Front Page Titles (by Subject) SAMUEL CLARKE DISCOURSE UPON NATURAL RELIGION - British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, vol. 2
Return to Title Page for British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, vol. 2
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
SAMUEL CLARKE DISCOURSE UPON NATURAL RELIGION - Lewis Amherst Selby-Bigge, British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, vol. 2 
British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, edited with an Introduction and analytical Index by L.A. Shelby-Bigge in two volumes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1897). Vol. 2.
Part of: British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, 2 vols.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
SAMUEL CLARKE DISCOURSE UPON NATURAL RELIGION
CLARKE On Natural Religion* * * * * * *
482 I. The same necessary and eternal different Relations, that different Things bear one to another, and the same consequent Fitness or Unfitness of the Application of different things or different Relations one to another, with regard to which, the Will of God always and necessarily does determine it self, to choose to act only what is agreeable to Justice, Equity, Goodness and Truth, in order to the Welfare of the whole Universe, ought likewise constantly to determine the Wills of all subordinate rational Beings, to govern all Their Actions by the same Rules, for the Good of the Publick, in their respective Stations. That is, these eternal and necessary differences of things make it fit and reasonable for Creatures so to act; they cause it to be their Duty, or lay an Obligation upon them, so to do, even separate from the consideration of these Rules being to do, the even positive Will or Command of God, and also antecedent to any respect or regard, expectation or apprehension, of any particular private and personal Advantage or Disadvantage, Reward or Punishment, either present or future, annexed either by natural consequence, or by positive appointment, to the practising or neglecting of those Rules.
483 The several Parts of this Proposition, may be proved distinctly, in the following manner.
1. That there are Differences of things, and different Relations, Respects or Proportions, of some things towards others, is as evident and undeniable, as that one magnitude or number, is greater, equal to, or smaller than another. That from these different Relations of different things, there necessarily arises an agreement or disagreement of some things with others, or a fitness or unfitness of the application of different things or different relations one to another, is likewise as plain, as that there is any such thing as Proportion or Disproportion in Geometry and Arithmetick, or Uniformity or Difformity in comparing together the respective Figures of Bodies. Further, that there is a Fitness or Suitableness of certain Circumstances to certain Persons, and an Unsuitableness of others, founded in the nature of Things and the Qualifications of Persons, antecedent to all positive appointment whatsoever; Also that from the different relations of different Persons one to another, there necessarily arises a fitness or unfitness of certain manners of Behaviour of some persons towards others, is as manifest, as that the Properties which flow from the Essences of different mathematical Figures, have different congruities or incongruities between themselves, or that, in Mechanicks, certain Weights or Powers have very different Forces, and different Effects one upon Another, according to their different Distances, or different Positions and Situations in respect of each other. For instance: That God is infinitely superior to Men, is as clear, as that Infinity is larger than a Point, or Eternity longer than a Moment. And ‘tis as certainly Fit, that Men should honour and worship, obey and imitate God, rather than on the contrary in all their Actions indeavour to dishonour and disobey him, as ‘tis certainly True, that they have an entire dependence on Him, and He on the contrary can in no respect receive any advantage from Them; and not only so, but also that his Will is as certainly and unalterably just and equitable in giving his Commands, as his Power is irresistible in requiring submission to it. Again; ‘Tis a thing absolutely and necessarily Fitter in it self, that the Supreme Author and Creator of the Universe, should govern, order and direct all things to certain and constant regular Ends, than that every thing should be permitted to go on at Adventures, and produce uncertain Effects merely by chance and in the utmost confusion, without any determinate View or Design at all. ‘Tis a Thing manifestly Fitter in it self, that the All-powerful Governour of the World, should do always what is Best in the whole, and what tends most to the universal Good of the whole Creation, than that he should make the Whole continually miserable; or that, to satisfy the unreasonable Desires of any particular depraved Natures, he should at any time suffer the Order of the Whole to be altered and perverted. Lastly, ‘tis a thing evidently and infinitely more Fit, that any one particular innocent and good Being, should by the Supreme Ruler and Disposer of all things, be placed and preserved in an easy and happy Estate, than that, without any fault or demerit of its own, it should be made extremely, remedilessly, and endlessly miserable. In like manner, in Men's dealing and conversing one with another, ‘tis undeniably more Fit, absolutely and m the Nature of the thing itself, that all Men should endeavour to promote the universal good and welfare of All, than that all Men should be continually contriving the ruin and destruction of All. ‘Tis evidently more Fit, even before all positive Bargains and Compacts, that Men should deal one with another according to the known Rules of Justice and Equity, than that every Man for his own present Advantage, should without scruple disappoint the most reasonable and equitable Expectations of his Neighbours, and cheat and defraud, or spoil by violence, all others without restraint. Lastly, ‘tis without dispute more Fit and reasonable in itself, that I should preserve the Life of an innocent Man, that happens at any time to be in my Power, or deliver him from any imminent danger, tho’ I have never made any promise so to do, than that I should suffer him to perish, or take away his Life, without any reason or provocation at all.
484 These things are so notoriously plain and self-evident, that nothing but the extremest stupidity of Mind, corruption of Manners, or perverseness of Spirit can possibly make any Man entertain the least doubt concerning them. For a Man endued with Reason, to deny the Truth of these Things, is the very same thing, as if a Man that has the use of his Sight, should at the same time that he beholds the Sun, deny that there is any such thing as Light in the World; or as if a Man that understands Geometry or Arithmetick, should deny the most obvious and known Proportions of Lines or Numbers, and perversely contend that the Whole is not equal to all its parts, or that a Square is not double to a triangle of equal base and height. Any Man of ordinary capacity, and unbyassed judgment, plainness and simplicity, who had never read, and had never been told, that there were Men and Philosophers, who had in earnest asserted and attempted to prove, that there is no natural and unalterable difference between Good and Evil, would at the first hearing be as hardly perswaded to believe, that it could ever really enter into the Heart of any Intelligent Man, to deny all natural difference between Right and Wrong, as he would be to believe, that ever there could be any Geometer who would seriously and in good earnest lay it down as a first Principle, that a crooked Line is as straight as a right one. So that indeed it might justly seem altogether a needless undertaking, to attempt to prove and establish the eternal difference of Good and Evil, had there not appeared certain Men, as Mr. Hobbes and some few others, who have presumed, contrary to the plainest and most obvious reason of Mankind, to assert, and not without some Subtilty indeavoured to prove, that there is no such real Difference originally, necessarily, and absolutely in the Nature of Things, but that all Obligation of Duty to God, arises merely from his absolute irrisistible Power, and all Duty towards Men, merely from positive Compact: And have founded their whole Scheme of Politicks 485 upon that Opinion. Wherein as they have contradicted the judgment of all the Wisest and soberest part of Mankind, so they have not been able to avoid contradicting themselves also. For, (not to mention now, that they have no way to show how Compacts themselves come to be obligatory, but by inconsistently owning an eternal original Fitness in the thing itself, which I shall have occasion to observe hereafter: Besides This, I say,) if there be naturally and absolutely in things themselves, no difference between Good and Evil, Just and Unjust, then in the State of Nature, before any Compact be made, ‘tis equally as good, just and reasonable, for one Man to destroy the Life of another, not only when ‘tis necessary for his own Preservation, but also arbitrarily and without any provocation at all, or any appearance of advantage to himself, as to preserve or save another Man's Life, when he may do it without any hazard of his own. The consequence of which, is; that not only the first and most obvious way for every particular Man to secure himself effectually, would be (as Mr. Hobbes teaches) to endeavour to prevent and cut off all others, but also that Men might destroy one another upon every foolish and peevish or arbitrary Humour, even when they did not think any such thing necessary for their own preservation. And the Effect of this practice must needs be, that it would terminate in the destruction of all Mankind. Which being undeniably a great and unsufferable Evil, Mr. Hobbes himself confesses it reasonable, that, to prevent this Evil, Men should enter into certain Compacts to preserve one another. Now if the destruction of Mankind by each other's Hands, be such an Evil, that, to prevent it, it was fit and reasonable that Men should enter into Compacts to preserve each other, then, before any such Compacts, it was manifestly a thing unfit and unreasonable in itself, that Mankind should all destroy one another. And if so, then for the same reason it was also unfit and unreasonable, antecedent to all Compacts, that any one Man should destroy another arbitrarily and without any provocation, or at any time when it was not absolutely and immediately necessary for the preservation of himself. Which is directly contradictory to Mr. Hobbes's first Supposition, of 1 there being no natural and absolute difference between Good and Evil, Just and Unjust, 486 antecedent to positive Compact. And in like manner All others, who upon any pretence whatsoever, teach that Good and Evil depend originally on the Constitution of positive Laws, whether Divine or Humane, must unavoidably run into the same Absurdity. For if there be no such thing as Good and Evil in the Nature of Things, antecedent to all Laws, then neither can any one Law be better than another, nor any one thing whatever, be more justly established, and inforced by Laws, then the contrary; nor can 2 any reason be given, why any Laws should ever be made at all: But all Laws equally, will be either arbitrary and tyrannical, or frivolous and needless, because the contrary might with equal Reason have been established, if before the making of the Laws, all things had been alike indifferent in their own Nature. There is no possible way to avoid this Absurdity, but by saying, that out of things in their own Nature absolutely indifferent, those are chosen by wise Governours to be made obligatory by Law, the practice of which they judge will tend to the publick benefit of the Community. But this is an express Contradiction in the very Terms. For if the practice of certain things tends to the publick benefit of the World, and the contrary would tend to the publick disadvantage, then those things are not in their own nature indifferent, but were good and reasonable to be practised before any Law was made, and can only for that very reason be wisely inforced by the Authority of Laws. Only here it is to be observed, that by the publick Benefit must not be understood the interest of any one particular Nation, to the plain injury or prejudice of the rest of Mankind, any more than the interest of one City or Family, in opposition to their Neighbours of the same Country: But those things only are truly good in their own Nature, which either tend to the universal benefit and welfare of all Men, or 487 at least are not destructive of it. The true State therefore of this Case, is plainly this. Some things are in their own nature Good and Reasonable and Fit to be done, such as keeping Faith, and performing equitable Compacts, and the like; And these receive not their obligatory power, from any Law or Authority, but are only declared, confirmed and inforced by penalties, upon such as would not perhaps be governed by right Reason only. Other things are in their own nature absolutely Evil, such as breaking Faith, refusing to perform equitable Compacts, cruelly destroying those who have neither directly nor indirectly given any occasion for any such treatment, and the like; And these cannot by any Law or Authority whatsoever, be made fit and reasonable, or excusable to be practised. Lastly, other things are in their own Nature Indifferent; that is, (not absolutely and strictly so; as such trivial Actions, which have no way any tendency at all either to the publick welfare or damage; For concerning such things, it would be childish and trifling to suppose any Laws to be made at all; But they are) such things, whose tendency to the publick benefit or disadvantage, is either so small or so remote, or so obscure and involved, that the generality of People are not able of themselves to discern on which side they ought to act: And these things are made obligatory by the Authority of Laws; Though perhaps every one cannot distinctly perceive the reason and fitness of their being injoined: Of which sort are many particular penal Laws, in several Countries and Nations. But to proceed.
488 The principal thing that can, with any colour of Reason, seem to countenance the Opinion of those who deny the natural and eternal difference of Good and Evil, (for Mr. Hobbes's false Reasonings, I shall hereafter consider by themselves;) is the difficulty there may sometimes be, to define exactly the bounds of right and wrong, the variety of Opinions, that have obtained even among understanding and learned Men concerning certain Questions of just and unjust, especially in political Matters, and the many contrary Laws that have been made m divers Ages and in different Countries, concerning these Matters. But as, in Painting, two very different Colours, by diluting each other very slowly and gradually, may from the highest intenseness in either extreme, terminate in the midst insensibly, and so run one into the other, that it shall not be possible even for a skilful Eye to determine exactly where the one ends, and the other begins, and yet the Colours may really differ as much as can be, not in degree only but entirely in kind, as red and blue, or white and black: So, though it may perhaps be very difficult in some nice and perplext Cases (which yet are very far from occurring frequently), to define exactly the bounds of Right and Wrong, Just and Unjust, and there may be some latitude in the judgment of different Men, and the Laws of divers Nations, yet Right and Wrong are nevertheless in themselves totally and essentially different, even altogether as much, as White and Black, Light and Darkness. The Spartan Law perhaps, which permitted their Youth to Steal, may, as absurd as it was, bear much dispute whether it was absolutely Unjust or no, because every Man having an absolute Right in his own Goods, it may seem that the Members of any Society may agree to transfer or alter their own Properties upon what Conditions they shall think fit. But if it could be supposed that a Law had been made at Sparta, or at Rome, or in India, or in any other part of the World, whereby it had been commanded or allowed, that every Man might Rob by Violence, and Murther whomsoever he met with, or that no Faith should be kept with any Man, nor any equitable Compacts performed, no Man, with any tolerable use of his Reason, whatever diversity of Judgment might be among them in other matters, would have thought that such a Law could have authorised or excused, much less have justified such Actions, and have made them become good: Because ‘tis plainly not in men's Power to make Falsehood be Truth, though they may alter the Property of their Goods as they please. Now if in flagrant Cases, the natural and essential difference between Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, cannot but be confessed to be plainly and undeniably evident, the difference between them must be also essential and unalterable in all even the smallest and nicest and most intricate Cases, though it be not so easy to be discerned and accurately distinguished. For if from the difficulty of determining exactly the bounds of Right and Wrong in many perplext Cases, it could truly be concluded that Just and Unjust were not essentially different by Nature, but only by positive Constitution and Custom, it would follow equally, that they were not really, essentially, and unalterably different even in the most fagrant Cases that can be supposed. Which is an assertion so very absurd, that Mr. Hobbes himself could hardly vent it without blushing, and discovering plainly, by his shifting Expressions, his secret Self-condemnation. There Are therefore certain necessary and eternal differences of things, and certain consequent fitnesses or unfitnesses of the application of different Things or different Relations one to another, not depending on any positive Constitutions, but founded unchangeably in the nature and reason of things, and unavoidably arising from the differences of the things themselves. Which is the first Branch of the general Proposition I proposed to prove.
489 2. Now what these eternal and unalterable Relations, Respects, or Proportions of things, with their consequent Agreements or Disagreements, Fitnesses or Unfitnesses, absolutely and necessarily Are m themselves, that also they appear to be, to the Understandings of all Intelligent Beings, except those only, who understand things to be what they are not, that is, whose Understandings are either very imperfect, or very much depraved. And by this Understanding or Knowledge of the natural and necessary relations, fitnesses, and proportions of things, the Wills likewise of all Intelligent Beings are constantly directed, and must needs be determined to act accordingly, excepting those only, who Will things to be what they are not and cannot be; that is, whose Wills are corrupted by particular Interest or Affection, or swayed by some unreasonable and prevailing Passion. Wherefore since the natural Attributes of God, his infinite Knowledge, Wisdom and Power, set Him infinitely above all possibility of being deceived by any Errour, or of being influenced by any wrong affection, ‘tis manifest His Divine Will cannot but always and necessarily determine itself to choose to Do what in the whole is absolutely Best and Fittest to be done; that is, to act constantly according to the eternal Rules of infinite Goodness, Justice, and Truth. As I have endeavoured to show distinctly in my former Discourse, in deducing severally the Moral Attributes of God.
490 3. And now, that the same Reason of Things, with regard to which the Will of God always and necessarily Does determine itself to act in constant conformity to the eternal Rules of Justice, Equity, Goodness, and Truth, ought also constantly to determine the Wills of all Subordinate Rational Beings, to govern all Their Actions by the same Rules, is very evident. For, as ‘tis absolutely impossible in Nature, that God should be deceived by any Errour, or influenced by any wrong Affection: So ‘tis very unreasonable and blameworthy in Practice, that any Intelligent Creatures, whom God has made so far like unto himself, as to endue them with those excellent Faculties of Reason and Will, whereby they are enabled to distinguish Good from Evil, and to chuse the one and refuse the other, should either negligently suffer themselves to be imposed upon and deceived in Matters of Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, or wilfully and perversely allow themselves to be over-ruled by absurd Passions, and corrupt or partial Affections, to act contrary to what they know is Fit to be done. Which two Things, viz. negligent Misunderstanding and wilful Passions or Lusts, are, as I said, the only Causes which can make a reasonable Creature act contrary to Reason, that is, contrary to the eternal Rules of Justice, Equity, Righteousness and Truth. For, was it not for these inexcusable corruptions and depravations, ‘tis impossible but the same Proportions and Fitnesses of things, which have so much Weight and so much Excellency and Beauty in them, that the All-powerful Creator and Governour of the Universe, (who has the absolute and uncontroulable Dominion of all things in his own Hands, and is accountable to none for what he does, yet) thinks it no diminution of his Power to make this Reason of Things the unalterable Rule and Law of his own Actions in the Government of the World, and does nothing by mere Will and Arbitrariness; ‘tis impossible (I say,) if it was not for inexcusable corruption and depravation, but the same eternal Reason of Things must much more have Weight enough to determine constantly the Wills and Actions of all Subordinate, Finite, Dependent and Accountable Beings. For originally and in reality, ‘tis as natural and (morally speaking) necessary, that the Will should be determined in every Action by the Reason of the thing, and the Right of the Case, as ‘tis natural and (absolutely speaking) necessary, that the Understanding should submit to a demonstrated Truth. And ‘tis as absurd and blame-worthy, to mistake negligently plain Right and Wrong, that is, to understand the Proportions of things in Morality to be what they are not, or wilfully to act contrary to known Justice and Equity, that is, to will things to be what they are not and cannot be, as it would be absurd and ridiculous for a Man in Arithmetical Matters, ignorantly to believe that Twice Two is not equal to Four, or witfully and obstinately to contend, against his own clear Knowledge, that the whole 491 is not equal to all its Parts. The only difference is, that Assent to a plain speculative Truth, is not in a Man's Power to withhold, but to Act according to the plain Right and Reason of things, this he may, by the natural Liberty of his Wdl, forbear. But the One he ought to do, and ‘tis as much his plato and indispensable Duty, as the other he cannot but do, and ‘tis the Necessity of his Nature to do it. He that wilfully refuses to Honour and obey God, from whom he received his Being, and to whom he continually owes his Preservation, is really guilty of an equal absurdity and inconsistency in Practice, as he that in Speculation denies the Effect to owe any thing to its Cause, or the Whole to be bigger than its Parts. He that refuses to deal with all Men equitably, and with every Man as he desires they should deal with him, is guilty of the very same unreasonableness and contradiction in one Case, as he that in another Case should affirm one Number or Quantity to be equal to another, and yet That other at the same time not to be equal to the first. Lastly, he that acknowledges himself obliged to the practice of certain Duties both towards God and towards Men, and yet takes no care either to preserve his own Being, or at least not to preserve himself in such a state and temper of Mind and Body, as may best inable him to perform those Duties, is altogether as inexcusable and ridiculous, as he that in another matter should affirm one thing at the same time that he denies another, without which the former could not possibly be true; or undertake one thing, at the same time that he obstinately omits another, without which the former is by no means practicable. Wherefore all rational Creatures, whose Wills are not constantly and regularly determined, and their Actions governed, by right Reason and the necessary differences of Good and Evil, according to the eternal and invariable Rules of Justice, Equity, Goodness and Truth, but suffer themselves to be swayed by unaccountable arbitrary Humours, and rash Passions, by Lusts, Vanity and Pride, by private Interest, or present sensual Pleasures; These, setting up thelr own unreasonable Self-will in oppositmn to the Nature and Reason of Things, endeavour (as much as m them lies) to make things be what they are not, and cannot be. Which is the highest Presumption and greatest Insolence, as well as the greatest Absurdity, imaginable. ‘tis acting contrary to that Understanding, Reason and Judgment, which God has implanted in their Natures on purpose to enable them to discern the difference between good and evil. ‘tis attempting to destroy that Order, by which the Universe subsists. ‘tis offering the highest affront imaginable to the Creator of all things, who made things to be what they are, and governs every thing himself according to the Laws of their several Natures. In a word; All wilful wickedness and perversion of Right, is the very same Insolence and Absurdity in Moral Matters, as it would be m Natural Things, for a man to pretend to alter the certain Proportions of Numbers, to take away the Demonstrable Relations and Properties of Mathematical Figures, to make Light Darkness, and Darkness Light, or to call Sweet Bitter, and Bitter Sweet.
492 Further: As it appears thus from Me abstract and absolute Reason and nature of things, that all rational Creatures Ought, that is, are obhged to take care that their Wills and Actions be constantly determined and governed by the eternal rule of Right and Equity: So the certainty and universality of that Obligation is plainly confirmed, and the force of it particularly discovered and apphed to every Man, by This; that in like manner as no one, who is instructed in Mathematicks, can forbear giving his Assent to every Geometrical Demonstration, of- which he understands the Terms, either by his own Study, or by having had them explained to him by others; so no man, who either has patience and opportunities to examine and consider things himself, or has the means of being taught and instructed in any tolerable manner by Others, concerning the necessary relations and dependencies of things, can avoid giving his Assent to the fitness and reasonableness of his governing all his Actions by the Law or Rule before mentioned, even though his Practice, through the prevalence of Brutish Lusts, be most absurdly contradictory to that Assent. That is to say: By the Reason of his mind, he cannot but be compelled to own and acknowledge, that there is really such an Obligation indispensably incumbent upon him, even at the same time that in the Actions of his Life he is indeavour-ing to throw it off and despise it. For the Judgment and Conscience of a Man's own Mind, concerning the Reasonableness and Fitness of the thing, that his Actions should be conformed to such or such a Rule or Law, is the truest and formallest Obligation, even more properly and strictly so, than any opinion whatsoever of the Authority of the Giver of a Law, or any Regard he may have to its Sanction by Rewards and Punishments. For whoever acts contrary to this sense and conscience of his own mind, is necessarily self-condemned; And the greatest and strongest of all Obligations is that, which a Man cannot break through without condemning himself. The dread of superiour Power and Authority, and the Sanction of Rewards” and Punishments, however indeed absolutely necessary to the Government of frail and fallible Creatures, and truly the most effectual means of keeping Them in their Duty, is yet really in itself, only a secondary and additional Obligation, or Inforcement of the first. The original Obligation of all, (the ambiguous use of which Word as a Term of Art, has caused some perplexity and confusion in this matter,) is the eternal Reason of Things; That Reason, which God himself who has no Superiour to direct him, and to whose Happiness nothing can be added nor any thing diminished from it, yet constantly obliges himself to govern the World by: And the more excellent and perfect (or the freer from Corruption and Depravation) any Creatures are, the more cheerfully and steddily are their Wills always determined by this Supreme Obligation, in conformity to the Nature, and in imitation of the most perfect Will of God. So far therefore as Men are conscious of what is right and wrong, so far they Are under an Obligation to act accordingly; and consequently That eternal Rule of Right, which I have been hereto describing, “tis evident Ought as indispensably to govern men's Actions, as Cannot but necessarily determine their Assent.
493 Now that the Case is truly thus; that the eternal differences of Good and Evil, the unalterable Rule of Right and Equity, do necessarily and unavoidably determine the Judgement, and force the Assent of all Men that use any consideration, is undeniably manifest from the universal Experience of Mankind. For no Man willingly and deliberately transgresses this Rule, in any great and considerable Instance, but he acts contrary to the Judgement and Reason of his own Mind, and secretly reproaches himself for so doing. And no Man observes and obeys it steddily, especially in Cases of difficulty and Temptation, when it interferes with any present Interest, Pleasure or Passion, but his own Mind commends and applauds him for his Resolution, in executing what his Conscience could not forbear giving its assent to, as just and right. And this is what St. Paul means, when he says, (Rom. 11. 14, 15.) that when the Gentiles which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law, these having not the Law, are a Law unto themselves; which shew the work of the Law written in their Hearts, their Conscience also bearing witness, and their Thoughts the mean while accusing, or else excusing one another.
494 It was a very wise Observation of Plato, which he received from Socrates; that if you take a young Man, impartial and unprejudiced, one that never had any Learning, nor any Experience in the World, and examine him about the natural relations and proportions of things, [or the moral differences of Good and Evil;] you may only by asking him Questions without teaching him any thing at all directly, cause him to express in his Answers just and ad_equate Notions of Geometrical Truths, [and true and exact determinations concerning Matters of Right and Wrong.] From whence he thought it was to be concluded, that all Knowledge and Learning is nothing but Memory, or only a recollecting upon every new occasion, what had been before known in a state of prae-existence. And some Others both Antients and Moderns, have concluded that the Ideas of all first and simple Truths, either natural or moral, are Innate and originally impressed or stampt upon the Mind. In their inference from the Observation, the Authors of Both these Opinions seem to be mistaken. But thus much it proves unavoidably; That the differences, relations, and proportions of things both natural and moral, in which all unprejudiced Minds thus naturally agree, are certain, unalterable, and real in the things themselves, and do not at all depend on the variable Opinions, Fancies, or Imaginations of Men prejudiced by Education, Laws, Customs, or evil Practices: And also that the Mind of Man naturally and unavoidably gives its Assent, as to natural and geometrical Truth, so also to the moral differences of things, and to the fitness and reasonableness of the Obligation of the everlasting Law of Righteousness, whenever fairly and plainly proposed.
495 Some Men indeed, who, by means of a very evil and vitious Education, or through a long Habit of Wickedness and Debauchery, have extremely corrupted the Principles of their Nature, and have long accustomed themselves to bear down their own Reason, by the force of Prejudice, Lust, and Passion, that they may not be forced to confess themselves self-condemned, will confidently and absolutely contend that they do not really see any natural and necessary difference between what we call Right and Wrong, Just and Unjust; that the Reason and Judgment of their own Mind, does not tell them they are under any such indispensable Obligations, as we would endeavour to perswade them, and that they are not sensible they ought to be governed by any other Rule, than their own Will and Pleasure. But even these Men, the most abandoned of all Mankind, however industriously they endeavour to conceal and deny their self-condemnation, yet they cannot avoid making a discovery of it sometimes when they are not aware of it. For Example: There is no Man so vile and desperate, who commits at any time a Murder and Robbery, with the most unrelenting Mind, but would choose, if such a thing could be proposed to him, to obtain all the same profit or advantage, whatsoever it be that he aims at, without committing the Crime, rather than with it, even though he was sure to go unpunished for committing the Crime. Nay, I believe, there is no Man, even in Mr. Hobbes's State of Nature, and of Mr. Hobbes's own Principles, but if he was equally assured of securing his main end, his Self-preservation, by either way, would choose to preserve himself rather without destroying all his Fellow-Creatures, than with it, even supposing all Impunity, and all other future conveniences of Life, equal in either Case. Mr. Hobbes's own Scheme, of Men's agreeing by Compact to preserve one another, can hardly be Supposed without this. And this plainly evinces, that the Mind of Man unavoidably acknowledges a natural and necessary difference between Good and Evil, antecedent to all arbitrary and positive Constitution whatsoever.
496 But the Truth of this, that the Mind of Man naturally and necessarily Assents to the eternal Law of Righteousness, may still better and more clearly and more universally appear, from the Judgment that Men pass upon each Other's Actions, than from what we can discern concerning their Consciousness of their Own. For Men may dissemble and conceal from the World, the judgment of their own Conscience; nay, by a strange partiality, they may even impose upon and deceive Themselves; (For who is there, that does not sometimes allow himself, nay, and even justify himself in that, wherein he condemns Another?) But Men's Judgments concerning the Actions of Others, especially where they have no relation to Themselves, or repugnance to their Interest, are commonly impartml; And from this we may judge, what Sense Men naturally have of the unalterable difference of Right and Wrong. Now the Observation which every one cannot but make in this Matter, is This; that Virtue and true Goodness, Righteousness and Equity, are things so truly noble and excellent, so lovely and venerable m themselves, and do so necessarily approve themselves to the Reason and Consciences of Men, that even those very Persons, who, by the prevailing Power of some Interest or Lust, are themselves drawn aside out of the Paths of Virtue, can yet hardly ever forbear to give it its true Character and Commendation in Others.* * * * * * *
At least, there is hardly any wicked Man, but when his own Case is represented to him under the Person of another, will freely enough pass Sentence against the wickedness he himself is guilty of, and, with sufficient severity, exclaim against all Iniquity. This shows abundantly, that all variation from the eternal Rule of Right, is absolutely and in the nature of the thing itself to be abhorred and detested, and that the unprejudiced mind of Man, as naturally disapproves injustice in moral matters, as in natural things it cannot but dissent from falsehood, or dislike incongruities. Even in reading the Histories of past and far distant Ages, where ‘tis plain we can have no concern for the events of things, nor prejudices concerning the Characters of Persons, who is there, that does not praise and admire, nay highly esteem and in his imagination love (as it were) the Equity, Justice, Truth, and Fidelity of some Persons, and with the greatest indignation and Hatred, detest the Barbarity, Injustice, and Treachery of others? Nay further; When the prejudices of corrupt Minds lie all on the side of Injustice, as when we have obtained some very great profit or advantage through Another Man's Treachery or Breach of Faith, yet who is there, that upon That very occasion does not (even to a Proverb) dislike the Person and the Action, how much soever he may rejoice at the Event? But when we come our selves to suffer by Iniquity, Then where are all the Arguments and Sophistries, by which Unjust Men, while they are oppressing others, would perswade themselves that they are not sensible of any natural difference between good and evil? When it comes to be these Men's own Case, to be oppressed by Violence, or over-reached by Fraud, where Then are all their Pleas against the eternal distinction of Right and Wrong? How, on the contrary, do they Then cry out for Equity, and exclaim against Injustice! How do they Then challenge and object against Providence, and think neither God nor Man severe enough, in punishing the Violaters of Right and Truth! Whereas, if there was no natural and eternal difference between Just and Unjust, no man could have any reason to complain of Injury, any other than what Laws and Compacts made so, which in innumerable Cases will be always to be evaded.
497 There is but one thing, that I am sensible of, which can here with any Colour be objected against what has been hitherto said concerning the Necessity of the Mind's giving its Assent to the eternal Law of Righteousness; And that is, the total Ignorance, which some whole Nations are reported to lie under, of the nature and force of these moral Obligations. I am not satisfied, the Matter of Fact is true. But if it was, yet mere Ignorance affords no just Objection against the Certainty of any Truth. Were there upon Earth a Nation of rational and considerate Persons, whose Notions concerning moral Obligations, and concerning the Nature and Force of them, were universally and directly contrary to what I have hitherto represented, this would be indeed a weighty Objection. But Ignorance and Stupidity are no Arguments against the Certainty of any thing. There are many Nations and People almost totally ignorant of the plainest Mathematical Truths, as, of the proportion, for Example, of a Square to a Triangle of the same Base and Heighth: And yet these Truths are such, to which the Mind cannot but give its assent necessarily and unavoidably, as soon as they are distinctly proposed to it. All that this Objection proves therefore, supposing the Matter of it to be true, is only this; not, that the mind of man can ever dissent from the rule of Right, much less, that there is no necessary difference in nature, between moral Good and Evil, any more than it proves, that there are no certain and necessary proportions of Numbers, Lines, or Figures: But this it proves only, that Men have great need to be taught and instructed in some very plain and easy, as well as certain Truths, and, if they be important Truths, that then men have need also to have them frequently inculcated, and strongly inforced upon them. Which is very true, and is (as shall hereafter be particularly made to appear) one good Argument for the reasonableness of expecting a Revelation.
498 4. Thus it appears in general, that the mind of Man cannot avoid giving its Assent to the eternal Law of Righteousness, that is, cannot but acknowledge the reasonableness and fitness of Men's governing all their Actions by the Rule of Right or Equity: And also that this Assent is a formal Obligation upon every Man, actually and constantly to conform himself to that Rule. I might now from hence deduce in particular, all the several Duties of Morality or Natural Religion. But because this would take up too large a portion of my intended Discourse, and may easily be supplied abundantly out of several late excellent Writers, I shall only mention the three great and principal Branches, from which all the other and smaller instances of duty do naturally flow, or may without difficulty be derived.
499 First then, in respect of God, the Rule of Righteousness is, that we keep up constantly in our Minds, the highest possible Honour, Esteem, and Veneration for him, which must express it self in proper and respective influences upon all our Passions, and in the suitable direction of all our Actions: That we worship and adore Him, and Him alone, as the only supreme Author, Preserver and Governour of all things: That we employ our whole Beings, and all our Powers and Faculties, in his Service, and for his Glory, that is, in encouraging the practice of universal Righteousness, and promoting the Designs of his Divine Goodness amongst Men, in such way and manner as shall at any time appear to be his Will we should do it: And finally, that, to mable us to do this continually, we pray unto him constantly for whatever we stand in need of, and return him continual and hearty Thanks for whatever good things we at any time receive. There is no Congruity or Proportion, in the uniform disposition and correspondent order of any Bodies or Magnitudes, no Fitness or Agreement in the application of similar and equal Geometrical Figures one to another, or in the comparing them one with another, so visible and conspicuous, as is the Beauty and Harmony of the exercise of God's several Attributes, meeting with suitable returns of Duty and Honour from all his rational Creatures throughout the Universe.* * * * * * *
500 Secondly. In respect of our Fellow-Creatures, the Rule of Righteousness is, that in particular we so deal with every Man, as in like Circumstances we could reasonably expect he should deal with Us, and that in general we endeavour, by an universal Benevolence, to promote the welfare and happiness of all Men. The former Branch of this Rule, is Equity, the latter, is Love.
As to the former, viz. Equity: The Reason which obliges every Man in Practice, so to deal always with another, as he would reasonably expect that Others should in like Circumstances deal with Him, is the very same, as That which forces him in speculation to affirm, that if one Line or Number be equal to another, That other is reciprocally equal to It. Iniquity is the very same in Action, as Falsity or Contradiction in Theory, and the same cause which makes the one absurd, makes the other unreasonable. Whatever relation or proportion one Man in any Case bears to another, the same That Other, when put in like Circumstances, bears to Him. Whatever I judge reasonable or unreasonable for another to do for Me, That, by the same Judgment, I declare reasonable or unreasonable, that I in the like Case should do for Him. And to deny this either in Word or Action, is as if a Man should contend, that, though two and three are equal to five, yet five are not equal to two and three. Wherefore, were not Men strangely and most unnaturally corrupted, by perverse and unaccountably false opinions, and monstrous evil customs and habits, prevailing against the clearest and plainest reason in the World, it would be impossible that universal Equity should not be practised by all Mankind, and especially among Equals, where the proportion of Equity is simple and obvious, and every Man's own case is already the same with all others, without any nice comparing or transposing of Circumstances. It would be as impossible that a Man, contrary to the eternal Reason of things, should desire to gain some small profit to Himself, by doing violence and damage to his Neighbour, as that he should be willing to be deprived of Necessaries himself, to satisfy the unreasonable Covetousness or Ambition of another. In a word; it would be impossible for Men not to be as much ashamed of Doing Iniquity, as they are of 501 Believing Contradictions. In considering indeed the Duties of Superiours and Inferiours in various Relations, the proportion of Equity is somewhat more complex; But still it may always be deduced from the same Rule of doing as we would be done by, if careful Regard be had at the same time to the difference of Relation: That is, if in considering what is fit for you to do to another, you always take into the account, not only every Circumstance of the Action, but also every Circumstance wherein the Person differs from you, and in judging what you would desire that Another, if your Circumstances were transposed, should do to you, you always consider, not what any unreasonable Passion or private Interest would prompt you, but what impartial Reason would dictate to you to desire.* * * * * * *
502 The Second Branch of the Rule of Righteousness with respect to our Fellow-creatures, I stud, was universal Love or Benevolence; that is, not only the doing barely what is just and right, in our dealings with every man, but also a constant indeavouring to promote in general, to the utmost of our power, the welfare and happiness of all men. The Obligation to which duty also, may easily be deduced from what has been already laid down. For if (as has been before proved) there be a natural and necessary difference between Good and Evil, and that which is Good is fit and reasonable, and that which is Evil is unreasonable to be done, and that which is the greatest Good, is always the most fit and reasonable to be chosen: Then, as the Goodness of God extends itself universally over all his Works through the whole Creation, by doing always what is absolutely best in the whole, so every rational Creature ought in its Sphere and Station, according to its respective powers and faculties, to do all the Good it can to all its Fellow-creatures. To which end, universal Love and Benevolence is as plainly the most direct, certain, and effectual means, as1 in Mathematicks the flowing of a Point, is, to produce a Line, or in Arithmetick, the Addition of Numbers, to produce a Summ; or in Physicks, certain kinds of Motions, to preserve certain Bodies, which other kinds of Motions tend to corrupt. Of all which, the Mind of Man is so naturally sensible, that, except in such men whose Affections are prodigiously corrupted by most unnatural and habitual vitious practices, there is no Duty whatsoever, the performance whereof affords a man so1 ample pleasure and satisfaction, and fills his mind with so comfortable a sense, of his having done the greatest Good he was capable to do, of his having best answered the ends of his Creation, and nearliest imitated the Perfections of his Creator, and consequently of his having fully complied with the highest and principal Obligations of his Nature, as the performance of this one Duty, of universal Love and Benevolence, naturally 503 affords. But further: The Obligation to this great Duty, may also otherwise be deduced from the Nature of Man, in the following manner. Next to that natural Self-Love, or Care of his own Preservation, which every one necessarily has in the first place for himself, there is in all Men a certain natural Affection for their Children and Posterity, who have a dependence upon them, and for their near Relations and Friends, who have an intimacy with them. And because the Nature of Man is such, that they cannot live comfortably in independent Families, without still further Society and Commerce with each other, therefore they naturally desire to increase their dependencies, by multiplying Affinities, and to enlarge their Friendships, by mutual good Offices, and to establish Societies, by a communication of Arts mad Labour: Till by degrees the Affection of single Persons, becomes a Friendship of Families, and this enlarges it self to Society of Towns and Cities and Nations, and terminates in the agreeing Community of all Mankind. The Foundation, Preservation, and Perfection of which universal Friendship or Society, is mutual Love and Benevolence. And nothing hinders the World from being actually put into so happy a state, but perverse Iniquity and unreasonable want of mutual Charity. Wherefore since Men are plainly so constituted by Nature, that they stand in need of each other's assistance to make themselves easy in the World, and are fitted to live in Communities, and Society is absolutely necessary for them, and mutual Love and Benevolence is the only possible means to establish this Society in any tolerable and durable manner, and in This Respect All Men stand upon the same level, and have the same natural wants and desires, and are in the same need of each other's help, and are equally capable of enjoying the benefit and advantage of Society: ‘Tis evident every Man is bound by the Law of his Nature, and as he is also prompted by the Inclination of his uncorrupted Affections, to look upon himself as a part and member of that one universal body or community, which is made up of all Mankind, to think himself born to promote the publick good and welfare of all his Fellow-creatures, and consequently obliged, as the necessary and only effectual means to that End, to embrace them All with universal Love and Benevolence: So that he cannot, without acting contrary to the Reason of his own mind, and transgressing the plain and known Law of his Being, do willingly any hurt and mischief to any Man; no, not even to those who have first injured him; but ought, for the publick benefit, to endeavour to appease with gentleness, rather than exasperate with retaliations; and finally, to comprehend all in one word, (which is the top and compleat Perfection of this great Duty,) ought to Love all others as himself. This is the Argumentation of that great Master, Cicero_ whose knowledge and understanding of the true state of Things, and of the original Obligations of human Nature, was as much greater than Mr. Hobbes's, as his helps and advantages to attain that knowledge were less.
504 Thirdly, With respect to our selves, the Rule of Rightousness is, that every Man preserve his own Being, as long as he is able, and take care to keep himself at all times in such temper and d:sposition both of Body and Mind, as may best fit and enable him to perform his Duty m all other Instances. That is: he ought to bridle his Appetites, with Temperance, to govern his Passions, with Moderation, and to apply h:mself to the business of his present Station in the World, whatsoever it be, with Attention and Contentment. That every Man ought to preserve his own Being as long as he is able, is evident; because what he is not himself the Author and Giver of, he can never of himself have just Power or Authority to take away. He that sent us into the World, and alone knows for how long time he appointed us our Station here, and when we have finished all the business he intended we should do, can alone judge when ‘tis fit for us to be taken hence, and has alone Authority to dismiss and discharge us. This Reasoning has been admlrably applied by Plato, Cicero, and others of the best Philosophers. So that though the Stoicks of old, and the Deists of late, have in their ranting Discourses, and some few of them in their rash Practice, contradicted it, yet they have never been able, with any colour of reason, to answer or evade the force of the Argument, which indeed, to speak the Truth, has been urged by the forementioned Philosophers, with such singular Beauty, as well as invincible Strength, that it seems not capable of having any thing added to it.* * * * * * *
505 For the same reason, that a Man is obliged to preserve his own Being at all, he is bound likewise to preserve himself, as far as he is able, in the right Use of all his Faculties, that is, to keep himself constantly in such temper both of Body and Mind, by regulating his Appetites and Passions, as may best fit and inable him to perform his Duty m all other instances. For, as it matters not whether a Soldier deserts his Post, or by Drunkenness renders himself incapable of performing his Duty in it, so for a Man to disable himself by any Intemperance or Passion, from performing the necessary Duties of Life, is, at least for that time, the same thing as depriving himself of Life.* * * * * * *
Lastly: For the same Reason that a Man is obliged not to depart wilfully out of this Life, which is the general Station that God has appointed him, he is obliged likewise to attend the Duties of that particular Station or condition of life, whatsoever it be, wherein Providence has at present placed him, with diligence, and contentment, without being either uneasy and discontented, that Others are placed by Providence in different and superiour Stations in the World, or so extremely and unreasonably solicitous to change his State for the future, as thereby to neglect his present Duty.
From these three great and general Branches, all the smaller and more particular Instances of Moral Obligations, may (as I said) easily be deduced.
506 5. And now this, (This eternal Rule of Equity, which I have been hitherto describing,) is That right Reason, which makes the principal Distinction between Man and Beasts. This is the Law of Nature, which (as Cicero excellently expressess it) is of universal extent, and everlasting duration; which can neither be wholly abrogated, nor repealed in any part of it, nor have any Law made contrary to it, nor be dispensed with by any Authority: Which was in force, before ever any Law was written, or the Foundation of any City or Commonwealth was laid: Which was not invented by the Wit of Man, nor established by the Authority of any People, but its Obligation was from eternity, and the Force of it reaches throughout the Universe: Which being founded in the Nature and Reason of Things, did not then begin to be a Law, when it was first written and enacted by Men, but is of the same original with the eternal Reasons or Proportions of things, and the Perfections or Attributes of God himself; So that if there was no Law at Rome against Rapes, at that time when Tarquin offered violence to Lucretia, it does not therefore follow that he was at all the more excusable, or that his Sin against the eternal Rule of Equity was the less heinous. This is that Law of Nature1 to which the Reason of all Men every where as naturally and necessarily assents, as all Animals conspire in the Pulse and Motion of their Heart and Arteries_ or as all Men agree in their Judgment concerning the whiteness of Snow, or the Brightness of the Sun. For though in some nice Cases, the Bounds of right and wrong may indeed (as was before observed) be somewhat difficult to determine, and, in some few even plainer Cases, the Laws and Customs of certain barbarous Nations may be contrary one to another, (which Some have been so weak as to think a just Objection against there being any natural difference between Good and Evil at all;) yet in reality, this2 no more disproves the natural Assent of all men's unprejudiced Reason to the Rule of Right and Equity, than the difference of mens Countenances in general, or the deformity of some few Monsters in particular, proves that there is no general Likeness or Uniformity in the Bodies of Men. For, whatever difference there may be in some particular Laws, ‘tis certain as to the main and principal Branches of Morality, there never was any Nation upon Earth, but owned, that to Love and Honour God, to be grateful to Benefactors, to perform Equitable Compacts, to preserve the Lives of innocent and harmless Men, and the like, were things fitter and better to be practised, than the contrary. In fine: This is that Law of Nature, which, being founded in the eternal Reason of Things, is as absolutely unalterable, as natural Good and Evil, as Mathematical or Arithmetical Truths, as Light and Darkness, as Sweet and Bitter, as Pleasure and Pain.* * * * * * *
507 6. Further yet: As this Law of Nature is infinitely superiour to all Authority of Men, and independent upon it, so its obligation, primarily and originally, is antecedent also even to this Consideration, of its being the positive Will or Command of God himself. For,1 as the Addition of certain Numbers, necessarily produces a certain Sum, and certain Geometrical or Mechanical Operations, give a constant and unalterable Solution of certain Problems or Propositions, so in moral Matters, there are certain necessary and unalterable Respects or Relations of Things, which have not their Original from arbitrary and positive Constitution, hut are of eternal necessity in their own Nature. For Example:2 As in Matters of Sense, the reason why a thing is visible, is not because ‘tis Seen, but ‘tis therefore Seen, because ‘tis visible, so in Matters of natural Reason and morality, that which is Holy and Good (as Creatures depending upon and worshipping God, and practising Justice and Equity in their dealings with each other, and the like,) is not therefore Holy and Good, because ‘tis commanded to be done, but is therefore commanded of God, because ‘tis Holy and Good. The Existence indeed of the Things themselves, whose Proportions and Relations we consider, depend entirely on the mere arbitrary Will and good Pleasure of God, who can create Things when he pleases, and destroy them again whenever he thinks fit. But when things are created, and so long as it pleases God to continue them in Being, their Proportions, which are abstractly of eternal Necessity, are also in the Things themselves absolutely 508 unalterable. Hence God himself, though he has no Superiour, from whose Will to receive any Law of his Actions, yet disdains not to observe the Rule of Equity and Goodness, as1 the Law of all his Actions in the Government of the World; and condescends to appeal even to Men, for the Equity and Righteousness of his Judgments. To this Law, the infinite Perfections of his Divine Nature make it necessary for him (as has been before proved,) to have constant regard: And (as a learned Prelate of our own2 has excellently shown,) not barely his infinite Power, but the Rules of this eternal Law, are the true Foundation and the Measure of his Dominion over his Creatures. (For if infinite Power was the Rule and Measure of Right, ‘tis evident that Goodness and Mercy and all Other Divine Perfections, would be empty words without any Signification at all.) Now for the same Reason that God who hath no Superiour to determine him, yet constantly directs all his own Actions by the eternal Rule of Justice and Goodness, ‘tis evident all Intelligent Creatures in their several Spheres and Proportions, ought to obey the same Rule according to the Law of their Nature, even though it could be supposed separate from that additional Obligation, of its being the positive Will and Command of God.* * * * * * *
509 7. Lastly, This Law of Nature has its full obligatory Power, antecedent to all Consideration of any particular private and personal Reward or Punishment, annexed either by natural Consequence, or by positive Appointment, to the Observance or Neglect of it. This also is very evident: Because, if Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Fitness and Unfitness of being practised, be (as has been shown) originally, eternally, and necessarily, in the nature of the Things themselves, ‘tis plain that the view of particular Rewards or Punishments, which is only an After-consideration, and does not at all alter the nature of Things, cannot be the original Cause of the Obligation of the Law, but is only an additional Weight to enforce the practice of what men were before obliged to by right Reason. There is no Man, who has any just Sense of the difference between Good and Evil, but must needs acknowledge, that Virtue and Goodness1 are truly aimable, and to be chosen for their own sakes and intrinsick worth, though a man had no prospect of gaining any particular Advantage to himself, by the Practice of them: And that on the contrary, Cruelty, Violence and Oppression, Fraud, Injustice, and all manner of Wickedness, are of themselves hateful, and by all means to be avoided, even though a Man had absolute Assurance, that he should bring no manner of inconvenience upon Himself by the Commission of any or all of these Crimes.* * * * * * *
510 Thus far is clear. But now from hence it does not at all follow, either that a good Man ought to have no respect to Rewards and Punishments, or that Rewards and Punishments are not absolutely necessary to maintain the practice of Virtue and Righteousness in this present World. ‘Tis certain indeed, that Virtue and Vice are eternally and necessarily different, and that the one truly deserves to be chosen for its own sake, and the other ought by all means to be avoided, though a Man was sure for his own particular, neither to gain nor lose any thing by the practice of either. And if this was truly the state of Things in the World, certainly That Man must have a very corrupt Mind indeed, who could in the least doubt, or so much as once deliberate with himself, which he would choose. But the Case does not stand thus. The Question Now in the general practice of the World, supposing all expectation of Rewards and Punishments set aside, will not be, whether a Man would choose Virtue for its own sake, and avoid Vice; But the practice of Vice, is accompanied with great Temptations and Allurements of Pleasure and Profit, and the practice of Virtue is often threatned with great Calamities, Losses, and sometimes even with Death itself. And this alters the Question, and destroys the practice of that which appears so reasonable in the whole Speculation, and introduces a necessity of Rewards and Punishments. For though Virtue is unquestionably worthy to be chosen for its own sake, even without any expectation of Reward, yet it does not follow that it is therefore intirely Self-sufficient, and able to support a Man under all kinds of Sufferings, and even Death itself, for its sake, without any prospect of future recompence. Here therefore began the Error of the Stoicks, who taught that the bare practice of Virtue, was itself the chief Good, and able of itself to make a Man happy, under all the Calamities in the World. Their defence indeed of the Cause of Virtue, was very brave. They saw well that its excellency was intrinsick, and founded in the Nature of Things themselves, and could not be altered by any outward Circumstances; That therefore Virtue must needs be desirable for its own sake, and not merely for the Advantage it might bring along with it; And if so, then consequently neither could any external Disadvantage, which it might happen to be attended with, change the intrinsick worth of the Thing itself, or ever make it cease to be truly desirable. Wherefore, in the Case of Sufferings and Death for the sake of Virtue, not having any certain knowledge of a future State of Reward, (though the wisest of them did indeed hope for it, and think it highly probable;) they were forced, that they might be consistent with their own Principles, to suppose the practice of Virtue a sufficient Reward to itself in all Cases, and a full compensation for all the Sufferings in the World. And accordingly they very bravely indeed taught, that the Practice of Virtue was not only infinitely to be preferred before all the sinful Pleasures in the World, but also that a Man ought without Scruple to chuse, if the Case was proposed to him, rather to undergo all possible sufferings with Virtue, than to obtain all possible worldly Happiness by Sin. And the suitable Practice of some few of them, as of Regulus for instance, who chose to die the crueltest Death that could be invented rather than break his Faith with an Enemy, is indeed very wonderful and to be admired. But yet, after all this, ‘tis plain that the general Practice of Virtue in the World, can never be supported upon this Foot. The Discourse is admirable, but it seldom goes further than meer Words, and the Practise of those few who have acted accordingly, has not been imitated by the rest of the World. Men never will generally, and indeed ‘tis not very reasonably to be expected they should, part with all the Comforts of Life, and even Life itself, without expectation of any future Recompence. So that, if we suppose no future State of Rewards, it will follow that God has endued Men with such Faculties, as put them under a necessity of approving and chusing Virtue in the Judgment of their own Minds, and yet has not given them wherewith to support themselves in the suitable and constant Practice of it. The Consideration of which inexplicable Difficulty, ought to have led the Philosophers to a firm belief and expectation of a future State of Rewards and Punishments, without which their whole Scheme of Morality cannot be supported. And, because a thing of such necessity and importance to Mankind, was not more clearly and directly and universally made known, it might naturally have led them to some farther Consequences also, which I shall have occasion particularly to deduce hereafter.
511 Thus have I endeavoured to deduce the original Obligations of Morality, from the necessary and eternal Reason and Proportions of Things. Some have chosen to found all Difference1 of Good and Evil, in the mere positive Will and Power of God: But the Absurdity of This, I have shown elsewhere. Others have contended, that all Difference of Good and Evil, and all Obligations of Morality, ought to be founded originally upon Considerations of Publick Utility. And true indeed it is, in the whole; that the Good of the universal Creation, does always coincide with the necessary Truth and Reason of Things. But otherwise, (and separate from This Consideration, that God will certainly cause Truth and Right to terminate in Happiness;) what is for the Good of the whole Creation, in very many Cases, none but an infinite Understanding can possibly judge. Publick Utility, is one thing to One Nation, and the contrary to Another, and the Governours of every Nation, will and must be Judges of the Publick Good, and by Publick Good, they will generally mean the Private Good of that particular Nation. But Truth and Right (whether Publick or Private) founded in the eternal and necessary Reason of Things, is what every Man can judge of, when laid before him. ‘Tis necessarily One and the Same, to every man's Understanding, just as Light is the Same, to every man's Eyes.
512 He who thinks it Right and Just, upon account of Publick Utility, to streak Faith (suppose) with a Robber, let him consider, that ‘tis much more useful to do the same by a Multitude of Robbers, by Tyrants, by a Nation of Robbers: And then, all Faith is evidently at an end. For,—mutato nomine, de Te—What Fidelity and Truth are, is understood by every Man, but between two Nations at War, who shall be Judge, which of them are the Robbers? Besides: To rob a Man of Truth and of eternal Happiness, is worse than robbing him of his Money and of his temporal Happiness: And therefore it will be said that Hereticks may even more justly, and with much greater Utility to the Publick, be deceived and destroyed by Breach of Trust and Faith, than the most cruel Robbers. Where does this terminate?
And now, from what has been said upon this Head, ‘tis easy to see the Falsity and Weakness of Mr. Hobbes's Doctrines; That there is no such thing as Just and Unjust, Right and Wrong originally in the Nature of Things; That Men in their natural State, antecedent to all Compacts, are not obliged to universal Benevolence, nor to any moral Duty whatsoever, but are in a state of War, and have every one a Right to do whatever he has Power to do; And that, in Civil Societies, it depends wholly upon positive Laws or the will of Governours, to define what shall be Just or Unjust. The contrary to all which, having been already fully demonstrated, there is no need of being large, in further disproving and confuting particularly these Assertions themselves. I shall therefore only mention a few Observations, from which some of the greatest and most obvious Absurdities of the chief Principles, upon which Mr. Hobbes builds his whole Doctrine in this Matter, may most easily appear.
513 1. First then; the Ground and Foundation of Mr. Hobbes's Scheme, is this; that1 All Men, being equal by nature, and naturally desiring the same things, have2 every one a Right to every Thing, are every one desirous to have absolute Dominion over all others, and may every One justly do whatever at any time is in his Power, by violently taking from Others either their Possessions or Lives, to gain to himself that absolute Dominion. Now this is exactly the same thing, as if a man should affirm, that a Part is equal to the Whole, or that one Body can be present in a Thousand Places at once. For, to say that one man has a full Right to the same individual things, which another man at the same time has a full Right to, is saying that two Rights may be3 contradictory to each other; that is, that a thing may be Right, at the same time that ‘tis confessed to be Wrong. For instance; If every Man has a Right to preserve his own Life, then4 ‘tis manifest I can have no Right to take any man's Life away from him, unless he has first forfeited his own Right, by attempting to deprive me of mine. For otherwise, it might be Right for me to do That, which at the same time, because it could not be done but in breach of another Man's Right, it could not be Right for me to do: Which is the greatest Absurdity in the World. The true State of this Case therefore, is plainly this. In Mr. Hobbes's State of Nature and Equality, every man hawing an equal right to preserve his own Life, ‘tis evident every man has a right to an equal proportion of all those things, which are either necessary or useful to Life. And consequently so far is it from being true, that any One has an original right to possess All, that, on the contrary, whoever first attempts, without the consent of his Fellows, and except it he for some publick Benefit, to take to himself more than his Proportion, is the Beginner of Iniquity, and the Author of all succeeding Mischief.
514 2. To avoid this Absurdity therefore, Mr. Hobbes is forced to assert in the next place, that since every Man has confessedly a right to preserve his own Life, and consequently to do every thing that is necessary to preserve it, and since in the State of Nature, men will necessarily have1 perpetual jealousies and suspicions of each other's incroaching, therefore just precaution gives every one a Right to2 endeavour, for his own Security, to prevent, oppress, and destroy all others, either by secret Artifice or open Violence, as it shall happen at any time to be in his Power, as being the1 only certain means of Self-preservation. But this is even a plainer Absurdity, if possible, than the former. For (besides that according to Mr. Hobbes's Principles, Men, before positive Compacts, may justly do what mischief they please, even without the pretence of Self-preservation;) what can be more ridiculous, than to imagin a War of All Men against All, the directest and certainest Means of the Preservation of all? Yes, says he, because it leads Men to a necessity of entring into Compact for each other's Security. But then to make these Compacts obligatory, he is forced (as I shall presently observe more particularly) to recur to an antecedent Law of Nature: And this destroys all that he had before said. For the same Law of Nature which obliges Men to Fidelity, after having made a Compact, will unavoidably, upon all the same Accounts, be found to oblige them, before all Compacts, to Contentment and mutual Benevolence, as the readiest and certainest Means to the Preservation and Happiness of them All. ‘Tis true, men by entring into Compacts and making Laws, agree to Compel one another to do what perhaps the mere sense of Duty, however really obligatory in the highest degree, would not, without such Compacts, have force enough of itself to hold them to in Practice: And so, Compacts must be acknowledged to be in fact a great Addition and Strengthening of Men's Security. But this Compulsion makes no alteration in the Obligation itself, and only shows, that That entirely lawless State, which Mr. Hobbes calls the State of Nature, is by no means truly Natural, or in any sense suitable to the Nature and Faculties of Man, but on the contrary, is a State of extremely unnatural and Intolerable Corruption, as I shall presently prove more fully from some other Considerations.
515 3. Another notorious Absurdity and Inconsistency in Mr. Hobbes's Scheme, is this: That he all along supposes Some particular Branches of the Law of Nature, (which he thinks necessary for the Foundation of some parts of his own Doctrine,) to be originally obligatory from the bare Reason of Things, at the same time that he denies and takes away innumerable others, which have plainly in the Nature and Reason of things the same Foundation of being obligatory as the former, and without which the obligation of the former can never be solidly made out and defended. Thus he supposes that in the State of Nature, before any Compact be made, every1 Man's own Will is his only Law, that2 nothing a Man can do, is Unjust, and that3 whatever Mischief one Man does to another, is no Injury nor Injustice, neither has the Person, to whom the Mischief is done, how great soever it be, any just Reason to complain of Wrong; (I think it may here reasonably be presumed, that if Mr. Hobbes had lived in such a State of Nature, and had happened to be himself the Suffering Party, he would in this case have been of another Opinion:) And yet at the same time he supposes, that in the same State of Nature, Men are by all means obliged4 to seek Peace, and5 to enter into Compacts to remedy the fore-mentioned Mischiefs. Now if Men are obliged by the original reason and nature of things to seek terms of Peace, and to get out of the pretended natural State of War, as soon as they can, how come they not to be obliged originally by the same reason and nature of things, to live from the beginning in universal Benevolence, and avoid entring into the State of War at all? He must needs confess they would be obliged to do so, did not Self-preservation necessitate them every man to War upon others: But this cannot be true of the first Aggressor, whom yet Mr. Hobbes, in the6 place now cited, vindicates from being guilty of any Injustice: And 516 therefore herein he unavoidably contradicts himself. Thus again; in most instances of Morality, he supposes Right and Wrong, Just and Unjust to have no Foundation in the Nature of Things, but to depend entirely on positive Laws; that1 the Rules or Distinctions of Good and Evil, Honest and Dishonest, are mere civil Constitutions, and whatever the Chief Magistrate Commands, is to be accounted Good, whatever he forbids, Evil: that2 ‘tis the Law of the Land only, which makes Robbery to be Robbery, or Adultery, to be Adultery: that3 the Commandments, to Honour our Parents, to do no Murder, not to commit Adultery, and all the other Laws of God and Nature, are no further obligatory, than the Civil Power shall think fit to make them so: nay, that4 where the Supreme Authority commands men to worship God by an Image or Idol, in Heathen Countries, (for in this instance he cautiously excepts Christian ones,) ‘tis lawful and their Duty to do it: and (agreeably, as a natural Consequence to all This,) that5 ‘tis men's positive Duty to obey the Commands of the Civil Power in all things, even in things clearly and directly against their Conscience, (that is, that ‘tis their positive Duty to do That, which at the same time they know plainly ‘tis their Duty not to do:)1 keeping up indeed always in their own Minds, an inward desire to observe the Laws of Nature and Conscience, but not being bound to observe them in their outward Actions, except when ‘tis safe so to do: (He might as well have said, that Humane Laws and Constitutions have2 Power to make Light be Darkness, and Darkness Light, to make Sweet be Bitter, and Bitter Sweet: And indeed, as one Absurdity will naturally lead a Man into another, he does say something very like it: namely that the Civil Authority is to judge of all Opinions and Doctrines whatsoever, to determine Questions Philosophical, Mathematical, and, because indeed the signification of Words is arbitrary, even Arithmetical ones also; as, whether a man shall presume to affirm that Two and Three make Five or not:) And yet at the same time, Some particular things, which it would either have been too flagrantly scandalous for him to have made depending upon humane Laws, as that3 God is to be Loved, Honoured and Adored, that4 a man ought not to Murder his Parents, And the like, or else, which were of necessity to be supposed for the Foundation of his own Scheme, as that5 Compacts ought to be faithfully performed, and Obedience1 to be duly paid to Civil Powers: The Obligation of These Things, he is forced to deduce intirely from the internal Reason and Fitness of the Things themselves,2 antecedent to, independent upon, and unalterable by all Humane Constitutions whatsoever. In which matter, he is guilty of the grossest Absurdity and Inconsistency that can be. For if those greatest and strongest of all our Obligations, to Love and Honour God, for instance, or, to perform Compacts faithfully, depend not at all on any Humane Constitution, but must of Necessity (to avoid making Obligations reciprocally depend on each other in a Circle) be confessed to arise originally from, and be founded in, the eternal Reason and unalterable Nature and Relations of Things themselves, and the nature and force of these Obligations be sufficiently clear and evident, so that he who3 Dishonours God, or5 wilfully breaks his Faith, is (according to Mr. Hobbes's own Reasoning) guilty of as great an Absurdity in Practice, and of as plainly contradicting the right reason of his own Mind, as he who in a Dispute is reduced to a necessity of asserting something inconsistent with itself, and the original Obligation to these Duties, can from hence only be distinctly deduced: Then, for the same reason, all the other Duties likewise of natural Religion, such as universal Benevolence, Justice, Equity, and the like, (which I have before proved to receive in like manner their Power of obliging, from the eternal Reason and Relations of Things;) must needs be obligatory, antecedent to any consideration of positive Compact, and unalterably and independently on all Humane Constitutions whatsoever: And consequently Mr. Holibes's whole Scheme, (both of a State of Nature at first, wherein there was no such thing as Right or Wrong, Just or Unjust, at all; and of these things depending afterwards, by virtue of Compact, wholly and absolutely on the positive and arbitrary determination of the Civil Power;) falls this way entirely to the Ground, by his having been forced to suppose some particular things obligatory, originally, and in their own nature. On the contrary: If the Rules of Right and Wrong, Just and Unjust, have none of them any obligatory force in the State of Nature, antecedent to positive Compact, then, for the same Reason, neither will they be of any force after the Compact, so as to afford men any certain and real security; (Excepting only what may arise from the Compulsion of Laws, and Fear of Punishment, which therefore, it may well be supposed, is all that Mr. Hobbes really means at the bottom.) For if there be no Obligation of Just and Right antecedent to the Compact, then Whence arises the Obligation of the Compact itself, on which he supposes all other Obligations to be founded? If, before any Compact was made, it was no Injustice for a man to take away the Life of his Neighbour, not for his own Preservation, but merely to satisfy an1 arbitrary humour or pleasure, and without any reason or provocation at all, how comes it to be an Injustice, after he has made a Compact, to break and neglect it? Or What is it that makes breaking one's Word, to be a greater and more unnatural Crime, than killing a Man merely for no other reason, but because no positive Compact has been made to the contrary? So that1 this way also, Mr. Hobbes's whole Scheme is intirely destroyed.
517 4. That State, which Mr. Hobbes calls the State of Nature, is not in any sense a Natural State, but a State of the greatest, most unnatural, and most intolerable Corruption, that can be imagined. For Reason, which is the proper Nature of Man, can never (as has been before shown) lead men to any thing else than universal Love and Benevolence, and Wars, Hatred, and Violence, can never arise but from extreme Corruption. A Man may sometimes, ‘tis true, in his own Defence be necessitated, in compliance with the Laws of Nature and Reason, to make war upon his Fellows: But the first Aggressours, who upon Mr. Hobbes's Principles, (that all Men2 have a natural Will to hurt each other, and that every one’ in the State of Nature has a3 Right to do whatever he has a Will to:) The first Aggressours, I say, who upon these Principles assault and violently spoil as many as they are superiour to in Strength, without any regard to Equity or Proportion, these can never, by any colour whatsoever, be excused from having4 utterly devested themselves of Humane Nature, and having5 introduced into the World, contrary to all the Laws of Nature and Reason, the greatest Calamities and most unnatural Confusion, that Mankind by the highest Abuse of their natural Powers and Faculties, are capable of falling under. Mr. Hobbes pretends indeed, that one of the first and most natural Principles of humane Life, is1 a Desire necessarily arising in every man's Mind, of having Power and Dominion over Others, and that this naturally impels men to use Force and Violence to obtain it. But neither is it true, that Men, following the dictates of Reason and uncorrupted Nature, desire disproportionate Power and Dominion over others; neither, if it was natural to desire such Power, would it at all follow, that it was agreeable to nature to use violent and hurtful means to obtain it. For since the only natural and good reason to desire Power and Dominion (more than what is necessary for every man's Self-preservation) is, that the Possessor of such Power may have a larger compass and greater Abilities and Opportunities of doing good, (as is evident from God's exercise of perfectly Absolute Power;) ‘tis plain that no man, obeying the uncorrupted Dictates of Nature and Reason, can desire to increase his Power by such destructive and pernicious Methods, the prevention of which is the only good reason that makes the Power itself truly desirable. All Violence therefore and War are plainly the Effects, not of natural Desires, but of unnatural and extreme Corruption. And this Mr. Hobbes himself unwarily proves against himself, by those very Arguments, whereby he indeavours to prove that War and Contention is more natural to Men, than to Bees or Ants. For his Arguments on this Head, are all drawn from Men's using themselves (as the Animals he is speaking of, cannot do,) to2 Strive about Honours and Dignities, ‘till the Contention grows up into Hatred, Seditions and Wars; to1 separate each one his private Interest from the publick, and value himself highly above others, upon getting and engrossing to himself more than his Proportion of the things of Life; to2 find fault with each other's management, and, through Self-conceit, bring in continual Innovation and distractions; to3 impose one upon another, by Lyes, Falsifying, and deceit, calling good evil, and evil good; to4 grow envious at the prosperity of others, or proud and domineering when themselves are in ease and plenty; and to5 keep up tolerable Peace and Agreement among themselves, merely by artificial Compacts, and the compulsion of Laws. All which things, are so far from being truly the Natural Effects and result of men's reason and other Faculties, that on the contrary they are evidently some of the grossest Abuses and most unnatural Corruptions thereof, that any one who was arguing on the opposite side of the question, could easily have chosen to have instanced in.
518 5. Lastly: The chief and principal Argument, which is one of the main Foundations of Mr. Hobbes's and his Followers’ System, namely, that6 God's irresistible Power is the only foundation of his Dominion, and the only measure of his Right over his Creatures, and consequently,1 that every Other Being has just so much Right, as it has natural Power; that is, that ‘tis naturally Right for every thing to do whatever it has Power to do: This Argument, I say, is of all his others the most notoriously false and absurd. As may sufficiently appear, (besides what has been already said, of God's Other Perfections being2 as much the measure of his Right, as his Power is,) from this single Consideration. Suppose the Devil, (for when men run into extreme impious assertions they must be answered with suitable Suppositions;) Suppose, I say, such a Being as we conceive the Devil to be, of extreme malice, cruelty, and iniquity, was induced with supreme absolute Power, and made use of it only to render the World as miserable as was possible, in the most cruel, arbitrary, and unequal manner that can be imagined: Would it not follow undeniably, upon Mr. Hobbes's Scheme, since Dominion is founded in Power, and Power is the measure of Right, and consequently Absolute Power gives Absolute Right, that such a Government as this, would not only be as much of Necessity indeed to be submitted to, but also that it would be as Just and Right, and with as little reason to be complained of, as is the present Government of the World in the Hands of the Ever-blessed and infinitely Good God, whose Love and Goodness and tender Mercy appears every where over all the Works.
519 Here Mr. Hobbes, as an unanswerable Argument in defence of his Assertion, urges, that3 the only Reason, why Men are bound to obey God, is plainly nothing but Weakness or Want of Power, because, if they themselves were All-powerful, ‘tis manifest they could not be under any Obligation to obey, and consequently Power would give them an undoubted Right to do what they pleased. That is to say: If Men were not created and dependent Beings, ‘tis true they could not indeed be obliged to the proper Relative Duty of created and dependent Beings, viz. to obey the Will and Command of Another in things Positive. But from their obligation to the Practice of Moral Virtues, of Justice, Righteousness, Equity, Holiness, Purity, Goodness, Beneficence, Faithfulness and Truth, from which Mr. Hobbes fallaciously in this Argument, and most impiously in his whole Scheme, indeavours1 to discharge them, from this they could not be discharged by any addition of Power whatsoever. Because the obligation to these things is not, as the obligation to obey in things of arbitrary and positive Constitution, founded only in the Weakness, Subjection, and Dependency of the Persons obliged_ but also and chiefly in the eternal and unchangeable Nature and Reason of the Things themselves. For, these things are the Law of God himself; not only to his Creatures, but also to Himself, as being the Rule of all his own Actions in the Government of the World.
520 I have been the longer upon this Head, because Moral Virtue is the Foundation and the Sum, the Essence and the Life of all true Religion, for the Security whereof, all positive Institution was principally designed, for the Restoration whereof, all revealed Religion was ultimately intended, and inconsistent wherewith, or in opposition to which, all Doe. trines whatsoever, supported by what pretence of Reason or Authority soever are as certainly and necessarily false, as God is true.
521 II. Though these eternal moral Obligations arc indeed of themselves incumbent on all rational Beings, even antecedent to the consideration of their being the positive Will and Command of God, yet that which most strongly confirms, and in practice most effectually and Indispensably inforces them upon us, is this; that both from the Perfections of God, and the Nature of Things, and from several other collateral Considerations, it appears, that as God is himself necessarily Just and Good in the exercise of his infinite Power in the Government of the whole World, so hc cannot but likewise positively Require that all his rational Creatures should in their Proportion be so too, in the exercise of each of their Powers in their several and respective Spheres. That is; As these eternal moral Obligations are really in perpetual force, merely from their own Nature, and the abstract reason of Things, so also they are moreover the express and unalterable Will, Command, and Law of God to his Creatures, which he cannot but expect should, in obedience to his Supreme Authority, as well as in compliance with the natural reason of Things, bc regularly and constantly observed through the whole Creation.
Thls Proposition is very evident, and has little need of being particularly proved.
522 For 1st. The same Reasons which prove to us that God must of Necessity be himself infinitely Holy, and Just, and Good, manifestly prove, that it must also be his Will, that all his Creatures should be so likewise, according to the Proportions and Capacities of their several Natures. That there arc eternal and necessary Differences of Things, Agreements and Disagreements, Proportions and Disproportions, Fitnesses and Unfitnesses of Things, absolutely in their own Nature, has been before largely demonstrated. That, with regard to these fix'd and certain proportions and fitnesses of Things, the Will of God, which can neither be influenced by any external Power, nor imposed upon by any errour or deceit, constantly and necessarily determines itself to choose always what in the whole is Best and Fittest to be done, according to the unalterable Rules of Justice, Equity, Goodness and Truth, has likewise been already proved. That the same considerations Ought also regularly to determine the Wills of all Subordinate rational Beings, to act in constant conformity to the same eternal Rules, has in like manner been shown before. It remains therefore only to prove, that these very same moral Rules, which are thus of themselves really obligatory, as being the necessary result of the unalterable reason and nature of Things, are moreover the positive Will and Command of God to all rational Creatures. And consequently, that the wilful transgression or neglect of them, is as truly an insolent contempt of the Authority of God, as ‘tis an absurd confounding of the natural reasons and proportions of Things. Now this also plainly follows from what has been already laid down. For, the same absolute Perfection of the Divine Nature, which (as has been before shown) makes us certain that God must Himself be of Necessity infinitely Holy, Just and Good, makes it equally certain, that he cannot possibly approve Iniquity in Others. And the same Beauty, the same Excellency, the same Weight and Importance of the Rules of everlasting Righteousness, with regard to which God is always pleased to make those Rules the Measure of all his Own Actions, prove it impossible but he must likewise will and desire, that all rational Creatures should proportionably make them the Measure of Theirs. Even among Men, there is no earthly Father, but in those things which he esteems his own Excellencies, desires and expects to be imitated by his Children. How much more is it necessary that God, who is infinitely far from being subject to such Passions and Variableness as frail Men are, and who has an infinitely tenderer and heartier Concern for the Happiness of his Creatures, than mortal Men can have for the welfare of their Posterity, must desire to be imitated by his Creatures in those Perfections, which are the Foundation of his own unchangeable Happiness?* * * * * * *
This Method of deducing the Will of God, from his Attributes, is of all others the best and clearest, the certainest and most universal, that the Light of Nature affords. Yet there are also (as I said) some other collateral Considerations, which help to prove and confirm the same thing; namely, that all moral Obligations arising from the Nature and Reason of Things, are hkewise the positive Will and Command of God. As
523 2. This appears in some measure from the consideration of God's Creation. For God, by Creating things, manifests it to be his Will, that Things should be what they Are. And as Providence wonderfully preserves things in their present State, and all necessary Agents, by constantly and regularly obeying the Laws of their Nature, necessarily employ all their Natural Powers in promoting the same end; so ‘tis evident it cannot but1 be the Will of God, that all rational Creatures, whom he has indued with those singular Powers and Faculties, of Understanding, Liberty and Free-Choice, whereby they are exalted in Dignity above the rest of the World, should likewise imploy those their extraordinary Faculties in preserving the Order and Harmony of the Creation, and not in introducing Disorder and Confusion therein. The Nature indeed and Relations, the Proportions and Disproportions, the Fitnesses and Unfitnesses of Things, are eternal and in themselves absolutely unalterable; But this is only upon Supposition that the Things Exist, and that they Exist in such manner as they at present do. Now that things exist in such manner as they do, or that they Exist at all, depends entirely on the Arbitrary Will and good Pleasure of God. At the same time therefore, and by the same means, that God manifests it to be his Will that things should Exist, and that they should Exist in such Manner as they do, (as by Creating them he at first did, and by Preserving them he still continually does, declare it to be his Will they should;) he at the same time evidently declares, that all such moral Obligations, as are the result of the necessary Proportions and Relations of Things, are likewise His positive Will and Command. And consequently, whoever acts contrary to the forementioned Reasons and Proportion of Things, by dishonouring God, by introducing unjust and unequal Dealings among Equals, by destroying his own Being, or by any way corrupting, abusing, and misapplying the Faculties wherewith God has endued him, (as has been above more largely explained:) is unavoidably guilty of Transgressing at the same time the positive Will and Command of God, which in this manner also is sufficiently discovered and made known to him.
524 3. The same thing may likewise further appear from the following consideration. Whatever tends directly and certainly to promote the Good and Happiness of the Whole, and (as far as is consistent with that chief End) to promote also the Good and Welfare of every particular part of the Creation, must needs be1 agreeable to the Will of God; who, being infinitely Self-sufficient to his own Happiness, could have no other Motive to create things at all, but only that he might communicate to them his Goodness and Happiness, and who consequently cannot but expect and require, that all his Creatures should, according to their several Powers and Faculties, indeavour to promote the same end. Now that the exact Observance of all those moral Obligations, which have before been proved to arise necessarily from the Nature and Relations of Things, (that is to say, Living agreeably to the unalterable Rules of Justice, Righteousness, Equity and Truth;) is the certainest and directest means to promote the Welfare and Happiness, as well of Every Man in particular, both in Body and Mind, as of All Men in general considered with respect to Society, is so very manifest, that even the greatest Enemies of all Religion, who suppose it to be nothing more than a wordly or State-policy, do yet by that very supposition confess thus much concerning it. And indeed This, ‘tis not possible for any one to deny. For the practice of moral Virtue does1 as plainly and undeniably tend to the Natural Good of the World; as any Physical Effect, or Mathematical Truth, is naturally consequent to the Principles on which it depends, and from which it is regularly derived. And without such Practice in some degree, the World can never be happy in any tolerable measure: As is sufficiently evident from Mr. Hobbes's own description of the extreme miserable condition that Men would be in, through the Total Defect of the Practice of all moral Virtue, if they were to live in That State which He stiles (falsely and contrary to all reason, as has been before fully proved,) the State of Nature, but which really is a State of the grossest Abuse and most unnatural corruption and misapplication of Men's natural Faculties, that can be imagined. For since God has plainly so constituted the nature of Men, that they stand continually in need of each other's Help and Assistance, and can never live comfortably without Society and mutual Friendship, and are endued with the Faculties of Reason and Speech, and with other natural Powers, evidently fitted to enable them to assist each other in all matters of Life, and mutually to promote universal Love and Happiness; ‘tis manifestly agreeable to nature, and to the Will of God who gave them these Faculties, that they should employ them wholly to this regular and good End. And consequently, ‘tis on the contrary evident likewise, that all Abuse and Misapplication of these Faculties, to hurt and destroy, to cheat and defraud, to oppress, insult, and domineer over each other, is directly contrary both to the dictates of Nature and to the Will of God; Who, necessarily doing always what is Best and Fittest and most for the benefit of the whole Creation, ‘tis manifest cannot Will the corruption and destruction of any of his Creatures, any otherwise than as his Preserving their natural Faculties, (which in themselves are good and excellent, but cannot but be capable of being abused and misapplied,) necessarily implies a consequential Permission of such Corruption.
525 And This now, is the great Aggravation of the Sin and Folly of all Immorality, that it is an obstinate setting up the Self-Will of frail, finite, and fallible Creatures, as in Opposition to the eternal Reason of Things, the unprejudiced Judgment of their own Minds, and the general Good and Welfare both of Themselves and their Fellow-creatures, so also in Opposition to the Will of the Supreme Author and Creator of all Things, who gave them their Beings and all the Powers and Faculties they are endued with: In opposition to the Will of the All-wise Perserver and Governour of the Universe, on whose gracious Protection they depend every moment for the preservation and continuance of their Beings: And in Opposition to the Will of their greatest Benefactor, to whose Bounty they wholly owe whatever they enjoy at present, and all the Hopes of what they expect hereafter. This is the highest of all Aggravations; The utmost Unreasonableness, joyned with obstinate Disobedience, and with the greatest Ingratitude.* * * * * * *
Ex his sequitur injuriam nemini fieri posse, nisi ei quocum initur pactum. De Cive, c.3. § 4, where see more to the same purpose.
Manifestum est rationem nullam esse Lege prohibendi noxas tales, nisi agnoscant tales Actus, etiam antecedenter ad ullam Legem, mala esse. Cumberl. de Leg. Nat. p. 194.
Universaliter autem verum est, quod non certius fluxus puncti Lineam producit, aut additio numerorum Summam, quam quod Benevolentia effectum praestat bonum. Cumberland de Leg Naturae, p. 10.
Angusta admodum est circa nostra tantummodo commoda, Laetitiae materia; sed eadem erit amplissima, si aliorum omnium Felicitas cordi nobis sit. Quippe haec ad illam, eandem habebit proportionem, quam habet immensa Beatitudo Dei, totiusque humani generis, ad cuitam illam fictae felicitatis supellectilem, quam uni homini, eique invido & malevolo, fortunae bona possint suppeditare. Cumberland de Leg. Naturae, p. 214.
In judicio de bonitate harum rerum, aeque omnes ubique conveniunt, ac omnia Animalia in motu Cordis & Arteriarum pulsu, aut omnes homines in opinione de nivis candore & splendore Solis. Cumberland de Leg. Naturae, p. 167.
Hoc tamen non magis ollit consensum hominum de generali Natura Boni, ejusque partibus vel speciebus praecipuis, quam levis vultuum diversitas tollit convenientiam inter homines in communi hominum definitione, aut similitudinem inter eos in partium principalium conformatione & usu. Nulla gens est, quae non sentiat actus deum diligendi, &c. Nulla gens non sentit gratitudinem erga parentes & benefactores, toti humano generi salutarem esse. Nulla temperamentorum diversitas facit ut quisquam non bonum esse sentiat universis, ut singulorum innocentium vitae, membra, & libertas coserventur. Cumberland de Legib. Naturae, p. 166.
Denique nequis obligationem Legum naturalium arbitrariam & mutabilem a nobis fingi suspicetur, hoc adjiciendum censui; Virtutum exercitium, habere rationem medii necessarii ab finem, (seposita consideratione Imperii Divini,) manente rerum natura tali qualis nunc est. Hoc autem ita intelligo, uti agnoscunt plerique omnes, Additionem duarum unitatum duabus prius positis, necessario constituere numerum quaternarium; aut, uti praxes geometricae & mechanicae problemata proposita solvunt immutabiliter; adeo ut nec sapientia nec voluntas Divina cogitari possit quicquam in contrarium constituere posse. Cumberland de Legib. Naturae, p. 231.
Τὸ όρμενον, οὐ διὸτι ὁρομενόγστ, τιἀλλἀ τοὐναντἱοντιραται, ἀπὅ τοὄρμενον [Note, these words are by Ficinus ridiculously translated, videturvisum est.] Οὐκον καὶ τὅσιον, τι ὄσιν λλ ὅτι φιλειται, διἀ τοὅσιὅν ἐστι. Plato in Euthyphr.
Καθ', ἡμᾱς γάρ ἡ αὐτ ὴ ἀρετή ἐστι των μακαρίων ράντων' ὥστε καὶ, ἡ αὐτὴ ἀρετὴ ἀνθρωπου καὶ Θ εοῡ Origen, advers. Celsum, lib 4
Dictamina Divini Intellectus sanciuntur in Leges apud ipsum valituras, per immutabilitatem suarum perfectionum. Cumberland de Leg. Naturae, p. 343.
Dignae itaque sunt, quae propter intrinsecam sibi perfectionem appetantur, etiam si nulla esset naturae Lex, quae illas imperaret. Cumberland de Leg. Nat. p. 281.
Cùm omnis ratio Veri & Boni ab ejus Omnipotentiâ dependeat. Cartes. Epist. 6, partis secundae.
Ab aequalitate Naturae oritur unicuique ea, quae cupit, acquirendi Spes. Leviath. c. 13.
Natura dedit unicuique jus in omnia. Hoc est; in statu merè naturali, sive antequam homines ullis pactis sese invicem obstrinxissent unicuique licebat facere quaecunque & in quoscunque libebat; & possidere, uti, frui omnibus, quae volebat & poterat. De Cive, c. 1, § 10.
Si impossibile sit singulis, omnes & omnia sibimet subjicere; ratio quae hunc finem proponit singulis, qui uni tantum contingere potest, saepius quam millies proponeret impossibile, & semel tantum possibile. Cumberl. de Leg. Nat. p. 217.
Nec potest cujusquam jus seu libertas ab ulla lege relicat eo extendere ut liceat oppugnare ea, quae aliis eadem Lege imperantur facienda. Id. p. 219.
Omnium adversus omnes, perpetuae Suspiciones. … Bellum omnium in Omnes. De Cive, c. 1, § 12.
Spes unicuique securitatis conservationisque suae in eo sita est, ut viribus artibusque propriis proximum suum vel palam vel ex iusidiis praeoccupare possit. Ibid. c. 5, § 1.
Securitatis viam meliorem habet nemo Anticipatione. Leviath. c. 13.
Unicuique licebat facere quaecunque libebat. De Cive, c. 1, § 10.
Consequensdices est, ut Nihil dicendum sit Injustum. Nomina Justi & Injusti, locum in hac conditione non habent. Leviath. c. 13.
Ex his sequitur, Injuriam nemini fieri posse, nisi ei quocum initur pactum. … Siquis alicui noceat, quocum nihil pactus est; damnum ei infert, non Injuriam. … Etenim si is qui damnum recipit, injuriam expostularet; is qui fecit sic diceret, quid tu mihi? quare facerem ego tuo potius, quam meo libitu? &c. In qua ratione, ubi nulla intercesserunt pacta, non video quid sit quod possit reprehendi. De Cive, c. 3, § 4.
Prima & fundamentalis Lex Naturae est, quaerendam esse pacem, ubi haberi potest, &c. De Cive, c. 2, § 2.
See de Cive, cap 2 and 3.
Ex his sequitur, Injuriam nemini fieri posse, &c.
Regulas boni & mali, justi & injusti, honesti & inhonesti, esse leges civiles; ideoque quod legislator praecepeait, id pro bono; quod vetuerit, id pro malo habendum esse. De Cive, c. 12, § 1.
Si tamen Lex civilis jubeat invadere aliquid, non est illud Furtum, Aduterium, &c. De Cive, c. 14, § 10.
Sequitur ergo, legibus illis, non Occides, non Maechabere, non Furabere, Parentes honorabis; nihil aliud praecepisse Christum, quam ut cives & subditi suis Principibus & summis Imperatoribus in quaestionibus omnibus circa meum, tuum, suum, alienum, absolute obedirent. De Cive, c. 17, § 10.
Si quaeratur an obediendum civitati sit, si imperetur Deum colere sub Imagine, coram iis qui id fieri honorificum esse putant; certè faciendum est. De Cive, c. 15, § 18.
Universaliter & in omnibus obedire obligamur. De Cive, c. 14, § 10.
Concludendum est, Legem Nuturae semper & ubique obligare in Foro interno, sive conscientia; non semper in Foro externo; sed tum solummodo, cum secure id fieri possit. De Cive, c. 3.
Quae si tanta potentia est stultorum sententiis atque jussis, ut eorum suffragiis rerum natura vertatur; cur non sanciunt, ut quae mala perniciosaque sunt, habeantur pro bonis ac salutaribus? Cicero de Legib. lib. 1.
Neque enim an honorificè de Deo sentiendum sit, neque an sit amandus, timendus, colendus, dubitari potest. Sunt enim haec Religionum per omnes gentes communia. De Homine, c. 14.
Si is qui summum habet imperium, seipsum, imperantem dico, interficere alicui imperet; non tenetur. Neque Parentem, &c. cùm filius mori quam vivere infamis atque exosus malit. Et alii casus sunt, cum mandata factu inhonesta sunt, &c. De Cive, c. 6, § 13.
Lex naturalis est, Pactis standum esse, sive Fidem observandam esse. De Cive, c. 3, § 1.
Lex naturalis omnes leges civiles jubet observari. De Cive, c. 14, § 10.
Legem Civilem, quae non sit lata in contumeliam Dei (cujus respectu ipsae Civitates non sunt sui juris, nec dicuntur leges forre, &c.). De Cive, c. 14, § 10.
See de Cive, c. 14, § 10.
Est Similitudo quaedam inter id, quod in vita communi vocatur Injuria, & id, quod in Scholis solet appellari Absurdum. Quemadmodum enim is, qui argumentis cogitur ad negationem assertionis quam prius asseruerat, dicitur redigi ad Absurdum: eodem modo is, qui prae animi impotentia facit vel omittit id quod se non facturum vel non omissurum pacto suo ante promiserat, Injuriam facit: neque minus in contradictionem incidit, quam qui in Scholis reducitur ad Absurdum. … Est itaque Injuria, Absurditas quaedam in conversatione; sicut Absurditas, Injuria quaedam est in disputatione. De Cive, c. 3, § 3.
Ex his sequitur, injuriam nemini fieri posse, nisi ei quocum initur pactum. De Cive, c. 3, § 4. [Which whole Section highly deseives to be read and well considered, as containing the Secret of Mr. Hobbes's whole Scheme.]
Itaque patet quod, si Hobbiana ratiocinatio esset valida, omnis simul Legum Civiliam obligatio collaberetur; nec aliter fieri potest quin earum vis labefactetur ab omnibus principiis, quae Legum naturalium vim tollunt aut minuunt; quoniam his fundatur & regiminis civilis auctoritas, ac securitas, & legum à civitatibus latarum vigor. Cumberland de Leg. Nat. p. 303.
Voluntas laedendi, omnibus inest in statu Naturae. De Cive, c. 1, § 4.
In statu naturali, unicuique licebat facere quaecunque & in quoscunque Shomllibebat. Ibid. § 10.
Si nihil existimat contra naturam fieri, hominibus violandis; quid cum eo differas, qui omnino hominem ex homine tollat? Cic. de Offic. lib. 3.
Τάδε και Plato de Leg. lib. 10.
Homines Libertatis & Dominii per naturam amatores. Leviath. c. 17.
Homines inter se de Honoribus & Dignitatibus perpetuo contendunt; sed Animalia illa [Apes & Formicae] non item. Itaque inter Homines Invidia, Odium, Bellum, &c. Leviath. c. 17.
Inter Animalia illa, Bonum publicum & privatum idem est. … Homini autem in bonis propriis nihil tam jucundum est, quam quod alienis sunt majora. Leviath. c. 17.
Animantia quae rationem non habent nullum defectum vident, vel videre se putant, in administiatione suarum rerum publicarum. Sed in multitudine Hominum, plurimi sunt qui prae caeteris sapere existimantes, conantur res novare; Et diversi novatores innovant dlversis modis; id quod est distractio & bellum eivile. De Cive, c 5, § 5.
Animantia illa verborum arte illa carent, qua homines alii aliis videri faciunt Bonum Malum, & Malum Bonum; Magnum Parvum, & Parvum Magnum. Leviath. c. 17.
Animalia bruta, quamdiu bene sibi est, caeteris non invident: Homoautem tum maxime molestus est, quando otio opibusque maximè abundat. Ibid.
Consensio creaturarum illarum brutarum, naturalis est; hominum pactitia tantum, id est, artificiosa. De Cive, c. 5, § 5.
Regni Divini naturalis Jus derivatur ab eo, quod Divinae Potentiae resistere impossibile est. Leviath. c. 31.
Nam quoniam Deus jus ad omnia habet; & jus Dei nihil aliud est quam ipsa Dei potentia; hinc sequitur unamquamque rem naturalem tantum juris ex natura habere, quantum potentiae habet. Spinoz. de Monarch. cap. 2. [See also Tractat. Theolog. politic. cap. 16.]
See Cumberland, de Leg. Naturae, locis supra citatis.
Quod si jus regnandi habeat Deus ab Omnipotentia sua, manifestum est Obligationem ad praestandum ipsi obedientiam, incumbere hominibus propter imbecillitatem. [To explain which, he adds in his Note;] Si cui durum hoc videbitur, illum rogo ut tacita cogitatione considerare velit, si essent duo Omnipotentes, uter utri obedire obligaretur. Confitebitur, credo, neutrum neutri obligari. Hoc si verum est, verum quoque est quod posui, homines ideo Deo subjectos esse, quia omnipotentes non sunt. De Cive, c. 15, § 7.
Ut enim omittam vim & naturam Deorum; ne homines quidem censetis, nisi imbecilli essent, futuros beneficos & benignos fuisse. Cic. De Nat. Deor. lib. 1.
Mens humana non potest non judicare, esse longè credibilius, quod eadem constantissima voluntas, à qua hominibus datum est esse, pariter mallet ipsos porro esse & valere, hoc est, conservari & felicitate frui, quam illo deturbari de statu, inquo ipsos collocavit. … Sic scilicet è voluntate creandi, cognoscitur voluntas conservandi tuendique homines. Ex hac autem innotescit obligatio, qua tenemur ad inserviendum eidem voluntati notae. Cumberl. de Leg. Nat. p. 227.
Dubitari non potest, quin Deus, qui ita naturalem rerum omnium ordinem constituit, ut talia sint actionum humanarum consequentia erga ipsos auctores, fecitque ut ordinaria haec consequentia ab ipsis praesciri possint, aut summa cum probabilitate expectari; voluerit haec ab iis considerari, antequam ad agendum se accingerent; atque eos his provisis velut argumentis in Legum sanctione contentis determinari. Cumberl. de Leg. Nat. p. 228.
Pari sane ratione (ac in Arithmeticis operationibus) Doctrinae Moralis veritas fundatur in immutabili cohaerentia inter Felicitatem summam quam Hominum vires assequi valent, & Actus Benevolentiae universalis. Cumberl. de Leg. Nat. p. 23.