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Proposition VII - George Turnbull, The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 2: Christian Philosophy 
The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 2: Christian Philosophy, ed. and with an Introduction by Alexander Broadie (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005).
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Experience proves this to be the law, with respect to mankind in their present state, “That whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
This we have already seen to be the express doctrine of the scripture, with regard to futurity: it is directly affirmed to be so in the text; and we may not<70> only justly conclude, that what is the law in the divine government of mankind with respect to a succeeding life, is the present law as far as the nature of a preparative state to a future one admits; but, as hath likewise been observed, the consideration of the divine perfection, which is mocked or injured by denying it to be the rule, whence the apostle St. Paul infers it to be the rule, does as necessarily shew it to be the present rule, as to be the rule with regard to futurity: and indeed it is hardly conceivable in the nature of things, how it can be the rule with respect to our future state, without being the rule with regard to our present state (which is the preparative or probationary one, with respect to futurity; or, in the apostle’s phrase, its seed-time) as far as the nature of the state of probation permits it to be so.
Let us however leave all these considerations, and impartially inquire into fact: that is to say, inquire candidly, and without being by assed by any hypothesis, as philosophers ought to do, what experience says about the matter in question. 1. One thing only I must premise before I go farther; which is, that ’tis indeed very unaccountable to hear some philosophers, who confess, that we ought to reason from experiments only in natural philosophy, say, that with respect to the mind, if we appeal to experience, we can never come to certainty; for there is nothing so absurd, with relation to it, for which we shall not find witnesses who will appeal to their feeling and experience for the truth and reality of it. For if it should be retorted, as it may justly be, that there is nothing so absurd that we do not find some asserting to be true from the experience of the joint testimony of all their senses, what would follow from that? Would it follow from hence that experience has not the right of deciding in matters of experience; that the senses are not to be depended upon; and that there can be no such thing as knowledge from outward experience? That surely will not be said by any philosopher; since it is from sensible<71> experience only we can learn the connexions of external pleasures and pains with our actions, a most important part of knowledge to us. But if that cannot be said by any philosopher, I may leave it to any thinking person to determine whether the other scepticism about internal experience be not equally ridiculous. The cases are precisely parallel; and like cases must stand and fall by one and the same judgment. The same rules which, being observed in making experiments in natural philosophy, render them a sure foundation to build upon, must, if observed in moral philosophy, render experiences in it equally certain, an equally solid foundation to build moral conclusions upon. Which rules may be reduced to these two; namely, to take care “1. That the experiments be analogous in kind”; and “2. that they be proportioned in extent and moment to the inferences deduced from them. And experiences taken upon testimony, must all of them, whether concerning objects of the outward senses, or inward sentiments, operations, and affections of the mind, be tried, examined, and admitted, or repelled by the very same criteria, or rules of moral evidence.”
Having just premised this observation, to obviate rash and inconsiderate cavilling against reasoning from experience about matters of fact or experience; it is well worth while to observe, 2. That experience or careful observation of the animal world, shews us that all animals are directed by proper instincts, to the end for which they are naturally fitted; strength, agility, or whatever it be; and not only to their food, but their medicines; to suitable care of their young, while that is necessary, and no longer; to fly their enemies, or guard against them, and to herd each tribe among themselves. None of their instincts are unsuitable to their condition, unprovided for, or implanted in vain.
Now from such care of animals, so visible throughout all nature, and asserted in the scripture as an instance of the extensive bounty and care of providence, we<72> may reasonably conclude, that similar care at least prevails with respect to higher moral beings: that they are all fitted, each species to its end, duly provided for, and well placed, in order to attain to it: that their powers are not made in vain, and that they do not even want proper instincts and determinations of nature, to assist, direct, or invigorate their reason, as far as instincts are convenient or suitable to them: that all their appetites and affections are well adjusted to the end of the species to which they belong; are inlaid into their nature in such just proportions as may best serve that end; and that the laws relative to their increase or decrease, growth or diminution, improvement or degeneracy, are all likewise admirably adjusted to one another, and to the common end of them all, as may best promote the greater happiness of the whole moral system, which can be nothing else but the aggregate or sum of the happinesses of particular individuals.
But, which is more, what we have so good ground from the consideration of the inferior creation, by analogy to presume, must hold, at least, equally in the government of superior moral systems of beings, is evidently the real case with respect to the constitution and government of mankind.
For, in general, we find that almost all our pleasures or pains are put in our own power; they are dependent on our actions; they are, in the course of nature, the natural, i.e. the appointed or established effects and consequences of them. By our own care to preserve our life, is it preserved; and we can destroy it entirely, or render it as miserable as we please, by foolish pursuits, by irregular ungoverned passions, and mad, or, at least, rash and inconsiderate conduct. What we desire to have, we must set ourselves to have, in order to attain to it; and what we set ourselves to obtain, we generally obtain, if we take the proper methods to acquire it; provided it really be among the<73> number of our τα εϕ ημιν12 to know which is our own business, and may be soon understood, if we diligently observe our powers, and the natural course of things. Were every thing in our power, or were our sphere of activity, which consists in the dependence of things on our will, as to existence or nonexistence, boundless, we would be omnipotent. Were the connexion between our wills, and the existence or non-existence of any effects, a connexion necessary and independent of any other mind, we would be so far as it extends absolutely independent. But as it is absolutely in conceiveable, how any being can be limitedly independent, or, in other words, absolutely independent only within certain confined bounds; so we may soon perceive, by experience, that the extent of our power is not only limited, but derived, established by another, and not subject to us. But we are free, or have power as far as it reaches. And our interest loudly calls upon us early to apply ourselves to know the real extent of our power. It ought to be a first and principal care in education to instruct youth betimes in this important matter; for without such knowledge, and indeed without accustoming ourselves early to enquire, whether what we desire be possible, we may, as too many do, lose all our time and labour in chimerical, impossible pursuits. There are many other questions, which education, duly calculated to instruct youth in life and right behaviour, would very early inure them frequently to put to themselves very seriously; or rather, indeed, never to choose and act without having maturely pondered. As, whether it be, all things considered, a prudent choice; an expedient one; and above all, whether it be a right or a base one; a laudable or condemnable one; virtuous or vicious; beneath the dignity of man; if not repugnant to it; or agreeable to his rank, powers and end. But the first question of all, in the nature of things, ought to be, Is it possible, is it in human power, in general, or is it in my power,<74> in particular. For here a distinction must be made, since the general extent of human power must necessarily be limited by particular situations and circumstances. That may be in human power, generally speaking, which is not in the power of certain individuals, because of their particular circumstances. Every one must as necessarily have his own particular sphere of activity, as he must have his own particular point of sight; his own particular place and site in nature. And therefore, beside the general knowledge of human powers, every one ought early to be acquainted, as much as possibly can be done, with the variations the general extent of human power must suffer from various particular conditions and situations, or from whatever causes.
But we are now treating of human power, in general; and it is plain from experience, that almost all our pleasures and pains are brought about by our own actions; they are consequences to be attained or avoided by us, by certain manners of behaviour or action. There may be very different orders of beings in nature, that is, very different spheres of dominion and activity: nay, that there is an immense variety of such actually existing, reason makes, if not certain, at least very probable to us, who are so framed, that we cannot conceive an universe otherwise constituted and filled, without looking upon it, as scanty and imperfect; the effect, either of very restrained power, or of very nigardly bounty; and what naturally is so probable, the scripture assures us is true. But if we had no extent of power, no sphere of activity and rule, we would not be moral beings; there being really, in the nature of things, no difference between beings, which enjoy or suffer merely by passive sensations conveyed into them, independently of their own will; besides, what the number and variety of such sensations, or passive impressions, makes. They are all of the same class, merely passive, merely perceptive beings, to which rank of being, if reason, reflexion, and free<75> choice, with affection and self-approbation, in consequence of a sense of right and wrong, do not render naturally superior, or of greater dignity, then are perfect and imperfect, or more and less perfect, words without a meaning: then are all beings upon a level, and there is no such thing as better and worse, higher and lower in nature.
But, in order to have as clear a view of this important matter as we can, let us, 1. Consider our power with respect to external things. 2. Our power with respect to internal things. And, 3. Let us enquire if there are any limitations upon our power, besides those already mentioned, which are essential to creatures as such; and what these are, and from whence they proceed.
Now, in the first place, with respect to external things, it is evident, that when sensible objects strike our senses, they must be perceived by us: these impressions are passive; they are conveyed from without. And it is evident, that the manner in which any being is affected by objects of sense in this passive way, will differ from that in which another being is affected by the same objects of sense; or to speak more philosophically, hath sensations imprinted upon its mind from without, as their organizations differ one from another. That is the meaning of different organizations; it is their end, and must naturally and necessarily be their effect. But then it is evident likewise, that all the sensations we receive from without, are conveyed to us according to a certain, fixed, uniform, established order, which we call the order or frame of the sensible world with respect to mankind, and that renders us capable of mutual commerce and correspondence. If it were not so, we could not converse with one another, or have any intercourse, nay, we could not foresee what would be the course of things in any case; that is, what perceptions would succeed to one another, and consequently we could not act; nature would have no meaning to us; we could not understand it; and, by<76> consequence, we could not imitate it as we do by many useful arts; nor draw any rules from it with regard to our conduct. But nature, being orderly, it may be understood, imitated, reasoned from, and directions for our actions may be inferred from it. And as it is experience alone that can teach us the order of nature, so it is our business early to attend to the course of nature, in order to know it as fully as we can.
Indeed were we not capable, before we can reason, to form very quick and ready judgments of certain connexions in nature, (concerning the magnitudes and distances of objects, for example) as we very early do, we could not possibly get thro’ our infant state. And therefore that we form these judgments, or rather that they are formed in us, by the necessary operations of certain faculties belonging to us, previously to our use of reason, or capacity of making observations upon the settled connexions of nature, is a very manifest sign of the care of providence about us, whose reason must, in the nature of things, that is, according to our make, be gradually nursed and cultivated to any considerable degree of strength and vigor; more especially, if we consider the powers, and laws of powers, from which this so advantageous a way of judging of certain connexions in nature results; since these very powers, and laws of powers, which bring it about, are, on many other accounts, of the highest, the noblest use in our constitution, viz. the laws relative to association of ideas, memory and habit. But tho’ this capacity of attaining, in our infancy, from a few experiences, to so quick a way of judging of certain connexions and orders in nature, be such an advantage to us, that it may very properly and justly be said to be a supplemental power to that of reason; yet the far greater part of the connexions, by the knowledge of which alone our power can be encreased in nature, as far as it may be encreased, are left to be the objects of our diligent enquiries and researches. And that this is a<77> very pleasant employment, every one who is in the least acquainted with the study of nature will readily acknowledge.
We can extend our lordship very far: the increase of our dominion hath hitherto kept pace with our insight into nature. For what discovery in natural philosophy hath not increased our power and dominion by giving rise to some useful, or, at least, some ornamental art? We can only augment our dominion by increase in knowledge. But increase in knowledge, upon which enlargement of our natural dominion depends, is in our power, or dependent upon us, and attainable by us, not only in any sense that any other thing what soever can be said to depend upon us, and to be in our hands, if I may so speak; but it is in our power, or dependent upon us, in any sense that any thing can be pronounced to be in the power and reach, or within the acquisition of any being. For dependence upon a being can mean nothing else but having faculties to attain to it, if they are applied and used to attain to it. And thus increase in knowledge is in our power: in our power beyond any assignable bounds. For who can say of it, Hitherto can it go and no further? There are indeed limits to it: there must be limits to it: there are several things which we have good reason to think we cannot know. But who can say how far enquiries into nature, into any part of nature rightly pursued may be carried? Are not the qualities and laws of qualities belonging to any one object, an almost exhaustless fund of pleasant and useful research by experimental enquiries?
There may be various degrees of facility among beings with respect to acquiring knowledge, and to every acquisition. We experience different degrees of facility and quickness with respect to the same acquirement among ourselves. And higher and lower spheres of activity, greater and lesser powers, must comprehend such a difference, and much more in their full meaning.<78> And yet after all, with respect to mankind, the acquirement of natural knowledge may be said to be a very easy purchase. For the connexions of nature lie open to every diligent judicious enquirer; every such a one is daily making, in proportion to his assiduity in observing nature, and trying experiments, very great discoveries with ease and pleasure. Our curiosity prompts us to search into nature, and our disposition to imitate, together with our natural desire of power, strongly at once push us to search after knowledge, and direct us how to pursue or seek after it, even by copying after nature, vying with her, and making experiments. And knowledge becomes easier, in proportion to the advances we have made in it. Our faculties enlarge in proportion as they are exercised: And every discovery we make by the pleasure it gives us, and by making us feel the advantages of advancing and improving in knowledge, is a fresh incentive to diligence in the quest of science. Besides, by reflexions upon our mistakes and errors, compared with our successes, we come to be able to form rules for making surer and more expeditious researches, and for avoiding deceits and errors. And these reflexions, being, by frequent consideration, fixed upon the mind, the science or art of comparing, separating, placing in various situations and juxtapositions, and taking different views of the same objects; and, in one word, the whole science and art of reasoning, becomes habitual to the mind; insomuch, that one thus formed to search, and practised in searching, is never at a loss on any occasion, however new, how to go to work. Thus progress in knowledge becomes gradually easier and easier, and in proportion sweeter and pleasanter to the practitioner. And can there be any other way of knowledge’s becoming easier to us than this; any other way, at least, more honourable or agreeable to us?<79>
How it comes about, that notwithstanding the truth of all that hath been said, natural science hath made such slow advances, and is yet so little studied and pursued, is a question that belongs to the general enquiry, why men, notwithstanding their furniture of every sort for improving in knowledge and virtue, are so corrupt as they are; or at least generally fall so very far short of what they may attain to, in respect of perfection and proportional happiness. We shall therefore, at present, only observe upon that head, that in fact, philosophers were long misled from the plain and evident way of coming at the knowledge of nature (for what can be more obvious, than that it can only be attained to by carefully observing nature itself in its operations?) by a vain disposition, to make or contrive worlds themselves, and to spin a solution of all the phenomena of nature out of their own brain, that thus they might have some shew of reason to consider themselves as creators, or as able to give counsel to the Most High.a But such arrogance and folly, what is it but the degeneracy of a greatness of mind, of a noble disposition to augment our power, extend our capacities, and be as much beholden to ourselves as possible, implanted in us by the author of nature for many excellent purposes? since without such a disposition we could not be capable of great sentiments, great actions, and many eminent virtues, which highly bless and exalt human society. ’Tis nothing else but this useful disposition misplaced, misguided, or taking a wrong turn, which we not only have reason to guide to right purposes, but which there are other affections in our constitution, naturally of equal strength to counter-ballance and point into the proper path, or to its best pursuits, and to keep us from running into<80> this and other like extravagances. It must be still owing, partly to this vanity, partly to thoughtlessness, partly to a false notion of learning, and partly, if not principally, to sensuality, and the prevailing love of external pleasure, that natural philosophy, the advantages of cultivating which, glare every thinking man in the face, is not even yet pursued with that earnest and as siduous application it ought to be. But which ever of these wrong turns of mind be the cause of it, it is certain, that every wrong turn of mind is but a corruption of some good affection, against which we are sufficiently provided and armed by nature. For as to sensual concupiscence in particular, is it not manifest, that were not certain sensitive appetites and affections implanted in our mind by nature, we would neither be capable of those sensitive gratifications, which, when pursued and enjoyed within the bounds reason and benevolence permit, are not contemptible enjoyments; nor would our reason and moral conscience have subjects to discipline, govern, and keep in due order: without such a make it could not be our end, as it now is, to contend in opposition to sensitive lusts, to attain to a just esteem of rational exercises, and of the pleasures redounding from them, above all merely external delights. Nor is it less visible that no affections or propensions in our nature become strong and prevalent, but by being frequently exercised and gratified in consequence of the law of habit, which is indeed the law that renders us capable of perfection. For what else is any perfection, but an affection or power improved to a readiness in exerting itself to the best advantage, and in the most convenient and becoming manner? From all which it is evident that to object against our frame, either on the account of vanity, or any other bad turn, any of our natural powers or appetites may take, or of the method in which they are to be governed, ruled, and perfected, is in reality to arraign our author, because we have a stock<81> to improve, and are made capable of improving it to excellent advantage in the only me ritorious and pleasant way. Thus then we see, that we are very well qualified by nature for encreasing, by our diligence to improve in it, our knowledge of the connexions of the natural or material world, provided we but take the right way of pursuing after it, which lies open and manifest to every one who can think at all. For to accuse nature, for not having put it in our power to acquire knowledge, whatever way we take to get it, is absurdly to impeach nature for having made knowledge attainable by us; since it could not be so, were not the only means of acquiring it, fixed and certain; nay, it is indeed, in general, to accuse nature, because an end is acquired by means; that is, to accuse the author of nature, because nature is an orderly system, and there are fixed and established connexions of things, which may be known, copied and reasoned from by intelligent agents.
But knowledge of the natural world being thus in our power, and easy to be acquired; the encrease of our natural dominion is likewise in our power, and easy to be augmented by us. For having intelligent power to procure ourselves any external advantage, or to avoid any external inconvenience or uneasiness, it is, and must be our own fault entirely, if we do not exercise our power to have advantages attainable by us, and to preserve ourselves against pains avoidable by us. We may have intelligent power, and yet not exercise it; one may shut his eyes, and fold his arms, even when he hath nothing to do, but to open his eyes, and put out his hands to take hold of a very great blessing. But all that nature could do for us was to give us faculties, by the due use of which certain blessings may be acquired, with the self-satisfaction of having thus acquired them to ourselves, by the right use of our powers. To demand any thing else is absurdly to demand, that nothing should depend on our will, as<82> to its existence or non-existence; i.e. that we should not be at all active creatures, or capable of merit.
But let us now see more particularly, how certain particular, external purchases stand with regard to us. And I think all the blessings of human life may be reduced to these three, peace, health, and competence. The two last only are external, and therefore they only belong to the present question. Peace, fair virtue, is thine alone! We shall therefore consider the two other, health and competence, or let it be called wealth, tho’ ’tis really the other that is the blessing.
I. Now, as to the former, though many external diseases, pains and sufferings, are beyond our foresight, and absolutely inevitable by us, because they are the effects of the general laws of the material world, which must operate uniformly and invariably, which shall be considered afterwards; yet, in general, it is very conspicuous, that by prudence and care, we may, for the most part, pass our days in tolerable ease and quiet: and that it is by rashness, ungoverned passion, wilfulness or negligence, that men, generally speaking, make themselves very miserable. Certain virtues, really coincide with prudence and wise management with respect to health, and outward ease and convenience; and therefore, must at least be owned to be natural duties, if they be not allowed to be moral ones, or to have any further use and excellence. Of this kind are self-government, a deliberative temper, and temperance; they certainly preserve from many terrible evils, which sadly afflict the rash, inconsiderate, irregular, and unthinking, or wilful; and do really give us more sensible pleasure than their contraries, according to the fixed laws and boundaries of sensitive exercises and gratifications, or of outward pleasures and pains. This, I think, was never denied; and therefore let it only be added to it, that the study of nature, which, if it were not<83> left to ourselves, we could not really have any subjects of exercise for our understanding, or intelligent power of the natural kind, were it duly cultivated, it would certainly be able to do more for the preservation or relief of mankind, than it is yet sufficient to do. And this knowledge, being only acquirable in a progressive manner, in proportion to our application to extend and enlarge it; the external pains we feel, as they are excited only by such objects as tend to dissolve, or, at least, hurt or injure our bodily frame, they are thus proper monitors to take care of ourselves: kind warnings, which very happily supply an unavoidably necessary, or, at least, a very fit inconvenience, accruing from the progressiveness of knowledge; if any consequence, that is really in itself so proper for us, as that is, can justly be called an inconvenience.
II. Now, as for wealth, the means of all sensitive gratification; in communities, or societies regularly established; How is it acquired by men? Is it not in proportion to their industry, in the use of the means by which it may be purchased? And in a state of nature, or in society, where money is not in use, the case is the same, insomuch that what the wise man says of industry, in that respect, is an universal proverb.a “The hand of the diligent maketh rich.” How emphatical are his descriptions of the opposite effects of industry and slothfulness? And they are literally true.
“Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep, and an idle soul shall suffer hunger, the drunkard and glutton shall come to poverty; and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding, and lo, it was all grown over with thorns,<84> and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone-wall there of was laid down. Then I saw, and considered well, I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so that thy poverty come, as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” But, on the other hand,13 “He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread.” “He that gathereth by labour shall encrease.” “In all labour there is profit.” “Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.” “Through wisdom is an house builded, and by understanding it is established.” “And by knowledge shall thy chambers be filled with all precious pleasant riches.” “A wise man is strong, yea, a man of knowledge encreaseth strength.” The same rule takes place, in the brute creation, in many instances; that is, they are directed and moved by their instincts to provide in summer for winter; and therefore the sluggard is called upon, “to go to the ant for example, to consider her ways, and be wise, which having no guide, overseer or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” The general law with respect to encrease in wealth is, that it shall be made by those who set themselves earnestly to do it. Without this general law, there would be no encouragement to industry, by which it is fit that external advantages should alone be acquired; since it being so with regard to internal goods, as we shall quickly see it is, our whole frame is thus consistent and analogous; since our bodies require exercise as well as nourishment; and the preservation of man, by requiring many united labours, lays a foundation, and makes room for many ingenious arts, many beautiful inventions and employments, and for the mutual exchange of many friendly offices; or, in one word, makes a close mutual dependence, and so gives rise to all the variety of blessings springing<85> from that source, which are indeed innumerable. Now, this being the general rule, tho’ in consequence of natural connexions, as between parents and offspring, and social ties of various kinds in an established community, or even in a state of nature, riches may drop into the mouth of the sluggard; yet it is plain, they must have been originally purchased by labour. And, if we add to this, that the law being general; putting out the hand, or exerting our force or skill to take hold of certain external objects, will of course be generally successful, whether it is righteous or unrighteous, fraudulent and wicked, or just and good. But all that duly weighed, we have no reason to complain of the distribution of external goods in this life. For not only may a man be very vitious in several respects, and yet be worldly wise and industrious, which wisdom and industry it is fit should gain its end: but let us think what would be the consequence if only lawful art and industry were successful. To demand it is indeed the same, as to demand that the sun should only shine upon the just; and the rain from heaven only water the fields of the pious; and can we imagine greater confusion and disorder than this would produce? Whereas, as things are now constituted and regulated, the means whereby ends may be compassed are fixed and certain, and the course of things being according to general laws, it is truly orderly and regular.
We have no ground to complain of the administration of providence, with regard to the distribution of external goods, since by the law according to which they are purchased, he who applies himself to knowledge, will attain to it; he who seeks virtue or self-government, will attain to a great pitch of perfection in it; and he who merely seeks sensual gratifications, will also have it; but with all its concomitants and consequences, with a carnal mind, ungoverned passions, incapacity of rational exercises, a mean, and<86> mercenary, selfish, ungenerous temper, and consciousness of inward worthlessness. In order to pursue any end vigorously, the heart, the affections, must be strongly bent upon it: thus alone is virtue purchased. And he who is only fit for, and only thinks of encreasing wealth, in order to pamper his sensitive appetites, will, according to the common course of things, in consequence of the same law, gain that end: but he will not be the nearer to true happiness for having done so; for that outward affluence cannot give, without a well governed, generous mind. On the other hand, the good man, whose chief delight is in rational exercises, only desiring wealth, in order to be able to communicate it, and do good, not only cannot with that temper of mind so keenly pursue wealth as it is necessary, in order to make great riches; but he is really apt to fall into an indolence in this respect, which, as it is blameable, when man is considered to be made for society, so it brings its own punishment along with it, by putting it out of his power to do the good on many occasions, he must feel pain for not being able to do; and consequently checks for so utterly neglecting the purchase of such agreeable power, as not at all to mind it, tho’ it might be done to a great degree by him very consistently with his superior delight in other exercises, from which tho’ valuable advantages spring, yet the means of being liberal cannot. Such, however, generally make up, in a great degree, by their frugality and self-denial, what too great a neglect of seeking after the means of beneficence otherwise puts out of their power.
Thus then we clearly see, how equal and just the general law with respect to the acquirement of external goods is; it is plainly this, “As a man soweth, so doth he reap.”
Let us now enquire, in the second place, whether it is not the same with respect to internal goods,<87> with respect to the improvements of the mind, whether of understanding, or of will and temper. And indeed, as it is fit that all the parts composing the same mind, and all the parts constituting the same system of things relative to the same kind of moral beings, should be analogous or consonant one to another; so really it is in our own case. The same law, which obtains with respect to external purchases takes place with regard to moral or internal ones.
All that hath been said of natural knowledge and natural power, is found, by experience, to be equally true with respect to moral knowledge and moral power. And indeed, whatever names to things some people may affect to give, they must be strangers to the very meaning of the words moral knowledge, who out of contempt call it metaphysick, and will not allow it to be a part of natural knowledge, in the proper sense of natural. For what can be more evident, than that the constitution of our mind is a natural and real constitution, which hath its own real economy and symmetry, as well as any body; the human, or any other. And therefore, that an enquiry into that constitution must be carried on in the same way of experiment, and reasoning from experiment alone, as our researches into bodily frames and structures of whatever sort. And sure to deny, that the knowledge of our inward anatomy, by whatever name it be called, is not a part of knowledge that highly concerns us, is absurdly to say, that we are not at all interested in the temper and fate of our thinking part. We shall not dwell longer upon this head, since it would be but to repeat over again what hath been said of natural knowledge, in the common sense of these words; and there will be occasion in another place of this discourse, to treat of moral or practical knowledge. One thing only not yet mentioned is very well worth our attention, that in order to direct and pointus into the proper road of getting knowledge, either natural<88> or moral, nature hath wisely and generously implanted in our minds, a disposition to delight in order, unity of design, symmetry, simplicity, and consent of parts to a good end, wherever we perceive it; by which means, we are naturally excited to look out for order, wise and generous contrivance, consent of parts, general laws, harmonies and analogies. And he, who thus pursues the study of nature, whether in corporeal structures or moral ones, will not lose his labour; but have success, that will abundantly reward his assiduity, every step it advances, by pleasure far superior to all sensitive gratifications. There is no need of any proof of this truth to those who are acquainted with such researches. And the lovers of the ingenious arts, which imitate nature, as poetry, painting, sculpture, will they not immediately own, that their delight wholly arises from a taste of order, beauty, simplicity, consistency and unity in imitations of nature? We may justly conclude, as hath been done, that a wise and good being does nothing in vain, but always pursues a good end by the simplest means, carefully avoiding all superfluity, and adding force to what is principal in every thing. And it is the observance of this rule by nature throughout all its works, which renders them so beautiful and pleasing to behold, which they could not be to us, had we not naturally a sense of beauty and unity; a capacity of discerning it, and a disposition to delight in it. And, in the same way, are we qualified to acquire a good taste of the polite arts, for as their end is to imitate nature, what constitutes the beauty of their pattern, must constitute their beauty likewise. They therefore can only give pleasure to a well-formed mind, in proportion to their truth, beauty, simplicity, majesty, grandeur and unity, as nature does. And unless a mind be formed to a right, a very perfect taste of these beautiful qualities, the finest and best of productions of the imitative arts, cannot give one any satisfaction: they must be lost upon such.<89>
Now if we consider how a good temper and disposition of mind, and all the virtues which make a man at once beneficial, happy, great, and amiable, are acquired, we shall plainly perceive, that it is by labour and diligence to improve our faculties and affections, implanted in us by nature, by due culture. No labour can give us a faculty or affection, which nature hath not originally implanted in us; no more than it can add to the number of the external organs nature hath furnished us with. Art can only cultivate, improve, enlarge, and bring to perfection the powers, affections, and dispositions of nature’s growth. But if it should be asked, what is the meaning of these words, to improve and cultivate? Before we come to consider more particularly the scripture doctrine concerning virtue and vice, it is sufficient to answer, if less or more perfect may be applied to the qualities of a vegetable, or of a horse, or of any thing, it may likewise be applied to moral powers and faculties. If an imperfect and a more perfect or improved state of any one quality be once allowed, it must be universally acknowledged, that there is an imperfect and more perfect state of all qualities whatsoever. And thus the reality of virtue and vice must of necessity be yielded: since whatever is an advancement towards the natural perfection to which moral powers may be brought, is virtue, with regard to them; and contrariwise every step to degrade them below that perfection, or to hinder them from rising to it, is vice, with respect to them. But can any one be at a loss to understand, what enlargement of reason, and power, and mastership of the mind, or self-command, mean, who understands what it is to have weak and strong eyes, and a wilful, rash, inconsiderate, or a cool, sedate, deliberate head? It is therefore needless to expatiate more on this article; and all that remains to be observed, with regard to external improvements and purchases, is, that having<90> reason and certain affections and appetites in our frame, which are so many capacities of enjoyment, we are capable of improving them; in consequence,
I. Of a sense of right or wrong, natural to all men, that can never be totally effaced. It is evident, that if we had not a natural capacity of perceiving right, and distinguishing it from wrong, and of delighting in and approving the one, and of hating and disapproving the other, we could not possibly be capable of any of those sentiments expressed by self-approbation and self-condemnation, good and bad conscience, a sense of merit, and a sense of guilt and unworthiness. We would beutter strangers to them all, in the same way and for the same reason, that without an appetite, affection and capacity suited to any sensitive pleasure whatsoever, we could not desire or relish it. It must be true in general, that without appetites and affections no objects could give us more pleasure than others; or, more properly speaking, nothing could give us pleasure. The great business of reason is to cultivate, improve, and then preserve in due force this our rightly improved natural sense of right and wrong, in the same sense that it is a duty in some degree to improve our ear and eye. But it is in vain to say, that this sense is totally acquired by reason, in proportion as it is improved, and becomes able to take in large and just views of the consequences of things. For as reason may find out that it would be a very advantageous thing to have an ear for musick; or that it may be of some use to affect to have it, and to act as if one really had it; but it can never produce it, when it is originally wanting: so reason may find out, that it would be, on many occasions, advantageous to have a sense of right and wrong, especially in a constitution of things, where true advantage, upon a fair and full estimation of things, is always connected with the dictates, the first motions of such a sense; or that it may<91> be greatly for ones interest to affect to have it, and to act as if one really had it: but it cannot produce it when it is not originally implanted in some degree. For this plain reason, that as reason could never be employed to calculate external advantages, if we had no senses whereby we perceive outward pleasures and pains; so it could never be employed to compare right and laudable with outward advantageousness, unless it had a sense of both. And let no man say he hath no notion of any thing but external advantageousness in its various degrees and its contraries, unless he can affirm, that in no case whatsoever any thing ever appears to him to be base which is advantageous; or any thing honourable, and generous, and lovely, if it be contrary to a narrow confined self-interest, that only pursues sensible gratifications; which, such is our make and frame, that no man can or dare say. But having sufficiently explained this matter in the principles of moral philosophy, I shall only take notice of another thing in our constitution, necessary to our attainment to perfection of understanding or temper, which it is but just necessary to mention, because it also hath been fully handled in the same enquiry; namely,
II. The law of habit, which is indeed the law of improvement or perfection. Were it not for this general law in our frame, we could not possibly improve or enlarge any of our faculties, become more ready and expert at any exercise, or work any natural propension into temper, so as to render it the bent of the soul, and the ruling passion; but our faculties and affections would always remain in their first state, and all our repeated acts would neither make us wiser or better; more strong, more sagacious, more free, more generous, nor in any respect more improved, than if we had never exercised our reason, never enquired into nature, never acted.<92> But being constituted, as we really are in both the respects just mentioned, we have it in our power to improve all our faculties, powers, and affections; and to grow daily in wisdom and in virtue; we have a stock to improve, a rule to guide us in doing so, and we are sure of success to our endeavours.
All that hath been said, is incontrovertible experience: and need I stay to shew, that it is the scripture doctrine, which abounds with commands to improve ourselves; to give all diligencea to add to one virtue all the virtues, and to perfect ourselves, even as God is perfect.b We are there represented to be made, as man plainly is in every respect, for exercise, and not for inactivity, which soon wastes and consumes our powers, and then preys upon the very substance of the mind itself, so to speak: but chiefly for moral exercise, or for the improvement of our will and temper. I have already shewn what the scripture doctrine is concerning diligence and industry, with respect to external goods: and indeed nothing is more earnestly inculcated upon us in holy writ than diligence and application, each in some particular calling, for which he is best fitted, without fretfulness and anxiety, and without avarice, but with patient resignation to the will of an over-ruling providence, that we may be useful to society in some laudable way, and instead of being a tax and burden upon it, may even have some share of power to do good to others. “Let every man, saith the apostle, communicatea and do good to the utmost of his power; and therefore let no man be slothful in business, but diligently do the duties of some beneficial calling or employ, in the most useful way the talents and circumstances put in his power.” But the chief thing we are called upon to apply ourselves to, is the improvement of our mind in virtue, to which diligence in some useful business is so far from being an<93> impediment, that it is on the contrary absolutely requisite; or one of the properest means.b We are given often to understand, that our improvement in virtue can only be, and always will be proportioned to our endeavours to advance in it. And we are loudly called upon to remember this employment is the end of our creation, and necessary to fit us for the happiness of another life to come. In the book of proverbs how often are we exhorted to seek after wisdom diligently, and to dig for it as for hidden treasures, because in its hand are all the blessings of this life, and the life hereafter. In these exhortations to apply ourselves diligently to the study of wisdom, the wisdom chiefly recommended, is the wisdom that produces a strong mind, self-command, and mastership of the passions: but the study of natural knowledge is likewise comprehended in the description as a very useful part of it.c “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandize of it is better than the merchandize of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her; and happy is every one that retaineth her. The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth: by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down dew—a Get wisdom, get understanding, forget it not, forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing: therefore get wisdom: with all thy getting, get understanding. Exalt her,<94> and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour when thou doest embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.” And how beautiful is the description given of her in the book of wisdom, “Wisdom reacheth from one end to another mightily; and sweetly does she order all things. I loved her, and sought her out from my youth, I desired to make her my spouse, and I was a lover of her beauty. In that she was conversant with God, she magnifieth her nobility: yea, the Lord of all things himself loveth her. For she is privy to the mysteries of the knowledge of God, and a lover of his works. If riches be a possession to be desired in this life, what is richer than wisdom that worketh all things? And if prudence work, who of all that are, is a more cunning workman than she? And if a man love righteousness, her labours are virtues; for she teacheth temperance and prudence, justice and fortitude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in their life. If a man desire much experience, she knoweth things of old, and conjectureth aright what is to come: she knoweth the subtilties of speeches, and can expound dark sentences: she foreseeth signs and wonders, and the events of seasons and times.”b
This is the wisdom which we are called to give all diligence to attain to, or improve in. But it is very remarkable that this same wisdom which we are commanded to labour hard to attain, is in other places of the same writings said to offer herself to us, to be at hand, nay to take hold of us: to cry upon us to hasten to her; so that we must shut our ears against her not to hear some of her instructions; and shut our eyes against all the objects around us, not to see her beauty.a This is the language of the same sacred book just quoted. And what doth this mean, but what we<95> have found by experience to be true, even that nature hath not only well qualified us for the search of wisdom; but likewise hath implanted in us love of knowledge, impatience against darkness, and ignorance; and many other powerful instincts to push and excite us to apply diligently to the study of wisdom, and to assist and direct us in the pursuit. And with regard to right and wrong in particular, we are told, not only that the moral differences of actions and affections are as essential and immutable as light and darkness, or bitter and sweet.b But that we have natural sensesc for discerning good and evil. A moral conscience, which, if it is consulted, cannot deceive us, at least in more simple cases, or in the greater outlines of duty: and that the laws of moral good and evil are written upon our hearts,d the hearts of all men universally and indelibly: and therefore that no man can sin or deviate from right in any degree, without feeling a law in his mind, warring against his evil concupiscences, till by long habit the mind is become obdurate and callous, as it may be, but always is slowly, and after very violent strugglings against an inward sense of what is praise-worthy, and truly becoming and honourable; for thus likewise the scripture speaks of virtue: phrases that have no meaning, if a sense of praiseworthy and laudable in itself be not really belonging to us. For as reasonably might an apostle exhort one who hath no eyes, saying, If there be any beauty, any visible order, proportion and symmetry, seek after these things, for they will give you delight; as recommend it to one who hath no sense of honour or shame, of base or worthy, saying,e If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, seek after these things, and thus shall you have inward satisfaction; your own hearts will not condemn but approve you, and you shall have that testimony of a good conscience, which is a perpetual <96>feast. ’Tis needless to quote more passages to prove this to be the voice of scripture, since we cannot almost turn up our bibles without finding some precepts to this effect. I shall only add one more; St. Paul writing to the Philippians,a earnestly excites them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, that is, with all eagerness and concern. Now to work out our salvation in scripture language is, to give all diligence to prepare ourselves for the future felicity which the pure in heart alone can inherit, and into which nothing that is unclean or defiled can enter: to be assiduous and constant to improve in that sanctity of heart and life, without which no man can see the Lord, or be capable of that happiness, which a future state will afford to those who are fitted for it, by placing them in circumstances, which shall give them larger views of the divine perfections than we can now have, and better opportunities of imitating them. And what are the motives by which the apostle enforces this exhortation? “For it is God which worketh in you, to will and to do of his good pleasure.”14 Some are so absurd, as to interpret the apostle’s meaning, as if he had reasoned thus, “Work out your salvation yourselves by your own diligence, for you can do nothing, but it is God that must do every thing for you, even will for you.” Which interpretation is indeed a complication of absurdities. But the true and obvious meaning is, “Give all diligence to work out your salvation, for it is God, the creator of all things, who by giving you of his good pleasure the power of willing and doing, with a sense of right and wrong, and reason to guide and direct you, hath visibly made it your end so to do. Your frame shews, that to prepare yourselves for great moral happiness, arising from a well-cultivated and improved mind suitably placed, is your end appointed to you by your Creator.<97> Consider therefore that by neglecting this your duty, this your interest, you contemn and oppose the good will of God toward you, and his design in creating you. The other motive he adds, plainly supposes a natural sense of right and wrong common to all men; insomuch that the most wicked cannot choose but admire and approve good actions when they see them, though they loudly reproach their own opposite conduct. ‘That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, amidst a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.’”15
III. Let us now consider if there are any limitations upon what hath been found, according to experience and scripture, to be the general law in the divine government of mankind, whether with respect to external or internal acquisitions; “That as a man soweth, so shall he also reap: he who soweth to the flesh, shall reap corruption, and he who soweth to the spirit, shall reap the fruits of the spirit, which grow up naturally to eternal and compleat moral happiness.” For this hath been shewn to be the meaning of the text.
We are as certainly sure, as that there is a God who by his infinitely wise and good providence over-ruleth all, that in such a state of things all must be governed by general laws admirably adjusted to the great end of the whole administration, the greater good. For were it not so, what would be the necessary consequence, but that intelligent agents would be placed in a system which they could neither understand, nor have activity in: that is, creatures endowed with powers of intelligence and action would be incapable of understanding and acting. For how can that be understood, so as to derive rules of conduct from it, which is not ascertainable? And what can be such which does not proceed in a fixed, determined, uniform order and<98> method? ’Tis only settled and regularly proceeding connexions that can be traced, comprehended, argued from, or acted upon. For all art and conduct must go upon this principle, that such a rule being observed in the pursuit of an end, that end will be gained.
Thus we reason in agriculture, mechanicks, in every art: and thus also must we reason in the conduct of our life, in all our actions and pursuits. And as government by general laws may be inferred by necessary consequence in this manner from the moral perfections of the supreme all-perfect mind, who made, upholds, and governs all: so philosophers know that we are able to trace effects in nature to general laws in so many instances, that there is sufficient ground, independently of that consideration, to conclude by analogical reasoning, that all is governed in like manner by general laws. Accordingly in the material world, when the general laws of vegetable, and of what is very similar and near a-kin to it, animal growth, and several other powers and laws of powers in nature do not succeed, philosophers readily own, because they plainly see it is so in many instances, that this does not happen because nature is weak and deficient; far less, because it maliciously deviates in such instances from its general good methods of operation; but purely because the formation or production, which is always carried on according to the same law, or agreeably to the same principle, was in that case over-powered by the operation of some other general law, equally necessary to the good of the whole system. Thus bad weather, blasts, plants, and trees, for instance; and a disease or hurt happening to the mother, will occasion an abortion, or a monstrous deformed birth. And when these and other like appearances happen, which may shock those who are not able to take a large united view of the co-operation of many laws, in order to make a good system, they do not startle philosophers, because they know that the laws regulating<99> the weather and its effects, and the laws determining the consequences of hurts and bruises, and all the other laws from which such like effects as have been mentioned proceed, are very fitly chosen, and that the greater good requires their universal, uninterrupted operation.
In the same manner must it be in the moral world, when certain general laws have not their common and regular effects: they are then thwarted, counter-acted, or over-powered by the influence of other good general laws, equally necessary to the greater good, and therefore never the cause of evil in an absolute sense, i.e. with respect to the whole system. Ignorant men perceiving that disappointments to industry, labour, and prudence, sometimes happen, are apt to call such events unlucky accidents, and to ascribe them to chance or fate. But if we consider the matter accurately, we shall soon find, that to ascribe any event whether to chance or fate, or indeed to any thing but the course of general laws established and maintained in full force by the author of all things, is to attribute effects to no efficient. For chance or fate opposed to the will of an efficient mind, must mean causes which are not causes, or productions by nothing. Unthinking men likewise frequently speak of the course of nature, as if by that they meant something quite distinct from providence: but in reality it can have no meaning, but the regular operations of qualities and powers produced and upheld by God according to fixed laws of his appointment. But if it be absurd to attribute effects, and the causes of effects, to any thing but the will of a mind sufficient to establish and uphold that course, and by which it really subsists; then are all events reducible, in the nature of things, by such beings as have a large enough view of the system to be able to do it, to general laws of the appointment of the creator of the world: and consequently, if any one general law is at any time disturbed or interrupted in its course, it can only be in consequence of the operation<100> of some other general law of the same system.
Now all this being very clear, let us try if we can trace any of the interruptions or limitations of the general law we are now explaining, which may very properly be called, “The general law of activity, or industry,” to the general laws whence they proceed. That there are certain limitations upon it besides those which belong to it as a sphere of activity having certain bounds, which must be the case with respect to the sphere of activity of every creature as such; or limitations upon it within its appointed and regular sphere, is very plain to every one, since, though in the common course of things, “The race be to the swift, the battle to the strong, bread to the wise, riches to men of understanding, and favour to the men of skill,”16 otherwise prudence, industry, and wisdom would be empty names without a meaning; for there would be no difference at all between one way of conduct and another: yet it is not always so, “but time and chance (as the wise man saith) happen to all men, the wise; and the foolish; and God sometimes turneth wise men backward, and maketh their prudence foolishness.”
The evident meaning of all which is not that me nought not diligently to inquire into the regular consequences of second causes, and act agreeably to them: Else whence these frequent exhortations to get wisdom, and to act prudently, to industry and application: for the same wise man exhorts us,a “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, to do it with all thy might,” &c: But merely that the events of things do sometimes not answer to the natural probabilities of second causes, because many, even little unforeseen accidents unavoidably interposing, do very often change the whole course of things, and produce an event quite opposite to what, in all reasonable probability, sufficient<101> to have determined a wise man to act as he did, was to have been expected. The swiftest runner, upon the least accidental slip, loses the prize to a rival much slower than himself; and the strongest armies, upon the least disorder befalling them in the day of battle, have been defeated by an enemy whose inferior force they contemned: and as strength and agility of body are not always successful in proportion to the degrees of those faculties; nor powerful armies victorious in proportion to their numbers: so the faculties and powers of the mind likewise, understanding and wisdom, dexterity and skill, are not always successful as might regularly be expected in obtaining riches and honours, favour and distinction in the world: but unseen accidents, or more properly speaking, unseen dispensations of providence, unseen effects of other laws which must take place in the government of things, invisibly and surprisingly turn the course of things, and render qualities which are generally attended with success in their right application, successless. The causes of many unforeseen, and at first very unaccountable events, are after wards discovered by time, and then our wonder ceases; which is sufficient to lead us to conclude, it is always the case, and that it is not fortune or chance, words without a meaning.
Now if all this be not owing to the two following causes, yet so much is certainly owing to them, that we may justly presume that what is not so, and quite unaccountable by us, must however be the consequence of the operation of some equally good general laws; since the world is found in fact to be so governed, and must be so governed, if it be under the administration of a supreme mind; which it must be, or be the effect of no cause, no contriver, no power, no producer.
I. A great part of the disappointments or limitations of the general law of industry, proceeds from the operation of the laws of matter and motion by which<102> the material world, with which we are at present united, is governed. All interruptions, limitations, or disappointments with respect to the law of industry in the exertion of our power about material objects, it is highly probable, flow from the laws by which the material world is ruled and managed. And that very many do so, is visible to every one: such as external or bodily diseases of very various sorts; the effects of storms, earthquakes, deluges, and many others, too obvious to be mentioned. Now let natural philosophers account for the general laws, whence those hurtful events proceed, by which the industry and prudence of the husbandman, the trader, the general, the politician, the philosopher, &c. are often disappointed, and are either rendered abortive, or, which is more pernicious, bring about the very contrary of the good proposed and intended. And I think they have done it. For that being done, our business is merely to conclude, that such effects are not evils: which they cannot be, the laws from which they proceed being good; unless it be evil that the general operation of a law necessary to the greater good should take place, which it is a contradiction to say. The laws of the material world, whence these effects proceed, are necessary to render the material system which they constitute that beautiful and orderly one it is, being so fit a habitation for an immense variety of perceptive beings, and of man in particular, furnishing him with many means of enjoyment and pleasant exercise of the sensitive kind; and, which is more, with many means, occasions, and subjects of rational exercises and improvements.
II. But leaving this point to natural philosophers, or the enquirers in to the natural world, I shall proceed to consider another source whence many limitations upon the general law of industry take their rise. Which is, “our being made one kind; our being<103> made for society, and in order to that mutually dependent, so that to every external acquirement and to many internal ones, social assistance is in some degree necessary, and the greater advantages of life cannot be attained, but in a well formed and well governed community.” That this is our frame and make in general, cannot be denied. For what advantage, a good disposition only excepted, can any man acquire singly, independently, or without social aid and assistance? Can he attain riches, nay, can he attain bread, or but subsist one moment? Can he attain knowledge in any great degree, without any help from others, and quite by himself? And how few are the virtues that can belong to a being out of society, or quite removed from all other beings! Let us consider how we came into the world, how we subsist in it, how much we depend on our parents, how much on education, how much on example, how much on the temper and abilities of those about us, how much upon the government and constitution of the state in which we live: let us consider, in one word, how we are cloathed, fed, supported, brought into the world, bred up, defended, improved in abilities, or how we can gain any end: and no man will dispute the truth now under consideration. But to say, that it is not fit but unkind, nay unjust, to have so framed mankind, what is it but to assert, that it is unkind and unfit that we should have social dispositions, and be one kind mutually dependent: nay, it must land in saying that it is unkind and unjust to have made us any thing, but singly, each by itself an independent, all-sufficient being. The objection, cannot stop till it terminates in that absurd assertion, and so refutes itself.
If our social dependence be acknowledged to be vindicable and not blameable, then many consequences must of necessity be admitted, which will fully justify numerous limitations upon the law of industry<104> already explained. For hence it will follow that we must suffer in mind and body by bad education, by wrong example, and by the ill-disposition of those about us, of those more especially with whom we are more nearly and closely connected: hence it will follow, that we must suffer by the misfortunes of others, whether they be owing to their imprudence, or to some cause they could neither foresee nor prevent: Hence, in one word, it will follow, that to gain almost every end, we must depend upon the abilities, the prudence, the virtue, and integrity of others. In fine, the effects of as ocial frame, and of mutual dependence with respect to our happiness or misery, our acquirements or sufferings of whatever sort, are almost innumerable. I shall therefore but just insist a little upon one article of very great extent, which is our dependence upon the good constitution and right administration of the state in which we live: and even here I shall but just mention one instance. If men are slaves to despotic lawless power, or have no share in the government, i.e. in making their own laws, and laying on the taxes necessary to the support, maintenance, and advancement of their common happiness, they will naturally become abject, mean-spirited, dastardly, and low, groveling creatures. And what a train of vices must spring from this temper every observer of mankind will soon see. Hence naturally pullulate suspicion, jealousy, envy, fraud, revenge, and many other monstrous vices, which sadly depress and sink men below the dignity they naturally rise to in a free state; where a spirit of liberty and independency, a sense of one common interest and publick spiritedness, desire of aggrandizing the commonwealth, and of shining, gaining fame, honour, power, and dignity in it, by being eminently useful to it, must naturally grow up, as generous plants in their proper soil and climate; for there proper care of education, an essential point to free and happy government, cannot be wanting. There<105> not only will trade, and all arts flourish, but likewise all ingenious sciences, knowledge, ingenuity and industry will spread: and, which is more, virtue. For never was an enslaved people generally a virtuous people. Whereas, tho’ the best governed state will not be absolutely exempt from vice; yet every state is, in proportion as it is truly not nominally free, a humane, a generous, an industrious, a virtuous one. Honest measures, avowed and openly pursued by the administrators, proceeding from an honest, generous, publick-spirited disposition, do always, in proportion as they take place, diffuse virtue and happiness over a land.a Mercenary, mean cunning dares not appear: it can hardly have success: and being once detected, is sure infamy and misery. Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin, as it makes people abominable, so it is their ruin. For in a righteous constitution, where good laws are impartially executed, righteousness must run through the nation as a fruitful stream: industry will never have reason to complain, and vice can hardly escape punishment. The good example of rulers, ever more powerful than laws, will universally awake publick spirit and honest generous industry. And all the blessings of flourishing arts and sciences, and of ingenious, honest, incorruptible virtue, will as naturally prevail, as good seed sown in a good, well dressed soil produces a fruitful generous harvest. And this is the happy state men are well furnished for, and strongly instigated to pursue by nature. For, to what other end can the inventive and all the active powers of man be supposed to have been conferred upon him, under the direction of his social disposition, lively sense of moral order, and delight in publick good, but this, that men may unite together in a proper manner for promoting publick happiness? To imagine us made and framed as we are with any other intent, is as absurd<106> as to say, a ship is not made for sailing, but happens by chance to be fit for that purpose. And indeed if one thing may be invented, contrived, and executed without intelligence and design, that is, by chance, all things may.
Having thus pointed out some limitations on the general good law of industry, with their effects; it is proper to consider what in the whole is the amount of them all, that we may be yet more able to pronounce concerning their equity and goodness. But, before we go further, it is proper to observe, that all the laws of the material world, with all their effects, are plainly ascribed in the sacred writings to the will, the choice, the free, wise and good choice and appointment of the Creator. They are all attributed to his pleasure and will; and to general laws so chosen and appointed.a For what else can be the meaning of the laws and commandments he is said to have given to material beings, which they unerringly obey? What else is the word, the voice, the ordinance by which they are said to be regulated? How otherwise is it true, that it is his directions which even winds and sea obey, to which he hath said, Hitherto shalt thou go, and no further? How otherwise do the sun, moon, and stars, and all the celestial bodies, keep his statutes and ordinances? And how else, or in what other sense, doth the earth obey his will in yielding its regular increase?
And as for our social make, as it hath been explained, it is plainly implied in all the commandments to men, to be benevolent and useful one to another, and to lay themselves out vigorously in promoting the publick good, each according to his abilities, and in the sphere of power allotted to him, with which the scripture abounds. It is because we are so made, that the whole of our duty is placed in universal love, charity and benevolence; in minding every one, not<107> his own things, i.e. his own interests merely, but in regarding and consulting the good of society, and the advantage of his fellow-creatures.a To prove which to be the real doctrine of revelation is very needless; since no one who is acquainted with it, can possibly not have clearly perceived it to be the universal tenor of the scriptures.
But what is the amount upon the whole, as far as we can judge according to reason and revelation, of the limitations now mentioned? In answer to this, I shall take notice of a few very remarkable consequences of them, of those chiefly which have been observed to arise from our social make.
I. First of all, there must be very many differences among men in respect of abilities and talents, either originally, or which comes absolutely to the same thing, in consequence of the irbeing placed in different circumstances, which will naturally, by exercising affections and powers differently, or occasioning differences with respect to exercises of affections and powers, produce various dispositions and powers. This alternative is put, to avoid a philosophical enquiry, whether men have originally different turns, dispositions and talents; or whether all these differences proceed from various exercises in consequence of various circumstances, calling forth affections and powers less or more into action. For it is plain, that it comes to the same thing to all intents and purposes with regard to individuals, or to society in general, in which of these ways difference sare naturally produced. Circumstances of various kinds, the powers being originally the same, will have different effects: and as different powers are necessary to social dependence and social virtues; so different circumstances, which must naturally produce differences with regard to affections<108> and powers, are not only necessary to publick happiness in a community; but, in reality, community can no more be conceived without such differences, than any constitution, natural or artificial, can be conceived without different parts, making, by their different qualities and forms well disposed, a good whole: Not to say, (which is likewise very true, and equally evident) that it is absolutely impossible to place various members of one body or community, all of them in the same or quite like situations. The apostle St. Paul helps us to a true illustration of this matter, by a similitude he frequently employs to shew, why in the church of Christ, more especially at the first propagation of christianity, different gifts and talents were bestowed on different members.a “For, saith he, as we have different members in our body, and all the members have not the same office; so we being many, are one body in Christ.” The reasoning must hold equally good with regard to mankind, as one community, system or kind. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we being many, are one body, one kind, one system, of which God is the head and ruler; and we are every one members of one another strictly united and dependent, even as the members of the natural body are, making one whole. And as the practical inferences he draws from his argument with respect to different abilities and gifts for propagating the gospel, with an easy change, similar to that made in the reasoning, in order to extend it to an account of the natural differences among mankind, may be applied to mankind in their social capacity as one community; so indeed, some of them being of a general nature relative to men, as one body, they must be understood to suppose those natural differences which constitute them such. We may therefore very<109> consistently with the apostle’s design thus paraphrase the whole exhortation.17 “I beseech you, brethren, for all men are such by nature, and no differences can ever change or alter that immutable relation, by the mercies of God extending over all his works, and particularly evident in all his depensations towards mankind, in order to excite and assist them to advance the great end of their creation, that ye remember you have bodies the seat of many sensitive appetites, in order to govern them by your reason; and therefore give all diligence to attain to self-government, to command over all your passions, your sensitive ones, in particular, which are the principal means of your trial in this state, in order to your attainment to moral perfection; that so your well governed appetites, or your appetites sacrificed and submitted to your reason and moral conscience, may render you, and your conduct, as it were, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, who delighteth in this moral discipline of the mind, and will reward it; for this is your reasonable service; this is acting suitably to the dignity of your reason, and the end of your being, and consequently to the will of your Creator, whose will is your sanctification in order to your happiness, to which it is absolutely necessary.
For I say unto you, to every man among you, through the light bestowed on me, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; not to forget that he is but a part of a great system, one member of a large body; but to think justly and truly of himself, and consequently soberly and modestly, according to the measure of powers and abilities God hath dealt to every one in his great wisdom, and make the best use of them for your own sake, and for the good of the whole body. For different members, which have each its peculiar use and office, are not more necessary to compose a natural body; than different members, which have each its peculiar use and office, its particular distinguishing powers, are<110> to constitute one community of moral beings. Having then different gifts, let every one know and stir up diligently the gift that is in him, that he may be really useful, whether it be of body or mind; whether it be for teaching, or for ministering in any other way to the publick good: let us wisely choose the business we are best fitted for, and let us diligently wait on it. If one exhorts, rules, teaches or gives, let him do it with simplicity, with candor, with chearfulness, and with a benevolent and compassionate spirit. Let love be without dissimulation, as becometh members of the same body. Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another. Not slothful in business, remembering that we serve God, do an acceptable work to him, and are building ourselves up in the best manner in virtue, when we are diligent at some profitable praise-worthy business. If tribulation happens to us, while we are thus employed, let us be patient, and not be cast down as those who have no hope: but let us rather rejoice, as becometh those who know that this is but our first state of trial, to be succeeded by another life, in which virtue shall have an abundant reward: let us acknowledge God in all our ways, ever maintaining on our minds a sense of our dependence upon him, and of his moral perfections, and all-wise over-ruling providence. Which thoughts will make us benevolent, active in doing good; disposed and ready to distribute to the necessities of all in want, according to their merit: ready to shew kindness to strangers, nay, even to enemies, and thus to overcome evil with good.” This is certainly a true account of the duties resulting from our social make, our relation one to another as one kind, and our common relation to God, as our father, governor, law-giver and judge. And as we are indeed as closely cemented together by many ties and dependencies, as the members of any natural body are; so we could not be<111> capable of those duties and perfections, to which the apostle exhorts us, were we not such a one, closely compacted and united body, as we really are. And being so made, the practice of these duties makes the perfection and happiness of every private person, and the perfection and happiness of society in general.
The same apostle pursues the same comparison in another place,a to shew how unreasonable it was to complain of God’s best owing different gifts in the church, for the common good and advantage of all; which reasoning equally agrees to the similar bestowal of different gifts upon men, for the common good and advantage of the kind, and to be the foundation of social happiness and virtue. For thus may we reason concerning that matter almost in the apostle’s words, “Be not surprized, or do not murmur at the diversities of abilities and talents among mankind, which are not owing to their own neglect of cultivating their original powers in a proper manner, as all those are which are blameable, or make unhappy to any great degree. For as the body is one, and hath many members; so all the members of that one body being many, are one body: and therefore, if the foot shall say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were eye, where were the hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members, every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor the head to the feet, I have no need of you. It is so far from<112> being so, that the parts of the body which seem in themselves weak, are nevertheless of absolute necessity. And those parts which are thought least honourable, we take care always to cover with the more decency; and thus our least graceful parts have thereby a more studied and adventitious comeliness. For our comely parts have no need of any artificial ornaments. God hath so tempered the body, that there might be perfect symmetry, and no disunion, but that all the members should have the same care of one another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it: or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now we are one body, created by one Father, the supreme head of the creation, and each of us in particular is a member of this one body, as an eye, an ear, a nose, a hand, are members of the natural body. And God hath set or so placed some, that they are eminent rulers, others are eminent teachers, others eminent artists, some are fitted for one profession, and some for another, some for government, some for languages, some for philosophy, some for the study of medicine, or the healing art, and some for mechanical arts, no less useful in society. Are all philosophers, all heroes, all legislators, all teachers, or all great and extraordinary genius’s? Have all the same gifts, whether of healing, of speaking, interpreting, or of whatever other kind? Why then do ye unreasonably contest with one another, whose particular gift is best, and most honourable or profitable? Every gift and business that is truly profitable to men is useful and honourable, when exercised with a spirit of benevolent industry. I will shew you a more excellent way, viz. mutual good-will, affection and charity, which is the best of all attainments, that which makes the honest man, the man of merit, because it makes man the image of God, in respect of which all other gifts of the highest kind are comparatively vanity. And this disposition of mind,<113> may all attain to, whatever their powers, abilities, talents or circumstances in life may be.” This reasoning is not merely analogous to that of the apostle; it is evidently included in it.
So that according to the scripture doctrine of providence, a vast variety of differences amongst mankind is necessary to the greater good of mankind. And in reality the principal effects of all the various circumstances in which men are placed; of all the vicissitudes in life; of all the operations of external causes with regard to man, are the differences these make in respect of abilities, and occasions for exerting them; or of affections, and occasions for exerting them. But it being manifest in general that great variety in these respects is requisite to general good; nay, to the very subsistence of rational community, the presumption must be, that every particular variety is absolutely requisite to the greater good of mankind as one body. If we keep the apostle’s similitude in our view between the natural and the political body, we will easily perceive that the latter, as well as the former, must consist of many different members closely united. And indeed if we but reflect a little upon what must be the necessary result of different situations with regard to abilities and tempers, to power, to knowledge, and to all external as well as moral acquisitions, we can no longer be puzled to account for the diversity among mankind, in any of these regards. For if various situations be allowed to be necessary, as they must be, unless all beings could be placed precisely in the same point of time and sight; then must all the variety resulting from different situations likewise be necessary. But any few differences whatsoever, in respect of situation, being supposed, a very great diversity of powers and affections; or, which is the same thing, a very great diversity of operations of powers and affections, immediately presents itself to us as the natural effect of such differences.<114>
II. But not only are the principal limitations of the general law of industry no more than effects of such differences, as are absolutely necessary in the nature of things to promote general good: but, as it hath been already observed, there are no disadvantages arising to particular persons from any laws of nature, with respect to external goods, out of which moral advantages may not be educed by wisdom and virtue, which would abundantly compensate them to the sufferers themselves. And with respect to the attainment which constitutes our principal dignity, well governed affections, or a virtuous temper of mind, all men, notwithstanding all the differences in human life, are upon a very equal footing. Virtue consists in self-dominion; or in command over the interior affections destined to be governed by reason. And this acquisition is in every man’s power, in whatever situation he may be placed. It is true, some may not be able to make equal progress with others in knowledge, either not having equal abilities with them for that progress; or, which comes to the same thing in effect, not being in equally advantageous situations for it. But in every situation men may acquire a virtuous temper; or abound in benevolence toward men, and love and resignation to God. And those who have attained to this temper, as they are more happy here than affluence or even science can make those who have it not; so they must enter into another world very fitted by it for exercises of benevolence and devotion; and having this pure, refined, rational cast of mind, they may with the social, friendly assistance of the more advanced in science (a very agreeable employment to a generous mind) very soon make much greater improvements in the knowledge of God’s works, or of universal order and harmony, than those can possibly do in any situation, whatever other learning they may have acquired, whose minds are discord and impurity. A mind which is itself all harmony, cannot fail, in a proper situation, to make<115> very quick and large advances in the study of order and wisdom.
It is also true, that in certain circumstances of life there is no occasion of exerting several very noble virtues: very rare situations are necessary to give one such opportunities: but all who have attained to the love of virtue, and to self-dominion in this life, have the root of the matter in them; the never-dying root of rational happiness: a principle of virtue, which being placed in proper situations for that end, will quickly bring forth the most glorious fruits of beneficence; the most splendid virtues. So that this state being considered as a preparatory one for futurity, in which various situations, various educations, various means of exercise and trial are necessary, no objection can be made against any present differences among mankind, either with respect to opportunities of improving in science, or of exerting certain virtues, which do not terminate in requiring, either that there be no differences at all among mankind, but that they should be one kind, one community without any differences of the parts or numbers, that is, without parts; or, which is equally absurd, in requiring, that a progress should be finished without beginning, and proceeding towards its end and completion.
To illustrate and confirm what hath been said, let me just add, that the vicissitudes in human life, whether with respect to particular persons, or to large collective bodies of men, render our present state such a duly variegated or diversified school for acquiring very large moral knowledge, as it could not otherwise be in the nature of things. Now who will say that such knowledge can be of no use to beings in another world? What else can fit beings for extensive spheres of action but large knowledge, joined with benevolence, the natural concomitant of an enlarged understanding? The farther one is advanced in knowledge, the fitter are his faculties become to be placed in a situation<116> for taking in more extensive views, and attaining to higher knowledge. But this is not all, the wiser one is, i.e. the more acquainted he is with moral beings, and their power and capacities, the better qualified he is for the higher exercises of beneficence, which are the proper rewards to wisdom and virtue. Now in order to get wisdom or extensive moral knowledge, as well as to have opportunities of exerting several great virtues, moral beings must be placed in a situation proper for that end. And what situation or school can be such, but one which shews moral beings to us in very various circumstances; in many different attitudes; or very variously tried and exercised?
In fine, when we object against differences among mankind here, we do not reflect that differences are not only necessary to this state, but to every state of moral beings. Far less do we consider that the great rewards of virtue in every state of moral beings can be nothing else but certain virtuous exercises, which necessarily require differences. It is true, the differences necessary to a state of trial as such, cannot belong to the state to which it is preparatory. But even that state which succeeds to a first state of trial must have its differences: otherwise it could not be a state of active employments; a state of virtuous and rational exercises. Though the same differences cannot be equally suitable to every state of moral beings, yet in every state of moral beings, or at every stage of moral progress that can be imagined, certain differences are necessary; for the noblest exercises of the virtuous temper necessarily require some differences; rational virtuous exercise cannot take place without differences. It is therefore absurd to object against the differences which take place in our present state, in whatever view we consider it; whether by itself abstractly from the future state to which it is a prelude; or as it is a first and preparatory state with regard to a future one. The objections do really suppose that there<117> may be a whole without parts; and that virtues may be exercised where there are no objects or subjects of virtuous exercise. There are indeed but a very few first principles in morals. And these two, however simple and self-evident they may appear, are however the very principles which are called into doubt by most of the objections against providence; viz. that every being must have its own peculiar situation which no other can possess at the same time, and that every affection when it is exerted, is exerted about some object, which if it did not exist, the affection could not be gratified. Let us therefore remember the apostle’s reasoning, and the consequences to which it naturally leads. That the body must be made up of many members; and that if there be teachers or rulers, there must be persons to be taught and ruled: when we suppose a state or community, we suppose members constituting that state as different from one another as the eyes, the ears, &c. are from one another in the natural body. And whenever we suppose exercises any-wise analogous to ministring good, to teaching, to ruling, or to any other such moral exercise, we suppose persons ministred to, persons taught, ruled, benefited. But because there will be occasion to return to this subject in speaking of a future state, I shall not dwell any longer upon it at present.
From what hath been said, the following corolaries may be inferred.
That if mankind subsist and pass into any state after this life, it will likewise be the rule there; it will be the rule according to which men will be placed there; and it will still be the rule with regard to their acquisitions and advances there.
We have already reasoned in this manner. That if it be the rule with regard to placing men in a future state, and all their acquisitions in it (as St. Paul asserts<118> in the text it is) it must also be the rule here, as far as the nature of a preparatory state to futurity permits. And we may alternately argue in this manner, that being found in fact to be the rule here in this present life so exactly observed, as that from hence the ways of God to man in it are fully justifiable, it must of necessity likewise be the rule in the state that succeeds to this life, in order to make the conduct of providence towards man compleat; if there be any such after-life. The scripture asserts, that there is a future life; and that this is the rule by which men shall be tried, judged, rewarded, or placed, and have their condition determined in it, all which phrases must necessarily have the same meaning. And that it must be the rule in a future state is demonstrable from the moral perfections of the Deity, from which the apostle infers it in the text. But abstractly from all these considerations it is plain, that if we may reason from analogy at all, as from the state of mankind at one period of time to their condition at another; or from the laws obtaining with regard to God’s government of mankind in infancy and childhood to his government of them in riper years; we may likewise conclude that if there be a future state of mankind, the law observed here generally, without any limitations that do not take their rise from sources of a very beneficial tendency, shall be the law in a future state, without any limitations but such as likewise proceed from causes necessary to the greater good.
But it likewise follows from what hath been proved actually to be the rule here with regard to all acquisitions made by mankind, that there must be a future state; otherwise indeed are moral powers and their acquisitions by labour and industry made to very little purpose; nay, wilfully destroyed in a manner to which we<119> see nothing that bears any likeness or analogy in the whole course of nature. To suppose no future state succeeding to this, is to suppose God to do what no man could do without being limited in power, or extremely capricious, to lay a noble foundation, and not carry on the building; or sow, manure, and cultivate, merely to have the pleasure of destroying things in their blossom, and when they are near to maturity, or when the harvest is at hand. God will, must perfect every good work he hath begun. He must therefore compleat the moral building that may be raised upon so goodly a foundation, and which, as far as it is advanced, promises a very perfect superstructure. Shall there be spring in the moral world, and no harvest? Surely the work is not finished here when moral powers are brought, by due culture, and variety of discipline and probation, to be fit for higher exercises than they could be qualified for before they were come to this maturity and vigor. If it stops here, it is a very imperfect work; nay, it is a cruel work: it is a cruel end to such an excellent beginning and an end it in no respect looks like or threatens. But the works of an infinite good and wise being cannot thus stop short of their completion, they cannot be imperfect. He cannot change or be changed, and therefore the same excellent disposition which alone disposed him to create moral beings capable of high improvements to all eternity, and to place them in a first state where their powers might have the properest means and materials of exercise for their improvement, must excite him to place them afterwards in a situation suited to their improvements made in this state. We know that a state designed merely for probation and discipline cannot always last; and we know this state, as it does not always last, so neither can it in the nature of things; for all material things must wax old, and wear out. But moral powers are of a different kind: they do not wear out;<120> they must be wilfully destroyed, if they cease to be. And can he who is infinite goodness take pleasure in destroying moral powers, and in disappointing all their natural hopes and desires, which are to be placed in proper circumstances to improve, and become more perfect; and in knocking down at once all the acquisitions made by them with much patience and suffering, with earnest labour and struggling? To say so is indeed to think most contemptibly, most ungenerously of the supreme being: it is to mock him: it is to deny all his moral perfections: it is to represent him as the most arbitrary of beings; as the worst of tyrants.
But let such thoughts be far from us: for what instinct prompts us to hope, and reason, to say the least of it, renders highly probable, revelation, by bringing immortal life and the law observed in it to light, hath put beyond all doubt. If we doubt or are diffident about the former reasonings from the divine perfections and analogy, let us no longer be so, but firmly established in the comfortable belief of a future state, in which every man shall reap as he hath sown here; for Christ, who died and rose again from the dead, assures us it is so: and he and his apostles, not content to affirm it by a testimony confirmed by miracles, for our greater comfort and assurance, often reason that it must be so in consequence of the divine moral perfections: that otherwise his work, his providence would be a very imperfect; nay, a very unjust iniquitous scheme. And shall not the righteous Judge of the world judge and act righteously? Will he deceive the hopes he hath implanted in us, and which virtue, as it improves, renders more strong and vigorous? Will he not perfect what he has begun? But if there be no future state, can we say that providence ends well; ends mercifully; nay, so much as justly? For here certainly tho’ virtue hath noble opportunities of improvement; yet it doth not fully appear, that he who hath sown to the flesh shall reap corruption, and he who hath sown to the spirit shall<121> reap the fruits of the spirit; here the effects of virtue and vice are not fully compleat. They cannot be so till after a state of trial. For in it the effects of trial only can appear, and not the full harvest. But effects appear which do indeed promise an excellent harvest; effects which are themselves the first fruits, or at least the beautiful pleasant blossoms that betoken a joyful harvest to come in its due season. Effects which shew us how happy the virtuous mind may, must be, if after its state of formation and trial it is placed in circumstances for which it is become fit: effects which shew us, how happy God can make him, who hath given all diligence to improve the stock of rational powers he hath put in his hands, in proportion to the opportunities he had of making improvement, if he be generously disposed to do it: effects which promise indeed bitter things to carnal, sensual, corrupted minds; but bespeak blessed fruits of the same kind with themselves, only more perfect in degree, to the good and virtuous. Effects, in one word, which are the image of the divine happiness, and an earnest, a fortaste of the improvements in happiness that must arise from highly improved faculties duly situated; and therefore such effects as plainly shew to us what is the natural progress to happiness according to our make, even progress in virtue, progress in likeness to God. And what our make, and frame, and situation clearly points out to be our road to happiness must be such; otherwise our make and frame points us to an end we cannot attain to; and by it God deceives us. But we deceive ourselves and mock God, when we think, there is not a future state, in which God will render to every one according to his works, and we shall all reap the harvest of our doings, the harvest to which our doings naturally tend. For God, who cannot be mocked, resisted, or eluded, hath unalterably fixed this righteous, this truly generous and kind rule in his government of mankind, and of all moral beings, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”<122>
The scripture doctrine concerning providence more fully explained, in order to prove a future state, and that this is an established rule in the divine government of mankind, “That whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
A necessary observation upon reason premised, by way of
[12. ]“things in our power.”
[a. ]Democrates wished to be blind, that he might the better study the nature and origin of the world. And such philosophers seem to have shut their eyes against nature, that they might not owe any part of their philosophy to nature. [“Democrates” is a mistake for “Democritus.” Plutarch mentions a story along these lines while rejecting it: “It is a falsehood that Democritus voluntarily blinded himself by directing his eyes to red-hot mirrors and receiving the reflections from them, so that his eyes would not cause a disturbance by calling his mind to external things, but should allow it to remain at home and spend its time on intelligible things like windows which give on to the street and are shut.” Plutarch, Moral Essays, On Curiosity, 521c3.
[a. ]Prov. xxii. 29. xii. 11. vi. 4. xxiii. 21. xxiv. 30.
[13. ]The following eight Biblical quotes are from, respectively, Prov. 28.19; 13.11; 14.23; 20.13; 24.3; 24.4; 24.5; 6.6–8.
[a. ]Pet. i. 5.
[b. ]Mat. v. 48.
[a. ]Gal. vi. 9, 10.
[b. ]1 Tim. v. 8, &c. Titus iii. 8. 1 Thess. iv. 11. Rom. xii. 11.
[c. ]Prov. iii. 13. &c
[a. ]Prov. iv. 5, &c.
[b. ]Wisdom viii. 1, &c.
[a. ]Prov. i. 20. viii. 1. &c. ix. 1. &c.
[b. ]Isaiah v. 20.
[c. ]Hebr. v. 14.
[d. ]Rom. ii. 15.
[e. ]Phil. iv. 8.
[a. ]Philip. ii. 12, &c.
[14. ]Phil. 2.13.
[15. ]Phil. 2.15.
[16. ]Eccles. 9.11.
[a. ]Eccles. ix. 11. Isaiah xiv. 25.
[a. ]See Eccles x. 1, &c.
[a. ]Job xxviii. 24, &c. Psal. civ. cxxxvi.
[a. ]Rom. xii. 10, 11, &c. xiii. 10. 1 Cor. xiii. Gal. v. 14, &c. Eph. iv. 31. Phil. vi. 7. Col. iii. 12, &c. 1 Thess. v. 15.
[a. ]Rom. xii. 4–5.
[17. ]The next two pages are a paraphrase of the whole of Romans 12.
[a. ]1 Cor. xii.