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Appendix II: A Treatise concerning the Obligation, Promulgation, and Observance of the Law of Nature - 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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A Treatise concerning the Obligation, Promulgation, and Observance of the Law of Nature
The Obligation of the Law of Nature.
The Notion of the Law of Nature, according to the Jews.The Law of Nature is a moral Law, discover’d to all Men by the Light of Nature.
The Jews divide the Precepts of their Law into “Intellectual” and “those which are received by Tradition.”1 The former are such Precepts, as, tho’ not written, the Understanding would find out; such as the Precept of honouring Parents, against Homicide, Theft, false Witness, Adultery, and such like.
Christian Fathers, So the Fathers of the Christian Church say. “Before the Law of Moses, written in Tables of Stone, there was an unwritten Law, which was discovered by the Light of Nature.—Before the Jews receiv’d the Law, all Nations and the whole World receiv’d the Law of Nature.—That Law, which is written in the Heart, extendeth to all Nations, and no Man is unacquainted with it.—We have, in our-selves, a natural Discernment of the Good from the Evil.—What is the Law of Nature? Our Conscience hath given us plain Notice of it, and hath made the Knowledge of the Things that are honest, and that are otherwise, to be self-taught.”2
Civilians,The Civilians sometimes, unwarily, extend the Law of Nature to irrational Animals; yet, when they define it properly and accurately, they do it agreeably to the Sense of the Christian Fathers. “The Law of Nature is the Rule of right Agency, which Nature discovers, and flows from natural Affection and Reason.”3
Modern Divines, and School-men,Modern Divines, and School-men, define it thus, “The Law of Nature is that which proceedeth from the Institution of Nature it-self, and this is common to all.”4
and also of the Heathen Philosophers.The learned Heathens define it “Reason from the Nature of Things, which enjoineth the Things which ought to be done, and forbiddeth the contrary.”5 By Aristotle it is call’d, “The Law, which is common to all, that just and unjust, which is by Nature, and common to all.”6
The Notion of the Law of Nature is Twofold;Therefore, the Law of Nature, according to all these Definitions, is, the true Moral Philosophy; a Law of the great Morals of Nature’s Institution. But this great Law must be several Ways distinguish’d: For it must be consider’d, under a two-fold Notion, in a three-fold Respect: In Respect of the Obligation, Promulgation, and Observance of it.
First, in respect of its Obligation.First, in Respect of its Obligation, it is of a two-fold Notion; for the Law of Nature signifieth what is, in its own Nature, Law to all intelligent Agents; and it is, also, Law to all intelligent created Agents, by an Obligation from Authority. But, antecedently to this Obligation from superior Authority, it is of an Obligatory Nature, and must be consider’d as what is, in its own Nature, Matter of Law, or of Obligation; for, that this Law is of this Nature, will appear, as from other Considerations, so from a due Explanation of the Good, which it requireth, and of the Evil, which it forbiddeth.
Of the Meaning of the Word, Good.§2. Altho’ Mankind are, by Nature, furnish’d with, and agree in, the true Notions of Good and Evil, Just and Unjust, Decorous and Indecorous; yet they are not of one Mind about the Application of those Names to the Things themselves, to which they belong; and this is the matter of their Disagreement. There is no Appearance, indeed, of any considerable Disagreement, amongst the ancient Philosophers, touching the Definition of Good: But such a Disagreement there is in the Christian Schools; for the Metaphysicians, and learned Writers of Morality, are not agreed about the Notion of (Bonum) Good, the principal Source of which Disagreement is, an unavoidable Ambiguity in the Word.
For, sometimes, it is used Ironically; because Men are denominated Good, upon account of their Innocence and Harmlessness; hence, among the Heathen, it became a Term of Reproach, and, so us’d, it importeth Silliness. O bone, ne tu frustrere, Horat. Satyr. 2. O bone, num ignoras? Pers. Sat. 6. Bone custos, defensorque Provinciae, Cicer. 7. Ver. 10. Ehodum, bone vir, quid ais? Terent. Andr. 3. 5. 10.7 But, except when the Name Good is thus us’d Ironically, it always denotes, what is to be lik’d, and, in some Degree, commended, either really for sufficient Cause and Reason, or in the Opinion of the Speaker; for so it signifies, even when it is connected with Vices and Crimes. As when we say, A good Pick-pocket, a good Flatterer, it signifies one that is dextrous and expert at picking Pockets and Flattery. Usually Good signifieth (Bonum utile) the profitable Good, as every Tree, that is good for Food, Gen. 2. 9. So we say, A good House, a good Field, good Advice: And as usually it signifieth (Bonum jucundum) the pleasant Good; thus a joyful Day is call’d a good Day, Esth. 9. 22. Thus, also, we say, a good Companion. We say, Security is good, Money is good, a Bargain, Tender, or Grant is good, which is unexceptionable, and, so far, is to be lik’d. When we perform our Promises, we are said to make them Good, what is to be lik’d and allow’d of. If any Man’s Property be taken away, or damaged, Restitution, or Reparation, is call’d making it Good, as what is to be lik’d, and allow’d of, as an Equivalent. When Alexander was dying, his Friends ask’d him, to whom he would leave the Kingdom; his Answer was (ἀρ,ίςῳ) to the best Man, namely, with Respect to military Fortitude, which was a Quality in the highest Esteem among the Greeks, with whom κακὸς signifies a Coward. Usually, Things are denominated Good, with respect to their Size and Measure, which are to be lik’d, and Persons, with respect to their Rank and Degree in the World, in which Sense we say, A goodwhile, a good Way off, good Business, a good Estate, a good Price, Man of good Note, good Rank and Fashion, good Towns, a good Family. Good, therefore, usually signifieth, with respect to Rank and Degree; for, in such sense, Equals are denominated as Good; and the Best Man signifies him, that is highest in Rank and Degree, who, with regard to Esteem, is most to be lik’d, and superiors are styl’d the Betters. So the superior in Strength and Power is, in that respect, the better Man. Amongst the Lawyers [boni & legales homines] good and lawful Men are those who are to be lik’d, and are unexceptionable in Law. Well-born, are those who are of a Rank to be lik’d, with respect to their Birth. Bonus, sometimes, signifies a learned Man. “Viz. bonus & prudens versus reprehendet inertes.” Horat. in Arte Poet. 90.—“Boni quoniam convenimus ambo, Tu calamos inflare leves, ego dicere versus.” Virg. 5. Eclog. “Quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus.” Horat. in arte Poet. 73. Bonus sometimes signifies propitious, or favourable. “Adsit laetitiae Bacchus dator, & bona Junc.” Virgil I. Aeneid. “Sis bonus ô, faelixque tuis.” Virg. 5. Eclog. 6. Bonus, sometimes, signifies a Benevolent Man. “Vir bonus, qui prodest quibus potest, nocet nemini.” Cicer. 3. Offic. “Deus Optimus Maximus, optimus, i.e. Beneficentissimus,” says Cicero 2. de Nat. Deor. 92, and 93. Sometimes a virtuous Man. “—Nemo sine crimine vivit, Optimus ille, qui minimis urgetur.” Horat. Bonus, sometimes, signifies Just, as in the Latin Phrase, Bonum & aquum. We likewise say, Good-nature, good Courage, a good Intention, Good-will, a good Old Age, (that is, such as Men desire to reach,) Anima melior, that is, fitter; “Hanc tibi Erix meliorem animam pro morte Daretis Persolvo.” Virgil. 5. Aeneid. 96.8 So we likewise say, Artes bonae, bonis avilus, a good Climate, a good Cause, a good Condition, a good Conscience, to take in good Part, a good Quantity, a good Event, a good Action, that is, such as ought to be done, good Fame or Name, Good-faith, a good Countenance, a good Family, a good Wrestler, Singer, &c. Good-liking, goodParts, Memory, Judge, Judgment, Journey, good Right, good Reason, &c. In all which Instances, and in numberless more, which might be given, without any Exceptions, that I know of, Good always signifies what is to be lik’d, or approv’d of, in its Kind. Somewhat near the Use of the Name Good, as it is expressive of Rank and Degree, is a peculiar Use of it in our English Language, wherein Things are said to be as good, (without any Intention to say, that they are good) only to signify, that one Thing is little less than the other, not valuably or considerably deficient. For, when we have near finish’d any piece of Work, we say, it is as good as finish’d; when any Thing is well nigh gone, we say, it is as good as lost; and our Translators say of Abraham, Heb. 11. 12. “Him as good as dead,” to signify, that he was little less than dead.
The Metaphysicians Maxim is of great Truth and Certainty; Every Being, as it is a Being, is Good. Every Being, properly so call’d, hath, as its Nature is, a certain Perfection and Form, whereby it is, what it is. And as a Being is that which is of some Kind, so it is that, which is necessarily of a certain Rank and Degree amongst Beings, above Nothing, and better than such a Something, that is worse than Nothing, which is a Good, or Well-being. Existence may be so complicated, as to be, in several respects, worse than Non-Existence; for we love Existence as a Good, and, therefore, prefer not Being before Ill-being. But Existence is, of itself, better than Nothing and Non-existence, and must, therefore, be counted a Good. To which the Schoolmen add, That Good, as an Attribute of Being, denotes that which is perfect. Every Being is without Defect of its essential Perfections, which is well-being, and that which is to be lik’d, as this Word [Good] always signifies.
§3. Good and Evil so far depends upon Perception, that, if there were no Perception of them, they would be of no more Regard or Consideration, than if they were not at all. But, notwithstanding this Connexion between Good and Perception, it ought not to be thus defin’d; “Good is that which is pleasant to a perceptive Life, jointly with the Preservation of the Perceiver.”9 For the Nature and Notion of Good does not consist in being pleasant, but in being worthy to be pleas’d with. This Definition of Good does not belong to the Metaphysical Good of Being in general, before describ’d; nor does it belong to profitable Good, as such, which is often painful and afflictive: Nor can it pretend to be the Definition of the Good of Duty and Virtue, as such; for nothing can be the Good of Duty and Virtue, which is good Practice, merely as pleasant to a Perceptive Life, jointly with the Preservation of the Perceiver. Intelligent Agents must not be told, “That nothing is good, but as it is pleasant to a perceptive Life, jointly with their Preservation.” But they should be told, “That they ought to make the Things that are Good, the matter of their Pleasure; that there is sufficient Cause and Reason, why they should be pleased with them, and that, upon this Account, they are good.” If nothing is good, but as it is pleasant to Perception, there can be no other Good in the Universe, than the Good of Happiness: Nor can the Evil of Sin and Wickedness, as such, be in the World, but only the Evil of Infelicity. But such Definitions of Good and Evil are defective and partial, and much too narrow, to be the Definition of Good and Evil in general; and there is the like Exception against another celebrated Definition of Good, That “Convenience and Inconvenience, to some Body, are the Definitions of Good and Evil. Good is that which is convenient to the Nature of a Thing, or what is not hurtful, but really helpful to Nature.” And Bp. Cumberland himself has given in to this Definition of Good, which is not only faulty, but productive of many Mistakes in the Contemplation of the Law of Nature.10 For,
Cumberland’s Definition of Good, supposes the Nature of Things, not to be Good.(1.) The Nature of Beings is manifestly a Good Antecedent to what is convenient and helpful thereto, preservative or perfective thereof. But, if nothing is good, except only as convenient to the Nature of Beings, their Nature, even the Nature of rational Beings, must not be suppos’d, to be good; and, consequently, there can be no sufficient Reason for, or Obligation to, an universal Love, which is a Summary of the Law of Nature; for it is not possible, much less laudable, to love that which is not suppos’d to be good. The Notion of Good, therefore, must be so large and general11 as to take in the Nature of Beings, especially, of created rational Agents, and, more especially, the Nature of God, who must not be thought good, only as convenient to himself and to us, as some suppose, who yet style him Goodness itself, which Attribute would not belong to him, if he be good only relatively.
2. It is not agreeable to that Notion of Good, which God is. (2.) In our Elogies, both of God and Creatures, Good usually signifieth in such a Sense, as cannot be explain’d by convenient. For we pronounce an Angel, to be superlatively good and excellent, where superlatively good and superlatively excellent are Words of the same Signification, but superlatively good, and superlatively convenient, are not so. So when God is intitul’d, The Supreme Good, the infinite and absolutely perfect Good, the Attribute Good must mean his Excellence. If we should suppose, what is impossible, God to do any thing contrary and destructive to the Godhead; such an Evil would not be merely an Inconvenience to himself, and to the Creatures, but it would be a horrible Wickedness beside. Evil, therefore, is not merely an Inconvenience to himself and to Creatures, therefore Good is not merely a Convenience to these. Men, truly religious, are the Admirers and Lovers of the Deity, and adhere to it by their devotional Esteem and Affection, not merely as supposing it a Convenience to any, but also upon account of its own intrinsick Worth, Excellence, and Pulchritude. That Good, which is merely relative, which is good only as convenient to something, cannot be absolutely the ultimate and final Good, which the Deity is.
3. It makes Self the ultimate End of all Agents. (3.) If nothing be good, but respectively only, as convenient to Nature, there can be no other ultimate End of Things, but Self and a great System of Selves, the Aggregate of all rational Beings. Whatever is good, merely as convenient to something, must be convenient to some or all of these; and it may be either natural Good, or moral Good. If it be natural Good, that is convenient to all these, it is call’d the common or publick Good or Happiness. If it be moral Good, that is convenient to all these, it is call’d Moral Virtue, which moral Good is productive of the natural Good, and is a Means subservient to the common Good and Felicity. “The common Good of all rational Agents is the greatest End.12Virtue is therefore good, because it determines human Actions to such Effects, as are principal Parts of the publick natural Good.13Moral Good is a kind of Profitable Good, which doth effect Delectable Good, the end of all our Actions, the Universal Good.14The general Preservation of Mans natural Good is the sole Root and Fountain of the moral: The universal Profit and Pleasure, the publick Happiness of human Life, giveth Being and Denomination to every Virtue and Vice; and the true Rules and Directions, to preserve and secure that Happiness, make the whole Volume, the Code and Pandect of the Law of Nature.”15 The Law of Nature, according to this Scheme of it, is an Institution of mere publick Self-convenience as the End, and of mere publick Self-convenience as the Means. For the publick Happiness, as such, is nothing else but the common and publick Self-convenience, of which an Aggregate of Selves, and every private Self, in his publick Capacity, is the ultimate End. “Happiness is the End of those good Things possess’d by Man, but Man is the End of Happiness; for we love our Happiness for our own Sake.”16 What Cicero says of Pleasure, must be said of Happiness, “We love it for the Sake of our-selves, but do not love our-selves for the Sake of it.”17 Wherefore, according to this Scheme of the Law of Nature, which supposeth, that nothing is good, but as convenient to Nature, there can be no other End of Things, but natural Self, or an Aggregate of Natural Selves; nor can there be any other ultimate Reason of Things, but private or publick Self-conveniency. And this would really be the State of Things in the Universe, if the whole Universe of rational Beings were Self-existents and Independents, that combin’d of themselves into Society, merely for their common Happiness, and for their own Sake; or, if they were merely political Animals, that were so combin’d into Society by Nature. But in the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of Virtue and of Holiness, they are not thus combin’d into Society, but they are link’d together by an Adamantine Law of right and due Agency, and, by this legal Necessity, they are obliged, not to be wicked, but to be holy and virtuous. They practise Righteousness and true Holiness, for other ultimate Reasons, than personal Self-respects, and they shun Sin, for other ultimate Reasons, than merely because it is a publick Nusance and Inconvenience. In the Kingdom of God, Holiness and Virtue do not exist merely for the sake of the publick Happiness, nor is the Holiness of God to be considered as a Means to that End, but the publick Happiness existeth for his Holiness and Rectitude of Will.
4. It destroys the Self-eligibleness of Virtue, which it degrades to the Rank of profitable Good.(4.) This Scheme of the Law of Nature, and its Definition of Good, because it supposeth, “That nothing is good, but as convenient to Nature, that Virtue is of the Rank of profitable Good, and is no otherwise Virtue, but as it contributes to this great End, the common Good of rational Agents,” destroyeth the Self-amiableness and Self-eligibleness of Virtue, and the Self-odiousness of Sin and Wickedness. For it does not, nor can, acknowledge any other Beauty in Virtue, than the Fitness of it to this greatest End, the common Happiness of rational Agents; whereas, abstracting from all respect to Happiness or Misery, publick or private, “a foul Action, because it is foul, ought not to be done,” as Cicero18 usually insisteth and inculcateth. Wickedness is to be shun’d, not only as a publick Inconvenience, but for its own intrinsick Turpitude, as all the virtuous Philosophers, in consort with Christians, agree, and that Sin, as such, is to be avoided with an infinite Aversion. “To do an Injury is to be avoided for its own sake, whose Turpitude outweighs all Rewards encouraging to the Commission of Wickedness,” saith Seneca.19 It has been a Question, “Whether Justice be for Society, or Society for Justice? Do Men live in Society, merely that they may live justly? Or, do they live justly, merely that they may live in Society?” Neither of these can be affirmed with Truth, but Men live in Society for Society-sake, the innumerable Benefits of it; and they ought to live in Society for Justice-sake, which obligeth Children to live in Society with their Parents, and rational Beings to live in Society with God. Justice, therefore, is, in part, for its own sake,20 and, in part, for Society; and Society is, partly, for its own sake, and, partly, for Justice-sake. So Virtue is, partly, for Felicity, Holiness for Happiness: Felicity and Happiness are, partly, for Virtue and Holiness. For Virtue and Holiness design and endeavour the publick Happiness, and consist in the faithful Love of the Whole and its Interest; but, besides this Love of the publick Good, there is in all Men a good Disposition, a faithful Esteem and Love of Righteousness, and Hatred to Sin, for their own sakes. They practise Righteousness, ultimately, for Righteousness-sake, because of its own intrinsick Worth, Rectitude, and Pulchritude, “for this sole reason, because it is decorous, right and just.”21 So the virtuous Philosophers call that which is honest, “Self-amiable, Self-laudable, Self-desirable.”22“That which is right and just, is eligible, because it is such.”23 There is more good in Justice, than, merely, a Subserviency to the publick Happiness, and, consequently, it is not good, merely as a Convenience to Nature; else it is nothing better than a Contrivance for living in Society, and for publick Convenience.
5. It introduces a Virtue, not truly moral, but merely politick and prudential. (5.) This Scheme of the Law of Nature, and its Definition of Good, introduceth an Institution of Morality, not truly moral, but merely politick and prudential. For it supposeth, “That all the Acts of the Virtues are commanded, merely for the common Convenience of rational Agents; that the Dictates of Prudence, directing the Actions of Men to the publick Good, are the very Laws of Nature; that the Maker of the World must be suppos’d to be endowed with Prudence, in which there is a Volition of the best and greatest End, the common Good of all rational Agents, and a Prosecution of it by the most effectual Means, in which sort of Acts all Religion and Virtue is contain’d.”24 The Maker of the World is suppos’d, from a Principle of Prudence, to will the greatest End, the common Happiness; and, from the same Principle of Prudence, also to contrive and enjoin the most effectual Means thereto, which are called the “Acts of Religion and Virtue”; and this his prudential Institution of End and Means is the Scheme of the Law of Nature, which, therefore, is not a virtuous, but a political Institution. For it is one thing, to institute Men to live well, only as to a certain Interest; and another thing to institute them to live well, simply and absolutely. A mere prudential Institution of Morality careth neither, for Virtue nor Vice, for living well nor living ill, as such and for their own sake, nor any further than as they promote or hinder the publick Convenience. As if one, who foundeth a Family, should prudentially institute the Members of it to demean themselves humbly, that they may live in peace, without caring, either for Pride or Humility, but only for the common Peace. So this Institution affirmeth, “That the Laws of Nature, and all the Virtues, are nothing else but Means of obtaining the common Good.” It supposeth, “That Virtue is not good, but only as a Means to the common Happiness; and that Vice and Wickedness is not Evil, but as productive of publick Misery,” as will further appear presently.
6. It contradicts this Truth, That Virtue is the Rule and Measure of endeavouring the common Happiness of rational Agents.(6.) This Scheme of the Law of Nature, agreeably to its Definition of Good, supposeth, “That the common Good or Happiness is the whole Rule and Measure of Virtue,” as the adequate End is the Rule and Measure of the Means.25 It supposeth, also, That there is no other Rule or Measure of endeavouring the common Happiness of rational Beings, but “The Will determin’d to this supreme End and Good, to the utmost of its Power.”26 The “eternal Happiness of the whole Universe ought to have the greatest Strength of Volition that can be, which is no less than infinite.”27 Both which Propositions clash with this plain and certain Principle, That Virtue is the Rule and Measure of endeavouring the common Happiness of rational Beings. Which, including our own Happiness, may be sought, merely as an Interest, and, out of Interest, from a Principle of natural and lawful Self-love. But the common Happiness of rational Beings, must be sought also from a principle of Duty and Virtue, and, consequently, it must be sought, only in consistence with Virtue, nor otherwise than Virtue requireth. A Man may not violate Virtue, nor touch with Wickedness, no, not for the Happiness of the Universe. He may, in some degree, part with his own Happiness, which is part of the publick Happiness, and chuse his own Unhappiness, or several Inconveniences of Life; but no Man may chuse Wickedness in any degree, altho’ himself only were the material Object of his Sin; so much greater and stricter are his Obligations with respect to Virtue than Happiness. To chuse Annihilation rather than Sin is a laudable Choice, and it is therefore laudable, because it is virtuous. When Moses wisheth his own Name “blotted out of the Book of Life”;28 when St. Paul saith, “I could wish, that my-self were accursed from Christ, for my Brethren, my Kinsmen according to the Flesh”;29 these holy Men, in some degree, with their own Unhappiness, for the sake of a more publick Happiness; but their wishing is not to be understood absolutely, but with this Restriction and Limitation, so far as it is lawful and virtuous so to do. Virtue, therefore, is the Rule and Measure of endeavouring, both our own, and the publick, Happiness. God himself promotes the publick Happiness, yet cannot be said to do it, “to the utmost of his Power,” but so far as it is fitting so to do. We are obliged to endeavour his Glory, which is one Branch, and the chief, of the publick natural Good; but such a kind of endeavouring it, which is not consistent with Virtue, true Holiness, and Godliness, is not acceptable, but criminal in his Eyes. No pious Frauds. No doing Evil, that Good may come thereof. We are oblig’d to endeavour the Unhappiness of rational Creatures, but so, as to endeavour the Unhappiness of the Apostate Angels, and the Ruin of their Kingdom. And, if any Men be in the same State of Reprobation with the Apostate Angels, by notoriously sinning the Sin unto Death,30 we are not obliged to seek their Happiness.
7. According to Cumberland ’s Scheme, nothing is good but Happiness; other Things, only as productive of Happiness. (7.) According to its Definition of Good, this Scheme of the Law of Nature condemneth the Philosophy of the Stoicks, “Because, whilst they endeavour to establish the transcendent Goodness of Virtue, and the egregious Evil of Vice, they, incautiously, intirely take away the only Reason, why Virtue is Good and Vice Evil. For Virtue is therefore Good, (and in Truth it is the greatest Good,) because it determines the Actions of Men to such Effects, as are principal Parts of the publick natural Good, or Happiness.”31 Agreeably whereto, it is affirm’d, “That the best Compend of Ethicks is the Idea or Plan of that true Happiness, which is in every one’s Power, and of all the Causes thereof, dispos’d in their natural Order.”32 In this Scheme of the Law of Nature, nothing is counted good but Happiness, other Things, only as productive of Happiness; nothing is counted evil, but Misery, other Things, only as productive of Misery. Virtue, therefore, is degraded, to be of the same Rank with Food, Sleep, and Houses, that are good and necessary, as promoting the common Happiness of Mankind; which Happiness is generally suppos’d, to consist merely in Pleasure;33 and, consequently, Virtue is suppos’d to be good, only as subservient to Pleasure, private and publick; therefore the only Competition between Vice and Virtue, must be touching the Pleasure which they afford: And this must be the only Fault of the Pleasures of Sin, they are deficient in matter of Pleasure, or clash with greater Pleasure, as a lesser Good with a greater; no Vice or Villainy is to be discommended, but only as opposite to Pleasure, in itself, or its Effects; and, if it were not opposite to Pleasure, it would not be a Vice, nor at all to be discommended, as Epicurus said of Luxury. Vice and vicious Persons would be as good as Virtue and virtuous Persons, if the Nature of the Universe could be so contrived, that the former could be as subservient to Pleasure as the latter. Accordingly, the Goodness of Virtue and the Law of Nature is said to be no otherwise, nor any further, unalterable, than “whilst the Nature of Things” (that is, of Causes and their Effects) “continues such as now it is.”34 As the same Subserviency to Happiness, so the same Unalterableness, is ascribed to Virtue and to natural Things, (Victuals, Cloaths, Physick,) which are said to be unalterably good, that is, tending to the Preservation and Happiness of Mankind. The Immutability, therefore, of Virtue is not absolute, nor is it of an immutable Nature, in and of itself, as a Square and a Cube, but the Immutability which it hath, is owing to the unchang’d Nature of the Universe, to the Happiness whereof it is a Means subservient.
8. And Virtue is not good, as amiable, but as convenient. (8.) This Scheme of the Law of Nature, agreeably to its Definition of Good, derives the Necessity of Virtue in Men, merely from Necessity of publick Good, which necessarily requires it, and from their being enjoin’d it, merely in Order there to.35 Man must practise universal Benevolence, Justice, Temperance, Chastity, only for this great End. According to this Maxim, the Virtues have nothing to recommend them, at least nothing to necessitate their Practice, but only their necessary Serviceableness to a common Self-Convenience, for which sole Reason the several Clans of Thieves and Robbers strictly practise Justice among themselves. As they practise it, because it is necessary to their common Good, and Injustice would be a grand Inconvenience to their System of rational Agents; so, if Mankind, in general, practise Justice, merely because it is necessary to their common Good, and Injustice would be a grand Inconvenience to their System of rational Agents, altho’ their System, and the Good thereof, is of a different Nature from that of Thieves, yet is not their Respect to Justice and Injustice both of the same Kind?
But these Maxims not only destroy the Self-Amiableness of Virtue, and the Self-Odiousness of Vice, but their being by Nature, not by arbitrary Appointment. For let us suppose, that, antecedently to the Constitution of rational Agents, there was one only solitary Rational in being; this one solitary Rational, according to these Maxims, cannot practise any Virtue, nor is he, in his solitary State, capable, either of Virtue or Vice, which, therefore, are not in themselves necessary. Such they are not, according to these Maxims, after the Universe of rational Beings is constituted; they are necessary, only and merely, for the common Good of this constituted Universe, and by his Will, who, constituting this Universe, appointed them, only and merely, for the common Good thereof. They are, therefore, as arbitrary, as the constituted Universe, and as his Will and Appointment, in constituting the Universe. But whatever is in itself, in its own Nature, Well-doing, the right and due Practice, is, upon that Account and for itself, not merely for publick Good, indispensably necessary, upon that Account it is commanded by God, upon that Account it is Virtue, because it is Well-doing, and not, merely, because it is a promoting the common Good. To endeavour the common Good of rational Beings, is so far from comprehending all Virtue, that, unless our Endeavours to promote this common Good be duly qualified, it is not Virtue, but Vice and Crime. Such is all Benevolence and Beneficence, which is against Righteousness. To benefit another may sometimes be ill-doing, according to that of Ennius in Tullie’ s Offices, Book 2:
“I look upon Benefits misplac’d, to be evil Actions.” All are not oblig’d to perpetual and universal Benevolence and Beneficence without Limitation; but all are oblig’d to Righteousness without Limitation; this, therefore, is Virtue, and the Rule of Virtue, which must rule and limit our endeavouring to promote the common Good of rational Agents. Therefore Benevolence is but a Branch of good Life. So the Philosophers suppos’d, who so discoursed of Virtue, as to make Men the Admirers and Lovers of it for its own sake; and so Christians are Admirers and Lovers of the divine Image, the Life of Righteousness and true Holiness.
9. And the Sovereignty of God is not founded upon a sufficient Authority. (9.) This Scheme of the Law of Nature, agreeably to its Definition of Good, deriveth the Dominion and Sovereignty of God himself, merely “from the Necessity of publick Good, God did assume it to himself, because the common Good necessarily requir’d it.”37 But, if the divine Dominion and Sovereignty over all Creatures is thus founded, it is not so well founded as human Sovereignties; for these are founded upon Necessity of publick Good, and also the Law of a superiour Sovereign, from whom they derive their ruling Authority. But the divine Dominion and Sovereignty is suppos’d to be founded, merely, upon Necessity of publick Good, and the Dictate of the divine Mind concerning it. Which Dictate can give no Authority, unless one can give Authority to himself, merely, by the Dictate of his own Mind; nor can it pretend to be a Law, unless one can make a Law antecedently to his Sovereignty and legislative Power; nor are any oblig’d to be subject to this assum’d Sovereignty, founded merely upon the Necessity of the publick Good, but by the great Law of endeavouring the publick Good, which, therefore, must be made antecedently to this Assumption of the Sovereignty, and, consequently, it must be made by one, that had no Sovereignty, no legislative Power. To this assumed Dominion and Sovereignty, assumed merely from Necessity of common Good and in order thereto, he cannot claim our Subjection, save only from Necessity of the common Good, and in Order thereto. But, if this is the whole of the divine Dominion and Sovereignty, he is far from having the most supreme Dominion possible, which the Deity must have; nor hath he the supreme governing Power originally and essentially, for he could not have it, if the common Good did not require it; it accrueth to him adventitiously and derivatively; he is not sole Owner of his own Dominion, nor is it independent or plenary; but all is the Publick’s, the Publick is necessarily supreme Lord of all, for whatever Dominion God has, is from the Publick, from the Necessity of publick Good; for the Publick, for the sake of the Publick, and the Use thereof. But thus to derive his Dominion and Sovereignty from the Necessity of publick Good, is to say, that he must be God, merely because the publick Good requires it; for his Dominion and Sovereignty is his Godhead.
10. But a subordinate and subservient Means to the common Good. (10.) This Scheme of the Law of Nature, agreeably to its Definition of Good, makes God’s Dominion and Sovereignty, a subordinate and subservient Means to the publick Good. For it supposes “all Rights and Dues to be deriv’d from the common Good, and to be Means subordinate and subservient there to”;38 it supposes, “That the divine Dominion and Sovereignty is in Order to the common Good, and the Means necessary to the obtaining thereof. ”39 The Means are subordinate and subservient to the End; the End always excells the Thing which is to the End; the End is always desir’d for itself, the Means for the End, which are necessary, when the End cannot be had without them, not otherwise; they have their Goodness and Measure from it, and the Reason of them is taken from the End. The End has a greater Sovereignty in all Actions, than the Actor himself; he rules others, but the End rules him. The common Good of rational Agents, therefore, is highly dignified, because it is suppos’d, to be the End, the best and greatest End.40 But, with respect to this, we must distinguish between a made and unmade, a human and divine, Sovereignty. If the Sovereignty is a human Sovereignty made by the People, or made by God for the People, altho’ it has all the usual Rights of Sovereignty, yet it is necessarily, in the strict and proper Sense, a subordinate and subservient Means to an End, the common Good. But Things are quite otherwise, if the Sovereignty is unmade, and maketh the People, and is infinitely better than they; for such a Sovereignty is necessarily unsubordinate, and cannot be the subordinate and subservient Means to any End, but is, absolutely, as without an Efficient, so without any Final Cause. Whence a Judgment may be form’d; whether a pious Man would say, “That the common Good is a Law and End above God, that his Goodness is but a Means to it, that he is no further necessary, than in order to it; not so good, or great, or excellent, or amiable, or honourable, as the publick Good; nor are we to love him, or devote ourselves to him, or to adhere to him, so much as the common Good, in which we ought finally to acquiesce, which is thus exalted, even above God himself.”
11. And only one half of the common Good is represented as such. (11.) In this Scheme of the Law of Nature, agreeably to its Notion of Good, but one half of the common Good is represented, as such; for, by the common Good of rational Agents, it means only their Happiness, to which it renders God and Virtue subordinate. Whereas the common Good of rational Beings must be distinguish’d, into the Good which is for them, which is their Happiness, and into the Good which they are for, which is their Holiness, the Good of Virtue. “That which is absolutely good, is every way superior to us, and we ought always to be commanded by it, because we are made under it: But that which is relatively good to us, may sometime be commanded by us. Eternal Truth and Righteousness are, in themselves, perfectly and absolutely good, and the more we conform ourselves to them, the better we are.”41 If the Deity, if Virtue and Righteousness, were only relatively good, as convenient and commodious to us, if they were merely for us, as their End, they must be look’d upon as Things merely subservient to our Pleasure, and must be esteemed and loved accordingly. But, because they are absolutely and in themselves good, superior to us and our Pleasure, therefore our Pleasure ought to be accommodated to them, and all rational Agents should take the highest Complacence in them, both for their own sake, their own Excellence, and for our sake, as being our true Excellence and Felicity. “We love the Virtues for the sake, both of themselves, as being in themselves excellent and honourable; and of something else, that is, our Happiness.”42 So the Pagans philosophize at a more virtuous Rate, than those Christian Divines, who say, “There is some first and chief Good, which a Man desireth for itself, and for it all other Things, which Good is the Good of Pleasure, or the delectable Good. For this Good only a Man enjoyeth. Of the Good of Honesty, Profit, Decorum, there is in itself no Enjoyment. Only the Pleasure which resulteth from it, or is conjoin’d with it, a Man can enjoy. The Evil, contrary to this Good, can be nothing else but Misery or Pain, and that perpetual. For there is no Man, who does not hate that at the highest rate, and all other Things upon the account of it.”43 With this Discourse of a foreign Divine, I will confront a better and more religious Discourse of a Divine of our own, “Those are ignorant of the Nature of Sin, that imagine any Evil greater than it, or so great. Cicero’s Saying, in the first Book of his Tusculan Questions, hath, without doubt, not a little of Truth in it. Ne malum quidem ullum, cum Turpitudinis malo comparandum. There is no Evil comparable to that of Sin. Hierocles, a sober Philosopher, and very free from the high-flown Humour and ranting Genius of the Stoicks, though he would allow, that other Things, beside Sin, may be χαλεπὰ καὶδυσδιάθετα, very grievous and difficult to be borne, yet he would admit nothing besides, to be, ὄντως κακὸν, truly evil; and he giveth this Reason; viz. Because that certain Circumstances may make other Things Good, that have the Repute of Evil; but none can make this so. He saith, the Word καλῶς (well) can never be join’d with any Vice, but so it may with every Thing besides. As it is proper to say concerning such or such a Person, νοσεῖκαλῶς, ϖένεται καλῶς he is well diseas’d, he is well poor, that is, he is both these to good purpose, behaving himself well in his Sickness and Poverty, as he ought to do: But it can never be said, ἀδικεῖ καλῶς, ἀκολας αίνει καλῶς, he doth Injury well, or he is rightly and as becometh him intemperate.”44
12. And the Order of our Obligation is inverted. (12.) In this Scheme of the Law of Nature, agreeably to its Notion of Good, the due Order of Reasoning and of our Obligations is inverted. For, antecedently to the Law of endeavouring the common Good, there is an Obligation upon Mankind, and therefore a Law, of conscientious Subjection and Obedience to the Authority of the Lawgiver. He would not make this Law for them, if they were not antecedently under such an Obligation, if he could not claim Subjection and Obedience from them. Their Subjection to this the supreme Lawgiver is, therefore, the first Law of Nature. As all Governments, in the first Place, take care, to establish their Authority; and as a Man is bound to acknowledge Subjection to the King, before he is bound to obey the Law of endeavouring the common Good of the Kingdom: So Mankind are first oblig’d to consent, to be Subjects to God, and then, as his Subjects, to endeavour the common Good. The Order of their Obligations is not, to endeavour the common Good in the first Place, and so to be pious and virtuous towards God; but to be pious and virtuous towards God, and so to endeavour the common Good; for, if they endeavour the common Good, they are bound to do it, from a Principle of Piety towards God; and the Law of Nature is not Religion, if it does not oblige them to it. So in all our Actions Inquiry must be made, whether they be right in respect of Matter, Manner, Object, Measure, Principle, End, Circumstances, which sort of Inquiries would be impertinent, if Virtue is not Virtue, but merely as it is an Endeavour of the common Good. The Law of Nature instituteth Men, in the first Place, to be the Well-doers, not the Evil-doers, the Righteous, not the Wicked, and as such, Men have Rewards promis’d, and Punishments threaten’d in Laws; as such, they are justified or condemned in Law. Ethicks is the Art of living well, as to Virtue, and as to Felicity.
(13.) And Laws have no Obligation, but their Sanction. (13.) This Scheme of the Law of Nature, agreeably to its Definition of Good, seems to acknowledge no other Obligation of it, but merely from the Sanction of it, which is Self-Interest. “The whole Force of Obligation” (saith Cumberland45 ) “is this, that the Legislator hath annex’d to the Observance of his Laws, Good; to the Transgression, Evil; and those natural: In Prospect whereof Men are moved to perform Actions, rather agreeing than disagreeing with the Laws. The Mind of Man is not properly tied with Bonds. ...46I think that moral Obligation may be thus universally and properly defin’d. Obligation is that Act of a Legislator, by which he declares, that Actions conformable to his Law are necessary to those, for whom the Law is made. An Action is then understood to be necessary to a rational Agent, when it is certainly one of the Causes necessarily requir’d to that Happiness, which he naturally, and consequently necessarily, desires. I cannot conceive any Thing which could bind the Mind of Man with any Necessity, (in which Justinian’s Definition places the Force of Obligation,) except Arguments proving, that Good or Evil will proceed from our Actions.47Natural Rewards and Penalties, those Motives of Obedience, are the proper Sanction, to make the Law obligatory. For Obligation properly signifieth nothing, but laying a Necessity upon us, to act according to the Direction of the Law.”48 So that, according to this Scheme, the Law-giver is suppos’d to indicate to Men, “That the endeavouring the common Good, or universal Benevolence, is a necessary Means to that End, which Nature has determin’d them to pursue, which is their own Happiness contain’d in the common Good, and that, if they do not so act, this will be pernicious to themselves.” But, if this be the whole of the Law’s Obligation, the Transgression of the Law is not Unrighteousness, Sin, and Crime, but only Imprudence, and Infelicity, for the Sanction of the Law importeth no other Evil. But the Obligation or Bond of the Law is the jural Restraint, which is express’d by (Non licet) you may not do it; but, because a bare non licet or prohibition is not sufficient to enforce the Law, therefore the Sin and Punishment, the Precept and the Sanction both concur, to make the jural Restraint, which must be thus fully express’d,(Non licet impune) you may not do it with Impunity. But, altho’ Sin and Punishment are closely connected, yet the Obligation of (non licet) it may not be done, is distinct from the Obligation of (Non impune) not with Impunity, as Sin and Punishment are of distinct Consideration. But a Man is bound, both when he cannot do a Thing without Sin, and when he cannot do a Thing without Punishment, and both these Obligations are in every Law, and both concur to make the Obligation of it. But, because the Obligation of non licet is antecedent to the Obligation of non impune, the Precept to the Sanction, and the Sin is made by the Law, the Law hath so much Obligation, as to make the Sin, before the Penalty is enacted; therefore the Law has an Obligation antecedently to the Sanction of it. For every one is bound to avoid what is Sin, because none can have a Right to do what is unrighteous, which is a Contradiction to the Law of Religion (which is suppos’d to have its Name a Religando, which is call’d [Religionis nodus, vinculum Pietatis] the Tie of Religion, the Bond of Piety) cannot rationally be thought obligatory, merely from the Sanction of it; for to do any Thing contrary to the Holiness of the Deity, is necessarily, and in itself, Sin. No ingenuous Man looks upon himself as oblig’d to be grateful to his Benefactors, to love his Wife and Children, or to love and honour his God and Saviour, merely by the Sanction of Rewards and Punishments. Is there no Obligation upon Men from Right and Wrong, due and undue, Sanctity and Sin, Righteousness and Wickedness, Honesty and Dishonesty, Integrity and Guile, Worthiness and Baseness, Conscience or Crime, Virtue or Villainy, but merely from a prudent Regard to their own Happiness? But, if a Man should be so imprudent, as to discard all care and regard to his own Happiness, would he be discharg’d by this Imprudence from all his Bonds and Fetters of Obligation, and become loose and unbound, to live as he pleas’d? Cicero asketh the Men of Prudence, if they were secure from the Sanction of the Law, whether they would be dishonest or not?49 If they say, they would, let them (saith he) confess themselves wicked; if they say, they would not, let them acknowledge, that all Things foul and base are to be shun’d, because they are such. If a truly wise Man had Gyges’s Ring, “He thinketh not, that he hath more License to Sin, than if he had it not. We ought to be of this Persuasion, that, if we could be hid from all the Gods and Men,” (and, therefore, were secure from the Sanction of the Law,) “yet nothing is to be done avaritiously, unjustly, libidinously.”50 The Vulgar say, I am bound in Duty, in Justice, in Gratitude, in Conscience; and the Schools say, “That the Obligation of the Law of Nature is a Bond of Conscience.” According to our Author’s Scheme, a Man is oblig’d to choose to be annihilated for the Welfare of others, if the common Good did require it; which yet no Man can be oblig’d to do, out of regard to his own Happiness. Nor is it possible, to deduce a conscientious Obligation, merely from a Politick and Prudential regard to our own Happiness. But, because the Legislator annexes [honum jucundum] delectable Good to his Law, and, for the Sake of this, Men choose Virtue and Obedience; hence some infer, That delectable Good hath the precedence of [bonum honestum] the Good of Virtue; which Argument may be thus retorted. The Legislator annexes to his Law the Sanction of the Good of Pleasure, for the Sake of the Good of Virtue, which the Law enjoineth; this, therefore, is the principal in the Estimation and Intention of the Law-giver. Whose Will, if it be made known, is, without a Sanction, a Bond or Obligation upon us; for we owe Obedience thereto, and every one is bound to pay what he oweth.
(14.) And the Law of Nature is not Matter of Conscience, but Prudence; not a spiritual, but a civil Institution. (14.) The Law of Nature is certainly a Matter of Conscience, not of mere Policy and Prudence, not of mere civil Society, as it is made in this Scheme of it, which is a System of human Policy and Prudence, modelling the Universe of rational Agents into a civil Society, by Consent and Agreement in their Politicks, for the common Happiness of civil Life. The Universe of rational Agents is in a very divided State, but they are modell’d into one Society in this Scheme,51 which is an Institution to civil Society, into which the whole Universe of rational Agents is suppos’d to be combin’d. Civil Society, being Civil-religious, is not without a sacred Society; for all Civil People have their Deity, their Religion, their Priests, and their Sacra, which must be in this great Civil-Society, which consisteth of the Under-rational Agents, and of God the Head-rational, which looketh like, but is not, a Divine Society. Into this Society the Universe of rational Agents is suppos’d to be combin’d, not by the Bands of Right and Due, but in the Methods of human Policy and Prudence, by one common Interest (their common Happiness) and by Consent and Agreement in their Politicks. The Universe of rational Beings is suppos’d to be united, in order to the common Good, which is the common End. For God, in order to the common Good, assumeth to himself the supreme governing Power, and the under-rationals, for Necessity of common Good, do and must yield it unto him;52 by which Agreement in Politicks they are related as Rector and Subjects in Society. Which Society, being of no higher Kind than Civil, the common Happiness (that is, the End of the Association) can be no more than the Happiness of Civil Life; and, consequently, the universal Benevolence, and the other Virtues, which are in this Scheme of the Law of Nature, are no other, than those of Aristotle’s and Cicero’s Institution. This, therefore, being not satisfactory, we are obliged to recede from it, and to give a different Account of the Law of Nature, and of the Good, to which it instituteth.
What follows from my Lord Shaftesbury seems to me so just, so rational, and so much in Confirmation of what I have been here advancing, that I have thought it proper to add the Force of his Reasoning to what I have laid down.
I have known a Building, which by the Officiousness of the Workmen has been so shor’d, and screw’d up, on the side where they pretended it had a Leaning, that it has, at last, been turn’d the contrary way, and overthrown. There has something, perhaps, of this kind happen’d in Morals. Men have not been contented to shew the natural Advantages of Honesty and Virtue. They have rather lessen’d these, the better, as they thought, to advance another Foundation. They have made Virtue so mercenary a Thing, and have talk’d so much of its Rewards, that one can hardly tell what there is in it, after all, which can be worth rewarding. For to be brib’d only, or terrify’d into an honest Practice, bespeaks little of real Honesty or Worth. We may make, it’s true, whatever Bargain we think fit; and may bestow in favour what Overplus we please. But there can be no Excellence or Wisdom in voluntarily rewarding what is neither estimable, nor deserving. And, if Virtue be not really estimable in it-self, I can see nothing estimable in following it for the sake of a Bargain.53
If the Love of doing Good, be not, of it-self, a good and right Inclination; I know not how there can possibly be such a thing as Goodness or Virtue. If the Inclination be right; ’tis a perverting of it, to apply it solely to the Reward, and make us conceive such Wonders of the Grace and Favour which is to attend Virtue; when there is so little shewn of the intrinsick Worth or Value of the Thing it-self.
I have known it ask’d, Why should a Man be honest in the Dark? What a Man must be to ask this Question, I won’t say. But for Those, who have no better a Reason for being honest, than the Fear of a Gibbet or a Jail; I should not, I confess, much covet their Company, or Acquaintance. And, if any Guardian of mine who had kept his Trust, and given me back my Estate when I came of Age, had been discover’d to have acted thus, thro’ Fear only of what might happen to him; I should for my own Part, undoubtedly, continue civil and respectful to him: But for my Opinion of his Worth, it would be such as the Pythian God had of his Votary, who devoutly fear’d him, and therefore restor’d to a Friend what had been deposited in his Hands.
I know very well, that many Services to the Publick are done merely for the sake of a Gratuity; and that Informers, in particular, are to be taken care of, and sometimes made Pensioners of State. But I must beg pardon for the particular Thoughts I may have of these Gentlemens Merit; and shall never bestow my Esteem on any other than the voluntary Discoverers of Villany, and hearty Prosecutors of their Country’s Interest. And in this respect, I know nothing greater or nobler, than the undertaking and managing some important Accusation; by which some high Criminal of State, or some form’d Body of Conspirators against the Publick, may be arraign’d and brought to Punishment, thro’ the honest Zeal and publick Affection of a private Man.
I know too, that the mere Vulgar of Mankind often stand in need of such a rectifying Object as the Gallows before their Eyes. Yet I have no Belief, that any Man of a liberal Education, or common Honesty, ever needed to have recourse to this Idea in his Mind, the better to restrain him from playing the Knave. And, if a Saint had no other Virtue, than what was rais’d in him by the same Objects of Reward and Punishment, in a more distant State; I know not whose Love or Esteem he might gain besides: But for my own part, I should never think him worthy of mine.55
As to the Belief of a Deity, and how Men are influenc’d by it; we may consider, in the first place, on what account Men yield Obedience, and act in conformity to such a Supreme Being. It must be either in the way of hisPower, as presupposing some Disadvantage or Benefit to accrue from him: or in the way of hisExcellency and Worth, as thinking it the Perfection of Nature to imitate and resemble him.
If (as in the first Case) there be a Belief or Conception of a Deity, who is consider’d only as powerful over his Creatures and inforceing Obedience to his absolute Will by particular Rewards and Punishments; and, if on this account, thro’ Hope merely of Reward, or Fear of Punishment, the Creature be incited to do the Good he hates, or restrain’d from doing the Ill to which he is not otherwise in the least degree averse; there is in this Case (as has been already shown) no Virtue or Goodness whatsoever. The Creature, notwithstanding his good Conduct, is intrinsically of as little Worth, as if he acted in his natural way, when under no Dread or Terrour of any sort. There is no more of Rectitude, Piety, or Sanctity in a Creature thus reform’d, than there is Meekness or Gentleness in a Tyger strongly chain’d, or Innocence and Sobriety in a Monkey under the Discipline of the Whip. For, however orderly and well those Animals, or Man himself upon like Terms, may be induc’d to act, whilst the Will is neither gain’d, nor the Inclination wrought upon, but Awe alone prevails and forces Obedience; the Obedience is servile, and all which is done thro’ it, merely servile. The greater degree of such a Submission or Obedience, is only the greater Servility; whatever may be the Object. For, whether such a Creature has a good Master, or an ill one, he is neither more nor less servile in his own nature. Be the Master or Superiour ever so perfect, or excellent, yet the greater Submission caus’d in this Case, thro’ this sole Principle or Motive, is only the lower and more abject Servitude, and implies the greater Wretchedness and Meanness in the Creature, who has those Passions of Self-Love so predominant, and is in his Temper so vitious and defective, as has been explain’d.
As to the second Case. If there be a Belief or Conception of a Deity, who is consider’d as Worthy and Good, and admir’d and reverenc’d as such; being understood to have, besides mere Power and Knowledg, the highest Excellence of Nature, such as renders him justly amiable to All; and, if in the manner this Sovereign and mighty Being is represented, or as he is historically describ’d, there appears in him a high and eminent regard to what is good and excellent, a Concern for the good of All, and an Affection of Benevolence and Love towards the Whole; such an Example must undoubtedly serve (as above explain’d) to raise and increase the Affection towards Virtue, and help to submit and subdue all other Affections to that alone.
Nor is this Good effected by Example merely. For, where the Theistical Belief is intire and perfect, there must be a steddy Opinion of the Superintendency of a Supreme Being, a Witness and Spectator of human Life, and conscious of whatsoever is felt or acted in the Universe: So that in the perfectest Recess, or deepest Solitude, there must be One still presum’d remaining with us; whose Presence, singly, must be of more moment, than that of the most August Assembly on Earth. In such a Presence, ’tis evident, that, as the Shame of guilty Actions must be the greatest of any; so must the Honour be, of well-doing, even under the unjust Censure of a World. And in this Case, ’tis very apparent how conducing a perfect Theism must be to Virtue, and how great Deficiency there is in Atheism.
What the Fearof future Punishment, and Hopeof future Reward, added to this Belief, may further contribute towards Virtue, we come now to consider more particularly. So much in the mean while may be gather’d from what has been said above; That neither this Fear or Hope can possibly be of the kind call’d good Affections, such as are acknowledg’d the Springs and Sources of all Actions truly good. Nor can this Fear or Hope, as above intimated, consist in reality with Virtue, or Goodness; if it either stands as essential to any moral Performance, or as a considerable Motive to any Act, of which some better Affection ought, alone, to have been a sufficient Cause.
It may be consider’d withal; That, in this religious sort of Discipline, the Principle of Self-Love, which is naturally so prevailing in us, being no-way moderated, or restrain’d, but rather improv’d and made stronger every day, by the exercise of the Passions in a Subject of more extended Self-Interest; there may be reason to apprehend, lest the Temper of this kind shou’d extend it-self in general thro’ all the Parts of Life. For, if the Habit be such as to occasion, in every Particular, a stricter Attention to Self-Good, and private Interest; it must insensibly diminish the Affections towards Publick Good, or the Interest of Society; and introduce a certain Narrowness of Spirit, which (as some pretend) is peculiarly observable in the devout Persons and Zealots of almost every religious Perswasion.
This, too, must be confess’d; That, if it be true Piety, to love Godfor his own sake, the over-solicitous regard to private Good expected from him, must of necessity prove a diminution of Piety. For, whilst God is belov’d, only as the Cause of private Good, he is no otherwise belov’d, than as any other Instrument or Means of Pleasure by any vitious Creature. Now the more there is of this violent Affection towards private Good, the less room is there for the other sort towards Goodness it-self, or any good and deserving Object, worthy of Love and Admiration for its own sake; such as God is universally acknowledg’d, or at least by the generality of civiliz’d or refin’d Worshippers.
’Tis in this respect that the strong Desire and Love of Life may also prove an Obstacle to Piety, as well as to Virtue and publick Love. For the stronger this Affection is in any one, the less will he be able to have true Resignation, or Submission to the Rule and Order of The Deity. And, if that which he calls Resignation depends only on the expectation of infinite Retribution or Reward, he discovers no more Worth or Virtue here, than in any other Bargain of Interest: The meaning of his Resignation being only this, “That he resigns his present Life, and Pleasures, conditionally for That which he himself confesses to be beyond an Equivalent; eternal Living, in a State of highest Pleasure and Enjoyment.”
But, notwithstanding the Injury which the Principle of Virtue may possibly suffer, by the Increase of the selfish Passions, in the way we have been mentioning; ’tis certain, on the other side, that the Principle of Fear of future Punishment and Hope of future Reward, how mercenary or servile soever it may be accounted, is yet, in many Circumstances, a great Advantage, Security, and Support to Virtue.
It has been already consider’d, that, notwithstanding there may be implanted in the Heart a real Sense of Right and Wrong, a real good Affection towards the Species or Society; yet, by the violence of Rage, Lust, or any other counter-working Passion, this good Affection may frequently be controul’d and overcome. Where therefore there is nothing in the Mind capable to render such ill Passions the Objects of its Aversion, and cause them earnestly to be oppos’d; ’tis apparent, how much a good Temper in time must suffer, and a Character by degrees change for the worse. But, if Religion interposing creates a Belief, that the ill Passions of this kind, no less than their consequent Actions, are the Objects of a Deity’s Animadversion; ’tis certain, that such a Belief must prove a seasonable Remedy against Vice, and be in a particular manner advantageous to Virtue. For a Belief of this kind must be suppos’d to tend considerably towards the calming of the Mind, and disposing or fitting the Person to a better Recollection of himself, and to a stricter Observance of that good and virtuous Principle, which needs only his Attention, to engage him wholly in its Party and Interest.
And as this Belief of a future Reward and Punishment is capable of supporting those who thro’ ill Practice are like to apostatize from Virtue; so when by ill Opinion and wrong Thought, the Mind it-self is bent against the honest course, and debauch’d even to an Esteem, and deliberate Preference of a vitious one; the Belief of the kind mention’d may prove on this occasion the only Relief and Safety.
A Person, for Instance, who has much of Goodness and natural Rectitude in his Temper, but withal, so much Softness, or Effeminacy, as unfits him to bear Poverty, Crosses or Adversity; if by ill Fortune he meets with many Trials of this kind, it must certainly give a Sourness and Distaste to his Temper, and make him exceedingly averse to that which he may falsly presume the Occasion of such Calamity or Ill. Now, if his own Thoughts, or the corrupt Insinuations of other Men present it often to his Mind, “That his Honesty is the Occasion of this Calamity, and that if he were deliver’d from this Restraint of Virtue and Honesty, he might be much happier”: ’Tis very obvious that his Esteem of these good Qualities must, in Proportion, diminish every Day, as the Temper grows uneasy, and quarrels with it-self. But, if he opposes to this Thought the Consideration, “That Honesty carries with it, if not a present, at least a future Advantage, such as to compensate that Loss of private Good which he regrets”; then may this Injury to his good Temper and honest Principle be prevented, and his Love or Affection towards Honesty and Virtue remain as it was before.
In the same manner, where instead of Regard or Love, there is rather an Aversion to what is good and virtuous (as, for Instance, where Lenity and Forgiveness are despis’d, and Revenge highly thought of, and belov’d) if there be this Consideration added, “That Lenity is, by its Rewards, made the cause of a greater Self-Good and Enjoyment than what is found in Revenge”; that very Affection of Lenity and Mildness may come to be industriously nourish’d, and the contrary Passion depress’d. And thus Temperance, Modesty, Candour, Benignity, and other good Affections, however despis’d at first, may come at last to be valu’d for their own Sakes, the contrary Species rejected, and the good and proper Object belov’d and prosecuted, when the Reward or Punishment is not so much as thought of.
Thus in a civil State or Publick, we see that a virtuous Administration, and an equal and just Distribution of Rewards and Punishments, is of the highest service; not only by restraining the Vitious, and forcing them to act usefully to Society; but by making Virtue to be apparently the Interest of every one, so as to remove all Prejudices against it, create a fair Reception for it, and lead Men into that Path which afterwards they cannot easily quit. For thus a People rais’d from Barbarity or despotick Rule, civiliz’d by Laws, and made virtuous by the long Course of a lawful and just Administration; if they chance to fall suddenly under any Misgovernment of unjust and arbitrary Power, they will on this Account be the rather animated to exert a stronger Virtue, in opposition to such Violence and Corruption. And even where, by long and continu’d Arts of a prevailing Tyranny, such a People are at last totally oppress’d, the scatter’d Seeds of Virtue will for a long time remain alive, even to a second Generation; e’er the utmost Force of misapply’d Rewards and Punishments can bring them to the abject and compliant State of long-accustom’d Slaves.
But, tho’ a right Distribution of Justice in Government be so essential a cause of Virtue, we must observe in this Case, that it is Example which chiefly influences Mankind, and forms the Character and Disposition of a People. For a virtuous Administration is in a manner necessarily accompany’d with Virtue in the Magistrate. Otherwise it cou’d be of little effect; and of no long duration. But, where it is sincere and well-establish’d, there Virtue and the Laws must necessarily be respected and belov’d. So that as to Punishments and Rewards, their Efficacy is not so much from the Fear or Expectation which they raise, as from a natural Esteem of Virtue, and Detestation of Villany, which is awaken’d and excited by these publick Expressions of the Approbation and Hatred of Mankind in each Case. For in the publick Executions of the greatest Villains, we see generally that the Infamy and Odiousness of their Crime, and the Shame of it before Mankind, contribute more to their Misery than all besides; and that it is not the immediate Pain, or Death it-self, which raises so much Horror either in the Sufferers or Spectators, as that ignominious kind of Death which is inflicted for publick Crimes, and Violations of Justice and Humanity.
And as the Case of Reward and Punishment stands thus in the Publick, so, in the same manner, as to private Families. For Slaves and mercenary Servants, restrain’d and made orderly by Punishment, and the Severity of their Master, are not, on this account, made good or honest. Yet the same Master of the Family, using proper Rewards and gentle Punishments towards his Children, teaches them Goodness; and by this help instructs them in a Virtue, which afterwards they practice upon other Grounds, and without thinking of a Penalty or Bribe. And this is what we call a Liberal Education and a Liberal Service: The contrary Service and Obedience, whether towards God or Man, being illiberal, and unworthy of any Honour or Commendation.
In the Case of Religion, however, it must be consider’d, that if by the Hope of Reward be understood the Love and Desire of virtuous Enjoyment, or of the very Practice and Exercise of Virtue in another Life; the Expectation or Hope of this kind is so far from being derogatory to Virtue, that it is an Evidence of our loving it the more sincerely and for its own sake. Nor can this Principle be justly call’d selfish: For if the Love of Virtue be not mere Self-Interest, the Love and Desire of Life for Virtue’s sake cannot be esteem’d so. But, if the Desire of Life be only thro’ the Violence of that natural Aversion to Death; if it be thro’ the Love of something else than virtuous Affection, or thro’ the Unwillingness of parting with something else than what is purely of this kind; then is it no longer any sign or Token of real Virtue.
Thus a Person loving Life for Life’s sake, and Virtue not at all, may, by the Promise or Hope of Life, and Fear of Death, or other Evil, be induc’d to practise Virtue, and even endeavour to be truly virtuous, by a Love of what he practises. Yet neither is this very Endeavour to be esteem’d a Virtue. For tho’ he may intend to be virtuous; he is not become so, for having only intended, or aim’d at it, thro’ Love of the Reward. But, as soon as he is come to have any Affection towards what is morally good, and can like or affect such Good for its own sake, as good and amiable in it-self; then is he in some degree good and virtuous, and not till then.
Such are the Advantages or Disadvantages which accrue to Virtue from Reflexion upon private Good or Interest. For, tho’ the Habit of Selfishness, and the Multiplicity of interested Views, are of little Improvement to real Merit or Virtue; yet there is a Necessity for the Preservation of Virtue, that it should be thought to have no quarrel with true Interest, and Self-Enjoyment.
Whoever, therefore, by any strong Persuasion, or settled Judgment, thinks in the main, That Virtue causes Happiness, and Vice Misery, carries with him that Security and Assistance to Virtue which is requir’d. Or, tho’ he has no such Thought, nor can believe Virtue his real Interest, either with respect to his own Nature and Constitution, or the Circumstances of human Life; yet, if he believes any Supreme Powers concern’d in the present Affairs of Mankind, and immediately interposing in behalf of the Honest and Virtuous, against the Impious and Unjust; this will serve to preserve in him, however, that just Esteem of Virtue, which might otherwise considerably diminish. Or should he still believe little of the immediate Interposition of Providence in the Affairs of this present Life; yet if he believes a God dispensing Rewards and Punishments to Vice and Virtue in a future, he carries with him still the same Advantage and Security; whilst his Belief is steddy, and no-wise wavering or doubtful. For it must be observ’d, that an Expectation and Dependency, so miraculous and great as this, must naturally take off from other inferior Dependencies and Encouragements. Where infinite Rewards are thus inforc’d, and the Imagination strongly turn’d towards them, the other common and natural Motives to Goodness are apt to be neglected, and lose much by Dis-use. Other Interests are hardly so much as computed, whilst the Mind is thus transported in the Pursuit of a high Advantage and Self-Interest, so narrowly confin’d within our-selves. On this account, all other Affections, towards Friends, Relations, or Mankind, are often slightly regarded, as being worldly, and of little moment, in respect of the Interest of our Soul. And so little thought is there of any immediate Satisfaction arising from such good Offices of Life, that it is customary with many devout People zealously to decry all temporal Advantages of Goodness, all natural Benefits of Virtue; and magnifying the contrary Happiness of a vitious State; to declare, “That, except only for the sake of future Reward, and fear of future Punishment, they would divest themselves of all Goodness at once, and freely allow themselves to be most immoral and profligate.” From whence it appears, that in some respects there can be nothing more fatal to Virtue, than the weak and uncertain Belief of a future Reward and Punishment. For the Stress being laid wholly here, if this Foundation come to fail, there is no further Prop or Security to Men’s Morals. And thus Virtue is supplanted and betray’d.56
Tho’ the disinterested Love of God be the most excellent Principle, yet, by the indiscreet Zeal of some devout well-meaning People, it has been stretch’d too far, perhaps, even to Extravagance and Enthusiasm, as formerly among the Mysticks of the antient Church, whom these of latter Days have follow’d. On the other hand, there have been those, who, in Opposition to this devout Mystick way, and as profess’d Enemies to what they call Enthusiasm, had so far exploded every thing of this ecstatick kind, as, in a manner, to have given up Devotion; and, in reality, have left so little of Zeal, Affection, or Warmth, in what they call their rational Religion, as to make them much suspected of their Sincerity in any. For, tho’ it be natural enough for a mere political Writer to ground his great Argument for Religion, on the Necessity of such a relief, as that of a Future Reward and Punishment; yet ’tis a very ill Token of Sincerity in Religion, and in the Christian Religion more especially, to reduce it to such a Philosophy, as will allow no room to that other Principle of Love; but treats all of that Kind as Enthusiasm, for so much as aiming at what is call’d Disinterestedness, or teaching the Love of God or Virtue for God or Virtue’s Sake.
Here, then, we have Two Sorts of People, who, in these opposite Extremes, expose Religion to the Insults of its Adversaries. For as, on one hand, ’twill be found difficult to defend the Notion of that high-rais’d Love, espous’d with so much Warmth by those devout Mysticks; so, on the other hand, ’twill be found as hard a Task, upon the Principles of these cooler Men, to guard Religion from the Imputation of Mercenariness, and a slavish Spirit. For how shall one deny, that to serve God by Compulsion, or for Interest merely, is Servile and Mercenary? Is it not evident, that the only true and liberal Service paid, either to that Supreme Being, or to any other Superior, is that “which proceeds from an Esteem or Love of the Person serv’d, a Sense of Duty or Gratitude, and a Love of the dutiful and grateful Part, as good and amiable, in it-self ?” And where is the Injury to Religion, from such a Concession as this? Or what Detraction is it from the Belief of an After-Reward or Punishment, to own, “That the Service caus’d by it, is not equal to that which is voluntary and with Inclination, but is rather disingenuous and of the slavish kind?” Is it not still for the Good of Mankind and of the World, that Obedience to the Rule of Right should, some way or other, be paid; if not in the better way, yet, at least, in this imperfect one? And is it not to be shewn, “That, altho’ this Service of Fear be allow’d ever so low or base: Yet Religion still being a Discipline, and Progress of the Soul towards Perfection, the Motive of Reward and Punishment is primary, and of the highest Moment with us; ’till being capable of more sublime Instruction, we are led from this servile State, to the generous Service of Affection and Love?”
To this we ought all of us to aspire, so as to endeavour, “That the Excellence of the Object, not the Reward or Punishment, should be our Motive: But that where, thro’ the Corruption of our Nature, the former of these Motives is found insufficient to excite to Virtue, there the latter should be brought in Aid, and on no account be undervalu’d or neglected.”
Now this being once establish’d, how can Religion be any longer subject to the Imputation of Mercenariness? But thus we know Religion is often charg’d. “Godliness, say they, is great Gain: Nor is God devoutly serv’d for nought.”—Is this therefore a Reproach? Is it confess’d there may be a better Service, a more generous Love?—Enough, there needs no more. On this Foundation it is easy to defend Religion, and even that devoutest Part, which is esteem’d so great a Paradox of Faith. For, if there be in Nature such a Service as that of Affection and Love, there remains then only to consider of the Object, whether there be really that Supreme-One we suppose. For, if there be Divine Excellence in Things; if there be in Nature a Supreme Mind or Deity; we have then an Object consummate, and comprehensive of all which is Good or Excellent. And this Object, of all others, must of Necessity be the most amiable, the most engaging, and of highest Satisfaction and Enjoyment. Now, that there is such a principal Object as this in the World, the World alone (if I may say so) by its wise and perfect Order must evince. Thus far the Lord Shaftesbury.57
That Good, to which the Law of Nature instituteth, is the Beauteous-Beneficial.§IV. The Good, to which the Law of Nature, and the Discipline of Morality, instituteth, is the good Life and Practice, of which there are many Branches, the Notion whereof is compounded of Two Notions, Beauteous-Beneficial. As the Works of Nature, are therefore said to be Good, because the Make of them is Beauteous-Beneficial. “For all the Parts of the World are so constituted, that they could not be better, either for Beauty or Usefulness.”58 The Lacedemonians had regard for both these, when they pray’d for [oulchra cum bonis] Things good and comely. The Antient Philosophers had regard to both these in their Definitions of Good and Evil. “All the good things are those that are profitable, conducive, beauteous, comely, cognate; but the Evils are the contrary, those things that are hateful, noxious, incommodious, alien, uncomely, and foul.” So Perfections in general, are ornamental, and useful, agreeably whereto the good Morals must be defin’d the Beauteous-Beneficial. “The Grecians, most divinely” (saith Judicious Mr. Hooker)59“have given to the active Perfection of Men, a Name expressing both Beauty and Goodness (καλοκ’ ἀγαθία) because Goodness, in ordinary Speech, is for the most part applied only to that which is beneficial; but we, in the Name of Goodness, do here imply both.” Good, therefore, in Morality, the good of Virtue, is τὸ καλοκ’ ἀγαθὸν the Beauteous-Beneficial Life and Practice. “Aristotle teacheth that all the Virtues are compriz’d τῇ καλοκ’ ἀγαθία, in what is Beautifully-beneficent.”60
Its Beauty;What is Beauteous is amiable, and is to be lik’d and lov’d; whence it is called τὸ καλὸν which signifieth it to be both Beauteous and Good; in both which Significations the Word is frequently us’d. Agreeably to this, the Nature of Good is to consist in these three things in Modo, in Specie, in Ordine; in Measure, in Comeliness, in Order, all which are certain Modes of Beauty.61“The good of Honesty [bonum honestum] is laudable for its Beauty and Form.62Wherein appeareth an Ornament and gracefulness of Life, Temperance, Modesty, a quieting of Perturbations, and a due measure of things, which is τὸ ϖρέπον, that which is decorous.63How come we to understand what is Virtue? By seeing the Order and Decorum that is in it.64Virtue is so graceful, that even bad Men approve of better things.”65 Of the excellent Beauty of Justice Aristotle saith, “Neither the Evening nor the Morning is so admirable.66Virtue sendeth its Light into the Minds of all, even they that are no Followers of it, yet see it.”67 Virtue is an Honourableness, as well as Amiableness, of Practice, whence it hath the Name of Honestas. Vice and Wickedness is that which is “foul, dishonest, indecorous, bad, flagitious, filthy,”68 that is, Foulness and Deformity, the Crookedness and Obliquity of Practice. The various Names, which the Philosophers, in concurrence with the generality of Mankind, have given to the virtuous practice, denote its Regularity and Beauty. τὸ εὖ, that which is well, τὸ δέον, that which ought to be, τὸ ϖρέπον, that which is decorous, τὸ ἴσον, that which is equal, τὸ καλὸν, that which is fair, τὸ ἁρμοζὸν, that which is fit, congruous, proportionate, τὸ ’Ορθὸν, that which is right.
We have all a Sense of what is naturally graceful and becoming. There is an Ear in Musick, an Eye in Painting, a Fancy in the ordinary things of Ornament and Grace, a Judgment in Proportions of all kinds; and a good Taste in most of those Subjects, which make the Amusement and Delight of the Ingenious.
How do we admire Beauty in the inanimate World, in Architecture, Musick, Stones, Metals, Vegetables, Mountains, Vales, Rivers; the terraqueous Globe, our whole solar System, and probably others like innumerable? Rising to the animate World, How do admire Beauty in a Dog, a Horse, a Hawk?
But, of all Beauties, the most delightful, the most engaging and pathetick, is that which is drawn from real Life, and from the Passions; such as the Beauty of Sentiments, the Grace of Actions, the Turn of Characters, and the Proportions and Features of a human Mind. What is the Beauty of Poetry, but, “In Vocal Measures of Syllables and Sounds to express the Harmony and Numbers of an inward Mind, and represent the Beauties of a Human Soul, by proper Foils and Contrarieties, which serve as Graces in this Limning, and render this Musick of the Passions more powerful and enchanting?”
Whoever has any Impression of what we call Politeness, is already so acquainted with the Decorum and Grace of Things, that he will readily confess a Pleasure and Enjoyment in every Survey and Contemplation of this Kind. Now, if in the way of Polite Pleasure, the Study and Love of Beauty be essential; the Study and Love of Sympathy and Order, on which Beauty depends, must also be essential in the same respect.
’Tis impossible we can advance the least in any Relish or Taste of outward Symmetry or Order, without acknowledging, that the proportionate and regular State, is the truly Prosperous and Natural in every Subject. The same Features, which make Deformity, create Incommodiousness and Disease. And the same Shapes and Proportions which make Beauty, afford Advantage, by adapting to Activity and Use. Even in the imitating or designing Arts, the Truth or Beauty of every Figure or Statue is measured from the Perfection of Nature, in her just adapting of every Limb and Proportion to the Activity, Strength, Dexterity, Life and Vigor of the particular Species or Animal design’d.
All Beauty is Truth. True Features make the Beauty of the Face, and True Proportions the Beauty of Architecture, as True Measures that of Harmony and Musick.
Thus Beauty and Truth are plainly join’d with the Notion of Utility and Convenience, even in the Apprehension of every ingenious Artist, the Architect, the Statuary, and the Painter. ’Tis the same in the Physicians Way. Natural Health is the just Proportion, Truth, and regular course of Things, in a Constitution. ’Tis the inward Beauty of the Body. And when the Harmony and just Measures of the rising Pulses, the circulating Humours, and the Spirits are disturbed or lost, Deformity enters, and with it Calamity and Ruin.
Should not this, one would imagine, be still the same Case, and hold equally as to the Mind? Is there nothing there, which tends to Disturbance and Dissolution? Is there no Natural Tenor, Tone or Order of the Passions? No Beauty or Deformity in this Moral kind? or, allowing that there really is, must it not of consequence, in the same manner, imply Health or Sickness, Prosperity or Disaster? Will it not be found in this respect above all, “That what is Harmonious and Proportionable, is True; and what is at once both Beautiful and True, is, of consequence, Agreeable and Good ”?
There is nothing more certain, than that a real Genius, and thorow Artist, in whatever kind, can never without the greatest Unwillingness and shame, be induc’d to act below his Character, and for mere Interest, be prevail’d with to prostitute his Art or Science, by performing contrary to its known Rules. Whoever has hear’d any thing of the Lives of famous Statuaries, Architects, or Painters, will call to Mind many Instances of this Nature. Or whoever has made any Acquaintance with the better Sort of Mechanicks, such as are real Lovers of their Art, and Masters in it, must have observ’d their Natural Fidelity in this respect. Be they ever so idle, dissolute or debauch’d; how regardless soever of other Rules; they abhor any Transgression in their Art, and would chuse to lose Customers and starve, rather than, by a base Compliance with the World, to act contrary to what they call the Justness and Truth of Work.
“Sir, (said a poor Fellow of this kind to his rich Customer,) You are mistaken in coming to me, for such a Piece of Workmanship. Let who will make it for you, as you fancy; I know it to be Wrong. Whatever I have made hitherto, has been true Work. And neither for your sake or any bodies else, shall I put my Hand to any other.”
This is Virtue! real Virtue, and Love of Truth; independent of Opinion, and above the World. This Disposition transferr’d to the whole of Life, perfects a Character, and makes that Probity and Worth, which the Learned are often at such a loss to explain. For, is there not a Workmanship, and a Truth in Actions? Or is the Workmanship of this kind less becoming, or less worthy of our Notice; that we should not in this Case be as surly as the honest Artizan, who has no other Philosophy, than what Nature and his Trade have taught him?
Who can admire the outward Beauties; and not recur instantly to the inward, which are the more real and essential, the more naturally affecting, and of the highest Pleasure, as well as Profit and Advantage? Of which the Roman Orator thus expresses himself. “Honestum is what may be justly Commended upon its own Account, tho’ destitute of any Advantage or Reward; which what it is, cannot be so well understood from any Definition as from the common Sentiments of Mankind; from the Pursuits and from the Actions of the Virtuous, who do many things for no other Reason, but because it is Decent, Right, Honest, tho’ they see no Advantage to ensue.” The Men of Pleasure, who seem the greatest Contemners of this Philosophical Pleasure, are found often to confess her Charms; they can as heartily as others commend Honesty, and are as much struck with the Beauty of a generous Part. See Ld. Shaftesbury’s Characteristicks Vol. 1.p. 135 &c. p. 142. p. 261, 262. Vol. 3. p. 182, &c. See also a further Explanation and Defence of these Principles by the Author of the Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue.69
Its Beneficialness.§V. Virtue is likewise the good Life and Practice, upon account of its Beneficialness and Utility, to which some have erroneously confin’d the Notion of Good. But, without confining thereto the Notion of Good, the Philosophers observe, “That Good, in common Acceptation, is Profit.” Which is agreeable to the common Sense of Mankind; for we all desire Profit. In their private Capacity, Mankind are intent upon their private Profit, and in their publick Capacity, upon their common Profit; for Laws are made for the common Profit, which is the End of the Society. What is profitable and beneficial, useful and needful, altho’ it be only wholesome, not sightly nor pleasant, for sufficient Cause and Reason ought to be liked, and is therefore Good. “He is a good Man (saith Cicero70 ) who profiteth whom he can, is hurtful to none.” The several Branches of Vice are mischievous and maleficial, simply and absolutely. In enormous Selfishness, Malevolence, Pride, Ambition, Fraud, Guile, Perfidiousness, Envy, Avarice, Circumvention, Wrath, Enmity, Calumny, Theft, Cruelty, Homicide, Profaneness and Contempt of God, and in all unjust and uncharitable Actions, there is a deadly Maleficent Deformity. The Definition, therefore, of the vicious Life and Practice, is the foul and ill-favour’d maleficial; as, on the contrary, the virtuous Life and Practice is the Beauteous-Beneficial. All the Branches of it are absolutely beneficial, and not only of Utility, but indispensible Necessity, to the Happiness of every one and of all. Thus Purity and Charity are, in Religion, inseparably connected, and the Connexion of them is a joining Beauty with Beneficialness. Now, tho’ the Beneficialness of the good Life may, in a large Acceptation of Beauty, be call’d the Beauteousness thereof; yet, in the strict Acceptation, these are distinguish’d, as the Beauty of the Rose is distinguish’d from its Medicinal Virtue.
He, therefore, is the good Man, who is voluntarily benevolent to others thro’ goodness of Affection, whence it will be proper to examine, which are the good and natural, and which the ill and unnatural, Affections, which I find already excellently-well done to my Hand by the noble Author lately quoted. Charact. Vol. 2. Pag. 22, &c.
In the first Place then, it may be observ’d, that if there be an Affection towards any Subject consider’d as private Good, which is not really such, but imaginary; this Affection, as being superfluous, and detracting from the Force of other requisite and good Affections, is in it-self vitious and ill, even in respect of the private Interest or Happiness of the Creature.
If there can possibly be suppos’d in a Creature such an Affection towards Self-Good, as is actually, in its natural degree, conducing to his private Interest, and at the same time inconsistent with the publick Good; this may indeed be call’d still a vitious Affection: And on this Supposition a Creature cannot really be good and natural in respect of his Society or Publick, without being ill and unnatural towards Himself. But if the Affection be then only injurious to the Society, when it is immoderate, and not so when it is moderate, duly temper’d, and allay’d; then is the immoderate degree of the Affection truly vitious, but not the moderate. And thus, if there be found in any Creature a more than ordinary Self-Concernment, or Regard to private Good, which is inconsistent with the Interest of the Species or Publick; this must in every respect be esteem’d an ill and vitious Affection. And this is what we commonly call Selfishness, and disapprove so much, in whatever Creature we happen to discover it.
On the other side, if the Affection towards private or Self-Good, however selfish it may be esteem’d, is in reality not only consistent with publick Good, but in some measure contributing to it; if it be such, perhaps, as for the good of the Species in general, every Individual ought to share: ’Tis so far from being ill, or blameable in any sense, that it must be acknowledg’d absolutely necessary to constitute a Creature Good. For, if the Want of such an Affection as that towards Self-Preservation, be injurious to the Species; a Creature is ill and unnatural, as well thro’ this Defect, as thro’ the Want of any other natural Affection. And this no-one would doubt to pronounce, if he saw a Man, who minded not any Precipices which lay in his way, nor made any Distinction of Food, Diet, Cloathing, or whatever else related to his Health and Being. The same would be averr’d of one, who had a Disposition which render’d him averse to any Commerce with Womankind, and of consequence unfitted him thro’ Illness of Temper (and not merely thro’ a Defect of Constitution) for the Propagation of his Species or Kind.
Thus the Affection towards Self-Good, may be a good Affection, or an ill-one. For, if this private Affection be too strong, (as when the excessive Love of Life unfits a Creature for any generous Act,) then is it undoubtedly vitious; and if vitious, the Creature who is mov’d by it, is vitiously mov’d, and can never be otherwise than vitious in some degree, when mov’d by that Affection. Therefore, if thro’ such an earnest and passionate Love of Life, a Creature be accidentally induc’d to do Good (as he might be upon the same terms induc’d to do Ill) he is no more a good Creature for this Good he executes, than a Man is the more an honest or good Man, either for pleading a just Cause, or fighting in a good one, for the sake merely of his Fee or Stipend.
Whatsoever therefore is done which happens to be advantageous to the Species, thro’ an Affection merely towards Self-Good, does not imply any more Goodness in the Creature, than as the Affection it-self is good. Let him, in any particular, act ever so well; if at the bottom, it be that selfish Affection alone which moves him; he is in himself still vitious. Nor can any Creature be consider’d otherwise, when the Passion towards Self-Good, tho’ ever so moderate, is his real Motive in the doing that, to which a natural Affection for his Kind ought by right to have inclin’d him.
And indeed whatever exteriour Helps or Succours an ill-dispos’d Creature may find, to push him on towards the performance of any one good Action; there can no Goodness arise in him ’till his Temper be so far chang’d, that in the Issue he comes in earnest to be led by some immediate Affection, directly, and not accidentally, to Good, and against Ill.
For Instance; If one of those Creatures suppos’d to be by Nature tame, gentle, and favourable to Mankind, be, contrary to his natural Constitution, fierce and savage; we instantly remark the Breach of Temper, and own the Creature to be unnatural and corrupt. If at any time afterwards, the same Creature, by good Fortune or right Management, comes to lose his Fierceness, and is made tame, gentle, and treatable, like other Creatures of his Kind; ’tis acknowledg’d that the Creature thus restor’d, becomes good and natural. Suppose, now, that the Creature has indeed a tame and gentle Carriage; but that it proceeds only from the Fear of his Keeper; which is set aside, his predominant Passion instantly breaks out: Then is his Gentleness not his real Temper; but his true and genuine Nature or Natural Temper remaining just as it was, the Creature is still as ill as ever.
Nothing therefore being properly either Goodness or Illness in a Creature, except what is from natural Temper; “A good Creature is such a one as by the natural Temper or Bent of his Affections is carry’d primarily and immediately, and not secondarily and accidentally, to Good, and against Ill”: And an ill Creature is just the contrary; viz. “One who is wanting in right Affections, of force enough to carry him directly towards Good, and bear him out against Ill; or who is carry’d by other Affections directly to Ill, and against Good.”
When in general, all the Affections or Passions are suited to the publick Good, or Good of the Species, as above-mention’d; then is the natural Temper intirely good. If, on the contrary, any requisite Passion be wanting; or if there be any one supernumerary, or weak, or anywise disserviceable or contrary to that main End; then is the natural Temper, and consequently the Creature himself, in some measure, corrupt and ill.
There is no need of mentioning either Envy, Malice, Frowardness, or other such hateful Passions; to shew in what manner they are ill, and constitute an ill Creature. But it may be necessary perhaps to remark, that even as Kindness and Love of the most natural sort (such as that of any Creature for its Offspring) if it be immoderate and beyond a certain degree, is undoubtedly vitious. For thus over-great Tenderness destroys the Effect of Love, and excessive Pity renders us uncapable of giving succour. Hence the Excess of motherly Love is own’d to be a vitious Fondness; over-great Pity, Effeminacy and Weakness; over-great Concern for Self-preservation, Meanness and Cowardice; too little, Rashness; and none at all, or that which is contrary (viz. a Passion leading to Self-destruction) a mad and desperate Depravity.
We know that every Creature has a private Good and Interest of his own; which Nature has compell’d him to seek, by all the Advantages afforded him, within the Compass of his Make. We know that there is in Reality a right and a wrong State of every Creature; and that his right-one is by Nature forwarded, and by Himself affectionately sought. There being therefore in every Creature a certain Interest or Good; there must be also a certain End, to which every thing in his Constitution must naturally refer. To this End if any thing either in his Appetites, Passions, or Affections be not conducing, but the contrary; we must of necessity own it ill to him. And in this manner he is ill, with respect to himself; as he certainly is, with respect to others of his kind, when any such Appetites or Passions make him any-way injurious to them. Now, if by the natural Constitution of any rational Creature, the same Irregularities of Appetite which make him ill to Others, make him ill also to Himself; and if the same Regularity of Affections, which causes him to be good in one sense, causes him to be good also in the other; then is that Goodness by which he is thus useful to others, a real Good and Advantage to himself. And thus Virtue and Interest may be found at last to agree. So far Ld. Shaftesbury.71 This Cumberland has set in a clear and a strong Light.
“We ought (saith Gassendus in his Treatise concerning the moral Philosophy of Epicurus)72to admire the Contrivance of the most wise Author of Nature, who, because all Action, even the most Natural, such as Seeing and Hearing, was in it-self laborious and troublesome, which Use makes so familiar to us as to become insensible, hath therefore season’d every Operation with the Blandishment of Pleasure, and that so much the greater, by how much the Action it-self was more Necessary, whether to the Preservation of the Species, or of the Individual. Animals would either not care, or they would forget, or not take Notice, at what times it might be proper to propagate, their Species, or to Eat and Drink for prolonging the Life of the Individual, unless they were naturally spurr’d by an uneasiness exciting them to such Operations, whose concomitant Pleasure takes that uneasiness away, whence we are naturally allur’d to such Actions.” This seems to be the true Reason, why the Deity has made such Actions Pleasurable, as we ought to do, were no such Pleasure connected with them.
Suppose a Brute possess’d of many good Affections, as Love to his Kind, Courage, Gratitude, or Pity. If to this Animal Reason and Reflexion were added, it would at the same instant approve of Gratitude, Kindness and Pity; and this would be Virtue, this would be the having a Sense of Right and Wrong, when Worth and Honesty as such, were the Objects of his Affection; which one may do, before they have any settled Notions of a Deity, which early Youth, and the more unciviliz’d Nations, do not much refine upon, who yet are not void of a just Notion of Good and Evil, Right and Wrong.
If by Temper any one is passionate, angry, fearful, amorous;yet resists these Passions, his Virtue is the greater, provided his resistance arise from his Affection towards Virtue it-self, not from Self-Interest, as is already prov’d. Yet Propensity to Vice is no ingredient in Virtue, or any-way necessary to compleat a virtuous Character. If there be any part of the Temper in which ill Passions or Affections are seated, whilst in another part the Affections towards moral Good are such as absolutely to master those Attempts of their Antagonists; this is the greatest Proof imaginable, that a strong Principle of Virtue lies at the bottom, and has possess’d it-self of the natural Temper. Whereas if there be no ill Passions stirring, a Person may be indeed more cheaply virtuous; that is to say, he may conform himself to the known Rules of Virtue, without sharing so much of a virtuous Principle as another. Yet if that other Person, who has the Principle of Virtue so strongly implanted, comes at last to lose those contrary Impediments suppos’d in him, he certainly loses nothing in Virtue; but on the contrary, losing only what is vitious in his Temper, is left more intire to Virtue, and possesses it in a higher degree. So far Lord Shaftesbury.73
To it the Names of Praise and Commendation belong.§VI. If the Beauteous-Beneficial is the good Life and Practice, the Names of Praise and Commendation necessarily belong to it; for what is Good, compriseth in it-self all Praise and Commendation: And to the contrary Life and Practice, the Names of Odiousness and Disgrace, of Infamy and Dispraise belong. “What is dispraisable for it-self, is upon that account named Vice.”74 And “The Good of Honesty is that which maketh them Praise-worthy, that have this Good worthy of Praise.”75 The Operations of Virtue are called the laudable Operations. To understand what is Virtue and what is Vice, a great Philosopher prescribeth a Young Man this Method. “Consider what sort of Men it is, that you praise, when you are unbyas’d with any Affection: Is it the Just or the Unjust? The Just. Is it the Temperate, or Intemperate? The Temperate. Is it the Continent or Incontinent? The Continent.”76 Virtue is, therefore, the laudable Practice, and thence it is, that all Mankind would be in some sort reputed Virtuous. “For who is there that would not seem Beneficent? That doth not desire to be accounted good in the midst of all his atrocious Villanies and Injuries? That doth not put some colour of Right upon those things that he hath done most outrageously?”77
The good Life and Practice is also excellent and Productive of the Happiness of others; otherwise it were not Praise-worthy; upon which account, ordinary self-regard for our own Happiness is not Virtue. “To Love one’s self, to Spare one’s self, to get to one’s self; what is there excellent in so doing?”78
The good Life and Practice is also the Honourable and Comfortable. There is a Dignity in it, which exempts its Possessors from being Vile, and affords Comforts of another sort than the Pleasures of Sin do; those Substantial vital Enjoyments, which are infinitely Comfortable.
The good Life and Practice is also the true Perfection of Man. As all Beings have their Perfection by their proper Virtue, which is their Nature raised to its Height, such as Sharpness of Sight is in the Eye, Quickness of Hearing in the Ear, Swiftness in the Feet; So the good Life and Practice is the proper Virtue of Man, raised to its Height and Perfection.
The good Life and Practice must not be thought merely a Publick self-Convenience, which is necessary for Men, only because of the necessity of their Affairs, but it is the doing what is simply and absolutely convenient. “Wisdom is a doing what is convenient—As a Stage-player must not have any, but a certain Action; and a Dancer must not have any, but a certain Motion: So a Man must live not any, but a certain kind of Life, which we call Convenient and Consentaneous.”79
The Beauteous-Beneficial Life and Practice is likewise Righteousness, which is a threefold Comprehension of Duty, as to God, to others and to our-Selves; Piety towards God, Justice and Charity towards Men, and Sobriety, as to our-selves. Hence we may resolve a celebrated Question in Morality, What is the Rule and Measure of Good and EvilThe Rule and Measure of Good and Evil., Just and Unjust? For Righteousness is the Rule and Measure of Practice, all intelligent Agents must be regulated by it; but of Righteousness there is not properly any Rule or Measure but its own Nature, which is the Beauteous-Beneficial Life and Practice, consider’d as that which ought to be. This is the Rule and Measure of Righteousness constitutively such. But, beside this, there may be a Rule and Measure of Righteousness evidentially and declaratively such. The common Opinion is, “That right Reason is the Rule and Measure of Good and Evil.” Which may signify, that the Discernments and Dictates of Reason are only evidentially and declaratively the Rule and Measure of Good and Evil; as a positive Law is, in Matters of positive Institution, constitutively the Measure of Good and Evil. In this latter Sense, the right Discernments and Dictates of Reason are not the Rule and Measure of Good and Evil, as they are not in such Sense, the Rule and Measure of Good Air, or Good Medicines. As things are not true, so neither are they right and good, because they are conformable to Reason: But Reason is therefore right and good, because it is conformable to the Things that are so. This, therefore, is not a good Definition; That which is agreeable to a rational Intelligent Nature, as it is such, is Good; That which is dissentaneous or disagreeable to it, is Evil. For Good is not to be accommodated to a rational Nature, but the rational Nature is to be accommodated to Good, and its Reason is then right, when it rightly discerneth between Good and Evil. Some suppose, that the Happiness of the System of Rational Agents, is the Sole End and Measure of Good: But this Opinion maketh Virtue to be Policy, rather than Virtue. The only Rule and Measure of Good and Evil is the Beauteous-Beneficial Practice, and the various means of discerning what is so; but the common Happiness of the whole, rightly understood, may be counted the Measure of it as it is Beneficial.
The Arbitrary Will of God is not the Rule and Measure of Good and Evil.§VII. A Mistake, touching the Rule and Measure of Good and and Evil, of greater Importance than any of these, is this; “That the Arbitrary Will of God is constitutively the adequate Rule and Measure of Good and Evil, Just and Unjust, and that nothing is Good or Evil, but because it is commanded or forbidden.” With which absurd Notion, Bp. Taylor falleth in, affirming, “That nothing is just or unjust, of it-self, until some Law of God or Man doth supervene. God cannot do an unjust thing; because whatsoever he willeth or doeth, is therefore Just, because he willeth and doeth it, his Will being the Measure of Justice. It is but a weak Distinction, to affirm, some things to be forbidden by God, because they are unlawful, and some to be unlawful, because they are forbidden. For this last part of the Distinction taketh in all that is unlawful in the World, and therefore the other is a dead Member, and may be lopp’d off. So Occham affirmeth against the common Sentence of the Schools, (as his manner is,) Nullus est actus malus, nisi quatenus a Deo prohibitus est, & qui non potest fieri bonus, si a Deo praecipiatur &c converso: Every thing is good or bad, according as it is commanded or forbidden by God, and no otherwise.”80 These Sayings are attended with a self-Contradiction, “That it is actually and indispensably necessary, that we love God, and that he cannot Command us to hate him.”81 And ’tis but reasonable, that they should contradict themselves, who contradict Common Sense, and contemplate Goodness at the same rate of Extravagance, that some others contemplate Truth, who affirm, “That God indeed does necessarily conceive those Truths, which immediately relate to himself, his Nature, Essence, and Attributes: He was never indifferent as to these; but as for all other Truths, which are not God himself, these wholly depend upon the most free and arbitrary Determination of his own Will, and are only therefore true, because he appointed them to be so; and that there might, if God had so pleased, either have been none of these at all, or else quite different from what they now are.”82 If Truth is of so indeterminate a Nature, Good must be as Arbitrary, as some say, “That by the mere Light of Nature, without Divine Revelation, it cannot be made appear, that there is any difference between Vice and Virtue; altho’ we were assur’d, that there is a God. That nothing is Just and Good, but that only, which he commandeth, and for no other Reason, but because he doeth so.”83 They that discourse at this rate, are extremely deficient, either in their Reason, or in their Religion. According to this Scheme, Law is suppos’d to make Justice, whereas, without antecedent Justice, it is impossible, that there can be any made Law. For no Law can be made, but by one, who hath Right to be obey’d, and to whom Obedience is due: Right and due Obedience, and consequently Just and Unjust, is necessarily antecedent to any made Law. If nothing is Unrighteous, but by a made Law, Mankind must be consider’d, as perfectly at Liberty and un-obliged, antecedently to that Law; and, if we suppose them to be perfectly at Liberty and un-obliged, then that Law could not oblige them; for no Command or Prohibition can oblige them to Obedience, who are Persons perfectly at Liberty and unoblig’d. Nor can they oblige themselves by any Pacts or Covenants of their own making; for, if there be nothing in its own Nature Unjust, it cannot be in its own Nature an unjust thing, to break their own Pacts and Covenants, but they may unmake them, as fast as they make them. And, consequently, if we suppose them, to be once perfectly at Liberty and unoblig’d, they must for ever continue, so, if there be nothing unjust in its own Nature. If nothing is, essentially and in its own Nature, unrighteous, there is nothing so bad, which God may not do, (lye and deny himself, condemn the Obedient and reward the Disobedient;) there is nothing so Wicked, which God may not command, (Atheism, Blasphemy, Demonolatry, Fraud, Cruelty;) and a System of Moral Truths, Virtues, and Duties, might be made, by Divine Appointment, just contrary to those which are now such; and, by arbitrary Will and Appointment, all manner of Wickedness would be Righteousness; Good would be Evil, and Evil Good: But, if Religion and Virtue were thus destroy’d, God himself would be destroy’d, for, without Virtue, God is but a Name. If God is essentially Good and Holy, a good and holy Nature and Life is essential to God; which is, therefore, not a mere Arbitrary Determination of the Divine Will. The several Attributes of Benignity, Mercy, Justice, Veracity, Faithfulness, and such like, as they are in God, are that which is essentially and in its own Nature Good; therefore they are so, as they are in Man.
Nor of Truth.If God, by his free Appointment, did not make this Proposition to be a Truth, “A Being absolutely perfect is necessarily-existent”; it is a fond Imagination, to suppose, that by his free Appointment, the like self-evident Propositions are made Truths. The Mind clearly discerneth, that this is essential to the Whole, to be bigger than the Part; that it is essential to a Cause, To be, in Order of Nature, before the Effect; that it is essential to a plain Triangle, To have its three Angles equal to two right ones; these are therefore necessary, unchangeable and eternal Truths. But what ever the Mind clearly perceives to be repugnant to the essential Nature of Things, that she calleth Impossible and a Contradiction, which is as repugnant to Conception as it is to Reality, and which determines the extent, even of Power omnipotent; for it can do nothing that is a Contradiction or impossible.
Which are such antecedently to the Divine Appointment.§VIII. Bonum Honestum or Virtue is, not a mere Name, but hath its proper specific Nature, which is the Beauteous-Beneficial Practice, as is already prov’d; which it is as certain, that this Name, [Virtue] denotes, as that the Word [Man] denotes a Rational Animal, or that a Square signifies a Plain Figure with Four equal sides and right Angles. Moral Good is, therefore, the Beauteous-Beneficial Practice essentially and in its own Nature, and consequently it is necessarily, unchangeably, eternally so. “Order, Measure, Comeliness, Pulchritude, Elegance, and Congruity of Parts, which no Animal but Man discerneth, Reason transferreth to the Mind, and thinketh, that they ought to be observed there, and the Observance of them is that which maketh that Honestas, which is in its own Nature laudable.”84 If therefore Beauty, Pulchritude, Order, Measure, Congruity, Proportion, are not wholly of Arbitrary Determination and Institution, not variable at pleasure, but of a fix’d determinate Nature; if in Pulchritude of Body there must be a certain Figure, Order, and Symmetry of Parts; if in a good and Virtuous Soul there must be such an orderly Subordination of Parts, as there is in a well-order’d City; hence it appeareth, that the Good in Morality, is that which is essentially and in its own Nature such, and is not a matter of Arbitrary Determination. In several instances, indeed, Mankind are of different Sentiments, touching what is graceful and handsome, regular and beautiful; yet none can deny, that the natural Position and Situation of the Parts of the Face is Beautiful, and that a Distortion of them is hideously ill-favour’d. Such Deformities of the Body are a faint resemblance of those of the Mind. And as the politer part of Mankind are extremely averse to any Filthiness or Deformity of Body; so in the truly-virtuous there is greater Aversion to any Vice in the Mind. “Take not, says Temperance, whence it becometh not, Eat not, Drink not; sustain, endure, nay, rather die, than commit any thing contrary to Decorum.”85 So much for Virtue in its Beauteous Light.
The Good in Morality, as it is the Beneficial Kind of Practice, is that which is Essentially and in its own Nature Good, and is not of arbitrary Institution. “Charity, Peace, Brotherly Love are Good, not only, because God hath commanded them, or willed us to follow them: But God, by his Law, doth will and command us to follow after those things, because they were always Good, even before he willd or commanded us to follow them. The Time will never be, wherein Innocency, Brotherly-Love, Charity, Peace and Loving-Kindness shall be as displeasing to God, as Murder, Hatred, Malice, Cruelty and Uncharitableness hitherto always have been. He cannot enact a Law, either to authorize these or the like Practices, or to prohibit the contrary Virtues.86Whoever thinks there is a God, and pretends formally to believe that he is just and good, must suppose that there is independently such a thing as Justice and Injustice, Truth and Falshood, Right and Wrong; according to which he pronounces that God is just, righteous and true. If the mere Will, Decree, or Law of God, be said absolutely to constitute Right and Wrong, then are these latter Words of no Significancy at all. For thus, if each Part of a Contradiction were affirm’d for Truth by the supreme Power, they would consequently become true. Thus, if one were decreed to suffer for another’s Fault, the Sentence would be just and equitable. And thus, in the same manner, if arbitrarily, and without Reason, some Beings were destin’d to perpetual Ill, and others as constantly to enjoy Good; this also would pass under the same Denomination. But to say of any thing, that it is just or unjust, on such a Foundation as this, is to say nothing, or to speak without a meaning.”87 If a City maketh Laws and Statutes, which seem to them profitable, yet, really, they may be pernicious; for Things are not profitable and hurtful, merely in our Opinion, but they are really and in their own Nature such; and a Law cannot make Things noxious to be wholesome. Theft, Adultery, falsifying Wills, (Crimes forbidden by the moral Law,) can never be made innocent or salutary by any Votes or Statutes, as the contrary Virtues cannot, by any Authority whatsoever, be made Evil. The Virtue of the Eye, or of a Watch, is their Beauteous-beneficial Properties, which is their Goodness and Perfection, and their Aptitude for their End and Use, and no other Properties can constitute a good Eye or a good Watch: So the Virtue of intelligent Agents is the Beauteous beneficial Life and Practice, which is their Goodness and Perfection, and their Aptitude for their End and Use; and no other Life and Practice can possibly constitute them good, or good Agents, that is, the Well-doers, and not the Evil-doers. Whence, in the Nature and Reason of the Thing, it is indispensably requisite in all intelligent Agents, and is to them matter of Law or Obligation. For Law or Obligation (in a large but very proper Sense) is nothing else, but a Non licet, or a Boundary to License. Thus, according to Aristotle, ὁ νόμος το μέσον, Measure is Law, ἡ τάξις νόμος, Concinnity of Order is Law, so Plato saith in his Gorgias. “As the ordinate Dispositions of the Body are called Health: So this Name Law and Legitimate belongeth to the ordinate Dispositions and Ornaments of the Soul, (whence Men become Legitimate and Decorous,) which are Justice and Temperance.” The Rules of Musick, by which the Measures of Singing and Playing are determin’d were call’d by the Greeks Νόμοι, Laws, from those Bounds which the Musicians of old prescrib’d for the tuning of Voices and Instruments, they observing in every Nomus, its proper Intention. “They were call’d Nomi (Laws) because in every one of them it was not lawful to transgress the prescrib’d (νενομισμένον) sort of Intention.”88 If the old Musicians had prescrib’d no Rules of Musick, yet there would be unavoidably Laws of Musick in their own Nature such, without the Observance whereof there could be no Singing or Playing well: So in the Discipline of Morality, if no Law were made by a Superior Authority, yet some Practices would be notic’d to the Mind as Well-doing, that cannot be left undone without Crime, and the contrary as Evil-doing, which Notices are necessarily Laws, as being Boundaries to License. Human Practice must be the Good, in one Sense; it must be the Beauteous-beneficial, or it cannot be the Good, in the other Sense, that which is to be lik’d. Nothing is done, as it ought to be, unless it be well done, and a Mechanick Work is not well done, unless it is Beauteous-beneficial; the Works and Doings of Men, therefore, ought to be of that Character.
The good Life and Practice is the just Practice towards all the Objects of Practice.§IX. The Beauteous-beneficial Life and Practice is Righteousness, not only in respect of the Agent, as being what he ought to do, but in respect of the Objects, as being that which ought to be done to them, and a giving them what is their Right and Due. Jus suum cuique tribuit. Therefore this Life and Practice may not unfitly be call’d, the just Life and Practice, (the opposite to the injurious,) which, being a Debt unto all, is, therefore, the Good of Duty to all, and such Duty, as is not of arbitrary Appointment, but is natural and necessary Justice, that which, in its own Nature, is Right and Due, Just and Good; the Rights and Dues of the Universe of Rational Agents being Necessary, Immutable, and Eternal. For such are the Right and Dues of God, of the natural Relations of Parents and Children; and that the Rights and Dues of Mankind in general are such, will appear by considering a Summary of the Philosophers Discipline of Virtue. Moral Philosophy, in the first place, adjusteth the Rates of Things, allotting to all Things that Measure of Esteem, which belongs to them: And, in the next place, it takes care, that the Bent of the Soul about them (wherewith the Actions must accord) be ordinate, proportionate, and agreeable to the Dignity of the Things. Whence the virtuous Life necessarily becomes Beauteous; for Order, Measure, Congruity, Proportion and Symmetry are Beauteous things, and the Rectitude of the Soul, in duly valuing and affecting the things Divine and Excellent, and duly depreciating the Vile, is also a Nobleness of Nature, an Excellency and Pulchritude of the Soul: Hence, also, the virtuous Man reapeth this inestimable Utility and Benefit, he escapeth those Snares, whereby Men are drawn to the vile and maleficent Practices. For the vitious Opinions that Men have of secular Honour, Riches and Pleasure, are the Fountain of the greatest Part of flagitious Practices. Therefore, towards Man, do those Things which are according to his Dignity, which Valuation is his Due. Accordingly, he is so valued in the Beauteous-beneficial Life, which consisteth in observing an Equality between Man and Man, another Man and one’s self, without any inordinate Partiality or warping to our own side. If another Man must be rated according to his Dignity, he must be rated, compar’d with Self; and, therefore, must be of impartially-equal Consideration and Regard, and must have an impartially-equal share in the Distribution of our Esteem and Affection; and, consequently, another Man must be another self. He is such in Constitution and Condition, and it is, therefore, necessarily his Due, to be such in our internal and external Practice, our Will and Actions; therefore these great Laws, Whatsoever ye would, that Men should do to you, do ye even so to them; Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy-self, (which are the summary of Justice and Charity to our Neighbour,) are in the Nature and Reason of the Thing, Matter of Duty and Justice, of Law and Obligation; such is the Gratitude of a Beneficiary towards his Benefactor, who hath merited it, and whose Right and Due it is; and, in the Nature and Reason of the Thing, it is the Right and Due of a Righteous Person, and therefore matter of Law, to be justified, not condemn’d: So to be free from any intended Hurt, is the Right of an innocent Person. Therefore, to hate him and bear him ill-will, to bear any evil Passions against him, evil Thoughts of him, malignly to censure him, proudly to despise him, to speak against his Credit, to do him Prejudice in Soul, Body or Possessions, is against his Right and Due, and is, essentially and in its own Nature, Injury and Injustice. And, in general, we must pronounce touching every Man, that whatever cannot be denied him, without repugnance to the Beauteous-Beneficial Practice, is necessarily his Right and Due.89 Whence Rights and Dues accrue unto Men by Contract, and the several sorts of Contracts amongst Men are so many Settlements of Rights and Dues, because no Man may break Faith, or be faithless in his Dealings, which is a gross repugnance to the Beauteous-Beneficial Life and Practice, as is also the denying Alms to an Honest Poor Man, which is, therefore, a sort of Due to him. Prov. 3. 27. So if a Man denieth Necessaries to his own Soul and Body, if he doth not order them well, and keep them in Chastity and Temperance; if he prostituteth, hurteth, diseaseth and destroyeth them, if he taketh not an ordinate care of his Welfare, of his Reputation and Maintenance in this Life, and of his future Felicity, his Practice is a Repugnance to the Beauteous-Beneficial, he denieth to himself, what he may not deny to himself, and what cannot be denied to any one of Mankind, without being injurious and unjust towards him.
We should do all things no otherwise, “than as if Justice it self did them”;90 Justice regardeth Things, as they are in themselves without partial Regard to this or that Person. If, upon a true Judgment of Things, another appeareth to deserve any Love of Complacence, Praise and Honour, as much as my-self, Justice saith, he ought to have an equal share of it. If the Temporal and Eternal Concerns of another be equally valuable with mine own, I am not equally (or well) affected, if they be not of impartially-equal Regard with me. So the Good of Two, being twice as much as the Good of One, is to be, ordinarily, so far preferr’d before the Good of One. Justice saith, if an Owner leaveth his Ground uncultivated for many Years, it is fit he should lose it; if any will not Work, neither shall he Eat: But what a Man getteth by his honest Labour and Industry, of Right and Due belongeth to him and is his Property. Such Dictates of Justice introduc’d Dominion and Property amongst Men. For, altho’ there is much of Irregularity and Confusion in Human Affairs, and Power ordinarily prevails against Right; yet it is not to be suppos’d, that Property was introduc’d among Men, merely by Division of the Earth, and by Occupancy (arbitrarious and fortuitous,)91 or merely by positive Law;92 but upon Grounds and Reasons of Justice. When a Dish of Meat is brought to the Table, before it is cut up, and every Man has taken his Share, then what part one hath taken to himself, that is not common to the rest, but is proper to him. But this Property is not merely from Occupancy or Possession, or Division by Consent; it ariseth from this Ground and Reason of Justice; to every Man, that hath not forfeited it, of Right and Due belongeth (altho’ not this or that particular share, yet in general) a share of the Food which the Earth affordeth; and his Occupancy or Seizure of this or that particular Piece of Food at the common Table, is a particular Determination and Limitation of his general Right, and an Inclosure made thereby, which none may invade without Leave. This Similitude is easily applicable to the Original Partition of the Earth, and the Accommodations thereof, and to the introduction of Property; for, antecedently thereto, the Founder of the Earth had made a Donation of it to Mankind; and, when they divided the Earth by Occupancy, (for so they divided it,) this their Occupancy was an Inclosure made by a particular Determination and Limitation of their Rights in general to some Part of the Earth, and some of its Accommodations, for their Place, Food and Raiment; Nor can there be any such Community of Things, wherein every one must not have his peculiar Place and Share of Food and Raiment, distinct and apart from all others. Therefore Natural and Necessary Justice, in a great degree, introduced Property of Goods amongst Men, and made them Owners, who, doubtless, have Right, to transfer their Rights, and to alienate their Property by Donation or by Contract; upon which account, as well as by the Obligation of keeping Faith, Contracts become Settlements of the Rights and Dues of Men usually, they lose and forfeit their Rights and Dues by a change of their Qualifications; for so Men forfeit their Estates and Lives into the Hands of Justice; the due Objects of Favour become worthy of Punitive Displeasure; as on the contrary, he that is an apt and worthy Object of punitive Justice to-day, may be a fit and due Object of Clemency to-morrow. And who does not applaud and honour such Beauteous-Beneficial Practice? Nature constraineth us to love those, in whom Liberality, Beneficence, Justice, Fidelity, and such other Virtues appear; because Bonum Honestum, of it-self, and for its own sake, is pleasing, and by its Beauty, is moving and taking to the Minds of Men.
The good Life and Practice is the social.§X. The Good in Morality, that is the Beauteous-Beneficial Life and Practice, and the just Practice, is, in conjunction therewith, the living socially. The Obligation that is upon rational Beings to this social Life and Practice as such, (to live in Society, and to live the good Life in Society, and to be of a social Disposition and Practice,) may seem to be of mere arbitrary Appointment, because it must be deduc’d from the Creation of the Universe, which was Arbitrary. Yet, notwithstanding this Deduction of it, it must be denominated a natural necessary Obligation; For, altho’ the Creation of the Universe was Arbitrary, yet, supposing this Creation, the rational Beings that were made, were necessarily of Right and by Obligation Gods Subjects and Servants; they were therefore made to be in Society with him, the Citizens of his Kingdom, the Parts of this Whole; and, consequently, they were made for the Whole, to constitute and conserve it, and for the Common Good thereof. Of this Whole the Pagan Theologers mistaken Account of the Universe is an Image and Resemblance. They look’d upon the World as the common City of Gods and Men, and every one as a Part thereof, which naturally and necessarily inferreth, that we ought to prefer the common Utility before our own. So Holy Men live and lay down their Lives for the Interest of the Kingdom of God, which is the truly Noble and Illustrious Whole, and the Interest thereof is the truly noble Common Good, to which all the Parts are to cooperate and be subservient. If they were made to be Parts of this Whole, and to promote the Commonweal thereof, they were necessarily made for the Holy-social (or the God-social) Life and Practice, which chiefly consists in the Holy-social Practice of Love, or the Practice of the Divine Love. The Holy-social Life and Practice is also necessarily the Just Practice towards all in their Social Capacity; the Holy-social Duty to God, (universal Piety, without which there is no living in Society with him;) the Holy-social Duty to our Fellow-Citizens, and to our-selves, who are also Parts of the Whole, whence, by prejudicing our own true Perfection and Felicity, we are injurious to the Whole. To which Holy-social Practice Rational Creatures are oblig’d, not merely by one solitary Obligation, but by innumerable necessary Obligations, from the Nature and Reason of Things, conjoin’d with the necessary Constitution of the Universe. For how innumerable are their Obligations from thence, to be and live in the State of Society with God and his Liege People, as his Servants and Subjects? To Piety, and all the Branches of universal Piety? How many and great Obligations have the regenerate and Divine Family to Unity and Concord, to a special Love and Kindness towards the Fellow-Citizens of the Holy Empire, that are Members of the same Mystical Body, animated by the same Holy Spirit, Children of the same Heavenly Father, so nearly related to him, so highly belov’d by him, and that are Co-heirs of the same Inheritance? How many and how great Obligations are there upon every one of them, not to live only or chiefly for self, but that their Care and Concern be for the Interest of the Whole, and for themselves as Parts of the Whole? The Law of the Kingdom of God, therefore, must be consider’d as the Law of Nature, that is, not of mere arbitrary Appointment; but the whole of it is what is in its own Nature (supposing the Constitution of the Universe) necessarily and immutably Matter of Law, Duty, and Justice. We cannot doubt, but it may be denominated, so far and in such Sense, the Law of Nature.
There is great Analogy and Resemblance between the Human-social and the Holy-social Life and Practice; for, altho’ the World of Mankind is not properly a Polity as the City of God is, yet they are the Aggregate of several Polities, Families, Cities, and Kingdoms, every one of which is an Image of the City of God. The Civil-social Virtue requireth, that the Parts of them be subservient to the Whole, and co-operate to the Good thereof, else their Practice is not the social; nor is their Practice the Human-social, but destructive to Society, if it is not in some sort, the Just Practice towards the Deity. “For it is more possible for a City to subsist without a Foundation, than that a Polity should consist, if the Opinion of the Gods be taken away. If you go about the Earth, you may find Citys without Walls, Letters, Kings, sumptuous Houses, without Riches, Money, Theatres and places of Exercise: Butan Atheous City, a City without a Temple, Prayers, Oaths, Vaticinations, Sacrifices for procuring Good and averting Evil, none ever saw, or will see.”93 The Human-Social Practice is the just Practice towards various special Relations, Sovereign and Subject, Parents and Children, Brethren, Husband and Wife, Master and Servant, (the Nature of which Relations is necessarily a Law to those that live in Society with such Relations,) and in general towards all, that all that are Fellow-Citizens, who could no more support Society, if they refuse and rob one another of their Rights, than an Animate Body could subsist, if the Members did so by one another. In every Polity, therefore, the just Practice, towards Fellow-Citizens in general, is indispensably necessary, as being the only social Practice, which social Practice is not to be confin’d to the particular Polities of Men; for there is no living the Good Life without exercising towards Mankind in general the Beauteous-beneficial Practice, (Innocence, Inoffensiveness, universal Benevolence, Beneficence, Justice and Equity, Mansuetude and Peaceableness, Veracity, Fidelity, C and or and Humanity;) nor without exercising towards them the just Practice; for every Man is a Citizen of this World, hath his Rights and Dues, with respect to the universe of Mankind; and, till he hath made a Forfeiture, it is necessarily his Right and Due to have a place upon Earth, and a portion of its Accommodations, and not to be prejudic’d by any in his Life, Liberty, or other secular Concerns. Mankind, therefore, are related to one another as Fellow-Citizens (tho’ not in the strict Polical Notion) and as Human-Societists, whence they are oblig’d to the human-social Life and Practice towards one another. As every particular Country is a part of the World, which is every Man’s Country, so every particular Man and Nation is a part of this great Nation, (which are all one Kindred, Family and Tribe,) a Part of this Whole, and is for the Whole, to promote its Good, but no farther than it is consistent with, and so as to render it subordinate to, the Interest of a far greater and better Whole.
The Law of Nature Immutable, Eternal, Universal.§XI. The Law of Nature therefore, besides that it is impos’d by a superior Authority, appeareth to be a comprehension of what is, in its own Nature, matter of Law or Obligation, antecedently to that Authority; whence these three honorary Attributes necessarily belong to it, Immutability, Eternity, Universality, which Cicero hath conjoin’d. “All Nations are at all times within the Extent of one Law sempiternal and immutable.”
(1.) In opposition to its Immutability, which is generally acknowledg’d by Philosophers, Lawyers and Divines, some dispute (or rather loosely declaim), “That the Law of Nature can be dispens’d with by Divine Power.”94 But these will have (what none will allow them) an altering the case and a changing the matter, to be a dispensing with the Law. They have alledg’d nothing, that looks like an Argument, save only these few Matrimonial Cases, The dispensing with Polygamy, and permission of Divorces in the Old-Testament, and the dispensing with the Law against the incestuous Marriage of Brother and Sister in the beginning of the World. But these Matrimonial Cases are weak Allegations; for it is not certain, how far they are determin’d by the Law of Nature, and how far they properly belong to positive Law. The Objector himself affirmeth, “Thatthe Marriage of Brother and Sister is unlawful only, because forbidden by positive Law.”95 But the Lawyers say, “Those are incestuous Marriages, which are prohibited by Nature.” And it is more reasonable to suppose, that all the Laws in Scripture against Incest are, not absolutely, but in a degree and measure, greater or lesser, Laws of Nature, or Branches of the Law of Nature, at least the slenderer and remoter Branches thereof: Of which sort is the Law against setting the younger before the first-born, Gen. 29. 26. and 48. 18. Deut. 21. 16, 17. which must be reputed, in some sort, a Branch of the Law of Nature, because the doing otherwise is ordinarily in the Nature of the Thing an Incongruity; yet is not such an Incongruity, but that it may be outweigh’d by a greater Good or Congruity, and in such a Case the Law is not obligatory, or not Law; so the Law, against the Marriage of Brother and Sister must be reputed, in some sort, a Branch of the Law of Nature, because the doing otherwise is ordinarily, in the Nature of the Thing, an Incongruity; yet not such, but that, in the beginning of the World, it was outweigh’d by a greater Good and Congruity, that all Mankind might issue from a common Parent; and, among the Jews also, it was outweigh’d by a greater Good, as in case a Brother died without a Child; and in such a Case the Law was not obligatory, or not Law. The Reasons, why certain degrees of Kindred were forbidden to marry, I suppose may have been the following. Probably, in these Laws some regard was had to the inlarging Friendships in the World, by Alliances. Probably, some regard was had to the bettering the Breed of Mankind; for it is commonly observ’d, that without crossing the Strain (as it is called) the Breed of some Animals is not Good. Parents and Children, (the right ascending and descending Line,) Mothers-in-Law and the Husbands Children, Uncles and Nieces, Aunts and Nephews, cannot marry without some (greater or lesser) violation of a certain Sanctity (greater or lesser), which superior natural Relations have, and of a Religious distance which it requireth, to be observ’d; for as the antient Greeks call’d our Parents Θεονς (Gods), so they call’d our Parents Brethren Θεονς (Divine), as Simplicius upon Epictetus observeth: Probably, another Reason of the Prohibition might be, that, were not the Marriages of so near Relations prohibited, the intercourse and familiarity between them is so great, that Chastity, among them, could not generally be otherwise preserv’d, than by the restraint of that Horrour, which generally attends such Mixtures, which are thereby the most effectually prevented that is possible. And, touching all the prohibited degrees of Kindred, we may affirm, that, for this Reason, they may not marry, because in the Nature of the Thing there is an Incongruity (more or less), which is (more or less) discern’d by common Reason, as the Reasons above-mentioned (and perhaps others which may be assign’d) make appear; and so far as there is such an Incongruity, there is a moral Turpitude in Incest. But this Incongruity ceaseth in case of a greater Good and Congruity, whence there is no difficulty in the case of Cain’s marrying his Sister. And as for the Polygamy and Divorces, that were permitted in the times of the Old-Testament, they were repugnant, indeed, to the primitive Institution of Marriage in Paradise, to which our Saviour has reduc’d us, but seem not to have been contrary to the Light of Nature, or any Law which it revealeth; for it discovers nothing of the Creation of one Man and one Woman only in the beginning of the World, nor their Paradisaical State, nor the establishment of the conjunction of one Male and one Female, in single Wedlock, at the beginning. But, from the permission of Polygamy and Divorces, there is great Reason, to infer the Imperfection of the Institution of Piety in the Old-Testament-Times, and that the famous Ancestors of old Israel, who practised Polygamy, (altho’, in the main, real and spiritual Religionists, yet) were in great Degree secular kind of Pietists; and that God, for increasing their Seed, dispens’d with his own Institution of Marriage: But no just Inference can be made from thence, that the Law of Nature can be dispens’d with by Divine Power.
(2.) The Eternal Law is of various acceptation. The Pagan Theologers call Themis the Eternal Law,96 where by they mean the universal Law prescrib’d to the World and unintelligent Nature, which observeth a settled Law and Order. In the School of the Stoicks there is a two-fold Eternal Law,97 the one merely providential, (as when they say, omnia aeternae legis imperio fieri, all things are by Law, Fate, or providential Decree;) the other moral and preceptive, called by Cicero sempiterna Lex, which is the eternal Mind or right Reason of Jove, consider’d as commanding some things to be done, and prohibiting others.98 This two-fold Eternal Law of the Stoicks conjoin’d into one, is the Eternal Law of the Schools; for their Eternal Law is, “Ratio gubernativa totius Universi in mente divina existens,”99 Reason existing in the Divine Mind as governing the whole Universe. The Stoicks look’d upon their morally-Preceptive Eternal Law as the Law of Nature, and, therefore, look’d upon the Mind and right Reason of Jove (commanding and forbidding) as the primary and original Law of Nature, the Mind and right Reason of Man commanding and forbidding (a derivative from the eternal Mind of Jove) they look’d upon as the secondary and derivative Law of Nature. So Cicero, agreeably to their sense, saith, “Lex nihil aliud est nisi recta & a numine Deorum tracta Ratio, imperans honesta, prohibensque contraria”;100 Law is nothing else but right Reason, deriv’d from the Gods, commanding things virtuous, and forbidding the contrary. So the Schools say, “Lex naturalis est quaedam participatio legis aeternae in rationali creatura,”101 The Law of Nature is a certain Participation of Law Eternal in a rational Creature. Right Reason is represented as the Law of Nature constitutively; and this Law is suppos’d to exist from Eternity: But, as we do not acknowledge, that right Reason is in such sense Law, so neither do we suppose, that the Law of Nature is in such sense denominated the Eternal Law: But it is so denominated, in the same sense that necessary Propositions are denominated Eternal Truths. And they are so denominated, not to signify, that such Propositions existed from Eternity, and had a Truth from Eternity as so existing; or that the Truth of the Thing, which they express, mentally or really existed from Eternity: But the sense is, that, supposing those Propositions to exist, which cannot but be Truths (necessary Truths), they are Truths of eternal Necessity. They are Eternal Truths, not as being Truths which cannot but exist, (as some say, that they necessarily exist in an eternal Mind,) but as being Truths, which cannot but be Truths, there is an eternal Necessity of their being Truths. As these Verities, Eternal Truths, are of eternal immutable Necessity, and there is an impossibility of their being otherwise: So the Laws of Nature are Eternal Laws, as being of eternal immutable Necessity, and it cannot be, but they must be the things that are the just, the right and the good. In such sense they are Laws that had no beginning, but always were, according to the saying of Antigone in Sophocles, who having buried her Brother Polynice, and being accus’d of doing it against the Laws, she made answer, that, altho’ she had offended against the Laws of Creon, yet she had committed no Offence against the unwritten Law, which is not of late or yesterday’s standing, but always was. “These are not matters of to-day or yesterday, but they ever live, and none knoweth their Date, or from whence they came.”102
(3.) A third honorary Attribute of the Law of Nature is the Universality of it, and that in several respects. In respect of the Universe of Mankind, it is the Law universal. The Matters of it are call’d by the Greek Writers κοινα των α’νθρώπων δίκαια. “the common Rights of all Men.”103 And the Lawyers say, “All People that are governed by Laws, have a proper civil Law of their own, and the common Law of all Men besides.”104 So Aristotle saith, “I distribute Law into that which is proper, and that which is common; for there is that which all Men suppose a common Just and Unjust, which is by Nature such, and is immutable.”105
But the Law of Nature is not only universal in respect of the Universe of Mankind, but in respect of the vast Universe of rational Creatures. Agreeably whereto Empedocles sang of natural Justice; “It is extendedthrough the vast Aether, and the infinite Regions of Light.”106Celsus having said from Pindar, “that Law is the King of all,” Origen answereth, that, if he meaneth the Law of Cities, this is false; for all are not under the Rule of that Law; but Christians acknowledge a Law, “that is by Nature King of all,” “The true Law (saith Cicero) is right Reason, congruous to Nature, diffus’d into all, constant, sempiternal, which calleth to Duty by commanding, and by forbidding deterreth from Villany.” If right Reason is the Law of Nature (as declaratively it is;) or, if the Law of Nature “is the Force of the Intellect, whereby we discern those things that are in themselves good, from those that are in themselves evil”;107 or, if it is Lex vera impressa mentibus, a Law impress’d upon intelligent Minds; it cannot be a Law wholly appropriate and peculiar to the Universe of Mankind, but is necessarily the Law of the vast Universe of Men and Angels. So in the School of the Stoicks the Law of Nature is, “The Law of the Universe, one Law the common Reason of all intelligent Beings, the Reason and Law of the most antient City and Polity.”108 For they argue, “That Reason, which prescribeth what is to be done, and not to be done, is common to us all; if that, then Law; if so, then are we Fellow-Citizens, and the World is as a City.”109 So Cicero argueth, “They that have Reason in common, have right Reason in common, which is a Law; therefore Men are thus consociated with the Gods, they are of one common Law, and consequently they are of the same City or Polity.”110 But supposing, right Reason to be Law, that all rational Beings have something of it, and, consequently, that they have something of one Law; yet they have not one Law, as Citizens of the same City; for rational Beings are not Fellow-Citizens, and of the same Society as Rationals, but as a special kind of Rationals, (as Salts that associate are those of the same kind), divine, diabolical, or human.
The Law of Nature, therefore, is the Comprehension of what is in its own Nature Matter of Obligation, and ought to be, abstracted from the preceding Authority of Command of the subsequent Sanctions of Rewards and Punishments.
The Promulgation of the Law of Nature.
The Law of Nature, with respect to its Promulgation, is the Comprehension of our natural Notices of what is Law. The divine moral Law is thus far the Law of Nature, it is the Comprehension of what is in its own Nature Matter of Law, and this is the Law that is notic’d by the Light of Nature, yet it may not be called the Law of Nature without Distinction and Limitation of Sense. For the Law of Nature, according to its true and usual Definition, is this moral Law, only as it is notic’d by natural Light; so that the Law of Nature, considered with respect to the Promulgation of it, must be defined, The Comprehension of our natural Notices of what is Law. These natural Notices are of two sorts, (so that the Law of Nature is of a two-fold Notion, as in respect of the Obligation of it, so in respect of the Promulgation of it;) for some of them have only the Verity of natural Notices, others have not only the Verity, but the Notoreity of natural Notices, which, therefore, have a greater Promulgation. By Nature here I understand Mundane Nature, or the natural Constitution of the World, especially of our-selves, which, in the first place, noticeth the Being of God, whose Existence is Law.
Our natural Notices of what is Law, are from the Existence of God notic’d by Nature.§1. Mundane Nature (that Comprehension of the Works of the Creation) clearly noticeth to Mankind the Existence of God, which is written in this great Book, or Volume of the World, in Capital Letters, to be seen and read of all Men. “For the invisible things of him, from the Creation of the World, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal Power and Godhead,” Rom. i. 20. “There is no Speech nor Language where their Voice” (the Voice of the Heavens and the Heavenly Bodies) “is not heard : Their Line” (or loud Voice rather) “is gone out thro’ all the Earth, and their Words to the End of the World,” Psal. xix. 3, 4. If we ask, whence it is, and whose doing it is, that there is such an admirable System as our Eyes behold, with all the Excellencies and Conveniences, the Parts, Furniture, and Inhabitants thereof? In answer thereto universal Nature proclaimeth, the great God formed allthings. Such is the Origination of things in Theism, where with Atheism thus far agreeth, they both suppose, That a thing cannot be made by itself, (for then it must be existent before it is existent;) that it is impossible that all things should be made; that if at any time there was nothing, there never could have been any thing, (for something cannot come from nothing;) that something was, from Eternity, unmade, increate, self-existent, and absolutely independent. Thus far there is no Disagreement between the Atheists and the Theists (or Religionists;) the only Matter in Debate, is, whether this acknowledg’d eternal Something (which is necessarily in create, necessarily existent, and absolutely independent) is such an eternal Something as the Religionists God or whether it be only universal Matter, or the material World, as the Atheists suppose.
Matter is not the self-existent Being.Matter cannot be the self-existent Being. The self-existent Being, having the Reason of its Existence within it-self, and in its own Nature, as it has existed always, so it exists every-where, always and invariably the same; its Necessity, being absolute, is uniform, with respect to all Time and all Place, absolute Necessity being every-where and always alike, admitting of no Change, no Variety; the Properties of such a Being, being as necessary as the Being it-self, to which they belong; which is, therefore, incapable of suffering any Change. But universal Matter, or the material Universe, is not such a Being. For, 1. If Matter were the self-existent Being, it must, according to the foregoing Reasoning, exist every-where, and a Vacuum, with respect to it, would be impossible; but if there be no Vacuum, how is it possible that there should be any Motion? or, whence arises the different specifick Gravities of Bodies? or how could Bodies be rarify’d and condens’d? or, how could the Parts of it be actually separated from one another? All motion is rectilinear, till its Determination be chang’d; but, upon the supposition of a Plenum, in case of any Motion, the Protrusion, and consequently the Resistance, would be infinite. The Motion of the Planets and Comets prove a Vacuum. “Against filling the Heavens with fluid Mediums, unless they be exceeding rare, a great Objection arises from the regular and very lasting Motions of the Planets and Comets in all manner of Courses through the Heavens. For thence it is manifest, that the Heavens are void of all sensible Resistance, and by consequence of all sensible Matter.
“For the resisting Power of fluid Mediums arises partly from the Attrition of the Parts of the Medium, and partly from the Vis inertiae of the Matter.1 That part of the Resistance of a spherical Body which arises from the Attrition of the Parts of the Medium is very nearly as the Diameter, or at the most, as the Factum of the Diameter, and the Velocity of the spherical Body together. And that part of the Resistance which arises from the Vis inertiae of the Matter, is as the Square of that Factum. And by this difference the two sorts of Resistance may be distinguish’d from one another in any Medium; and these being distinguish’d, it will be found that almost all the Resistance of Bodies of a competent Magnitude moving in Air, Water, Quick-silver, and such like Fluids, with a competent Velocity, arises from the Vis inertiae of the Parts of the Fluid.”
“Now that part of the resisting Power of any Medium which arises from the Tenacity, Friction or Attrition of the Parts of the Medium, may be diminish’d by dividing the Matter into smaller Parts, and making the Parts more smooth and slippery: But that part of the Resistance which arises from the Vis inertiae, is proportional to the Density of the Matter, and cannot be diminish’d by dividing the Matter into smaller Parts, nor by any other means than by decreasing the Density of the Mediums. And for these Reasons the Density of fluid Mediums is very nearly proportional to their Resistance. Liquors which differ not much in Density, as Water, Spirit of Wine, Spirit of Turpentine, hot Oil, differ not much in Resistance. Water is thirteen or fourteen times lighter than Quick-silver, and by consequence thirteen or fourteen times rarer, and its Resistance is less than that of Quick-silver in the same Proportion, or there abouts, as I have found by Experiments made with Pendulums. The open Air, in which we breathe, is eight or nine hundred times lighter than Water, and by consequences eight or nine hundred times rarer, and accordingly its Resistance is less than that of Water in the same Proportion, or there abouts; as I have also found by Experiments made with Pendulums. And in thinner Air the Resistance is still less, and at length, by rarifying the Air, becomes insensible. For small Feathers falling in the open Air meet with great Resistance, but in a tall Glass well emptied of Air, they fall as fast as Lead or Gold, as I have seen tried several times. Whence the Resistance seems still to decrease in proportion to the Density of the Fluid. For I do not find by any Experiments, that Bodies moving in Quick-silver, Water or Air, meet with any other sensible Resistance than what arises from the Density and Tenacity of those sensible Fluids, as they would do, if the Pores of those Fluids, and all other Spaces, were filled with a dense and subtile Fluid. Now if the Resistance in a Vessel well emptied of Air, was but an hundred times less than in the open Air, it would be about a million of times less than in the Quicksilver. But it seems to be much less in such a Vessel, and still much less in the Heavens, at the height of three or four hundred Miles from the Earth, or above. For Mr. Boyle has shew’d that Air may be rarefied above ten thousand times in Vessels of Glass; and the Heavens are much emptier of Air than any Vacuum we can make below. For since the Air is compress’d by the weight of the incumbent Atmosphere, and the density of Air is proportional to the Force compressing it, it follows by Computation, that at the height of about seven English Miles from the Earth, the Air is four times rarer than at the Surface of the Earth; and at the height of 14 Miles, it is sixteen times rarer than that at the Surface of the Earth; and at the height of 21, 28, or 35 Miles, it is respectively 64, 256, or 1024 times rarer, or thereabouts; and at the height of 70, 140, 210 Miles, it is about 1000000, 1000000000000 or 1000000000000000000 times rarer; and so on.”
“Heat promotes Fluidity very much, by diminishing the Tenacity of Bodies. It makes many Bodies fluid which are not fluid in cold, and increases the Fluidity of tenacious Liquids, as of Oil, Balsam and Honey, and thereby decreases their Resistance. But it decreases not the Resistance of Water considerably, as it would do, if any considerable part of the Resistance of Water arose from the Attrition or Tenacity of its Parts. And therefore the Resistance of Water arises principally, and almost intirely, from the Vis inertiae of its Matter; and by consequence, if the Heavens were as dense as Water, they would not have much less Resistance than Water; if perfectly dense, or full of Matter without any Vacuum, let the Matter be never so subtile and fluid, they would have a greater Resistance than Quick-silver. A solid Globe in such a Medium would lose above half its Motion in moving three times the length of its Diameter, and a Globe not solid (such as are the Planets) would be retarded sooner. And therefore to make way for the regular and lasting Motions of the Planets and Comets, ’tis necessary to empty the Heavens of all Matter, except perhaps some very thin Vapours, Steams or Effluvia, arising from the Atmospheres of the Earth, Planets and Comets, and from such an exceedingly rare Aethereal Medium as we described above. A dense Fluid can be of no use for explaining the Phaenomena of Nature, the Motions of the Planets and Comets being better explain’d without it. It serves only to disturb and retard the Motions of those great Bodies, and make the Frame of Nature languish: And in the Pores of Bodies, it serves only to stop the vibrating Motions of their Parts, wherein their Heat and Activity consists. And as it is of no use, and hinders the Operations of Nature, and makes her languish, so there is no evidence for its Existence, and therefore it ought to be rejected.” Newt. Opt. Eng. Edit. 2d. p. 339, & seq.2
As to Rarefaction or Condensation and the different specifick Gravities of Bodies, the same Author reasons thus in his Principles, drawing these Corollaries from L. 3. Prop. 6. Corol. 1.3 “Hence the Weights of Bodies do not depend upon their Forms and Textures. For, if they could be varied with their Forms, they would be greater or less, according to the difference of Forms, in an equal Quantity of Matter; which is altogether contrary to Experience. Corol. 2. All Bodies about the Earth gravitate towards the Earth, and the Weights of all Bodies, which are equally distant from the Earth’s Center, are as the Quantities of Matter in their Bodies: This is the Quality of all Bodies, upon which we can make Experiments, and, therefore, by Rule the third, is to be affirm’d of all Bodies whatsoever. If the Aether, or any other Body whatsoever, were altogether destitute of Gravity, or did gravitate less, than in proportion to the quantity of its Matter: Because (according to the opinion of Aristotle, Des Cartes, and others) it differs from other Bodies, only in the Form of the Matter, the same Body might, by the change of its Form, gradually be converted into a Body of the same constitution with those, which gravitate most in proportion to the Quantity of Matter; and, on the contrary, the most heavy Bodies might gradually lose their Gravity, by gradually changing their Form. And, therefore, the Weights would depend upon the Forms of Bodies, and might be chang’d with them, contrary to what is prov’d in the foregoing Corollary. Corol. 3. All spaces are not equally full. For, if all spaces were equally full, the specifick Gravity of that Fluid, with which the Region of the Air would, in that case, be fill’d, upon account of the most perfect Density of the Matter, would not be less than the specifick Gravity of Quick-silver, or Gold, or any other the most dense Body; and, therefore, neither Gold, nor any other Body whatever, could descend in the Air: For Bodies specifically lighter do not at all descend in Fluids. But, if the Quantity of Matter in any given space, might be diminished by any Rarefaction whatever, what hinders, but that it might be diminish’d infinitely? Corol. 4. If all the solid Particles of all Bodies are equally dense, nor can be rarefied without Pores, there is a Vacuum. I call those Bodies equally dense, whose Powers of Inactivity (Vires inertiae) are as their Magnitudes.” Fourthly, if there can be no Vacuum, I cannot see how any Part of Matter could be divided from that which is next adjoining, any more than it is possible, actually to divide the Parts of absolute Space from one another, which in the Continuum were at no distance from one another, one beginning where the other ended; but such separating the Parts of Matter must infer Vacuities between. As for the Figures of the Parts of Bodies, upon the supposition of a Plenum, their Surfaces must be, either all Rectilinear, or Concavo-Convex, the Concavities of the one exactly fitting the Convexities of the other, otherwise they could not adequately fill Space: But that all Bodies are so figur’d, we do not find true in Fact. Lastly, the denying a Vacuum supposes what is impossible for any one to prove to be true, That the Material World has no Limits. Thus we see, that Matter is not infinite or commensurate with Space, as it must be, if it were the self-existent or a necessarily existing Being; in which case it must be both Uniform and Invariable, as well with respect to its Modes and Properties, as to its Substance; and, consequently, it must be a Contradiction to suppose, that it ever did, or could, exist in any other manner, than that, in which we see it now to exist. But we know, that it has undergone and continues to undergo perpetual Changes and Alterations in all its Parts that we are acquainted with. We plainly perceive, that it is no Contradiction or Absurdity, to suppose, that the World were in some respects otherwise than it is; that the kinds of Animals or Plants, &c. were more or fewer than they are, and that there were more or fewer Individuals of any Kind than there now are; that there were a greater or less Quantity of Motion in the World than there is, and the like. If the material World existed necessarily, it were impossible for it to exist in any respect otherwise than it does; but we can easily conceive it existing otherwise, which we could not do, if it were impossible for it to exist otherwise, for we cannot conceive Impossibilities. As for Uniformity, which is necessarily connected with Necessity of Existence, we see no such thing in Matter, but the reverse. Farther; necessary Existence, which is itself the greatest Perfection, does in itself include all possible Perfections; otherwise, there might be some Perfection in a dependent Being, which an Independent Being might want; which to suppose, were absurd. But how can that Being have all Perfections, which has no Power, and is perfectly Passive, as is the case of Matter, which always continues in that state of Rest or Motion, in which it is once plac’d, till it receives some external Impression? The self-existent Being must actually have all possible Perfections. Whatever Perfections Matter may have, it seems not to be sensible, that it has any. Understanding is certainly a Perfection, which therefore, surely, Matter must have, if Matter were self-existent; and, consequently, all Matter would be Intelligent, which is so far from being true, that no Matter is Intelligent, or can Think.4
If there be no God, all is Mechanical; but all is not Mechanical, therefore there is a God.§2. If there be no God, every thing in the World is Mechanical, according to the Laws of Mechanism, of Matter and Motion. But every thing is notMechanical; therefore there is a God. The Minor in this Syllogism, which I think is all in it that can be controverted, is thus prov’d.
1. Motion must have had a Beginning, which could not be mechanical.First; there must be a First Mover, and, therefore, a Beginning of Motion, which could not be Mechanical. If Motion be Essential to Matter, it must be a Contradiction to suppose Matter or any part of it, at Rest, equally as to suppose it Indivisible, Unextended, or Penetrable. But it is no Contradiction to suppose Matter, or any part of it, at Rest; therefore Motion is not Essential to Matter. We can form an Idea of Matter at Rest, but we can form no Ideas of Contradictions or Impossibilities—If Motion be necessary to Matter in the Nature of the Thing, this Necessity must be Uniform and act Uniformly, in all Matter, absolute Necessity being always and every where the same. Now this Motion cannot be suppos’d to have any particular determination to move any one way, rather than the contrary, for what shall determine it, to move one way rather than another? But every Motion must have a particular Determination; for an equal Tendency to move every way, is being at Rest. If Matter move necessarily, it must move necessarily with some particular Direction, because without a Direction it cannot move at all, and then that necessary Direction must be unchangeable, as also its Velocity, both which are contrary to all Experience. If Motion be Essential to Matter, then all Matter must have the same Direction, or each independent Part must have a particular and independent Direction of its own, each of which is contrary to Experience. If Matter be the self-existent Being, it must exist in every point of Space, and then whither could it move; or how would the Motions of the different and even contrary Determinations be practicable?
2. Gravity is not Mechanical.Secondly; Gravity is not Mechanical, but must be owing to the actual incessant Concurrence of an Immaterial Being. It is not the Matter of the Sun, that causes the Earth to gravitate towards it; because nothing can act, but where it is. Whatever it is, that is the immediate Cause of Gravity, it is something that acts as freely, and as powerfully upon the central parts of all the solid Substances we know, as upon the superficial; for the interior parts of a solid Globe of Gold gravitate as much as the exterior, nor will beating it out into a thin Plate encrease its Gravity at all, which it must necessarily do, if the immediate Cause of Gravity did not act as strongly upon the inward as the outward Parts of the Gold, which is not easily conceivable, if that Cause were a material Fluid, how subtile soever; but, supposing it, as some do, an extremely subtile elastick Fluid, surrounding all gross Bodies, increasing in its Density directly as the Squares of the Distances increase, whose Parts, endeavouring to re-cede from one another, impell neighbouring Bodies to move that way, where they find the least Resistance, that is, towards the great and gross Collections of Matter, such as the Sun, Stars and Planets, in the neighbourhood of which this subtile elastick Fluid is more rare, and consequently less active; what supports the Tortoise, and causes the Parts of this elastick Fluid to recede from one another, and is the Cause of that their Motion mutually Receding from one another? Nothing mechanical, certainly, can be the beginning of this, more than of any other Motion.
“This Gravitating Power acts upon Bodies equally, when they are in the most violent Motion, and when they are at Rest; as the Celerity of Descending Bodies with us, and Celerity of the Comets in the Heavens, Geometrically computed, do particularly shew. Now this is absolutely impossible; that any Mechanical Pressure or Impulse from a Body, let its Motion be never so swift, or its Pressure never so strong, should equally accelerate another Body, when at Rest, and when in Motion; it being a known Law of Mechanism, that a Body in Motion impells another at Rest, with its whole Force; but one in Motion, which it over-takes, with only the excess of its own Velocity above the others; as is most obvious also on the least Reflexion.” Whiston’s Astronomical Principles, p. 45.5
3. Nor the Cohesion of Matter.Thirdly; The Cause of the Cohesion of the Particles of Matter is also Immechanical. It cannot be a Material Vinculum, which connects them; for then the Question recurs, What keeps the Parts of the Vinculum together? And the Pressure of a circumambient Fluid will by no means salve the Phaenomenon.
4. Nor Elasticity.Fourthly; That Power, by which some Particles of Matter, Air for Instance, mutually repell one another, which is the Cause of Elasticity, is also as Immechanical, as that Power, by which all Particles of Matter mutually tend toward one another.
5. The Frame of the Solar System is not Mechanical.Fifthly; The Frame of the solar System is not Mechanical. See Fig. IV.
“The Comets, by reason of their great Number, and great Distance of their Aphelia from the Sun, where they are long detain’d, must needs be somewhat disturb’d by their mutual Gravitations towards one another, and have their Eccentricities and times of their Revolutions, sometimes a little encreas’d, sometimes diminish’d. Whence it is not to be expected, that the same Comet should revolve exactly in the same Orbit, and in the same periodical Times. It is sufficient, if there do not happen greater Changes, than what may arise from the Causes aforesaid.6
“And hence a Reason is assign’d, why the Comets are not comprehended in the Zodiack, as the Planets are; but deviate therefrom, and are carried by various Motions towards all Parts of the Heavens. And that for this End, that, in their Aphelia, where they move most slowly, they might be mutually at the greatest Distance, and their mutual Attraction might be the weakest. For which reason the Comets, which descend the lowest, and therefore move slowest in their Aphelia, ought to ascend the highest.
“The Comet, which appear’d in 1680, in its Perihelion was not a sixth part of the Sun’s Diameter distant from the Sun; and, upon account of that near Approach to the Sun, and some Density of the Sun’s Atmosphere, it must meet with some sensible Resistance, and be somewhat retarded, and approach nearer to the Sun; and, by continually making nearer Approaches every Revolution, it will at last fall down to the Body of the Sun. And also in its Aphelion, where it moves slowest, it may sometimes be retarded by the Attraction of other Comets, and for that reason fall into the Sun. Thus the fix’d Stars, which gradually decrease by the emission of Light and Vapours, may be recruited by Comets falling into them, and their Fires being repair’d by the addition of new Fuel, by means thereof they may blaze out afresh, and so pass for new Stars. Such kind of fix’d Stars then are those, which appear suddenly and all at once with a very great Brightness, but afterwards by degrees disappear. But those fix’d Stars, which appear and disappear periodically, and whose Increase of Light is gradual, but seldom or never exceeding that of the Stars of the third Magnitude, seem to be of a different kind, and, by revolving upon their own Axes, to turn toward us, periodically, a bright and a dark side. Those Vapours, which proceed from the Sun and fix’d Stars and Tails of Comets, may fall, by their Gravity, upon the Atmospheres of the Planets, and be there condens’d, and converted into Water and moist Spirits, and may afterwards pass gradually by a gentle Heat into Salts, and Sulphurs, and Tinctures, and Mud, and Clay, and Potters Earth, and Sand, and Stones, and Corals, and other terrestrial Substances.
“The Hypothesis of Vortices is press’d with many Difficulties. That each Planet, with a Radius drawn to the Sun, may describe Areas proportional to the Times, the Periodical Times of the Parts of the Vortex ought to be in a Duplicate Proportion of their Distances from the Sun. That the Periodical Times of the Planets may be in a sesquiplicate Proportion of their Distances from the Sun, the Periodical Times of the Parts of the Vortex ought to be in the same Proportion of their Distances. That the lesser Vortices, which roll round Jupiter, Saturn, and the other Planets, may be preserv’d, and swim undisturb’d in the Vortex of the Sun, the Periodical Times of the Parts of the solar Vortex should be equal. The Revolution of the Sun and Planets upon their Axes, which ought to agree with the Motions of the Vortex, differ from all these Proportions. The Motions of the Comets are exactly regular, and observe the same Laws with the Motions of the Planets, and cannot be explain’d by Vortices. The Comets are carried by Motions very Eccentrical toward all Parts of the Heavens, which, upon the supposition of Vortices, is impossible.
“Projected Bodies, in our Air, meet with no Resistance but that of the Air. The Air being taken away, as it is in Mr. Boyle’s Air-Pump, the Resistance ceases, seeing soft Down and solid Gold fall, in such a Vacuum, with equal Velocity; and the case is the same in those Celestial Spaces above the Earth’s Atmosphere. All Bodies ought to be mov’d most freely in those Spaces, and, therefore, the Planets and Comets ought perpetually to be revolv’d according to the Laws already explain’d, in Orbs, such in Kind and Position, as we have suppos’d. They will, indeed, be retain’d in their Orbits by the Laws of Gravity; but they could by no means acquire such a regular position of their Orbs by those Laws.
“The six Primary Planets revolve round the Sun in Circles concentrical to the Sun, with the same Direction of their Motion, and, very nearly, in the same Plain. The ten Moons (or secondary Planets) revolve round the Earth, Jupiter and Saturn, with the same Direction of their Motion, and very nearly in the plain of the Orbs of the Planets. And all these regular Motions have not their rise from Mechanical Causes, seeing the Comets are carried in Orbs very Eccentrical, and that very free lythro’ all parts of the Heavens. By which kind of Motion the Comets pass very swiftly and easily thro’ the Orbs of the Planets, and in their Aphelia, when they move more slowly and are longer detain’d, they are the most remotely distant from one another, and their mutual Attraction by much the weakest. This most elegant System of the Planets and Comets could not be produced, but by and under the Contrivance and Dominion of an Intelligent and Powerful Being. And, if the fix’d Stars are the Centers of such other Systems, all these, being fram’d by the like Counsel, will be subject to the Dominion of One; especially seeing the Light of the fix’d Stars is of the same Nature with that of the Sun, and the Light of all these Systems passes mutually from one to another. And He has placed the Systems of the fix’d Stars at immense Distances from one another, lest they should mutually rush upon one another by their Gravity.
“He governs all Things, not as The Soul of the World, but as The Lord of the Universe; and, because of his Dominion, he is wont to be called (παντοκράτωρ) Universal Emperor. For God is a Relative Word, and hath a Relation to Servants; and the Deity is the Empire of God, not over his own Body, as is the opinion of those who make him the Soul of the World, but over his Servants. The Supreme God is a Being Eternal, Infinite, absolutely Perfect; but a Being, however Perfect, without Dominion, is not Lord God. For we say, My God, your God, the God of Israel, God of Gods, and Lord of Lords; but we do not say, My Eternal, your Eternal, the Eternal of Israel, the Eternal of Gods; we do not say, My Infinite, or my Perfect. These Titles have no Relation to Servants. The Word [God] frequently signifies Lord,7 but every Lord is not God. The Empire of a Spiritual Being constitutes God; true Empire constitutes the true God; Supreme, the Supreme; Feigned, the Feigned. And, from his true Empire, it follows, That the true God is Living, Intelligent, and Powerful; from his other Perfections, that he is the Supreme, or supremely Perfect. He is Eternal and Infinite, Omnipotent and Omniscient, that is, he endures from Eternity to Eternity, and he is present from Infinity to Infinity; he governs all Things, and knows all Things, which are done, or which can be done. He is not Eternity and Infinity, but he is Eternal and Infinite; he is not Duration and Space, but he endures and is present. He endures alwaies, and is present every where; and, by existing alwaies and every where, he constitutes Duration and Space, Eternity and Infinity. Whereas every Particle of Space is Alwaies, and every indivisible Moment of Duration is Every Where, certainly the Framer and Lord of the Universe shall not be [nunquam, nusquam] Never, No Where. Every sensible Mind is, at different Times and in the different Organs of its Sense and Motions, but one and the same individual Person. There are successive Parts in Duration, and co-existent Parts in Space; neither of these are compatible to the Person of Man or to the Thinking Principle in him; much less can they be ascrib’d to the intelligent Substance of God. Every Man, as a sensitive Being, is one and the same Man, during his whole Life, in all and each of the Organs of his Senses. God is one and the same God alwaies and every where. He is Omnipotent, not Virtually only, but also Substantially, for Power, without Substance, cannot subsist. In him are contain’d and mov’d all Things, but without being mutually affected. God is not at all affected by the Motions of Bodies; nor do they suffer any Resistance from the Omnipresence of God. It is confess’d, That the Supreme God exists Necessarily, and by the same Necessity he exists Alwaies and Every Where. Whence he is all similar, all Eye, all Ear, all Brain, all Arm, all the Power of Perceiving, Understanding, and Acting; but after a manner not at all corporeal, after a manner not like that of Men, after a manner wholly to us unknown. As a blind Man has no Notion of Colours, so neither have we any Notion of the Waies, by which the most Wise God perceives and understands all Things. He is wholly destitute of all Body, and of all bodily Shape; and, therefore, cannot be seen, heard, nor touch’d; nor ought he to be worshipp’d under the representation of any thing corporeal. We have Ideas of his Attributes, but we know not at all what is the Substance of any thing whatever. We see only the Figures and Colours of Bodies, we hear only their Sounds, we touch only their outward Surfaces, we smell their Odours, and taste their Savours; but we know not by any Sense, or reflex Act, their inward Substances; and much less have we any Notion of the Substance of God. We know him, only by his Properties and Attributes, and by the most wise and excellent Structure of Things, and by Final Causes; but we adore and worship him upon account of his Dominion. For we worship him, as his Servants; and God, without Dominion, Providence and Final Causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. There arises no Variety in Things, from blind Metaphysical Necessity, which is always and every where the same. All Diversity, in the Creatures, could arise only from the Ideas and Will of a necessarily-existent Being. We speak, however, allegorically, when we say, That God sees, hears, speaks, laughs, loves, hates, despises, gives, receives, rejoices, is angry, fights, fabricates, builds, composes. For all Speech concerning God, is borrowed, by Analogy or some Resemblance, from Human Affairs, not a perfect Resemblance indeed, of some sort however. And so much concerning God, of whom to discourse from Phaenomena, belongs to Experimental Philosophy.
“Hitherto I have explain’d the Phaenomena of the Heavens and of our Sea by the Power of Gravity, but I have not at all assign’d the Cause of Gravity. This Power, however, arises from some Cause, which penetrates even to the Centers of the Sun and Planets, without any Diminution of its Force, and which acts not in proportion to the Quantity ofthe Surfaces of the Particles upon which it acts, (as Mechanical Causes use to do,) but according to the Quantity of solid Matter; and whose Action is every way extended to immense Distances, decreasing always in a Duplicate Proportion of those Distances. Gravity towards the Sun, is compos’d of the Gravities towards each Particle of the Sun, and decreases from the Sun-ward, accurately in a Duplicate Proportion of those Distances, as far as the Orb of Saturn, as is evident from the Rest of the Aphelia of the Planets; and as far as the remotest Aphelia of the Comets, if their Aphelia also rest. But I have not yet been able to deduce the Reason of these Properties of Gravity from Phaenomena, and I do not form Hypotheses. For whatever is not deduced from Appearances, is to be term’d an Hypothesis; and Hypotheses, whether Metaphysical, or Physical, or of occult Qualities, or Mechanical, have no place in Experimental Philosophy. In this Philosophy Propositions are deduced from Appearances, and render’d General by Induction. So the Impenetrability, Mobility, and the Force of Bodies, and the Laws of Motion and of Gravity have become known: And it is enough, that Gravity really exists, and acts according to the Laws explain’d by us, and suffices for all the Motions of the Heavenly Bodies, and of our Sea.” Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia. Ed. 3. p. 525, &c.
“For rejecting a dense Aethereal Fluid, we have the Authority of the oldest and most celebrated Philosophers of Greece and Phoenicia, who made a Vacuum and Atoms, and the Gravity of Atoms, the first Principles of their Philosophy; tacitly attributing Gravity to some other Cause than dense Matter.8 Later Philosophers banish the consideration of such a Cause out of Natural Philosophy, feigning Hypotheses for explaining all things mechanically, and referring other Causes to Metaphysicks: Whereas the main business of Natural Philosophy is, to argue from Phaenomena without feigning Hypotheses, and to deduce Causes from Effects, till we come to the very first Cause, which certainly is not Mechanical; and not only to unfold the Mechanism of the World, but chiefly to resolve these and such-like Questions.
“What is there in Places almost empty of Matter; and whence is it, that the Sun and Planets gravitate towards one another, without dense Matter between them? Whence is it, that Nature doth nothing in vain; and whence arises all that Order and Beauty, which we see in the World? To what End are the Comets, and whence is it, that Planets move all one and the same way in Orbs concentrick, while Comets move all manner of ways in Orbs very eccentrick, and what hinders the fix’d Stars from falling upon one another? How came the Bodies of Animals to be contriv’d with so much Art, and for what End were their several Parts? Was the Eye contriv’d without Skill in Opticks, and the Ear without Knowledge of Sounds? How, do the Motions of the Body follow from the Will, and whence is the Instinct of Animals?9 Is not the Sensory of Animals that Place, to which the sensitive Substance is present, and into which the sensible Species of Things are carried through the Nerves and Brain, that there they may be perceiv’d by their immediate presence to that Substance? And these things being rightly dispatch’d, does it not appear from Phaenomena, That there is a Being, incorporeal, living, intelligent, omnipresent, who, in infinite Space, as it were in his Sensory, sees the Things themselves intimately, and thoroughly perceives them, and comprehends them wholly by their immediate presence to himself: of which Things the Images only, carried through the Organs of Sense into our little Sensoriums, are there seen and beheld by that which in us perceives and thinks. And, tho’ every true Step made in this Philosophy brings us not immediately to the Knowledge of the First Cause, yet it brings us nearer to it, and on that account is to be highly valued.” Sir Isaac Newton’s Opticks.” Ed. 3. p. 343, 4, 5.
“When Spirit of Vitriol poured upon common Salt or Salt-petre makes an Ebullition with the Salt and unites with it, and in Distillation the Spirits of the common Salt or Salt-petre comes over much easier than it would do before, and the acid part of the Spirit of Vitriol stays behind; does not this argue, that the Alcaly of the fix’d Salt attracts the acid Spirit of the Vitriol more strongly than its own Spirit, and not being able to hold them both, lets go its own? And when Oil of Vitriol is drawn off from its weight of Nitre, and from both the Ingredients a compound Spirit of Nitre is distilled, and two parts of this Spirit are poured on one part of Oil of Cloves or Caraway Seeds, or of any ponderous Oil of vegetable or animal Substances, or Oil of Turpentine thicken’d with a little Balsam of Sulphur, and the Liquors grow so very hot in mixing, as presently to send up a burning Flame: Does not this very great and sudden Heat argue, that the two Liquors mix, run towards one another with an accelerated Motion, and clash with the greatest Force? And is it not for the same reason, that rectified Spirit of Wine poured on the same compound Spirit flashes; and that the Pulvis fulminans, composed of Sulphur, Nitre, and Salt of Tartar, goes off with a more sudden and violent Explosion than Gun powder, the acid Spirits of the Sulphur and Nitre rushing towards one another, and towards the Salt of Tartar, with so great a violence, as by the shock to turn the whole at once into Vapour and Flame? Where the Dissolution is slow, it makes a slow Ebullition and a gentle Heat; and where it is quicker, it makes a greater Ebullition with more Heat; and where it is done at once, the Ebullition is contracted into a sudden Blast or violent Explosion, with a Heat equal to that of Fire and Flame. So when a Drachm of the above-mention’d compound Spirit of Nitre was poured upon half a Drachm of Oil of Caraway Seeds in vacuo; the Mixture immediately made a flash like Gun-powder, and burst the exhausted Receiver, which was a Glass six Inches wide, and eight Inches deep. And even the gross Body of Sulphur powder’d, and, with an equal weight of Iron Filings and a little Water, made into Paste, acts upon the Iron, and in five or six Hours grows too hot to be touch’d, and emits a Flame. And by these Experiments compared with the great quantity of Sulphur with which the Earth abounds, and the warmth of the interior Parts of the Earth, and hot Springs, and burning Mountains, and with Damps, mineral Coruscations, Earthquakes, hot suffocating Exhalations, Hurricanes and Spouts; we may learn that sulphureous Steams abound in the Bowels of the Earth and ferment with Minerals, and sometimes take fire with a sudden Coruscation and Explosion; and, if pent up in subterraneous Caverns, burst the Caverns with a great shaking of the Earth, as in springing of a Mine. And then the Vapour generated by the Explosion, expiring through the Pores of the Earth, feels hot and suffocates, and makes Tempests and Hurricanes, and sometimes causes the Land to slide, or the Sea to boil, and carries up the Water thereof in Drops, which by their weight fall down again in Spouts. Also some sulphureous Steams, at all times when the Earth is dry, ascending into the Air, ferment there with nitrous Acids, and sometimes taking fire cause Lightening and Thunder, and fiery Meteors. For the Air abounds with acid Vapours fit to promote Fermentations, as appears by the rusting of Iron and Copper in it, the kindling of Fire by blowing, and the beating of the Heart by means of Respiration. Now the above-mention’d Motions are so great and violent, as to shew, that in Fermentations the Particles of Bodies which almost rest, are put into new Motions by a very potent Principle, which acts upon the monly when they approach one another, and causes them to meet and clash with great violence, and grow hot with the Motion, and dash one another into pieces, and vanish into Air, and Vapour, and Flame.” Newt. Opt. Eng. Ed. p. 353, 4, 5.
“The Parts of all homogeneal hard Bodies, which fully touch one another, stick together very strongly. And for explaining how this may be, some have invented hooked Atoms, which is begging the Question; and others tell us that Bodies are glued together by Rest, that is, by an occult Quality, or rather by nothing; and others, that they stick together by conspiring Motions, that is, by relative Rest amongst themselves. I had rather infer from their Cohesion, that their Particles attract one another by some Force, which in immediate Contact is exceeding strong, at small distances performs the chymical Operations above-mention’d, and reaches not far from the Particles with any sensible Effects.
“All Bodies seem to be composed of hard Particles: For otherwise Fluids would not congeal; as Water, Oils, Vinegar, and Spirit or Oil of Vitriol do by freezing; Mercury, by Fumes of Lead; Spirit of Nitre and Mercury, by dissolving the Mercury and evaporating the Flegm; Spirit of Wine and Spirit of Urine, by deflegming and mixing them; and Spirit of Urine and Spirit of Salt, by subliming them together to make Salarmoniac. Even the Rays of Light seem to be hard Bodies, for otherwise they would not retain different Properties in their different Sides. And therefore Hardness may be reckon’d the Property of all uncompounded Matter. At least, this seems to be as evident as the universal Impenetrability of Matter. For all Bodies, so far as Experience reaches, are either hard, or may be harden’d; and we have no other Evidence of universal Impenetrability, besides a large Experience without an experimental Exception. Now, if compound Bodies are so very hard as we find some of them to be, and yet are very porous, and consist of Parts which are only laid together; the simple Particles which are void of Pores, and were never yet divided, must be much harder. For such hard Particles being heaped up together, can scarce touch one another in more than a few Points, and therefore must be separable by much less Force than is requisite to break a solid Particle, whose Parts touch in all the Space between them, without any Pores or Interstices to weaken their Cohesion. And how such very hard Particles which are only laid together and touch only in a few Points, can stick together, and that so firmly as they do, without the assistance of something which causes them to be attracted or press’d towards one another, is very difficult to conceive.
“The same thing I infer also from the cohering of two polish’d Marbles in vacuo, and from the standing of Quick-silver in the Barometer at the height of 50, 60 or 70 Inches, or above, when ever it is well purged of Air and carefully poured in, so that its Parts be every where contiguous both to one another and to the Glass. The Atmosphere by its weight presses the Quick-silver into the Glass, to the height of 29 or 30 Inches. And some other Agent raises it higher, not by pressing it into the Glass, but by making its Parts stick to the Glass, and to one another. For upon any discontinuation of Parts, made either by Bubbles or by shaking the Glass, the whole Mercury falls down to the height of 29 or 30 Inches.
“And of the same kind with these Experiments are those that follow. If two plane polish’d Plates of Glass (suppose two pieces of a polish’d Looking-glass) be laid together, so that their sides be parallel and at a very small distance from one another, and then their lower Edges be dipped into Water, the Water will rise up between them. And the less the distance of the Glasses is, the greater will be the height to which the Water will rise. If the distance be about the hundredth part of an Inch, the Water will rise to the height of about an Inch; and if the distance be greater or less in any Proportion, the height will be reciprocally proportional to the distance very nearly. For the attractive Force of the Glasses is the same, whether the distance between them be greater or less; and the weight of the Water drawn up is the same, if the height of it be reciprocally proportional to the height of the Glasses. And in like manner, Water ascends between two Marbles polish’d plane, when their polished sides are parallel, and at a very little distance from one another. And if slender Pipes of Glass be dipped at one end into stagnating Water, the Water will rise up within the Pipe, and the height to which it arises will be reciprocally proportional to the Diameter of the Cavity of the Pipe, and will equal the height to which it rises between two Planes of Glass, if the Semidiameter of the Cavity of the Pipe be equal to the distance between the Planes, or thereabouts. And these Experiments succeed after the same manner in vacuo as in the open Air, (as hath been tried before the Royal Society,) and therefore are not influenced by the Weight or Pressure of the Atmosphere.
“And if a large Pipe of Glass be filled with sifted Ashes well pressed together in the Glass, and one end of the Pipe be dipped into stagnating Water, the Water will rise up slowly in the Ashes, so as in the space of a Week or Fortnight to reach up within the Glass, to the height of 30 or 40 Inches above the stagnating Water. And the Water rises up to this height by the Action only of those Particles of the Ashes which are upon the Surface of the elevated Water; the Particles which are within the Water, attracting or repelling it as much downwards as upwards. And therefore the Action of the Particles is very strong. But the Particles of the Ashes being not so dense and close together as those of Glass, their Action is not so strong as that of Glass, which keeps Quick-silver suspended to the height of 60 or 70 Inches, and therefore acts with a Force which would keep Water suspended to the height of above 60 Feet.
“By the same Principle, a Sponge sucks in Water, and the Glands in the Bodies of Animals, according to their several Natures and Dispositions, suck in various Juices from the Blood.
“If two plane polish’d plates of Glass three or four Inches broad, and twenty or twenty five long, be laid, one of them parallel to the Horizon, the other upon the first, so as at one of their ends to touch one another, and contain an Angle of about 10 or 15 Minutes, and the same be first moisten’d on their inward sides with a clean Cloath dipp’d into Oil of Oranges or Spirit of Turpentine, and a Drop or two of the Oil or Spirit be let fall upon the lower Glass at the other end; so soon as the upper Glass is laid down upon the lower, so as to touch it at one end as above, and to touch the Drop at the other end, making with the lower Glass an Angle of about 10 or 15 Minutes; the Drop will begin to move towards the Concourse of the Glasses, and will continue to move with an accelerated Motion, till it arrives at that Concourse of the Glasses. For the two Glasses attract the Drop, and make it run that way towards which the Attractions incline. And if when the Drop is in Motion you lift up that end of the Glasses where they meet, and towards which the Drop moves, the Drop will ascend between the Glasses, and therefore is attracted. And as you lift up the Glasses more and more, the Drop will ascend slower and slower, and at length rest, being then carried downward by its Weight, as much as upwards by the Attraction. And by this means you may know the Force by which the Drop is attracted at all distances from the Concourse of the Glasses.
“Now by some Experiments of this kind, (made by Mr. Hauksby,) it has been found that the Attraction is almost reciprocally in a duplicate Proportion of the distance of the middle of the Drop from the Concourse of the Glasses, viz. reciprocally in a simple Proportion, by reason of the spreading of the Drop, and its touching each Glass in a larger Surface; and again reciprocally in a simple Proportion, by reason of the Attractions growing stronger within the same quantity of attracting Surface. The Attraction therefore within the same quantity of attracting Surface, is reciprocally as the distance between the Glasses. And therefore where the distance is exceeding small, the Attraction must be exceeding great. By the Table in the second Part of the second Book, wherein the thicknesses of colour’d Plates of Water between two Glasses are set down, the thickness of the Plate where it appears very black, is three eighths of the ten hundred thousandth part of an Inch. And where the Oil of Oranges between the Glasses is of this thickness, the Attraction collected by the foregoing Rule, seems to be so strong, as within a Circle of an Inch in diameter, to suffice to hold up a Weight equal to that of a Cylinder of Water of an Inch in diameter, and two or three Furlongs in length. And where it is of a less thickness, the Attraction may be proportionally greater, and continue to increase, until the thickness do not exceed that of a single Particle of the Oil. There are therefore Agents inNature able to make the Particles of Bodies stick together by very strong Attractions. And it is the Business of experimental Philosophy to find them out.
“Now the smallest Particles of Matter may cohere by the strongest Attractions, and compose bigger Particles of weaker Virtue; and many of these may cohere and compose bigger Particles whose Virtue is still weaker, and so on for divers Successions, until the Progression end in the biggest Particles, on which the Operations in Chymistry and the Colours of natural Bodies depend, and which by cohering compose Bodies of a sensible Magnitude. If the Body is compact, and bends or yields inward to Pression without any sliding of its Parts, it is hard and elastick, returning to its Figure with a Force rising from the mutual Attraction of its Parts. If the Parts slide upon one another, the Body is malleable or soft. If they slip easily, and are of a fit size to be agitated by Heat, and the Heat is big enough to keep them in Agitation, the Body is fluid; and if it be apt to stick to things, it is humid; and the Drops of every fluid affect a round Figure by the mutual Attraction of their Parts, as the Globe of the Earth and Sea affects a round Figure by the mutual Attraction of its Parts by Gravity.
“Since Metals dissolved in Acids attract but a small quantity of the Acid, their attractive Force can reach but to a small distance from them. And as in Algebra, where affirmative Quantities vanish and cease, there negative ones begin; so in Mechanicks, where Attraction ceases, there a repulsive Virtue ought to succeed. And that there is such a Virtue, seems to follow from the Reflexions and Inflexions of the Rays of Light. For the Rays are repelled by Bodies in both these Cases, without the immediate Contact of the reflecting or inflecting Body. It seems also to follow from the Emission of Light; the Ray, so soon as it is shaken off from a shining Body by the vibrating Motion of the Parts of the Body, and gets beyond the reach of Attraction, being driven away with exceeding great Velocity. For that Force which is sufficient to turn it back in Reflexion, may be sufficient to emit it. It seems also to follow from the Production of Air and Vapour. The Particles, when they are shaken off from Bodies by Heat or Fermentation, so soon as they are beyond the reach of the Attraction of the Body, receding from it, and also from one another with great Strength, and keeping at a distance so as sometimes to take up above a million of times more space than they did before in the form of a dense Body. Which vast Contraction and Expansion seems unintelligible, by feigning the Particles of Air to be springy and ramous, or rolled up like Hoops, or by any other means than a repulsive Power. The Particles of Fluids which do not cohere too strongly, and are of such a smallness as renders them most susceptible of those Agitations which keep Liquors in a Fluor, are most easily separated and rarified into Vapour, and in the Language of the Chymists, they are volatile, rarifyed with an easy Heat, and condensing with Cold. But those which are grosser, and so less susceptible of Agitation, or cohere by a stronger Attraction, are not separated without a stronger Heat, or perhaps not without Fermentation. And these last are the Bodies which Chymists call fix’d, and being rarified by Fermentation, become true permanent Air: those Particles receding from one another with the greatest Force, and being most difficultly brought together, which upon Contact cohere most strongly. And, because the Particles of permanent Air are grosser, and arise from denser Substances than those of Vapours, thence it is that true Air is more ponderous than Vapour, and that a moist Atmosphere is lighter than a dry one, quantity for quantity. From the same repelling Power it seems to be that Flies walk upon the Water without wetting their Feet; and that the Object-glasses of long Telescopes lie upon one another without touching; and that dry Powders are difficultly made to touch one another so as to stick together, unless by melting them, or wetting them with Water, which by exhaling may bring them together; and that two polish’d Marbles, which by immediate Contact stick together, are difficultly brought so close together as to stick.
“And thus Nature will be very conformable to her self and very simple, performing all the great Motions of the heavenly Bodies by the Attraction of Gravity which intercedes those Bodies, and almost all the small ones of their Particles by some other attractive and repelling Powers which intercede the Particles. The Vis inertiae is a passive Principle by which Bodies persist in their Motion or Rest, receive Motion in proportion to the Force impressing it, and resist as much as they are resisted. By this Principle alone there never could have been any Motion in the World. Some otherPrinciple was necessary for putting Bodies into Motion; and now they are in Motion, some other Principle is necessary for conserving the Motion. For from the various Composition of two Motions, ’tis very certain that there is not always the same quantity of Motion in the World. For if two Globes joined by a slender Rod, revolve about their common Center of Gravity, with an uniform Motion, while that Center moves on uniformly in a right Line drawn in the Plane of their circular Motion; the Sum of the Motions of the two Globes, as often as the Globes are in the right Line described by their common Center of Gravity, will be bigger than the Sum of their Motions, when they are in a Line perpendicular to that right Line. By this Instance it appears, that Motion may be got or lost. But by reason of the Tenacity of Fluids, and Attrition of their Parts, and the Weakness of Elasticity in Solids, Motion is much more apt to be lost than got, and is always upon the Decay. For Bodies which are either absolutely hard, or so soft as to be void of Elasticity, will not rebound from one another. Impenetrability makes them only stop. If two equal Bodies meet directly in vacuo, they will by the Laws of Motion stop where they meet, and lose all their Motion, and remain in rest, unless they beelastick, and receive new Motion from their Spring. If they have so much Elasticity as suffices to make them rebound with a quarter, or half, or three quarters of the Force with which they come together, they will lose three quarters, or half, or a quarter of their Motion. And this may be tried, by letting two equal Pendulums fall against one another from equal heights. If the Pendulums be of Lead or soft Clay, they will lose all or almost all their Motions: If of elastick Bodies, they will lose all but what they recover from their Elasticity. If it be said, that they can lose no Motion but what they communicate to other Bodies, the consequence is, that in vacuo they can lose no Motion, but when they meet they must go on and penetrate one anothers Dimensions. If three equal round Vessels be filled, the one with Water, the other with Oil, the third with molten Pitch, and the Liquors be stirred about alike to give them a vortical Motion; the Pitch by its Tenacity will lose its Motion quickly, the Oil being less tenacious will keep it longest, but yet will lose it in a short time. Whence it is easy to understand, that if many contiguous Vortices of molten Pitch were each of them as large as those which some suppose to revolve about the Sun and fix’d Stars, yet these and all their Parts would, by their tenacity and stiffness, communicate their Motion to one another, till they all rested among themselves. Vortices of Oil or Water, or some fluider Matter, might continue longer in Motion; but, unless the Matter were void of all Tenacity and Attrition of Parts, and Communication of Motion, (which is not to be supposed,) the Motion would constantly decay. Seeing therefore the variety of Motion which we find in the World is always decreasing, there is a necessity of conserving and recruiting it by active Principles, such as are the Cause of Gravity, by which Planets and Comets keep their Motions in their Orbs, and Bodies acquire great Motion in falling; and the Cause of Fermentation, by which the Heart and Blood of Animals are kept in perpetual Motion and Heat; the inward Parts of the Earth are constantly warm’d and in some places grow very hot; Bodies burn and shine, Mountains take Fire, the Caverns of the Earth are blown up, and the Sun continues violently hot and lucid, and warms all things by his Light. For we meet with very little Motion in the World, besides what is owing to these active Principles. And if it were not for these Principles, the Bodies of the Earth, Planets, Comets, Sun, and all things in them would grow cold and freeze, and become inactive Masses; and all Putrefaction, Generation, Vegetation and Life would cease, and the Planets and Comets would not remain in their Orbs.
“All these things being consider’d, it seems probable to me, that God in the Beginning form’d Matter in solid, massy, hard, impenetrable, moveable Particles, of such Sizes and Figures, and with such other Properties, and in such Proportion to Space, as most conduced to the End for which he form’d them; and that these primitive Particles being Solids, are incomparably harder than any porous Bodies compounded of them; even so very hard, as never to wear or break in pieces: No ordinary Power being able to divide what God himself made one in the first Creation. While the Particles continue intire, they may compose Bodies of one and the same Nature and Texture in all Ages: But should they wear away, or break in pieces, the Nature of Things depending on them would be changed. Water and Earth composed of old worn Particles and Fragments of Particles, would not be of the same Nature and Texture now, with Water and Earth composed of intire Particles, in the Beginning. And therefore that Nature may be lasting, the Changes of corporeal Things are to be placed only in the various Separations and new Associations and Motions of these permanent Particles; compound Bodies being apt to break, not in the midst of solid Particles, but where those Particles are laid together, and only touch in a few Points.
“It seems to me farther, that these Particles have not only a Vis inertiae, accompanied with such passive Laws of Motion as naturally result from that Force, but also that they are moved by certain active Principles, such as is that of Gravity, and that which causes Fermentation, and the Cohesion of Bodies. These Principles I consider not as occult Qualities, supposed to result from the specifick Forms of Things, but as general Laws of Nature, by which the Things themselves are form’d: their Truth appearing to us by Phaenomena, though their Causes be not yet discover’d. For these are manifest Qualities, and their Causes only are occult. And the Aristotelians gave the Name of occult Qualities, not to manifest Qualities, but to such Qualities only as they supposed to lie hid in Bodies, and to be the unknown Causes of Gravity, and of magnetick and electrick Attractions, and of Fermentations, if we should suppose that these Forces or Actions arose from Qualities unknown to us, and uncapable of being discovered and made manifest. Such occult Qualities put a stop to the Improvement of natural Philosophy, and therefore of late Years have been rejected. To tell us that every Species of Things is endow’d with an occult specifick Quality by which it acts and produces manifest Effects, is to tell us nothing: But to derive two or three general Principles of Motion from Phaenomena, and afterwards to tell us how the Properties and Actions of all corporeal Things follow from those manifest Principles, would be a very great step in Philosophy, though the Causes of those Principles were not yet discover’d: And therefore I scruple not to propose the Principles of Motion above mention’d, they being of very general Extent, and leave their Causes to be found out.
“Now by the help of these Principles, all material Things seem to have been composed of the hard and solid Particles above mention’d, variously associated in the first Creation by the Council of an intelligent Agent. For it became him who created them to set them in order. And if he did so, ’tis unphilosophical to seek for any other Origin of the World, or to pretend that it might arise out of a Chaos by the mere Laws of Nature, though being once form’d, it may continue by those Laws for many Ages. For while Comets move in very excentrick Orbs in all manner of Positions, blind Fate could never make all the Planets move one and the same way in Orbs concentrick, some inconsiderable Irregularities excepted, which may have risen from the mutual Actions of Comets and Planets upon one another, and which will be apt to increase, till this System wants a Reformation. Such a wonderful Uniformity in the Planetary System must be allowed the Effect of Choice. And so must the Uniformity in the Bodies of Animals, they having generally a right and a left side shaped alike, and on either side of their Bodies two Legs behind, and either two Arms, or two Legs, or two Wings before upon their Shoulders, and between their Shoulders a Neck running down into a Back-bone, and a Head upon it; and in the Head two Ears, two Eyes, a Nose, a Mouth, and a Tongue, alike situated. Also the first Contrivance of those very artificial Parts of Animals, the Eyes, Ears, Brain, Muscles, Heart, Lungs, Midrift, Glands, Larinx, Hands, Wings, Swimming Bladders, natural Spectacles, and other Organs of Sense and Motion; and the Instinct of Brutes and Insects, can be the effect of nothing else than the Wisdom and Skill of a powerful ever-living Agent, who being in all Places, is more able by his Will to move the Bodies within his boundless uniform Sensorium, and thereby to form and reform the Parts of the Universe, than we are by our Will to move the Parts of our own Bodies. And yet we are not to consider the World as the Body of God, or the several Parts thereof, as the Parts of God. He is an uniform Being, void of Organs, Members or Parts, and they are his Creatures subordinate to him, and subservient to his Will; and he is no more the Soul of them, than the Soul of a Man is the Soul of the Species of Things carried through the Organs of Sense into the place of its Sensation, where it perceives them by means of its immediate Presence, without the Intervention of any third thing. The Organs of Sense are not for enabling the Soul to perceive the Species of Things in its Sensorium, but only for conveying them thither; and God has no need of such Organs, he being every where present to the Things themselves. And since Space is divisible in infinitum, and Matter is not necessarily in all places, it may be allow’d, that God is able to create Particles of Matter of several Sizes and Figures, and in several Proportions to Space, and perhaps of different Densities and Forces, and thereby to vary the Laws of Nature, and make Worlds of several sorts in several Parts of the Universe. At least, I see nothing of Contradiction in all this.
“If Natural Philosophy in all its Parts, by pursuing this Method, shall at length be perfected, the Bounds of Moral Philosophy will be also enlarged. For so far as we can know by Natural Philosophy what is the First Cause, what Power he has over us, and what Benefits we receive from him, so far our Duty towards him, as well as that towards one another, will appear to us by the Light of Nature. And no doubt, if the Worship of false Gods had not blinded the Heathen, their Moral Philosophy would have gone farther than to the four Cardinal Virtues; and, instead of teaching the Transmigration of Souls, and to worship the Sun and Moon, and dead Heroes, they would have taught us to worship our true Author and Benefactor, as their Ancestors did under the Government of Noah and his Sons, before they corrupted themselves.” Ibid. P. 363, &c.
What can be more just than the Conclusions drawn by this great Philosopher from the Phaenomena of Nature; viz. That the World owes not its being such as it is, to Mechanism, Chance, or Necessity; but to the Will of a Wise and Powerful Being, who first form’d, and continually governs, the same; in opposition to those Atheists who hold, with Epicurus and others, that the present Frame of Nature had a Beginning, but not from God? And does he not, with equal Strength of Reason, conclude, That Motion is, of it-self, continually decreasing; and, That this Frame of Nature does, of it-self, tend to Decay, Confusion, and Ruin; and, consequently, That it could not, of it-self, have subsisted from all Eternity; which is, at present, the more prevailing Opinion among Men of Atheistical Principles?
6. The Formation of Animals is not Mechanical.The Formation of Animals is not Mechanical. Of this Truth there are several Indications; but I shall here make use only of the following Observation and Reasoning of Dr. Pitcairn, in the Beginning of his Dissertation of the Circulation of the Blood in Animals, before and after Birth. “I am confident, nothing in Life can be found more useful, or more agreeable to the Mind, inquiring into the Original of Things, (known only to God, the Author of All,) than to have found out, and be convinc’d, that the first Rise of Animals is owing to God himself. For ’tis now known, from the Law of Circulation, that the Blood is receiv’d by, and propell’d from, the Heart of an Animal alternately; for which reason, neither Heat, nor any Ferment, nor Liquor, however charg’d with Spirits or Salts, or any other Power constantly and not alternately impress’d, expels the Blood or nutritious Juice, from the Heart or its Neighbourhood; otherwise, when once propell’d, it would never return back to the Heart, that Force perpetually opposing it, as not being alternately impress’d. But the Force, which is alternately communicated to the Heart, does not proceed from the Womb of the Mother; for whatsoever goes from the Womb to the Heart of an Embryo, is discharg’d into its Ventricles, and not into the Ducts of its Fibres, by which it is contracted; and beside, the Heart of an Embryo will still continue its Contraction, and the Blood its Circulation, tho’ freed from the Uterus. Therefore the moving Force is to be deduc’d from some part of the Embryo. For the Law of Circulation shews, that nothing can be remitted to the Heart from any part in an Animal, that was not first sent to that part from the Heart along with the Blood; and we have shewn, that the Secretion of Fluids in an Animal, (whether they return to the Heart or not,) are perform’d by means of Circulation opposing the secernible Fluid to the secretory Orifices equal in Magnitude to the Particles to be secern’d; and that there is no other Mechanical Reason of Animal Secretion: and, therefore, that there do not only exist secretory Vessels, and others, before any assign’d Secretion; but also, that the Secretion of those Powers return’d to contract the Heart, is perform’d before any assign’d Constriction of the Heart, or any Circulation of the Blood is begun; or that the Contraction of the Heart propelling the Blood to the part secerning the Body or Powers for the contracting the Heart, is perform’d before any Secretion, or return and communication of the contracting Powers. Farther; Circulation teaches us, that the Medullary Substance of the Brain and Spinal Marrow are the Parts, from whence the Power, which alternately expels the Blood, is communicated to the Heart: Nor, by the Changes and Metamorphoses common to some kind of Animals, are the Powers, or Relations of Powers, alter’d, whereon their Life and Circulation depend; so that the Communication between the Heart and Spinal Marrow is not chang’d. Whence it follows, that the Heart, Brain, and Spinal Marrow, have the same mutual Dependence by the same Powers operating after the same manner, which was the same at the first Contraction of the Heart, as in any subsequent one. For which Reason, the Powers of the Heart and Brain were form’d at the same time, and exist together; and, therefore, no Animal is produc’d Mechanically.”10
The World is a System or Whole, whose Parts are design’d and contriv’d mutually for one another; which plainly proves it to have been fram’d by a Being Powerful, Wise, and Good.§3. The World is a System or Whole, whose Parts are design’d and contriv’d mutually for one another; which plainly proves it to have been fram’d by a Being powerful, wise, and good. I shall here close my Quotations of Arguments to prove the Being of a God, with one upon the Head now laid down, taken from Lord Shaftesbury’s Characteristicks Vol. 2. P. 282, &c. where he introduces one talking to his doubting Friend, in the following Words.
“O my ingenious Friend! whose Reason, in other respects, must be allow’d so clear and happy; how is it possible that, with such Insight, and accurate Judgment in the Particulars of Natural Beings and Operations, you shou’d no better judge of the Structure of Things in general, and of the Order and Frame of Nature? Who better than yourself can shew the Structure of each Plant and Animal-Body, declare the Office of every Part and Organ, and tell the Uses, Ends, and Advantages to which they serve? How, therefore, should you prove so ill a Naturalist in thisWhole, and understand so little the Anatomy of the World and Nature, as not to discern the same Relation of Parts, the same Consistency and Uniformity in the Universe!”
“Some Men, perhaps, there are of so confus’d a Thought, and irregularly form’d within themselves, that ’tis no more than Natural for them to find fault, and imagine a thousand Inconsistences and Defects in this wider Constitution. ’Tis not, we may presume, the absolute Aim or Interest of the Universal Nature, to render every private-one infallible, and without defect. ’Twas not its Intention to leave us without some Pattern of Imperfection; such as we perceive in Minds, like these, perplex’d with froward Thought. But you, my Friend, are Master of a nobler Mind. You are conscious of better Order within, and can see Workmanship and Exactness in yourself, and other innumerable Parts of the Creation. Can you answer it to yourself, allowing thus much, not to allow all? Can you induce yourself ever to believe or think, that where there are Parts so variously united, and conspiring fitly within themselves, the Whole itself shou’d have neither Union nor Coherence; and where inferior and private Natures are often sound so perfect, the Universal-One shou’d want Perfection, and be esteem’d like what soever can be thought of most monstrous, rude, and imperfect?”
“Strange! That there shou’d be in Nature the Idea of an Order and Perfection, which Nature her-self wants! That Beings which arise from Nature shou’d be so perfect, as to discover Imperfection in her Constitution; and be wise enough to correct that Wisdom by which they were made!”
Nothing, surely, is more strongly imprinted on our Minds, or “more closely interwoven with our Souls, than the Idea or Sense of Order and Proportion. Hence all the Force of Numbers, and those powerful Arts founded on their Management and Use. What a difference there is between Harmony and Discord! Cadency and Convulsion! What a difference between compos’d and orderly Motion, and that which is ungovern’d and accidental! Between the regular and uniform Pile of some noble Architect, and a Heap of Sand or Stones! Between an organiz’d Body, and a Mist or Cloud driven by the Wind.”
“Now as this difference is immediately perceiv’d by a plain Internal Sensation, so there is withal in Reason this account of it; That whatever Things have Order, the same have Unity of Design, and they which concur in One, are Parts constituent of oneWhole, or are, in themselves, intire Systems. Such is a Tree, with all its Branches; an Animal, with all its Members; an Edifice, with all its exterior and interior Ornaments. What else is even a Tune or Symphony, or any excellent Piece of Musick, than a certain System of proportion’d Sounds?”
“Now in this which we call the Universe, whatever the Perfection may be of any particular Systems; or whatever single Parts may have Proportion, Unity, or Form within themselves; yet, if they are not united all in general, inOneSystem, but are, in respect of one another, as the driven Sands, or Clouds, or breaking Waves; then there being no Coherence in the Whole, there can be inferr’d no Order, no Proportion, and, consequently, no Project or Design. But, if none of these Parts are Independent, but all apparently united, then is the Wholea System compleat, according to one Simple, Consistent, and UniformDesign.”
“Here then is our main Subject, insisted on: That neither Man, nor any other Animal, tho’ ever so compleat a System of Parts, as to all within, can be allow’d in the same manner compleat, as to all without; but must be consider’d as having a farther relation abroad to the System of his Kind. So even this System of his Kind to the Animal-System; this to the World (our Earth;) and this again to the bigger World, and to the Universe.”
“All Things in this World are united. For as the Branch is united with the Tree, so is the Tree as immediately with the Earth, Air, and Water, which feed it. As much as the fertile Mould is fitted to the Tree, as much as the strong and upright Trunk of the Oak or Elm is fitted to the twining Branches of the Vine or Ivy; so much are the very Leaves, the Seeds, and the Fruits of these Trees fitted to the various Animals. These again to one another, and to the Elements where they live, and to which they are, as Appendices, in a manner fitted and join’d; as either by Wings for the Air, Fins for the Water, Feet for the Earth, and by other correspondent inward Parts, of a more curious Frame and Texture. Thus in contemplating all on Earth, we must of necessity view All in One, as holding to one common Stock. Thus too in the System of the bigger World. See there the mutual Dependency of Things! the Relation of one to another; of the Sun to this inhabited Earth, and of the Earth and other Planets to the Sun! the Order, Union, and Coherence of the Whole! And know (my ingenious Friend) That by this Survey you will be oblig’d to own the Universal System, and coherent Scheme of Things, to be establish’d on abundant Proof, capable of convincing any fair and just Contemplator of the Works of Nature. For scarce wou’d any one, ’till he had well survey’d this universal Scene, believe a Union thus evidently demonstrable, by such numerous and powerful Instances of mutual Correspondency and Relation, from the minutest Ranks and Orders of Beings to the remotest Spheres.”
“Now, in this mighty UNION, if there be such Relations of Parts one to another as are not easily discover’d; if on this account the End and Use of Things does not every where appear, there is no wonder; since ’tis no more, indeed, than what must happen of necessity: Nor could Supreme Wisdom have otherwise order’d it. For in an Infinity of Things thus relative, a Mind which sees not infinitely, can see nothing fully: And since each particular has relation to all in general, it can know no perfect or true Relation of any Thing, in a World not perfectly and fully known.”
“The same may be consider’d in any dissected Animal, Plant, or Flower; where he who is no Anatomist, nor vers’d in Natural History, sees that the many Parts have a relation to the Whole; for thus much even a slight View affords: But he who like you, my Friend, is curious in the Works of Nature, and has been let into a Knowledge of the Animal and Vegetable World, he alone can readily declare the just Relation of all these Parts to one another, and the several Uses to which they serve.”
“But, if you would willingly enter farther into this Thought, and consider how much we ought, not only to be satisfy’d with this our View of Things, but even to admire its Clearness; imagine only some Person intirely a Stranger to Navigation, and ignorant of the Nature of the Sea or Waters, how great his Astonishment would be, when finding himself on Board some Vessel, anchoring at Sea, remote from all Land-prospect, whilst it was yet a Calm, he view’d the ponderous Machine firm and motionless in the midst of the smooth Ocean, and consider’d its Foundations beneath, together with its Cordage, Masts, and Sails above. How easily would he see the Whole one regular Structure, all things depending on one another; the Uses of the Rooms below, the Lodgments, and Conveniences of Men and Stores? But, being ignorant of the Intent or Design of all above, would he pronounce the Masts and Cordage to be useless and cumbersome, and for this Reason condemn the Frame, and despise the Architect? O my Friend! let us not thus betray our Ignorance; but consider where we are, and in what a Universe. Think of the many Parts of the vast Machine, in which we have so little insight, and of which it is impossible we should know the Ends and Uses; which instead of seeing to the highest Pendants, we see only some lower Deck, and are in this dark Case of Flesh, confin’d even to the Hold, and meanest Station of the Vessel.”
“Now, having recogniz’d this uniform consistent Fabrick, and own’d the Universal System, we must of consequence acknowledge a UniversalMind; which no ingenuous Man can be tempted to disown, exceptthro’ the Imagination of Disorder in the Universe, its Seat. For can it be suppos’d of any one in the World, that, being in some Desart far from Men, and hearing there a perfect Symphony of Musick, or seeing an exact Pile of regular Architecture arising gradually from the Earth, in all its Orders and Proportions, he should be persuaded that at the Bottom there was no Design accompanying this, no secret Spring of Thought, no active Mind? Would he, because he saw no Hand, deny the Handy-work, and suppose that each of these compleat and perfect Systems were fram’d, and thus united in just Symmetry, and conspiring Order, either by the accidental blowing of the Winds, or rolling of the Sands.”
“What is it then should so disturb our Views of Nature, as to destroy that Unity of Design and Order of a Mind, which otherwise would be so apparent? All we can see either of the Heavens or Earth, demonstrates Order and Perfection; so as to afford the noblest Subjects of Contemplation to Minds, like yours, enrich’d with Sciences and Learning. All is delightful, amiable, rejoicing, except with relation to Man only, and his Circumstances, which seem unequal. Here the Calamity and Ill arises; and hence the Ruin of this goodly Frame. All perishes on this account; and the whole Order of the Universe, elsewhere so firm, intire, and immoveable, is here o’er thrown, and lost by this one View; in which we refer all things to ourselves; submitting the Interest of the Whole to the Good and Interest of so small a Part.”
“But how is it you complain of the unequal State of Man, and of the few Advantages allow’d him above the Beasts? What can a Creature claim, so little differing from ’em, or whose Merit appears so little above ’em, except in Wisdom and Virtue, to which so few conform? Man may be Virtuous; and by being so, is Happy. His Merit is Reward. By Virtue he deserves; and in Virtue only can meet his Happiness deserv’d. But, if even Virtue it-self be unprovided for, and Vice more prosperous be the better Choice; if this (as you suppose) be in the Nature of Things, then is all Order in reality inverted, and Supreme Wisdom lost: Imperfection and Irregularity being, after this manner, undoubtedly too apparent in the Moral World.”
“Have you then, e’er you pronounc’d this Sentence, consider’d of the State of Virtue and Vice, with respect to this Life merely; so as to say, with assurance, When, and How far, in what Particular, and how Circumstantiated, the one or the other is Good or Ill? You who are skill’d in other Fabricks and Compositions, both of Art and Nature, have you consider’d of the Fabrick of the Mind, the Constitution of the Soul, the Connexion and Frame of all its Passions and Affections; to know accordingly the Order and Symmetry of the Part, and how it either improves or suffers; what its Force is, when naturally preserv’d in its sound State; and what becomes of it, when corrupted and abus’d? ’Till this (my Friend) be well examin’d and understood, how shall we judge either of the Force of Virtue, or Power of Vice? Or in what manner either of these may work to our Happiness or Undoing?”
“Here therefore is that Inquiry we should first make. But who is there can afford to make it as he ought? If happily we are born of a good Nature; if a liberal Education has form’d in us a generous Temper and Disposition, well-regulated Appetites, and worthy Inclinations, ’tis well for us; and so indeed we esteem it. But who is there endeavours to give these to himself, or to advance his Portion of Happiness in this kind? Who thinks of improving, or so much as of preserving his Share, in a World where it must of necessity run so great a hazard, and where we know an honest Nature is so easily corrupted? All other things relating to us are preserv’d with Care, and have some Art or Oeconomy belonging to ’em; this which is nearest related to us, and on which our Happiness depends, is alone committed to Chance: And Temper is the only Thing ungovern’d, whilst it governs all the rest.”
“Thus we inquire concerning what is good and suitable to our Appetites; but what Appetites are good and suitable to us, is no part of our Examination. We inquire what is according to Interest, Policy, Fashion, Vogue; but it seems wholly strange, and out of the way, to inquire what is according toNature. The Balance of Europe, of Trade, of Power, is strictly sought after; while few have heard of the Balance of their Passions, or thought of holding these Scales even. Few are acquainted with this Province, or knowing in these Affairs. But were we more so (as this Inquiry would make us) we should then see Beauty and Decorum here, as well as elsewhere in Nature; and the Order of the Moral World would equal that of the Natural. By this the Beauty ofVirtue would appear; and hence (as has been shewn) the Supreme and SovereignBeauty, the Original of all which is Good or Amiable.”
“But, lest I should appear at last too like an Enthusiast, I chuse to express my Sense, and conclude this Philosophical Sermon, in the Words of one of those antient Philologists, whom you are us’d to esteem. For Divinity it-self, says he, is surely Beauteous, and of all Beauties the brightest; tho’ not a beauteous Body, but that from whence the Beauty of Bodies is deriv’d: Not a beauteous Plain, but that from whence the Plain looks Beautiful. The River’s Beauty, the Sea’s, the Heaven’s, and Heavenly Constellation’s, all flow from hence, as from a Source Eternal and Incorruptible. As Beings partake of this, they are fair, and flourishing, and happy: As they are lost to this, they are deform’d, perish’d, and lost.”11
Atheism inverteth all natural Order, and deduceth the Origin of Things in an impossible Manner.§4. The Origination of Things in Theism is in such Order, which is Natural and Possible: But Atheism inverteth it, beginning at the wrong End, and deduceth things in such an Order, as is Unnatural and Impossible.
That an Universe of imperfect Beings should issue from a Being absolutely perfect, is no more Unnatural and Impossible, than that a Poet should make a Verse, or the Sun produce Vapours: But that an Universe of Beings of great Perfections (Vital and Intellectual, Natural and Moral,) should be produc’d merely by Matter (which is of all things the most Imperfect,) is as Unnatural and Impossible, as that the Verse should make the Poet, or the Vapours should produce the Sun. That Nonsense should generate Sense, and the imperceptive Stupidity of Matter should produce perceptive Life, Cogitation, Reason, and Understanding; that the Ascent of Things should be upwards, from Matter producing all the higher Orders of Beings, of manifold Species and Ranks, of various Kinds and Degrees of Perfection, (Inanimate, Animate, Vegetative, Sensitive, Rational;) that the greater Plenty of Perfection should be the Product of the greater Penury, is, in the Judgment of common Sense, plainly Impossible; as if the Matter of an House should, without an Architect, build it-self into an House, and furnish it with Inhabitants, providing them with all Accommodations.
Mankind are not Self-existent.§5. The Self-existence of Mankind from Eternity is an impossible Supposition. No rational Man, or Men, now in being, can possibly be of this Opinion, that he or they are Self-existent; and soit was in all Generations that are past. Nor could they be Existent from Eternity; for, since each in the Succession had a Beginning, the Whole must have had a Beginning.
“An infinite Succession of Effects will require an infinite Efficient, or a Cause infinitely Effective. So far is it from requiring none.”
“Suppose a Chain hung down from the Heavens of an infinite Height, and, tho’ every Link of it gravitated towards the Earth, and what it hung upon was not visible, yet it did not descend, but kept its Situation; and upon this a Question should arise, What supported or kept up this Chain: Would it be a sufficient Answer to say, that the first (or lowest) Link hung upon the second (or that next above it), the second, or rather the first and second together, upon the third, and so on ad infinitum? For what holds up the Whole? A Chain of ten Links would fall down, unless something able to bear it hinder’d: One of twenty, if not stay’d by something of a yet greater Strength, in proportion to the increase of Weight: And, therefore, one of infinite Links certainly, if not sustain’d by something infinitely Strong, and capable to bear up an infinite Weight. And thus it is in a Chain of Causes and Effects tending, or as it were gravitating, towards some End. The last (or lowest) depends, or (as we may say) is suspended upon the Cause above it; this again, if it be not the First Cause, is suspended, as an Effect upon something above it, &c. And, if they should be Infinite, unless (agreeably to what has been said) there is some Cause upon which all hang or depend, they would be but an infinite Effect without an Efficient: And to assert there is any such thing would be as great an Absurdity, as to say, that a Finite or little Weight wants something to sustain it, but an infinite one or the greatest does not. Suppose a Row of blind Men, of which the last laid his Hand upon the Shoulder of the Man next before him, he on the Shoulder of the Man next before him, and so on, ’till the foremost grew to be quite out of sight; and somebody asking, What Guide this String of blind Men had at the Head of them, it should be answer’d, that they had no Guide, nor any Head, but one held by another, and so went on ad infinitum, would any rational Creature accept this for a just Answer? Is it not to say, that Blindness, in an infinite Progression, could supply the Place of Sight, or a Guide?” Wollaston’s Religion of Nature delineated. P. 67,68.12 This is equally applicable to the Proof of the Necessity of a First Mover.
The Earth is of late Formation.That our Earth is of late Formation, appears from the late Invention of Letters and Arts, the known Plantation of most Countries, the gradual Decrease of Mountains, and gradual Increase of Mankind.
The Proof of a God from Final Causes in the World Inanimate,§6. “If any Man” (says Cicero L. 2. de N. D.13 ) “should carry to Scythia such a Sphere as Posidonius made, that doth but represent the Motion of the Planets, who amongst these Barbarians could doubt but that such a Sphere was made by Reason?” No Man is so mad as to think, that an artificial Sphere, an excellent Book, or a magnificent Building, were made by themselves merely by the mechanical Motion of their own Materials; yet what mean and contemptible Pieces of Artifice are all artificial Spheres, Books, and Buildings, compar’d with the Stars and Planets, the immense and goodly Volume and stupendious Structure of the visible World? The Parts whereof relate to certain Operations and Uses, to which they are admirably fitted; and they relate to one another, and are aptly combin’d into one harmonious habitable World, wherein Artificialness and wise Design are every where visible; such Artificialness and wise Design; such Order and Regularity, as the contemplative Mind of Man can never fathom, nor sufficiently admire; and which plainly demonstrateth, that things were not left to the blind Agitation of Matter, (which cannot Model, Distinguish, Proportionate, nor do things in Number, Weight, and Measure, nor do them so well as the greatest Reason can do no better,) but that there is a Maker of all Things, who well understood what he had to do, is of immense Wisdom, Goodness, and Power, and that the World is, in all the Parts of it, the Work of a Wonderful Providence. Such is the Light of the Sun and Heavenly Bodies; and such is our Earth, with its diurnal Revolution to make the Succession of Day and Night; and its annual Revolution about the Sun, with its Axis so inclin’d, but always parallel to it-self, as regularly to bring about the 4 Seasons of the Year, with so nearly equal a distribution of Light and Heat thro’ the Whole; having its Surface cloath’d with Green; being a Terraqueous Globe, involv’d in a convenient Atmosphere, furnish’d with copious Stores of Water, with various Sorts of Minerals, Animals (in all respects suited to their Elements,) Vegetables (of admirable Con-texture, many of them of exquisite Beauty, and others of as great Use,) with all Sorts of Seeds or Seminal Principles, (which are also propagated for continuance of the Species.) It is not probable, that any of these had been, if there had been no higher Cause of Things, than the undirected Agitation of Matter, which knoweth no Beauty, Order, Regularity, or Final Cause. No Reason can be assign’d, why any of them are, but only from the Final Cause (it is for the Best, that they should be so;) and from the Wisdom of the Creator of all Things, who design’d them for End and Use. For who can doubt, but the Parental Nature, which hath furnish’d Animals with Organical Parts for the Reception, Mastication, Digestion, and Distribution of Food, hath also provided the Herbs and Grass, and Plants, and their Fruit, to be their Food and Physick, and that they were made for this End and Use? That the Feet were made for Walking, the Hands for Working, the Eyes for Seeing, and that Light and Eyes were design’d for one another? Who is it then, that hath suited and adapted this to that, and that to this? That hath made the Fruits of the Earth for Animals, Animals for Men, as the Horse for carrying him, the Ox for ploughing, the Dog for hunting and keeping House?
Animate.It must be an intelligent Cause, (not senseless Matter,) that diversified the Matter into such innumerable Species of Beings as this World consisteth of, (all which are of regular Idea, and have their Specifick Natures and Properties;) that instituted a beauteous Order and gradual Subordination of them (of Plants to Animals, and Animals to Men;) that adjusted the Growth of Animals, determin’d their Stature, gave them their Beauty and their Usefulness, their distinction into Male and Female, (which are manifestly design’d, the one for the other,) made some of them Oviparous, and others Viviparous, some with Wings, and others with Fins, of which differences amongst Animals no Mechanical Cause can be assign’d, but a Reason may be assign’d from the Final Cause, which she weth, that they were not so made without Reason. Which also appeareth from the Fabrick of the Bodies of Animals, of the Formation and Organization whereof it is Madness to pretend to give a Mechanical Account (why the Brains and Lungs, the Nerves and Membranes, the Veins and Arteries, the Bones, Joints, and Ligaments, the Valves and Fibres, were so fram’d and situated,) in which we find nothing unfit, nothing in vain, and the Artifice that is in them so amazingly exquisite and elaborate, that all the Works of Human Art are but a Bungle, if compar’d with the Body of an Animal. That the rudely-agitated Matter can form it-self into Clocks, Engines of War, and Musical Instruments, is much more credible than that it can form it-self into the Bodies of Animals. And, if one should suppose, that the undirected Agitation of the Particles of senseless Matter did of old, of their own accord, spin themselves into Threads; these Threads, of themselves, did weave them-selves into Pieces of Cloth (of numerous Kinds); that these Pieces of Cloth did make themselves into Garments of Thousands of regular Shapes hugely different, and also into some Hundreds of the same Shape; and that when those Garments were worn out, the Matter, of its own accord, should make it-self into new ones exactly like the former (altho’ the odds are infinite to one, that it does not twice hit upon the same Form); this would be a much more credible Hypothesis, than the Atheistick Hypothesis touching the Origin of Animals; that the rude lyagitated Particles of Matter did, of their own accord, form themselves at first into certain Stamina of the Parts of Animals, next in to Organical Parts, and next into perfect Animals of numerous and hugely-different Kinds, and into a great Number of Individuals of several Kinds, which are propagated from one Generation to another, with as great regularity as the Body of an Animal is form’d, which consists of a vast variety of Parts and Organs, of exquisite Size, Situation, Temper, Texture, Connexion, Distinction; every Animal is form’d with such Organs as are suitable to it, its Organical Parts are admirably fitted for their several Functions, and these Functions are such as the Oeconomy of the Whole requireth (Mastication, Deglutition, Concoction, Fermentation, Chylification, Sanguification, Separation, Percolation, Respiration, Nutrition, Generation, Local Motion, various Sensation, and other Functions of Life;) the Parts of an Animal and their Functions constitute one orderly Oeconomy of the Whole; therefore they were made by an intelligent Contriver, who had the Whole in his Mind, and design’d the Good thereof. The several Parts of it are the Wonders of his Divine Art; for such is that astonishing Organ the Eye, which is of socuriousa Structure and so many Excellencies, and so admirably fitted for its Function and Office, that every one who will not shut the Eyes of his Mind, cannot fail to discern, that it was made by a Divine Artist, for the Use of Seeing. Not less wonderful, tho’ not so much expos’d to view or taken notice of, is the Organ of Hearing, the Ear. Such is the rete mirabile in the Brain; the Fabrick of the Aspera Arteria, which is cover’d with the Epiglottis, and is smooth in that part, which toucheth the Oesophagus; the bending of the Arteria Aorta a little above the Heart, and the Fabrication of the Valves of the Blood-Vessels; the most numerous concurrent Organs for the enlarging and contracting the Breast in Respiration; “About which Motions,” as Dr. Willis observes, “the Mechanick Artifice of the Creator, which is plainly adapted to Mathematical Rules, we cannot sufficiently admire.” And who can chuse but admire that wise and useful Provision of temporary Parts, and of Nutriment, which Provident Nature maketh for the Foetus during the time of Gestation? What we have said of the Bodies of Animals, is in great Degree, applicable to Plants, in which the Root, the Stalk, the Flower, the Seed, with their numerous constituent Parts (the Skin, Cortical Body, Vessels, Fibres, Covers, Pith, Radicle, Lobes, and such like) and even the Claspers, Thorns, Hairs, Globulets, are admirably fitted for an Use and Purpose, some Service of the Plant, and are manifestly design’d thereto.
Atheism can give no Account of the Origination of Mankind.Atheism can give no account of the Origination of Mankind, or indeed of any Animal; for those Accounts, which the old Atheistick Philosophers gave of it, are as gross Absurdities as the Fictions of the Poets. Such is the Conceit of Anaximander,14 That the first Men were generated in the Bellies of Fishes, and were there nourish’d, ’till they were able to help themselves, and then they were cast upon dry Land. Which ridiculous Conceit is as wise as that of Epicurus,15 That the Slime of the Earth, being heated, there grew out of it certain Wombs or Bags, wherein the first Men (and other Animals) were form’d; for whose Nourishment these Wombs drew out of the Earth a Milky Liquor; and these being excluded from their Wombs (the Earth still affording them Milk) and Adult propagated their Kind. So Democritus suppos’d, That Men at first were generated out of Water and Slime. But, if Mother Earth thus produc’d Mankind at first, it is much, that in so long a time, there were never since any of the like Productions, (seeing she observeth fix’d and determinate Laws, and is constant in observing them,) and that now Mankind cannot be generated, but by Propagation from their Kind. As the King of Siam ask’d the French Missionaries,16 If the Sun in Europe was the same with theirs in the Indies? So we must ask the Epicureans, If their Child-bearing Earth was the same with ours? For our Earth is as unfit for Child-bearing, as Fishes for engendering Human Flesh. That which formerly seems to have given any a Handle for this wild Conceit, is, with certainty, discover’d to be a Mistake, by Experiments and Microscopical Observations. They thought that Vermin, atleast, proceeded frequently from Putrefaction, and that sometimes Animals of a higher Order were produc’d by the Slime of Nile expos’d to the Rays of the Sun, no one Instance of which has been sufficiently vouch’d. On the contrary, it is now, I think, universally agreed by all Natural Philosophers, that every Animal proceeds from an Egg, that was before produc’d by another Animal of the same Species; as every Vegetable is, in like Manner, produc’d from its proper Seed. Were it otherwise, how comes it about, that we see no Instance, inany Age or Country, of either Animal or Plant arising of a new Species? And as the Earth hath no Seminal Principles for Human Productions, nor any Faculty of conceiving with Child; so, if any Nurslings were committed to her Care, she must necessarily expose them, and could not educate them. If of old she afforded Milk, she could not thereby originate Mankind, unless she could also contrive and form Human Bodies; nor would her Nutriment signify any thing, unless she could also furnish them with all the wonderful Organs of Deglutition, Nutrition, and Concoction; their Tunicles, Muscles, Glands, Fibres, their Shape and Situation, their Dilatation and Contraction, opening and shutting, Faculties of Digestion, Retention, Expulsion, the Commixtures and Secretions that are made in them, with the Causes of them, the Peristaltick Motion of the Intestines, their Valves to hinder Regurgitation, their Convolution, Corrugation, and Cells, their wonderful Intertexture (the Mesentery,) and the Net-work that covereth them; the Lacteal Vessels, with their Insertion into the Intestines, and their Valves, wherein a superlative Wisdom of Parental Providence appeareth. From these Legends of the old Atheistick Philosophers, it appeareth,(and I do not find their Successors among the Moderns have a-whitmended the Matter,) that the Philosophy of Atheism is the merest Credulity in the World, and that they are of all Persons the most Guilty of what they are so apt, at every turn, to object to their Adversaries, an irrational, absurd, and implicit Belief. The Atheist’sCreed, and Believing, That this Frame of Nature (which appears most evidently, to consist of the Wisest Means fitted to the Best Ends, by a most powerful Intelligent Agent,) does not owe its being what it is, to Design, is as unreasonable and foolish, as if a Man should believe in all the Stories of Witches and Apparitions that ever were invented, all the Fables of the Poets, Paradoxes of the Stoicks, and the Fables of Aesop, ina literal Sense, all in one. “But this is the principal Wisdom of our Times: It is an easy Matter to deny any Thing, that thou mayst be counted Wiser than others,” as Cardan complain’d in his Time.17
And from a more particular Consideration of the peculiar Frame of Man, his Powers and Properties:§7. The Soul of Man is of such a Nature, that it cannot be deriv’d from Matter, whence it appears, that God is the Maker of it, and of the World. For such are the Faculties and Operations of the Mind of Man, Sensation, Cogitation, Imagination, Memory, spontaneous Motion, Self-consciousness, Self-reflexion, Understanding, and the noble Operations of Reason, Liberty of Will, and Agency, that are plainly in competible to Matter in general, and to an Organiz’d Human Body in particular. See the first Part of this Appendix. No Effect can transcend the Perfections of its Cause: But these Faculties and Operations are certainly great Perfections, that far transcend Matter with its Modifications. Spontaneous Motion (our immitting and directing the Animal Spirits into the Muscles, in order to Local Motion, by an Act of Volition, upon consulting and deliberating within ourselves touching Good and Evil,) is an Act of free Self-determining Agency; whereas all the Motions of Matter (in respect of it-self) are purely necessary, and according to certain Laws of Motion. A Body cannot act but necessarily, as it is caus’d to act by some other; that is in Propriety of Speech, it cannot act at all: Atheism, therefore, that maketh Man nothing more than a mere Corporeal Machine, bereaveth Mankind of that Liberty of Agency, whereby they are capable of deserving Praise or Dispraise, Rewards or Punishments, and thereby destroyeth Laws and Government. Our Consciousness of Liberty is as strong a Proof of its Existence, as it is possible for us to have of the Existence of any thing; therefore all the Cavils brought against the Possibility of Liberty, are as vain and idle, as the Metaphysical Subtleties brought by some against the Possibility of Motion, or of as wifter Bodies overtaking a flower at a distance before it, when we have perpetual Experiments to the contrary; against the infinite Divisibility of Quantity, when we have Demonstration for it; or against the Possibility of an Eternal Duration already past, and come to an End, tho’ it be as certainly so, as that there is a Duration present. The reasoning Mind also inquireth into the Natures and Causes of Things, maketh a judgment of them, and rectifies the Errors of Sense; its Cogitations are not confin’d to the Objects of Sense, it searcheth into recondite and mysterious Things, contemplates Things purely intelligible, reckoneth and numbereth; and the Natures and Essences of Things, that are Universal and beyond the reach of the Senses, are its Objects of Science. The Soul herself exerteth the second Notions, and because a Corporeal Substance can have no Perceptions but only Corporeal Impressions, therefore these second Notions of the Mind, which are no Corporeal Impressions, are a certain Proof, that there is an Incorporeal Substance in Man. Not only the Logical and Mathematical Terms, but our ordinary Terms of Language,(as Relation, Difference, Good, Evil,) have a certain Meaning and intelligible Notion, but no Phantasm or Image belonging to them. The intelligent Mind with standeth the Hurry of Passion, the Inveiglements of Sense, the Impostures and Tricks of Fancy; she compareth the Phantasms of Sense and Imagination, and judgeth of them, formeth Propositions, maketh Deductions, and cannot but form those Propositions called common Notions, which she knoweth to be Eternal Verities, without any Information from Sense.
In Human Nature, degenerate as it is, there are such Moral and Religious Endowments, such laudable Qualities and Properties, such a kindly Sort of Instincts and Inclinations, that plainly speak its Divine Original, and give Attestation to the Existence of God. For who doth not approve and applaud Beneficence, Faithfulness, and Justice? And who doth not detest Maliciousness, Fraud, and Injustice? A common Goodness of Nature, Humanity, Ingenuity, Gratitude, Sociableness, Friendship, a singular Affection towards near Relations, and Civil Virtue, is common to Mankind in general, and was found in great Plenty, even in the Heathen World. Atheism, therefore, is monstrously unnatural, which, together with the Existence of God (Parental Nature,) discardeth all good Nature, all Obligation to it, any Institution to it by the Author of Nature, and any such Instincts in Man’s Nature. “A Father is nothing, a Son is nothing,” (Atheistsmakeno account of Natural Relation and Affection,) “with them Affection to our Off-spring is not Natural.”18“You Epicureans suppose, that Men would not be benign and beneficent, if they were not weak,” (if it were not merely out of Self-Interest, as fearing or needing others,) “not acknowledging any Natural Love or Affection.”19 Atheism, therefore, is destructive of common Goodness of Nature, which is manifestly implanted in Men by Parental Nature, whence the Ants have their Prudence, the Bees their Polity and sexangular Cells, the Birds their Contrivance in building their Nests, and their Care of their Young. There could have been no such Goodness in Man’s Nature, as now there is, if God was not the Author of Nature; Nor would there be such Civil Virtues, as there are amongst Men, if God was not the Maker and Governor of Mankind, and if Man was not made Social by God. In such Sense Cicero may be understood to say, and to say well “Mind, Fidelity, Virtue, Concord, whence could they come among Men, but from above? ”20
The Wisdom and Goodness of Parental Providence is seen in the Usefulness of those Instincts of Nature, called the Passions, which are implanted in Man and other Animals; for the substantial Happiness of Life consisteth in them, thereby Man hath a little Kingdom within himself, consisting of Subjects and Sovereign; the Passion of Veneration is requisite in Government; Anger, for the Exercise of Fortitude; Commiseration is for succouring the Afflicted; Fear, for avoiding Danger; and all the other Passions are of great Use, which sheweth that Nature had a very Wise and Designing Author; and some of them, as the Passion of Devotion, are plain Indications, that Man was made for Religion. Mankind are by Natural Instinct, insomesort, the devotional Suppliants of an invisible superior Power, and have so strong a Propension to Religion, that they will rather worship Rivers, Trees, and a Red Cloth, than live without a Religious Worship, of which the Deity alone is the due Object. And as there would not have been such a natural Appetite as Hunger, if there had been no Meat, for Nature doth nothing in vain: So, if there had not been a God, there would not have been in Man a Natural Propension to Religion. Mankind hath also Natural Conscience, which is a Consciousness of Duty and of Sin, of well and evil Doing, with respect to an invisible superior Power. The Fear of Conscience is one of their Natural Passions, and upon violating the Dictates of their Conscience they have naturally a Remorse, and a Presage that some penal Evil will befal them from an invisible superior Power, because of the moral Evil which they have done; and upon well-doing, according to their Conscience, they have naturally a Hope and Confidence of their Safety and Prosperity, and that doing well they shall fare well. If any seem to themselves, to have extinguish’d the Sense of Conscience, usually they find the contrary, that they have only laid it to sleep, and that when Troubles and Dangers come, it awaketh like a sleeping Lyon. Or, if there be any that have totally extinguish’d it, these have manifestly extinguish’d the Light of Nature, and have done such Violence to their Minds, as is done to the Sensories of the Body by a violent Disease, whereby Sensation is destroy’d. Natural Conscience implieth, that there is in Man the Faculty called [Liberum Arbitrium] Free Will, (elseitwould be Folly, for Men to be troubled for their Evil doings,) and that there is a Law of Nature, a natural Ethicks and Discipline of Morality, a Well-doing and Evil-doing, Duty and Sin, antecedently to any Human Institution, which is a plain Truth, and plainly subversive of Atheism.
As the Natural World is a well-made System, so is the Human World, or World of Mankind, as it consisteth of Societies, lesser and greater Polities, that are beauteous and useful Structures. These give an Attestation to the Existence of God; for none else can reasonably be suppos’d to be the Founder of them; and they shew, that Man is made and design’d for Society, whence the Existence of God appeareth. The Atheists, that discard the Existence of God, discard therewith the Natural Sociableness of Man, and not without great Reason; for that God existeth, and is the Maker of Man, is as evident, as that Man is made and design’d for Society. And it is evident, that Man is so made; for he is not only Sociable towards those of his own Kind by kindly Natural Instinct and Inclination, as the Brutes are; but he is capable of proper Laws and Government, of cultivating the Common Good, and of Arts needful for Human Society. He hath the Power of Speech, which would be in vain, if Man was not design’d to live in Society. His natural Passions of Veneration, Glory, Shame, manifestly relate to Society. So doth the thin Skin of his Face, thro’ which his Thoughts and Passions make a discovery of themselves; the Beauty of his Countenance; the Differences of Mens Countenances in vast variety, whereby they are known, one from another; and the different Qualifications of Men, some being Magnanimous, others of softer Temper, some being fitted for the Pen, others for the Plough, some to command, others to obey, that the Welfare of the Whole might be provided for, by that which every Joint supplieth. Mankind are born in Families, constitute and live in Families, in which there is a constant Cohabitation of both Sexes for their mutual Help and Comfort, for the Propagation of their Species, and to take care of their Off-spring, (which continueth weak and feeble much longer than that of the Brutes, and therefore requireth a constant Cohabitation, and continual Care of the Parents;) these Family-Societies are plainly by the Order and Design of Nature, Mankind are manifestly design’d to live in Family Societies, the first elementary Societies, which there fore derive their Origin from Parental Providence, which also continueth the different Sexes of Animals, Male and Female, in due Proportion throughout all Ages of the World. “And, because Solitude is intolerable to every Man, even with an infinite Abundance of Pleasure, hence it is plain, that we are naturally design’d for a Conjunction and a Community.”21 Mankind are by Nature design’d and necessitated, to live in Society, in which there is no living without a God and Providence, a Life to come, and a Religion. For there can be no Good of Virtue in Human Life, if there be no Religion; nor any thing to restrain Men from any Heart Villainy, or any secret Villainy, or any Villainy that they can commit with Safety and Impunity in this World, nor from any Villainy, save only so far as they want an Opportunity to commit it. The Religion of an Oath must be out of doors. None can have the Right of Authority and Sovereignty, nor can others be under a conscientious Obligation to Subjection and Obedience. Princes cannot be conscientiously oblig’d to keep Faith with their Neighbours, or to govern their Subjects with Wisdom and Justice, or to stand to the Compacts or Covenants, which they make with them, nor can themselves have any Security from Assassination and Violence; “for Strength must be the Law of Nature.”
From the Consent of Nations;§8. The Antients report an universal Consent of Nations touching the Existence of a Deity. Some Modern Travellers say otherwise, and make an Exception of some barbarous unciviliz’d Nations, at the Bay of Soldania, in Brasil, and the Caribee Islands, in New-found-Land and New-France, the Natives whereof are said to live without any Acknowledgment of a God, and Sense of Religion. But, altho’ these Savages are so extremely degenerate into Brutishness, that they scarce deserve to be reckon’d amongst Mankind; and, if they live without Civil Government, they must be acknowledg’d hugely anomalous and dissonant from the Nations; yet it is great Rashness and Unadvisedness to believe the Reports of their total Irreligion. For some of these Reporters contradict themselves, as Johannes Lerius manifestly doth; others of them are contradicted by other Travellers, that were better acquainted with these Savages, and better understood their Sentiments. It is possible, that some Persons among them may live in the total Neglect of a God, and a Religion; that those who have but little of Political Government, which they cannot, however, be wholly without, have but little Religion; and that the Universality of them make no great shew of any Religion: And this seemeth to be all the Truth that is in the Story. The Existence of a Deity hath certainly the general Consent of Nations to recommend it, and it is so evident, that the World of Mankind have always stood convicted of the Truth of it; it may justly be reckon’d one of their common Notions; and, because it is the commonest Sense of Mankind, it must be accounted true in the Judgment of common Sense, and according to the Light of Nature. Had it been wholly an arbitrary Fiction or Imposture, it is not possible, that there could have been so universal an Agreement, both touching the Existence of a Deity, and also the Properties and Attributes of a Deity, and that these Notices and Opinions should not wear away and vanish, (as Impostures do, that in process of Time are discover’d,) but continue firm and immoveable, throughout all Countries and Ages. No Cause can reasonably be assign’d of this so Universal a Consent, but Nature, Universal Mundan Nature, and the Nature of Man. “Seeing this Opinion is not establish’d by any Institution, Custom, or Law, and among all without exception a firm Consent doth continue, it must necessarily be understood, that there are Gods, we having implanted, or rather innate, Notices of them; but that, about which there is a Consentof All by Nature, must necessarily be true.”22 The Belief of the Soul’s Immortality, and of a Life to come, which is the general Sense of Mankind, and which inferreth the Existence of a Deity, both issue from the same Cause, and are the eminent Branches of Natural Religion, which is a Property of Man’s Nature.
and from extraordinary and special Providences.§9. To these evident Notices of God from Nature, we may annex extraordinary and special Providences. For, altho’ Providence is a somewhat lubricous Argument, the ways of governing Providence being Various and Mysterious; and altho’ this sort of Providences are no sensible Miracles, nor can so easily be distinguish’d as they, from what is done by the mere Agency of a second Cause: Yet there are several Occurrences in Human Affairs, that, in fair and reasonable Construction, must be accounted Special Providences, and carry the Marks of a Divine Hand. Such is the Dispersion of the Jews, and their continuing a distinct People in their Dispersion, a thing that hath no Parallel in History; the portentous Presignifications that have usher’d in calamitous Wars; strange Deliverances of good Men, and of Societies of good People; strange Discoveries of Plots and Murders; remarkable Judgments, that have befallen Persecutors and Tyrants, and other wicked Grandees of the World; signal Answers of Prayer, the Decay and Ruin of many great Families for their Injustice, and prophetick Dreams. The sudden Rise of the Mace-donian, and Ruin of the Persian Monarchy, was plainly an Act of Divine Providence; the Heathen Poets and Historians, with great reason, ascribe it to Fate, for Darius was manifestly blinded in his Conduct, when he fought with Alexander. The Greatness of the Roman Empire was decreed by Fate, saith Machiavel; and the Ruin of it was by a Divine Fate, for the barbarous Northern Nations that laid it waste, acknowledg’d, that their Invasion of it was not of themselves, but that they were divinely impell’d thereto. The Justice of Providence is very visible in those Temporal Judgments, that have a conformity or resemblance to the Sin, that was the Cause of them. The Issue of many Wars and Battles hath been determin’d by some special Providence. The Impunity, in this Life, of some Men outrageously wicked, is not so great an Objection against Providence, but that some remarkable Instances of its Justice may reasonably move an ingenuous Pagan, to make such an Acknowledgment, as Manlius Torquatus made, when, finding Annius lying dead at the foot of the Steps of the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, (after an insolent Speech he had made against the Romans,) he cried out, “Est coeleste numen, es, magne Jupiter!” There is a God in Heaven, thou art, O mighty Jupiter!23 The Lord is known by the Judgments that he executeth, as he is by Mundane Nature.
The Knowledge of the Being of God noticeth the Law of Nature to Mankind.§10. If the Existence of God is naturally noticed to Mankind, a Law of Religion and Virtue, which is the Law of Nature, is naturally notic’d unto them; for to be the Sovereignty of God to us is necessarily the Law of our Subjection and Service unto him, and of that Universal Righteousness, that we sin not against him. But this Natural Notice of the Existence of God, and of a Law of Religion and Virtue, is of a two-fold Notion. For the Existence of a Deity (Supreme Deity) in general, and a Law of Religion and Virtue in general, hath the Notoreity of a natural Notice to the World of Mankind; whence they are necessarily oblig’d to all that Religious Subjection and Service, Honour and Worship (internal and external), which Sanctity and Piety is the Comprehension of, and which is manifestly and in its own Nature Piety and God-service, a virtuous and honorary Congruity unto God. If he is notic’d to them, as of Right and Due the Sovereignty of God to them, they must necessarily have this Notice, that they are of Right, and by Obligation, his Subjects and Religionists, that are bound to give unto him the Rights and Dues of his God-head, which is a terrible Prohibition to them, not to live in Atheism (speculative or practical), Profaneness, Neglect, Oblivion, or Contempt of God and his Service, not to alienate themselves from him, or be Evil-doers towards him, Injurious, Unthankful, and Unworthy, not to disparage and vilify, not to put Disgraces and Contumelies upon him, not to deny his Sovereignty and Attributes, (by not making a virtuous and honorary Acknowledgment of them,) not to give his proper Honour to another, deifying Abominations, and thereby blasphemously reproaching God, which was a principal Crime of the Heathen World, which swarmed with Idols and fictitious Deities, yet knew God, (had the true God notic’d to them,) γνωςὸν τοῦ θεοῦ that which may be naturally known of God was notic’d to them, was manifest in them (in their Minds,) for God had shew’d it unto them.24 His Truth therefore,(his practical Truth, namely, these Notices and Instructions, Rules and Precepts, which concern the Service of God,) is not unknown to them, as the Apostle affirmeth. His Truth and their Duty could not but be notic’d, if the Existence of the Sovereignty of God was notic’d unto them; knowing this, they could not but know, in great degree, that just and agreeable Worship and Service, which they ow’d unto him, and that Man must be Religious towards God. Not only singly, but in Society, Man must be Religious towards God, (the publick religious Worship in Assemblies and Societies of Men, being highly honorary to God, and beneficial to Man;) and seeing God is naturally notic’d unto all Men, as a Sovereign Power over them, that superintendeth their Affairs and Ways, is just in his Government, and will reward or punish them, as they are Well-doers or Evil-doers, (so that they cannot be ignorant, that they must fare as they observe or violate the Truth which is notic’d unto them,) it is manifest, that they are under the Obligation of Non licet impune, that they may not with Impunity be Evil-doers; and that a necessity of living the good Life, and of Universal Righteousness, is notic’d, to all Men by the Light of Nature, which noticeth the Existence of God. The Heathen World that walk’d in Impieties and Impurities, yet knew the judgment of God, that Men ought not to be Evil-doers, and that they which do such Things are Evil-doers, and worthy of Death.25“Verily there is a God, that heareth and seeth what we do, who will deal with every Man, as he is well or ill deserving,” saith an Heathen Comedian.26
The Law of Nature is discern’d by natural Reason.§11. The Law of Nature is notic’d to Mankind by the Nature of Well and Evil-doing, as understood by the Mind, and discern’d by our natural Reason and Understanding. As every Man hath the Existence of God externally notic’d unto him, and as the Mind of Man of it-self discerneth the Well and Fit that is in external Nature: In like manner what is Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, is (in good degree) notic’d to every Man, and the Mind herself discerneth, what is the Beauteous-beneficial, and the Foul-maleficial Practice. The Mind is of such a Frame, that she naturally and rightly noticeth unto all Men, touching some things, that they are of such a Nature, that they cannot be done, and touching other things, that they cannot be left undone, without the Guilt and Crime of being Evildoers; and that their being such is contrary to the Mind of God, and subjecteth them to his punitive Displeasure: As on the contrary, their being Well-doers is according to the Mind of God, and intitleth them to his Favour and Rewards: And the System of these natural Notices is the Law of Nature. It may here, therefore, be not improper to consider the Objections against this Notice of the Law of Nature.
Objections against this Proof of the Law of Nature answer’d.1. Objection, That it supposeth, without Proof, the Legislative Power of Reason.§12. The first Objection against this Proof of the Law of Nature, is, That it supposes, without Proof, the Legislative Power of Reason, which is not to be suppos’d. “Reason is not the Law, or its Measure; neither can any Man be sure, that any thing is a Law of Nature, because it seems to him hugely reasonable, neither, if it be so indeed, is it therefore a Law. For Reason can demonstrate, and it can persuade, and invite, but not compel any thing but Assent, not Obedience, and therefore it is no Law. ”27 ’Tis true, that mere Reason is not Law, but Reason, complicated with what is Law, is necessarily Law. For as right Reason noticeth what is the Well-doing and the Evil-doing, it is complicated with what is, in its own Nature, matter of Law. And as it noticeth, that the Well-doing, and the being Well-doers, is according to the Mind of God, and the Evil-doing, and the being Evildoers, is against the Mind of God, it is complicated with what is Law, by a superior Authority. The Laws of Nature must be consider’d, not as the Dictates of mere right Reason, but as the Dictates of conscientious right Reason.
2. Objection, That the Proof of its Legislation from God is wanting.§13. A second Objection against this Account of the Law of Nature, is, That the Proof of its Legislation from God is wanting. This Objection Cumberland hath sufficiently answer’d. However, the Doctrines and Practices of the Heathens (which have been particularly set forth in the Introductory Essays) shew, “That their Reason wanted a Rectification; that the perfect Revelation and Legislation from God, adapted to all Mankind, are the Laws of supernatural Revelation; and that (altho’ Mankind by considering the Nature of any Practice may, and ordinarily do, know whether it be a Branch of the Law of Nature, yet) Men need the Aids of supernatural Revelation, to better their Knowledge of the Law of Nature.”
3. Objection, That the Notices of Reason are an uncertain Guide, about which Men are not agreed.§14. A third Objection against this Account of the Law of Nature, is, an uncertain Notice of the Morals of it, of Religion and Virtue; for they suppose, that right Reason is that which noticeth to Mankind the Virtuous Morals, and is the noticing Rule thereof. But according to the Pyrrhonians and Scepticks, there is no Truth in the Reasonings of Men.28 “The Professors of right Reason (the Philosophers) were hugely different touching Good and Evil, and the great Principle of conducting Life, the Chief Good; what some account a Principle or Conclusion evidently true, others, no less intelligent, account extremely false; some of them believ’d the worst Crimes to be Innocent, as Theodorus the Philosopher allow’d of Adultery, Theft, Sacrilege; Plato allow’d Adultery and Community of Wives, so did Socrates and Cato; Zeno and Chrysippus approv’d of Incest, and so did the Persians. So that we may well say as Socrates in Plato’s Phaedrus; When we hear the Name of Silver or Iron, all Men that speak the same Language, understand the same Thing: But, when we speak of Just or Good, we are distracted into various Apprehensions, and differ from each other, and from ourselves. Every Man maketh his Opinions to be Laws of Nature, if his Persuasion be strong and violent. And some are Atheists that believe no God, nor any thing to be dishonest, which they can do in Private, or with Impunity. Some have believ’d, that there is nothing in it-self Just, and only regarded what is profitable, so did Carneades, and so did Aristippus. And it is not sufficient to say, some Persons are unreasonable, unless we first know some certain Rule and Measure of Reason. Now we cannot take our Measures of Reason from Nature; or, if we do, we cannot take the Measures of Nature from Reason. If we judge of what is natural by its Conformity to right Reason, we cannot judge of right Reason by its Conformity to what is natural.” Thus Reason is made use of against it-self, various Reasons are alledg’d to shew the uncertainty of the Notices of Reason in Moral Matters. But, as was said of the Milesians of old, “The Milesians are no Fools, but they do the same things that Fools do”: So they that are not Irrational, yet sometimes argue at an unreasonable rate. For the Dissent of Pyrrhonians and Scepticks doth it signify any thing, to destroy the certainty of Reason? Or the Dissent of Atheists, to destroy the certainty of the Existence of God? The Name of Theodorus was not the Philosopher, but the Atheist, and Aristippus was of no better Character. The Philosophers were not the genuine Professors of right Reason, but generally they were extravagant unpopular Humorists, that affected to maintain Paradoxes. Heraclitus held, that contradictory Propositions are consistent. Zeno Eleates held, that Motion is impossible; and Anaxagoras, that Snow and Coal are of the same Colour. If any one should alledge these absurd Paradoxes of the Philosophers, to destroy and impair the certainty of Logick and external Sense, such Allegations would not signify any thing, such Uncertainties do not make an Uncertainty; and the Allegation of their absurd Conceits, touching Moral Matters, signifies as little, to destroy or impair the evident Certainty of the Notices of right Reason, and the Morals of the Law of Nature. Of which we must affirm.
1. So great a Certainty there is in the Law of Nature, that there is no invincible Difficulty in the Whole of it, or the Science of it, as there is in other Sciences, Metaphysicks, Natural Philosophy, nay, in Mathematicks it self, in which there are invincible Difficulties. But the Science of Universal Right eousness hath no such invincible Difficulty in it, as rendereth it impossible for Mankind, to arrive at an evident Certainty, touching the whole of it. For it must be suppos’d, that they that are oblig’d to fulfil all this Righteousness, may have an evident Certainty, touching what it is, as several Righteous Men have had; that this whole Duty of Man is not a thing incomprehensible by Man; for then it could not be the whole Duty of Man, nor could it be taught or learned.
2. So great a Certainty there is in the Law of Nature, that none can innocently be grossly Ignorant of, or mistake, any of the Morals of it, but it is their Sin and their Crime; so the Polytheism, Idolatry, Un-chastity, and bloody Spectacles, which were the Practice of the Heathens in their Night of Ignorance, was their Sin and their Crime. By their Reason God had notic’d to the World of Mankind in general, the Knowledge of Himself, his Truth, and their Duty, which is the Law of Nature; so far the Truth was not unknown to them: But they were not Sincere, Upright, and Faithful towards it, holding the Truth in Unrighteousness; whence they were involv’d in Atheous Ignorance, which was their deadly Sin, and their Crime, and no excuseable invincible Ignorance, but an Effect of their Unfaithfulness and Insincerity. Their Polytheism does not prove, that Mankind have but uncertain Notices touching the Unity of the God-head: Nor does the Philosophers allowing Adultery and Incest prove, that Mankind have but uncertain Notices of the Law of Nature. It is certain, they had better Notices, and, if these better Notices were not to them evidently certain, yet they would have been evidently certain, if they had been Sincere and Faithful; so great a Certainty there is in the Notices of the Law of Nature. Would it not have been evidently certain to Carneades, that there are things in themselves Just, if he had not been a Villain? To be a sound Moralist towards God and Man, is not a business of abstruse and subtile Speculation, but of Sincerity, Faithfulness, and Integrity; it is not so much in the Head and a piercing Judgment, as in the Heart and a Rectitude of Will; nor is it so requisite to be a Philosopher, as to be Honest, and duly Conscientious.
3. So great a Certainty there is in the Law of Nature, that there is a certain Rule of right Reason in Morality, which is the Beauteous-beneficial Practice. If the Mind noticeth or dictateth what is the right Practice, this is necessarily right Reason; if therefore she noticeth or dictateth touching the Beauteous-beneficial Practice, that this is to be done, and touching the Foul-maleficial Practice, that this is not to be done, this is right Reason. And there is no more difficulty in discerning what is right Reason in Morality, than there is in discerning, what is the Beauteous-beneficial, and what is the Foul-maleficial Practice. Now, it is as evident and certain, that the Virtues, commonly so call’d, are the Beauteous-beneficial Practice, and the Vices, commonly so call’d, are the Foul-maleficial Practice, as it is evident and certain, that hating and hurting, is not helping, that to be a Lyar is not honourable, that the Soldanian Diet of Guts and Garbage is not cleanly, and that Thersites is not handsome.
4. So great a Certainty there is in the Law of Nature, that a great part of it is of unquestionable Evidence and Certainty, with Mankind in general, and is ascertain’d by the Consent of Nations; with respect where unto the Lawyers define the Law of Nature. “That which natural Reason hath settled among all Men. That which is alike observed amongst all People or Nations. The natural Laws are those, which are alike observ’d in all Nations.”29“The Consent of all Nations in every Thing is to be reputed a Law of Nature,” saith Cicero.30 So Aristotle defineth the Law of Nature, “That which hath every where the same Force, as Fire alike burneth here and among the Persians.”31 The Law of Nature therefore is of a larger and narrower Acceptation; the one the more comprehensive, the other them ore famous. In the more comprehensive Sense it is that whole System of Law, which a just Providence requireth the Observance of from all Mankind, antecedently to supernatural Revelation, which hath the Verity of natural Notice. But, in the narrower and more famous Sense, it is only that part of the Law of Nature, which hath the Notoreity of natural Notice, the common Acknowledgment of the World. But, as Miracles are not a sufficient Proof of the Divinity of a Doctrine, unless, upon impartial Examination, the Nature of it appeareth to be Divine: So the Consent of Mankind, alone, is not a sufficient Proof touching any Morals, that they are Laws of Nature, unless, upon impartial Examination, they appear to be in their own Nature Good or Evil, and there fore of them selves Matter of Law. But, if any Morals are receiv’d or acknowledg’d by the common Consent of Nations, as Branches of the Law of Nature, and upon impartial Examination they appear to be in their own Nature Good or Evil (agree ably to the general Acknowledgment of Mankind,) of such Morals we have the greatest Assurance imaginable, that they are Branches of the Law of Nature. For they are so in the Judgment of common Sense, to Notoreity, and so as to be common or general Notions; and they must be grossly plain and evident Branches of the Law of Nature, that have the general Acknowledgment of Mankind, in this their degenerate Condition. This general Agreement concerning them, their firm Continuance through out all Ages, the impossibility of eradicating them out of the Minds of Men, plainly demonstrate, that they are not from any arbitrary Institution of Man, but are natural Notions; that the Mind is of such a Nature as to notice them, and the Soul of Man is naturally dispos’d to the Belief of them. The Consent of Nations, there fore, both demonstrateth the Existence of the Law of Nature, and is in part a certain Notice of the Morals of it. It demonstrateth the Existence of the Law of Nature, for it appeareth from the Consent of Nations, that there is a just Providence, which requireth of all Men, that they be the Welldoers, not the Evil-doers; and that a System of Morals, which are in their own Nature Well-doing, are naturally and convictively, even to the Notoreity of a general Acknowledgment, notic’d to Mankind. The certainty of noticing the Morals of the Law of Nature from the general Consent of Nations, hath many Objections made against it. But they are made without a due Clearness and consistency of Discourse, and without any considerable Strength of Reasoning. For sometimes it is said, “That a Body of the Law of Nature is not to be look’d for from the Consent of Nations,” which no Man will contradict.32 Sometimes it is said, “That the Hebrew Doctors do not unwisely, to make no reckoning of the Consent of Nations in the Designation of the Law of Nature”;33 and “That the Lawof Nations is no Indication of the Law of Nature.”34 Which are Positions hugely extravagant, maintain’d by Reasons extremely insignificant. For what if all Nations are not known? If some known Nations are Savages, and in great degree live without Law? If in some other known Nations, some of the grossest Immoralities have been commonly practis’d and authoriz’d? What signify these Exceptions to the invalidating this great Certainty; That the Existence of the Law of Nature hath the Consent of Nations, and the general Acknowledgment of Mankind, as also severalgreat Moralities, particular Branches of that Law, which is an Indication, that they are of the Law of Nature? If a judicious Heathen Lawyer Paulus saith,35 that Theft is prohibited by the Law of Nature; if Ulpian, another of the same Character, calleth it (Naturae turpe) an Action of natural Turpitude, there are few but will look upon these Sayings as considerable Indications, that the Prohibition of Theft is of the Law of Nature; how much more ought they to think so, if the Generality of Mankind say so? The Persians practis’d and authoriz’d an incestuous Mixture with their own Mothers, and Antiochus Soter married his Father’s Wife: But such incestuous Mixtures were against the general Sense of Mankind, as we learn not only from the Poets, and from Cicero, but from a better Author, 1 Cor. 5. 1. which ought to be look’d upon as an Indication, that they were against the Law of Nature. “The Nations differ about their Superstition, but what Nation is there, that does not like and love Mansuetude, Benignity, and a grateful Mind? And that doth not vilify and hate the Proud, the Malitious, the Cruel, and the Ungrateful?”36
5. In written Laws, both Divine and Human, the reissuchun certainty, that Men are of various Opinions touching their Interpretation, and touching what is the Sense of those Laws, what is Just and Good (according to the Saying of Socrates to Phaedrus,) and every one thinketh that his own Opinion is Law; yet this uncertainty does not hinder, but that there is an evidently certain Interpretation of these written Laws: So there is a Diversity of Opinions touching what is right Reason, Just and Good, according to the Law of Nature, such uncertainty there is in it; yet this does not hinder, but that there is an evidently certain right Reason (in Moral Matters) well and evil Doing, according to the Law of Nature: Touching which the Differences of Mankind would not be very great, if they were duly conscientious. “Let no Man pretend, that through Ignorance be neglecteth Virtue, or because he hath none to shew him the Way, for we have Conscience a sufficient Teacher.”37He hathshew’dthee, O Man, what is good, Mic. 6. 8.
4. Objection from the Absurdity of the Supposition of innate Ideas and Principles, which this Notion of the Law of Nature implieth.§15. A fourth Objection against this Account of the Law of Nature, is, the Supposition of Innate Ideas, Notions, and Principles, which it involveth. The antient Writers look upon the natural Law, as an innate Law (Nata Lex, as Cicero calleth it) as a natural Inscription or Impression upon the Minds of all Men; and the Apostle manifestly favoureth this Notion of it, Rom. 2. 14, 15. For, altho’ he doth not say, that the Moral Lawis written in the Heart of the Gentiles, yet he saith, That the Law, as to the Work of it, is written in their Hearts (their inward Man) and that they are a Law unto themselves, as to the Work of the Law, which is to indicate, direct, dictate, command, and forbid, to judge, Joh. 7.51. to criminateor accuse, Joh. 5. 45. to convince and condemn, Jam. 2. 9. The Apostle affirmeth, that the Law in some sort (as to the Work of it) is written in the Heart of the Gentiles, and consequently, in some respect, it is the Law written in the Minds of Men, as the antient Moralists style it. They suppose it to be written in the Soul as having τὸ ἡγεμονικὸν, the leading part, τὸν ὀρθὸν λόγον, right Reason, τὸ συνειδὸς, Conscience, τὸ κριτνίριον ϕυσικὸν, that natural discernment whereby we distinguish Good from Evil. This is their Sense, as appeareth from their Accounts of it, and this is all that they mean, when they speak of a Law naturally written and impressed upon the Soul, “That right Reason” (which is the Law of Nature) “is innate to the Soul, and written or implanted in her.”38 They suppose, that it is Innate or Natural to the intelligent reasoning Mind, to understand and reason rightly, in some degree at least, touching the Matters of Morality, and consequently to form those Notices or Dictates, which are the Law of Nature. In this Sense they suppose it Innate, a natural Inscription or Impression, and in this Sense we ought to assert in nate Ideas, Notions, and Principles, that are not adventitious. For all Arts and Sciences had their Origin from Nature, all Mankind are by Nature, in some degree, Logicians and Mathematicians, in some degree they are born such, and in the like degree they are born Moralists and Religionists. The Design and Business of Arts and Sciences, is only to make up what is begun in Nature. It is innate, therefore, to the Mind of Man, to form Logical, Mathematical, Religious, and Moral Ideas, Notions, and Principles, which are not adventitious Notices or Evidences. It is innate in a Child to grow up to be a Man in Mind and Understanding, as well as Stature of Body; and, consequently, it is innate to him, to grow up to understanding the common Notions, which is essential to one who understandeth at the rate of a Man. Reasoning is certainly innate to the reasoning Mind; and, if the Mind is, by natural Constitution, Religious as well as Rational, Religious Reasoning must necessarily be innate to her. Her innate Reasoning implieth, that the Method of Reasoning is innate to her, which is to form Ideas, to compare them, to make a Judgment of them, to make Deductions of Causes from Effects, of Effects from Causes, of Consequents from Antecedents, and of Conclusions from evident Principles. In this Method of Reasoning the Mind findeth, that it is natural and innate in her, to form those Propositions call’d the common Notions, to think of them, and to think them true, that they are not in her as adventitious Notices and Evidences; but they are as much innate in her, as it is innate to Man, to be actually a Rationalist and a Religionist, and, therefore, she calleth them innate Notions and Principles. As she hath an innate Power, so (being made both Rational and Religious) she hath an innate Propension, to notice and dictate the common Notions, which are hereby distinguish’d from adventitious Notices and Evidences. Because of this innate Propension, they are self-taught, by an untaught Gift of Nature, nor can the Mind disbelieve them, without doing Violence to her-self. This innate Propension appeareth from the general Consent, that hath been amongst Mankind, in good degree, touching the Laws of Nature. For in all Ages, without any Philosophical Disquisitions about them, or any abstruse Inquiries into the Causes or Reasons of them, Mankind had the Knowledge of them. Which plainly sheweth, that they deriv’d this their Knowledge of them, from one great Universal Teacher, and that they were notic’d and dictated to them from an innate Propension of their own Minds. Of the common Notions that are speculative, we must affirm, that the Mind, merely by her innate Power of distinguishing between True and False, hath, virtually at least, the Notice of them, and the Discernment of the Truth of them, without needing any adventitious Notice or Evidence. Of the common Notices that are practical, we must affirm, that the Mind, merely by her innate Power of distinguishing between well and evil Doing, hath, virtually at least, the Notice of them, and a Discernment of their Obligation, without needing any adventitious Notice or Evidence. These are, therefore, justly counted Ideas, Notions, and Principles, that are innate to us, not in every Sense, but so as is explained, which seems to be intirely the Sense in which the Antients understood them; and, in such Sense, innate Ideas, Notions, and Principles, may and ought to be asserted against all Objections that are made against them.
Objections against innate Principles, answer’d1. Objection, Infants and Ideots do not know them.1. Against innate Principles in general, it is argu’d, “Infants and Ideots do not know them, therefore they are not imprinted on their Minds.”39 But how vastly remote and distant is this Argument from concerning innate Ideas and Principles in the genuine Sense of asserting them? Alike remote and distant is this other Reasoning. “If these suppos’d innate Principles were native Characters and Impressions, they would appear faire stand clearest in Naturals, in Children, Ideots, Savages, and illiterate People, being of all other the least Corrupted by Custom or borrow’d Opinions.” For it is not imaginable, that the Principles of Science and of Law, and the Dictates of right Reason should appear fairest and clearest in them, that are almost totally devoid of Reason; nor do Infants know them, ’till they come to the Use of Reason. But the Objector proceeds and affirms; “It is utterly false, that the Use of Reason assisteth us in the Knowledge of these Maxims, or that Children know or assent to these Maxims, as soon as they come to the Use of Reason; some time after during a Man’s Life, they maybe assented to, and so may all other knowable Truths.” All Mankind call these common Notions, the Dictates of right Reason; the Use of Reason, therefore, assisteth us in the Knowledge of these self-evident Maxims: Which are not of the Condition of other knowable Truths, (that may be known or not known by Mankind;) but the Notice of the common Notions is essential to such Rationalists and Religionists as all Men are by Nature. And proportionably as common Reason displayeth it-self in Mankind in their Growth from their Non-age, these common Notions are discover’d, and, as they have the Use of Reason in a greater degree, they are discover’d in a greater degree.
2.2. Objection, Thieves and High-way-men do not own them. Against innate Principles it is argu’d; “That Thieves and High-way men do not own Faith and Justice as Principles; the Principles of Morality, therefore, are not own’d by all Men,” (have not universal Consent,) “therefore they are not innate.” But they know very little, who do not know, that Thieves and High-way-men, many of which are educated in the Christian Religion, do ordinarily own Faith and Justice, as to the Notice, Conviction, and Dictate of their own Minds, which they sin against. It is argu’d also; “That there are no Practical Principles where in all Men agree, (not any Practical Truth that is universally receiv’d without Doubt or Question,) therefore none innate.” But, if Mankind universally desire their own Felicity, if they are universally Social, there is an universal Agreement of Mankind in great practical Principles; and such an Agreement implyeth and inferreth their Agreement in a great number of practical Principles. But the Hypothesis of innate Ideas and Principles does not require, that there should be any practical Truth universally receiv’d, without Doubt or Question by Mankind. It is enough to justify that Assertion, if all Men have Notices and Dictates of practical Truth, that are innate. And of these we must affirm, that, as to be actually a Sinner, is innate to every Child of Man in a degree of prevalent Tendency that way; to be actually a Rationalist, a Logician, an Arithmetician, a Societist, is innate to every Child of Man in a degree of prevalent Tendency that way.
3. Objection, A Reason may be requir’d of every Moral Rule; they are therefore not self-evident nor innate.3. It is argu’d; “That not one Moral Rule can be produc’d, whereof a Man may not justly demand a Reason, and therefore it is not self-evident, as every innate Principle must needs be.” But may a Reason justly be demanded of the great Rules and Principles of Morality, which cannot be denyed without a Contradiction? The Good is not to be hated, but is that which is to be lik’d and chosen: The Evil is not to be lov’d, but is that which is to be dislik’d and avoided. The Beauteous-beneficial Kind of Practice is the Good, the Foul-maleficial Kind of Practice is the Evil. The Good is the Well-doing, the Evil is the Evil-doing. The Well-doing is Righteousness (the Right-doing), the Evil-doing is (the Wrong-doing) Unrighteousness. To be an Evil-doer, is Vice and Crime. That which cannot be done without Vice and Crime, is not allowable, may not be done. None can have a Right to do the Wrong, that which is Unrighteousness, nor may do that which ought not to be done. It is necessarily Wickedness and Crime to be a Doer of Unrighteousness. To be a Criminal or Malefactor, is not lawful or tolerable, but punishable. Innocence, Piety, Order, Aptitude, Congruity, and Proportion, in our Practice, is Beauteous. The sincere Benevolence is Goodness of Will and Affection. To reverence the Elders, to keep Faith, to do to others as we would be done to, is the Beauteous-beneficial Practice. The Malevolent Nature and Practice is the Evil. Guile and Hypocrisy is Villainy. To act the Part of an Enemy to a Friend, to design Evil to the Innocent, to condemn the Righteous, are the Foul-maleficial Practice. The great Rules of Morality are as self-evident, as the Principles of the speculative Sciences. Luk. 12.57. “Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is Right?”
4. Objection, If Moral Principles were innate, Man could not transgress them with Confidence and Serenity.4. The Objector saith; “I cannot see, how any Man should evertransgress the Moral Rules with Confidence and Serenity, were they in nate and stamp’d upon their Minds. If any can be thought to be naturally imprinted, none, I think, can have a fairer pretence to be innate than this, Parents preserve and cherish your Children. But have there not been whole Nations, and those of the most civiliz’d People, amongst whom the exposing their Children, and leaving them in the Fields to perish by Want or wild Beasts, hath been the Practice, as little condemn’d or scrupled as the begetting them? It was familiar and uncondemn’d Practice amongst the Greeks and Romans, to expose, without Pity or Remorse, their Infants.” But whether Moral Rules be extrinsecally imprinted upon the Mind (from a Book, a Teacher, or the Frame of the World,) or whether they be imprinted in the way of innate Principles, the Case is the same, as to the Possibility of transgressing them with Confidence and Serenity. If Men can with Confidence and Serenity transgress any Moral Rules, that are imprinted upon their Minds, they may so transgress those, that are impress’d in the way of innate Principles. And nothing is more usual than for Men, with Confidence and Serenity to transgress the Moral Rules imprinted upon their Minds; for the Jews and Papists transgress this Commandment, Thou shalt not kill; and so the Protestants transgress these Moral Rules, Be not drunk with Wine, Let there be no Divisions among you. There is no Sect of Religionists, that doth not violate some Moral Rules, imprinted on their Minds, with greater Confidence and Serenity than the Greeks and Romans expos’d their Children; for, altho’ the Objector hath some to bear him company in his Exaggerations of their inhuman Practice, yet it is certain, there are several Mistakes in his Account of it. For, as the exposing Children was condemn’d40 amongst the Aegyptians, and the Germans,41 so among the Greeks it was severely prohibited by the Theban Law. Aelian, who was a Roman, altho’ he wrote in Greek, saith of this Theban Law, which made the exposing an Infant, Capital, “It was a Law of the greatest Rectitude and Philantrophy.”42Isocrates condemneth these Crimes in other Cities, and vindicateth his own City from them. The Greeks and Romans were far from being totally devoid of natural Love and Tenderness to their Children (commonly call’d by them σοργἠ) and usually there was a Mixture of Kindness and Tenderness in their exposing their Infants, as there was also in their Pawning and Selling them. For these their Practices were not with design to have their Children destroy’d, but preserv’d. They had this Law of Nature, Parents preserve and cherish your Children, not only imprinted upon their Minds, but upon their Bowels; yet because of Poverty or Want, and to avoid the Burden of them, they often kill’d some of their Children, in so much that the Emperor Constantine, to prevent the killing their supernumerary Children, made a Law for their relief. But those Parents that were more Parental than to kill their Children, chose rather to expose them (as the lesser of the two Evils,) not with a design to have them destroy’d, but that some might shew Pity on them, take them up, and educate them. There was, therefore, a Mixture of Humanity and Pity in the Pagans exposing their Children; and, doubtless, it was from a Principle of Heathen Piety, and great respect to their aged Parents, that some barbarous Nations kill’d them, when they grew very Old, accounting it ignominious to be decrepit;43 and others sacrific’d and ate them, accounting this the most honourable Burial, to entomb them in their own Bowels. So the Mahometans, from a Principle of mistaken Piety and Devotion, have a great Veneration for Distracted Men and Leud Miscreants that have the Garb of Asceticks, and give them an universal License to do any thing, even to lie with their Wives, accounting the Children they beget, Holy.44 But, considering these and the like Instances of the Paradoxical Nature of the World’s Piety, our Objector should not have ask’d, “Where are those innate Principles of Justice, Piety, Gratitude, Equity, and Chastity?”45 But, in all reason, he ought to have ask’d, Where are they not? For the Principles of Piety and Virtue in general we find all the World over, the World of Mankind are agreed in them; but it is with this difference, what one Party of Men call Virtue and Piety, another Party calleth Vice and Impiety. And with great Reason; for with unregenerate Mankind many Enormities have the repute of Virtue, or at least of sinless Practices. Which is not for want of the innate practical Principles, “But this is the Cause of all Evils unto Men, they have not skill to accommodate and apply the common Notions (τὰς προληψεις, τὰς κοίνας ἐννοίας) to particular Matters of Practice.”46 They know the true Notions of Good, Justice, Virtue, and Piety, and that they ought to chuse and practice them: But are often grossly unacquainted with what is materially so. Whence it is too possible, for a whole Nation to allow the Transgression of a Practical Rule, which is imprinted on their Minds; for they may do it from a false Opinion of Well-doing, as the Church of Rome alloweth (and more than alloweth) the Transgression of the second Commandment. And they may do it from an Opinion of the Necessity of Affairs, as the Church of Rome hath allow’d Stews, and the Persians allow’d the grossest Incest from an extravagant Affectation of Magianism.
Whence it is easy to a Judgment of this remaining Part of our Objector’s Argument; “That no practical Rule, which is any-where universally, or with publick Approbation or allowance, transgress’d, can be suppos’d innate. It is impossible to conceive, that a whole Nation of Men should all publickly reject and renounce what every one of them certainly and in fallibly know to be a Law; for so they must, who have it naturally imprinted on their Minds.” From the Necessity of Affairs, and an Opinion of greater Good, the Greeks and Romans in some degree, and but in some degree, tolerated the Transgression of this Law, Parents preserve your Children: But they were far from publickly rejecting and renouncing it; the Transgression of it was not uncondemn’d amongst themselves, and from themselves it appeareth, that they had it deeply imprinted in their Natures. “Nature” (saith Cicero) “impelleth Men, to love those that they have begotten, and ingendereth in them a special Love to their Off-spring, and taketh care to make Provision for Wife and Children, which are counted dear, and ought to be taken care of. ”47 There is nothing more that is worth considering in our Objector’s Discourses against innate practical Principles, save only his Demand of a Catalogue of them, which is like the Demand, made by our Adversaries of the Church of Rome, of a Catalogue of Fundamentals.
Objections against the innate Idea of God.5. Our Objector disputeth against the innate Idea of God, and therein some others of the Learned agree with him. But by this innate Idea they mean, “An original Notion and Proposition that God is, actually imprinted on us antecedently to all use of our Faculties. An anticipating Principle, engraven upon our Souls before all Exercise of Reason.”48 Such an original Notion or Proposition needeth not to be confuted by any operose Reasonings; for in so absurd a Sense I know not who ever held it, being a Notice of God by Reason, antecedent to all use of Reason, which is Nonsense and a Contradiction. But a Prolepsis or Anticipation concerning God, rightly understood, is only antecedent to the Argumentative Deductions of Reason, as other common Notions are; it is a natural and spontaneous Exertion of Reason, “An innate Notion to all Men,” whereby we mean, “that it is innate to the Mind of Man, to suggest and notice to him the Existence of a Deity in general” (an invisible Sovereign Power over us, an Object of Religious Worship,) “not without noticing to him the true God and his Service.” As it is also innate to the Mind of Man, to suggest and notice to him a future State of the Soul, and Rewards and Punishments there; both which are prime Dictates and Suggestions of the Mind, made Rational and Religious, and prime Branches of natural Religion. So far the Soul of Man is naturally Christian. But against the innate Idea of God, some incredible Stories of some Savage Nations, that live in total Atheism, are objected; in answer to which I will add nothing to what I have already said upon this Head, except the following Quotation from Lord Shaftesbury. “It must certainly be something else than Incredulity, which fashions the Taste and Judgment of many Gentlemen, whom we hear censur’d as Atheists, for attempting to Philosophize after a newer manner than any known of late. For my own part, I have ever thought this sort of Men to be in general more credulous, tho’ after another manner, than the mere Vulgar. Besides what I have observ’d in Conversation with Men of this Character, I can produce many anathematiz’d Authors, who, if they want a true Israelitish Faith, can make amends by a Chinese or Indian one. If they are short in Syria, or the Palestine; they have their full measure in America, or Japan. Histories of Incas or Iroquois, written by Fryars and Missionaries, Pyrates and Renegades, Sea-Captains and trusty Travellers, pass for authentick Records, and are Canonical, with the Virtuosos of this sort. The Christian Miracles may not so well satisfy them; they dwell with the highest Contentment on the Prodigies of Moorish and Pagan Countries. They have far more pleasure in hearing the monstrous Accounts of monstrous Men and Manners; than the politest and best Narrations of the Affairs, the Governments, and Lives, of the Wisest and most Polish’d People.”49
It is objected also, that an innate Idea of God is not requisite. “A Man, by the right Use of his natural Abilities, may, without any innate Principles, attain the Knowledge of a God, and other things that concern him.”50“Without any such primitive Impression, we may easily attain to the Knowledge of the Deity, by the sole Use of our natural Reason.”51 It is possible, that, without any original Impression, Men, by the sole Use of their Reason, might discover, that there is a God, as Propositions in Euclid have been found out and discover’d: And it must be acknowledged, “That they who made the Discovery, had made a right Use of their own Reason.”52 But it must be acknowledg’d also, that an εὕρνιχα had well become them upon so wonderful and important a Discovery; and it is great pity that, amongst the Inventors of useful Things, their Names are not recorded, who first made this momentous Discovery, That there is a God. Men, by the sole Use of their Reason, may discover, that there is a God; but there is much of peradventure and hap-hazard, whether Mankind discover the Being of God, or not. For we are told, that, “if Men do not make Inquiry into the admirable Contrivances that are in the World, they may live long without any Notion of such a Being.”53 It is more than probable, therefore, that the Generality of Mankind (who do not Philosophize) will be universally Atheists, as void of any Notion of God, as the Soul is suppos’d to be originally, by them that style her, Tabula abrasa, a blank Sheet of Paper. Without innate Principles, or primitive Impressions, it is possible, that Men may attain the Knowledge of a God; but is it not possible, that they may not? “That they may live long without any Notion of such a Being?” In which tract of time, they must necessarily have no Conscience, nor any Law, or “Work of the Law,” nor any “Thoughts accusing or excusing,” they must necessarily be Atheists without being Rebels, without the Guilt of the Heathen, who when “they knew God, did not glorify him as God, nor lik’d to retain God in their Knowledge”; and they must necessarily be ungodly and unrighteous, “without holding the Truth in Unrighteousness.” It must be suppos’d, that God made them, without making them Religionists; for as Men cannot be said, to be made Philosophers, merely because by their natural Abilities they may become Philosophers; so neither can they be said, to be made Religionists, merely because by their natural Faculties they may become such. Are they not born by Nature Atheists, if they have no innate Idea of God, no primitive Impression, “if they may live long without any Notion of such a Being?” That Mankind may be by Nature Religionists, innate Idea is requisite, “A necessary and innate Notion, which is naturally in every Rational, without a Human Teacher or operose Deductions of Reason,” as an Antient well expresseth it. This legitimate innate Idea of God, is incumbred with no valuable Objections, but it is possible that those Objections may be made against it, that are urg’d against an erroneous innate Idea of God and primitive Impression, therefore we will briefly consider them.
First, it is argu’d, “That such an Impression taketh away the Commendableness and Rewardableness of Faith, by rendering the Belief of a God irresistible and necessary.”54 But our legitimate innate Idea of God is not liable to this Objection; for, altho’ it is innate to the Minds of all Men, to notice to them the Existence of God, as a Principle of natural Religion, yet they may be Atheists: But it will be very hard, if not impossible, to be thorough-pac’d Atheists; and so some wise Men have thought, that the Fool who saith in his Heart, there is no God, “rather saith it by rote to himself, as that he would have, than that he can throughly believe it, or be persuaded of it.”55 The Commendableness of Faith is not taken away in any such case, where there is place for a virtuous Disposition; whence, altho’ the Apostle Thomas had the Evidence of Sense (which may seem to necessitate Assent) for our Saviour’s Resurrection, yet his Faith was commendable and rewardable. In his Case there was place for virtuous Disposition; whence the Watch, and from them the Chief Priests, altho’ they had the Evidence of Sense as well as he, yet being devoid of his virtuous Disposition, continued in Unbelief, Matth.28. 11. Evidence of Sense, Evidence plainly Mathematical, will not necessitate Assent in such Cases, where a requisite virtuous Disposition is wanting, and a powerful Interest and Inclination is against it, of which Transubstantiation may be an Example.
Another Argument against an erroneous innate Idea of God, is drawn from the Apostle’s Preaching to the Athenians, Act. 17. 27. “of seeking the Lord, if happily they might feel after him and find him.” Whence this Inference is made, “That it requireth some Industry and Consideration, to find out the Being of God by the Light of Nature.”56 This Inference being part of a Dispute against an innate Idea, must mean thus; That the finding out the Being of God by the Light of Nature, is merely by Industry and Consideration, exclusively of an innate Idea; which is no just Inference from the Apostle’s Text, whose Scope is not, to exhort the Athenians to seek and find out the Being of God; nor did he preach to them as to Atheists, or such Heteroclites, that had not made the Discovery, but as to Pagan Theists, who had Gods too many; nor doth seeking after the Lord and finding him, signify the finding out this Proposition, That there is a God; nor are all those who have found out this Proposition, such as have found out God in the Apostle’s Sense. But he considereth the Athenians as Aliens from the true God, and from knowing him; he exhorteth them, therefore, to seek the Lord, to feel after him, and find him, which is to come out of their Heathen State, to know him so, as to become his Religionists. To find out the Being of God, the Existence of a Deity, this needed not “a seeking the Lord with Meditation and Study”;57 their innate Notion of the Being of God, and the obvious Phaenomena of Nature, made them a sort of Theists; but to be in Theism of Religion and Condition, This was the thing which requir’d a seeking the Lord with Meditation and Study; and, because they were without it, therefore they were a Heathenish Atheistical Kind of Theists, and the true God was to them a Stranger-Deity.
The law of Nature is notic’d to Mankind by the Nature of Things.§16. The Stoicks define Duty, A Practice agreeable to the natural Constitutions.58 So the Apostle supposeth Sodomy, Bestiality, and other Heathen Pollutions, were Crimes against the Law of Nature, because they were repugnant to the Order and Constitution of Nature, to the manifest Institution of the great Author of Nature, and to the natural Use of Things, Rom. 1. 26, 27. “Men and Women chang’d the natural Use into that which is against Nature.” The Heathen Idolatry was against the Nature of Creatures, that were deified by it, and upon this account also it was a Crime against the Law of Nature; it was repugnant and injurious to the Dignity of Man made after God’s Image, to fall down before Stocks and Stones, with all manner of submissive and lowly Adoration. As Idolaters sin against their own Dignity, So he that committeth Fornication, sinneth against his own Body, (and therefore against his own Dignity,) prostituting it, and making it so abominably Vile, as to make it the Member of an Harlot, 1 Cor. 6. 15, 16, 17. Fornication was manifestly forbidden, because of the Turpitude which such things have, when they are out of a certain Orbit, within which they ought to be confin’d, and without which they are foul, criminal, shameful Contaminations, repugnant to that graceful and ornamental Purity and Chastity, which is the Honour and Ornament of the Body and of the Reason, 1 Thes. 4. 4. The sensual Excess of Drunkenness is in like manner manifestly repugnant to the natural Use of Things, the Honour and Dignity of Man, (indeed to common Civility, Gravity, Modesty, Discretion.) For where as Man is naturally a beauteous, noble, and cleanly Animal, there is no Beast of the Field so Beastly as a Drunkard, a most foul, nasty, noxious, and mis-shapen Animal, with staring distorted Eyes, a fetid Breath, a stammering bauling Tongue, leud Demeanour, and, as Chaucer telleth him, “Thy Face is turn’d into a new array.” His Trade is gorging, surcharging, disgorging, and “shameful Spewing is upon his Glory.” The Life of Sensualists is opposite to the regular Frame and Constitution of Man, which consisteth in the Sovereignty and Rule of his Intellectual Rational Nature, and the Subjection of the Sensitive; for in them Animal-sensitive Nature is predominant and beareth the Sway, and the Head is, where the Heels should be. Whence evil Men are reproach’d with the Names of brute Animals, Wolves, Dogs, Foxes; with being Brutes in the Shapes of Men, which are Monsters in Nature. All Vices are repugnant to Nature, the Nature of Things; all of them are inordinate. Inordinate Self-love, Self-magnifying, Fear, and Care, inordinate Anger, and all “in-ordinate Affections (Col. 3. 5.) the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life” (the Summary of all Wickedness) are Vitious and Criminal, because of their Inordinacy; for they are Nature grown Unnatural, Enormous, Disproportionate, and like a Musical Instrument out of Tune. Gross Irreverence to a Prince, Ingratitude to a Benefactor, insulting a Friend, are Repugnancies and Incongruities to the Object; and such is the justifying the Wicked, the befriending Sin, the profaning that which is Holy, all Impiety towards God, the minding Private Interest, and slighting the Publick, the taking Care of the Body and neglecting the Soul, to which, in worth, the World bears no Proportion.
The Instincts of Nature,§17. The Law of Nature is, in some degree, notic’d by the kindly Instincts that are in Nature, which is below Reason, Will, and Choice. So Nature, in the narrow Sense, usually signifies the natural unintelligent Agents Nature. “The Antients call’d the Passions Natural and devoid of Reason.”59 In this Notion of Nature, Custom is said to be a second Nature, or an acquir’d Nature. Nature in this Notion, Nature in the Universe, altho’ she acteth not electively or with intention, but fatally, yet she doth nothing in vain, but all for Ends and Uses. As Nature blindly operateth in the great World, so in Animals and in Men, in whose Animal Nature, as in brute Animals, there are blind Instincts, which are not the Law of Nature, and ought to be in subjection to Reason (as Reason to God) which they usually rebel against, and dethrone. The Animal Nature in Man is full of inordinate Concupiscence, which is not so Nature, as not to be vitious Nature; for the Nature of Man is sadly out of Frame by it. Nor is it Nature, as being Natural to the Soul of Man, but it is extraneous and adventitious, and requireth a Purgation. Nor is it kindly and agreeable, and in such Sense natural to the Soul, “But consider, if Virtue and Sanctity be not more kindly and pleasant.”60 Yet a Nature it is, as being the Animal Nature, and so far the Nature of Man; it is now, in a certain degree, his innate Constitution, and it is the specifick Nature of the Carnal and Mundan Family; whence the Apostle saith of inordinate Concupiscence (the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life), “it is not of the Father, but it is of the World,” 1 Joh. 2. 16. It is of the World, as it is lapsed, and become this wicked World.
But, if this Animal Nature be consider’d, as it is Nature, but not vitiated Nature, the kindly Instincts of it are Notices of the Law of Nature, and contradict the Atheists Politicks, that are founded upon Slanders of Mankind, (whereby it appeareth, how highly well they deserve of Mankind,) That natural Relations are nothing, that there is nothing of Honesty, Justice, or Philanthropy, in human Nature, no natural Charity, or Friendliness, that Man is not sociable by Nature, (as Brute Animals are, that have a sort of Benevolence for those of their own kind,) but that all Benevolence is either from Fear or Feebleness. If these unnatural Abusers of Nature and worst of Impostors teach, That nothing is Just or Unjust in the State of Nature; that every Man by Nature hath a Right to every Thing (whatever his Appetite inclineth to,) and whatsoever one doth to another it is no Injury; so that a Son may lawfully kill his own Parents, and the Innocent may be tortur’d to all extremity: the innate Humanity and natural Affection, that is in Mankind, the natural Affections of Gratitude and Commiseration that are in Human Nature, contradict these lewd and wicked Maxims; and this other ill-natur’d Maxim also, That Man seeketh that which is Good for himself, as the only Object of his Desires, is contradicted by Nature, for Ants, Bees, and Storks do some things for the sake of others. “The Inclination to Goodness is implanted deeply in the Nature of Man; insomuch that if it issue not towards Men, it will take unto other living Creatures; as is seen in the Turks, a cruel People, who nevertheless are kind to Beasts, and give Alms to Dogs and Birds: Insomuch as Busbequius reporteth, a Christian Boy in Constantinople had like to have been ston’d for gagging in Waggishness along-bill ’dFowl.”61 Many Instincts of Nature instigate to what is manifestly a sort of Goodness or Well-doing, and these are Indications, that the being devoid of them, and the Practice which is contrary to them, is criminally Unnatural. Such is the Instinct to common Modesty, call’d by the Atheists Foolishness, and the Instinct to natural Affection, Rom. 1. 31. Such is the Instinct of Nature to an ordinate regular Self-love, Desire of our own Good, Self-preservation, Well-being, and Felicity, and an Aversion from the contrary. Naturâ enim sibi quisque amicus est, “for every one by Nature is a Friend to Himself,” was a common Saying. “No Man ever hated his own Flesh” (without being criminally Unnatural) “but loveth and cherisheth it,” Ephes. 5. 29. Nature instigateth Mankind to take care of themselves and their Off-spring, so making a natural Society, Kindred, and Friendship, and taking care of the Conservation of the Species, and to extinguish and controul these Instincts, is criminally Unnatural. In disposing of their Estates, Men rightly suppose themselves oblig’d to proportion their Kindness to others, to their Degree in Nearness to themselves, as the kindly Instincts of Nature incline them. “There are various Degrees of Society and Conjunction among Mankind; and as every one is nearer, so ordinarily he is to have a greater Share of our Kindness with its Effects.”62 The Instincts of Nature to Religion and Society, by shewing the Design of the great Author of Nature, are manifestly Notices of the Law of Nature.
and the Sense of Conscience.§18. The Law of Nature is notic’d by the Sense of Conscience, the peaceful and joyous Sense of Innocence and Well-doing, and the dolorous, torturing, Sense of Guilt. Conscience is certainly of this Definitive Notion, it is the Mind as conscious of Duty and of Sin, and so far it is the same with the Practical Mind. For Conscience denoteth that which is conscious in a Man, as such; it denoteth therefore, the Mind as conscious, and it must necessarily denote the Mind as conscious of Duty and of Sin, because nothing else in Law or Religion is matter of Conscience. Those Passions of the Mind as conscious of Duty and Sin, The Stings of Conscience, the Mind’s Satisfaction and Complacency in itself, (which is Peace and Quiet of Conscience,) and Repentance, are the Conscience in Man; therefore the Conscience is the Mind of Man, as conscious of Duty and Sin. Of Conscience, so defin’d, there are two Branches; the one Directive, which respecteth Duty and Sin not yet done, (which is call’d the practical Understanding and Synteresis, or System of common practical Notions;) the other is Reflexive, which respecteth Duty and Sin already done; and from both these Branches of Conscience, but chiefly from the latter, Conscience hath its Name. Conscientia signifieth Consciousness of our Doings, sometimes the Consciousness of others, but most usually our own Consciousness. So Tacitus saith of Nero, that he fell in Love with Acte, “Having taken two young Men into Consciousness of his doing.”63 So Cicero saith, that Epicurus Philosophiz’d in such a manner, “That there is nothing so foul, which he seemeth not willing to do for Pleasure-sake, if Men be not conscious thereof. ”64 But most usually Conscientia signifieth our own Consciousness of our own Doings. As when Cicero saith, “Every one’s flagitious Doing exagitateth him and affecteth him with Madness: His evil Cogitations and Consciousness of Mind terrify him.”65“The Consciousness of a well-spent Life and the Remembrance of many Well-doings is most pleasant.”66“The Consciousness of a right Will is the greatest Consolation of incommodious Affairs.”67“In the very Consciousness of Well-doings there is Fruit enough of our Labours.”68 The same Author somewhere says, “I use not so much to rejoyce in any thing as the Consciousness of my Duties.”69 In these Sayings and such like, Conscientia is rightly render’d Consciousness, as appeareth from many parallel Sayings of the antient Writers.70 From whose usual Phraseology it is manifest, that Conscience has its Name from Consciousness (the Mind’s Consciousness of well and evil Doing), whence it must be defin’d, the Mind as conscious of Duty and of Sin. Agreeably to which Definition of Conscience, the usual Distributions of Conscience may easily be understood and explain’d. For, if the Mind, as conscious of Duty and Sin, is uncriminal, this is the good Conscience: If it be criminal, this is the evil Conscience. As conscious of Duty and Sin, the Mind may be quiet or troubled: The one is a quiet, the other a troubled Conscience. If the Mind is tenderly conscious of Duty and of Sin, this is a tender Conscience: If Senseless and not apt to check, or to check but feebly, this is a stupid Conscience. And what is an erroneous, doubtful, scrupulous Conscience, but the Mind conscious in general of Duty and of Sin, and erroneous, doubtful, or scrupulous, touching some particular Matters of Practice? The Notion of Conscience in the New-Testament, (where the Name occurreth no less than 32 times,) is the Mind as conscious of Duty and of Sin. When the sacred Writers speak of being convicted by our own Conscience,71 of being condemn’d by it, of the Testimony of our Conscience, and our Conscience bearing Witness, of commending ourselves to every Man’s Conscience, and being made manifest in their Consciences, and having no more Conscience of Sins; Conscience signifies as in profane Authors, the Consciousness of our Mind, the Mind as conscious of Good and Evil. To do any thing for Conscience-sake, for Conscience towards God, is to do it as conscious of Duty to God, and of Sin against him, Rom. 13. 5. 1 Pet. 2. 19. Some ate things offer’d to an Idol with Conscience of the Idol, as conscious of Duty and religious Worship to the Idol, 1 Cor. 8. 7. their being so conscious of Duty and of Sin, was their sinful Weakness, and therefore their Conscience was weak, 1 Cor. 8. 7. and it was also render’d criminal by the Practice of Idolatry. So the Mind of ungodly Infidels, as such, is defiled, and their Conscience is defiled by their deadly criminal Practice, Tit. 1. 15. Christians were at liberty, to eat what was offer’d unto Idols, asking no Question forConscience-sake,72 (asking no Question upon account of their own Minds Consciousness of Goodand Evil:) But they might note atitunder this Notion, as Idols Meat, in the apprehension of those who made Conscience of a Worship of Idols, but were bound to abstain, because of their Conscience (their Consciousness of Good and Evil;) for, if they did in such manner externally symbolize with them, their Liberty would be judged (construed and interpreted) by their Conscience (their Consciousness of Duty and Sin) who made Conscience of the Worship of Idols. How then could a Christian think it a reasonable Thing, to symbolize with them? Christians have not only a Conscience, but the good Conscience;73 which is sometimes called a Conscience void of Offence, sometimes a pure Conscience. And, because by Virtue of Christ’s Sacrifice, uncondemnably Sinless and Guiltless, as to the Mind, Soul, and Conscience, therefore they are said to have their Hearts sprinkled from an evil Conscience, Heb. 10. 22. to have their Conscience purg’d from dead Works (those deadly Works, that were deadly Crimes and deadly Pollutions, Heb. 9. 14.) and Christ’s Sacrifice is said to make them perfect as pertaining to Conscience, Heb. 9. 9. For they are perfect as to the Expiation of Sin, or are perfectly expiated by Christ’s Sacrifice, being made by it uncondemnably Sinless and Guiltless, as to the Mind, Soul, and Conscience. In one place more of the New-Testament mention is made of Conscience, but it is of a superlatively evil Conscience, for the Apostle speaketh of a Conscience seared with a hot Iron, 1 Tim. 4. 2. Such is the Conscience of an habituated atrocious Criminal. The Phrase may signify, that his Conscience is deeply maculated with the Marks of his Crimes; it may signify, that he is of a branded stigmatiz’d Conscience, an infamous Villain; and the Phrase may allude tofear’dcauteriz’dFlesh, and therefore may signify, that he is become insensible as to his Conscience, and is so far harden’d in his Villainy.
At this monstrous Pitch of Wickedness they are arriv’d, that have overcome their checking and controuling Mind, that can commit grosse and flagrant Sins without Reluctance or Regret, Remorse or Shame, and perpetrate notorious Wickedness with an Opinion of its Generosity, Gallantry, and Bravery. So the Philosophers distinguish between ἀκρασία Incontinence, and ακολασία Intemperance.74“In Incontinence the Man keepeth his Judgment right, but is carried away by the Appetite, that is too strong for Reason.” But of Intemperance they say, “It addeth a vitious Judgment to a vitious Appetite, and it destroyeth the Sense of the Sins.” The Man “from his whole Soul inclineth and consenteth to his sensual Pleasures, and such commit Uncleanness with Greediness,” Ephes. 4. 19. How far Men may thus degenerate, to be past feeling, having the Mind clouded, and the Conscience deaded, is best known to them that make the desperate Experiment: But in some of the greatest Monsters for Wickedness amongst the Heathen, (Tiberius, Caligula, Nero,) the Sense of Conscience was so far from being extinguish’d, that in the height of their Greatness, and in an affluence of Prosperity and sensual Pleasures, they found the Rebukes and Lashes, the Anguish and Terrors of their own guilty Minds unavoidable. Whence the Historian observeth, that “if the Minds of Tyrants were laid open, the Verberations and Laniations might be seen.”75 By the Vultur gnawing Ixions’s Liver were meant the Torments of an evil Conscience. By their Erinnyes, Eumenides, Furies, the Heathens meant the Horrors and Terrors of a guilty Mind. They found that certain gross Sins did sensibly wound their Consciences, which also wounded them, convicting and condemningthem, and scourging them with silent Strokes, disquieting them with Anguish and Pensiveness, with doleful Fears and sad Presages; and this Sense of Guilt in their own Minds was a manifest Notice and Indication to them, to look upon those Practices as Wickedness, and to avoid them as such, which did clash with the Frame of their Minds, and brought so many and so great Evils of an evil Conscience upon them. By internal Sense and Experience they found, they had a Conscience bearing them Witness, acquitting and comforting, or accusing and condemning them; they found a difference between Well-doing and Evil-doing in general, that some Practices were peaceful and pleasant to their Mind, as harmonious and agreeable thereto, and that others they could not dispense with; whereby the Duties of Honesty and Justice were notic’d to them, to be Laws inviolable, and they were warn’d of a future Judgment. They found that Sin had another Face, after the Commission of it, than it had before, and that the only way to Peace, was, not to sin against their Consciences.76
The Observance of the Law of Nature.
The Observance of the Law of Nature, two-fold.§1. As in respect of its Obligation and Promulgation, so, in respect of its Observance, the Law of Nature is of a two-fold Notion. For, abating an additional restriction which is in its Definition (that limiteth it to the Notices of the Light of Nature), the Law of Nature is intirely the same with the Divine Moral Law. The Law of Nature therefore must be consider’d, as also the Mosaick Moral Law must be, both as it is of Civil-religious, and as it is of Spiritual-religious, Observance. The one constituteth the Civil-religious, the other the Spiritual-religious, People. The one is necessary to Civil-religious Society, the other is Righteousness and true Holiness, which alone is available to constitute Men Righteous as to their Soul-Interests.
The Law of Nature, or the Moral Law, is a Civil-religious Institution, promoting the Welfare of Civil Society, in order to the Preservation and Happiness of Temporal Life;§2. The Law of Nature, because of this different Observance of it, is an Institution of Spiritual-religious Virtue and Duty, in order to Mens Soul-interests, and also an Institution of Civil-religious Virtue and Duty, in order to their secular and Civil Interests, as the Apostle considereth the Mosaick-moral Law. 1 Tim. 1. 9, 10. “The Law is not made for a righteous Man, but for the Lawless and Disobedient, for the Ungodly and for Sinners, for the Unholy and Profane, for Murderers of Fathers and Murderers of Mothers, for Man-slayers, for Whore-mongers, for them that Defile themselves with Mankind, for Man-stealers, for Liars, for perjur’d Persons.” As a Philosopher is far from supposing, that a Virtuous Man’s proper Institution of Virtue is not made for a Virtuous Man: So, if the Apostle had consider’d the Moral Law, as the Law of Righteousness and true Holiness, he would not have said, that it is not made for a righteous Man; for it is his proper Institution of Righteousness, Rom. 2. 13. and 8. 7. and 13. 8, 10. Jam. 2. 8.–11. But as the Philosophers say of the Civil Law of the Common-Wealth, “It is not made for the Good,”1 it is not needful to make such Laws for them: So the Apostle saith of the Civil-religious Law of the Jews, it is not made for a righteous Man, as necessary to be made for him, but for the Lewd and Flagitious, that by the Authority of the Law they may be disciplin’d with the Civil-religious Morals, restrain’d from violating them, or punish’d, if they do violate them. The Mosaick Law, as it was the Law of the Judaical Common-Wealth, that Political Law, was an Institution of Civil religious Virtue and Duty, and of Civil-religious Observance. Whence a young Man telleth our Saviour (Matth. 19. 20.) that he had always observ’d the Moral Precepts of the Law; and the Favour which our Saviour had for him, sheweth, that he spake nothing but Truth; for, as to the Civil-religious Observance of the Precepts of the Moral Law, he was train’d up to Virtuously, that he had kept them from his Youth. So the Apostlein his Judaical Religion,touching the Righteousness which is in the Law (consider’d as a Civil-religious Institution of Civil Societists) was blameless, Phil. 3. 6. Such also is the Law of Nature, as it is the Law of Civil Societists, merely in order to their secular Interests. For the Civil Law of every Nation, in great part, consisteth of the Law of Nature, which Civil Law is a Civil-religious Institution, (an Institution of Civil-religious Virtue and Duty, and of Civil-religious Observance,) and, consequently, the Law of Nature whereof it consisteth, is of the same Character. Such a Civil-religious Institution as the Civil Lawyers Discipline, which is defined by themselves, The Knowledge both of Divine and Human Things, the Science of Just and Unjust. This sort of Religion and Virtue, necessary for Human Society and Civil Life, Human Laws institute, and, in consort with them, the Law of Nature doth the same. As a Civil-religious Institution, and for the Conservation of Human Life, the Law of Nature had an agreeable Observance, among the Virtuous Popular Pagans; for their Observance of it was (in their way of Religion) Civil-religious; which was Virtus civilis, non vera, sed verisimilis, quae ad veras virtutes, aeternamque beatitudinem non profecit, Civil Virtue, not the True, but a Resemblance thereof, wholly ineffectual to make the Soul truly Holy and eternally Happy.2
and also a Spiritual-religious Institution, in order to everlasting Happiness and Life Eternal.§3. But the Law Natural and Mosaical is the Law or Religion of Soul-interests, “for so the doers of the Law shall be justified,” Rom. 2. 13. “The Commandment was ordain’d to Life,” Rom. 7. 10. When a young Man ask’d, Good Master, what shall I do, that I may inherit Eternal Life?, Christ answer’d, If thou wilt enter into Life, keep the Commandments, which he reckoneth in their Order. The Commandments of the Law, therefore, were such, and that by the Purpose and Design of the Law-giver, who intended to lead Men to Life and eternal Salvation. In like manner Luk. 10. to a Lawyer that asked, What shall I do to inherit Eternal Life? Christ answer’d, What is written in the Law, how readest thou? Signifying plainly, that the Law was given as the way of obtaining Eternal Life. The Moral Law, therefore, Natural and Mosaical, is not merely a Civil-religious Institution, but an Institution of Religion and Virtue, in order to Life Eternal, which may therefore properly be call’d, The Law-religion touching Soul-interests. Our Saviour, in his Discourse with the Lawyer, expresseth the very Terms (the Condition and premiant Part of the Sanction) of this Law-religion; for he having repeated to our Saviour the grand Precepts of the Moral Law, touching the Love of God and Man, our Saviour replyeth to him, This do, and thou shalt live. Therefore, if the Moral Law, Natural and Mosaical, is a Settlement or Covenant of Life Eternal, it is necessarily also a Settlement of Condemnation and of Death, Spiritual and Eternal. Therefore, if the Moral Law hath this tragical Effect, in the Sense of the New-Testament, if the Design of aSaviour was to redeem Mankind from the manifold Evils brought upon them by the Moral Law, it must be thought a Premiant and Penal Settlement of the Soul-interests of Men. Nor is it possible, that it can be a HolySpiritual Law, as the Apostle styleth it, unless the Sanction of it be the Settlement of the Spiritual and Soul-interests of Men. From whence it followeth, that Life and Death, as they are the Sanction of the Law, must be understood in a two fold Notion, the one Civil-religious, the other Spiritual-religious, the one of which is Figurative of the other; therefore Life must signify secular Prosperity as premiant to Civil-religious Obedience, and Life Eternal as premiant to the Spiritual-religious fulfilling the Law.
The Moral Law is a Law of Spiritual-religious Morals, and Spiritual-religious Observance.If the Moral Law, Natural and Mosaical, is the Law or Religion of Soul-interests, it is necessarily, in the preceptive Part of it, an Institution of the Spiritual-religious Morals, and of Spiritual-religious Observance, which belongeth to it, as it is the Holy Spiritual Law, Rom. 7. 12, 14. Such a kind of Law requireth, that Men be truly Spiritual kind of Livers (not of the wicked and carnal Kind,) and that they live the holy Spiritual kind of Life, which is the Righteousness and true Holiness of theinward Man, and the Spiritual-religious Observance of the Law. The Law is Spiritual, both in respect of the Life and Practice, and in respect of the Virtue and Duty which it requireth; for it requireth the holy Spiritual Life and Practice, and the Spiritual-religious Virtue and Duty, which are the same Things, but with this difference; the Holy Spiritual Life and Practice is contradistinguish’d to Carnality and Wickedness of Life and Practice; but the Spiritual-religious Virtue and Duty is contradistinguish’d to the Civil-religious, which, if alone, is but a Carnality of Religion and Virtue. Such was the Religion and Virtue of the Jews after the Letter, that serv’d in the Oldness of the Letter, being totally devoid of the Holy Spiritual Life, and therefore they were under the Curse of the Holy Spiritual Law, for all that are under the Letter, are under the Curse. They are in their Carnality of Life and Practice, and in their Carnality of Religion and Virtue, and are a Family of Virtuous People, and of Religionists, opposite to the Spiritual and Divine Family of regenerate Religionists, in whom the Righteousness which the Holy Spiritual Law requireth, is fulfilled (in the main, tho’ not in the rigour of it,) Rom. 8.4. and 13. 10. Regenerate Christians, that walk not after the Flesh, but after the Spirit (live the Holy Spiritual Life) fulfil the Righteousness of the Law; the Law is therefore the Institution of the Spiritual-religious Duty and Virtue. None are the Doers of it, and of the Righteousness which it requireth, but they that belong to the New-Testament, that have the Law, not written on Tables, but in their Hearts by an intimate and faithful Love of God and of Righteousness, which is the Spiritual-religious Observance of the Law. To do the Commandments of the Moral Law from servile Fear of Punishment, which is to do them against one’sWill, is not to be a Well-doer. The Law is not observ’d, but by the Love of God and of Righteousness, and delight in Things Spiritually good, and by that equitable Charity, which doeth to all, as we our-selves would be done to. And, if the Life of Divine Charity is the only genuine Observance of the Law, it is necessarily of Spiritual-religious Observance. The Christian Moral Law is of Spiritual-religious Observance, and the Mosaick Moral Law is of the same Nature; for our Saviour in his Sermon on the Mount, which is the Christian Moral Law, is said to have perfected and filled up the Mosaick Moral Law upon this account, because what was obscurely implyed therein, our Saviour hath clearly and distinctly explain’d. That part of his Moral Law, wherein he seemeth to dilate, extend, and fill up the Mosaick (using the Phrase, But I say unto you) is in the main, nothing else but the Contents of the Mosaick Moral Law, clearly unfolded, and so as to be chang’d into Christianity. The Law of Nature, therefore, is of various Acceptation; for the whole Divine Moral Law, without restriction to Natural Light, (the whole System of that Moral Law, of which there are Notices by the Light of Nature,) is sometimes called the Law of Nature. And by confining it to the Notices of Natural Light, this large Acceptation of it is made narrower; for it is not to be suppos’d, that the Light of Nature, so fully and perfectly noticeth the Moral Law, as the Mosaical Scripture doth.
As the Summary of what the Law of Nature, or the Moral Law, requireth, is the good Life, and Well-doing or Universal Righteousness: So it appeareth, that the good Life must be distinguish’d into two Kinds, the Civil-religious, and the Spiritual-religious. The Civil-religious good Life maketh a flourishing State, or Civil Society, and a Civilly-good People. The good Life of the Virtuous Pagans, who did by Nature theThings contain’d in the Law, cannot be thought of a better Character than the Civil-religious, which is only a bad kind of good Life, which continueth Men in the State of Death; for the Divine Moral Law is not only a Law of external good Deeds, and of a carnal Commandment, but also a Spiritual Law.
[1. ]J. H. Hottinger, Thesaurus Philologicus seu Clavis Scripturae (1649), p. 546.
[2. ]Tertullian, Adversus Judaeos, ch. 2.
[3. ]Zouch, Elementa Jurisprudentiae (1629), pt. I, sect. 3; Selden, De Jure Naturali et Gentium (1640), I.8.
[4. ]Sharrock, De Officiis Secundum Naturae Jus (1660), ch. 2; Suarez, De Legibus ac Deo Legislatore (1612), I.3.
[5. ]Cicero, De Legibus, II.
[6. ]Aristotle, Rhetoric, I.13.
[7. ]Horace, Satires, II; Persius, Satires, 6; Cicero, In Verrem, II.V.12; Terence, Andria, 3.5.10.
[8. ]Horace, Ars Poetica, 90; Virgil, Eclogues, 5; Horace, Ars Poetica, 73; Virgil, Aeneid, I; Virgil, Eclogues, 5, 6; Cicero, De Officiis, III; Cicero, De Natura Deorum, II.92–93; Horace, Satires, II.3; Virgil, Aeneid, V.96.
[9. ]More, Enchiridion Ethicum (1668), I.4.
[10. ]Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, 3.1, 2.
[11. ][Maxwell] “The constituting, preserving, and perfecting Causes of Things or Men, are those Things, which we call Good. Chap. 1. § 20.”
[12. ]Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, 4.2.
[13. ]Ibid., 5.5.
[14. ]Bright, An Essay in Morality (1682), pp. 14, 55, 57.
[15. ]Bentley, Of Revelation and Messias. A Sermon Preached at the Publick Commencement at Cambridge (1696), pp. 14, 15.
[16. ]Buridan, Quaestiones in decem libros Ethicorum Aristotelis ad Nicomachum, p. 49.
[17. ]Cicero, De Finibus, V.
[18. ]Cicero, De Officiis, III.
[19. ]Seneca, De Beneficiis, IV.15.
[20. ]Cicero, De Finibus, III.
[21. ]Ibid., II.
[23. ]Iamblichus, Protrepticus, ch. 19.
[24. ]Maxwell attributes this to Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, but it is not a direct quotation.
[25. ]A general reference to Cumberland.
[27. ]Bright, An Essay in Morality, pp. 38, 64.
[28. ]Exodus 32.32.
[29. ]Romans 9.3.
[30. ]1 John 5.16.
[31. ]Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, 5.5.
[32. ]Ibid., 5.40.
[33. ]Ibid., 5.12, 13; Bright, An Essay in Morality, pp. 55, 90; Sharrock, De Officiis, ch. 1, n. 3; More, Enchiridion Ethicum, I.2; Stearne, Anima Medela (1653), I.13.
[34. ]Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, 5.23, 8.1.
[35. ]Ibid., 5.48; 8.1; 2.7. [Maxwell] “Only for this noblest End, Cumber. c. 5. § 48. Because they conduce to the happy State of the Universe, Ibid. c. 8. § 1. For this End only, that the common Good of all be promoted by every one, Ibid. § 2, 7.”
[36. ]Cicero, De Officiis, II.xviii.62.
[37. ]Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, 7.6, 7; 9.1, 2.
[38. ]Ibid., 7.3, 6.
[39. ]Ibid., 7.6.
[41. ]Smith, Select Discourses (1660), pp. 159, 160.
[42. ]Apuleius, De Philosophia.
[43. ]Episcopius, De Liber Arbitrio, ch. 4.
[44. ]Fowler, The Design of Christianity (1671), sect. 2, ch. 9.
[45. ]Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, 5.11.
[46. ]Ibid., 5.27.
[47. ]Ibid., 5.35.
[48. ]Parker, A Demonstration of the Divine Authority of the Law of Nature, and of the Christian Religion (1681), p. 60. This work adapted Cumberland’s ideas.
[49. ]Cicero, De Officiis, III.ix.38–39.
[51. ]Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, 6.2.
[52. ]Ibid., 9.1; Introduction, sect. 24.
[53. ]Shaftesbury, Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (1714), I, pp. 97, 98.
[54. ]Juvenal, Satires, XIII.204: “He therefore restored the money, through fear, and not from honesty; nevertheless he found all the words of the Oracle to be true and worthy of the shrine, being destroyed with his whole race and family and relations, however far removed.”
[55. ]Shaftesbury, Characteristicks, I, pp. 125–27.
[56. ]Ibid., II, pp. 54–69.
[57. ]Ibid., II, pp. 271–74.
[58. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, II.
[59. ]Hooker, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (1594), I.
[60. ]Maxwell’s cryptic note [Casaub. Not. m. Matth. 22. 49] suggests Isaac Casaubon’s contribution to Novi Testamenti Libri Omnes recens nunc editi cum notis (1587), but I have been unable to find the reference—Matthew 22 has only forty-six verses.
[61. ]Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I. Qu. 5. Art. 5.
[62. ]Cicero, De Finibus, II.
[63. ]Ibid., De Officiis, I.
[64. ]Seneca, Epistulae Morales, C.
[65. ]Ibid., De Beneficiis, IV.17.
[66. ]Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, V.3.
[67. ]Seneca, De Beneficiis, IV.17.
[68. ]Cicero, De Finibus, III.
[69. ]Hutcheson, An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1726).
[70. ]Cicero, De Officiis, III.
[71. ]Shaftesbury, Characteristicks, II, pp. 15, 16.
[72. ]Maxwell is referring to Gassendi’s Philosophiae Epicuri Syntagma (1649).
[73. ]Shaftesbury, Characteristicks, II, pp. 37, 38.
[74. ]Cicero, De Finibus, III.
[75. ]Diogenes Laertius, “Zeno” in Lives, VII.
[76. ]Epictetus, Discourses, III.1.
[77. ]Seneca, De Beneficiis, IV.17.
[78. ]Ibid., IV.14.
[79. ]Cicero, De Finibus, III.
[80. ]Taylor, Ductor Dubitantium (1660), II.1, no. 4, 52, 58.
[81. ]Ibid., Rule 9, no. 12.
[82. ]Poiret, Cogitationum Rationalium de Deo (1685), III.10; Descartes, Epistolae (1668), pt. I, no. 37.
[83. ]Cuper, Arean Atheism, II.10. I have not been able to identify this text.
[84. ]Cicero, De Officiis, I.
[85. ]Sharrock, De Officiis, ch. 2, n. 9.
[86. ]Jackson, The Works of the Reverend and Learned Divine, Thomas Jackson (1653), B. 10. th. 89. p.m. 3180.
[87. ]Shaftesbury, The Moralists, a Philosophical Rhapsody, pp. 49, 50.
[88. ]Plutarch, De Musica (in Moralia), pp. 1132, 1133.
[89. ][Maxwell] “Grotius says otherwise”; De Jure Belli ac Pacis, II.11.3.
[90. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, XII.24.
[91. ]Grotius, De Jure Belli ac Pacis, II.2.
[92. ]Selden, Mare Clausum (1635), I.5.
[93. ]Plutarch, Adversus Colotem (in Moralia), p. 1125.
[94. ]Taylor, Ductor Dubitantium, II.1, n. 9, p. 200.
[95. ]Ibid., II.2 n. 24; Selden, De Jure Naturali, I.6.
[96. ]Pighius, Themis Dea (1568), p. 13.
[97. ]Lipsius, Physiologia Stoicorum (1604), I, diss. 12.
[98. ]Cicero, De Legibus, II.
[99. ]Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1a. 2ae. Qu. 91, art. 1.
[100. ]Cicero, Phillippicae, XI.
[101. ]Selden, De Jure Naturali, I.8.
[102. ]Aristotle, Rhetorica, I.13, 15.
[103. ]Selden, Mare Clausum, I.3.
[104. ]Selden, De Jure Naturali, I.3.
[105. ]Aristotle, Rhetorica, I.13.
[107. ]Selden, De Jure Naturali, I.8.
[108. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.9; II.16.
[109. ]Ibid., IV.4.
[110. ]Cicero, De Legibus, I.
[1. ]Maxwell quotes at length from the second edition of Newton, Opticks (1717), p. 339ff.
[2. ]Ibid., pp. 339–43.
[3. ]Maxwell translates from the third edition of Newton, Principia Philosophiae (1726), p. 402ff.
[4. ][Maxwell] “See the Argument upon this Head in the foregoing part of this Appendix.”
[5. ]Whiston, Astronomical Principles of Religion (1717).
[6. ]Maxwell translates material from Newton’s Principia, pp. 525–30.
[7. ][Maxwell] “Pocock derives the Word [Deus] from the Arabick Word [du] (in the Genitive Case, di,) which signifies Lord. Hence the chief Magistrate in Algiers is called the Dey. And in this Sense Princes are call’d Gods. Ps. 84. 6. and Joh. 10. 45. and Moses is call’d the God of his Brother Aaron, and the God of King Pharaoh, (Exod. 4. 16. and 7. 1.). And in the same Sense the Souls of Princes decess’d were, of old, by the Heathen call’d Gods, but falsly, because they had no Dominion.” Maxwell refers to Pocock, Specimen Historiae Arabum (1650).
[8. ]Newton, Opticks, pp. 343–45.
[9. ][Maxwell] “The Instinct, as it is called, in Animals, is truly wonderful; and can be nothing less than the Contrivance of a Wise and Powerful Providence, for the Preservation of Individuals and the Propagation of the Species. Upon this occasion, I shall here only take notice of some common Actions in Birds. Two Gold-finches, for Instance, who never had young ones, make it their first care, after Coupling, to make, in a convenient Place, a convenient Nest; which they know how to build, the first time they go about it, with as much Art and Regularity, as if they had before built an hundred. They begin with twisting little Sticks with Fibres of Plants, which they cover with Moss on the outside, to defend it against the Rain; and garnish it within with Hay and Hair, and a kind of Cotton, soft and warm, of which they make their Bed. In this the Female laies her Eggs, which she keeps warm, by sitting upon them, and spreading a little her Wings, in order to cover them. Tho’ Hunger prompts her to go out, she will not leave them, till the Male be ready to take her place, left the Eggs, growing cold, should become addle and produce nothing. When the young Ones are hatch’d, the Male and Female are continually busied in bringing them Worms, which they never eat themselves, and which they equally divide in sufficient Quantities to each; who fail not to open their Mouths out of a desire to receive it; and, from the beginning, always keeping their Nest clean; at proper time, betaking themselves to the open Air and to shift for themselves. Who taught them at first to make a Nest with so much Art, and exactly after the same manner, as all others of their kind do? Who declared to them, that the Female had Eggs in her, and that she should quickly lay them, and that it would be necessary for her and the Male, to cover them alternately with all possible Care, and that, after a certain time, those Eggs would bring forth young ones? Who inform’d them, that they should not feed their young with Seeds, upon which they live after they are grown big; but that they should chuse out for them such Insects, as were most easy of Digestion? Who taught these young ones to open their Bill, almost as soon as they come out of the Shell, to take their Food, and to keep their to Bed so clean? Where is the Artificer among Men, who is so ingenious, as to make a House so well contriv’d and of so regular a Symmetry, as if he were the most skilful Architect? or what Man can provide for an unforeseen Event, as they for their Eggs and young? Is it credible, that Beasts should partake of so excellent Prerogatives, and that the wonderful Things, which we admire most in them, should be the Effects of their Reason and Knowledge? If this be so, how can the surprising Things which they do, be reconcil’d to their other Actions, in which they appear to be altogether Brutes? How comes It, that they are so much superior to Man, only in what concerns their Preservation and the Propagation of their Kind, and so much inferior in all other Things? Must not all this, and every thing of the like kind, call’d Instinct, in Animals, be ascrib’d to the Care and Contrivance of a Wise, a Powerful, and a good Providence? For these Actions have too plain Marks of Wisdom, to be the Effects of a blind Cause; nor can it be a supereminent Reason, which these Brutes are endow’d with above Rational Animals, they being, in other matters, so stupid.”
[10. ]Maxwell translates from Pitcairne, “Dissertatiode Circulatione Sanguinisin Animalibus Genitis et non Genitis” (1713).
[11. ]Shaftesbury, Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, II, p. 282ff.
[12. ]Wollaston, The Religion of Nature Delineated (1722), pp. 67–68.
[13. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, II.
[14. ]Plutarch, Symposium, VIII.8.
[15. ]Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, IV.
[16. ]Compte, Memoirs and Observations (1697), p. 487.
[17. ]Cardan, De Rerum Varietate, XVI.92.
[18. ]Epictetus, Discourses, I.23; II.20.
[19. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, II.
[21. ]Cicero, De Finibus, III.
[22. ]Cicero, De Natura Deorum, I.
[23. ]Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, VIII.6.
[24. ]Romans 1.18–21.
[25. ]Romans 1.32.
[26. ]Plautus, Captivi, 2.2.
[27. ]Selden, De Jure Naturali, I.7; Taylor, Ductor Dubitantium, II.1, n. 30.
[28. ]Selden, De Jure Naturali, I.7; Taylor, Ductor Dubitantium, II.1, n. 31.
[29. ]Selden, De Jure Naturali, I.6–8.
[30. ]Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, I.
[31. ]Selden, De Jure Naturali, I.6–8.
[32. ]Ibid., I.6.
[34. ]Taylor, Ductor Dubitantium, II.1, n. 28.
[35. ]Grotius, De Jure Belli ac Pacis, I.1.10.
[36. ]Cicero, De Legibus, I.
[37. ]Vossius, Historiae de Controversiis quas Pelagius, III, pt. 3. theses 10.
[38. ]Hierocles, In Aureum Pythagoreorum Carmen Commentarius, p. 107.
[39. ]Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, I.1.27.
[40. ]Wits, Aegyptiaca (1683), I.5.
[41. ]Lipsius notes in book V of his edition of Tacitus, C. Corn. Taciti Annalium et Historiarum (1574).
[42. ]Aelian, Varia Historia, II.7.
[43. ]Isocrates, Panathenaicus, p. 444.
[44. ]Sharrock, De Officiis, ch. 3, n. 5.
[45. ]Locke, Essay, I.2.9.
[46. ]Epictetus, Discourses, III.16.
[47. ]Cicero, De Finibus, I; De Officiis, I.
[48. ]Bentley, “A Confutation of Atheism from the Structure and Origin of Humane Bodies,” pt. I, pp. 5, 6; published in The Folly and Unreasonable ness of Atheism (1693).
[49. ]Shaftesbury, Characteristicks, I, p. 345.
[50. ]Locke, Essay, I.3.12.
[51. ]Bentley, “A Confutation of Atheism,” p. 5.
[52. ]Locke, Essay, I.3.10.
[53. ]Ibid., I.3.23.
[54. ]Bentley, “A Confutation of Atheism,” p. 5.
[55. ]Bacon, “Of Atheism” in Essays (1601).
[56. ]Bentley, “A Confutation of Atheism,” pp. 1, 6.
[57. ]Ibid, p. 7.
[58. ][Maxwell] “Officium est actio naturalibus constitutionibus conveniens.”
[59. ]Cicero, Academicae Quaestiones, I.
[60. ]Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, V.9.
[61. ]Bacon, “Of Goodness,” in Essays.
[62. ]Cicero, De Officiis, I.
[63. ]Tacitus, Annales, XIII.
[64. ]Cicero, De Finibus, II.
[65. ]Cicero, Pro Sextus Roscio Amerino Oratio.
[66. ]Cicero, De Senectute, I.iii.9.
[67. ]Cicero, Ad Familiares, VI.4.
[68. ]Maxwell notes Philippics, V, but the passage does not occur there.
[69. ]Maxwell is referring to Cicero, Ad Familiares, V.7.
[70. ]Sharrock, De Officiis, ch. 1, n. 11; Taylor, Ductor Dubitantium, I.1, R. 2, n. 9.
[71. ]John 8.38; Wisdom 15.13; Titus 3.11; I John 3.20; Romans 2.15, 9.1; II Corinthians 1.12, 4.2, 5.11; Hebrews 10.2.
[72. ]I Corinthians 10.25, 27, 28, 29.
[73. ]Acts 23.1, 24.16; I Timothy 1.5, 19; 3.9; Hebrews 13.18; II Timothy 1.3; I Peter3.16, 21.
[74. ]Plutarch, De Virtute Morali (in Moralia), pp. 445, 446; Casaubon, Persii Flacci Satirarum, pp. 249, 250.
[75. ]Grotius, De Veritate Religionis Christianae, I.
[76. ]Tacitus, Annales, XIV.10.
[1. ]Grotius, Annotationes in Novum Testamentum on I Timothy 1.9–10.
[2. ]Vossius, Historiae de Controversiis quas Pelagius, III, pt. 3, theses 8 and 11.