, That the mifery, to which we fee fen- 
tient beings expofed, does not deftroy the evidences 
for the divine benevolence, taken from happinefs, 
unlefs we fuppofe the mifery equal or iuperior to 
the happinefs. A being who receives three degrees of 


14 Of the Being and At 'tributes of God, 

happinefs, and but one of mifery, is indebted for two 
degrees of happinefs to his Creator. Hence our in- 
quiry into the divine benevolence is reduced to an 
inquiry into the balance of . happinefs, or mifery, 
conferred, or to be conferred, upon the whole fyftem 
of fentient beings, and upon each individual of this 
great fyftem. If there be reafon to believe, that 
the happinefs which each individual has received, 
or will receive, be greater than his mifery, God will 
be benevolent to each being, and infinitely fo to the 
whole infinite fyftem of fentient beings ; if the ba- 
lance be infinitely in favour of each individual, God 
will be infinitely benevolent to each, and infinito- 
infinitely to the whole fyftem. 

It is no objection to this reafoning, that we defire 
pure happinefs, and prefer it to an equal balance of 
happinefs mixed with mifery j or that the confidera- 
tion of mifery, amidft the works of an infinitely 
benevolent being, gives us perplexity. For this 
difappointment of our defires, and this perplexity, 
can amount to no more than finite evils, to be de- 
ducted from the fum total of happinefs ; and our ob- 
ligations to the author of our beings muft always be 
in proportion to this remaining fum. We may add, 
that as this difappointment and perplexity are fources 
of mifery at prefent, they may, in their future confe- 
quences, be much ampler fources of happinefs j and 
that this feems to be the natural refult of fuppofing, 
that happinefs prevails over mifery. 

Thirdly, Since the qualities of benevolence and 
malevolence are as oppofue to one another, as happi- 
nefs and mifery, their effects, they cannot co-exift in 
the lame fimple unchangeable being. If therefore we 
can prove God to be benevolent, from the balance 
of happinefs, malevolence muft be entirely excluded ; 
and we muft fuppofe the evils, which we fee and feel, 
to be owing to fome other caufe, however unable we 


and of Natural Religion. 1 5 ( 

may be to affign this caufe, or form any conceptions 
of it. 

Fourthly, Since God is infinite in power and 
knowledge, i. e. in his natural attributes, he muft be 
infinite in the moral one alfo, i. e. he muft be either 
infinitely benevolent, or infinitely malevolent. All 
arguments, therefore, which exclude infinite male- 
volence, prove the infinite benevolence of God. 

Laftly, As there are fome difficulties and per- 
plexities which attend the proofs of the divine felf- 
exiftence, power, and knowledge, fo it is natural to 
expect, that others equal, greater, or lefs, fhould 
attend the confideration of the divine benevolence. 
But here again revelation comes in aid of reafon, and 
affords inexprefiible fatisfaction to all earned and well- 
difpofed perfons, even in this age, after natural philo- 
fophy, and the knowledge of natural religion, have 
been fo far advanced. In the early ages of the world, 
divine revelation muft have been, almoft the only 
influencing evidence of the moral attributes of 

Let us now come to the evidences for the divine 
benevolence, and its infinity. 

Firft, then, It appears probable, that there is an 
over-balance of happinefs to the fentient beings of this 
vifible world, confidered both generally and parti- 
cularly. For though diforder, pain, and death, do 
very much abound every where in the world, yet 
beauty, order, pleafure, life, and happinefs, feem to 
fuperabound. This is indeed impoffible to be afcer- 
tained by any exact computation. However, it is 
the general opinion of mankind, which is fome kind 
of proof of the thing itfelf. For fince we are inclined 
to think, that happinefs or mifery prevails, ac- 
cording as we ourfelves are happy or miferable 
(which both experience, and the foregoing doctrine 
of aflbciation, fhew), the general prevalence of the 
opinion of happinefs is an argument of the 


1 6 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

general prevalence of the thing itfelf. Add to this, 
that the recollection of places, perfons, &c. which 
we have formerly known, is in general pleafant to us. 
Now recollection is only the compound veftige of all 
the pleafures and pains, which have been aflbciated 
with the object under confideration. It feems there- 
fore, that the balance muft have been in favour of 
pleafure. And yet it may be, that fmallor moderate 
actual pains are in recollection turned into pleafures. 
But then this will become an argument, in another 
way, for the prevalence of the pleafures, and parti- 
cularly of thofe of recollection, *'. e. mental ones. It 
appears alfo, that the growth and health of the body 
infer the~general prevalence of happinefs, whilft they 
continue. Afterwards, the mental happinefs may 
over-balance the bodily mifery. 

Secondly, If we fhould lay down, that there is juft 
as much mifery as happinefs in the world (more can 
fcarce be fuppofed by any one), it will follow, that if 
the laws of benevolence were to take place in a great- 
er degree than they do at prefent, mifery would per- 
petually decreafe, and happinefs increafe, till, at laft, 
by the unlimited growth of benevolence, the ftate of 
mankind, in this world, would approach to a para- 
difiacal one. Now f this ihews that our miferies are, 
in a great meafure, owing to our want of benevo- 
lence, i. e. to our moral imperfections, and to that 
which, according to our prefent language, we do and 
muft call ourjehes. It is probable therefore, that, 
upon a more accurate examination and knowledge of 
this fubject, we (hould find, that our miferies arofe 
not only in great meafure, but entirely, from this 
fource, from the imperfection of our benevolence, 
whilft all that is good comes immediately from God, 
who muft therefore be deemed perfectly benevolent. 
And fince the courfe of the world, and the frame 
of our natures are fo ordered, and fo adapted to each 
other, as to enforce benevolence upon us, this is a 

" farther 

and of Natural Religion. 17 

farther argument of the kind intentions of an over- 
ruling Providence. It follows hence, that malevo- 
lence, and confequently mifery, mud ever decreafe. 

Thirdly, All the faculties, corporeal and mental, 
of all animals, are, as far as we can judge, contrived 
and adapted both to the prefervation and well-being 
of each individual, and to the propagation of the 
'fpecies. And there is an infinite coincidence of all 
the feveral fubordinate ends with each other, fo that 
no one is facrificed to the reft, but they are all obtained 
in the utmoft perfection by one and the fame means. 
This is a ftrong argument for all the divine per- 
fections, power, knowledge, and goodnefs. And it 
agrees with it, that final caufes, i. e. natural good, 
are the bed clue for guiding the invention in all at- 
tempts to explain the ceconomy of animals. 

Fourthly, As order and happinefs prevail in ge- 
neral more than their contraries, fo when any dif- 
order, bodily or mental, does happen, one may ob- 
fcrve, in general, that it produces fome confequences, 
which in the end rectify the original diforder j and 
the inftances where diforders propagate and increafe 
themfelves without vifible limits, are comparatively 
rare. Nay, it may be, that all the apparent ones of 
this kind are really otherwife j and that they would 
appear otherwife, were our views fufficiently eoueri- 

Fifthly, The whole analogy of nature leads us 
from the confideration of the infinite power and 
knowledge of God, and of his being the creator of all 
things, to regard him as our father, protector, 
governor, and judge. We cannot therefore but im- 
mediately hope and expect from him benevolence, 
juftice, equity, mercy, bounty, truth, and all pof- 
fible moral perfections. Men of great fpeculation 
and refinement may defire to have this analogical 
reafoning fupported, and (hewn to be valid ; and it is 
very ufcful to do this as far as we are able. But it 

VOL. II. C carries 

i 8 Of the Being and Attributes of Gott y 

carries great influence previoufly to fuch logical in* 
quiries j and even after them, though they ihould not 
prove fatisfactory, a perfon of a fober and well-dif- 
pofed mind, would ftill find himfelf affected by it in 
no inconfiderable degree. Such a perfon would be 
compelled, as it were, to fly to the infinite creator of 
the world in his diftrefles, with earneftnefs, and 
with fome degree of faith, and would confider him 
as his father and protector. 

Sixthly, Whenever we come to examine any par- 
ticular law, fad:, circumftance, &c. in the natural 
or moral world, where we have a competent in- 
formation and knowledge, we find that every thing 
which has been, was right in relpect of the fum total 
of happinefs j and that when we fuppofe any change 
to have been made, which appears, at firft fight, 
likely to produce more happinefs; yet, after fome 
reflection, the confideration of fome other things 
neceflarily influenced by fuch a change, convinces 
us, that the prefent real conftitution of things is beft 
upon the whole. Books of natural hiftory and na- 
tural philofophy, and indeed daily obfervation, fur- 
nifh abundant inftances of this; fo as to (hew, that, 
other things remaining the fame, every fingle thing 
is the mod conducive to general happinefs, that it 
can be according to the bed of our judgments. And 
though our judgments are fo fhort and imperfect, that 
this cannot pafs for an abfolutely conclufive evidence, 
yet it is very remarkable, that thefe imperfect judg- 
ments of ours (hould lie conftantly on the fame fide. 
We have no reafon to fuppofe, that a better acquaint- 
ance with things would give us caufe to alter ir, but 
far otherwife, as appears from the univerfal confent 
of all that are inquifitive and learned in thefe matters. 
And if there were a few objections in the other fcale 
(which I believe philofophers will fcarce allow), they 
can, at the utmoft, have no more than the fame 
imperfect judgment to reft upon, 


and of Natural Religion. 19 

Seventhly, Suppofing that every, fingle thing is, 
other things remaining the fame, the mod conducive 
to happinefs that it can be, then the real deficiencies 
that are found in refpect of happinefs, and which, at 
firft fight, appear to arife from a proportional defi- 
ciency in the divine benevolencej may be equally 
afcribed to a deficiency in the divine power or know- 
ledge. For this wonderful, precife, minute adapta- 
tion of every thing to each other is fuch an argument 
for benevolence in the mod unbounded fenfe, that 
one would rather afcribe, whatever diforders there are 
in the univerfe, to fome neceflary imperfection in 
things themfelves, furpafiing, if pofiible, the divine 
power or knowledge to rectify j this appearing to be 
the weaker fide of the dilemma. 

By a fingle thing in the two foregoing paragraphs, 
I mean one that is fo comparatively ; fo that I call 
not only a fingle part of an animal (which yet is a 
thing decompounded, perhaps, without limits), but a 
whole fyftem of animals, when compared with other 
fyftems, a fingle thing. Now, to a(k whether happi- 
nefs could not be promoted, if the whole univerfe 
was changed, is abfurd ; fince it is probable, from 
what is already offered, that the happinefs of the 
'univerfe is always infinitely great j the infinity of the 
divinine power and knowledge requiring infinite 
benevolence, i. e. the infinite happinefs of the creation, 
if benevolence be at all fuppofed a divine attribute, 
as has been noted before, 

Eighthly, Since the apparent defects that are in 
happinefs may, according to the lad paragraph but 
one, be equally referred to fome fuppofed defect in 
one of the principal attributes of power, knowledge, 
or goodnefs, it does even from hence appear proba- 
ble, that thefe defects are not owing to any defect in 
any of them, i. e. that there are no fuch defects in 
reality, but that all our difficulties and perplexities 
in thefe matters arife from fome mifapprehenfion of 
C 2 ' our 

2O Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

our own, in things that infinitely furpafs our capa- 
cities i this fuppolition, whatever reluctance we may 
have to it, being far the mod eafy and confiitent of 

Ninthly, I remarked above, that the exclufion of 
infinite malevolence from the divine nature, does 
itfelf prove the infinite benevolence of God. Let us 
fee what arguments there are for this exclufion. 
Now, malevolence always appears to us under the 
idea of imperfection and mifery j and therefore infi- 
nite malevolence muft appear to us to be infinitely 
inconfiftent with the infinite power and knowledge 
proved, in the foregoing propofition, to belong to the 
divine nature. For the fame reafons, infinite bene- 
volence which always appears to us under the idea of 
perfection and happinefs, feems to be the immediate 
and necefiary confequence of the natural attributes of 
infinite power and knowledge : fince the wifhing 
good to others, and the endeavouring to procure it 
for them, is, in us, generally attended with a plea- 
furable ftate of mind, we cannot but apply this 
obfervation to the divine nature, in the fame manner 
that we do thofe made upon our own power and 
knowledge. And to deny us the liberty of doing 
this in the firft cafe, would be to take it away in the 
laft, and confequently to reduce us to the abfurd and 
impofijble fuppofition, that there is no^ power or 
knowledge in the umverfe fuperior to our own. 

Tenthly,' Malevolence may alfo be excluded in the 
following manner : If we fuppofe a fyflem of beings 
to be placed in fuch a fituation, as that they may 
occafion either much happinefs, or much mifery, to 
each other, it will follow, that the fcale will turn 
more and more perpetually in favour of the produc- 
tion of happintfsj for the happinefs which A receives 
from J3, will lead him by afibciation to love B, 
and to wifh' and endeavour B's happinefs, in return: 
B will therefore have a motive, arifing from his 


and of Natural Religion. 21 

defire of his own happinefs, to continue his good 
offices to A ' : whereas the mifery that A receives from 
Bj will lead him to hate B, and to deter him from 
farther injuries. This muft necefikrily be the cafe, if 
we only admit, that every intelligent being is actuated 
by the view of private happinefs, and that his me- 
mory and trains of ideas are of the fame kind with 
ours. Now, the firft fuppofition cannot be doubted, 
and to exclude the laft would be to forbid all reafon- 
ing upon other intelligent beings : not to mention, 
that thefe two fuppofitions cannot, perhaps, be iepa- 
rated, fince the defire of happinefs feems in us to be 
the mere refult of aflbciarion, as above explained ; 
and aflbciation itfelf the general law, according to 
which the intellectual world is framed and conducted. 
Now this different tendency of benevolence and ma- 
levolence, viz. of the firft to augment itfelf without 
limits, of the latter to deftroy itfflf ultimately, ap- 
pears to be a very ftrong argument for the infinite 
benevolence of God. For, according t& this, bene- 
volence muft arife in all beings, other things being 
alike, in proportion to their experience of good and 
evil, and to their knowledge of caufes and effects. 
One cannot doubt, therefore, but that infinite bene- 
volence is infeparably connected with the fuprerne 
intelligence : all the higher orders of intellectual beings 
have, probably, higher degrees of it, in the general, 
and accidental differences, as we call them, being 
allowed for ; and therefore the higheft intelligence, 
the infinite mind, muft have it in an infinite degree; 
and as every degree of benevolence becomes a pro- 
portional fource of happinefs to the benevolent, fo 
the infinite benevolence of the fupreme Being is the 
fame thing with his infinite perfection and happinefs. 
In like manner, the contemplation of the infinite per- 
fection and happinefs of God is an inexhauftible trea- 
fure of happinefs to all his benevolent and devout 
creatures j and he is infinitely benevolent to them, 

C 3 in 

22 Of the Being and Attributes of God y 

in giving them fuch faculties, as by their natural 
workings, make them take pleafure in this contem- 
plation of his infinite happinefs. 

Eleventhly, A reafon may be given not only con- 
fident with the infinite benevolence of God, but even 
anting from it, why fome doubts and perplexities 
fhould always attend our inquiries into it, and argu- 
ments for it, provided only that we fuppofe our pre- 
fent frame to remain fuch as it is j for it appears 
from the frame of our natures, as I (hall fhew here- 
after, and was hinted in the Jaft paragraph, that our 
ultimate happinefs mud confift in the pure and per- 
fect love of God j and yet, that, admitting the pre- 
fent frame of our natures, our love of God can 
never be made pure and perfect without a previous 
fear of him. Jn like manner, we do, and muft, 
upon our entrance into this world, begin with the 
idolatry of external things, and, as we advance in it, 
proceed to the idolatry of ourfelvesj which yet are 
infuperable bars to a complete happinefs in the love 
of God. Now, our doubts concerning the divine 
benevolence teach us to fet a much higher value upon 
it, when we have found it, or begin to hope that we 
have; our fears enhance our hopes, and nafcent love; 
.and altogether mortify our love for the world, and 
1 our interefted concern for ourfelves, and particularly 
that part of it which feeks a complete demonflration 
of the divine benevolence, and its infinity, from a 
mere felfifh motive ; till at Jaft we arrive at aij 
entire annihilation of ourfelves, and an abfolute ac- 


quiefcence and complacence in the will of God, 
which afford the only full anfwer to all our doubts, 
\ and the only radical cure for all our evils and per- 
; pi ex 5 ties. 

Twelfthly, It is probable, that many good reafons 
might be given, why the frame of our natures fhould 
be as it is at prefent, all confident with, or even flow- 
ing from, the benevolence of the divine nature ; ancj 


and of Natural Religion. 33 

yet ftill that fome fuppofition mud be made, in which 
the fame difficulty would again recur, only in a lefs 
degree. However, if we fuppofe this to be the cafe, 
the difficulty of reconciling evil with the goodnefs 
of God might be diminifhed without limits, in the 
fame manner as mathematical quantities are exhaufted 
by the terms of an infinite feries. It agrees with 
this, that as long as any evil remains, this difficulty, 
which is one fpecies of evil, muft remain in a pro- 
portional degree j for it would be inconfiftent to fup~ 
pofe any one fpecies to vanifti before the reft. How- 
ever, if God be infinitely benevolent, they muft all 
decreafe without limits, and confequently, this diffi- 
culty, as juft now remarked. In the mean time, we 
muft not extend this fuppofition of evil, and of the 
difficulty of accounting for it, to the whole creation : 
we ate no judges of fuch matters; and the fcrip- 
tures may, perhaps, be thought rather to intimate, 
that the mixture of good and evil is peculiar to us, 
than common to the univerfe, in the account which 
they give of the fin of our firft parents, in eating of 
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 

Thirteenthly, Some light may, perhaps be caft 
upon this moft difficult fubject of the origin of evil, 
.if we lay down the feveral notions of infinite good- 
nefs, which offer themfelves to the mind, and com- 
pare them with one another, and with the appear- 
ances of things. Let us fuppofe then, that we may 
call that infinite benevolence, which makes either. 

1. Each individual infinitely happy always. Or, 

2. Each individual always finitely happy, without 
any mixture of mifery,.and infinitely fo in its pro- 
grefs through infinite time. Or, 

3. Each individual infinitely happy, upon the ba- 
lance, in its progrefs through infinite time, but with 
a mixture of mifery. Or, 

4. Each individual finitely happy in the courfe of 
its exiftence, whatever that be, but with a mixture 

4 Qf 

24 Of the Being and Attributes of God y 

of mifery as before ; and the univerfe infinitely happy 
upon the balance. Or, 

5. Some individuals happy and fome miferable upon 
the balance, finitely or infinitely, and yet fo that there 
fhall be an infinite overplus of happinefs in the uni- 

All poffible notions of infinite benevolence may, 
I think, be reduced to fome one of thefe five j and 
there are fome perfons who think, that the infinity of 
the divine benevolence may be vindicated upon the 
laft and lowed of thefe fuppofitions. Let us confider 
each particularly. 

The firft, viz. That each individual fhould be 
always happy infinitely, is not only contrary to the 
fa 61 at firft view, but alfo feems impofiible, as being 
inconfiftent with the finite nature of the creatures. 
We reject it therefore as foon as propofed, and do not 
expect, that the divine benevolence fhould be pro- 
ved infinite in this fenfe. And yet were each individual 
always finitely happy according to the next fuppoii- 
tion, we fhould always be inclined to afk why he had 
not a greater finite degree of happinefs conferred- 
upon him, notwithftanding the manifeft abfurdity of 
fuch a queftion, which muft thus recur again and 
again for ever. 

The fecond fuppofition is that which is moft natural 
as a mere fuppofition. We think that pure benevo- 
lence can give nothing but pure happinefs, and in- 
finite benevolence muft give infinite happinefs. But 
it is evidently contrary to the fact, to what we fee 
and feel, and therefore we are forced, though with 
great unwillingncfs, to give up this notion alfo. It 
may, however, be fome comfort to us, that if we could 
keep this, the fame temper of mind which makes us 
prefer it to the next, would fuggeft the queftion, 
IVby not more happinefs ? again and again for ever, as 
]uft now remarked; fo that we fhould not be fatisfied 
with it, unlefs our tempers were alfo altered. This, 


and of Natural Religion. 25 

indeed, would be the cafe, becaufe, as I obferved be- 
fore, all the fpecicfes of evil and imperfection mud 
vanifh together. But then this confideration, by 
fhewing that the endlefs recurrency of the queftion 
above-mentioned, and the concomitant diffatisfa&ion, 
are imperfections in us, fhews at the fame time, that 
they are no proper foundation for an objection to the 
divine benevolence. 

The third fuppofition is'poffible in itfelf j but then 
it can neither be fupported, nor contradibed, by the 
fa6h. If there appear an unlimited tendency towards 
the prevalence of happinefs over mifery, this may be 
fome prefumption* for itt But all our judgments, 
and even conjectures, are confined within a fhort 
diftance from the prefent moment. A divine reve- 
lation might give us an ailurance of it. And it 
feems, that this fuppofition is, upon an impartial 
view, equally eligible and fatisfactory with the fore- 
going. We eftimate every quantity by the balance, 
by what remains after a fubtraction of its oppofite; 
and if this be an allowed authentic method, in the 
feveral kinds of happinefs, why not in happinefs con- 
fidered in the abftract ? But we muft not conclude 
that this is the genuine notion of the divine bene- 
volence. There may perhaps be fome prefumptions 
for it, both from reafon and fcripture ; but I think 
none, in the prefent infancy of knowledge, fufficient 
to ground an opinion upon. However, there feem 
to be no poffible prefumptions againll it ; and this 
may encourage us to fearch both the book of God's 
word, and that of his works, for matter of comfort 
to ourlelves, and arguments whereby to reprcfent his 
moral character in the mod amiable light. 

The fourth fuppofition is one to which many 
thinking, fcrious, benevolent, and >ious perfons are 
now much inclined. All the arguments here ufed 
for the divine benevolence, and its infinity, feem to 
infer it, or, if they favour any of the other fuppo- 


16 Of the Being and Attributes of God> 

fitions, to favour the third, which may be faid to 
include this fourth. There are alfo many declara- 
tions in the fcriptures concerning the goodnefs, 
bounty, and mercy of God to all his creatures, which 
can fcarce be interpreted in a lower fenfe. 

As to the fifth fuppofnion, therefore, it follows, 
that it is oppofed by the preceding arguments, /. e. 
by the marks and footfteps of God's goodnefs in the 
creation, and by the declarations of the fcriptures 
to the fame purpofe. However, there are a few paf- 
fages of fcripture, from whence fome very learned and 
devout men ftill continue to draw this fifth fuppo- 
fition j they do alfo endeavour to make this fuppo- 
fition confident with the divine benevolence, by 
making a farther fuppofition, viz. that of philofo- 
phical liberty, as it is called in thefe obfervations, 
or the power of doing different things, the previous 
circumftances remaining the fame. And it is highly 
incumbent upon us to be humble and diffident in the 
judgments which we make upon matters of fuch 
importance to us, and fo much above our capacities. 
However, it does not appear to many other learned 
and devout perfons, either that the fcripture paffages 
alluded to are a proper foundation for this opinion, 
or that of philofophical free-will, though allowed, 
can afford a fufficient vindication of the divine attri- 

Thefe obfervations feem naturally to occur, upon 
confidering thefe five fuppofitions, and comparing 
them with one another, and with the word and works 
of God. But there is alfo another way of confider- 
ing the third fuppofition, which, as it is a prefumption 
for it, though not an evidence, agreeably to what was 
intimated above, I (hall here offer to the reader. 

Firft then, Affociation has an evident tendency to 
convert a (late of fuperior happinefs, mixed with in- 
ferior mifery, into one of pure happinefs, into a pa- 
radifiacal one, as has been fhewn in the firft part of 


and of Natural Religion. yj 

xhefe obfervations, Prop. 14. Cor. 9. Or, in other 
words, affociation tends to convert the ftate of the 
third fuppofition into that of the fecond. 

Secondly, When a,ny fmall pain is introductory to 
a great pleafure, it is very common for us, without , 
any exprefs reflection on the power of affociation, 
to confider this pain as coalefcing with the fubfequent 
pleafure, into a pure pleafure, equal to the difference 
between them ; and, in fome cafes, the fmall pain 
itfelf puts on the nature of a pleafure, of which we 
fee many inftances in the daily occurrences of life, 
where labour, wants, pains, become actually plea- 
fant to us, by a luftre borrowed from the pleafures 
to be obtained by them. And this happens moft 
particularly, when we recollect the events of our pad 
Jives, or view thofe of others. It is to be obferved 
alfo, that this power of uniting different and oppofite 
fenfations into one increafes as we advance in life, 
and ,in our intellectual capacities ; and that, llrictly 
fpeaking, no fenfation can be a monad, inafmuch 
as the moft fimple are infinitely divifible in refpect of 
time arid extent of impreffion. Thofe, therefore, 
which are efteemed the pureft pleafures, may con- 
tain fome parts which afford pain ; and, converfely, 
were our capacities fufficiently enlarged, any fenfa- 
tions connected to each other in the way of caufe 
and effect, would be efteemed one fenfation, and be 
denominated a pure pleafure, if pleafure prevailed 
upon the whole. 

Thirdly, As the enlargement of our capacities 
enables us thus to take off the edge of our pains, by 
uniting them with the fubfequent fuperior pleafures, 
fo it confers upon us more and more the power of 
enjoying our future pleafures by anticipation, by 
extending the limits of the prefent lime, :. e. of that 
time in which we have an intereft. For the prefent 
time, in a metaphyfical fenfe, is an indivifible mo- 
ment i but the prefent time, in a practical fenfe, is a 


28 Of the Being and Attributes of God t 

finite quantity of various magnitudes, according to 
our capacities, and, beginning from an indivifible mo- 
ment in all, fems to grow on indefinitely in beings 
who are ever progreflive in their paflage through an 
eternal life. 

Suppofe now a being of great benevolence, and en- 
larged intellectual capacities, to look down upon man- 
kind palTing through a mixture of pleafures and pains, 
in which, however, there is a balance of pleafure, to 
a greater balance of pleafure perpetually, and, at laft, 
to a ftate of pure and exalted pleafure made fo by 
aflbciation : it is evident, that his benevolence to 
man will be the fource of pure pleafure to "him from 
his power of uniting the oppofite fenfations, and of 
great prefent pleafure from his power of anticipation. 
And the more we fuppofe the benevolence and capa- 
cities of this being enlarged, the greater and more 
pure will his fympathetic pleafure be, which arifes 
from the contemplation of man. It follows there- 
fore, that, in the eye of an infinite mind, creatures 
conducted, as we think, according to the third of 
the foregoing fuppofitions, are conducted according 
to the fecond, and thefe according to the firft ; or, 
in other words, that the firft, fecond, and third, 
df the foregoing fuppofitions, are all one and the 
fame in the eye of God. For all time, whether 
paft, prefent, or future, is prefent time in the eye 
of God, and all ideas coalefce into one to him ; and 
this one is infinite happinefs, without any mixture 
of mifery, viz. by the infinite prepollence of happi- 
nefs above mifery, fo as to annihilate it j and this 
merely by confidering time as it ought to be con- 
fidered in ftrictnefs, /'. e. as a relative thing, belong- 
ing to beings of finite capacities, and varying with 
them, but which is infinitely abforbed in the pure 
eternity of God. Now the appearance of things to 
the eye of an infinite being muft be called their real 
appearance in all propriety. And though it be im- 


and of Natural Religion. 29 

poflible for us to arrive as this true way of conceiving 
things perfectly, or directly, yet we (hall approach 
nearer and nearer to it, as our intellectual capacities, 
benevolence, devotion, and the purity of our hap- 
pinefs, depending thereon, advance: and we feem 
able, at prefent, to exprefs the real appearance, in 
the fame way as mathematicians do ultimate ratios, 
to which quantities ever tend, and never arrive, and 
in a language which bears a fufficient analogy to 
other expreffions that are admitted. So that now (if 
we allow the third fuppofition) we may in fome 
fort venture to maintain that, which at firft fight 
feemed not only contrary to obvious experience, but 
even impoffible, viz. that all individuals are actually 
and always infinitely happy. And thus all difficulties 
relating to the divine attributes will be taken away j 
God will be infinitely powerful, knowing, and good, 
in the moft abfolute fenfe, if we confider things as 
they appear to him. And furely, in all vindications 
of the divine attributes, this ought to be the light 
in which we are to confider things. We ought to 
fuppofe ourfelves in the centre of the fyftem, and to 
try, as far as we are able, to reduce all apparent re- 
trogradations to real progrefiions. It is alfo the greateft 
fatisfaction to the mind thus to approximate to its 
firft conceptions concerning the divine goodnefs, and 
to anfwer that endlefs queftion, JVby not lefs mifery, 
and wore bappinefs ? in a language which is plainly 
analogous to all -other authentic language, though it 
cannot yet be felt by us on account of our prefent im- 
perfection, and of the mixture of our good with evil. 
Farther, it is remarkable, that neither the fourth nor 
fifth fuppofitions can pafs into the third, and that 
the fifth will always have a mixture of mifery in ir, 
as long as the pricipium individuationis is kept up. 
And if this be taken away, the fuppofitions them- 
felves are deftroyed, and we entirely loft. 

I have 

3& Of the Being and Attributes of God y 

I have been the longer in confidering the divine 
benevolence, on account of its importance both to 
our duty and happinefs. There feems to be abun- 
dant foundation for faith, hope, refignation, gra- 
titude, love. We cannot doubt but the judge and 
father of all the world will conduct himfclf accord- 
ing to juftice, mercy, and goodnefs. However, I 
defire to repeat once more, that we do not feem to 
have fufficient evidence .to determine abfolutely for 
any of the three laft fuppofitions. We cannot indeed 
but wifli for the third, both from felf-intereft and 
benevolence ; and its coincidence with the firft and 
fecond, in the manner juft now explained, appears 
to be fome prefumption in favour of it. 


'There is but one Being infinite in Power, Knowledge, and 
Goodnejs j i. e. but one God. 

FOR, if we fuppofe more than one, it is plain, 
fince the attributes of infinite power, knowledge, and 
goodnefs, include all poffible perfection, that they 
muft be entirely alike to each other, without the leaft 
poffible variation. They will therefore entirely co- 
alelce in our idea, /. e. be one to us. Since they fijil 
all time and fpace, and are all independent, omni- 
potent, omnifcient, and infinitely benevolent, their 
ideas cannot be feparated, but will have a numerical, 
as well as a generical, identity. When we fuppofe 
other beings generically the fame, and yet numeri- 
cally different, we do at the fame time fuppofe, that 
they exift in different portions of time or fpace; 
which circumftances cannot have place in refpect of 
the fuppoled plurality of infinite beings. We con- 
clude, therefore, that there is but one infinite being, 
or God. 

The unity of the godhead is alfo proved by reve- 
lation, confidercd as fupported by evidences which 


and of Natural Religion. Jl 

have no dependence on natural religion. And as 
this proof of the unity is of great importance even 
now, fo it was of far greater in ancient times, when 
the world was over- run with polytheifm. And it is 
highly probable to me, that as the firft notions of the 
divine power, knowledge, and goodnefs, which 
mankind had, where derived from revelation, fb much 
more were their notions of the unity of the God- 


God is a Spiritual, or immaterial Being. 


SINCE God is the caufe of all things, as appears 
from the foregoing propofuions, he muft be the 
caufe of all the motions in the material world. If 
therefore God be not an immaterial being, then mat- 
ter may be the caufe of all the motions in the material 
world. But matter is a mere paffive thing, of 
whofe very eflence it is, to be 'endued with a vis 
inertia j for this vis inertia prefents itfelf immediately 
in all our obfervations and experiments upon it, and 
is infeparable from it, even in idea. When we 
confider any of the active powers of matter, as they 
are called, fuch as gravitation, magnetifm, electri- 
city, or the attractions and repulfions, which take 
place in the cohefions and feparations of the fmall 
particles of natural bodies, and endeavour to refolve 
thefe into fome higher and fimpler principles, the vis 
inertia is always the common bafis upon which we 
endeavour to erect our folutions. For the active 
party, which is fuppofed to generate the gravitation, 
inagnetifm, &c. in the paffive one, muft have a mo- 
tion, and a vis inerti<, whereby it endeavours to per- 
fift in that motion, elfe it could have no power; and, 
by parity of realbn, the paffive party muft have a 
vis inertia alfo, elfe it could neither make refiftance 
to the active party, nor imprefs motion on foreign 


32 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

bodies. Let us proceed therefore as far as we pleafc 
in a feries of fuccefiive folutions, we (hall always 
find a vis inertia inherent in matter, and a motion 
derived to it from feme foreign caufe. If this caufe 
be fuppofed matter always, we fhall be carried on to 
an infinite feries of folutions, in each of which the 
fame precife difficulty will recur, without our at all 
approaching to the removal of it. Whence, accord- 
ing to the mathematical doctrine of ultimate ratios, 
not even an infinite feries, were that poifible in this 
cafe, could remove it. We mutt therefore flop 
fomewhere, and fuppofe the requifite motion to be 
imparted to the fubtle matter, by fomething, which 
is not matter j /. e. fince God is the ultimate author 
of all motion, we muft fuppofe him to be imma- 

The fame thing may be inferred thus : if there 
be nothing but matter in the world, then the mo- 
tions and modifications of matter muft be the caufe 
of intelligence. But even finite intelligences, fuch as 
that of man, for inftance, fhew fo much {kill and 
defign in their conftitution, as alfo to (hew, that their 
caufes, /. e. the appropriated motions and modifi- 
cations of matter, muft be appointed and conducted 
by a prior and fuperior intelligence. The infinite in- 
telligence of God therefore, proved in the third pro- 
pofition, fince it refults ftom the motions and modi- 
fications of matter, requires another -infinite intelli- 
gence to direct thefe motions, which is abfurd. God 
is therefore proved to be immaterial from his infinite 

It is true, indeed, that our fenfes convey nothing 
to us but impreflions from matter; and, therefore, 
that we can have no exprefs original ideas of any things, 
beGdes material ones; whence we are led to conclude, 
that there is nothing but matter m the univerfe. 
However, this is evidently a prejudice drawn from our 
fituation, and an argument taken merely from our 


and of Natural Religion. 33 

ignorance, and the narrownefs of our faculties. 
Since therefore, on the other hand, mere matter 
appears quite unable to account for the fimpleft and 
moft ordinary phenomena, we mult either fuppofe 
an immaterial fubftance, ,or elfe fuppofe, that matter 
has forne powers and properties different and fupe- 
rior to thofe which appear. But this laft fuppofition 
is the fame in effect as the firft, though, on account of 
the imperfection -of language, it feems to be different. 

At the fame time it ought to be obferved, that if 
a perfon acknowledges the infinite power, knowledge, 
and goodnefs of God, the proofs of which are prior 
to, and quite independent on, that of his immateri- 
ality, this perfon acknowledges all that is of prac- 
tical importance. But then, on the other hand, it 
is alfo to be obferved, that the opinion of the ma- 
teriality of the divine nature has a tendency to leffen 
our reverence for it, and, confequently, to invalidate 
the proofs of the divine power, knowledge, and 

How far the fcriptures deliver the immateriality 
of God in a drift philofophical fenfe, may perhaps 
b'e doubted, as their ftyle is in general popular. 
However, there is a ftrong preemption, that they 
teach this doctrine, fince the popular fenfe and natu- 
ral interpretation of many fublime paflages concern- 
ing the divine nature infer its immateriality. There 
is therefore fome evidence for this attribute, to be 
taken from revelation, confidered as (landing upon 
its own diftinct proofs. 

COROLLARY. Since God is immaterial, matter 
muft be one of the works of his infinite power. In 
the mean time, this does not feem to me to exclude 
the poflibility of its having exifted from all eternity. 
But then, neither have we, on the other hand, any 
reafon to conclude, that the whole material fyftem, 
or any part of it, could not hive been created in time. 
It is, perhaps, moft probable, ;'. . fuitable to the 

VOL. II. D divine 

34 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

divine attributes, that infinite material worlds have 
exifted from alt eternity. But it becomes us, in all 
thefe things, to diftruft our own reafonings and con- 
jectures to the utmoft. 


God is an eternal and omniprefent Being. 


GOD'S eternity, a parte ante, appears from the 
fecond propofition in which his independency is 
proved j and the eternity, a parte poft, is infe- 
parably connected with that a parte ante. Both are 
alfo included in the idea of infinite power, or of in- 
finite knowledge j and, indeed, when we fay, that God 
is eternal a parte ante, and a parte poft, we do, we can, 
mean no more, than to fay, that his power and know- 
ledge extend to all times. For we muft not conceive, 
or affirm, that he exifts in fucceffion, as finite beings 
do i through whole imaginations, or intellects, trains 
of ideas pafs. All time, as was faid before, is equally 
prefent to him, though in a manner of which we can- 
not form the lead conception. 

In like manner, by God's -omniprefence, or ubi- 
quity, we muft be underftood to mean, that his power 
and knowledge extend to-ajl places. For as time, 
and its exponent, the fucceffion of ideas, is a thing 
that relates merely to finite beings ; fo fpace and 
place relate, in their original fenfe, to material ones 
only; nor can we perceive any relation that they 
bear to immaterial ones, unlefs as far as we feign, a 
refemblance between material and immaterial beings, 
which is furely an inconfiftent fiction. We cannot, 
therefore, difcover any relation which fpace or place 
bear to the divine exiftence. It is a fufficient ac- 
knowledgment both of God's eternity and omnipre- 
fence, that we believe his power and knowledge to 
extend to all times and places, though we be entirely 
at a lofs how to conceive or exprefs the manner of 


and of Natural Religion. 35 

this infinite extent of thefe attributes. And there 
is a remarkable agreement between innumerable 
paflages of the fcriptures, and this practical notion 
of God's eternity and omniprefence. 


God is an immutable Being. 


THIS follows from the infinity of the divine power, 
knowledge, and goodnefs, /. e. from his infinite per- 
fection. For if the divine nature admitted of any 
variation, it would alfo admit of different kinds and 
degrees of perfection, and therefore could not always 
be infinitely perfect. This is the moft abftrafted 
and philofophical way of considering the divine im- 
mutability. In a popular and practical fenfe, it 
excludes all that which we call inconftant, arbitrary, 
and capricious, in finite beings j and becomes a fure 
foundation for hope, truft, and refignation. We 
may confider ourfelves as being at all times, and 
in all places, equally under the direction and pro- 
tection of the fame infinite power, knowledge, and 
goodnefs, which are fo confpicuous in the frame of 
the vifible world. 

God is a free Being. 

THE authors who have treated upon the divine 
nature and attributes, ufually afcribe liberty or 
freedom to God, and fuppofe it to be of a nature 
analogous to that free-will which they afcribe to 
man. But it appears to me, that neither the philo- 
fophical, nor popular liberty, as they are defined 
below in the fourteenth and fifteenth propofitions, can 
be at all applied to God. Thus, we can neither 
apply to God the power of doing different things, the 
D 2 previous 

j6 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

previous circumftances remaining the fame, nor a 
voluntary generated power of introducing ideas, or 
performing motions ; nor any thing analogous to 
either of thcfe powers, without the grofleft anthropo- 

But liberty is alfo ufed in another fenfe, viz. as 
the negation of, and the freedom from, a fuperior, 
compelling force ; and in this fenfe it may and muft 
be applied to the Deity; his independency and infi- 
nity including it. And in this fenfe it is contrary to 
the notion of thofe heathens, who fuppofed even God 
himfelC fubject to fate. 

Upon the whole, if by liberty, freedom, or free- 
will, be meant any thing great or gloriolis, God 
certainly has it ; if otherwife certainly not. Thus, if 
it mean freedom from a fuperior compelling caufe of 
any kind, as in the laft paragraph, God certainly has 
it, he being the caufe of caufes, the univerfal, the 
one only caufe. If it mean, that God could have 
made an univerfe lefs perfect than that which actually 
exifts, he certainly has it not, becaufe this would 
make God lefs perfect alfo. And here it feems to be 
a thing eitablilhed amongft writers on this matter, to 
maintain, that God is fubject to a moral necefllty, 
and to the perfection of his own nature ; which 
expreffions, however, are to be confidered as nothing 
more than particular ways of afierting the infinity 
of the divine power, knowledge, and goodnefs. If it 
be faid, that 4jod might have made a different uni- 
verfe, equally perfect with that which now exifts, and 
that his freedom confifts in this, the anfwer feems 
to be, that we are entirely loft here, in the infinities 
of infinities, &c. ad infinitum, which always have 
exifted, and always will exift, with refpect to kind, 
degree, and every poffible mode of exiftence. One 
cannot, in the lead, prefume either to deny or affirm 
this kind of freedom of God, fince the abfolute per- 
fection of God feems to imply both entire uniformity, 


and of Natural Religion. 37 

and infinite variety in his works. We can here only 
fubmic, and refer all to God's infinite knowledge 
and perfection. 


Holinefs, Juftice, Veracity, Mercy, and all other moral 
Perfections, ought to be ajcr'ibed to God in an infinite 

I HAVE in the lad four propositions treated of fuch 
attributes of the divine nature, as have a more 
immediate connection with the natural ones of inde^ 
pendency, infinite power, and infinite knowledge. 
I corne now to thofe, that are deducible from, and 
explanatory of the moraj one, viz. of the divine 

The chief of thefe feem to be holinefs, juftice, 
veracity, and mercy. Thefe are afcribed to all earthly 
fuperiors, to whom we pay refpect and love, and 
therefore mud belong, in the popular and practical 
fenfe, to him, who is the higheft object of reve- 
rence and affection. Let us lee how each is to be 
defined, and what relation they bear to benevolence. 

Firft, then, Holinefs may be defined by moral 
purity and rectitude. And thefe, when applied to 
the Deity, can only denote the rectitude of his 
actions towards his creatures. If therefore he be 
benevolent to all his creatures, he cannot but have 
moral purity and rectitude. 

The fame thing may be confidered thus: all 
moral turpitude in us proceeds from our felfifh fears 
or defires, made more irregular and impetuous 
through our ignorance, and other natural imperfec- 
tions. But none of thefe caufes can take place with 
refpect to the Deity ; he muft therefore be free from 
all moral turpitude. 

Juftice is that which gives to every one according 
to his deferts, at leaft as much as his good deferts 

D 3 require, 

o i\ 

38 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 


'require, and not more than is fuitable to his evil ones. 
But this is evidently included in the divine bene- 
volence, even according to the fifth of the fuppofi- 
tions, mentioned Prop. 4. by thofe who defend that 
fuppofition, and, according to the third and fourth, 
by the common confent of all, and the plain reafon 
of the thing. No man can deferve more from his 
Creator than a balance of happinefs proportional to 
his merit, which is the fourth fuppofition ; and con- 
fequently the divine benevolence, according to the 
third fuppofition, in which the balance of happinefs 
is infinite, includes ftrict juftice, and infinitely more. 
And all this will hold equally, whether we define 
defert in the popular, practical way, by the three 
meritorious principles of action, benevolence, piety, 
and the moral fenfe, alone; or 'by thefe, with the 
additional fuppofition of philofophical liberty, if we 
embrace either the third or fourth fuppofitions. 
Philofophical liberty is indeed neceflary for the vin- 
dication of the divine benevolence and juftice, ac- 
cording to the fifth fuppofition, in -the opinion of 
moft of thofe who hold this fuppofition. But then 
they efteem it to be alfo fufficient for this purpofe, 
and confequently maintain tfye divine juftice, into 
which we are now inquiring. 

It may alfo be reckoned a part of juftice not 
to let offenders go unpunifhed, or efcape with too 
flight a degree of punifhment ; the order and happi- 
nefs of the world, /'. e. benevolence, requiring, that 
frail men fhould be deterred from vice by the dread- 
ful examples of others, and mifchievous perfons 
difarmed. However, this does not at all hinder, 
but that the fame perfons, wjio are thus punifhed and 
difarmed, may afterwards receive a balance of hap- 
pinefs, finite or infinite. And thus punitive juftice 
may be reconciled to bounty and ' benevolence, 
according to the third or fourth fuppofitions. 


and of Natural Religion. 39 

Veracity in men is, the obfervance of truth, and 
fidelity in all their declarations and promifes to 
others j and the obligation to it arifes from its great 
ufefulnefs in all the intercourfes of mankind with 
each other, and the extreme mifchiefs which fiction 
and fraud occafion in the world. And it cannot be 
doubted, but that the divine benevolence, according 
to any of the fuppofitions above made, includes what 
is analogous to this moral quality in men. 

In like manner, it cannot be doubted but that the 
divine benevolence includes mercy, or all that ten- 
dernefs to offenders which the order and happinefs 
of the world will permit. Or, if the fifth fuppo- 
fition made concerning the divine benevolence be 
found to exclude it, this will be a ftrong argument 
for rejecting that (uppofition. 

I have here fhewn in what manner we may vin- 
dicate thefe attributes of the divine nature, from 
the whole of things, i. e. the courfe of events, 
both as they now appear in the prefent ftate, and as 
we expect they will appear in a future one. But God 
has alfo given us fufficient general evidences of thefe 
his relative moral attributes, from the prefent ftate 
alone; at the fame time that, if we extend our views 
no farther, fome difficulties and perplexities will arife 
in refpect of certain particulars. I will mention fome 
both of the evidences and difficulties in regard to 
each of thefe four attributes of holinefs, juftice, vera- 
city, and mercy. 

It might be expected, that God, if he thought fit to 
inftitute a religion by revelation, fhould inftitute 
one in which holinefs and moral purity fhould be 
eminently enjoined, and moral turpitude prohibited 
in the moft awful manner. And it is a remarkable 
coincidence of things, and evidence of the divine 
purity, that the Jewifh and Chriftian religions fhould 
both have this internal proof, and the moft cogent 
external ones in their favour. Whilfton the contrary, 

D 4 the 

40 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

the impure Pagan religions had all the external marks 

C CO.' J f 

or fiction and forgery. 

The voice of confcience, or the moral fenfe, 
within a man, however implanted or generated, en- 
joining moral rectitude, and forbidding moral tur- 
pitude, and accordingly acquitting or condemning, 
rewarding or punifhing, bears witnefs, in like man- 
ner, to the moral rectitude of that univerfal caufe 
from whom it muft proceed ultimately. 

At the fame time there are difficulties in revealed 
religion, and deviations in the moral fenfe, much 
contrary to what we feem to expect from our firft 
notions of the divine rectitude. 

Since God is juft, we may expect that virtue will 
be the fource of happinefs, vice that of mifery, even 
in this world. And fb we find it in general ; at the 
fame time that there are many particular exceptions 
of both kinds. 

The veracity of God feems to engage him to take 
care, that all thofe intimations which may be reckoned 
calls and cautions of nature, fhould give us right in- 
formation j alfo that all perfons who have the appa- 
rent credentials of being lent from him, /'. e. thofe of 
performing miracles, fhould be in truth fo fern. 
And all things concur, in general, to verify both 
thefe pofitions. There are, however, feveral parti- 
cular exceptions, as is weir known. 

Mercy requires, that fuch perfons as repent and 
amend Ihould have opportunities of frefh trial, and 
of retrieving, afforded them. And this is remarkably 
fo in the general. Mod men are tried again and again 
before their healths, fortunes, credit, &c. become 
irrecoverable. And yet there are fome inftances of 
extraordinary feverity upon the very firft offence. 

Now it may be obferved of all thefe inftances, 
that the general tenor is fufficient to eftablifh the at- 
tributes here aflerted j it being reafonable to expect, 
from our ignorance of the prefent ftate, and much 


and of Natural Religion. 4! 

more from that of the future one, that great difficulties 
and exceptions muft occur to us. And as thefe 
unfearchable judgments of God ferve to humble 
us, and make us fenfible of our ignorance, they even 
concur with the general tenor. 


God is to be eanfidered by us, not only as vur Creator, but 
aljo as our Governor, Judge, and Father. 

THAT God is our Creator, is evident from the 
three firft - 'propofitions ; in which his indepen- 
dency and infinite power are eftablifhed, from the 
necefiity which vye finite and dependent beings have 
of an infinite and independent Creator : and this 
appellation belongs to him alone. 

The three following appellations are firft applied 
to earthly fuperiors; and therefore belong to God 
only in an analogical fenfe. It is, however, a fenfe of 
infinite importan'ce to be acknowledged and regarded 
by us : let us therefore, fee in what manner analogies 
drawn from language, and from the phenomena 
of nature, lead us to call God our governor, judge, 

J C L ' 

and father. 

As God is our creator, he has, according to the 
analogy of language, a right to difpofe of us, to 
govern and judge us, and is alfo, our father in a 
much higher fenfe than pur natural parents, who are 
only occafioftal caufes, as it were, of our exiftence. 
In like manner, his infinite power and knowledge en- 
title him to be our governor, and his infinite bene- 
volence to be our father : the intimations alfo which 
he gives of his will, both in his word and works, 
and the rewards and punifhments which he beftows 
in the way of natural confluences, as we term it, 
all fhevv, that he is our governor and judge. And 


41 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

as the moral attributes afferted in the laft propofition 
may be deduced from thefe appellations of governor, 
judge, and father, eftablifhed on independent prin- 
ciples, fo they, when proved by their own peculiar 
evidences, infer thefe appellations : all which may 
be fummed up in this general pofition, that the 
events of life, and the ufe of language, beget fuch 
trains of ideas and aflbciations in us, as that we can- 
not but afcribe all morally good qualities, and all 
venerable and amiable appellations, to the Deity j at 
the fame time that' we perceive the meaning of our 
expreffions not to^be ftrictly the fame, ,as when they 
are applied to- menj but an analogical meaning, 
however a higher, more pure, and more perfect one. 
The juftnefs of this application is farther confirmed 
by the common confent of all ages and nations, and 
by the whole tenor of the fcriptures. 

If it be faid, that fince this method of fpeaking is 
not flrictly literal and true, but. merely popular and 
anthropomorphitical, it ought to be rejected i I 
anfwer, that even the attributes of independency, om- 
nipotence, omnifcience, and infinite benevolence, 
though the moft pure s exalted, and philofophical 
appellations, to which we can attain, fait infinitely fhorc 
of the truth, of reprefenting the Deity as he is, but 
are mere popular and anthropomorphitical expreflions. 
And the fame might ftill be faid for ever of higher 
and more pure expreflions, could we arrive at 
them : they would ever be infinitely deficient, and 
unworthy of God. But then it appears from the pre- 
ceding propofuions, and other writings of a like 
nature, that, if we will cbnfider the phenomena of 
the world, and argue from them fufficiently, we muft 
needs fee and acknowledge, that there is an infinite 
being, and that power, knowledge, and goodnefs, 
are his character. We cannot get rid of this internal 
feeling and conviction, but by refufing to confider 
the fubjedt, and to purfue the train of reafoning, 


and of Natural Religion. 43 

which our own faculties, or the preceding inquiries 
of others, will lead us to. God is not to be efteemed 
an unreal being, or deftitute of all character, becaufe 
he is infinite and incomprehenfible, or becaufe we 
have not adequate phrafes whereby to denote his ex- 
iftence and attributes. On the contrary, his infinite 
nature feems ftrongly to argue, that exiftence, power, 
knowledge, and goodnefs, do really and -properly 
belong to him alone ; and that what we call fo here 
on earth, in our firft and literal fenfes, are mere 
lhadows and figures of the true realities. And it 
would be in vain to bid us reject this language, fince 
it muft recur again and again from the frame of our 
natures, if we purfue the fubject. In like manner, 
the relative moral attributes of holinefs, juftice, ve- 
racity, mercy, &c. and the relative moral appella- 
tions of governor, judge, .and father, &c. are infe- 
parably connected with the ufe of language, and 
the courfe and conftitution of the vifible world. 
We fee that things have happened, and muft believe* 
that they will hereafter happen '(7. e. in the general, 
and allowing for particular exceptions, as above re- 
marked), after fuch a manner as thefe attributes and 
appellations intimate to us : they are, confequently, 
a convenient and highly ufeful method of ranging 
and explaining, pa'ft events, and predicting future 
ones, and therefore may be ufed for .this purpofe ; 
nay, they muft be fo uied, fince the events of life 
thus ranged, explained, and predicted by them, do 
neceflarily fuggeft them to us, and imprefs upon us 
this their ufe, admitting only the real exiftence of 
God, and his infinite power, knowledge, and good- 
.nefsj which, as was juft now (hewn, cannot but be 
admitted, if men will think fufficiemly on the fubject. 
However, fince the ufe of thefe relative moral attri- 
butes and appellations is popular, and attended with 
particular exceptions ; whereas that of the attributes 
of infinite power, knowledge, and goodnefs, is more 


44 Of the -Being and Attributes of God, 

philofophical and extenfive, it will be proper to bear 
this in mind ; and where there appears to be any op- 
pofition between the popular and philofophical lan- 
guage, to interpret that in fubordination to this. 

COROLLARY. The doctrine of Providence, ge- 
neral and particular, may be confidered as a confe- 
quence from the foregoing attributes and appella- 
tions of the divine nature. By general providence, 
I mean the adjufting all events to the greateft good 
of the whole ; by particular, the adjufting all to the 
greateft good of each individual ; and, confequently, 
by both together, the adjufting the greateft good of 
the whole, and of each individual, to each other; 
fo that both fhall fall exactly upon the fame point. 
However difficult this may feem, I take it to be the 
genuine confequence of the foregoing propofitions. 
Infinite power, knowledge, and goodnefs, muft make 
our moft kind and merciful Father both able and will- 
ing to effect this: it does, therefore, actually take 
place, though we cannot fee it. However, that there 
are many marks both of general and particular provi- 
dence, as thus explained, is fufficiently evident and 
acknowledged by all: both thefe appear alfo to be 
affeited in the fcriptures. 

The following obfervation affords a ftrong evi- 
dence, for K particular providence. When a perfon, 
furveys the events of his paft life, he may find 
many, which have happened much contrary to natu- 
ral expectation, and his then defires, which yet ap- 
pear extremely beneficial and defirable at the now 
prefent time, as alfo to .have proceeded from natu- 
ral caufes then unknown to him. Now, we may 
conclude from hence, that God conceals the tenden- 
cies and refults of the courfe of nature at the then 
prefent time, left we (hould truft in that, and for- 
fake him j but difcovers them afterwards with their 
harmonies and ufes, that we may fee his goodnefs, 
knowledge, and power, in them, and fo truft him in 


and of Natural Religion. 45 

future perplexities. It is analogous to this that the 
fcripture prophecies are inexplicable before the event, 
and often fufficiently clear afterwards. 


The Manner of Reafoning here ufed> in refpett of the 
Courfe and Conjlitution of Nature, has a Tendency to 
beget in us Love and Reverence towards God y and 
Obedience to his Will: or, in other Words, there is 
a Religion of Nature properly Jo called. 

NATURAL religion appears to be ufed in different 
fenfes by different writers : however, they are all, I 
think, reducible to the three that follow, and will all 
be found to coincide ultimately, though they may 
appear different at firft view. 

The Firft Senfe, in which natural religion may 
be ufed, is that of this proportion; in which it is 
put for that love and reverence towards God, and 
obedience to his will, which the light of nature, 
or the confideratibn of the works of God, enjoins. 
In this fenfe it is moft properly oppofecl to, and con- 
tradiftinguifhed from, revealed religion, or thofe affec- 
tions and actions towards God, which the fcripture, or 
the word of God, enjoins. 

Secondly, Natural religion may be defined fueh a 
regulation of the affections and actions as the moral 
fenie requires : for the moral fenfe is part of the 
light of nature, and of our natural faculties, whether 
it be confidered as an inftinct, or as the generated 
refult of external impreflions and our natural frame 
taken together, according to what is delivered in the 
firft part of thefe obfervations ; and this moral fenfe 
approves and commands, or difapproves and forbids, 
certain difpofitions of mind, and bodily actions flow- 
ing therefrom. It is alfo called the law of firft 


46 Of the Being and Attributes of G<%/, 

inscription by many perfons, and under that term 
diftinguifhed from the law of revelation, which is 
fuppofed pofterior to it in order of time. Hence 
the fame perfons eonfider the moral fenfe, or law 
of firft infcription, as the foundation of natural 
religion : and, indeed, mod perfons either exprefsly 
adopt, or implicitly refer to, this definition of natural 
religion in their writings and difcourfes. The heathen 
world, not having the immediate light of revelation, 
are fuppofed to have had nothing more than the mere 
light of nature, and mere natural religion j and they 
feem to have been chiefly directed by the fenfe of 
what was fit, right, and proper, upon the occafion, 
*'.. e. by the moral fenfe. Natural religion may there- 
fore, according to this way of confidering it, be 
properly defined by the moral fenfe. 

Thirdly, Natural religion may be defined by ra- 
tional felf-intereft, /. e. it may be called fuch a re- 
gulation of our affections and actions, as will pro- 
cure for us our Jummum bonum, or greateft poffible 
happinefs. If we fuppofe the inquiries of the an- 
cients concerning the Jummum bonum to have been of 
a religious and moral nature, then will this definition 
be fuitable to their notions. However, it has a very 
important ufe, viz. that of compelling us to be at- 
tentive, impartial, and earned in the inquiry. 

I will now proceed, firft, to prove the proposition, 
or to deduce love and reverence to God, and obe- 
dience to his will, from the preceding method of 
reafoning concerning the courfe and conftitution of 
nature; and, fecondly, to fhew the perfect agree- 
ment of all thefe three definitions of natural religion 
with each other. 

Now it is at once evident, that the confideration 
of the infinite power, knowledge, and goodnefs of 
God, of his holinefs, juftice, veracity, and mercy, 
and of his being our creator, governor, judge, and 
father, muft infpire us with the higheft love and 


and of Natural Religion. 47 

reverencd for him, and beget in us that tendency 
to comply with his will, which according to the 
proper ufe of language, is called a fenfe' of duty, 
obligation, of what we ought to do. It is evident 
alfo, that the will of God muft be determined 
by his attributes and appellations. He muft there- 
fore will, that we Ihould apply to him, as we do 
to earthly, fuperiors of the fame character, purifying, 
however, and exalting our affections to the utmoft ; 
that we Ihould be merciful, holy, juft, &c. in 
imitation of him, and becaufe this is to concur 
with him in his great defign of making all his crea- 
tures happy j and laftly, that we fhould fo ufe the 
pleafures of fenfe, and the enjoyments of this world, 
as not to hurt ourfelves or others. There is therefore 
a courfe of action regarding God, our neighbour, 
and ourfelves, plainly enjoined by the light of na- 
ture; or, in the words of the propofition, there is 
a religion of nature properly fo called. 

I come, in the next place, to fhew the agreement 
of the fecond and third definitions of natural reli- 
gion with the firft, or with that of the propofition. 

Now, that compliance with the moral fenfe coin- 
cides with obedience to the will of God, needs no 
proof, it being the firft and immediate dictate of the 
moral fenfe, that it is fit, right, and our necefiary 
duty, to obey God, as foon as he is difcovered with 
the amiable and awful attributes and appellations 
above afcribed to him. There is, therefore, an entire 
agreement between the firft and fecond definitions. 
It may appear alfo, that the firft rule of duty is 
necefiary to perfect the fecond. For the moral fenfe, 
as will appear from the preceding hiftory of its rife 
and growth, muft be vague and uncertain, and vary 
according to the various circumftances of life. But 
the moral character of God, as delivered in the 
foregoing proportions, affords a plain rule of life, 


48 Of tbe Being and Attributes of God, 

applicable and prec'ife in the various circumftances of 
it. When, therefore, obedience to the will of God 
is eftablilhed by the moral fenfe, it does, in return, 
become a regulator to this, determine its uncertain- 
ties, and reconcile its inconfiftencies. And, agree- 
ably to this, we may obfcrve, that the perfection of 
the moraf fenfe is, in general, proportional to the 
perfection of our notions of the divine nature ; and that 
the idolatry of the heathens, and their ignorance of 
the true God, muft have produced an utter perverfion 
and oirruption of their moral fenfe, agreeably to the 
declarations of the fcriptures ; which is a remarkable 
coincidence of reafon with revelation. 

In like manner, it needs no proof, that rational 
felf-intereft, and obedience to the will of God, are 
the fame thing. Our only hope and fecurity, here 
and hereafter, muft be in our obedience to him, who 
has all power 1 and all knowledge. And thus the firft 
and third definitions are found to be perfectly coin- 
cident. The fecond and third, therefore, *. e. the 
whole three, are coincident alfo. 

This coincidence might be confirmed by number- 
lefs inftances, were we to confider and compare 
together the dictates of the moral character of God, 
of our own moral fenfe, properly directed, and of 
rational felf-intereft in the feveral particular circum- 
ftances of life. But this would be to anticipate what 
I have to fay in the third chapter of this fecond part 
concerning the rule of life. 


Natural Religion receives great Light and Confirmation 
from Revealed. 

IT feems to be the opinion of fome perfons, that 
revealed religion is entirely founded upon natural ; 
fo that unlefs natural religion be firft eftablifhed 
upon its own proper evidences, we cannot proceed 


and of Natural Religion. 49 

at all to the proof of revealed. If this were fo, 
revealed religion could not caft any light or evi- 
dence upon natural, but what it hac^ before re- 
ceived from it * and confequently, this propofition 
would be built upon that falfe way of reafoning 
which is called arguing in a circle. But there are 
certainly independent evidences for revealed reli- 
gion, as well as for natural ; they both receive light 
and confirmation from each other j and this mutual 
confirmation is a ftill farther evidence for both. I 
will give a (hort account of all thefe particulars, that 
the propofition may the more fully appear. 

Firft, Natural religion has independent evidences. 
This has been the bufinefs of the foregoing propofi- 
tions, and particularly of the laft, to mew. -And 
indeed, it is acknowledged by all, unlefs they be 
atheifts or fceptics. We are certainly able to infer the 
exiftence and attributes of God, with ouiv relation 
and duty to him, from the mere confideration of 
natural phenomena, in the fame manner as we do any 
conclufions in natural philofophy. And though our 
evidence here may not perhaps be demonftrative, it 
is certainly probable in the higheft degree. 

Secondly, Revealed religion has alfo independent 
evidences. For, if we allow the miracles mentioned 
in the Old and New Teftaments, the genuinenefs 
and accomplifhment of the prophecies contained 
therein, and the moral characters of Chrift, the pro- 
phets and apoftles, it will be impoflible not to pay 
the greateft regard to the do&rines and precepts 
which they deliver, /'. e. to revealed religion. We 
do, and we muft always give credit to perlbns much 
iuperior toourfelves in natural and moral endowments. 
Thefe endowments ftrike us with awe and reverence, 
engage our attention, humble us, and put us into a 
teachable, flexible difpofuion. And I appeal to all 
thofe, who do really believe the miracles and moral 
characters of Chrift, the prophets and apoftles, and 
VOL. II. E the 

50 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

the accomplifhment of the prophecies delivered by 
them, whether they do not immediately find them* 
felves in this humble, teachable difpofition of mind, 
upon confidering thefe credentials of a divine mif- 
fion, and that exclufively of all other confiderations. 
As to thofe who do not fuppofe Chrift, the prophets 
and apoftles, to have had thefe credentials, they can 
fcarce be proper judges, what would be the genuine 
confequence of a date of mind, of a belief, which 
they have not. However, one may appeal even to 
them, provided they will only fuppofe thefe creden- 
tials true for a moment, in order to fee what would 
then follow. And it is a flrong argument of the 
juftnefs of this reafoning, that all thofe who reject 
revealed religion, do alfo reject the credentials, *. e. 
the truth of the fcripture hiftory. Revealed reli- 
gion is therefore built upon the truth of the fcrip- 
ture hiftory, i. e. upon the external evidences com- 
monly called hiftorical and prophetical. But thefe 
evidences are to be tried in the fame manner as the 
evidences for any other hiftory, and have no more 
connection with natural religion, and its evidences, 
fuch, for inftance, as thofe delivered in this chapter, 
than the evidences for the Greek or Roman hiftory. 
So that revealed religion has evidences, and thofe 
of the ftrongeft kind, entirely independent on natural 

Thirdly, Natural religion receives much light 
and confirmation from revealed, agreeably to the 
proposition here to be proved. This follows both 
becaufe revealed religion, now fhewn to have its inde- 
pendent evidences, teaches the fame doctrines con- 
cerning God, as I have remarked already in feveral 
places, and delivers the fame precepts to man, in the 
general as natural; and becaufe thefe very indepen- 
dent evidences, viz. the miracles and moral cha- 
racters of Chrift, the prophets and apoftles, and the 
accomplilhment of their prophecies, have a direct 


and of Natural Religion. 51 

and immediate tendency to beget in us a deep fenfe 
and conviction of a fuperior power, and of his provi- 
dence and moral government over the world. So 
that if a man fhould either be ignorant of the chain 
of reafoning by which the exiftence and attributes of 
God and natural religion are proved from the phas- 
nomena of the world, or fhould, from fome depra- 
vation of mind, 'intellectual or moral, be difpofed to 
call in queftion this chain, of reafoning, in whole or in 
part j he muft however come to the fame conclufions, 
from the mere force of the hiftorical and prophetical 
evidences in favour of the fcriptures. And this is 
a thing of the utmpft importance to mankind, there 
being many who are incapable of purfuing this chain 
of reafoning, many -who, though capable, are difin- 
clined to it, many who from their vices have a con- 
trary inclination, and fbme who feeing the perplexity 
and obfcurity that attend fome fubordinate pans of 
this reafoning, are difpofed to doubt about the whole. 
For though fomething of the fame kind holds in re- 
fpect of the hiftorical and prophetical evidences for 
the truth of the fcriptures, especially of the laft, yet, 
in general, thefe are more level to the capacities of 
the inferior ranks amongft mankind, and more fim- 
ple and ftriking, than the independent evidences for 
natural religion ; and if they were but equally con- 
vincing, they would, however, make the evidence 
double upon the whole. Not to mention, that it is 
an inexpreffible fatisfaction to the bed men, and the 
ableft philofophers, thofe who have the moft entire 
conviction from natural reafon, to have this new and 
diftinct fupport for fuch important truths. It may 
be added as an argument in favour of the reafoning 
of this paragraph, i. e. of the proportion here fo be 
proved, to thofe who believe revealed religion, that 
God has thought fit to teach mankind natural reli- 
gion chiefly by means of revealed. 

E 2 Fourthly, 

52 Of the Being and Attributes of GoJ, 

Fourthly, Revealed religion receives great light 
and confirmation from natural. For if we fuppofe 
a perfon to be firft inftrufted in the doctrines and pre- 
cepts of natural religion, and to be entirely convinced 
of their truth and fitnefs from the mere light of 
reafon, and then to have the fcriptures communi- 
cated to him, the conformity of thefe with his previ- 
ous notions would be a ftrong evidence in their fa- 
vour, i. e. in favour of the miracles, prophecies, and 
thofe doctrines which are peculiar to revealed re- 
ligion. When, farther, he came to perceive, that many 
of the writers of the facred books lived when the 
truths of natural" religion were unknown to the reft 
of the world, and that many alfo were of fo low 
a rank in life, that they cannot be fuppofed to have 
known even fb much as the reft of the world did, by 
natural means, he will be ftrongly inclined to allow 
them that fupernatural light which they claim, /. e. 
to allow their, divine authority. 

Laftly, The mutual light and confirmation which 
natural and revealed religion caft upon each other, 
and the analogy which there is between their proper 
evidences, and even that between the feveral obfcu- 
rities and perplexities that attend each, are a new 
argument in favour of both, confidered as united to- 
gether, and making one rule of life, and the charter 
of a happy immortality. For refemblance, agree- 
ment, and harmony of the parts, are the peculiar 
characteriftics of truth, as inconfiftency and felf- 
contradiction are of fiction and falfehood. 


and of Natural Religion, 53 


Religion prefuppojes Free-will in the popular and praffi* 
cal Senfe, i. e. ;/ prejuppofes a voluntary Power over 
our Affections and Aftions. 

FOR religion being the regulation of our af- 
fections and actions according to the will of God, 
it prefuppofes, that after this will is made known 
to us, and we, in confequence thereof, become 
defirous of complying with it, a fufficient power of 
complying with it fhould be put into our hands. 
Thus, for inftance, fince religion commands us to 
love God and our neighbour, it prefuppofes that we 
have the power of generating thefe affections in our- 
felves, by introducing the proper generating caufes, 
and making the proper aflbciations, i. e. by medita- 
tion, religious converfation, reading practical books 
of religion, and prayer. Since religion requires of 
us to perform beneficent actions, and to abflain from 
injurious ones, alfo to abftain from all thofe felf- 
indulgences, which would be hurtful to ourfelves, it 
prefuppofes, either that we have a power of fo doing, 
or at lead a power of generating fuch difpofitions of 
mind, as will enable us fo to do. Farther, it pre- 
fuppofes that we have a power of making perpetual 
improvement in virtuous affections and actions, 
fince this alfo is required of us by it. Still farther, 
fince religion requires of a man this regulation of 
his affections and actions, and fince the powers 
hitherto mentioned are all grounded upon a fufficienc 
defire thus to regulate himfelf, it muft prefuppofe 
a power of generating this fufficient defire, and fo on 
till we come to fomething which the man is already 
poflefTed of, as part of his mental frame, either con- 
ferred in a fupernatural way, or acquired in the ufual 
courfe of nature. For religion, in requiring the 
powers above-mentioned, requires alfo whatever pre- 

E 3 vious 

54 Of the Being and Attributes of God> 

vious powers are neceflary to the actual exertion of 
thefe powers. But all thefe powers, of whatever 
order they are, the laft excepted, are thofe powers 
over our affections and actions, which I have, in 
the foregoing part of this work, endeavoured to de- 
rive from affociation, and fhewn to be the fame with 
thofe which are commonly called voluntary powers. 
It follows, therefore, that religion requires voluntary 
powers over our affections and actions, or free-will 
in the popular and practical fenfe. 

This may be illuftrated by the consideration of the 
ftate of madmen, idiots, children, and brutes, in 
refpeft of religion. For as they are all efteemed to 
be incapable of religion, and exempted from the 
obligation thereof, fo the reafon of this in all is evidently, 
that they are deftitute of the proper voluntary powers 
over their affections and actions; the affociations 
requifite thereto having never been formed in idiots, 
children, and brutes, and being confounded and 
deftroyed in madmen. For fuppoie the child to be 
grown up, and the madman to recover his fenfes, /. e. 
fuppofe the affociations requifite for the voluntary 
powers to be generated or reftored, and religion will 
claim them as its proper fubjects. * , 

In like manner, it may be obferved, that when 
any action is commended or blamed, this is always 
done upon fuppofition, that the action under confider- 
ation was the effect of voluntary powers. Thus, 
when a man commits an action otherwife blame- 
able, through inattention, ignorance, or difeafe, he 
is excufed on account of its being involuntary j 
unlefs the inattention, ignorance, or difeafe, were 
themfelves voluntary, and then the blame remains. 
But commendation and blame are ideas that belong 
to religion : it appears therefore, that voluntary powers 
muft belong to it alfo. 

I afferted above, that religion not only requires 
and prefuppofes the common voluntary poWers, by 


and of Natural Religion. 55 

which we perform and forbear actions, and new- 
model our affections, but alfo whatever elfe, volun- 
tary or involuntary, is neceffary for the actual exer- 
tion of thefe powers. And the connexion between 
thefe points feems to be immediate and undeniable ; 
to require any thing, muft be to require all that is 
neceflary for that thing. And yet, fincq all men do 
not a6t up to the precepts of religion, it feems unde- 
niable, on the other hand, that fome want fome- 
thing that is neceflary, immediately or mediately, 
for the actual exertion of the proper voluntary powers 
over their affections and actions. Now, I fee no 
way of extricating ourfelves from this difficulty, but 
by fuppofing, that thofe who want this one necef- 
fary thing at prefent, will, however, obtain it here- 
after, and that they who fhall obtain it at any diftant 
future time, % may be faid to have obtained it already, 
in the eye of him to whom pad, prefent, and future, 
are all prefent, who quickenetb the dead, and calleth 
the things that be not as though they were. For that 
the fuppofition of free-will, in the philofophical 
fenfe, cannot folve this difficulty, will appear, I 
think, in the next propofition. 

COROLLARY. It may be reckoned fome confirma- 
tion of religion, that the voluntary powers which it 
requires, according to this propofition, are an evident 
fact, and alfo that they are deducible from the frame 
of our natures, i. e. from our original faculties, and 
the law of aflbciation, taken together. For thus 
religion may be faid to harmonize with obfervation s 
and with the nature of man, its fubject. 

4 PROP. 

56 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 


Religion does not prefuppofe Free-will in the philofo- 
phieal Senfe, i. e. it does not prefuppofe a Power of doing 
different Things, the previous Circumftances remaining 

FOR, Firft, It has been fhewn, in the foregoing 
part of this work, that we do not, in fact, ever 
exert any fuch power in the important actions of our 
lives, or the ftrong workings of our affections, , all 
thefe being evidently determinable by the previous 
circumftances. There are therefore no actions or 
affections left, except trifling and evanefcent ones, in 
which religion can prefuppofe philofophical free-will, 
or liberty ; and even here the evidence for. it is 
merely an argumentum ab ignorantid. But if religion 
requires philofophical liberty at all, it muft require 
it chiefly in the mod important actions and affections. 
It does not therefore require it at all. We cannot 
fuppole religion to be at variance with common 
obfervation, and the frame of our natures. 

Secondly, Some reafons have been given already, 
in the firft part of this work, and more will be added 
in the next propofition, to fhew that philofophical 
liberty cannot take place in man, but is an impoffi- 
bility. It is therefore impofiible, that religion fhould 
require it. 

Thirdly, It appears from the courfe of reafoning 
ufed under the foregoing propofition, that all which' 
religion does require and prefuppofe, is, firft, a fuffi- 
cient defire, hope, fear, felf-intereft, or other fuch 
like motive, and then fufficient voluntary powers, 
whereby to regulate our affections and actions agree- 
ably to the will of God. But philofophical liberty, or 
the power of doing different things, the previous 
circumftances remaining the fame, is fo far from 


and of Natural Religion. 57 

being required, in order to our obtaining any of thefe 
requifites, that it is inconfiftent with them. For the 
fufficient defire, &c. unlefs it be given by God in a 
fupernatural way, is of a factitious nature, and fol- 
lows the previous circumftances with a rigorous ex- 
aftnefs j in like manner the voluntary powers are all 
generated according to the law of affociation, which 
law operates in a mechanical neceflary way, and 
admits of no variations, while the circumftances re- 
main the fame; all which is, I prefume, fufficiently evi- 
dent to thole who have well confidered the foregoing 
part of this work. Thefe requifites are therefore 
inconfiftent with philofophical liberty, inafmuch as 
this implies, that though there be a defire fufficient to 
caufe the exertion of the will, this exertion may or 
may not follow ; alfo, that though the voluntary 
powers depending on this exertion be completely ge- 
nerated by afibciatipn, they may or may not follow 
it in fact. This fuppofition is indeed abfurd at firft 
fight ; however, if it be admitted for a moment, in 
order to fee what would follow, it is manifeft, that 
the man will be rendered lefs able to comply with the 
will of God thereby, and that it will not add to, but 
take away from, the requifites propofed by religion. 
Philofophical liberty does not therefore help us to 
folve the difficulty mentioned under the laft propofi- 
tion, but, on the contrary, increafes it. 

If it fhould be faid, that we are not to fuppofe the 
defire fufficient, and the voluntary powers complete, 
and then farther to fuppofe, that thefe may or may 
not take effect, but only to fuppofe defire in general, 
fufficient or infufficient, and voluntary powers in ge- 
neral, complete or incomplete, and that thus it will 
not be unreafonable to fuppofe, that they may or may 
not take effect ; whence the manifeft abfurdity men- 
tioned in the laft paragraph will be removed , I an- 
fwer, that this is to defert the hypothefis of philofo- 
phical liberty, the previous circumftances being 


5 8 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

fuppofed different, that fo their confequences may be 
different alfo. If any particular degree of defire or 
voluntary power be fixed upon, and all the other con- 
curring circumftances of body and mind fixed like- 
wife, i. e. if the previous circumftances be rigoroufly 
determinate, which is the fuppofition of philofophical 
liberty, this one fixed, determinate degree of defire, 
or voluntary power, cannot have the two oppofite 
epithets of fufficient and inefficient, or of complete 
arid incomplete, both predicated of it with truth, de- 
fine fufficiency or completenefs as you pleafe. Phi- 
lofophical liberty does not therefore allow us to fup- 
pofe defire or voluntary power in general, in order 
that they either may or may not take effect. 

Fourthly, It will appear that religion does not 
prefuppofe philofophical liberty, if we enter upon the 
examination of thofe arguments which are common- 
ly brought to fhew that it does. Thefe are, that un- 
lefs philofophical liberty be admitted, there will be no 
foundation for commendation or blame, and con- 
fequently no difference between virtue and vice ; 
that all punifhment for actions, ufually called vicious, 
will be unjuft j and that God will be the author of 
fuch actions, which it is impious to fuppofe ; inaf- 
much as the notion of popular liberty is not? fufficient 
to obviate thefe difficulties. Now, to this I anfwer, 
that there are two different methods of fpeaking, and, 
as it were, two different languages, ufed upon thefe 
fubjects j the one popular, and, when applied to God, 
anthropomorphical ; the other philofophical j and 
that the notion of popular liberty is fufficient to ob- 
viate thefe difficulties, while we keep to the popular 
language alone; alfo, that the philofophical lan- 
guage does of itfelf obviate thefe difficulties, while 
we keep to it alone ; but that, if we mix thefe lan- 
guages, then, and not till then, infuperable difficul- 
ties will arife, as might well be expected. Let us 
confider each of thefe pofitions particularly. 


and of Natural Religion. 59 

Firft then, I fay that the fuppofition of popular 
liberty is fufficient to obviate the forementioned 
difficulties, whilft we keep to the popular language 
alone. For, in the popular language, a man is 
commended and blamed merely for the right or 
wrong ufe of his voluntary powers ; the firft is called 
virtue, the laft vice ; and rewards and punilhments 
are faid to be refpectively due to them. Thus, when 
a man, having an opportunity to do a beneficent 
action, exerts an act of will, and, in confequence 
thereof does it, he is commended for it; it is called 
a virtue, or a right ufe of his voluntary powers, and 
is faid to deferve a reward ; whereas, had he, in like 
circumftances, done a malevolent action, he would 
have been blamed for it ; it would have been called 
a wrong ufe of his voluntary powers, or a vice ; and 
a punifhment inflicted upon him, in confequence 
hereof, would have been faid to be juft. This is a 
mere hiftory of the fact, and a narration of the me- 
thod in which the words here confidered acquire their 
proper fenfes; and I appeal to the general tenor of 
writings and difcourfes for the fupport of what is 
here aflerted. If no voluntary action be exerted, 
the words commendation, right ufe, virtue, re- 
ward, on one hand, alfo the words, blame, wrong 
ufe, vice, punifhment, on the other, become en- 
tirely unapplicable. If there be, and the motive be 
good, fuppofe piety or benevolence, the firft fet of 
words take place; if the motive be bad, the laft. 
Men, in the common ufe of language, never con- 
fider whether the agent had it in his power to have 
done otherwife, the previous circumftances remaining 
the fame ; they only require, that he fhould have done 
a beneficient action, from a benevolent intention. 
If they find this, they will apply the words, com- 
mendation, right ufe, &c. And the fame holds in 
refpect of injurious actions, and malevolent intentions. 
The agent will, in this cafe, be blamed, and faid to 
be juftly punifhed, without any farther inquiry. Some- 

60 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

times, indeed, they do inquire farther, viz. into the 
original of thefe intentions. But then this comes to 
the fame thing at laft; for if thefe intentions were 
generated voluntarily, it enhances the commendation 
or blame due to them ; if, in great meafure, involun- 
tarily, abates it. Popular liberty, or voluntary 
powers, do therefore afford fufficient foundation for 
commendation and blame, for the difference between 
virtue and vice, and for the juftice of punifhing vice 
according to the popular language. Where it is to 
be remarked, that whatever will juftify puniftiments 
inflicted by men, will juftify thofe inflicted by God 
in like circumftances, fince juftice is afcribed to God 
only in a popular and anthropomorphitical fenfe. 

And as popular liberty fuffices for the foremen- 
tioned pur poles, whilft we ufe the popular language, 
fo it vindicates God from the charge of being the 
author of fin, according to the fame language. For, 
according to this, all voluntary actions are afcribed 
to men, not to God ; but fin, or vice, always pre- 
fuppofes an exertion of a voluntary power, accord- 
ing to the popular language ; therefore fin muft be 
afcribed to man, and not to God, as long as we conti- 
nue to fpeak the popular language. 

Secondly, I fay, that if we keep to the philofophi- 
cal language alone, it will obviate all difficulties, and 
enable us to talk confidently and clearly upon thefe 
fubjects. For, according to this, virtue and vice 
are to actions, what fecondary qualities are to na- 
tural bodies ; /'. e. only ways of exprefling the re- 
lation which they bear to happinefs and mifery, juft 
as the fecondary qualities of bodies are only modifi- 
cations of the primary ones. And the fame may be 
faid of all the other words belonging to the moral 
fenfe. Hence it follows, that, according to the phi- 
lofophical language, we are to confiderall the moral 
appellations of actions as only denoting their rela- 
tion to natural good and evil, and that moral good 
and evil are only compofitions and decompofuions 


and of Natural Religion. 61 

of natural. There is, however, a difference between 
moral good and moral evil, becaufe they are differ- 
ent and oppofite compofitions j they may alfo be 
attended with different and oppofite compofitions, 
from the frame of our natures, and circumftances of 
our lives, fuch as commendation and blame. 

And as juftice in God is, by the fame language, 
exalted into benevolence, he may inflict punifhment, 
?'. e. another fpecies of natural evil, juftly, provided 
it be confident with benevolence, /'. e. with a balance 
of happinefs. Man may alfo inflict punifhment 
juftly, provided he does it according to fome defi- 
nition of juftice amongfi men, previoufly fettled 
and allowed, fuppofe compliance with the will of 
God, the laws of fociety, the greater good of the 
whole, &c. 

Farther, fince all the actions of man proceed ulti- 
mately from God, the one univerfal caufe, we muft, 
according to this language, annihilate felf, and afcribe 
all to God. But then, fince vice, fin, &c. are only 
modifications and compofitions of natural evil, ac- 
cording to the fame language, this will only be to 
afcribe natural evil to him ; and, if the balance of 
natural good be infinite, then even this natural evil 
will be abforbed and annihilated by it. 

It may a little illuftrate what is here delivered, to 
remark, that as we mould not fay of a fuperior being, 
whofe figr)t could penetrate to the ultimate conftitu- 
tion of bodies, that he diftinguifhed colours, but 
rather, that he diftinguifhed thofe modifications of 
matter which produce the appearances of colours in 
us, fo we ought not to afcribe our fecondary ideas of 
virtue and vice to fuperior intelligences, and much 
lefs to the fupreme. 

Thirdly, 1 fay, that if we mix thefe two languages, 
many difficulties and abfurdities muft enfue from this 
previous abfurdity. Thus, if, retaining the popular 
notions of moral good and evil, we fuppofe God, 


6 2 Of the Being and Attributes of God y 

according to the philofophical language, to be bene- 
volent only, /. e. to regard only natural good and 
evil, or to be the author of all actions, the confe- 
quence will be impious. If we adhere to the philofo- 
phical notions of virtue and vice, we muft not retain 
the popular notion of God's juftice., inafmuch as pu- 
nifhment will then be unjuft ; as it will alfo be, if we 
join the popular notion of God's juftice with the phi- 
lofophical one, of his being the author of all actions. 
Laftlyj if we allow man to confider himfelf as the 
author of his own actions, he muft alfo confider 
virtue and vice according to the popular notions, and 
conceive of God as endued with the popular attribute 
of juftice, in order to be incited to virtue, and de- 
terred from vice i whereas, could man really annihi- 
late himfelf, and refer all to God, perfect love would 
caft out fear, he would immediately become partaker 
of the divine nature, and, being one with God, would 
fee him to be pure benevolence and love, and all 
that he has made to be good. 

The following remark may perhaps contribute to 
illuftrate this matter. Virtue and vice, merit and 
demerit, reward and punifliment, are applied to 
voluntary actions only, as before- mentioned. Hence 
they are efteemed unapplicable to involuntary ones. 
But involuntary actions are neceflary by a necefiity 
ab extra, which is generally feen j and becaufe the 
neceflity ab intra, which caufes voluntary actions, 
is feldom feen, thefe are fuppofed not to be neceflary. 
Hence not neceflary, and neceflary, are put for volun- 
tary and involuntary, refpectively ; and moral appel- 
lations fuppofed peculiar to the firft, i. e. not necef- 
fary j inconfiftent with the laft, /. e. neceflary. Hence, 
when we come to difcover pur miftake, and to find, 
that voluntary actions are neceflary, an inconfiftency 
ariles ; we apply moral appellations to them as volun- 
tary from a primary aflbciation, deny thefe appella- 
tions of them on account of their new denomination 


and of Natural Religion. 63 

of neceflary, and a fecondary and tralatitious ailbcia- 
tion. Here then, if we can either perfift in our miftake, 
and ftill fuppofe voluntary actions not to be necefiary ; 
or, finding this miftake, can however perfift to apply 
moral appellations to fuch neceflary actions as are 
voluntary, from the primary aflbciation ; or, laftly, 
not being able to whhftand the force of the fecon- 
dary aflbciation, whereby moral appellations are 
denied of neceflary actions, voluntary 'as well as 
involuntary, can perceive that moral good and evil 
are only compofitions of natural, i. e. if we can either 
fee the whole truth, or fhut our eyes againft that 
part that offends us j no difficulty will arife. 

Philofophical liberty is alfo fuppofed by fome ne- 
ceflary, in order to folve the origin of evil, and to 
juftify the eternity of punilhment ; and the obviating 
of thefe difficulties is brought as an argument in 
fupport of it. Now here I obferve, 

Firft, That the origin of evil may be made con- 
fident with the benevolence of God, by fuppofwig 
that every creature has a balance of happinefs j and, 
confequently, fince this is a fuppofition highly pro- 
bable, there feems to be little need of philofophical 
liberty for this purpofe. 

Secondly, That, fince this fuppofition is highly 
probable, the eternity of punifhment is highly im- 
probable; and, confequently, that philofophical 
liberty may be needlefs here alfo. 

Thirdly, That philofophical liberty will not folve 
the origin of evil. The method of reafoning ufed 
here is Tome fuch as this. If man have not philofo- 
phical liberty, but always does the fame thing, where 
the previous circumftances are the fame, then all 
his actions are to be referred to God ; confequently, 
if he have philofophical liberty, all his actions need 
not be referred to God ; he is an independent creature 
in fome things, and is himfelf alone chargeable with 
fome of his actions. Let man act wrong in thefe in- 

64 Of tbe Being and Attributes of God, 

dependent cafes, and the evil which follows will be 
chargeable upon man, and not God, i. e. the origin 
of evil will be accounted for. But here it is to be 
obferved, that there are 'fome evils, or fufferings, 
which cannot be fuppofed to arife from the abufe of 
free-will in the creature that fuffers, as in the pains 
which happen to children juft born, and to brutes. 
Thefe evils are not therefore chargeable upon them. 
Jf, therefore, they be chargeable upon free-will, it 
muft be the free-will of fome other creature. But 
this is as. great a difficulty, as that which it is brought 
to folve j and cannot be folved but by fuppofing that 
God gives a balance of happinefs to A y for wh'at he 
fuffers from B. Now this fuppofition, in its full 
extent, will folve the firft difficulty, and make the 
hypothefis of free-will entirely unnecefiary, as ob- 
ferved above. But, befides this, it is to be confidered, 
that fince free-will is thus the occafion of introducing 
evil into the world, the reftlefs, felfifh, objecting 
creature will afk why he has free-will, fince it is 
not this, but happinefs, which he defires, and hoped 
from the divine benevolence, the attribute now to 
be vindicated. He that produces any caufe, does, 
in effect, produce the thing caufed* To give a be- 
ing a power of making itfelf miferable, if this being 
ufe that power, is juft the fame thing, in him who 
has infinite power and knowledge, as directly making 
him miferable ; and appears to be no otherwife con- 
fident with benevolence to that being, than upon 
fuppofition, that fuperior happinefs is conferred upon 
him afterwards. Now this removes the difficulty 
in the cafe of necefilty, as well as of free-will, in the 
eye of reafon, of an infinite being j and clafhes lefs 
and lefs without limits with the imagination, as we 
advance in intellect, difintereftednefs, and abfolute 
refignation to God. 

If it be faid, that God could not but beftow free- 
will upon his creatures, I anfwer, that this is gratis 

and of Natural Religion. 65 

, there not being the leaft appearance of evi- 
dence for it; alfo, that it is making God fubject to a 
neceffity fuperior to himfelf, which would be to raife 
a greater difficulty than it folves; and, upon the 
whole, we may conclude, that the fuppofition of 
free-will, or liberty, in the philofophical fenfe, does 
not at all help us to account for tht origin of evil. 

Fourthly, Since free-will cannot account for finite 
evil, much lefs can it account for infinite, i, e. for 
the eternity of punifhment. An.d indeed many, who 
receive free-will, do, however, fee its infufficiency 
for this purpofe, and, in confequence thereof, be- 
lieve that the punifhments of a future (late will not 
be eternal. It is true, indeed, that the arguments 
againft the eternity of punifhment are fhorter, flronger, 
and clearer, upon the fuppofition of necefiity, of 
God's being the real, ultimate author of all actions, 
than upon the fuppofition of free-will. But then 
this feems, if all things be duly confidered, to be 
rather a preemption in favour of the doctrine of 
necefiicy, than otherwife. 

The invention and application of the hypothefis 
of free-will, for the vindication of the divine bene- 
volence, has probably arifen from the application of 
what paries in human affairs, in too ftrict a manner, 
to the relation between the Creator and his creatures, 
i. e. to an anthropomorphitifm of too grofs a kind. 
Thus the actions of a fbn are free, in refpect of his 
father, ;. e. though the father can, and does influence 
the fon in many things, yet the fon's actions de- 
pend upon many circumftances, imprefiions, afifo- 
ciations, &c. in which the father has no concern. 
It will therefore be a fufficient vindication of the 
father's benevolence to the fon, if he has taken care, 
that the fon fuffers nothing from the things over 
which the father has power. What evils happen to 
the fon, from quarters where the fon is free in re- 

VOL. II. F fpect 

66 Of the Being and Attributes of God, 

fpect of his father, i. e. uninfluenced by him, thefe 
are no ways to be referred to the father. Now, it is 
very natural for humble and pious men, in confider- 
ing the fins and miferies of mankind, to fuppofe 
that we have fome fuch powers independent of God j 
and that all the evil, which happens to each perfon, 
is to be derived from thefe independent powers. But 
then this notion fhould not be haftily and blindly 
embraced and maintained, without an examination 
of the faft, and of the confiftency of fuch a notion 
with piety, in other refpects. The firft of thefe 
points I have already confidered in the foregoing 
part of this work } the laft I fhall now confider in 
the following propofition. 


The natural Attributes of God, or his infinite Power 
and Knowledge, exclude the Pojfibility of Free-will in 
the philojophical Senfe. 

FOR, to fuppofe that man has a power independent 
of God, is to fuppofe, that God's power does not 
extend to all things, *'. e. is not infinite. If it be 
faid, that the power itfelf depends upon God, but 
the exertion of it upon man, the fame difficulty will 
recur ; fmce the exertion does not depend upon God, 
there will be fomething produced in the world, which 
is not the effect of his power, /. e. his power will 
not extend to all things, confequently not be infinite* 
And the fame thing holds, if we refine farther, and 
proceed to the exertion of the exertion, &c. If this 
depend upon man, God's power will be limited by 
man's j if upon God, we return to the hypothefis 
of neceflity, and of God's being the author of all 
things. However, the fimpleft and cleared way is 
to fuppofe, that power, and the exertion of power, 


and of Natural Religion. 67 

are one and the fame thing ; for power is never 
known but by its actual exertion, ;. e. is no power 
till it be exerted. If, indeed, we fay that man's 
actions depend both upon God and himfelf, this 
feems at firft fight to folve the difficulty. Since they 
depend upon God, his power may be infinite ; fince 
they depend on man, they may be afcribed to him. 
But then the thing in man on which they depend, 
call it what you plcafe, muft either depend upon God 
or not ; if it does, neceffity returns ; if not, God's 
infinite power is infringed. And the fame thing will 
hold, as it appears to me, in any other way of ftating 
this matter. 

Again, to fuppofe that a man may do either the 
action A, or its oppofite a t the previous circum- 
ftances remaining the fame, is to fuppofe that one of 
them may arife without a caufe ; for the fame pre- 
vious circumftances cannot be the caufe of the two 
oppofite effects. Now, if any thing can arife without 
a caufe, all things may, by parity of reafon ; which 
is contrary to the firft propofition of this chapter, or 
to the common foundation upon which writers have 
erected their arguments for the being and attributes 
of God. To fay that free-will is the caufe, is an 
identical propofition ; fince it is faying, that the 
power of doing different things, the previous cir- 
cumftances remaining the fame, is the caufe that this 
may be done, viz, that either A or a may follow the 
fame previous circumftances. Or, if we put for phi- 
lofophical free-will the power of doing things with- 
out a caufe, it will be a word of nearly the fame im- 
port as chance. For chance is the ignorance or de- 
nial of a caufe. It will therefore be as unfit to afcribe 
a real cafuality to free-will as to chance. 

And as free-will is inconfiftent with the infinite 
power of God, fo it is with his infinite knowledge alfo. 
For infinite knowledge muft include the knowledge 

F 2 of 

68 Of fbe Being and Attributes of God, 

of all future things, as well as of all paft and prefent 
ones. Befides, paft, prefent and future, are all pre- 
fent with refpect to God, as has been obferved before. 
Infinite knowledge muft therefore include prcfcience. 
But free-will does not allow of prefcience. Know- 
ledge of all kinds prefuppofes the certainty of the 
thing known, /'. e. prefuppofes that it is determined 
in refpedb of time, place, manner, &c. i. t. pre- 
fuppofes it to be necefiary. Thus, if we confider 
any thing as known certainly, or certain fimply, 
fuch as a mathematical truth, a paft fact, &c. we 
fhall find it to be neceflary, and that it cannot be 
otherwife than it now is, or was formerly ; which is the 
contrary to what is fuppofed of the aftions of crea- 
tures endued with free-will. Thefe actions, there- 
fore, cannot be known, or foreknown, not being the 
objects of knowledge. 

The maintainers of neceffity do indeed deny, that 
there is any fuch thing as uncertainty at all ; unlefs 
as far as this is put relatively for the limitation of 
knowledge in any being, fo that the thing called 
uncertain may or may not be, for any thing that this 
being knows to the contrary. But if they do, for 
argument's fake, allow fuch a thing as abfolute uncer- 
tainty, i. e. that a thing either may or may not be, 
it is plain, that this abfolute uncertainty muft include 
the relative, i. e. exclude knowledge and foreknow- 
ledge. That action of B which either may or may 
not be, cannnot be known certainly to be by A, be- 
caufe it may not be ; it cannot be known not to be, 
becaufe it may be. Suppoie A to make conjectures 
concerning any future action of B. Then this action 
may or may not be, for any thing A knows to the 
contrary j it alfo may or may not be in itfelf, pro- 
vided there be any fuch thing as abfolute uncertainty. 
Suppofe A\ conjectures to pafs into a well-grounded 
probability of a high degree, that the action will 


and of Natural Religion. 69 

happen, then both the relative and abfolute may not> 
are reduced to narrow limits. Suppofe A's con- 
jectures to arife to knowledge, or certainty, then both 
the relative and abfolute may not y vanifh. A cannot 
know, or be certain, that a thing will happen, at the 
fame time that it may or may not happen for any 
thing that he knows to the contrary ; nor can a 
thing be relatively certain, and abfolutely uncertain. 
A\ foreknowledge does therefore imply ^relative cer- 
tainty, this requires abfolute certainty j and abfolute 
certainty is in exprefs terms oppofite to philofophical 
free-will. Foreknowledge is therefore inconfiftent with 
free-will j or rather free-will, if it were pofiible, 
would exclude foreknowledge. It is not therefore 

Nor does it alter the cafe here to allege, that God's 
infinite knowledge muft extend infinitely farther than 
man's, and, confequently, may extend to things un- 
certain in themfelves, fince the very terms knowledge 
and uncertain are inconfiftent. To make "them con- 
fident, we muft affix fbme new and different fenfe to 
one of them, which would be to give up either the 
divine foreknowledge or free-will in reality, while 
we pretend in words to maintain them. If God's 
knowledge be fuppofed to differ fo much from man's 
in this fimple effential circumftance, that the cer- 
tainty of it does not imply the certainty of the thing 
known, we lofe all conception of it. And if the 
fame liberties were ufed with the divine power and 
benevolence, we fhould lofe all conception of the 
divine nature. 

To which it may be added, that the reafoning in 
the laft paragraph but one, concerning the knowledge 
of the being A, is not at all affected, or altered, by his 
rank, as to intelligence. Suppofe his intellectual 
capacities to be greater and greater perpetually, ftill 
all things remain precifely the fame, without the 

F 3 lead 

jo Of the Being and Attributes^ &c. 

lead variation. They will therefore, according to 
the analogy of ultimate ratios, remain precifely the 
fame though his knowledge be fuppofed infinite. It 
follows, therefore, that God's infinite and certain 
knowledge, or his foreknowledge, is as inconfiftent 
with philofophical free-will, as man's finite, but; 
certain, knowledge or foreknowledge. 


Of the Truth of, &c. 71 



To believe the chriftian religion, is to believe 
that Mojes and the prophets, Chrift and his apoftles,, 
were endued with divine authority, that they had 
a commifiion from God to aft and teach as they 
did, and that he will verify their declarations con- 
cerning future things, and efpecially thofe concerning 
a future life, by the event j or, in other words, it 
is to receive the fcriptures as our rule of life, and 
the foundation of all our hopes and fears. And as 
all thofe who regulate their faith and practice by 
the fcriptures are chriftians; fo all thofe who dif- 
claim that name, and pafs under the general title of 
unbelievers, do alfo difavow this regard to the fcrip- 
tures. But there are various clafies of unbelievers. 
Some appear to treat the fcriptures as mere forgeries j 
others allow them to be the genuine writings of thole 
whofe names they bear, but fuppofe them to abound 
with fictions, not only in the miraculous, but alfo 
in the common part of the hiftory j others, again, 
allow this part, but reject that j and, laftly, there are 
others who feem to allow the truth of the principal 
facts, both common and miraculous, contained in the 
fcriptures, and yet ftill call in queftion its divine 
authority, as a rule of life, and an evidence of a 
happy futurity under Chrift our faviour and king. 
He, therefore, that would fatisfy himfelf or others 
in the truth of the chriftian religion, as oppofed by 
F 4 thefc 

1%. Of the fyufb of 

thefe feveral claffes of unbelievers, muft inquire into 
thefe three things: 

Firft, The genuinenefs of the books of the Old 
and New Teftaments. 

Secondly, The truth of the principal facts con- 
tained in them, both common and miraculous. And, 

Thirdly, Their divine authority. 

I will endeavour, therefore, to ftate fome of the 
chief evidences for each of thefe important points, 
having, firft premifed three preparatory propofitions, 
or lemmas, whereby the evidence for any one of 
them may be transferred upon the other two. 


y"be Genuinenefs of the Scriptures proves the Truth* of 
the principal Faffs contained in them. 

FOR, Firft, It is very rare to meet with any 
genuine writings of the hiftorical kind, in which 
the principal facts are not true j unlefs where both 
the motives which engaged the author to falfify, and 
the circumftances which gave fome plaufibility to the 
fiction, are apparent; neither of which can be alleged 
in the prefent cafe with any colour of reafon. Where 
the writer of a hiftory appears to the world as fuch, 
not only his moral fenfe, but his regard to his 
character and his intereft, are ftrong motives not 
to falfify in notorious matters; he muft therefore 
have ftronger motives from the oppofite quarter, and 
alfo a favourable conjuncture of circumfiances, before 
he can attempt this. 

Secondly, As this is rare in general, fo it is much 
more rare, where the writer treats of things that 
happened in his own time, and under his own cog- 
nizance or direction, and communicates his hiftory 
to perfons under the fame circumftances. All which 
may be faid of the writers of the fcripture hiftory. 


the Chriftian Religion. 73 

That this, and the following arguments, may be 
applied with more cafe and clearnefs, 1 will here, in 
one view, refer the books of the Old and New Tefta- 
ments to their proper authors. I fuppofe then, that 
the Pentateuch confifts of the writings of Mofes, put 
together by Samuel, with a very few additions ; that 
the books of Jojbua and Judges were, in like manner, 
collected by him ; and the book of Ruth, with the 
firft part of the firft book of Samuel, written by him j 
that the latter part of the firft book of Samuel, and the 
lecond book, were written by the prophets who 
fucceeded Samuel, fuppofe Nathan and Gad-, that the 
books of Kings and Chronicles are extracts from the 
records of the fucceeding prophets concerning their 
own times, and from the public genealogical tables, 
made by Ezra; that the books of Ezra and Nehemiah 
are collections of like records, fome written by Ezra 
and Nehemiah and fome by their predecefibrs ; that 
the book of Efther was written by fome eminent Jew, 
in or near the times of the tranfaction there record- 
ed, perhaps Mordecai; the book of Job by a Jew of 
an uncertain time; the Pfalms by David, and other 
pious perfons ; the books of Proverbs and Canticles by 
Solomon-, the book of Ecclefiaftes by Solomon, or per- 
haps by a Jew of later times, fpeaking in his perfon, 
but not with an intention to make him pafs for the 
author -, the prophecies by the prophets whofe names 
they bear j and the books of the New Teftament by 
the perfons to whom they are ufually afcribed. There 
are many internal evidences, and in the cafe of the 
New Teftament many external evidences alfo, by 
which thefe books may be (hewn to belong to the 
authors here named. Or, if there be any doubts, 
they are merely of a critical nature, and do not at all 
affect the genuinenefs of the books, nor alter the 
application of thefe arguments, or not materially. 
Thus, if the Epiftle to the Hebrews be fuppofed 
written, not by St. Paul, but by Clement or Barnabas, 
or any other of their cotemporaries, the evidence 


74 Of tie Truth of 

therein given to the miracles performed by Chrift, and 
his followers, will not be at all invalidated thereby. 

Thirdly, The great importance of the fads men- 
tioned in the fcriptures makes it ftill more impro- 
bable, that the feveral authors fhould either have 
attempted to falfify, or have fucceded in fuch an 
attempt. This is an argument for the truth of the 
facts, which proves the genuinenefs of the books at 
the fame time, as I fhall fliew below in a diftinct 
propofition. However, the truth of the facts is in- 
ferred more directly from their importance, if the 
genuinenefs of the fcriptures be previoufly allowed. 
The fame thing may be obferved of the great num- 
ber of particular circumftances of time, place, per- 
fons, &c. mentioned in the fcriptures, and of the 
harmony of the books with themfelves, and with 
each other. Thefe are arguments both for the genu- 
inenefs of the books, and truth of the facts diftinctly 
confidered, and alfo arguments for deducing the 
truth from the genuinenefs. And indeed the argu- 
ments for the general truth of the hiftory of any age 
or nation, where regular records have been kept, are 
fo interwoven together, and fupport each other in 
fuch a variety of ways, that it is extremely difficult to 
keep the ideas of them diftinct, not to anticipate, 
and not to prove more than the exactnefs of method 
requires one to prove. Or, in other words, the in- 
confiftency of the contrary fuppofition is fo great, 
that they can fcarce ftand long enough to be con- 
futed. ^ Let any one try this in the hiftory of France 
or England^ Greece or Rome. 

Fourthly, If the books of the Old and New Tefta- 
ments were written by the perfons to whom they were 
afcribed above, i. t. if they be genuine, the moral 
characters of thefe writers afford the ftrongeft af- 
furance, that the facts afferted by them are true. 
Falfehoods and frauds of a common nature fhock thfc 
moral fenfe of common men, and are rarely met with, 


the Chriftian Religion. 75 

except in perfons of abandoned characters : how in- 
confiftent then muft thofe of the moft glaring and 
impious nature be with the higheft moral characters ! 
That fuch characters are due to the facred writers, 
appears from the writings themfelves by an internal 
evidence ; but there is alfo ftrong external evidence 
in many cafes $ and indeed this point is allowed in 
general by unbelievers. The fufferings which feve- 
ral of the writers underwent both in life and death, 
in atteftation of the facts delivered by them, is a 
particular argument in favour of thefe. 

Fifthly, The arguments here alleged for proving 
the truth of the icripture hiftory from the genuine- 
nefs of the books, are as conclufive in refpect of the 
miraculous fads, as of the common ones. But 
befides this we may obferve, that if we allow the 
genuinenefs of the books to be a fufficient evidence of 
the common facts mentioned in them, the miracu- 
lous facts muft be allowed alfo, from their clofe 
connection with the common ones. It is neceffary to 
admit both or neither. It is not to be conceived, that 
Mofes fhould have delivered the Jfraelites from their 
flavery in Egypt, or conducted them through the 
wildernefs for forcy years, at all, in fuch manner 
as the common hiftory reprefents, unlefs we fuppofe 
the miraculous facts intermixed with it to be true alfo. 
In like manner, the fame of Chrift's miracles, the 
multitudes which followed him, the adherence of his 
difciples, the jealoufy and hatred of the chief priefts, 
fcribes and pharifees, with many other facts of a 
common nature, are impoflible to be accounted for, 
unlefs we allow, that he did really work miracles. 
And the fame obfervations hold in general of the 
other parts of the fcripture hiftory. 

Sixthly, There is even a particular argument in fa- 
vour of the miraculous part -of the fcripture hiftory, 
to be drawn from the reluctance of mankind to re- 
ceive miraculous facts. It is true that this reluctance 


76 Of the Truth of 

is greater in fome ages and nations than in others,- 
and probable reafons may be afiigned why this reluc- 
tance was, in general, lefs in ancient times than in 
the prefent (which, however, are prcfumptions that 
fome real miracles were then wrought) : but it muft 
always be confiderable from the- very frame of the 
human mind, and would be particularly fo amongft 
the Jews at the time of Chrift's appearance, as they 
had then been without miracles for four hundred 
years, or more. Now this reluctance muft make 
both the writers and readers very much upon their 
guard; and if it be now one of the chief prejudices 
againft revealed religion, as unbelievers unanimoufly 
aflert, it is but reafonable to allow alfo, that it would 
be a ftrong check upon the publication of a miracu- 
lous hiftory at or near the time when the miracles 
were faid to be performed, i. e. it will be a ftrong 
confirmation of fuch an hiftory, if its genuinenefs be 
granted previously. 

And, upon the whole, we may certainly con- 
clude, that the principal facts, both common and 
miraculous, mentioned in the fcriptures, muft be 
true, .if their genuinenefs be allowed. The objection 
againft all miraculous fads will be confidered below 
after the other arguments for the truth of the fcrip- 
ture miracles have been alleged. 

The converfe of this propofition is alfo true, /'. e. 
if the principal facts mentioned in the fcriptures be 
true, they muft be genuine writings. And though 
this converfe propofition may, at fir ft fight, appear 
to be of little importance for the eftablilhment of 
chriftianity, inafmuch as the genuinenefs of the fcrip- 
tures is only made ufe of as a medium whereby to 
prove the truth of the facts mentioned in them, yet 
it will be found otherwife upon farther examination. 
For there are many evirVences for the truth of parti- 
cular facts mentioned in the fcriptures, fuch, for 
inftance, as thofe taken from natural hiftory, and the 


the Chriftian Religion. 77 

cotemporary profane hiftory, which no ways prefup- 
pofe, but, on the contrary, prove the genuinenefs of 
the fcripturesj and this genuinenefs, thus proved, 
may, by the arguments alleged under this propofi- 
tion, be extended to infer the truth of the reft of the 
facts. Which is not to argue in a circle, and to 
prove the truth of the fcripture hiftory from its 
truth ; but to prove the truth of thofe facts, which 
are not attefted by natural or civil hiftory, from 
thofe which are, by the medium of the genuinenefs 
of the fcriptures. 


The Genuinenefs of the Scriptures proves their divine 

THE truth of this propofition, as it refpects the 
book of Daniel, feems to have been acknowledged 
by Porphyry y inafmuch as he could no ways in- 
validate the divine authority of this book, implied 
by the accompli fliment of the prophecies therein de- 
livered, but by afierting, that they were written after 
the event, *. e. were forgeries. But the fame thing 
holds of many of the other books of the Old and New 
Teftaments, many of them having unqueftionable 
evidences of the divine foreknowledge, if they be 
allowed genuine. I referve the prophetical evidences 
to be difcufled hereafter, and therefore mall only fug- 
geft the following inftances here, in order to illuftrate 
the propofition, viz. Mofes's prophecy concerning 
the captivity of the Ifraelites, of a ftate not yet 
erected ; J/aiab's concerning Cyrus ; Jeremiah's con- 
cerning the duration of the Babylonijh captivity -, 
Chrirt's concerning the deftruction of Jerufalem, and 
the captivity that was to follow ; St. John's concern- 
ing the great corruption of the chriftian church ; and 
Daniel's concerning the fourth empire in its de- 
clenfionj which lad was extant. in Porphyry's time 


78 Of the Truth of 

at leaft, *'. e. before the events which it fo fitly re-* 

The fame thing follows from the fublimity and 
excellence of the doctrines contained in the fcriptures. 
Thefe no ways fuit the fuppofed authors, /. e. the 
ages when they lived, their educations or occupa- 
tions j and therefore, if they were the real authors, 
there is a necefiity of admitting the divine afliftance. 

The converfe of this propofition, viz. that the 
divine authority of the fcriptures infers their ge- 
nuinenefs, will, I fuppofe, be readily acknowledged 
by all. And it may be ufed for the fame purpofes 
as the converfe of the laft. For there are feveral 
evidences for the divine authority of the fcriptures, 
which are direct and immediate, and prior to the 
confederation both of their genuinenefs, and of the 
truth of the facts contained in them. Of this kind 
is the character of Chrift, as it may be collected 
from his difcourfes and actions related in the gofpels. 
The great and manifeft fuperiority of this to all 
other characters, seal and fictitious, proves, at once, 
his divine million, exclufively of all other confider- 
ations. Suppofe now the genuinenefs of St. Luke's 
gofpel to be deduced in this way, the genuinenefs 
of the Atts of the Apoftles may be deduced from it, 
and of St. Paul's Epiftles from the Afts, by the ufual 
critical methods.^ And when the genuinenefs of the 
Atts of the Apoftles, and of St. Paul's Epiftles, is 
thus deduced, the truth of the facts mentioned in 
them will follow from it by the laft propofition j and 
their divine authority by this. 


the Cbrifian Religion. 79 


'truth of the principal Faffs contained in the 
Scriptures proves their divine Authority. 

THIS propofition may be proved two ways ; Firft, 
exclufively of -the evidences of natural religion, fuch 
as thofe delivered in the laft chapter ; and, Secondly, 
from the previous eftablifhment of the great truths 
of natural religion. And, Firft, 

It is evident, that the great power, knowledge, 
and benevolence, which appeared in Chrift, the pro- 
phets and apoftles, according to the fcripture ac- 
counts, do, as it were, command afient and fubmif- 
fion from all thofe who receive thefe accounts as hifto- 
rical truths j and that, though they are not able to 
deduce, or have not, in fact, deduced the evidences 
of natural religion; nay, though they fhould have 
many doubts about them. The frame of the human 
mind is fuch, that the fcripture hiftory, allowed to 
be true, muft convince us, that Chrift, the prophets 
and apoftles, were endued with a power greater than 
human, and acted by the authority of a being of 
the higheft wifdom and goodnefs. 

Secondly, If natural religion be previoufly efta- 
bliihed, the truth of the principal facts- of the fcrip- 
tures proves their divine authority, in an eafier and 
more convincing manner. 

For, Firft, The power fhewn in the miracles 
wrought by Chrift, the prophets and apoftles, the 
knowledge in their prophecies, and their good moral 
characters, Ihew them to be, in an eminent manner, 
the children, fervants, and meflengers, of him, who 
is now previoufly acknowledged to be infinite in 
power, knowledge, and goodnefs. 

Secondly, Chrift, the prophets and apoftles, make 
an exprefs claim to a divine miflion. Now, it 
cannot be reconciled to God's moral attributes of 


80 Of the Truth of 

juftice, veracity, mercy, &c. that he fhould permit 
thefe perfons to make fuch a claim falfely, and then 
endue them, or fuffer them to be endued, with fuch 
credentials, as muft fupport fuch a falfe claim. Their 
claim is not, therefore, a falfe one, if we admit their 
credentials j or, in other words, the truth of the 
principal facts mentioned in the fcriptures proves 
the divine miffion of Chrift, the prophets, and apo- 
ftles, i. e. the divine authority of the fcriptures. 

The fame obfervations may be made upon the 
converfe of this propofition, as upon thofe of the 
'two laft. 

And thus the genuinenefs of the fcriptures, the 
truth of the principal faces contained in them., and 
their divine authority, appear to be fo connected with 
each other, that any one being eftablifhed upon in- 
dependent principles, the other two may be infer- 
red from it. The firft and fecond of thefe points 
are, indeed, more evidently fubfervient to the laft, 
than the laft is to them j for, if the laft be allowed, 
it is at once all that the believer contends for, whereas 
fome perfons appear to admit, or not to rejeft, the 
firft, or even the fecond, and yet are ranked under 
the title of unbelievers* It is neceflary to fhew to 
fuch perfons, that the firft and fecond infer each 
other mutually, and both of them the laft j and it 
may be of fome ufe to fhew, that the laft infers the 
two firft in fuch a way, as to caft fome light upon 
itfelf, without arguing in a circle ; the divine autho- 
rity of one book being made to infer the genuinenefs 
of another, or the facts contained in it, i.e. its di- 
vine authority alfo. 

Here it may not be amifs to fay fomething con- 
cerning the divine infpiration of the fcriptures. Now 
there are three different fuppofitions, which may be 
made concerning this point. 

The firft and loweft is, that all the paffages de- 
livered by Mofes and the prophets, as coming from 


the Cbriftian Religion. $l 

God, and by the" evangelifts, as the words of Chrift, 
aJfo the revelation given to St. John in a divine 
vifion, with all parallel portions of fcripture, muft 
be confidered as divinely infpifed, and as having 
immediate divine authority j elfe we cannot allow 
even common authority to thefe books; but that the 
common hiftory, the renfonings of the 1 apoftles frorri 
the Old Teftament, and perhaps fome of their opi- 
nion?, may be confidered as coming merely frorri 
thernfelves, and therefore, though highly to be re- 
garded, are not of unqueftionable authority. The 
arguments for this hypothefis may be, tha"t fmce the 
fcriptures have fuffered by tranfcriners, like other 
books, a perfect exaftnefs in the Original, as to 
minute particulars, (in which alone it has fuffered, 
or could fuffer, fiom tranfcribers), is needltfs ; that 
Mofes and the prophets, the evangelifts and apoftles, 
had natural talents for writing hiftory, applying the 
fcriptures, reafoning, and delivering their opinions; 
and that God works by natural means, where there 
are fuch ; that the apoftles were ignorant of the true 
extent of Cbrtjt's kingdom for a confiderable time 
after his refurrection, and perhaps miftaken about 
hrs fecond coming; that God might intend, that 
nothing in this world fiiould be peifeft, our blcfled 
Lord excepted; that fome hiftorical fafts feern dif- 
ficult to be reconciled to one another, and fome ap- 
plications of pafiages fiom the Old Tdftament by 
the writers of the New, with their reafonings there- 
upon, inconclufive and unfamfa&ory ; that the 
writers thernfelves no where lay claim to infallibility > 
when fpeaking from thernfelves; and that Hennas, 
Clerhens Romanus, and ^arnabds^ who were aportolical 
perfons, feem evidently to have reafoned in an 
inconclufive manner. 

The fecond hypothefis is, that hiftoricai incidents 
Of fmall moment, with matters of a nature fo- 
reign to religion, may indeed not have divine au- 

VOL. II. G thority ; 

82 Of the Truth of 

thority; but that all the reft of the fcriptures, the 
reafonings, the application of the prophecies, and 
even the doctrines of inferior note, muft be infpired ; 
elfe what can be meant by the gifts of the fpirit, par- 
ticularly that of prophecy, i. e. of inftructing others ? 
How can Cbrift's promife of the Comforter, who 
fhould lead his difciples into all truth y be fulfilled ? 
Will not the very eflentials of religion, the divine 
mifiion of Chrift, providence, and a future (late, be 
weakened by thus fuppofing, the facred writers to 
be miftaken in religious points ? And though the 
hiftory and the reafonings of the fcriptures have the 
marks of being written in the fame manner as other 
books, i. e. may feem not to be infpired, yet a feciet 
influence might conduct the writers in every thing of 
moment, even when they did not perceive it, or 
reflect upon it themfelves ; it being evident from 
obvious reafonings, as well as from the foregoing 
theory, that the natural workings of the mind are not 
to be diftinguilhed from thofe, which a being that 
has a fufficient power over our intellectual frame, 
might excite in us. 

The third and laft hypothefis is, that the whole 
fcriptures are infpired, even the mod minute hifto- 
rical paflages, the falutations, incidental mention of 
common affairs, &c. The arguments in favour of 
this hypothefis are, that many parts of fcripture ap- 
pear to have double, or perhaps manifold fenfesj 
that not one jot or tittle of the law (/'. e. of the 
whole fcriptures of both the Old and New Tefta- 
ments, in an enlarged way of interpretation, which, 
however, feems juftifiable by parallel inftances) (hall 
'perifh; that the Bible, /'. e. the book of books, as 
we now have it, appears to have been remarkably 
diftinguifhed by Providence from all other writings, 
even of good Jews and Chriftians, and to admit of a 
vindication in refpect of fmall difficulties, and fmall 
fceming inconfiftencies, as well as of great ones, every 


the Chriftian Religion. 83 

day more and more as we advance in knowledge ; and 
that effects of the fame kind with divine infpira- 
tion, viz. the working of miracles, and the gift of 
prophecy, fubfifted during the times of the authors 
of the books of the Old and New Teftaments, and 
even in all, or nearly all, of thefe writers ; alfo that 
they extended, in fome cafes, to very minute things. 

I will not prefume to determine which of thefe three 
ftippofitions approaches neareft to the truth. The 
following propofitions will, I hope, eftablifh the fiift 
of them at . leail, and prove the genuinenefs of the 
fcriptures, the truth of the facts contained in them, 
and their divine authority, to fuch a degree, as that 
we need not fear to make them the rule of our lives, 
and the ground of our future expectations j which is 
all that is abfolutely neceflary for the proof of the 
chriftian religion, and the fatisfaction and comfort 
of religious perfons. I even believe, that the follow- 
ing evidences favour the fecond hypothefis ftrongly, 
and exclude all errors and imperfections of note ; 
nay, I am inclined to believe, that ferious, inquifitive 
men can fcarce reft there, but will be led by the fuc- 
ceflive clearing of difficulties, and unfolding' of the 
moft wonderful truths, to believe the whole fcrip- 
tures to be infpired, and to abound with numberlefs 
ufes and applications, of which we yet know nothing. 
Let future ages determine. The evidently miracu- 
lous nature of one part, viz. the prophetical, difpofes 
the mind to believe the whole to be far above human 
invention, or even penetration, till fuch time as our 
underftandings (hall be farther opened by the events 
which are to precede the fecond coming of Chrift. In 
the mean while, let critics and learned men of all 
kinds have full liberty to examine the facred books ; 
and let us be fparing in our cenfures of each other. 
Let us judge nothing before the time, until the Lord 
come; and then Jhall every man have fraife of God. 
Sobriety of mind, humility, and piety, are requifite in 

G 2 the 

$4 Of tie Truth of 

the purfuit of knowledge of every kind, and much 
more in that of facred. I have here endeavoured to 
be impartial to each hypothefis, and juft to hint what 
I apprehend each party would or might fay in defence 
of their own-. However, they an all brethren, and 
ought not to/<3// out by the way. 


<The Manner in which the Books of the Old and New 
cTeftaments have been handed down from Age to Agc^ 
proves both their Getiuinenefs, and the Truth of the 
principal Faffs contained in them* 

>' . \ 

FOR, Firft, It refembles the manner in which all 
other genuine books and true hiftories. have been 
conveyed down to pofteriiy. As the writings of the 
Greek and Roman poets, orajors, philofcphers and 
hiftorians, were efteemed by theie nations to be 
tranfmitted to them by their forefathers in a continued 
fucceffion, from the times when the refpe&ive au- 
thors lived, fo have the books of the Old Teftament 
by the Jewifo nation, and thofe of the New by the 
ChriftianSt and it is an additional evidence in the laft 
cafe, that the primitive chriftians were not a diftinct 
nation, but a great multitude of people difperfed 
through all the nations of the Roman empire, and 
even extending itfelf beyond the bounds of that em- 
pire. As the Greeks and Romans always believed the 
principal facts of their hiftorical books, fo the Jews 
and Cbrijiians did more, and never feem to have 
doubted of the truth of any part of theirs. In (hort, 
whatever can be faid of the traditional authority due 
to the Greek and Roman writers, fomething analo- 
gous to this, and for the moft part of greater weight, 
may be urged for the Jewijh and Chriftian. Now, 1 
fuppofe that all fober-minded men admit the books 


the Chriftian Religion. 85 

ufually afcribed to the Greek and Roman hiftorians, 
philofophers, &c. to be genuine, and the principal 
facts related or alluded to in them to be true, and that 
one chief evidence for this is the general traditionary 
one here recited. They ought therefore to pay the 
fame regard to the books of the Old and New Tefta- 
ments, fince there are the fame or greater reafons 
for it. 

Secondly, If we reconfider the circumftances re- 
cited in the laft paragraph, it will appear, that thefe 
traditionary evidences are fufficient ones; and we fhall 
have a real argument, as well as one ad bominem^ for 
receiving books fo handed down to us. For it is 
not to be conceived, that whole nations fhould either 
be impofed upon thcmfelvcs, or concur to deceive 
others, by forgeries of books or facts. Thefe books 
and facts muft therefore, in general, be genuine and 
true ; and it is a ftrong additional evidence of this, 
that all nations muft be jealous of forgeries, for the 
fame reafons that we are. 

Here it may be objected, that as we reject the pro- 
digies related by the Greek and Roman writers, though 
we admit the common hiftory, fo we ought alfo to 
reject the fcripture miracles. To this I anfwer, 

Firft, That the fcripture hiftory is fupported by 
far ftronger evidences than the Greek or Roman, as 
will appear in the following propofitions. 

Secondly, That many of the fcripture miracles arc 
related by eye-witneflcs, and were of a public nature, 
of long duration, attended by great and lading ef- 
fects, infeparably connected with the common hif- 
tory, and evidently fuitable to our notions of a wife 
and good Providence, which cannot be faid of thofe 
related by the Pagan writers. 

Thirdly, That the fcripture miracles not attended 
by thefe cogent circumftances are fupported by their 
connection with fuch as are ; and that after we have 

G 2 admitted 

86 Of the Truth of 

admitted thefe, there remains no longer any pre- 
fumptipn againft thofe from their miraculous nature. 

Fourthly, If there be any fmall number found 
amongft the Pagan miracles, attefted by fuch like 
evidences as the principal ones for the fcripture mi- 
racles, I do not fee how they can be rejected ; but 
if will not follow, that the fcripture miracles are 
falfe, becaufe fome of the Pagan ones are true. 


$be great Importance of the Hiftories, Precepts, Pro- 
mifes, Vhreatenings, and Prophecies contained in the 
Scriptures, are Evidences both of their Genuinenejs, 
and of the 'Truth of the principal Fafts mentioned in 

THIS is one of the inftances in which the evi- 
dences for the fcriptures are fuperior, beyond com- 
parifon, to thofe for any, other ancient books. Let 
us take a fhort review of this importance in its 
feveral particulars. 

The hiftory of the creation, fall, deluge, longe- 
vity of the patriarchs, dilperfion of mankind, call- 
ing of Abraham, defcent of Jacob with his family 
into Egypt, and the precepts of abftaining from 
blood, and of circumcifion, were of fo much con- 
cern, either to mankind in general, or to the IJraelites 
in particular, and fome of them of fo extraordinary 
a nature, as that it could not be an indifferent matter 
to the people amongft whom the account given of 
them in Gene/is was firft publifhed, whether they 
received them or not. Suppofe this account to be 
firft publifhed amongft the Ifraelites by Mojes, and alfo 
to be then comfirmed by clear, univerfal, uninterrupted 
tradition (which is poffible and probable, according 
to the hiftory itfclf), and it will be eafy to conceive, 
upon this true fuppofition, fyow this account fhould 


tbe Chriftian Religion. 87 

be handed down from age to age amongft the Jews, 
and received by them as indubitable. Suppofe this 
account to be falfe, /'. e. fuppofe that there were no 
fuch evidences and veftiges of thefe hiftories and 
precepts, and it will be difficult to conceive how this 
could have happened, let the time of publication be 
as it will. If early, the people would reject the 
account at once for want of a clear tradition, which 
the account would itfelf give them reafon to expect. 
If late, it would be natural to inquire how the author 
came to be informed of things never known before 
to others. 

If it be faid, that he delivered them as commu- 
nicated to him by revelation (which yet cannot well 
be faid on account of the many references in Genefis 
to the remaining veftiges of the things related), thefe 
furprizing, interefting particulars would at lead be 
an embarraflment upon his fictitious credentials, and 
engage his cotemporaries to look narrowly into them. 

If it be faid, that there were many cofmogonies 
and theogonies current amongft the Pagans, which yet 
are evidently fictions j I anfwer, that thefe were, 
in general, regarded only as amufing fictions; how- 
ever, that they had fome truths in them, either ex- 
prefied in plain words, or concealed in figures 3 and 
that their agreement with the book of Genefis, as far 
as they are confident with one another, or have any 
appearance of truth, is a remarkable evidence in 
favour of this book. It is endlefs to make all the 
poflible fuppofitions and objections of this kind ; but 
it appears to me, that the more are made, the more 
will the truth and genuinenefs of the fcriptures be efta- 
blifhed thereby. 

It ought to be added, in relation to the precepts 
of abftaining from blood, and circurncifion, before- 
mentioned, that if the firft was common to mankind, 
or was known to have been fo, the laft peculiar to the 
defendants of Abraham, at the time of the publi- 

G 4 cation 


cation of the book of Gene/is, this confirms jtj if 
ochervyife, would contribute to make it rejected, If 
neither the practices themfelves, nor any veftiges of 
them, fubfifted at all, the book muft be rejected. 
The difficulty of deducing thefe practices from the 
principles of human nature ought to be .confidered 
here j as it tends to prove their divine origU 
nal agreeably to the accounts given of them ia 

Let us next come to the law of Mofes. This wa.3 
extremely burdenfome, expenfive, fevere, particu- 
larly upon the _crime of idolatry, to which all man- 
kind were then extravagantly prone, and abfurd, 
according to the common judgment of mankind, in 
the inftances of forbidding to provide themfelves with 
Jiorfcs for war, and commanding all the males of 
the whole nation to appear at Jerujalem three times 
in a year. At the fame time, it claims a divine 
authority every where, and appeals to facts of the 
moft notorious kinds, and to cuftoms and ceremonies 
of the moft peculiar nature, as the memorials of thefe 
facts. We cannot conceive, then, that any nation, 
\vith fucji motives to reject, and fuch opportunities 
of detecting, the forgery of the books of Exodus \ 
Leviticus, Number s t and Deuteronomy, fhould yet 
receive them, and fubmit to this heavy yoke. That 
they fhould often throw it off in part, and for a time, 
and rebel againft the divine authority of their law, 
though fufficiently evidenced, is eafily to be accounted 
for from what we fee and feel in ourfelves and others 
every day ; but that they fhould ever return and re- 
pent, ever fubmit to it, unlefs it had divine authority, 
is utterly incredible. It was not a matter of fuch 
fmall importance, as that they could content them- 
felves with a fuperficial examination, with a lefs 
examination than would be fufficient to detect fo 
notorious a forgery ; and ihis holds at whatever time 
we fuppofe thefe books to be publifhed. 


the Chriftian Religion. 89 

That the Jews did thus fubmit to the law of 
, is evident from the books of the Old and New 
Teftaments, if \ve allow them the lead truth and 
genuineness, or even from profane writers ; nay, I 
may fay, from the prefent obfervance of it by the 
Jews Scattered through all the kingdoms of the 

If it be faid, that other nations have afcribed di- 
vine authority to their lawgivers, and Submitted to 
very Severe laws ; I anfwer, Firft, That the pretences 
of lav/givers amongft the Pagans to infpiration, and 
the Submiffion of the people to them, may be account- 
ed for in the degree in which they are found, from 
the then circumftances of things, without having 
recourfe to real inspiration ; and particularly, that 
if we admit the patriarchal revelations related and in- 
timated by Mofe^t and his own divine legation, it 
will appear, that the heathen lawgivers copied after 
thefe ; which is a ilrong argument for admitting them. 
Secondly, That there is no inftance amongft the Pa- 
gans, of a body of laws being produced at: once, and 
remaining without addition afterwards j but that 
they were compiled by degrees, according to the 
exigencies of the ftate, the prevalence of a particular 
fadion, or the authority of fome particular perfons, 
who were all ftyled lawgivers, as Draco and Solon at 
Aibens : that they were made, in general, not to 
curb, but humour, the genius of the people ; and 
were afterwards repealed and altered from the Same 
cauSes : whereas the body politic of the Israelites took 
upon itfelf a complete form at once, and has preServed 
this form in great meaSure to the preSent time, and 
that under the higheft external disadvantages ; which 
is an inftance quite without parallel, and (hews the 
great opinion which they had of their law, /'. e. its great 
importance to them. 

If it be faid, that the laws of the IJr&sliles were 
not perhaps impofed at once, but grew up by degrees, 


90 Of the 'Truth of 

as in other nations, this will make the difficulty of re- 
ceiving the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and 
Deuteronomy, in which the contrary, with all the par- 
ticular circumftances, is aflerted, greater than ever. 
In fhort, of all the fictions or forgeries that can hap- 
pen amongft any people, the moft improbable is that 
of their body of civil laws ; and it feems to be ut- 
terly impofiible in the cafe of the law of Mofes. 

The next part of the fcriptures, whofe importance 
we are to confider, is the hiftory contained in the 
books of Jo/hua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chro- 
nicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and extending from the 
Death of Mofes to the re-eftablifhment of the Jews 
after the Babylonifh captivity, by Ezra and Nehemiah. 
Now, in this hiftory are the following important 
fafts, moft of which muft be fuppofed to leave fnch 
veftiges of themfelves, either external vifible onesy 
or internal in the minds and memories of the people, 
as would verify them, if true ; make them be rejected, 
if falfe. The conqueft of the land of Canaan, the 
divifion of it, and the appointment of cities for the 
priefts and Levites by Jojhua; the frequent flave- 
ries of the IJraelites to the neighbouring kings, and 
their deliverance by the judges ; the erection of a 
kingdom by Samuel-, the tranflation of this king- 
dom from Saul's family to David, with his conquefts j 
the glory of Solomon's kingdom; the building of the 
temple; the divifion of the 'kingdom ; the idola- 
trous worfhip fet up at Dan and Bethel; the capti- 
vity of the IJraelites by the kings of AJfyria ; the 
captivity of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar ; the de- 
ftru&ion of their temple j their return under Cyrus, 
rebuilding the temple under Darius Hyftafpis, and 
re-eftablifhment under drtaxerxes Longimanus, by 
Ezra and Nebemiab ; thefe events are fome of 
them the moft glorious, fome of them the moft fliame- 
ful that can well happen to any people. How can we 
reconcile forgeries of fuch oppofite kinds, and efpe- 


the Chrijlian Religion. 91 

cially as they are interwoven together ? But, indeed, 
the facts are of fuch confequence, notoriety, and 
permanency in their effects, that neither could any 
particular perfons arnongft the Israelites firft project 
the defign of feigning them, nor their own people 
concur with fuch a defign, nor the neighbouring na- 
tions permit the fiction to pafs. Nothing could make 
a jealous multitude amongft the Ifraelites or neigh- 
bouring nations acquiefce, but the invincible evi- 
dence of the facts here alleged. And the fame ob- 
fervations hold of numberlefs other fads of lefler 
note, which it would be tedious to recount j and of 
miraculous facts as much, or rather more than others, 
Befides which, it is to be noted, that all thefe have 
fuch various neceflary connections with each other, 
that they cannot be feparated, as has been already 

And all this will, I prefume, be readily acknow- 
ledged, upon fuppofition that the feveral books were 
publifhed in or near the times of the fa&s therein re- 
corded. But, fay the objectors, this will not hold in 
fo ftrong a manner, if the books be publifhed after 
thefe tirrjes. Let us take an extreme cafe then, and 
fuppofe all thefe hiftorical books forged by Ezra. 
But this is evidently impofllble. Things of fo im- 
portant and notorious a kind, fo glorious and fo fhame- 
ful to the people, for whofe fake they were forged, 
would have been reje6ted wich the utmoft indignation, 
unlefs there were the ftrongeft and moft genuine foot- 
fteps of thefe things already amongft the people. 
They were therefore in part true. But many addi- 
tions were made by Ezra, fay the objectors. I an- 
fwer, if thefe were of importance, the difficulty re- 
turns. If not, then all the important facts are true. 
Befides, what motive could any one have for making 
additions, of no importance ? Again, if there were 
any ancient writings extant, Ezra muft either copy 
after them, which deftroys the prefent fuppofition ; 


92 Of the Truth of 

or differ from and oppofe them, which would betray 
him. If there were no fuch ancient writings, the 
people could not but inquire in matters of importance, 
for what realbns Ezra was fo particular in things of 
which there was neither any memory, nor account 
in writing. If it be faid, that the people did 
regard what Ezra had thus forged, but let it pafs 
uncontradi&ed j this is again to make the things of 
fmall or no importance, Befides, why fhould Ezra 
write, if no one would read or regard ? Farther, 
Ezra muff, like all other men, have friends, ene- 
mies and rivals ; and fome or all of thefe would have 
been a check upon him, and a fecurity againft him 
in matters of importance. 

If, inftead of fuppofing Ezra to have forged all 
thefe books at once, we fuppofe them forged fuccef- 
fively, one, two, or three centuries after .the fafts 
related ; we fhall, from this intermediate fuppofition, 
have (befides the difficulty of accounting for fuch a 
regular fuccefiion of impoftures in matters fo impor- 
tant) a mixture of the difficulties recited in the 
two preceding paragraphs, the fum total of which 
will be the fame, or nearly the fame, as in either of 
thofe cafes. And, upon the whole, the forgery of 
the annals of the Israelites appears to be impoffible, 
as well as that of the body of their civil laws. 

If it be faid, that the hiftories and annals of other 
nations have many fi<5lions and falfehoods in them; 
I anfwer, that the fuperior importance of the events 
which happened to the Jewijh nation, and the mira- 
culous nature of many of them, occafioned there be- 
ing recorded at the then prefent times, in the way 
of fimple narration, the command of God alfo con- 
curring, as it feerns ; and that thus all addition, va- 
riety, and embelliihrnent, was. prevented : whereas 
the hiftories of the originals of other nations were 
not committed to writing till long after the events, 
after they had heen corrupted and obfcured by num- 


the Cbriftian Religion. 93 

berlefs fables and fictions, as is well known* There 
are many other circumftances peculiar to the Jewijb 
hiftoryj which eftablifh its truth even in the minutcft 
things, as I fhall fhew in the following propofitions j 
and I hope the reader will fee, in the progrefs of the 
argument, that the fame method of reafoning which 
proves the Jewijh hirtory to be rigoroufly exa<5t, 
proves alfo, that the hiftories of other nations may be 
expected to be partly true, and partly falfe, as they are 
agreed to be by all learned and fober-minded men. 

i pafs over the books of Efther, Job, the PJalms, 
Proverbs, Ecclefiaftes, and Canticles, as not having 
much relation to this propofition ; and proceed to the 
confutation of the Prophecies. 

Tht-fc contain the moft important precepts, pro- 
mifes, threattnings, and predictions, /. e. prophecies 
peculiarly fo called, btfidcs the indirect and incidental 
mention of the great events recorded in the hiftorical 
books. And as they are full of the fevereft reproofs 
and denunciations aguinft all ranks, king, governors 
and great men fuboidinate to him, priefts, pro- 
phets, and people, one cannot expeci, that they 
fhould be favourably received by any, but thofe of 
the beft moral characters j and thefe muft be the 
firft to detect and expofe a- forgery, if there was 
any. So that the prophecies, if they were forgeries, 
could not be able to (land fo rigorous an exami- 
nation as the importance of the cafe would prompt 
all ranks to. And here all the arguments before ufed 
to (hew, that the hiftorical books could neither be 
forged at the time of the fadls, nor fo late as Ezra'?, 
time, nor in any intermediate one, are applicable with 
the fame or even greater force. Befides which, it is 
to be obfcrved of the prediiflions in particular, that,' 
if they were publifhed before the events, they could 
not be forgeries ; if afterwards, there would not be 
wanting amongft- the Jews many perfons of the fame 
difpofition with Porphyry, and the prefent objectors to 


the genuinenefs of the prophecies, and the truth of 
the facts related or implied in them, who upon that 
fuppofition would have met with fucccfb, as Porphyry, 
and the ancient objectors would have done long ago, 
had their objections been folid. Infidelity is the 
natural and ncceflary product: of human wickednefs 
and weaknefs j we fee -it, in all other things, as well 
as in religion, whenfoever the interefts and paflions of 
men are oppofite to truth j and the prefent objectors 
to the truth of revealed religion may be afTured, 
that the ancient ones, the murmuring Ifraelites in the 
wildernefs, the rebellious Jews before Chrift, and 
both Jews and Gentiles fince Chrift, have done juftice 
to their caufe. 

We come, in the laft place, to confider the im- 
portance of the books of the Jew Teftament. Who- 
ever then received thefe in ancient times as genuine 
and true, muft not only forfake all finful pleafures, 
but expofe himfelf to various hardfhips and dangers, 
and even to death itfelf. They had indeed a future 
glory promifed to them, with which the fufferings of 
the prefent time were not worthy to be compared. 
But then this glory, being future, muft be fupported 
with the moft inconteftable evidences j elfe it could 
have no power againft the oppofite motives ; and both 
together muft fo roufe the mind, as to make men ex- 
ert themfelves to the uttermoft, till they had received 
full fatisfaction. Befides which, it is to be obferved, 
that even joy, and the greatnefs of an expectation, 
incline men to disbelieve, and to examine with a 
fcrupulous exactnefs, as well as fear and diflike. 

As to thofe who did not receive the doctrines of 
the New Teftament, and the facts there related and 
implied, they would have fufficient motives to detect 
the forgery or falfehood, had there been any fuch. 
.They were all condemned for their unbelief j many 
for their grofs vices j the Jew for his darling par- 
tiality to his own nation, and ceremonial lawj and 


the Chriflian Religion. 95 

the Gentile for his idolatry and polytheifm j and the 
mod dreadful puniftiments threatened to all in a future 
ftate. Now thefe were important charges, and alarm- 
ing confiderations, which, if they did not put men 
upon a fair examination, would, at leaft, make them 
dcfirous to find fault, to deteft and expofe, and, if 
they had difcovered any fraud, to'publifn it with the 
utmoft triumph. The books of the New Teftament 
could not but be of fo much importance to the 
unbelievers of the primitive times, as to excite them 
to vigilance and earneftnefs, in endeavouring to 
difcredit and deftroy them. All which is abundantly 
confirmed by the hiftory of thofe times. And in- 
deed cafes of the fame kind, though not of the fame 
degree, occur now to daily obfervation, which the 
reader will do well to call to mind. Thus it comes 
to pafs on one hand, that frauds and impoftures 
are cruftied in the birth j 'and, on the other, that 
wicked men labour againft the truth in the moft un- 
reafonable and inconfiftent ways, and are led on from, 
one degree of obftinacy, prevarication, and infatua- 
tion, to another, without limits. 

It may be added here, that the perfons reproved 
and condemned in the Gofpels, in the ARs of the 
Apoftles, by St. Paul in his Epiftles, by St. Peter in 
his fecond Epiftle, by St. John and St. Jude in their 
Epiftles, and by St. John in the Revelation, viz. the 
five churches, and the Nicolaitans, could not but 
endeavour to vindicate themfelves. The books were 
all of a public nature, and thefe reproofs particularly 
fo, as being intended to guard others. 

I have now gone through the feveral parts of the 
fcripture, and (hewn briefly how the importance of 
each would be a fecurity againft forgery and fi&ion 
in that part. I will now add fome general evidences 
to the fame purpofe. 

Firft, then, It is certain, that both Jews and Chrif- 
tians have undergone the fevered perfecutions and 


fufferings on account of their facred books, and yet 
never could be prevailed with to deliver them up : 
which (hews that they thought them of the higheft 
importance, mod genuine and true. 

Secondly, The preservation of the law of Mofes, 
which is probably the firft book that was ever written 
in any language, while fo many others more modern 
have been loft, fhews the great regard paid to ir. 
The fame holds in a lefs degree of moft of the other 
books of the Old Teftament, fince moft of them 
are ancienter than the oldeft Greek hif\orians. And as 
the records of all the neighbouring nations are loft; 
we mtrft fuppofe thofe of the Jews to have been 
preferved, from their importance, or fome other fuch 
caufe, as may be an equal evidence of their genuine- 
nefs and truth. 

Thirdly, The great importance of all the facred 
books appears from the many early tranflations and 
paraphrafes of them. The fame tranflations and! 
paraphrafes muft be an effectual means of fecuring 
their integrity and purity, if we could fuppofe any 
defign to corrupt them. 

Fourthly, The hefitation and difficulty with which 
a few books of the New Teftament were received 
into the canon, fhew the great care and concern 
of the primitive chriftians about their can'on, /. e. 
the high importance of the books received into it; 
and are therefore a ftrong evidence, firft, for the' 
genuinenefs and truth of the books which were re- 
ceived without hefitation ; and then for .thefe others, 
fince they were received univerfally at laft. 

fifthly, The great religious hatred and animofity 
which fubfifted between the Jews and Samaritans, and 
between feveral cf the ancient feds amongft the 
chriftians, fhew of what importance they all thought 
their facred books ; and would make them watch Over 
one another with a jealous eye. 


the Cbriftian Religion. . 97 


Tjbe Language, Style> and Manner of Writing ttfed in 
the Books of the Old and New Tejiawevts, are Argu- 
ments of t fair 

HERE I obferve, Firft, That the Hebrew language, 
in which the Old T.eftament was written, being the 
language of an ancient people, and one that had 
li.ttle intercourfc with .their neighbours, and \vhofe 
neighbours a Ho fpake a language that had great 
affinity with their own, would noc change To faft 
as modern languages have done, fince nations have 
been variously mixed with one another, and trade, 
arts, and fciences, greatly extended. Yet ibme 
changes there mtjfl. be, in paffing from the time of 
Mofes to that of Malachi. Now, I apprehend, that 
the Biblical Hebrew correfponds to this criterion with 
Ib much exaftnefs, that a confiderable argument may 
be deduced thence in favour of the genuinenefs of the 
books of the Old Teftament. 

Secondly, The books of the Old Teftament have 
too confiderable a diverfity of ftyle to be the work 
cither of one Jew {for a Jew he muft be on account 
of the language), or of any fet of cotempoi ary Jews. 
If therefore they t)e all forgeries, there muft be a fuc- 
cefllon of impoftors in different ages, who have con- 
curred to impofe upon pofterity, which is inconceiv- 
able. To fuppofe part forged, and part genuine, is 
very harfh, neither would this fuppofition, if admit- 
ted, be fatisfadory. 

Thirdly, The Hebrew language ceafed to be 
fpoken, as a living language, loon after the time of 
the Babylonijh captivity : but it would be difficult or 
impofiible to forge any ttiing in it, after it was be- 
come a dead language. For* there was no grammar 
made for the Hebrew till many ages after ; and, as it 

VOL. II. H is 

98 , Of the Truth of 

is difficult to write in a dead language with exact- 
nefs, even by the help of a grammar, fo it feems 
impoffible without it. All the books of the Old Tefta- 
ment muft therefore be, nearly, as ancient as the 
&abylonijh captivity ; and, fince they could not all be 
written in the fame age, fome muft be confiderably 
more ancient ; which would bring us again to a fuc- 
cefiion of confpiring impoftors. 

Fourthly, This laft remark may perhaps afford a 
new argument for the genuinenefs of the book of 
Daniel, if any were wanting. But indeed the Septua- 
gint tranflation fhews both this, and all the other 
books of the Old Teftament to have been confidered 
as ancient books, foorr after the times of Antiochw 
Epipbanes, at lea ft. 

Fifthly, There is a fimplicity of ftyle, and an un- 
affected manner of writing, in all the books of the 
Old Teftament ; which is a very ftrong evidence of 
their genuinenefs, even exclufively of the fuitablenefs 
of this circumftance to the times of the fuppofed 

Sixthly, The ftyle of the New Teftament is alfo 
fimple and unaffected, and perfectly fuited to the 
time, places, and perfons. Let it be obferved far- 
ther, that the ufe of words and phrafes is fuch, alfo 
the ideas, and method of reafoning, as that the books 
of the New Teftament could be written by none but 
perfons originally Jews-, which would bring the in- 
quiry into a little narrower compafs, if there was any 
occafion for this. 

One may alfo obferve, that the narrations and pre- 
cepts of both Old and New Teftament are delivered 
without hefitation j the writers teach as having au- 
thority ; which circumftance is peculiar to thofe, who 
have both a clear knowledge of what they deliver, and 
a perfect integrity of heart. 


the Chriftian Religion. 99 


The very great Number of particular Circumftances of 
Time, Place, Perfons, &c. mentioned in- the Scrip- 
tures, are Arguments both of their Genuinenefs and 

THAT the reader may underftand what I mean 
by thefe particular circumftances, I will recite Tome 
of the principal heads, under which they may be 

There are then mentioned in the book of Gene/is, 
the rivers of paradife, the generations of the antedi- 
luvian patriarchs, the deluge with its circumftances, 
the place where the ark refted, the building of the 
tower of Babely the confufion of tongues, the diP 
perfion of mankind, or the divifion of the earth 
amongft the pofterity of Shem, Ham, and Japhet, the 
generations of the poftdiluvian patriarchs, with the 
gradual fhortening of human life after the flood, 
the fojournings of Abraham, Ifaac and Jacob, with 
many particulars of the ftate of Canaan, and the 
neighbouring countries in their times, the defiruc- 
tion of Sodom and Gomorrah, the ftate of the land of 
Edom, both before and after E/au's time, and the 
defcent of Jacob into Egypt, with the ftate of Egypt 
before Mofes's time. 

In the book of Exodus are the plagues of Egypt, 
the inftitution of the paflbver, the paffage through the 
Red Sea, with the deftruction of Pharaoh and his hoft 
there, the miracle of manna, the victory over the 
Amalekites, the folemn delivery of the law from mount 
Sinai, many particular laws both moral and cere- 
monial, the worftiip of the golden calf, and a very 
minute defcription of the tabernacle, priefts' gar- 
ments, ark, &c. 

H 2 In 

ioo Of the Truth of 

In Leviticus we have a collection of ceremonial 
laws, with all their particularities, and an account of 
the deaths of Nadab and dbihu. 

The book of Numbers contains the firft and fecond 
numberings of the ftveral tribes with their genealo- 
gies, the peculiar offices of the three feveral families 
of the Levites, many ceremonial law-s, the journey- 
ings and encampments of the people in the wilder- 
nefs during forty years, with the relation of fome 
remarkable events which happened' in this period; as 
the fearching of the land, the rebellion of Korab, 
the victories over Arad, Sihon, and Og, with the di- 
vifion of the kingdoms of the two laft among the Gad- 
ites, Reubenites, and Manajjites, the. hiftory of Balak 
and Balaam, and the victory over the Midianites, all 
defcribed with the feveral particularities of time, 
place, and perfons. 

The book of Deuteronomy contains a recapitula 
tibn of many things contained in 'the three laft books, 
with a fecond delivery of the law, chiefly the moral 
one, by Mcfes, upon the borders of Canaan, juft 
before his death, with an account of this. 

In the book of Jojhua, we have the paflage over 
Jordan, the conqueft of the land of Canaan in de- 
tail, and the divifion of it among the tribes, in- 
cluding a minute geographical defcription. 

The book of Judges recites a great variety of pub- 
lic tranfactions, with the private origin of fome. In 
all, the names of times, places, and perfons, both 
among the Ijraelites, and the neighbouring nations, 
are noted with particularity and fimplicity. 

In the book of Ruth is a very particular account 
of the genealogy of David, with feveral incidental 

The books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, 
and Nnhemiab, contain the tranfactions of the kings 
before the captivity, and governors afterwards, all 
delivered in the fame circumftantial manner. And 


tba Cbrijiian Religion. 101 

here the particular account of the regulations facred 
and civil eftablifhed by David, and of the building of 
the temple by Solomon, the genealogies given in the 
beginning of the firft book of Chronicles, and the lifts 
of the perfons who returned, fealed, &c. after the 
captivity, in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, de- 
fer ve efpecial notice, in* the light in which we are 
now confidering things. 

The book of Eftber contains a like account of a 
very remarkable event, with the inftitution of a 
feftival in memory of it. 

The book of Pjalms mentions many hiftorical 
facts in an incidental way j and this, with the books 
of Job, Proverbs, Ecclefiaftes, and Canticles, allude to 
the manners and cuftoms of ancient times in various 

In the Prophecies there are fome hiftorical relations; 
and in the other parts the indirect mention of facts, 
times, places, and perfons, is interwoven with the 
predictions in the moft copious and circumftantial 

If we come to the New Teftament, the fame obfer- 
vations prcfent themfelves at' firft view. We have 
the names of friends and enemies, Jews, Greeks, 
and Romans, pbfcure and illuftrious, the times, 
places, and circumftances of facls fpecified directly, 
and alluded to indirectly, with various references to 
the cuftoms and manners of thofe times. 

Now here I obferve, Firft, That, in fact, we do 
not ever .find, that forged or faife accounts of things 
fuperabound thus in particularities. There is alyvays 
fome truth where there are confiderable particularities 
related, and they always feem to bear fome propor- 
tion to one another. Thus there is a great want of the 
particulars of time, place, and perfons, in Manstbo's 
account of the Egytian dynafties, Ctefiafs of the 
AJfyrlan kings, and thofe which the technical 
chronoiogers have given of the ancient kingdoms of 

H 3 Greece; 

102 Of the Truth of 

Greece; and, agreeably thereto, thefe accounts have 
much fiction and falfehood, with fome truth': where- 
as Tbucydides's hiftory of the Peloponnefian war, and 
Gator's of the war in Gaul, in both which the par- 
ticulars of time, place, and perfons, are mentioned, 
are univetfally efteemed true to a great degree of 

Secondly, A forger, or a relater of falfehoods, 
would be careful not to mention fo great a number 
of particulars, fince this would be to put into his 
reader's hands criterions whereby to detect him. 
Thus we may fee one reafon of the fact mentioned 
in the laft paragraph, and which in confirming that 
fact confirms the propofition here to be proved. 

Thirdly, A forger, or a relater of falfehoods, could 
fcarce furnilh out fuch lifts of particulars. It is eafy 
to conceive how faithful records kept from time to 
time by perfons concerned in the tranfactions fhould 
contain fuch lifts j nay, it is natural to expect them 
in this cafe, from that local memory which takes 
ftrong pofleflion of the fancy in thofe who have been 
prefent at tranfactions j but it would be a work of 
the higheft invention, and greateft ftretch of genius 
to raiie from nothing fuch numberlefs particularities, 
as are almoft every where to be met with in the 
fcriptures. The account given of memory, imagi- 
nation, and invention, in the foregoing part of thefe 
obfervations, fets this matter in a ftrong light. 

There is a circumftance relating to the gofpels, 
which deferves particular notice in this place. St. 
Matthew and St. John were apoftles ; and therefore, 
fince they accompanied Chrift, muft have this local 
memory of his journeyings and miracles. St. Mark 
was a Jew of Judaea, and a friend of St. Peter's-, and 
therefore may either have had this local memory him- 
felf, or have written chiefly from St. Peter, who had. 
But St. Luke, being a profelyte of Antiocb, not con- 
verted perhaps till feveral years after Chrift's refurrec- 


the Cbrijlian Religion. 103 

tion, and receiving his accounts from different eye- 
witnefies, as he fays himfelf, could have no regard 
to that order of time, which a local memory would 
fugged. Let us fee how the gofpels anfwer to thele 
pofitions. St. Matthew's then appears to be in exact 
order of time, and to be a regulator to St. Mark's, 
and St. Luke's, (hewing St. Mark's to be nearly 
fo, but St. Luke's to have little or no regard to 
the order of time in his account of Chrift's mi- 
niftry. St. John's gofpel is, like St. Matthew's, in 
order of time; but as he wrote after all the reft, and 
with a view only of recording fome remarkable par- 
ticulars, fuch as Chrift's actions before he left Judaea 
to go to preach in Galilee, his difputes with the 
Jews of Jerufalem, and his difcourfes to the apoftles 
at his laft fupper, there was lefs opportunity for his 
local memory to (hew itfelf. However, his recording 
what paft before Chrift's going into Galilee might 
be in part from this caufe, as St. Matthew's 
omiffion of it was probably from his want of this 
local memory. For it appears, that St. Matthew re- 
fided in Galilee-, and that he was not converted till fome 
time after Chrift's coming thither to preach. Now 
this fuitablenefs of the four gofpels to their reputed 
authors, in a circumftance of fo fubtle and reclufe a 
nature, is quite inconfiftent with the fuppofition of 
fiction or forgery. This remark is chiefly taken 
from Sir Ifaac Newton's chapter concerning the times 
of the birth and paflion of Chrift, in his comaient on 

Fourthly, If we could fuppofe the perfons who 
forged the books of the Old and New Teftaments, to 
have furnifhed their readers with the great variety 
of particulars above-mentioned, notwithstanding the 
two reafons here alleged againft it, we cannot how- 
ever, conceive, but that the perfons of thofe times 
when the books were publiflied, muft by the help of 
thefe criterions have detected and expofed the for- 

H 4 geries 

104 Of the Truth of 

geries or falfchoods. For thefe criterion^ are fo 
attefted by allowed fab, as at this time, and in this 
remote corner of the world, to eftablifh the truth 
and genuinenefs of the fcriptures, as may appear even 
from this chapter, arid much more from the writings 
of comnrientators, facred critics, and fuch other 
learned men, as have given the hiftorical evidences 
for revealed religion in detail ; arid by parity of reafon 
they would fuffice even now to detect the fraud, 
were there any : whence we may conclude, a fortiori., 
that they muft have enabled the perfons who were 
upon the fpot, when the books were publiihed, to do 
this ; and the importance of many of thefe particulars 
confidered under Prop. 21. would furnifh them with 
abundant motives for this purpofe. And upon the 
whole I infer, that the very great number of par- 
ticulars of time, place, perfons, &c. mentioned in the 
fcriptures, is a proof of their genuinenefs and truth, 
even previoufly to the confideration of the agreement 
of thefe particulars with hiftory, natural and civil, and 
with one another, of which I now proceed to treat. 


The Agreement of (be Scriptures with Hiftory, natural and 
ilj is a Proof of their Genuinenejs and Truth. 

THUS the hiftory of the fall agrees in an eminent 
manner, both with the obvious facts of labour, 
forrow, pain, and death, with what we fee and feel 
every day, and with all our philofphical inquiries in- 
to the frame of the human mind, the nature of focial 
life, and the origin of evil, as may appear from 
thefe papers amongft other writings of the fame 
kind. The feveral powers of the little world within 
a man's own breaft are at variance with one another, 
as well as thofe of the great world ; we are utterly 


the Chriftian Religion. 105 

unable to give a complete folution of the origin of 
the evils which flow from thefe difcords, and from 
the jarring of the elements of the natural world j and 
yet there are comfortable hopes, that all evil will be 
overpowered and annihilated at laft, and that it has 
an entire fubferviency to good really and ultimately; 
i. e. though the Jerpent bruije our heel, yet we fhall 
bruije its bead. 

It cannot be denied indeed, but that both the hif- 
tory of the creation, and that of the fall, are attended 
with great difficulties. But then they arc not of fuch 
a kind as intimate them to be a fiction contrived by 
Mofes. It is probable, that he fet down the traditional 
account, fuch as he received it from his anceftors j 
and that this account contains the literal truth in fhort, 
though fo concealed in certain particulars through 
its Ihortnefs, and fome figurative expreffions made 
life of, that we cannot yet, perhaps never (hall, in- 
terpret it fatisfactorily. However, Mr. Whiflorts 
conjectures concerning the fix days creation feem to 
deferve the attention of future inquirers j and there is 
great plaufibility in fuppofing with him, that the firft 
chapter of Gene/is contains a narrative of the fuccef- 
fion of vifible appearances. 

One may fuppofe alfo, that there is a typical and 
prophetic ienfe to be difcovered hereafter, relative 
perhaps to the fix millenniums, which are to precede 
a feventh fabbatical onej and that the words are more 
accommodated to this fenfe than to the literal one, in 
fome places, which I think holds in many of the pro- 
phecies that have double fenjes. However, there is no 
appearance of any motive to a fraud, either in the 
hiftory of the creation or fall, nor any mark of one. 
And the fame fhortnefs and obfcurity which prevents 
our being able to explain, feems alfo to preclude ob- 
jections. If we fuppofe thefe hiftories to have been 
delivered by traditional explanations that accompanied 
hieroglyphical delineations, this would perhaps ac- 

Io6 Of the 'Truth of 

count for fome of the difficulties; and help us to 
conceive how the hiftories may be exact, and even 
jdecypherable hereafter. The appellations of the tree 
of life, of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, 
and of the ferpent, feem to favour this fuppofition. 
At the utmoft, one can make no objections againft 
thefe hiftories, but what are confident with the firft 
and lowed of the fuppofitions above-mentioned con- 
cerning divine infpiration. 

Natural hiftory bears a ftrodg teftimony to Mofes's 
account of the deluge ; and (hews that it muft 
have been univerfal, or nearly fo, however difficult it 
may be to us, either to find fources for fo great a bo- 
dy of waters, or methods of removing them. That 
a comet had fome fhare in this event, leems highly 
probable from what Dr. Halley and Mr. Whifton have 
obferved of this matter : I guefe alfo partly from the 
fuppofition, that fome part of the tail "of a comet 
was then attracted by the earth, and depofited there, 
partly from the great fhortening of human life after 
the flood, and partly from the fermenting and ine- 
briating quality of vegetable juices, which feems firft 
to have appeared immediately after the flood, that 
a great change was made at the time of the flood 
in the conftitution of natural bodies, and particularly 
in that of water. And it feems not improbable to 
me, that an enlargement of the refpective fpheres of 
attraction and repulfion, and of the force of thefe, 
in the fmall particles of water, might greatly contri- 
bute to account for fome circumftances of the deluge, 
mentioned by Mofes. For, by the increafe of the 
fphere, and force of attraction, the waters fufpended 
in the air or firmament in the form of a mift or vapour 
before the flood, fee Gen. ii. 5, 6. might be collected 
into large drops, and fall upon the earth. And their 
fall might give occafion to rarer watery vapours, 
floating at great diftances from the earth in the pla- 
netary and intermundane fpaces, to approach it, be in 


the Cbriftian Religion. 107 

like manner condenfed into large drops, and fall upon 
it. This might 'continue for forty days, the force with 
which the rare vapours approached the earth decreaf- 
ing all the latter part of that time, and being at the 
end of it overpowered by the contrary force of the 
vapours raifed from the earth, now covered with 
water, by the action of the fun, and of the wind, 
mentioned Gen. viii. i. For it is evident, that the 
wind has great power in railing watery particles, 
i. e. putting them into a ftate of repulfion j and the 
wind here conlidered would be far ftronger than that 
which now prevails in the pacific ocean y fmce the 
whole globe was one great ocean during the height 
of the del'uge. The ceflation of the rain, and the 
increafe of the fphere, and force of repulfion, above 
fuppofed, would in like manner favour the afcent of 
vapours from this great ocean. And thus the prece- 
dent vapours might be driven by the fubfequent ones 
into the planetary and intermundane fpaces, beyond 
the earth's attraction. However, fince the quantity 
of the fubfequent vapours muft perpetually decreafe 
by the decreafe of the furface of the ocean, a limit 
would be fet to the afcent of the vapours, as was 
before to their defcent. 

According to this hypothefis, that ftate of our 
waters^ which was fuperinduced at the deluge, may 
both be the caufe of the rainbow, i. e. of drops of 
a fize proper for this purpofe, and exempt us from 
the danger of a fecond deluge. For a frefh inter- 
mixture of like cometical particles could not now 
fuperinduce a new ftate. The rainbow may there- ' 
fore be a natural fign and evidence, thai the waters 
Jhall no more become a flood to deftroy the earth. 

As to the breaking up the fountains of the great 
deep, mentioned Gen. vii. n. though no fatisfactory 
account has been given of this hitherto, yet furely 
there is great plaufibility in fuppofing, that the increa- 
fed attraction of a comet, confequent upon its near 


io8 Of the 'Truth of 

approach to the earth, might have fome fuch effect;, 
and at the fame time contribute to produce fuch chan- 
ges in the earth, as a mere deluge could not. 

Civil hiftory affords likewife many evidences, which 
fupport the Mofaic account of the deluge. Thus, 
firft, we find from pagan authors, that the tradition 
of a flood was general, or even univerfal. Secondly, 
The paucity of mankind, and the vaft tracts of un- 
inhabited land, which are mentioned in the accounts 
of the firft ages, (hew that mankind are lately fprung 
from a finall ftock, and even fuit the time affigned 
by Mcfes for the flood. Thirdly, The great num- 
ber of fmall kingdoms, and petty ftates, in the firft 
ages, and the late rife of the great empires of Egypt> 
AJjyria> Babylon, &c. concur to the fame purpofe. 
Fourthly* The invention and progrefs of arts and 
fciences concur likewife. And this laft favours the 
Mofaic hiftory of the antediluvians. For as he 
mentions little of their arts, fo it appears from the 
late invention of them after the flood, that thofe who 
were preferved from it were pofiefled of few. 

It has been objected to the Mofaic hiftory of the 
deluge, that the ark could not contain all the animals 
which are now found upon the earth with the pro- 
per provifions for them during the time ofthede- 
Juge. But this, upon an accurate computation, has 
been proved to be otherwife; fo that what was thought 
an objection, is even fome evidence. For it is ex- 
tremely improbable, that a perfon who had feigned 
the particular of the ark, (hould have come fo near 
the proper dimenfions. It is to be confidered here, 
that the feveral fpeciefes of both plants, and brute 
animals, which differ from each other by fmall de- 
grees, feem to be multiplied every day, by the va- 
rieties of climates, culture, diet, mixture, &c. alib, 
that if we fuppofe an univerfal deluge, the ark, 
with the entrance of the animals, &c. feem necef- 
fary alfo. For as we can trace up the firft im- 

the Chriftian Religion. 109 

perfeft rudiments of the art of {hipping amongft 
the Greeks, there could be no (hipping before the 
flood; confequently no animals could be faved. Nay, 
it is highly improbable, that even men, and domeftic 
animals, could be faved, not to mention wild beads, 
ferpents, &c. though we fhouid fuppole, that the 
antediluvians had (hipping, unlefs we fuppofe aifo, 
that they had a divine intimation and directions 
about ir, fuch as Mofes relates ; which would be to 
give up the caufc of infidelity at once. 

It has been objected likewife, that the Negro na- 
tions differ fo much from the Europeans, that they do 
not feem to have defcended from the fame anceftors. 
But this objection has no folid foundation. We 
cznnot prefume to fay xvhat alterations climat/e, air, 
water, foil, cuftoms, &c. can -or cannot produce. 
It is no ways to be imagined, that all the national 
differences in complexion, features, make of the 
bones, &c. require lo many different originals ; on 
the contrary, we have rcafon from experience to 
aifcrr, that various changes of this kind are -made by 
the incidents of life, juft as was obferved, in the laft 
paragraph, of plants, and brute animals. And, with 
refptcT: to the different complexions of different na- 
tions, Dr. Mitchell has (hewn with great appearance 
of truth, Phil. Tranf. Numb. 474. that thefe arife 
from external influences. It will confirm this, if it 
be found, that the Jews, by refiding in any country 
for fome generations, approach to the complexion 
of the original natives. At the fame time we muft 


obferve from the hiftory of diftempers, that acquired 
difpofitions may be tranfmitted to the defendants 
for fome generations ; which is perhaps one of the 
great truths intimated in the account of the fall. 
And thus the children of Negroes may be black, 
though born and bred up in a country where the 
original natives are not fo. 

A third 

no Of the Truth of 

A third objection is, that it is difficult to account 
for the original of the Americans^ and for the wild 
beafts and ferpents that are found in that quarter of 
the world, according to the Mofaic hiftory. But to 
this one may anfwer, firft, that America may be even 
now contiguous to the north-eaft part of dfia. Se- 
condly, That it might have been contiguous to other 
parts of our great continent for fome centuries after 
the deluge, though that contiguity be fince broken 
off. Thirdly, That the firft failors, who ventured out 
of the ftraits, or others, might be driven, by ftrefs 
of weather, and their own ignorance, firft within the 
influence of the trade-winds, and then to fome part 
of America. One can offer nothing certain on either 
fide, in refpect of thefe points. However, it feems 
to me, that many cuftoms found amongft the Negroes 
and Americans are ftronger evidences, that they are 
of the fame original with the Afiatics and Europeans, 
than any which have yet appeared to the contrary. 
And, upon the whole, I conclude certainly, that the 
Mofaic account of the deluge is much confirmed by 
both natural and civil hiftory, if we embrace the 
firft and loweft hypothefis concerning divine infpira- 
tion ; and has very ftrong preemptions for it, ac- 
cording to the fecond or third. 

If we could fuppofe the high mountains in South- 
America not to have been immerged in the deluge, 
we might -the more eafily account for the wild beafts, 
poifonous ferpents, and curious birds of America. 
Might not the ark be driven round the globe during 
the deluge ? And might not Noah be aware of this, 
and obferve that it had been immerged fifteen cubits 
in water ? And may not the Mofaic account be 
partly a narrative of what Noah faw, partly the con- 
clufions which he muft naturally draw from thence ? 
Thus the tops of fome of the higheft mountains 
might efcape, confidently with the Mofaic account. 
The future inquiries of natural hiftorians may per- 
haps determine this point. The 

the Cbriftian Religion. in 


The next great event recorded in Genefis is the 
confufion of languages. Now the Mofaic account 
of this appears highly probable, if we firft allow thac 
of the deluge. For it leems impofiible to explain how 
the known languages fhould arife from one ftock. 
Let any one try only in Hebrew, Greek y Latin, and 
Englifh. The changes which have happened in lan- 
guages fince hiftory has fyeen certain, do not at all 
correfpond to a fuppofition of this kind. There is 
too much of method and art in the Greek and Latin 
tongues for them to have been the inventions of a rude 
and barbarous people j and they differ too much from 
Hebrew, Arabic, &c. to have flowed from them with- 
out defign. As to the Cbineje, it is difficult to make 
any probable conjectures about it, partly from its 
great heterogeneity in refpect of other languages, 
partly becaufe learned men have not yet examined it 
accurately. However, the mod probable conjecture 
feems to be, that it is the language of Noah's poft- 
diluvian pofterity ; the leaft probable one, that it 
could have flowed naturally . from any known lan- 
guage, or from the fame ftock with any j which it 
muft have done, if we admit the deluge, and yet 
reject the confufion of languages. 

The difpcrfion of the three fons of Noab into 
different countries, related in the tenth chapter of 
Genejis, comes next .under confideration, being a 
conlequence, not the caufe, of the diverfity of lan- 
guages. Now here antiquarians and learned men, 
feem to be fully agreed, that the Mofaic account is 
confirmed as much as can be expected in our prefent 
ignorance of the ftare of ancient nations. And it is 
to be obferved of all the articles treated of under this 
propofition, that we, who live in the North-weft 
corner of Europe, lie under great difadvantages in 
fuch refearches. However, fince thofe who have ftu- 
died the oriental languages and hiftories, or have 
travelled into the eaftern parts, have made many 


in Of the Truth of 

difcoveiies of late years, which have furprizingly 
confirmed the fcripture accounts, one may hope 
and prefume, that if either our learned men be here- 
after fuffcred to have free accefs to thofe parts, or the 
natives themfrlves become learned, both which are 
furc-ly probable in the higheft degree, numberlefs 
unexpected evidences for the truth of the fcripture 
hiflory will be brought to light. 

Let us next corne to the (late of religion in the 
ancient poftdiluvian world, according to Mofes, and 
the fucceeding facred hiftorians. The poltdiluvian 
patriarchs then appear to have worlhipped the one 
Supreme Being by facrifices, but in a fimple manner, 
and to have had frequent divine communications. 
By degrees their pointy fell off to idolatry, wor- 
ihipped the fun, moon, and ftars, deified dead men, 
arid polluted themfelves with the moft impure an(J 
abominable inftitutions. The Ifraelues alone were 
kept to the worfhip of the true God, and even they 
were often infeded by their idolatrous neighbours. 
"Now all this is perfedly agreeable to what we find hi 
pagan hiftory. The idolatries of the pagans are 
acknowledged on all hands. It appears alfo from 
pagan hillory, that they grew up by degrees, as the 
fcriptures intimate. All the pagan religions appear 
to have hatl the worlliip of one .god fuperior to the 
reft, as their common foundation. They all endea- 
voured to render him propitious by facrifice; which 
furely cannot be an human invention, nor a cuftom, 
which, if invented i-n one nation, would be readily 
propagated to another. They all joined mediatorial 
and inferior, alfo local and tutelar deities to the one 
god. And they all taught the frequency of divine 
communications. Hence the pagan religions appear 
to be merely the degenerated offspring of patriarchal 
revelations, and to infer them as their caufe. Hence 
the pretences of kings, lawgivers, priefts, and great 
men, to infpiration, with the credulity of the mul- 

the Cbriftian Religion. 113 

titude. That there had been divine communications, 
was beyond difpute ; and therefore all that reluctance 
to admit them, which appears in the prefent age, was 
over-ruled. At firft there were no importers. When 
therefore they did arife, it would not be eafy for the 
multitude to diftinguifh between thofe who had really 
divine communications, and thofe who only pre- 
tended to them ; till at laft all real infpiration having 
ceafed amongft the gentile world, their feveral reli- 
gions kept pofleffion merely by the force of education, 
fraud in the priefts, and fear in the people ; and even 
thefe fupports began to fail at laft, about the time 
of Chrift's coming. And thus many things, which 
have been thought to weaken the evidences for the fcrip- 
ture accounts, are found to ftrengthen them, by flow- 
ing naturally from that ftate of religion in ancient times, 
and from that only, which the fcripture delivers. 

A farther confirmation of the fame fcripture accounts 
of the flood, difperfion of mankind, and patriarchal 
revelations, may be had from the following very 
remarkable particular : it appears from hiftory, that 
the differenr nations of the world have had, c<teris 
paribus, more or lefs knowledge, civil and religious, in 
proportion as they were nearer to, or had more inti- 
mate communication with, Egypt, Pal<eftine, Ghaldtea, 
and the other countries, that were inhabited by the 
moft eminent perfons amongft the firft dependents of 
Noah, and by thofe who are faid in fcripture to havt 
had particular revelations made to them by God; 
and that the firft inhabitants of the extreme parts of 
the world, reckoning Palteftine as the centre, were in 
general mere favages. Now all this is utterly inex- 
plicable upon the footing of infidelity, of the exciu- 
fion of all divine communications. Why ihould not 
human nature be as fagacious, and make as many 
difcoveries, civil and religious, at the Cape of Good 
Hope, or in America, as in Egypt, Paltejline, Mefo- 
potamia, Greece, or Rome ? Nay, why Ihould Pal<eftine 

VOL. II. I fo 

ii4 Of the 'Truth of 

x fo far exceed them all, as it did confefiedly ? Allow 
the fcripture accounts, and all will be clear and eafy. 
Mankind, after the flood, were firft difperfed from 
the plains of Mefopotamia. Some of the chief heads 
of families fettled there, in Palafline, and in Egypt. 
Paltfflim had afterwards extraordinary divine illumi- 
nations beftowed upon its inhabitants, the Israelites 
and Jews. Hence its inhabitants had the pureft 
notions of God, and the wifeft civil eftablifhment. 
Next after them come the Egyptians and Chaldeans, 
who, not being removed from their firft habitations, 
and living in fertile countries watered by the Nile, 
Tigris, and Euphrates, may be fuppofed to have pre- 
ferved more both of the antediluvian and poftdiluvian 
revelations, alfo to have had more leifure for inven- 
tion, and a more free communication with the Ifraelites 
and Jews, than any other nations : whereas thofe 
fmall parties, which were driven farther and farther 
from each other into the extremes of heat and cold, 
entirely occupied in providing neceflaries for them- 
felves, and alfo cut off" by rivers, mountains, or 
diftance, from all communication with Pal<ejline, 

.Egypt, and Chald<ea, would lofe much of their 
original ftock, and have neither inclination nor ability 
to invent more. 

Let us now confider the hiftory of particular facts, 
and inquire what atteftations we can produce from 
j5agan hiftory for the fcripture accounts of Abraham 
and his pofterity the Israelites and Jews. We cannot 
expect much here, partly becaufe theie things are 
of a private nature, if compared to the univerfal 
deluge, partly becaufe the pagan hiftory is either 
deficient, or grofsly corrupted with fable and fiction, 
till we come to the times of the declenfion of the 
kingdoms of IJrael and Judab. However, fome faint 
traces there are in ancient times, and many con- 
curring circumftances in fucceeding ones -, and, as 
foon as the pagan records come to be clear and certain, 


the Chriflian Religion. ii*5 

we have numerous and ftrong confirmations of the 
facred hiftory. Thus the hiftory of Graham feems 
to have tranfpired in fome meafure. It is alfo proba- 
ble, that the ancient Bracbmans were of his pofterity 
by Keturab, that they derived their name from him, 
and worfhipped the true God only. Mo/es is men- 
tioned by many heathen writers, and the accounts 
which they give of his conducting the Israelites from 
Egypt to Canaan are fuch as might be expected. 
The authors lived fo long after Mofes, and had fo 
little opportunity or inclination to know the exact 
truth, or to be particular, that their accounts can- 
not invalidate the fcripture hiftory, though they do 
a little confirm it. The expulfion of the Canadtnites 
by Jojhua feems to have laid the foundation of the 
kingdom of the Jhepherds in the Lower Egypt men- 
tioned by Manetbo, and of the expulfion of the natives 
into the Upper Egypt ; who, after fome centuries, 
drove i\\t Jhepberds back again into Canaan about the 
time of Saul. The Canaanites mentioned by St. Au- 
jiin and others, upon the coaft of Afrif, may be of 
the fame original. See Newton's Chronol. page 198. 
We may conclude from the book of Judges, that there 
were many petty fovereignties in the neighbourhood 
of Canaan j and it appears from pagan hiftory, as Sir 
JJaac Newton has rectified it, that the firft great 
empire, that of Egypt, was not yet rifen. When Da- 
vid fubdued the Pbiliftines or Phoenicians, Cadmus 
and others fcem to have fled into Greece, and to have 
carried letters with them, which the Philiftines had 
probably learnt, about a generation before, from the 
copy of the law found in the ark taken from the IJrael- 
ites. After Solomon's temple was built, the temple of 
Vulcan in Egypt, and others in other places, began to 
be built in imitation of itj juft as the oracles of the hea- 
thens were imitations of God's communications to the 
Jfraelites, and particularly of that by Urim and Tbum- 
mim. Shijhak, who came out of Egypt in the fifth year 

I 2 Of 

n6 Of the Truth of 

of Rehobcam, is the Sejoftris of Herodotus j and this 
point, being fettled, becomes a capital pin, upon 
which all the pagan chronology depends. Hence 
Herodotus'* lift of the Egyptian kings is made proba- 
ble and confident. As we advance farther to the 
Affyrian monarchy, the fcripture accounts agree 
with the profane ones rectified j and when we come 
ftill farther to the <era of NabonaJJar, and to the 
kings of Babylon and Perjia, which are pofterior to 
this <era y and recorded in Ptolemy's canon, we find 
the agreement of facred and profane hiftory much 
more exact, there being certain criterions in the 
profane hiftory for fixing the facts related in it. 
And it is remarkable, that not only the direct rela- 
tions of the hiftorical books, but the indirect inci- 
dental mention of things in the prophecies, tallies 
with true chronology \ which furely is fuch an evi- 
dence for their genuinenefs and truth, as cannot be 
called in queftion. And, upon the whole, it may be 
obferved, that the facred hiftory is diftinct, metho- 
dical and confident throughout j the profane utterly 
deficient in the firft ages, obfcure, and full of fic- 
tions, in the fucceeding ones ; and that it is but juft 
clear and precife in the principal facts about the time 
that the facred hiftory ends. So that this corrects 
and regulates that, and renders it intelligible in many 
inftances, which muft otherwife be given up as utterly 
inexplicable. How then can we fuppofe the facred 
hiftory not to be genuine and true, or a wicked im- 
pofture to rife up, and continue not only undifcovered, 
but even to increafe to a moft audacious height, in 
a nation which of all others kept the moft exact ac- 
counts of time? 1 will add one remark more: this 
fame nation, who may not have loft fo much as one 
year from the creation of the world to the Babylcmjh 
captivity, as foon as they were deprived of the aflift- 
ance of prophets, became moft inaccurate in their me- 
thods of keeping time, there being nothing more 


tbe Chrijlian Religion. 1 1 7 

erroneous than the accounts of Jofephus, and the 
modern Jews, from the time of Cyrus, to that of 
Alexander tbe Great j notwithftanding that all the re- 
quifice afiiftances might eafily have been borrowed 
from the neighbouring nations, who now kept regular 
annals. Hence it appears, that the exa&nefs of 
the facred hiftory was owing to the divine afiift- 

It is an evidence in favour of the fcriptures, allied 
to thofe which I am here confidering, that the man- 
ners of the perfons mentioned in the fcriptures have 
that fimplicity and plainnefs, which is alfo afcribed to 
the firft ages of the world by pagan writers j and 
both of them concur, by this, to intimate the novelty 
of the then prefent race, /. e. the deluge. 

Befides thefe atteftations from profane hiftory, 
we may confider the Jews themfelves as bearing 
teftimony to this day, in all countries of the world, to 
the truth of their ancient hiftory, /. <?. to that of 
the Old and New Teftaments. Allow this, and it 
will be eafy to fee how they fhould ftill perfift in their 
attachment to that religion, thofe laws, and thofe 
prophecies, which fo manifcftly condemn them, both 
in paft times, and in the prefent. Suppofe any confi- 
derable alteration made in their ancient hiftory, /'. e. 
any fuch as may anfwer the purpofes of infidelity, and 
their prefent ftate will be inexplicable. 

The books of the New Teftament are verified by 
hiftory, in a manner ftill more illuftrious ; thefe 
books being written, and the fatfts mentioned therein 
tranfa&ed, during the times of Au.guftus y Tiberius y and 
the fucceeding Cafars. Here we may obferve, 

Firft, That the incidental mention of the Roman 
emperors, governors of Jud<ea t and the neighbour- 
ing provin's, the Jewijh high priefts, fefts of the 
Jews, and their cuftoms, of places, and of tranf- 
actions, is found to be perfectly agreeable to the hifto- 
ries of thofe times. And as the whole number of 

I 3 thefe 

i. 1 8 Of the Truth of 

thefe particulars is very great, they may be reckoned 
a full proof of the genuinenefs of the books of the 
New Teftament j it being impofiible for a perfon who 
had forged them, ;'. e. who was not an eye and ear 
witnefs, and otherwife concerned with the tranf- 
actions as the books require, but who had invented 
many hiftories and circumftances, &c. not to have 
been deficient, fuperfluous, and erroneous. No man's 
memory or knowledge is fufficient for fuch an adapta- 
tion of feigned circumftances, and efpecially where 
the mention- is incidental. Let any one confider how 
often the belt poets fail in this, who yet endeavour 
not to vary from the manners and cuftoms of the 
age of which they write ; at the fame time that 
poetry neither requires nor admits fo great a minute- 
nefs in the particular circnmftances of time, place, 
and perfons, as the writers of the New Teftament 
have defcended to naturally and incidentally. 

Secondly, That Chrift preached in Judaea and 
Galilee^ made many difciples, and was crucified under' 
Pontius Pilate, at the inftigation of the chief men 
among the Jews ; alto that his difciples preached after 
his death, not only in Jud<ea, but all over the Roman 
empire j that they converted multitudes, were perfe- 
cuted, and at laft fuffered death for their firm adhe- 
rence to their matter j and that both Cbrift and his 
difciples pretended to work many miracles ; are facts 
attefted by civil hiftory in the ampleft manner, and 
which cannot be called in queftion. Now thefe facts 
are fo connected with the other facts mentioned in the 
New Teftament, that they muft ftand or fall together. 
There is no probable account to be given of thefe 
facts, but by allowing the reft. For the proof of this, 
I appeal to every reader who will make the trial. 
It may alfo be concluded from the remarkable un- 
willingnefs of the prefent unbelievers to allow even 
the plaineft facts in exprefs terms. For it fhews 
them to be apprehenfive, that the connection between 


the Chriftian Religion. 119 

the feveral principal facts mentioned in the New 
Teftament is infeparable, and that the atteftation 
given to fome by civil hiftory may eafily be extended 
to all. 

It has been objected, that more mention ought to 
have been made of the common facts by the profane 
writers of thofe times, alfo fome acknowledgment 
of the miraculous ones, had they been true. To this 
we may anfwer, Firft, That Jud^a was but a fmall 
and diftant province of the Roman empire, and the 
Jews themfelves, with whom the Chriftians were for a 
long time confounded, much defpifed by the Romans. 
Secondly, That hiftorians, politicians, generals, &c. 
have, their imaginations fo much preoccupied by 
affairs of ftate, that matters purely religious are little 
regarded by them. Gallio cared for none -of thefe 
things. Thirdly, That a perfon who attended in any 
great degree to the chriftian affairs, if a good man, 
could fcarce avoid becoming a chriftian ; after which 
his teftimony ceafes to be pagan, and becomes 
chriftian j of which I (hall fpeak under the next head. 
Fourthly, That both thofe who were favourers of 
the chriftians, and thofe averfe to them in a- moderate 
degree, one of which muft be the cafe with great 
numbers, would have motives to be filent ; the half 
chriftians would be filent for fear of being perfecuted ; 
and the others would affect to take no notice of what 
they difliked, but could not difprove ; which is a fact 
that occurs to daily obfervation. Laftly, When thefe 
things are laid together, the atteftations of the profane 
writers to the common facts appear to be fuch as one 
might expect, and their filence as to the miraculous 
ones is accounted for. 

Thirdly, All the chriftian writers, from the time 
of the apoftles and downwards, bear teftiropny to 
the genuinenefs of the books of the New Teftament, 
and the truth of the facts, in a great variety of ways, 
direct and indirect, and in fuch manner as might be 
I 4 expected. 

1 20 Of the Truth of 

expelled. Their quotations from them arc numberlefs, 
and agree fufficiently with the prefent copies. They 
go every where upon the fuppofition of the facls, as 
the foundation of all their difcourfes, writings, hopes, 
fears, &c. They difcover every where the higheft 
regard, and even veneration, both for the books and 
the authors. In fhort, one cannot fee how this tefti- 
mony in favour of the books of the New Teftament can 
be invalidated, unlefs by fuppofing all the ecclefiaftical 
writing of the rirft centuries to be forged alfo; or 
all the writers to have concurred to write as if they 
believed the genuinenefs and truth of thefe books, 
though they did not j or to have had no ability or 
inclination to diftinguifh genuinenefs and truth from 
forgery and falfehood j or by fome other fuch fuppo- 
fition, as will fcarce bear to be named. 

Here three queftions may be afked, that bear 
fome relation to this fubjecl: j and the anfwers to 
which will, I think, illuftrate and confirm what has 
been advanced in the laft paragraph. 

Thus, Firft, It may be afked, why we have not 
more accounts of the life of Chrift tranfmitted to us. 
To this I anfwer, that it is probable from St. Luke's 
preface, that there were many fhort and imperfect 
accounts handed about very early j the authors of 
which, though they had not taken care to inform 
themfelves accurately, did not, however, endeavour to 
impofe on others defignedly ; and that all thefe grew 
into difufe, of courfe, after the four gofpels, or 
perhaps the three firft, were publifhed, or, at lead, 
after the canon of the New Teftament was formed ; 
alfo that after this the chriftians were fo perfectly 
fatisfied, and had the four gofpels in fuch efteem, that 
no one prefumed to add any other accounts, and 
efpecially as all the apoftles were then dead. 

The Second Queftion is, how come we to have fb 
little account in the primitive writers, of the lives, 
labours, and fuffcrings of the apoftles , ? I anfwer, 


tbe Cbriftian Religion. 121 

that the apoftles feem to have refided in Jud<ea, till 
Nero's army invaded it, and afterwards to have tra- 
velled into diftant parts j and that neither their con- 
verts in Jud<ea, nor thofe in the diftant barbarous 
countries, into which they travelled, could have any 
probable motive for writing their lives : alfo, that, as 
to other chriftians, they had neither opportunities nor 
motives. The chriftians looked up to Chrift, as their 
mafter, not to the apoftks. Their great bufinefs 
was to promote chriftianity, not to gratify their own 
or other's fruidefs curiofity. They were not learned 
men, who had fpent their lives in the ftudy of anna- 
lifts and biographers. They did not jufpedt that an 
account of the lives of the apoftles would ever be 
wanted, or that any one could call their integrity, 
infpiration, miracles, &c. in queftion. St. Luke 
feems to have defigned by his Afts> chiefly to fhew 
how the gofpel firft got firm footing amongft Jews, 
profelytes of the gate, and idolatrous gentiles ; in 
order to encourage the new converts to copy the ex- 
amples of the apoftles, and firft preachers, and to 
publifh the gofpel in all nations. Laftly, The pri- 
mitive chriftians had early difputes with Jews y hea- 
thens, heretics, and even with one another; which 
took up much of their attention and concern. 

Thirdly, It may be afked, who were the perfons 
that forged the fpurious acts and revelations of feve- 
ral of the apoftles, &c. I anfwer, that, amongft 
the number of thofe who joined themfelves to the 
chriftians, there muft be many whofe hearts were not 
truly purified, and who, upon apoftatizing, would 
become more felf-interefted, vain-glorious, and im- 
pure, than before. Thefe were antichrifts, as St. John 
calls them, who left the church becaufe they were 
not of it. Some of thefc forged books to fupport 
themfelves, and eftablifti their own tenets. Others 
might write partly like enthufiafts, partly like im- 
poftors. And, laftly, There were fome both weak 


122 Of the Truth of 

and wicked men, though not fo abandoned as the 
ancient heretics, who in the latter end of the fecond 
century, and afterwards, endeavoured to make con- 
verts by forgeries, and fuch other wicked arts. 
However, all thofe who are ufually called fathers, in the 
rirft ages, (land remarkably clear of fuch charges. 

Fourthly, The propagation of chriftianity, with 
the manner in which it was oppofed by both Jews 
and Gentiles, bears witnefs to the truth and genu- 
inenefs of the books of the New Teftament. But I 
forbear entering upon this argument, as it will come 
more properly in another place. 'Let me only obferve 
here, that there are many pafTages in the Talmudical 
writings, which afford both light and confirmation 
to the New Teftament, notwithftanding that one 
principal defign of the authors was to difcredit it. 


The Agreement of the Books of the Old and New Tefta* 
ments with themfehes and with each other, is an 
Argument both of their Genuinenefs and Truth, j^ 

THE truth of this propofition will be evident, if 
a fufficient number of thefe mutual agreements can be 
made out. It is never found, that any fingle perfon, 
who deviates much from the truth, can be fo 
perfectly upon his guard as to be always confident 
with himfelf. Much lefs therefore can this happen 
in the cafe of a number, living alfo in different ages. 
Nothing can make them confident, but their copy- 
ing faithfully after real facts. The inftances will 
make this clearer. 

The laws of the Israelites are contained in the 
Pentateuch, and referred to in a great variety of 
ways, direct and indirect, in the hiftorical books, in 
the Pfalms, and in the Prophecies. The hiftorical 


tbe Cbriftian Religion. 123 

facts alfo in the preceding books are often referred 
to in thofe that fucceed, and in the Pfalms and Pro- 
phecies. In like manner the gofpels have the great- 
eft harmony with each other, and the Epiftles of St. 
Paul with the A8s of the Apftles. And indeed one 
may fay, that there is fcarce any book of either Old or 
New Teftament, which may not be fhewn to refer to 
many of the reft in fome way or other. For it is to 
be obferved, that the Bible has been ftudied and 
commented upon far more than any other book what- 
foever ; and that it has been the bufinefs of believers 
in all ages to find out the mutual relations of its parts, 
and of unbelievers to fearch for inconfiftencies; alfo 
that the firft meet every day with more and more 
evidences in favour of the fcriptures from the mutual 
agreements and coincidences here considered; and 
that unbelievers have never been able to allege any 
inconfiftencies that could in the leaft invalidate the 
truth of the principal facts ; I think, not even affect 
the divine infpiration of the hiftorical books, ac- 
cording to the fecond or third hypothefis above- 

It will probably illuftrate this propofition, to bring 
a parallel inftance from the Roman writers. Sup- 
pofe then that no more remained of thefe writers than 
Livy, fully, and Horace. Would they not by their 
references to the fame facts and cuftoms, by the 
famenefs of ftyle in the fame writer, and differences 
in the different ones, and numberlefs other fuch like 
circumftances of critical confideration, prove them- 
felves, and one another to be genuine, and the prin- 
cipal facts related, or alluded to, to be true ? 

It is alfo to be obftrved, that this mutual harmony 
and felf-confiftency, in its ultimate ratio, is the whole 
of the evidence which we have for facts done in an- 
cient times or diftant places. Thus, if a perfon was 
fo fceptical as to call in queftion the whole Roman 
hiftory, even the moft notorious facts, as their con- 


124 Qf the Truth of 

quefts firft of Itafy, and then of the neighbouring 
countries, the death of C<efar t and the fall of the 
weftern empire by the invafions of the Goths and 
Vandals y with all the evidences of thefe from books, 
infcriptions, coins, cuftoms, &c. as being all forged 
in order to deceive; one could only (hew him, that it 
is inconfiftent with what he fees of human nature, to 
fuppofe that there fhould be fuch a combination to 
deceive i or that the agreement of thefe evidences 
with each other is far too great to be the effect of 
any fuch fraudulent defign, of chance, &c. And all 
thefe arguments are, in effect, only bringing a number 
of concurring evidences, whofe fum total foon ap- 
proaches to the ultimate limit, i. e, to unity, or ab- 
folute certainty, nearer than by any diftinguifhable 
difference. Jt does not therefore import, in refpect 
of real conviction, after a certain number are brought, 
whether we bring any more or no ; they can only 
add this imperceptible defect, /'. e. practically nothing. 
Thus I fuppofe, that the remaining writings of Livy, 
1ully t and Horace alone would fatisfy any impartial 
man fo much of the general extenfivenefs of the Ro- 
man conquefts, &c. that nothing perceptible could 
be added to his conviction j no more than any com- 
mon event can, or ever does in fact, appear more cre- 
dible from the teftimony of a thoufand than of ten 
or twenty witneffes of approved integrity. And 
whoever will apply this reafoning to the prefent cafe, 
muft perceive, as it appears to me, that the number- 
lefs minute, direct, and indirect agreements and 
coincidences, that 'prefent themfelves to all diligent 
readers of the fcriptures, prove their truth and ge- 
nuinenefs beyond all contradiction, at lead according 
to the firft and loweft hypothefis concerning divine 

As to thofe few and fmall apparent inconfiftencies, 
which are fuppofed to confine the infpiration of the 
fcriptures to this loweft fenfe ; one may obferve, that 


the Chriftian Religion. 125 

they decreafe every day as learned men inquire far- 
ther; and that, were the fcriptures perfectly exact 
in every particular, there rmuft be Tome apparent 
difficulties, anting merely from our ignorance of an- 
cient languages, cuftoms, diftant places, &c. and 
confequently that if thefe be not more, than our 
ignorance makes it reafonable to expect, they are 
no objection at all. And of apparent inconfiftencies 
one may remark in particular, that they exclude the 
fuppofition of forgery. No fingle forger, or com- 
bination of forgers, would have fuffered the apparent 
inconfiftencies which occur in a few places, fuch as the 
different genealogies of Chrift in St. Matthew and St. 
Luke, and fome little variations in the narration of 
the fame fact in different gofpels. Thefe are too 
obvious at firft fight not to have; been prevented, had 
there been any fraud. 

I will here add an hypothefis, by which, as it ap- 
pears to me, one may reconcile the genealogies of 
St. Matthew and St. Luke. I fuppofe then, that Sr. 
Matthew relates the real progenitors of Jofepj}: Sr. 
Luke the feries of thofe who were heirs to David by 
birthright; and that both tranfcribed from genealo- 
gical tables, well known to the Jews of thofe times. 
St. Matthew after David takes Solomon, from whom Jo~ 
Jeph lineally defcended. St. Luke takes Nathan, upon 
whom, though younger than fome others, and even 
than Solomon, we muft fuppofe the birthright to be 
conferred, as in the inftances of Jacob and Jofeph. 
St. Matthew proceeds by real defcent to Salathiel, at 
the time of the captivity ; St. Luke proceeds by the 
heirs according to birthright, and comes to Salatbiel 
likewife. We muft therefore fuppofe, that Salathiel, 
Solomon's heir, was now David's alfo, by the ex- 
tinction of all the branches of Nathan's family. St. 
Matthew then takes Zorobabel as Jofeph's real proge- 
nitor, St. Luke take him as heir or eldeft fon to Sa- 
lathiel. Again, St. Matthew takes Abiud the real 


1 26 Of tbe Truth of 

progenitor, St. Luke Rhefa the eldeft fon ; and thus 
St. Matthew proceeds by lineal defcent to Jojepb, St. 
Luke by heirs to the fame Jofepb j for we are to fup- 
pofe, that Heli dying without heirs male, Jofepb 
become his heir by birthright, /. e. heir to Zorobabel, 
i. e. to David. If we farther fuppofe, that the virgin 
Mary was daughter to Heli> for which there appears 
to be fome evidence, the folution will be more com- 
plete, and more agreeable to the Jewijh cuftoms. It 
confirms this folution, that St. Matthew ufes the 
word iyivvwEy which reftrains his genealogy to lineal 
defcent j whereas St. Luke ufes the article fS, which 
is very general. It confirms it alfo, that St. Luke's 
defcents, reckoning from David, to Salathiel, are but 
about twenty-two years apiece; which is much too 
Ihort for defcents from father to fon, but agrees very 
well to deicents by birthright. As to St. Matthew's 
defcents, they are far too long, after the captivity, 
for defcents from father to fon ; but then it is eafy 
to fuppofe, that fome were left out on account of 
dying before their fathers, or fome other reafon. 
Three of the kings of Judab are left out after Joram, 
perhaps on account of their being of the immediate 
pofterity of the idolatrous AbaVs daughter Atbaliah. 
Others are left out after the captivity, perhaps for 
fome fimilar reafon. 


The Unity of Defign, which appears in the Difpenfalions 
recorded in the Scriptures, is an Argument not only 
of their Truth and Genuineness, but alfo of their 
Divine Authority. 

FOR this unity is not only fo great as to exclude 
forgery and fiction, in the fame way 'as the mutual 
agreements mentioned in the laft piopofition, but 


the Cbrijlian Religion. 127 

alfo greater than the beft and ableft men could have 
preferved, in the circumftances of thefe writers, 
without the divine affiftance. In order to fee this, 
let us inquire what this defign is, and how it is pur- 
fud by the feries of events, and divine interpo- 
fuions, recorded in the fcriptures. 

The defign is that of bringing all mankind to an 
exalted, pure, and fpiritual happinefs, by teaching, 
enforcing, and begetting in them love and obedience 
to God. This appears from many paflages in the 
Old Teftament, and from almoft every part of the 
New. Now we are not here to inquire in what 
manner an almighty being could fooneft and moft 
effectually accomplifti this. But the queftion is, whe- 
ther, laying down the ftate of things as it has been, 
is, and probably will be, for our foundation, there 
be, not a remarkable fitnefs in the difpenfations 
afcribed to God in the fcriptures, to produce this 
glorious effect: and whether the perfons who admini- 
ftered thefe difpenfations did not here concur with 
a furprizing uniformity, though none of them faw 
God's ultimate defign completely, and fome but very 
imperfectly j juft as brutes by their inftincts, and chil- 
dren by the workings of their natural faculties, con- 
tribute to their own prefervation, improvement, and 
happinefs without at all forefeeing, that they do "this. 
If we alter any "of the circumftances of the micro- 
cofm or macrocofm, of the frame of our own na- 
tures, or of the external world that furrounds us, we 
fhall have queftion rife up after queftion in an endlefs 
fenes, and (hail never, be latisfied, unlefsGod fhould be 
pleafcd to product happinefs inftanlaneoufly, i. e. 
without any means, or fecondary instrumental caufes, 
at all ; and, even then, we fhould only be where we 
were at our firft fetting out, if things be confidered 
in the true, ultimate light. We are therefore to lay 
down the real ftate of things, as our foundation, 
i. e. we are to fuppofe man to be in a ftate of good 


128 Of the Truth of 

mixed with evil, born with appetites, and expofed 
to temptations, to which if he yields, fuffering muft 
follow; which fuffering, however, tends to eradicate 
the difpofition from whence it flowed, and to implant a 
better : we are to fuppofe him to be endued with vo- 
luntary powers, which enable him to model his affec- 
tions and actions according to a rule; and that the 
love of God, his ultimate happinefs, can never be 
genuine, but by his firft learning to fear God, by his 
being mortified to pleafure, honour, and profit, and 
the moft refined felfifh defires, and by his loving his 
neighbour as himfelf, /. e. we muft fuppofe all that 
which practical writers mean by a ftate of trial, 
temptation, moral exercife and improvement, and 
of practical free-will. Let us fee therefore, how 
the feveral difpenfations mentioned in the fcriptures, 
their being recorded there, and the fubordinate parts, 
which the prophets and apoftles acted, confpired to 
bring about this ultimate end of man, both in each 
individual, and in the whole aggregate, confidered 
as one great individual, as making up the myftical 
body of Chrift, according to the language of St. 
Paul-, and inquire, whether, if all other reafons were 
fet afide, the mere harmony and concurrence of fo 
many pares* and fo many perfons removed from each 
other by long intervals of time, in this one great de- 
fign, will not compel us to acknowledge the genuine- 
nefs, truth, and divine authority, of .the fcriptures. 

The firft thing which prefents itfelf to us in the' 
fcriptures, is the hiftory of the creation and fall. 
Thefe are not to be accounted for, as was faid above, 
being the foundation upon which we go. However, 
the recording them by Mofes> as tradition began to 
grow weak and uncertain, has been of great ufe to 
all thofe, who have had them communicated by this 
means perfectly or imperfectly, /. e. to a great part 
of the world. This hiftory imprefles an awful and 
amiable fenfe of the Divine Being, our creator and 

judge -, 

tbe Chriftian Religion. 129 

judge; fhews the heinoufnefs of fin j and mortifies us 
to this world, by declaring that our pafiage through 
it muft be attended with labour and forrow. We 
find ourfelves in this date t revealed religion did not 
bring us into it: nor is this (late an objection to 
revealed religion, more than to natural : however, 
revealed religion-goes a ftep higher than natural, 
and (hews the immediate fecondary aufe, viz. the 
fin and wilful difobedience of our firfi parents. And 
when the account of paradife, of man's expulfion 
thence, and of the curie pad upon him in the be- 
ginning of Gene/tSy are compared with the removal 
of this curfe, of forrow, crying, pain, and death, 
with the renovation of all things, and with man's 
Federation to the tree of life .and paradife, and his 
admifiion intp the new Jerujalem in the laft chapters 
of the revelation, hope and fear quicken each 
other j and both confpire to purify the mind, and 
to advance the great defign confidered under this 

How far the deluge was neceflary, c<eteris manen- 
tibusy for the purification of thofe who were deftroyed 
by it, i. e. for accomplishing this great end in them, 
we cannot prefume to fay. It is fufficient, that there 
is no contrary prefumption, that no methods con- 
fident with the date of things in the ancient world 
were neglected, aS far as we know, and that we are 
not in the lead able to propofe a better fcheme. We 
leave thefe rebellious, unhappy people, now tranflated 
into another date, to the fame kind Providence which 
attended them in this, and all whofe punifhments on 
th}s fide the grave are for melioration. However, the 
evident footdeps of this in the world, and the clear 
tradition of it, which would continue for feveral ages, 
alfo the hidory of it delivered by Mojes, have an 
unquedionable good tendency. Sinners, who refleft at 
all, cannot but be alarmed at fo dreadful an indance of 
divine feverity. Farther, if this hidory Ihould open 

VOL. II. K to 

130 Of the Truth of 

to us a new relation, viz. that which we bear to the 
comets, this, compared with other parts of the fcrip- 
tures, may give us hereafter fuch intimations concern- 
ing the kind, degree, and duration of future punilh- 
ment, as will make the mod obdurate tremble, and 
work in them that fear which is the beginning of 
wifdom, and of the perfect love which cafteth out 
fear. At the fame time we may obferve, that the 
covenant which God made, not only with Noah and 
his pofterity, but with all living creatures, after the 
flood, has a direct and immediate tendency to 
beget love. 

The confufion of languages, the confequent dif- 
perfion of mankind, and the fhortening of the lives 
of the poftdiluvians, all concurred to check the exor- 
bitant growth and infection of wickednefs. And we 
may judge how neceflary thefe checks were, c alerts 
manentibus, from the great idolatry and corruption 
which appeared in the world within lefs than a thou- 
fand years after the flood. The patriarchal revela- 
tions mentioned and intimated by Mofes had the fame 
good effects, and were the foundations of thofe pagan 
religions, and, in great meafure, of that moral fenfe, 
which, corrupt and imperfect as they were, could 
not but be far preferable to an entire want of thefe. 
It it be objected, that, according to this, greater 
checks, and more divine communications, were want- 
ed ; I anfwer, that a greater difperfion, or fhortening 
of human life, might have prevented the deftined in- 
creafe of mankind, or the growth of knowledge, civil 
and religious, &c. and that more or more evident 
divine interpofitions might have reftrained the volun- 
tary powers too much, or have precluded that faith 
which is necefiary to our ultimate perfection. Thefe 
are conjectures indeed ; but they are upon the level 
with the objection, which is conjectural alfo. 

The next remarkable particular that occurs, is the 
calling of Abraham, the father of the faithful. Now 


the Chriftian Religion. 131 

in this part of the fcripture hiftory, as it is explained 
by the New Teftament, we have the ftrongeft evi- 
dences of God's great defign to purify and perfect 
mankind. He is called to forfake his relations, 
friends and country, left he fhould be corrupted 
by idolatry ; he receives the promife of the land of 
Canaan, without feeing any probable means of ob- 
taining it, befides this promife, in order to wean him 
from the dependence on external means; he waits 
for a fon till all natural expectations ceafed, for the 
fame purpofe , by obtaining him he learns to truft in 
God notwithftanding apparent impoffibilities; and the 
command to facrifice his fon, his only fon Ifaac, whom 
be loved, affords him a noble opportunity of exercifing 
this truft, and of fhewing, that his principle of obe- 
dience to God was already fuperior to the pureft of 
earthly affections. Laftly, when God promifes him, 
as a reward for all his faith and obedience, as the 
higheft bleffing, that in him and his feed all the na- 
tions of the earth Jhould be blejjed, we muft conceive 
this to be a declaration, firft, that God himfelf is infi- 
nitely benevolent; and, fecondly, that the happinefs 
of Abraham, of his feed, and of all mankind who 
were to be blefled in his feed, muft arife from their 
imitation of God in his benevolence. This whole 
univerfe is therefore a fyftem of benevolence, or, as 
St. Paul exprefies it, a body, which, being fitly framed 
and compared together, increafeth it/elf in love. 

As to the objection which is fometimes made to 
the facrifice of Ifaac, we may obferve, that Abra- 
ham had himfelf received fo many divine commu- 
nications, and had been acquainted with fo many 
made to his anceftors, that he had no doubt about 
the commands coming from God, did not even afk 
himfelf the queftion. It is probable, that in that 
early age there had as yet been few or no falfe preten- 
ces, or illufions. Abraham could as little doubt of 
God's right to Jfaac's life, or of his care of him in 
K 2 another 

132 Of the Truth of 

another ttate. Thefe things were parts of the pa- 
triarchal religion. And yet great faith was required 
in Abraham, before he could overcome his natural 
affection and tendernefs for Jfaac out of a principle 
of obedience to God, and truft God for the accom- 
plifliment of his promife, though he commanded him 
to deftroy the only apparent means of accomplifhing 
it. Unlefs Abraham had been highly advanced in 
faith and obedience, he could not have flood fo fe- 
vere a trial ; but this trial would greatly confirm 
thefe. And thus this hiftory is fo far from being 
liable to objection, that it is peculiarly conformable to 
thofe methods, which mere reafon and experience 
dictate as the proper ones, for advancing and perfect- 
ing true religion in the foul. When the typical 
nature of it is alfo confidered, one cannot furely doubt 
of its divine authority. And, in the previous fteps, 
through which Abraham paffed in order to obtain this 
bleffing, we have an adumbration and example 
of that faith, patience, and gradual progrefs in the 
fpiritual life, which are neceflary to all thofe who 
hope to be blejfed with faithful Abraham. 

Let us next pafs on to Mojes, and the Ifraelites under 
his conduct. Here we enter upon the consideration 
of that people, who are the type of mankind in gene- 
ral, and of each individual in particular ; who were 
the keepers of the oracles of God, and who, under 
God, agreeably to his promife to Abraham, have 
been, and will hereafter be a bleffing to all nations, 
and the means of reftoring man to his paradifiacal ftate. 
And firft they are oppreiTed with a cruel flavery in Egypt, 
led, being delighted with its fertility, and the prefent 
pleafures of fenfe which it afforded, they fhould for- 
get their true earthly country, the land of prptnife. 
They then fee the mod amazing judgments inflicted 
upon their enemies the Egyptians by God, whilft they 
themfelves were protected and delivered, that fo they 
might learn confidence in his power and favour, and 


the Cbriftian. Religion. 133 

be thus prepared for their inftitution in religion, and 
their trial and purification in the. wildernefs. And 
here the awful delivery' of the law, their being fed 
from day to day by miracle, their being kept from 
all commerce with other nations, and 'from all cares 
of this world in building, planting, &c. till their 
old habits, and Egyptian cuftoms and idolatries, were 
quite effaced, and the practice of the new law cfta- 
blifhed, their having the hiftory of the world, and 
particularly of their anceftors, laid before them in one 
view, their tabernacle, their numerous rites and cere- 
monies, additional to thofe of the patriarchal reli- 
gion, and oppofite to the growing idolatries of 
their neighbours the Egyptians and Canaanites y and 
which, befides their uks as types, were memorials of 
their relation to God> and of his conftant prefence and 
protection, and, laftly, the total extinction of that 
murmuring generation, who longed for the fiefh-pots 
of Egypt, cannot but appear to be intended for the 
purification of this chofen people, as being remark- 
ably analogous to the methods of purification, which 
every good man experiences in himfelf, and fees in 
others, i. e, cannot but appear highly conducive to 
the great defign confidered under this proportion. 
At laft, the education and inftruction of this people 
being finifhed, they are admitted to inherit the earthly 
promife made to their forefathers, and take pofiei- 
fion of the land of Canaan under Jojhua. And thus 
we come to a remarkable period in God's difpenfa- 
tions to them. 

Now therefore they are, in fome meafure, left to 
themfelves, for the fake of moral improvement, the 
divine interpofitions being far lefs frequent and folemnj 
than* at the firft erection of the theocracy under 
Mojeis adminiftration. However, there were many 
fupernatural interpositions, appointments, favours, 
corrections, &c. from Jojhua to Malacbi, on account 
of their yet infant ftate in refpect of internal purity, 

K 3 whole 

134 Of the Truth of 

whofe tendency to improve both the body politic of 
the nation, and each individual, is fufficiently evident. 
After Malachi they were entirely left to themfelves ; 
their canon being completed,, they were then only to 
hear and digeft what Mofes and the prophets had de- 
livered unto them ; and by this means to prepare 
themfelves for the lall and completed difpenfation. 

But, before we enter upon this, let us briefly confi- 
der the ftate of the gentile world, in the interval be- 
tween Abraham and Chrift, and what intimations the 
Old Teftament gives us of their being alfo under the 
care" of Providence,- and in a ftate of moral difci- 
pline. They had then, according to this, Firft, the 
traditions of patriarchal revelations. Secondly, All 
the nations in the neighbourhood of Canaan had fre- 
quent opportunities and motives to inform themfelves 
of the true religion. Thirdly, All thofe who con- 
quered them at any time could not but learn fomething 
both from their fubjeftion, and their deliverance after- 
wards. Fourthly, The captivities by Salmanefer 
and / Nebuchadnezzar carried the knowledge of the true 
God to many diftant nations. Laftly, The diftrac- 
tions of the Jewifh ftate during the cotemporary em- 
pires of Syria and Egypt, the rife of the Samaritan 
religion, and the tranflation of the Old Teftament 
into Greek, conduced eminently to the fame purpofe. 
And as it is neceffary in the prefent ftate of things, 
for the exercife of various affections, and our moral 
improvement, that there fhould be degrees and 
fubordinations in common things, fo it feems equally 
necefiary, that it fhould be fo in religious matters : 
and thus the Gentiles may have had, in the interval 
between Abraham and Chrift, all that fuited their other 
circumftances, all that they could have improved by 
internal voluntary purity, other things remaining the 
fame, which is always fuppofed. And it is remark- 
able in the view of this proportion, that we learn ib 


the Chriflian Religion. 135 

much from the fcriptures concerning the moral difci- 
pline which God afforded to the Gentiles. , 

When we come to the New Teftament, the great 
defign of all God's difpenfations appears in a ftill 
more confpicuous manner. Here we fee how Chrift 
began to erect his fpiritual kingdom, and the apoftles 
extended it ; we have the fublimeft doctrines, and pu- 
reft precepts, for effecting it in ourfelves and others, 
and the ftrongeft affurances, that it will 'be effected at 
laft, that this leaven will continue to operate till the 
whole lump be leavened. But, above all, it is remark- 
able, that the principal means for effecting this is 
by fubmiffion and fufferance, not refiftance, and ex- 
ternal violence. The preachers are to undergo fhame, 
perfecution, and death, as the Lord of life and glory 
did before them. This is that foolijhnefs of God, 
which is wifer than men, and that weaknefs of God t 
which is ftronger than men. Thefe means feem fool- 
ifh and weak to the falfe wifdom of this world. 
But if they be compared with the frame of our na- 
tures, and with the real conftitution of things, they 
will appear to be perfectly fuited to produce in all man- 
kind that' beft of ends, the annihilation of felf, and 
worldly defires, and the pure and perfect love of God, 
and of all his creatures, in and through him. 

Setting afide therefore the greatnefs of this end, 
and its fuitablenefs to the divine goodnefs, fetting 
afide alfo the miracles which have concurred in it, I 
fay that the coincidence of the hiftories, precepts, 
promifes, threatenings, and prophecies of the fcrip- 
tures in this one point is an argument not only of their 
genuinenefs and truth, but of their divine authority. 
Had the writers been guided by their own fpirits, 
and not by the fupernatural influences of the fpirit of 
truth, they could neither have opened to us the various 
difpenfations of God tending to this one point, nor 
have purfued it themfelves, with fuch entire fteadinefs 

K and 

136 Of tbe Truth of 

and uniformity, through fo many different ages of 
the world. 

The^ gradual opening of this defign is an argument 
to the fame pbrpofe. Man's wifdom, if it could have 
formed fuch a defign, would have rufhed forward 
upon it prematurely. At the fame time we may 
obferve, that this defign is implied in the fcriptures 
from the ftrft, though not expreffed fo as to be then 
tmderftood ; which is another argument of their 
divine original. 

COR. F/om the reafoning ufed under this pro- 
pofition we may be led to believe, that all the great 
events which happen in the world, have the fame 
ufe as the difpenfations, recorded in the fcriptures, 
viz. that of being a courfe of moral difcipline for 
nations and individuals, and of preparing the world 
for future difpenfations. Thus the irruption of the 
barbarous nations into the Roman empire, the Ma- 
hometan impofture, the corruptions of the chriftian 
religion, the ignorance and darknefs which reigned 
for fome centuries during the groffeft of thefe corrup- 
tions, the reformation, reftoration of letters, and 
the invention of printing, three great cotemporary 
events which fucceeded the dark times, the rife of 
the enthufiaftical feds fmce the reformation, the vaft 
increafe and diffufion of learning in the prefent 
times, the growing extenfivenels of commerce between 
various nations, the great prevalence of infidelity 
amongft both Jews and Chriftians, the difperfion of 
'Jews and Jefuits into all known parts of the world, 
&c* &c. are all events, which, however mifchievous 
fome of them may feem to human wifdom, are, 
Cteteris manentibus, the mod proper and effectual way 
of haftening the kingdom of Chrift, and the renova- 
tion of all things. 


the Chriftian Religion, 137 


Divine Communications, Miracles, and Prophecies, are 

agreeable to Natural Religion, and even Jeem necejjary 

~ in (be Infancy of the World. 

SINCE God is a being of infinite juftice, mercy, and 
bounty, according to natural religion, it is rea- 
fonable to expect, that if the deficiencies of natural 
reafon, or the inattention of mankind to the foot- 
fteps of his providence, were fuch at any time, as 
that all the world were in danger of being loft in 
ignorance, irreligion, and idolatry, God fhould inter- 
pofe by extraordinary inftrudion, by alarming inftan- 
ces of judgment and mercy, and by prophetical de- 
clarations of things to come, in order to teach men 
his power, his juftice, and his goodnefs, by fenfible 
proofs and manifeftations. We muft not fay here, 
that God could not fuffer this ; but inquire from hif- 
tory, whether he has or no. Now I fuppole it will 
eafily be acknowledged, that this was the cafe with the 
gentile world in ancient times, and that the Judaical 
and Chriftian inftitutions have greatly checked irre- 
ligion and idolatry, and advanced true natural reli- 
gion j which is a remarkable coincidence in favour 
of thefe inftitutions, though all other evidences for 
them were fen afide. Neither muft we fay here, that 
fince God permits grofs ignorance in fome nations, 
the Hottentots for inftance, even to this day, he might 
have permitted it in all mankind. Allow that we 
know fo little of his unfearchable judgments, as not 
to be able to make any certain conclufion : yet 
furely it is much more agreeable to the forenamed 
attributes, and to the analogies of other things, 
that the bulk of mankind fliould have fuch a know- 
ledge of God, as fuits their intellectual faculties, and 


138 Of the Truth of 

other circumftances, and carries them forwards in 
moral improvement, than that all Ihould ftand dill, 
or go backwards, or make lefs improvement in re- 
ligion, than tallies with their improvements in other 
things; alfo that there fhould be a fubordination 
in religious advantages, rather than a perfect equa- 

Natural religion alfo teaches us to confider God 
as our governor, judge, and father. Now all thefe 
fuperiors have two ways of adminiftration, inftruction 
and providence for the well-being of their inferiors, 
ordinary and extraordinary. It is therefore natural 
to expect upon great occafions an extraordinary 
interpofition by revelation, miracle, and prophecy j 
and that efpecially in that infancy of the world 
after the deluge, which both facred and profane 
hiftory afTure us ofj inafmuch as both ftates and 
individuals require much more of the extraordinary 
interpofition of governors and parents in their in- 
fancy, than afterwards : all which has a remarkable 
correfpondence with the hiftory of revelation, as it 
is in fact.. And the analogical preemptions for 
miracles, in this and the laft paragraph, feem at leaft 
equal to any prefumption we have, or can have, 
in this our ftate of ignorance of the whole of things, 
againft them. 

But there is another argument in favour of mira- 
culous interpofitions, which may be drawn from the 
foregoing theory of human nature. I take it for 
granted, that mankind have not been upon this earth 
from all eternity. Eternity neither fuits an imper- 
fect, finite race of beings, nor our habitation the 
earth. It cannot have revolved round the fun, as it 
does now from all eternity -, it muft have had fuch 
changes made in it from its own fabric and principles, 
from the fhocks of comets, &c. in infinite time, 
as would be inconfiftent with our furvival. There 
was therefore a time when man was firft placed upon 


the Cbriftian Religion. 139 

the earth. In what ftate was he then placed ? An 
infant, with his mind a blank, void of ideas, as 
children now are born ? He would perilh inftantly, 
without a feries of miracles to preferve, educate, and 
inftruct him. Or if he be fuppofed an adult with a 
blank mind, /. e. without ideas, afTociations, and 
the voluntary powers of walking, handling, fpeak- 
ing, &c. the cohclufion is the fame j he mud perifh 
alfo, unlefs conducted by a miraculous interpofition 
and guardianfhip. He muft therefore have fo much 
of knowledge, and of voluntary and fecondarily auto- 
matic powers, amongft which fpeech muft be reck- 
oned as a principal one, impreffed upon him in 
the way of inftinct, as would be neceffary for his 
own prefervation, and that of his offspring; and this 
inftincl: is, to all intents and purpofes, divine reve- 
lation, fince he did not acquire it by natural means. 
It is alfo of the nature of prophecy ; for it feems im- 
poffible for mankind to fubfift upon the earth, as it 
now is, without fome foreknowledge, and the confe- 
quent methods of providing for futurity, fuch, for 
inftance, as brutes have, or even greater, fince man, 
unprovided with manual arts, is peculiarly expofed to 
dangers, necefiities, and hardfhips. 

Let us next confider, how the firil men are to be 
provided with the knowledge of God, and a moral 
fenfe : for it feems neceffary, that they fhould be 
poffeffed of fome degree of thefe j elfe the fenfual 
and fenfual defires would be fo exorbitant, as to be 
inconfiftent both with each man's own fafety, and 
with that of his neighbour ; as may be gathered from 
the accounts of favage nations, who yet are not en- 
tirely deftitute of the knowledge of God, and the 
moral fenfe. Now, to deduce the exiftence and attri- 
butes of God, even in a very imperfect manner, from 
natural phenomena, requires, as it feems to me, far 
more knowledge and ratiocination, than men could 
have for many generations, from their natural powers; 


140 Of tie 'Truth of 

and that efpecially if we fuppofe language not to be 
infpired, but attained in a natural way. And it ap- 
pears both from the foregoing account of the moral 
fenfe, and from common obfervation, that this 
requires much time, care, and cultivation, befides 
the previous- knowledge of God, before it can be a 
match for the impetuofity of natural defires. We 
may conclude therefore, that the firft men- could not 
attain to that degree of the knowledge of God, and 
a moral fenfe, which was necefiary for them, without 
divine infpiration. 

There are feveral particulars in the Mojaic account 
of the creation, fall, and circumftances of the an- 
cient world, which tally remarkably with the method 
of reafoning ufed here. Thus, man is at firft pla- 
ced in a paradife, where there was nothing noxious, 
and confequently where he would need lefs miracu- 
lous Miterpofition in order to preferve him. He lives 
upon the fruits of the earth, which want no previous 
arts of preparing them, and which Would ftrike him 
by their fmells, and, after an inftance or two, incite 
him to pluck and tafle : whereas animal diet, be- 
fides its inconfiftency with a ftate of pure innocence 
and happinefs, requires art and preparation neceffii- 
rily. There is only one man, and one woman, cre- 
ated, that fo the occafions for exerting the focial 
affections may not offer themfelves in any great de- 
gree, before thefe affections are generated; button 
the contrary, the affections may grow naturally, as it 
were, out of the occafions. The nakednefs, and 
want of mame, in our firft parents, are concurring 
evidences of the abferice of art, acquired affections, 
evil, &V. i. e. of a paradifiacal ftate. In this ftate 
they learnt to give names to the animal world, per- 
haps from the automatic and femivoluntary exertions 
of the organs of fpeech, which the fight of the 
creatures, or the found of their feveral cries, would 
excite, having probably a fufficient (lock of language 


the Cbriftian Religion. 141 

for communication with God and for converfing with 
each other about their daily food, and other necefiary 
things, given them by immediate inftinct or infpira- 
tion. And thus they would be initiated, by naming 
the animals, into the practice of inventing, learn- 
ing, and applying words. For the fame reafons, 
we may fuppofe, that they learnt many other things, 
and particularly the habit of learning, during their 
abode in paradife. Nay, it may perhaps be, that 
this growth of acquired knowledge, with the plea- 
fantnefs of it, might put them upon 1 learning evil as 
well as good, and excite the forbidden curiofity. 
After the fall, we find God providing them with 
clothes, Cain banifhed from the prefence of God, 
an argument that others were permitted to have 
recourfe to this prefence to afk counfel, &c. his 
pofterity inventing arts for thernfelves, Enoch and 
Noah walking with God before the flood, and 
Abraham afterwards; all the antediluvian patriarchs 
long-lived, the poftdiluvian long-lived alfo for 
fome generations j amongft other reafons, that they 
might inftruct pofterity in religious and other 
important truths; and the divine interpositions 
continuing through the whole antediluvian world, and 
gradually withdrawn in the poftdiluvian. And it 
teems to me, to fay the leaft, a very difficult thing 
for any man, even at this day, to invent a more 
probable account of the firft peopling of this earth, 
than that which Mojes has given us. 


142 Of the Truth of 


The Objection made againft the Miracles recorded in the 
Scriptures, from their being contrary to the Cffurfe of 
Nature, is of little or no Force. 

IT is alleged here by the objectors, that the courfe 
of nature is fixed and immutable; and that this is 
evinced by the concurrent teftimony of all mankind 
in all ages ; and confequently that the teftimony of 
a few perfons, who affirm the contrary, cannot be 
admitted ; but is, ip/o faffo, invalidated by its op- 
pofing general, or even univerfal experience. Now 
to this I anfwer, 

Firft, That we do not, by admitting the tefti- 
mony of mankind concerning the defcent of heavy 
bodies upon the furface of our earth, the common 
effects of heat and cold, &c. fuppofe that this invali- 
dates the teftimony of thofe who declare they have 
met with contrary appearances in certain cafes. 
Each party teftifies what they have feen ; and why 
may not the evidence of both be true ? It does not 
follow, becaufe a thing has happened a thoufand, or 
ten thoufand times, that it never has failed, nor ever 
can fail. Nothing is more common or conftant, than 
the effect of gravity in making all bodies upon the 
furface of our earth tend to its centre. Yet the 
rare extraordinary influences of magnetifm and elec- 
tricity can fufpend this tendency. Now, before mag- 
netifm and electricity were difcovered, and verified 
by a variety of concurrent facts, there would have 
been as much reafon to difallow the evidence of their 
particular effects attefted by eye-witneffes, as there 
is now to difallow the particular miracles recorded fn 
the fcriptures ; and yet we fee that fuch a difallow- 
ance would have been a hafty conclufion, would 


the Chriftian Religion. 143 

have been quite contrary to the true nature of. things. 
And, in fact, whatever may be the cafe of a few 
perfons, and particularly of thofe, who think that 
they have an interefl in difproving revealed religion, 
the generality of mankind, learned and unlearned, 
philofophical and vulgar, in all ages, have had no 
fuch difpofition to reject a thing well attefted by 
witnefles of credit, becaufe it was contrary to the 
general, or even univerfal, tenor of former oblerva- 
tions. Now it is evident to confidering perfons, efpe- 
cially if they reflect upon the foregoing hiftory of 
aflbciation, that the difpofitions to afient and difient 
are generated in the human mind from the fum total 
of the influences, which particular obfervations have 
had upon it. It follows therefore, fince the bulk of 
mankind, of all ranks and orders, have been dif- 
pofed to receive facts the mod furprizing, and con- 
trary to the general tenor, upon their being attefted 
in a certain limited degree, that extraordinary facts 
are not, in a certain way of confidering the thing, 
out of the tenor of nature, but agreeable to it ; that 
here therefore, as well as in common facts, the ftrefs 
is to be laid upon the credibility of the witnefles;. 
and that to do otherwife is an argument either of 
fome great fingularity of mind, or of an undue 

Secondly, If it mould be alleged by the objectors, 
that they do not mean, by the courfe of nature, 
that tenor of common obfervations which occurred 
to the firft rude ages of the world, or even that 
tenor which is ufually called fo at prefent ; but thofe 
more general laws of matter and motion, to which 
all the various phenomena of the world, even thofe 
which are apparently moft contrary to one another, 
may be reduced j and that it is probable, that uni- 
verlal experience would concur to fupport the true 
laws of nature of this kind, were mankind fuffi- 
ciently induftrious and accurate in bringing together 

- the 

144 Of tbe Truth of 

the facts, and drawing the conclusions from them ; 
in which cafe, any deviations from the tenor of 
nature, thus fupported and explained, would be far 
more improbable, than according to the fuppofition 
of the foregoing paragraph ; we anfwer, that this 
objection is a mere conjedure. Since we do not yet 
know what thcfe true laws of matter and motion 
are, we cannot prefume to fay whether all phasno- 
mena are reducible to them, or not. Modern philofo- 
phers have indeed made great advances in natural 
knowledge ; however, we are dill in our infant (late, 
in refpect of it, as much as former ages, if the 
whole of things be taken into confideration. And 
this objection allows and fuppofes it to be fo. Since 
therefore it was the proper method for former ages, 
in order to make advances in real knowledge, to 
abide by the award of credible teftirnonies, how- 
ever contrary thefe teftirnonies might appear to their 
then notions and analogies, fo this is alfo the proper 
method for us. 

If indeed we put the courfe of nature for that 
feries of events, which follow each other in the 
order of caufe and effect by the divine appointment, 
this would be an accurate and philofophical way of 
fpeaking ; but then we muft at once acknowledge, 
that we are fo ignorant of what may be the divine 
purpofes and appointments, of fecret caufes, and of 
the correfponding variety of events, that we can only 
appeal to the fact/5, to credible relations of what 
actually has been, in order to know what is agreeable 
to the courfe of nature thus explained. The icripture 
miracles may not be at all contrary to its fixednefs 
and immutability. Nor can any objection lie againft 
them, if we confider things in this light, from 
the prefcnt notions of philofophical men, i. e. 
from the courfe of nature, underftood in a popular 
fenfe ; fince this falls fo (hort of the true courfe 
of nature as here defined, ;'. e. as admitting 


the Chriftian Religion. 145 

the inftrumentality of beings fuperior to us, men 
divinely infpired, good angels, evil fpirits, and 
many other influences, of which our prefent philo- 
fophy can take no cognizance. 

With refpect to moral analogy, the cafe is fome- 
what different. If the moral attributes of God, and 
the general rules of his providence, be fuppofed to 
be eftablifhed upon a fure footing, then a feries of 
events, which fhould be contrary to thefe, would have 
a ftrong prefumption againft them. And yet it be- 
comes us to be very diffident here alfo. God is infi- 
nite, and we finite : we may therefore, from feeing 
only a fmall portion, judge what we fee to be differ- 
ent from what it is. However, revealed religion 
has no occafion in general for any fuch apology. 
Natural and revealed religion, the word and works 
of God, are in all principal things mod wonderfully 
analogous -, as has been fufficiemly fhewn by the 
advocates for revealed religion, and moft efpecially 
by bifhop Sutler in his analogy. As far therefore as 
moral analogy carries weight, there is pofitive evi- 
dence for the fcripture miracles. And our compre- 
henfion of natural analogy is fo imperfect as fcarce to 
afford any prefumption againft them ;, but leaves the 
evidence in their favour, of nearly the fame ftrength. 
as it would have had for other facts. 

Thirdly, Let it be obferved, that the evidences 
for the fcripture miracles are fo numerous, and, in 
other refpects, fo ftrong, as to be nearly equal to 
any evidences that can be brought for the moft com- 
mon facts. For it is very manifeft, as has been 
obferved before, that a great number of credible evi- 
dences make a fum total, that is equal to unity, or 
abfolute certainty, as this has been confidered in the 
foregoing part of this work, nearer than by any 
perceptible difference: and the greateft number can 
never arrive quite to unity. The evidence therefore 
for common facts cannot exceed that for the fcripture 

VOL. II. L miracles 

146 Of the Truth of 

miracles by more than an imperceptible difference, 
if we eftimate v evidences according to the trueft and 
mod accurate manner. Hence the nearly equal evi- 
dences for each muft eftablifh each in nearly an equal 
degree, unlefs we fuppofe either fome fuch inconfift- 
ency between them, as that, common facts being 
allowed, the fcripture miracles muft be abfolutely 
rejected, or that there is fome evidence againft the 
fcripture miracles, which may be puc in competition 
with that 'for them j neither of which things can be 
faid with any colour of reafon. ^ 

Fourthly, This whole matter may be put in an- 
other, and perhaps a more natural, as well as a more 
philofophical light ; and that efpecially if the fore- 
going^ account of the mind be allowed. Aflbciation, 
i. e. analogy, perfect and imperfect, is the only 
foundation upon which we in fact do, or can, or 
ought to aflent j and confequently a diffonance from 
analogy, or a repugnancy thereto, is a neceffary 
foundation for diffent. Now it happens fometimes, 
that the fame thing is fupported and impugned by 
different analogies ; or, if we put repugnance to 
analogy as equivalent to miracle, that both a fact 
and its non-exiftence imply a miracle; or, fince this 
cannot be, that that fide alone, which is repugnant 
to the moft and the mod perfect analogies, is mira- 
culous, and therefore incredible. Let us weigh the 
fcripture miracles in this fcale. Now the progrefs 
of the human mind, as may be feen by all the inqui- 
ries into it, and particularly by the hiftory of afibci- 
ation, is a thing of a determinate nature j a man's 
thoughts, words, and actions, are all generated by 
fomething previous j there is an eftablifhed courfe for 
thefe things, an analogy, of which every man is a 
judge from what he feels in himfrlf, and fees in 
others : and to fuppofe any number of men in deter- 
minate circumftances to vary from this general tenor 
of human nature in like circumftances, is a miracle, 

\ and 

ibe Cbriftlan Religion. 147 

and may be made a miracle of any magnitude, i. e. 
incredible to any degree, by increafing the number 
and magnitude of the deviations. It is therefore a 
miracle in the human mind, as great as any can be 
conceived in the human body, to fuppofe that infinite 
multitudes of chriftians, Jews, and heathens in the 
primitive times, fhould have borne fuch unqueftion- 
able teftimony, fome exprefsly, others by indirect 
circumftances, as hiftory informs us they did, to 
the miracles faid to be performed by Chrili, and his 
apoftles, upon the human, body, unlefs they were 
really performed. In like manner, the reception 
which the miracles recorded in the Old Teftament 
met with, is a miracle, unlefs thofe miracles were true. 
Thus alfo the very exiftence of the books of the Old 
and New Teftaments, of the Jewijh and Chriftian 
religions, &c. &c. are miracles, as is abundantly 
fhewn by the advocates for chriftianity, unlefs we 
allow the fcripture miracles. Here then a man muft 
either deny all analogy and afibciation, and become 
an abfolute fceptic, or acknowledge that very ftrong 
analogies may fometimes be violated, /. e. he muft 
have recourfe to fomething miraculous, to fomething 
fupernatural, according to his narrow views. The 
next queftion then will be, which of the two oppo- 
fite miracles will agree beft with all his other notions - t 
whether k be more analogous to the nature of God, 
providence, the allowed hiftory of the" world, the 
known progrefs of man in this life, &c. &c. to 
fuppofe that God imparted to certain felect perfons, of 
eminent piety, the power of working miracles j or to 
fuppofe that he confounded the underftandings, af- 
fections, and whole train of aflbciations, of entire 
nations, fo as that men, who, in all other things, 
feem to have been conducted in a manner like all 
other men, fhould, in refpect of the hiftory of Chrift, 
the prophets and apoftles, at in a manner repug- 
nant to all our ideas and experiences. Now, as this 

L 2 laft 

148 Of the Truth of 

laft fuppofition cannot be maintained at all upon the 
footing of deifm, fo it would be but juft as probable 
as the firft, even though the objector fhould deny the 
pofiibility of the being of a God. For the lead 
prefumption, that there may be a being of immenfe 
or infinite power, knowledge, and goodnefs, immedi- 
ately turns the fcale in favour of the firft fuppofition. 

Fifthly, It is to be confidered, that the evidences 
for the fcripture miracles are many, and moft of 
them independent upon one another, whereas the 
difpenfation itfelf is a connected thing, and the mira- 
cles remarkably related to each other. If therefore 
only fo much as one miracle could be proved to have 
been really wrought in confirmation of the Jewijh or 
Chriftian revelations, there would be lefs objection 
to the fuppofition of a fecond j and, if this be 
proved, ftill lefs to that of a third, &c. till at laft 
the reluctance to receive them would quite vanifh 
(which indeed appears to have been the cafe in the 
latter part of the primitive times, when the incon- 
teftable evidences for the chriftian miracles had been 
fo much examined and confidered, as quite to over- 
come this reluctance ; and it feems difficult to account 
for the credulity in receiving falfe miracles, which 
then appeared, but upon fuppofition, that many true 
ones had been wrought). But it is not fo with the 
evidences. The greateft part of thefe have fo little 
dependence on the reft? as may be feen even from 
this chapter, that they muft be fet afide feparately by 
the objector. Here it ought to be added, that the 
objectors have fcarce ever attempted to fct afide any 
part of the evidence, and never fucceeded in fuch an 
attempt j which is of itfelf a ftrong argument in fa- 
vour of the fcriptures, fince this is plainly the moft 
natural and eafy way of difproving a thing that is 
falfe. It ought alfo to be obferved here, that the ac- 
complifhment of prophecy, by implying a miracle, 
does in like manner overbear the reluctance to receive 


the Chriftian Religion. ' 149 

miracles. So that if any confiderable events, which 
have already happened in the world, can be proved 
to have been foretold in fcripture in a manner ex- 
ceeding chance, and human forefight, the objection 
to miracles, confidered in this proportion, falls to 
the ground at, once. 

Sixthly. If any one fhould affirm or think, as 
fome perfons feem to do, that a miracle is im- 
pofiible, let him confider, that this is denying God's 
omnipotence, and even maintaining, that man is the 
fupreme agent in the univerfe. 


The hiftorical Evidences for the Genuinenefs, Truth, and 
divine Authority of the Scriptures do not grow lejs from 
Age to Age \ but y on the Contrary ', ;'/ may rather be 
frefumedy that they increaje. 

IT is fometimes alleged, as an indirect objection 
to the chriftian religion, that the evidence for facts 
done in former times, and at- remote places, de- 
creafes with the diftance of time and places and 
confequently that a time may come hereafter, when 
the evidence for the chriftian religion will be fo in- 
confiderable as not to claim our aflent, even allowing 
that it does fo now. To this I ahfwer, 

Firft, That printing has fo far fecured all confider- 
able monuments of antiquity, as that no ordinary 
calamities of wars, diffolutions of governments, 
&c. can deftroy any material evidence now in being, 
or render it lefs probable, in any difcernible degree, 
to thofe who fhall live five hundred or a thoufand 
years hence. 

Secondly, That fo many new evidences and coinci- 
dences have been difcovered in favour of the Jeivi/h 
and Cbriftian hiftories, fince the three great concur- 

L 3 ring 

150 Of the Truth of 

ring events of printing, the reformation of religion in 
thefe weftern parts, and the reftoration of letters, 
as, in fome meaiure, to make up for the evidences 
loft in the preceding times ; and fince this improve- 
ment of the hiftorical evidences is likely to continue, 
there is great reafon to hope, that they will grow 
every day more and more irrefiftible to all candid, 
ferious inquirers. 

One might alfo allege, if it were needful, that our 
proper bufmefs is to weigh carefully the evidence 
which appears at prefenr., leaving the care of future 
ages to Providence; that the prpphetical evidences 
are manifeftly of an increasing nature, and fo may 
compenfate for a decreafe in the hiftorical ones ; and 
that though, in a grofs way of fpeaking, the evi- 
dences for facts diftant in time and place are weak- 
ened by this diftance, yet they are not weakened in 
an exact proportion in any cafe, nor in any propor- 
tion in all cafes. No one can think a fa6t relating 
to the Turkijh empire lefs probable ar London than at 
fans, or at fifty years diftance than at forty. 


The Prophecies delivered in the Scriptures prove the 
Divine Authority of the Scriptures, even previoufly to 
the Conjideration of the Genuinenefs of tbefe Prophecies \ 
but much more, if that be allowed. 

IN order to evince this propofition, I will diftin- 
guifh the prophecies into four kinds, and fhew 
in what manner it holds in refpeft of each kind. 

There are then contained in the fcriptures, 

Firft, Prophecies that relate to the ftate of the 
nations which bordered upon the land of Canaan. 

Secondly, Thofe that relate to the political ftate 
of the J/raelites and Jews in all ages. 


the Chriftian Religion. 151 

Thirdly, The types and prophecies that relate to 
the office, time of appearance, birth, life, death, 
refurrection, and afcenfion of the promifed MeJJiah, 
or Chrift. 

Fourthly, The prophecies that relate to the (late 
of the chriftian church, efpecially in the latter times, 
and to the fecond coming of Chrift. 

I begin with the prophecies of the firft kind, or 
thofe which relate to the (late of Amalek, Edorn, Moab, 
Amman, Tyre, Syria, Egypt, Nineveh, Babylon, and 
the four great fuccefiive empires of the Babylonians, 
Per/tans, Greeks, and Romans. Now here I obferve, 
Firft, That if we admit both the genuinenefs of thefe 
prophecies and the truth of the common hiftory of 
the fcriptures, the very remarkable coincidence of 
the facts with the prophecies will put their divine 
authority out of all doubt j as I fuppofe every reader 
will acknowledge, upon recollecting the many par- 
ticular prophecies of this kind, with their accom- 
plifhments, which occur in the old Teftament. 
Secondly, If we allow only the genuinenefs of thefe 
prophecies, fo great a part of them may be verified 
by the remains of ancient pagan hiftory, as to 
eftablifh the divine authority of that part. Thus, 
if Daniel's prophecies of the image, and four beafts, 
were written by him in the time of the Babylonian 
empire, if the prophecies concerning the fall of 
Nineveh, Babylon, Tyre, &c. be genuine, &c. even 
profane hiftory will (hew, that more than human 
forefight was concerned in the delivery of them. 
Thirdly, That fuch of thefe prophetic events as 
remain to this day, or were evidently pofterior to the 
delivery of the prophecies, prove their divine autho- 
rity even antecedently to the confideration of their 
genuinenefs, as is affirmed in the former pare of 
the propofition. Of this kind are the perpetual 
flavery of Egypt', the perpetual deflation of Tyre 
and Babylon-, the wild, unconquered ftate of the 
L 4 JJhmaelites 

152 Of tbe Truth of 

IJhmaelites ; the great power and ftrength of the 
Roman empire beyond thole of the three , foregoing 
empires ; its divition into ten kingdoms ; its noc 
being fubdued by any other, as the three foregoing 
were* the rife of the Mahometan religion, and 
Saracenic empire ; the limited continuance of this 
empires and the rife and progrefs of the empire of 
the Turks. To thefe we may add the transactions 
that paITed between the cotemporary kingdoms of 
Syria and Egypt, prophefied of in the eleventh chap- 
ter of Daniel. For, fince thefe prophecies reach 
down to the times of Antiochus Epipbanes, and the 
beginning fubjection of thefe kingdoms, to the Ro- 
man power, they cannot but have been delivered prior 
to the events, as may appear both from the confi- 
, deration of the Septuagint translation of the book of 
Daniel, and the extinction of the Biblical Hebrew as 
a living language before that time, even though the 
book of Daniel Ihould not be considered as a genuine 
book ; for which fufpicion there is, however, no 
foundation. Laftly, we may remark, that thefe, 
and indeed all the other prophecies, have the fame 
marks of genuinenefs as the reft of the fcriptures, 
or as any other books j that they cannot be leparated 
from the context without the utmoft violence, fo 
that, if this be allowed to be genuine, thofe mud alfoj 
that hiftory and chronology were in fo uncertain a 
flate in ancient times, that the prophecies concern- 
ing foreign countries could not have been adapted to 
the facts, even after they had happened, with fo 
much exactnefs as modern inquirers have fhewn the 
fcripture prophecies to be, by a learned nation, and 
much lefs by the Jews, who were remarkably igno- 
rant of what palled in foreign countries ; and that 
thofe prophecies, which are delivered in the manner 
of dream and vifion, have a very ftrong internal 
evidence for thpir genuinentfs, taken from the na- 

the Chriftian Religion. 153 

ture of dreams, as this is explained in the foregoing 
part of this work. 

I proceed, in the fecond place, to fhew how the 
prophecies, that relate to the political ftate of the 
Jews, prove the divine authority of the fcriptures. 
And here, pafling by many prophecies of inferior 
note, and of a fuborbinate nature, we may confine 
ourfelves to the promife, or prophecy, of the land 
of Canaan, given to Abraham, IJaac, and Jacob; to 
the prophecies concerning the captivity of the ten 
tribes, and the Babylonijh captivity of the two tribes, 
with their return after feventy years ; and to thofe 
concerning the much greater captivity and defolation 
predicted to fall upon this chofen people in the 
twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy, in various 
places of the prophecies, and by Chrift and his 
apoftles in the New Teftament. There was no 
natural probability, at the time when thefe prophe- 
cies were delivered, that any of thefe events fhould 
happen in the manner in which they were predicted, 
and have accordingly happened ; but, in fome, the 
lumoft improbability : fo that it muft appear to every 
candid intelligent inquirer, that nothing lefs than 
fupernatural knowledge could have enabled thofe who 
delivered thefe predictions, to make them. The 
divine authority, therefore, of the books which con- 
tain thefe predictions, is unquestionable, provided 
we allow them to be genuine. 

Now, befides the forementioned evidences of this, 
thefe prophecies have fome peculiar ones attending 
them. Thus the mere departure of the Israelites out 
of Egypt, in order to go to the land of Canaan, 
their burying Jacob in Canaan, and carrying Jdfepb's 
bones with them, plainly imply that the promife of 
this land had been given to their anceftors. Thus 
alfo the prophecies relating to the captivities of Ifrael 
and Judah, and to their reftorations, make fo large 
.2 part of the old prophets, that, if they be not 


154 Of the Truth of 

genuine, the whole books muft be forged j and the 
genuinenefs of thofe in the New Ttrftament cannot 
but be allowed by all. 

I come now, in the third place, to fpeak of the 
types and prophecies that relate to Chrift, the time 
of his appearance, his offices, birth, life, death, 
refurreftion, and afcenfion. Many of thefe are ap- 
plied to him by himfelf, and by the authors of the 
books of the New Teftament; but there are alfo 
. many others, whofe difcovery and application are left 
to the fagacity and induftry of chriftians in all ages. 
This teems to be a field of great extent, and the evi- 
dence arifing from it of an increafing nature. It is 
probable, that the chriftians of the firft ages were 
acquainted with fo many more circumftances relating 
to the life, death, &c. of Chrift, as on this account 
to be able to apply a larger number of types and 
prophecies to him than we can. But then this may 
perhaps be compenfated to us by the daily opening 
of the fcriptures, and our growing knowledge in 
the typical and prophetical nature of them. What 
is already difcovered of this kind, feems no ways 
poffible to be accounted for, but from the fuppofi- 
tion, that God, by his power and foreknowledge, fo 
ordered the actions, hiftory, ceremonies, &c. of -the 
Patriarchs and Jews, and the language of. the pro- 
phets, as to make them correfpond with Chrift, his 
offices, actions, and fufferings. If any one doubts 
of this, let him attempt to apply the types and 
prophecies to any other perfon. I will juft mention 
four clafles, into which thefe types and prophecies 
may be diftinguifhed, and under each of them a few 
remarkable inftances. There are then, 

Firft, Prophecies which evidently relate to Chrift, 
and either to him alone, or to others in an inferior 
degree only. Such are that of Jacob concerning 
Sbiloh, of Mofes concerning a great prophet and law- 

the Chriftian Religion. 155 

giver that fhould come after him, of IJaiah in his 
fifty-fecond and fifty-third chapters of Daniel, con- 
cerning the Mejfiab, many in almoft all the prophets 
concerning a great prince, a prince of the houfe of 
David, &c. who fhould make a new convenant with 
his people, &c. &c. 

Secondly, Typical circumftances in the lives of 
eminent pcrfons, as of Ifaac, Jofeph, Jo/hua, David, 
Solomon, Jonah j and in the common hiftory of the 
Jewijh people, as its being called out of Egypt. 

Thirdly, Typical ceremonies in the Jewijh worihip 
as their facrifices in general, thofe of the paflbver 
and day of expiation in particular, &c. To this head 
we may alfo refer the typical nature of the high 
priefthood, and of the offices of king, prieft and 
prophet, amongft the Jews, &c. 

Fourthly, The apparently incidental mention of 
many circumftances in thefe things, which yet agree 
fo exadlly, and in a way fo much arjove chance, 
with Chrijft, as to make it evident, that they were 
originally intended to be applied to him. The not 
breaking a bone of the Pafchal Lambj the mention 
of renting the garment, and cafting lots upon the 
vefture, by David; of offering gall and vinegar, of 
looking on him whom they had pierced, of the third 
day upon numerous occafions, &c. are circumftances 
of this kind. 

Now, thefe types and prophecies afford nearly 
the fame evidence, whether we confider the books 
of the Old Teftament as genuine, or no. For no 
one calls in queftion their being extant as we now 
have them, fmall immaterial variations excepted, 
before the time of Chrift's appearance. Many of 
them do indeed require the common hiftory of the 
New Teftament to be allowed as true. But there are 
fome, thofe, for inftance, which relate to the humili- 
ation and death of Chrift, and the fpirituality of his 
office, the proofs of whofe accomplifhment are fuffi- 


156 Of the 'Truth of 

ciently evident to the whole world, even indepen- 
dently of this. 

The fourth branch of the prophetical evidences 
are thofe which relate to the chriftian church. Here 
the three following particulars deferve .attentive con- 

Firft, The predictions concerning a new and pure 
religion, which was to be fet up by the coming of the 
promifed Meffiah. 

Secondly, A great and general corruption of this 
religion, which was to follow in after-times. 

Thirdly, The recovery of the chriftian church 
from this corruption, by great tribulations; and the 
final eftablifhment of true and pure religion, called 
the kingdom of right eoufnefs, of the faints, the new 
Jerusalem, &c. 

The predictions of the firft and third kinds abound 
every where in the old phophets, in the difcourfes 
of Chrift, and in the writings of the apoftles. Thofe 
of the fecond kind are chiefly remarkable in Daniel, 
the Revelation, and the epiftles of St. Paul, St. 
Peter, St. John, and St. Jude. In how furprizing 
a manner the events of the firft and fecond kind have 
anfwered to the predictions, cannot be unknown 
to any inquifitive ferious perfon,' in any chriftian 
country. At the fame time it is evident, that the 
predictions of thefe things could have no foundation 
in probable conjectures when they were given. The 
events of the third clafs have not yet received their 
accomplifhment ; but there have been for fome cen- 
turies paft, and are ftill, perpetual advances and 
preparations made for them; and it now feems unrea- 
Ibnable to doubt of the natural probability of their 
accompli foment, unlefs we doubt at the fame time 
of the truth of the religion itfelf. If it be true, 
it muft, upon more diligent and impartial examination, 
both purify itfelf, and overcome all oppofition. 


the Cbriftian Religion. i$7 

And it is remarkably agreeable to the tenor of 
Providence in other things, that that accoroplifli- 
ment of prophecy, which will hereafter evidence the 
truth of the chriftian religion in the mod illuftrious 
manner, (hould be effected by prefent evidences of 
a lefs illuftrious nature. 

Let me add here, that many of the pfalms arc 
peculiarly applicable to the reftoration and converfion 
of the Jews, and to the final prevalence and eftablifti- 
ment of the chriftian church, /. e. to the events of 
the third clafs. 


'The Degree of Obfcurity which is found in the Prophe- 
cies of the Scriptures , is not Jo great as to invalidate 
the foregoing Evidences for their divine Authority ; 
but, on the Contrary , is itfelf an indirect Teftimony in 
their Favour. 

IN order to prove this propofition, I obferve, 
Firft, That there' are a fufficient number of 
prophecies, whofe interpretation is certain, clear, 
and precife, to Ihew that their agreement with the 
events predicted is far above the powers of chance, 
or human forefight. But for the proof of this point, 
which takes in a great compafs of literature, I muft 
refer to the authors who have treated it in detaih 
And as thofe who have examined this point with 
accuracy and impartiality, do, as I.prefume, univer- 
fally agree to the pofition here laid down, fo thofe 
who have not done fo, can have no pretence for 
afferting the contrary ; this being an hiftorical matter, 
which is to be determined as others of a like kind, 
viz. by the hiftorical evidences. The reader may, 
however, form fome judgment, in the grofs, even 
from the few inftances, which are alleged under the 
laft propofition. 


158 Of the Truth of 

Secondly, That, even in the types and prophecies 
where interpreters differ from each other, the differ- 
ences are often fo inconfiderable, and the agreements 
fo general, or elfe the prophecy fo fuited to the feveral 
events, to which it is applied by different interpre- 
ters, as to exclude both chance, and human fore- 
fight, ;'. e. to infer a divine communication. This 
point requires alfo a careful and candid examination, 
and then, I think, cannot but be determined in the 
affirmative ; efpecically when the very great number 
of types and prophecies is taken into confideration. 
Fitnefs in numerous inftances is always an evidence 
of defign ; this is a method of reafoning allowed, ex- 
plicitly or implicitly, by all. And though the fitnefs 
may not be perfectly evident or precife in all, yet, 
if it be general, and the inftances very numerous, 
the evidence of defign, arifing from it, may amount 
to any degree, and fall Ihort of certainty by an im- 
perceptible difference only. And indeed it is upon 
thefe principles alone, that we prove the divine pow- 
er, knowledge, and goodnefs, from the harmonies, 
and mutual fitneffes, of vifible things, and from final 
caufes, inafmuch as thefe harmonies and fitneffes 
are precifely made out only in a few inftances, if com- 
pared to thofe in which we fee no more than general 
harmonies, with particular fubordinate difficulties, 
and apparent incongruities. 

That the reader may fee in a ftronger light, how 
fully the fitneffes, confidered in the two foregoing 
paragraphs, exclude chance, and infer defign, let him 
try to apply the types and prophecies of the four 
clafies before-mentioned to other perfbns and events 
befides thofe, to which chriftian interpreters have ap- 
plied them j and efpecially let him confider the types 
and prophecies relating to Chrift. If defign be ex- 
cluded, thefe ought to be equally, or nearly fo, appli- 
cable to other perfons and events ; which yet, I think, 
no ferious confiderate perfon can affirm. Now, if 


tbe Cbriftian Religion. 159 

chance be once excluded, and the neceflity of having 
recourfe to defign admitted, we (hall be inftantly 
compelled to acknowledge a contrivance greater than 
human, from the long diftances of time intervening 
between the prophecy and the event, with other fuch 
like reafons. 

Thirdly, 1 obferve that thofe types and prophe- 
cies, whofe interpretation is fo obfcure, that inter- 
preters have not been able to di (cover any probable 
application, cannot any ways invalidate the evidence 
arifing from the reft. They are analogous to thofe 
parts of the works of nature, whofe ufes, and fubfer- 
viency to the reft are not yet underftood. And as 
no one calls in queftion the evidences of defign, 
which appear in many parts of the human body, 
becauie the ufes of others are not yet known j fo 
the interpretations of propecy, which are clearly 
or probably made out, remain the fame evidence 
of defign, notwithftanding that unfurmountable diffi- 
culties may hitherto attend many other parts of the 
prophetic writings. 

Fourthly, It is predicted in the prophecies, that in 
the latter times great multitudes will be converted 
to the chriftian faith; whereas thofe who preach or 
prophefy, during the great apoftafy, lhall be able to 
do this only in an obfcure, imperfect manner, and 
convert but few. Now the paft and prefent obfcurity 
of prophecy agrees remarkably with this prediction; 
and the opening, which is already made, fince the 
revival of letters, in applying the prophecies to the 
events, feems to prefage, that the latter times are 
now approaching; and that by the more full difco- 
very of the true meaning of the -prophetic writings, 
and of their aptnefs to fignify the events predicted, 
there will be fuch an acceffion of evidence to the 
divine authority of the fcriptures, as none but the 
wilfully ignorant, the profligate, and the obdurate, 
can withltand. It is therefore a confirmation of the 


160 Of the Truth of 

prophetic writings, that, by the obfcurity of one 
part of them, a way Ihould be prepared for effecting 
that glorious converfion of all nations, which is pre- 
dicted in others, in the time and manner in which it 
is predicted. 


// is no Objection to the foregoing Evidences taken from 
the 'Types and Prophecies, that they have double, or 
even manifold, Ufes and Applications ; but rather a 
Confirmation of them. 

FOR the foregoing evidences all reft upon this 
foundation, viz. that there is an aptnefs in the types 
and prophecies to prefigure the events, greater than 
can be fuppofed to refult from chance, or human 
forefight. When this is evidently made out from 
the great number of the types and prophecies, and 
the degree of clearnefs and precifenefs of each, the 
fhewing afterwards, that thefe have other ufes and 
applications, will rather prove the divine interpofition, 
than exclude it. All the works of God, the parts 
of a human body, fyftems of minerals, plants, and 
animals, elementary bodies, planets, fixed ftars, &c. 
have various ufes and fubferviencies, in refpect of 
each other; and, if the fcriptures be the word of 
God, analogy would lead one to expect fomething 
correfponding hereto in them. When men form 
defigns, they are indeed obliged to have one thing 
principally in view, and to facrifice fubordinate 
matters to principal ones ; but we mud not carry 
this prejudice, taken from the narrow limits of our 
power and knowledge, to him who is infinite in 
them. All his ends centre in the fame point, and are 
carried to their utmoft perfection by one and the 
fame means. Thofe laws, ceremonies, and incidents, 


/be Cbriflian Religion. 161 

which beft fuited the Je-wijh ftate, and the feveral in- 
dividuals of it, were alfo moft apt to prefigure the 
promifed Mefliah, and the ftate of the chriftian church, 
according to the per/eft- plan of thefe things, which, 
in our way of fpcaking, exifted in the divine mind 
from all eternity ; juft as that magnitude, fuuation, 
&c. of our earth, which beft fuits its prefent inhabit- 
ants, is alfo beft fuited to all the changes which it 
muft hereafter undergo, and to all the inhabitants 
of other planets, if there be any fuch, to whom its 
influence extends. 

The following inftance may perhaps make this 
matter more clearly underftood. Suppofe a perfbn 
to have ten numbers, and as many lines, prefented 
to his view ; and to find by menfuration, that the 
ten numbers exprefled the lengths of the ten lines 
refpeftively. This would make it evident, that they 
were intended to do fo. Nor would it alter the cafe, 
and prove that the agreement between the numbers 
and lines aroie, without defign, and by chance, as 
we exprefs it, to allege that thefe numbers had fome 
other relations; that, for inftance, they proceeded 
in arithmetical or geometrical progreffion, were the 
fquares or cubes of other numbers, &c. On the 
contrary, any fuch remarkable property would rather 
increafe than diminifh the evidence of defign in the 
agreement between the numbers and lines. How- 
ever, the chief thing to be inquired into would plainly 
be, whether the agreement be too great to be ao-^ 
counted for by chance. If i: be, defign muft be 


1 62 Of tie Truth of 


'The Application of the types and Prophecies of the 
Old 'Teftament by the Writers of the New does 
not weaken the Authority of theje Writers^ but rather 
confirm it. 

FOR the objections, which have been made to the 
writers of the New Teftament on this head, have 
been grounded principally upon a fuppofition, that 
when an obvious literal fenfe of a paffage, or a mani- 
feft ufe of a ceremony, fuited to the then prefent 
times, are difcovered, all others are excluded, fo as 
to become mifapplications. But this has been fhewn 
in the laft proportion to be a prejudice arifing from 
the narrownefs of our faculties and abilities. Whence 
it follows, that, if the fcripture types and pro- 
phecies be remarkably fuited to different things, 
which is a point that is abundantly proved by learn- 
ed men, they cannot but, in their original defign, 
have various fenfes and ufes. And it is fome con- 
firmation of the divine authority of the writers of the 
New Teftament, that they .write -agreeably to this 
original defign of God. 

It may perhaps afford fome fatisfaction to' the 
reader to make fome conjectures concerning the light 
in which the types and prophecies, which have dou- 
ble fenfes, would appear firft to the ancient Jews, 
and then to thofe who lived in the time of our Sa- 
viour. From hence we may judge in what light it 
is reafonable they fhould be taken by us. 

Let our inftance be the fecond pfalm, which we 
are to fuppofe written by David himfelf, or, at lead, 
in the time of his reign. It is evident, that there 
are fo many things in this pfalm peculiarly applicable 
to David's afcent to the throne by God's fpecial 
appointment, to the oppofition which he met with 
both in his own nation, and from the neighbouring 
y ones, 

the Chriftian Religion. 163 

ones, and to his victories over all his oppofers through 
the favour of God, that the Jews of that time could 
not but confider this pfalm as relating to David. 
Nay, one can fcarce doubt, but the Pfalmift himfelf, 
whether he feemed to himfelf to compofe it from his 
own proper fund, or to have it dictated immediately 
by the fpirit of God, would have David principally 
in view, At the fame time it is evident, that there 
are fpme paflages, particularly the lad, Elejfed are all 
they that put their truft in bim^ i. e. in the Son, which 
it would be impious, efpecially for an Ijraelite> to 
apply to Davidy and which therefore no allowance 
for the fublimity of the eaftern poetry could make 
applicable. It may be fuppolcd therefore, that many, 
or moft, confidered fuch paflages as having an ob-, 
fcurity in them, into which they could no ways pene- 
trate j whereas a few perhaps, who were peculiarly 
enlightened by God, and who meditated day and 
night upon the promifes made to their anceftors, par- 
ticularly upon thofe to Abraham, would prefume .or 
conjecture, that a future perfon of a much higher 
rank than David, was prefigured thereby. And the 
cafe would be the fame in regard to many other 
pfalms : they would appear to the perfons of the then 
prefent times both to refpect the then prefent occur- 
rences, and alfo to intimate fome future more glorious 
ones; and would mutually fupport this latter inter- 
pretation in each other. 

When the prophets appeared in the declenfion and 
captivities of the kingdoms of IJrael and Judah, the 
fame interpretation would be ftrengthened, and the 
expectations grounded thereon increafed, by the 
plainer and more frequent declarations of the pro- 
phets concerning fuch a future perfon, and the hap- 
pinefs which would attend his coming. The great 
and various fufferings of this chofen people, their 
return and deliverance, their having their fcrip- 
tures collected into one view by Ezra, and read in 

M 2 their 

164 Of the Truth of 

their fynagogues during the interval from Ezra to 
Chrift, the figurative fenfes put upon dreams, vi- 
fions, and parables, in their fcriptures, &c. would 
all concur to the fame purpofe, till at laft it is reafon> 
able to expect, that the Jews in our Saviour's time 
would confider many of the inftitutions and ceremo- 
nies of their law, of the hiftorical events, of the 
pfalms appointed for the temple-worfhip, and of 
the infpired declarations of the prophets, as refpect- 
ing the future times of the Mejjiah> and this, in 
fome cafes, to the exclufion of the more obvious 
fenfes and ufes, which had already taken place j be- 
ing led thereto by the fame narrow-mindednefs, 
. which makes fome in thefe days reject the typical and 
more remote fenfe, as foon as they fee the literal and 
more immediate one. Now, that this was, in fact, 
the cafe of the Jews in the time of Chrift, and for 
fome time afterwards, appears from the New Tefta- 
ment, from the chriftian writers of the firft ages, 
and from the Talmudical ones. 

A great part, however,- of the fcripture types 
and prophecies appeared to the Jews to have no rela- 
tion to their promifed Mejffiah> till they were inter- 
preted by the event. They expected a perfon that 
fhould correfpond to David and Solomon, two glorious 
princes ; but they did not fee how Jfaac, or the Paf- 
chal Lamb, fhould tipify him; or that the circum- 
ftance of being called out of Egypt, the appellation 
of Nazarene, or the parting garments, and cafting 
lots upon a vefture, fhould contribute to afcertain 
him. However, it is certain, that to perfons who 
had for fome time confidered their fcriptures in the 
typical, prophetical view mentioned in the laft para- 
graph, every remarkable circu'mftance and coinci- 
dence of th'rs kind, verified by the event, would be 
a new acceffion of evidence, provided we fuppofe a 
good foundation from miracles, or prophecies of 
undoubted import, to have been laid previoufly. 


the Cbriftian Religion. 165 

Nay, fgch coincidences may be confidered not only 
as arguments to the Jews of Chrift's time, but as 
folid arguments in themfelves, and that exclufively 
of the context. For though each of thefe coinci- 
dences fingly taken, affords only a low degree of evi- 
dence, and fome of them fcarce any ; yet it is a thing 
not to be accounted for from chance, that feparate 
paflages of the Old Teftament fhould be applicable 
to the circumftances of Chrift's life, by an allufion 
either of words or fenfe, in ten or an hundred times 
a greater number, than to any other perfons, from 
mere accident. And this holds in a much higher 
degree, if the feparate paflages or circumftances be 
fubordinate parts of a general type. Thus the part- 
ing the garments, the offering vinegar and gall, and 
the not breaking a bone, have much more weight, 
when it is confidered, that David, and the Pafchal 
Lamb, are types of the Meffiah. And when the 
whole evidence of this kind which the induftry of 
pious chriftians has brought to light in the firft ages 
of chriftianity, and again fince the revival of letters, 
is laid together, it appears to me to be both a full 
proof of the truth of the chriftian religion, and a 
vindication of the method of arguing from typical 
and double fenfes. 

It may be added in favour of typica 1 reafoning, 
that it correfponds to the method of reafoning by 
analogy, which is found to be of fuch extenfive ufe 
in philofophy. A type is indted nothing but an 
analogy, and the fcripture types are not only a key 
to the fcriptures, but feem alfo to have contributed to 
put into our hands the key of nature, analogy. 
And this (hews us a new correfpondence or analogy 
between the word and works of God. However, 
fince certain well-meaning perfons feem to be preju- 
diced againft typical and double fenfes, I will add 
fome arguments, whereby the writers of the New 
Teftament may be defended upon this footing alfo. 

M 3 Firft, 

1 66 Of the 'Truth of 

Firft, then, Since the Jews in the times of the 
writers of the New Teftament, and confequently 
thefe writers themfelves, were much given to typical 
reafonings, and the application of pafTages of the 
Old Teftament in a fecondary fenfe to the times of 
the Meffiah, this would be a common foundation for 
thefe writers, and thofe to whom they wrote, to 
proceed upon, derived from afibciation, and the 
acquired nature of their minds. And it is as eafy to 
conceive, that God fhould permit them to proceed 
upon this foundation for the then prefent time, 
though it would not extend to the world in general, 
to 'diftant ages, and to perfons of different educa- 
tions, as that they fhould be left to the workings of 
their own acquired nature? in many other refpects, 
notwithftanding the fupernatural gifts beftowed upon 
them in fome; or as it is to conceive, that God (hould 
confer any thing, exiftencej happinefs, &c. in any 
particular manner or degree. 

Secondly, There are fome paflages in the New 
Teftament quoted from the Old in the way of mere 
allufion. This cannot, I think, be true of many, 
where the pafiage is.faid to be fulfilled, without doing 
violence to the natural fenfe of the words, and of 
the context, in the New Teftament : however, 
where it is, it entirely removes the objection here 

Thirdly, If we fhould allow, that the' writers of 
the New Teftament were fometimes guilty of erro- 
neous reafonings in thefe or other matters, ftill this 
does not affect their moral characters at all ; nor 
their intellectual ones, which are fo manifect from 
the general foundnefs and ftrength of their other 
reafonings, in any fuch manner as to be of importance 
in refpeet of the evidence for the general truth of the 
fcriptures, or for their divine authority in the firft 
and loweft fenfe above confidered. 


the Cbriftian Religion. 167 


The moral Characters of Chrift, the Prophets and 
dpoftles, prove the 'Truth and Divine Authority of 
the Scriptures. 

LET us begin with the confideration of the cha- 
racter of Chrift. This, as it may be collected from 
the plain narrations of the gofpels, is manifeftly 
fupertor to all other characters, fictitious or real, 
whether drawn by hiftorians, orators, or poets. We 
fee in it -the moft entire devotion and refignation to 
God, and the moft ardent and univerfal love to 
mankind, joined with the greateft humility, felf- 
denial, meeknefs, patience, prudence, and every 
other virtue, divine and human. To which we are 
to add, that, according to the New Teftament, Chrift, 
being the Lord and creator of all, took upon himfelf 
the form of a fervant, in order to fave all ; that, with 
this view, he fubmitted to the helpleflhefs and infirmi- 
ties of infancy, to the narrownefs of human under- 
ftanding, and the perturbations of human affections, 
to hunger, thirft, labour, wearinefs, poverty, and 
hardfhips of various kinds, to lead a forrowful, 
friendlefs life, to be mifunderftood, betrayed, infulted, 
and mocked, and at laft to be put to a painful and 
ignominious death j alfo (which deferves our moft 
ferious confideration, however incongruous to our 
narrow apprehenfions it may appear at firft fight) to 
undergo the moft bitter mental agony previoufly. 
Here then we may make the following obfervations. 

Firft, That, laying down the prefent diforders of 
the moral world, and the neceflky of the love of God 
and our neighbour,, and of felf-annihilation, in order 
to the pure and ultimate happinefs of man, there 
feems to be a neceffity alfo for a fuffering Saviour. 
At lead, one may affirm, that the condefcenfion of 

M 4 Chrift 

i68 Of the Truth of 

Chrift, in leaving the glory which he had with the 
Father before the foundation of the world, and in 
fhewing himfelf a perfect pattern of obedience to the 
will of God, both in doing and fuffering, has a 
moft peculiar tendency to rectify the prefent moral 
depravity of our natures, and to exalt us thereby to 
pure fpiritual happinefs. Now it is remarkable, 
that the evangelifts and apoftles (hould have thus 
hit upon a thing, which all the great men amongft 
the ancient heathens miffed, and which however 
clear it does and ought now to appear to us, was 
a great ftumbling-block to them, as well as to the 
Jews ; the firft ieeking after wifdom,- /. e. human 
philofophy and eloquence ; and the laft requiring a 
fign, or a glorious temporal Saviour. Nor can this 
be accounted for, as it feems to me, but by admitting 
the reality of the character, i. e. the divine mifiion of 
Chrift, and the confequent divine infpiration of thofe 
who dre.w it, /. e. the truth and divine authority of 
the New Teftament. 

Secondly, If we allow only the truth of the com- 
mon hiftory of the New Teftament, or even, with- 
out having recourfe to it, only fuch a part of the cha- 
racter of Chrift, as neither ancient nor modern Jews, 
heathens, or unbelievers, leem to conteft, it will be 
difficult to reconcile fo great a character, claiming 
divine authority, either with the moral attributes of 
God, or indeed with itfelf, upon* the fuppofition , of 
the falfehood of that claim. One can fcarce fup- 
pofe, that God would permit a perfon apparently fo 
innocent and excellent, fo qualified to impofe upon 
mankind, to make fo impious and audacious a claim 
without having fome evident mark of impofture fet 
upon him -, nor can it be conceived, how a perfon 
could be apparently fo innocent and excellent, and 
yet really othtrwife. 

Thirdly, The manner in which the evangelifts 
fpeak of Chrift, {hews that they drew after a real 


the Cbriftian Religion. 169 

copy, i. e. fhews the genuinenefs and truth of the 
gofpel hiftory. There are no direct encomiums 
upon him, no laboured defences or recommendations. 
His character arifes from a careful impartial examina- 
tion of all that he faid and did, and the evangelifts 
appear to have drawn this greateft of all characters 
without any direct defign to do it. Nay, they have 
recorded fome things, iuch as his being moved with 
the paffions of human nature, as well as being 
affected by. its infirmities, which the wifdom of this 
'world would rather have concealed. But their view 
was to (hew him to the perfons to whom they preached 
as the promifed MeJJiah of the Jeivs> and the Saviour 
of mankind ; and as they had been convinced of this 
themfelves from his difcourfes, actions, fufferings, 
and refurredtion, they thought nothing more was 
wanting to convince fuch others as were ferious and 
impartial, but a fimple narrative of what Jefus faid 
and did. And if we compare the tranfcendent great- 
nefs of this character with the indirect manner in 
which it is delivered, and the illiteratenefs and low 
condition of the evangelifts, it will appear impoffible, 
that they (hould have forged it, that they fhould not 
/have had a real original before them, fo that nothing 
was wanting but to record fimply and faithfully. 
How could mean and illiterate peifons excel the 
greateft geniufes, ancient and modern, in drawing a 
character ? How came they to draw it an indirect 
manner? This is indeed a ftrong evidence of genu- 
inenefs and truth ; but then it is of fo reclufe and 
fubtle a nature, and, agreeably to this, has been fo 
little taken notice of by the defenders of the chrif- 
tian religion, that one cannot conceive the evangelifts 
were at all aware, that it was an evidence. The 
character of Chrift, as drawn by them, is therefore 
genuine and truej and confequently proves his di- 
vine mifiion both by its tranfcendent excellence, and 
by his laying claim to fuch a million. 


170 Of the Truth of _ 

Here it ought to be particularly remarked, that our 
Saviour's entire devotion to God, and fufferings for 
the fake of men in compliance with his will, is a 
pitch of perfection, which was never propofcd, or 
thought of, before his coming (much lefs attempted 
or attained) j unlefs as far as this is virtually in- 
cluded in the precepts for loving God above all, 
and our neighbour as ourfelves, and other equivalent 
pafiages in the Old Teftament. 

We come, in the next place, to confider the cha- 
racters of the prophets, apoftles, and other eminent 
perfons mentioned in the Old and New Teftraments. 
Here then we may obferve, 

Firft, That the characters of the perfons who are 
faid in the fcriptures to have had divine communica- 
tions, and a divine million, are fo much fuperior to 
the characters which occur in common life, that we 
can fcarce account for the more Eminent fingle ones, 
and therefore much lefs for fo large a fucceflion of 
them, continued through fo many ages, without 
allowing the divine communications and affiftance, 
which they allege. It is true indeed, that many of 
'thefe eminent perfons had confiderable imperfections, 
and fome of them were guilty of great fins occa- 
fionally, though not habitually. However, I fpeak 
here of the balance, after proper deductions are 
made, on account of thefe fins and imperfection $; 
and leave it to the impartial reader to confider, whe- 
ther the prophets, apoftles, &c. were not fo mudh 
fuperior, not only to mankind at an average, but 
even to the beft men amongft the Greeks and Ro- 
mans, as is not fairly to be accounted for by the mere 
powers of human nature. 

Secondly, If this fhould be doubted, their cha- 
rafters are, however, far too good to allow the fup- 
pofition of an impious fraud and impofture j which 
muft be the cafe, if they had not divine authority. 
We have therefore this double argument for the 


the Cbriftian Religion. 171 

divine authority of the fcriptures, if we only allow the 
genuinenefs and truth of its common hiftory. 

Thirdly, The characters of the eminent perfons 
mentioned in the fcriptures arife fo much, in an in- 
direct way, from the plain narrations of facts, their 
fins and imperfections are fo fully fet forth by them- 
felves, or their friends, with their condemnation and 
punifhment, and the vices of wicked men, and the 
oppofers of God and themfelves, related in fo candid 
a way, with all fit allowances, that we have in this a 
remarkable additional evidence for the truth of this 
part of the fcripture hiftory, befides the common ones 
before given, which extend to the whole. 

Fourthly, The eminent perfons here confidered are 
fometimes charged by unbelievers with crimes, where, 
all circumftances being duly weighed, they did no- 
thing unjuftifiable, nothing more than it was their in- 
difpenfable duty to God to do ; as Abraham in pre- 
paring to facrifice Jfaac> Jojhua in deftroying the Ca- 
naanites, &c. We cannot determine an action to be 
finful from a mere, abftracted, general definition. of 
it, as that it is the taking away the life of a man, 
&c. but muft carefully weigh all circumftances. 
And indeed there are no maxims in morality that are 
quite univerfal ; they can be no more than ^general ; 
and it is fufficient for human purpofes, that they 
are fo much, notwithftanding that the addition of 
peculiar circumftances makes the action vary from 
the general rule, Now the certain command of God 
may furely be fuch a circumftance. 

Laftly, The perfection of virtue being of an ever- 
growing infinite nature, it is reafonable to expect, 
that mankind in its infant (late, foon after the flood, 
and fo onwards for fome time, Ihould be more im- 
perfect, and have lefs of the pure and fublime precepts 
concerning indifference to this world, and all prefent 
things, univerfal unlimited charity, mortification, 
abftinence, chaftity, &c. delivered to them, than 


172 Of the Truth of 

we chriftians have, and lefs expected from them. 
And yet, upon the whole, the patriarchs and emi- 
nent perfons among the Jews were burning and 
jhining lights in their refpective generations. How- 
ever, it is alfo to be obferved here, that the moft 
fublime precepts of the gofpel do appear from the 
firft in the Old Teftament, though under a veil; 
and that they were gradually opened more and more 
under the later prophets. 


The Excellence of the Doftrine contained in the Scriptures 
is an Evidence of their Divine Authority. 

THIS is an argument which has great force, 
independently of other considerations. Thus let us 
fnppofe, that the author of the gofpel which goes 
under St. Matthew's name, was not known, and that 
it was unfupported by the writers of the primitive 
time;- ; yet fuch is the unaffected fimplicity of the 
narrations, the purity of the doctrines, and the fincere 
piety and goodnefs of the fentiments, that it carries 
its own authority with it. And the fame thing may 
be faid in general of all the books of the Old and New 
Teftaments : fo that it feems evident to me, that, if 
there was no other book in the world befides the 
Bible, a man could not reafonably doubt of the truth 
of revealed religion. The mouth Jpeaks from the 
abundance of the heart. Men's writings and dii- 
courfes muft receive a tincture from their real 
thoughts, defires, and defigns. It is impoffible to 
play the hypocrite in every word and expreffion. 
Thi is a matter of common daily obfervation, that 
cannot be called in queftion j and the more any one 
thinks upon it, or attends to what pafles in himfelf or 
others, to the hiftory of the human thoughts, words, 


the Cbrifiian Religion. 173 

and actions, and their necefiary mutual connections, 
i. e. to the hiftory of affbciation, the more clearly 
will he fee it. We may conclude therefore-, even if 
all other arguments were fet afide, that the authors 
of the books of the Old and New Tcftaments, 
whoever they were, cannot have made a falfe claim 
to divine authority. 

But there is alfo another method of inferring the 
divine authority of the fcriptures from the excellence 
of the doctrine contained therein. For the fcriptures 
contain doctrines concerning God, providence, a 
future (late, the duty of man, &c. far more pure 
and fublime than can any ways be accounted for from 
the natural powers of men, fo circumftanced as the 
facred writers were. That the reader may fee this 
in a clearer light, let him compare the feveral books 
of the Old and New Teftaments with the cotem- 
porary writers amongfi: the Greeks and Romans, who 
could not have lefs than the natural powers of the 
human mind ; but might have, over and above, 
fome traditional hints derived ultimately from reve- 
lation. Let him confider whether it be poffible to 
fuppofe, that Jewi/h (hepherds, fiflhermen, &c. fhould, 
both before and after the rife of the heathen pbilo- 
fophy, fo far exceed the men of the greateft abilities 
and accorr.plifhments in other nations : , by any other 
means, than divine communications. Nay, we may 
fay, that no writers, from the invention of letters 
to the prefent times, are equal to the penmen of the 
books of the Old and New Teftaments, in true 
excellence, utility, and dignity ; which is furely 
fuch an internal criterion of their divine authority, 
as ought not to be refilled. And perhaps it never 
is refilled by any, who have duly confidered thefe 
books, and formed their affections and actions accord- 
ing to the precepts therein delivered. 

An objection is fometimes made againft the excel- 
lence of the doctrines of the fcriptures, by charging 


1 74 Of the 'Truth of 

upon them erroneous doctrines, eftabliflied by the 
authority of creeds, councils, and particular chur- 
ches. But this is a manner of proceeding highly 
unreafonable. The unbeliever, who pays fo little 
regard to the opinions of others, as to reject what all 
churches receive, the. .divine mifiion of Chrift, and 
the evidences for the truth of the fcriptures, ought 
not at other times to fuppofe the churches, much lefs 
any particular one, better able to judge of the 
doctrine ; but fhould in the latter cafe, as well as the 
firft, examine for hjmfelf ; or, if he will take the 
doctrine upon truft, he ought much rather to take 
the evidence fo. 

If it can be fhewn, either that the true doctrine of 
the fcriptures differs from that which is commonly 
received, or that reafon teaches fomething different 
from what is commonly fuppofed, or laftly that we 
are inefficient judges what are the real doctrines of 
fcripture, or reafon, or, both, and confequently that 
we ought to wait with patience for farther light, all 
objections of this kind fall to the ground. One 
may alfo add, that the fame arguments which prove 
a doctrine to be very abfurd, prove alfo, for the mod 
part, that it is not the fenfe of the paffage j and that 
this is a method of reafoning always allowed in 
interpreting profane authors. 


The many and great Advantages which have accrued 
to the World from the Patriarchal, Judaical, and 
Chriftian Revelations, prove the Divine Authority of 
the Scriptures. 

THESE advantages are of two forts, relating refpec- 
tively to the knowledge and practice of religion. 
I begin with the firft. 


the Cbriftian Religion. 175 

Now it is very evident, that the chriftian revelation 
has diffufed a much more pure and perfect know- 
ledge of what is called natural religion, over a great 
part of the world, viz. wherever the profeffion either 
of chriftianity or mahometifrn prevails. And the 
fame thing will appear, in refpect of the Judaical and 
patriarchal revelations, to thofe who are acquainted 
with ancient hiftory. It will be found very difficult 
by fuch perfons, to account even for the pagan reli- 
gions without recurring to fuch patriarchal communi- 
cations with God, as are mentioned in the Pentateuch, 
and to the more full revelations made to the Jews. 
So that one is led to believe, that all that is good in 
any pagan or falfe religion, is of divine original j all 
that is erroneous and corrupt, the offspring of the 
vanity, weaknefs, and wickednefs of men j and 
that properly fpeaking, we have no reafon from hif- 
tory to fuppofe, that there ever was any fuch thing as 
mere natural religion, /'. e. any true religion, which 
men difcovered to themfelves by the mere light 
of nature. Thefe pofitions leem to follow from in- 
quiries into the antiquities of the heathen world, 
and of their religions. The heathen religions all 
appear to be of a derivative nature ; each circum- 
ftance in the inquiry confirms the fcriptural accounts 
of things, and fends us to the revelations exprefsly 
mentioned, or indirectly implied, in the Old Tefta- 
ment, for the real original of the pagan religions 
in their fimple (late. This opinion receives great 
light and confirmation from Sir IJaac Newton's 

It appears alfo very probable to me, that a careful 
examination of the powers of human underftanding 
would confirm the fame pofition j and that admitting 
the novelty of the prefent world, there is no way 
of accounting for the rife and progrefs of religious 
knowledge, as it has taken place in fact, without 
having recourfe to divine revelation. If we admit 


176 Of 'the. -Truth of 

the Patriarchal, Judaical, and Chriftian revelations, 
the progrels of natural religion, and of all the faife 
pretences to revelation, will fairly arife (at lead, ap- 
pear poflible in all cafes, and probable in moft) from 
the circumftances of things, and the powers of hu- 
man nature; and the foregoing doctrine of afibcia- 
tion will caft fome light upon the fubject. If we deny 
the truth of thcfe revelations, and iuppofe the fcrip- 
tures to be falfe, we {hall caft utter confufion upon 
the inquiry, and human faculties will be found far 
unequal to the talk affigned to them. 

Secondly, If we confider the practice of true reli- 
gion, the good effects of revelation are dill more evi- 
denr.. Every man who believes, muft find himfelf 
either excited to good, or deterred from evil, in 
many inftances, by that belief; notwithstanding that 
there may be many other inftances, in which religious 
motives are too weak to reftrain violent and corrupt 
inclinations. The fame obfervations occur daily with 
regard to others, in various ways and degrees. And 
it is by no means conclufive againft this obvious ar- 
gument for the good effects of revelation upon the 
morals of mankind, to allege that the world is not 
better now, than before the coming of Chrift. This 
is a point which cannot be determined by any kind 
of eftimaiion, in our power to make;, and, if it 
could, we do not know what circumftances would 
have made the world much worfe than it is, had not 
chriftianity interpofed. However, it does appear 
to me very probable, to fay the leaft, that Jews, and 
chriftianSy notwithstanding all their vices and corrup- 
tions, have, upon the whole, been always better than 
heathens and unbelievers. It feems to me alfo, 
that as the knowledge of true, pure, and perfect reli- 
gion is advanced and diffufed more and more every 
day, fo the practice of it correfponds thereto : but 
then this, from the nature of the thing, is a fact 
of a leis obvious kind ; however, if it be true, it 


'the .Chriftian Religion. 177 

will become manifeft in due time. Let us fuppofe a 
perfon to maintain^ that civil government, the arts 
of life, medicines, &c. have never been of life to 
mankind* becaule it does not appear from any certain 
calculation!, that the fum total of health and happi- 
nefs is greater among the polite nations, than among 
the barbarous ones. Would it not be thbught a fuhn- 
cient anfwer to this, to appeal to the obvious good 
effects of thefe things in innumerable inftances, with- 
out entering into a calculation impoflibte to be made r 
However, it does here alfo appear, that, as far as we 
are able to judge, civilized countries are, upon the 
whol.?, in a more happy ftate than barbarous ones, 
in all thefe refpects. 

Now> as the divine original of revelation may be 
directly concluded from its being the fole fountain of 
all religious knowledge, if that can be proved; fo !'t 
will follow in an indirect way, if we fuppofe, that 
revelation has only promoted the knowledge and prac- 
tice of true religion. It is not likely, that folly or 
deceit of any kind fhould be eminently ferviceable in 
the advancement of wifdom and virtue. Every tree 
muft produce its proper fruit. Enthufiafm and im- 
pofture cannot contribute to make men prudent, 
peaceable and moderate, difinterefted and fincere. 


The wonderful Nature, and fuperior Excellence, of the 
Attempt made by Chrift, and his A$6ftle$ t are Evi- 
dences of their Divine Authority. 

THIS attempt was that of reforming all mankind, 
and making them happy in a future ftate. And, 
when we confider firft the attempt itfelf, and then 
the aflfurance of fuccefs in it, which appears in all 
their words and actions, by ways both direct and 

VOL. II. N indirect, 

178 Of the Truth of 

indirect, there arifes from thence alone, a ftrong 
fumption in their favour, as well as in favour of the 
authors of the books of the Old Teftament, who 
have concurred in the fame attempt, though no lefs in- 
formed of the true nature and full extent of it. For 
ideas and purpofes of this kind could fcarce enter into 
the hearts of weak or wicked men $ much lefs could 
fuch perfons enter upon and profecute fo great an 
undertaking with fuch prudence, integrity, and con- 
ftancy, or form fuch right judgments both of the op- 
pofition they fhould meet with, and of the prevalence 
of their own endeavours, and thofe of their fucceffbrs, 
over this oppbfition. Nay, one may fay, that no- 
thing lefs than fupernatural afliftance could qualify 
them for thefe purpofes. No defigrr of this kind 
was ever formed, or thought of, till the coming of 
Chrift; and the pretences of enthufiafts and impof- 
tors to the fame commifiion fince, have all been 
copied from Chrift, as being neceflary to their fuc- 
ceeding in any meafure, fince his coming. If it be 
fuppofed to be the true interpretation and meaning of 
the fcriptures, to publifh final redemption, conver- 
fion, and falvation to all mankind, even the moft 
wicked, in fome diftant future (late, this will add 
great force to the prefent argument. 


The Manner in which the Love of God, and of our 
Neighbour t is taught and inculcated in the Scrip tures, 
is an Evidence of their Divine Authority. 

FOR it appears, that the fcriptures do virtually 
include, or even exprefsly ifiert, all that the modern 
philofophy has difcovered or verified concerning thefe 
important fubjects ; which degree of illumination, as 
it can with no plaufibility be accounted for in illiterate 


the ' Chriftian Religion. 179 

men in the -time of Auguftus from natural caufes, fo 
much lefs can it in the preceding times from Chrift 
up to Mofes. This propofition is included in the 
thirty-fifth : however, the fubject of it is of fo much 
importance, as to deferve a feparate place. 

Here then, Firft, We may obferve, that Mofes 
commands the Israelites to love God . with all the 
heart, and foul, and might, whereas they are to love 
their neighbours only as themfelves. Now, though 
this infinite fuperiority of the love due to God over 
that du to our neighbour be perfectly agreeable 
to that infinite majefty and goodnefs of God, and 
nothingnefs of the creatures, which every new dif- . 
covery in philofophy now opens to view j yet it was 
fo little known, many ages after Mofes, amongft the 
wifcft of the Greeks and Romans, that we cannot 
afcribe it to his mere natural fagacity. The natural 
equality of all men, and the felf-annihilation, im- 
plied in the precept of loving all our brethren as 
well. as ourfelves, are alfo the genuine dictates of true 

Secondly, In order to fhew the divine authority of 
the fcripturcs, from the manner in which the love 
of God is taught in them, we muft confider not 
only the direct precepts concerning this love, but 
alfo all thofe concerning hope, truft, fear, thank- 
fulnefs, delight, &c. for all thefe concur to incul.- 
cate and beget in us the love of God. The fame 
may be faid of all the fcriptural defcriptions of God, 
and his attributes, and of the addrefles of good men 
to him, which are there recorded. God is declared 
in the fcriptures to be light, love, goodnefs, the 
fource of all happinefs and perfection, the father 
and protector of all, &c. And the eminent perfons 
who compofed the Pfalms, and other fuch like ad- 
drefles to God, appear to have devoted themfelves 
entirely to him. Now, when we reflect, that there 
is fcarce any thing of this kind in the writings of 
N 2 the 

i8o Of the 'Truth of 

the philofophers who preceded Chrift, and nothing 
comparable to the Icripture expreffions even in thofe 
who came after him ; when we farther reflect, that 
the writings of the ableft and- beft men of the prefent 
times (Contain nothing excellent of the devotional 
kind, but what may be found in the fcriptures, and 
even in the Old Teftamentj there feems to be a 
necefiity for having recourfe to divine infpiration, as 
the original fource of this great degree of illumina- 
tion in the patriarchs, prophets, and apoftles. 

Thirdly, Good perfons are, in the fcriptures, 
ftyled children of God; members of Chrift j partakers 
ef the divine nature; one with God and Chrift t as 
Chrift is with God ; members of each other ; heirs of 
Gody and coheirs with Chrift j 'heirs of all things, &c. 
Expreffions which have the ftrongeft tendency to raife 
in us an unbounded love to God, and an equal one 
to our neighbour, and which include and convey the 
moft exalted, and at the fame time the moft folid 
conceptions of this great fyftem of things. And if 
we fuppofe, that thefe high titles and privileges are 
according to the fcriptures, to be hereafter extended 
to all mankind, the divine original of the fcriptures 
will receive a new acceflion of evidence on this ac- 


The Dottrine of the necejfary Subferviency of Pain to 
Pleafure, unfolded in the Scriptures, is an Evidence 
of their divine Authority. 

THE fcriptures give frequent and ftrong intima- 
tions, that the ultimate happinefs which they pro- 
rmife, is not to be obtained in this our degenerate 
ftate, but by a previous pafiage through pain. Blcf- 
fed are they that mourn. We muft rejoice in tribula- 
tion. The palm-bearing multitude comes out of great 


the Cbriftian Religion. 

tribulation. The captain of our fahation, and there- 
fore all his foldiers, muft be made perfeft through 
fufferings. Without Jhedding of blood there is no remif- 
fion of fins. It is good for us to be ajflifted, that we 
may learn to keep the commandments of God. The 
Jews muft be captivated, and undergo the fevered 
afflictions, before they can be made happy finally, 
as the people of God. Man muft eat his bread in 
the Jweat of his brow all his life, and return to duft 
at latl j and yet ftill the feed of the woman /hall bruife 
the ferpent's head, and gain read million" to the tree of 
life, whoje leaves Jhall heal the nations, &c. &c. 
Now there is a furprizing correfpondence between 
fuch expreffions as thefe, and many modern difco- 
veries, which (hew that pain is, in general, intro- 
ductory and fubfervient co pleafure j and particu- 
larly, that fuch is the prefent frame of our natures, 
and conftitution of the external world, which affects 
our organs, that we cannot be delivered from the 
fenfuality and felfiflinefs, that feize upon us at our 
firft entrance into life, and advanced to fpirituality 
and difmtereftednefs, to the love of God and our 
neighbour, we cannot have our wills broken, and 
our faculties exalted and purified, fo as to relilh 
happinefs wherever we fee it, but by the perpetual 
correction and reformation of our judgments and. 
defires from painful impreffions and aflbciations. 
And all philofophical inquiries of this kind feern to 
caft a peculiar light and evidence upon the fcrip- 
ture exprefllons before- mentioned, and to make their 
accuracy, and congruicy with experience and obfrr- 
ration, be much more plainly feen and felc. 

N 3 PROP. 

1 82 Of tfa Truth of 


The mutual Inftrumentality of Beings to each other's 
Happinefs and Mifery, unfolded in the Scriptures, is 
an Argument of their Divine Authority. 

To this head is to be referred all that the fcrip- 
tures deliver concerning good and evil angels ; 
Chrift, the Lord of all, becoming the redeemer of 
all; Adam's injuring all his pofterity through his 
frtfihy ; Abraham's becoming the father of the 
faithful, and all nations being blefled through him j 
the Jews being the keepers of the oracles of God, 
and of the true religion ; tyrants being fcourges in 
the hand of God ; the fulnefs of the Gentiles being 
the'OCcafion of the final reftoration of the Jews ; 
and, in general, the do&rine that God prepares and 
difpofes of every thing fo, as that nothing is for 
itfelf alone, but every perfon and nation has various 
relations to others, co-operates with them through 
Chrift, who is the head, and through whom the whole 
body being fitly joined together, and compared by that 
which every joint fupplietb, increafeth and edifieth 
itfelf in love, till all things, both in heaven and earth, 
arrive, in their levcral orders, to the meafure of the 
Jlature of the fulnefs of Chrift. Now whoever com- 
pares thefe fcripture expreflions and doctrines with 
the various mutual relations, fubferviences, and ufes 
of the parts of the external world, heavenly bodies, 
meteors, elements, animals, plants, and minerals, to 
each other, cannot help feeing a wonderful analogy 
between the works of God and the fcripturcs, Jo 
wonderful as juftly to entitle the laft to the appella- 
tion of the word of God. 

And thus we may perceive, that the fcripture ac- 
count of the fall of man, his redemption by Chrift, 


the Chrijlian Religion. 183 

and the influences exerted upon him by good and 
evil Angels, is fo far from affording an objection 
againft the chriftian religion, that it is a confiderable 
evidence for it, when viewed in a truly philofophical 
light. God works in every thing by means, by thofe 
which, according to our prefent language and fhort- 
fightednefs, are termed bad and unfit, as well as by 
the good and evidently fit ones ; and all thefe means 
require a definite time, before they can accomplifh 
their refpective ends. This occurs to daily obferva- 
tion in the courfe and conftitution of nature. And 
the fcripture doctrines concerning the fall, the re- 
demption by Chrift, and the influences of good and 
evil angels, are only fuch intimations concerning 
the principal invifible means that lead man to his 
ultimate end, happinefs in being united to God, as 
accelerate him in his progrefs thither. According to 
the fcriptures, Adam hurts all, through frailty ; Chrift 
faves all, from his love and compaflion to all ; evil 
angels tempt, through malice; and good ones affift 
and defend, in obedience to the will of God, and his 
original and ultimate defign of making all happy. 
Thefe things are indeed clothed in a confiderable 
variety of expreflions, fuited to our prefent ways of 
afting, conceiving, and fpeaking (which ways are, 
however, all of divine original, God having taught 
mankind, in the patriarchal times, the language, as 
one may fay, in which he fpake to them then and 
afterwards) j but thefe expreflions can have no greater 
real import, than that of fignifying to us the means 
made uie of by God j he being, according to the 
fcriptures, as well as reafon, the one only real agent 
in all the tranfaftions that relate to man, to angels, 
&c. And to objecl: to the method of producing hap- 
pinefs by this or that means, becaule of the time 
required to accomplifh the end, of the mixture of 
evil, &c. is to require, that all God's creatures fhould 
at once be created infinitely happy, or rather have 

N 4 exifted 

184 Of. the Truth of 

exifted To from all eternity, i. e. fhould be gods, and 
not creatures. 


The Divine Authority of the Scriptures may be inferred 
from thejttperior Wijdom of the Jewifh Laws, confi- 
dered in a political Light \ and' from the exquijite Work- 
wanjhip jhe-ivn in the Tabernacle and Temple. 

ALL thefe were originals amongft the Jews, and 
fome of them were copied partially and imperfectly 
by ancient heathen nations. They feem alfo to 
imply a knowledge foperior to the refpective times. 
And I believe, that pr'ofane hiftory gives fufficient 
atceftation to thefe pofitions. However, it is certain 
from fcripture, that Mojes received the whole body 
of his laws, alfo the pattern of the tabernacle, and 
David the pattern of the temple, from God ; and 
that Bezaleel was infpired by God for the workman- 
fhip of the tabernacle. Which things, being laid 
down as a fure foundation, may encourage learned 
men to inquire into the evidences from profane 
hiftory, that the knowledge and (kill to be found 
amongft the Jews were fuperior to thofe of other 
nations at the fame period of time, i. e. were 


The Want of Univerjality in the Publication of Revealed 
Religion is no Objection to it j but, on the Contrary, 
the Time and Manner, in which the Scriptures 'were 
written, and delivered to the World, are Arguments 
for their Divine Authority. 

HERE I obferve, 

Fiift, That obje&ions of this kind ought never 
to be admitted againft hiftorical evidence j and, in 


the Chriftian Religion. 185 

fa<5t, are not, upon other fubjects. It is evident, 
as was obferved in the beginning of this chapter, 
that; to allow the truth of the fcripture hiftory, 
is to allow the truth of the chriftian religion. Now 
it is very foreign to the purpofe of an inquiry into 
the truth of the fcripture hiftory, to allege that it 
has not been made known to all mankind, in all 
ages, and under all circumftances of each individual. 
It muft require much abftra&ed and fubtle reafoning, 
and fuch as can never be put in competition with 
plain hiftorical i evidence, to connect this objection 
\vHh the proportion objected to. This is therefore, 
at leaft, a ftrong preemption againft the validity 
of fuch an objection. 

Secondly, This objection feems to derive its whole 
force from fuch pofitions relating to the moral attri- 
fcutes of God, as make it neceflary for us to fuppofe, 
either that he deals with all his creatures at prefent in 
an equally favourable manner, or, at leaft, that 
nothing fhall be ultimately wanting to their happinefs. 
Now. the ftrft fuppofition appears, upon the moft 
tranfient view which we take of things, to be utterly 
faife. There are differences of all degrees at prefent, 
in refpeft of all the good things which God has 
given us to enjoy j and therefore may be in the bed 
of all good things, revealed religion. And indeed, 
if it was otherwife in refpecl: of revealed religion, one 
ftrong argument in its favour would be wanting, 
viz. its analogy with the courfe of nature. The 
moral attributes of God are to be deduced from 
obfervations made upon the courfe of nature. If 
therefore the tenor of revelation be agreeable to that 
of nature, it muft be fo to the moral attributes of God. 
But if any one fuppofes, in the fecond place, that, 
notwithftanding prefent and apparent differences in 
the circumftances of God's creatures, there are no 
real and ultimate ones; at leaft, that the balance will 
ultimately be in favour of each individual finitely, or 


186 Of the Truth of 

perhaps infinitely ; I anfwer, that this fuppofition is 
as agreeable to revelation as to natural reafon j that 
there are as probable evidences for it in the word of 
God, as in his works, there being no acceptance of 
ferfons with God, no difference between the Jew and the 
Gentile, according to the fcriptures; and that we 
may infer as ftrongly from the fcriptures, that Chrift 
will fave all, as it can be inferred from philofophy, 
that all will be made happy in any way ; both which 
petitions I fhall endeavour to eftablifh hereafter, with 
the mutual illuftrations and confirmations, which 
thefe glorious doctrines of natural and revealed re- 
ligion afford to each other. And the gradual dif- 
fufion of the Patrianhal, Judaical, and Chriftian 
revelations, compared with the prophecies relating to 
the future kingdom of Chrift, and with the prefent 
circumftances of things, will afford great fatisfaction 
and joy to every pious, benevolent perfon, who 
inquires into this fubject. Thefe confiderations will 
incline him to believe, that the gofpel will, fooner 
or later, be preached to every creature in heaven, in 
earth, under the earth, &c. and not only preached, 
but received, obeyed, and made the means of 
unfpeakable happinefs to them. And thus this 
objection will be removed not only in fpeculation, 
and according to reafon, but in fact, from the 
prefent unhappy objectors ; and they will look on him 
whom they have pierced. 

Thirdly, Having (hewn that a gradual and partial 
promulgation is not inconfiftent with the fuppofition 
of a true revelation, we may farther affirm, that the 
particular time and manner, in which the feveral 
Patriarchal, Judaical, and Chriftian revelations have 
been publifhed to the world, are even arguments in 
their favour. This fubject has been well handled by 
various learned men, particularly by Mr. Arch. Law, 
in his confiderations on the ftate of the world, &c. 
Thefe gentlemen have fhewn, that, c^teris manentibus, 


the Chrijlian Religion. 187 

which is in thefe things always to be previoufly 
allowed, the difpenfacions recorded in the fcriptures 
have been, as far as we can judge, perfectly fuired to 
the dates of the world at the times when thefe dif 
penfations were made refpectively, /'. e. to the im- 
provement of mankind in knowledge fpeculative and 
practical, to their wants, and to their ability to pro- 
fit in moral accomplifhments ; fo that if we fuppofe 
either much more, or much lefs, light to have been 
afforded to mankind in a fupernatural way (cateris 
manentibus ; and particularly their voluntary powers 
over their affections and actions, or free-will in the 
practical fenfe, remaining the fame), their advance- 
ment in moral perfection, in voluntary obedience to, 
and pure love of God, would probably have been 
lefs : which fuitablenefs of each revelation to the 
time when it was made, and to the production of 
the maximum of moral perfection, is an argument 
for the fyflem of revelation, of the fame kind with 
thofe for the goodnefs of God, which are drawn from 
the mutual fitnefles of the finite and imperfect parts 
of the natural world to each other, and to the 
production of the maximum, or greateft poflible 
quantity of happinefs. 


'The Exclufion of all great Degrees of Entbufiajm and 
Impofture from the Characters of Chrift, the Prophets 
and dpoftles, proves their Divine Authority. 

THAT Chrift, the prophets and apoftles, cannot 
be charged with any great degrees of enthufiafm 
or impofhire, feems allowed by many unbelievers ; 
and is evident from the firft view of their difcourfes 
and writings, and of hiftory facred and profane. We 
might fay, that much more is evident. However, 


i88 Of the Truth of 

for the prefent, let us only fuppofe all great degrees 
of enthufiafm and impofture excluded, and inquire 
how far their divine miffion may be inferred from 
that fuppofition. 

Fir ft, then, If all great degrees of enthufiafm be 
excluded, Chrift, the prophets and apoftles, muft 
know whether or no they were under the influence 
of the divine fpirit, fo as to prophefy, fpeak, and 
interpret languages, which they had never learnt, and 
work miracles. Indeed to fuppofe them not capable 
of diftinguifhing thefe powers in themfelves and each 
other, is to charge them with downright madnefs. 

Secondly, Since then they claimed thefe powers 
every where, as the feal of their commiffion from 
God j if they had them not, i. e. if they had not 
divine authority, they muft be impoftors, and en- 
deavour to deceive the world knowingly and deli- 
berately. And this impofture, whether we confider 
the affront offered to God, or the injury done to 
mankind, or its duration, its audacioufnefs, &c. 
would be the deepeft and blackeft that has ever 
appeared in the world. It is therefore excluded by 
fuppofition j and confequently, fince a lefs degree 
will not account for a falfe claim to divine autho- 
rity, we muft allow, that Chrift, the prophets and 
apoftles, made a true one. 

Thirdly, Let it be obferved, that though cautious 
unbelievers do not venture to charge Chrift, the 
prophets and apoftles, either with grofs enthufiafm, 
or abandoned impofture; in exprefs terms j, yet they 
find themfelves obliged to infmuate both in all their 
attacks upon revealed religion : which is, in effect, 
to acknowledge the truth of the prefent propofi- 
tion 3 for it is the fame thing, as to acknowledge, 
that both the charge of grofs enthufiafm, and that 
ef abandoned impofture, are necrfiary to fupport the 
objections againft revealed religion. Now, as neither 
charge, fingly takeii, can be maintained ; fo both 


the Chriftian Religion. 189 

together are inconfiftent. Grofs enthufiafm does not 
admit that conftant caution, and cool difpafiionate 
cunning, which abandoned impofture fuppofes and 
requires in order to fucceed. 


The Reception which Chrift, his Forerunners and Fol- 
lowers with their Doffrines, have met with in all 
is an Argument of their Divine Authority. 

THIS evidence does, as it were, embrace all the 
others, and give a particular force to them. For 
it will be a ftrong confirmation of all the evidences 
for the Jewijh and chriftian religions, if we can 
{hew, that the perfons to whom they have been 
offered, have been influenced by them as much as 
there was reafon to expect, admitting them to be 
true ; and far more than could be expected, on fup- 
pofition that they were falfe. The mod illuftrious 
inftance of this, is the victory which the chriftian 
miracles and doctrines, with the fufferings of our 
Saviour, and his followers, gained over the whole 
powers, firft, of the Jewijh ftate, and then of the 
Roman empire, in the primitive times. For here 
all ranks and kinds of men, princes, pricfts, Jewijh 
and heathen, philophers, populace, with all their 
affociated prejudices from cuftom and education, 
with all their corrupt paffions and lufts., with all the 
external advantages of learning, power, riches, ho- 
nour, and, in fbort, with every thing but truth, 
endeavoured to iupprefs the progrefs that Chrift's 
religion made every day in the world , but were 
unable to do it. Yet ftill the evidence was but of 
a limited nature ; it required to be fet forth, attefted, 
and explained, by the preacher, and to be attended 
to, and reflected upon, with fome degree of impar- 


190 Of the truth cf 

tiality, by the hearer : and therefore, though the 
progrefs of it was quick, and the effect general, yet 
they were not inftantaneous and univerfal. However* 
it is very evident, that any fraud, or falfe pretence, ' 
muft foon have yielded to fo great an oppofition fo 

The efficacy which Ihe chriftian doctrine then 
had in reforming the lives of many thoufands, is 
here to be confidered as a principal branch of this 
argument, it being evidently the, mod difficult of all 
things, to convert men from vicious habits to vir- 
tuous ones, as every one may judge from what he 
feels in himfelf, as well as from what he fees in others ; 
and whatever does this, cannot, as it feems to me; 
but come from God. The falfe religions, and vari- 
ous corruptions of the true, which have from time 
to time appeared in the world, have been enabled 
to do this in the imperfect manner in which they 
have done it, merely, as it feems to me, from that 
mixture of important truths, and good motives, 
which they have borrowed from real revelations, 
, Patriarchal, Judaical, and Chriftian. 

In like manner, as the propagation of chriftianity, 
upon its firft appearance in the world, evinces its 
divine original, fo does the progrefs it has fince 
made, and the reception which it meets with at pre- 
fent, amongft the feveral ranks and orders of men. 
The detail of this would run out to a great length. 
It may, however, be of fome ufe, juft to obferve, 
that, notwithftanding the great prevalence of infide- 
Jity in the prefent times, it is feldom found to confift 
with an accurate knowledge of ancient hiftory, facred 
and profane, and never with an exalted piety and 
devotion to God. 

And it is as peculiarly for the credit of chriftianity, 
that it fhould now be fupported by the learned, as 
that it was firft propagated by the unlearned j and an 
incomeftable evidence for it, as appears to me, that 


the Cbriftian Religion. 191 

it has been univerfally embraced by all eminently 
pious perfons, to whom it has been made known in 
a proper manner. 

The analogous obfervations may be made upon the 
reception which the Jewijh religion met with both 
from the Jews themfelves, and from the neighbour*- 
ing nations. It feems knpofiible for Mofes to have 
delivered the Jews from their oppreffion in Egypt, 
and afterwards to have fubjected them to his laws, 
for Jojhua to have conquered Canaan, for the religion 
to have fubfifted in the fucceeding times of the 
judges and kings, for the priefts and prophets to 
have maintained their authority, for the people to 
have returned, after their captivity, with their reli- 
gion in an uncorrupted ftate, and to have fup- 
ported it and themfelves againft the kings of Syria 
and Egypt, and the power of the Romans, and to re- 
main at this day a feparate people difperfed all over 
the world, according to the prophecies, unlefs the 
miraculous part of the hiftory of the Old Teftament 
be allowed to be true, as well as the other. 


Reception which falfe Religions have met with in the 
World, are Arguments of the Truth of the Cbriftian. 

I WILL here make a few fhort remarks, 

Firft, Upon the polytheiftical, idolatrous religions 
of the ancient world. 

Secondly, Upon the religious inftitutions of Zo- 

Thirdly, upon the impofture of Mahomet. 

Fourthly, Upon the enthufiaftical feels, which 
have appeared from time to time amongft chriflians. 

All thefe feem to have met with fuch fuccefs, as 
might be expected from the mixture of truth and 


192 Of the Truth of 

falfehood in them, compared with the then circum- 
ftances of things. They are therefore indirect evi- 
dences for the truth of the chriftian religion, fince 
this has tnet with fuch fuccefs, as cannot be reconciled 
to the circumftances of things, unlefs we fuppofe it 

Andi Firft, The ancient pagan religions feem evi- 
dently to be the degenerated offspring of the patri- 
archal revelations ; and fo far to have been true, as 
they taught a God, a providence, a future ftate, fu- 
pernatural communications made to particular perfons, 
efpecially in the infancy of the world, the prefent 
corruption of man, and his deviation from a pure 
and perfect way, the hopes of a pardon, a media- 
torial power, the duties of facrifice, prayer, and 
praife, and the virtues of prudence, temperance, 
jullice, and fortitude. They were falfe, as they 
mixed and polluted thefe important truths with num- 
berlefs fables, fuperftitions, and impieties. That 
degree of truth, and moral excellence^ which re- 
mained in them, was a principal caufe of their fuc- 
cefs, and eafy propagation, among the people ; for moral fenfe would direct them to approve and 
receive what was fit and ufeful. And, had the 
people of thofe times penetrated fufficiently into the 
powers of the human mind, they might have conclu- 
ded, that religious truths could not be of human 
invention. However, as the impreffions, which the 
historical and prophttical evidences for the patriarchal 
revelations had made upon mankind, were not yet 
obliterated ; they believed, upon the authority of 
tradition, that all important knowledge, efpecially in 
facred matters, was of divine original. 

As to the miracles faid to be wrought upon certain 
occafions in pagan nations, we may make thefe two 
remarks : Firft, That the evidence for thefe is far 
jnferior to that for the Jewijh and chriftian miracles ; 
fo that thefe may be true, though thofe be falfe. 


tbe Cbriftian Religion. 193 

Secondly, That we are not fufficiently informed of the 
ways of providence, to infer that God did not per- 
ftrit, or caufe, Come miracles to be wrought, even in 
times and places, where great corruption prevailed. 
Divine communications and miracles were probably 
mort common loon after the flood, in the infancy of 
mankind : afterwards, as they advanced towards 
adult age, thefe iupernatural Interpofitions grew: 
more rare, (unlefs upon fingular occafions, as upon 
the publication of the law by Mofes, and of the 
gbfpel by Chrift -, at which times, many and great 
miracles fucceedtd each other at Ihort intervals, in 
order to command awe, attention, and belief) j 
and it may be, that they ceafed in the pagan world 
for fome ages before Chrift : or it may be orher- 
wife ; and that, in rare and extraordinary cafes, the 
hand of God appeared in a miraculous manner. 
Analogy favours the lad opinion, as it feems to me ; 
which alfo appears to be more countenanced by 
hiftory, than' the contrary one j and yet the pretences 
to miracles amongft the pagans were undoubtedly 
falfe, in the general. 

1 come, in the fecond place, to confider the reli- 
gious inftitutions of Zoroaftcr. We have not fo full 
and authentic an hiftory of thefe, as to compare them 
properly with the Jewijh or chriftian revelations. If 
we fuppofe, that Zotoajier and Hyjlafpes fet up the 
vvorfhip of one God, in a fimple manner, teaching 
and inculcating the practice of virtue at the fame 
time, this religion may be faid fo have considerable 
moral evidence in its favour. \f> farther, we fup- 
pofe it to be in part derived, either from the defcend- 
ents of Abraham by Kefurabj called Brachmans from 
him, or from that knowledge of the true God, which 
the ten tribes, and the Jews, had then communica- 
ted to that part of the world, it will become an evi- 
dence for the Jewijh religion. 

VOL, II. O Thirdly, 

194 Qf the I'rutb of 

Thirdly, The religion of Mahomet allows and pre- 
fuppofes the truth of the Jewijh and chriftian. Its 
rapid propagation was owing chiefly to the mixture 
of political interefts. That part of its doctrines, 
which is good, is manifeftly taken from the fcrip- 
tures ; and this contributed to its fuccefs. However, 
a comparifon of mahometifm with chriftianity, in 
the feveral particulars of each, feems to fhew, that 
whenever a ftrict examination is made into the 
hiftory of mahometifm by its profefibrs, the falfehood 
of it will quickly be made evident to them. It could 
not ftand fuch a trial, as chriftianity has, fince the 
revival of learning in theie weftern parts. 

It feems eafy to apply what has been delivered in 
the three laft paragraphs to the analogous particulars 
of the religion of Confucius, and of other religions 
found in the Eaft and Weft Indies^ as far as their hifto- 
ries are iufficiently full and authentic for that purpofe. 
'Laftly, One may make the following remarks, 
with refpect to the feveral enthufiaftic lefts, that arife 
from time to time amongft chriftians. 

Firft, That their pretences to miracles and prophe- 
cies have, in general, been detected and expofed, after 
fome examination and inquiry j unlefs the feet has 
begun to decline from other caufes, before a ftrict 
examination became necefiary. 

Secondly, That their pretended miracles were not 
of that evident kind, nor done in the fame open 
manner, &c. as the Jewijh and chriftian miracles. 

Thirdly, That thefe pretended miracles have not 
produced lading effects upon the minds of men, like 
the Jewijh and Cbriftian. Now, though a religion 
may fucceed for a time without true miracles, yet it 
feems hard to believe, that any fhould fail with 

Fourthly, The fuccefs of fects has, in general, 
been owing to their making greater pretences to pu- 
rity, and gofpel perfection, than eftablifhed churches, 


the Chrijiian Religion. 195 

and to their both teaching and praclifing fome ne- 
ceflary duties, which eftablimed churches have too 
much neglected in the corrupted ftate of chriftiarjity. 
And in this light they have been true in part, and 
have done the moft important fervice to the world. 
Every feel: of chriftians has magnified fome great 
truth, not above its real value, but above the value 
which other fects have fet upon it j and by this means 
each important religious truth has had the advantage 
of being fet in a full light by fome party or other, 
though too much neglected by the reft. And the 
true catholic church and communion of faints .unites 
all thefe fects, by taking what is right from each, and 
leaving the errors, falsehoods, and corruptions of 
each to combat and deftroy one another. 

And it may be, that mankind will be able in future 
generations to fee, how every other feel, and pre- 
tence to revelation, befides thofe of enthufiaftic chrif- 
tians, in whatever age or country it has appeared, 
has been, all other things remaining the fame, fuited 
in the beft poffible manner, both to particular and 
general purpofes ; and that each has prepared the 
way, in its proper place, for that more complete 
ftate predicted in the fcnptures under the titles of 
the kingdom of heaven, and of right 'eoqfnefs, of the 
New Jerufalem, &c. Even infidelity, atheifm, and 
fcepticifrn, have their ufe. The veflels of wrath 
are (till veflels belonging to the Maker and Lord of 
all things, and anfwering his infinitely beneficent 
purpofes. Offences muft comet though woe be to thoje, 
by whom they come ! Each feet, and pretence, and 
objection, has given, or will give, way in its time. 
The true and pure religion of Chrift alone grows 
more evident and powerful from every attack that is 
made upon it, and converts the bitternefs and poifon 
of its adverfaries into nourifhment for itfelf, and 
an univerfal remedy for the pains and forrows of 
a miferable, degenerate world. 

O 2 CHAP. 

196 Of the Rule of Life. 


Of tbe RULE of LIFE. 

HAVING delivered in the two foregoing chapters, 
the refpective evidences for natural and revealed reli- 
gion, I proceed now to inquire into the rule of life 
enjoined by them. This, it is evident, muft be 
compliance with the will of God. Both natural 
and revealed religion teach this at firft view ; which 
is alfb the immediate dictate of rational felf-intereft. 
It is farther evident, that the love of God, and of 
our neighbour, with moderation in all felfifti enjoy- 
ments, muft be the will of him, who is infinitely 
benevolent, i. e. in the popular phrafe, infinitely 
holy, merciful, juft, and true, who has fent us into 
this world to make ourfelves and others happy. 
This we may learn from natural religion, and the 
fcriptures abound every where with the lame pre- 
cepts. I propofe therefore, in this chapter, to enter 
into the detail of thefe precepts, and to apply them 
to the feveral particular circumftances of human life, 
digefting what I have to offer, under the heads of the 
feven kinds of pleafure and pain, 'whofe hiftory I 
have given in the foregoing part of this work. But 
firft I will, in the four proportions that follow next, 
premife an argument in favour of virtue, which 
ought to have fome weight, as it items to me, even 
with an atheift or fceptic. 


Of the Rule of Life. 197 




The Pratlice of Mankind- affords a Direction, which, 
though an imperfeft one, may, however, be offome Ufe 
in our Jfiquiry after the Rule of Life. 

THIS follows, Firft, Because, in all the fubordi- 
nate arts of life, we always pay great regard to the 
common judgment, practice, and experience of 
mankind, taken af an average, as one may fay. 
And this is thought to be more particularly requifite 
for thofe perfons to do, who are ignorant and novices 
in refpecl: of thefe arts. Now what is reafonable in 
the inferior arts, mult alfo be reafonable in the art of 
arts, that of living happily, of attaining our Jummum 
bonum, or greateft poffible happinefs, here and here- 
after, if there be an hereafter; which there may be, 
even Confidently with atheifin and fcepticifm. There 
feems therefore a peculiar obligation, from felf- 
intereft at leaft, upon atheifts and fceptics, fince 
they muft live here upon the fame terms as other 
men, and (land the fame chance for an hereafter, 
to pay fome deference to the practice of others, 
confidered as an hint and caution how to fecure their 
own intereft. 

Secondly, Mankind are evidently endued with a 
defire of attaining happinefs, and avoiding mifery : 
and arrive at a competent knowledge of the means, 
which lead to this end. I have, in the foregoing 

O 3 part 

198 Of the Rule of Life. 

part of this work, endeavoured to fliew how this 
defire and knowledge are generated. But the fact is 
certain and obvious, whether that account be fatis- 
factory or no. 

Thirdly, Thofe who admit a benevolent author 
of nature, in any fenfe of thefe words, will be in- 
clined to believe, that mankind muft in fome degree 
be fitted to attain happinefs j and alfo, in confe- 
quence thereof, attain it in fact. And even atheifti- 
cal and fceptical perfons, when they fee how blind 
fate, or nature, or whatever term elfe they think fit 
to ufe, gives to all animals appetites, inftincts, and 
objects, in general, fuited to their well-being, ought, 
from an argument of induction, to expect fome- 
thing analogous to this in mankind, previoufly to 
their inquiry into the fact. 

It appears therefore, that the practice of mankind, 
taken at an average, may be of fome ufe to us in 
our inveftigation of the rule of life ; and yet thefe 
fame considerations fhew, that the light thereby 
afforded can be no more than a very imperfect one. 
The error, irregularity, and mifery, which are every 
where confpicuous, prove at once, that the practice 
of mankind is no infallible guide. 


'The Opinions of Mankind afford an imperfecJ Direc- 
tion in rejpeft of the Rule of Life y which is preferable 
to that drawn from their PracJice. 

THAT the opinions of mankind, concerning the 
means of obtaining happinefs, are both of real ufe, 
and yet an imperfect rule in many refpects, will ap- 
pear, if we apply the reafoning ufed in the foregoing 
propofuion to them. 


Of the Rule of Life. 199 

That this imperfect rule is, however, preferable 
to that drawn from the mere practice, follows, in- 
afmuch as the opinions of mankind are, in general, 
formed after experience, and often upon mature 
deliberation, when they are free from the violent 
impulfes of their appetites and paflions, and at a 
more proper and equal diftance from the objects 
under consideration, than can well be at the time of 


'The Rule of Life drawn from (be Practice and Opinions 
of Mankind, taken at an Average, is favourable to 
the Caufe of Virtue. 

I WILL firft confider the rule fuppofed to be taken 
from the mere practice of mankind. 

Now it appears at firft fight, that this rule would 
exclude all eminent degrees both of virtue and vice. 
A perfon who fhould be fimilar to the whole aggre- 
gate of mankind, confidered as one great individual, 
would have fome feeds and (hoots of every virtue, 
and every vice, and yet none in an eminent degree : 
his virtues and vices would only exert themfelves, 
when called forth by ftrong motives and occafions : 
in which cafes, however, 'this fictitious perfon, this 
type and reprefentative of the whole fpecics would 
not fail to (hew, that he had all kinds of good and 
bad difpofitions, all balancing and retraining one 
another, unlefs where extraordinary incidents turn the 
fcale in favour of each particular refpectively : fo 
that, if the mere practice of mankind (hould be 
thought fufficient to ground a rule upon, we fhould 
be directed by this to avoid all great degrees both 
of virtue and vice, and to keep our appetites and 
pafiions in fubjection to one another, fo as that none 
fhould prevail over the reft, unlefs upon particular 

O 4 extraordinary 

20Q Of tbe Ride of Life. 

extraordinary occafions. And a perfon, formed ac- 
cording to this mode), would be reckoned a neutral, 
moderate, prudent man, pot miich loved or hated by 
thole with whom he converfed ; however, refpected 
and regarded, tat;her than otherwife. We may alfo 
fiippofe, that his life would be nuich chequered with 
happinefs and mifery ; and yet, for the mod "part, be 
void of all high degrees of either; upon the whole, 
probably rather happy, than miferable. And thus 
the practice of mankind would, as it appears to me, 
lead to a low degree both of virtue and happinefs, 
and exclude all that violence and exorbitancy of 
pafTion and appetite, which is one chief fource and 
bccafion of vice. For almoft all kinds of vice are 
the excefleSi and monilrous offsprings, of natural 
appetites ; whereas the virtues are, in general, of a 
moderate nature, and lie between the two extremes. 
That moderation therefore; which the practice of 
mankind, taken fo as to make the oppofue extremes 
balance each other, directs us to, muft, upon the 
whole, be more favourable to virtue than to vice. 

Let us next inquire to what rule of life the opi- 
nions of mankind would lead us, or how far the feve- 
ral virtues or vices are generally efteemed to conduce 
to happinefs or mifery. Now, as the general prac- 
tice of mankind excludes all grofs vices, fo does the 
general opinion, but in a'ftronger manner. It does 
alfo exclude all eminent virtues; but then it does 
this in a weaker manner than the general practice j 
and, upon the whole, it turns the fcale greatly in 
favour of virtue, and againft vice, as means of pri- 
vate happinefs ; as will immediately appear, if we 
confidtr the particular virtues and vices of temperance 
aud intemperance, meeknefs and anger, beneficence 
and avarice, gratitude and ingratitude, &c. as op- 
pofcd to, and put in competition with, each other, 
in the judgement of mankind. And yet it does not 
feem by any means, that, according to the general 


Of the Rule of Life-. 201 

opinion of mankind, the greatett degree of virtue 
has the faireft profpect for happinefs in this world. 

But then, with refpeft to that other world, for 
which there is at leaft this prefumption of general 
opinion, we have almoft an univerfal content, of all 
ages and nations, that all degrees of virtue and vice 
will there meet with their proper and proportional 
reward and punifhment. Now an impartial fceptic 
muft either enter the lifts, and fairly confider what 
arguments there are for or againft a future (late, 
and reafon upon the fubject, *'. e. ceafe to be a fcep- 
tic j or elfc this general opinion of mankind in 
favour of a future ftate muft, for the mechanical rea- 
fons alleged in the firft part of this work, give feme 
degree of determination to him here, as in other 
cafes, where the mind is perfectly in tequilibrio. 
For the fame reafon s, the almoft "univerfal confent 
of mankind in the fuperior advantages of virtue in 
a future ftate, by the-m fuppofed, ought to have 
fome weight with fuch a perfon, even though he 
fhould ftill remain in ^quilibrio^ as to the opinion of 
a future ftape, becaufe then it would be as probable 
as the other fide of the queftion. 

And, upon the whole, we may make the following 

1. That a perfon who fhould form his life partly 
upon the practice of mankind, and partly upon their 
opinions, would incline confiderably to the fide of 

2. That, if he thought the rule drawn from the 
opinions of mankind preferable to that drawn from 
their practice, according to the laft propofuion, he 
muft incline more to the fide of virtue. 

3. That, if tiie future ftate, which commences at 
the expiration of this life, be fuppofed of indefinitely 
more value than it, and certain, he ought to adhere 
ftrictly to virtue, and renounce all vice. And the 
conclufion will be the fame, though there be only a 


202 Of the Rule of Life. 

ftrong, or a moderate probability, or even an equal 
chance, nay, I might almoft fay, a bare poflibility, 
of the reality, and great importance, of a future 
life; fmce what he would forfeit in this life by a 
ftrift adherence to virtue, is confefledly of fmall im- 
portance in common cafes. 

4. That all great degrees of vice are contrary to 
the common fenfc, practice, and experience of 

5. And therefore, laftly, If a man gives himfelf up 
to vicious courfes, pretending cool rational fcepticifm 
and uncertainty in religious matters, he mud either 
deceive himfelf, or endeavour to impofe upon others. 
A perfon who lay entirely afloat, would from the 
fufceptibility of infection, allowed by all, and above 
explained from our frame, fuffer himfelf to be formed 
by the practices and opinions of mankind at an 
everage, /'. e. would incline to the fide^of virtue: 
and therefore a perfon who inclines the contrary way, 
muft be drawn afide from the neutral point of fcep- 
ticifm by fecret prejudices and paflions. 

It may be objected to the reafoning ufed in the 
former part of this propofition, that whatever be the 
opinions of mankind, their practice at an average is 
by no means at an equal diftance from perfect virtue, 
and grofs vice j but approaches much nearer to the 
latter extreme : and that this appears both from the 
obfervation of the facts, and from the declarations of 
the fcriptures. 

Firft, then, Let us confider the obfervation of the 
facts. And here the objectors will be ready to heap 
together the many inftances of violence, revenge, 
cruelty, injuftice, ingratitude, treachery, want of 
natural affection, brutal fenfuality, anger, envy, 
morofenefs, ambition, avarice and felfiflinefs, which 
hiftory and experience, public and private, are able to 
furnifh; and will urge, that a perfon who fhould copy 
after mankind taken at a medium, would be a very 


Of the Rule of Life. 203 

fcnfual, felfifh, malevolent, and every way vicious 
creature. And it muft be confefied, nay, I am fo 
far from denying, that I every where fuppofe, and 
lay down as a principle, that there is much cor- 
ruption and wickednefs all over the world. But 
that the moral evil in the world exceeds the moral 
good, would be very difficult to prove. 

For, Firft, How lhall we make the computation ? 
Who fhall fum up for us all the inftances of the fore- 
going and other vices, and weigh them in a juft balance 
againft the contrary inftances of love to relations, 
friends, neighbours, ftrangers, enemies, and the 
brute creation ; of temperance and chaftity, gene- 
rolity, gratitude, companion, courage, humility, 
piety, refignation, &c ? The cafe between the 
virtues and the vices, /'. e. between moral good and 
evil, feems to refemble that between pleafure and pain, 
or natural good and evil. The inftances of pleafure 
are, in general, more numerous, but lefs in quantity, 
than thofe of pain ; and though it is impoffible to 
fpeak with certainty, becaufe no man can be qualified 
to make the eftimate, yet pleafure feems to prevail 
upon the whole. In like manner, the inftances of 
benevolence of fome kind or other, though mixed 
with many imperfections, of a partial fclf-government, 
of a fuperftitious, enthufiaftic, idolatrous, or luke- 
warm piety, one or other, occur in almoft all the mod 
familiar circumftances of human life, and intermix 
themfclves with the moft common, ordinary thoughts, 
words, and actions : whereas the inftances of fenfu- 
ality, malevolence, and profanenefs, are rarer, as it 
feems, though often of a more glaring nature. 

Secondly, The imperfection of virtue, which I 
allow, and even lay down in mankind in general, 
makes them, in general, apt to magnify the vices of 
others. Perfect virtue may be fuppofed to be but 
juft perfectly candid and equitable ; and therefore im- 

204 Of the Rule of Life. 

perfect virtue^ is moft probably too cenforious, efpe- 
cially fipce men, by blaming others, hope to exculpate 
or exalt themfelves. And, agreeably to this, common 
experience (hews, that bodily infirmities, difap- 
pointments, pride, felf- indulgence, and vice of all 
kinds, difpofe men to look upon the dark fide of 
every profpe<5t, and to magnify the evils natural and 
moral, that are in the world, both in their own 
thoughts, and in their difcourfes to others. It is 
alfo to be added here, that as our opinions are more 
in favour of virtue than our practice, fo our rule of 
judging muft of confequence much condemn the 
general practice. This circumftance is very neceflary 
for the moral improvement of the world j but, if 
over-looked, it may miflead in the prefent inquiry. 

Thirdly, The greater intenfenefs of the particular 
pains above the correfponding pleafures in general, 
and of the particular vices above the oppofite virtues, 
as juft now mentioned, 'tends, for moft eminent and 
beneficient final caufes in both cafes, to affect the 
imagination and memory with ftronger and more 
lading impreflions, fo as to occur more readily to the 
invention in all inquiries and fpeculations of this 

Fourthly, If we fuppofe, that natural good pre- 
vails, upon the whole, in the world, analogy feems 
to require, that moral good (which is, in general, 
its caufe) mould alfo prevail in like manner. Far- 
ther, as we, judge, that natural good prevails from 
the- general defire of life, the pleafure of recollecting 
perfons and places, and renewing our acquaintance 
with them, &c. fo the fame things feem to deter- 
mine, that mankind is, upon the whole, rather 
amiable and refpectable, than hateful and con ? 
temptiJble, /. e, rather virtuous than vicious. 

Laftly, It is to be obferved, that, in an accurate 
way of fpeaking, virtue and vice, arc mere relative 


Of the Rule of Life. 205 

terms, like great and little. Whence the average 
of mankind may be confidered as a middle point 
between the pofitive and negative quantities of virtue 
and vice, as a neutral fituation. And, upon this 
fuppofition, we might firft fhew, that it is man's 
greateft intereft, his fiimmum bonum, at lead, to be 
neutral j and afterwards, that he ought to prefs for- 
ward with all poffible earneftnefs towards the infinite 
perfection of God, though ever at an infinite diftance. 
For, as every finite length is infinitely nearer to 
nothing, than to a metaphyfically infinite one (te 
make this fuppofition for argument's fake) ; fo all 
finite virtue is infinitely more diftant from the infinite 
perfection of God, than from nothing. And thus 
indeed all our righteoufnefs is filthy rags, and all our 
virtue infinite vice. But this method of confidering 
the prefent fubject is far from oppofing the purport 
of this fection. 

If we fhould call all mere felf-regards vice, and 
all regards to God, and our neighbour, virtue ; v 
which is a very proper language, and one that would 
render the terms of this inquiry precife; it feems 
probable to me, that virtue abounds more, upon the 
whole, than vice. A view to the good of others, 
at lead near relations, is a general motive to action ; 
and a defign to pleafe God, at lead not to offend 
him, is very common in the bulk of mankind, or 
even the word. The mod ordinary and trivial actions 
are performed without any explicit view at all, at 
lead any that we remember a few moments after the 
action, i. e. are automatic fecondarily ; and fo cannot 
be confidered as either virtuous or vicious j or, if 
they be, v/e mud judge of their complexion by that 
of the more eminent ones. 

Secondly, It may be objected, that, according to 
the fcriptures, mankind are in a lod fallen date j that 
they are all gone out of the way, and become corrupt 
and abominable \ that there is none that doth good, &c. 

I anfwer, 

Of the Rule of Life. 

I anfwer, that thefe and fuch like exprefllons feem to 
refer to a former date of innocence in paradife, to a 
future kingdom of righteoufnefs, prbmifed in both 
the Old and New Teftament, and to the rule of life 
laid down there, with the conditions requifite to our 
admittance into this happy ftate : and that, in this 
view of things, the virtue of mankind in general 
is as deficient, as their happinefs falls fhort of the 
joys of the bleffed; agreeably to which, the prefent 
life is, in the fcripture, reprefented as a fcene of 
vanity, labour, and forrow. And it is a moft im- 
portant and alarming confideration, that the common 
virtue of mankind will not entitle us to a future 
reward after death; that few jhall find the ftraight gate} 
and that, unlejs our right eoujnefs exceed that of the 
Scribes and Pharifees, we can in no wife enter into the 
kingdom of heaven, here or hereafter. But then, as> 
notwithftanding the curfe pafled upon man, and upon 
the ground, God is reprefented in fcripture as open- 
ing his hand, and filling all things living with plente- 
oufnefSy as being kind to all, and manifefting his infi- 
nite and invifible goodnefs by vifible things, /'. e. as 
making natural good to prevail upon the whole, that 
fo we may, on this account, be thankful to him, and 
love him with all our hearts, as he commands ; fo 
the correfponding precept of loving our neighbour as 
ourfelves, feems to infer, that our neighbour is 
amiable upon the whole. And we may fuppofe, that 
moral good prevails in general, in a degree proper-, 
tional to the prevalence of natural good: or, however 
we underftand the fcripture language on this head, 
it cannot be contrary to the foregoing reafoning. It 
mud appear fiom thence, that we ought to be, at 
leaft, as good as mankind at a medium, in order to 
obtain the medium of happinefs ; and that, if we 
have higher views, our road lies towards the infinite 
perfection of virtue, towards fpirituality, benevo- 

Of the Rule of Life. 207 

/ i 

lence, and piety, and not towards fcnfuality, felfilh- 
nefs, or malevolence. 


The Rule of Life drawn from the Practice and Opinions 
of Mankind, correfts and improves itfelf perpetually, 
till at laft it determines entirely for Virtue, and 
excludes all Kinds and Degrees of Vice. 

FOR, fmce the imperfect rule, drawn in the laft 
propofition, is, at lead, fo favourable to virtue, 
as to exclude all great vices, we may conclude, that 
all grofsly vicious perfbns ought to be left out in 
collecting the rule of life from the practice and opi- 
nions of mankind ; and' that our rule will approach 
nearer to a perfect one thereby. And as this our 
fecond rule, taken from the virtuous and fuperior 
orders of the vicious, determines more in favour of 
virtue, than our firft, taken indifferently from all 
the orders both of the virtuous and vicious, fo it will 
engage us to exclude more of the vicious from our 
future eftimate j and fo on, till at laft we determine 
entirely in favour of virtue. At leaft, this is a pre- 
fumption, which rifes up to view, when we confider 
the fubjecl in the method here propofed. Since it 
appears from the firft general confidcration of the 
practice and opinions of mankind, that grofsly vicious 
perfons muft be unhappy, it is not reafonable to allow 
them any weight in determining what is the proper 
method for attaining the greateft poflible happinefs. 
And as the fame oblervation recurs perpetually, With 
refpect to all the orders of the vicious, we lhall at 
laft be led to take the moft virtuous only, as the 
proper guides of life. 

Grofsly vicious perfons may alfo be excluded, from 
the manifeft blindnefs and infatuation in common 


Of ibi Rule of Life. 


affairs, which attends them ; and as this extends to the 
vice of fenfuality in particular, fo this vice may be 
farther excluded from that tendency of our natures 
to fpirituality, in our progrefs through life, which is 
allowed by all, and explained in the foregoing part 
of this work upon the principle of affbciation. Ma- 
levolence is alfo excluded, becaufe it is itfelf rrii- 
fery, and, by parity of reafon, benevolence muft be 
a proper recommendation for thofe, whofe example 
and judgment we would follow in our endeavours 
after happinefs: And it does not appear in this way 
of propofing thefe matters, that the ultimate ratio of 
things admits of any limit to our fpirituality or bene- 
volence, provided we fuppofe, that, at the expira- 
tion of this life, a progreflive fcene of the fame 
kind commences. 

The method of reafonihg here ufed bears forne 
refemblance to, and is fomewhat illuftrated by, the 
method of approximation practifed by mathemati- 
cians, in order to determine the roots of equations to 
any propofed degree of exactnefs. Farther, as it is 
common in infinite feriefes for the threV or four 
firft terms either to flhew what the whole feries is, 
or, at leaft, that it is infinite ; fo here the ever- 
growing and fuperior excellence of fpirituality and 
benevolence, which the foregoing confiderations 
open to view, by recurring perpetually, and cor- 
recting the immediately precedent determination in 
every ftep, may incline one to think, in correfpon- 
dence to that method of reafoning in feriefes, that 
fpirituality and benevolence ought to be made infi- 
nite i.n the ultimate ratio which they bear to fenfu- 
ality and felfifhnefs. 

But this method of reafoning may alfo be illultra- 
ted, in a more popular way, by applying it to more 
obvious inquiries. I will give two inftances of thk, 
the fitft in the health of the body natural, the fecond 
in the welfare of the body politic. 


Of the Rule of Life. , 209 

Suppofe then that a perfon entirely "ignorant of 
phyfic, theoretical and pradtical, and difpofed to treat 
it as mere guefs-work and uncertainty, fhould, how- 
ever, be defirous to know, fince he muft ear, what 
diet is rooft conducive to health. The firft and 
moft obvious anfwer will be, the general diet of 
mankind} becaufe this is the refult of general expe- 
rience, and of the natural appetites, which are in fo 
many other inftances fitted to the objects themfelves, 
and to the ufes and pleafures, public and private, of 
human - life. And thus the inquirer would bt re- 
ftrained from all grofs excefles in the quantity or 
qualities of his diet. But if he farther obferves, 
that the opinions of mankind tend more to modera- 
tion in diet, than their practice : and that both the 
practice and opinions of thofe who appear by other 
criterions to be the beft judges, tend more to mode- 
ration than thofe of mankind at an average; and, 
laftly, that the fenfual and intemperate ought entirely 
to be excluded from having any fhare in determining 
this inquiry ; this will lead him to great moderation 
in diet, or even fo abftemioufnefs. 

In like manner let it be aiked, what principles of 
government are moft conducive to the public wel- 
fare ? Are private virtues, or private vices, moft to 
be encouraged ? Here indeed the anfwer drawn from 
the average of dates will not be an exaft medium 

between both, fo as to difcourage all the virtues, and 
all the degrees of them, as much as the vices, and 
their degrees ; and vice verfa, to encourage both 
equally ; but will, upon the whole, be greatly 
favourable to virtue. However, fince avarice, vain- 
glory, refentmenr, luxury, &c. are, in certain re- 
fpefts, even promoted, and the greateft virtues fome- 
times perfecuted, the practice of legiflators and 
magiftrates, in ena&ing and enforcing laws, will not 
be entirely favourable to virtue. But then, if we take 
their opinions, efpecially thofe of the Jegiflators the 
moft celebrated for wifdom, and leave out barbarous 
VOL. II. P nations, 

2io Of the Rule of Life. 

nations, infant dates as yet unfettled, and fuch as 
approach near to their diflblution, the average from 
the remainder will give the advantage to virtue more 
and more perpetually. And it may be remarked 
of both thefe inftances, that they prove in part the 
thing to be illuftrated by them, being not mere, 
emblems only, but in part the reality itfelf. For 
moderation in diet is one principal virtue, and ex- 
tremely requifite to preferve benevolence in perfection ; 
and health a great ingredient towards happinefs. 
And the public happinefs, which arifes from the 
cultivation of private virtues, includes private hap- 
pinefs within itfelf. 

Perhaps it may not difpleafe the reader juft to 
hint, that the fame method of reafoning may be 
made ufe of in favour of the chriftian religion. 
All ages and nations have in general believed fome 
revelation. There muft therefore be fome true one. 
But the chriftian is plainly the religion of the moft 
learned and knowing part of mankind, and is, in 
genera], more earneftly believed, in proportion as 
men are wifer and better. If we except the Maho- 
metans, the reft of the world are mere favages. 
But mahometifm bears teftimony to both the Old 
and New Teftament. If the unbeliever will not be 
determined by this hknfelf, let him at leaft allow, 
that the more ignorant and unlearned may be di- 
rected by it to the true religion. But then they are 
not to be fuppofed capable of making objections. 
Whoever has a capacity for this, has alfo a capacity 
to receive the proper anfwers. 

It is evident, however, that obfervations of this 
kind, drawn from the common fenfe and judgment 
of mankind, cannot carry us to great lengths with 
precision and certainty. They are very convincing 
and ftriking, in refpect of the firft principles and 
rudiments ; but, if we would defcend to minute par- 
ticulars with accuracy, recourfe muft be had to the 
feveral practical theories of each art. 


Of the Rule of Life. 211 




'The Pleafures of Senfation ought not to be made a pri- 

IN order to {hew this, let us put the extreme cafe 
of the primary purfuit of fenfible pleafure j and 
fuppofe, that a perfon endeavours to gratify every 
impulfe of his bodily appetites, however contrary 
fuch gratification may be to the virtues of temper- 
ance and' chaftity. Now it is evident that fuch a 
one would foon deftroy the bodily faculties them- 
felves, thereby rendering the objects of fenfible plea- 
fure ufelefs, and alfo precipitate himfelf into pain, 
difeafes, and death, thofe greateft of evils in the 
opinion of the voluptuous. This is a plain matter 
of obfervation verified every day by the fad exam- 
ples of loathfome, tortured wretches, that occur which 
way foever we turn our eyes, in the ftreets, in pri- 
vate families, in hofpitals, in palaces. Whether 
the fcriptures give a true account how all this fin 
and milery were firft introduced into the world ; 
alfo whether our reafon be able to reconcile it with 
the moral attributes of God, or no j ftill, that pofitive 
mifery, and the lofs even of fenfual happinefs, are 
thus infeparably connected with intemperance and 
lewdnefs, is an evident fact, that no unbeliever, no 
atheift, no fceptic, that will open his eyes, can 
difpute. And it is to be obferved, that the real in- 

P 2 ftances 

212 Of the Rule of Life. 

(lances do not, cannot, come up to the cafe here put 
of a man's yielding to every fenfual inclination. The 
mod grofs and debauched have had fome reftraincs 
from fome other defires or fears, from the quarters 
of imagination, ambition, &c. It is evident there- 
fore, a fortiori, that the mere gratification of our 
fenfual appetites cannot be our primary purfuit, our 
Jummum bonum, or the rule and end of life. They 
mud be regulated by, and made fubfervient to, fome 
other part of our natures j elfe we fhall mifs even 
the fenfible pleafure, that we might have enjoyed, 
and (hall fall into the oppofite pains j which, as has 
been obferved before, are, in general far greater, and 
more exquifite, than the fenfible pleafures. 

That indulgence in fenfual gratifications will not 
afford us our Jummum bonum, may alfo be inferred 
from the following arguments, viz. that it deftroys 
the mental faculties, the apprehenfion, memory, 
imagination, invention ; that it expofes men to 
cenfure and contempt; that it brings them to pe- 
nury j that it is abfblutely inconfiftent with the 
duties and pleafures of benevolence and piety j and 
that it is all along attended with the fecret reproaches 
of the moral fenfe, and the horrors of a guilty mind. 
Now it is impoflTible, as will appear from the fore- 
going hiftory of aflbciation, how much foever a man 
may be devoted to fenfual indulgences, entirely to 
prevent the generation of the feveral mental affec- 
tions j but it is in our power, by an inordinate 
purfuit of the fenfible pleafures, to convert the men- 
tal affe6tions into fources of pain, and to impair and 
cut off many of the intellectual pleafures, fo as that 
the balance fhall be againft us upon the whole. It 
follows therefore from this utter inconfiftency of the 
fenfible pleafures, when made a primary purfuit, 
with the intellectual ones, that they ought not to be 
fo i but muft be fubjected to, and regulated by, fome 
more impartial law, than that of mere fenfual defire. 


Of the Rule of Life. 213 

The fame thing may be concluded, in a more 
direct way, from the hiftory of aflbciation. For 
the fenfifrle pleafures are the firft pleafures of which 
we are capable, and are the foundation of the intel- 
lectual ones, which are formed from them in fuccef- 
fion, according to the law of aflbciation, as before 
explained. Now which way foever we turn our 
view, that which is prior in the order of nature is 
always lefs perfect and principal, than that which is 
pofterior, the laft of two contiguous dates being the 
end, the firft the means fubfervient to that end, though 
itfelf be an end in reflect of fome foregoing ftate. 
The fenfible pleafures therefore cannot be fuppofed of 
equal value and dignity with the intellectual, to the 
generation of which they are made fubfervient. And 
we might be led to infer this from the mere analogy 
of nature, from the numberlefs parallel inftances which 
daily obfervation fuggefts, and without taking into 
confideration the infinite beneficence of the fupreme 
caufe, which yet makes this argument much more 
fatisfactory and convincing. 

Nay, one may go farther, and obferve, that as 
many perfons are evidently forced from the inordinate 
purfuit of fenfible pleafure by its inconfiftency with 
itfelf, and with the other parts of our frame, fo it 
feems, that, if human life was continued to an 
indefinite length, and yet nothing abated from the 
rigour of thofe wholefome feverities, and penal fuffer- 
ings, which fenfuality brings upon us, more and more 
individuals would perpetually be advanced thereby 
to a ftate of fpirituality j and that it would be im- 
poffible for any man to perfift for ever in facrificing 
all to his fenfual appetites, in making bis belly his 
god, upon fuch difadvantageous and painful terms. 
Intellectual defires, (/'. e. defires in which no particu- 
lar fenfible pleafure is confpicuous, though they a/ife 
from a multiform aggregate of the traces of fuch) 
muft be formed, as we fee they are in fail, in the molt 

P 3 luxurious 

214 Of the Rule of Life. 

luxurious and debauched j and thefe would at laft 
become fufficient to ftruggle with and overpower the 
fenfual defires, which would at the fame time be 
weakened by affociations with intenfe pains and fuffer- 
ings. And this affords us a pleafing glimpfe not only 
of a future ftate, but alfo of what may be done there 
by ft ill greater feverities, for thofe whom the miferies 
of this life could not free from the flavery to their 
bodily appetites j at the fame time that it is the 
ftrongeft incentive to us all, to apply ourfelves with 
earneftnefs and afliduity to the great bufmefs and 
purport of the prefent life, the transformation of 
fenfuality into fpirituality, by afibciating the fenfible 
pleafures, and their traces, with proper foreign ob- 
jects, and fo forming motives to beneficent actions, 
and diffufing them over the whole general courfe of 
our exitlence. 

Laftly, The inferior va!6e of the fenfible pleafures 
may be deduced from their being of a confined local 
nature, and injuring or deftroying prematurely, /'. e. ' 
before the body in- general comes to its period, the 
particular organs of each, when indulged toexcefs; 
whereas the intellectual pleafures affect the whole 
nervous fyftem, /. e. all the fenfible parts, and that 
nearly in an equal manner, on account of the varie- 
ties and combinations of fenfible local, and of naf- 
cent intellectual pleafures, which concur in the 
formation of the mature intellectual ones ; fo that 
though fome of them fhould be indulged to excefs, 
and out of due. proportion to the reft, this will be 
more confiftent with the gentle, gradual decay of 
the mortal body. 

We may add, that the duration of mere fenfual 
pleafure is neceflarily fhort ; and that, even when 
free from guilt, it cannot, however, afford any 
pleafing reflections ; whereas one of the principal 
tendencies of our natures is, and muft be, from the 
power of affociation in forming them, to the plea- 

Of the Rule of Life. 215 

fures of reflection and confcioufnefs. In like man- 
ner, the evident ufe and reftriction thereto of one of 
the principal fenfible pleafures to preferve life and 
health, with all the confequent mental faculties, 
and executive bodily powers ; of the other to con- 
tinue "the fpecies, and to generate and enlarge bene- 
volence; make the fubordinate nature of both ma- 
nifeft in an obvious way, and without entering 
minutely into the hiftory of aflbciation : at the fame 
time that thefe remarks, when further purfued, unite 
with that hiftory, and are eminent parts of the fore- 
going argument, taken directly from thence. 

Thus it appears, that the pleafures of fenfation 
ought not to be made the primary purfuit of life; 
but require to bo reftrained and directed by fome 
foreign regulating power. What that power is, I 
now come to fhew in the next propofuion. 


"The Purfuit of JJsnJible Pleafure ought to be regulated by 
the Precepts of Benevolence, Piety, and tbs moral 

THIS may be proved by (hewing, that the regu- 
lation of our fenfible pleafures, here propofed, will 
contribute both to their own improvement, and to 
that of the other parts of our natures. 

Now benevolence requires, that the pleafures of 
fenfe mould be made entirely fubfervient to the 
health of the body and mind, that fo each perfon 
may bed fill his place in life, beft perform the feve- 
ral relative duties of it, and prolong his days to their 
utmofl period, free from great difeales and infirmi- 
ties j inftances of which have much authority, and 
a very beneficial influence, in the world. All gra- 
tifications therefore, which tend to produce difeafes 
in the body, and difturbances in the mind, are for- 

P 4 bidden 

2i6 Of the Rule of Life. 

bidden by benevolence, and the mod wholefome diet 
as to quantity and quality enjoined by it. The 
rules of piety are to the fame purpofe, whether they 
be deduced from our relation to God, as our com- 
mon father and benefactor, who wills that all his 
children fhould ufe his bleflings fo as to promote the 
commbn good thereby j or from the natural figna- 
ture,s of his will in the immediate pleafures and ad- 
vantages arifing from moderate refrefhment, and the 
manifeft inconveniences and injuries caufed by ex- 
cefs in quantity or quality ; or from his revealed will, 
by which temperance is commanded, and all intem- 
perance fevferely threatened. In like manner, the mo- 
ral fenfe directs us implicitly to the fame moderation, 
and government of our appetites, whether it be de- 
rived explicitly from the foregoing rules of piety and 
benevolence, or from ideas of decency, rational felf- 
intereft, the practice of wife and good men, the 
loathfomenefs of difeafes, the odioufnefs and mifchiefs 
of violent paffions, &c. It is evident therefore, that all 
thefe three guides of life lead to the fame end, viz. 
great moderation in fenfual enjoyments, though they 
differ fomewhat in, their motives, and the commodi- 
oufnefs of their application as a rule in the particu- 
lar occurrences of life. 

It is evident at the fame time, that we are no 
lofers, in refpect of the fenfible pleafures^ by this 
Heady adherence to moderation. Our fenfes, and 
bodily faculties, are by this means preferved in their 
perfection $ fo as to afford the natural exquifite gra- 
tification, and to enable us to perform the feveral 
animal functions with eafe and pleafure, and to carry 
us on to old age with all the integrity of thefe 
fenfes and faculties, that is confident with the necef- 
fary decay and diflblution of our earthly body. The 
fame moderation and health arifing from it, infpire 
men with perpetual ferenity, cheerfulnefs, and 
good- will, and with gratitude towards God, who 


Of the Rule of Life. 217 

gives us all things richly to enjoy, and the ftnfible 
pleafures in particular, as the means and earneft of 
far greater, both here and hereafter. Now it is ob- 
fervable in the common intercourfes of life, that 
afibciated circumftances add greatly to our pleafures. 
Thus the pleafure of receiving a thing from a 
friend, of making a friend partaker of it, of fociality 
and mirth at the time of enjoyment, &c. greatly 
enhance the gratifications of tafte, as in feafts, and 
public entertainment^. Much more then may the 
pure and exalted pleafures of benevolence and piety, 
the eating and drinking to the glory of God improve 
thefe pleafures. 

And as we are no lofers, but great gainers, upon 
the whole, by religious abrtemioufnefs, in refpedk s 
of the fenfible pleafure j fo are' we much more 
obvioufly fo, in refpeft of the lenfible pains and 
fuffenngs, which the intemperate bring upon them- 
lelves. Thefe are of the moft exquifite kind, and 
often of long duration, efpecially when they give 
intervals of refpite, thus exceeding the inventions 
of the moft cruel tyrants. They impair the bodily 
and mental faculties, fo as to render moft other 
enjoyments imperfect and infipid, difpofe to peevifli- 
nefs, paflion, and murmuring againft Providence, 
and are attended with the horrors of a guilty mind. 
It follows therefore, that he who would obtain the 
maximum of the fenfible pleafures, even thofe of 
tafte, muft not give himfelf up to them j but reftrain 
them, and make them fubjeft to benevolence, piety, 
and the moral fenfe. 

COR. Befides the fenfible pains, which exceffes 
bring upon men, there are fome which occur in 
the daily difcharge of the functions of life, from 
fatigue, labour, hardfhips, &c. Now it follows 
from the fame method of reafoning, as that uled in 
the two foregoing propofitions, that the proper method 
of avoiding thefe pains is not to aim ac it dire&ly, 


2i8 Of the Rule of Life. 

but in every thing to be guided by the precepts of 
benevolence, piety, and the moral fenfej and that 
delicate and effeminate perfons endure more from 
this head of fufferings, than the charitable and de- 
vout, who go about doing good t at the apparent ex- 
pence of their cafe and quiet. 


deduce practical Rules concerning Diet. 

WHAT that moderation in diet is, which would 
moft contribute to the health of the body and mind, 
and confequently which duty requires, is difficult to 
determine in particular cafes. The following fubor- 
dinate rules may, however, afford fome afiiftance in 
this matter. 

Firft, then, It is neceffary to abftain from all fuch 
things as the common experience of mankind deter- 
mines to be unwholefome, either in general, or to 
the particular perfons who make the inquiry. There 
are indeed fome vulgar errors of this kind, that are 
generally received, and which, by being obferved, 
may a little abridge one's liberty, without ufe or 
neceflity. However, this is of fmall moment, in 
comparifon "of the dangers arifmg from the free ufe 
of meats and drinks .found by the repeated obferva- 
tion of thofe who have made the trial, to be hurtful, 
generally or particularly. There dill remains, after 
all thefe are fet afide, a fufficient variety of things 
approved as wholefome by the fame common experi- 
ence, to anfwer all the purpofes of life, health, and 
even fenfible pleafure. This rule will be farther 
explained by thofe that follow. 

Secondly, We ought either totally to abftain from, 
or, however, to ufe with great caution and modera- 
tion, all foods of high relifh, whofe taftes t and 
fnaells are pungent and acred j. all which, though 


Of the Rule of Life. 219 

made grateful by cuftom, are at firft difaoreeable ; 
all which bear a great affinity in tafte, fmell, and 
generical or fpecific chara&eriftics, to fuch as are 
known to be hurtful ; which are poifonous during 
a particular ftate, previous to coftion, or other pre- 
paration ; which are uncommon, or which have very 
particular effects upon the functions and fecretions. 
For all thefe things are figns of adtive properties in 
the foods to which they belong, and ihew them to 
be rather proper for medicines, than for common x 
diet ; to be bodies which by an extraordinary efficacy 
may reduce the folids and fluids back to their natural 
ftate, when they have deviated from it j and therefore 
which are very unfuitable to the natural ftate. 

We may confider farther, that ftrong taftes, 
fmells, &c. are, according to the modern philofophy, 
marks of great powers of attraction and cohefion in 
the fmall component particles of natural bodies. 
Since therefore it is the manifeft defign of the de- 
fcending feriefes of arteries in animals to feparate the 
particles of their aliment from each other, alfo the 
particles of thefe particles, &c. that fo the fmalleft 
particles, or the minima divijibilia, meeting in the 
veins, may unite according to their refpective fizes, 
and mutual actions, i. e. to feparate what is hetero- 
geneous, and congregate what is homogeneous, a 
great difficulty and burden muft be laid upon the 
circulation, and upon, what is called nature in the 
body, by all highly agreeable flavours ; and, unlefs 
a proportional degree of mufcular action impels the 
blood forward, particles of an undue fize muft remain 
undivided, and form obftructions, which may either 
never be removed, or not till the obftru&ing particles 
become putrid ; and thus, being diflblved, and mixed 
with the animal juices, infect them with putrefcence. 

Still farther, it may be remarked, that the fame 
active particles in foods are probably the fources and 
recruits of that nervous power, or of fome requifite 


22O Of tbe Rule of Life. 

to it, by which animal fenfation and motion, and, 
by confequence, intellectual apprehenfion and affec- 
tion, and their effects upon the body, are carried 
on. Now it is evident, that affection raifed to a 
certain height, and executive powers ready to an- 
fwer the firft call, are a mental difeafe of the mod 
pernicious tendency. High-relifhed aliments, which 
generate it, are therefore carefully to be avoided, 
on one hand j as a very infipid diet, on the other, 
frems inefficient to qualify us for performing the 
requifite functions of life. But there is little dan- 
ger of erring on this hand, our appetites being 
but too fenfibly gratified with the , high relifhes. 
We may add, as nearly allied to thefe confiderations, 
that by ftoring our blood, and the folids thence 
formed with active properties, we lay up matter 
for future pains, both bodily and mental, whenever 
either body or mind become difordered, at the fame 
time that a high diet has, as we fee, an evident ten- 
dency to diforder both. 

This fecond rule coincides, for the mod part, with 
the firft 3 and may be made ufe of to extend and 
confirm' it. Thofe meats and drinks, which are found 
by experience to be hurtful, have, for the mod part, 
high relifhes. We may therefore determine againft 
an aliment of a high flavour from a narrower experi- 
ence, than againft one of a common moderate fla- 
vour. And it is very neceffary to attend to this 
criterion, fince the beft obfervations upon diet are 
much perplexed by foreign circumftances. 

Thirdly, All liquors, which have undergone 
vinous fermentation, fince they obtain thereby an in- 
flammable, inebriating fpirit, have from this inebria- 
ting quality, which impairs reafon, and adds force 
to the pafiions, a mark fet upon them, as dangerous 
not only on this account, but on others, to bodily 
health, &c. and as either totally to be avoided, or 
not to be ufed, except in fmall quantities, and rarely. 


Of the Rule of Life. 

The general agreeablenefs of wines and fermented 
liquors to the tafte, their immediate good effe&s in 
languors, deje&ions, and indigeftion, and their ex- 
hilarating quality, when taken fparingly, are indeed 
arguments to fhew, that there may be a proper ufc 
of them. But this feerns rather to be that of medi- 
cines, or refrefhments upon fingular occafions than 
of daily food. 

It may perhaps be, that the changes produced 
in the earth at the deluge did fo alter the nature of 
vegetable juices, as to render them then firft capable 
of producing an inflammable inebriating fpirit by 
fermentation; and that this alteration in the juices of 
vegetables had a principal fliare in fhortening the life 
of man ; perhaps of other animals, which laft might 
farther contribute to the firft. So great an event as 
the deluge may well be fuppofed to make a great 
alteration in all the three kingdoms, mineral, vege- 
table, and animal. We are fure of the firft from 
natural hiftory, and of the laft from the fcriptures, 
which relate the gradual fhortening of man's life after 
the flood. And the account of Noah's drunkennefs 
feems to intimate, that it was fomething new and 
unexpected. The connection of the three kingdoms 
with each other is alfo fo great, that we may reafon- 
ably infer a change in any one, either as a caufe, 
or as an eflfecl:, from finding it in the other two. 
However, the fin of our common parent Noah, and 
his expofing- his nakednefs, which alfo bears fome 
refemblance to the immediate confequence of Adanfs 
tranfgrefllon, ought to make us particularly upon our 
guard. At the fame time feveral other paflages of 
icripture feem fairly to intimate, that there is an 
allowable ufe of wine in the intercourfes of human 
life, as where wine is faid to make glad the heart of 
many and therefore to be matter of praifej our Savi- 
our's turning water into wine; his blefling it at his 
laft fupper, and making it the reprefentative of his 

blood ; 

222 Of the Rule of Life. 

blood j and St. Paul's advice to Timothy. But very 
great caution ought to be ufed in this point. The 
inebriating quality of fermented liquors, by difbrder- 
ing the mind, is a ftrong evidence, that they are alfo 
hurtful to the body, both becaufe of the intimate 
connection between body and mind, and becaufe all 
the beneficent ends of Providence are anfwered always 
by one and the fame means, and centre in one and 
the fame point. Whenever therefore we deviate iri 
one reipect, we muft deviate in all. The abftinence 
from wine enjoined upon the Nazarites at all times, 
and upon the priefts during their miniftration, appears 
to be a ftrong intimation of the unfuitablenefs of wine 
to thofe who aim at perfection ; who would deviate 
as little as poffible from the divine life. 

This third rule coincides remarkably with both the 
firft and fecond. The ill effects of fermented liquors, 
when indulged in, are evident from experience; and 
their high flavours are a principal temptation to an 
immoderate ufe of them. 

Fourthly, With rcfpect to animal diet, let it be 
confidered, that taking away the lives of animals, in 
order to convert them into food, does great violence 
to the principles of benevolence and companion. 
This appears from the frequent hard-heartednefs and 
cruelty found amongft thofe perfons, whofe occu- 
pations engage them in deftroying animal life, as well 
as from the uneafinefs which others feel in beholding 
the butchery of animals. It is mod evident, in refpect 
of the larger animals, and thofe with whom man- 
kind have a familiar intercourfe, fuch as oxen, fheep, 
domeftic fowls, &c. fo as to diftinguifh, love, and 
compaflionate individuals. Thefe creatures refemble 
us greatly in the make of the body in general, and in 
that of the particular organs of circulation, refpira- 
tion, digeftion, &c. alfo in the formation of their 
intellects, memories, and paflions, and in the figns 


Of the Rule of Life. 22 j 

of diftrefs, fear, pain, and death. They often like- 
wife win our affections by the marks of peculiar faga- 
city, by their inftincls, helplefihefs, innocence, naf- 
cent benevolence, &c. And if there be any glim- 
mering of the hope of an hereafter for them, if they 
Ihould prove to be our brethren and fitters in this 
higher fenfe, in immortality as well as mortality, in 
the permanent principle of our minds, as well as the 
frail duft of our bodies, if they fhould be partakers 
of the fame redemption as well as of our fall, and 
be members of the fame myflical body, this would 
have a particular tendency to increafe our tendernefs 
for them. At . the fame time the prefent circum- 
ftances of things feem to require, that no very great 
alteration fhould be made in this matter: weourfelves 
are under the fame law of death, and of becoming 
food to our fellow-animals ; and philofbphy has of 
late difcovered fuch numberlefs orders of fmall ani- 
mals in parts of diet formerly efteemed to be void 
of life, and fuch an extenfion of life into the vegetable 
kingdom, that we feem under the perpetual neceflky, 
either of deftroying the lives of fome of the crea- 
tures, or of perifhing ourfdves, and differing many 
others to perifh. This therefore feems to be no more 
than an argument to ftop us in our career, to make 
us fparing and tender in this article, and put us 
upon confuking experience more faithfully and impar- 
tially, in order to determine what is mod fuitable to 
the purpofes of life and health, our compafiion being 
made by the foregoing confiderations, in fome meafure, 
a balance to our impetuous bodily appetites. At leaft, 
abftinence from flefh-meats feems left to each perfon's 
choke, and not necefiary, unlefs in peculiar circuon- 

The doctrine of the fcriptures on this head ap- 
pears very agreeable to thefe dictates of fympathy. 
For Noah, and we in him, received a permiffion 
from God to eat flefh - 3 and that this was no more 


Pf the Rule of Life. 

than a permiflion, may be concluded from its not 
being given to Adam^ from the fhortening of human 
life after the flood, from the ftrift command con- 
cerning blood, from the Israelites being restrained 
from animal food for forty years during their purifi- 
cation and inftitution in religion in the wildernefs, 
from the diftin&ion of animals into clean and un- 
clean, from the burning of part in facrifice, and 
fometimes the whole, from the practice of many 
Jews and Chriftians particularly eminent for piety, 
'&c. All trifle may be confidered as hints and ad- 
monitions to us, as checks and restraints upon 
unbridled carnal appetites and lufts : at the fame 
time that our Saviour's partaking in meats with 
all kinds of men, and many exprefs inftances and 
teftimonies both in the Old and New Teftamtnt, 
as particularly the command to eat the pafchal 
lamb, and other facrifices, remove all fcruple from 
thofe perfons who eat with moderation, and in con- 
formity to the rules of piety, benevolence, and the 
moral ienfe. 

The coincidence of this fourth rule with the firft 
and fecond appears in the fame manner as that of 
the third with them. 

Fifthly, Having laid down thefe four rules con- 
cerning the quality of our aliments, I come next to 
obferve, that the quantity ought fcarce ever to be 
fo much as our appetites prompt us to, but, in 
general, to fall a little fhort of this. The goodnefs 
of this rule is verified by common obfervauon ; nay, 
one may affirm, that fmall errors in the quality of 
our diet may be quite rectified by a proper modera- 
tion in refpect of quantity ; whereas a trangreffion 
in regard to quantity cannot be compenfated by the 
innocence of the aliment. Such a tranfgreflion is, 
however, more rare, where the quality of the aliment 
is not improper. 


Of the Rule of Life. 225 

Here it may be afked how it comes to pafs, that 
the appetites fhould, in fome inftances, be the bed 
guides to us both in refpect of quality and quantity, 
and in moft To TO the brute creation ; and yet, in 
other inftances, be fo greatly apt to miflead us, to 
hurry us on to pain, difeafes, and death, and thefe 
not rare and fmgular ones, but the molt frequent and 
ordinary that occur. Almoft every man is tempted 
by fruits, by wines, natural and artificial favours, 
and high reliflies, &c. to tranfgrefs either in quan- 
tity or quality. Now to this we may anfwer, that 
in young children the appetites deviate very feldom, 
and very little, from what is moft conducive to the 
body; and that they would probably deviate lefs, 
were children conducted better, were not their taftes 
and appetites perverted and corrupted by cuftoms 
and practices derived from our corruptions, or our 
ignorance. This may, at firft fight, feem harfh, in 
refpect of them : but it is at the fame time a ftrong 
inftance and argument, amongft many others, of 
the intimate connection and fympathy, that unite us 
all to each other, of our being members of the fame 
myftical body, and of the great fyftem of the 
world's being a fyftem of benevolence; and thus it 
concurs to eftablifh the fundamental poficion of thefe 
papers. However, thefe perverfions and corrup- 
tions, from whatever caule they arife, feldom grow 
to a great height, till fuch time as children arrive at 
years of difcretion in a certain degree, till they get 
fome ideas of fitnefs, decency, obedience to fupe- 
riors, and to God, confcience, &c. Now, at firft 
indeed, the child is mere body, as it were; and 
therefore it is not at all incongruous to fuppofe, that 
he may be directed by mere bodily appetites and 
inftincts. But, when the mental faculties are gene- 
rated, he then becomes a compound of body and 
mind ; and confequently it would be incongruous to 
fuppofe him directed in any thing that affects both 

VOL. II. CL body . 

226 Of tbe Rule of Life. 

body and mind, as diet plainly does, by mere bodily 
appetites. On the contrary, his rule ought now 
to be a compound of bodily and mental inftindts, 
inclinations, admonitions, &c. directing, influenc- 
ing and affifting one another. Let this be fo, and 
the child or man will very feldom deviate from what 
is moft conducive to health and happinefs of all 
kinds. And it is to be obferved, that the bodily 
pains and fufFerings, which follow from yielding to 
mere bodily appetites, in oppofition to mental con- 
viction, are one principal means, by which the 
authority and influence of confcience are eftablifhed 
with refpect to other branches of defire. And when 
a perfon, from thefe or other motives, reverfes his 
own fteps in refpecl: of the pleafures of tafte, the 
irregularity and inordinatenefs of the bodily appetites 
decline by the fame degrees, as they grew exceflive 
through unlawful gratification. So that, after a 
perfon has governed himfelf, for a confiderable time, 
with ftrictnefs, from a fenfe of duty, he will find 
little difficulty afterwards. The natural appetites 
will themfelves become the proper fubftitutes of 
benevolence, piety, and the moral fenfe, and direct 
a man what and how much is requifite. 

All this reafoning is confirmed by the obferva- 
tion before made on brutes. They continue mere 
body, as it were, to the laft ; and therefore their 
bodily appetites fcarce ever miflead them. And the 
evil influences which our corrupt practices and cuf- 
toms have upon them, is a farther argument for 
the relation we all bear to each other. In like man- 
ner, all the evil mutual influences in animals, with 
all their original deviations, are marks and eviden- 
ces of a fallen and degenerate (late, however diffi- 
cult this may be to be accounted for. They are 
therefore evidences alfo of the truth of the fcrip- 
tures, which not only declare this our degeneracy, 
and give a general idea of the means by which it 


Of tie Rule of Life. 227 

was introduced, but alfo publifh the glorious tidings 
of our redemption from it. 

Sixthly, Since the circumftances of the world are 
fuch, as that it is almoft impoffible for thofe who do 
not retire from it, to avoid errors both in the quan- 
tity and quality of their diet, there feems a neceffity 
for fafting upon certain occafions. This is a compen- 
dious method of reverfing our own wrong fteps, of 
preventing the ill effects of excels upon the body and 
mind, breaking ill habits of this fort at once, and 
bringing us back, by hafty motions, to the higheft 
degrees of felf-government, to which imperfect crea- 
tures in this world of temptations can attain. It is 
therefore a duty, which implies and prefuppofes the 
prefent imperfection and degeneracy of our natures. 
And yet this duty, harfh as it feems, is probably 
productive even of fenfible pleafure in mod inftancesj 
fince, under due reftrictions, it appears to be ex- 
tremely conducive to health and long life, as well 
as to the regulation of our pafiions. It may be true 
indeed, that conftant abftemioufnefs would be prefer- 
able, in thefe refpects, to what is called common 
moderation, practifed upon ordinary occafions, and 
rectified by fafting upon particular ones. But the due 
degree of abftemioufnefs is fcarce practicable for a 
conftancy, as I obferved juft now, to thofe whofe 
duty engages them to converfe freely with the world. 
Let me add here, that fafting will have much more 
efficacy towards reducing us to a right courfe of 
action, when it is accompanied with fuch religious 
exercifes, as the practice of good men has joined 
with it, prayer, fc!f-examination, and works of 

Seventhly, Where a perfon has been fb happily 
educated, as fcarce to have tranfgrefied the bounds of 
ftrict moderation, either in eating or drinking, and 
with refpect both to quantity and quality, or where 
he has corrected and brought back himfelf by due 
Q^2 fc verity, 

228 Of the Rule of Life. 

feverity, fufficiently continued, it is better to pay a 
regard to the foregoirfg and fuch like precepts, only 
to a certain degree, upon occasions of importance, and 
without fcrupulofity and rigour j and, in the fmall 
inftantaneous occurrences of life, to be directed by 
the natural appetites, agreeably to the original inten- 
tion of the author of nature. For anxiety, folici- 
tude, and fcrupulofity, are greatly prejudicial to the 
health both of the body and mind, turn us from 
our natural and equitable judgment of things, aug- 
ment felfifhnefs, and difqualify for the practice of the 
higheft duties, good-will to men, and complacence 
and delight in God. The fcriprure precept is to eat 
and drink to the glory of God, not with a folicitude 
about ourfelves. 


70 deduce practical Rules concerning the Commerce 
between the Sexes. 

THAT benevolence, love, efteem, and the other 
fympathetic affections, give the chief value, and 
higheft perfection, to the fenfible pleafures between 
the (exes, is fufficiently evident to ferious and con- 
fiderate perfons. It appears alfo, that thefe pleafures 
were intended by Providence, as a principal means, 
whereby we might be enabled to transfer our affec- 
tion and concern from ourfelves to others, and learn 
firft in the fingle inftance of the beloved perfon, 
afterwards in thofe of the common offspring, to fym- 
pathize in the pleafures and pains of our neighbours, 
and to love them as ourfelves. It follows therefore, 
that if this great fource of benevolence be corrupted, 
or perverted to other purpofes, the focial affections 
thereon depending will be perverted likewife, and 
degenerate into felfifhnefs or malevolence. Let us 
inquire in what manner the ftrong inclinations of the 


Of the Rule of Life. 22$ 

fextcs to each other may be bed conduced, fo as moft 
to contribute to public and private happinefs, fo as 
to obtain the maximum of it, both from this quarter, 
and from the other parts of our nature, which arc 
neceffarily connected with it. 

Fir ft, then, It is evident, that unreftrained promif- 
cuous concubinage would produce the greateft evils, 
public and private. By being unreftrained, it would 
deftroy the health and the propagation of mankind; 
by being promifcuous, become ineffectual to promote 
love, and the tender affections, either between the 
perfons themfelves, or towards their offspring, and 
alfo raife endlefs jealoufies and quarrels amongft 
marrkind. There has never perhaps been any nation 
in the world, where this entire licentioufnefs has been 
allowed ; the mifchiefs which evidently follow from 
all great degrees of it, having always laid mankind 
under fbme reftraints, and produced fome imperfect 
regulations at leaft, and fome approaches towards 
marriage. However, the mifery and defolation of 
the barbarous nations of Africa and America, in whom 
the violence of paffion, and the degeneracy of nature, 
have almoft obliterated the faint traces of the patri-- 
archal religion j and the many evils, public and pri- 
vate, which attend all unlawful commerce between 
the fexes in the more civilized countries ; are abun- 
dantly fufficient to evince what is affirmed. The 
lhameful, loathfome, and often fatal difeafe, which 
peculiarly attends the vice of lewdnefs, may be con- 
fidered as a moft unqueftionable evidence of the 
divine will. This difeafe, with- all its confluences, 
would foon ceafe amongft mankind, could they be 
brought under the reftraints of lawful marriage; but 
muft ever continue, whilft licentioufneis continues. 
And it is perhaps to this difeafe that we owe the 
prefent tolerable ftate of things. Ic may be, that, 
without this check, the licentioufneis, which ha;> 
always been obferved to follow improvements in arts 


2 jo Of tt be Rule of Life. 

and politcnefs, and to attend upon bodies politic in 
their declenfion, and which the corruption of the 
chriftian religion in fome, and the difbelief of it in 
others, have, in a manner, authorized, would have 
brought on utter diffolutenefs in this weftern part of 
the world, fuch as would have been inconfiftent with 
the very exiftence of regular government. Nay, it 
may be, that this will ftill be the cafe, and that we 
are haftening to our period, through the great 
wickednefs of the world in this refpeft particularly, 
though our lives, as a body politic, be fome what 
prolonged, by this correction. 

Secondly, Pomifcuous concubinage being thus 
evidently excluded, it comes next to be inquired, 
whether the gofpel rule of confining one man to 
one woman during life, except in the cafe of the 
woman's adultery, be calculated to produce the 
greateft poflible good, public and private. And here 
we muft own ourfelves utterly unable to form any 
exaft judgment. It is impofllble to determine by any 
computation, which of all the ways, in which mar- 
riage has been or may be regulated, is moft conducive 
to happinefs upon the whole : this would be too 
wide a field, and where alfo we could have no fixed 
points to guide us : juft as, in the matter of civil 
government, it is impofiible for us to determine, 
what particular form, monarchy, ariftocracy, &c. 
or what mixture of thele, is molt accommodated to 
human nature, and the circumftances of things. 
Here therefore we feem particularly to want a revela- 
tion to direct us; and therefore are under a particular* 
obligation to abide by its award. Now revealed reli- 
gion commands us, in the cafe of government, to 
obey thofe powers that are actually eftablifhed, of 
whatever kind they be, leaving that to the children 
of this world to. difpute ; and, in i^efpecT: of mar- 
riage, gives a permiflion to enter into this ftate to 
thofe who rind it requifite, and alfo a farther permif- 


Of the Rule of Life. 231 

fion to divorce an adultrefs, and marry another 
woman j but at the fame time enjoins the drifted 
purity in our thoughts, words, and actions ; and that 
not only in all 1uch as refped other perfons befides 
the hufband and wife, but in every thing that has a 
tendency to heighten carnal defire. Now, though 
it does not appear, that mankind ever did, or ever 
would, make fo drift a rule for themfelves ; yet this 
rule, when made, approves itfelf to our judgments. 
The drifted purity and ufatchfulnefs over ourfelves 
are neceflary, in order to make marriage of any kind 
(which we lee by the laft article to be itfelf necefifary) 
happy, and productive of private pleafure and com- 
fort, and of public good, by the united labours of 
the married pair for themfelves, their offspring, and 
their relatives. 'In the prelent imperfect (late of 
things, the forbidding to divorce an adultrefs might 
feem a harfh commandment, above the frailty of 
our natures, as requiring the moft entire love and 
affection, where there are returns of the greatefl 
contempt and averfion, and the greated violation of 
what are called juft rights and properties. Now, 
though the gofpel requires perfection of us ultimately, 
/. e. the mod entire love in return for the moft bitter 
hatred, and an abfolute difregard of all property 
both for ourfelves, and for thofe whom we make our 
fubftitutes after death ; yet it makes allowance for 
human frailty in this eminent inftance j leaving ir, 
however, to every man, who is arrived at a fufficient 
degree of perfection, to walk thereby. 

That a greater liberty of divorcing would be lefs 
fuited v to produce good, public and private, upon 
the whole, appears probable, becaufe no definite 
rule could be given in refpeft of other offences, they 
all admitting of various degcees ; and becaufe the pro- 
fpeft of divorcing, or being divorced, would often 
increafe breaches, at the. fame time that frequent 
Divorces would have the word confequtnces in refpeft 


232 Of the Rule of Life. 

of children, and even approach to promifcuous con- 
cubinage ; whereas the indiflblubility of the marrriage 
bond, with the affection to the common offspring, 
often produce in both parties the chriftian virtues of 
forbearance, and forgivenefs to each other. It is 
not at all improbable, that wicked cafuifls, who have 
explained away fo many exprefs gofpel precepts, 
would, by the influence of princes and great men, 
have rendered marriage almoft of no effect, by increa- 
fing the liberty of divorcing. 

Thirdly, The great fmfulnefs of adultery, forni- 
cation, and impurity of every kind, appears not 
only from the manifeft and great evils and miferies of 
various forts attending them, the fhame, iml;empe- 
rance, jealoufies, murders, &c. and from the ftrict- 
nefs of the gofpel precepts, and the practices of the 
firft chriftians in this refpect ; but alfo becaufe the 
great fin of idolatry is reptefented by, adultery and 
fornication in the prophetic writings ; and becaufe the 
molt heavy judgments are denounced againft thefe 
laft fins in thofe writings, when underftood both in 
figurative and -literal fenfes. And indeed, as the 
idolatrous rites of the heathens were generally accom- 
panied with abominable lewdnefs, fo thefe vicious 
pleafures may be confidered as one of the groffeft 
kinds of idolatry, as withdrawing our affections from 
the true object, and fixing them on a mere animal 
pleafure, on one from the firft and loweft clafs, and 
as worshipping the heathen deities of Bacchus and 
Venus. It is true indeed, that the purfuits of this 
kind are feldom from the alone view of bodily plea- 
fure, the very nature of our bodies not fuffering this, 
fince the law of the body mult transfer bodily pleafures 
upon foreign objects, fo as to form intellectual plea- 
fures. But then the intellectual pleafure accompany- 
ing thefe purfuits is always a vicious one, generally 
that of a vain mifchievous ambition, which occafions 


Of the Rule of Life. 233 

the greateft confufion, havock, and diftrefs, in fami- 
lies, and indeed in the whole race of mankind. 

Fourthly, It follows from -the fhame attending 
thefe pleafures, the organs, their functions, &c. in 
all ages and nations, the account of the origin of 
this (hame in the third chapter of Genefis, the direc- 
tions concerning the uncleannefs of men and women 
given in the Jewijh law, the rite of circumcifion, 
the pains of child-birth, with the account of their 
origin in the third chapter of Genefis, the ftriclnefs 
required in the Jewifb priefts, the abftinence 
required in others upon facred occafions, the miracu- 
lous conception of Chrift, his expreffions concerning 
marrying, and giving in marriage, at the times 
of the flood, and laft judgment, his and St. 
Paul's recommendation of celibacy, the honourable 
mention of virginity in the Revelation , &c. that 
thefe pleafures are to be confidered as one of the 
marks of our prefent fallen degenerate ftate. The 
mortality of the prefent body, introduced by Adams 
fin, would of courfe require fome fuch method of 
propagation as now fubfifts, though nothing of this 
kind had taken place before the fall ; and therefore 
it may be, that nothing did, or fomething greatly 
different from the prefent method. And one may 
deduce from hence, as well as from the parallel obfer- 
vations concerning abftinence in diet, and fading 
(for the fimiliar nature, and reciprocal influence, of 
the fenfible pleafures juftifies our inferences here, 
made either way), alfo from the ficknefies and infir- 
mities of human life, and particularly from thofe of 
women, that great moderation, and frequent abfti- 
nence, are requifite. Nay, it even appears, that in 
many circumftances marriage itfelf is not to be 
approved ; but rather that men and women, who are 
advanced to or paft the meridian of life, who have a 
call to offices of religion, charity, &c. who labour 
under certain hereditary diftempers, have relations 


234 Of the Rule of Life. 

and dependents that are necefiitous, &c. fhould en- 
deavour to fubdue the body by prayer and fading. 
However, great care ought here to be taken not to 
Jay a fnare before any one. 

If we admit the doctrine of this lad paragraph, 
viz. that thefe pleafures are only permitted, and that 
they are marks of our fallen ftate, we may perhaps 
be enabled thereby to caft fome light ipon the fcrip- 
ture hiftory of the Patriarchs and Jews. We chrif- 
tians who live in the more adult ages of mankind, 
have drifter precepts, and are obliged to higher de- 
grees of fpirituality, as we approach nearer to the 
fpiritual kingdom of Chriftj and yet fome permiffions 
are fuitable to our ftate. 'No wonder then, that 
larger permiffions were requifite in the grofs, cor- 
poreal, infant ftate of mankind, confidered as one 
individual tending ever from carnality to fpirituality, 
in a manner analogous to that of each perfon. How- 
ever, thefe were only permiffions to the Jews and 
Patriarchs^ not commands. It may perhaps be, 
that while polygamy fubfifted according to permif- 
fion, the number of women might be greater than 
that of men. This is indeed mere hypothefis; but 
fuch things deferve to be examined, as foon as 
proper principles are difcovered, upon which to pro- 
ceed. The proportional number of men deftroyed 
by wars in ancient times, appears to be much 
greater than it is now. 

Here it may be afked, If it be requifite in certain 
perfons not to marry at all, and in every one to be 
abftinent, how can it be faid, that this rule of life 
gives the maximum of thofe pleafures ? Now, with 
refpect to thofe who never marry, at the fame time 
devoting themfelves really and earneftly to God, to 
attend upon him without diftrac~r.ion, it may be obfer- 
ved, that they enjoy the peculiar privilege of being 
exempted from many of the great cares and forrows 
of this life ; and that the prophetical bleffing of the 


Of tbe Rule of Life. 235 

barren's having more children than flie which hath 
an hufband, is eminently applicable to them. They 
that marry, muft have forrow in the flefhj and if 
thofe who are under the neceffity of marrying, be- 
caufe they burn, humble themfelves agreeably to this 
experience of their own weaknels, they will find mar- 
riage to be a proper clue to lead them through the 
difficulties and miferies of this life to a better ftate. 
But if a perfon, who is likewife humble, can humbly 
hope, upon a fair examination, that he is not under 
this neceffity, there is no occafion, that he fhould take 
this burden upon him. The benevolent and devout 
affections, though wanting one fource, will, upon 
the whole, grow falter from other caufes ; and if he 
makes all with whom he has any intercourfes, all to 
whom his defires, prayers, and endeavours, can ex- 
tend, his fpiritual children, ftill with all humility, 
and diffidence of himfelf, their fpiritual ultimate 
happinefs, through the infinite mercy of God, will 
be a fund of joy far fuperior to any that is, and muft 
be, tinctured with the defilements of this world, as 
that of natural parents cannot but be. As to thefe, 
/". e. the perfons that marry, it is probable, that they 
approach to the maximum of the fenfible pleafures much 
more than the difiblute j and if, in any cafe, they 
do, for the fake of religion, forego any part of what 
is permitted, it cannot be doubted, but this will be 
repaid with ample intereft by fpiritual pleafures. But 
this fubject is of too nice and difficult a nature to be 
farther purfued. Let thofe who need particular in- 
formation apply to God for it; and efpecially let 
them pray, that they may join chriftian prudence 
with chriftian purity and holinefs. 

It may alfo be alked here, if marriage be only per- 
mitted, and celibacy preferable in the chrjitian fenfe 
of things, what becomes of the propagation and in- 
creafe of mankind, which feem to have a neceflary 
connection with the greateft public good ? I anfwer, 


236 Of the Rule of Life. 

that this kind of cares is far above us, and therefore 
foreign to our proper bufinefs ; whereas the precept, 
or admonition rather, to thofe who can receive it, is 
plain, and ftands upon the authority of the chriftian 
revelation itfelf, and of the other natural fignatures 
of the divine will before- mentioned. I anfwer alfo, 
that this world is a ruined world ; that it muft be 
deftroyed by fire, as Sodom was, perhaps on account 
of our great curruption in this refpeft; fo that its per- 
fection in this ftate of things is impofiible, and there- 
fore no end for us, though its correction and melio- 
ration be, as far as we have opportunity j that this 
admonition cannot be received by all ; and therefore 
that the few, by whom alone it can be received, may 
contribute more to the increafe of mankind by their 
promoting virtue, and reftraining vice, than any 
pofterity of theirs could do; and Jaftly, that, if it 
could be obferved by all, we fhould all be near to 
chriftian perfection, i. e. to the glorious kingdom of 
Chrift, and the new ftate of things. Obfervations 
of the fame kind may be made upon all the other 
golpel precepts. If thefe be kept in their utmoft 
purity by a few only, they feem to promote even 
temporal happinefs upon the whole j and this appears 
to be the truth of the cafe, the real fact, fince no 
directions or exhortations can extend to, and prevail 
with, more than a few, in comparifon of the bulk of 
mankind, however good and earneft they may be. 
If all could be influenced at once, it would be ftill 
infinitely preferable, becaufe this would be life from 
the dead, and the kingdom of rigbteoufnefs. But this 
feems impoffible. We need not therefore fear any 
intermediate degree. The more chriftian purity and 
perfection prevail, the better muft it be on all real 
accounts, whatever becomes of trade, arts, grandeur, 

Laftly, I cannot difmifs this fubject without mak- 
ing fome remarks upon education. The defire.s 


Of the Rule of Life. 237 

between the fexes are far more violent than any 
others; the final caufe of which is by writers very 
juftly faid to be, that men and women may be com- 
pelled as it were, to undertake the neceffary cares 
and labours, that attend the married pair, in pro- 
viding for themfelves, and their offspring. But 
there is reafon to believe from other parallel cafes> 
that thefe defircs are not originally much difpropor- 
tionate to the end ; and that, if due care was taken, 
they would not arife in youth much before the proper 
time to fet about this end, before the bodies of the 
fexes were mature, able to endure labour and fatigue, 
and the woman to undergo child-birth, with its con- 
fequcnces, of nurfing the infant, &c. and their minds 
ripe for the cares and forefight required in family 
affairs. Something of this kind would probably hap- 
pen, whatever care the parents took of the bodies and 
minds of their children, on account of our fallen 
degenerate ftate,. our ftate of trial, which appears in 
all our other bodily appetites, and intellectual defires. 
But the violence and unfeafonablenefs of thefe pafiions 
are fo manifeft in the generality of young perfons, 
that/one cannot but conclude the general education of 
youth to be grofsly erroneous and perverted. And 
this will appear very evident in fact upon examina- 
tion. The diet of children, and young perfons, is not 
fufficiently plain and fparingj which would at the 
fame time lay a better foundation for health, and free- 
dom from difeafes, and put fome check upon thefe 
pafiions. They are brought up in effeminacy, and 
neglect of bodily labour, which would prepare both 
body and mind for care and forrow, and keep down 
carnal defire. The due culture of the mind, efpe- 
cially in refpect of religion,' is almoft univerfally neg- 
lected; fo that they are unfit for buftnefs, left expofed 
to temptations through idlenefs, and want of em- 
ployment, and are deftitute of the chief armour, that 
of religious motives, whereby to oppofe temptation. 


138 Of the Rule of Life. 

Laftly, the converfation which they hear, and the 
books which they read, lewd heathen poets, modern 
plays, romances, &c. are fo corrupt in this refpecl, 
that it is matter of aftonifhment, how a parent, who 
has any degree of fcrioufnefs (I will not fay religion) 
himfelf, or concern for his child, can avoid fec ; ng 
the immediate deftructive confequences, or think 
that any confederations, relating to this world, can 
be a balance to thefe. 



70 deduce practical Rules concerning the Hardjhips, 
PainSy and UneafineJJes, that occur in the daily Inter- 
courfes of Life. 

I HAVE already obferved in general, Prop. 51. Cor. 
that a regard to the precepts of benevolence, piety, 
and the moral fenfe, affords us the bed profpeft for 
avoiding and leffening thefe. I will now exemplify 
and apply this doctrine more particularly. 

Firft, then, It is evident, that luxury, felf-indul- 
gence, and an indolent averfion to perform the 
duties of a man's ftation, do not only bring on grofs 
bodily difeafes j but alfo, previoufly to this, are often 
apt to lead men into fuch a degree of folicitude, 
anxiety, and fearfulnefs, in minute affairs, as to 
make them inflict upon themfelves greater torments, 
than the mod cruel tyrant could invent. The com- 
plaints, which are ufually ftyled nervous, are pecu- 
liarly apt to infeft this clafs df perlbns ; and I need 
not fay to thofe, who either have themfelves experi- 
enced them, or attended to . them in others, of how 
grievous a nature they are. Now, though fomething 
is to be allowed here to natural conftitution, and 
hereditary tendencies, alfo to the great injuries fome- 
times done to the nervous fyftern by profuie evacua- 
tions, and violent diftempers, in confequence where- 

Of the Rule of Life. 239 

of it may be proper and neceffary in certain cafes to 
adminifter fuch medicines, as are fuitable to the par- 
ticular fymptoms, and temporary exigencies ; yet 
there fcems to be no way fo probable of getting out 
of this felf-tormenting ftate, this labyrinth of en or 
and anxiety, as by prayer and refignation to God, 
by charity, and taking upon one's felf the cares and 
fears of others according to our rank and ftation in 
life, eafmg our own burden thereby, and by con- 
ftant, laborious, bodily exercife, fuch particularly as 
occurs in the faithful difcharge of duty, with great 
moderation in the fenfible pleafures. Could the un- 
happy pcrfons of this fort be prevailed upon to enter 
on fuch a courfe with courage and fteadinefs, not- 
withftanding the pains, difficulties, and uneafineffes, 
which would attend it at firft, all would generally 
begin to clear up even in refpect of this world, (b 
as that they would regain fome tolerable degrees of 
health, fereniiy, and even cheerfulnefs. 

Secondly, Human life is in fo imperfect and dif- 
orderly a ftate, on account of the fall, that it is 
impoflible to avoid all exceffes, and hardfhips from 
heat, cold, hunger, accidents, &c. But then thefe 
may be rendered harmlefs and eafy to a great de- 
gree, by accuftoming the body to themj which the 
conftant and faithful difcharge of duty by each perfon, 
in particular does, in refpect of thofe excefles and 
hardfhips, that are moft likely to befal him. 

Thirdly, External injuries fall much to the (hare 
of the imprudent. Now prudence is a virtue, i. e. 
a dictate of the moral fenfe, and a command from 
God ; and imprudence, agreeably hereto, the manifeft 
offspring of fome vicious paffion or other, for the 
moft parr. 

Fourthly, Bodily pains are often inflicted by men, 
either in the way of public authority, or of private 
refentment and malice. But it is very evident, that 


1 240 Of the Rule of Life. 

the benevolent muft fare better in this refpect, than 
the malevolent and mifchievous. 

Fifthly, Whatever evils befal a man, religion, 
and the belief of a happy futurity, enable him to 
fupport himfelf under them much better than he 
could ptherwife do. The true chriftian not only 
ought, but is alfo able, for the moft part, to rejoice 
in tribulation. And this is the genuine, ultimate, 
and indeed only perfedt folution of all difficulties 
relating to the pleafures and pains, both fenfible and 
intellectual. For, though it be certain, that a bene- 
volent and pious man has the faireft profpecl: for 
obtaining fenfible pleafure, and avoiding fenfible pain, 
in geneial, and upon a fair balance; alfo that the 
more wicked any one is, the lefs pleafure, and more 
pain, muft he expect; yet ftiil it will often happen, 
that a perfon is obliged from a fenfe of duty, from 
benevolence, adherence to true religion, the dictates 
of confcience, or a gofpel precept to forego plea- 
fures, or endure pains, where there is no probability, 
that a recompence will be made during this life ; and 
fometimes it is required of a man even to feal his 
teftimony with his blood. Now, in .thefe cafes, 
rational fe if- inter eft has nothing left, which can fatisfy 
its demands, befides the hope and expectation of a 
happy futurity ; but the prefcnt pleafure, which thefe 
afford, is fome earned of the thing hoped and 
expected j ic is alfo, 'in certain cafes, fo great, as 
to overpower, and almoft annihilate, the oppofite 

Here let it be obferved, that as this frail corrup- 
tible body muft at laft return to its original duft, and 
lofe its power of conveying pleafure to us, which it 
does gradually for a long time before death from 
mere old age ; fo it is natural to expert, that the 
maximum of its pleafures fhould not always be attain- 
ed, even by that which is the genuine rule of life. 
For death is a mark of cur prefent fallen ftate ; and 


Of the Rule of Life. 241 

therefore we may have this farther mark alfo, that 
the true rule, which, in a paradifiacal ftate, would 
have carried every thing in its order to perfec- 
tion, will now do it only in the general j (hewing 
us, firft, by its being very general, that it i,? the 
true rule ; and fecondly, by its not being univerfal 
that we have deviated from our original make. 

It may not be amifs to add a few words here con- 
cerning fleep. The analogy taken from the forego- 
ing rules teaches, that we ought not to indulge in 
this to the utmoft, but to break it off a little before 
the natural inclination thereto .totally expires. And 
this pofition is remarkably confirmed both by the 
many advantages to body and mind, which refulc 
from rifing early ; and by the fcripture precepts 
concerning 'watching ; which, as appears to me, 
ought to be taken as well in their frridly literal 
fenfe upon proper occafions., as in their more diftan,t 
and figurative one. 

. II. R SECT. 

242 Of the Rule of Life. 




Pleafures of Imagination ought not to be made a 
primary Purfuit. 

FOR, Firft, It does not appear that thofe who 

devote themfelves to the ftudy of the polite arts, or 

of fcience, or to any other pleafure of mere imagi- 

nation, as their chief end and purfuit, attain to a 

greater degree of happinefs than the reft of the world. 

The frequent repetition of thefe pleafures cloys, as in 

other cafes: and though the whole circle of them is 

fo extenfive, as that it might, in fome meafure, ob- 

viate this objection ; yet the human fancy is too 

narrow to take in this whole circle, and the greateft 

virtuofos do, in fact, feldom apply themfelves to 

more than one or two confiderable branches. The 

ways in which the pleafures of beauty are ufually 

generated, and transferred upon the feveral objects, 

are often oppofite to, and inconfiftent with, one ano- 

ther; fo as to mix deformity with beauty, and to 

occafion an unpleafing difcordancy of opinion, not 

only in different perfons, but even in the fame. This 

is evident from the foregoing hiftory of thefe plea- 

fures, and of their derivation from arbitrary and acci- 

dental afibciations, as well as from the obfervation 

of the fact in real life. And it is not uncommon to 

fee men, after a long and immoderate purfuit of one 

clafs t)f beauty, natural or artificial, deviate into fuch 


Of the Rule of Life. 243 

by-paths and fingularities, as that the objects excite 
pain rather than pleafure ; their limits for excellence 
and perfection being narrow, and their rules abfurd -, 
and all that falls fhort of thefe, being condemned by 
them, as deformed and monftrous. Eminent vota- 
ries of this kind are generally remarkable for igno- 
rance and imprudence in common necefiary affairs ; 
and thus they are expofed to much ridicule and con- 
tempt, as well as to other great inconveniences. The 
fame perfons are peculiarly liable to vanity, felf-conceir, 
cenforioufnefs, morolenefs, jealoufy, and envy j which 
furely, are very uneafy companions in a man's own 
breaft, as well as the occafions of many infults and 
harms from abroad. And I think 1 may add, that 
fcepticifm in, religious matters is alfo a frequent 
attendant here j which, if it could be fuppofed free 
from danger as to futurity, is at lead very uncom- 
fortable as to the prefent. For as the extravagant 
encomiums beftowed upon works of tafte and genius 
beget a more than ordinary degree of felf-conceit 
in the virtuofo, Ib this felf-conceit, this fuperiority 
which he fancies he has over the reft of the world in 
one branch of knowledge, is by himfelf often fup- 
pofed to extend to the reft, in which yet it is pro- 
bable that he is uncommonly ignorant through want 
of application : and thus he becomes either dogma- 
tical or fceptical ; the firft of which qualities, though 
feemingly oppofite to the laft, is, in reality, nearly 
related to it. And, as the fympathetic and theopathe- 
tic affections are peculiarly neceffary for underftanding 
matters of a religious nature aright, no kind or 
degree of learning being fufficient for this purpofe 
without thefe, if the purfuit of literature, or 
fcience, be fo ftrong, as to ftifle and fupprefs the 
growth of thefe, or to diftort them, religion, which 
cannot be reconciled to fuch a temper, will probably 
be treated as incomprehenfible, abfurd, uncertain, or 
incredible. However, it is difficult to reprefent 

R 2 juftly, 

244 Of the Rule of Life. 

juftly, in any of the refpects here mentioned, what 
is the genuine confequence of the mere purfuit of 
the pleafur-es of imagination, their votaries being 
alfo, for the mod part, extremely over-run with the 
grofs vice of ambition, as was juft now obferved. 
But then this does not invalidate any of the forego- 
ing objections, as will be feen when we come to 
confider that vice in the next fection. 

Secondly, It is evident, that the pleafures of ima- 
gination were not intended for our primary purfuit, 
becaufe they are, in general, the firft of our intel- 
lectual pleafures, which are generated from the fen- 
fible ones by aflbciation, come to their height early 
in life, and decline in old age. 1 here are indeed 
fome few perfons, who continue devoted to them 
during life j but there are alfo fome, who remain 
fenfuahfts to the lad ; which fingularities are, how- 
ever, in neither cafe, arguments of the defign of 
Providence, that it fhould be fo. And, in general, 
we may reafon here, as we did above, in deducing 
the inferior value of the fenfible pleafures from their 
being the loweft clafs. The pleafures of imagination 
, are the next remove above the fenfible ones, and 
have, in their proper place and degree, a great effi- 
cacy in improving and perfecting our natures. They 
are to men in the early part of their adult age, what 
playthings are to children; they teach them a love 
for regularity, exactnefs, truth, fimplicity ; they 
lead them to the knowledge of many important truths 
relating to themfelves, the external world, and its 
author; they habituate to invent, and reafon by 
analogy and induction j and when the focial, moral, 
and religious affections begin to be generated in us, 
we may make a much quicker progrefs towards the 
perfection of our natures by having a due ftock, and 
no more than a due ftock, of knowledge, in natural 
and artificial things, of a relifh for natural and artifi- 
cial beauty. It defetves particular notice here, that 


Of the Rule of Life. 245 

the language ufed in refpect of the ideas, pleafures, and 
pains of imagination, is applicable to thofe of the mo- 
ral lenfe with a peculiar fitnefs and fignificancy j as 
vice verfa, the proper language of the moral fenfc 
does, in many cafes, add great beauty to poetry, ora- 
tory, &c. when ufed catachreftically. And, we may 
obferve in general, that as the pleafures of imagination 
are manifeftly intended to generate and augment the 
higher orders, particularly thoTe of fympathy, theo- 
pathy, and the moral fcnfe ; fo thefe laft may be made 
to improve and perfect thofe, as I fhall now endeavour 
to (hew under the propofuion that follows. 


The Purfuit of the Pleafures of Imagination ought to be 
regulated by the Precepts of Benevolence, Piety , and 
the Moral Senfe. 

FOR, Firft, Thofe parts of the arts and fciences 
which bring glory to God, and advantage to man- 
kind, which infpire devotion, and inftruct us how 
to be ufefuj to others, abound with more and 
greater beauties, than fuch as are profane, mifchie- 
vous, unprofitable, or minute. Thus the ftudy of 
the fcriptures, of natu/al hiftory, and natural phi- 
lofophy, of the frame of the human mind, &c. when 
undertaken and purfued with benevolent and pious 
intentions, leads to more elegant problems, and fur- 
prizing difcoveries, than any ftudy intended for mere 
private amufen>ent. 

Secondly, It may be confidered as a reafon for 
this, that fince this world is a fyftem of benevolence, 
and confequently its author the object of unbounded 
love and adoration, benevolence and piety are the 
only true guides in our inquiries into it, the only 
.keys which will unlock the myfteries of nature, and 
clues which lead through her labyrinths. Of this 

R 3 a" 

246 Of the Rule of Life. 

all branches of natural hiftory, and natural philo- 
fophy, afford abundant instances 5 and the fame 
thing may be faid of civil hiftory, when illuftrated 
and cleared by the fcriptures, fo as to open to view 
the fuccefiive difpenfations of God to mankind ; but 
it has been more particularly taken notice of in the 
frame of the human body, and in the fymptoms 
and tendencies of diftempers. In all thefe matters 
let the inquirer take it for granted previoufly, that 
every thing is right, and the beft that it can be, 
<<eteris mantntibus, i. e. let him, with a pious con- 
fidence, feek for benevolent purpofes ; and he will be, 
always directed to the right road, and, after a due 
continuance in it, attain to fome new and valuable 
truth ; whereas every other principle and motive of 
examination, being foreign to the great plan, upon 
which the univerle is conftru6ted, muft lead into 
endlefs mazes, errors, and perplexities. 

Thirdly, It may be confidered as a farther reafon 
of the fame thing, that benevolence and piety, and, 
by confequence, their offspring, the moral fenfe, are 
the only things which can give a genuine and per- 
manent luftre to the truths that are difcovered. A 
man with "the moft perfect comprehenfion, that his 
faculties will allow, of that infinite profufion of good 
which overflows the whole creation, and of all the 
fountains and conduits of it, and yet having no (hare 
of the original fource from whence all thefe were 
derived, having no pittance or ray of the inexhaufti- 
ble benevolence of the great Creator, no love for that 
boundlefs ocean of love, or fenfe of duty to him, 
would be no more happy, than an accomptant is 
rich by reckoning up millions, or a miler by pof- 
fefiing them. 

Fourthly, It may be remarked, that the pleafures 
of imagination point to devotion in a particular 
manner by their unlimited nature. For all beauty, 
both natural and artificial, begins to fade and lan- 


Of the Rule of Life. 247 

guifh after a fliorc acquaintance with it: novelty is 
a never failing requifite : we look down, with indiffer- 
ence and contempt, upon what we comprehend eafily; 
and are ever aiming at, and purfuing, fuch objects as 
are but juft within the compafs of our prefent faculties 
What is it now that we ought to learn from this 
difiatisfaction to look behind us, and tendency to prefs 
forward ; from this endlefs grafping after infinity ? Is 
it not, that the infinite Author of all things has fo 
formed our faculties, that nothing lefs than himfelf 
can be an adequate object for them ? That it is in 
vain to hope for full and lading fatisfadtion from any 
thing finite, however great and glorious, fince it will 
itfelf teach us to conceive and defire fomething ftill 
more fo ? That, as nothing can give us more than 
a cranfitory delight, if its relation to God be exclu- 
ded ; fo every thing, when confidered as the pro- 
duction of his infinite wifdom and goodnefs, will 
gratify our utmoft expectations, fince we may, in this 
view, fee that every thing has infinite ufes and ex- 
cellencies ? There is not an atom perhaps in the 
whole univerfe, which does not abound with millions 
of worlds j and, converfely, this great fyftem of the 
fun, planets, and fixed ftars, may be no more than 
a fingle conftituent particle of fome body of an im- 
menfe relative magnitude, &c. In like manner, 
there is not a moment of time fo fmall, but it may 
include millions of ages in the eftimadon of fome 
beings ; and, converfely, the largeft cycle which hu- 
man art is able to invent, may be no more than the 
twinkling of an eye in that of others, &c. The in- 
finite divifibility and extent. of fpace and time admit 
of fuch infinities upon infinities, afcending and de- 
fcending, as make the imagination giddy, when it 
attempts to furvey them. But, however this be, we 
may be fure, that the true fyftem of things is infi- 
nitely more tranfcendent in greatnefs and goodnefs, 
than any defcripcion or conception of ours can 

R 4 make 

248 Of the Rule of Life. 

make it; and that the voice of nature is an univcr- 
fal chorus of joy and tranfport, in which the leaft 
and vileft, according to common" eftimation, bear 
a proper part, as well as thofe whofe prefent fupe- 
riority over them appears indefinitely great, and may 
bear an equal one in the true and ultimate ratio of 
things. And thus the confideration of God gives 
a relifli and luftre to fpeculations, which are other- 
wife dry and unfatisfaclory, or which perhaps would 
confound and terrify. Thus we may learn to re- 
joice in every thing we fee, in the bleffings paft, 
prefent, and future; which we receive either in our 
own perfons, or in thofe of others ; to become par- 
takers of the divine nature, loving and lovely, holy 
and happy. 


deduce fraftical Rules concerning the Elegancies and 
Amujements of Life. 

BY the elegancies of life I mean the artificial 
beauties of houfes, gardens, furniture, drefs, &c. 
which are fo much ftudied in high life. There is . 
in thefe, as in all other things, a certain middle 
point, which coincides with our duty, and our hap- 
pinefs ; whilft all great deviations from it incur the 
cenfure of vicioufnefs, or, at leaft, of unfuitablenefs 
and abfurdity. But it is not eafy to determine this 
point exactly, in the feveral circumftances of each 
particular perfon. I will here fet down the prin- 
cipal reafons againfl an excefs on each hand, leaving 
it to every perfon to judge for himfelf how far they 
hold in his own particular circumftances. 

We may then urge againft the immoderate purfuit 
of the elegancies of life; 

Firft, That vanity, oftentation, and the unlawful 
pleafures of property, of calling things our own, are 


Of the Rule of Life. 34.9 

almoft infcparable from the purfuit of thefe elegan- 
cies, and often engrofs ail to themfelves. 

Secondly, That the profufion of expence requifite 
here is inconfulent with the charity due to thofe, that 
are afflicted in mind, body, and eftate. 

Thirdly, That the beauties of nature are far fupe- 
rior to all artificial ones, Solomon in all his glory not 
b&ing arrayed like a lily of the field, that they are 
open to every one, and therefore rather reftrain than 
feed the defire of property j and that they lead to 
humility, devotion, and the ftudy of the ways of 
Providence. We ought therefore much rather to 
apply ourfelves to the contemplation of natural than 
of artificial beauty. 

Fourthly, Even the Beauties of nature are much 
chequered With irregularities and deformities, this 
world being only the ruins of a paradifiacal one. We 
muft not therefore expect entitle order and perfection 
in it, till we have parted through the gate of death^ 
and are arrived at our fecond paradifiacal ftate, till 
the heavens and earth, and all things in them, be 
made anew. How much lefs then can we hope for 
perfection in the works of human art ! And yet, if 
we ferioufly apply ourfelves to thefe, we fhall be very 
apt to flatter ourfelves with fuch falfe hopes, and to 
forget that heavenly country, the -defrre and expecta- 
tion of whole glories and beauties can alone carry us 
through the prefent wilderneis with any degree of 
comfort and joy. 

But then, on the contrary, that fome attention 
may lawfully, and even ought to be paid to artificial 
beauty, will appear from the following realbns. 

Firft, Convenience and utility are certainly lawful 
ends ; nay, we are evep fent hither to promote thefe 
publicly and privately. But thefe coincide, for the 
moft part, with, and are promoted by, fimplicity, 
neatnefs, regularity, and juftnefs of proportion, /'. e. 
with fome of the fources of artificial beduty j though 


2 5 Of the Rule of Life. 

not with all j fuch as grandeur, profufe variety, 
accumulation of natural beauties and luftres, and 

Secondly, The ftudy of artificial beauty draws us 
off from the grofs fenfual pleafures ; refines and fpiri- 
tualizes our defires ; and, when duly limited, teaches 
us to transfer and apply our ideas of fimplicity, 
uniformity, and juftnefs of proportion, to the heart 
and affeftions. 

Thirdly, It .is neceffary for us in this degenerate 
ft ate, and world of temptations, to be occupied 
in innocent purfuits, left we fail into fuch as are 
mifchievous and finful. It is therefore, in its proper 
place and degree, as great charity to mankind to 
employ the poor in improving and ornamenting ex- 
ternal things, rewarding them generoufly and pru- 
dently for their labours, as to give almsj and as 
ufeful to the rich to be employed in contriving and 
conducting fuch defigns at certain times, as to read, 
meditate, or pray, at others. Our natures are too 
feeble to be always ftrained to the pitch of an active 
devotion or charity, fo that we muft be content at 
fome intervals to take up with engagements that are 
merely innocent, fitting loofe to them, and purfuing 
them without eagernefs and intention of mind. How- 
ever, let it be well obferved, that there are very 
few upon whom this third reafon for the purfuit 
of artificial beauty need be inculcated; and that I 
prefume not at all to interfere with thofe holy perfons, 
who find themfelves able to devote all their talents, 
their whole time, fortunes, bodily and mental abi- 
lities, &c. to the great Author of all, in a direct and 
immediate manner. 

Now thefe and fuch like reafons, for and againft 
the purfuit of the elegancies of life, hold in various 
degrees according to the feveral circumftances of 
particular perfons j and it will not be difficult for 
thofe who fit loofc to the world, and its vanities, 


Of the Rule of Life. 25 1 

to balance them againft one another in each cafe, Ib 
as to approach nearly to that medium, wherein our 
duty and happinefs coincide. 

The practice of playing at games of chance and 
fkill is one of the principal amufements of life j and 
it may be thought hard to condemn it as abfolutely 
unlawful, fince there are particular cafes of perfons 
infirm in body or mind, where it feems requifite 
to draw them out of themfelves, by a variety of 
ideas and ends in view, which gently engage the 
attention. But this reafon takes place in very few 
inftances. The general motives to play are avarice, 
joined with a fraudulent intention, explicit or impli- 
cit, oftentation of fkill, and fpleen through the 
want of fome ferious, ufeful occupation. And as 
this practice arifes from fuch corrupt fources, fo it 
has a tendency to increafe them; and indeed may be 
confidered as an exprefs method of begetting and 
inculcating felf-intereft, ill-will, envy, &c. For by 
gaming a man learns to purfue his own intereft 
folely and explicitly, and to rejoice at the lofs of 
others, as his own gain j grieve at their gain, as his 
own lofsj thus entirely reverfing the order eftablifh- 
ed by Providence for fbcial creatures, in which the 
advantage of one meets in the fame point as the 
advantage of another, and their difadvantage like- 
wife. Let the lofs of time, health, fortune, re- 
putation, ferenity of temper, &c. be confidered 


'To deduce practical Rules concerning Mirth, Wit^ and 

HERE it is necefiary, 

Firil, To avoid all fuch mirth, wit, and hu- 
mour, as has any mixture of profanenefs in it, /. e. 
all fuch as leffens our reverence to God, and religious 

252 Of tbe Rule of Life. 

fubje&s j aggrieves our neighbour ; or excites cor- 
rupt and impure inclinations in ourfelves. Since then 
it appears from the hiftory of wit and humour, 
given in the foregoing part of this work, that the 
grcateft part of what pafies under thefe names, and 
that which ftrikes us mod, has a finful tendency, it 
is neceflary to be extremely moderate and cautious 
in our mirth, and in our attention to, and endeavours 
after, wit and humour. 

Secondly, Let us fuppofe the mirth tc>be innocent, 
and kept within due bounds; ftill the frequent re- 
turns of it beget a levity and diffipation of mind, 
that are by no means confident with that ferioufnefs 
and watchfulnefs which are required in chriftians, fur- 
rounded with temptations, and yet aiming at purity 
and perfection j in ftrangers and pilgrims, who ought 
to have the uncertain time of their departure hence 
always in view. We may add, tbat wit and humour, 
by arifing, for the moft part, from fictitious contrafts 
and coincidences, difqualify the mind for the purfuit 
after truth, and attending to the ufeful pra&ical re- 
lations of things, as has already been obferved in the 
hiftory of them j and that the ftate of the brain which 
accompanies mirth cannot fubfift long, or return fre- 
quently, without injuring it; but muft, from the 
very frame of our natures, end at laft in the oppofite 
ftate of forrow, dejection, and horror. 

Thirdly, There is, for the moft j^irt, great vain- 
glory and oftentation in all attempts after wit and 
humour. Men of wit feek to be admired and ca- 
refifed by others for the poignancy, delicacy, brilli- 
ancy, of their fayings, hints, and repartees ; and are 
perpetually racking their inventions from this defire of 
applaufe. Now, as fo finful a motive muft defile all 
that proceeds from it, fo the draining our faculties to 
an unnatural pitch is inconfiftent with that cafe and 
equality in converfation, which our facial nature, and 
a mutual defire to pleafe, and be pleafed lequire. 


Of the Rule of Life. 253 

Fourthly, A due attention being previonfly paid 
to the foregoing and fuch like cautions, it feems not 
only allowable, but even requifite, to endeavour at a 
ftate of perpetual cheerfulnefs, and to allow ourfelves 
to be amufed and diverted by the modeft, innocent 
pleafantries of our friends and acquaintance, contri- 
buting alfo ourfelves thereto, as far as is eafy and 
natural to us. This temper of mind flows from be- 
nevolence and fociality, and in its turn begets them ; 
it relieves the mind, and qualifies us for the difcharge 
of ferious and afflicting duties, when the order of 
Providence lays them upon us; is a mark of upright- 
nefs and indifference to the world, this infantine 
gaiety of heart being moft obfervable in thofe who 
look upon all that the world offers as mere toys and 
amnfements ; and it helps to correct, in ourfelves 
and others, many little follies and al3furdities, which, 
though they fcarce deferve a feverer chaftifement, 
yet ought not to be overlooked entirely. 


70 deduce practical Rules concerning the Purjuit of the 
polite Arts -, and particularly of Mufjc, Painting^ and 

I WILL here enumerate the principal ways in 
which the three fifter arts of mufic, painting, and 
poetry, contribute either to corrupt or improve our 
minds ; as it will thence appear in what manner, 
and to what degree, they are allowable, or even 
commendable, and in what cafes to be condemned 
as the vanities and finful pleafures of the world, ab- 
jured by all fincere chriftians. 

Firft, then, It is evident, that moft kinds of mu- j 
fie, painting, and poetry, have clofe connections 
with vice, particularly with the vices of intemperance: 
and lewdnefs ; that they reprefent them in gay, 


254 Of the Rule of Life. 

pleating colours, or, at lead, take off from the ab- 
horrence due to them; that they cannot be enjoyed 
without evil communications, and concurrence in the 
pagan Ihew and pomp of the world ; and that they 
introduce a frame of mind, quite oppofite to that 
of devotion, and earned concern for our own and 
other's future welfare. This is evident of public 
diverfions, collections of pictures, academies for 
painting, ftatuary, &c, ancient heathen poetry, mo- 
dern poetry of moft kinds, plays, romances, &c. 
If there be any who doubt of this, it muft be from 
the want of a duly ferious frame of mind. 

Secondly, A perfon cannot acquire any great (kill 
in thefe arts, either as a critic or a mafter of them, 
without a great confumption of time : they are very 
apt to excite vanity, felf-conceit, and mutual -flat- 
teries, in their votaries ; and, in many cafes, the ex- 
pence of fortunes is too confiderable to be recon- 
ciled to the charity and beneficence due to the 

Thirdly, All thefe arts are capable of being de- 
voted to the "immediate fervice of God and religion 
in an eminent manner ; and, when fo devoted, they 
not onlj improve and exalt the mind, but are them- 
felves improved and exalted to a much higher de- 
gree, than when employed upon profane fubjects j 
the d/gnity and importance of the ideas and fcenes 
drawn from religion 'adding a peculiar force and 
luftrc thereto. And, upon the whole, it will follow, 
that the polite arts are fcarce to be allowed, except 

T"' r i i- ,- ii 

wne i conlecrated to religious purpoies ; but that 
here their cultivation may be made an excellent 
me. tns of awakening and alarming o 
and transferring them upon their true objects. 


Of the Rule of Life. 255 


To deduce praftical Rules concerning the Purfuit cf 

BY the purfuit of fcience I here mean the in- 
veftigation of fuch truths, as offer themfelves in 
the ftudy of the feveral branches of knowledge enu- 
merated in the firft part of this work ; philology, 
mathematics, logic, hiftory civil and natural, natural 
philofophy, and theology, or divine philofophy. 
Now here we may obferve, 

Firft, That though the purfuit of truth be an 
entertainment and employment fuitable to our rati- 
onal natures, and a duty to him who is the fountain 
of all knowledge and truth, yet we muft make fre- 
quent intervals and interruptions; elfe the ftudy of 
fcience, without a view to God and our duty, and 
from a vain defire of applaufe, will get pofleffion 
of our hearts, engrofs them wholly, and by taking 
deeper root than the purfuit of vain amufements, 
become in the end a much more dangerous and 
obftinate evil than that. Nothing can eafily exceed 
the vain- glory, felf- conceit, arrogance, emulation, 
and envy, that are found in the eminent profefibrs of 
the fciences, mathematics, natural philofophy, and 
even divinity itfelf. Temperance in thefe ftudies is 
therefore evidently required, both in order to check 
the rife of fuch ill paflions, and to give room for the 
cultivation of other efiential parts of our natures. 
It is with thefe pleafures as with the fenfible ones ; 
our appetites muft not be made the meafure of our 
indulgences j but we ought co refer all to an higher 

Secondly, When the purfuit of truth is directed 
by this higher rule, and entered upon with a view 
to the glory of God, and the good of mankind, 


256 Of the Rpb of Life. 


there is no employment more worthy of our natures, 
or more conducive to their purification and perfec- 
tion. Thefe are the wife s who in the time of the 
end /hall underftand* and make an increafe of know- 
ledge; who, by (ludying and comparing together, the 
word and works of God, mall be enabled to illuf- 
trate and explain both ; and who, by turning many to 
right eoufnefs, Jtoall themfelves Jbine as the Jlars for ever 
and ever. 

But we are not to confine this ble fling to thofe who 
are qalled learned men, in the ufual fenfe of this 
word. Devotion, charity, prayer, have a wonderful 
influence upon thofe who read the fcriptures, and 
contemplate the works of creation, with a practical 
intention ; and enable perfons otherwife illiterate, not 
only to fee and feel the impoitant truths therein ma- 
nifefted, for their own private purpofes, but to preach 
and inculcate them upon others with fingular efficacy 

v .and fuccefs. 


To deduce practical Rules concerning the Ignorance, 
Difficulties, and Perplexities, in which we find 

curfelves involved. 

THESE are pajns, which ought to be referred to 
the head of imagination, as above noted ; and which 
therefore require to be confidered here. But it muft 
ajfo be obferved, that felf-intereft has no Imall fhare 
in increafing thefe pains; our ignorance and per- 
plexity occafioning the mod exquifite uneafmefs to 
us in thofe inttances, where our future happinefs 
and mifery are at ftake. Thus, in the difficulties 
which attend our inquiries into the origin of evil, 
free-will, the nature of our future exiftence, the 
degree and duration of future punifhment, and the 
moral attributes of God, our uneafmefs arifes not 


Of the Rule of Life. 257 

only from the darknefs which furrounds thefe fubjects, 
and the jarring of our conclufions, but from the 
great importance of thefe conclufions. The follow- 
ing practical rules deierve our attention. 

Firft, To avoid all wrangling and contention, all 
bitternefs and cenforioufnefs, in fpeaking or writing 
upon thefe fubjects. This is a rule which ought to 
extend to all debates and inquiries upon every fub- 
ject; but it is more peculiarly requifite to be attended 
to in difficult ones of a religious nature ; inafmuch as 
thefe ill difpofitions of mind are moft unfuitable to 
religion, and yet moft apt to arife in abftrufe and 
high fpeculations j alfo as they increafe the pains 
confidered in this propofition by being of a nature 
nearly related to them, *. e. by being attended with a 
nearly related ftate of the brain. 

Secondly, We ought to lay it down as certain, that 
this perplexity and uneafinefs commenced with the 
fall, with the eating of the fruit of the tree of the 
knowledge of good and evil ; and that' it can never 
be entirely removed till our readmiflion to paradife, 
and to the tree whofe leaves are for tbe beating of 
the nations. We muft expect therefore, that, though 
humble and pious inquiries will always be ^attended 
with fome fuccefs and illumination, ftill much dark- 
nefs and ignorance will remain. And the expecta- 
tion of\this will contribute to make us eafy under it. 

Thirdly, The fcriptures give us reaibn to hope, 
that this, as well as the reft of our evils, will be 
removed in a future ftate. We may therefore, if we 
labour to lecuce our happinefs in a future ftate, enjoy, 
as it were by anticipation, this important part of ir, 
that we fhall then fee God and live, fee him, though he 
be invijible, fee him as he ii, and know as we are 

Laftly, Of whatever kind or degree our per- 
plexity be, an implicit confidence in the infinite 
power, knowledge, and goodnefs of God, which are 

VOL. II, S manifefted, 

Of the Rule of Life. 

manifefted, both in his word and works, in fo great 
a variety of ways, is a certain refuge. If our ideas 
of the divine attributes be fufficiently ftrong and 
practical, their greatnefs and glorioufnefs, and the 
joy arifing,from them, will overpower any gloominefs 
or difiatisfaclion, which a narrow and partial view of 
things may excite in us. 


Of the Rule of Life. 259 




The Pleafures of Honour ought not to be made a primary 

THIS may appear from the following confederations. 

Firft, Becaufe an eager defire of, and endeavour 
after, the pleafures of honour, has a manifeft ten- 
dency to difappoint itfelf. The merit of actions, 
i. e. that property of them for which they . are extol- 
led, and the agents loved and efteemed, is, that they 
proceed from benevolence, or fome religious or moral 
confideration j whereas, if the defire of praife be 
only in part the motive, we rather cenfure than com- 
mend. But, if praife be fuppofed the greateft good, 
the defire of it will prevail above the other defir-esj 
and the perfon will by degrees be led on to vanity, 
lelf-conceit, and pride, vices that are mod con- 
temptible in the fight of all. For wbojoever exaltetb 
bimfetf, Jhall be abajed\ and be that bumbleth bimfelf, 
Jhall be exalted. 

Secondly, What (hall be the matter of the enco- 
miums, if praife be the fupreme good of the fpecits ? 
What is there, to which all can attain, and which 
all fhall agree to commend and value ? Not exter- 
nal advantages, fuch as riches, beauty, ftrength, &c. 
Thefe are neither in the power of all, nor univer- 
fally commended. Not great talents, wit, faga- 

S 2 city, 

260 Of the Ruk of Life. 

city, memory, invention. Thefe, though more 
the fubject of encomiums, yet fall to the lot of 
very few only. In fhort, virtue alone is both univer- 
fally efteemed, and in the power of all, who are fu- 
ficiently defirous to attain it. But virtue cannot 
confift with the purfuit of praife, much lefs with 
its being made a primary purfuit. It follows there- 
fore, that it ought not to be made fuch. 

Thirdly, If it be faid, that thofe who enjoy great 
external advantages, or! are bleft with happy talents, 
may perhaps purfue praife with fuccefsj I anfwer, 
that the numberlefs competitions and fuperiorities of 
others, follies and infirmities of a man's felf, mif- 
takes and jealoufies of thofe from whom he expects 
praile, make this quite impoffible in general. Nay, it 
is evident from the very nature of praife, which fup- 
pofes fomething extraordinary in the thing praifed, 
that it cannot be the lot of many. So that he who 
purfues it, muft either have a very good opinion 
of himfelf, which is a dangerous circumftance in a 
feeker of praife, or allow that there are many chan- 
ces againft him. 

Fourthly, If we recoiled the hiftory of thefe plea- 
fures delivered above, we fhall fee, that though 
children are pleafed with encomiums upon any advan- 
tageous circumftances that relate to them, yet this 
wears off by degrees ; and, as we advance in life, 
we learn more and more to confine our pleafures of 
this kind to things in our power (according to the 
common acceptation of thefe words), and to virtue. 
In like manner, the judicious part of mankind, i. e. 
thofe whole praife is moft valued, give it not except 
to virtue. Here then, again, is a moft manifeft fub- 
ferviency of thefe pleafures to virtue. They not only 
tell us, that they are not our primary purfuit, or 
ultimate end, but alfo (hew us what is. 


Of the Rule of Life. 261 


Fifthly, The eaily rife of thefe plcafures^ and 
their declenfion in old age, for the moft part, arc 
argunnents to the fame purpofe, and may be illuf- 
trated by the fimilar obfervations made on the plea- 
fures of fenfation and imagination, being not fo ob- 
vious here as there. 

Sixthly, There is fomething extremely abfurd and 
ridiculous in fuppofing a perlbn to be perpetually 
feafting his own mind with, and dwelling upon, the 
praifes that already are, j>r which he hopes will 
hereafter be, given to him. And yet, unlefs a man 
does this, which befidts would evidently incapa- 
citate him for defer ving or obtaining praife, how 
can he fill up a thoufandth part of his time with the 
pleafures of ambition ? 

Seventhly, Men that are much commended, pre- 
fently think themfelves above the level of the reft 
of the world; and it is evident, that praife from in- 
feriors wants much of that high relifh, which ambi- 
tious men expecl, or even -that it difgufts. It is 
even 'uneafy and painful to a man to hear himfelf 
commended, though he may think it his due, by 
a perfbn that is not qualified to judge. And, in this 
view of things, a truly philofophic and religious mind 
fees prefcntly, that all the praifes of all mankind are 
very trivial and infipid. 

Eighthly, As the defire of praife carries us per- 
petually from lefs to larger circles of applauders, at 
greater diftances of time and place, fo it necefiarily 
infpires us with an eager hope of a future life ; and 
this hope alone is a considerable prefumption in 
favour of the thing hoped for. Now it will appear 
from numberlefs arguments, fome of which are 

O ' 

mentioned in thefe papers, that every evidence for 
a future life is alfo an evidence in favour of virtue, 
and of its fuperior excellence as the end Of life j and 
vice ver/a. The pleafures of ambition lead there- 
fore, in- this way alfo, from themfelves, fince they 
S 3 lead 

262 Of the Rule of Life. 

lead to thofe of virtue. Let it be confidered farther, 
that all reflections upon a future life, the new fcenes 
which will be unfolded there, and the difcovery which 
will then be made of the Jecrets of all hearts, mud 
caft a great damp upon every ambition, but a vir- 
tuous one ; and beget great diffidence even in thofe, 
who have the beft teftimony from their confciences. 


'I'he Pleajures of Honour may be obtained in their greateft 
Degree, and higheft Perfection, by paying a ftritt Re- 
gard to the Precepts of Benevolence, Piety, and the 
moral Senje. 

THIS appears, in part, from what has been deliver- 
ed under the laft propofition ; but it may be farther 
confirmed by the following remarks. 

Firft, Benevolence, piety, and the moral fenfe, 
engage men to obtain all fuch qualifications, and to 
perform all fuch actions, as are truly honourable. 
They preferve them alfo from that oftentation in 
refpect both of thefe and other things, which would 
render them ridiculous and contemptible. Indeed 
honour is affixed by the bulk of mankind, after 
fome experience of men and things, chiefly to acts 
of generofity, companion, public fpirit, &c. i. e. to 
acts of benevolence, and the encomiums beftowed 
upon fuch acts are one of the principal fources of the 
moral fenfe. The maximum of honour muft there- 
fore coincide with benevolence, and the moral fenfe, 
,and confequemly with piety alfo, which is clofely 
connected with them. 

It may be objected here, that acts of direct piety 
are not, in general, honourable in this profane world ; 
but, on the contrary, that they expofe to the charges 


Of the Rule of Life. 263 

of enthufiafm, fuperftition, and folly j and this not 
only from the grofsly vicious, but, in fomc cafes, 
even from the bulk of mankind. And it muft be 
allowed, that fome deductions ought to be made on 
this account, but then let it be confidered, that it is 
imppffible to obtain the applaufes both of the good 
and the bad ; that, as thofe of the laft fcarce afford 
pleafure to any, fo their cenfuie need not be feared ; 
and that fuch perfons as are truly devout, as regard 
God in all their actions, and men only in fubordina- 
tion to him, are not affected by the contempt and 
reproaches of the world j but, on the contrary, re- 
joice when men revile them, and fpeak all manner of evil 
againft them falfely, for the Jake of Chrift. Let it be 
obferved farther, that humility is the principal of all 
the qualifications which recommend men to the 
world j and that it is difficult, or even impofiible, to 
attain this great virtue without piety, without a high 
veneration for the infinite majefty of God, and a deep 
fenfe of our own nothingnefs and vilenefs in his fight ; 
fo that, in an indirect way, piety may be faid to 
contribute eminently to obtain the good opinion of 
the world. 

Secondly, It is plain from the above delivered 
hiftory of honour, as paid to external advantages, to 
bodily, intellectual, and moral accomplishments, 
that happinefs of fome kind or other, accruing to a 
man's felf, or to the world by his means, is the 
fource of all honour, immediately or mediately. He 
therefore who is moft happy in himfelf, and mod the 
caufe of happinefs to others, muft in the end, from 
the very law of our natures, have the greateft quan- 
tity of honourable afibciations transferred upon him. 
But we have already fhewn in part, and fhall (hew 
completely in the progrefs of this chapter, that bene- 
volence, piety, and the moral fenfe, are the only 
true, lading foundations of private happinefs ; and 
that the public happinefs arifes frosn them, cannot be 

S 4 doubted 

264 Of the Rule of Life. 

doubted by any one. The benevolent, pious, and 
confcientious perfon muft therefore, when duly 
known, and rightly underftood, obtain all the honour 
which men good or bad can beftow ; and, as the 
honour from the firft is alone valuable, fo he may 
expect to receive it early, as an immediate reward, 
and fupport to his prefent virtues, and an incitement 
to a daily improvement in them. 

Thirdly, For the fame reafon that we defire ho- 
nour, efteem, and approbation, from men, and 
particularly from the wife and good ; we mud defire 
them from fuperior good beings, and, above all, 
from God, the higheft and beft. Or, if we do not 
defire this, it muft arife from fuch an inattention to 
the moft real and important of all relations, as can- 
not confift with true happinefs. Now a regard to 
benevolence, piety, and the moral fenfe, is, by the 
confeffion of all, the fole foundation for obtaining 
this greateft of honours, the approbation of God. 
We cannot indeed enjoy this in perfection, whilft 
feparated from the invifible world by this flefhly 
tabernacle; but the teftimony of a good confcience 
gives us fome foretafte and anticipation of it. How 
vain and infipid, in refpect of this eternal weight of 
glory, are all the encomiums, which all mankind 
could beftow ! 


To deduce fraftical Obfervations on the Nature of Humi- 
lity, and the. Methods of attaining it. 

HERE we may obferve, 

Firft, That humility cannot require any man to 
think worfe of himfclf than according to truth and 
impartiality : this would be to fet the virtues at 
variance with each other, and tp found one of the 


Of the Rule of Life. 265 

moft excellent of them, humility, in the bale vice of 

Secondly, True humility confifts therefore in hav- 
ing right and juft notions of our own accomplifh- 
ments and defects, of our own virtues and vices. 
For we ought not to defcend lower than this by the 
foregoing paragraph; and to afcend higher, would 
evidently be pride, as well as falfehood. 

Thirdly, It follows, notwithftanding this definition 
of humility, and even from it, that humble men, 
efpecially in the beginning of a religious courfe, ought 
to be much occupied in confidering and irrpreffing 
upon themfelves their own mifery, im perfection, and 
finfulnefs, excluding as much as poffible, all thoughts, 
and trains of thought, of a contrary nature ; alfo in 
attending to the perfections of others, and rejecting 
the confideration of their imperfections. For, fince 
ail thoughts which pleafe are apt to recur frequently, 
and their contraries to be kept out of fight, from 
the very frame of -the mind, as appears from Prof. 
22, Cor. 3. and ocher places of the firft part of this 
work, it cannot but be, that all men in their na- 
tural ftate, muft be proud j they muft, by dwelling 
upon their own perfections, and the imperfections of 
others, magnify thefe ; by keeping out of view the 
contraries, diminifh them, i. e. they muft form too 
high opinions of themfelves, and too low ones of 
others, which is pride: and they cannot arrive at 
juft and true opinions of themfelves and others, 
which is humility, but by reverting the former lleps, 
and imprefling upon themfelves, their own imper- 
fection and vilenefs, and the perfections of others, 
by exprefs acts of volition. 

Fourthly, A truly humble man will avoid compa- 
ring himfelf with others; and when luch comparifons 
do arife in the mind, or are forced upon it, he will 
not think himfelf better than others. I do not mean, 
that thofe who arc eminent for knowledge or virtue, 


266 Of the Rule of Life. 

fhould not fee and own their fuperiority, in thefe 
refpects, over perfons evidently ignorant and illiterate, 
or avowedly vicious. This cannot be avoided j but 
then this fuperiority does not minifter any food to 
pride, and a vain complacence in a man's own excel- 
lencies. Nor do I mean, that good men may not 
both humbly hope, that they themfelves are within 
the terms of falvation ; and alfo fear, that the bulk 
of mankind are notj the firft being a fupport to 
their infant virtue, and a comfort allowed by God 
in their paffage through this wildernefs; the laft a 
great fecurity againft infection from a wicked world. 
1 only affirm, that every perfon, who is duly aware of 
his own ignorance, as to the iecret caufes of merit 
and demerit n himfelf and others, will firft find him- 
felf incapable of judging between individuals ; and 
then, if he has duly ftudied his own imperfections, 
according to the laft paragraph, he will not be apt to 
prefume in his own favour. 

Fifthly, It is an infeparable property of humility, 
not to feek the applaufes of the world j but to ac- 
quiefce in the refpect paid by it, however difpropor- 
tionate this may be to the merit of the acYion under 
confideration. For the contrary behaviour muft 
produce endlefs inquietude, refentment, envy, and 
felf- conceit. 

Sixthly, It is, in like manner, infeparable frorrt 
true humility, to take fhame to ourfelves where we 
have deferved it, to acquiefce under it where we think 
we have not, and always to fufpect our own judg- 
ment in the laft cafe.- There is no way fb fhort and 
efficacious as this r.o mortify that pride, and over- 
weening opinion of ourfelves, which is the refult of 
our frame in this degenerate ftate. Nay, we ought 
even to rejoice when we are meanly efteemed, and de- 
fpifed, as having then an opportunity offered of 
imitating him who was meek and lowly in bearf, 
and of finding reft to our fouls thereby. 


Of tbe Rule of Life. 267 

Seventhly, It may conduce to eradicate that ten- 
dency which every man has to think himfelf a non- 
pareil, in fome refpect or other, to confider natural 
productions, flowers, fruits, gems, &c. It would 
be very abfurd to affirm of one of thefe, that it was 
a nonpareil of its kind, becaufe it is endued with 
great beauty and luftre j much lefs therefore ought 
we to fancy this of that degree of beauty, parts, 
virtue, which happens to be our lot, and which is 
certainly magnified beyond the truth in our own eyes, 
from the intereft which we have in ourfelves. 

Eighthly, There is fcarce a more effectual method 
of curbing oftentation and felf-conceit, than fre- 
quently to impofe upon one's felf a voluntary filence, 
and not to attempt to fpeak, unlefs where a plain rea- 
fon requires it. Voluntary filence is, in refpect of 
oftentation and felf-conceit, what fading is, in refpect 
of luxury and felf- indulgence. All perfons, who 
fpeak much, and with pleafure, intend to engage 
the attention, and gain the applaufe, of the audi- 
ence j and have an high opinion of their own talents. 
And if this daily, I may fay hourly, fource and 
effect of vain-glory was cut off, we might with much 
greater facility get the victory over the reft. When 
a perfon has, by this means, reduced himfelf to a 
proper indifference to the opinions of the world, he 
may by degrees abate of the rigour of his filence, 
and fpeak naturally and eafily, as occafion offers, 
without any explicit motive; juft as when fading, 
and other feverities, have brought our appetites 
within due bounds, we may be directed by them in 
the choice and quantity of common wholefome 

Ninthly, The doctrine of philofophical free-wifl is 
the caufe and fupport of much pride and felf-con- 
ceit j and this fo much the more, as it is a doctrine 
not only allowed, but even infifted upon and required, 
and made effential to the difti notion between virtue 


268 Of the Rule of Life. 

and vice. Hence men are commanded, as it were, 
to fct a value upon their own actions, by efteeming 
them their own in the higheft fcnfe of the words, 
and taking the merit of them to themfelvcs. For 
philofophical free-will foppofes, that God has given 
to each man a fphere of action, in which he does 
not interpofe ; but leaves man to act entirely from him- 
felf, independently of his Creator ; and as, upon this 
foundation, the aflertors of philofophical free-will 
afcribe all the demerit of actions to men, fo they 
are obliged to allow men to take the merit of good 
actions to themfelves, i. e. to be proud and felf- 
conceited. This is the plain confequence of the 
doctrine of philofophical free-will. How far this 
objection againft it over-balances the objections 
brought againft the oppofite doctrine of mechanifm, 
I do not, here confider. But it was neceflary, in 
treating of the methods of attaining true humility, 
to fliew in what relation the doctrine of free-will 
flood to this fubject. 

But we are not to fuppofe, that every man, who 
maintains philofophical free-will, does alfo claim the 
merit of his good actions to himfelf. The fcriptures 
are fo full and explicit in afcribing all that is good to 
God, and the heart of a good man concurs fo 
readily with them, that he will rather expofe himfelf 
to any perplexity of underftanding, than to the 
charge of fo great an impiety. Hence it is, that we 
fee, in the writings of many good men, philofophical 
free-will afierted, on one hand j and merit difclaimed, 
on the other ; in both cafes, with a view to avoid 
confequences apparently impious; though it be 
impoffible to reconcile thefe doctrines to each 
other. However, this fubjection of the underftand- 
ing to the moral principle is a noble inftance of hu- 
mility, and rectitude of heart. 

As the aflertors of philofophical free-will are not 
necefiarily proud, fo the aflertors of the doctrine of 

mechanifm < 

Of the Rule of Life. 269 

mechanifm are much lefs necefiarily humble. For, 
however they may, in theory, afcribe all to God j 
yet the afibciations of life beget the idea and opi- 
nion of Jelf again and again, refer actions to this felf, 
and conned: a variety of applaufes and complacen- 
cies with thefe actions. Nay, men may be proud 
of thofe actions, which they directly and explicitly 
afcribe to God, /. <?. proud, that they are inftrurrents 
in the hand of God for the performing fuch actions. 
Thus the pharifee, in our Saviour's parable, though 
he thanked God, that he was no extortioner, &c. 
yet bpafted of this, and made it a foundation for 
defpifing the publican. However, the frequent 
recollection, 'that all our actions proceed from God; 
that we have nothing which we did not receive from 
him j that there can be no reafon in ourfelves, why 
he fhould felect one, rather than another, for an 
inftrurnent of his glory in this world, &c. and the 
application of thefe important truths to the various 
real circumftances of our lives ; muft greatly acce- 
lerate our progrefs to humility and felf-anninilation. 
And, when men are far advanced in this ftate, they 
may enjoy quiet and comfort, notwithftanding their 
paft fins and frailties ; for they approach to the para- I 
difiacal ftate, in which our firft parents, though naked, 
were not afhamed. But the greateft caution is 
requifite here, left by a frefh difobedience we come 
to know evil as well as good again, and, by 
defiring to be gods, to be independent, make the 
return of fhame, punifliment, and myftical death, 
neceflary for our readmifiion to the tree of life. 

Tenthly, It will greatly recommend humility to 
us, to confider how much mifery a difpofuion to 
glory in our fuperiority over others may hereafter occa- 
fion. Let it be obferved therefore, that every finite 
-perfection, how great foever, is at an infinitely greater 
diftance from the infinite perfection of God, than 
from nothing; fo that every finite being may have, 


270 Of the Rule of Life. 

and probably has, infinitely more fuperiors than 
inferiors. But the fame difpofition, which makes 
/ him glory over his inferiors, muft make him envy 
his fuperiors : he will therefore have, from this his 
difpofition, infinitely more caufe to grieve, than to 
rejoice. And it appears, from this way of confi- 
dering things, that nothing could, enable us to bear 
the luftre of the invifible world, were it opened to 
our view, but humility, felf-annihilation, and the 
love of God* and of his creatures, in and through 
' him. 

Eleventhly, If we may be allowed to fuppofe afl 
God's creatures ultimately and indefinitely happy, 
according to the third fuppofition made above for 
explaining the infinite goodnefs of God, this would 
unite the profoundeft humility with the higheft grati- 
fication of our defires after honour. For this makes 
all God's creatures equal in the eye of their Creator j 
and therefore, as it obliges us to call the vileft worm 
our filter, fo it transfers upon us the glory of the 
brighteft archangel j we are all equally made to inherit 
all t kings y are all equally heirs of God, and coheirs 
with Chrift. 


Of the Rule of Life. 17 1 




"The Pleqfures of Self -inter eft eught not to be made a 
primary Purjuit. 

SELF-INTEREST is of three kinds, as has been al- 
ready explained, viz. 

Firft, Grofs felf-intereft, or the purfuit of the 
means for obtaining the pleafures of fenfation, ima- 
gination, and ambition. 

Secondly, Refined felf-intereft, or the purfuit of 
the means for obtaining the pleafures 'of fympathy, 
theopathy, and the moral fenfe. 

Thirdly, National felf-intereft, or the purfuit of 
fuch things, as are believed to be the means for 
obtaining our greateft pofiible happinefs, at the fame 
time that we are ignorant, or do not confider, from 
what particular fpecies of pleafure this our greateft 
pofiible happinefs will arife. 

Now it is my defign, under this propofition, to 
fhew, that none of thefe three kinds of felf-intereft 
ought to be cherllhed and indulged as the law of 
our natures, and the end of life; and that even 
rational felf-intereft is allowable, only when it tends 
to reftrain other purfuits, that are more erroneous, 
and deftru&ive of our true happinefs. 

I begin with the arguments againft grofs felf- 


Of the Rule of Life. 

Firft, then, We ought not to purfue the means for 
obtaining the pleafures of fenfation, imagination, 
and ambition, primarily, becaufe thefe pleafures 
themfclves ought not to be made primary purfuits, 
as has been fhewn in the three laft fedlions. The 
means borrow all their luftre from the ends by 
afibciation ; and, if the original luftre of the ends be 
not fufficient to juftify our making them a primary 
purfuit, the borrowed one of the means cannot. In 
like manner, if the original luftre be a falfe light, 
an ignis fatuus y that miflcads and feduces us, the 
borrowed one muft miflead and feduce alfo. And 
indeed, though we fometimes reft in the means for 
obtaining the pleafures of fenfation, imagination, and 
ambition, and defire riches, pofieflions of other kinds, 
power, privileges, accomplifhments, bodily and men- 
tal, for their own fakes, as it were ; yet, for the 
moft part, they introduce an explicit regard to thefc 
exploded pleafures, and confequently muft increafe 
the corruption and falfe cravings, of our minds ; 
and, if they did not, their borrowed luftre would 
gradually languilh, and die away, fo that they would 
ceafe to excite defire. It is to be added, that, if' 
they be confidered and purfued as means, they will 
be ufed as fuch, i. e. will actually involve us in the 
enjoyment of unlawful pleafures. 

Secondly, The treafuring up the means of hap- 
pinefs bears a very near relation to ambition. Thofe 
who defire great degrees of riches, power, learning, 
&c. defire alfo that their acquifitions fhould be 
known to the world. Men have a great ambition 
tor-fee thought happy, and to have it in their power 
to gratify themfelves at pleafure; and this oftentatious 
; defign is one principal motive for acquiring all the 
'fuppofed means of happinefs. The reafons there- 
fore, which exclude ambition, muft contribute to 
excJude felf-intereft alfo." 


Of tbe Rule of Life. 273 

Thirdly, Grofs felf-intereft has a manifeft ten- 
dency to deprive us of the pleafures of fympathy, and 
to expofe us to its pains. Rapacioufnefs extinguilhes- 
all fparks of good- will and generofity> and begets 
endlefs relentments, jealoufies, and envies. And 
indeed a great part of the contentions, and mutual 
injuries, which we fee in the world, arife, becaufe 
either one or both of the contending parties defire 
more than an equitable fliare of the means of happi- 
nefs. It is to be added, that grofs felf-intereft has a 
peculiar tendency to incrcafe itftlf from the conftant 
recurrency, and con'fequent augmentation, of the 
ideas and defires that relate to Jelf, and the exclufion 
of thofe that relate to others. 

Now this inconfiftency of grofs felf-intereft with 
fympathy would be fome argument againft it, barely 
upon fuppofition, that fympathy was one neceffary 
part of our natures, and which ought to have an 
equal fhare with lenfation, imagination, and ambi- 
tion ; but as it now begins to appear from the exclu- 
fion of thefe, and other arguments, that more than 
an equal fhate is due to fympathy, the oppofition 
between them becomes a (till ftronger* argument 
againft lelf-intereft. 

Fourthly, There is, in like manner, an evident 
oppofition between grofs felf-intereft, and the plea-^ 
lures of theopathy, and of the moral fcnfe, and, by 
coniequence, an infuperable objection to its being 
made our primary purfuit, deducibls from thefe 
cflential parts of our nature. 

Fifthly, Grofs felf-intereft, when indulged, de- 
vours many of the pleafures of lenfation, and 4HK)ft 
of thofe of imagination and ambition, /. e. many of.* 
the pleafures from which ic takes its rife. This is 
peculiarly true and evident in the love of money j*' 
but it holds alfo, in a certain degree, with refpefit to" 
the other felfifh purfuits. It muft therefore deftroy 
itfelf in part, as well as the pleafures of fympathy, 
VOL. II. T theopathy. 

Pf the Rule of Life. 

theopathy, and the moral fenfe, with the refined 
felf-intereft grounded thereon. And thus it happens, 
that in very avaricious perfons nothing remains but 
fenfuality, fenfual felfifhnefs, and an uneafy hanker- 
ing after money, which is a more imperfect ftate, 
than that in which they were at their firit fetting off 
in infancy. Some of the ftronger and more ordinary 
fenfible pleafures and pains, with the defires after 
them, muft remain in the mod fordid, as long as they 
carry their bodies about with them, and are fubjected 
'to the cravings of the natural appetites, and to the 
impreffions of external objects. But a violent paffion 
for money gets the better of all relifti for the 
elegancies and amufements of life, of the defire of 
honour, love, and efteem, and even of many of 
the fenfual gratifications. Now it cannot be, that a 
purfuit which is fo oppofite to all the parts of our 
nature, fhould be intended by the author of it for our 
primary one. 

Sixthly, Men, in treafuring up the means of hap- 
pinefs without limits, feem to go upon the fuppofi- 
tion, that their capacity of enjoying happinefs is 
infinite -, and confequently that the (lock of happinefs, 
laid up for them to enjoy hereafter, is proportional to 
the flock of means, which they have amafied to- 
gether. But our capacity for enjoying happinefs is 
narrow and fluctuating; and there are many periods, 
during which no objects, however grateful to others, 
can afford us pleafure, on account of the diforder of 
our bodies or minds. If the theory of thefe papers 
be admitted, it furnifhes us with an eafy explanation 
of $fyis matter, by (hewing that our capacity for 
receiving pleafure depends upon our aflbciations, and 
upon the ftate of the medullary fubftance of the 
brain ; and confequently that it muft fail often, and 
correfpond very imperfectly to the objects, which are 
ufually called pleafurable ones. 


Of the Rule of Life. 275 

Seventhly, It is very evident in faft, that felf- 
interefted men are not more happy than their neigh- 
bours, whatever means of happinefs they may poffefs. 
I prefume indeed, that experience fupports the rea- 
foning already alleged; but, however that be, it cer- 
tainly fupports the conclufion. Nay, one ought to 
fay, that covetous men are, in general, remarkably 
miserable. The hardihips, cares, fears, ridicule and 
contempt, to which they fubject themfelves, appear 
to be greater evils, than what fall to the fhare of 
mankind at an average. 

Eighthly, One may put this whole matter in a 
fhort and obvious light, thus : the purfuit of the 
means of happinefs cannot be the primary one, be- 
caufe, if all be means, what becomes of the end ? 
Means, as means, can only be pleafant in a deriva- 
tive way from the end. If the end be feldom or 
never obtained, the pleafure of the means muft lan- 
gaifli. The intellectual pleafures, that are become 
ends by the entire coalefcence of the afibciated par- 
ticulars, fade from being diluted with the mixture of 
neutral circumftances, unlefs they be perpetually 
recruited. A felfilh expectation therefore, which is 
never gratified, muft gradually languilh. 

I come now, in the fecond place, to (hew that re- 
fined felf-intereft, or the purfuit of the means for ob- 
taining the pleafures of fympathy, theopathy, and the 
moral fcnfe, ought not to be made a primary purfuit. 

A perfon who is arrived at this refined felf-intereft, 
muft indeed be advanced fome fteps higher in the 
fcale of perfection, than thofe who are immerfed in 
grots felf-intereft ; inafmuch as this perfon muft have 
overcome, in fome meafure, the grofs pleafures 
of fenfation, imagination, and ambition, with the 
grofs felf-intereft thereon depending, and have made, 
fome confiderable progrefs in fympathy, theopathy, 
and the moral fenfe, before he can make it a queftion 
whether the purfuit of refined fe'if-intereft ought 

T 2 to 

276 . Of the Rule of Life. 

to be his primary purfuit or no. However, that it 
ought nor, that this would detain him, and even 
bring him lower in the fcale of perfection, will appear 
from the following reafons. 

Firft, Many of the objections which have been 
brought againft grofs felf-intereft, retain their force 
againft the refined, though in a lefs degree. Thus 
refined felf-intereft puts us upon treafuring up the 
fame means as the grofs j for the perfons, who arc 
influenced by it, confider riches, power, learning, 
&c. as means of doing good to men, bringing glory 
to God, and enjoying comfortable reflections in their 
own minds in confequence thereof. But the defire 
of riches, power, learning, muft introduce ambition, 
and other defilement^, from the many corrupt 
affbciations that adhere to them. In like manner, 
refined felf-intereft has, like the grofs, a tendency 
to deftroy the very pleafures from which it took its 
rife, *'. e. the pleafures of fympathy, theopathy, and 
the moral fenfe j it cannot afford happinefs, unlefs 
the mind and body be properly difpofed ; it does 
not, in fact, make men happy j but is the parent 
of diffatisfaction, murmurings, and aridity ; and, 
being profefledly the purfuit of a bare means, 
involves the abfurdity of having no real end in view. 
It may not be improper here for the reader juft 
to review the objections made above to grofs felf- 

Secondly, Refined felf-intereft, when indulged, is 
a much deeper and more dangerous error than the 
grofs, becauie it flickers itfelf under fympathy, theo- 
pathy, and the moral fenfe, fo as to grow through 
their protection \ whereas the grofs felf-intereft, being 
avowedly contrary to them, is often ftifled by the 
increafe of benevolence and companion, of the love 
and fear of God, and of the fenfe of duty to him; 

Thirdly, It is allied to, and, as it were, part of 
the foregoing objection, which yet deferves a parti- 

Of the Rule of Life. 277 

cular confederation, that the pride attending on refi- 
ned felf-imereft, when carried to a certain height, 
is of an incorrigible, and, as it were, diabolical nature. 
And, upon the whole, we may obferve, that as 
grofs felf-intereft, when it gets polTeflion of a man, 
puts him into a lower condition than the mere fenfual 
brutal one, in which he was bornj ib refined felf- 
intereft, when that gets poflefiion, deprefles him ftill 
farther, even to the very confines of hell. However, 
it is ftill to be remembered, that fome degree muft 
arife in the beginning of a religious courfe; and that 
this, if it be watched and refilled, is an argument of 
our advancement in piety and virtue. But the bed 
things, when corrupted, often become the worft. 

I come now, in the laft place, to confider what 
objections lie againfb rational felf-intereft, as our 
primary purfuit. 

Now here it may be alleged, Firft, That as we 
cannot but defire any particular pleafure propofed to 
us, as long as the, aflbciations, which formed ir, 
fubfilt in due ftrength ; fo, when any thing is be- 
lieved to be the means of attaining our greateft poffible 
happinefs, the whole frame of our acquired nature 
puts us upon purfuing it. Rational felf-intereft mult 
therefore always have a necdFary influence over 

Secondly, It may be alleged, that I have myfelf 
made rational fclf-intereft the bafis of the prefent 
inquiry after the rule of life, having fuppofed all along, 
thac our greateft poflible happinefs is the object of 
this rule. 

And it certainly follows hence, that rational felf- 
intereft is to be put upon a very different footing 
from that of the grofs and refined ; agreeably to 
which the fcriptures propofe general and indefinite 
hopes and fears, and efpecially thofe of a future 
ftate, and inculcate them as good and proper 
motives of action. But then, on the other hand, the 

T 3 fcriptures 

ay 3 Of the Rule of Life. 

fcriptures inculcate many other motives, difttn& from 
hope and fear; fuch as the love of God and our, 
neighbour, the law of our minds, &c. i. e. the 
motives of fympathy, theopathy, and the moral fenfe, 
as explained in this work. And we may fee from 
the reafoning ufed in refpect of grofs and refined 
ielf-intereft, that a conftant attention to that which 
is the moft pure and rational, to the moft general 
hopes and fears, would extinguifh our love of God 
and our neighbour, as well as the other particular 
defires, and augment the ideas and defires, which 
centre immediately and directly in Jelf, to a mon- 
ftrous height. Rational felf-intereft may therefore 
be faid to lie between the impure motives of fenfa- 
tion, imagination, ambition, grofs felf-intereft, and 
refined felf-intereft, on the one hand, and the pure 
ones of fympathy, theopathy, and the moral fenfe, 
on the other; fo that when it reftrains the impure 
ones, or cherifhes the pure, it may be reckoned 
a virtue j when it cherilhes the impure, or damps 
the pure, a vice. Now there are inftances of both 
kinds, of the firft in grofsly vicious perfons, of the 
laft in thofe that have made confiderable advance- 
ment in piety and virtue. In like manner the im- 
pure motives of fenfation, imagination, &c. differ 
in degree of impurity from each other j and there- 
fore may be either virtues or vices, in a relative 
way of fpeaking. It feems, however, moft con- 
venient, upon the whole, to make rational felf- 
intereft the middle point; and this, with all the other 
reafoning of this paragraph, may ferve to fhew, that 
it ought not to be cultivated primarily. But I (hall 
have occafion to confidcr . this matter farther under 
the next proportion but one, when I come to deduce 
practical obfervations on felf-intereft and (elf-anni- 

It may be reckoned a part of the grofs and refined 
fdf-interefts, to fecure ourfelves againft the hazards 


Of the Rule of Life. 279 

of falling into the pains of the other fix clafies, and 
a part of rational felf-intereft, to provide againft our 
greateft danger j and it might be (hewn in like manner, 
that neither ought thefe to be primary purfuits. 


A JlriB Regard to the Precepts of Benevolence, Piety, 
and the moral Senfe> favours even grofs Self -inter eft ; 
and is the only Method, by which the refined and 
rational can bejecured. 

HERE we may obferve, 

Firft, That fince the regard to benevolence", 
piety, and the moral fenfe, procures the pleafures of 
fenfation, imagination, and ambition, in their great- 
eft perfection for the moft part ; it muft favour grofs 
felf-intereft, or the purfuit of the means of thefe. 

Secondly, This regard has, in many cafes, an 
immediate tendency to procure thefe means, *. <?. 
to procure riches, power, learning, &c. And 
though it happens fometimes, that a man muft fore- 
go both the means for obtaining pleafure, and plea- 
fure itfelf, from a regard to duty ; and happens often, 
that the beft men have not the greateft (hare of the 
means ; yet it feems that the beft men have, in gene- 
ral, the faireft profpeft for that competency, which 
is moft fuitable to real enjoyment. Thus, in trades 
and profefiions, though it feldom is obferved, that 
men eminent for piety and charity amafs great wealth 
(which indeed could noc well confift with thefe vir- 
tues) j yet they are generally in affluent or eafy cir- 
cumftances, from the faithful difcharge of duty, their 
prudence, moderation in expences, &c. and fcarce 
ever in indigent ones. A fenfe of duty begets a de- 
fire to difcharge itj this recommends to the world, 
to the bad as well as to the good ; and, where there 

. T 4 are 

ago Of the Rule of Life. 

are inftances Apparently to the contrary, farther in- 
formation will, for the moft part, difcover fome 
fccret pride, negligence, or imprudence, /'. e. fome- 
thing contrary to duty, to which the pei Ton's ill fuc- 
cefs in refpcct of this world may be afcribed. 

Thirdly, A regard to duty plainly gives the greateft 
capacity for enjoyment ; as it fecures us againft thofe 
disorders of body and mind, which render the natural 
objefts of pleafure infipid or ungrateful. 

Fourthly, As to refined felf-intereft, or the pur- 
fuit of the means for obtaining the pleafures of 
fympathy, theopathy, and the moral fenfe, it appears 
at firft fight, that a due regard to thefe muft pro- 
cure for us both the end, and the means. 

Fifthly, However the grofs or refined felf-imereft 
may, upon certain occafions, be difappointed, the 
rational one never can, whilft we acT: upon a princi- 
ple of duty. Odr future happinefs muft be fecured 
thereby. This the profane and profligate, as far as 
they have any belief of God, providence, or a future 
ftate (and I prefume, that no one could ever arrive 
at more than fcepticifm and uncertainty in thefe 
things), allow, as well as the devout and pious chrif- 
tiarj. And, when the rational felf-intereft is thus 
lecured, the difappointments of the other two be- 
come far lefs grievous, make far lefs impreffion upon 
the mind. He that has a certain reverfion of an 
infinite and eternal inheritance, may be very indiffer- 
ent about prefent pofieflions. 


9"0 deduce' practical Obfervations on Self-intereft and 
Self- annihilation. 

SELF-INTEREST being reckoned by fome writers 
the only ftable point upon which a fyftem of mo- 
rality can be erected, and felf-annihilation by others 


Of the Rule of Lift. 281 

the only one in which man can reft, I will here 
endeavour to reconcile thefe two opinions, giving at 
the fame time both a general defcription of what 
pafles in our progrefs from felf-intereft to felf-anni- 
hilation, and fome fhort hints of what is to be ap- 
proved or condemneid in this practice. 

Firft, then, The vicious pleafures of fenfation, ima- 
gination, and ambition, being often very expenfive, 
are checked by the grofieft of all the felf-interefts, 
the mere love of money; and the principle upon 
which men a6l in this cafe is efteemed one fpecies 
of prudence. This may be tolerated in others, 
where it is not in our power to infufe a better motive j 
but, in a man's felf, it is very abfurd to have 
recourfe to one, which muft leave fo great a defile- 
ment, when others that are purer and ftronger, rational 
felf-intereft particularly, are at hand-. 

Secondly, The deiire of bodily and mental accom-, 
plifhments, learning particularly, considered as means 
of happinefs, often checks both the forementioned 
vicious pleafures, and the love of money. Now 
this kind of felf-intereft is preferable to the laft 
indeed ; but it cannot be approved by any that are 
truly folicitous about their own reformation and puri- 

Thirdly, Grofs felf-intereft fomctimes excites per- 
fons to external a&s of benevolence, and even of piety ; 
and though there is much hypocrify always in thefe 
cafes, yet an imperfect benevolence or piety is fome- 
times generated in this way. However, one cannot 
but condemn this procedure in the higheft degree. 

Fourthly, As refined felf-intereft arifes from be- 
nevolence, piety, and the moral fenle; fo, converfely, 
it promotes them in various ways. But, then, as it 
likewife checks their gtowth in various other ways, 
it cannot be allowed in many cafes, and is, upon the 
whole, rather to be condemned than approved. 
More favour may be fhewn to it, where it reftrains 


282 Of the Rule of Life. 

the vicious pleafures of fenfation, imagination, and 

Fifthly, Rational felf-intereft puts us upon all the 
proper methods of checking the laft- named vicious 
pleafures with grofs and refined felf-intereft, and be- 
getting in ourfelves the virtuous difpofitions of 
benevolence, piety, and the moral fenfe. This part 
of our progrefs is extremely to be approved, and 
efpecially the laft branch of it. 

Sixthly, The virtuous difpofitions of benevolence, 
piety, and the moral fenfe, and particularly that of 
the love of God, check all the foregoing ones, and 
feem fufEcient utterly to extinguifh them at laft. 
This would be perfect felf-annihilation, and refting 
in God as our centre. And, upon the whole, we 
may conclude, that though it be impoffible to begin 
without fenfuality, and fenfual felfifhnefs, or to pro- 
ceed without the other intermediate principles, and 
particularly that of rational felf-intereft j yet we 
ought never to be fatisfied with ourfelves, till we 
arrive at perfect felf-annihilation, and the pure love 
of God. 

We may obferve alfo, that the method of deftroy- 
ig f e tf> by perpetually fubftituting a lefs and purer 
felf-intereft for a larger and grafter, correfponds to 
fome mathematical methods of obtaining quantities 
to any required degree of exactnefs, by leaving a 
lefs and lefs error fine limite. And though abfolute 
exactitude may not be poflible in the firft cafe, any 
more than in the laft; yet a degree fufficient for 
future happinefs is certainly attainable by a proper ufe 
of the events of this life. 


Of the Rule of Life. 283 




fbe Pleafures of Sympathy improve thofe of Senfation, 
Imagination^ Ambition, and Self -inter eft -, and unite 
with thofe of Theopathy, and the moral Senfe j they 
are felf-confiftent, and admit of an unlimited Extent : 
they may therefore be our primary Purfuit. 

THAT the pleafures of fympathy improve thofe of 
fenfation, imagination, ambition, and felf-intereft, by 
limiting and regulating them, appears from the four 
laft feftions. 

Their union and entire coincidence with thofe of 
theopathy are evident, inafmuch as we are led by 
the love of good men to that of God, and back 
again by the love of God to that of all his creatures 
in and through him ; alfo as it muft be the will of 
an infinitely benevolent being, that we fhould culti- 
vate universal unlimited benevolence. 

In like manner, they may be proved to unite and 
coincide with the pleafures of the moral fenfe, both 
becaufe they are one principal fource of the moral 
fenfe, and becaufe this, in its turn, approves of and 
enforces them entirely. 

In order to prove their unlimited extent, let us fup- 
pofe, as we did before of fenfation, that a perfon 
took all opportunities of gratifying his benevolent 

defires ; 

284 Of the Rule of Life, 

defires ; that he made it his fludy, pleafure, am- 
bition, and conftant employment, either to promote 
happinefs, or lefien, roifery, to go about doing good. 

Firft, then, It is very-plain, that fuch a perfon 
would have a very large field of employment. The 
relations of life, conjugal, parental, filial, to friends, 
ftrangers, enemies, to fuperiors,' equals, inferiors, 
and even to brutes, and the neceffities of each, are 
fo numerous, that, if we were not greatly wanting 
in benevolent affections, we fhould have no want 
of fit objects for them. 

Secondly, As the occafions are fufficient to engage 
our time, fo we may, in general, expect fuccefs. 
Not only the perfons themfelves, to whom we in- 
tend to do iervice, may be expected to concur, but 
others alfo, in general ; inafmuch as benevolence 
gains the love and efteem of the beholders, has a 
perfuafivenefs and prevalence over them, and engages 
them to co-operate towards its fuccefs. It is very 
neceflary indeed, that all benevolent perfons fhould 
guard againft the fallies of pride, felf-will, and paf- 
fion, in themfelves, /. e. take care that their bene- 
volence be pure ; alfo that it be improved by piety, 
and the moral fenfe j elfe it is probable, that they 
will meet with many difappointments. But this is no 
argument againft the unlimited nature of benevo- 
lence : it only tends to exclude the mixture and de- 
filement of ill difpofitions ; and to fhew the neceflary 
connection of the love of their neighbour with that 
of God, and with the divine fignature of confcience, 
which I all along contend for. When our bene- 
volence is thus pure, and thus directed, it will fel- 
dom fail of gaining its purpofe. And yet difap- 
pointments muft fometimes happen to the pureft 
benevolence j elfe our love of God, and refignation 
to his will, which is the higheft principle of all, 
could not be brought to perfection. But then this 
w'Jl happen fo rarely as to make no -alteration in 


Of the Rule of Life. 285 

our reafonings, with refpect to the general ftatc 
of things ; which kind of reafoning and certainty 
is all that we are qualified for in our prefent con- 

Thirdly, As the benevolent perfon may expect both 
fufficient employment and fuccefs, in general ; fo it 
4oes not appear from the experience of thofe who 
make the trial, that the relifh for thefe pleafures 
languifhes, as in other cafes j but, on the contrary, 
that it gathers ftrength from gratification. We hear 
men complaining frequently of the vanity and de- 
ceitfulnefs of the other pleafures after poffeflion and 
gratification, but never of thole of benevolence, 
when improved by religion, and the moral fenfe. 
On the contrary, thefe pleafures are greater in enjoy- 
ment than expectation ; and continue to pleafe in 
reflection, and after enjoyment. And the foregoing 
hiftory of affociation may enable us to difcover how 
this comes to pafs. Since the pleafures of bene- 
volence are, in general, attended with fuccefs, and 
are confident with, and productive of, the feveral 
inferior pleafures in their due degree, as I have already 
fliewn, and alfo are farther illuminated by the moral 
and religious pleafures, it is plain, that they muft 
receive freih recruits upon every gratification, and 
therefore increafe perpetually, when cultivated as they 
ought to be. 

The felf-confiftency of benevolence appears from 
the peculiar harmony, love, efteem, and mutual 
co-operation, that prevail amongft ^benevolent per- 
fons ; alfo from the tendency that acts of benevo-. 
lence, proceeding from A to B t have to excite cor- 
refpondent ones reciprocally from B to A, and fo on 
indefinitely. v We may obferve farther, that, when 
benevolence is arrived at a due height, all our 
defires and fears, all our fenfibilities for ourfelves, are 
more or lefs transferred upon others by our love and 
compaffion for them j and, in like mannner, that 


286 Of the Rule of. Life. 

when our moral fenfe is fufficiently eftablifhed and 
improved, when we become influenced by what is fie 
and right, our imperfect fenfibility for others lefiens 
our exorbitant concern for ourfelves by being com- 
pared with it, at the fame time that compaffion takes 
off our thoughts from ourfelves. And thus bene- 
volence to a fmgle perfon may ultimately become 
equal to felf-intereft, by this tendency of felf-in- 
tereft to increafe benevolence, and reciprocally of 
benevolence to leflen felf-intereft ; though felf-intereft 
was at firft infinitely greater than benevolence, i. e. 
we, who come into the world entirely felfifh, earthly, 
and , children of wrath y may at laft be exalted to the 
glorious liberty of the Jons of God y by learning to 
love our neighbours as ourfelves : we may learn to 
be as much concerned for others as for ourfelves, and 
as little concerned for ourfelves, as for others j both 
which things tend to make benevolence and felf-in- 
tereft equal, however unequal they were at firft. 

And now a new fcent begins to open itfelf to our 
view. Let us fuppofe, that the benevolence of A is 
very imperfect j however, that it confiderably exceeds 
his malevolence ; fo that he receives pleafure, upon 
the whole, from the happinefs of B, C y D, &c. 
/. e. from that of the fmall circle of thofe, whom he 
has already learnt to call his neighbours. Let us 
fuppofe alfo, that j?, C, D, &c. though affected 
with a variety of pains, as well as pleafures, are 
yet happy, upon the whole ; and that A, though he 
does not fee this balance of happinefs clearly, yet 
has fome comfortable general knowledge of it. This 
then is the happinefs of good men in this prefent 
imperfect ftate ; and it is evident, that they are great 
gainers, upon the whole, from their benevolence. 
At the fame time it gives us a faint conception of 
^?'s unbounded happinefs, on fuppofition that he 
confidered every man as his friend, his fon, his 
neighbour, his fecond felf, and loved him as himfeif , 


Of the Rule of Life. 287 

and that his neighbour was exalted to the fame un- 
bounded happinefs as himfelf by the fame unlimited 
benevolence. Thus A, B> C, J), &c. would all be- 
come, as it were, new fets of fenfes, and perceptive 
powers, to each other, fo as to increafe each other's 
happinefs without limits ; they would all become 
members of the myftical body of Chrift ; all have an 
equal care for each other; all increafe in love, and 
come to their full ftature, to perfect manhood, by 
that which every joint Jupplieth : happinefs would cir- 
culate through this myftical body without end, fo 
as that each particle of it would, in due time, arrive 
at each individual point, or fentient being, of the 
great whole, that each would inherit all things. 

To ftrengthen our preemptions in favour of bene- 
volence, as the primary purfuit of life, ftill more; 
let it be confidered, that its pleafures lie open to all 
kinds and degrees of men, fince every man has it in 
his power to benefit others, however fuperior or infe- 
rior, and fince we all ftand in need of each other. 
And the difference which nature has put between us 
and the brutes, in making us fo much more dependent 
upon, and neceflary to, each other from the cradle 
to the grave, for life, health, convenience, plea- 
fure, education, and intellectual accomplifhments, 
fo much lefs able to fubfift fmgly, or even in fmall 
bodies, than the brutes, may be confidered as one 
mark of the fuperior excellence of the focial pleafures 
to man. All the tendencies of the events of life, 
ordinary and extraordinary, of the relations of life, 
of the foregoing pleafures and pains, to connect us to 
each other, to convert accidental, natural, inftittited 
aflbciations into permanent coalefcenfes (for all this 
is effected by the power of affociation fo much fpo- 
ken of in thefe papers), fo that two ill men can fcarce 
become known to each other familiarly, without 
conceiving fome love, tendernefs, compaffion, 
complacence for each other, are arguments to the 


288 Of the Rule of Life. 

fame purptofe. And our love to relations and friends, 
that have particular failings, teaches us to be more 
candid towards others, who have the like failings. 
At the fame time it fhews the confiftency of bene- 
volence with itfelf, and its tendency to improve it- 
felf j that we love, efteem, aflift, and encourage the 
benevolent more than others ; fo that a benevolent 
action not only excites the receiver to a grateful 
return, but alfb the by- dander to approve and 
reward j and the benevolent man receives an hun- 
dred fold even in this world. But it would be 
endiefs to purfue this. Benevolence is indeed the 
grand defign and purport of human life, of the 
prefent probationary flare ; and therefore every cir- 
cumftance of human life mud point to it, directly 
or indiredly, when duly confidered. 

COR. i. Since benevolence now appears to be a 
primary purfuit, it follows, that all the pleafures of 
malevolence are forbidden, as being fo many direct 
hinderances and bars to our happinefs. The plea- 
fures of fenfation, imagination, ambition, and felf- 
intereft, may all be made confident with benevolence, 
when limited by, and made fubjedt to it, at lead in 
this imperfect date ; but thofe of malevolence are 
quite incompatible with it. As far as malevolence is 
allowed, benevolence mud be dedroyed ; they are 
heat and cold, light and darknefs, to each other. 
There is, however, this exception i that where wifh- 
ing evil to fome, difpofes us to be more benevolent 
upon the whole, as in the cafe of what is called a 
jud indignation againd vice, it may perhaps be tole- 
rable in the more imperfect kinds of men, who have 
need of this direction and incitement to keep them 
from wandering out of the proper road, and to help 
them forward in it. But it is extremely dangerous to 
encourage fuch a difpofition of mind by fatire, in- 
vective, difpute, however unworthy the opponent 
may be, as thefe practices generally end in rank 


O/ the Rule of Life. 289 

malevolence at laft. The wrath of man worketh no! 
the righteoufnefs of God. 

COR. 2. As we mud forego the pleafures of male- 
volence, fo we muft patiently and refolutely endure 
the pains of benevolence, particularly thofe of com- 
panion. But we fhall not be lofers upon either of 
thefe accounts. The pleafures of the moral fenfe, 
\vhich refult from thefe virtues, will in the firfl cafe 
compcnfate for what we forego, and in the laft over- 
balance what vve endure. Befides which, mercy and 
forgivenefs are themfelves pleafures, and productive 
of many others in the event; and companion gene- 
rally puts us upon fuch methods, as both make the 
afflicted to rejoice, arid beget in ourfelves a ftronger 
difpofuion to rejoice With them. However, we 
may learn from thefe two corollaries, that as our 
paffage through the four inferior, and, as it were 
forbidden-, clafles of pleafure and pain, is not entire 
felf-denial and fufferance, fo fome degrees of thefe 
are neceflary in refpetft of the three fupeiior clafles. 
.We muft weep with thofe that weep, as well as rejoice 
with thofe that rejoice. In like manner, theopathy, 
and the moral fenfe, are the occafions of fome pain, 
as well as of great and lading pleafure > as will appear 
hereafter. Now all this mixture of pain with plea- 
fure in each clafs, as alfo the difficulty which we find 
in bringing the inferior clafles into a due fubordina- 
tion to the fuperior, are confequences and marks of 
our fallen and degenerate ftate, 

COR. 3. As benevolence is thus fupported by 
many direct arguments, fo there are fimilar and 
oppofite arguments, which fhew that malevolence is 
the bane of human happinefs; that ic occafions mi- 
fery to the doer, as well as to the fufferer ; that it is 
infinitely inconfiftent with itfelf, and with the courfe 
of nature; and that it is impofiible, that it mould 
fubfift for ever. Now thefe become fo many indirect 
ones for benevolence, and for our making it the 
VOL. II. U fupreme 

290 Of tie Rule of Life. 

fupreme pleafure and end of our lives. In order to 
make this appear more fully, let us take a furvey of 
human life on the reverie fide to that which we 
have before confidered. We (hall there fee, that in- 
juries are increafed in various ways by reciprocation, 
till at laft mutual fufferings oblige both parties to 
defift ; that the courfe and conftitution of nature 
give us numberlefs admonitions to forbear j and that 
the hand of every man, and the power of every 
thing, are againft the malevolent : fo that, if we 
Ihould fuppofe the beings A> B, C, Z), &c. to be 
purely malevolent, to have each of them an indefinite 
number of enemies, they would firft ceafe from their 
enmity on account of their mutual fufferings, and 
become purely felfifh, each being his own fole friend 
and protector; and afterwards, by mutual good of- 
fices, endear themfelves to each other ; fo that at laft 
each would have an indefinite number of friends, /. e. 
be indefinitely happy. This is indeed a kind of fup- 
pofition; but its obvious correfpondence with 'what 
we fee and feel in real life, is a ftrong argument 
both of the infinite goodnefs of God, and of the con- 
fequent doctrine of the tendency of all beings to 
unlimited happinefs through benevolence. For the 
beings A> B, C, D, &c. could no more ftop at pure 
felfiihnefs, or any other intermediate point, than 
they could reft in pure malevolence. And thus the 
arguments, which exclude pure malevolence, necef- 
farily infer pure unlimited benevolence. 


Of the Rule of Life. 291 


70 deduce practical Rules 'for augmenting the bene- 
volent Affections^ and fupprejfing the malevolent ones, 

FOR this purpofe we ought, Firft, Diligently to 
practife all fuch acts of friendship, gcnerofity, and 
compaffion, as our abilities of any kind extend to ; 
and rigoroufly to refrain from all fallies of anger, 
refentment, envy, jealoufy, &c. For though onr 
affections are not directly and immediately fubject 
to the voluntary power, yet our actions are; and 
confequently our affections alfo mediately. He that 
at firft practifes ads of benevolence by conftraint, 
and continues to practife them, will at lad have 
afibciated fuch a variety of pleafures with them, 
as to transfer a great inftantaneous pleafure upon 
them, and beget in himfelf the affections from which 
they naturally flow. In like manner, if we abftain 
from malevolent actions, we fhall dry up the ill 
paffions, which are their fources. 

Secondly, It will be of great ufe frequently to 
reflect upon the great pleafures and rewards attending 
on benevolence, alfo upon the many evils prcfent and 
future, to which the contrary temper expofes us. 
For thus we (hall likewiie transfer pleafure and pain 
by affociation upon thefe tempers refpectively j and 
rational felf-intereft will be made to beget pure bene- 
volence, and to extinguilh all kinds and degrees of 

Thirdly, It is neceflary to pray frequently and 
fervently (/'. e. as far as we can excite fervour by our 
voluntary powers) for others, friends, benefactors, 
ftrangers, enemies. All exertions of our affections 
cherifh them; and thofe made under the more imme- 
diate fenfe of the divine attributes have an extraor- 
U 2 dinary 

292 Of tie Rule of Life. 

dinary efficacy this way, by mixing the love, awe, 
and other exalted emotions of mind attending our 
addreffes to God, with our affections towards men, 
fo as to improve and purify them thereby. Petitions 
for the increafe of our benevolence, and fuppreffion 
of our malevolence, have the fame tendency. 

Fourthly, All meditations upon the attributes of 
God, and particularly upon his infinite benevolence to 
all his creatures, have a ftrong tendency "to refine 
and augment our benevolent affections. 

Fifthly, The frequent confederation of our own 
mifery, helpleffnefs, finfulnefs, entire dependence 
upon God, &c. raifes in us compaffion for others, as 
well as concern, and earned defires and prayers, for 
ourfelves. And companion is, in this imperfect 
probationary ftate, a mod principal part of our bene- 
volent affections. . i ', 


T0- deduce praftical Rules for the Conduft of Men 
towards each other in Society. 

SINCE benevolence is now proved to be a primary 
purfuit, it follows, that we are to direct every action 
fo as to produce the greareft happinefs, and the leaft 
mifery, in our power. This is that rule of focial 
behaviour, which univerfal unlimited benevolence 

But the application of this rule in real life is 
attended with confiderable difficulties and perplexities. 
It is impofiible for the mod fagacious and experienced 
perfons to make any accurate eftimate of the future 
confequences of particular actions, fo as, in all the 
variety of circumftances which occur, to determine 
juftly, which action would contribute mod to aug- 
ment happinefs and leffen mifery. We mud there- 
fore, indead of this mod general rule, fubditute 
others lefs general, and fubordinate to it, and which 


Of the Rule of Life. 293 

admit of a more commodious practical application. 
Of this kind are the ten rules that follow. Where 
they coincide, we may fuppofe them to add ftrength 
to each other ; where they are oppcfite, or feemingly 
fo, to moderate and reftrain one another ; fo as that 
the fum total (hall always be the bed direction in our 
power for promoting the happinefs, and leffening the 
mifery, of others. 

The firft rule is obedience to the fcripture pre- 
cepts in the natural, obvious, and popular meaning 
of them. That this muft, in general, contribute to 
public good, needs no proof: piety and benevolence 
evidently coincide here, as in other cafes. The fcrip- 
ture precepts are indeed themfelves, the rule of life. 
But then there is the fame fort of difficulty in ap- 
plying them accurately to particular cafes, as in ap- 
plying the above-mentioned mod general rule, by 
means of an eftimate of the confequences of actions. 
It is impoffible, in many particular cafes, from the 
nature of language, to determine whether the action 
under confideration come precifely under this or that 
fcripture precept, interpreted literally, as may appear 
from the endlefs fubtleties and intricacies of cafuiftical 
divinity. However, it cannot but be that the common 
and popular application muft, for the mod part, di- 
rect us to their true intention and meaning. Let every 
man therefore, in the particular circumftances of real 
life, recollect the fcripture precepts, and follow them 
in their firft and moft obvious fenfe, unlefs where this 
is ftrongly oppofite to fome of the following rules ; 
which yet will feldom happen. 

Secondly, Great regard muft be had both to our 
own moral lenfe, and to that of others. This rule 
coincides remarkably with the foregoing. They are 
together the chief fupports of all that is good, even 
in the moft refined and philofophical, as well as in 
the vulgar j and therefore muft not be weakened, or 
explained away. 

U 3 Thirdly, 

294 Of the Ruk f Life. 

Thirdly, It is very proper in all deliberate actions 
to weigh, as well as we can, the probable confe- 
quences on each fide, and to fuffer the balance to 
have fome influence in all cafes, and the chief where 
the other rules do not interfere much, or explicitly. 
But to be determined by our own judgments as to 
confluences, in oppofition to the two foregoing 
rules, or to t-hofe that follow, favours much of pride, 
and is often only a cloak for felf-intereft and mali- 

Fourthly, The natural motions of good-will, com- 
paffion, &c. muft have great regard paid to them, 
led we contract a philofophical hardnefs of heart, 
by endeavouring or pretending to aft upon higher 
and more extenfively beneficial views, than vulgar 
minds, the fofcer fex, &c. Some perfons carry 
this much too far on the other fide, and encourage 
many public mifchiefs, through a falfe mifguided 
tendernefs to criminals, perfons in diftrefs through 
prefent grofs vices, &c. For the mere inftantaneous 
motions of good-will and compaflion, which are 
generated in fo many different ways in different per- 
fons, cannot be in all more than a good general 
direction for promoting the greateft good. 

Fifthly, The rule of placing ourfelves in the 
feveral fituations of all the perfons concerned, and 
inquiring what we fhould then expect, is of excellent 
ufe for directing, enforcing, and retraining our 
actions, and for begetting in us a ready, conftant 
fenfe of what is fit and equitable. 

Sixthly, Perfons in the near relations of life, 
benefactors, dependents, and enemies, feem to have, 
in moft cafes, a prior claim to ilrangers. For the 
general benevolence arifes from our cultivation of 
thefe particular fources of it. The root muft there- 
fore be cherifhed, that the branches may flourifh, and 
the fruit arrive to, its perfection. 


Of the Rule of Life. 295 

Seventhly, Benevolent and religious perfons have, 
all other circumftances being equal, a prior claim to 
the reft of mankind. Natural benevolence itfelf 
teaches this, as well as the moral fenfe. But it is 
like wife of great importance to the public, thus to 
encourage virtue. Not to mention, that all oppor- 
tunities and powers become more extenfively benefi- 
cial, by being entrufted with defervirig perfons. 

Eighthly, Since the concerns of religion, and a 
future ftate, are of infinitely more importance than 
thofe which relate to this world, we ought to be 
principally folicitous about the eftablifhment and pro- 
motion of true and pure religion, and to make all our 
endeavours concerning temporal things fubfervient 
to the precepts for teaching all nations, and for 
carrying the everlafting gofpel to the ends of the 

Ninthly, We ought to pay the ftricleft regard to 
truth, both with refpect to affirmations and promifes. 
There are very few inftances, where veracity of 
both kinds is not evidently conducive to public goodj, 
and falfehood in every degree pernicious. It follows 
therefore, that, in cafes where appearances are other- 
wife, the general regard to truth, which is of fb 
much confequence to the world, ought to make 
us adhere inviolably to it; and that it is a moft dan- 
gerous practice to falfify, as is often done, from falfe 
delicacy, pretended or even real officioufnefs, falle 
fhame, and other fuch difingenuous- motives, or even 
from thofe that border upon virtue. The harm 
which thefe things do, by creating a mutual diffi- 
dence, and difpofition to deceive, in mankind, is 
exceedingly great ; and cannot be counterbalanced 
by the prefent good effefts, afligned as the reafons 
for this practice. Yet ftill the degrees are here, as 
in other cafes, fo infenfible, and the boundaries fo 
nice, that it is difficult, or even impoffible, to give 
any exact rule. A direct falfeuood feems fcarce to 

U 4 admit 

296 Of the Rule of Life. 

admit a toleration, whatever be thrown into the op- 
pofite fcale ; unlefs in cafes of madnefs, murder to 
(DC prevented, &c. Equivocations, concealments, 
pretences, are in general unjuftifiable j but may 
perhaps be fometimes allowed. The wifdom of the 
ferpent joined to the innocence of the dove, or 
chriftian prudence to chriftiafl fimplicity and cha- 
rity, will generally enable men to avoid all difficul- 
ties. There is fcarce any thing which does greater 
violence to the moral fenfe in well educated perfons, 
than difingenuoufnefs of any kind, which is a ftrong 
argument againft it. Lies and liars are particularly 
noted in the prophetical writings, and the great fin 
of idolatry is reprefemed under this image. As to 
falfe oaths, affirmative or promiffory, there feems 
to be no poffible reafon fufficient to jultify the vio- 
lation of them. The third commandment, and the 
reverence due to the divine majefty, lay an abfolute 
reftrainr, here. 

Tenthly, Obecjience to the civil magiftrate is a 
fubordinate general rule of the utmoft importance. 
It is evidently for the public good, that every mem- 
ber of a ftate mould fubmit to the governing power, 
whatever that be. Peace, order, and harmony, 
refult from this in the general ; confufion and mif- 
chief of all kinds from the contrary. So that though 
it may and muft be fuppofed, that difobcdience, 
in certain particular cafes, will, as far as the fingle 
aft, and its immediate confequences, are confidered, 
contribute more to public good, than obedience; 
yet, as it is a dangerous example to others, and 
will probably lead the peribn himfelf into other in- 
ftances of difobedience afterwards, &c. difobedience 
in every cafe becomes deftruftive of public happinefs 
upon the whole. To this we may. add, that as 
part of our _ notions of, and regards to, the Deity, 
are taken from the civil magiftrate ; fo, converfely, 
the magiftrate is to be confidered as God's vicegerent 


Of the Rule of Life. 2-97 

on earth ; and all oppofuion to him weakens the 
force of religious obligations, as well as of civil 
ones; and if there be an oath .of fidelity and fub- 
miffion, or even a bare promife, this will give a 
farther fanclion. Laftly, the precepts of the New 
Teftament given under very wicked governors, and 
the whole tenor of it, which fuppofes chriftians to 
have higher views, and not to intermeddle with 
the kingdoms of this world, enjoin an implicit 

We ought therefore, in confeqqence of this tenth 
rule, to reverence all perfons in authority ; not to 
pafs hafty cenfures upon their a&ions j to make 
candid allowances on* account of the difficulties of 
government, the bad education of princes, and per- 
fons of high birth, and the flatteries^ and extraor- 
dinary temptations, with which they are furrounded ; 
to oblerve the laws ourfelves and promote the ob- 
fervance of them, where the penalties may be evaded, 
or are found inefficient ; to look upon property as 
a thing abfolutely determined by the laws; fo that 
though a man may and ought to recede from what 
the law would give him, out of compaffion, gene- 
rofity, love of peace, view of the greater good 
to the whole, &c. yet he muft never evade, ftrain, 
or in any way do violence to the laws, in order to 
obtain what he may think his own according to 
equity; and wherever he has offended, or is judged by 
lawful authority to have offended, he muft fubmit to 
the punilhment, whatever it be. 

Here two things may be objected in refpect of this 
tenth rule: Fir ft, That the duty to magiftrates ought 
to be deduced from the origin of civil government. 
Secondly, That it is lawful to refift the fupreme 
magiftrate openly, in thofe "cafes, where the good 
confequences of open refiftance appear in the ultimate 
refuk to overbalance the ill confequences. 


298 Of the Rule of Life. 

To the firft I anfwer, that we here fuppofe be- 
nevolence to be the rule of duty, public good the 
end of benevolence, and fubmiffion to magiftrates 
the means of promoting the public good. Unlefs 
therefore fomething can be objected to one of thefe 
three pofitions, the conclufion, that fubmifiion to 
magiftrates is a duty, muft ftand. It appears to me 
alfo, that this method of deducing obedience to 
magiftrates is much more fimple and direct, than that 
from the origin of civil government. For the real 
origin of civil government having been either the 
gradual tranfition and degeneration of parental pa- 
triarchal authority (which being originally directed 
by pure love, and fupported by abfolute authority, 
can never be paralleled now) into fmall monarchies 
in the ancient world, of which we know nothing 
accurately ; or the ufurped power of conquerors and 
tyrants j or the delegated power of thofe, who in 
difficult and factious times have gained over the 
minds of the populace to themfelves, and balanced 
the interefts and ambition of particulars againft one 
another; it feems that little of ufe to public hap- 
pinefs can be drawn from thefe patterns, where the 
perfons concerned were either very little felicitous 
about pxiblic happinefs, or very little qualified to 
make a proper eftimate of the beft methods of 
attaining it, or, laftly, were obliged to comply with 
the prejudices, and eftablifhed cuftoms, of an igno- 
rant head-ftrong multitude. The only pattern of 
great ufe and authority appears to be the Jewijh Theo- 
cracy. As to the fictitious fuppofition, that a fet 
of philofophers, with all their natural rights about 
them, agree to give up certain of thefe, in order to 
preferve the reft, and promote the good of the 
whole, this is too large a field. Befides, public 
good muft either be made the criterion of natural 
rights, and of the obligation to give them up, 
&c. which would bring this hypothefis to coincide 


Of the Rule of Life. 299 

with the diredt obvious confideracions above-men- 
tioned ; or, if any other criterion be afiumed, the de- 
terminations will be falfe. This method of reafoning 
has been adopted too fervilely, by the force which 
affociation has over the human mind, from the tech- 
nical methods of extending human laws to cafes not 
provided for explicitly, and particularly from the rea- 
fonings made uie of in the civil law. However, the 
writers of this clafs have delivered many excellent 
particular precepts, in relation to the duties both of 
public and of private life j and therefore have deferved 
well of the world, notwithftanding that their founda- 
tion for the laws of nature and nations be liable to 
the foregoing objections. 

Secondly, It is faid, that there are certain cafes, 
in which open refinance is lawful. And it mud be 
owned, that where there is no oaih of allegiance, or 
where that oath is plainly conditional, cafes may be 
put, where refiftance with all its confequences feems 
more likely to produce public good, than non-refift- 
ance. If therefore a man can lay his hand upon his 
heart, and fairly declare, that he is not influenced by 
ambition, felf-intereft, envy, refentment, &c. but 
merely by tendernefs and good-will to the public, 
I cannot prefume to fay, that he is to be feftrained, 
or that chriftianity, that perfect lam of liberty, whofe 
end is peace and good-will to men y fhould be made 
an obftruction to any truly benevolent endeavours, 
where chriftian liberty is not made ufe of as a cloak 
for malicioufnejs. But thefe cafes are fo rare, that it 
is needlefs to give any rules about them. In public 
difturbances, when men's paflions are up, there are 
fo many violences on all hands, that it is impoflible 
to fay, which fide one would wilh to have uppermoft; 
only there is always a prejudice in favour of the 
laft eftablifhment, becaufe the minds of the multitude 
may be quieted foonef by getting into the former 


joo Of the Rule of Life. 

road. Rules of this kincbcan only be fuppofed to 
relate to thofe that are difpofed to obey them, which 
are very few in comparifon. If one could fuppofe, 
that all would obey implicitly, no difturbance could 
arife; if all difobey, it is infinite anarchy. There- 
fore, of all the intermediate fuppofitions, thofe feem 
to be the beft, in which moil: obey. In fhort, it 
appears to be the duty of a good chriftian to fit 
frill, and fuffer the children of this world to difpute 
and fight about it j only fubmitting himfelf to the 
powers in being, whatever they are (they cannot be 
entitled to lefs regard than the heathen emperors, to 
whom the apoftles enjoined obedience) for the fake 
of peace and quietnefs to himfelf and others ; and, as 
much as in him lies, moderating the heats and ani- 
mofuies of parties againft each other. However, I 
do not mean, that thofe who, according to the con- 
ftituuon of a government, have an executive or le- 
giflative power lodged with them, fhould not exert ^t 
with authority. As to the cafe of oaths, no view of 
public good can , be fufficient to fuperfede fo facred 
an obligation. And thus it is not only allowed to, 
buc even required of, a good chriftian, to be adive 
in the defence of an eftablifhment, to which he has 
given an oath to that purpofe. 

Other rules, befides the ten foregoing, might be 
afllgned, or thefe expreficd in a different way. J 
have put down thofe which appear to me to be, in 
fad, the chief principles of focial conduct to wife 
and good men. They muft all be fuppofed to in- 
fluence and interpret each other. Let a man only 
divert himfelf of all felf-regards, as much as pofiible, 
and love his neighbour as himfelf, and God above 
all, and he will generally find fome point, and that 
without much difficulty or perplexity, in which all 
thefe rules unite to produce the greateil good, upon 
the whole, to all the perfons concerned. 

I proceed 

Of the Rule of Life. 301 

I proceed next to confider briefly the feveral 
principal relations of life, and the duties arifing 
from them, according to the foregoing or fuch like 

The firft of thefe is that of hufband and wife. 
The loving our neighbour as ourfelves begins here. 
This is the fit ft inftance of it; and, where this love 
is mutual and perfect, there an entire equality of 
the two fexes takes place. The authority of the 
man is only a mark of our prefent degenerate ftate, 
by reafon of which dominion muft be placed fome- 
where, and therefore in the man, as being of greater 
bodily ftrength and firmnefs of mind. But this is 
that kind of right or property, which men are ob- 
liged to give up, though women are alfo obliged to 
acknowledge it. Suppofe the fexes to fhare all their 
joys and griefs perfectly, to have an entire concern 
for each other, and efpecially fbf each other's eter- 
nal welfare, and they are, as it were, reinftated in 
paradife; and the dominion of the man over the 
woman, with her fubjection, and confequent reluct- 
ance, can only take place again upon their mutual 
tranfgreffion. And though in this imperfect ftate it 
feems impoflible, from the theory above given, for 
any one to love another, in every branch of defire 
and happinefs, entirely as himfelf; yet there appear 
to be fuch near approaches to it in benevolent, de- 
vout, married perfons, united upon right motives, as 
to annihilate all confiderable, or even perceptible 
diftinction. It is of the utmoft importance, that this 
grand foundation of all benevolence be duly laid, on 
account both of public and private happinefs. The 
chief or only means of doing this is religion. Where 
both parties have it in a high degree, they cannot fail 
of mutual happinefs i fcarce, if one have it: where 
both are greatly defective in this principal article, it 
is almoft impofTible but diffenfionSj uneafinefs, and 
mutual offences, (hould arife. 


302 Of the Rule of Life. 

The fecond great relation of life is that of parents 
to children , the principal duty of which is the 
giving a right education, or the imprinting fuch 
aflbciations upon the minds of children, as may 
conduct them fafe through the labyrinths of tliis 
world to a happy futurity. Religion therefore here 
again appears to be the one only neceffary thing.. It 
"is the defign of the prefent chapter to fhew, that it 
contributes as certainly to give us the maximum of 
happinefs in this world, at lead the faired pro- 
fpect of it, as to fecure it in the next. So that a 
parent mutt be led to the inculcating virtue in every 
view. The chief errors in education are owing 
to the want of this perfuafion in a practical way ; 
or to a falfe tendernefs and opinion of the parent, 
whereby he is led to believe, or flatter himfelf, that 
his child's nature is not fo degenerate and corrupt, 
as to require frequent corrections and reftraints, with 
perpetual encouragements and incentives to virtue 
by reward, example, advice, books, converfation, 
&c. Otherwife it would appear from the hiftory 
of the mind, its affections and pafllons, before given, 
that few children would mifcarry. Where due care 
is taken from the firft, little feverity would ordi- 
narily be necefiary; but, in proportion as this care 
is neglected in the firft years, a much greater degree 
of care, with high degrees of feverity both bodily 
and mental, become abfolutely requifite to pre- 
ferve from mifery here and hereafter. We fee that 
men of the ordinary ftandard in virtue are feldom 
brought to a ftate of repentance and falvation, 
without great fufferings, both bodily and mental, 
from difeafes, fad external accidents, deaths of 
friends, lofs of fortunes, &c. How then can it 
be fuppofed, that children can be brought into the 
right way, without analogous methods, both bodily, 
and mental, though gentler indeed, in proportion as 
the child's age is more tender ? And this ought to 


Of tbe Rule of Life. 303 

make all affectionate parents labour from the earlieft 
dawnings of underftanding and defire, to check the 
growing obftinacy of the will ; curb all Tallies of 
paffion j imprefs the deepeft, moft amiable, reveren- 
tial, and awful apprehenfions of God, a future ftate, 
and all facred things ; reftrain anger, jealoufy, felfifh- 
nefs; encourage love, compaffion, generofity, for- 
givenefs, gratitude ; excite, and even compel to, 
fuch induftry as the tender age will properly admit. 
For one principal end and difficulty of life is to 
generate fuch moderate, varying, and perpetually 
actuating motives, by means of the natural fenfible 
defires being alTociated with, and parcelled out upon 
foreign objects, as may keep up a ftate of moderate 
cheerfulnefs, and ufeful employment, during the 
whole courfe of our lives : whereas fenfual, blind, 
an uninformed defire prefles violently for immediate 
gratification, is injurious to others, and deftroys its 
own aims, or, at the beft, gives way only to fpleen 
and diffatisfaction. 

As to the otKer duties towards children, fuch as 
care of their prefent and future health of body, pro- > 
vifion of external neceffaries and conveniencies for 
them, &c. they are fufficiently obvious, and can 
fcarce be neglected by thofe, who are truly folicitous 
about the principal point, a religious education. 

The duties of children to. parents are fubmiffion, 
obedience, gratitude even to the worft. For it can 
fcarce be fuppofed, that children have not great ob- 
ligations to their parents, upon the whole. And as 
the love of parents to children may ferve to give 
parents a feeling conviction of the infinite benevolence 
of God our heavenly Father, fo the fubmiffion of 
children to parents is the pattern of, and introduction 
to, true religion ; and therefore is of infinite impor- 
tance to be duly paid. Which may ferve as an 
admonition both to parents, to fhew themfelves fie 


304 Of the Rule of Life. 

vicegerents of God, and to children to give them the 
refpect due to them as fuch. 

As the reciprocal duties between parents and chil- 
dren are patterns of the reciprocal duties between 
fuperiors and inferiors of all kinds ; fo the duties and 
afFe'clions between brethren and fitters are our guides 
and monitors in refpec"l of equals ; both which things 
are intimated in thefe and fuch like fcripture phrafes j 
intrcat an elder as a father y the younger men as brethren-, 
love as brethren^ &c. The feveral events of child- 
hood, the conjunction of interefts, the examples of 
ocheiSj &c. irnprefs upon us a greater concern, love, 
companion, &c. for all perfons nearly related to us 
in blood, than for others in like circumftances. And 
though the ultimate ratio of duty is to love every man 
equally, becaufe we are to love every man as our- 
felves ; yet fince our condition here keeps us in fome 
degree the neceflary (laves of felf-love, it follows that 
neither ought we to love all perfons equally, but our 4 
relations, friends, and enemies, preferably to utter 
ftrangers ; left, in endeavouring to love all equally, 
we eome not to love others more, but our brethren 
lefs, than we did before. 

The cleaving of our affections to all with whom 
we have frequent pleafing intercourfes, with mutual 
obligations, is the foundation of friendfliip ; which yet 
cannot fubfift long, but amongft the truly religious. 
And great care ought to be taken here, not to have 
men's perfons in admiration, not to efteem our friend 
a nonpareil. There is great pride and vanity in this, 
juft as in the like opinions concerning ourlelves, 
our children, pofleffions, &c. Such intimacies, by 
exalting one above meafure in our love and efteem, 
muft deprefs others ; and they generally end in jea- 
loufies and quarrels, even between the two inti- 
mates. All men are frail and imperfed, and it is 
a great injury to any man, to think more highly of 
him than he deferves, and to treat him fo. Our 


Of the Rule of Life. 305 

regards cannot continue long drained up to an un- 
natural pitch. And if we confider, that we all have 
a proper bulincfs in life, which engages us in a 
variety of chriltian actions, and confequemly of 
friendfhips and intimacies, this peculiar attachment 
of one perfon to another of the fame fex will appear 
inconfiftent with the duties of life. Where the fexes 
are different, fuch an attachment is either with a 
view to marriage, or elfe it becomes liable to ftill 
greater objections. 

As to enemies, the forgiving them, praying for 
them, doing them good offices, companion to them 
as expofing themfelves to fufferings by a wrong 
behaviour, the ienfe of our having injured them, 
which is generally the cafe more or lefs, &c. have in 
generous and religious men a peculiar tendency to 
excire love and compaflion for them. 

The laft relation which I (hall confider is that 
of magistrates, i. e. the perfons who in each fociety 
have the legiQativc or executive powers, or both, 
committed to them. The duty arifing from this re- 
lation may be diftinguifhed into two branches. Firft, 
That towards the perfons over whom the magiftrate 
prefides j lecondiy, that towards other dates. 

In refpect of the firft, we may at once affirm, that 
the principal care of a magiftrate, of the father of 
a people, is to encourage and enforce benevolence 
and piety,, the belief and practice of natural and 
revealed religion ; and to difcourage and reftrain 
infidelity, profanenefs, and immorality, as much as 
pofiible. And this, 

Firft, Becaufe the concerns of another world are 
of infinitely greater importance than any relating to 
this ; fo that he who wilhes well to a people, and 
prefides over them for their good, cannot but be 
chiefly folicitous and induftrious in this particular. 
r Secondly, Becaufe even the prefent well- being of 
ftates depends entirely upon the private virtues of the 

VOL. II. X feveral 

306 Of the Rule of Life. 

feveral ranks and orders of men. For the public 
happinefs is compounded of the happinefs of the 
feveral individuals compofing the body politic j 
and the virtues of induftry, temperance, chaftity, 
meeknefs, juftice, generofity, devotion, refignation, 
&c. have a tendency to promote the happinefs 
both of the perfons that poflefs them, and of 

It will therefore be the duty of the magiftrate, 
in making and executing laws, to inquire which 
method appears to be mod conducive to virtue in 
the people, to purfue this fimply and fteadily, and 
not to doubt but that all the fubordinate ends of go- 
vernment, as thofe of increafing the riches and power 
of the date, promoting arts and fciences, &c. will 
be obtained in fuch degrees as they ought, as are 
productive of real happinefs to the people, by the 
fame means. But where it is doubtful what method 
is mod conducive to virtue, there the fubordinate 
ends are' to be taken into consideration, each accord- 
ing to its value : juft as in the cafe of felf-intereft 
i,n individuals , where benevolence, piety, and the 
moral fenfe, are entirely filent, there cool, rational 
felf-intereft may, and, as it appears, ought to be 
admitted as a principle of action. 

As to foreign ftates, they, and confequently the 
magiftrates who prefi4e over them, are under the 
fame obligations, as private perfons are in refpect of 
each other. Thus, fince a private perfon, in order 
to obtain his own greateft happinefs, even in this 
world, muft obey the precepts of benevolence, piety, 
and the moral fenfe, with an abfolute and implicit 
confidence in them ; fo ftates, i. e. their governors 
or reprefentatives, ought to deal with each other 
according to juftice, generofity, charity, &c. even 
from the mere principle of intereft. For the reafon 
is the fame in both cafes. If individuals be all 
members of the fame myftical body, much more 


Of the Rule of Life. 307 

are ftates, /. e. large collections of individuals. They 
ought therefore to have the fame care for each 
other, as for themfelvesj and whoever is an aggref- 
for, or injurious, muft expect to fuffer, as in private 
life. 'They that take the fword Jhall peri/h by the 
Jword. He that leadetb into captivity muft go into 
captivity. Babylon mud receive double for all her in- 
Jults upon other nations, &c. All which is verified 
by obfervation, both in regard to private perfons, 
and to ftates, as far as it is reafonable for us to 
expect to fee it verified, in this our ignorance of the 
real quantities of virtue and vice, and of happinefs 
and mifery. But in all obfervations of this kind 
we ought conftantly to bear in mind, that God's 
judgments are unfearcbable, and his ways paft finding 
out t in particular cafes, though fufficiently manifeft 
in the general courfe and tenor of things. By the 
laft he fhews us his moral attributes, his providence, 
and his relation to us as our governor; by the firft: 
he humbles the pride, rafhnefs, and felf- conceit, of 
human underftanding. 

It may not perhaps be improper here to fay fome- 
thing concerning the lawfulnefs of war. Now this 
regards either the magiftrate, or the fubjecl:. Firft, 
then, it is very evident, that as private perfons 
are, in general, prohibited by the law of C drift to 
revenge themfelves, refift evil, &c. fo are ftates, 
and confcquently, magiftrates. But then as private 
perfons have, under chriftianity, that perfeft law 
of liberty^ a power to punifti injuries done to them- 
lelves, oppoie violence offered to themfelves, &c. 
when their view in this is a finccre regard to 
others, as affected by thefe injuries and violences, 
fo magiftrates have a power, and by confequence 
lie under an obligation, of the like kind, where 
the real motive is tendernefs to their own people 
in a juft caufe, or a regard to the general welfare 
of their own ftate, and the neighbouring ones. Se- 

X a condly, 

308 Of tbe Rule of Life. 


condly, Though it feems entirely unjuftifiable for 
private perfons to enter upon the profeflion of war 
wantonly, and with a view to riches, honours, &c. 
cfpecially fince fo much violence and cruelty, and fo 
many temptations, attend this profeflion j yet where 
a perfon is already engaged, and has very urgent 
realbns reftraining him from withdrawing, or receives 
a particular command from a lawful magiftrate, it 
feems to be allowable, or even his duty. 


Of the Rule of Life, 309 





The Love of God regulates, improves, and perfetts all the 
other Parts of our Nature, and affords a Pleafure 
Juperior in Kind and Degree to all tbe reft : it is there- 
fore our primary Purfuit, and ultimate End. 

IN what manner the precepts of piety regulate, 
improve, and perfect the four inferior claffes of 
pleafure, viz. thofe of fenfation, imagination, am- 
bition, and felf-intereft, has been (hewn already in 
this chapter. But the precepts of piety are thofe 
which teach us, what homage of our affections, and 
external actions, ought to be addreffed to the Deity 
in a direct and immediate manner; and it will ap- 
pear under the two nexc propofitions, in which the 
affections and actions enjoined by piety are particu- 
larly confidered, that all thefe terminate ultimately 
in the Jove of God, and are abforbed by it : the 
love of God does therefore regulate, improve, and 
perfect all the four inferior clafies of pleafure. 

The fame thing is evident with refpect to the 
whole of our natures, in a fhorter manner, and ac- 
cording to the ufual fenfe, in which the phrafe of 
the love of God is taken. For the perpetual exertion 
of a pleating affection towards a being infinite in 
power, knowledge, and goodnefs, and who is alfo 
our friend and father, cannot but enhance all our 
joys, and alleviate all our forrows; the fenfe of his 

X 3 prefence 

jio Of the Rule of Life. 

prefence and protection will reftrain all actions, that 
are exceffive, irregular, or hurtful ; fupport and 
encourage us in all fuch as are of a contrary nature ; 
and infufe fuch peace and tranquillity of mind, as 
will enable us to fee clearly, and act uniformly. The 
perfection therefore of every part of our natures 
muft depend upon the love of God, and the con- 
flant comfortable fenfe of his prefence. 

With refpect to benevolence, or the love of our 
neighbour, it may be obfervcd, that this can never 
be free from s partiality and felfifhnefs, till we take 
our ftation in the divine nature, and view every 
thing from thence, and in the relation which it bears 
to God. If the relation to ourfelves be made the 
point of view, our profpect muft be narrow, and the 
appearance of what we do fee diftorted. When we 
confider the fcenes of folly, vanity, and mifery, 
which muft prefent themfelves to our fight in this 
point ; when we are difappointed in the happinefs 
of our friends, or feel the refentment of our ene- 
mies j our benevolence will begin to languifh, and 
our hearts to fail us -, we (hall complain- of the cor- 
ruption and wickednefs of that world, which we 
have hitherto loved with a benevolence merely hu- 
man ; and Ihew by our complaints, that we are ftill 
deeply tinctured with the fame corruption and wick- 
ednefs. This is generally the cafe with young and 
unexperienced perfons, in the beginning of a virtuous 
courfe, and before they have made a due advance- 
ment in the ways of piety. Human benevolence, 
though Jweet in tbe mouth, is bitter in the belly -, and 
the difappointments which ic meets with, are fome- 
times apt to incline us to call the divine goodnefs in 
queflion. But he who is poflefled of a full affurance 
of this, who loves God with his whole powers, as 
an inexhauftible fountain of love and beneficence to 
all his creatures, at all times, and in all places, as 
much when he chaftifes, as when he rewards, will 


Of the Rule of Life. 311 

learn thereby to love enemies, as well as friends; 
the finful and miferable, as well as the holy and 
happy ; to rejoice, and give thanks, for every thing 
which he fees and feels, however irreconcileable, to 
his prefent fuggeftions ; and to labour, as an inftru- 
ment under God, for the promotion of virtue and 
happinefs, with real courage and conftancy, knowing 
that bis labour faall not be in vain in the Lord. 

In like manner, the moral fenfe requires a perpe- 
tual direction and fupport from the love of God, in 
order to keep it fteady and pure. When men ceafe 
to regard God in a due meafure, and to make him 
their ultimate end, having fome other end, beyond 
which they do not look, they are very apt to relapfe 
into negligence and callofity, and to aft without any 
virtuous principle; and, on the other hand, if they 
often look up to him, but not with a filial love and 
confidence, thofe weighty matters of the law, they 
tithe mint, anife, and cumin, and fill themfelves with 
cndlefs fcruples and anxieties about the lawfulnefs and 
unlawfulnefs of trivial actions : whereas he who loves 
God with all his heart, cannot but have a conftant 
care not to offend him, at the fame time that his 
amiable notions of God, and the confcioufnefs of his 
love and finccrity towards him, are fuch a fund of 
hope and joy, as precludes all fcruples that are unwor- 
thy of the divine goodnefs, or unfuitable to our pre- 
fent ftate of frailty and ignorance. 

We are next to (hew, that the love of God affords 
a pleafure which is fuperior in kind and degree to all 
the reft, of which our natures are capable. Now 
this will appear, 

Firft, Becaule God is light, and in him there is no 
darknefs at all-, becaufe he is love itfelf, fuch love 
as quite cafts out all fear. The love and contem- 
plation of his perfection and happinefs will transform 
us into his likenefs, into that image of him in which 

X 4 we 

Of the Rule of 'Life. 

we were firft made ; will make us partakers of the 
divine nature, and confequently of the perfection and 
happinefs of it. Our wills may thus be united to his 
will, and therefore rendered free from difappoint- 
ments} we (hall, by degrees, fee every thing as God 
fees it, *'. e. fee every thing that he has made to be 
good, 10 be an object of pleafure. It is true, that 
all this, in its perfect fenfe, in its ultimate ratio, can 
only be faid by way of anticipation : whilft we carry 
ihefe flefhly tabernacles about with us, we mud have 
crofles to bear, frailties, and thorns in the fielh, to 
ftruesjle with. But dill our ftrenoth will at laft be 

OO m ~J 

made perfect through weaknefs ; and fome devout 
perfons appear to have been fo far transformed, in 
this life, as to acquiefce, and even rejoice, in the 
events of it, however afflicting apparently, to be 
freed from fear and folicitude, and to receive their 
daily bread with conftant thankful nefs, with joy #- 
Jpeakable, and full of glory. ,And though the number 
of thefe happy perfons has probably been very fnra!l 
comparatively, though the path be not frequented 
and beaten; yet we may afiure ourfelves, that it is 
in the power of all to arrive at the fame date, if their 
love and devotion be fufficiently earned. All other 
loves, with all their defilements and idolatries, will 
die away in due order and proportion, in the heart, 
which yields itfelf to God : for they are all impure 
and idolatrous, except when confidered as the me- 
thods appointed by God to beget in us the love of 
himfelf: they all leave ftainsj have a mixture of evil, 
as well as of good} they muft all be tried and puri- 
fied by the fire of his love, and pafs thereby from 
, human to divine. 

. Secondly, God is our centre, and the love of 
him a pleafure fuperior to all the reft, not only on ac- 
count of the mixture of pain in all the reft, as fhewn 
in the laft paragraph, but alfo becaufe they all point to 
it, like fo many lines terminating in the fame centre. 


Of the Rule of Life. 313 

When men have entered fufficiently into the ways of 
piety, God appears more and more to them in the 
whole courfe and tenor of their lives ; and by uni- 
ting himfelf with all their lenfations, and intellectual 
perceptions, overpowers all the pains j augments, 
and attracts to himftlf, all the pleafures. Every 
thing fweer, beautiful, or glorious, brings in the idea 
of God, mixes with it, and vaniflies into it, For all 
is God's; he is the only caufe and icality ; and the 
exiftence of every thing elfe is only the effect, 
pledge, and proof, of his exiftence and glory. Lee 
the mind be once duly feafoned with this truth, and 
its practical applications, and every the moft indiffer- 
ent thing will become food for religious medita- 
tion, a book of devotion, and a pfalm of praife. 
And when the purity and perfection of the pleafures 
of theopathy, fct forth in the laft article, are added 
to their unlimited extent, as it appears in this, it 
is eafy to fee, that they mud be far fuperior to all the 
reft both in kind and degree. We may fee alfo, that 
the frame of our nature, and particularly its fubjection 
to the power of aflbciation, has an obvious and necef- 
fary tendency to make the love of God, in fact, fupe- 
rior to our other affections. If we luppofe creatures 
fubject to the law of aflbciation to be placed in the 
midft of a variety of pleafures and pains, the fum 
total of the firft being greater than that of the laft, 
and to connect God with each as its fole caufe, pain 
will be overpowered by pleafure, and the indefinite 
number of compound pleafures refulting from afib- 
ciation be at laft united entirely with the idea of 
God. And this our ultimate happinefs will be acce- 
lerated or retarded, according as we apply ourfelves 
more or lefs to the cultivation of the devout af- 
fc&ions, to reading, and meditation upon divine 
fubjects, to prayer and praife. Thus we lhall the 
fooner learn to join with the angels, and Jpirits of juft 
men made perfeft, in afcribing power, and riches, find 


314 Of the Rule of Life. 

wifdomy and Jirength, and honour, and glory, and 
bkjfing, and every aflbciated luftre, to their true 
fountain, to God and the Lamb. 

Thirdly, As all the other pleafures have a mixture 
of pain and impurity in them, and are all evidently 
means, not ends, fo are the objects of them fre- 
quently taken from us; whereas no time, place, or 
circumftance of life, can deprive us of, no height, 
depth, oc creature of any kind, can feparate us from, 
the love of God. Our hearts may be turned to 
him in the greateft external confufion, as well as in 
the deepeft filence and retirement. All the duties of 
life, when directed to God, become pleafures; and 
by the fame means, every the fmalleft action be- 
comes the difcharge of the proper duty of the time 
and place. Thus we may redeem our time, and 
turn it to the beft advantage ; thus we may convert 
every fituation and event of life into prefent comfort, 
and future felicity. 

Fourthly, When the love of God is made thus to 
arife from every object, and to exert itfelf in every 
action, it becomes of a permanent nature, fuitable 
to our prefent frame ; and will not pafs into dead- 
nefs and difguft, as our other pleafures do from re- 
peated gratification. 

It is true indeed, that novices in the ways of piety 
and devotion are frequently, and more experienced 
perfons fometimes, affected with fpiritual aridity and 
dejection j but then this feems to be either from 
pride, or fpiritual felfifhnefs, ;'. e. from the impurity 
of their love to God. They give themfelves up 
perhaps to raptures, and extatic tranfports, from 
the prefent pleafures which they afford, to the neg- 
lect of the great duties of life, of charity, friendfhip, 
induftry ; or they think themfeives the peculiar fa- 
vourites of heaven on account of thefe raptures ; and 
defpife and cenfure others, as of inferior clafies, in 
the fchool of piety. Now thefe violent agitations of 


Of the Rule of Life. 315 

the brain cannot recur often without pafllng out of the 
limits of pleafure into thofe of pain ; and particu- 
larly into the mental pains, of morofenefs, jealoufy, 
fear, dejection, and melancholy. Both \ the gieatnefs 
and the famenefs of the plealures concur, as in other 
cafes, to convert them into pains. But it does not 
appear, that thofe who feek God in all his works, 
and receive all the pleafures and pains which the 
order of his providence offers, with thankfulnefs, and 
fidelity in' their duty, as coming from his hand, would 
either want that variety, or that temperature, which 
in our prefent ftate is neceflary to make the love of 
God a perpetual fund of joy. And it feemsr peculi- 
arly proper to remark here, that if the primitive 
chriftians, inftead of retiring into defarts, caves, and 
cells, for the cultivation of fpeculative devotion, had 
continued to (hew forth and praftife the love of God 
by expofing themfelves to all fuch difficulties and 
dangers, as had arifen in the inceffant propagation of 
the everlafting gofpel, to every nation, and kindred, 
and tongue, and people, they would perhaps have re- 
joiced evermore, even in the greateft tribulations, as 
the apoftles, and their immediate followers, who kepi 
their firft love-, feem- to have done-, alfo that the pre- 
fent and future generations of chriftians can never 
be delivered from fuperftitious fears and anxieties, 
from drynefs, fcrupulofity, and dejection, till they 
go into all the world, and preach the gofpel to every 
creature, according to our Saviour's laft command. 
However, till this happy time comes, the alloy of 
the pleafures of theopathy with pain ferves to remind 
us of our fallen ftate, and of the greatnefs of our 
fall, fince our primary and pureft pleafures are fubject 
to fuch an alloy j and thus, learning companion, 
humility, and fubmiffion to God, we (hall be exalted 
thereby, and, after we have fuffered a while, be per- 
feRed, JlabHJhed, Jirengtbened, fettled. 


Of the Rule vf Life. 


fa deduce practical Rules concerning the 'Theepathetic 
Jffefiions, Faith, Fear, Gratitude^ Hope, Truf, 
Rcjignation, and Love. 


THE firft of the theopathetic affections is faith. 
He that cometh to God muft believe that he is ; and 
that he is a reiaarder of them that diligently Jeek him. 
But this faith is of very different degrees, even in thofe 
who equally acknowledge their belief of the exiftencc? of 
God, and agree in their expreffions concerning his 
nature and attributes, according as their ideas of 
this kind are more or lefs vivid and perfect, and 
recur more or lefs frequently in the events of life, 
It is probable indeed, that no man, efpecially in a 
chriftian country, can be utterly devoid of faith. 
The impreffion made upon us in infancy, our 
converfation afterwards, the books that we read, 
and the wonders of the vifible world, all concur 
to generate ideas of the power and knowledge of God 
at lead, and to excite fuch degrees of fear, as give 
a reality to the ideas, and extort fo much of aflent, 
that the moft profeffed atheifts, did they reflect upon 
what pafles in their thoughts, and declare it fin- 
ceiely, could not but acknowledge, that at certain 
times they are like the devils, who believe and tremble. 
After thefe come the perfons who dare not but own 
God in words, who have few or no objections to 
his nature and attributes, or who can even produce 
many arguments and demonftrations in favour of 
them ; and yet put away the thoughts of God 33 
much as they are able. The next degree is of fuch 
as try to Jerve God and mammon together in various 
proportions ; till at lad we come to thofe, whofe heart 
is perfeff before God, who love him with all their 


Of the Rule of Life. 317 

powers, and walk in bis prefence continually. Now 
this laft ftate of faith is that which the fcripture puts 
as equivalent to our whole duty : for in this laft ftate 
it comprehends, arid coincides with, all the other 
theopathetic affections, when, they are likewife carried 
to their ultimate perfection. In their firft rife they all 
differ from one another j in their laft ftate they all 
unite together, and may be expreffed by the name of 
any fingle one, when fuppofcd perfect ; though the 
moft ufual, proper, and emphatic appellation feems 
to be the phrafe of the love of God> as before noted. 
Let us now inquire by what methods men may be 
moft accelerated in their progrefs from the firft dawn- 
ings of faith in infancy to its ultimate perfection. 

Firft, then, An early acquaintance with the fcrip- 
tures, and the conftant ftudy of them, is the prin- 
cipal means whereby this faith is firft to be gene- 
rated, and afterwards improved and perfected. God 
taught mankind before the flood, and for fome ages 
afterwards, his exiftence, nature, and attributes, by 
cxprefs revelation ; and therefore it cannot but be 
the proper method for begetting faith in children, 
who are more ignorant, and unqualified for rational 
deductions, than adults in the rudeft ages of the 
world, to initiate them early in the records of re- 
ligion. And though afterwards (be invifible things 
of God may be known by the vifible creation, yet the 
miracles delivered in. the fcriptures have a peculiar 
tendency to awaken the atrention, and to add that 
force, luftre, and veneration, to our ideas of God, 
and his attributes, which are the caufes and con- 
comitants of afient or faith, according to the theory 
of thefc papers. The fame thing holds of the 
prophecies, precepts, promifes, and threatening*, of 
the fcriptures, in their refpective degrees; and it 
feems, in a manner, impofiible for any one to be 
perpetually converfant in them, without this happy 
influence. All thofe perfons therefore, who are fo 


318 Of the Rule of Life. 

far advanced in faith, as to cry out with the father 
of the lunatic in the gofpel, Lord, I believe ; help 
tbou my unbelief , ought, in confequence of this prayer, 
to apply themfelves to the daily ftudy of, and medita- 
tion upon, the fcriptures. To which it is to be added, 
that as faith in Chrift is alto necefiary, as well as faith 
in the one God and Father of all, and can be learnt no 
other way than from the fcriptures, we ought upon 
this account alfo to efteem them as the principal 
means, which God has put in our power, for the 
generation and improvement of our faith : faith cometb 
by bearing^ and hearing by the word of God. 

Secondly, To the ftudy of the word of God muft 
be joined that of his works. They are in pll things 
analogous to each other, and are perpetual com- 
ments upon each other. I do not mean, that a man 
muft be a deep philofopher, in order to have faith in 
God j for, on the contrary, philofophical refearches, 
when purfued from curiofity or ambition, are vain 
deceit^ and lead people to make Jhipwreck of faith. I 
would only recommend to every perfon, according 
to his knowledge and abilities, to confider the works 
of God as his works j to refer all the power, wifdom, 
and goodnefs in them, to him, as the fole fountain of 
thefe ; and to dwell upon the vaftnefs, the luftre, the 
beauty, the beneficence, which are obvious to vulgar 
as well as philofophic eyes, tiH fuch time as they have 
raifed devotion in the heart. Such exercifes would 
greatly affirt to overcome that gloominefs and fcepti- 
cifm, which fometimes hang about our conceptions 
of the invifible world, and by their reiterate^ im- 
preffions generate the caufes of affent. We have 
examples of this in the Old Teftament, particularly 
in the Pfalms ; and the writers do not feem to have 
been eminent for any peculiar depth in curious in- 
quiries. Men of the ordinary ranks in life in thefe 
I times have as much probably of the myfteries of 


Of the Rule of Life. 319 

nature unfolded to them, as great faints in ancient 
times ; fo that they want nothing to enable them to 
draw the fame faith and devotion from the works of 
creation, but the fame earned defire to do it. 

Thirdly, An upright heart, and a fincere endea- 
vour to do our whole duty, are necefTary to fup- 
port our faith, after it is generated." While any fin 
remains unconquered, while there are any fecret mif- 
givings, the idea of God will be fo uneafy to the 
mind, as not to recur frequently j men will feek for 
refuge in vain amufements j and the falfe hopes of this 
world will exclude the real ones of another, and make 
religion appear like a dream. This is the cafe with 
far the greateft part of mankind j they live rather by 
fight than faith j and are not fufficiently aware, that 
a little leaven leavens the whole lump, and that one 
favourite purfuit of this world totally eclipfes thofe 
glories of the other, that fight of the invifible God, 
which the pure in heart, like Mofes, are favoured 
with. The fame partiality of our obedience and de- 
votion is the caufe, that the writings of the Old and 
New Teftaments do not at once convince all, who 
perufe them, of their divine authority, and of the con- 
fequent truth of revealed religion. We judge of 
the frame of men's minds by that of our own, as 
appears from the theory of aflbciation j and what- 
ever differs in a great degree from our own, puts on 
the appearance of fomething romantic and incredible. 
This is evident in the daily intercourfes of human 
life. Corrupt and defigning men put the failed 
and mod unnatural conftructions upon the actions of 
the bulk of mankind, and often deceive themfelves 
thereby j and the bulk of mankind are quite at a lofs 
to conceive and believe the poffibility of very hero- 
ical, generous, pious actions. And thus profane men 
turn into ridicule paflages in the fcriptures, which 
demand the higheft admiration and applaufe j and 
men of inferior degrees of goodnefs, though they 


320 Of tbe Ruk of Life. 

do not affent to this, are a little daggered at it. But 
they who will do the will of God, will loon perceive 
the doftrine of ihe fcriptures to be from him j they 
who will pref> forward to the perfection of Mo/es, 
Daniel^ St. Peter, or St. Paul, will not only acquit 
them readily of the charge of enthufiaim and impof- 
ture, but will alfo fee and feel experimentally fuch 
unqutftjonable critecions of truth, fuch a reality, in 
their words and actions, as will difpel all the mifts 
of fcepticifm and infidelity, with regard either to 
natural or revealed religion. 

It is much to be wifaed, that thefe things were fe- 
rioufly weighed, and laid to heart, by thofe half-pious 
perfons, who abftain from grofs fins, and Jeek, though 
they do not ftrive, to enter in at tbe fir ait gate, who are 
not far from the kingdom of God. Thefe perfons might, 
by a little more attention to the word #nd works of 
God in a practical way, and cafting away tbe fin that 
does mofl eajily bejet them, not only arrive at that .full 
ajfurance of faith y which is our greateft happinefs in 
this world, and the earned of an eternal crown here- 
after, but alfo let their light Jo Jhine before men t as that 
they, feeing their good works, would glorify their Father^ 
which is in heaven, 


The immediate confequence of faith in God, in 
its. imperfect ftate, is fear. And though love does 
arife alfo, yet it is faint and tranfient for a long 
time, whereas the fear is ftrong and vivid, and re- 
curs generally with every recollection of the divine 
attributes. The caufe of all this is unfolded in thefe 
papers. For, fear being the offspring of bodily pain, 
and this being much more acute than bodily plea- 
fure, the parent of love, it follows that fear muft, 
in general, be (Ironger than love in their nafcent 
ftatc. The auguft ideas of infinite time and fpace, 
of the glories of heaven, and the torments of hell, 


Of the Rule of Life. 321 

of the great works of the creation, &c. which ac- 
company the idea of God, farther contribute to agitate 
the mind, and to carry it within the limits of pain 
or fear. At the fame time we fee, that thefe ter- 
rifying idea$, when mixed with thofe which generate 
love, and moderated by frequent recurrency, and 
other means, fo as to fall back within the limits of 
pleafure, mud greatly increafe our love, and other 
pleafing affections, exerted towards the Deity. We 
are to inquire therefore, both how the fear of God 
may moft effectually be generated, and how it may 
be converted mod fpeedily into love and delight in 
God. And the anfwer will be, that we muft make 
ufe of the means before recommended for the gene- 
ration and increafe of faith, viz. the ftudy of the 
word and works of God, and a fincere endeavour to 
difcharge the whole of our duty. 

That the laft is neceffary to keep up the fear of 
Godi may appear, inafmuch as thofe who continue 
to difbbey, muft, by degrees, fall into infenfibility 
and callofity ; the fiequent returns of the ideas of guile 
and fear make them fit eafier upon the mind, at the 
fame time that the remaining uneafmefs keeps thefe 
ideas, with all their aflbciates, out of view, in a great 
meafure, as has been mentioned already. 


Gratitude or thankfulnefs to God arifes from the 
recollection of benefits received, juft as that to men. 
And if we could lee and feel practically and perpe- 
tually, that God is the fole fpring of all action, our 
gratitude to God would abforb all kinds and degrees 
of it paid to men. Could we alfo look with the 
eye of faith into futurity, and be convinced really, 
that eye bath not Jeen t not ear beard, neither hath 
it entered into the heart of man to conceive, what things 
God has prepared for fuch as love him, that all things 
work together for their good, trials and afflictions as 

VOL. II. Y much, 

322 Of the Rule of Life. 

much, or more than any thing elfe, that every crea- 
ture fhall love, and blefs, and praife God at laft, 
and every one partake of the happinefs of all the 
reft, whilft yet we all, who are thus heirs of an ex- 
cefs of glory, perfection, and happinefs, are crea- 
tures of yefterday, called forth from nothing by 
God's almighty word; if, farther, we confider, that 
the Son of God became flefh, took our infirmities 
and forrows, and at laft died for us, God condefcend- 
ing thus to recommend and evidence his infinite 
love to us ; our hearts could not but overflow with 
fuch gratitude, as even to overpower our faith for a 
while. We mould then acknowledge, that all we are, 
and have, and hope for, are from him ; we mould 
praife him for all the bleffings paft, prefent, and fu- 
ture, which we receive in our own perfons, or in 
thofe of our fellow- creatures ; and defire nothing fo 
ardently, as to be admitted into his prefence, and 
the fociety of thofe happy beings, who reft not day 
and night, faying holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, 
which was, and is, and is to come. 


Hope and truft in God differ only in degree, the 
laft being a firmer hope, and, as it were, an affu- 
rance of the favour of God to ourfelves in particu- 
lar j and that he will provide for all our wants. 
Refignation is the fame hope and truft exerted, not- 
withftanding that prefent appearances may be contrary 
thereto : it is the fubmiffion of our own wills and 
judgments to God's, with an entire confidence in his 
care and goodnefs. Let us endeavour to place this 
hope, truft, and refignation, upon a fure foundation, 
laid in the word and works of God. 

Firft, then, The fcriptures give the ftrongeft and 
plaineft afiurances, that all thole who love and obey 
God here, will be admitted to pure, exalted, and 
eternal happinefs at the expiration of this life. If 


Of the Rule of Life. 323 

therefore our hearts do not condemn us, we may have 
this confidence in him -, we may have an entire hope 
and truft in him, as to the moft weighty of all 
points, our eternal falvation. And though natural 
reafon could not have difcovered this ineftimable 
hope to us, though it was not able to bring life and 
immortality to light, Chrift being the only Jure and 
fteadfaft anchor of that hope, which reaches beyond 
the veil of death j yet it readily concurs with all the 
fcripture declarations of ,this kind, and even affords 
a comfortable probability of itfelf, after we have once 
been enlightened by revelation. 

Secondly, The fcriptures, the voice of reafon, and 
careful obfervation, all concur to affure us, that a 
fecret providence attends upon the good ; protects 
and bleffes them in the events of the prefent life, 
ordinary and extraordinary ; delivers them in great 
trials and afflictions ; and difpofes every incident and 
circumftance in fuch a manner, as they would wifh 
and defire for themfelves, could they judge aright, 
and take the whole of things into their view. Now 
the full perfuafion of this would be a moft endearing 
motive to truft and confidence in God. For the 
things of this life, however inconfiderable when com- 
pared to thofe of another, do moft fenfibly affect 
even good men ; and, till they can arrive at a due 
indifference to this world, it is highly requifite, that 
they fhould turn their excefs of fenfibility into a 
motive to gratitude and truft. 

Thirdly, The afiurance that all our afflictions 
are the chattifements of our heavenly Father, and 
equally productive of happinefs with the other events 
of our lives, as mentioned in the laft paragraph, 
enables us to refign ourfelves. The highcft act of 
this kind is, for the moft part, in the article of 
death, when we are furrounded with infirmity, pain, 
and darknefs, and when all inferior comforts muft 
be given up. Now this theopathetic affection of 
Y 2 refignation, 

3 24 Of the Rule of Life. 

refignation, though it is in its firft ftate painful, and 
difficult to corrupt nature ; yet in its progrefs it 
becomes eafy, and at laft affords the deepeft peace 
and fatisfa&ion. By refigning all, we are delivered 
from every anxiety and difquietude, and enter upon 
the next period of our exiftence, with an impartiality 
and freedom, that qualifies us to enjoy whatever the 
order of providence beftows. And unlefs we were 
exercifed with fome trials and temptations of this 
kind, unlefs our wills were fometimes difappointed, 
we fhould at laft be fwallowed up by mere wilful- 
nefs, and purfue every object of defire with an un- 
conquerable eagernefs and obftinacy : we fhould 
alfo idolize ourfelves, as the authors of our fuccefs 
and bleffings , or, at the utmoft, fhould look no 
farther than the courfe of nature, and blind un- 
meaning fate ; whereas by learning a ready com- 
pliance with the will of God, however unexpected, 
we become partakers of his happinefs ; for his will 
can never be difappointed. 

Fourthly, Thofe perfons who believe the goodnefs 
of God, according to the third of the fuppofitions 
before-mentioned, i. e. who believe that he will ad- 
vance all his creatures to unlimited happinefs ulti- 
mately, may much more eafily refign themfelves to 
God, in all refpects, fpiritual as well as temporal, 
on that account. But it appears, that very pious 
perfons have an entire resignation, without any dif- 
tinfr. conception or belief of this hypothefis. They 
know and feel, as it were, that God is infinitely 
good, and that the judge of all the earth muft do right ; 
and, In this confidence, they leave the myfteries 
of his providence, his unfearchable judgments, to 
be unfolded in his own time, preserving them- 
felves from difquietude by an humble religious 
fcepticifm. But if it fhould pleafe God to difplay 
the riches of his mercy in the full difcovery and 
eftablifhment of the doclrine of univerfal reftora- 


Of tie Rule of Life. 

tion, in the latter times, which are now approaching, 
it will become us firft to receive it with the higheft 
gratitude, and then to ufe it as a means of accele- 
rating our progrefs towards the abfolute refignation of 
ourfelves, and all our fellow-creatures, into the hands 
of God. 

Fifthly, As the considerations contained in the 
four laft paragraphs may contribute to beget hope, 
truft, and refignation in us, fo all the foregoing 
theopathetic affe&ions, and particularly gratitude, 
with all the means of obtaining them, confpire to 
the fame purpofe, as will be eafily feen. 


The love of God may be confidered as the laft of 
the theopathetic affections, as before remarked ; for 
they all end in it, and it is the fum total of them all. 
In its firft rife, it muft, like all the reft of them, 
refemble the fympathetic one of the fame name ; 
and thus it differs from the reft in their firft rife, and 
is, as it were, contrary to fear. In its firft rife it 
is often tinctured with fondnefs and familiarity, and 
leans much towards enthufiafm ; as, on the other 
hand, the fear is often at firft a flavifh fuperftitious 
dread. By degrees the fear and love qualify each 
other ; and, by uniting with the other theopathetic 
affections, they all together coalefce into a reveren- 
tial, humble, filial love, attended with a peace, 
comfort, and joy, that pafs all belief of thofe who 
have not experienced it; fo that they look upon the 
difcourfes and writings of thofe who have, to be 
either hypocrify, or romantic jargon. The book 
of Pfalms affords the fublimett and moft correct 
expreffions of this kind, and can never be too much 
ftudied by thofe who would cherifh, purify, and per- 
fect: in themfelves a devout frame of mind. And 
this fingle circumftance, exclufive of all other con- 
fiderattons, appears to me a moft convincing proof of 

Y 3 the 

326 Of the Rule of Life. 

the divine authority of this book, and confequently 
of the reft of the books of the Old and New Tefta- 
ment. But they have all the fame evidence in their 
favour, in their refpective degrees ; they are all 
helps to beget in us the love of God, and tefts 
whether we have it or no; and he who meditates 
day and nigbt in the law of God, joining thereto the 
practical contemplation of his works, as prefcribed 
by the fcriptures, and the purification of his hands 
and heart, will foon arrive at that devout and happy 
ftate, which is fignified by the love of God. I will 
here add fome practical conlequences refulting from 
what has been advanced concerning the theopathetic 

Firft, then, Though an excefs of paflion of 
every kind, fuch as is not under the command of 
the voluntary power, is to be avoided, as danger- 
ous and finfulj yet we muft take care to ferve God, 
with our affections, as well as our outward actions ; 
and indeed, unlefs we do the firft, we (hall not 
long continue to do the laft, the internal frame of 
our minds being the fource and fpring, from whence 
our external actions flow. God, who gives us all 
out faculties and powers, has a right to all j and it 
is a fecret difloyalty and infidelity, not to pay the 
tribute of our affections. They are evidently in our 
power, immediately or mediately j and therefore he 
who goes to his profeflion, occupation, or amufe- 
ments, with more delight and pleafure than to his 
exercifes of devotion, his reading and meditation 
upon divine fubjects, and his prayers and praifes, 
whofe Joul is not athirjt for the living God, and the 
water of life, may affuredly conclude, that he is not 
arrived at the requifite degree of perfection} that 
he (till hankers after mammon, though he may have 
fome real defires, and earned refolutions, with re- 
fpect to God, 


Of the Rule of Life. 327 

Secondly, Though this be true in general, and a 
truth of the greateft practical, importance ; yet there 
are fome feafons, in which all the theopathetic af- 
fections, and many, in which thofe of the delightful 
kind, are languid, and that even in perfons that are 
far advanced in purity and perfection. Thus the 
enthufiaftic raptures, which often take place in the 
beginning of a religious courfe, by introducing an 
oppofite (late, difqualify fome ; a Judaical rigour 
and exactitude in long exercifes, bodily diforders, 
&c. others, from feeling God to be their prefent 
joy and comfort. So that the fervours of devo- 
tion are by no means in exaft proportion to the de- 
gree of advancement in piety ; we can by no means 
make them a criterion of our own progrefs, or that 
of others. But then they are always fome prefump- 
tion i and it is far better, that they fhould have 
fome mixture even of enthufiafm, than not take 
place at all. As to thofe, who are in the dry and 
dejected (late, the fear of God is, for the moft 
part, fufficiently vivid in them. Let them there- 
fore frequently recollect, that the fear of God is a 
fcripture criterion and feal of the elect, as well as 
love. Let them confider, that this trial muft be 
fubmitted to, as much as any other, till patience 
have her perfeR work ; that it is more purifying 
than common trials } that the (late of fear is far 
more fafe, and a much ftronger earneft of lalvation, 
than premature and ecftatic tranfports ; and that, if 
they continue faithful, it will end in love, probably 
during this life, certainly in another. Laftly, That 
no feeble minded perfon may be left without com- 
fort, if there be any one who doubts whether he 
either loves or fears God, finding nothing but dul- 
nefs, anxiety and fcrupulofity, within him, he 
muft be referred to his external actions, as the fureft 
criterion of his real intentions, in this confufed and 
diforderly ftate of the affections j and at the fame 

Y 4 time 

328 Of tie Rule of Life. 

time admonifhed not to depend upon his external 
righteoufnefs, which would breed an endlefs fcru- 
pulofity, and an endeavour after an ufelefs exactitude, 
but to take refuge in the mercy of God through 
Jefus Chrift. 

Laftly, The cultivation of the love of God in our- 
felves by the methods here recommended, and all 
others that fuit our (late and condition, with a pru- 
dent caution to avoid enthufiafm on one hand, and 
fuperftidon on the other, is the principal means 
for preferving us from dejection of every kind, and 
freeing us, if we be fallen into it. Worldly for- 
rovvs mull by degrees die away, becaufe worldly 
defires, their fources will. And this progrefs will 
be much accelerated by the impreffions of a con- 
trary nature, which gratitude, hope, love towards 
God, will make upon the mind. As to the de- 
jection, which relates to another world, it generally 
ends, as has been frequently remarked already, in 
the oppofite ftate, being its own remedy and cure; 
but all direct endeavours after the true and pure 
love of God muft afilft. It is much to be wilhed, 
l that low-fpirited perfons of all kinds would open 
themfelves without referve to religious friends, and 
particularly to fuch as have paffed through the fame 
dark and difmal path themfelves, and, diftrufting 
their judgments, would refign themlelves for a time 
to fome ,perfon of approved experience and piety. 
Thefe would be like guardian angels to them ; and 
as our natures are fo communicative, and fufceptible 
of infection good and bad, they would by degrees 
infufe fomething of their own peaceable, cheerful, 
and devout fpiric into them. But all human fupports 
and comforts are to be at laft refigned j we muft 
have no Comforter, no God, but one; and happy are 
they who make hade towards this central point, in 
which alone we can find reft to ourjouls. 


O/ the Rule of Life. 329 


If we confider the love of the world, the fear 
of God, and the love of God, in the firft ratio which 
they bear to each other, it will appear, that the love 
of the world is infinitely greater than the fear of God, 
and the fear infinitely greater than the love j fo thai 
the fear of God is a middle proportional between the 
love of the world and the love of God, in the firft or 
nafcent ratio of thefe affections. In like manner, if 
we take their laft ratio, or that in which the love of 
the world, and the fear of God, vanifh into the love 
of God, the love of the world will be infinitely lefs 
than the fear of God, and the fear infinitely lefs than 
the love ; fo that the fear of God will ftill be a 
middle proportional between the love of the world 
and the love of God. Let us fuppofe the fear of 
God to be a middle proportional between the love 
of the world and the love of God in ail the interme- 
diate Mates of thefe affections, from their firft rife in 
infancy, till their ultimate abforption and evanef- 
cence in the love of God, and fee how this fuppofition 
will tally with experience, and how each affection 
varies in refpecl: of the other two. Call therefore the 
love of the world W, the fear of God F, and the love 
of God L. Since then W : F : : F : L, W = Fj>. 

i., L 

If now F be fuppofed to remain the fame W : : 1^ /'. e. 
every diminution of the love of the world will in- 
creafe the love of God, and vice verfa ; fo that, 
if the love of the world be nothing, the love 
of God will be infinite, alib infinitely greater than 
the fear, /'. e. we fliall be infin^ely happy. If, 
on the contrary, the love of the world be greater 
than the love of God, the fear will aUb be 
greater than it, and our religion be chiefly anx- 
iety and fuperftition. If, farther, F, fuppofed Hill 
to remain the fame, be greater than W, it is our 


3 30 Of the Rule of Life. 

trued inteteft to diminifh W as much as we can, 
becaufe then the gain in L is far greater than the 
lofs in W. If L remain the fame, then W = F % 
i. e. every increafe of W will increafe F alfo, i. e. 
every increafe of the love of the world will increafe 
the fear of God, which therefore, fince the love is 
not increafed by fuppofition, muft incline to a fuper- 
ftitious dread : as, on the contrary, if W vanifhes, 
F muft vanifh alfo, /. e. the love of the world and 
fear being both annihilated, we fhall receive pure 
happinefs, of a finite degree, from the love of God. 
If W remain the fame, then F* : : L, i. e. every 
acceffion made to the fear of God will be the caufe 
of a greater acceffion to the love, and every ac- 
ceffion to the -love the caufe of only a lefs accef- 
fion to the fear, /. e. we fhall be gainers upon the 
whole by all motives either to the fear or love 
of God, lofers by all contrary motives. For if F 
be fuppofed even infinite, L will be infinite-infinite, 
*. e. will abforb it infinitely ; and if F be infinite- 
limal, L will be infinito-infinitefimal, /'. e. we fhall 
become mere felfifh worldlings which is the cafe 
with thofe practical atheifts, who fucceed in their 
endeavours to put God, and a future ftate, out 
of their thoughts, that they may give themfelves up 
to this world. W now occupies the place of L, 
and extinguifhes both F and it, i. e. felf and the 
world are their God. Upon the whole, it follows 
from this fpeculation concerning the quantities 
W, F, and L, that W ought to be diminifhed, and 
F and L to be increafed, as much as poffible, 
that fb W may be indefinitely lefs than F, and F 
indefinitely lefs than L, *. e. we ourfelves indefinitely 
happy in the love of God, by the previous anni- 
hilation of felf and the world. And it may not 
perhaps be quite unufeful to have reprefented 
this moft important of all conclufions, with the 
fteps that lead to it, in this new and compendious 
light. PROP. 

Of the Rule of Life. 331 


To deduce praflical Rules concerning ibe Manner of 
exfrejjing the tbeopathetic Affections by Prayer, and 
other religious Exercifes. 

THERE cannot be a more fatal delufion, than to 
fuppofe, that religion is nothing but a divine phi- 
lofophy in the foul; and that the foregoing theo- 
pathetic affections may exift and flourifh there, 
though they be not cultivated by devout exercifes 'and 
expreffionb. Experience, and many plain obvious 
reafons, fhew the falfehood and mifchievous tendency 
of this notion ; and the theory of thefe papers may 
furnifh us with other reafons to the fame purpofe, of 
a deeper and more fubtle nature. It follows from 
this theory, that no internal difpofitions can remain 
long in the mind, unlefs they be perpetually nourilhed 
by proper aflbciations, i. e. by fome external acts. 
This therefore may be confidered as a ftrong argu- 
ment for frequent prayer. 

But, Secondly, Though God be in himfelf infinite 
in power, knowledge, goodnefs, and happinefs, i. e. 
acquainted with all our wants, ready and able to 
fupply them, and incapable of change through our 
entreaties and importunities ; yet, as he reprefents 
himfelf to us both *in his word and works in the 
relation of a father and governor, our afTociated 
nature compels us, as it were, to apply to him in the 
fame way as we do to earthly fathers and governors ; 
and, by thus compelling us, becomes a reafon for fo 
doing. If God's incomprehenfible perfection be fup- 
pofed to exclude prayer, it will equally exclude all 
thoughts and difcourfes concerning him ; for thefe are 
all equally fhorc and unworthy of him j which is direct 


33 2 Of the Rule of Life. 

Thirdly, Though the hypothefis of mechanifm 
may feem at firft fight to make prayer fuperfluous 
and ufelefs -, yet, upon farther confideration, it will be 
found quite otherwife. For if all things be conducted 
mechanically, i. e. by means ; then prayer may be 
the means of procuring what we want. Our ignorance 
of the manner in which things operate, is not the 
lead evidence againft their having a real operation. 
If all be conduced mechanically, fome means muft 
be made ufe of for procuring our wants. The ana- 
logy of all other things intimates, that thefe means 
muft proceed in part from man. The analogy taken 
from the relations of father and governor fuggefts 
prayer. It follows therefore, according to the mecha- 
nical hypothefis, that prayer is one of the principal 
means, whereby we may obtain our defires. 

Fourthly, If all thefe reafons were fet afide, the 
prefiing nature of fome of our wants would extort 
'prayers from us, and therefore juftify them. 

Fifthly, In like manner, the theopathetic affec- 
tions, if they be fufficiently ftrong, will break forth 
into prayers and praifes, as in the authors of the 
Pfalmsy and other devout perfons. 

Laftly, The fcriptures direct and command us to 
pray, to fray always , in every thing to give thanks ; 
and fupport the foregoing and fuch like reafons for 
prayer and praife. And this removes all doubt and 
fcruple, if any fhould remain from the infinite nature 
and majefty of God. We may be fatisfied from the 
fcriptures, that we have the privilege to pray, to ex- 
pofe all our wants, defires, joys, and griefs, to our 
Creator; and that he will hear us, and help us. 

As to the time, manner, and requifites of prayer, 
we may make the following obfervations. 

Firft, That words are of great ufe in the moft 
private prayer, becaufe of the aflbciations transferred 
upon them, and which therefore they excite in the 


Of the Rule of Life. 333 

mind. But then, as there are internal fentiments and 
combinations of thefe, to which no words can corre- 
fpond, we muft not confine the noble privilege of 
prayer and praife to our languages, which are the off- 
fpring of the confufion at Babel. There are there- 
fore proper feafons and occafions for mental prayer, 
for the tendency and afpiration of the heart to God 
without words, as well as for vocal prayer. And 
indeed all private vocal prayer feems to admit of and 
require mental prayer, at ihort intervals, in order to 
fix our attention, and exalt our affections, by giving 
fcope to the fecondarily automatic workings of a de- 
vout heart. 

Secondly, Forms of prayer, compofed by perfons 
of a devout fpirit, arc of ufe to all at certain times, 
for affifting the invention, and exciting fervency ; 
and in the beginning of a religious courfe they feem 
to be neceflary, as they certainly are for children. 
But it would be a great hindrance to the growth 
and perfection of our devotion, always to keep to 
forms. The heart of every particular perfon alone 
knows its own bitternefs, its defires, guiir, fears, 
hopes, and joys j and it will be impoflible to open 
ourfelves without referve, and with a filial love and 
confidence in God, unlefs we do it of ourfelves, in 
fuch words as the then prefent (late of mind, when 
under a vigorous fenfe of the divine prefence, (hall 

Thirdly, A regularity as to the times of private 
devotion helps to keep perfon* fteady in a religious 
courff, and to call them off again and again from 
purfuing and fetting their hearts upon the vanities of 
the world. And we may affirm in paiticular, that 
the morning and evening facrifice of private prayer 
and praife ought never to be difpenfed with, in ordi- 
nary cafes, not evrn by perfons far advanced in the 
ways of piety. It feems alfo very confonant to the 
true fpirit of devotion, to have fet hours of 


334 Pf the Rule of Lift. 

prayer in the courfe of the day, as memorials and 
means of begetting this fpirit, which, however, 
cannot be obferved by the bulk of the world with 
exactnefs. Laftly, It will be of great ufe to ac- 
cuftom ourfelves to certain ejaculations upon the 
various particular occafions, that occur in the 
daily courfe of each perfon's bufmefs and profef- 
fion. It is true indeed, that all thefe rules are of 
the nature of Judaical rites and ceremonies ; but 
then let it be confidered, that even in chriftian coun- 
tries every man muft be a Jew in effect, before he 
can arrive at chriftian liberty, and be able to wor- 
fliip God in fpirif, and in truth, and indeed in order 
to arrive thither. Times, forms, and rules of devo- 
tion, are fchool-mafters that ferve to bring us to 
Chrift. As for thofe perfons who are fo far advanced, 
as to walk with God continually, who fanclify the 
minuted actions by a perpetual dedication of them 
to God, I do not prefume to inftrucY them. 'Their 
anointing teaches them all things. 

Fourthly, The matter of our prayers muft be dif- 
ferent, according to the ftate that we are in ; for in 
prayer we ought always to lay our real cafe, what- 
ever it be, before God. Confeffion of fins, and petition 
for graces, are the mod ufeful and requifite for young 
penitents, and muft always have a confiderable fhare 
in thofe who are farther advanced. But when the 
heart overflows with joy and gratitude to God, and 
tender love to others, which is more frequently the 
cafe with thofe, who have kept their firft love for 
fome time, it is eafy to fee, that praife and inter- 
cefiion muft be moft natural and fuitable. Temporal 
wants ought not to be forgotten. We are to acknow- 
ledge God in every thing; confider him as our father, 
and only friend, upon all occafions j place no con- 
fidence in our own wifdom or ftrength, or in the 
courfe of nature ; have moderate defires, and be 
ready to give up even thefe. Now prayer, with 


Of tbe Rule of Life. 33$ 

cxprefs acts of refignation, in refpect of external 
things, has a tendency to beget in us fuch difpofi- 
tions. However, I do not extend this to fuch per- 
fons as are refigned to God in all things, temporal 
and fpiritual, for themfelves as well as for others, 
who defiring nothing but that the will of God may 
be done, fee alfb that it is done, acquiefce and rejoice 
in it. 

Fifthly, Prayer muft always be accompanied by 
faith, /'. e. we muft not only look up to God, as our 
fole refuge, but as an effectual one. He that be"- 
lieves the exiftence and attributes of God really and 
practically, will have this entire confidence, fb as to 
be affured that the thing defired of God will be 
granted, either precifely as defired, or in fome way 
more fuitable to his circumftances ; an act of refig- 
nation being here joined to one of faith. How far 
our Saviour's directions, concerning faith in prayer, 
are an encouragement and command to expect the 
precife thing defired, is very doubtful to me. How- 
ever, we may certainly learn from his example, that 
refignation is a neceffary requifite in prayer; that 
we ought always to fay, Nevertbelejs not my w;7/, 
but thine be done. 

Sixthly, Public prayer is a neceffary duty, as well 
as private. By this we publicly profefs our obedience 
to God through Chrift j we excite and are excited by 
others to fervency in devotion, and to chriftian be- 
nevolence j and we have a claim to the promife of 
Chrift to thofe who are affembled together in his 
name. The chriftian religion has been kept alive, 
as one may fay, during the great corruption and 
apoftafy, by the public worfhip of God in churches ; 
and it is probable, that religious affemblies will be 
much more frequent than they now are, whenever it 
(hall pleafe God to put it into the hearts of chriftians 
to proceed to the general converfion of all nations. 
We ought therefore to prepare ourfelves for, and 


336 Of the Rule of Life. 

haften unto, this glorious time, as much as pofllble, 
by joining together in prayers for this purpofe -, and 
Jo much the more, as we fee the day -approaching. 

Laftly, Family prayer, which is fomething be- 
tween the public prayers of each church, and the 
private ones of each individual, muft be necetfary, 
fince thefc are. The fame reafons ate eafily applied. 
And I believe it may be laid down as a certain faft, 
that no mafter or miftrefs of a family can have a 
true concern for religion, or be a child of God, who 
does not take care to worfhip God by family prayer. 
Let the oblei vation of the fact determine. 


Of tbe Rule of Life. 337 




The moral Senfe ought to be made the immediate Guide 
of our Aftions on all Judden Emergencies ; ^and there- 
fore its Pleafures may be confidered as making Part 
of our primary Purfuit. 

IN deducing rules for focial conduct above, I laid 
down the moral fenfe as one, which ought to have 
great influence in the mod explicit and deliberate 
actions. Now this is, in fome meafure, fufficient 
to prove, that its pleafures make part of our primary 
purfuit. I here propofe to (hew, that the moral 
fenfe ought not only to have fome, but the fole 
influence, on emergent occafionsj and this will be 
a farther recommendation of its pleafures. 

That the moral fenfe is fuch an immediate guide, 
will appear for the following reafons. 

Firft, Becaufe it offers itfelf in the various occur- 
rences of life, at the fame time producing its cre- 
dentials. For it warns us beforehand, and calls us to 
account afterwards j it condemns or acquits j it re- 
wards by the pleafures of felf-approbation, or pu- 
nifhes by the pains of felf- condemnation. It appears 
theiefoie with the authority of a judge, and alfb of 
one who knows the hearts; and, by confequence, it 
claims to be God's vicegerent, and the forerunner 

VOL. II. Z of 

338 Of tie Rule of Life. 

of the fentence which we may hereafter expect from 

Secondly, The moral fenfe is generated chiefly by 
piety, benevolence, and rational felf-intereft ; all 
which are explicit guides of life in deliberate actions. 
Since therefore thefe are excluded on fudden occa- 
fions, through the want of, time to weigh and deter- 
mine, it feems highly reafonable to admit the moral 
fenfe, which is their offspring, and whofe dictates are 
immediate, for their fubftitute. 

Thirdly, The greatnefs, the permanency, and the 
calm nature of the pleafures of the moral fenfe, with 
the horrors, and conftant recurrency, of the fenfe 
of guilt, are additional arguments to mew, that 
thefe pleafures and pains were intended for the guides 
of life, and the pleafures for a primary purfuit. 

Fourthly, The mechanical generation of the plea- 
fures and pains of the moral fenfe may by fome be 
thought an objection to the reafoning here ufed; 
but it will appear otherwife, upon due confideration. 
For all the things which have evident final caufes, 
are plainly brought about by mechanical means j fo 
that we may argue either way, viz. either from fee- 
ing the mechanical means, to the exiftence of a final 
caufe, not yet difcovered j or from the exiftence of a 
final caufe, to that of the mechanical means, not yet 
difcovered. Thus a perfon who fhould take notice, 
that milk always appeared in the breads of the dam 
at the proper feafon for the young animal, might 
conclude that this was effected mechanically j or, if 
he firft faw, that milk muft be brought mechanically 
into the breafts, foon after the birth of the young, he 
might conclude, that this milk would be of fome ufej 
and, from a very little farther recollection, might 
perceive that it was for the nourilhment of the new- 
born animal. In like manner, if any one fees, that 
a power, like that of confcience, muft be generated 
in the human mind, from the frame of it, compared 


Of the Rule of Life. 339 

with the imprefiions made upon it by external objects, 
he may be afiured, that this power muft have fome 
ufe i and a very little reflection upon the divine 
attributes, and the circumftances of rrankind, will 
ihew that its peculiar ufc muft be that of a guide 
and governor. 

If we could fuppofe the moral fenfe to be either 
an inftinct imprefled by God, or the neceflfary refult 
of the eternal reafons and relations of things, in- 
dependent of afTociation, it ought (till to be confidered 
as a guide of life. For fince the favourers of each 
of thefe fuppofitions maintain, that the moral fcnfe 
is entirely coincident with the precepts of benevolence 
and piety ; it muft, according to them, be made their 
fubftitute upon emergent occafions. 


70 deduce practical Rules for the Regulation and Im- 
provement of the moral Senfe. 

THERE are three things principally necefiary in the 
conduct of the moral fenfe. t irft, That it extend 
to all the actions of moment, which occur in the 
intercourles of human life j and be a ready monitor 
to us dn fuch occafions. Secondly, That it fhould 
not defcend to minute and trifling particulars j for 
then it would check benevolence, and turn the love 
of God into a fupeiftitious fear. And, Thirdly, 
That its informations be in all cafes agreeable to 
piety and benevolence, whofe fubftitute it is. 

Now it will be eafily feen, that, for the right con- 
duct of our moral fenfe in all thefe particulars, it 
will be neceflary for us to be much employed in the 
practical ftudy of the fcriptures, and of the writings 
of good men of all denominations, in obferving the 
living examples of fuch, in calling ourfelves to 
account frequently, in prayer, and other exercifes of 

Z 2 devotion, 

Qf the Rule of Life. 

devotion, in endeavouring to convert all the fympa- 
thetic and theopathetic affections into the love of 
God, in aiming at a truly catholic and charitable fpi- 
rit, and in walking faithfully, according to the dic- 
tates of benevolence, piety, and the moral fenfe, 
fuch as they are at prefent. For to him that bath 
Jhall be given, and be. jhall have abundance. Some 
of thefe directions are more particularly fuited to 
correct one defect in the moral fenfe, fome ano- 
ther; but they will all confpire in purifying and 
perfecting it. 


Of the Rule of Life. 341 

General COROLLARIES to the loft SEVEN 

COR. i. WE may now, by reviewing the feven 
laft fecYions, judge how much the chriftian mora- 
lity is fuperior to the pagan, in fublimity and purity. 
The pagan morality was comprehended under the 
four cardinal virtues of prudence, juftice, fortitude, 
and temperance ; and thefe were fo explained and 
under flood by the pagans, as to omit many necef- 
fary chriftian virtues, and allow, or even recom- 
mend fome great enormities. I will clafs a few 
particulars of this kind under the refpeclive heads of 
fenfation, imagination, ambition, felf-intereft, fym- 
pathy, theopathy, and the moral fenfe. 

The pagan virtue of temperance prohibited all 
grofs excefles in eating and drinking, and many acts 
of lewdnefs. But it fell far fhort of the chriftian 
precepts, in regard to the external actions j and 
feems no ways to have extended to the regulation 
of the thoughts. 

The pagan fortitude enjoined great patience and 
perfeverance in difficulties, pains, and dangers. But 
it was, in part, founded in pride i and fo was oppo- 
fite to the chriftian fortitude, whofe ftrength lies in 
its weaknefs, in a diffidence in ourfelves, and confi- 
dence in God. And how much the chriftian was 
fuperior in degree, as well as kind, may appear from 
the examples of the martyrs and confeffors in the 
primitive times, who were of all ranks, profeflions, 
ages, and fexes, and of innumerable private perfons 
in the prefent, as well as all pad ages of the church, 
who are able to rejoice in tribulation, and to do all 
things, through Chrift that ftrengcheneth them. 
They do not make a fhew of themfelves to the 
world i that would be oftentation, and vain-glory*. 

Z 3 but 

34* Of the Rule of Life. 

but thofe who defire to be animated by, and to imi- 
tate, fuch living examples, may find them in every 
chriftian country in the world. 

As to the pleafures of imagination, there feems to 
have been no reftraint laid upon them by the pagan 
morality. Curiofity, and the ftudy of the arts and 
fciences for their own fakes, were even recommended. 

Ambition was, in like manner, efteemed virtuous; 
and many kinds and degrees of humility were treated 
with reproach and contempt. 

Grofs felf-intereft was allowed in a much greater 
degree by the pagans, than it is amongft chriftians. 
The pagans fcarce knew what refined felf-intereft was; 
and they did not at all apprehend, that any objection 
lay againft rational felf-intereft, or that a purer motive 
to action was neceflary. 

Trieir benevolence was chiefly a love of relations, 
benefactors, and their country. They fell far (hort 
of univerfal unlimited benevolence, equal to felf- 
' love ; and they allowed, and even recommended, 
taking vengeance on enemies, as an heroic, noble 

As to the theopathetic affections of faith, fear, 
gratitude, hope, truft, resignation, and love, with 
the expreflions of thefe in prayer and praife, they 
knew nothing of them in general. Polytheifm, and 
impure notions of their deities, had quite depraved 
and ftarved all their theopathetic affections. They 
were deftitute of love, and their fear was fuper- 

Laftly, The confequence of all this muft be, and 
accordingly was, a proportional imperfection in the 
moral fenfe. It was deficient 'in moft things, erro- 
neous in many, and neealefsly fcrupulous in fome. It 
occupied the place of the Deity ; for the beft amongft 
the pagans idolized the innate fenfe of honefty, and 
the independent power of the mind, the/e)J/us banefti> 
and the lp' fifuv. 

I do 

Of the Rule of Life. 343 

I do not deny but that fome heathen moralifts 
may now and then have exprefled themfelves in a 
manner fuperior to what I have here defcribed. But 
I fpeak of the general tenor of their writings, and 
defire that may be compared with the general tenor 
of the fcriptures, of the fathers, and of the chriftian 
divines of all ages. 

COR. 2. By a like review of the feven laft fe&ions, 
we may difcern more clearly and fully the relative 
nature of the virtues and vices, which has been al- 
ready taken notice of; and thus both learn to be 
more candid and charitable in our judgments on the 
actions of others, and more earneft and unwearied 
after perfection in ourfelves. 

COR. 3. Since it now appears fully, that the plea- 
fures and pains of the four firft claffes are to be 
fubjected to thofe of the three laft, i, e. the plea- 
fures of thofe foregone, and the pains accepted ; 
whereas the pleafures of thefe are to be chofen, and 
the pains avoided ; I will here give, in one view, 
Ibme principal motives to engage us thus to regulate 
our affections and actions. 

Firft, then, The great compofure and peace of 
mind, which thofe perfons enjoy, who make bene- 
volence, piety, and the moral fenfe, the rule of 
their lives, is a ftrong inducement to us to imitate 
their example. As we defire to learn all other arts 
from thofe who practife them in the greateft perfec- 
tion, fo ought we the art of living. The perfons 
in whom this peace is moft obfervable, were the au- 
thors of the books of the Old and New Teftaments ; 
and thefe books may be diftinguiflied from all other 
books by this remarkable circumftance, that the 
authors appear to have been quite free from this dif- 
fatisfaction, doubt, care, and fear, which are fo ob- 
vious in the difcourfes an<:l writings of other perfons. 
However, the fame thing appears, in a lefs degree, 
in the difcourfes of all good men, even heathens -, as 

24 in 

344 Of *b e R^ f Life. 

in the difcourfes of Socrates preferved by Plato and 
Xencphon-, and may be obferved in the conduct and 
behaviour of all fuch, by thofe who are converfant 
with them. Eminently pious and benevolent perfons 
feem to be in pofiefiion of fome great fecret, fome 
catholicon, or philofopher's ftone. They pafs through 
life, unhurt, as to the peace of their minds, by the 
evils of it j and find abundant matter for praile and 
thankfgiving to God in it. All which appears to be 
owing to their being guided by the true principle 
of action. 

Secondly, Death is certain, and necefifarily attended 
with many terrifying affociations j and a future ftate 
muft, even upon the flighted prefumption of its re- 
ality, be a matter of the greateft concern to all think- 
ing perfons. Now the frequent recurrency of thefe 
fears and anxieties muft imbitter all guilty pleafures, 
and even the more inrtocent trifling amufements ; 
which, though not glaringly oppofite to duty, are 
yet befides it, and foreign to it. And thus men live 
in bondage all their lives through the fear of death ; 
more fo than they are aware of themfelves (for men 
often neglect the fair examination of themfelves, fb 
much as not to know their real ftate, though obvious 
enough upon a due inquiiy); and ftill much more 
fo, than they own and exprefs to others. But nothing 
can deliver men from this great evil, befides entire 
rectitude of heart. While there is a confcioufnefs 
of any wilful failure, of any unfairnefs, of prevarica- 
tion with God, or a defire and defign to deceive 
one's felf, the terrors of religion rage with greater 
fury than in a ftate of utter negligence, and dif- 
regard to duty. A man cannot reft, while he is 
double-minded, while he drives and hopes to ferve 
God and mammon together; but muft either go for- 
ward in order to obtain true lafting peace, Qr back- 
ward to infatuate and ftupefy himfelf. And this 


Of the Ride of Life. 345 

helps us to account for the foregoing obfervation on 
the behaviour of truly good men. 

Thirdly, It appears from the very frame of our 
natures, that we are not qualified for any great de- 
grees of happinefs here, nor for an uninterrupted 
continuance of any degree, nor for the frequent 
returns of any particular pleafure, bodily or men- 
tal. From all which it will follow, that a general 
hope, mixed with the cares, fears, and forrows of 
compaffion and contrition, is the only pleafure, that 
is attainable, lading, or fuitable to our prefent cir- 

Fourthly, Befides the fears relating to death, and 
a future ftate, all perfons who ferve the world, muft 
have very great ones in refpect of the things of the 
world. A man muft be crucified to the world, before 
his heart can be at eafe concerning its pleafures, 
honours, and profits. And as our pains are, in 
general, more exquifite than our pleafures j fo is 
fear, worldly fear, the offspring of the firft, greater 
in degree, than worldly hope, the offspring of the 
laft ; and, if it recurs often, will overbalance it ; and 
muft make a great deduction, upon all fuppofitions. 
Now devotion to God, though it does leffen the 
hopes of this world, as well as the fears ; yet it 
feems to lefien the fears in a much quicker ratio ; 
however, it certainly takes off their edge, and leaves 
fo much hope and pleafure, as to be a foundation for 
the duty of thankfulnefs to God. 

Fifthly, An upright heart is neceflary to our hav- 
ing a real influencing fenfe and conviction of the 
divine amiablenefs and benevolence, and, conie- 
quently, to our peace and comfort. When any dread, 
or flavifh fear, attends the conception of the divine 
nature, a man can never think htmlelf fafe j but will 
always have anxieties and mifgivings. And our 
ideas of God muft always be thus tainted with fu- 
perftition, whatever our theory be, if our hearts be 


346 Of the Rule of Life. 

not right before him. We fhall weakly and wick- 
edly fuppofe and fear, that he is Jucb a one as we our- 
fehes are, whatever declarations we make, whatever 
demonftrations we pofiefs, to the contrary. And as 
this cannot but caft a gloom upon the whole courfe 
of nature to the wicked, fo the contrary perfuafion 
is the principal fource of joy and comfort to the 
good. They do in earneft believe God to be their 
friend and father; they love him with a fincere, 
though imperfect love ; and are eafily led, from the 
confcioufnefs and inward feeling of this, to confider 
him as pure and infinite love. And all thefe four 
laft obfervations, put together, but efpecially that of 
this paragraph, account for the facts mentioned in 
the firft. 


Of tbe Rule of Faith. 347 




70 inquire what Faitb in natural and revealed Religion^ 
or in the Canicular Tenets of Cbriftian Churches, is 
veceffary for ifa Purification and Perfection of our 

HAVING now (hewn, that benevolence, piety, and 
the moral fenfe, are to be the guides of life, and the 
compafs by which we are to fleer our courfe through 
the difficulties and dangers of this mixed, imperfect 
ftate, it remains that we inquire, whether there be 
any rule of faith, refulting or diftincl: from the forego- 
ing rule of life, that is necefiary to our prefent duty, 
or future falvation. 

Firft, then, Since piety is part of the foregoing 
rule of life, it is evident, that no one can comply 
with this rule, unlefs he be a fincere deift at leaft, 
/. e. unlefs he believe the exiftence and attributes of 
God, his providence, a future ftate, and the rewards 
and punifhments of it. 

Secondly, The evidence for the chriftian religion 
feems to be fo clear and flrong in all chriftian coun- 
tries, and that with refpect to all ranks and conditions 
of men, that no perfon, who is previoufly qualified 
by benevolence, piety, and the moral fenfe, in the 
manner defcribed in the feven laft fections, can refufe 
his afifent to it. This I take to be a plain matter 
of obfervation, fupported by the univerfal teftimony 
of thofe perfons, that attend to it ; meaning by the 
chriftian religion, the belief of the divine miflion of 
Mojes and the prophets, of Chrift and his apoftles, 


348 Of the Rule of Faith. 

or the truth of the fcriptures. Whoever therefore 
conducts himfelf by the foregoing rule, muft be- 
lieve revealed religion, as well as natural, if born in 
a chriftian country. All unbelievers, where there is 
fo much evidence, I had almoft faid all doubters, 
feem to be culpable in a very high degree. 

Thirdly, As faith in Chrift is the refult of a right 
difpofition of mind in chriftian countries; fo is this 
right difpofition, in its turn, the refult of believing 
in Chrift ; and they increale one another reciprocally 
without limits. And though fome perfons in the 
heathen world were conducted to great degrees of 
benevolence, and uprightnefs of mind, and even to 
fome degrees of piety ; yet were thefe perfons ex- 
ceedingly rare, and the degrees far inferior to what 
is ordinarily to be found in chriftian countries. 
This therefore is a ftrong proof of the neceffity of 
faith in revealed religion. All things elfe being 
alike, the perfon who believes in Chrift will become 
fuperior to him who does not, in proportion to the 
vigour of his faith. Which is alfo a plain and co- 
gent reafon, why thofe, that are already chriftians, 
fhould labour to the utmoft of their abilities in con- 
verting the barbarous nations, even though their 
prefent ignorance of revealed religion be excufable 
in them. But there is far more reafon to alarm and 
awaken, if pofiible, thofe who dilbeiieve in the midft 
of light and evidence, the loft Jbeep of the houfe of 
Ifraely fince they not only want thefe motives and 
afliftances to perfection, but are guilty of great pre- 
varication and unfairnefs with themfelves, and fhut 
their eyes againft the light, becaufe their deeds are 
evil. If any unbeliever thinks this cenfure too fe- 
vere, let him examine his own heart. Is he pre- 
vioufly qualified by love to God, and to all the 
world, by a fmcere regard for, and obfervance of, 
natural religion ? Is he chafte, temperate, meek, 


Of the Rule of Faith. 349 

humble, juft, and charitable ? Does he delight in 
God, in contemplating his providence, praying to 
him, and praifing him ? Does he believe a future 
ftate, and expect it with hope and comfort ? Is he 
not fo fond of the praife of men, or fo fearful of 
cenfure and ridicule, as to be afhamed to own 
Chrift ? If the chriftian religion be true, it muft be 
of great importance; and, if of great importance, 
it is a duty of natural religion to inquire into it. 
The obligation therefore to examine ferioufly fubfifts 
in fome degree, as long as there is any evidence for, 
any doubt of, the truth of revelation. For, if true, 
it muft be of importance, whether we fee that im- 
portance or not. He who determines, that it is of 
no importance, determines at once, that it is falfe. 
But it is too evident to all impartial obfervers, that 
thofe who disbelieve, or affecl: to disbelieve, have nt>t 
made a ferious accurate inquiry ; fuch a one as they 
would make about a worldly concern of moment; 
but content themfelves, and endeavour to perplex 
others, with general objections, mixed, for the moft 
part,. .with ridicule and raillery, things that are ma- 
nifeft hinderances in the fearch after truth. How- 
ever, this may be perhaps, too fevere a cenfure, 
in refpecl: of ibme ; nay, we ought not to condemn 
any, but to confider, that to their own mafter they 
ft and or fall. 

Fourthly, A nominal, or even a real, but merely 
hiftorical and fpeculative faith, is quite infufficient, 
and falls infinitely fhort of that which the foregoing 
rule of duty requires. And yet it is of fome pro- 
bable ufe to be reckoned among the number of be- 
lievers, though a man be, for the prefenr, inatten- 
tive j becaufe fuch a one lies more in the way of 
conviction and influence j and is free from that great 
objection and difficulty to human nature, a relucl- 
ance to change even a nominal opinion. As to the 
perfon, who has a real, hiftorical, fpeculative faith, 

i. e. 

350 Of the Rule of Faith. 

L e. who fees that the Old and New Teftaments 
have the fame and in many refpects greater eviden- 
ces for their truth and genuinenefs, than other 
books univerfally allowed, who is ready to acknow- 
ledge this, and to give reafons for it of the fame kind 
with thofe that are admitted in fimilar cafes, he 
pofiefies one of the principal requisites for genera- 
ting the true, practical, internal faith, that overcomes 
the world \ and if he be not withheld by pride and 
felf-conceit, fo as to reft in this hiftorical faith, as 
fufficient of itfelf, will make much quicker advances, 
cateris paribus, towards the true living faith, than a 
perfon deftitute of the hiftorical one. For the true 
Jiving faith is that vivid fenfe and perception of God, 
our Saviour, a future ftate, and the other related 
ideas, that make them appear at once as realities, 
and become powerful and inftantaneous motives to 
action. But it is very evident, that an hiftorical 
faith muft, by imprefling and uniting thefe ideas 
during the time that they are confidered, and re- 
flected upon, produce the effects, the reality, above- 
defcribed, in the fame manner as the interefted love 
of God does at laft generate the pure difinterefted 
love. And the calamities and forrows of human 
life will be much more likely to ftrike him who 
is pofiHTed of an hiftorical faith, than a perfon igno- 
rant of the fubject. 

It muft, however, be acknowledged, that the real 
practical faith is by no means in exact proportion to 
the hiftorical. Perfons of good difpofirions, of hum- 
ble minds, who pray -without ceafing^ who have 
been much afflicted, &c. have irr.prefiions of the 
religious kind excited in them with more vigour and 
facility than others. Yet ftill no . man can have 
the practical faith without fome degree of the hif- 
torical ; and thofe who have little of the hiftorical 
are liable, to be fhakr n, to be turned about by every 
wind of doffrinej and to be carried into extravagan- 

Of the Rule of Faith. 351 

cies by the zeal without knowledge. What God bath 
joined together , let no man put afunder. It is the 
duty of every man, whether he have the practical 
faith or not, to inquire, to read the fcriptures, and 
to meditate thereon; the neceflary confequence of 
which is an increafe of the hiftorical faith. It is 
alfo the duty of every chriftian to give a reafon for 
his faith, to preach the gofpel (for true chriftians are 
a nation of priefts in this fenfe) ; which cannot be 
done without fome knowledge of the hiftorical evi- 
dences. Admitting therefore, that mere internal faith 
(if fuch a thing be poflible) did fuffice to all other 
purpofes, it will, however, be defective in this one 
moft neceflary duty of the chriftian life. Though a 
mere good example will do much good, yet the fame 
good example, accompanied with knowledge, and a 
rational faith will do more. 

Fifthly, It feems entirely ufelefs to all good pur- 
pofes, to the promotion of piety and benevolence, 
in the prefent ftate of things, to form any creeds, 
articles, or fyftems of faith, and to require an afienc 
to thefe in words or writing. Men are to be influ- 
enced, even in refpect of the principal doctrines of 
God's providence, a future ftate, and the truth of 
the fcriptures, by rational methods only, not by com- 
pulflon. This feems acknowledged on all hands. 
Why then fhould harfher methods be ufed in things 
of confefledly lefs importance ? It is true, that ma- 
giftrates have a power from God to inflict punifh- 
ment upon fuch as difobey, and to confine the natural 
liberty of acting within certain bounds, for the com- 
mon good of their fubjects. But all this is of a na- 
ture ' very foreign to the pretences for confining 
opinions by difcouragements and punifhments. 

Thofe who believe neither natural nor revealed 
religion practically, will be held by no reftraints ; 
.they will appear to confent to any thing, juft as their 


35 a Of the Rule of Faith. 

intereft leads them. And this is the cafe of a great 
part of the fubfcribers .in all chriftian communities. 
They have a mere nominal farth only, at the time of 
fubfcribing, not even a fpeculative or hiftorical one: 
or if they have any degree of ferioufnefs, and good 
imprefiions, they muft do proportional violence to 
thefe by performing a religious aft out of a mere 
inteiefted view. 

' If the perfon be an earned believer of natural 
religion, but an unbeliever in refpect of revealed 
(to fuppofe this poffible for argument's fake), he will 
not attempr any office in the chriftian miniftry. 
However, he ought not to be deprived of civil 
privileges, whilft fo many wicked nominal chriftians 
are fuffered to enjoy them. 

Suppofe the perfon required to fubfcribe to be a 
fpeculative hiftorical believer, why fhould his future 
inquiries be confined ? How can he inquire honeftly, 
if [hey be ? How can a perfon be properly qualified 
to ftudy the word of God, and to fearch out its 
meaning, who finds himfelf previoufly confined to 
interpret it in a particular manner ? If the fubjecl: 
matter of the article be of great importance to be 
underftood and believed, one may prefume, that . it 
is plain, and needs no article; if of fmall importance, 
why Ihould it be made a teft, or infifted upon ? 
If it be a difficult, abftrufe point, no one upon 
earth has authority to make an article concerning 
it. We are all brethren ; there is no father, no 
matter, amongft us ; we are helpers of, not lords 
over, each other's faith. If we judge from other 
branches of learning, as natural philofophy, or phy- 
fic, we fhall there find, that the pure evidence of 
the things themfelves is fufficient to overcome all 
oppofition, after a due time. The doctrines of gra- 
vitation, of the different refrangibility of the rays 
of light, of the circulation of the blood, &c. can 
never be believed to any ufeful practical purpofe, till 


Of the Rule of Faith. .353 

they be examined and underftood j and thofe, who 
now believe them, affirm, that this is^all that is ne- 
cefiary for their uni venial reception. If they fhould 
be miftaken in this, free examination would be fo 
much the more requifite. 

The apoftles' creed is fo plain and clear, except in 
the three articles concerning the defcent of Chrift 
into hell, the holy catholic church, and the com- 
munion of faints, that no one who believes the 
truth of the fcriptures, can hefitate about it ; not 
even how t6 interpret the three forementioned arti- 
cles, in a fenfe agreeable to the fcriptures. Ic is 
quite ufelefs therefore to require an afienc even to 
thefe articles. As to the metaphyfical fubtleties, 
which appear in the fubfequent creeds, they can at 
bed be only human interpretations of fcripture words ; 
and therefore can have no authority. Words refer 
to words, and to grammatical and logical analogies, 
in an endlefs manner, in thefe things; and all the 
real foundation which we have is in the words of 
fcripture, and of the mod ancient^vriters, confidered 
as helps, not authorities. It is fufficient therefore, 
that a man take the fcriptures for his guide, and 
apply himfeif to them with an honeft heart, and 
humble and earneft prayer ; which things have no 
connection with forms nnd fubfcriptions. 

Nay, it feems needlefs, or enfnaring to fubfcribe 
even to the fcriptures themfelves. If to any parti- 
cular canon, copy, &c. enfnaring, becaufe of the 
many real doubts in thefe things. If not, it is quite 
fuperfluous from the latitude allowed. Yet ftill it 
appears to me incontestable, that no careful impartial 
inquirer can doubt of the great truths of the fcrip- 
tures, fuch as the miraculous birth, life, death, 
refurredtion and afcenfion of Chrift, &c. or of the 
practical confequences thence arifing ; and furely it 
cannot be neceflfarily requifite, that a man fhould 
believe more than thefe. 

VOL. II. A a For, 

354 Of the Rule of Faith. 

For, Laftly, Let us fuppofe the perfon required to 
afient, or fubfcribe, to be a real earneft believer. 
It can fcarce be fuppofed, that fuch a perfon mould 
afient to any fet of articles, fo as honeftly to affirm, 
that he would choofe to exprefs his own fenfe of 
the fcripture language in thefe words. To drain 
either the fcriptures, or the articles, muft be a very 
ungrateful talk to an ingenuous man ; and perhaps 
there may be fo wide a difference in fome inftances 
in his opinion, that no ftraining can bring them 
together. And thus fome of the moft earneft be- 
lievers are excluded from the chriftian miniftry, and 
from certain common privileges of fociety, by a 
method, which fuffers nominal wicked chriftians to 
plfs without difficulty. 

If it be objected, that, unlefs preachers fubfcribe, 
they may teach different doctrines ; I anfwer, that 
they do this, though they do fubfcribe ; and that 
in the moft important practical points. If the fcrip- 
tures cannot yet produce a true unity of opinion 
on account of our prefent ignorance, and the weak- 
nefs and wickednefs of our natures, how mould 
articles do this ? Men can put as different fenfes 
upon articles, as upon texts, and fo difpute without 
end. Which evidently appears to have been the 
cafe in the primitive church. Every decifion, as 
foon as fettled, became the fource of a new divi- 
fion between perfons, who yet ftill agreed to the 
foregoing decifion in words ; rill at laft the whole 
efficacy and fpirit of chriftianity, was loft in mere 
verbal difputes. But the beft anfwer is, that 
preachers ought entirely to Confine themfelves to 
practical fubjects, the defcriptions of the virtues 
and vices, with the motives for and againft each, 
the directions to attain the virtues, and avoid the 
vices ; and this in all the various real circumftances 
of human life. Learned inquiries have their ufe 
undoubtedly j but they are much better communi- 

Of the Rule of Faith. 355 

cated to the learned world by the prefs, than to a 
mixed afiembly by the pulpit. It is a kind of fa- 
crilege to rob God's flock of the nourifhment due 
to them from public preachings, and, in its ftead, to 
run out upon queftions, that minifter no profit to 
the hearers, at lead to far the greateft part. 

As to the prefs, fince all other men have the 
liberty of conveying their thoughts to the public that 
way, it is furcly unfitting, that the minifters of the 
golpel fhould be deprived of it. And, indeed, to 
lay any reftraints, looks like diftrufting the caufe. 
There is undoubtedly a very bad ufe made of the 
prefs, and woe to thoje by whom offences come to the 
little ones that believe in Chrift ! But it is to be 
hoped and prefumed, that the power of the wicked to 
do harm is not equal to the power of the good to 
do good, in this or any other fuch neutral method 
of communicating infection good and bad to the 
public. This would be to prefer barbarity and 
ignorance to the inftru&ion and civilization of man- 
kind. Learning, arts, and improvements of all 
kinds, are fubfervient both to good and bad pur- 
pofes j and yet ftill the balance is probably on the 
fide of good upon the whole, fince God is all power- 
ful, all wife, and all good. Thefe attributes muft 
-ever turn the fcale to their own fide, finitely in 
every finite portion of time, infinitely in. infinite 
time. We need not fear therefore, but that true 
knowledge will at laft be incieafed and prevail, that 
the wife and good will underftand, the wicked be 
filenced and converted, and the church of Chrift fill 
the whole earth. It is a great infult offered to the 
truths of religion, to fuppofc that they want the 
lame kind of afliftance as impoftures, human pro- 
jecls, or worldly defigns. Let every man be al- 
lowed to think, fpeak, and write, freely ; and then 
the errors will combat one another, and leave truth 

A a 2 Sixthly, 

356 Of the Rule of Faith. 

Sixthly, Though creeds, articles, &c. ieem to 
have no ufe now, but even to be prejudicial to the 
caufe of truth in themfelves ; yet it may be ne- 
cefiary to fubmit to fome forms of this kind in cer- 
tain cafes; at Jeaft, it no ways becomes a chriftian 
to declaim againfl them in violent terms, or oppofe 
them with bitternefs, but merely, in a plain difpaf- 
fionate way, to reprefent the truth of the cafe, fo 
as by degrees to draw men's zeal from thefe leflfer 
matters, and transfer it upon greater, Let not him 
that eateth, dejpife him that eateth not ; and let not 
him which eateth not, judge him that eateth. There 
may be good relative reafons in both cafes. And 
it may be, and probably is the truth, that in the 
early ages of the church, whilft chriftians were Ju- 
daizers, entangled in externals, grofs in their con- 
ceptions, ' &c. thefe forms were necefiary, extern 
manentibus. But now they grow old, and feem ready 
to die away, and to give place to the worlhip of 
God in Jpirit, and in truth ; in which there is no 
Papift, Proteftant, Lutheran, Cahinift', Trinitarian, 
Unitarian, Myjlic, Methodift, &c. but all thefe dif- 
tincfaons are carried away like the chaff of the fum- 
mer threfliing-fioors. We are all chriftians, we 
received this denomination in apoftolic times, and 
ought to feek no other.. Only let us take care to 
depart from iniquity, to have the true feal, of God 
in our foreheads, not the mark of the bead. The 
real coriverfion of the heart from the idolatrous wor- 
fhip of pleafure, honour, and profit, of fenfation, 
imagination, ambition, and felf-intereft, to lerve 
the living God, is the only thing of importance; 
circumcifion and uncircumcifion are eqMly nothing. Let 
every man abide in the Jame calling wherein he was 
called. Only* where a plain aft of infincerity is 
required, this approaches to the cafe of eating in the 
idol's temple, and gives great offence to others. 


Of the Rule of Faitb. 35? 

Seventhly, If we examine the doctrines which are 
chiefly contefted among chriftians by the oppofite 
parties, it will appear, that the difputes are, in great 
meafure, verbal, and proceed from men's not know- 
ing the true nature and ufe of words. Thus, if we 
confider the doctrine of infallibility, the nature of 
words fhews at once, that this could be of no ufe, 
fince the decifions of the infallible judge muft be 
exprefled in words, and confequently be liable to be 
mifunderftood by fome or other of the readers, for 
the fame reafons as the fcriptures are. To fay that 
Chrift's body and blood are in the bread and wine 
fo as that the fenfible qualities of one become the 
fcnfible qualities of the other, would be to appeal 
to the fenfes for afient, where they inftantly reject 
the propofition. To fay that Chrift's myftical or 
glorified body is prefent in fome way or other, is 
what no one can deny, becaufe nothing is really 
affirmed. The words feem to coalefce into a verbal 
truth j but when we attempt to realize the pro- 
pofition, it vanilhes. The fcripture expreffions con- 
cerning the myftical body of Chrift, and his union 
with the church, contain within them fome mod 
important and wonderful truths undoubtedly, but 
they are yet fealed up from us. -In the difputes 
concerning the trinity and incarnation of Chrift, if 
the words per/bn, Jubftance, nature, &c. be ufed as 
in other cafes, or any way defined, the mod expref* 
contradictions follow : yet the language of the 
fcriptures is mod difficult, fublime, and myfterious, 
in refpect of the perfon of Chrift ; fo that one can- 
not fall fhort of paying all that honour to Chrift, 
which the moft orthodox believe to be required. 
As to the doctrine of the fatisfaction of Chrift, it 
appears that he has done all for us that one being 
can do for another; and that it would be a moft 
unjuftifiable and narrow way of exprefling ourfelves, 
to confine the benefits received from Chrift to that 

A a 3 of 

Of -tie Rule of Faith. 

of mere example. But the firft and mod literal 
fenfe of the words facrifice, redemption, &c. when 
realized, is evidently impoffible ; and we do not 
feem to be able to give any better general fenfe to 
thefe words, than by faying, that they fignify, that 
the fuffeiings of one being are, by the order of 
God, made the means of happinefs to another. To 
adopt the ideas of debt, wrath of God, &c. in a 
ftrid: fenfe, is anthropomorphitifm. The in- 
troduction of new, unfcriptural, technical terms 
feems fcarce juftifiable, unlefs as far as one chrif*- 
tian brother may thereby endeavour to make the 
harmony and analogy of the fcripture language to 
itfelf, and to the courfe of nature, more evident 
to another. But this is all private interpretation. 
And it often happens in thefe cafes, that an hy- 
pothefis is taken up haftily, in order to reconcile 
the fcripture to itfelf, like thofe philofophical ones, 
which are not drawn from a number of concur- 
ring facts, but merely accommodated to a few par- 
ticular appearances, 


Of the Expectations of, &c. 359 


Of the EXPECTATIONS of MANKIND, here and here- 
after, in CONSEQUENCE of their OBSERVANCE or 




// is probable, that moft or all Men receive more 
Happinejs than Mifery in their PaJJage through the 
prejent Life. 

SOME evidences for this propofition have been 
given above, where ic was alleged as one of the proofs 
of the goodnefs of God. Here we may confider it, 
both as deducible from thofe evidences, and from 
the goodnefs of God, previoufly eftabliflied upon 
independent principles. 

For if we fuppofe God to be both infinitely bene- 
volent, and the fole caufe of all things j if, farther, 
the relative appellations of governor, friend, and 
father,, may with propriety be made the foundation 
of our inquiries into his difpenfations in general (all 

A a 4 which 

360 Of the Expectations of 

which I have endeavoured to prove above) ; we 
can fcarce fuppofe, but that the remarkable period 
of our exigence, which commerces at our birth, and 
ends with the death of the body, which we then 
brought into the world with us, will, upon the whole, 
afford us more pleafure than 'pain. This is, at lead,, 
our firft and moft natural preemption, in the view 
of things here confidered. However, it nnuft always 
be remembered, that we are not proper judges of 
fuch high fpecu'lations ; and that an over- balance of 
milery in this life, or any other, is perfectly confident 
with the infinite goodnefs of God, even according 
to our ways of reafoning, upon fuppofuion that all 
his creatures become happy upon the whole at laft, 
finitely or infinitely. 

I choofe therefore to reft this propofition chiefly 
upon certain intimations, and indirect evidences 
thereof, which are fcattered up and down in the fcfip- 
tures. Such are the blefiing of God conferred upon 
all his creatures at their creation, his covenant with 
them all at the flood, the precepts to all to praife 
him, the mention of his being loving to every man, 
of remembering mercy in judgment, not being extreme 
to mark what is dene ami/s, &c. Thefe are no direct 
proofs of the propofition here advanced j but they 
leave fuch impreffions of love and mercy upon the 
mind, and feem intended to put us into fuch a way 
of thinking and reafoning, as lead to it. They 
afford therefore fome prefumption in its favour, fince 
nothing contrary thereto is to be found any where 
either in the word or works of God. 

The murmurings, and bitter outcries, of men in 
a (late of fuffering, are mx more an evidence againft 
this propofition, than the extravagant mirth, and 
chimerical hopes, of unexperienced perfons, during 
health and profperity, are for it. Neither of thefe 
take in the whole of the cafe. 


Individuals in the prejtni Life. 361 


The Balance cannot be much in Favour even of tbe moft 
happy, during tbe frefent Life, 

FOR, Firft, This is agreeable to the general ex- 
perience of mankind. It is obvious, that, life is 
chequered with good and evil in fuch degrees and 
varieties, as that the firft cannot prevail much. 
Agreeably to this, the experienced and difpafiionate, 
in reviewing their pad life, will at lead affirm, that 
the happinefs has not greatly exceeded the mifcry. 
And indeed the difficulty of proving the Aforegoing 
propofition is a very fufficient evidence for this. 

Secondly, The diforderly ftate of the external 
world, and the imperfection of our bodies, with 
their tendency to corruption, do not permit, that 
happinefs fhould much exceed mifery in the prefent 
life j and may be confidered as the efficient inftru- 
mental caufe of this. Bodily pain muft in many cafes 
be impreffed upon us by external objects -, both this, 
and bodily pleafure, Jay the foundation for intellectual 
pains, and for irregular paflions, which lead back 
again to pain, bodily and mental; our bodies muft 
return to dud, and every manifeft approach thereto 
muft be attended with fuffering : and the unknown 
internal ftructure of the brain, the great inftrument 
of fenfe. and thought, is fuch, as fubjeds us, from 
innumerable fecret unavoidable caufes, to pafs into 
the limits of pain. All which is only faying in other 
words, that we are fallen creatures. 

Thirdly, In our prefent circumftances, all other 
things remaining as they are, it is requifite for us not 
to have any great over-balance of happinefs in this 
life ; and this may be confidered as the final caufe. 


362 Of the Expectations of 

For we may hope, by this perpetual mixture of 
milery with our happinefs, to be the fooner and the 
more perfectly freed from that felf-love, grofs or 
refined, which every kind and degree of happinefs, 
even the mod fpiritual, contributes to generate in us; 
and to make the greater progrefs in learning the virtues 
of benevolence, companion, humility, fear of God, 
fubrniflion to his will, earned application to him, 
faith, hope, love towards him. 

Fourthly, The whole tenor of the fcriptures 
fhews both in a direct and indirect way, that we 
ought not, cannot expect any great or lading hap- 
pinefs in this life. 

We ought therefore, whenever falfe flattering 
hopes, with relation to our future condition in this 
life, rife up to view in our imaginations, and tempt 
us, indantly to reject them -, and, in the language 
of the fcriptures, to rejoice as though we rejoiced not j 
to remember that we are ftr angers and pilgrims here, 
that we only dwell in tabernacles, have no continuing 
city, but expeft one to come, the New Jerufalem, of 
which we are denizens, where our treafure and 
hearts ought to be. The bed and mod religious 
perfons ought to expect, and even to defire this 
daily bread of forrow and affliction, this bleffednejs 
of thofe that mourn, and to watch and pray againd 
the temptations of profperity, led the day of death 
fhould come upon them unawares, as a thief in the 
night, while they are eating and drinking, marrying 
and giving in marriage. 

COR. We might fhew, by a like method of rea- 
foning, that if the mifery of this life fhould, in 
certain cafes, outweigh the happinefs, it cannot, 
however, do this in any great degree. There mud, 
from the nature of our frame and circumdances 
here, be many intervals of eafe, cheer fulnefs, and 
even pofitive pleafure. Dejection and defpondency 
are therefore as unfuitable to our prefent fituation, 


Individuals in the prefent Life. 363 

as a vain confidence, and foolifh hope, of uninter- 
rupted happmefs. We may learn alfo hence not to be 
terrified at any felf-deni'als or fufferings for the fake of 
religion, exclufively of thofe arguments, which fliew 
in a direct way, that religion promotes our prefent 
happinefs, as 'well as our future. Our very natures 
prevent the long continuance of exquifite mifery. 
Mifery by continuance declines, and even pafles into 
happinefs j and theie muft be, in every date of long 
continuance, the frequent intervention of grateful 
fenfations and ideas. 


Virtue has always the fair eft Profyeft y even in this Life $ 
and Vice is always expofed to the greateft Hazards. 

THIS has been the bufinefs of the laft chapter to 
fhew. But it is a truth, which is fufficiently evident 
from common obfervation. Particular acts of virtue 
and vice often fail of their due reward and puniih- 
menr, if we take in no more than a fmall period of 
time after the a<5t is performed. But then, if we 
take in the indefinite extent of this life, and eftimate 
the natural expectations, it can fcarce be doubted, 
but that every act of virtue is our greateft wifdom, 
even in refpect of this world, every act of vice our 
greateft folly. Now this general tendency of virtue 
and vice respectively may be confidered as the prin- 
cipal evidence, which the light of nature, not fub- 
tilized or refined by deep fpeculations, affords for the 
moral character of the Deity. The rewards which 
the courfe of nature beftows upon virtue in general, 
and the fairnefs of the profpect which it affords to 
the virtuous, Ihew that the virtuous are acceptable to 
the Deity ; and we may conclude for like reafons, 
that vice is odious in his fight. 


Of *b e Expectations of 



does not Jeem at all probable, that Happinefs is exaftly 
proportioned to Virtue in the prejent Life. 

FOR, Firft, Thofe who fuffer martyrdom for the 
fake of religion cannot be faid to receive any reward 
in this life for this their lad and greateft act of 

Secondly, Many good men are exercifed with 
fevere trials, purified thereby, and removed into 
another date in the courfe of this purification, or 
foon after it. Difeafes which end in death, are a 
principal means of fuch purifications. 

Thirdly, There are frequent inftances of perfons 
free indeed from grofs vices, but void of great virtues, 
who from a favourable conjuncture of circumftances 
io this world, fuch as we may fuppofe attended 
the 'rich man in the parable, fare fumptuoufly 
every day> and live in a date of comparative eafe and 

Fourthly, The fame thing feems to hold in certain 
rare inftances, even of very vicious perfons ; and one 
might almoft conjecture, that Providence expofes 
fome inftances of this kind to view in a notorious 
manner, that the apparent inequality of its difpen- 
fations here, in a few cafes, and the argument for a, 
future ftate thence deducible, may make the greater 
impreffion upon us. 

The reader may obferve, that this propofition is not 
contrary to the foregoing j and that the foregoing 
muft be eftabliftied previoufly, before we can 
draw an argument for a future ftate from this, 
and the moral character of the Deity, put toge- 


Individuals in tbf prefent Life. 365 

It is "to be obferved alfo of the reafoning made 
ufe of under all the four propofitions of this fedion, 
that it is rather probable, and conclufive, in a general 
way only, than demonftrative and precife. How- 
ever, the probability and precifion are as great as 
is necefiary in praflical matters. The pra&ical 
inferences would remain the fame, though thefe 
were lefs. 


366 Of the Expectation of Bodies Politic 

. 3 sri, r 




// is probable, that all the prejent civil Governments will 
be overturned. 

THIS may appear from the fcripture prophecies, 
both in a direct way, *'. e. from exprefs pafiages i 
fuch as thofe concerning the deftrucYion of the image, 
and four beafts, in Daniel ; of Chrift's breaking all 
nations with a rod of irony and dajhing them in pieces 
like a potter's vejfel, &c. and from the fupremacy 
and univerfal extent of the fifth monarchy, or king- 
dom of the faints, which is to be fet up. 

We may conclude the fame thing alfo from the 
final reftoration of the Jews, and the great glory 
and dominion promifed to them, of which I fliall 
fpeak below. 

And it adds fbme light and evidence to this, that 
all the known governments of the world have the 
evident principles of corruption in themfelves. They 
are compofed of jarring elements, and fubfift only 
by the alternate prevalence of thefe over each other. 
The fplendour, luxury, felf-intereft, martial glory, 
&c. which pafs for efientials -in chriftian govern- 
ments, are totally oppofite to the meek, humble, 
felf-denying fpirit of chriftianity j and whichfoever of 
thefe finally prevails over the other, the prefent 


during the prefent State of the Earth. 367 

form of the government muft be diflblved. Did 
true chriftianity prevail throughout any kingdom 
entirely, the riches, ftrength, glory, &c. of that 
kingdom would no longer be an object of attention 
to the governors or governed j they would become a 
nation of priefts and apoftles, and totally difregard 
the things of this world. But this is not to be ex- 
pected : I only mention it to fet before the reader the 
natural confequence of it. If, on the contrary, worldly 
wifdom and infidelity prevail over chriftianity, which 
feems to be the prediction of the fcriptures, this 
worldly wifdom will be found utter foolifhnefs at laft, 
even in refpect of this world j the governments, 
which have thus loft their cement, the fenfe of duty, 
and the hopes and fears of a future life, will fall into 
anarchy and confufion, and be entirely diflblved. 
And all this may be applied, with a little change, 
to the Mahometan and Heathen governments. When 
chriftianity comes to be propagated in the countries 
where thefe fubfift, it will make fo great a change 
in the face of affairs, as muft fhake the civil powers, 
which are here both externally and internally oppofite 
to it j and the increafe of wickednefs, which is the 
natural and neceflary confequence of their oppofition, 
will farther accelerate their ruin. 

The diflblution of ancient empires and republics 
may alfo prepare us for the expectation of a diflblu- 
tion of the prefent governments. But we muft not 
carry the parallel too far here, and fuppofe that as 
new governments have arifen out of the old pnes, 
refembling them in great meafure, fubfifting for a 
certain time, and then giving place to other new 
ones, fo it will be with the prefent governments. 
The prophecies do not admit of this j and it may be 
eafily feen, that the fituation of things in the great world 
is very different from what it has ever been before. 
Chriftianity muft now either be proved true, to the 
entire conviction of unbelievers j or, if it be an im- 


368 Of the Expectation of Bodies Politic 

pofture, it will Toon be detected. And whichfoever 
of thefe turns up, muft make the greateft change in 
the face of affairs. 1 ought rather to have faid, that 
the final prevalence and eftablifhment of chriftianity, 
which, being true, cannot but finally prevail, and be 
eftablifhed, will do this. But it may perhaps be of 
fome ufe juft to put falfe fuppofitions. 

How near the diffolution of the prefent govern- 
ments, generally or particularly, may be, would be 
great rafhnefs to affirm. Chrift will come in this 
ferrfe alfo as a thief in the night. Our duty is 
therefore to watch, and to pray j to be faithful fte- 
wards j to give meat, and all other requifices, in due 
feafon, to thofe under our care ; and to endeavour 
by thefe, and all other lawful means, to preferve the 
government, under whofe protection we live, from 
diffolution, feeking the peace of it, and fubmitting to 
every ordinance of man for the Lord's fake. No 
prayers, no endeavours of this kind, can fail of having 
ibme good effect, public or private, for the prefer- 
vation of ourfelves or others. The great difpenfa- 
tions of Providence are conducted by means that are 
either fecret, or, if they appear, that are judged feeble 
or inefficacious. No man can tell, however private 
his ftation may be, but his fervent prayer may 
avail to the falvation of much people. But it is more 
peculiarly the duty of magiftrates thus to watch over 
their fubjects, to pray for them, and to fet about the 
reformation of all matters civil and-ecclefiaftical, to 
the utmoft of their power. Good governors may 
promote the welfare and continuance of a ftate, and 
wicked ones muft accelerate its ruin. The facred 
hiftory affords us inftances of both kinds, and they 
are recorded there for the admonition of kings and 
princes in all future times. 

It may not be amifs here to note a few inftances 
of the analogy between the body natural, with the 
happinefs of the individual to which it belongs, and 


during the prefeni State of the Earth. 369 

the body politic, compofed of many individuals, 
with its happinefs, or its flourifhing ftate in refpect 
of arts, power, riches, &c. Thus all bodies politic 
feem, like the body natural, to tend to destruction 
and diftblution, as is here affirmed, through vices 
public and private, and to be refpited for certain 
intervals, by paitial, imperfect reformations. There 
is no complete or continued feries of public happi- 
nefs on one hand, no utter mifery on the other ; for 
the diflblutictn of the body politic is to be confidered 
as its death. It feems as romantic therefore for any 
one to project the fcheme of a perfect government in 
this imperfect ftatc, as to be in purfuit of an univerfal 
remedy, a remedy which Ihould cure all diftempers, 
and prolong human life beyond limit. And yet 
as temperance, labour, and medicines, in fome 
cafes, are of great ufe in preferving and reftoring 
health, and prolonging life; fo induftry, juftice, 
and all other virtues, public and private, have an 
analogous effect in refpect of the body politic. As 
all the evils, which individuals fuffer through the 
infirmity of the mortal body, and the diforders of the 
external world, may, in general, contribute to increafe 
their happinefs even in this life, and alfo are of 
great ufe to others ; and as, upon the fuppofition of 
a future ftate, death itfelf appears to have the fame 
beneficial tendency in a more eminent degree than 
any other event in life, now confidered as indefi- 
nitely prolonged ; fo the diftreffes of each body politic 
are of great ufe to this body itfelf, and alfo of great 
ufe to all neighbouring dates ; and the diflblutions 
of governments have much promoted the know- 
ledge of true religion, and of ufeful arts and fciences, 
all which feem, in due time and manner, intended to 
be entirely fubfervient to true religion at laft. And 
this affords great comfort to benevolent and religious 
perfons, when they confider the hiftories of former 
VOL. II. B b times, 

370 Qf the Expectation of Bodies Politic 

times, or contemplate the probable confequenccs of 
things in future generations. 


// is probable, that the prefent Forms of Church Govern- 
ment will be dijflbhed. 

THIS propofition follows from the foregoing. 
The civil and ecclefiaftical powers are fo interwoven 
and cemented together, in all the countries of cbrif- 
tendom, that if the firft fall, the laft muft fall alfo. 

But there are many prophecies, which declare the 
fall of the ecclefiaftical powers of the chriftian world. 
And though each church feems to flatter itfelf with 
the hopes of being exempted j yet it is very plain, 
that the prophetical characters belong to all. They 
have all left the true, pure, fimple religion; and 
teach for doctrines the commandments of men. 
They are all merchants of the earth, and have 
fet up a kingdom of this world, abounding in 
riches, temporal power, and external pomp. They 
have all a dogmatizing fpirir, and persecute fuch as 
do not receive their own mark, and worfhip the 
image which they have fet up. They all neglect 
Chrift's command of preaching the gofpel to all 
nations, and even that of going to the loft jheep of the 
houfe of Ifrael, there being innumerable multitudes in 
all chriftian countries, who have never been taught 
to read, / and who are, in other refpefls alfo, deftitute 
of the means of faving knowledge. It is very true, 
that the church of Rome is Babylon the great y and 
the mother of harlots, and of the abominations of the 
earth. But all the reft haye copied her example, 
more or lefs. They have all received money, like 
Gebazi-, and therefore the leprofy of Naaman will 
cleave to them, and to their feed for ever. And 
this impurity may be confidered not only as juftify- 
ing the application of the prophecies to all the 


during the prejent State of tie Earth. 371 

chriftian churches, but as a natural caufe for their 
downfal. The corrupt governors of the feveral 
churches will ever oppofe the true gofpel, and in fo 
doing will bring ruin upon themfelves. 

The deftruftion of the temple at Jerufalem, and 
of the hierarchy of the Jews, may likewife be con- 
fidered as a type and prefage of the deftruction 
of that Judaical form of rites, ceremonies, and 
human ordinances, which takes place, more or lefs, 
in all chriftian countries. 

We ought, however, to remark here, 

Firft, That though the church of Chrift has been 
corrupted thus in all ages and nations, yet there 
have been, and will be, in all, many who receive 
the feal of God, and worfliip him in fpirit y and in 
truth. And of thefe as many have filled high fta- 
tions, as low ones. Such perfons, though they 
have concurred in the fupport of what is contrary 
to the pure religion, have, however, done it inno- 
cently, with refpect to themfelves, being led thereto 
by invincible prejudices. 

Secondly, Neverthelefs, when it fo happens, that 
perfons in high ftations in the church have their 
eyes enlightened, and fee the corruptions and de- 
ficiences of it, they muft incur the prophetical cen- 
fures in the higheft degree, if they ftill concur, nay, 
if they do not endeavour to reform and purge out 
thefe defilements. And though they cannot, accord- 
ing to this propofition, expect entire fuccefs ; yet 
they may be bleffed with fuch a degree, as will 
abundantly compenfate their utmoft endeavours, and 
rank them with the prophets and apoftles. 

Thirdly, As this corruption and degeneracy of 
the chriftian church has proceeded from the fallen 
(late of mankind, and particularly of thofe nations 
to whom the gofpel was firft preached, and amongft 
whom it has been fmce received j ib it has, all other 
things being fuppofed to remain the fame, fuited our 
B b a circumftances, 

372 Of the Expectation of Bodies Politic 

circumftances, in the beft manner poffible, and will 
continue to do fo, as long as it fubfifts. God brings 
good out of evil, and draws men to himfelf in fuch 
manner as their natures will admit of, by external 
pomp and power, by things not good in themfelves, 
and by fome that are profane and unholy. He 
makes ufe of fome of their corruptions, as means 
of purging away the reft. The impurity of man- 
kind is too grofs to unite at once with the ftric~t 
purity of the gofpel. The Roman empire firft, and 
the Goths and Vandals afterwards, required, as one 
may fay, fome fuperftitions and idolatries to be 
mixed with the chriftian religion j elfe they could 
not have been converted at all. 

Fourthly, It follows from thefe confiderations, 
that good men ought to fubmit to the ecclefiaftical 
powers that be y for confcience fake, as well as to 
the civil ones. They are both from God, as far as 
refpeds inferiors. Chrift and his apoftles obferved 
the law, and walked orderly, though they declared 
the deftruction of the temple, and the change of 
the cuftoms eftablifhed by Mojes. Both the Babylo- 
nians y who deftroyed Jerufalem the firft time, and 
the Romans y who did it the fecond, were afterwards 
deftroyed themfelves in the mort exemplary man- 
ner. And it is probable, that thofe who lhall here- 
after procure the downfal of the forms of church- 
government, will not do this from pure love, and 
chriftian charity, but from the moft corrupt mo- 
tives, and by confequence bring upon themfelves, 
in the end, the fevered chaftifements. It is there- 
fore the duty of all good chriftians to obey both 
the civil and ecclefiaftical powers under which they 
were born, /'. e. provided difobedience to God be 
not enjoined, which is feldom the cafe ; to promote 
fubje&ion and obedience in others ; gently to reform 
and rectify, and to pray for the peace and profperity 
of, their own Jerufakm. 


during the frejent Stale of the Earth. 373 


// is probable t that the Jews will be reftored to Palsftine. 

THIS appears from the prophecies, which relate 
to the reftoration of the Jews and IJraelites to their 
own land. For, 

Firft, Thefe have never yet been fulfilled in any 
fenfe agreeable to the greatnefs and glorioufnefs of 
them. The peace, power, and abundance of blefs- 
ings, temporal and fpiritual, promifed to the Jews 
upon their return from captivity, were not beftowed 
upon them in the interval between the reign of 
Cyrus, and the deftrucYion of Jerujalem by 'Titus - y and 
ever fince this deftruftion they have remained in a 
defolate (late. 

Secondly, The promifes of reftoration relate to 
the ,ten tribes, as well as the two of Judah and 
Benjamin. But the ten tribes, or IJraelites, which 
were captivated by Salmanefer, have never been 
reftored at all. There remains therefore a reftora- 
tion yet future for them. 

Our ignorance of the place where they now lie 
hid, or fears that they are fo mixed with other na- 
tions, as not to be diftinguifhed and feparated,, ought 
not to be admitted as objections here. Like objec- 
tions might be made to the refurreftion of the bo- 
dy ; and the objections both to the one, and the 
other, are probably intended to be obviated by Eze- 
kiel's prophecy concerning the dry bones. It was 
one of the great fins of the Jews to call God's pro- 
mifes in queftion, on account of apparent difficul- 
ties and impofiTibilities; and the Sadducees, in particu- 
lar, erred concerning the refurrecYion, becaufe they 
knew not thefcriptures, nor the power of God. How- 
ever, it is our duty to inquire, whether the ten 

B b 3 trites 

374 Of the Expectation of Bodies Politic 

tribes may not remain in the countries where they 
were firft fettled by Salmanefer, or in fome others. 

Thirdly, A double return feems to be predicted 
in feveral prophecies. 

Fourtfily, The prophets who lived fince the re- 
turn from Babylon, have predicted a return in fimi- 
lar terms with thofe who went before. It follows 
therefore, that the predictions of both muft relate to 
fome restoration yet future. 

Fifthly, The reftoration of the Jews to their 
own land feems to be predicted in the New Tefta- 

To thefe arguments, drawn from prophecy, we 
may add fome concurring evidences, which the pre- 
fent circumftances of the Jews fuggeft. 

Firft, then, The Jews are yet a diftinct people 

from all the nations amongft which they refide. 

They feem therefore referved by Providence for fome 

i fuch fignal favour, after they have fuffered the due 


Secondly, They are to be found in all the coun- 
tries of the known world. And this agrees with 
many remarkable paflfages of the fcriptures, which 
treat both of their difperfion, and of their return. 

Thirdly, They have no inheritance of land in any 
country. Their poffeffions are chiefly money and 
jewels. They may therefore transfer themfelves 
with the greater facility to Pal<eftine. 

Fourthly, They are treated with contempt and 
harfhnefs, and fometimes with great cruelty, by the 
nations amongft whom they fojourn. They muft 
therefore be the more ready to return to their own 

Fifthly, They carry on a correfpondence with 
each other throughout the whole world ; and con- 
fecjiiently muft both know when circumftances be- 
gin to favour their return, and be able to concert 
meafures with one another concerning it. 


during the prejent State of the Earth. 375 

Sixthly, A great part of them fpeak and write 
the Rabbinical Hebrew, as well as the language of 
the country where they refide. They are therefore, 
as far as relates to themfelves, actually poflefled of 
an univerfal language and character ; which is a 
circumftance that may facilitate their return beyond 
what can well be imagined. 

Seventhly, The Jews themfelves ftill retain a 
hope and expectation, that God will once more re- 
flore them to their own land. 

COR. i. May not the two captivities of the 
Jews, and their two reftorations, be types of the 
firft and fecond death, and of the firft: and fecond 
refurrections ? 

COR. 2. Does it not appear agreeable to the 
whole analogy both of the word and works of 
God, that the Jews are types both of each indivi- 
dual in particular, on one hand, and of the whole 
world in general, on the other ? May we not there- 
fore hope, that, at lead a/ter the fecond death, 
there will be a refurredion to life eternal to every 
man, and to the whole creation, which groans, and 
travails in pain together, waiting for the adoption, 
and glorious liberty, of the children of God ? 

COR. 3. As the downfal of the Jewijh Hate un- 
der Titus was the occafion of the publication of the 
gofpel to us Gentiles, fo our.downfal may contribute 
to the reftoration of the Jews, and both together 
bring on the final publication and prevalence of the 
true religion; of which I (hall treat in the next 
proposition. Thus the type, and thing typified, 
will coincide ; the firft fruits, and the lump, be made 
holy together. 

B b 4 PROP. 

37 6 Of the Expectation ef Bodies Politic 


Tie Chriftian Religion will be preached to, and received 
by, all Nations. 

THIS appears from the exprefs declarations of 
Chrift, and from many of his parables, alfo from 
the declarations and predictions of the apofties, and 
particularly from the revelation. There are likewife 
numberlefs prophecies in the Old Teftament, which 
admit of no other fenfe, when interpreted by the 
events which have fince happened, the coming of 
ChrHt, and the propagation of his religion. 

The truth of the chriftian religion is an earned 
and prefage of the fame thing, to ail who receive it. 
For every truth of great impoitance muft be difcuf- 
fed and prevail at laft. The perfons who believe can 
fee no reafons for their own belief, but what muft 
extend to all mankind by degrees, as the diffufion of 
knowledge to all ranks and orders of men, to all 
nations, kindred, tongues, and people, cannot now 
be flopped, but proceeds ever with an accelerated 
velocity. And, agreeably to this, it appears that the 
number of thofe who are able to give a reafon for 
their faith increafes every day. 

But it may not be amifs to fet before the reader 
in one view fome probable prefumptions for the 
univerfal publication and prevalence of the chriftian 
religion, even in the way of natural caufes. 

Firft, then, The great increafe of knowledge, lite- 
rary and philofophical, which has been made in this 
and the two lafl centuries, and continues to be 
made, muft contribute to promote every great truth, 
and particularly thofe of revealed religion, as juft 
now mentioned. The coincidence of the three remark- 
ble events, of the reformation, the invention of print- 
ing, and the reftoration of letters, with each other, 
in time, deferves particular notice here. 


during the prefent State of tbe Earth. 377 

Secondly, The commerce between the feveral na- 
tions of the world is enlarged perpetually more and 
more. And thus the children of this world arc 
opening new ways of communication for future 
apoftles to fpread the glad tidings of falvation to the 
uttermoft parts of the earth. 

Thirdly, The apoftafy of nominal chriftians, and 
objections of infidels, which are fo remarkable in 
thefe days, not only give occafion to fearch out and 
publiih new evidences for the truth of revealed 
religion, but alfo oblige thofe who receive it, to pu- 
rify it from errors and fuperftitions ; by which means 
its progrefs amongft the yet heathen nations will 
be much forwarded. Were we to propagate religion, 
as it is now held by the feveral churches, each perfon 
would propagate his own orthodoxy, lay needlefs im- 
pediments and {tumbling blocks before his hearers, 
and occafion endlefs feuds and diflfenfions amongft the 
new converts. And it feems as if God did not in- 
tend that the general preaching of the gofpel fhould 
be begun, till religion be difcharged of its incum- 
brances and fuperftitions. 

Fourthly, The various fects which have arifen 
amongft chriftians in late times, contribute both to 
purify religion, and alfo to fet all the great truths 
of it in a full light, and to fhew their practical im- 

Fifthly, The downfal of the civil and ecclefiaftical 
powers, mentioned in the 81 and 82 propofitions, 
muft both be attended with fuch public calamities, 
as will make men ferious, and alfo drive them from 
the countries of cbriftendom into the remote parts of 
the world, particularly into the Eaft and Weft Indies ; 
whither confequently they will carry their religion 
now purified from errors and fuperftitions. 

Sixthly, The reftoration of the Jews, mentioned 
in the laft propofition, may be expected to have the 
greateft effect in alarming mankind, and opening 


378 . Of the Expectation of Bodies Politic 

their eyes. This will be fuch an accomplifhment of 
the prophecies, as will vindicate them from all cavils. 
Befides which, the careful furvey of False/line, and 
the neighbouring countries, the ftudy of the Eaftern 
languages, of the hiftories of the prefent and ancient 
inhabitants, &c. (which muft follow this event) when 
compared together, will caft the greateft light upon 
the fcriptures, and at once prove their genuinenefs, 
their truth, and their divine authority. 

Seventhly, Mankind feem to have it in their power 
to obtain fuch qualifications in a natural way, as, by 
being conferred upon the apoftles in a fupernaturai 
one, were a principal means of their fuccefs in the 
firft propagation of the gofpel. 

Thus, as the apoftles had the power of healing 
miraculoufly, future miflionaries may in a fliort 
time accornplifh themfelves with the knowledge of all 
the chief practical rules of the art of medicine. This 
art is wonderfully fimplified of late years, has re- 
ceived great additions, and is improving every day, 
both in fimplicity and efficacy. And it may be 
hoped, that a few theoretical pofitions well afcertained, 
with a moderate experience, may enable the young 
practitioner to proceed to a confiderable variety of 
cafes with fafety and fuccefs. 

Thus alfo, as the apoftles had the power of fpeak- 
ing various languages miraculoufly, it feems poflible 
from the late improvements in grammar, logic, and 
the hiftory of the human mind, for young perfons, 
by learning the names of vifible objects and actions in 
any unknown barbarous language, to improve and 
extend it immediately, and to preach to the natives 
in it. 

The great extenfivenefs of the Rabbinical Hebrew, 
and of Arabic, of Greek and Latin, of Sclavonic and 
French, and of many other languages, in their refpec- 
tive ways, alfo of the Chineje character, ought to be 
taken into confideration here. 


during the prejent State of the Earth. 379 

And though we have not the gift of prophecy, yet 
that of the interpretation of prophecy feems to in- 
creafe every day, by comparing the fcriptures with 
themfelves, the prophecies with the events, and, in 
general, the word of God with his works. 

To this we may add, that when preachers of the 
gofpel carry with them the ufeful manual arts, by 
which human life is rendered fecure and comfortable, 
fuch as the arts of building, tilling the ground, de- 
fending the body by fuitable clothing, &c. it cannot 
but make them extremely acceptable to the barbarous 
nations i as the more refined arts and fciences, ma- 
thematics, natural and experimental philofophy, &c. 
will to the more civilized ones. 

And it is an additional weight in favour of all 
this realbning, that the qualifications here confi- 
dered may all be acquired in a natural way. For 
thus they admit of unlimited communication, im- 
provement, and increafe ; whereas, when miraculous 
powers ceafe, there is not only one of the evidences 
withdrawn, but a recommendation and means of 
admittance alfo. 

However, far be it from us to determine by anti- 
cipation, what God may or may not do ! The natu- 
ral powers, which favour the execution of this great 
command of our Saviour's, to preach the gofpel to 
all nations, ought to be perpetual monitors to us to 
do fo ; and, as we now live in a more adult age of 
the world, more will now be expected from our 
natural powers. The Jews had ibme previous no- 
tices of Chrift's firft coming, and good perfons 
were thereby prepared to receive him j however, his 
appearance, and entire conduct, were very different 
from what they expected ; fo that they flood in need 
of the greateft docility and humility, in order to 
become difciples and apoftles. And it is probable, 
that fomething analogous to this will happen ac 
Chrift's fecond coming. We may perhaps fay, that 


380 Of the Expe flatten of Bodies Politic 

fome glimmerings of the day begin already to fhine 
in the hearts of all thofe, who ftudy and delight in 
the word and works of God. 


// is not probable, that there will be any pure or com- 
plete Happinefs, before the Deftruftion of this World 
by Fire. 

THAT the reftoration of the Jews, and the uni- 
verfal eftablifhment of the true religion, will be the 
caufes of great happinefs, and change the face of 
this world much for the better, may be inferred 
both from the prophecies, and from the nature of 
the thing. But ftill, that the great crown of glory 
promifed to chriftians muft be in a ftate ulterior to 
this eftablifhment, appears for the following reafons. 

Firft, From the exprefs declarations of the fcrip- 
tures. Thus St. Peter fays, that the earth muft be 
burnt up, before we are to expect a new heaven, 
and new earth, wherein dwelkth rigbteoufnefs ; and St. 
Paul, that flejh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of 
God-, the celeflial, glorious body, made like unto 
that of Chrift, at the refurrection of the dead, being 
requifite for this purpofe. 

Secondly, The prefent diforderly ftate of the 
natural world does not permit of unmixed happinefs ; 
and it does not feem, that this can be rectified in 
any great degree, till the earth have received the 
baptifm by fire. 

But I prefume to affirm nothing particular in 
relation to future events. One may juft afk, whether 
Chrift's reign of a thoufand years upon earth does 
not commence with the univerfal eftablifhment of 
chriftianity ; and whether the fecond refurre&ion, the 


during the prejent State of tbe Earth. 381 

new heavens, and new earth, &c. do not coincide 
with the conflagration. 

One ought alfo to add, with St. Peter, as the prac- 
tical confequence of this propofition, that the diflb- 
lution of this world by fire is the ftrongeft motive 
to an indifference to it, and to that holy converfation 
and godlinefs, which may fit us for tbe new heavens, 
and new earth. 


382 Of a Future State. 




It is frobable from the mere Light of Nature y that there 
will be a future State. 

I DO not here mean, that mankind in ancient times 
did difcover a future (late, and reafon themfelves 
into it. This, I apprehend, is contrary to the fact, 
a future date having been taught all mankind by 
patriarchal revelations before or after the flood. 
Nor do I mean, that men could have done this with- 
out any afliftance, primarily or fecondarily, from 
revelation, and by mere unaffifted reafon. This is 
a problem of too deep a nature to be determined 
conclufively j or, if it can, we ihall determine for 
the oppofite fide, as it fcems to me, as foon as our 
knowledge of the powers of the human mind is ar- 
rived at a fufficient height. My defign is only to 
fhew, that the works of God are fb far opened to us 
in the prcfent age, that, when the queftion concern- 
ing a future ftate is put, we ought to determine for 
the affirmative, though the authority of his word be 
not taken into confideration. Here then I obferve, 

Firft, That it is not poffible to produce any evi- 
dence againft a future ftate ; fo that the probability 
for it muft at lead be equal to that againft it, /. e. to 
the fraction -*-, if we fpeak according to the precife 
language ufed in the doctrine of chances. We are 
apt indeed to conclude, that, becaufe what we fee 
is, fo what we fee not, is not; and confequently that 


Of a future State. 383 

there is no future ftate, i. e. we make our ignorance 
of the means by which our exiftence is preferved after 
death, and of the manner in which we are to exift, 
an argument againft it. But this is utterly incon- 
clufive. Our ignorance is a nothing, and therefore 
can be no foundation to go upon j and we have every 
day inftances of the miftakes which reafoning from 
it would lead us into. If there be really a future 
ftate, it feems very pofiible, that its connection with 
other realities in this ftate may afford preemptions 
for it ; and that it does fo, I fhall fhew in the para- 
graphs that follow : but, if there be no future ftate, 
this non-entity cannot have any properties or con- 
nections, upon which to creel: an argument for it. 
We muft therefore, previoufly to all probable argu- 
ments for a future ftate, own that we are ignorant 
whence we came, and whither we go j and that our 
not being able to penetrate into the dark regions 
beyond death, were that ablblutely the cafe, would 
not be an evidence, that there is nothing in thofe 
regions. That we can both penetrate thither, and 
difcover fomething in thefe regions, is my next 
bufinefs to fhew. For, 

Secondly, The fubtle nature of fenfation, thought, 
and motion, affords fome pofitive preemptions for a 
future ftate. The connection of thefe with matter, 
and their dependence on it, are perhaps more fully 
feen in the foregoing account of vibrations and aflb- 
ciation, than in any other fyftem that has yet been pro- 
duced. However, there remains one chafm ft ill, viz. 
that between fenfation, and the material organs, which 
this theory does not attempt to fill up. An imma- 
terial fubftance may be required for the fimpleft 
fenfation i and, if fo, fince it does not appear how 
this fubftance can be affected by the diffolution of 
the grofs body at death, it remains probable, that ic 
will fubfift after death, /'. e. that there will be a \ 
future ftate. 


384 Of a future State. 

Or if we take the fyftem of the materialifts, and fup- 
pofe matter capable of fenfation, and confequently of 
intellect, ratiocination, affection, and the voluntary 
power of motion, we mult, however, fuppofe an 
elementary infinitefimal body, in the embryo, capa- 
ble of vegetating in utero, and of receiving and re- 
taining fuch a variety of impreffions of the external 
world, as correfponds to all the variety of our fen- 
fations, thoughts, and motions ; and, when the 
fmallnefs and wonderful powers of this elementary 
body are confidered in this view, it feems to me, that * 
the depofition of the grofs cruft at death, whick 
was merely inftrumental during the whole courfe of 
life, is to be looked upon as having no more power 
to deftroy it, than the accretion of this cruft had a 
ihare in its original exiftence, and wonderful powers ; 
but, on the contrary, that the elementary body will 
(till fubfift, retain its power of vegetating again, and, 
when it does this, fliew what changes have been 
made in it by the imprefjions of external objects here ; 
i. e. receive according to the deeds done in the grofs 
body, and reap as it has fowed. 

Or, if thefe fpeculations be thought too refined, 
we may, however, from the evident inftrumentality 
of the mufcles, membranes, bones, &c. to the ner- 
vous fyftem, and of one part of this to another, 
compared with the fubtle nature of the principle of 
fenfation, thought, and motion, infer in an obvious 
and popular, but probable way, that this principle 
only lofes its prefent inftrument of action by death. 
And the reftitution of our mental and voluntary 
powers, after their ceffation or derangement by fleep, 
apoplexies, maniacal and other disorders, prepares 
for the more eafy conception of the poflibility and 
probability of the fame thing after death. As 
therefore, before we enter upon any difquifitions of 
this kind, the probability for a future Itate is juft 
equal to that againft it, /'. e. each equal to the 


Of a Future State. 385 

fraction '.*- j fo it feems, that the firft ftep we take, 
though it be through regions very faintly illuminated, 
does, however, turn the fcale, in fome meafure, in 
favour of a future ftate; and that, whether the prin- 
ciple of thought and action within us be confidered 
in the moft philofophical light to which we can attain, 
or in an obvious and popular one. 

Thirdly, The changes of fome animals into a 
different form, after an apparent death, feem to be 
a ftrong argument of the forementioned power of 
elementary animal bodies ; as the growth of vegeta- 
bles from feeds apparently putrefied is of a like power 
in elementary vegetable bodies. And all thefe phe- 
nomena, with the renewals of the face of nature, 
awaking from deep, recovery from difeafes, &c. 
feem in the vulgar, moft obvious, and moft natural 
way of coniidering thefe things, to be hints and 
preemptions of a life after the extinction of this. 

Fourthly, The great defire of a future life, with 
the horror of annihilation, which are obfervable in a 
great part of mankind, are prefumptions for a future 
life, and againft annihilation. All other appetites and 
inclinations have adequate objects prepared for them ; 
it cannot therefore be fuppofed, that this fum total 
of them all fhould go ungratified. And this argu- 
ment will hold, in fome meafure, from the mere 
analogy of nature, though we ihould not have 
recourfe to the moral attributes of Godj but ic 
receives great additional force from confidering him 
as our father and piotector. 

If it be faid, that this defire is factitious, and the 
neceflary effect of ftlf-love; I anfwer, that all our 
other defires are factitious, and deducible from felf- 
iove, alfoj and that many of thofe which are gran- 
ted proceed from a felf-love of a grofler kind. 
Befides, felf-love is only to be deftroyed by, and for 
the fake of, the love of God, and of our neigh- 
bour. Now the ultimate prevalency of thefe is a rHll 
VOL. II. C c ftronger 

386 Of a Future State. 

ftronger argument for a future life, in which we 
may firft love God, and then our neighbour in and 
through him. 

Fifthly, The pain which attends the child during 
its birth or paflage into this world, the feparation 
and death of the placenta, by which the child re- 
ceived its nourilhment in utero, with other circum- 
ftances, refemble what happens at death. Since 
therefore the child, by means of its birth, enters 
upon a new fcene^has new fenfes, and, by degrees, 
intellectual powers of perception, conferred upon it, 
why may not fomething analogous to this happen at 
death ? Our ignorance of the manner, in which this 
is to be effected, is certainly no preemption againft 
it j as all who are aware of the great ignorance of 
man, will readily allow. Could any being of equal 
underftanding with man, but ignorant of what hap- 
pens upon birth, judge beforehand that birth was an 
introduction to a new life, unlefs he was previoufly 
informed of the fuitablenefs of the bodily organs to 
the external world ? Would he not rather conclude, 
rhat the child muft immediately expire upon fo great 
a change, upon wanting fo many things neceflary 
to his fubfiftence, and being expofed to fo many 
hazards and impreflions apparently unfuitable ? And 
would not the cries of the child confirm him in all 
this ? And thus we may conclude, that our birth was 
even intended to intimate to us a future life, as well 
as to introduce us into the prefenr. 

Sixthly, It would be very difibnant to the other 
events of life, that death fhould be the laft j that 
the fcene fhould conclude with fuffering. This can 
fcarce be reconciled to the beauty and harmony of 
the vifible world, and to the general prepollency of 
pleafure over pain, and fubferviency of pain to plea- 
lure, before-mentioned. All the evils of life, of 
which we are judges, contribute fome way to improve 
and perfect us. Shall therefore the laft which we 


Of a Future State. 387 

fee, and the greateft in our apprehenfions, quite ex- 
tinguifh our existence ? Is it not much more likely, 
that it will perfect all fuch as are far advanced, and 
be a fuitable correction and preparatory to the reft ? 
Upon fuppofition of a future eternal life, in which 
our happinefs is to arife from the previous annihila- t 
tion of ourfelves, and from the pure love of God, 
and of our neighbour, it is eafy to fee how death 
may contribute more to our perfection, than any 
other event of our lives ; and this will make ic 
quite analogous to all the others. But that our 
lives fhould conclude with a bitter morfel, is fuch 
a fuppofition, as can hardly confift with the benevo- 
lence of the Deity, in the moft limited fenfe, in 
which this attribute can be afcribed to him. 

Seventhly, All that great apparatus for carrying 
us from body to mind, and from felf-love to the 
pure love of God, which the doftrine of aflbciation 
opens to view, is an argument that thefe great ends 
will at laft be attained ; and that all the imper- 
fect individuals, who have left this fchool of bene- 
volence and piety at different periods, will again 
appear on the ft age of a life analogous to this, 
though greatly different in particular things, in 
order to refume and complete their feveral remaining 
tafkb, and to be made happy thereby. If we reafon 
upon the defigns of Providence in the moft pure and 
perfect manner, of which our faculties are capable, 
i. e. according to the moft philofophical analogy, we 
fhall be unavoidably led to this conclufion. There 
are the moft evident marks of defign in this appa- 
ratus, and of power and knowledge without limits 
every where. What then can hinder the full ac- 
complifhment of the purpofe defigned ? The con- 
fideration of God's infinite benevolence, compared 
with the profpect of happintfs to refult to his crea- 
tures from this defign, adds great ftrength to thfc 

C c 2 Eighthly, 

388 Of a Future State> 

Eighthly, Virtue is, in general, rewarded here, 
and has the marks of the divine approbation ; 
vice, the contrary. And yet, as far as we can 
judge, this does not always happen i nay, it feems 
to happen very feldom, that a good roan is re- 
warded here in any exact proportion to his merit, 
or a vicious man puniflied exactly according to his 
demerit. Now thefe apparent inequalities in the dif- 
penfations of providence, in fubordinate particular^, 
are the ftrongeft argument for a future ftate, in 
which God may fhew his perfect juftice and equity, 
and the confiftency of all his conduct with itfelf. 
To fuppofe virtue in general to be in a fuffering 
ftate, and vice in a triumphant one, is not only 
contrary to obvious facts, but would alfo, as it ap- 
pears to me, deftroy all our reafoning upon the di- 
vine conduct. But if the contrary be laid down 
as the general rule, which is furely the language of 
fcripture, as well as of reaibn, then the exceptions 
to this rule, which again both fcripture and reafon 
atteft, are irrefragable evidences for a future ftate, 
in which things will be reduced to a perfect unifor- 
mity. Now, if but fo much as one eminently good 
or eminently wicked perfon can be proved to furvive 
after the paflage through the gulph of death, all the 
reft muft be fuppofed to furvive alfo from natural 
analogy. The cafe of martyrs for religion, natural 
or revealed, deferves a particular confederation here. 
They cannot be faid to receive any reward for that 
laft and- greateft act of obedience. 

Ninthly, The voice of confcience within a man, 
accufing or excufing him, from whatever caufe it 
proceed, fupernatural imprefllon, natural inftinct, 
acquired aflbciations, &c. is a prefumption, that 
we fhall be called 'hereafter to a tribunal ; and 
that this voice of confcience is intended to warn 
and direct us how to prepare ourfelves for a trial 


Of a Future State. 389 

at that tribunal. This, again, is an argument, 
which analogy teaches us to draw from the rela- 
tion in which we (land to God, compared with 
earthly relations. And it is a farther evidence of 
the juftnefs of this argument, that all mankind 
in all ages feem to have been fenfible of the force 
of it. 

Tenthly, The general belief of a future ftate, 
which has prevailed in all ages and nations, is an 
argument of the reality of this future ftate. And 
this will appear, whether we ctinfider the efficient 
or the final caufe of this general belief. If it arofe 
from patriarchal revelations, it confirms the fcrip- 
tures, and confequently eftablifhes itfelf in the man- 
ner to be explained under the next propofuion. 
If it arofe from the common parents of mankind 
after the flood, it appears at leaft to have been an 
antediluvian tradition. If mankind were led into it 
by fome fuch reafons and analogies as the foregoing, 
its being general is a prefuraption of the juftnefs of 
thefe reafons. The truth of the cafe appears to be, 
that all thefe things, and probably fome others, con- 
curred (amongft the reft, apparitions of the dead, 
or the belief of thefe, dreams of apparitions, and 
the feeming paflage to and from another world du- 
ring deep, the body being alfo, as it were, dead at 
the fame time) \ and that, as the other parts of the 
fimple, pure, patriarchal religion degenerated into 
fuperftition and idolatry, fo the doctrine of a fu- 
ture ftate was adulterated with fictions and fables, as 
we find it among the Greeks and Remans, and other 
pagan nations.* 

As to the Jews, their high opinion of themfelves 
on account of the covenant made with their father 
Abraham^ and repeated at Sinai, which in its firft 
and literal fenfe was merely temporal, contributed 
probably to make the more grofs and carnal amongft 
them overlook the doctrine of a future ftate, as at- 
C c 3 tcfted 

390 Of a Future State. 

tefted either by reafcn or tradition. But when 
their captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, and other cala- 
mities, rendered this world contemptible and bitter 
.to them, many, as the Pharifees and EJJenes, had 
recourfe in earneft to this great fource of comfort ; 
whilft others, adhering fervilely to the letter of the 
law, expected only temporal profperity under a 
victorious Meffiah, However, it ig not to be doubt- 
ed, but that, before this, good Jews, particularly 
fuch as did, or were ready to lay down their lives 
for the fake of religion, had. the fupport of this 
belief; and it appears to me, that there are many 
things in the Old Teftament, which both fhew, 
that the doctrine of a future ftate was the current 
opinion among the Jews ; and alfo that it was at- 
tended with far lefs expectations, than amongft chrif- 
tians ; whence it might eafily be overlooked and 
neglected by carnal minds, as above noted. Their 
hearts were fet upon temporal profperity, for them- 
felves confidered feparately, for their nation, for their 
pofterity : all which we muft, however, fuppofe to be 
more fuitable to their other circumftances, and to 
thofe of the world in general, when the whole of 
things is taken into confideration, than if they 
had had more full and magnificent expectations after 
death. .' 

As to the final caufes of the belief of a future 
ftate amongft mankind, if we fuppofe, that thefe 
are either the better regulation of ftates, and the 
public happinefs, or the private happinefs of each 
individual, they would be flrong arguments for the 
divine benevolence, and confequently for a future 
ftate ; even though it be fuppofed, that the efficient 
caufe was only the invention of thofe men, who 
faw that this doctrine would be ufeful publicly and 
privately. For God muft, at leaft, have permitted 
this; according to the doctrine of thefe papers, muft 
have cauled it. 


Of a Future State. 391 

But, without, entering into this examination of 
the efficient or final caufes, we may affirm, that 
the mere general prevalence of the doctrine of a 
future ftate is of itfelf a ftrong prefumption of its 
truth. If it be true, it is natural, /. e. analogous to 
orher things, to fuppofe that we fhould have fome 
general expectation of it, juft as in other cafes, 
where we are nearly concerned ; alfo that as man- 
kind advance in knowledge and fpirituality by the 
advanced age of the world, this doctrine fhould 
be more and more opened to them. Now this is the 
fact; the doctrine of a future ftate has, from the 
firft memory of things in the poftdiluvian world, 
been thus perpetually opened more and more. 
Therefore, e converfo, it is probable, that the doc- 
trine itfelf is true. 

It may be objected to fome of the arguments here 
alleged for a future dare, that they are applicable 
to brutes j and therefore that they prove too much. 
To this we may anfwer, that the future exiftence of 
brutes cannot be difproved by any arguments, as 
far as yet appears : let therefore thofe which favour 
it be allowed their due weight, and only that. There 
are, betides thofe common to all animals, many 
which are peculiar to man, and thofe very forcible 
ones. We have therefore much ftronger evidence 
for our own future exiftence than for that of brutes ; 
which, again, is a thing very analogous to our cir- 
camftances. It is fomething more than mere cu- 
riofity, that makes benevolent perfons concerned 
for the future welfare of the brute creation ; and yet 
they have fo much to do nearer home, for them- 
felves, and their relatives, by way of preparation for 
a future ftate, that it would be a great mifufe of 
time to dwell upon fuch foreign fpeculations. 

The doctrine of transmigration may be confi- 
dered as an argument for the future exiftence of 
all animals in one view ; though a moft pernicious 

C c 4 corruption 

392 Of a Future State. 

corruption of the practical doctrine of a future ftate 
in another. 

It may farther be objected to fome part of the 
foregoing reafoning, that the deftruction of vege- 
tables in fo many various ways, that few, relatively 
fpeaking, come to perfection, with the many irregu- 
larities of the natural world, Ihews that God does 
not, in fact, bring all his works to perfection. I 
anfwer, that if vegetable life be not attended with 
fenfction (and we do not at all know, that it is), 
this, with infinite other phenomena of a like kind, 
may be no irregularity at all. The inanimate world 
may, according to the prefent conftitution of things, 
however irregular that may feem to us, ferve, in the 
beft poffible manner, to promote the happinefs of 
the animate. We are apt to eftimate maturity in 
natural productions according to very narrow rela- 
tive confiderations. But, in truth, that herb or 
fruit is mature, which has anfwered its end in re- 
fpect of animal life, the fupport, for inftance, of a 
peculiar fet of infects ; and, if the particles of inani- 
mate matter thus pafs through the bodies of vege- 
tables and animals in an endlefs revolution, they may 
perform all the offices intended by God : or he may 
have fitted them for infinite other ufes and offices, of 
which we know nothing. 

But if vegetables have fenfation, which may in- 
deed be a fpeculation very foreign to us, but is 
what we cannot difprove, then vegetables may be 
provided for in the fame manner as animals. Or, 
if we fuppofe the argument to fail here, ftill ani- 
mals, i. e. thofe allowed by all to be fo, may live 
hereafter, though no vegetables do identically, and 
few according to the ordinary courfe of propagation 
by their feeds or (hoots : or the argument may fail 
in refpect of brute animals, and extend to man 



Of a Future State. 393 


Cbriflian Revelation gives us an abfolute dffurance 
of a future State. 

THAT the reader may fee more fully the degree 
of evidence afforded by the fcriptures to this mod 
important do&rine, I will here make the following 

Firft, then, A future (late is the plain and exprefs 
doflrine of the New Teftament, in the obvious 
and literal fenfe of the words. It refts therefore 
upon the authority of the revelation itfelf. Hence 
all the miracles of Chrift and his apoftles, and, by 
confequence, of Mqfes and the prophets, all the pro- 
phecies of the fcriptures, whofe accomplifhment is 
already part, and vifible to us, become pledges and 
atteftations of the truth of this doflrine. We can- 
not fuppofe, that God would have given fuch powers 
and evidences, as mud neceflarily propagate and 
eftablifli this doclrine, was it not true. For this is the 
grand, and, as we may fay, the only do&rine of the 
New Teftament, and even of the Old, when inter- 
preted by the New, as it ought to be. 

And, as this is the mod convincing evidence 
even to philofophical perfons, fo it is almoft the 
only one which can affecl: and fatisfy the vulgar. 
But indeed what refource can any man have in 
things above his capacity, befides refting on thofe 
who have evidently more power, knowledge, and 
goodnefs, than himfelf, who have worked miracles, 
foretold things to come, preached and praflifed 
righteoufnefs ? 

All the miracles of both the Old and New Tefta- 
ment were performed by Chrift in effect, /. e. by his 
power and authority. He therefore muft be able 


394 Of a Future State. 

to preferve us from perifhing utterly ; and the pre- 
dictions of future dates in this world, which God 
gave to him, and he to his fervant John and others, 
both before and after his coming, fhew by their 
accomplilhment, that all his other predictions, and 
efpecially 'the great one of a refurrection to life 
eternal, will alfo be accomplifhed in due time. 

Secondly, The perfons brought back to life again 
in the Old and New Teftaments, and, above all, 
the refurredlion of Chrift himfelf, have a great ten- 
dency to ftrengthen the foregoing argument, and 
to remove all our doubts, fears, and jealoufies, 
concerning the reality of a future ftate. The fame 
may be faid of the hiftories of Enoch and Elijah^ 
and of the appearance of Mofes and Elijah at Chrift's 
transfiguration. As there are no footfteps back 
again from the grave to life, our imagination daggers, 
and our faith dands in need of a fenfible, as well as 
a rational fupport. 

Thirdly, The great readinefs of the prophets and 
apodles, and of other good Jews and Chriftians after 
iheir example, to fuflfer death for the fake of their 
religion, is a fingular comfort and encouragement 
to us. -We are fure from hence, that they believed 
a future date themfelves; and they could not but 
know whether or no they had the power of work- 
ing miracles, had feen Chrift after his death, had 
received divine communications, &c. They mud 
therefore have been poffefled of thefe undeniable 
evidences for a future ftate j they could neither 
be deceived themfelves in this matter, nor deceive 

Fourthly, The whole hidory and inditutions of 
the Jewijh people, when interpreted by chridianity, 
are types and prophecies of a future ftate. And 
here the Old and New Teftaments confirm and 
illuftrate each other in the dronged manner : and 
the Old Tedament, when interpreted by the New, 


Of a Future State'. 

becomes entirely fpiritual, and equally expreflive, 
with the New, of the doctrine of a future (late. It 
may be obferved of the Pfa/ms particularly, that the 
fpritual interpretation is to us, in the prefent times, 
more eafy and natural upon the whole, than the 
literal and temporal one. 

Fifthly, If we compare what was advanced above, 
concerning the elementary infinitefimal body, with 
the fcripture doctrine of the refurrection of the body, 
and particularly with St. Paul's account of it, i Cor. 
xv. there will appear fuch a harmony and coinci- 
dence between the evidences from reafon and thofe 
from fcripture, as will greatly confirm both. 


<?he Rewards and Punijhments of a future Life will far 
exceed the Happinefs and Mifery of this, both in De- 
gree and Duration. 

HERE 1 will firft confider the fuggeftions of the 
light of reafon -, fecondly, the declarations of the 

Firft, then, As man appears, according to the 
light of reafon, to be in a progreflive ftate, it may be 
conjectured, or even prefumed, that the rewards and 
punifhments of a future life will exceed that happi- 
nefs and mifery, which are here, the natural conle- 
quences of virtue and vice. However, the light of 
reafon is not clear and certain in this point : neither 
can it determine, whether the happinefs and mifery 
of the next life will be pure and unmixed, or no. It 
may indeed fhew, that each man will receive accord- 
ing to his deferts; but then, fince there is no pure 
virtue or vice here, fince alfo there may be room 
for both virtue and vice hereafter, the rewards and 
punifhments of the next life may fucceed each other 
at fliorc intervals, as in the prefent : or, if "we adopt 


396 Of a Future State. 

the mechanical fyftem throughout, then we can only 
hope and prefume, that God will ultimately make 
the happinefs of each individual to outweigh his mi- 
fery, finitely or infinitely ; and (hall be entirely un- 
certain, whether or no, at the expiration of this life, 
we fhall pafs into another, in like manner, che- 
quered with happinefs and mifery : and thus one of 
the principal motives to virtue and piety would be 

It is true indeed, that the heathens had their Ely^ 
fium and Tartarus j but then thefe doctrines were 
probably the corrupted remains of fome tradition- 
ary revelation j and fo contribute to ftrengthen the 
real doctrine of the Scriptures on this head, which 
I am to fet forth in the next place. 

The fcriptures then reprefent the ftate of the good 
hereafter, as attended with the pureft and greateft 
happinefs j and that of the wicked as being exqui- 
fitely and eternally miferable. And though the word? 
tranflated eternal and for, ever, in the Old and New 
Tettaments, do not feem to ftand for an abfolute me- 
taphyfical infinity of duration, as we now term it, yet 
they certainly import a duration of a great relative 
length, and may import any long period of time, 
(hort of an abfolute eternity. The fcriptures there- 
fore, in their declarations concerning the degree and 
duration of future rewards and punifhments, lay be- 
fore us the ftrongeil motives to obedience; fuch as, 
if duly 'confidered, would roufe and alarm our hopes 
and fears, and all our faculties, to the utfnoft ; 
excite to the moft earned prayers ; and mortify in- 
ftantly to the things of this world. 

Now, though reafon cannot difcover this to us, 
or determine it abfolutely, as juft now remarked -, 
yet it approves it, when difcovered and determined 
previoufly. At lead, it approves of the pure and 
indefinite happinefs of the good, and acquiefces in 
the indefinite punifhment of the wicked. For we 


Of a Future State. 397 

feem ready to expect a ftate of pure holinefs and hap- 
pinefs from the infinite perfection of the Deity ; and 
yet the prefent mixture of happinefs with mifery, and 
of virtue with vice, alfo any future degree of vice 
and mifery, may be reconciled to infinite perfection 
and benevolence, upon fuppofition that they be finally 
overpowered by their oppofites : or, if we confuk the 
dictates of the .moral fenfc alone, without entering 
into the hypothefis of mechanifm, the pure mifery of 
the wicked, under certain limitations as to degree 
and duration, may be reconciled to the mercy of 
God, and will be required by his juftice. But the 
moral fenfe was certainly intended to warn us con- 
cerning futuricy. 

It will not be improper here to remark, that the 
fcriptures favour our fiift notions concerning pure vir- 
tue and happinefs, by the mention of a paradifiacal 
ftate, as the original one, in which man was placed j 
and by reprefenting our future happinefs, as a refto- 
ratron to this ftate. They take notice therefore of 
that greateft of all difficulties, the introduction of evil 
into the works of an infinitely benevolent Being; 
and by afcribing it to fin, the thing which is mod 
oppofite to God, raife an expectation, that it mult be 
entirely overcome at laft. 


// is probable, that the future Happinejs of the Good 
will be of a fpiritual Nature j but the future Mifery 
of the Wicked may be both corporeal and mental. 

THESE are points in which the fcriptures have 
not been explicit. It is therefore our duty to beware 
of vain curiofity, and to arm ourfelves with a deep 
humility. We arc not judges, what degree of know- 
ledge is moft fuited to our condition. That- there 

398 Of a Future State. 

will be a future ftate at all, has not been difcovered, 
with certainty, to a great part of mankind j and we 
may obferve in general, that God conceals from us 
all particular things of a diftant nature, and only 
gives us general notices of thole that are near; and 
fometimes not even fo much as this, where a pecu- 
liar duty, or defign of providence, requires other- 
wife. However, as we are obliged to read and me- 
ditate upon the fcriptures, to examine our own na- 
tures, and to compare them with the fcriptures, we 
feem authorized to make fome inquiry into this high 
and interefting point. 

Now it appears from the foregoing theory \ as 
well as from other methods of reafoning, that the 
love of God, and of his creatures, is the only point, 
in which man can reft; and that the firft, being ge- 
nerated by means of the laft, does afterwards purify, 
exalt, and comprehend it. Jn like manner, the 
fcriptures place our ultimate happinefs in finging 
praifes to God, and the Lamb ; in becoming one 
with God, and members of Chrift, and of each 
other j which phrafes have a remarkable agreement 
with the foregoing deductions from reafon : and we 
feem authorized to conclude from both together;, 
that the future happinefs of the blefled will confift 
, in contemplating, adoring, and loving God ; in 
obeying his commands j and, by fo doing, minifter- 
ing to the happinefs of others ; rejoicing in it, and 
being partakers of it. 

It feems probable alfo, both from fome paflages 
of the fcriptures, and from the analogy of our natures, 
that our attachments to dear friends and relations, 
for whom we are not to for row as they that have no 
hope, and our efteem and affection for eminently 
pious perfons in former ages, for Abraham^ Ifaac> 
and Jacob, and the Jpirits of other juft men made 
perfeft, will ftill fubQft on our arrival at the true 
mount Sion, and the heavenly Jerujalem. 


Of a Future State. 399 

It may be conje&ured farther, that the glorified 
body will not be capable of pleafures that may be 
called corporeal, in the faine fenfe as the prefent 
bodily pleafures are j but only fe/ve as the eye and 
ear do to fpiritual religious perfons, i. e. be a mere 
inftrument and inlet to the refined pleafures of bene- 
volence and piety. 

Is it not probable, that this earth, air, 8$c. will 
continue to be the habitations of the bleffed? It feems 
to me, that a very wonderful agreement between 
philofophical difcoveries, and the fcriptures, will ap- 
pear hereafter. Some inftances, and many hints, of 
this agreement may be feen in Mr. Whiftorfs works. 
Only let us always remember, that we muft think 
and fpeak upon the things of another world, much 
more imperfe&ly than children do concerning the 
pleafures, privileges, and occupations of manhood. 

With refpe<5t to the punilhments of the wicked in 
a future date, we may obferve, that thele may be 
corporeal, though the happinefs of the blefied fhould 
not be fo. For ienfuality is one great part of vice, 
and a principal fource of it. It may be neceflary 
therefore, that actual fire fhould feed upon the ele- 
mentary body, and whatever elfe is added to it after 
the refurreftion, in order to burn out -the ftains of 
fin. The elementary body may alfo perhaps bear 
the action of fire for ages, without being deftroyed, 
like the caput mortuum or terra damnata, of. the 
chemifts. Kor this terra damnata remains after the 
calcination of vegetable and animal fubftances by in- 
tenfe and long continued fires. The deftru&ion of 
this world by fire, fpoken of both in the fcripcures, 
and in many profane writings, the phenomena of 
comets, and of the fun and fixed ftars, thofe vaft 
bodies of fire, which burn for ages, the great quan- 
tity of fulphureous matter contained in the bowels of 
the earth, the defl.rticYion of Sodom and Gjomorrab by 
fire and brimftone, alluded to in the New Teftament, 


400 Of a Future Stale. 

the reprefcntation of future punifhment under the 
emblem of the fire of Gehenna, and, above all, the 
exprefs pafifages of fcripture, in which it is declared, 
that the wicked (hall be punifhed by fire, even ever- 
lafting fire, confirm this poficion concerning the 
corporeal nature of future punifhment, as well as 
give light to one another. 

The fame confiderations confirm the long dura- 
tion of future punifhment. For if the earth be fup- 
pofed to be fct on fire, either by the near approach 
of a comet, or by fome general fermentation in its 
own bowels, juft as the deluge was caufed partly by 
waters from the heavens, partly by thofe of the 
great deep, it may burn for many revolutions, either 
in a planetary or a cometary orbit ; and thefe may be 
the ages of ages, fpoken of in the dpocalypfe. Far- 
ther, if the duration of Chrift's reign upon earth 
for a thoufand years be eflimated, as interpreters 
have with apparent reafon eflimated other durations 
in the prophetical writings, by putting a day for a 
year, then will this reign continue for 360,000 
years. And fince it appears tcr r be previous to the 
purtifhment in the lake of fire, arid limited, whereas 
that, punifhment is to endure for ages of ages, that is, 
for an indefinitely long period of time, one may 
perhaps conjecture, that this punilhment is to be of 
longer duration than the reign of Chrift upon earth 
for 360,000 years. But thefe things are mere con- 
jectures. God has not been pleafed to difcover the 
kind, degree, or duration of future punifhment in 
explicit terms. However, the facred writings con- 
cur every where with the voice of reafon in alarm- 
ing us to the utcnoft extent of our faculties, left we 
come into that place of torment. The punifhments 
threatened to the body politic of the Jews have fallen 
upon v it in the heavieft and moft exemplary manner. 
The Jews, confidered as a body politic, have now 
been in a ftate of fuffering, without any interval 


Of a* Future State. 401 

of relaxation, for almoft fevcnteen hundred years ; 
during which time they have been like Cain the elder 
brother, who flew Abel> becaufe he was more righte- 
ous than himfelf, and his facrifice more acceptable 
than his own, fugitives and vagabonds over the face 
of the earth : they have been perfecuted and flain 
every where, having the indelible mark of circum- 
cifion fet upon them, to which they ftill adhere moft 
tenacioufly, and which has been a principal means of 
preventing their apoftatizing from their own religion, 
after they grow up to adulc age. And this may ferve 
as a type and evidence of the certainty and greatnefs 
of future punifhrrwrnt, fhewing that it will be greater, 
and more lading, than human forefight could poffibly 
have conjectured ; juft as their final reftoration feems 
to prefage the final redemption and falvation of the 
moft wicked. And 'therefore, according to that 
earneft and affectionate admonition of our Saviour, 
He that bath ears to bear, let him hear. 

But if the punifhments of another world fhould be 
corporeal in fome meafure, there is ftill the greateft 
reafon to believe, that they will be fpiritual alfo; and 
that by felfiftinefs, ambition, malevolence, envy, 
revenge, cruelty, profanenefs, murmuring againft 
God, infidelity, and blafphemy, men will become 
tormentors to themfelves, and to each other; de- 
ceive, and be deceived ; infatuate, and be infatuated j 
fo as not to be able to repent, and turn to God, till 
the appointed time comes, if that fhould ever be. 

But we are not to fuppofe, that the degree, pro- 
bably not the duration of future punifliment, corpo- 
real or mental, will be the fame to all. It may alfo 
perhaps be, that there may be fome alleviating cir- 
cumftances, or even fome admixture of happinefs. 
Only the fcriptures do not authorize any fuch con- 
jectures ; and therefore we ought to proceed with the 
utrnoft caution, left we lead ourfelves or others into 
a fatal miftake. And indeed, if the happinefa of 

Voi,. II. D d the 

4O2 Of a Future State. 

the blefled be pure and unmixed, as the fcriptures 
feem to declare, and reafon to hope, then may the 
mifery of the wicked be unmixed alfo. Neverthe- 
lefs, fince the goodnefs of God has no oppofite, 
analogy does not here require that conclufion 


// Jeems -probable^ that the Soul will remain in a State 
of Inactivity, though perhaps not of Infenfibility, from 
Death to the Refurreffion. 

SOME religious perfons feem to fear, left by allow- 
ing a ftate of infenfibility to fucceed immediately 
after death, for fome hundreds, or perhaps thoufands 
of years, the hopes and fears of another world fhould 
be lefiened. But we may affirm, on the contrary, 
that they would be increafed thereby. For time, 
being a relative thing, ceafes in refpect of the foul, 
when it ceafes to think. If therefore we admit of a 
ftate of infenfibility between death and the refur- 
rection, thefe two great events will fall upon two 
contiguous moments of time, and every man enter 
directly into heaven or hell, as foon as he departs 
out of this world, which is a moft alarming confider- 

That the foul is reduced to a ftate of inactivity 
by the depofition of the grofs body, may be con- 
jectured from its entire dependence upon the grofs 
body for its powers and faculties, in the manner ex- 
plained in the foregoing part of this work. It feems 
from hence, that neither the elementary body, nor 
the immaterial principle, which is generally fuppofed 
to prefide over this, can exert themfelves without a 
fet of luitable organs. And the fcriptures of the 
New Teftament, by fpeaking of the refurrection of 
the body as fynonymous to a future life, favour this 
conjecture. There are alfo many paflages in the Old 


Of a Future State. 403 

Teftament, and fome in the New, which intimate 
death to be a ftate of reft, filence, deep, and 
i nativity, or even of infenfibility. However, there 
are other paffages of fcripture, which favour the 
oppofite conjecture. It feems alfo, that motion, 
and confequently perception, may not ceafe entirely in 
the elementary body after death j juft as in the feeds 
of vegetables there is probably fome fmall inteftine 
motion kept up, during winter, fufficient to preferve 
life, and the power of vegetation, on the return of 
the fpring. And thus the good may be in a ftate of 
reft, tranquillity and happinefs, upon the whole 
rather pleafant than painful, and the wicked in a con- 
trary ftate. Some imperfectly good perfons may alfo 
receive what remains of the necefiary purification, 
during the interval between death and the refur- 
rection. And, upon the whole, we may guefs, that 
though the foul may not be in an infenfible ftate, yet 
it will be in a paflive one, fomewhat lefembling a 
dream ; and not exert any great activity till the refur- 
rection, being perhaps roufed to this by the fire of 
the conflagration. For analogy feems to intimate, 
that the refurrection will be effected by means ftriftly 
natural. And thus every man may rife in his own 
order, agreeably to the words of St. Paul. 

However, let it be remembered, that all our notions 
concerning the intermediate ftate are mere conjectures. 
It may be a ftate of abfolute infenfibility on one hand* 
or of great activity on the other. The fcriptures are 
not explicit in this matter, and natural reafon is utterly 
unequal to the tafk of determining in it. I have juft 
hinted a middle opinion, as being more plaufible per- 
haps than either extreme. Such inquiries and difqui- 
fitions majr a little awaken the mind, and withdraw it 
from the magical influences of this world : and, if the 
children of this world find a pleafure and advantage 
in ruminating upon their views and defigns in it, much 
more may the children of another world, by making 
that the fubject of their meditations and inquiries. 

D d 2 S F. C T 

404 Of tbe 'Terms of Salvation. 



WE have feen in the foregoing fection the greatnefs 
of the rewards and punifliments of a future life. Now 
this is a point of infinite importance to us to be prac- 
tically and duly considered. It is of infinite practi- 
cal importance to come within the terms of falvation 
at the day of judgment. Though all God's creatures 
fhould be made happy at laft indefinitely, yet ftill 
there is in the way in which we do, and muft, and 
ought to conceive of thefe things, an infinite practical 
difference, whether at the refurrection we enter into 
the new Jerufalem, and tbe kingdom of heaven, or whe- 
ther we be caft into tbe lake of fire, wbofe Jmoke af- 
cendetb up for ever and ever. Let us inquire therefore, 
what are the terms of falvation after this (hort life is 
ended, *. e. what degree of purity and perfection is 
required of us here, in order to be refcued from the 
miferies of another world, and advanced into the glo- 
rious manfions of the blefied. 


// follows from tbe foregoing 'Theory of our intellectual 
Pleajures and Pains, that the Bulk of Mankind are 
not qualified for pure unmixed Happinefs. 

FOR the bulk of mankind are by no means fo far 
advanced in felf-annihilation, and in the love of God, 
and of his creatures in and through him, as appears, 
from the tenor of the foregoing obfervations, to be 
required for the attainment of pure happinefs. There 


Of the Terms of Salvation. 405 

are few, even in chriftian countries, that fo much as 
know what the true religion and purity of the heart 
is ; at leaft, that attend to it with care and earneft- 
nefs, and in pagan countries ftill fewer by far. How 
exceedingly few then muft that little flock be, whofe 
wills are broken and fubjefted to the divine will, 
who delight in happinefs wherever they fee it, who 
look upon what concerns themfelves with indiffer- 
ence, and are perpetually intent upon their Father's 
bufinefs, in any proper fenfe of thefe words ! And 
as experience (hews us, that men' are not carried from 
worldly-mindednefs to heavenly -mindednefs, nor ad- 
vanced from lower degrees of the laft to higher in 
general, but by pafiing through pain and forrow j fo 
there is the greateft reafon from the mere light of 
nature to apprehend, that the bulk of mankind 
muft fuffer after death, before they can be qualified 
for pure and fpiritual happinefs. If what we have 
felt here does not cure us of fenfuality, felfifhnefs, 
and malevolence, there is the greateft reafon from 
analogy to apprehend, that feverer punifhments will 
be applied hereafter for that purpofe. 


It follows from the Declarations of tbe Scriptures, /bat 
tbe Bulk of Mankind are not qualified for tbe Man- 
feons of the Blejfed. 

FOR, according to the fcriptures, the gate that 
leadctb to life is ftrait, and there are few who find if, 
even though they Jeek to enter in. The righteouf- 
nefs of the Scribes and Pharifees, of the formal 
profefibrs, who yet are no adulterers, extortioners, 
&c. will nor be in any wife fufficient. Many are 
catted, and but few chofen-, and, agreeably hereto, 
the firft fruits, which are a fcripture type of the 

D d 3 chofen 

406 Of the Terms of Salvation. 

chofen or cleft, are fmall in comparifon of the 
lump. In like manner, the Jews are few in com- 
parifon of the Gentiles; the 144,000 in compa- 
rifon of all the tribes ; the Ifraelites, in compari- 
fon of all Mraham\ feed ; Elijah, and the 7000 
in comparifon of the priefts and worfhippers of BaaL 
Thus alfo Noah, and his family, alone, were pre- 
fcrved at the deluge; and of the Ifraelites a rem- 
nant only is faved, whilft the reft are rejected. And 
the reafon of this fmallnefs of the cleft, the thing 
here typified, appears from the conditions. For 
we muft take up our crofs daily, hate father and 
mother, and even our own lives , elfe we cannot 
be Chrift's difciples. We cannot ferve God and 
mammon together. We muft feek the kingdom of 
God, and his righteoufnefs, firft ; hunger and thirft 
after it ; and leave all to follow Chrift. We muft 
be born again, i. e. have quite new difpofitions, 
and take pleafure in works of piety and charity, 
as, we formerly di<3 in fenfual enjoyments, in ho- 
nour and profit; we muft be transformed by the 
renewal of our minds, walk according to the fpi- 
rit, have our hearts in heaven, 'and do all to the 
glory of God. We muft pray always; rejoice in 
tribulation ; count all things as dung in compari- 
fon of the knowledge of Chrift, and him crucified ; 
clothe the naked, feed the hungry, vifit the fick, 
preach the gofpel in all nations. If there be ftrife 
or vain-glory, fchifms or divifions, amongft us, we 
are ftill carnal. If there be wrath, clamour, evil- 
fpeaking, covetoufnefs, we cannot inherit the king- 
dom of God. If we govern not our tongues; we 
deceive ourfelves ; our religion is vain. The luft 
of the flelh, the luft of the eye, and the pride 
of life, are inconfiftent with the love of the Father, 
i. e. with happinefs, with freedom from tormenting 
fear. Though we give all our goods to feed 
the poor, and our bodies to be burnt, even fuffer 


Of the forms of Salvation. 407 

martyrdom, it profiteth nothing, unlefs we have 
that charity, that love, which feeketh not her own, 
but rejoiceth in the truth, &c. /. e. unlefs we become 
indifferent to ourfelves, and love God, and his truth, 
glory, and goodnefs, manifefted in his creatures, 
alone. This world, with the bulk of its inhabitants, 
is all along in fcripture reprefented as doomed to de- 
ftruflion, on account of the degeneracy, idolatry, wick- 
ednefs., which every where prevail in it. The true 
Jews and chriftians are a feparate people, in the world, 
not of the world, but hated and perfecuted by it, 
becaufe they fhine as lights in the midft of a crooked 
and perverfe generation, which cannot bear the light, 
&c. &c. for it would be endlefs to transcribe texts 
to this purpofe. If a man has but courage to fee and 
acknowledge the truth, he will find the fame doctrine 
exprefled or implied in every part of the Bible. 


70 apply the foregoing Doftrine, as well as we can, to 
the real Circumftances of Mankind. 

HERE we may obferve, Firft, That, left the bed 
of men, in confidering the number and greatnefs of 
their fins, and comparing them with the purity of 
the fcripture precepts, and the perfection of God, 
ihould not dare to look up to him with a filial 
truft and confidence in him, left their hearts Ihould 
fail, Chrift our Saviour is fent from heaven, God 
manifeft in the fleih, that whofoever believeth in 
him fhould not perilh, but have everlafting life j 
that, though our fins be as fcarlet, they fhould by 
him, by means of his fufferings, and our faith, be 
made as white as wool ; and the great punifhmenr, 
which muft otherwife have been inflicled upon us 
according to what we call the courfe of nature, be 
averted. Faith then in Chrift the righteous will fup- 

D d 4 ply 

408 Of the Terms of Salvation. 

ply the place of that righteoufnefs, and finlefs per- 
fection, to which we cannot attain. 

Secondly, And yet this faith does not make void 
the law, and ft net conditions, above defcribed ; but, 
on the contrary, eftablifhes them. For no man- can 
have this faith in Chrift, but he who complies with 
the conditions. To have a fenfe of our fins, to be 
humble and contrite, and in this ftate of mind to 
depend upon Chrift as the mediator between God 
and man, as able and willing to fave us, which is 
true faith, argues fuch a difpofition, as will fhew 
itfelf in works. And if our faith falls fliort of this, 
if it does not overcome the world, and fhew itfelf 
by works, it is of no avail j it is like that of 
the devils, who believe and tremble. Men muft 
labour therefore after this faith as much as after any 
other chriftian grace, or rather as much as afar 
all the others; elfe they cannot obtain it. For it 
contains all the other chriftian graces j and we can 
never know, that we have it, but by our having the 
chriftian graces, which are its fruits. 

Thirdly, Hence it follows, that a mere affurance, 
or ftrong perfuafion, of a man's own falvation, is 
neither a condition, nor a pledge of it.- The faith 
above defcribed is-, and fo are all other chriftian graces, 
Jove, fear, truft, repentance, regeneration, &c. when 
duly advanced and improved, fo as to beget and 
perfect each other. But there is great reafon to 
fear, both from the foregoing theory of the human 
mind, and from plain experience, that fuch a 
ftrong perfuafion may be generated, whilft men 
continue in many grofs corruptions ; and that efpe- 
cially if they be firft perfuaded, that this ftrong 
perfuafion or affurance of falvation is a condition 
and pledge of it, and be of fanguine tempers. For, 
if they be -of fearful and melancholy ones, a contrary 
effect may be expected. All this appears from the 
foregoing theory of affent and difient. Eager de- 

Of the Terms of Salvation. 409 

fires are attended with hope in the fanguine, the vain- 
glorious, and the felf-conceited ; and this hope, as it 
increafes, becomes a comfortable affurance and per- 
fuafion, drawing to itfelf by degrees the inward fen- 
timents, that attend upon affent. On the contrary, 
eager defires in the fcrtipulous, fuperftitious, and 
deje<5led, end in fear and diffent. But if this dejec- 
tion fhould pafs into the oppofite ftate, then the 
anxious diffidence may at once, as it were, pafs into 
its oppofite, a joyful perfuafion. 

But the chief thing to be obferved here is, that the 
fcriptures no where make an affurance of falvation the 
condition or pledge of it. Unlefs therefore it could 
be (hewn to be included in faith, love, fear, and other 
fcripture conditions, the doctrine of affurance, as it 
feems to be taught by fome perfons, cannot be jufti- 
fied by the fcriptures. But all the chriftian graces 
may exift without an explicit affurance of, or even 
reflection upon, a man's own falvation ; and fear, in 
particular, does not admit of this affurance. At the 1 
fame time it ought to be remembered, that all acts 
of faith, k>ve, truft, gratitude, exercifed towards God, 
leave peace and comfort in the mindj and that the 
frequent meditation upon the joys of another life, as 
our hope and crown, will excite us powerfully to 
obedience. We ought therefore to labour and pray 
moft earneftly for the perpetual increafe of the hope 
of falvation j yet waiting patiently for it, if it fhould 
be delayed through bodily indifpofition, or any other 

Fourthly, If it be afked, where the privilege and 
advantage of faith lies, fince works are neceffary alfo, 
according to the foregoing account of it; I anfwer, 
Firft, That the righteoufnefs and fufferings of Chrift, 
with our faith in them, are neceffary to favc us 
from our fins, to enable us to perform our im- 
perfect righteoufnefs j and, Secondly, That faith 
is propofed by the fcriptures as the means appoint- 

4io Of tbe Terms of Salvation. 

ed by God for rendering imperfect righteoufnefs 
equivalent, in his fight, to perfect, and even of 
transforming it into perfect, as foon as we are freed 
from that body of flefh and death, which wars 
againft the law of our minds. And, as faith thus 
improves righteoufnefs, fo every degree of righteouf- 
nefs is a proportional preparative for faith ; and, if 
it does not produce faith, will end in felf- righteouf- 
nefs, and Satanical pride. 

Fifthly, If it be alleged, in favour .of the doctrine 
of juftification by faith alone, and exclufively of 
works, that if the greateft finner Ihould, in the 
midft of his fins and impieties, flop at once, and, 
with a deep fenfe of them, earneftly defire forgivenefs 
of God through Chrift, firmly believing in him as 
his faviour, we cannot fuppofe, that God would 
reject him ; I anfwer, that this deep fenfe of fin, 
this earned prayer, and firm belief, are things not 
to be attained in a fhort fpace of time 3 according to 
the ufual courfe of nature. A finner cannot be flop- 
ped at all in the career of his fins, but by fufferingj 
and there may indeed be a degree of fuffering fo 
great, as to work the due contrition in any given 
fhort interval of time, according to the courfe of 
nature. But it does not appear from experience, 
that an effectual reformation is generally wrought 
in great finners by common calamities, nor even by 
very fevere ones; though the fuffering, one may 
hope, is not loft ; but will here or hereafter manifeft 
its good effects. However, fome few there are, 
who, recovering from a dangerous ficknefs, or other 
great affliction, Ihew that their change of mind was 
of a permanent nature ; that they were made new 
creatures-, and that they had a real practical faith, 
fufficient to overcome the world, generated in them. 
Now, fuch a faith, though it have not time to 
evidence itfelf by works, will undoubtedly be ac- 

Of the 'Terms of Salvation. 411 

cepted by God ; fince he knows, that time alone is 

Sixthly, It will be aflced then, What are we to 
do for thofe unhappy perfons, who have neglected 
to make ufe of the means of grace in due time, and 
who are feized by fome fatal difeafe in the midft of 
their fins ? I anfwer, that we miift exhort them to 
ftrive to the utmoft, to pray that they may pray 
with faith, with earneftnefs, with humility, with 
contrition. As far as the dying finner has thefe gra- 
ces, no doubt they will avail him* either to alleviate 
his future mifery, or to augment his happinefs. 
And it feems plainly to be the do&rine of the fcrip- 
tures, that all that can be done, muft be done in 
this life. After death we -enter into a moft durable 
(late of happinefs or mifery. We muft here, as 
in all other cafes, leave the whole to God, who 
judgeth not as man judgeth. Our compaffion is as 
imperfect, and erroneous, as our other virtues, efpe- 
cially in matters where we ourfelves are fo deeply 
concerned. The greateft promifes are made to fer- 
vent prayer. Let therefore not only the dying per- 
fon himfelf, but all about him, who are thus moved 
with compaffion for him, fly to God in this fo great 
diftrefs ; not the lead devout figh or afpiration can 
be loft. God accepts the widow's mite, and even 
a cup of cold water, when beftowed upon a difciple 
and reprefentative of Chrift. And if the prayer, 
love, faith, &c. either of the finner himfelf, or of 
any one elfe, be fufficiently fervent, he will give 
him repentance unto falvation. But how fhall any 
of us fay this of ourfelves ? This would be to 
depend upon ourlelves, and our own abilities, inftead 
of having faith in Chrift alone. 

Thefe awakening confiderations may be thought 
to lead to deTpair. But the defpair arifing from them 
appears to be infinitely fafer, than that cnthufiaftic 
faith, or rather preemption, which is fometimes 


412 Of the Terms of Salvdtion. 

the confequence of the doctrine of juftification by 
faith alone. If indeed a man's defpair Ihould make 
him neglect God in his lad moments, put away 
the thoughts of his fins, and harden himfelf in a 
carelefs ftupidity with refpect to his future condition, 
this would be the word ftate on this fide the grave. 
But it is evident, that the foregoing confiderations, 
have no fuch tendency. Where a man is fo terrified, 
that, like David, his heart fails him, or, like the 
publican, he dares not look upj that he does not 
think himfelf worthy of the high title of the child 
of God, or of admiffion into the kingdom of heaven, 
all thefe emotions, all the agonies of this kind of 
defpair, have a great tendency to better him, to 
purify and perfect him, to humble him, to break 
his ftubborn will ; and, though he mould not be able 
to pray but by the groanings that are unutteralle y 
God, who knows the mind of the fpirit, which is 
now working in him a repentance not to le relented 
of t i. e. if thefe groanings be fufficiently earneft, will 
accept him. If they fall fhort of the gofpel terms, 
whatever thefe be, he will, however, be beaten with 
fewer ftripes. And it muft be remembered, that 
the queftion is not whether a man (hall die here 
in apparent peace, fo as to comfort the friends and 
by-ftanders under their alarming fenfe of fear for 
themfelves, and compafiion for him, but whether he 
fhall awake in joy or torment. The defpair, which 
arifes from a fear, left our remaining difpofition to 
fin be fo great, our faith and love fo weak, and our 
prayer fo languid, as that we do not come up to 
the gofpel terms, is no offence againft the divine 
goodriefs. We are to eftimate this goodnefs in its 
particular manifeftations by God's promifes atone,- 
and to do other wife, would be to open a doof to 
all vvickednefs, and lead ourfelves into the moft fatal 
miftakes. The fcriptures declare in the moft exprefs 
terms, that works are neceffary to falvation. Faith 


Of the 'Terms of Salvation. 413 

is nevcr^ faid to be effectual, when not attended by 
works; but, on the contrary, the true faith is em- 
phatically characterized by its producing works. This 
faith is itfelf a work, as much as any other, the caufe 
and the effect of the others, all proceeding from one 
univerfal caufe through Chrift. How then can we 
flatter ourfelves, that a mere ftrong perfuafion or 
aflurance of falvation, of the application of Chrift's 
merits to a man's felf in particular, will be of any 
avail ? Efpecially fince it is evident, from the nature 
of the mind, that fuch a perfuafion may be generated 
in a wicked man; and alfo from experience, that it 
is fometimes found in fuch. 

I have here endeavoured to treat this moft impor- 
tant fubject with the greateft fidelity, and regard to 
truth. God's ways are indeed infinitely above our 
ways, i. e. infinitely more merciful in reality, ulti- 
mately, than we can exprefs or conceive. But all 
the threatenings of the fcriptures have been fulfilled 
hitherto, as well as the promifes. There is no peace to 
the wicked. The faith, which removeth mountains, 
availeth nothing without charity. Not be that faitb 
unto Chrift, Lord, Lord, i. e. merely applies to him 
for mercy and afiiftance, but be that doth the will of 
God, Jhall enter into the kingdom of heaven. And 
we muft not, we cannot, explain, away thefe exprefs 

As in the body, fo in the mind, great and lading 
changes are feldom wrought in a (hort time ; and this 
the hiftory of affociation Ihews to be the neceffary 
confequence of the connection between body and 
mind. And yet he who made the blind to fee, the 
lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the lepers clean, and 
the maimed whole, by a word, can as eafily perform 
the analogous things, the antitypes, in the mind. 
But then it is to be obferved, that the bodily changes 
by miracles were not made by our Saviour, except 
in confequence of previous changes in the mind. 


414 Of the Terms of Salvation. 

And thus indeed to him that hath Jhall be given, and 
he Jball have more abundantly. Love, faith, fear, 
-prayer, will carry men on in a very rapid progrefs. 
But then the work of regeneration is already ad- 
vanced in them. It is of infinite confequence not 
to lay a (tumbling- block, or rock of offence, in our 
own way, or in that of other's ; not to break the leaft 
commandment, or teach others Jo to do. Let us not be 
deceived, God is not mocked ; what a man Joweth, that 
Jhall he alfo reap. Indignation and wrath, tribulation 
and anguijh, muft come upon every Joul of man that 
does evil, upon every child of difobedience. 

Seventhly, It follows from the purity of the fcrip- 
ture precepts, that even the better fort of chriftians 
may be under confiderable uncertainties as to their 
own ftate ; and that in many cafes, as a man grows 
better, and confequently fees more diftindlly his own 
impurity, he will have greater fears for himfelf, and 
perhaps think, that he grows worfc. Now the final 
caufe of this is undoubtedly, that we may make our 
calling and election fure, and left he that thinketh he 
ftandeth fhpuld fall. And yet, as wicked perfons, let 
them endeavour ever fo much to ftupefy themfelves, 
muft have frequent forebodings of the judgment that 
will be paft upon them at the laft day j fo good 
perfons will generally have great comforts in the midft 
of their forrows. The fcripture promifes are fo gra- 
cious and unlimited, the precepts for loving God, 
and rejoicing in him, fo plain and exprefs, and the 
hiftories of God's mercies towards great finriers, and 
the great fins of good men, ate fo endearing, that 
whoever reads and meditates upon the fcripture daily, 
will find light Jpring up to him in the midft of dark- 
nefs ; will hope againft hope, i. e. will hope for the 
mercy of God, though he has the greateft doubts 
and fears in relation to his own virtue, faith, love, 
hope j and fly to him, as his father and favious, for 
that very reafon. This will beget earnett and in- 


Of the forms of Salvation. 415 

ceflant prayer, a perpetual care not to offend, and 
a reference of all things to God. When fuch a per- 
fbn furveys his own actions, and finds that he does in 
many inftances of thought, word, and deed, govern 
himfelf by the love and fear of God, by a fenfe of 
duty, by the gofpel motives of future reward and 
punilhment, &c. thefe are to him evident marks, 
that the fpirit of God works with his fpirit j he is 
encouraged to have confidence towards God ; and 
this confidence fpurs him on to greater watchfulnefs 
and earneftnefs, if he does not dwell too long upon 
it. When, on the other hand, he finds many un- 
mortified defires, and many failings in his belt words 
and actions, with fome grofs neglects perhaps, or 
even fome commiffions, this terrifies and alarms him ; 
adds wings to his prayers, and zeal to his endea- 
vours. And it is happy for us, in this world of 
temptations, to be thus kept between hope and fear. 
Not. but that very good perfons, who have been con- 
ftant and earneft for a long courfe of time, who 
have paffed through fevere trials, who live, as the 
firft chriftians did, in perpetual apprehenfions of 
fufferings and death, or who, like their bleffed Lord 
and Matter, go about doing good, and preaching 
the gofpel to the poor, may be always favoured with 
the fight of the promifed land ; and feveral of thefe 
may date the rife of this happy date from fome re- 
markable point in their lives. But there is great 
danger of being impofed upon here by the wonderful 
ftibtleiy of the natural operations of the mind. 
When a man begins to fancy, that an inward fenti- 
ment, much or long defired by him, fuch as the af- 
furance of his falvarion, has happened or will happen 
to him, this impofes upon his memory by imper- 
ceptible degrees in one cafe j and begets the fenti- 
ment itfelf, the affurance, in the other. Such a 
factitious affurance can therefore be no evidence for 
itfelf. It is a mental affection, of the fame kind with 


4i 6 Of the Terms of Salvation. 

the reft j and can lefs be depended upon, as a teft, 
than plain actions. Mere ideas, and internal feel- 
ings, muft be lefs certain marks of the prevailing, 
permanent difpofition of our hearts, than the tenor 
of our actions, which is the natural and neceffary 
fruit of it. And we ought to judge of ourfelves by 
our fruits, as well as of thofe who pretend to be pro- 
phets. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruity nor 
an evil tree good fruit. Here we may lay our foun- 
dation, as upon a rock. When indeed this perfua- 
fion, or affurance, is the refult of an earned impartial 
examination into our fruits, and of our confcience not 
condemning us, it may reafonably afford confidence 
towards God ; becaufe our confcience was intended 
by God to inform us of our ftatej as appears both 
from fcripture and reafon. But a conftant abfolute 
affurance, /. e. appearance thereof (for it can be no 
more, till we have efcaped all the hazards of this 
life, and our judge has paffed his fentence upon us 
in another), may be dangerous even to good men, 
and render them by infenfible degrees fecure, neg- 
lectful of neceffary duties, and felf-conceited. How- 
ever, fince a hope, free from all anxious fears, feems 
to be often given by God as a comfort in great 
trials, and a reward for behaving well under fuch, 
and perfevering faithfully, as I obferved juft now ; 
we have the greateft encouragement to do and to 
fuffer every thing that God requires of us, to be 
fervent t in fyirit> Jerving the Lord, to watch and pray 
always* &c. fince we may expect to obtain this 
hope thereby, and in it an hundred fold for all that 
we give up in this world, as well as everlafting life 
in the world to come. 

And though it be proper to comfort religious -per- 
rons under bodily or mental diforders, which fill their 
minds with difproportionate fears and fcruples, by in- 
forming them, that a folicitude about our falvation is 
the fure means of obtaining it ; that this affliction is to 


Of the Terms of Salvation. 417 

be endured with patience, and confidence in God, as 
much as any other ; that it is attended with the fame 
advantages as common afflictions, and alfo with fome 
peculiar to itlelf, fuch as putting us upon a thorough 
examination of our hearts; and that this ievere 
chaftening in the prcfent world is the ftrongeft mark, 
that we are loved by God, and therefore (hall be faved 
in the world to comej yet the fame perfons are to 
be admonifhed, that a great degree of fearfulnefs 
and fcrupulofity often proceeds from fome felf-deceit 
and prevarication at the bottom. There is probably 
fome fecret fin, fome fin that circumvents them more 
eafily and frequently than the reft, of which they 
may not perhaps be fully aware, and yet about which 
they have great fufpicions and checks, if they would 
hearken to them fully and fairly. They ought there- 
fore, with all earneftnefs and honefty, to defire God 
to try and examine them, and to feek the ground of 
their hearts $ and, in confequence of this prayer, to 
let about it themfelves in the prefence of God. And 
if this be neceflary for the fcrupulous and feeble- 
minded, even for the children of God, how much 
more for the carelefs, voluptuous, profane world ! 
How ought they to be alarmed and exhorted to hear 
the voice of wifdom in the prefent life, during the 
accented time, left fear come upon them as defolation, 
and definition as a whirlwind! 

Laftly, We may obferve, that as undue confidence 
Jeads to fecurity, and confcquently to fuch fins, as 
deftroy this confidence, unlefs we be fo unhappy, as 
to&e able to recal the internal feeling of this confi- 
dence without fufficient contrition ; and as the difpro- 
portionate fearfulnefs, which i* its oppofite, begets 
vigilance, and thus deftroys itfelf alfo; whence per- 
fons in the progrefs of a religious courfe are often 
pading from one extreme to another ; fo it is difficult 
for ferious perfons, in thinking or fpeaking about the 
terms of lalvation, to reft in any particular point ; 
VOL. II. E e they 

4i 8 Of the Terms of Salvation. 

they are always apt to qualify the lad decifion, what- 
ever it be, either with fome alarming caution, or 
comfortable fuggeftion, left they fliould miflead 
themfelves or others. This is part of that obfcurity 
and uncertainty, which is our chief guard and fecurity 
in this ftate of probation, and the daily bread of our 
fouls. Let me once more add this neceflary obfer- 
vation, viz. that future eternal happyiefs is of in- 
finitely more weight than prefent comfort} and there- 
fore that we ought to labour infinitely more after 
purity and perfection, than even after fpiritual de- 
lights. We are only upon our journey through the 
wildernefs to the land of Canaan ; and, as we cannot 
want manna from day to day for our fupport, it is of 
little concernment, whether we have more delicious 
food. Let u^ therefore hunger and tbirft after right e- 
oujnefs itfelf ; that fo we may firft be filled with it, and 
afterwards, in due time, may obtain that eternal 
weight of glory, which will be the reward of it. 


Of tbe final Happinefs > &c. 4*9 

S E C T. V. 



// is probable from Reafon that all Mankind will fa 
made bappy ultimately. 

FOR, Firft, It has been obferved all along in the 
courfe of this work, that all the evils that befal either 
body or mind in this ftate, have a tendency to im- 
prove one or both. If they fail of producing a 
peculiar, appropriated intermediate good effect, they 
muft, however, neceffarily contribute to the annihi- 
lation of that Jelf, carnal or fpiritual, grofs or re- 
fined, which is an infuperable bar to our happinefs 
in the pure love of God, and of his works. Now, 
if we reafon at all concerning a future ftate, it muft 
be from analogies taken from this j and that we 
are allowed to reafon, that we are able to do it with 
fome juftnefs, concerning a future ftate, will appear 
from the -great coincidence of the foregoing natural 
arguments for a future ftate, and for the rewards and 
punifhmems of it, with what the fcriptures have deli- 
vered upon the fame heads ; alfo becaufe a fimilar 
kind of reafonings in refpect of the future ftates, 
which fucceed in order from infancy to old age, is 
found to be juft, and to afford many ufeful directions 
and predictions. We ought therefore to judge, that 
the evils of a future ftate will have the fame ten- 
dency, and final caufe, as thofe of this life, viz. to 
meliorate and perfect our natures, and to prepare 
them for ultimate unlimited happinefs in the love 
ef God, and of his works. 

K e 2 Secondly 

420 Of the final Happinefs 

Secondly, The generation of benevolence, by the 
natural and necefTary tendency of our frames, is a 
ftrong argument for the ultimate happinefs of all 
mankind. It is inconfiftent to fuppofe, that God 
fhould thus compel us to learn univerfal unlimited 
benevolence ; and then not provide food for it. And 
both this and the foregoing argument feem conclufive, 
though we fhould not take in the divine benevolence. 
They are both fupported by the analogy and uni- 
formity apparent in the creation, by the mutual 
adaptations and correfpondencies of things exifting at 
different times, and in different places : but they 
receive much additional force from the confideration 
of the goodnefs of God, if that be firft proved by 
other evidences ; as they are themfelves the flrongeft 
evidences for it, when taken in a contrary order of 

And as the benevolence of one part of the creation 
is thus an argument for the happinefs of the other ; 
fo, fince benevolence is itfelf happinefs, a tendency 
to learn it in any being is alfo an argument for his 
own happinefs. And, upon the whole, fince God 
has commanded hisf beloved fons, the good, to love 
and compaflionate every being, that comes within 
their cognizance, by the voice of their natures 
fpeaking within them, we cannot fuppofe, that thefe 
his favourites (to fpeak according to prefent ap- 
pearances, and our necefTary conceptions, which 
with this caution is juftifiable) will fail of their 
proper reward in the gratification of this their 

Thirdly, The infinite goodnefs of God is an ar- 
gument for the ultimate happinefs of all mankind. 
This appears without any particular difcuflion of 
this attribute. But it may not be amifs for the 
reader juft to review the evidences for it above 
exhibited, and their tendency to prove the ultimate 
happinefs of all God's creatures. 


of all Mankind. 42 \ 

Fourthly, The infinite happinefs and perfection 
of God is an argument for, and, as it were, a 
pledge of, the ultimate happinefs and perfection of 
all his creatures. For thefe attributes, being infinite, 
muft bear down all oppofition from the quarters of 
mifery and imperfection. And this argument will 
be much ftronger, if we fuppofe (with reverence be 
it fpoken !) any intimate union between God and 
his creatures ; and that, as the happinefs of the crea- 
tures arifes from their love and worfhip of God, fo 
the happinefs of God confifts, ihews itfelf, &c. (for 
one does not know how to exprefs this properly) in 
love and beneficence to the creatures. As God is 
prefent every where, knows and perceives every 
thing, he may alfo, in a way infinitely fuperior to our 
comprehenfion, feel every where for all his creatures. 
Now, according to this, it would feem to us, that all 
muft be brought to ultimate infinite happinefs, which 
is, in his eye, prefent infinite happinefs. 

Fifthly, The impartiality of God, in refpect of all 
his creatures, feems to argue, that, if one be made 
infinitely happy upon the balance, all xvill be made 
fo. That benevolence, which is infinite, muft be 
impartial alfo ; muft look upon all individuals, and 
all degrees of happinefs, with an equal eye; muft 
ftand in a relation of indifference to them all. Now 
this is really fo, if we admit the third of the foregoing 
fuppofitions concerning the divine benevolence. If 
all individuals be at laft infinitely happy upon the 
balance, they are fo at prefent in the eye of God, /. c. 
he is perfectly impartial to all his creatures. And 
thus every intermediate finite degree of mifery, 
how great foever, may be confident with the impar- 
tiality of God. But to fuppofc, before the creatures 
A and B exiftcd, that A was made by God to be 
eternally happy, and B made to be eternally miferablc, 
feems as irreconcilable to God's impartiality, as to 
bis benevolence. That both fhould be made for 

E e 3 eternal 

Of the final Happinefs 

eternal and infinite happinefs, one to enjoy it in one 
way, the other in another, one by patting through 
much pain, the other by paffing through little or 
perhaps none, one by an acceleration in one period 
of his exiftence, the other in another, &c. &c. is 
perfectly confident with God's impartiality ; for, the 
happinefs of each being infinite at prefent in the 
eye of God, his eye muft regard them equally. And, 
even in the eye of finite beings, if ^'s happinefs 
feems lefs than J5's, in one refpect, becaufe A pafles 
through more pain, it may feem greater in another, 
becaufe he arrives at greater degrees of it in lefs 
time. But this is all appearance. Different finite 
beings form different judgments according to their 
different experiences, and ways of reafoning. Who 
therefore fhall be made the ftandard ? Not the inferior 
orders certainly. And, if the fuperior, we lhall 
not be able to reft, till we conclude, that all that ap- 
pears to all finite beings, is falle and delufivej 
and that the judgment of the infinite being is the 
only true real judgment. Now I have endeavoured 
to fhew, according to the method of ultimate ratios, 
how, allowing the third fuppofition concerning the 
divine goodnefs, all individuals are equally happy in 
the eye of God. And thus the impartiality of God 
is vindicated, according to the truth and reality of 
things, in the judgment of his own infinite under- 
flanding v 

Sixthly, All the foregoing reafoning feems to be 
fomewhat more fhort and clear upon the hypo- 
thefis of Qiechanifm > but it is not invalidated by that 
of free-will. For free-will muft be confidered as 
the production of infinite power, and therefore as 
being fuited to the reft of the divine attributes, 
his benevolence, happinefs, and impartiality, and 
to all the methods, by which God conduces men to 
benevolence and happinefs. Or, if the hypothefis of 
free-will be a bar to the foregoing reafonings in 


of all Mankind. 4*3 

their full extent, it cannot, however, account for 
mifery updn the whole, much lefs for eternal mifery. 
To fuppofe that God wills and defires the hap- 
pinefs of all his creatures, and yet that he has given 
them a power, by which many of them will, in fact, 
make themfelves eternally miferable, alfo that he 
forefees this in general, and even in each particular 
cafe, is either to fuppofe God under fome fatal 
neceflity of giving fuch a power; or elfe to take 
away his unlimited benevolence in reality, after that 
it has been allowed in words. If therefore God has 
<*iven men free-will in fuch a meafure, as that they 
may bring upon themfelves finite 'mifery thereby 
in the prefent ftate, or in any future intermediate one, 
we muft, however, fuppofe it to be fo reftramed, as 
that it fhall not occafion infinite and eternal mifery. 
*be caufe of the caufe is alfo the canje of the thing caufed-, 
which is furely as evident in the application of it to 
the prefent fubjedt, as in any other inftance, where 
it cannot be applied. 

Seventhly, There are many obvious and undeni- 
able arguments, taken from the relative attributes 
of God, which firft exclude the eternal mifery of his 
creatures, and then eftablifh their ultimate happmefs 
by neceflary, or, at leaft, by probable confequence. 
Thus the whole tenor of nature reprefents God to 
us as our. creator, preferver, governor, friend, and 
father. All ages and nations have fallen into this 
language; and it is verified every day by the won- 
derful beauty, harmony, and beneficence, mani- 
fefted in the works of the creation, and particularly 
in the exquifue make of our bodies and minds. 
Shall then a Creator who is a friend and father, 
create for eternal infinite mifery ? Can any inter- 
mediate fuppofuions, free-will, perverfenefs, rcpro- 
batenefs, &c. reconcile and unite extremds io utterly 
difcordant? Will he preferve an exiftence, which 
ceafes to afford happinefs, and can now only pro- 
E e 4 <* ucc 

424 Of the final Happinefs 

duce mifery without end ? Will not the governor 
a.nd judge of all the earth do right ? In whatever 
manner fin be eftimated, it muft be finite, becaufe 
it is the work of a finite mind, of finite principles and 
paffions. Tq fuppofe therefore a (inner to be abfo- 
lutely condemned to infinite irreverfible mifery, on 
account of- the finite fins of this life, feems molt 
highly injurious to the juftice of God. And to fay, 
that this infinite irreverfible mifery is not merely the 
confequence of the fins of this life, but alfo of thole 
tp be committed in another, is to give a power of 
repenting, and becoming virtuous, as well as of 
finning, in another life j whence the fentence might 
be reverfed, contrary to the fuppofition. 

The word man of thofe who go to heaven, and 
the beft of thofe who go to hell, feem to us, if we 
will reafon upon thefe fubjects, as we do upon others, 
to differ but by an infinitefimal difference, as one may 
fay ; and yet the reward of the firft, being eternal, 
however fmall in each finite portion of time, muft 
at laft become infinite in magnitude; and the punifh- 
ment of the laft in like manner. There would there- 
fore be a double infinite difference in the reward 
and punimment, where the virtue and vice caufing 
thefe refpeclively, have only an infinitely finall one. 
To fay, that, in fuch cafes, the rewards and punifh- 
ments of another life may be fo conducted by a mix- 
ture of happtnefs and mifery in each, as that the 
balance fhall not become ultimately infinite in either, 
is to take away all hopes and fears relating to a 
furure ftate, /'. e. morally and practically to take away 
the ftate itfelf. 

Again, can it be fuppofed, that an infinitely mer- 
ciful Father will caft off his fon utterly, and doom 
him to eternal mifery, without farther trials than 
what this life affords ? We fee numberlefs inftances 
of perfons at prefent abandoned to vice, who yet, 
according to all probable appearances, might be 


of all Mankind. 425 

reformed by a proper mixture of corre&ion, inftruc- 
rion, hope, and fear. And what man is neither 
able nor willing to do, may and muft, as fhould 
feem, be both poflible to God, and adually effected 
by him. He muft have future difcipline of a feverer 
kind for thofe whom the chaftifements of this life 
did not bring to themfelves. Yet (till they will all 
be fatherly chaftifements, intended to amend and 
perfect, not to be final and vindictive. That the 
bulk of finners are not utterly incorrigible, even 
common obfervation (hews ; but the hiftory of affo- 
ciation makes it ftill more evident j and it feems very 
repugnant to analogy to fuppofe, that any finners, 
even the very worft that ever lived, (hould be fo, 
Ihould be hardened beyond the reach of all fuffering, 
of all felfifhnefs, hope, fear, good-will, gratitude, 
&c. For we are all alike in kind, and do not differ 
greatly in degree here. We have each of us paflions 
of all forts, and lie open to influences of all forts ; 
fo as that the perfons A and B, in whatever different 
proportions their intellectual affections now exift, 
may, by a fuitable fee of impreflions, become here- 
after alike. 

Thefe and many fuch like reafonings muft occur 
to attentive perfons upon this fubjeft, fo as to make 
it highly unfuitable to the benevolence of the Deity, 
or to the relations which he bears to us, according 
to the mere light of nature, that infinite irreversible 
mifery, to commence at death, fhould be the punifh- 
ment of the fins of this life. And, by purfuing this 
method of rcafoning, we fhall be led firft to exclude 
mifery upon the balance, and then to hope for the 
ultimate unlimited happinefs of all mankind. 


426 Of the final Happinefs 


// is probable from the Scriptures, that all Mankind 
will be made ultimately happy. 

IN confidering the doflrine of the fcriptures upon 
this head, it will firft be requifite to Ihew, that the 
texts alleged to prove the abfolutely eternal and irre- 
verfible mifery of the wicked in another life, may 
juftly be interpreted in a different fenfe. 

Now the Greek words tranflated eternal, everlajl- 
ing, and for ever, in the New Teftament, do not by 
derivation (land for an abfolute eternity, neither are 
they always ufed in this fenfe in the New Teftament, 
the Septuagint, or pagan authors. The fame may 
be faid of, the correfponding Hebrew words. It is 
true indeed, that they generally reprefent a long du- 
ration j and this is fometimes limited by the context, 
or nature of the fubjedb, fometimes not. Now, 
according to this interpretation, the punilhments of 
the wicked will, be of great duration, fuppofe of 
one or more long ages or difpenfations. But one 
might rather conclude from the words of the origi- 
nal, if their derivation be confidered, that they will 
end at the expiration of fome fuch long period, than 
that they will be abfolutely eternal. 

If it be faid, that the eternity of God is exprefied 
by the fame words j I anfwer, that here the na- 
ture of the fubjecl: gives a fenfe to the words, where- 
of they are otherwifc incapable. It may be urged in 
like manner, that the duration of future rewards 
is exprefled by the fame words ; but then the ab- 
folute eternity of this duration is not perhaps dedu- 
cible at all from thefe or any other words. We 
muft in this entirely refer ourfelves to the bounty 
and benevolence of our Creator, and depend upon 
him for all our expectations. Befides, the nature 
of the fubjecl: differs widely here. To fuppofe the 


of all Mankind. 427 

mifery of the wicked to be, in every refpeft, equal 
and parallel to the happinefs of the good, is quite 
contrary to the general tenor of the fcriptures j and 
looks like fetting up the Manuhean doctrine of two 
oppofite infinite principles, a doctrine every where' 
condemned in effect, though not in exprefs words, 
both by the Old and New Teftament. We may 
add, that the happinefs of the good is alfo denoted 
in fcripture by incorruption, indiflblubility, &c. as 
well as by the words applied to the punilhments of 
the wicked. 

The words of our Saviour, where their worm dieth 
not, and their fire is not quenched, are thought by 
fome to be a ftrong argument fot the abfolute 
eternity of future punifhment. But as thefe words 
are taken from Ij'aiab, and allude to the punifhment 
of the malefactors, whofe carcafes were fuffered "to 
rot upon the ground, or burnt in the valley of Hin- 
num, they appear to he too popular and figurative 
to juftify fuch an interpretation. And yet they feem 
plainly intended to declare the very long duration of 
future punifhment ; and that, as the worms, which 
feed upon a putrefied body, or the fire, which burns 
it in this world, do themfelves come to a certain and 
known period, the mifery of another world, and 
the fire of hell, will have no definite one ; but con- 
tinue till they have confumed the fin and guilt which 
feed them. In this way of interpretation, the pafiage 
under confideration would agree with that concerning 
the payment of the laft farthing. . 

Our Saviour's expreffion concerning Judas, viz. 
that it had been good for him, that he had not b$en 
born, cannot indeed be alleged for the proof of the 
eternity of future punifhment} but it feems to op- 
pofe the fuppofition of the ultimate happinefs of 
.all. However, this expreffion may be popular and 
proverbial ; or it may perhaps denote, that his laft 
agonies, or his fufferings in another world, fhould 

out weigh 

428 Of the final Happinefs 

outweigh all his preceding happinefs, or fome way 
admit of an interpretation confident with the propo-. 
ficion under confideration. For it does not appear to 
be fufHciently clear and precife for an abfolute dif- 
proof of it. We may add, that as every man, who 
at his death falls Ihort of the terms of falvation, 
whatever thefe be, crucifies tbe Son of God afreflj, ac- 
cording to the language of St. Paul-, fo he will have 
reafon, according to his then necefiary conceptions, 
to wifh with Judas, , that he had never been born. 
O that they were wife, that they under/food this, that 
they would confider their latter end ! 

Now, as the words of the New Teftament do 
not necelfarily infer the abfolute eternity of punifh- 
ment ; fo the general tenor of rcafoning there ufed, 
with numberlefs pafiages both of the Old and New 
Teftaments, concerning the mercy of God, his rea- 
dinefs to forgive, &c. favour the contrary opinion. 
And this is a farther reafon for interpreting thefe texts 
of an indefinitely long duration only; and that ef- 
pecially if the Imall number of them, and the in- 
finite importance of the doctrine, which they are fup- 
pofed to contain, be alfo taken into confideration. 

To the fame purpofe we may obferve, that there 
is nothing in all St. Paul's Epiftles, from whence the 
abfolute eternity of future punimment can be at all 
inferred, except the words, everlafting deftruflion 
from the prefence of our Lord, i Theff. i. 9. though 
the Epiftles to the Romans and Hebrews are both of 
them general fummaries of the chriftian religion, 
and though he fpeaks in both of future punifhment. 
Iq the Epiftle to the Romans, he fays, 'Tribulation 
and anguijh (not eternal tribulation) fliall be upon 
every foul of man y that doth evil; alfo that the wa- 
ges of fm is death, not eternal death, or eternal 
punilhment; whereas tbe gift of God is eternal life. 
In the Epiftle to the Hebrews, he afks, of how much 
forer punifhment than temporal death, an apoftatc 


ef all Mankind. 429 

is to be thought worthy ? Which teems not likely 
for him to do, had he believed it eternal. In like 
manner, there is nothing of this kind in St. Luke's 
Gofpel, or his ASts of the Ap files, in St. John's 
Gofpel, or his Epiftles, or in the Epiftles of St. 
James, St. Peter, or St. Jude. And yet good men 
now, who believe the eternity of punifhment, fcarce 
ever fail to infill upon it moft earneftly in their dif- 
courfes and exhortations. For, if it be a doctrine 
of the chriftian religion, it is fo efiential a one, as 
that it could not have been omitted by any infpired 
writer, nor fail to have been declared in the moft 
exprefs terms, which certainly cannot be faid of any 
of the texts alleged to prove the eternity of puniih- 
ment. The words tranflated eternal, and for ever, 
muft have been ambiguous to the Jews, i. e. to the 
firft chriftiansj and the figurative exprefiion, their 
worm dietb not, &c. is far lefs determinate than 
many phrafes, which our Saviour might have cho- 
fen, had it been his intention to denounce abfolutely 
eternal mifery. 

To this we may add, that it does not appear 
from the writings of the moft ancient fathers, that 
they put fuch a conftruction upon the words of 
the New Teftament ; and the omuTion of this doc- 
trine in the ancient creeds fhews, that it was no 
original doctrine, or not thought eflential j which yet 
could not be, if it was believed; or that many 
eminent perfons for fome centuries were of a contrary 
opinion. And indeed the doftrine of purgatory, a$ 
now taught by the papifts, feems to be a corruption 
of a genuine doctrine held by the ancient fathers 
concerning a purifying fire. 

It may perhaps be, that the abfolute eternity of 
punifhment was not received, till after the intro- 
duction of metaphyfical fubtleties relating to time, 
eternity, &c. and the ways of exprefling thefe, i. e. 


4jo Of the final Happinefs 

not till after the pagan philofophy, and vain deceit, 
had mixed itfelf with and corrupted chriftianity. 

Still farther, it does by no means appear to be con- 
fbnant to the nature of the chriftian religion to in- 
terpret the New Teftament in a ftric~l literal manner, 
or adhere to ph rates in oppofition to the general 
tenor of it. Our Saviour in many places appeals to 
the natural equitable judgments of his auditors. 
The evangelifts and apoftles all enter into the reafons 
of things j the gofpels are fhort memoirs ; the epif- 
tles were written to friends, and new converts ; and 
the nature of fuch writings mult be very different 
from that of a precife determinate law, fuch as that 
of Mofes, or the civil law of any country. And 
indeed herein lies one material difference between 
the rigid Jewi/b difpenfation, and the chriftian, which 
laft is called by St. James the perfeft law of liberty. 
From all which it follows, that we are rather to follow 
the general tenor, than to adhere to particular ex- 
preffion*. And this will appear ftill more reafonable, 
when it is confidered, that we are yet but novices 
in the language of the Old and New Teftaments, 
the relations which they bear to each other, and their 
declarations concerning future events. 

Another argument againft interpreting the paffages 
above referred to, in the fenfe of abfolutely eternal 
mifery, is, that there are many other paffages, whofe 
ftricl: and literal fenfe is contrary thereto. And in 
fuch a cafe it feems, that the infinite g&bdnefs of 
God, fo many ways declared in the fcriptures, mud 
foon turn the fcale. For the fcriptures muft be 
made confident with themfelves j and the veraciy 
and goodnefs of God feem much rather to oblige 
him to perform a promife, than to execute a threat- 
ening. I will mention a few paffages, fome of which 
it may be obferved even eftablifti the contrary doc- 
trine of the ultimate happinefs of all mankind. 


of all Mankind. 431 

Thus the mod natural, as well as the moft ftri& 
and literal fenfe of the words, As in Adam all die, 
Jo in Cbrift {hall all be made alive, is the ultimate 
happinefs of all the children of Adam, of all man- 
kind. God's mercy is declared to endure for ever ; 
and he is faid not to keep bis anger for ever : which 
expreffiofls, in their firft and moft obvious fenfe, 
are quite inconfiftent with the abfolute eternity 
of punifhment. Our Saviour fays, that the perfon 
who is not reconciled to his brother Jhall not be dif- 
charged till he has paid the laft farthing ; which in- 
timates, that there is a time when he will be dif- 
charged. In like manner the debtor, who owed his 
lord ten thoufand talents, is delivered over to the 
tormentors, till he pay thefe. To fay that he can 
never pay them, becaufe as we have all our faculties 
from God, fo we can merit nothing from God, 
is to embrace the mechanical hypothefis, which, 
in the judgment of all, muft be utterly inconfiftent 
with the eternity of punilhment. For, if a man 
cannot have merit, he cannot have demerit. To 
fuppofe a creature any way brought into being upon 
fuch terms as to be only capable of demerit, feems 
moft highly injurious to the . attributes of God, by 
whatever means this be effected, the fall of our 
firft parents, or any other. 

Again, God in judgment remembers mercy. This 
is faid in general ; and therefore it ought not to be 
confined to the judgments of this world. And to 
do fo, when all the pleafures and pains of this world 
are every where in the New Teftament declared 
unworthy of our regard in comparifon of thofe of 
another, is highly unsuitable to the goodnefs of God. 
But indeed this cannot be done without departing 
from the moft obvious literal fenfe. The fame may 
be faid of the paffages, God is not extreme to mark 
what is done amife ; that he is loving to every man ; 
that his mercy, his tender mercy, is over all bis 
works, &c. Can it be faid with any appearance of 


432 Of the final Happinefs 

truth, that God will give an infinite overbalance of 
mifery to thofe beings whom he loves. 

It may very well be fuppofed, that though the 
punifhments of a future (late be finite? yet this mould 
not be declared in fo many words in the fcriptures. 
For fuch a procedure would be analogous to the gra- 
dual opening of all God's difpenfations of mercy. 
Mankind in their infant ftate were not able to re- 
ceive fuch kind of nourifhmentj neither are all per- 
haps yet able. But, if future punifhments be ab- 
folutely eternal, it is hard to conceive why this 
fhould not have been declared in the mod exprefs 
terms, and in many places of fcripturej alfo how 
there fhould be fo many paflages there, which are 
apparently inconfiftent therewith. 

There remains one argument more, and of great 
weight in 'my opinion, againft interpreting any paf- 
fages of fbripture fo as to denounce abfolutely eternal 
mifery. This is, the declarations of the fcriptures 
concerning the fmallnefs of the number of the elect, 
and the great difficulty of entering in at the ftrait 
gate, already taken notice of. To fuppofe future 
punifliments to be abfolutely eternal, is to fup- 
pofe, that the chriftian difpenfation condemns far 
the greater part of mankind to infinite mifery upon 
the balance, whilft yet it is every where declared to 
be a difpenfation of mercy, to be glory to God, and 
good-will to men ; which is a great apparent incon- 
fiflency. And indeed, unlefs the doctrine of abfo- 
lutely eternal punifhment be taken away, it feems 
impracticable to convince the world of the great 
purity and perfection required by the gofpel in order 
to our entrance into the kingdom of heaven. If 
there be no punifhment in a another (late, befides 
what is abfolutely eternal, men of very low degrees 
of virtue will hope to efcape this, and confequently 
to efcape with impunity : whereas, if there be a purg- 
ing fire, into which all the wicked are to be caft, to 


of all Mankind. . 433 

remain and fuffer there according to their demerits, 
far beyond what men generally fuffer in this life ; 
and if there be only few, that are admitted to hap- 
pinefs after the expiration of this life, without fuch 
farther purification ; what vigour and earnettnefs 
iliould we ufe to efcape fo great a punifhment, and 
to be of the happy number of thofe, whofe names 
are written in the book of life ! 

This may fuffice to (hew, that the abfolute eter- 
nity of future punimment cannot be concluded from 
the fcriptures. We are next to inquire what evi- 
dences they afford for the ultimate happinefs of all 
mankind. I have already mentioned fome patla- 
ges, which favour this doctrine; but 1 intend 
now to propofe two arguments of a more general 

Firft, then, It may be obferved, that the fcriptures 
give a fanction to moft of the foregoing argu- 
ments, taken from the light of nature, for this doc- 
trine, by realbning in the fame manner. Thus the 
punifhments of the Jews and others are reprefented 
as chaftifements, *'. e. a$ evils tending to produce a 
good greater than themfelves. Our benevolence to 
our children is reprefented by Chrift, as an argu-, 
ment of the infinitely greater benevolence of God 
our heavenly father. God promifes to make Abra- 
ham happy by making his pofterity happy, and 
them happy by making them the inftruments of 
happinefs to all the nations of the earth (which they 
are ftill to be probably in a much more ample 
manner, than they have ever yet been). Now this 
fhews, that the happinefs, intended for us all, is 
the gratification of our benevolence. The good- 
nets of God is every where reprefented as prevailing 
over his feverity j he remembers good actions to 
thoufands of generations, and punifhes evil ones only 
to the third and fourth. Not a fparrow is forgotten 
before him ; he giveth to all their meat in due 

VOL. II. F f feafon; 

434 - f t 

feafon ; pities us, as a father does his children ; and 
fets our fins as far from us, as heaven is from 
earth, &c. All which kind of language furely im- 
plies both infinite mercy in the forgivenefs of fin, 
and infinite love in advancing his purified children. 
We are all the offspring of God, and, by confe- 
quence, agreeably to other phrafes, are heirs of all 
things, heirs of God, and coheirs with Chrift, members 
of the myjlical body of Chrift, and of each other, i. e. 
we are all partakers of the happinefs of God, through 
his bounty and mercy. God is the God of the Gen- 
tiles, as well as of the Jews-, and has concluded 
them all in unbelief, only that he might have mercy upon 
all. And, in general, all the arguments for the ulti- 
mate happinefs of all mankind, taken from the 
relations which we bear to God, as our creator, pre- 
lerver, governor, father, friend, and God, are abun- 
dantly attefted by the fcriptures. 

Secondly, There are in the fcriptures fome argu- 
ments for the ultimate reftoration and happinefs of 
all mankind, which now feem fufficiently full and 
flrong, and which yet could not be underftood in 
former ages ; at leaft we fee, that, in fact, they 
were not. Of this kind is the hiftory of the Jewifh 
ftate, with the prophecies relating thereto. For we 
may obferve, that, according to the fcriptures, the 
body politic of the Jews muft be made flourishing 
and happy, whether they will or no, by the feverities 
which God inflicts upon them. Now the Jewijh ftate, 
as has been already remarked, appears to be a type of 
each individual in particular, on one hand , and of 
mankind in general on the other. 

Thus, alfo, it is foretold, that Chrift will Jubdue 
all things to himfelf. But fubje&ion to Chrift, accord- 
ing to the figurative prophetic ftyle of the fcriptures, 
is happinefs, not merely fubjeclion by compulfion, 
like that to an earthly conqueror. Agreeably to this, 
all things are to be gathered together in one in Chrift, 


of all Mankind. 435 

both thofe which are in heaven, and thofe on earth : 
and St. John faw every creature in heaven, in earth, 
under the earth, and in the Jea 3 and all that were in 
them, prat/ing God. 

The prayer of faith can remove mountains ; all 
things are poffible to it j and, if we could fuppofe 
all men defective in this article, in praying with 
faith for the ultimate happinefs of mankind, furely 
our Saviour muft do thisj his prayer for his cru- 
cifiers cannot furely fail to obtain pardon and happi- 
nefs for them. 

We are commanded to love God with our whole 
powers, to be joyful in him, to praife him ever more, 
not only for his goodnefs to us, but alfo for that to 
all the children of men. But fuch love and joy, to 
be unbounded, prefuppofe unbounded goodnefs in 
God, to be manifefted to all mankind in due time j 
elfe there would be fome men, on whofe accounts 
we could not rejoice in God. At the fame time, the 
delay of this manifeftation of God's goodnefs, with 
the feverity exercifed towards particulars, in their 
progrefs to happinefs, beget fubmififjon, refignation, 
fear and trembling, in us, till at laft we come to that 
perfeEf love that cafts out fear. 

It may perhaps be, that the writers of the Old and 
New Teftaments did not fee the full meaning of the 
glorious declarations, which the holy fpirit has de- 
livered to us by their means ; juft as Daniel, and the 
other prophets, were ignorant of the full and precife 
import of their prophecies, relating to Chrift. Or 
perhaps they did ; buc thought it expedient, or were 
commanded, not to be more explicit. The chriftian 
religion, in converting the various pagan nations of 
the world, was to be corrupted by them , and the 
fuperftitious fear of God, which is one of thefe cor- 
ruptions, may have been necefiary hitherto on account 
of the reft. But now the corruptions of the true 
religion begin to be difcovered, and removed, by the 
F f 2 earned 

436 Qf tie final Happinefs 

earneft endeavours of good men of all nations and, 
fects, in thefe latter times, by their comparing Jpi- 
ritual things with Jpiritual. 

How far the brute creation is concerned in the 
redemption by Chrift, may be doubted j and it does 
not feem to be much or immediately our bufinefs to 
inquire, as no relative duty depends thereon. How- 
ever, their fall with Adam, the covenant made with 
them after the deluge, their ferving as facrifkes for 
the fins of men, and as types and emblems in the 
prophecies, their being commanded to praife God 
(for every thing that hath breath is thus commanded, 
as well as the Gentiles), feem to intimate, that there 
is mercy in {lore for them alfo, more than we may 
expect, to be revealed in due time. The Jews 
confidered the Gentiles as dogs in comparifon of 
themfelves. And the brute creatures appear by the 
foregoing hiftory of affociation to differ from us in 
degree, rather than in kind. 

It may be obje6led here, that, if this opinion of 
the ultimate happinefs of all mankind be true, it is 
not, however, proper to publifh it. Men are very 
wicked, notwithstanding the fear of eternal punifh- 
ment ; and therefore will probably be more fo, if that 
fear be removed, and a hope given to the moft 
wicked of attaining everlafting happinefs ultimately. 
I anfwer, Firft, That this opinion is already publilhed 
fo far, that very few irreligious perfons can be fuppo- 
fed to believe the contrary much longer : or, if they 
do believe absolutely eternal punifhment to be the 
doctrine of the fcriptures, they will be much induced 
thereby to reject revealed religion itfelf, It feems 
therefore to be now a proper time to inquire candidly 
and impartially into the truth. The world abounds 
fo much with writers, that the mere opinion of a 
fingle one cannot be fuppofed to have any great 
weight. The arguments produced will themfelves 
be examined, and a perfon can now do little more 


of all Mankind. 437 

than bring things to view for the judgment of others. 
The number of teachers in all arts and fciences is fo 
great, that no one amongft them can or ought to 
have followers, unlefs as far as he follows truth. 

But, Secondly, It does not feem, that even the 
motives of fear are leffened to confiderate perfons, by 
fuppofing the fire of hell to be only a purifying one. 
For it is clear from the fcriptures, that the punifh- 
ment will be very dreadful and durable. We can 
fet no bounds either to the degree or duration of it. 
They are therefore practically infinite. 

Thirdly, The motives of love are infinitely en- 
hanced by fuppofing the ultimate unlimited happinefs 
of all. This takes off the charge of enthufiafm from 
that noble exprefiion of fome myftical writers, in 
which they refign themfelves entirely to God, both 
for time and eternity. This makes us embrace even 
the moft wicked with the mod cordial, tender, 
humble affe&ion. We pity them at prefent, as 
'veffels of wrath j yet live in certain hopes of rejoicing 
with them at laftj labour to bring this to pafs, and 
to haften it; and confider, that every thing is good, 
and pure, and perfect, in the fight of God. 

Ff 3 CON- 


I HAVE now gone through with my obferva- 
tions on the frame, duty, and expectations of 
MAN, finifhing them with the doctrine of ultimate, 
unlimited happinefs to all. This doctrine, if it be 
true, ought at once to difpel all gloominefs, anxiety, 
and forrow, from our hearts ; and raife them to 
the higheft pitch of love, adoration, and gratitude 
towards God, our mod bountiful creator, and 
merciful father, and the inexhauftible fource of all 
happinefs and perfection. Here felf-intereft, bene- 
volence, and piety, all concur to move and exalt our 
affections. How happy in himfelf, how benevolent 
to others, and how thankful to God, ought that man 
to be, who believes both himfelf and others born to 
an infinite expectation ! Since God has bid us rejoice, 
what can make us forrowful ? Since he has created us 
for happinef-, what mifery can we fear ? If we be 
really intended for ultimate unlimited happinefs, it 
is no matter to a truly refigned perfon, when, or 
where, or how. Nay, could any of us fully conceive, 
and be duly influenced by, this glorious expectation, 
this infinite balance in our favour, it would be fuffi- 
cient to deprive all prefent evils of their (ling and 
bitternefs. It would be a fufficient anfwer to the 
wofcvtto KOXOV, to all our difficulties and anxieties from 
the folly, vice, and mifery, which we experience in 
Qurfelves, and fee in others, to fay, that they will all 



- end in unbounded knowledge vim*, jgtajPJ; 
nefs; and that the propefi e ^ m impet fea 

But, alas ! this fahilft we continue en- 

to the bulk of mankmd. WhUft we o 

make a right eftunat o ^ attraaion , 

point of view, till we get clear o, t ^ ^ 

U magic .nBuences of the ea rth. r . Qus 

lows, that this dodnne towev, " 
in itfelf, in the eye of a 


feveral evidences, 
our felf-intereft 
proportion to 
u, and jom 


the Utm ft 
the u- 

trembling. h abounds, our 

with which the world every ^ n for others> 

hearts cannot but melt wu* i co ^ ' { the 

for the ^7" *We a 1n P order to fi the,; for pure 

expiration of this l.fe, in der t rf fen _ 


love of God, and his works. When we confider 
farther, that God has mercy on whom he will, and 
hardens whom he will, and that we, with all our 
pleafures and pains, are abfoJute nothings in compa- 
rifon of him, we muft, like St. John again, fall down 
at his feet dead with aftonifliment. And yet we 
need not fear , from the inftant that we thus hum- 
bly ourfelves, he will lay his hand upon us, and 
exalt us ; he has the keys of death and hell, in every 
pofiible fenfe of thofe words. > 

There is alfo another confideration, which, though 
of lefs moment than the foregoing, is yet abun- 
dantly fufficient to move the compaflion of the good, 
and alarm. the fears of the wicked i 1 mean the tem- 
poral evils and woes, which will probably fall upon 
the nominally chriftian ftates of thefe weflern parts, 
the chriftian Babylon, before the great revolution 
predicted in the fcriptures, before the kingdoms of 
this world become the kingdoms of our Lord, and 
of his Chrift. Thefe evils will be brought upon us 
by our excefs of wickednefs, juft as the deluge was 
upon the old world, and the deitruclion of Sodom 
upon us lewd inhabitants, through theirs 9 they may 
alfo be fomewhat delayed, or alleviated, by reform- 
ations public or private, even partial and tempo- 
rary ones. I will therefore make a few Ihort re- 
marks concerning fuch things, as feem more parti- 
cularly to call for the attention of the prefent chrif- 
tian world j at leaft of thofe good Philadelphiam^ 
who are defirous to keep themfelves and others from 
that hour of temptation, which is coming upon us 
all. My remarks muft be fuppofed to relate chiefly 
to this kingdom; to be fuggefted by what occurs in 
it ; and to be calculated, as far as my poor, but fin- 
cere and earned endeavours can have any weight, 
to ftein for a while that torrent of vice and impiety, 
which feem ready to fwallow us up, and, if pof- 
fible, to protract the life of the body politic. But I 



prefume, that the refemblance between all the Hates 
of chrtftendom is fo great in all the points here con- 
fidered, that the practical confequences are the fame 
upon the whole. 

There are fix things, which feem more efpecially 
to threaten ruin and diflblution to the prefent dates 
of chrift endow. 

Firrt, The great growth of atheifm and infidelity, 
particularly amongft the governing part of thefe 

Secondly, The open and abandoned lewdnefs, 
to which great numbers of both fexes, efpecially 
in the high ranks of life, have given themfelves 

Thirdly, The fordid and avowed felf-intereft, 
which is almoft the fole motive of action in thofe 
who are concerned in the adminiftration of public 

Fourthly, The licentioufnefs and contempt of 
every kind of authority, divine and human, which 
is fo notorious in inferiors of all ranks. 

Fifthly, The great worldly-mindednefs of the 
clergy, and their grofs neglects in the difcharge of 
their proper functions. 

Sixthly, The careleflhefs and infatuation of parents 
and magiftrates with refpect to the education of 
youth, and the confequent early corruption of the 
rifmg generation. 

All thefe things have evident mutual connections 
and influences -, and, as they all fcem likely to in- 
creafe from time to time, fo it can fcarce be doubted 
by a confiderate man, whether he be a religious 
one or no, but that they will, fooner or later, bring 
on a total diflblution of all the forms of government, 
that fubfift at prefent in the chriftian countries of 
Europe. I will note down fome of the principal facts 
of each kind, and fhew their utter inconfiftency with 



the welfare of a body politic, and their neceflary 
tendency to anarchy and confufion. 

I begin with the atheifm and infidelity which pre- 
vail fo much among the governing part of thefe weft- 
ern kingdoms. That infidelity prevails, efpecially 
in thefe kingdoms, will readily be acknowledged by 
all. But the fame perfons, who treat the chriftian 
religion, and its advocates, with fo much fcorn, will 
probably, fome of them at leaft, profefs a regard to 
natural religion , and it may feem hard to queftion 
their fincerity. However, as far as has occurred to 
my obfervation, thefe perfons either deceive them- 
felves, or attempt to deceive others, in this. There 
appears in them no love or fear of God, no con- 
fidence in him, no delight in meditating upon him, 
in praying to him, or praifing him, no hope or joy 
in a future ftate. Their hearts and treafures are 
upon this earth, upon fenfual pleafures, or vain 
amufements, perhaps of philofophy or philology, 
purfued to pafs the time, upon honour or riches. 
And indeed there are the fame objections, in general, 
to natural religion as to revealed, and no ftronger 
evidences for it. On the contrary, the hiftorical and 
moral evidences for the general truth of the fcriptures, 
which thefe perfons deny, are more convincing and 
fatisfa&ory to philofophical as well as to vulgar 
capacities, than the arguments that are ufually 
brought to prove the exiftence and attributes of God, 
his providence, or a future ftate : not but that thefe 
laft are abundantly fufficient to fatisfy an earned and 
impartial inquirer. 

If now there really be a God, who is our natural 
and moral governor, and who expefts, that we mould 
t regard him as fuch, thofe magiftrates who care not 
to have him in their thoughts, to fuffer him to 
interfere in their fcheme of government, who fay in 
tbeir hearts, there is no God, or wifh it, or even 
bid open defiance to him (though I hope and believe 



this laft is not often the cafe), cannot profper; but 
muft bring down vengeance upon themfelves, and 
the wicked nations over whom they prefide. In 
like manner, if God has fent his beloved fon Jefus 
Chrift to be an example to the world, to pMe for 
it, and to govern it, it cannot be an indifferent 
thing whether we attend to his call or no. The 
neglect of revealed religion, efpecially in perfbns of 
authority, is the fame thing as declaring it to be 
falfe; for, if true, the neglect of it is, as one may 
fay, high treafon againft the majefty of heaven. 
He that honours not the Son, cannot honour the 
Father, who hath fent him with fufficient creden- 
tials. And accordingly, if we confider the fecond 
pfalm as a prophecy relating to Chrift, which it cer- 
tainly is, thofe kings and magiftrates, who rife up 
againft God and his Chrift, intending to fhake off the 
reftraints of natural and revealed religion, muft expeft 
to be broken in pieces like a potter's vefiel. Since 
they will not kifs the Son, and rejoice before him with 
reverence, they muft expeft, that he will rule over them 
with a rod of iron. 

Nay, we may go farther, and affirm, that if there 
were no fatisfactory evidence for natural or revealed 
religion, (till it is the intereft of princes and govern- 
ors to improve that which there is to the beft ad- 
vantage. The happinefs of their people, their own 
intereft with them, their power, their fafety, their 
all, depend upon it. Neither is this any intricate, 
far fetched, or doubtful pofition, but a truth which 
lies upon the furface of things, which is evident at 
firft fight, and undeniable after the moft thorough 
examination. So that for governors to render re- 
religion contemptible in the eyes of their fubje&s, 
by example or infinuation, and much more by di- 
rectly ridiculing or vilifying it, is manifeft infatua- 
tion; it is feeing without perceiving, and hearing 
without underftanding, through the grofihefs and 



carnality of their hearts. And it may be part gf 
the infatuation predi&ed to come upon the wicked 
in the latter ages of the world. For then the wick- 
ed Jhall do wickedly ) and none of the wicked Jhall up- 

Religion is often faid by unbelievers* to have been 
the invention of wife law- givers, and artful politi- 
cians, in order to keep the vicious and head-ftrong 
multitude in awe. How little does the practice of 
the prefent times fuit with this ! The adminiftrators 
of public affairs in the prefent times are not even 
wife or artful enough to take advantage of a pure reli- 
gion, handed down to them from their anceftors, and 
which they certainly did not invent; but endeavour 
to explode it at the manifeft -hazard of all that is 
dear to them. For mankind can never be kept in 
fubjection to government, but by the hopes and 
fears of another world j nay, the exprefs precepts, 
promifes, and threatenings of the gofpel are requifite 
for this purpofe. The unwritten law of nature is 
too pliable, too fubtle, and too feeble ; a difhoneft 
heart can eafily explain it, or its motives, away ; 
and violent paflions will not fuffer it to be heard ; 
whereas the precepts of revealed religion are abfolute 
and exprefs, and its motives alarming to the higheft 
degree, where the fcriptures are received and con- 
fidered, in any meafure, as they ought to be. 

The Greek and Roman philofophy and morality 
was not indeed equal to ours ; but we may have 
a fufficient fpecimen from thence, how Jittle very 
good dodtrines, when taught without authority, are 
able to check the growing corruption of man- 
kind. Had not chriftianity intervened at the declen- 
fion of the Roman empire, and put a (lop to the 
career of vice, the whole body politic of the civili- 
zed nations of that empire, muft have been difibived 
from the mere wickednefs and corruption of its ie- 
veral parts. And much rather may the fame come 



upon us, if after fuch light and evidence we caft off 
the restraints and motive? of revealed religion 

I would not be underftood to fpeak hire 'to thofe 

of "!' w ; arC . Ie8a " y the S vernors f 'he "a io, 
f Anftendem, ,, e . who have . jcu , 

or execute power vefted in them by the conll u 
S r CU " 


Ifo to ,| u ountres 

alfo to all fuch as by their eminence in any way, 
ir learning, the.r t.tles, their riches, &c. draw 

mTndf \ 'I 1 ', And - " reems re 1 uifi 
"'"d the two learned profeflions of law and phyfic 

hat though they are no ways qualified to judSS 


v , 

euy, ,. e. w,, te {ame attention and impar-,ty as they would do a matter of law or pZ. 
ic where ,, ,s their intereft to form a right judL 
ment (, whlch cafe hcre feems w ^ no | g 

ey wHl determine for it) ; yet the illiterate part o 
mankind w,ll catch the infedion fron/then 
on account of the.r general, confufed reputation of 
bemg learned, and by means of the plaufible wayl 
of harangumg and defcanting upon topics, to 

A j ' D f lhelr educations and profeffions 

come'rH^ 11 " 11 " ^ a " fnd t0 r E y 
e the feclucers of mankind, and rocks of offence 

to the weak and ignorant, and load themfelves with 
the gu,lt of other men's fins. This camion is fo 
much the more neceffary, as it is common for 
young ftudents ,n thefe profeffions ,o lift ,hem?cl e 
on the fide of .rrehg.on, and become nominal infi. 
dels of comle, and from falhion, as it were : 
w,thout pretending, as indeed there cou | d be no rea 
lonable preft-nce, to have examined into the meri-s 

or the cauitf. Which blind and imrli^Mf A:^u 
u ur j aiiu niipiicit taitn in 

t C uH h ' J V ne ^ n C kn W ' What or w hom, 
would be moft unaccountable in thofe who profef 
infidelity, tvere it nor, that this is in every c 
'ftance a comraditfion to itfelf, and rnuft be fo, on 



account of the wilful infatuation from which it 

I will now fhew briefly how the prevalence of in- 
fidelity increafes, and is increafed by, the other evils 
here mentioned. That it opens a door to lewd- 
nefs, cannot be doubted by any one j and in'deed the 
ftrictnefs and purity of the chriftian religion, in this 
refpect, is probably the chief thing, which makes 
vicious men firft fear and hate, and then vilify nd 
oppofe it. The unwritten law of nature cannot fix 
precife bounds to the commerce between the fexes. 
This is too wide a field, as I have obferved above j 
and yet it highly approves of chaftity in thought, 
word, and deed. If therefore men reject only re- 
vealed religion, great libertinifm muft enfue ; but 
if they reject natural alfo, which is generally the 
cafe, we can expect nothing but the moft abandoned 

As to felf- inter eft, we may obferve, that thofe 
who have no hopes in futurity, no piety towards 
God, and confequently no fblid or extenfive bene- 
volence towards men, cannot but be engrofled by 
the moft fordid and groveling kind, that which refts 
in prefent pofleflions and enjoyments. And, con- 
verfely, when fuch a felf-intereft has taken root, they 
muft be averfe to religion, becaufe it opens diftant 
and ungrateful views to them, and inculcates the 
pure and difinterefted love of God, and their neigh- 
bour j to them an enthufiaftic and impoflible 

In like manner infidelity muft difpofe men to fhake 
off the yoke of authority, to unbounded licentiouf- 
nefs ; and reciprocally is itfelf the natural confe- 
quence of every degree of licentioufnefs. Thofe 
who do not regard the fupreme authority, can be 
little expected to regard any of his vicegerents j thofe 
who do not fear God, will not honour the king. If 
the infatuation of princes was not of the deepeft kind, 



they could not but fee, that they hold their domini- 
ons entirely by the real chriftianity that is left amongft, 
us j and that, if they do fucceed in taking away this 
foundation, or weakening it much farther, their go- 
vernments muft fall, like houfes built upon fand. 
Befides the great influence which chriftianity has to 
make men humble and obedient, it is to be confidered, 
that our anceftors have fo interwoven it with the con- 
ftitutions of the kingdoms of Europe, that they muft 
ftand or fall together. Chriftianity is the cement of 
the buildings. 

It is alfo evident^ that the infidelity of the lahy 
muft have an ill effect in refpect of the clergy. Many 
of thefe muft be the fons of infidels, thruft into the 
church by their parents for fubfiftence, or with a 
view to great honours and profits j and muft carry 
with them a deep tincture of the corruption and in- 
fidelity, which they imbibed in their infancy and 
youth. And it is not lefs evident, that the worldly- 
mindednefs and neglect of duty in the clergy is a 
great fcandal to religion, and caufe of infidelity j the 
chief probably after the impatience of reftraint in 
refpect of chaftity in the laity. It is alfo to be con- 
fidered, that unbelieving magiftrates will have little 
regard to the piety of the perfons, whom they pro- 
mote to the higheft ftations of the church, but rather 
to their flattery, fubferviency, and apparent political 

Laftly, As to the perverted education of youth, 
atheifm and infidelity are both the caufe and effect 
of this in fo obvious a manner, that it feems fuper- 
fluous to enlarge upon it. 

The lewdnefs which I have mentioned above, as 
a fecond caufe of the future diflblution of thefe 
weftern kingdoms, is now rifen to fuch a height, 
as almoft to threaten utter confufion. Men glory in 
their fhame, and publicly avow what in former ages 
was induftrioufly concealed. Princes arc juftly charge- 


able with a great part of this public guilt. Their 
courts will imitate them, in what is bad at leaftj 
and be led on thereby from one degree of fhamelefs- 
nefs to another. The evil increafes gradually; for 
neither courts, nor private perfons, become quite 
profligate at once ; and this may make fome almoft 
perfuade themfelves, that the prefent times are not 
worfe than the preceding. The fins of this kind are, 
for the moft part, joined with idolatry in the pro- 
phetical writings, and made the types thereof. So 
that the open and avowed practice of them is an 
open renunciation of our allegiance to God and 
Chrift; and, agreeably to this, is, as has been ob- 
ferved above, the principal caufe why fo many 
perfons reject revealed religion. But if we renounce 
our , allegiance and covenant, we can be no longer 
under the protection of God. 

The grofs felf-intereft, which is now the principal 
motive in moft marriages in high life, is both a 
caufe and confequence of this iibertinifm. The 
fame may be obferved of the great contempt, in 
which marriage is held, and which almoft threatens 
promifcuous concubinage among the higher ranks, 
and the profeiTed unbelievers. 

As to the clergy, if they neglect to admonifh 
princes and great men through fear, and fervile in- 
tereft, a great part of the national guilt will lie at 
their doors; and, if they become, in general, infect- 
ed with this vice (which indeed is not the cafe now; 
but may perhaps hereafter, as all things grow worfe), 
it will foon be the entire fubverfion of the external 
form of church government; however certain it be, 
that the church of thofe, who worjhip God injpirit, 
and in truth, will prevail againft the gates of 

The third great evil likely to haften our ruin is 
the felf-intereft, which prevails fo much amongft 
thofe, to whom the adminiftration of public affairs 



is committed. It Teems that bodies politic are in this 
particular, as in many others, analogous to indivi- 
duals, that they grow more felfifb, as they decline. 

As things now are, one can fcarce expect, that, 
in any impending danger, thofe who have it in their 
power to fave a falling ftatc, will atiempt it, unlefs 
there be fome profpcfb of gain to themfelves. And, 
while they barter and caft about for the greateft ad- 
vantages to themfelves, the evil will become paft 
remedy. Whether or no it be poflible to adminifter 
public affairs upon upright and generous principles, 
after fo much corruption has already taken place, 
may perhaps be juftly queftioned. However, if it 
cannot be now, much lefs can it be hereafter ; and 
if this evil increafes much more in this country, there 
is reafon to fear, that an independent populace may 
get the upper hand, and overfet the (late. The 
wheels of government are already clogged fo much, 
that it is difficult to tranfaft the common neceflary 
affairs, and almoft impoffible to make a good 

The licentioufnefs of inferiors of all ranks, which 
is the fourth great evil, runs higher in this country 
perhaps, "than in any other. However, the infedion 
will probably fpread. The inferiors in other coun- 
tries cannot but envy and imitate thofe in this j 
and that more and more every day, as all mu- 
tual intercouries are enlarged. The felf-intereft juft 
fpoken of contributes greatly to this evil, the in- 
folence of the populace againft one party of their 
fuperiors being fupported, and even encouraged, by 
the other, from interefted views of difplacing their 
oppofites. Let it be obfervcd alfo, that the laity 
of high rank, by ridiculing and infulting their fu- 
periors in the church, have had a great fhare in 
introducing the fpirit of univerfal difobedience, and 
contempt of authority, amongft the inferior orders, 
in this nation. 

VOL. II. G g The 


The wicked and notorioufly falfe calumnies, which 
are fpread about concerning the royal family by 
the difaffe&ed party in this country, may be 
ranked under this evil. Thofe who fcruple to take 
the oaths required by the prefent government, ought 
at leaft to feck the peace of the country, where they 
live in peace, and the quiet enjoyment of their 
poffeffions. However, the crime of fuch as take 
the oaths, and ftill vilify, is much greater, and one 
of the higheft offences that can be offered to the 
divine Majefty. 

That worldly-mindednefs, and neglect of duty, 
in the clergy, muft haften our ruin, cannot be doubt- 
ed. Thefe are the fait of the earth, and the light 
of the world. If they lofe their favour, the whole 
nation, where this happens, will be coverted into 
one putrid mafs j if their light become darknefs, the 
whole body politic muft be dark alfo. The dege- 
neracy of the court of Rome, and fecular bifhops 
abrpad, are too notorious to be mentioned. They 
almoft ceafe to give offence, as they fcarce pretend 
to any funcTion or authority, befides what is tempo- 
ral. Yet ftill there is great mockery of God in their 
external pomp, and profanation of facre'd titles ; 
which, fooner or later, will bring down vengeance 
upon them. And as the court of Rome has been at 
the head of the great apoftafy and corruption of the 
chriftian church, and ieems evidently marked out 
in various places of the fcriptures, the fevered judg- 
ments are probably referved for her. 

But I rather choofe to fpeak to what falls under 
the obfervation of all ferious, attentive perfons in 
this kingdom. The fuperior clergy are, in general, 
ambitious, and eager in the purfuit of riches j flat- 
terers of the great, and fubfervient to party intereft ; 
negligent of their own immediate charges, and alfo 
of the inferior clergy, and their immediate charges. 
The inferior clergy imitate their iuperiors, and, in 



general, take little more care of their parifhes, than 
barely what is neceffary to avoid the cenfure of the 
law. And the clergy of all ranks are, in general, 
either ignorant; or, if they do apply, it is rather 
to profane learning, to philofophical or political 
matters, than to the ftudy of the fcriptures, of the 
oriental languages, of the fathers, and ecclefiaftical 
authors, and of the writings of devout men in dif- 
ferent ages of the church. I fay this is, in general, 
the cafe, i.'e. far the greater part of the clergy of 
all ranks in this kingdom are of this kind. But 
there are fome of a quite different character, men 
eminent for piety, facred learning, and the faithful 
difcharge of their duty, and who, it is not to be 
doubted, mourn in fecret for the crying fins of this 
and other nations. The clergy, in general, are alfo 
far more free from open and grofs vices, than any 
other denomination of men amongft us, phyficians, 
lawyers, merchants, foldiers, &c. However, this 
may be otherwife hereafter. For it is faid, that in 
. fome foreign countries the fuperior clergy, in others 
the inferior, are as corrupt and abandoned, or more 
fo, than any other order of men. The clergy in 
this kingdom feem to be what one might expect 
from the mixture of good and bad influences that 
affect them. But then, if we make this candid allow- 
ance for them, we muft alfo make it for perfons in v 
the high ranks of life, for their infidelity, lewdnefs, 
and fordid felf-intereft. And though it becomes an 
humble, charitable, and impartial man, to make all 
thefe allowances; yet he cannot but fee, that the 
judgments of God are ready to fall upon us all for 
thefe things; and that they may fall firft, and with, 
the greatelt weight, upon thofe, who, having the 
hiMieft office committed to them in the fpiritual king- 
do^ of Chrift, neglecl it, -and are become mere mer- 
chants of the earth, and Jhepherds, that feed them- 
fehes, and not their focks. 

G g 2 How 


How greatly might the face of things be changed 
in this kingdom, were any number of the fupefior, 
or even of the inferior clergy, to begin to difcharge 
their refpective functions with true chriftian zeal, 
courage, and fidelity ! The earneftnefs of fome 
might awaken and excite others, and the whole 
lump be leavened. At lead, we might hope to 
delay or alleviate the miferies, that threaten us. 
Why are not all the poor taught to read the Bible, 
all inftrucled in the church catechifm, fq as to have 
fuch principles of religion early inftilled into them, 
as would enable them to take delight in, and to 
profit by, the Bible, and practical books of reli- 
gion ? Why are not all the fick vifited, the feeble- 
minded comforted, the unruly warned ? And why 
do not minifters go about, thus doing good, and 
feeking out thofe who want their affiftance ? Why 
do not the fuperior clergy inquire into thefe things, 
punifh and difcourage all negligent parifli minifters, 
reward and promote thole that are pious and dili- 
gent ? Let thofe worthy clergymen, who lament the 
degeneracy of their own order, inform the public 
what is practicable and fitting to be done in thefe 
things. I can only deliver general remarks, fuch as- 
occur to a by- (lander. 

There are great complaints made of the irregu- 
larities of the methodifts, and, I believe, not with- 
out reafon. The fureft means to check thefe irregu- 
larities is, for the clergy to learn from the metho- 
difts what is good in them, to adopt their zeal, and 
concern for loft fouls : this would foon unite all 
that are truly good amongft the methodifts to the 
clergy, and difarm fuch as are otherwife. And if 
the methodifts will hearken to one, who means fm- 
cerely well to all parties, let me entreat them to reve- 
rence their fuperiors, to avoid fpiritual felfimnefs, 
and zeal for particular phrafes and tenets, and not 
to fow divifions in parifties and families, but to be 



peace-makers, as they hope to be called the children 
of God. The whole world will never be converted, 
but by ihofe who are of a truly catholic fpirit. Let 
me entreat all parties as a fincere friend and lover 
of all, not to be offended with the great, perhaps 
unjuftifiable freedom, which 1 have ufed, but to 
lay to heart the charges here brought, to examine 
how far thty are true, and reform wherever they 
are found to be fo. 

If the ftate of things in this and other nations be, 
in any meafure, what I have above defcribed, it is 
no wonder, that the education of youth fhould 
be grofsly perverted and corrupted, fo that one may 
juftly fear, that every fubfequent generatian will ex- 
ceed that which went before it in degeneracy and 
wickednefs, till fuch time as the great tribulation 
come. Vicious parents cannot be fenfible of the 
importance and neceffity of a good and religious edu- 
cation, in order to make their children happy. They 
rnuft corrupt them not only by their examples, but 
by many other way, direct as well as indirect. As 
infidelity now fpieads amongft the female fex, who 
have the care of both fexes during their infancy, it 
is to be feared, that many children will want the 
very elements of religion ; be quite ftrangers to the 
fcriptures, except as they fomeurnes hear them ridi- 
culed; and be favages as to the internal man, as to 
their moral and religious knowkdge and behaviour j 
and be diftinguifhed from them chiefly by the feeble 
reftraints of external politeneis and decorum. It is 
evident from common obfervation, and more fo 
from the foregoing theory, that children may be 
formed and moulded as we pleafe. When therefore 
they prove vicious and miferable, the guilt lies at 
our doors, as well as theirs ; and, on the contrary, 
he who educates a fon, or a daughter, in the ways 
of piety and virtue, confers the higheft obligation 
both upon his child, and upon the rifing generation ; 



and may be the inftrument of falvation, temporal and 
eternal, to multitudes. 

There are two things here, which deferve more 
particular attention, viz. the education of the clergy, 
and that of princes. 

As to the firft, one cannot but wonder, how it 
is pofiible for the many ferious and judicious clergy- 
men, who have the care of youth in public fchools 
and univerfities, to be fo negligent of the principal 
point, their moral and religious behaviour j and that 
efpecially as the regulation of this would make all 
other parts of education go on with fo much more 
eafe and fuccefs : how fchool- matters can (till perfift 
in teaching lewd poets after the remoftrances of pious 
men againft this practice, and the evident ill confe- 
quences : how the tutors in the univerfities can per- 
mit fuch open debauchery, 1 as is often pra&ifed there : 
and how facred learning, which furely is the chief 
thing for fcholars intended for the chriftian miniltry, 
can be allowed fo fmall a (hare of time and pains, 
both in fchools, and in the univerfities. But, as I 
faid before of the clergy in general, let thofe fchool- 
mafters and -tutors* who have religion at heart, 
fpeak fully to this point. I lhall fubmit my own 
judgment in both cafes, entirely to the better judg- 
ment of pious men, that are coverfant in thefe 

As to the. education of princes, the cafe is every 
thing but defperate ; fo that one could fcarce think 
of mentioning it, were it not for the great change 
in the face of things, which would immediately en- 
fue, if but fo much as one fovereign prince would 
fet afide all felf-regards, and devote himfelf entirely 
to the promotion of religion, and the fervice of 
mankind. 1 do not at all mean to intimate, that 
princes are woi fe than other men, proper allowances 
being made. On the contrary, I fuppofe they are 
juft the fame. And they have an undoubted right 



to the greated candour, and compaffion from 
their fubjedh, on account of the extraordinary diffi- 
culties and temptations, with which they are befet, 
as well as to the mod profound reverence, and en^ 
tire obedience. 

Thefe are my real and earned fentiments upon 
thefe points. It would be great rafhnefs to fix a 
time for the breaking of the ftorm that hangs over 
pur heads, as it is blindnefs and infatuation not to fee 
it; not to be aware, that it may break. And yet 
this infatuation has always, attended all, falling dates. 
The kingdoms of Judab^ and Ifrael, which are the 
types of all the red, were thus infatuated. It, may 
be, that the prophecies concerning Edom, -Moab, 
Ammon, Tyre, Egypt y &c. will become applicable to 
particular kingdoms before their fall, and warn the 
good to flee out of them. And chriftendom, in ge- 
neral, feems ready to aflame to itfelf the place and 
lot of the Jews, after they had rejected their Mefliah 
the faviour of the world. Let no one deceive him- 
felf or others. The prefent circumdances of the 
world are extraordinary and critical, beyond what 
has ever yet happened. If we refufe to let Chrid 
reign over us, as our redeemer and faviour, we 
mud -be (lain before his face, as enemies, at his 
fecond coming. 


W. Eyres, Printer, Horfe-Market. 

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APR 2 5 1989 

MAY 6 'SI 

Jim 1 2 1991 

MAY o i 2003