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cumstances, hath made incest, ordinarily, a thing producing manifold evils, and a sin against God; and yet nature so placed the children of Adam, in other circumstances, that the said nature made that their duty (to marry one another) which in others would have been an unnatural thing. Nature forbiddeth parents to murder their children; but when God, the absolute Lord of life, would that way try Abraham's obedience, when he was sure that he had a supernatural command, even nature obliged him to obey it. Nature forbiddeth men to rob each other of their proper goods; but when the Owner of all things had given the Israelites the Egyptian's goods, and changed the propriety, the fundamentum of their former, natural obligation ceased. Changes in natura rerum, which are the foundation of our obligation, may make changes in the obligations which before were natural; but so far as nature (that nature which foundeth duty) is the same, the duty remaineth still the same: the contrary would be a plain contradiction.
Sect. 7. The authoritas imperantis is the formal object of all obedience; and so all our duty is formally duty to God, as our Supreme, or to men, as his officers; but, as to the material object, our natural duties are either, I. Towards God; II. To ourselves; III. To others.
Sect. 8. I. The prime duties of the law of nature are towards God, and are our full consent to the three relations, of which two are mentioned before: to be God's rational creatures, and not obliged to take him heartily for our absolute Owner and Ruler, is a contradiction in nature.
Sect. 9. Man's nature being what it is, and related thus to God, and God's nature and relations being as afore described, man is naturally obliged to take God to be what he is in all his attributes forementioned, (cap. 5,) and to suit his will and affections to God accordingly; that is, to take him to be omnipotent, omniscient, and most good, most faithful, and most just, &c., and to believe him, seek him, trust him, love him, fear him, obey him, meditate on him, to honour him, and prefer him before all the world; and this with all our heart and might, and to take our chiefest pleasure in it."
"Laertius saith of the Magi that they do Deorum cultui vacare; signa statuasque reprehendere; et eorum imprimis qui mares esse deos et fæminas dicunt, errores improbare. Signa et statuas ex disciplinæ institute è medio tulisse. Qui et revicturos homines, immortalesque futuros, dicunt, et universa illorum precationibus consistere. Plerique et Judæous ab his duxisse originum tradunt.-Laert. p. 4-6.
All this so evidently resulteth from the nature of God and man compared, that I cannot perceive that it needeth proof or illustration.
Sect. 10. It is a contradiction to nature, that any of this duty, proper to God, may be given to any other; and that any creature, or idol of our imagination, should be esteemed, loved, trusted, obeyed, or honoured as God.
For that were falsehood in us, injury to God, and abuse of the
Sect. 11. Nature requireth that man, having the gift of speech from God, should employ his tongue in the praise and service of his Maker.
This plainly resulteth from our own nature, and the use of the tongue, compared with or related to God's nature and perfections, with his propriety in us, and all that is ours, and his government of us.
Sect. 12. Seeing man liveth in total dependence upon God, and in continual receivings from him, nature obligeth him to use his heart and tongue in holy desires, expressed and exercised in prayer, and in returning thanks to his great Benefactor: of which more anon.
For, though God knows all our sins and wants already, yet the tongue is fitted to confess our sins, and to express our desires; and, by confessing and expressing, a twofold capacity for mercy accrueth to us: that is, 1. Our own humiliation is excited and increased by the said confessions; and our desires, and love, and hope, excited and increased by our own petitions, (the tongue having a power to reflect back on the heart, and the exercise of all good affections being the means of their increase.) 2. And a person that is found in the actual exercise of repentance, and holy desire, and love, is morally, and in point of justice, a much fitter recipient for pardon and acceptance, and other blessings, than another is; and it being proved, by nature, that prayer, confession, and thanksgiving hath so much usefulness to our good, and to our further duty, nature will tell us that the tongue and heart should be thus employed; and, therefore, nature teacheth all men in the world, that believe there is a God, to confess their sins to him, and to call upon him in their distress, and to give him thanks for their receivings.
Sect. 13. Seeing societies, as such, are totally dependent upon God; and men's gifts are communicative, and solemnities are operative; nature teacheth us, that God ought to be solemnly.
acknowledged, worshipped, and honoured, both in families and in more solemn, appointed assemblies."
It greatly affecteth our own hearts, to praise God in great and solemn assemblies: many hearts are like many pieces of wood or coals, which flame up greatly when set together, which none of them alone would do. And it is a fuller signification of honour to God, when his creatures do purposely assemble for his solemn and most reverent praise and worship; and, therefore, nature showing us the reasons of it, doth make it to be our duty.
Sect. 14. Nature telleth us, that it is evil to cherish false opinions of God, or to propagate such to others; to slander or blaspheme him, to forget him, despise him, or neglect him; to contemn his judgments, or abuse his mercies; to resist his instructions, precepts, or sanctifying motions; and that we should always live as in his sight, and to bend all our powers entirely to please him, and to think and speak no otherwise of him, nor otherwise behave ourselves before him, than as beseemeth us to the infinite, most blessed, and holy God.
Sect. 15. Nature telleth us, that in controversies between man and man, it is a rational means for ending strife, to appeal to God the Judge of all, by solemn oaths, where proof is wanting, and it is a heinous crime to do this falsely, making him the patron of a lie, or to use his name rashly, irreverently, profanely, or in vain.
All this being both against the nature of God, and of our speech, and of human society, is, past all doubt, unnatural evil. Sect. 16. Nature telleth us, that God should be worshipped heartily, sincerely, spiritually, and also decently and reverently, both with soul and body, as being the Lord of both.P
• Pietas est scientia colendi numinis; inquit Æmilius in Plutarch. Nulla pietas est erga deos, nisi honesta de numine deorum ac mente opinio sit.— Cicer. pro Planc. De diis ita ut sunt loquere.-Bias in Laert. Equidem is qui de diis talia commentus est, an philosophus appellandus sit nescio, (inquit Laert. De Orpheo, p. 3.) Videant certè qui ita volunt, quo sit censendus nomine, qui diis cuncta hominum vitia, et quæ rarò à turpibus quibusque, et flagitiosis geruntur, adscribit. Fulmine interisse cognoscitur.—Laert. Proem.
P Lege' Laert. de Magis.' Cicero, 'De nat. Deor.' lib. 1. p. 46, saith, that Possidonius believed that Epicurus thought that there was no God, and therefore not according to his judgment; but, in scorn, describeth God like a man careless, idle, &c., which he would not have done, if had thought that there was a God indeed. Impellimur naturâ ut prodesse velimus quamplurimis, imprimisque docendo rationibusque prudentiæ tradendis. Itaque non facile est invenire, qui quod sciat, ipse non tradat alteri. Ita non solum ad discendum propensi sumus, verum etiam ad docendum.- Cic. 2. de Fin. Descrip
Sect. 17. It telleth us, also, that he must not be worshipped with sin or cruelty, or by toyish, childish, ludicrous manner of worship, which signify a mind that is not serious, or which tend to breed a low esteem of him, or which are in any way contrary to his nature or his will.
Sect. 18. Nature telleth us, that such as are endued with an eminent degree of holy wisdom, should be teachers of others, for obedience to God and their salvation.
As the soul is more worth than the body, and its welfare more regardable, so charity to the soul is as natural a duty as to the body, which cannot better be exercised than in communicating holy wisdom, and instructing men in the matters of highest, everlasting consequence.
Sect. 19. Yea, nature teacheth, that so great a work should not be done slightly and occasionally only, as on the by, but that it should be a work of stated office, which tried men should be regularly called to, for the more sure and universal edification of mankind.
Nature telleth us, that the greatest works of the greatest consequence, should be done with the greatest skill and care, and that it is most likely to be so done when it is made a set office, entrusted in the hands of tried men, for it is not many that have such extraordinary endowments, and if unfit persons manage so great a work, they will mar it, and miss the end; and that which a man taketh for his office, he is more likely to take care of, than that which he thinks belongeth no more to him than others; and how necessary order is, in all matters of weight, the experience of governments, societies, and persons, may soon convince us.
Sect. 20. Nature telleth us also, that it is the duty of such teachers to be very diligent, serious, and plain; and of learners to be thankful, willing, studious, respectful, and rationally obedient, as remembering the great importance of the work.
For in vain is the labour of the teachers, if the learners will not do their part; the receiver hath the chief benefit, and therefore, the greatest part of the duty, which must do most to the success.
Sect. 21. Nature telleth men, that they should not live tionem sacerdotum nullum justæ religionis genus prætermittit. Nam sunt ad placandos Deos alii constituti, qui sacris præsint solennibus: ad interpretanda alii prædicta vatum; neque multorum ne esset infinitum, neque ut ea ipsa quæ suscepta publicè essent, quisquam extra collegium nosset.-Cic. de Leg. 1.2. p. 241.
loosely and ungoverned, but in the order of governed societies, for the better attainment of the ends of their creation, as is proved before.
Sect. 22. Nature telleth us that governors should be the most wise, and pious, and just, and merciful, and diligent, and exemplary, laying out themselves for the public good, and the pleasing of the universal sovereign.
Sect. 23. It teacheth us also, that subjects must be faithful to their governors, and must honour and obey them in subordination to God.
Sect. 24. Nature telleth us that it is the parents' duty, with special love and diligence, to educate their children in the knowledge, fear, and obedience of God, providing for their bodies, but preferring their souls.
Sect. 25. And that children must love, honour, and obey their parents, willingly and thankfully receiving their instructions and commands.
Sect. 26. Nature also telleth us, that thus the relations of husband and wife should be sanctified to the highest ends of life; and also the relation of master and servant; and that our callings and labours in the world should be managed in pure obedience to God, and to our ultimate end."
Sect. 27. Nature teacheth all men to love one another, as servants of the same God, and members of the same universal kingdom, and creatures of the same specific nature.
There is somewhat amiable in every man, for there is something of God in every man, and therefore something that it is our duty to love; and that according to the excellency of man's nature, which showeth more of God than other inferior creatures do, and also according to their additional virtues. Love
Autoritate nutuque legum docemur domitas habere libidines, coercere omnes cupiditates, nostra tueri, ab alienis mentes, oculos, manus abstinere.Cic. 1. de Orat.
Nihil interest utrum vir bonus scelestum spoliaverit, an bonum improbus : nec utrum bonus an malus adulteratus sit: sed lex damni solum spectat dissimilitudinem, utiturque pro paribus, si alter violavit, alter violatus est.Aristot. Ethic. 5. c. 4. VidePlutarchi Roman.' quæst. 65. Temperantia libidinum inimica est.-Cic. When an adulterer asked Thales whether he should make a vow, he answered him, Adultery is as bad as perjury;' intimating that he that made no conscience of adultery, would make none of perjury.-Laert. Cyrus is praised by Plutarch, de curiosit. that would not see Pauthæa: and they are by him reproved that cast a wanton eye at women in coaches as they pass by, and look out at windows to have a full view of them, aud yet think that they commit no fault, suffering a curious eye and a wandering mind to slide and run every way.