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THE INTRODUCTION - Richard Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature 
A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, translated, with Introduction and Appendix, by John Maxwell (1727), edited and with a Foreword by Jon Parkin (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005).
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The Design of this Treatise.§I. It concerns us both, friendly Reader, “That you should be briefly acquainted with the Design and Method of this Treatise”; for thence you will immedately perceive, “What I have perform’d, or, at least, attempted; and what is further to be supply’d from your own Understanding, or the Writings of others.” The Laws of Nature are the Foundations of all moral and civil Knowledge, as in the following Work will at large appear. But these, as all other Conclusions, discoverable by the Light of Nature, may be deduc’d two ways; either from those manifest EffectsTwo ways of deducing the Laws of Nature.1. From their Effects. which flow from them, or from the Causes whence they them selvesarise. I have endeavour’d to discover them in this latter Method, by arguing from the Cause to the Effect. To the former Method of proving their Obligation, (by arguing from the Effect to the Cause,) belongs what has been written by Hugo Grotius, and by his Brother, in his Posthumous Work, and by our Countryman Sharrock, who establish them from the approv’d Sentiments of various Authors of different Nations and Ages,This insisted on by Grotius, Sharrock, &c. as also from a Harmony in the Manners and Laws, if not of all, at least of the politer, Nations.1 Hitherto also is to be referr’d that Work of Selden’s, concerning the Laws of Nature and Nations, according to the Sentiments of the Hebrews.2 And, in my Opinion, all these Authors have deserv’d well of Mankind. But especially the Work of Hugo Grotius, which was the first of the kind, I think worthy, both of the Author, and of Immortality. For a few Slips, and those in Matters, in which the Customs of his Country seem to have biass’d that great Man, will easily obtain Pardon from a candid Reader.
Useful, tho objected against.§II. Nor, truly, are the Objections, which are usually brought against this method of proving the Laws of Nature, (by arguing from the Effect to the Cause, as Grotius does,) of so great weight, as to prove it altogether fallacious and useless; altho I readily acknowledge, that they may so far prevail with candid Inquirers after Truth, as to convince them, That it would be more useful and safe, to find out a fuller Proof, by searching into the Causes, which produce in the Mind of Man the Knowledge of the Laws of Nature. This, however, will more plainly appear, if we briefly propose those Objections, with the Answers to them.
First Objection from insufficient Induction.In the first place it is objected, “That the Induction is weak, which infers, from the Writings or Manners of a few Men, or Nations, the Opinion or Judgment of all.” Now there is scarce any Person so well acquainted with the Laws and Customs of any one State, that can ever have a perfect Knowledge of them all; much less that can attain to such a Knowledge of the Laws of all States, still less, of the inward Sentiments of each Individual, as may enable him, upon a just Comparison, to conclude, what those Notions are, in which all agree.
To this it is answer’d, “That the Judgments made by different Nations concerning matters of daily publick Practice, (such are Religion, or some sort of divine Worship in general, and a degree of Humanity, sufficient to prohibit Murder, Theft, and Adultery,) may with ease be every where observ’d by any Man, without so profound a Knowledge of their Laws”: and such Judgments sufficiently declare that they agree in the Laws of Nature; for that which we know by Experience, to be, as it were, naturally acknowledg’d good by many Nations, we presume, upon account of the likeness of human Nature, to be likewise acknowledg’d good by the rest; especially when our Adversaries cannot produce one undoubted Instance, to prove any Nation to be of different Sentiments. To me, truly, those Narratives of some few barbarous Americans, and the Hottentots, “That they have no religious Worship,” seem, not suspected only but, false; for such a negative Assertion is hardly capable of ever being prov’d by Testimony. Therefore Acosta3 and some others seem rashly to have form’d a Judgment concerning those, with whose Language, Manners, and Sentiments they could not thorowly acquaint themselves in so short a time. For we read, that both Jews and Christians were sometimes falsly accus’d by many, of the greatest Impieties, tho their Religion was more holy than that of other Nations. But, be that as it will, it is manifest, “That those Truths are with sufficient Clearness propos’d to all, which are readily acknowledg’d by almost every one, altho the same should be either overlook’d, or even oppos’d, by some few.” But this Observation will be the most proper, and of greatest use, when it appears manifestly from other Proofs than Testimony and Custom, “That these Propositions teach the true Means to the best End, and that all are indispensably oblig’d to pursue that End by those Means”; which may be best prov’d by a consideration of the Causes, which suggest such conclusions of Reason to our Minds.
Obj. 2. That they want a sufficient enacting Authority.§III. A second Objection is, “That, altho certain Conclusions of Reason are approv’d of by our own Judgment, and the Practice of many others, yet the Authority of a known Law-giver is wanting, to give them the force of Laws to all Men; for otherwise,”(say they,)“who ever holds them in contempt, has the same Right to reject the Judgment of any others whomsoever, that they exercise in condemning his Opinion by their Words and Actions.” To this purpose, both Hobbes and Selden object, (beside the Antients,) but with very different Views.4
According to Hobbes,For, as we shall shew in the following Treatise, the Point Mr. Hobbes aims at, is, “That none should believe themselves oblig’d by the Conclusions of Reason, with respect to their outward Actions, before a civil Magistrate is appointed; and that all his Appointments should be look’d upon, as the perfectly obligatory Judgments of right Reason.” It is to this purpose that he affirms, that “The Laws of Nature, altho they are laid down in the Writings of Philosophers, are no more, for that Reason, to be look’d upon as written Laws, than the Opinions of Lawyers are Laws, and that for want of a sovereign Authority.”5 He would not indeed deny them the Name of Laws, which he had before vouchsafed to give them, (tho improperly, as he elsewhere confesses;)6 he was willing however to insinuate, that they were not promulg’d by a sufficient Authority, tho Philosophers learn them from the Nature of Things, and thence transcribe them into their Writings. It is nevertheless manifest, if they be already truly Laws made by the Author of Nature, that they need no new Authority, after they are set down in writing by any one, to make them become written Laws.
And Selden, but with different Virtues.But Mr. Selden denies, “That the Conclusions of Reason, consider’d barely in themselves, have the Authority of Laws,” upon no other account, than, in order to shew “the Necessity of having recourse to the Legislative Power of God, and of proving that God has commanded our Obedience to them, and, by making them known to us, has proclaim’d them his Laws.” And indeed he has judiciously, as far as I can judge, given this Hint to the moral Philosophers, who are wont to consider the Conclusions of their own Reason as Laws, without due Proof, that they have the necessary Form of a Law, or that they are establish’d by God. But when he is to shew the Manner wherein God might manifest to Mankind, these to be his Laws, he proposes two ways.7 1. That God himself pronounc’d them with his sacred Voice to Adam and Noah, in joining them perpetual Obedience; whence these Precepts of the Sons of Noah were handed down to all their Posterity by Tradition only. 2. That God has endow’d rational Minds with a Faculty able, by Application of their Understanding, to discover those Laws, and to distinguish them, when discover’d, from all positive Institutions.
He only transiently hints, in such general Terms, this latter Method, which however to me seems to want much Explanation and Proof; but he betakes himself wholly to the former, and endeavours to prove, from the Traditions of some Jewish Rabbins, “That God gave seven Precepts to the Sons of Noah, in the observance whereof all Justice amongst Men should consist.” And truly he has abundantly prov’d,8 “That the Jews thought that all Nations, altho they did not receive the Laws of Moses, were nevertheless oblig’d by some divine Laws, whose chief Heads they look’d upon the Precepts of the Sons of Noah to be.” And this proves at least, “That, in the Opinion of that Nation, which was not inconsiderable either for Numbers or Learning, there are Laws, not made by any State, that bind all Mankind.”Not sufficiently answer’d by the latter. It is likewise to be own’d, that this learned Man chiefly aim’d at this Point, and that with good Success; and that the Knowledge of this Matter is of considerable use in Christian Divinity. Selden, however, has not sufficiently answer’d his own Objection, which we before mention’d. For, altho these Jewish Traditions were thorowly known, and perhaps firmly believ’d, by him,9 they were not however manifested to all Mankind; and those things which that Nation looks upon as the greatest Mysteries of Religion, are by many ridicul’d. And to me truly it seems self-evident, “That an unwritten Tradition of the learned Men of one Nation, is not a sufficient Promulgation of a Law of Nature, which is to oblige all Nations.”
To answer this Objection, the Author chuses the second Method of deducing the Laws of Nature from their Causes, by their divine-Promulgation and Sanction.§IV. Wherefore, that the Conclusions of Reason in moral Matters might more evidently appear to be Laws, Laws of God, I have thought it proper to make a philosophical Inquiry into their Causes, as well Internal as External, the nearer and the more remote; for by this Method we shall at last arrive at their first Author, or efficient Cause, from whose essential Perfections, and internal Sanction of them by Rewards and Punishments,10 we have shewn that their Authority arises. Most others have been satisfy’d with saying in general Terms, “That these Conclusions, or Actions conformable to them, are taught by Nature”; but to me it seems necessary, especially at this time, to trace more distinctly, after what manner the Powers of things, as well without as within us, conspire to imprint these Conclusions upon our Minds, and to give a Sanction to them. Our Countryman, the Lord Verulam, has reckon’d such an Inquiry among the things which are wanting.11 This, if solidly perform’d, will therefore be of very great use; because thence will appear, both how our Mind is, by the Light of Nature, let into the Knowledge of the Will or Laws of God, so as that it cannot be free from the warning of Conscience; and what that Rule is, whereby the Justice and Rectitude of the Laws of particular States is to be measured, and their Injustice and Imperfection to be corrected and amended by the supreme Authority if they have at any time deviated from the best and greatest End. Hence also, (that it may appear, that Morality is not the Artifice of Ecclesiastics or Politicians,) is further shewn, “That there is something in the Nature of God, of other Men, and of our selves, which in good Actions affords present Comfort and Joy, and a well-grounded Expectation of future Rewards.” On the other hand, “That there are Causes which must naturally produce the most violent Grief and Fear, after evil Actions; so that the Sentence of Conscience may be justly look’d upon as armed with Scourges against Impiety.”12
Without insisting on innate Ideas of them.§V. The Platonists, indeed, clear up this Difficulty in an easier manner, by the Supposition of innate Ideas, as well of the Laws of Nature themselves, as of those Matters about which they are conversant; but, truly, I have not been so happy as to learn the Laws of Nature in so short a way.13 Nor seems it to me well advised, to build the Doctrine of natural Religion and Morality upon an Hypothesis, which has been rejected by the generality of Philosophers, as well Heathen as Christian, and can neverbe prov’d against the Epicureans, with whom is our chief Controversy. I was resolv’d, however, not to oppose this Opinion, because it is my earnest desire, that whatever looks with a friendly Aspect upon Piety and Morality, might have its due weight; (and I look upon these Platonists to be favourers of their Cause;) and because it is not impossible, that such Ideas might be both born with us, and afterwards impress’d upon us from without.
Or supposing, without Proof, their eternal Existence in the divine Mind.§VI. Moreover, the same Reasons, which hinder’d us from supposing innate Ideas of the Laws of Nature in our Minds, hinder us likewise from supposing, without Proof, that these Laws have existed from Eternity in the divine Mind. I have therefore thought it necessary to remove the Difficulty, and assert and prove the Authority and eternal Existence of these Conclusions in the divine Mind, in the following Method; assuming those Notices which we have from Sense and daily Experience, I demonstrate, “That the Nature of things, which subsists,Their Promulgation and Obligation, and eternal Existence in, or agreeableness to, the divine Mind, prov’d. and is continually govern’d, by its first Cause, does necessarily imprint on our Minds some practical Propositions, (which must be always true, and cannot without a Contradiction be suppos’d otherwise,) concerning the Study of promoting the joint Felicity of all Rationals: And that the Terms of these Propositions do immediately and directly signify, that the first Cause, in his original Constitution of Things, has annex’d the greatest Rewards and Punishments to the observance and neglect of these Truths.” Whence it manifestly follows, “That they are Laws,” Laws being nothing but practical Propositions, with Rewards and Punishments annex’d, promulg’d by competent Authority. Having hence shewn, “That the Knowledge and Practice of these Laws, is the natural Perfection or most happy State of our rational Nature,” I infer, “That there must be in the first Cause, (from whom proceed both this our Perfection, and that most wise Disposition which we see, every Day, of Effects without us, for the common Preservation and Perfection of the whole System,) a Perfection correspondent, but infinitely superior, to this Knowledge and Practice of the Laws of Nature.” For I look upon it as most evident, “That we must first know what Justice is, and from whence those Laws are deriv’d, in the observance whereof it wholly consists, before we can distinctly know, that Justice is to be attributed to God, and that we ought to propose his Justice as our Example.” For we come not at the Knowledge of God by immediate Intuition of his Perfections, but from his Effects14 first known by Sense and Experience; nor can we safely ascribe to him Attributes, which from other Considerations we do not sufficiently comprehend.
The chief Heads of the following Book.§VII. Having hitherto shewn, in general, the Difference between our Method and that of others, I think it proper, to shew briefly here the chief things which are more at large and dispersedly deliver’d in the following Discourse. Having undertaken only, “to deliver the Precepts of moral Philosophy, and to deduce them from some little Knowledge of Nature presuppos’d”; what natural Philosophers, especially those who reason upon mathematical Principles, have often demonstrated, I assume, as sufficiently prov’d.The Effects of corporeal Motions, Effects of the divine Will. But my principal Supposition is, “That all Effects of corporeal Motions, which are necessary, according to the common Course of Nature, and depend not upon the Will of Man, are produc’d by the Will of the first Cause”: for this comes to no more than saying, “That all Motions are begun by the Impression of a first Mover, and are by the same Impression continued, and perpetually determin’d, according to certain Laws.” For I thought it superfluous to prove that which had been already prov’d by most natural Philosophers, and is plainly acknowledg’d by Hobbes himself, whose Doctrine I am now examining. Leviath. Chap. 12. After he has assign’d the Cause of Religion, among Men, to their anxious Concern about Futurity, he adds thus, (whether insidiously or no, let others judge;) “The acknowledging of one God Eternal, Infinite and Omnipotent, may more easily be deriv’d from the Desire Men have to know the Causes of natural Bodies, and their several Virtues and Operations, than from the fear of what was to befal them in time to come: for he that from any Effect he seeth come to pass, should reason to the next and immediate Cause thereof, and from thence to the Cause of that Cause, and plunge himself profoundly in the pursuit of Causes; shall at last come to this, that there must be (as even the Heathen Philosophers confess’d) one first Mover; that is, a first and eternal Cause of all things, which is that which Men mean by the Name of God.”15 But if it be granted, “That every natural Effect points out God as its Author,” no Man can deny, “That all such Effects are determin’d by his Will,” unless he is inconsistent enough to acknowledge God the Cause of those Effects, and at the same time to contend, that he is not a voluntary Agent.
Apprehending, comparing, judging, the natural Effects of such Motions, and consequently of the divine Will.§VIII. Moreover, “Every Motion impress’d upon our Organs of Sense,” (such Motions are by the Peripateticks call’d sensible Qualities,16 ) “by which the Mind is led to apprehend Objects, and to form Judgments concerning them, is an Effect plainly natural, and therefore, whatever second Causes intervene, owes its Original to the first.” And thence it follows, “That God, by these Motions, as by a Pencil, delineates the Ideas or Images in our Minds of all sorts of things, especially of Causes and their Effects. And, by imprinting on us, from the same Object, various Notions imperfectly representing it, he excites us to bring them together, and to compare them among themselves; and, consequently, determines us to form true Propositions concerning things understood by us.” So, because an Object is sometimes expos’d to sight whole, and at once, and at other times is view’d narrowly, and by parts; and the Mind perceives that the Idea of the Whole plainly represents the same thing, with all the Ideas of the single Parts taken together, it is obliged to form a Proposition concerning the Sameness of the Whole and all the Parts; or to affirm, “That the Causes which preserve the Whole, preserve also all its essential Parts.”
All particular Laws of Nature reduc’d to one Proposition.§IX. Lastly, upon a diligent Consideration of all those Propositions which deserve to be rank’d amongst the general Laws of Nature, I have observ’d they may be reduc’d to one universal one, from the just Explication whereof all the particular Laws may be both duly limited and illustrated. This general Proposition may be thus express’d. “The Endeavour, to the utmost of our power, of promoting the common Good of the whole System of rational Agents, conduces, as far as in us lies, to the good of every Part, in which our own Happiness, as that of a Part, is contain’d. But contrary Actions produce contrary Effects, and consequently our own Misery, among that of others.” Wherefore the whole of this Treatise is employ’d upon these Heads, which regard either,(1.) the Matter of this Proposition; that is, the Knowledge of its Terms, to be drawn from the Nature of Things; or (2.) its Form, that is, the joining these Terms in such a practical Proposition as may deserve the Name of a Law, upon account of the Rewards and Punishments annex’d by the Author of Nature; or (3.) lastly, The Deduction and natural Limitation of the other Laws of Nature, by their Respect to the common Good or happiest State of the whole Body.
Its Matter, that is, the Terms, explain’d.§X. To the Knowledge of the Terms belongs all that we have said in general of the Nature of Things, especially of Man, as also of the common Good. But I must ask the Reader’s pardon for sometimes as cribing Reason to God, and ranking him amongst rational Beings; and that we are sometimes said to bear a good Will towards God, or to desire something agreeable to his Nature, that is, Good. For in the beginning we declare, that these Expressions are not properly, and in the same Sense said of God, in which we use them, when we speak of Men. For we suppose in him absolute Omniscience and Wisdom, which Cicero himself could not better express, than by the Name of “Reason in its Perfection.”17 Nor do we imagine, “That we can testify our Love of God, by adding any thing to his Perfections, which from Eternity were infinite.” Yet it is not to be doubted, but that in our Actions, Obedience, and Imitation of his Care of the common Good of Mankind, whose Being is continued from Day to Day by his Favours; and also in our Words, and Thoughts, and Affections, Honour, Worship, and Love, are more agreeable to his beneficent Nature, and more acceptable to him, than Neglect or Hatred, or direct and wilful Opposition.18 For, if we abstractedly compare two rational Natures between themselves, we must acknowledge a better Agreement when they consent and co-operate, than when they dissent, and the End propos’d by one of them, is oppos’d by the other. Nor do I see that it alters the Case, tho one of these rational Natures should be suppos’d to be God, and the other, Man. Therefore, as we know by the help of our Senses, “That it is more acceptable to any Man to be lov’d and honour’d, than to be hated and despis’d”; so it is evident to Reason, by a manifest Correspondence, “That it is more grateful to the supreme Rational, God, to be lov’d and honour’d by the Obedience of Men, than to be the Object of Hatred and Contempt.” For, as it is certain, that to desire to be belov’d, implies no Imperfection in Man; in God, it is so far from carrying any Suspicion of Imperfection, that, on the contrary, it is an Argument of the Benignity of his Nature, because Men arrive at their greatest Perfection, by loving him: which being manifest, both by Reason and Experience, it thence evidently follows, “That God has inseparably annex’d the greatest Reward to the Love of himself”; which he never would have done, if it were not agreeable to his Will to be belov’d.19
But the Reader, in perusing the three Chapters of this Treatise, whose Titles I have just now mention’d, will see, that while we explain the Terms (to use a School-Phrase) of the foregoing Proposition, we are not busy’d about the Interpretation of Words, but about Ideas, and the Nature of those Things whence they arise, as far as it is necessary to our present purpose: And at the same time he will observe, that I directly and immediately explain the Consequences and Necessity of those human Actions, which are either necessary to the common Happiness of all, or to the private Happiness of Individuals:20 Altho it seem’d advisable to use words so general, that they might in a sound Sense be ascrib’d to the divine Majesty; and that to this very purpose, that by the help of Analogy, or Correspondence, prudently apply’d, not only our Obligation to Piety, but the Nature of the divine Justice and Dominion, might thence be understood.
Its Form consider’d, Practical, declaring the Cause of the best Effect.§XI. As to the Form of the Proposition, (to make use of a logical Term,) it is manifest, that it is practical, as pronouncing concerning the Consequences of human Action.
It is, however, to be observ’d, that the Proposition (altho the Word [conduces] be used in the present Tense, because the Observation is collected from things present) is not limited to the present time, but is equally to be understood of what is future; and, because its Truth chiefly depends upon “the Whole’s being the same with all its Parts,” is as manifestly true of the future, (which from other Arguments we prove in this Treatise,) and with respect to Futurity, it is always by us made use of.
Moreover, this Proposition is the better fitted to our purpose, that it builds upon no Hypothesis. For it does not suppose Men born either in, or out of, civil Society. It does not suppose a Relation between all Men as born of the same common Parents, which the Scriptures teach us; (for the Obligation of the Laws of Nature is to be demonstrated to those who acknowledge not the sacred Scripture:) Nor, on the contrary, does it suppose, as does Mr. Hobbes, that “the Earth produc’d suddenly, like Mushrooms, the Bulk of Mankind at their full Growth.”21 But our Proposition, and all the Deductions from thence, might be both understood and acknowledg’d, even by our first Parents, considering themselves in the Relation they stood in to God, and to the Posterity which might be born of them; nor is it less easy to be understood by all those Nations, who are unacquainted with the History of our first Parents.
And, consequently, the Means to the best End.§XII. Nor shall I think it improper here to take notice, “That the foregoing Proposition, in the same words it declares the Cause of the greatest and best Effect, declares the Means to obtain the best End”: for the Effect of a rational Agent, after he has consider’d it in his Mind, and has resolv’d to produce it, is call’d his End; and the Actions or Causes, by whose Power he endeavours to effect it, are called the Means. So also in geometrical Problems, the Causes of the geometrical Effects are the prescrib’d Drawings of Lines: But if such Effect is consider’d as a Problem, whose Solution is requir’d, or is propos’d to us as an End, then the words of the Problem suggest to the Geometrician, the proper Means to obtain his End. From this Observation the Method is shewn, “How to reduce whatsoever the Moralists have said concerning the Means of obtaining the best End, into Theorems concerning the Power of human Actions in producing the Effects propos’d”; in which Form they may more easily be examin’d, and if they be true, more evidently demonstrated. In like manner we hence learn, “How easily all Knowledge concerning the Power of Causes, (which we can any way make subservient to our Purposes,) suggests the Means to attain the End known, and so may be apply’d to Practice, as occasion requires.” Lastly, it is also hence evident, “That the Proposition we are treating of, does in this respect, at least, partake of the Nature of a Law, that it respects an End truly worthy of a Law, the common Good of all Beings,” or the Honour of God, in conjunction with the Happiness of all Mankind.
Proceeding from a competent Author, God.§XIII. But, at first view, perhaps, these two necessary Requisites to enforce a Law may not be perceiv’d in that Proposition, viz. a competent Author, and a sufficient Sanction by Rewards and Punishments. But if it be more closely examin’d, we shall perceive, “That upon this very account, that the nature of things impresses it upon our Minds, it necessarily points out its Author, the firstCause, as of all Things, so of all Truths arising from them”; among the principal of which Truths is to be reputed this true Proposition, which we affirm to contain the fundamental Law of Nature. Nor can any one in reason desire, that it should be more evidently prov’d, “That God is the Author of this Proposition,” than it is prov’d, “That he is the Author of the Nature of Things, whence the Truth of this Proposition arises.” Wherefore, having come to the Knowledge of its Author, it only remains that we should shew, “That there is a sufficient Sanction annex’d by the same Author, and that it is clearly contain’d in the said Proposition.”
Confirm’d by a sufficient Sanction.§XIV. I am not ignorant that a Sanction, in the strictest Sense of the Word, is call’d by Cicero and Papinian, that Part of the Law, which inflicts a certain Punishment upon those who have not obey’d what the Law enjoins.22 But I have thought it proper to use the Word in a more extensive Sense, so as to take in the Rewards which the Law promises to the Obedient; for by these also are the Laws guarded against the Injury of Men, and thence are styled [Sanctae] Sacred, according to Marcian’s looser Definition of the Word Sacred: “That is sacred, which is defended and guarded against the Injury of Men.”23 In which Sense it is, that, upon account of the Rewards and Punishments wherewith they are confirm’d, Ulpian, in the following Law, affirms them to be sacred.24 Nevertheless, if any one is unwilling to depart from the stricter Signification of the Word, there is no occasion to dispute about it, provided we agree in the Thing. I have added therefore, upon their account, this Proposition, “Such Actions as are contrary to a Care of the publick Good, whether by a Neglect or Violation thereof, bring Evil upon each part of the System of Rationals, but the greatest upon the Evil-doers themselves”; and this plainly expresses Punishment, without any mention of Reward. But we have almost wholly employ’d our selves in the Proof of the former Part of the Proposition, which relates to the Rewards included in Happiness, because hence the latter is evidently demonstrated; and because the Nature of Punishment includes Evil,25 that is, a Privation of those good things which our Nature makes necessary to our Happiness; but these Privations cannot be understood, unless those good things be first apprehended, to which they are oppos’d. Finally, the Nature of Things (whose Footsteps were by us most carefully to be traced in this Treatise) lays it self out almost wholly, in letting in upon our Minds the positive Notion of Causes and their Effects by our outward Senses, which cannot receive Negations and Privations; and we are more early affected with the love of present, and hope of future Good, than with the hatred or fear of Evil: for no Man therefore loves Life, Health, or such grateful Motions to the Nerves and Spirits as we call corporeal Pleasures, or desires their Causes, that he may avoid Death, Diseases, and Pain; but because of their intrinsic Goodness, or positive Agreement (to borrow a Phrase from the Schools) with the Nature of our Body. In like manner, no Man therefore desires the Perfections of the Mind, (such as a more extensive and distinct Knowledge of the noblest Objects in all respects most agreeably consonant to it self, and the most grateful Perception of Benevolence, of a well-grounded Hope, and of a Joy in the Prosperity of all Rationals;) barely that he may avoid the Uneasinesses of Ignorance, Ill-will, Envy and Commiseration; but because of that superlative Pleasure which we experimentally find in such Acts and Habits, which is the Reason that to be depriv’d of them is most ungrateful, and that the Causes of such Privations are themselves irksome. Hence therefore it is manifest, that even Civil Laws, when they receive the Sanction of Punishments, Death, for example, or Forfeiture of Goods, if we closely examine the Matter, do oblige Men to Obedience from a Love of Life, or of that Wealth, which the Laws shew us, how to preserve thereby. For an Aversion to Death and Poverty, is nothing but a Love of Life and Riches; as he that by two Negatives says, “That he would not want (that is, not have) Life,” says but the same thing as if he affirm’d, “That he would enjoy Life.” To which also this may be added, that Civil Laws themselves seem to me to be much more establish’d from the End, which as well their Enactors as the best Subjects regard, viz. the publick Good of the Society; part whereof falls to the Share of every good Subject, and therefore naturally brings along with it the Reward of Obedience; much more, I say, than by those Punishments which they threaten; the Fear whereof moves but a few, and those the worst.
And, being promulg’d, is therefore a Law.§XV. That the Summary of all the Precepts and Sanctions of the Law of Nature, is contain’d in our Proposition, and its Corollary concerning the opposite Behaviour, I thus briefly shew. The Subject (to borrow a School-Term) of the Proposition is, an Endeavour, according to our Ability, to promote the common Good of the whole System of Rationals. This includes our Love of God, and of all Mankind, who are the Parts of this System. God, indeed, is the principal Part; Men, the Subordinate: A Benevolence toward both includes Piety and Humanity, that is, both Tables of the Law of Nature. The Predicate of the Proposition (to borrow another Phrase from the Schools) is, conducing to the good of every Part, in which our own Happiness, as of a Part, is contain’d. In which, as all those good Things we can procure to all, are said to be the Effect of this Endeavour, so among the rest is not omitted that Collection of good Things, whence our own Happiness arises, which is the greatest Reward of Obedience; as Misery, arising from Actions of a contrary kind, is the greatest Punishment of Wickedness. But the natural Connexion of the Predicate with the Subject, is both the Foundation of the Truth of the Proposition, and the Proof of the natural Connexion between Obedience and Rewards, Transgression and Punishments.
Hence the Reader will easily observe the true Reason, why this practical Proposition, and all those which may be deduc’d from thence, oblige all rational Beings who understand them; whilst other practical Propositions, (suppose Geometrical ones,) equally impress’d by Nature, and consequently by God, upon the Mind of Man, do not oblige him to conform his Practice to them; but may safely be neglected by most, to whom the Practice of Geometry is not necessary: Which is wholly owing to the Nature of the Effects, arising from the one and the other Practice. The Effects of the Practice of Geometry are such as most People may want without Prejudice. But the Effects of a care of the common Good, do so nearly concern all, of whom we our selves are a part, and upon whose Pleasure the Happiness of each Individual does in some measure depend, that such care cannot be rejected, without the hazard of losing that Happiness, or the Hope thereof: and this God has manifested to us, by the very Nature of Things, and thereby he has sufficiently promulg’d, that he himself is the Author of the Connexion of Rewards and Punishments with our Actions; whence this Proposition, and all others which flow from thence, commence Laws by his Authority.
Actions agreeable thereto, good.§XVI. From the very Terms of our Proposition, it is manifest, “That the adequate and immediate Effect of that Practice which this Law establishes, is, that which is acceptable to God, and beneficial to all Men; which is the natural Good of the whole System of Rationals, even the greatest of all those good things which can be procur’d for them, as being greater than the like Good of any part of the same System.” Moreover, it sufficiently implies, “That the happiness of each Individual”(from the Prospect of enjoying which, or being depriv’d of it, the whole Sanction is taken) “is deriv’d from the best State of the whole System,” as the nourishment of each Member of an Animal depends upon the nourishment of the whole Mass of Blood diffus’d thro’ the whole.
Hence it is manifest, “That this greatest Effect” (not any small Portion thereof, the private Happiness, suppose, of any single Person) “is the principal end of the Lawgiver, and of every one who truly obeys his Will.” It is likewise hence evident, “That those human Actions, which, from their own natural Force or Efficacy, are apt to promote the common Good, are call’d naturally Good, and indeed better than those Actions which are subservient to the private Good of any Individual, in proportion, as the publick Good is greater than a private.”
Right.In like manner, “Such Actions as take the shortest way to this Effect, as to their End, are naturally Right, because of their natural resemblance to a right Line, which is the shortest that can be drawn between any two given Points.” Nevertheless, the same Actions, afterward, when they are compar’d with the Law, whether natural or positive, which is the Rule of Morality, and they are found conformable to it; are call’d morally Good, as also Right, that is, agreeing with the Rule: but the Rule itself is call’d right, as pointing out the shortest way to the End.
Beautiful.So also, because that State of all Men, which most abounds with all the natural Goods, both of Mind and Body, fitly proportion’d among themselves, and appointed to the best End, is naturally the most beautiful, (as plainly agreeing with the Definition of Beauty, taken from the Figure and Symmetry of the Parts;) it is manifest, “That those Actions which have a natural Tendency to produce or preserve such a State, may justly be call’d Beautiful or Decent.” And hence may be explain’d the τὸ καλον and τὸ πρέπον, the Beauty and Decency, which Philosophers so often celebrate in virtuous Actions.
Amiable.Lastly, seeing in the Chapter concerning Good it is largely shewn, “That it may be distinctly understood, without any regard to our selves,” the Reader cannot doubt but that we must acknowledge, “That the Good is in itself Amiable, which contains in it every particular Good of each Individual.” Therefore it is very absurd, that it should be made subordinate to the Happiness of any one Man, which is so small a part of so great a Good.
Honourable.By a like Reasoning it is manifest, “That Actions conducive to this End, as being the best and most beautiful, are in themselves amiable, and highly to be commended by all rational Beings, and therefore, upon account of that high Honour, to which their beneficent Nature in titles them, deservedly call’d Honest or Honourable.”
These Observations I thought the more necessary, lest any one should erroneously imagine, that I did not sufficiently acknowledge the intrinsic Perfections of Piety and Charity, because I have deduc’d the Sanctions of the Laws of Nature, by which such Actions are enjoin’d, from the happiness or misery of Individuals, consequent upon their Obedience, or Disobedience to the said Laws. Even in Civil Laws, the Sanctions of the Laws are sufficiently distinguish’d from the End and adequate Effect, viz. The publick Good; part, however, of the Effect of a Civil Law, is the infliction of Punishments, or the conferring of Rewards, by which the Law is guarded.
The Evil often happens to the observers of the general Law of Nature, and Good to those who violate it; the Sanction mention’d prov’d sufficient, by a general Proof.§XVII. But because the Connexion of Rewards and Punishments with such Actions as promote the public Good, or the contrary, is some what obscur’d by those evil Things which happen to the Good, and those good Things which happen to the Evil; it seems necessary to our purpose, more carefully to shew, “That (notwithstanding these) that Connexion is sufficiently constant and manifest in human Nature, so that then cemay, with certainty, be inferr’d the Sanction of the Law of Nature, commanding these Actions, and forbidding those.”
We suppose, 1. That Punishment, or that Reward, a sufficient Sanction, whose Value, all things rightly consider’d, exceeds the Advantage arising from the breach of the Law.
2. In comparing the Effects of good and evil Actions, those good or evil Things, which can neither be procur’d, nor avoided, by human Industry, are not to be taken into the Account. Such are those which happen by natural Necessity, or by mere Chance, from external Causes: for these both may, and do, happen alike both to good and bad. We shall therefore here consider those only, which can be taken care of by human Reason, as in some measure depending upon our Actions.
Having thus premis’d a general Proof, deduc’d from this Consideration, “That the particular Persons who promote or oppose the common Good, are parts of that Whole, which their Actions either befriend or prejudice, and therefore necessarily partake of the Advantage or Disadvantage thence arising”: We come to particular Proofs taken, partly from the Causes of such Actions, which are treated of in the Chapter concerning human Nature; partly from their Effects and Consequences, which are consider’d more at large in the Chapter concerning the Obligation of the Law of Nature. But that Chapter is more prolix, and less clear, than the rest, because therein I have been frequently forc’d to follow my Antagonist, into that most confus’d State which he supposes,26 in order to confute him from his own Concessions; and have been oblig’d to answer many Objections, not only of his, but also of some other better Philosophers. Wherefore I shall here briefly lay before the Reader, both what I there aim’d at, and the manner how all these things make to our purpose, lest he should suspect, that I had lost my way in so great a variety of Matter.
By particular Proofs taken from the Causes of human Actions.§XVIII. The Causes of human Actions are the Powers of the Mind and Body of Man. Wherefore, because I have observ’d it to be manifest, “That Happiness, or the highest Reward, is necessarily connected with the most full and constant exercise of all our Powers, about the best and greatest Objects and Effects, which are adequate and proportionable to them”; I hence collect, “That Men endow’d with these Faculties, are naturally bound, under the Penalty of forfeiting their Happiness, to employ or exercise them about the noblest Objects in Nature,” viz. God, and Man his Image. Nor can it be long a Question, “Whether our Faculties may be more properly employ’d in cultivating Friendship or Enmity with these, in engaging with them in a State of Peace or War.” For it is plain, “That there can be no neutral State, in which God and Men shall be neither lov’d, nor hated and irritated; or in which we shall act neither acceptably nor unacceptably to either, especially when we make use of things without us.” For of necessity, we must either take care, not to deprive others of things necessary to their Happiness, which, without Benevolence, cannot be suppos’d; or we shall, willingly, take them away, which is a sure indication of a malicious Mind. But if it be acknowledg’d, “That there is an evident Necessity, in order to Happiness, of cultivating friendship with God and Man,” the Sanction of that most general Law of Nature, which alone we are here tracing, is of course granted. For that alone establishes, both all natural Religion, and every thing that is necessary to the happiness of Mankind. Such are, beside Piety, (1.) A peaceful Commerce among different Nations, which is the Subject of the Law of Nations: (2.) The Establishment and Preservation of civil Society, which is the Scope of civil Laws: (3.) The Firmness of domestic Affection and of Friendship, which are establish’d, both by those general Rules which settle the Peace of Nations, and by the more particular Laws of Oeconomics. We have therefore collected very many things in the Chapter concerning human Nature, by which Individuals, in some measure, become capable of so great a Society,27 and are, remotely atleast, dispos’d toward it.28 And here we in treat the Reader, “That he would not consider these Observations, apart only, but together, that from them all united may result one Argument,” proving the Sanction of this most general Law from this, “That Men must necessarily fall short of their greatest Happiness, which consists in Action, or the proper and adequate use of their Faculties, unless they exercise them in cultivating a Friendship with God and Men”: to produce this Effect they were most especially fitted by Nature, which truly leaves the Transgressors of the Law without excuse.
From the Effects of human Actions.§XIX. From the Effects of human Actions, with respect to the common Good of rational Beings, we thus shew, “That a Sanction by Rewards and Punishments is annexed to them.” It is manifest, “That by the above mention’d Endeavour, in the first place, God, as being in the highest degree both wise and beneficent to all rational Beings, is lov’d and honour’d; the Life and all other Possessions of Men of all Nations, are safely preserv’d, according to the measure of our Ability; civil Government is readily constituted, where it is wanting, and as readily preserv’d, where it is found; and all Advantages, consistent with the good of the Whole, are procur’d to each, and, consequently, to our selves also; and nothing done to any one, which a regard to the Whole does not permit.” In Man, nothing but a Propension toward the good of all, guided by the Conduct of a prudent Understanding, can produce so great Advantages; nor, if such an Endeavour be not wanting in us, can any thing be desir’d to obtain this End, which we are not willing, to the utmost of our power, to perform. Wherefore, since these Effects may be certainly foreseen to follow from this Endeavour, no one can be ignorant, that in them are contain’d the present Comfort and Joys of Religion, which in all places are ever join’d with the hope of a happy Immortality; that moreover to this Study and Endeavour are annex’d as Rewards, the many Advantages of peaceful Commerce with Foreigners, of civil and domestic Government, and of Friendship; and that these Advantages cannot be obtain’d by any other Method in our power: And consequently, that whoever rejects the care of the common Good, does so far reject the Causes of his own Happiness, and embrace the immediate Causes of his Misery and Punishment.
To be brief; seeing it is manifest from the Nature of Things, “That the chief Happiness which we can procure to our selves, arises jointly from promoting Piety and Peace, mutual Commerce among Nations, civil and domestic Government, and also firm Friendship; and that the care of all these things together is to be found only in his Mind, who studies the common Good of all rational Beings”; it follows, “That the greatest Reward which Man can procure, is the natural Consequence of this Endeavour, as the want thereof, or Punishment, is the necessary result of Actions of a contrary kind”: The former of these, “Which as signs the Causes of that Happiness, which single Persons are wont or able to obtain,” we have prov’d from Effects confirm’d by Experience; the latter, “That Piety and universal Benevolence toward all Men, are contain’d in the care of the common Good,” we have shewn from its Definition and Parts in the Corollaries, Chap. 9. But a Conclusion drawn from such Premises, is known by the Light of Nature.
The contingent.§XX. I acknowledge, however, “That all these Effects are not entirely in our Power, but that many of them depend upon the Benevolence of other rational Beings.” But since we know from their Nature, as being analogous, or like, to our own, “That the common Good is the best and greatest End, which they can propose to themselves; and that the Perfection of their Nature requires, both that they should act for an End, and for this, rather than for any other not so good”; and since moreover we know from experience, “That such Effects of universal Benevolence may generally be procur’d from others by our Actions”: It is but reasonable, “That they should be reckon’d and esteem’d among the Effects of our Actions, or such Consequences of them, as for the most part happen.” Because every one is thought to be able to do, whatsoever he can perform by the help of his Friends. The whole Reward, which is annex’d to good Actions by the natural Constitution of the Universe, may not unfitly be compar’d to the Treasury or public Stock, which does not arise only from certain Payments, but also from various contingent Taxes: Suppose the Tolls paid upon account of Harbours, High-ways, and publick Bridges, whose Value is great, tho not certainly and distinctly known, yet often farm’d out at a determin’d Price. In like manner, in computing the Value of this Reward, there ought to be taken into the Account, not only those Parts of it, which necessarily accompany good Actions, (such as that formal Happiness, as it is call’d, which consists in the Knowledge and Love of God, and perhaps of those Men whose Wills conspire with his, the absolute Government of all our Passions, a most pleasant Harmony and Agreement of all our Principles of Action with all the Parts of our Life, the Favour of God, and the well-grounded Hope of a happy Immortality,) but there ought also to be taken into the Account, the contingent Advantages of good Actions; such are all those Blessings, which either accrue to us from the religious Disposition of other Men, or flow from civil Society, the good Correspondence of different Nations among one another, or from private Friendship: the Interests of all these several States, being as much taken care of, and promoted, by our good Actions, as in us lies. By a like Reasoning we understand, of what Parts the whole Punishment consists, which is the Consequence of Actions hurtful to the Publick; the Law prohibiting them, receives its proper Sanctions from all those Consequences, which are opposite to those just now mention’d.
Because they may be sufficiently estimated.§XXI. We all of us learn, from the Necessity of that Condition to which we are born, and in which we live, how to estimate contingent Advantages, that is, such Causes as will probably benefit us; and by the hope of such we are inclin’d to Action. For the Air itself, to the breathing of which we are forc’d by an impulse which is natural, is not always an Advantage to our Blood and Spirits, but is sometimes infected with a deadly Contagion; Meat, Drink, and Exercise, don’t always preserve Life; even they are often the Causes of Diseases. Husbandry sometimes rewards our Labours with Loss, instead of Gain; yet we are naturally inclin’d to such Actions from the hope of Good thence probably arising; as naturally, by a like hope of probable Good, are we mov’d to cultivate the common Interest: which Hope, nevertheless, is of itself neither the only, nor the principal Cause impelling, but as it conspires with those other Rewards already mention’d, which are naturally inseparable.
But with how great Probability we hope, from all other Men jointly consider’d, for a return which may repay our Labours laid out upon the common Good; we shall hence form the best judgment, if we consider what both the Experience of the present Time, and the History of the past, witness concerning the Practice of all Nations hitherto nown, with regard to this End. Among every one of them we may openly observe some reverence of one Deity, at least, by which when they have taken an Oath, they are deterr’d from Perjury: You may every where observe an advantageous Commerce carried on between such Nations as are mutually known to one another, unless it be interrupted by a formal War: Civil Government, and a distinction of Property depending thereon, is every where preserv’d: The Ties of Blood and Friendship are generally every where observ’d. But because the whole Endeavour to promote the common Good, means nothing more than the Worship of a Deity, a Care of Commerce and Peace among Nations, of civil and domestic Government, and also of Friendship, as its Parts jointly consider’d; it is manifest, “That the care of that Good is in some measure every where to be found among Men”; whence many Advantages of Peace and mutual Aid necessarily accrue to Individuals.
Nay, it seems to me manifest, “That each one who has reach’d Man’s Estate, owes his past Years much more to the Pains of others, than to any care of his own,” which in his Childhood is little or nothing. For we then wholly depend on that Obedience, which others yield to those Laws, whereby the Affairs of Families, of the State; and of Religion are govern’d; all which flow from a Care of the common Good. Hence it comes to pass, “That, if afterwards we hazard, nay lose, our Lives for the publick Good, we part with less for its sake, than we had already receiv’d from it”: for we lose only an uncertain Hope of future Joys, if we should live, nay, not that; for it is rather certain, that scarce any Hope can remain to particular Persons, where the common Good is trampled under foot. But we had before receiv’d from it the real Advantages of Life, and all those Perfections which adorn’d us.29
Nor doubt I, but that the greatest Advantages we experience from mutual Assistance in a social State, might have been foreseen from the Nature of Man, by our first Parents, if we suppose them to have deliberated, “Whether they should more effectually promote the true Happiness of their Children, by persuading them to the exercise of Piety towards God and their Parents, and of mutual Benevolence among Brethren,” (which is the Summary of Religion, and of civil Government, which was first exercis’d in a single Family, as well as of the Law of Nations,) “than by initiating them in the Mysteries of Atheism, and exhorting each to claim every thing to himself, and so immediately to commence Robbers and Murderers of one another.” But the good and bad Consequences (thus naturally known from the Nature of Things) of such human Actions, because they are fore shewn by God, to Men deliberating concerning their Actions, in order to incline them to, or deter them from, Action, are intirely in the Nature of Rewards and Punishments, by which a Law receives its Sanction.
And that Estimate is farther confirm’d, by the natural Manner of nourishing and preserving Animals.§XXII. These Observations seem to me most evidently just, because they shew a Method of preserving the several Members of the rational System, extremely like that whereby Nature instructs all Animals to preserve the Health and Strength of the several Members of their Bodies. Nature obliges them, in order to this End, to take Nourishment, and breathe the Air, which, tho by reason of internal Diseases, or external Hurts, (Bruises, Wounds, and Fractures) they do not always give the Members the intended Strength, do yet most commonly immediately preserve that Temper of the Blood, which is necessary to the Life of the whole Body. She teaches us in the same manner, that by Actions immediately promoting the common Good, the various Perfections of Individuals,(who are Members of the rational System,) are ordinarily to be expected, as being not less naturally deriv’d from thence, than the Strength of our Hands from a just Temper in the Mass of Blood. We must confess, however, that many things may happen, by means whereof this general Care of the Whole may not always produce the propos’d Happiness of Individuals, without allay; as breathing and eating, however necessary to the whole Body, do not ward off all Diseases and Accidents. For, as well by an irregular Behaviour of our Fellow-Citizens, like an indisposition in the Bowels, as by foreign Invasion, good Men may be depriv’d of some of the Rewards of their good Actions, and may suffer Evils from without. But because such Evils are generally warded off by the force of Concord and Government, (which always flow from a care of the publick Good,) and are often, after short suffering, remov’d by our own Strength, and the Aid of the civil Power, as Diseases retire upon Nature’s taking a healthful turn; and are often also compensated with greater Advantages, partly by the Virtues of others, but chiefly by means of civil Government, and of foreign Leagues: hence it comes to pass, “That the Race of Men has in no Age been extinguish’d, and that most Societys have lasted longer than particular Men, or even the most long-liv’d Animals.”
From these Considerations it is evident, “That the wicked Dispositions of some Men, and those Motions of the Affections, which sometimes arise in all Men, contrary to the common Good, do no more hinder us from acknowledging, That the more powerful Inclinations of all Mankind, jointly consider’d, are carried towards that which we daily see procur’d thereby, the preservation and further perfection of the whole; than Diseases sometimes arising in the Parts of Animals, hinder our confessing, That the whole frame of the human Body, and the natural Functions of the Parts, are adapted to preserve Life, propagate the Species, and preserve the vigour of each Member for it susual Term of Duration.” For from hence are not only first constituted Societies, Embassies, and foreign Leagues; but also, if at any time a League with any Nation be broken, even the breaker of the League immediately betakes himself to the Faith of other Nations, by Engagements enter’d into with them, and so by his own Action condemns himself: And if at any time one Religion is suppress’d in a Nation, another is immediately replac’d, in order to procure the Favour of the Deity: So when any Commonwealth is dissolv’d by Sedition or War, another is immediately thence form’d or enlarg’d. Now these Observations make it manifest, “That the whole System of Rationals, is as much, or more, form’d for its own Preservation, and the subordinate one of its Members, than the universal corporeal System is form’d for its Preservation: whilst the Generation of one Body follows from the Corruption of another; and, in the Generation of single Animals, they are form’d with Organs, by which they for some time preserve themselves, and propagate their kind.”
The Author’s Method of deducing the Sanction of the Laws of Nature, confirm’d by universal Consent.§XXIII. I have thus briefly laid down the Method, by which I have deduc’d the Sanction of the Laws of Nature; in which I have consider’d the Happiness which naturally flows from good Actions, as the Reward annex’d to them by the Author of Nature; and the loss thereof as a Punishment, not less naturally connected with evil Actions. For whatever Good or Evil is the necessary Consequence of human Actions, must necessarily be contain’d in such practical Propositions, as truly declare the Consequences of those Actions. And God himself is suppos’d to declare those practical Propositions, which are necessarily suggested to our Minds by the Nature, as well of our own Actions, as of those of other rational Beings, and which truly foretel what Consequences will follow. But those “Advantages and Disadvantages, which God himself pronounces annex’d to human Actions, and by which we are admonish’d to pursue those, and avoid these,” are really and truly Rewards and Punishments.
In these things, however, I agree, as well with those who say, “That Virtue contains Happiness in itself, and so is its own Reward: as also with those others, who beside look for other Advantages, whether of Mind or Body; from God, their own Conscience, their Family, or their Friends, from their own Country, or from foreign Nations; whether we enjoy them in this Life, or with reason hope for them in one here after.”30 And our Method seems much to be confirm’d by this, that all, of how different Sentiments soever in Morality, yet agree in this, “That good Actions ought by all means to be honour’d with suitable Rewards, and that they are actually so honour’d; and that evil Actions ought necessarily to be restrain’d by Punishments, and that they are so restrain’d.” In these Points, Philosophers, however otherwise differing, agree, as do the Founders of all Religions, and all Lawgivers.
Even they, who would seem to neglect Rewards, and would deduce all the Virtues from Gratitude, must needs own, “That Gratitude flows from the Remembrance of Benefits receiv’d.” But it argues as much Self-love, to be excited to good Actions from Benefits already receiv’d, as to do them for the sake of the Hopes of such;31 nay, even he seems to act somewhat the more generously of the two, who is mov’d by the Hope only of Good, because there is somewhat of uncertainty for the most part mix’d with Hope, than he who does as much for equal Benefits, which he already enjoys. But besides, the Memory of past Benefits affects the Mind with a certain Pleasure, which is a part of Happiness, and consequently of a Reward, which we therefore acknowledge to be a proper motive to good Actions. Nor seems it possible, that the Consent of all Men in these Matters should be so unanimous, unless the common Nature and Reason of all dictated this one and the same thing to them all, “That the chief End, the common Good of all, could not otherwise be preserv’d unviolated, than by Rewards and Punishments; and that it is therefore every where guarded by them.”
The reduction of the Laws of Nature to one, useful.§XXIV. Moreover, this Method, by which I have reduc’d all the Precepts of the Law of Nature to one, seems useful; because the Proof of this one Proposition is more easy and expeditious, than that of those many, which are usually propos’d by Philosophers; and the ease of the Memory is better consulted, to which daily calling to mind a single Sentence, is not a Burden: and, (which is the greatest Advantage of all,) from the very Nature of the common Good, which in this Proposition we are directed to promote, a certain Rule or Measure is afforded to the prudent Man’s Judgment, by the help whereof he may ascertain that just Measure in his Actions and Affections, in which Virtue consists. This Task Aristotle has assign’d to the Judgment of the Prudent, in his Definition of Virtue,32 but has not pointed out the Rule by which such Judgment is to be form’d. Our Proposition shews, “That the Rule is to be taken from the Nature of the best and greatest End, respect being had to all the Parts of the whole System of Rationals, or of that Society of which God is the Head, the Members, all God’s Subjects.” For hence we shall be directed to such Acts of Piety towards God, as are perfectly consistent with that Peace and Commerce, which is to be preserv’d among all Nations, with the Establishment of civil Government, and with that Obedience which is to be paid to it; as also with the more private care of the Happiness of Individuals: And we shall likewise be directed to such Acts of the most diffusive Humanity, as shall be perfectly subordinate to true Piety: And universally, “Each of our Affections and Actions will bear that Proportion to the whole of our Strength, and to one another; which that Good, to the procuring which each of these Actions is subservient, bears to the greatest Good of the Whole, which in the whole Course of our Lives, we are able to effect”: Whence we shall certainly take care, “Not to be diligent about Matters of smaller Moment, and remiss about those of more Importance; not slothful about Matters of publick Concern, and earnest about those of private; but shall, in our Affections and Endeavours, take our Measures from the Value of that which is to be effected.”
Lastly, from this Fountain is to be deriv’d that Order among the particular Laws of Nature, according to which a former, in some measure, limits a latter; which the learned Dr. Sharrock has very judiciously and solidly observ’d in his Book of Offices, especially in the tenth Chapter: so that greater Regard ought to be had to the not in vading another’s Property, than to the keeping our Promise; to keeping a lawful Promise, than requiting a Benefit, &c.33 The reason of which is to be deduc’d from our Principle, “Because it conduces more to the common Good, that the principal special Law of Nature, concerning dividing and preserving Property, should not be violated by the Invasion of another’s Right, than that any one should stand to such a Promise, as could not be perform’d, without invading another’s Right.” And the Reason is alike in comparing the other Laws, which I hereafter rank according to the Order of their Dignity. He that desires more upon this Head, let him consult the Author now cited; it is sufficient for my Purpose, to have deduc’d the Reason of the Order that is among the Laws of Nature, from our Principle. Unless perhaps it may seem necessary here to add, That it ought not to seem strange to any, that I have said, “That no Right whatsoever, no Virtue, can be fully explain’d, without respect had to the State of all rational Beings, or of the whole intellectual System.” For we see in Natural Philosophy, “That those Accidents of Bodies which are daily obvious to our Senses, such as the communication of Motion, Gravitation, the Action of Light and Heat, Firmness and Fluidity, Rarefaction and Condensation, cannot be clearly explain’d, without having a respect to the whole material System, and to that Motion which is to be preserv’d therein.” It is likewise manifest in Mechanics, “That no Effect of any Motion, connected with others, and subordinate to them in a continued Series, can be exactly deduc’d, except all their Motions, and that according to the Order in which they depend upon one another, be calculated and compar’d.”
Further, from this Order among the Laws of Nature, (by which all particular ones are subordinate to the general Law, and among particular ones, the latter to the former,) we may best, in my Opinion, demonstrate, “That God never dispens’d with any of them; but that in such Cases, in which the Obligation of the latter might seem taken away, the matter was so chang’d, as that only the prior Laws took place”: so it is evident, “That the Law establishing a division of Property, and prohibiting to invade what is another’s, was not dispens’d with, when God gave permission to the Israelites to invade the Land of the Canaanites, who had transgress’d his Laws.”34 For that same Law determines, “That it is necessary for the public Good, that God should have a Dominion paramount over all, as well Things as Persons, in right of which (when soever he shall judge it conducive to the common Good) he may take away any Creature’s Property in his own Life or Goods, and transfer it to another, by a proper Signification of his Will,” as we read was done in the Case propos’d; whence it appears, that the Israelites only claim’d their own, and were not authoriz’d to invade what was another’s. In like manner also, the Law is not dispens’d with, which, for the common Good, prohibits the hurting Innocents, if at any time an innocent Person is commanded (when the common Good requires it) to expose him self to Danger, or undergo even Death, if God clearly enough reveals his Will in the Affair: for by this means God, the Lord of All, receives his due Honour; and in the properest manner, because the chief End is provided for, according to his Judgment. Therefore in this Case, the Safety of a single Person is neither a Part nor a Cause of the common Good; but on the contrary, his Detriment is suppos’d to be the Means necessary to that End. This will be yet clearer, if we consider, that the Truth of this generalProposition, “The Cause, to its power, preserving the Whole, to its power preserves all the Parts,” is not chang’d in any particular Case; altho sometimes it should happen, that a sound Hand expos’d to danger, in defence of the Head, should be cut off by outward Violence: for we have already shewn, that the perpetual Obligation of these Laws is founded on the Truth of a practical Proposition, which is founded on this, and is therefore in no case changeable.
More, useful, Inferences may be deduced from this general Law, than our Author has drawn.§XXV. I shall here say nothing concerning the Corollaries, which I have drawn in the Close of the following Treatise, because I know of nothing, by which I might render their Proof more concise, or more clear. I will take upon me, nevertheless, to affirm, “That I have not pointed out all those useful Deductions, which naturally flow from our Principles”;nor truly can I enumerate the mall. For in these are contain’d the most general Rules of Equity, which both Magistrates and private Persons may apply to all the new Cases that daily happen. From these, Magistrates may understand what civil Laws are equitable, and, consequently, fit to be retain’d; and what want to be corrected by Equity. They may likewise thence perceive, what Conditions of Leagues, and what Causes of foreign War, are just, what unjust. Hence also private Persons will learn always to obey the Laws, whether Divine or Human, which thence derive their Authority; and in those Cases, in which by these Laws they are left at liberty, (of which innumerable daily happen,) they will be directed to regard always the best End, and be restrain’d from all unlawful Methods of pursuing their private Happiness. Both will perceive, that they are oblig’d to make daily a greater Progress in Virtue, and that in such proportion, as their Skill and Strength to promote the publick Good be come greater by Experience, and as the publick Happiness becomes capable of any farther increase.
His Account of the Origin of Societies, and Duties of Humanity, agreeable to the Scriptures.§XXVI. The Origin of civil Societies I have deduc’d from two Laws of Nature, which are therefore to be consider’d together: (1.) From that which commands the Settlement of Property, as well in Things as in human Labour, where it is not found already established; but, where it is found, the Preservation of the same inviolably, as a Means principally necessary to the common Good. And, (2.) From that which enjoins a peculiar Benevolence of Parents towards their Children; for, in consequence of that Benevolence, our first Parents must have granted to their Children, when of Age, both a Patrimony of their own, out of that full Dominion, which they had over all things by the former of these Laws, and also a paternal Power over their own Offspring. Hence it might easily happen, when Families were increased, that some Heads of Families, either in their own Life time, or by their Testaments at their Death, might divide their Dominion among many Sons, by giving to each an absolute Command over his own Family, or over many; whence many Monarchies might arise:35Other Heads of Families might also elsewhere settle Aristocracies, others, Democracies; but among all these sovereign Powers, the Obligation would still continue, “To promote the common Good, and to observe those Precepts thence necessarily arising, concerning the settlement and preservation of Property, keeping Promises, requiting Benefits, a limited Care of themselves and of their Off-spring, and an universal Humanity”; which are the principal Heads of the Law of Nations. But this is only an account of a possible and rightful Constitution of different Commonwealths, which also exhibits all their general Properties; nor does true Philosophy search for other Hypotheses. The Question concerning their actual Formation, is wholly concerning a Matter of Fact, depending on free Agents, and therefore is not demonstrable from Principles of Reason; the Proof here is to be taken from Testimony only. Facts, within the Memory of Persons now living, are to be prov’d from the personal Testimony of Witnesses: But Matters more antient, the Wit of Man cannot hand down otherwise to Posterity, than either by oral Tradition, (such as is no where to be found worthy of Credit in this Affair,) or by Writings compos’d on purpose to preserve their Memory; such are the Monuments preserv’d in the Archives of States, and Histories.
Seeing therefore it is manifest, “That the Original of all States that we know, exceeds the Memory of all Men now living,” the only way we have left to form a Judgment concerning their Origin and Constitution, is from the antient Laws and other Records of each State, publickly preserv’d and approv’d of; or, if we would inquire farther, we must have recourse to the most authentic and credible Histories; but, amongst these, we find none of equal Antiquity and Credit with that of Moses, which acknowledges no antienter Authority, under God, over Things and Persons, than is that of Fathers of Families over their Wives and Children, and, after them, of their eldest Sons. We do not read there, “That Adam and Eve had such a Right to all things, as made it lawful for them,” (if they had thro’ a mistake imagin’d it conducive to their own Preservation,) “to wage War with God, and with one another, without the Provocation of an Injury; and so mutually deprive one another of Food and Life.” On the contrary, there are Intimations, “That they knew, and acknowledg’d, the Obligation of all those things, that were then requisite to the common Good of the Kingdom of God in its yet Infant-state.” The Exercise of the divine Dominion in giving Laws, and the Derivation of human Property from the Gift of God, both there spoken of, oblige us to acknowledge such a Division of Property, as we have affirm’d to be necessary. Nay, without violating the Donation of God, neither of our first Parents could rob the other of the Necessaries of Life, much less of Life it self. Yet farther, they were so far from entring into a State of Enmity, that we read, “They contracted a Friendship at first sight,” which could not subsist without Fidelity and Gratitude, limiting their Self-love; and presently follows, “A Desire of propagating their Species, and consequently of preserving it.” But seeing, according to this History, our first Parents had only themselves and their Children, to consider as Parts of human Kind, it is manifest, “That in this singular friendly Intercourse between themselves as Husband and Wife, and natural Affection toward the Children to be born of them, is contain’d Humanity towards all, as the less is contain’d in the greater.” From hence it is evident, “That our Philosophy does perfectly agree with the sacred History.”
The Author abstains from Theological Disputes.§XXVII. Nevertheless, I have, in the following Treatise, purposely contain’d myself wholly within the Bounds of Philosophy, and have therefore altogether abstained from Theological Questions, concerning the Right of the divine Dominion in the Affair of Predestination, or of the Satisfaction made by Christ; nor have I consider’d, how much the Faculties of Mankind have been impair’d by the Transgression of our first Parents, concerning which we ought to form our Judgment from the Testimony of Scripture; but I have endeavour’d to prove the Law of Nature, only from that Reason we find ourselves at present possess’d of, and from Experience. We are however certain, “That nothing contradictory to the just Conclusions of our Reason, could ever be revealed by God.” And we therefore believe the sacred Scriptures to be the Word of God, the Author of Nature, because they every where illustrate, confirm, and promote the Law of Nature.
It is in consequence of this Purpose of abstaining from all Theological Controversies, that I would not dispute with Mr. Hobbes about the Sense of Scripture; which moreover seem’d therefore to me principally needless, because I cannot bring my self to believe, that he is seriously mov’d by its Authority, as being what he looks upon to be wholly deriv’d from the Will of particular States; and has in consequence taught, that it is changeable at their Pleasure; here, of Force, and elsewhere, of none.36
The Laws of Nature eternally, because necessarily, true.§XXVIII. I have said little or nothing of the Eternity of the Laws of Nature; to which, however, I have with the greatest Diligence every where had an Eye, whilst I endeavour to demonstrate the unchangeable Truth of those Propositions, by a natural Connexion between their Terms; for their Eternity entirely depends upon their necessary Truth. For there is no doubt, but that “Propositions which are necessarily true, are true when soever they can be thought of”; and it is equally evident, “That the Truth of such was from Eternity known to the divine Mind.” Such an Eternity, none, that I know of, denies to mathematical Propositions, even newly invented or known among Men. To this purpose I think it proper only further to observe, “That the Connexion is no less necessary between human Actions, however free, whenever they are perform’d, and their Effects, than between the Actions or Motions of mere Bodies, and the Effects thence demonstrated.” Three Right Lines, for example, freely drawn by a Man, according to the Direction of the first of Euclid’s Elements, do not less necessarily form a Triangle, than if they were drawn by necessary Causes.37 In like manner, “Love towards God, and all Men, altho most freely exerted, after it is exerted, necessarily makes any Person as happy as his Power can make him,” as I have at large explain’d. Nor is it less manifest, “That a Consent to the Division of Property in Things themselves, and in human Labour, or to preserve the Division when made, by Innocence, Fidelity, Gratitude, a limited Care of our selves, and of our Off-spring, and Humanity exercis’d towards all, are Parts of that universal Love, and therefore proportionably conducive to the Happiness, as of the Whole, so of Individuals, especially his, in whom they are found”; than, “That Quadrants, or other lesser Arches, or Sectors, are Parts of a Circle.” Therefore the Eternity is equal, as well of Propositions of the one Kind, as of the other.
The Author’s Manner of handling his Subject.§XXIX. So much may suffice, by way of Preface, as to the Matter treated of; as to the Manner of treating it, I shall add but little. There are many things in our Style, candid Reader, which will greatly stand in need of your favourable Construction; being extremely sollicitous about the Matter, I was but too negligent of its Dress. It was written by Starts at Intervals, such as an uncertain State of Health, and the weighty Cares of my holy Function, would permit.38
I have illustrated my Subject with Comparisons now and then taken from Mathematicks, because they, with whom I dispute, reject almost all the other Sciences. Moreover, it seem’d worth while to shew, “That the Foundations of Piety and moral Philosophy were not shaken,” (as some would insinuate,) “but strengthen’d, by Mathematicks, and Natural Philosophy, that depends thereon; and that therefore those natural Philosophers, who endeavour to overturn the Precepts of Morality, by Weapons drawn from Matter and Motion, may by their own Weapons be both oppos’d and confuted.”
I have designedly abstain’d from any physical Hypothesis concerning the System of the World, as upon other Accounts, so upon this chiefly, because the Reader may, without prejudice to our Reasoning, assume any Hypothesis he pleases; provided it be but such a one, as, from the Order among the natural Causes of Phaenomena, leads us to the first Cause. I have sometimes however had respect to the mechanical Hypothesis, a Specimen whereof the most ingenious Des-Cartes has given us, (other Hypotheses, according to the Laws of Matter and Motion, nevertheless, may and ought to be invented, if the Appearances of things so require;) because it leads us the shortest way to the first Mover, and is receiv’d by most of our Adversaries.39
I would make this further request to the Reader, that he would not pass a severe Censure upon this Work, before he has thorowly read the Whole, and compar’d all its Parts together; because certainly, if there be either Strength or Beauty, in this Off-spring of our Brain, it chiefly arises from the firm Connexion of all the Parts, and the apt Proportion of each of them, as well to attain their own, as the common End. Its Face is not painted with the florid Colours of Rhetorick, nor are its Eyes sparkling and sportive, the Signs of a light Wit; it wholly applies it self, as it were, with the Composure and Sedateness of an old Man, to the Study of natural Knowledge, to gravity of Manners, and to the cultivating of severer Learning.
Conclusion.§XXX. Lastly, my chief aim in writing, was to promote the publick Good, by plainly proposing to the Minds of Men, the Standard of Virtue and Society, taken from the Nature of all Things; for I did not think it worth while to spend the whole Book, or the greatest Part of it, in confuting Hobbes’s Errors, tho I judg’d it necessary to be at some Pains in refuting his Mistakes, which had so grosly perverted so many. I thought it sufficient for this Purpose, thorowly to demolish the Foundations of his Doctrine, which are laid down, as well in his Treatise de Cive, as in his Leviathan; and openly to shew, “That they are diametrically opposite, not to Religion only, but to all civil Society.” These being plainly overthrown, all the wicked Doctrines, which Hobbes has rais’d upon them, fall at once to the Ground. But what we have in reality perform’d, we leave to the Reader’s Judgment. As to the Confutation which I have given, I am not very sollicitous; nor in treat I the Reader’s Favour, let him censure it as strictly as he pleases. But in the Confirmation of my Opinion, (because I know, that I neither do distinctly understand all, that the Nature of Things suggests toward our Institution in Virtue; nor could recollect in time all those things, which I had once distinctly consider’d, and which I was willing to have express’d in this Treatise;) I must intreat the Reader, not only to consider my Words, but to enquire strictly into the Nature of God and Men, and diligently to examine his own Breast; for thus he will daily make innumerable Observations, which will more perfectly direct him thro’ the Paths of Virtue to the same End. Moreover, because I know, that I differ from the Sentiments of some very learned Men, as to the Causes which imprint the Laws of Nature upon our Minds, I thought fit to add, that it is never the less reasonable, that we should love one another, and so fulfil that Law, which we both acknowledge God has written in our Hearts. As for my own part, I never would have committed my Thoughts upon this Subject to writing, much less would I have made them publick, unless the Importunity of some Friends at Cambridge, (with whom I used to converse with pleasure upon this Subject,) had extorted it from me. They, who first sollicited, and have principally influenced me to this, were Dr. Hezekiah Burton, and Dr. John Hollings, two very excellent and learned Men, my worthy Friends, with whom, to my great Advantage and Satisfaction, I have cultivated a most intimate Friendship these twenty Years.40 I pay so great a Deference to their Judgment, and owe so much to their Friendship, that I thought it a Crime, any longer to resist their Importunity. Do you, courteous Reader, make use of these our Endeavours, for the Benefit of others; enjoy them to your own, and may all Happiness attend you.
[1. ]Grotius, De Jure Belli ac Pacis (1625); Grotius, De Principis Juris Naturalis Enchiridion (1667); Sharrock, De Officiis Secundum Naturae Jus (1660).
[2. ]Selden, De Jure Naturali et Gentium (1640).
[3. ]Acosta, Historia Natural y Moral de las Indias (1591).
[4. ]Hobbes, Elementa Philosophica De Cive (1647); references are to On the Citizen (1998), 2.1, pp. 32–33; Selden, De Jure Naturali, I.6, pp. 75–85.
[5. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 14.15, p. 161.
[6. ]Ibid., 3.33, pp. 56–57; Hobbes, Leviathan with Selected Variants from the Latin Edition of 1668 (1994), ch. 15, p. 100.
[7. ]Selden, De Jure Naturali, I.7–9, pp. 86–108.
[8. ][Maxwell] “In the book before-mention’d.”
[9. ]“by him”: Cumberland’s Latin indicates that he meant “by them” (meaning the Jews rather than Selden); Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, Prolegomena, a3r.
[10. ][Maxwell] “The internal Sanction of the Laws of Nature, consists of those Rewards and Punishments, which are necessarily connected, according to the common course of Nature, at the Appointment of the first Cause, with the Observance or Non-observance of those Laws.”
[11. ]Bacon, Of the Advancement and Proficience of Learning (1640), VIII.3, p. 424.
[12. ]An allusion to Juvenal, Satires, XIII.193.
[13. ]Cumberland’s rejection of innate ideas can be compared with similar positions in Pufendorf and Locke: cf. Pufendorf, De Jure Naturae et Gentium, II.3.13; Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), I.
[14. ]“from his Effects”: a possible mistranscription in the Latin suggests that Cumberland meant “by their effects” [the perfections].
[15. ]Hobbes, Leviathan, ch. 12, p. 64. Maxwell tends to quote from the English Leviathan, but Cumberland generally refers to the Latin edition of 1668, which is occasionally different. Where Maxwell’s quotation has, “As even the Heathen Philosophers confess’d,” the Latin edition quoted by Cumberland has,“with the sounder of the ancient philosophers,” apparently an approving reference by Hobbes to Aristotle. Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, Prolegomena, a4v.
[16. ]“species sensibiles”: Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, Prolegomena, a4v.
[17. ]Cicero, De Legibus, I.vii.23.
[18. ]“θεομαχία,” Cumberland, De Legibus Naturae, Prolegomena, b1v.
[19. ][Maxwell] “If the Deity be good, he must desire the Happiness of his Creatures; this cannot be among Rationals without kind Affections: Kind Affections cannot be supposed toward indifferent Agents, where there are none towards Benefactors, and chiefly the Deity. Therefore, if the Deity love his Creatures, he must desire that they should love him; since, without loving him, they cannot be happy.”
[20. ]Cumberland, Trinity College MS.adv.c.2.4, Prolegomena, n.p.: “That is what was required by the purpose and intention of my work. For the terms, of which the general proposition encompassing all natural laws is composed are ideas which represent the natural efficiency of human actions necessarily required, according to the present system of things, to procure the good, both public and individual, which man lacks. And the words are necessary here only as familiar signs, whose purpose is to recall to mind those ideas, which might be recalled even if we made no use of such signs. For the nature of things, and of human actions, is sufficient to produce, to imprint, to perpetuate, and to recall to mind, these sorts of ideas, even if one were deaf and mute, and consequently not in a state to recognise the usage of such signs, in which the word consists.”
[21. ]Hobbes, On the Citizen, 8.1, p. 102.
[22. ]Cicero, Oratio In C. Verrem, IV.66; Justinian, Digest, XLVIII.19.41.
[23. ]Justinian, Digest, I.8.8.
[24. ]Ibid., I.8.9.3.
[25. ][Maxwell] “See the Notion advanced here by the Author, examin’d in a Note on chap. 5. § 40.”
[26. ][Maxwell] “His State of Nature, which he makes a State of War.”
[27. ][Maxwell] “By the great Society, the Author here means the Kingdom of God, or System of Rationals.”
[28. ]Cumberland, Trinity College MS.adv.c.2.4, Prolegomena, n.p. Replacement manuscript text (to the end of the paragraph): “But, since the natural causes, as much internal, disposing man to form and maintain this universal society, as external, attracting them to do so, act conjointly: and it is through the united forces of all these causes that society is now established and preserved: I must beg the readers, who will seek the whole cause or complete reason for this effect to consider all the partial causes, which I have detailed, as joined together, and each in its rank; by which he will see, that there results from considering them in such a way, an argument which is sufficient of itself to prove the sanction of the most general law of nature.”
[29. ]Ibid. Manuscript addition: “Setting aside even the duty imposed by gratitude, this proves the sanction of the most general law of nature, as one may foresee that, from a life constantly modeled on the demands of the public good, there will be more benefit than if one follows the promptings of boundless self-consideration.”
[30. ]Stoic philosophers believed that virtue was its own reward; by those who look for goods in this life, Cumberland signals the Peripatetic philosophers. Barbeyrac, Traité Philosophique des Loix Naturelles (1744), p. 26, n. 2.
[31. ][Maxwell] “Actions from Gratitude, cannot be said to flow from Self-love, or desire of private Good to the Agent; since in a grateful Office, the Intention of the Agent, is not to obtain any farther private Advantage. ’Tis this Intention only, of obtaining private Good, which denominates an Action Self-interested. This is not the Case of real Gratitude, however it may be in some pretended Offices of Gratitude—The Mistakes of many Writers upon this Head, arise from the ambiguous Use of these Words, (per, propter, ob,) or of their corresponding English Words, (for, on account of, for the sake of, in consideration of,) a Benefit. They denote either, First, Acting with intention to obtain a Benefit; this is from Self-love: Or, Secondly, When remembrance of a Benefit raises Love in the Receiver toward the Benefactor, and desire to please him, without Intention of farther private Good to the Receiver; this is not from Self-love. We see a like Affection, but perhaps a little weaker, arises from observing Beneficence toward a Third Person. See the true Answer to this whole Difficulty, in a Note, on Chap. 5. § 45.”
[32. ]Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.6.
[33. ]Sharrock, De Officiis Secundum Naturae Jus, ch. 10.
[34. ]Deuteronomy 20.16–17.
[35. ]Cf. ibid., 9.6.
[36. ]Cumberland may be thinking about Hobbes’s argument in Leviathan, ch. 33.
[37. ]Euclid, Elementa Geometriae.
[38. ]Cumberland was rector of Brampton Ash in North amptonshire from 1657 but in 1670 he also became vicar of All Saints, Stamford, and rector of St. Peter’s church in the same town. Internal evidence suggests that De Legibus was prepared for publication during the later 1660s. Parkin, Science, Religion and Politics in Restoration England, pp. 13, 117.
[39. ]Cumberland’s qualified use of Cartesian ideas was typical of his latitudinarian contemporaries; see Parkin, Science, Religion and Politics in Restoration England, pp. 152–53.
[40. ]Cumberland became friends with Hezekiah Burton (1632–81) at Magdalene. Burton, a Fellow of the College, went on to become domestic chaplain to Sir Orlando Bridgeman, and Cumberland probably owed Bridgeman’s patronage to his friend’s connection with the Lord Keeper. Burton saw De Legibus through the press and provided a prefatory Alloquium ad Lectorem (reprinted here in appendix 2). Dr. John Hollings (1635–1712) was also a member of Cumberland’s circle at Magdalene. He eventually became a Fellow of the College and took his M.D. in 1665. He would become a successful physician based in Shrewsbury.