Imágenes de páginas

nali, ineffe moralem turpitudinem, aut neceffitatem moralem, ac confequenter ab auctore naturæ Deo talem actum aut vetari aut præcipi.

I suppose you will allow, That 'tis evident by the Light of Nature that there is a God; or in other Words, a Being absolutely perfect, and infinitely happy in himself, who is the Source of all other Beings; and that what Perfections foever the Creatures have, they are wholly deriv'd from him.

B. THIS, no doubt, has been demonftrated over and over; and I must own, that I can't be more certain of my own Existence, than of the Existence of fuch a Being.

A. SINCE then, it is demonftrable there is fuch a Being, it is equally demonftrable, that the Creatures can neither add to, or take from the Happiness of That Being; and that he cou'd have no Motive in Framing his Creatures, or in giving Laws to fuch of them as he made capable of knowing his Will, but their own Good.

To imagine he created them at firft for his own fake, and has fince requir'd Things of them for that Reason, is to suppose he was not perfectly happy in himself before the Creation; and that the Creatures, by either obferving, or not observing the Rules prefcrib'd them, cou'd add to, or take from his Happiness.

If then, a Being infinitely happy in himself, cou'd not command his Creatures any Thing for his own Good ; nor an All-wife Being Things to no End or Purpose ; nor an All-good Being any Thing but for their Good; it unavoidably follows, nothing can be a Part of the Divine Law, but what tends to promote the common Intereft, and mutual Happiness of his rational Creatures; and every Thing that does fo must be a Part of it,


As God can require nothing of us, but what makes for our Happiness; fo he, who can't envy us any Happiness our Nature is capable of, can forbid us those Things only, which tend to our Hurt; and this we are as certain of, as that there is a God infinitely happy in himfelf, infinitely good and wife; and as God can defign nothing by his Laws but our Good, fo by being infinitely powerful, he can bring every Thing to pass which he defigns for that End.

FROM the Confideration of thefe Perfections, we cannot but have the highest Veneration, nay, the greatest Adoration and Love for this fupreme Being; who, that we may not fail to be as happy as poffible for fuch Creatures to be, has made our acting for our prefent, to be the only Means of obtaining our future Happiness; and that we can't fin against him, but by acting against our reasonable Natures: Thefe Reflections, which occur to every One who in the leaft confiders, muft give us a wonderful and furprizing Senfe of the divine Goodness, fill us with Admiration, Transport and Extacy (of which we daily fee among contemplative Perfons remarkable Inftances) and not only force us to exprefs a never-failing Gratitude in Raptures of the highest Praise and Thanksgiving; but make us ftrive to imitate him in our extenfive Love to our Fellow-Creatures: And Thus copying after the Divine Original, and taking God himself for our Precedent, must make us like unto him, who is all Perfection and all Happinefs; and who must have an inexhauftible Love for all, who thus endeavour to imitate him.

THE Difference between the fupreme Being, infinitely happy in himself, and the Creatures who are not so, is,


John 4. 19.

That all his Actions, in Relation to his Creatures, flow from a pure difinterested Love; whereas the Spring of all the Actions of the Creatures is their own Good.: We love God, because he first lov'd us; and confequently, our Love to him will be in Proportion to our Senfe of his Goodness to us. And therefore, we can't in the leaft vary from those Sentiments, which the Confideration of the divine Attributes implant in us; but we must in Proportion take off from the Goodness of God, and those Motives we have to love him as we ought.

OUR Reason, which gives us a Demonftration of the Divine Perfections, affords us the fame concerning the Nature of those Duties God requires; not only with Relation to himself, but to ourselves, and one another: Those we fhall difcern, if we look into ourselves, and confider our own Natures, and those Circumstances God has plac'd us in with Relation to our Fellow-Creatures; and fee what conduces to our mutual Happiness: Of This, our Senfes, our Reason, the Experience of Others as well as our own, can't fail to give us fufficient Information,

WITH relation to ourselves, we can't but know how we are to act; if we confider, that God has endow'd Man with fuch a Nature, as makes him neceffarily defire his own Good; and, therefore, he may be fure, that God, who has bestow'd this Nature on him, cou'd not require any Thing of him in Prejudice of it; but on the contrary, that he shou'd do every Thing which tends to promote the Good of it. The Health of the Body, and the Vigor of the Mind being highly conducing to our Good, we must be fenfible we offend our Maker, if we indulge our Senfes to the Prejudice of Thefe: And because not only all irregular Paffions, all unfriendly Affections carry their own


Torment with them, and endless Inconveniences attend the Excess of fenfual Delights; and all immoderate Defires (human Nature being able to bear but a certain Proportion ) diforder both Mind and Body; we can't but know we ought to ufe great Moderation with Relation to our Paffions, or in other Words, govern all our Actions by Reafon; That, and our True Interest being infeparable. And in a Word, whoever so regulates his natural Appetites, as will conduce most to the Exercise of his Reason, the Health of his Body, and the Pleasure of his Senfes, taken and confider'd together, (fince herein his Happiness confifts) may be certain he can never offend his Maker; Who, as he governs all Things according to their Natures, can't but expect his rational Creatures shou❜d act according to their Natures.

As to what God expects from Man with relation to each other; every One must know his Duty, who confiders that the common Parent of Mankind has the whole Species alike under his Protection, and will equally punish him for injuring others, as he would others for injuring him; and confequently, that it is his Duty to deal with them, as he expects they should deal with him in the like Circumstances. How much this is his Duty every One must perceive, who confiders himself as a weak Creature, not able to fubfift without the Affiftance of others, who have it in their Power to retaliate the Usage he gives them: And that he may expect, if he breaks those Rules which are necessary for Mens mutual Happiness, to be treated like a common Enemy, not only by the Perfons injur'd, but by all others; who, by the common Ties of Nature, are oblig'd to defend, and affist each other. And not only a Man's own particular Interest, but that of his Children, his Family, and all that's dear to Ꭰ


him, obliges him to promote the common Happiness, and to endeavour to convey the fame to Posterity.

ALL Moralifts agree, that human Nature is fo conftituted, that Men can't live without Society and mutual Affiftance; and that God has endow'd them with Reafon, Speech, and other Faculties, evidently fitted to enable them to affift each other in all Matters of Life; That, therefore, 'tis the Will of God who gives them this Nature, and endows them with thefe Faculties, that they fhould employ them for their common Benefit and mutual Affiftance. And the Philofophers, who saw that all Society would be dissolv'd, and Men foon become destitute of even the Neceffaries of Life, and be a Prey to one another, if each Man was only to mind himself, and his own fingle Intereft; and that every Thing pointed out the Neceffity of mutual Benevolence among Mankind; and therefore they judg'd, that Men by their Nature were fram'd to be useful to one another; Ad De fin. 1. 3. tuendos confervandosq; homines hominem natum effe, says Cicero. And therefore, every Man, for the fake of others as well as himself, is not to disable his Body or Mind by fuch Irregularities, as may make him lefs ferviceable to them.

In short, confidering the Variety of Circumftances Men are under, and these continually changing, as well as being for the most Part unforeseen; 'tis impoffible to have Rules faid down by any External Revelation for every particular Case; and therefore, there must be some standing Rule, discoverable by the Light of Nature, to direct us in all fuch Cafes. And we can't be more certain that 'tis the Will of God, that thofe Effects which flow from Natural Causes fhou'd fo flow, than we are that 'tis the Will of God, that Men shou'd obferve whatever the Nature of Things, and the Relation they have to one another make fit to be ob


« AnteriorContinuar »