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"immediate Relation to Practice, and were the genuine Principles and Foundation, upon which all human and "divine Virtues were naturally to be fuperftructed." Does not every One fee, that if the Religion of Nature had been put instead of Christianity,, these Descriptions wou'd have exactly agreed with it..
THE judicious Dr. Scot affirms, "God never imposes Laws on us pro Imperio, as arbitrary Tefts and Trials " of our Obedience. The great Defign of them, fays
"be, is to do us Good, and direct our Actions to our own "Intereft. This, if we firmly believe, will infinitely " encourage our Obedience; for when I am fure God com"mands me nothing but what my own Health, Ease, and Happiness requires; and that every Law of his is both a 66 neceffary and fovereign Prescription against the Diseases "of my Nature, and he could not prescribe less than he "has, without being defective in his Care of my Reco
very and Happiness; with what Prudence and Modesty "can I grudge to obey him?
NAY, the most confiderable Men, even among the Papifts, do not fcruple to maintain there's nothing in Religion but what is moral. The Divines of Port Royal for Pref. au Nouv. Inftance fay, "All the Precepts, and all the Mysteries that
are express'd in so many different Ways in the holy Vo
lumes, dò all center in this one Commandment of loving "God with all our Heart, and in loving our Neighbours as
Ch. 4, p. 173,"
ourselves: For the Scripture (it is St. Austin who fays it ) "forbids but one only Thing, which is Concupifcence, or "the Love of the Creature; as it commands but one
only Thing, which is Charity, and the Love of God: "Upon this double Precept is founded the whole System "of the Chriftian Religion; and it is unto this, fay they,
"according to the Expreffion of Jesus Christ, that all the "ancient Law and the Prophets have Reference and "we may add alfo, All the Myfteries, and all the Pre
cepts of the New Law: For Love, fays St. Paul, is "the Fulfilling of the Law:" And these Divines likewife cite a remarkable Paffage of St. Austin on this Subject; viz. "He that knows how to love God, and to regulate his
Life by that Love, knows all that the Scripture propounds " to be known:" They also might have quoted a known Saying of this Father, Omnia peccata funt in univerfum contra Rationem & Natura Legem. And I might add the Authority of a greater Man, and a Papift too, who fays,
tres furla Reli
ligion adds nothing to natural Probity, but the Confola-Cambray Lete ❝tion of doing that for Love and Obedience to our heaven-gion, p. 258, Ily Father, which Reason itself requires us do in Favour of "Virtue. And the famous Pere Quefnelle fays on Acts 2. 21. Le vrai culte n'est plus attaché à un Peuple, Le Chriftianifme eft une Religion univerfelle.
B. Do Divines always give this Character of Christianity, do they never distinguish it from the Religion of Nature, by fuppofing it contains certain arbitrary Precepts?
A. WHEN they confider how repugnant 'tis to the Nature of God to give any arbitrary Commands, then indeed the Force of Truth obliges them to declare there's nothing in Religion but what tends to the Good of Mankind; but if at any Time they talk otherwise, 'tis for the fake of fuch Things as either directly or indirectly serve their Intereft. But to remove all Scruples I fhall more fully prove,
CHA P. IV.
That not only the Matter of all God's Laws, but the Penalties annex'd to them are for the Good of Mankind; even of those who suffer for the Breach of them.
HOU'D I allow you, that the Natural Knowledge we have of God is the Foundation of all Religion, and that Arguing from *** the Divine Attributes is a moft certain Way of Reasoning, yet is not God's Glory one of his divine AtProv. 16.4. tributes? And does not the wifeft of Men say, that God
made all Things for himself, and the Wicked for the Day of Evil; and confequently God's Glory, rather than the Good of Man, occafion'd the Almighty to create Man, and to give him Laws?
A. As to this Text, I fhall aniwer you from Archbishop Serm. Vol. 7. Tillotson, that "If by God's making all Things for himself, "be meant, that he aim'd at and intended the Manifefta"tion of his Wifdom, Power, and Goodness in the Crea"tion of the World, 'tis most true, that in this Senfe be "made all Things for himself; but if we understand it so, "as if the Goodness of his Nature did not move him "thereto, but that he had fome Defign to ferve, Ends and
"Neceffities of his own, upon his Creatures, this is far
B. THO' it be allow'd, That God fram'd his Laws, and confequently, the Sanctions that make them Laws, for the Good of Man; yet a due Regard to his own Honour, the Dignity of his Laws and Government, will oblige him to punish those, who violate his Laws, as for an Injury done to him
himself, distinct from the Harm that by the Breach of them accrues to his Creatures.
A. As no Man breaks the divine Laws out of Contempt to his Maker, or imagines he can do God an Injury; fo God does not make Laws for one End, and require the observing them for another, that being inconfiftent with the Dignity of the divine Legislator, his Laws and Government; but as it was for the fake of Man that he gave him Laws, fo he executes them purely for the fame Reason; fince upon his own Account, he can't be in the leaft affected, whether his Laws be, or be not obferv'd; and confequently in punishing, no more than rewarding, does he act as a Party, much less an injur'd Party, who wants Satisfaction, or Reparation of Honour: And indeed, to suppose it, is highly to dishonour him, fince God, as he never can be injur'd, fo he can never want Reparation; and he, who is infinitely fatisfy'd in himself, can gain no Addition of Satisfaction by his Creatures obferving his Laws; nor can he, by their not obferving them, be reduc'd to a Condition of wanting Satisfaction, or Reparation of Honour, or any of those Things, which, depending on the Opinion of Others, are main Ingredients in human Happiness; and yet even among Men none ought to be punish'd, (fince what is past can't be help'd) but to prevent a future Breach of the Law; and all Laws being defign'd for the Good of the go❤ verned, "The greatest Monarch is not to punish the Breach " of his Laws any otherwise, than the most petty State:" And tho' all own, it would be Tyranny in an earthly Governor to multiply Punishments on Pretence of vindicating the Ho nour of the Legislator; or as the Breach of Law is an Injury done to him, and fuch like; yet some are not asham'd to impute fuch Tyranny to God, and thereby take off from that Efteem and Love Men must have for him, did they