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gency is what all Men are intimately conIcious of. The self-condemning and selfapproving Reflections of every Man's own Heart and Conscience plainly fhew it to be fo. God hath not only given Man a Body, and animal Perceptions, whereby he is nearly connected with the material World, and is capable of sensitive Delights, but he hath given him a higher Principle of Reason and Understanding to direct him what is right and fit to be done, a felfdetermining, and self-reflecting Power, whereby he is capable of governing his Appetites and Passions, of choosing and acting for himself, and of passing a Judgment upon his own Actions. The human Conftitution is an admirable Effect of the divine Wisdom; and God's having made Men Creatures of such a Kind, i. e. moral A-, gents, is a demonstrative Proof that he will govern them in such a Way as is fit for moral Agents to be governed, viz. by giving them Laws enforced by proper Motives, to direct and engage them to their Duty, in such a Manner as is consistent with Liberty and Free-agency.
That there is a Law which all Mankind are placed under, a little Reflection may convince us.
This is usually called the Law of Nature, and hath a real Foundation in the very Nature and Relations of
Things. Thus if we consider the Nature of God, and the Relation between him and us, it is manifest that we owe him the highest Love, Reverence, Affiance, Adoration, and Obedience. From the kind and social Affections implanted in our Hearts, and the Relation we bear to one another, it may be fairly concluded, that we are designed to exercise Justice, Charity, Benevolence, and Fidelity. And if we duly consider the Constitution of our own Nature, as consisting of Flesh and Spirit, it should make us sensible that we are obliged to fun all Intemperance and Excess, and by the Exercise of Patience, Temperance, Prudence, and Fortitude, to keep our Appetites and Passions in a regular Subjection to the Government of right Reason; and that it is our Duty to aspire after progressive Improvements in Knowledge and Virtue, as that in which the true Perfection of our Nature doth confift. There is nothing in all this but what will
appear to a Mind that is not corrupted and depraved with vicious Prejudices, to be fit and right, and founded in the very Nature of Things : and whatsoever clearly appeareth from the Nature and Relations of Things to be fit and right for reasonable Creatures to perform, we may be sure it is the Will of God they 'Thould per
form; since by thus constituting the Nature of Things, and placing them in such Relations, he hath constituted their Duty, and shewed that it is his Will that they should act suitably to those Natures and Relations. And when it is thus considered as the Will of the fupreme Lord, it becometh a Law to them in the strictest and properest Sense of the Word.
But God hath not left Men merely to find out their Duty by the Deductions of Reason in considering and comparing the Natures of Things; he hath also implanted in the Heart of Man a kind of conscious Perception of Right and Wrong, an inward Sense of Good and Evil, and of the moral Differences of Things, fome Remains of which continue in the human Mind even in its most degenerate State, and can scarce ever be utterly erased. Who would bear the Man that would pretend seriously to affirm, that there is no real Difference at all between Affections and Actions; and that no one of them is more blamable or praise-worthy than another? That there is no Evil in Injustice, Cruelty, Fallhood, Perfidy, Ingratitude; and that Piety, Gratitude, Generosity, Benevolence, Sincerity, hath no Beauty or Amiableness in it? That to hate and blaspheme the Deity is as proper and becoming a rea
fonable Creature, as to love, to reverence, and adore him? That to envy and calumniate our Neighbours, to wound, or even kill them without Cause, is as good an Action, as to do them friendly Offices, and affift them in their Need? That it is as honourable and praise-worthy for a Man to be false to his Word, Promises, and Engagements, as to have a strict and firm Regard to Truth and Fidelity; to betray his Country, as to fave and deliver it ; to neglect and despise his Parents, as to treat them with Kindness and Respect; to return an Injury for a Benefit, as to recompence one Benefit with another? With regard to these and other Cafes that might be mentioned, the Mind of Man is so constituted that it can scarce help approving some Affections and Actions, and disapproving the contrary. From whence it appeareth, that there is in the Minds of Men a common Sense of Right and Wrong, of moral Beauty and Deformity, of Duty and Obligation, which it is scarce possible entirely to shake off. There are few but have had Experience of an inward Satisfaction or Remorse, and the Workings of a conscious Principle within, passing a Judgment on their Actions, and acquitting or condemning them according as they
have been sensible of their having performed their Duty or the contrary.
Taking all these Confiderations together, it is manifest that Mankind are placed under a Law; which the Brutes are not, as being destitute of a conscious Principle, and incapable of a Sense of moral Obligation. And it is one of the cleareft Principles of Reason, that if God hath given Men a Law, it must be his Will that his Law should be obeyed; and as a moral Governor he will deal with Men according to their Obedience or Disobedience to the Laws which he hath given them. Aca cordingly we find in fact that as Mankind in all Ages and Nations have had some Sense of a Deity, so they have had some Notions of their being accountable to him as their supreme Governor and Judge for their Conduct. St. Paul. obferveth concerning the Heathens who had not the Ad. vantage of extraordinary Revelation, that they had the Work of the Law written in their Hearts, their consciences also bearing Witness, and their Thoughts the mean while accufing or else excusing one another. Rom. ii.
And speaking of some of the most profligate among them, who perpetrated great Acts of Wickedness, he representeth them as knowing the Judgment of God,