ETHICES ELEMENTA. OR THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF Moral Philosophy. And Especially That Part of it which is called ETHICS. In a Chain of necessary Consequences from certain Facts.

Remember this and shew your selves Men.

Isai. xlvi. 8.

This is your reasonable Service.

St. Paul, Rom. xii. 1.

Haec tractanti Animo, & noctes & dies cogitanti existit illa a Deo Delphis praecepta Cognitio, ut Ipsa se mens agnoscat, conjunctam (que) cum Mente Divina se sentiat ex quo insatiabili Gaudio completur.

Cic. Tusc. Disp.
Discite O Miseri! & Causas cognoscite Rerum,
Quid sumus? & quidnam victuri gignimur? Ordo
Quis datus? — Quem Te Deus esse
Jussit? & humaná quá parte locatus es in Re?
Pers. Sat. 3.


BOSTON: Printed and Sold by ROGERS and FOWLE in Queen street, next to the Prison. MDCCXLVI



WHAT is here attempted, is a short System of Ethics or Morality, which has been of late called the Religion of Nature: by which, I would not be understood to mean a System of Truths and Duties which meer Natural Reason would ever, of it self, have clearly discovered, in the present Condition of Mankind, without the Assistance of divine Revelation: for, as I do not believe the human Kind ever were, not even in their original State of Innoceny, without revealed Religion; so neither do I believe they would ever since have fully discovered all these Principles of Truth and Duty, by their meer Reason without the Help of Revelation.—But what I mean, is, that Sys­tem of Truths and Duties, which, though they are not all of them, obvious to our weak Reason, without Revelation; yet, when dis­covered either by the one or the other, do evidently appear, upon due Consideration, to be founded in the first Principles of Reason and Nature, and from thence to be capable even of strict Demonstration.

[Page] We know there are a great Number of Truths in Mathematics and natural Philosophy, which not one in ten Thousand of the Bulk of Mankind would ever have thought of, had it not been for such great Men as Euclid, Apolo­nius, Archimedes, and Sir Isaac Newton, &c. which, yet may be safely received upon their Authority, and practised upon by those who have not Leisure or Ability to attend to the Reasons of them: But now they have led the Way, it is not very difficult to those who are capable of thinking, to enter into the Demonstrations of them.— The Case is much the same as to moral Truths and Du­ties, with regard to the Authority of Prophets and Lawgivers.—It is the Part of the Phrophet or Lawgiver, as such, to discover Truths and enjoin Laws as Rules of Behaviour to the People, who are to receive them upon their Authority:— And it is the Part of the Phi­losopher, as such, to enter into the Reasons and Demonstrations on which those Truths and Duties are orginally founded. —

Such a short Delineation of Morality may, perhaps, be of some Use, especially in these Times, wherein there is a Sect arisen, or rather revived, that us continually decrying Morality, [Page]as tho' it were only carnal Reason and no Part of Christianity, nor scarce consistent with it. — This it may be presumed they would scarcely do, if they rightly considered what Morality really is. — And on the other Hand; as one Extreme is apt to beget another: It is to be feared there may be another Sect arising, or gaining Ground, who out of Indig­nation to those absurd Notions of Christianity, are in Danger, not only of setting light by that, but even of losing all serious Sense of the true Extent and Obligations of Morality it self; — It is therefore, the Design of the following Pages, to endeavour to give a just Notion of it, and the Reasons on which it is founded, and to shew its Extent and vast Importance, and what Connexion there is be­tween it and Christianity, — I would only admonish this one Thing further; That no Speculation or Demonstration whatsoever is of any further real Use to us, than so far forth as it influences, directs or engages us in Life and Practice, on which our Happiness all depends.

March 25. 1746.



  • INTRODUCTION. OF the Nature of Ethics or Morality, (which is called the Religion of Nature) in general. Pag. 9.
  • PART I. The speculative Part of Morality.
  • CHAP. I. Of the Nature of Man, his Excellencies and Imperfections. Pag. 16
  • CHAP. II. Of the AUTHOR of our Nature, his Perfections and Operations. Pag. 22
  • CHAP. III. Of the End of our Being, and of our Future State. Pag. 32
  • PART. II. The practical Part of Morality.
  • CHAP. I. Of the Duties in general resulting from the foregoing Truths. Pag. 43
  • CHAP. II. Of the Duties which we owe to our selves. Pag. 47
  • CHAP. III. Of the Duties which we owe to GOD. Pag. 50
  • CHAP. IV. Of the Duties which we owe to our Neighbours. Pag. 54
  • CHAP. V. Of subordinate Duties Means. Pag. 59
  • CHAP. VI. Of the Connection between the Religion of Nature and Christianity. Pag. 63

ETHICS, OR Moral Philosophy.


1. MORAL PHILOSOPHY is the Knowledge of the Moral World, or the World of intelli­gent free Agents, with a Conduct and Beha­viour suitable thereunto, in the Pursuit of true Happiness.

2. By the World of intelligent free Agents, is indeed meant the whole System of created Spirits, both Angels and Men, considered as being derived from, and under the Con­duct and Government of Almighty GOD: — But what I mean chiefly to insist upon, is the Knowledge of our selves, as we are Men, or a moral System of rational Animals, in all the Relations wherein we stand, both with Regard to GOD, our selves, and one another, with a Behaviour suitable thereunto; (without considering us either in our ceconomical or political Capacities,) being that Part of Moral Philosophy, which is the Foundation of all the rest, and is usually termed, Ethics.

3. ETHICS is the Art of living happily by the right Knowledge of our selves and the Practice of Virtue: — [Page 10]our Happiness being the End, and Knowledge and Vir­tue the Means to that End.—

4. We are said to live happily when we enjoy our selves and all that is really good for us in the whole of our Nature and Duration; i. e. considered as reasonable, active and immortal Creatures: — for Happiness means, that Pleasure which arises in us from our Enjoyment of our selves and all that is really good for us, or suitable to our Nature in the whole.—

5. The Enjoyment of our selves and all that is truly good, depends upon a good Habit or State of the Soul united with, and delighting in its proper Objects:— And this good Habit is the same Thing with Virtue.

6. Virtue consists in that Integrity, Firmness and Stability of the Soul, whereby we do honestly and stedfastly persist, in Spite of all Temptations to the contrary, in the Love and Practice of Moral Good, and the Hatred and Forbear­ance of Moral Evil.—Vice is the contrary.

Moral Good consists in freely choosing and doing what­soever Truth and right Reason dictate as necessary to be chosen and done in order to our true Happiness.—Moral Evil the contrary.

8. There are two Things necessary to be considered with Respect to the Nature of Moral Good, viz. The Criterion or Test by which in the right Use of our Reason, we determine what we ought to do or forbear; and the Obligations we thereupon find our selves under to the Practice of it.

9. (1) The Criterion or Test whereby to determine what we ought to do or forbear, or which those Actions and For­bearances are, which are to be chosen and done, is the Na­tural Good of them, or that Pleasure and Happiness in the whole of our Nature and Duration, which naturally attends them.—For we find by Experience that some Things, Affecti­ons and Actions are in the very Nature of them necessarily [Page 11]attended with Pleasure or Happiness, and others with Pain or Misery: And as Pleasure or Happiness is what we call Natural Good; so Pain or Misery we call Natural Evil.

10. I say, in the whole of our Nature and Duration, as we are both Sensitive and Rational, and Social and Immortal Creatures: —It must therefore be the Good and Happiness of the whole human Nature, and the whole moral System, in Time and to all Eternity:— Hence, the Good of the Body, or the Pleasure of Sense ceases to be good, and hath the Nature of Evil, when it is inconsistent with the Good and Happiness of the Soul:— Which is also the Case of private Good, so far forth as is it inconsistent with the Good of the Publick: And temporal Good, so far forth as it is inconsistent with that which is eternal.

11. And this our Good or Happiness in the whole, does necessarily coincide with, and even result from the Truth and Nature of Things, or Things, Affections and Actions con­sidered as being what they really are; for thus to consider them, is the same Thing with considering them as being fitted and tending or not tending in the Nature of them to render our rational, social and immortal Nature int he whole ultimately happy.—So that the general Good of the whole, the Nature and Fitness of Things, and the Truth of Things, or Things considered as being what they are, are really coin­cident, and do in Effect come to the same Thing in settling the Criterion of Right and Wrong, or the Test whereby we must determine what we are to chuse or avoid, and to do or forbear.

12. Moral Good, therefore, must consist in freely chusing and acting conformable to the Truth and Nature of Things; or to Things, Affections and Actions considered as being what they really are, i. e. as tending or not tending to our true Happiness:— Or,(which is the same Thing,) in chusing and acting according to the Fitness of Things, or to Things, Affections and Actions, considered as fitted in their own Nature to promote our best Good and Happi­ness in the whole.

[Page 12] 13. And this again is the same Thing with chusing and acting according to right Reason, it being by the right Use of our Reason, that we apprehend Things as being what they really are, and discover which those Things, Affections and Actions are, that do in the Nature of them tend to our true Happiness in the whole, and thereby judge what we must do and avoid, and form Rules by which we must act in all our Conduct and Behaviour in order that we may be truly happy.

14. (II.) The Obligation we are under, or that which binds or engages us as moral Agents (i. e. as intelligent con­scious designing free Agents) to do, what according to the Truth, Nature and Fitness of Things tends to our Happiness in the whole, and to forbear the contrary, is twofold, Natural and Internal, or External and Moral.

15. (1.) The Natural and Internal Obligation we are un­der to those Actions and Forbearances arises from that great Law of our Nature, (which may be called the Law of Self-Love or Self-Esteem, and which arises from the Consciousness of our Existence and of Pleasure or Pain) whereby we are, by the Author of our Being, laid under a Necessity of va­luing our selves and our own Interest, and of seeking and pur­suing our own Preservation and Well-being or Happiness, and whatever we find tends to it or is connected with it; and consequently, that of the Society to which we belong, with which we find our own is, in the Nature of Things, neces­sarily connected.—This Principle makes us mutually de­sirous of each other's Esteem and Good-Will, and puts us upon doing what we know may be pleasing and advanta­geous to each other, so that self and social Good must not be considered as at all interfering, but as being intirely coin­cident, and subservient to each other.

16. But while we rest here and act upon no other Views or Motives than what this Law of our Nature sug­gests, though what we do may be said, according to the common Acceptation, to be meerly morally good or evil, and virtuous or vicious; yet there will be nothing in it, [Page 13](however firm and stable our Conduct be) that can properly be called Religion, which must ever enter into the just and complete Notion of Morality; for this must be understood to comprehend every Thing that can either direct or influ­ence our moral Behaviour, and consequently must consider us in all the Relations wherein we stand, and above all, our Relation to the great Author of our Being.

17. (2.) The external and moral Obligation we are under to those Actions and Forbearances above-mentioned arises from moral Government, or the Consideration that they are the Will and Law of a Superior who aims at our Hap­piness in the enjoining of them, to whom we are account­able for our Actions, and by whom we shall be rewarded or punished, i. e. made to feel Pleasure or Pain, according as we behave well or ill: So that this Obligation takes it's Force from the former.— And this is twofold, political and religious.

18. (1.) The political Obligation is the Consideration that they are the public Will, or the Will and Law of the So­ciety or Government that we live under (whether indeed it be a Family or a State,) inforced by the Sanctions of tem­poral Rewards and Punishments. — In this View moral Laws, become political Laws, and moral Good, political Good.

19. But here again, while we rest on this Foot, and act only under these political Views, with Regard meerly to this World; though we may be said to be meer moral Men, (as that Expression is commonly used) or good Com­mon-Wealthsmen, we cannot be said to be religious, or what we do to be Religion; no not even in those Actions that relate to GOD Himself.— But,

20. (2.) The religious Obligation we are under to those Actions and Forbearances which are necessary to our Hap­piness in the whole, is the Consideration that they are the Will and Law of God our Creator, Preserver and supreme moral Governour, the great Author, Head and Lord of [Page 14]the whole social System, inforced by the Sanctions of eternal Rewards and Punishments, to whom we are accountable for all our Behaviour.

21. For it will appear hereafter that they must be the Will and Law of God concerning us, because he, being per­fectly happy and self-sufficient, can have no Self-End in giving us Being, and in all his Dispensations towards us, and that, indeed, he can have no other End than our true Happiness; and that this must be his Interest; his De­light and his greatest Glory, that his rational Creatures be, in the whole, a happy System.— And since it must be his Will that we be happy; whatsoever does, in the Nature of Things, and according to the Constitution which he hath made, tend to our true Happiness, must be his Will and Law concerning us, and consequently our Duty, and what is contrary thereunto must be Sin.

22. That therefore, which constitutes the Nature of Reli­gion and denominates our Actions or Behaviour religious, and makes Religion and Morality, in the complete Notion of it, coincident, is, That we forbear whatsoever tends to our Mi­sery, and do every Thing that tends to our Happiness in the whole, in Obedience to the Will of GOD, and from a Sense of Duty to Him, and in View of his All seeing Eye, and the Account we are to give of our selves to him.

23. So that, upon the whole it appears, That true Mo­rality, in the just Extent of it, is the same Thing with the Religion of Nature, or that Religion which is founded on the Nature of Things; and that it may be defined, The Pur­suit of our true Happiness by thinking, affecting and acting ac­cording to the Laws of Truth and right Reason, under a Sense of the Duty that we owe to Almighty GOD, and the Account we must expect to give of our selves to him.

4. Since therefore Truth and Duty are thus necessarily connected; it must be our Business in this Essay, to search [Page 15]out all the Truths that relate both to our selves, to GOD and our Fellow-Creatures; and thence to deduce the several Duties that do necessarily result from them.

25. Now these may all be reduced to that grand, ancient Principle of true Wisdom; Know thy self, which must im­ply; not meerly the Knowledge of our selves singly con­sidered, but also in all the Relations wherein we stand; for this is the Knowledge of our selves in the whole; and, because we are active as well as intelligent Cratures, and our Happiness depends on Action as well as Thinking, it must therefore be understood to mean a practical Knowledge. — I shall therefore explain this Inquiry under these six following Heads, which, in Order the better to bring them down into Life and Action, I chuse to express in the first Person, or in the Manner of a Conversation with our selves.

26. Let therefore every one, in Order to the right Know­ledge of himself and his Duty and Happiness, thus seriously reflect and inquire concerning himself.— I. What am I? — II. How came I to be what I am?— III. For what End was I made and have my Being?— IV. What ought I immediately to do and be in Order to answer the End of my Being?— V. Whether I am what I ought to be?— If not, VI. What ought I to do, as a Means, in Order to be and do what I ought, and in Order finally to answer the End of my Being?

27. The three first of these Inquiries will discover the Truths;— And the three last the Duties, that we are concerned to know and do in Order to our true Happiness: —And the Truths are the Speculative:—And the Duties are the practical Part of moral Philosophy.

[Page 16]

PART I. The Speculative Part of MORAL PHILOSOPHY.

CHAP. I. Of the Nature of Man, his Excellencies and Imperfections.

1. I. IT is first necessary that we discover the Truths con­tained in the speculative Part of this Science, relat­ing to GOD and our selves:—And, as we take our Rise to the Knowledge of GOD and his Conduct towards us, from the Knowledge of our selves, we must therefore be­gin with this:— And in Order hereunto, let every one seriously ask himself this Question:—

1. What am I? — And that he may answer this Inquiry, let him thus consider and reason with himself.—

2. As I am certain from the Perceptions and Operations of my own Mind that I am or have a Being, so I know that I am not a Stock, a Stone or a Tree; for they have mani­festly no Sense or Activity; whereas I am conscious that I can See, Hear, Taste, Smell, and Feel, and enjoy Pleasure and suffer Pain, and can spontaneously exert my self and act and move from Place to Place, in Pursuance of the one which I love and delight in, and for avoiding the other which I hate and dread: — all which are much nobler Power and Fa­culties than those inanimate Beings are furnished with.

3. Nor yet am I Beast, a Horse, a Dog, or an Ox, &c.— For tho' they appear to see, hear, &c. and to feel Pleasure and Pain as I do, and can move themselves spontaneously [Page 17]from Place to Place; yet they have but low grovelling Sensations, Exertions and Enjoyments.— They appear to have no Notion of any thing but the Objects of Sense, and to have no Appetite, and to be capable of no Enjoyment of any thing but Meat and Drink and the Means of conti­nuing their Kind, and these only are the Things to which their Exertions and Activity tend.

4. With Regard to these, they have, indeed, a wonderful Sagacity, and what looks like Design and Contrivance; but this does not seem to be their own, because they have it originally, and do not acquire it by Teaching, Tryal and In­dustry.— It seems therefore to be what we call an Instinct, by which Word, nothing else can be meant, but that they are rather passively acted and conducted by some other Being; some Governing Mind on whom they depend, according to certain Laws of Nature which He hath established, than that they act from any Principle of Deliberation and Design with­in themselves.

5. These Sensations, Appetites and Exertions indeed I find I have in common with them; but then I am con­scious of vastly noble Powers and Faculties than these.— For I find I can reflect and look into my own Mind:—I can consider my self, and my own Powers and Actions and their Objects:—I can compare one Thing with another. —I can abstract and give general Name:— I can judge of true and false, and of right and wrong:—I can deliberate and weigh Things, and reason and infer one Thing from another, and reduce them into Method and Order, ac­cording to their various Relations, Connexions, and Depen­dencies: — I can excite Thoughts and Imaginations of Things past or absent and recollect them in my Mind at Pleasure, and reject or keep them under my Consideration, as I please, at least in a good Measure, and am at Liberty to suspend judging till I have carefully examined them, and to act or not to act, in Consequence of my Deliberations as I think fit.— In the Impressions of Sense indeed, I am passive, but in all these I am evidently active, and can chuse or refuse, will or nill, act or not act, from a Prin­ciple [Page 18]of Self-Exertion; which are all truly great and noble Powers.

6. I can moreover, in Consequence of these Abilities, con­trive and project Ends and Means and Reasons of acting, and Rules to act by, and foresee much of the Events of my Conduct:—I can give Laws and propose Motives to my self or others, and exact an Account of my self or them, and give an Account to my self or others, whether I, or they, do or do not, act according to those Laws.—And I find that as I love or hate Things according as they are a­greeble or disagreeable to me, so I have Hopes or Fears, Joys or Griefs according as I feel, or have in View, Plea­sures or Pains, and am conscious of having done well or ill and can justify and applaud, or accuse or condemn myself or others accordingly.

7. From hence I not only know that I have a Being, but also, that I have a great Enjoyment of that Being; — that it is very dear to me,—and that I am above all Things desirous to preserve and continue it, and to make it as com­fortable and as happy as ever I can:— and am therefore concerned to acquire and enjoy all the Means and Accom­modations that are necessary and convenient for that Pur­pose; which also I have a great Value for in Proportion to their Subserviency for that End; and am very apt to be displeased at any one that would deprive me of them.—

8. And as I can look back and remember what I have been knowing to in my Time; so I can imagine a Time when I was not, and conceive a Notion of a great Number of Ages and Transactions before me, and of an endless Suc­cession of Ages and Transactions to come: — And not only conceive that I may, but earnestly desire, in some Ca­pacity or other, to bear a Part in them, and to enjoy my self happily through all imaginable Periods of Duration.— So that, though I know there was a Time when I began to be; yet I am solicitous that I may never cease to be, and to enjoy myself.— All these are so many Facts, and I [Page 19]am conscious and intuitively certian of them, if I look care­fully within my self.— And such are the Properties of my Soul or Spirit, which is properly my self, my reasonable and active Nature.

9. But besides these Things that relate to my Soul; (my self, or spiritual Nature;) I find that I have a wonderfully contrived and admirably useful Engine, my Body, which I constantly carry about me and animate throughout, (being tied and confined to it by the present Laws of my Nature) consisting of a vast Number and Variety of Parts and Or­gans, exquisitely framed and fitted to each other, and to all the Functions, Powers and Exertions of my Soul.— My Eyes to see, my Ears to hear, my Tongue to speak, my Hands to handle, and my Feet to walk, &c. (Not to men­tion a Thousand Instances of the most wise Design and Con­trivance in all the inward Parts throughout, for all the Pur­poses of the animal Oeconomy, which are not immediately subject to my own Will and Activity.) Upon the Account of which, as well as the abovementioned Powers of my Soul, I must confess that however I came to be, I am indeed fear­fully and wonderfully made.

10. I also find, upon looking about me, a vast Variety of sensible Objects;— a glorious Heaven above me, and a spa­cious Earth beneath me, furnished with a surprizing Variety of Inhabitants, all connected, (together with my own Body, one of the most curious Machines of them all) in a most wonderful Manner one with another.—So that it is mani­fest from their mutual Dependance and Subserviency, that they are contrived and designed to constitute, as in Fact they do, one harmonious beautiful and useful System; one complete and intire Whole; in which I find every Thing fitted in the best Manner, to my own Conveniences and Pleasures, both for the comfortable Subsistence of my Body, and the Entertaimment and Delight of my Soul; but so that it was at the same Time the manifest Design of them to excite, engage, direct and employ my own Activity, with­out which I find I cannot comfortably enjoy either my self or them.

[Page 20] 11. I can moreover carry my Thoughts and Imaginations throughout the vast Spaces of Heaven and Earth, and have a mighty Curiosity to pry and search out the Secrets and Laws of Nature, and discover and conceive of the great Author of it, and what sort of Behaviour and Conduct is suitable to my Nature and the Relation I stand in to Him and my Fellow Creatures, as tending to make me and them happy, and as such must be amiable, and cannot fail of approving it self not only to my own Reason and Conscience, but also to Him and all reasonable Beings, whose Esteem and Good-will I am very solicitous to obtain.

12. Of which, as I know there are a great Number of my own Kind, so I cannot reasonably doubt but there are others of various Orders above me, which may have other and noble Senses than those five narrow Inlets that I am ac­quainted with and confined to; and far greater and far greater and nobler Abilities, both of Understanding and Activity than I am fur­nished with. — Such I can easily conceive to be possible: and from the various Gradations in Perfection of Being in the several Tribes below me, it is very probable there may be the like Gradations in the several Tribes of Beings above me.

13. As to those of my own Species, (from which I may form some Judgment of them) I find we were evidently made for Society, being furnished with the Power of Speech as well as Reason, whereby we are rendered capable of en­tering into the Understanding of each other's Minds and Sentiments, and holding mutual Intercourse and Commerce one with another, and jointly conspiring to promote our common Well-Being; to which we are naturally led by a Principle of Benevolence and social Dispositions and Affecti­ons, and by the necessary Condition of our Nature, which not only places us in the various Relations of Husbands and Wives, Parents and Children, &c. but also lays us un­der a Necessity of mutual Dependance one upon another, which obliges us to enter into mutual Compacts for our Defence and Safety, and for maintaining both private Right and public Order, and promoting the common Good of [Page 21]our Species, in the several Communities to which we be­long— In a Word; as I cannot long enjoy my self in a State of Solitude, and have a strong Passion for Society; so I find in Fact that my true Interest and Enjoyment of my self depends on the general Interest and good Order of the Community. —Such are my Abilities and Advantages; and such my Condition and Circumstances and those of the Kind to which I stand related.

14. But then, if I consider my self a little further, I find after all, that at best, I am attended with very great Limi­tations and Imperfections.—I cannot subsist my self a Mo­ment, nor add one Power or Faculty to those I have: And there are certain Bounds, (small compared with what I can easily imagine) beyond which I cannot at all extend or exert them.— My Sight and Hearing are very scanty; my Un­derstanding is but small; my Conceptions are very feeble; my Memory is very brittle; my Attention is very weak; my Knowledge is very confused; my Will is very irresolute, my Power is very infirm, and my Activity can extend to but a very small Compass.

15. But, which is worse; I find I am troubled with sun­dry Tendencies in the Frame of My Nature; some idle, sensual Disposition or other; some impetuous Appetite, or some untoward Passion, which I find it very difficult to com­mand, or keep within reasonable Bounds, and in Indulgence to which, it is much if I have not contracted some ill Ha­bit or other, or at least been guilty of many grievous Mis­carriages, for which my own Reason and Conscience have sadly reproached me, and given me very great Uneasiness, and sometimes terrible Apprehensions and Forebodings of Vengeance to come, unless I repent and reform.— And by comparing my self with others, I find this is what, in Fact, every one finds in some Degree or other to be the Case with himself, and Multitudes I oserve are much under the Dominion of these perverse Dispositions: Hence the sad Complaints of the Prevalence of Lust, Passion, Preju­dice, Price and Deceit, much obtaining in the World, cor­rupting and biassing the Minds, perverting the Judgments [Page 22]and Resolutions of Mankind, and leading them into many Errors and Vices in Practice, to the great Mischief and Con­fusion of Society.

16. At the same Time I find by sad Experience, that I amd daily liable to many Infirmities and Diseases, Pains and Miseries, Losses and Disappointmets, and perpetual Un­certainty, with Respect to my Life and Health, and every Thing about me, and must expect, in a little Time, to quit my present State of Being, and resign to the common Fate of a Dissolution, which is called Death that ghastly King of Terrors, who is incessantly making his Approaches towards me in one Shape or other.— Such a strange Mixture is hu­man Nature!— Such an unhappy Creature is Man! Such his noble Abilities and Excellencies on the one Hand; and such his great Imperfections and Wretchedness on the other!—

CHAP. II. Of the Author of our Nature, His Perfections and Operations.

1. II. I Proceed now to the next Inquiry: Let every one then, in the second Place, seriously ask himself this Quastion, How came I to be, and to be such a poor imperfect and sinful Being as I am?—For we cannot have a right Knowledge of our selves without considering, not only what we are in our selves, but also how we stand vari­ously related, and particularly, without looking to the Cause of our present Being and Limitations.— And in Answer to this Question, Let us consider and reason with our selves in the following Manner.

[Page 23] 2. I know that I am made, because I have a Being and did begin to be.— It is certain that I could not come into Being by meer Chance; for that is nothing but an emp­ty Name, which we use only to cover our Ignorance or Inadvertence:— And it is no less certain that I did not make myself, for that would imply, to be and not to be at the same Time: Nor have I Power to continue my self in Being so much as one Moment; nor can I a Moment secure my Health, or any of my Enjoyments:— So that I find I am wholly a limited and dependent Being.

3. It is therefore certain, that I must have had a Cause: for an Effect without a Cause can have no Meaning: there must then be some other Being on whom I depend.—And since there cannot be an Effect without a Cause, it is evident that the Cause of my Being must have Powers capable of producing such an Effect: otherwise there would still be an effect without a Cause, than which nothing can be more absurd.— It is evident that my Parents could not be the adequate Causes; they could, at most be only the Occasions of my Being: for it never was in their Power, that I should be at all, or being that I should be such as I am; nor could they continue me a Moment in Being, Health or Ease.— It is therefore plain that I must look higher for an adequate Cause, both of my Existence and Subsistence.

4. It is moreover manifest that no Cause can give what it has not, or, which is the same Thing, produce an Effect more noble than it self; for then again, there would be an Effect without a Cause, or something produced by no­thing, which is impossible.— So that what is destitute of Perception, Consciousness and Intelligence, cannot produce a perceptive, conscious, intelligent Being: What has no Principle of Deliberation, Liberty and Activity cannot pro­duce a considerate, free, active Being, &c. It is therefore evident that the Being who brought me into Being, must himself be possess'd of Powers analogous to those I experience in my self.

[Page 24] 5. Since, therefore, I know I have some considerable Degrees of Understanding, Knowledge, Will, Force and Activity, with Freedom of Deliberation, Choice and Design, and the Powers of Self-Exertion and Self-Determination, together with some Sense of Benevolence, of right and wrong, and of Equity and Iniquity, and some Disposition to do the one, and avoid the other: It is from hence evident that the Almighty Being who made me, whom I call GOD, being the glorious Cause on whom I depend, must Himself have Understanding, Know­ledge, Will, Force and Activity; must have Liberty, Choice, Deliberation and Self-Exertion; and must be a Being of Equity, Justice and Goodness, and all other moral Perfections which are implied in these, and comprehended under the Term Holiness.— And as I am thus truly made by him, and in some Measure to resemble him; he must therefore be strictly and properly my Parent, or the Father of my Spirit.

6. Now what I thus argue from my self to the Cause of my Being, must be equally true of every other intelligent active Being that knows he had a Beginning of Existence, and is limited and dependent, however so perfect, as well as of me.— From whence it is plain, that this universal Cause must be possessed of the highest Powers and Perfections that do any where obtain; and that he must hold them intirely independant of any other Being whatsoever:— And having all other Beings intirely dependant upon him, it is evident that he cannot be under the Power of any other Being to limit or controul him;— so that he must hold, possess and enjoy all possible Perfection in and of himself without any possible Limitation or Imperfection.— And since all other Beings do thus by the Necessity of their Nature derive from him and depend on him, he alone must be the necessarily existent Be­ing, and must be the universal Father of Spirits: And was accordingly by the wisest of the ancient Philosophers stiled, The Father of the Universe.

[Page 25] 7. In this Method of Reasoning it is evident, that the Cause of my Being and Powers, and those of all other Spirits, or intelligent, active Beings, must necessarily be infinite, eternal, and unchangeable.— For if he be out of the Power of any other Being to limit or controul him, his Knowledge, Power and Activity cannot be confined to any Point of Space or Duration, nor liable to any Change: So that, as there never was a Time when he could begin to be, so it is impossible he should ever cease to be, or ever be altered from what he is: And for the same Reason that he can't but be present here or there, or to any particular, assignable Place or Point of Space, he can't but be every where else or omnipresent. And hence it is plain, that all Things past, present, and to come, in all Parts of the Universe, must at once be present and perfectly known to him, and subject to his Almighty Power; i. e. He must be omniscient and omnipotent. Nor can there be more than one such Being, be­cause it is thus evident that he alone must necessarily exist, and that all possible Perfections are necessarily united in him.

8. What I have thus argued from my own Existence. Powers and Faculties, and those of every other intelligent, active Creature, may be also demonstrated from the Existence of every sensible Thing, that I see, hear and feel, from without me.— I know that I am not the Cause of any of those Impressions that are made on my Senses; Light, Co­lours, Sounds, tangible Qualities, &c. — I am sure they do not depend on my Will and Activity, for I am intirely pas­sive in the Reception of them.—Nor can they be without a Cause; nor yet from any sensless, inert or unactive Cause, for that is a Contradiction in Terms. — They must there­fore be the constant Effects of an intelligent Cause, intimate­ly present with me, and incessantly active upon me, who con­tinually produces all these Sensations in my Mind, correspon­dent to the Archetypes in his all-comprehending Mind, ac­cording to certain stable Laws, or fixed Rules which he hath established to himself, and which are commonly called the Laws of Nature.— When therefore, I consider the whole System of these sensible Objects that surround me, and under the Impression of which I continually live, I must conclude [Page 26]that I live and move and have my Being in him who is the perpetual and invariable Author of them.

9. I find these sensible Objects are all firmly connected toge­ther; Things visible with Things tangible, and all the various Combinations of them, one with another, so as to constitute one most beautiful and useful Whole, which we call the Natural World; in all which, I do manifestly see the most wise Design and the most exquisite Contrivance; from whence I gather that they must be the Effect of a most wise and designing Cause. — And I do evidently experience that they are all contrived in the best Manner to render them subser­vient to all the Purposes of my Subsistence and Well-being, and that of the whole rational and moral System which we call the moral World; from whence I must conclude the glorious Cause of them to be, not only an infinitely wise and powerful, but moreover an infinitely kind and benevolent Being.

10. I do not, indeed, find upon a close Examination of them, that there is any necessary Connexion between them; for Instance, between what I see or hear, and what I feel: The one appears to be only and meerly the Sign, and not the Cause of the other, being all alike meer passive Perceptions in our Minds; so that the Connexion between them, tho' stable, is intirely arbitrary; as arbitrary as that between the Sound Man and the Thing signified by it: From whence I gather, that I must necessarily consider the one with regard to the other, to have the Nature of a wonderful Language,* whereby the great Author of Nature is continually present with me; and disco­covering himself and his Mind and Will to me; (and that in a stable and invariable Manner, which I can always depend upon;) and as it were speaking to me, and directing me how to act and conduct my self in the Affairs of Life; and thereby displaying, not only his infinite Wisdom and Power, but also his marvellous Goodness before me, and making me a continual Partaker of it.—From whence it is evident, that he must be, not only a Being of infinite [Page 27]Wisdom, Power and Goodness, but at the same time a Being of the most stable Truth and invariable Integrity.

11. I do moreover see and feel a vast Variety of Motions, on the Laws of which, most wisely contrived, depends the whole Order, Harmony and Usefulness of the natural World. — But it is certain that nothing which is Corporeal can move it self, being meerly passive and inert: and yet it is no less evi­dent that Motion implies Force and Activity in the Mover:* and this implies the Power and Presence of an Agent, since nothing can act where it is not: — from whence it manifestly follows, that in all the wisely contrived Motions of Nature, as well as all other Objects of Sense, both in the Heavens above, and in the Earth below, we constantly see and feel the universal Presence of that most wisely designing and most powerfully active, all-comprehending Mind who both begins and continues Motion, and is the glorious Father and Author of all Things.

12. Furthermore, as I observe all these sensible Objects about me are connected together in a wonderful Manner, into one most beautiful and useful System, and made subser­vient to my Subsistence and Well-being and those of my Species in this Mansion allotted to us; so I observe this Globe we live on, to be, no less wonderfully connected with the Sun, and the other Planets, with us surrounding and depend­ing upon him, so that they all make one intire System; the other Globes being probably designed for Uses analo­gous to this of ours.— And as the prodigious Number of Fixed Stars seem to be of the same Nature, so it is probable, they are designed for the like Purposes with those for which I find our Sun is manifestly fitted and designed, and may con­sequently have Globes like our's depending upon them. — If so; as this gives me a stupendous Idea of the vast Extent and Variety of the mighty Works of God; so it must give me an astonishing Apprehension of his excellent Greatness, Majesty and Glory, who is equally present with them all, and does alike display his infinite Wisdom, Power and Goodness in them to all the admiring Beholders; having his whole vast. [Page 28] Family of Heaven and Earth, alike depending upon him, and deriving their All from him, in all Places of his Do­minions.

13. Now, it being evident from all that has been said, that this glorious Being whom I call my GOD, must be a Being of all possible Perfection; it is plain that he must have an intire and absolute Sufficiency in and of himself to his own Happiness, and therefore cannot need any of his Creatures, or any Thing they can do to make him happy, nor can any Thing they can do make him otherwise.— And from his absolute Independency, and their continual and intire Depen­dance upon him, I must conclude, that he is not only the Almighty Creator and most high Possessor of Heaven and Earth; but moreover, that he is the continual Preserver of all his Creatures, and consequently, that the Moment he should cease to will the Continuance of their Existence, they must unavoidably cease and drop into nothing.

14. Nor can it, I think, be conceived that the infinitely wise, powerful, just and good Author of my Being, and that of all other Beings, would neglect me, and take no further Care of me or them: I cannot imagine but that he must look after me, and see what Use I make of the Being, Pow­ers and Advantages that he hath given me, and take Care to conduct me to the End he designed in giving them to me, and that in a Manner sutable to that Nature which he hath given me.—It cannot therefore be, but, that he must govern me as a reasonable and moral Agent, and this by Laws and Motives suggested to my Reason and Consideration, and to my Hopes and Fears: and that in Consequence of this, he will call me to an Account, and see how I have conducted my self in the Use of the Abilities and Talents which he had committed to my Trust, and whether I have endeavoured to answer the End of my Being in Conformity to the Laws of that reasonable and self-active Nature which he hath be­stowed upon me, and make me fare well or ill, according as my Behaviour shall be found to have been good or bad. — That this is fit and reasonable to be expected my own Conscience strongly suggests: and that Happiness or Misery [Page 29]will be the Effect of Virtue or Vice, the Nature of the Things themselves loudly proclaims. — It cannot therefore be but that, as he is my Almighty Creator and Preserver, so he must be my supreme King and moral Governor. And what is thus reasonable to think with regard to my self, must be equally true with Respect to all other Creatures: — GOD must therefore be the universal King and Lord of the whole Universe, which is his Kingdom, in which he most wisely and uncontroulably presides and orders all Things for the Good of the whole, in a Manner suitable to the best Interest of each Nature. I cannot therefore doubt but that he will in the whole and Result of Things, bring Good out of Evil and make Evil it self subservient to Good, and even overrule the Sins and Follies of his Creatures so as to answer the best Ends.—

15. If now it be inquired, How I came to be such an im­perfect, frail, sinful Being as I am?— Or how it could be that the GOD that made me, who is himself the most perfect and best of Beings should make me such an imper­fect, sinful and miserable Creature as I find my self to be? — To this I must answer in the following Manner. — That GOD should make me such a very imperfect, (or less perfect) Creature as I am, compared with others, or with what I can easily imagine, I see no Reason to doubt; inasmuch as my Being it self and every Perfection of it and Advantage attending it, must be his sovereign free Gift, and what he was in no wise obliged to bestow.— He is the sovereign Lord of his Favours, and must therefore be intirely at Liberty to bestow such Degrees of Being and Perfections, and such Advantages, greater or less as he thinks fit: and it appears in Fact, that he hath delighted in a boundless Variety in all his Works.

16. Indeed that he should, without any known, voluntary Fault of mine, put me into a Condition that is, in the whole, worse than not to be, or that he should, in giving me my Being, lay me under an absolute Necessity of being finally sinful and miserable: This would be very hard indeed; — But this I must think impossible, as being what I cannot [Page 30]reconcile with his Attributes above demonstrated— But so long as I have such a Being as is desirable, though at­tended with great Frailties, Limitations and Imperfections, and am put into such a Condition as renders me capable of further Improvements, and of attaining to some good De­gree of Happiness if I am not wanting to my self, and since I shall not be obliged to account for any more than I have received; I cannot reasonably complain, but ought to be thankful for it, though I see others have much greater Ad­vantages than I, from whom, in all Reason a proportionably greater Account will be expected.

17. And as to my being so very sinful a Creature as I confess I am: — This I cannot ascribe to GOD: — For since the formal Notion of Sin consists in the known voluntary Opposition of our Wills to the Will of GOD, or the Con­stitution which he hath made, it must be the Fault of my Will and not of his: and accordingly my own Conscience tells me, whenever I do amiss, that I my self. (and not He) am the Cause, and true Author of all the Wickedness I commit. — If therefore, instead of being obedient to the Author of my Being, and making a good Use of my Liberty, and of the Powers and Advantages he hath given me, and thereby further improving them; I make a bad Use of them by voluntarily acting contrary to his Will, and thereby sink my self into a worse Condition; nay though it were into a worse Condition than not to be, it is wholly owing to my self, and not to him that made me.

18. If now I should ask, Why has God made me at all peccable, or capable of Sin? — This would be the same as to ask, Why has he made me capable of Duty? or, Why has he made me a free Agent? — But this would be a strange Que­stion: for without Liberty, I should be destitute of one of the chief Excellencies of my rational Nature, and should not be capable of either Duty or Sin: — for as Sin consists in a free and voluntary Disobedience; so Duty consists in a free and willing Obedience to the known Will of God. — So that without such a Liberty as would render me capable of Sin, [Page 31]there could have been no such Thing as either Virtue or Vice, Praise or Blame; nor can either the one or the other obtain, but in Proportion to the Knowledge we have, or may have, of what we ought to do, and the Powers we are furnished with either to do or forbear.

19. And lastly, As to the many Pains, Calamities, and Mi­series to which I am liable: — I must think, that as I am a Sinner I need a Course of Discipline; — That it is fit, natu­ral Evil should attend moral Evil, as the best Means for the Cure of it; — and that therefore God, not only justly, but wisely and kindly inflicts these Calamities, as being the fittest Means that could have been used to disengage me from those Objects that are most apt to ensnare and mislead me, and thereby to destroy the Power of Sin, and bring me to Repentance and Reformation: — and at the same Time they give me Occasion and Opportunity for the Exer­cise of several Virtues of very great Use towards the perfect­ing of my reasonable and active Nature, which otherwise could have had no Place; and lead to the Hopes of a better Life hereafter.

20. Thus it appears to me, that without any Imputation either upon the Wisdom, Power, Justice or Goodness of GOD, I can sufficiently account for all the Sin and Misery that obtain in the World.—But if there were some untoward Appearances in the Conduct of Providence that I could not account for, they ought not to be admitted as any just Ob­jections against what has been antecedently demonstrated:— Especially since I am not qualified to be a competent Judge. — I see but a small Part, a short Scene, of the vast Drama, and therefore cannot make a good Judgment of the whole: — So that what to me may have the Appearance of Evil, may in the whole have the Nature of Good.— And it becomes me to have an implicit Faith in the infinite Wis­dom, Power, Justice and Goodness of the Deity above de­monstrated, that it will prove so in the Whole and Result of Things.— And that this Expectation may appear the more reasonable, I proceed now to the next Inquiry.

[Page 32]

CHAP. III. Of the End of our Being, and of our future State.

1. III. LET every one then in the third Place, seriously consider and inquire with himself, For what End was I thus brought into Being, and am thus con­tinually subsisted by Almighty GOD?— And for the Reso­lution of this Question, let him thus think and reason with himself. —

2. That I was not made at all adventures, without any Contrivance and Design, but must have been made for some End or other, I cannot doubt, since I have already found that he who gave me my Being, must himself be a Being of all possible Perfections, and consequently must be a most kind, wise and designing Cause: Especially, since I do also find in Fact so many, and such manifest Tokens of the wisest and most benevolent Design and Contrivance in my whole Frame and every Thing about me.

3. Being therefore made by a most wise, and good Cause, I must necessarily have been made for some wise and good End.— And having demonstrated that the Being who made me has an infinite Sufficiency within himself for his own Happiness, independant of any other Being, it is manifest, that whatever good End he had in giving me my Being, it could not be to serve himself of me, or to promote any Ad­vantage to himself by me.— This were a Thought infinitely too mean to entertain of him who is GOD All-sufficient, that it could be possible for him to stand in Need of Me, or of any Thing I could do or suffer in order to his own Happiness. —

4. Moreover, since it has been evidently discovered, that the Author of my Being is infinitely perfect, and consequent­ly [Page 33]perfectly just and good; perfectly equitable and benevo­lent; it is hence evident, that he could not give me my Be­ing with any malevolent Design; much less with a Design that I should be absolutely and unavoidably miserable not could he design Misery, for me in the whole, but in Consi­deration of my personal, voluntary Demerit, and persisting in wilful Rebellion against him;— for this would be so far from consisting with Justice and Benevolence, that it would be the severest Cruelty imaginable!— A Thought which we should abhor to entertain of the best of Beings, and remove at an infinite Distance from him.

5. Indeed in Case of wilful Rebellion persisted in, it is fit and right, and even necessary for the Good of the whole, (being the most effectual Means to secure the Obedience of his Creatures, which is necessary for their general Good and Happiness) that Punishment should be inflicted upon those that rebel, and obstinately oppose their Wills to the Consti­tution he has made, and the Ends of his Government, in Proportion to their several Crimes and Misdemeanours. — And indeed Mischief and Misery, does, in the Nature of Things, necessarily result from Sin and Vice.— But it can­not be supposed, that their Misery could be GOD's primary and absolute Design, or that he should intend their Rebellion, or lay them under a Necessity of sinning, that they might be miserable;— for this would, in Effect, be, to will Misery for Misery's Sake; which to him is infinitely impossible!

6. On the contrary, since GOD is evidently a most kind and benevolent Being, and could therefore have no other than kind and benevolent Ends in giving Being to his rational Creatures, it is plain that his primary Intention must have been so far from that of making them to be miserable, that he must have made them with a Design that they might be happy in the Participation and Enjoyment of his Goodness, in Proportion to their several Capacities.—Now the Question is, what is requisite to the Happiness of these Creatures? — It is plain that they cannot enjoy any Thing else, unless they are in a Condition first to enjoy themselves: It is no less plain that they cannot enjoy themselves, unless they act [Page 34]according to the Law of their Nature; for otherwise they act inconsistent with themselves:— and by doing so, they do a Violence to their own Nature: And in this Case they can't but be miserable.

7. Since, therefore, GOD has made them to be intelligent, free, active Creatures, their Happiness must immediately de­pend upon the right Use of the Powers he has given them: i. e. It must depend upon, consist in the free and vigorous Exertion of their own Understanding and Activity, in Con­formity to the great Law of their Nature, which is the in­ward Sense of their own Reason and Consciences.— It must therefore have been his Design that they should be happy by Means of their own Activity, and by their freely acting reasonably, or conformable to the right Dictates of their own Reason and Understanding, and consequently that they should cultivate and improve their Reason in the best Manner they can, under the Circumstances in which he has placed them, in order to make a right Judgment how they ought to act and conduct themselves, to the best Advantage for their own Happiness.

8. It may indeed be truly said that GOD made all Things for his own Glory.— But then wherein does his Glory consist? — It cannot, sure, consist in the Disorder, Confusion and Mi­sery of his Creatures:— This is impossible, nor can it consist meerly in being applauded by them:—It is indeed fit and right in itself, and for our Good, and therefore he requires it, that we should daily acknowledge him to be what he is, our Creator, Preserver and Benefactor: and nothing can be of greater Ad­vantage to us than that we live under an habitual Sense of this:— But it would be a most unworthy Thought of him, to imagine that he made us for the Sake of being applauded by us, or that he requires even these just Acknowledgments for his own Sake, as though we or our Services could be any Advantage to him. — This would be to make him a most selfish Being indeed: Especially if we should imagine that he could aim at Applause or Glory, at the Expence of our unavoidable, exquisite and endless Misery: This would be a horrid Thought.

[Page 35] 9. No: So far from this, that I must conceive the Glory of GOD to consist in the Communication of Perfections an­alogous to his own, and in the displaying his Goodness to his Creatures, and making them happy in the Participation of it, in Proportion to their several Capacities, and this in Consequence of their acting according to the Law of their several Natures. — For since he was pleased to give them a Being, it cannot be but that, as the tender Fa­ther of his own Off-spring, he must account it his greatest Interest and Glory, to see them as happy as may be, consis­tent with the Interest of the whole (to which it is fit, every Individual should resign) and take Pleasure in every Thing that contributes to their Happiness, and abhor whatsoever is destructive to it, and inconsistent with it, as his greatest Dishonour.

10. For since he that wills the End must will the Means necessary to that End, it is plain that, since GOD can't but will their Happiness in the whole, as their End, and his greatest Glory, it must be his Will and Law concerning them, that they avoid every Thing that does in the Nature of it, tend to make them miserable, and that they do every Thing that does, in the Nature of it, tend to make them happy.— So that the Glory of GOD and our Happiness with the Means necessary to it, and his Dishonour and our Misery with the Means which tend to that, must necessarily be coincident and be in Effect one and the same Thing.—

11. And, since Sin and Vice does, in the Nature of it, tend to make us miserable; being contrary to all that is right and reasonable; contrary to the Attributes and Will of GOD, to the Sense of our own Minds, and to all the Interests of Society; and must therefore do a perpetual Violence to our reasonable and social Nature, and consequently be most odious in the Sight of all intelligent Beings, as being unavoidably attended with Horror and Confusion both personal and social.— And, since, on the other Hand, a virtuous and dutiful Temper and Behaviour does, in the Nature of it, tend to our Happiness; because it consists in doing all that is right and reasonable; all that is agreeable to the Attributes and Will of GOD, to [Page 36]the Sense of our own Minds, and to all the Interests of So­ciety and therefore must necessarily be most amiable in the Sight of all reasonable Beings, as being attended with uni­versal Harmony, Peace and Joy, both within and without, with Regard both to GOD and Man: It is hence manifest, that GOD's greatest Glory must consist in our pursuing our own Happiness by avoiding the one, and doing the other.

12. But now to return.— Since I am convinced, from the above Method of Reasoning, that my Well-being and Happiness must have been GOD's End in giving me my Be­ing, I must, for the same Reason, be perswaded, that it must be a Happiness suitable to that Nature which he hath given me in the whole of it:— And consequently, since, be­sides an animal and sensitive, he has moreover given me a rational, an active and social Nature; as my superior and pe­culiar Character, it is plain, he must have designed me, not meerly for a sensual and animal, but chiefly for a rational, active and social Happiness.

13. It cannot, therefore, be supposed to be an End worthy of GOD and agreable to the Nature which he hath given me, in the whole of it, that I should have been brought into Being only to eat, and drink, and sleep, and enjoy the carnal Gratifications of the animal Life, and that my Reason and other superiour Powers should be designed only to be sub­servient to these inferiour Pleasures, (and in Effect to ren­der me more a Beast than I should have been without them;) — and that after a few Days spent in these low, grovelling Pursuits and Enjoyments, I should then be utterly extinct, cease and be no more. — These short-lived animal Enjoyments are indeed Ends suitable to the Nature of a meer Beast, and for which he is truly better qualified than I am: — but if these could be supposed all the Ends that I was made for, the noble Powers of Reason, Reflection, Conscious­ness, Self-Exertion and Self-Determination must have been given me in vain; nay indeed to the worst Purposes; for in this Case they can only serve to make me more wretched than I should have been without them, as they serve only to make me more exquisitely sensual, and, at the same Time sensible of my Wretchedness,

[Page 37] 14. At least this is certain, that these noble Powers render me capable of a vastly higher End and nobler Happiness: — But when I consider the wretched Circumstances of my Condition in this Life, it is plain that such a Happiness can be but a little while, and but very imperfectly enjoyed, in this pre­sent short and uncertain State, amid so many Sins and Follies, Embarrasments and Perplexities as I am, at best, unavoidably attended with here.— Since therefore I am evidently made for such an Happiness, and that it can't attain to any tolerable Degree of Perfection here; I must conclude that my Exist­ence shall undoubtedly reach beyond this short and uncertain Life, and extend forward to Eternal Ages. — Without this Conclusion, I cannot see how I shall ever attain to any End worthy of the Wisdom and Goodness of the GOD that made me, and suitable to the superiour Nature and Powers which he hath given me, and the superiour Happiness I am evidently capable of. —

15. And that I may live on in spite of what is vulgarly called Death, and am capable of proceeding on to a nobler and more perfect kind of Life, I cannot doubt when I consider the vastly different Natures of Spirit and Body whereof I con­sist (the one perceptive, conscious and self-active, the other meerly sensless, inert and passive;) so intirely different, that I cannot conceive of any necessary Connection between them: I can conceive of no other than a meer arbitrary Connection, depending only on the Laws of their Union, which in Na­tures so different, can be no other than the meer Will of God, so that the Soul being of a Nature intirely different from the Body cannot be capable of any corporeal Laws or Affecti­ons, and consequently cannot be liable to any such Change or Dissolution as Bodies are, i. e. being an active, simple, unex­tended, indivisible Substance, it must be naturally indiscerpible, and consequently incorruptible. — I cannot therefore imagine how the Dissolution of the Body should affect the Existence of the Soul, any more than the putting off an old Garment to put on a new one, should affect the Existence of the Body. — so that I cannot consider my Body as being my self. nor indeed, properly, as any Part of my self for my [Page 38]Soul or Mind, that intelligent active Principle; and that alone is properly my self, and my Body I can only consider as a Machine to which I am at present confined, and an Engine or Organ which I am obliged to make Use of, in my vari­ous Perceptions and Exertions ad Extra.

16. Inasmuch, therefore as I am a Spirit of an incorrupti­ble Nature, and know that I have Powers capable of the sub­lime and noble Pleasures of Contemplation and Virtue, which yet cannot, in any Measure, attain to their Perfection here; I must believe, that if I am not wanting to my self, they shall attain to it hereafter.— I can indeed, with much Labour and Struggle make some little Proficiency in my present State: — But when I have done so, and am capable and desirous of proceeding further, must I cease and be no more?— Can it be thought that the tender Father of my Spirit, would, after all my Pains, dash me to nothing, and at once frustrate all my Labours?—Can there, in this Case, any wise and good Reasons be conceived for putting an End to my Being and my Hopes together?— On the contrary, would not this seem extremely hard and unreasonable, and consequently ut­terly inconsistent with the Conduct of him who is a Being perfectly reasonable and equitable?— I find in my self an eager Appetite and earnest Aspiration after Immortality, that I may be capable of an endless Enjoyment of those noble and immortal Pleasures, which I cannot disengage my self from. — Now I do not find any Appetite, no, not of the mean­est Kind, nor in the most despicable Creature, but that GOD has provided a sutable Object correspondent to it;— Can I then imagine that he would create such a noble Appetite in so noble a Creature as Man, and have provided no Object sutable and correspondent to that?— It cannot be!

17. This Reasoning is abundantly confirmed to be right, when I consider further,* that in my present Situation, a long and laborious Course of stedfast persisting in the Cause of Truth and Virtue in Spite of the strongest Solicitations to the [Page 39]contrary, is, many Times contemned, disregarded, and bar­barously oppressed, without any Redress, and persecuted even to Death it self; and that as long a Course of unrestrained Indulgence to the vilest and most mischievous Vices is fre­quently attended with uninterrupted Prosperity to the very last. — I cannot therefore doubt, from the Wisdom, Power, Holiness, Justice and Goodness of GOD, but that the Time must come, when he will bring Good out of all this Evil, and these crooked Ways shall be made strait, and that he who can't but love Virtue, as being his own Likeness, will regard it and make it in the whole eventually happy, even above and beyond its natural Tendency: — And that he who can't but hate Vice, as being contrary to his Nature, will eventually punish it with due Severity and make it very miserable, which indeed it cannot but be in the Nature of the Thing if self.

18. The chief Difficulty that lies in the Way of this Per­suasion, of a future State, is the Inconceivableness of it. — But this, I think, can be no reasonable Objection. — For who that had never seen any thing but the universal Death of a severe and horrid Winter, could conceive any thing of the exquisite Beauties and admirable Productions of a fine Spring and Sum­mer? — Indeed, I can no more conceive how my Soul is now united to my Body, and perceives and acts by means of it, and by a meer Thought, can move it's unweildy Limbs at Pleasure, than I can conceive how it can exist, perceive, and act, after what we call Death, without this gross tangible Ma­chine, to which it is at present confined. — I can however a little assist my Imagination in forming some glimmering Noti­on of that future State from this easy Supposition of a Man born blind and deaf, who, at the same Time has the Senses of feeling, tasting, and smelling. Now to this Man the tangi­ble World, with the various Objects of Taste and Smell, is all the World that he can have any Notion of, any more than I can conceive of the future State of my Being, and of those Things which Eye hath not seen, nor Ear heard, nor have they entered into the Heart of Man to conceive. — I who have the visible World about me, and the Perception of various Sounds, [Page 40]am to this Man, what I may suppose Angels and other Spi­rits are to me: He can no more conceive of the visible World that I converse with, than I can conceive of the spiri­tual World, or the future State of my Being. — Now let me only conceive this Man to be deprived of the Senses of Feeling, Tasting and Smelling, and he is dead; intirely dead to all the World that he ever had any Notion of. But then imagine his Eyes and Ears to be open'd, and to have this glorious Show of visible Objects, Light and Colours, with all their various Modifications, set before him, with a no less, wonderful Variety of Harmonious Sounds; I must needs conceive him to have intirely a new World open upon him, to which he was before an utter Stranger. He is indeed dead to the dark tangible World, but he has exchanged it for a new visible, World. — Such a Change is very conceivable; but it can't be imagined that, what we call Death, can be a great­er; nor can I believe it will be so great a Change, it being highly probable that seeing, hearing, and some necessary In­stances of Feeling are common to both our present and fu­ture State, and a Fund to begin with (together with our in­tellectual and moral Accomplishments) when we enter upon that new Condition; wherein I can conceive that other, and more exquisite Senses may be added to these, and not only these Senses, but also our Understanding, Memory and Ac­tivity advanced to a much greater Perfection than they had bofore. — And because our Happiness must imply Society and Commerce with each other, and with the external World about us; it cannot be imagined but that we shall go off, and be always attended with fine, sensible Vehicles,* as Means to render us sensible to each other, and capable of mutual In­tercourse, and of Commerce with the sensible World around us, wherein the Deity so gloriously displays his infinite Perfections.

19. Furthermore, to add another Resemblance: — I see here a Multitude of despicable Worms, confined to a slow Motion, and a few low, grovelling Sensations and Enjoy­ments, which, after a short Period of seeming Death, by a wonderful Transformation, turn into beautiful Winged Ani­mals, and waft themselves, at Pleasure, through the Air, and [Page 41]enjoy Pleasures they were before uncapable of. — Now may it not reasonably be thought that these Creatures were designed to be Emblems of my own Case?— I am here like them, con­fined to a little Compass of Ground, and a few slow Motions, feeble Exertions, and low, and comparatively mean Enjoy­ments.— But if I shall have acted my Part well, in Propor­tion to what Powers and Advanges I now enjoy, may I not reasonably hope, after my seeming Death, to pass into a new and glorious State, compared with which, my present Enjoyments are, in a Manner contemptible, and my present Life little better than a Dream?—May I not hope that when I am freed from this gross, unweildy Body, and from my pre­sent Limitations and Confinements, and from all my present Diseases, Sins and Temptations, to have my Powers greatly enlarged, and to be furnished with a pure Aethereal Vehicle; and in that Capacity, to shift the Scene at Pleasure, and traverse through the vast Fields of Aether, and in Com­pany with other pure Spirits, enjoy Pleasures inexpressible in the Contemplation of GOD and all his wondrous Works of Nature, Providence and Grace, intirely devoted to the Obedience of his most righteous and reasonable Laws, and inconceivably happy in the Participation of his Image and Favour.

20. Upon the whole, therefore, as I cannot think the true End of my Being, especially of that superior Nature which is my peculiar Character, can be answered meerly by living this wretched, short and uncertain Life that is allotted to me here, so I must be perswaded, that I am designed for some other and nobler Condition of Being hereafter, and cannot avoid having Hopes full of Immortality. — So that the only consistent Notion I can form of this Life must be this; — that, as it is the first Stage of my Being, so it is design'd only for a State of Childhood, Discipline and Probation in order to another and better State hereafter, which, in the Result, is to be a State of perfect Manhood and Retribution. — And [Page 42]consequently, in Order to qualify my self for that happy Con­dition, it must be my greatest Care; and the most impor­tant Business of my Life, while I continue here, to acquire and improve my self in, all those Accomplishments both of Knowledge and Virtue, and that both personal and social, wherein the Perfection and Happiness of my superior, rational and immortal Nature consists, which alone, I can carry with me into that future State; and which alone can enable me to enjoy my self and my Friends, and above all my GOD, who is my supreme and sovereign Good, in whose Favour, with these Accomplishments, I shall be secure from all Evil, and in in the Enjoyment of a vast, an unspeakable and endless Felicity! — Thus it appears, That the true and ultimate End of my Being, can be nothing short of this; That I may be eternally happy in the Enjoyment of GOD and all that is good, and in the Perfection of Knowledge and Virtue, which alone can render me capable thereof.

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PART II. The Practical Part of MORAL PHILOSOPHY.

CHAP. I. Of the Duties in general resulting from the foregoing Truths.

1. II. HAVING thus considered the Nature of my Being, and of that glorious Cause whom I derive, and on whom I depend, and discovered from his Attributes what must have been the great End of that Being and Nature which he hath given me; I proceed now, from the Truths I have discovered in the first or speculative Part of this Essay, to deduce the Duties that result from them, which constitute the second or practical Part of it.

2. And, in general; from the Nature and End of my Being, which I have discovered, I must conclude, that it is my Duty in Faithfulness to my self; i. e. to that Nature and those Powers, which are given me, as being a reasonable, ac­tive and immortal Creature, and in Faithfulness to that glorious Being who is the Author and Preserver of them, to be freely engaged and active my self, in endeavouring to answer his End in the Bestowment of them; which, from the Nature of the thing, I find is to be accomplished by Means of my own Activity. — And since I am accountable to him for all the Powers and Talents he hath bestowed upon me, and must expect that he will call me to Account for them, and see what Regard I have had to his End in the Bestowment of them; it is necessary that I be, above all Things, con­cerned so to act and conduct my self, as to be able to give [Page 44]a good Account of my self to him. — And in Order there­unto, I proceed to the

3. IV. Fourth Inquiry; and ask my self, in the next Place, what I ought to be? — or, which is the same Thing, what I ought to do in order to answer the End of my Being? — or what are the necessary Means, which do in the Nature of the Thing directly tend to the Accomplishment of it? — And for the Resolution of this Inquiry, it will be needful more particularly to consider the End it self, which is God's End, and for the same Reason must be mine: for from the Nature of the End, we may, in some good Measure, discover what are those Means, whether more immediate or remote, that do naturally tend to the Attainment of it. — To this pur­pose, therefore, I must reason in the following manner.

4. The ultimate End of my Being, is, that my rational and immortal Nature may be compleatly and endlesly hap­py. — The Happiness of the rational Nature consists in that Pleasure and Satisfaction that naturally attends its being con­scious to it self of its Union with its proper Objects. — The proper Object of the Understanding is Truth, and that of the Will and Affections is Good. — so that the highest Happiness of our Nature must consist in that Pleasure that attends our Knowledge of Truth, and our chusing and delighting in Good; and consequently the Pursuit of these, must, in general be the great Duty of my Life.

5. GOD is Truth and Goodness it self, and the great Source of all that Truth and Good that is every where to be found in all his Works. — Therefore GOD, himself, with all the Truth and Good that is contained in him and derived from him, so far forth as I can attain to the practical Knowledge of it, must necessarily be the proper Object of my rational and active Powers, i. e. the Powers of my reasonable and immortal Nature. — And consequently my Duty and Happiness must consist in knowing, chusing, loving and acquiescing in him, and in resembling or being like him as far as I am able: — In a Word, in the Contemplation and Love of him, and all that [Page 45]Truth and Good which flows from him, and in forming the Temper of my Soul and the Conduct of my Life conform­able thereunto. — And this being my true Perfection and Happiness, must necessarily be his Will and Law who wills my Happiness as his End in giving me my Being and in all his Dispensations towards me.

6. From hence it follows, that my Duty and Happiness must consist, in general, in the Union of my Will with his; in sincerely chusing what he chuses, and delighting in what­soever he delights in, and in resigning to the whole System or Constitution which he hath established, both natural and moral: — and, consequently, in treating every Person and Thing as being what it really is, and what he hath made it, as he himself does; and in governing my self, in my whole Temper and Conduct, by all those Rules which promote the general Weal of the whole System as GOD does himself.— And all this I must do, with a hearty Well-Meaning, in a designed Compliance with his Will, and from a Sense of Duty to him, and stedfastly persevere in such a Conduct in spite of all Temptations to the contrary. — This is what is implied in the general Duties of Sincerity and Integrity.—

7. I must therefore, in order hereunto, duly exercise my Understanding in acquainting my self with the whole Consti­tution of Things, and in making a just Estimate among the several Kinds and Degrees of Good and Evil; and always pre­fer a greater Good before a less, and a lesser Evil before a greater. — And because the Soul is more excellent than the Body; — the Interest of the whole Community greater than that of any one Individual; — and Eternity of vastly more Impor­tance than Time: — I must therefore, willingly suffer bodily Evils to avoid Spiritual; — Private to prevent publick, — and Temporal, to secure against those that are Eternal. — And I must chearfully resign the Goods of the Body to those of the Soul, — Private Goods to those of the Publick, — and the Goods of Time to those of Eternity.

8. And that I may descend to Particulars: — Since my Happiness depends on my conducting right in the whole, [Page 46]as I am variously situated, I must consider my self in all the several Relations wherein I stand, and affect and behave my self sutably to them, that I may be happy in each of them. — Particularly, I. My first Relation is to my self, which obliges me to behave my self sutably to that rational and immortal Nature which GOD hath given me, that I may be happy in that: and this is called Human Virtue, or Virtue due from me to that human Nature whereof I consist— II. my second Relation is to GOD my Maker, Preserver and Governour, which obliges me to be have my self sutably towards such a glorious Being as he is on whom I depend, that I may be happy in him: and this is called divine Vir­tue or Virtue due to the Deity. — III. My third Relation is to the rest of my Species, of the same rational and immortal Nature with my self, which obliges me to behave sutably towards such a System of Beings as they are, that I may be happy in them, and they in me: And this is called social Virtue, or Virtue due to Society.

9. These Relations and the Duties correspondent to them, are said to be, in the general Nature of them, of immutable and eternal Obligation, because it is, in general, impossible for me ever to stand otherwise situated than I do, viz. To my self, my Maker, and my Fellow-Creatures; or if it were pos­sible that Fact should cease, it is, and always was, and ever will be, impossible to conceive of such a Being as I am, and so situated, but that these Obligations of Duty will necessa­rily take hold of me.— And, as Sincerity implies the Per­formance of these Duties, as well in the inward Temper of my Heart, as the outward Actions of my Life; so I must consider it as my first Care, to lay a good Foundation within, and to aim at nothing but the Truth and Right of the Case upon all Occasions, since in the right Performance of these Duties consists the highest Perfection and Happiness of my reasonable and immortal Nature.

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CHAP. II. Of the Duties which we owe to our selves.

1. I. It is, therefore, necessary in Order to be what I ought to be, that I first begin at home, and consider what are the Duties that I owe to my self, which are call­ed human Virtues, and are due to that human, reasonable and immortal Nature which GOD hath given me, as being neces­sary to its Happiness within it self.— And I the rather begin with these, because they are necessary in order to both the other Branches.— And

2. (I.) From what has been said, it is plain, that the first Duty incumbent upon me as a reasonable, active Creature, in order to answer the End of my Being, is, to cultivate and improve the Reason and Understanding which GOD hath gi­ven me to be the great Law of my Nature;— to search and know the Truth, and find out wherein my true Happiness con­sists, and the Means necessary to it, and from thence the Measures of right and wrong,—and to discipline and regulate my Will, Affections, Appetites and Passions according to Rea­son and Truth, that I may freely and readily embrace the one and reject the other in order that I may be truly happy. — And this Virtue is called moral Wisdom or Prudence, and stands in Opposition to Indiscretion and Incogitancy.— And,

3. (2.) Because Pride consists in a miserable Delusion, in thinking of Things otherwise than as being what they really are, and particularly in having too great an Opinion of our selves, which is a Temper utterly destructive to all true Im­provement and Proficiency either in Knowledge or Virtue, and odious in the Sight both of GOD and Man;—and since I am conscious of so many Sins and Infirmities, and other hum­bling Considerations with Respect both to Body and Mind and every Thing about me;— it is in the next Place incum­bent [Page 48]upon me to consider, and know my self, and not to think of my self more highly than I ought to think, but to think so­berly, according to what I really am.—And this Virtue, which is the true Foundation of all others, is called Humility, and stands in Opposition to Pride, Haughtiness, and Self-Suf­ficiency.— And,

4. (3.) As our Reason and Consideration is manifestly gi­ven us to make a just Estimate of Things, and to preside over our inferious Powers, and to proportion our several Ap­petites and Passions to the real Nature and intrinsick Value of their respective Objects: so as not to love or hate, hope or fear, joy or grieve, be pleased or displeased at any Thing be­yond the real Importance of it to our Happiness or Misery, in the whole of our Nature and Duration:—It must there­fore, be my Duty to maintain a due Ballance among them; to keep them within their proper Bounds, and to take Care that they do not exceed or fall short of the real Nature and Measure of their several Objects; and especially so as not to suffer them to tempt or hurry me on to trespass upon any of the Duties that I owe either to GOD or Man.— This is the Office of that Virtue which is called Moderation, and stands in Opposition to all ungoverned Lusts and Passions.— Particularly,

5. (4.) Because animal Appetites and fleshly Lusts, (I mean the Appetites to Meat and Drink and other carnal Pleasures, i. e. whatsoever is of the concupiscible Kind) do war against the Soul, and an immoderate Indulgence to them does sensua­lize and enervate, and by Consequence miserably debase and weaken its noble and superior Powers and alienate them from their proper Objects, and at the same Time, extremely hurt the Temperature and Health of the Body; it must therefore be my Duty to maintain a perpetual War with them, to curb and restrain them, to keep them under, and bring them into Subjection, and regulate them by the Ends designed by GOD and Nature in planting them in us; which is the Office of the Virtues called Temperance or Sobriety and Chastity, which stand in Opposition to all Intemperance and Debauchery.


[Page 49] 6. (5.) Because the turbulent Passions of Anger, Grief and Fear, (i. e. Displeasure and Uneasiness at what we already feel or imagine, and anxious Apprehensions of what may seem impending, or whatever else is of the irascible Kind) are apt to warp and biass our Minds, and disable them for a right Judgment and Conduct; to destroy the Peace and Tranqui­lity of our Minds and create a wretched Tumult within our own Breasts, and frequently prompt us to injurious Words and Actions; it must, therefore, be my Duty to keep them also, as far as may be, under the due Government of my Reason, and not to suffer them much to ruffle and disquiet me, much less to tyrannize over me or disable me for any Duty I owe either to GOD or Man; which is the Office of those Virtues that are called Meekness, Patience and Fortitude, which stand in Opposition to Wrath, Hatred, Impatience and Pusillanimity.

7. (6.) Because I am placed by GOD in the Station I am in, whatever it be, and he expects I should faithfully dis­charge the Duties of it, in Proportion to the Powers and A­bilities he hath given me, and hath made my own Diligence and Activity in the Use of them, the natural Means of my Well-being and Happiness in it; it must, therefore, be my Duty to acquiesce in his Allotments, to keep my Station, and to rest satisfied with the Condition in which he hath placed me, and contentedly and chearfully discharge the Du­ties of it, and be active and industrious in the Use of the Powers and Talents he has furnished me with, both for my comfortable Subsistence in this Life, and my everlasting Hap­piness in the Life to come; which are the Offices of those Virtues, which are called Contentment and Industry, and stand in Opposition to Discontent, Envy and Idleness.

8. (7.) And lastly, Inasmuch as I am to continue here but a short and uncertain Time, and am surrounded with many Troubles and Difficulties, and am placed in a State of Probation here, for an eternal State of Existence hereafter; and since that State of Being is consequently of the vastest Importance to me, and shall be more or less, happy or mise­rable, according as I behave my self, while I continue here; [Page 50]it must therefore be the most important Duty of my Life, while I continue in this present Condition, to be in a good Measure disengaged from this World and from my Body and Time, and to provide, in the best Manner I can, for that endless State which is before me; and, in order hereunto, to be daily improving my Soul in Knowledge and Virtue, especially the following Virtues both divine and social, and to be disciplining and training up myself in all those Accom­plishments and Qualifications, which alone I can carry with me when I am called off from this present Stage, and which will prepare me to be everlastingly happy in the Life to come.— This Duty is called, the Care of the Soul, in Opposition to the excessive, Love to the World and the Body. — And thus much for the Duties we owe to our selves.

CHAP. III. Of the Duties that we owe to GOD.

1. II. I Proceed now in the second Place to the Considera­tion of the Relation we stand in to GOD.— In Pursuance of which it is necessary that I seriously consider what is due to GOD from that Relation in order that I may be happy in him.—Or what those Duties are which I owe to that glorious and Almighty Being from whom I derive, and on whom I depend: which are comprehended under the general Name of Divince Virtues, without the faith­ful Performance of which, I shall rob him of his just Due, in not treating or conducting towards him, as being what he is.—And,

2. (1.) Because GOD is a Being of all possible Perfection and Excellency; the Maker, Preserver and Governor of the whole World, on whom I do intirely depend for all my Enjoy­ments here, and all my Hopes to all Eternity, and to whom [Page 51]I am accountable for all that I think, speak, and do; It is therefore, my Duty, in general, to own and acknowledge him, and to live under a deep, serious, and habitual Sense of him, as such, and to obey and please him in all my Behaviour, — This Duty is called the Knowledge or Acknowledgement of GOD, and stands in Opposition to Atheism, and the Ignorance and Neglect of him.— And,

3. (2.) Because GOD is a Being of the highest Perfection and Excellency, and therefore infinitely amiable in himself, and at the same Time infinitely kind and benevolent to me and all the World, and is continually doing Good to me and providing every Thing needful for my Subsistence and Com­fort, and by what he is, and has done for me hitherto, has gi­ven me all the Reason in the World to believe, that, if I faith­fully endeavour to please him, he will not fail to make me for­ever as happy as my Capacity will admit of; it must therefore be my Duty to delight in him as my chief Good; to prefer him and his Service before all Things, and to be wholly devoted to him both in the sincere Intentions of my Heart, and the whole Conduct of my Life. — This Duty is called the Love of God, and stands in Opposition to Hatred or Aversion to him and his Service.— And

4. (3.) Since God is infinitely sufficent to all the Purposes of my Happiness; has infinite Wisdom to direct him, Pow­er to enable him, and Goodness to dispose him to secure me from every Thing that can hinder my Well-being, and to secure to me whatsoever is requisite to my Happiness; it must therefore be my Duty to confide in him in the way of well-doing, with an intire Acquiescence in his all-wise and powerful Goodness; in one Word, in his Allsufficiency. — This Duty is called Trust or Confidence in GOD, in Opposition to all Distrust or Diffidence. — And,

5. (4.) Because GOD is thus infinitely benevolent, wise and powerful, and can't but know what is best for me infi­nitely better than I do my self, and can't be misled or con­trouled in any Dispositions he is pleased to make concerning me, and will not fail to bring Good out of Evil, and to [Page 52]bring about the best Ends by the fittest Means, and can't but consult the best Good, in the whole in all his Commands and Dispensations; in every Thing he requires me either to do or suffer; it must, therefore, be my Duty to be intirely re­signed to him, and to have my Will always united with his. This is the Duty of Submission or Resignation to GOD, in Op­position to Untowardness and Rebellion.— And,

6. (5.) Because GOD is the incomprehensibly great and tremendous, moral Governour of the World; as there is nothing that I may not hope for from his Goodness that is really for my best Good, if I faithfully endeavour to obey and please him; so on the other Hand, from his Displeasure, I can't but expect the severest Punishments if I live in Op­position to his Will, who is constantly present with me, and sees all the Tempers of my Heart and Actions of my Life, and will in a little Time call me to Account for them; It must therefore be my Duty, to think and speak of him in the most reverent Manner, to set him ever before me, and to be, above all Things, concerned not to displease him, and so­licitously careful to approve my self to him in all that I do. This Duty is called Reverence or the Fear of GOD, in Op­position to all Irreverence and Disregard towards him. —


7. (6.) Since GOD is himself, infinitely holy, true, just and good; and since it is evident from the intelligent, free, active Nature that he hath given me, that I am capable of some good Degree of Resemblance or Likeness to him; and since, by how much the more I resemble him, by so much the more perfect and happy, I must necessarily be; I must, therefore, think it my Duty to be as like him as ever I can, Holy as he is Holy, Righteous as he is Righteous, True and Faithful, Kind and Merciful as he is.— This Duty is called the Imitation of GOD, in Opposition to Unholiness, or being unlike to him.

8. (7.) And lastly, Since GOD is that Being from whom we receive all that we enjoy, and on whom we depend for all that we want, both for Time and Eternity; and as it is fit [Page 53]that we live under a deep and habitual Sense of this our De­pendance upon him; so it must be our Duty in order hereun­to, every Day that we live, most gratefully to praise him for every thing we receive, and pray to him for all that we want.— And because we cannot do this with any Meaning, without that Love, Trust, Resignation, Reverence and Imitation, which I have demonstrated to be our Duties towards him; Therefore, these Tempers and Dispositions must ever be sup­posed to attend all our Prayers and Praises, which I compre­hend under the general Name, of Devotion or the Worship of GOD in Opposition to all Profaness, Irreligion, Superstition and Idolatry.

9. And inasmuch as Mankind do thus depend upon GOD, and receive innumerable Favours from him, not only in their single, but also in their social Capacity;— and as there is a peculiar Fitness in it, as we are all Children of the same com­mon Parent, the great Father of Spirits, that we should, not only, severally, but jointly as Brethren, pay our Homage, and testify our grateful Sense of this our Dependance upon him; and as our joint Performance of this Duty does open Honour to him in the World, and has, at the same Time, a natural Tendency, the more ardently to affect our Hearts with Devotion to him, as well as to unite us the more strong­ly in mutual Benevolence one towards another; It is there­fore, fit, right, and our bounden Duty, to whorship GOD, not only in private, but also, jointly, in our Families and in pub­lick Communities, upon such stated Seasons, and in such Forms, Gestures and other Circumstances, as are generally a­greed upon, to be most expressive of Reverence, Duty and Devotion to him.— This is the great Duty of public Worship; to the honourable Support of which, we ought, both for GOD's Sake and our own, jointly and liberally to contribute. And thus much for our Duty towards GOD.

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CHAP. IV. Of the Duties that we owe to our Neigh­bours, i. e. to Mankind in general, and our Relatives in particular.

1. III. I Proceed now in the third Place to the Considera­tion of the Relation we stand in to one another.— In Pursuance of which, it is necessary that I se­riously consider what is due to that Relation; or what those Duties are which I owe to my Fellow-Creatures, and especially those of my own Species, which are comprehended under the general Name of social Virtues, which consist in general in treating, or behaving towards them as being what they and I are, in Order that I may be happy in them and they in me.— And as to these,

2. (1.) Since, as I have above observed, being furnished with the Powers of Reason and Speech, and social Affections we are evidently made for Society;— and since, by the Con­dition of our Nature, we are placed, not only, in a State of Dependance on GOD Almighty, our common heaven­ly Parent, but also in a State of mutual Dependance on each other for our Well-being and Happiness, (for that, in many Cases, we cannot well subsist without each other's Help, and, by the good or ill Use of our Powers, we are capable of being, either very useful, or very mischievous to each other;)—and since, by the Powers of Reflection and Reasoning we are enabled to place our selves in each other's Stead, and to make a Judgment, from what we feel within our selves, how we should wish to be used by others, and to discover what is best in the whole for our common Safety and mutual Advantage;—It is, from all these Considerations, manifest, that, in general, it must be our Duty to consider our selves as such, and so situated and related, as in Fact we are, and to have a hearty Good-Will towards one another as Bre­thren, and to enter into mutual Compacts for promoting our [Page 55]common Interest and Safety, and to resign every one his own private Advantage to that of the Community in which his own is best secured, and to make the common Good the Standard by which to judge of his own Duty and Interest, and be inflexibly governed by it.—This Disposition in ge­neral is called Benevolence and publick Virtue, in Opposition to Selfishness and Malevolence. — And with Regard to Particulars,—

3. (2) Inasmuch as I have many Things which I call my own, to which I have a Right, being possessed of them, ei­ther by the free Gift of GOD, or by my own Activity and Industry with his Blessing, and find they are greatly useful to my Comfort and Well-being, and feel a great Pleasure in the unmolested Enjoyment of them, and Trouble in being deprived of them:— And when I am molested or deprived by any one, without having justly forfeited them by my own Misconduct, I feel a strong Sense of Injury, and must there­fore, by Reflection, conclude that every other Person hath the same Sense of Injury in the like Case, as I have; it must therefore be my Duty not to do Injury to others in any Re­spect, whether it relates to their Souls, Bodies or Estates, &c. as I would wish to suffer no Injury from them in any of these Respects. — This Disposition is called Innocence and Inoffen­siveness, in Opposition to Injuriousness and Mischievousness.

4. (3.) Particularly; Since I know that I can't endure to be hurt in my Person, either in Soul or Body; to be rob'd of my Liberty, Estate, Wife or Children; to be belied or misrepresented in my Name or Reputation, and to be deceived and imposed upon, or any wise oppressed in my Dealings as I must conclude it to be wrong to treat others ill, in any of these or the like Instances; so, on the other Hand, for the same Reason that I think it right, that, in Subordination to the publick Sense and Interest, every one should allow me the quiet and peaceable Enjoyment of my own; my Innocence, Life, Limbs, Liberty, Estate, Wife, Children, &c. And speak nothing but the Truth to me and of me, and deal equi­tably, fairly and faithfully with me, and, in every Respect, treat me as being what I am and have; I must think it right [Page 56]and my Duty accordingly to treat others, in all these Re­spects, as I would wish to be treated by them in the like Circumstances.—And this Duty is called Justice, which com­prehends Exemplariness, Equity, Truth and Faithfulness, in Op­position to all Instances of Injustice; such as, Tempting to Sin, Murder, Maiming, Oppression, Stealth, Robbery, Adultery, Fornication, Lying, Defamation, Cheating and all Deceitfulness.

5. (4.) For the like Reasons; since I feel a great Delight in being well respected, duly valued, well spoken of and kindly treated by others, I must think it my Duty to treat others with all such Acts and Instances of Kindness and good Usage as I should, in my Turn, reasonably expect and take Pleasure in receiving;—to be ready to all good Offices in my Power, to others, whether Neighbours or Strangers, whether to their Souls or Bodies;—to say the best, and put the kind­est and most favourable Construction upon what they say or do, and to conduct towards them with Affability and Courtesy. And, as I find a great Solace under Pain and Distress in the Pity and Assistance of others; so I must think it my Duty to have the like Sentiments of Compassion and Tenderness to­wards them in the like Circumstances, whether of Mind, Body or Estate, and should act unnaturally if I did not con­tribute all that I could, consistent with other Obligations, to their Comfort and Relief.—Thus, by reflecting and conceiv­ing our selves in each other's Circumstances, our Love to our selves becomes the Foundation of our Love to others, and causes us to take Pleasure in their Enjoyments, and in communicating Pleasure to them;—to delight in doing good Offices, and in speaking kindly to them and of them,—and to sympatize with them in their Calamities, and be ready to relieve them.—All which are implied in the general Duty of Charity, which therefore comprehends Candour, Affability, Hospitality, Mercy, Tenderness and Beneficence, in Opposition to all Instances of Uncharitableness; such as, Censoriousness, Moroseness, Envy, Cruelty, Ill-nature, and Hard-heartedness.

6. (5.) Inasmuch as it is manifest from what was ob­served under the first general Head of the Duty which we owe to Society, that it is incumbent upon us to do all we [Page 57]can to promote the Weal of our Fellow-Creatures and to have a principal Zeal for the general Good, on which our own Welfare does very much depend;— And since there may be several Things in our Power, even above and beyond what meer Justice and Humanity requires, wherein we may be useful to others and to the Public; I must therefore think it my Duty to be of a free and generous Spirit as far as I am able, to be forward and ready to every good Work, and to delight in doing Good as GOD himself does, wherein-soever I may be useful in promoting his Honour and the Good of Mankind; and this from a Sense of Gratitude to him for all I enjoy.— This Virtue is called Liberality, Genero­sity, and Magnificence, in Opposition to Covetousness and Nig­gardliness, or a grudging narrow and contracted Spirit.— And for any Favours received either of GOD or Man, Gratitude is indispensibly due to the Benefactor, in Oppsition to an ungrateful Spirit, which is extremely base and odious.

7. (6.) Since the Peace and Quietness of Society, which are necessary to its Happiness, depends not only upon our avoiding every Thing that is injurious, and doing every Thing that is just, benevolent and generous; but also upon every one's being contented in his own Station, and faith­fully endeavouring to discharge the Duties of it, without in­termedling in Affairs that do not belong to his Province; and upon every one's being of a Peace-making and forgiving Spirit; I must therefore think it my Duty to keep within my own Sphere, and mind my own Business, and do the Duty that belongs to my own Station; and if I have done any Wrong, to repair the Injury and make Restitution and ask Forgiveness, as well as to be of a forgiving Spirit towards others, as I would hope GOD to be so towards me; and, in a Word, to do all that I can for preserving and promoting Friendship, good Neighbourhood and the public Tranqui­lity. — These Duties are called Quietness, Peaceableness, Friendliness and Forgiveness, in Opposition to Ambition, Con­tention, Unfriendliness, and Irreconcileableness.—

8. (7.) And, lastly, Since, according to the present Con­dition of our Nature, it cannot be but that various particular [Page 58]Relations must obtain, as being necessary for the Subsistence and Well-being of our Species, both in Mind, Body and Estate, such as, Husband and Wife, Parents, and Children, Masters and Servants, Magistrates and Subjects, Teachers and Learners, &c. It must be my Duty, which soever of these Conditions I am placed in, to behave my self sutably to it. —If I am a Husband or Wife, I must be tenderly loving and faithful.— If I am a Parent, I must be tender of my help­less Offspring and provide for them in the best manner I can, both for Body and Soul. — And if I am a Child I must be dutiful and obedient to those from whom I derive and on whom I depend. — If I am a Master I must be just and kind to my Servant: — and if I am a Servant I must be dutiful and faithful to my Master. — If I am a Magistrate I must be zealous for the public Good, and faithful, upright and im­partial in my Administration:—and if I am a Subject, I must be submissive and orderly, in Obedience to Law and Autho­rity.— If I am a Teacher I must be ready and faithful to guide and instruct; and if I am a Learner, I must be willing to be guided and ready to follow the Instructions that are given me, and to reward the Labours of those that have the Care of me.— In a Word, If I am in any superior Station of Life, I must be treatable and condescending, and if in an inferior Condition, I must be modest, respectful and decent in all my Deportment; and whatsoever Situation in Life I am placed in, I must take Care to act up to my Character whatever it be; both in those lesser Societies, founded in Nature, which are called Families, and in those larger Socie­ties founded in Compact, called Civil Governments, to which all Honour, Submission and Obedience is due in all Things law­ful and honest, in Opposition to all Instances of Turbulence, Faction and Rebellion,—And thus much for our Duties to­wards Society.

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CHAP. V. Of the subordinate Duties or Means for the more ready and faithful Discharge of the Duties above explained.

1. HAVING thus deduced from the great Principles of Truth above demonstrated the principal Branches of moral Duty founded on them, both towards GOD, our selves, and our Neighbours; I proceed now to enu­merate the chief of those subordinate Duties, which are to be performed as Means for begetting, improving and perfecting in us those moral Virtues.—And this will be done in Answer to the two last of those great Inquiries, viz.—V. Whether I am what I ought to be?— And VI. If not, What I ought to do as a Means in Order to be and do what I ought, and in Order finally to answer the End of my Being?

2. The first of those two last Inquiries will put us upon the great Duty of Self-Examination, which is a Duty of very great Importance to us; for if we do not examine and truly know our selves, how shall we be able to rectify what is a­miss, that we may be in a Capacity of giving a good Ac­count of our selves at last?— And as Seneca says, Illi mors gravis incubat, Qui nimis notus amnibus, Ignotus moritur sibi.

3. (1.) Let this then be the first Rule in Order to answer the Demands of these last Questions, and the first Means in Order to become what I ought to be, viz.—To inure myself to a Habit of serious Consideration; to suspend acting till I have well weighed the Importance of Things, that I may be under Advantage to make a wise Choice; and according to Pythagoras's Advice to his Disciples, to enter frequently into my own Heart, and take a daily and exact Survey of my whole Life;—to deal faithfully with my self, and to endea­vour [Page 60]to think of my Temper and Behaviour as being what it really is, without Partiality, and without Hypocrisy.

4. (2.) And as the Knowledge of my self is of so great Importance, Let it be the next Rule, that I entertain and cul­tivate within my self a great Sense of the Dignity of my rea­sonable and immortal Nature, and a great Reverence for it as such, which would make me always careful to do nothing un­worthy or misbecoming it in all its Relations:—Let me especially have a great Reverence for the Sense of my own Conscience as the Voice of GOD himself, that I may take Care not to live in any Course whatsoever, for which my own Reason and Conscience shall reproach me.—

5. (3.) Since I depend wholly on GOD, and he is ever present with me, a constant Witness and Spectator of all my Behaviour, in the inward Temper and Thoughts of my Heart, as well as all the outward Actions of my Life, and that I must expect to give an Account of my self to him; It must be my next Rule to endeavour to possess my self habitually of a great and reverend Sense of GOD, that I may be careful to do nothing unworthy of his Presence and In­spection, and the Relation I stand in to him, and seriously en­deavour to guard and discipline my Thoughts and Affections as well as my Words and Actions in such a Manner as that they may not be displeasing to him, but may gain his Favour and Approbation.

6. (4.) If, upon a due Survey of my Temper and Beha­viour, I find I have acted an unreasonable and vicious Part, my own Conscience will not cease to reproach me for it; so that I cannot fail of feeling a great Deal of Remorse and Uneasiness upon reflecting on my Misconduct: And if I am sorry as I ought to be, I shall hate and abhor it, as being contrary to GOD and all that is right and reasonable, and never be easy till I reform and return to my Duty and be governed by my Reason and Conscience, and every wise and good Consideration for the Time to come:—And herein consists the Nature of true Repentance and Reformation.

[Page 61] 7. (5.) If I truly repent of my past Misconduct, I shall be very watchful against all those Temptations that I find my self exposed to, either from my own Lusts and Passions with­in, or from the Solicitations of a corrupt and degenerate World without me:—I shall avoid all ill Places and bad Company where I am most liable to Danger, and consider every Thing as my worst Enemy that has a Tendency to mislead me from a stedfast Course of virtuous Behaviour.—


8. (6.) I shall be more especially upon my Guard, against those particular Failings that my own Constitution is peculiar­ly incident to, whether of the concupiscible or irascible kind, viz. Self-Conceit, Lust, Covetousness, Intemperance, Anger, Impatience, Revenge, &c.—There being, perhaps, scarce a Person to be found, but has some particular Tendency to­wards some one Vice more than another, founded in the very Frame of his Nature, which affords Matter and Occasion for particular Humiliation and Discipline.

9. (7.) If I find I have any such particular Tendency, and have contracted any vicious Habit, I must inure my self to Self-Denial and Mortification till I have got the Ascendant of it, and never content my self till I have gained and maintain the Mastery of my self, so as to be at Liberty to follow the Dictates of my Reason and Conscience, and to act up to the Dignity of my rational Nature, and my Relation to GOD, and my Fellow-Creatures, and so become what I ought to be.

10. (8.) In Order that I may discipline my self to a Rea­diness in denying my self Things unlawful, and at the same Time, to tame and subdue my Lusts and Passions, it is very fit and useful that I should frequently practise Self-Denial in Things lawful and indifferent; and especially that I should, by Fasting, deny my self such Measures or Kinds of Food and Drink &c, as might otherwise be lawfully indulged; and par­ticularly such as have a peculiar Tendency to inflame my Lusts and Passions.

[Page 62] 11. (9.) I must not content my self in any certain Pitch of Virtue, to which I imagine my self to have attained, but must press forward and persevere in a continual Struggle and perpetual Warfare throughout my whole Life, and be daily endeavouring to make all possible Proficiency in Virtue, till I gain the utmost Facility and Readiness in every virtuous Practice that the Frailty of my Nature will admit of.

12. (10.) In order to my being the more strongly engaged in the faithful Discharge of my Duty in conforming to all these most reasonable Laws, I must endeavour to keep up in my Mind an habitual Sense of their most weighty Sanctions, viz. The glorious Rewards and tremendous Punishments at­tending our Obedience or Disobedience; there being una­voidable and exquisite Pain and Misery necessarily connected with every Vice, arising from the Remorse and Reproaches of our own Minds and the fearful Apprehensions of the di­vine Displeasure, together with the natural Fruits or Effects of it upon our selves:—And, on the other Hand as cer­tain and unspeakable Pleasure and Happiness necessarily con­nected with the Practice of every Virtue, arising both from the natural Fruits and Effects thereof, and from the Appro­bation and Applauses of our own Minds and the joyous Ex­pectations of the Favour and Friendship of Almighty GOD both in Time and to all Eternity.

13. By these Means I shall at length be so inured to the Love and Practice of every Virtue, in the Perfection of which, the Happiness of Heaven it self consists, that I shall be pre­pared to quit this present Stage, and to give a good Account of my self to GOD, being, in some good Measure, quali­fied for that perfect State of Virtue and consummate Hap­piness, which is to be expected in the future State of my Existence: according to that excellent Saying of the wise Man, The Path of the Just is like the shining Light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect Day.

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CHAP VI. Of the Connection between the Law or Religion of Nature, and Christianity.

1. THUS I have given a brief Representation of the chief Principles of Religion and Morality, or a small Sketch of the great and important Truths and Duties of Moral Philosophy, which is called the Religion of Nature, all which appear to me strictly demonstrable from the first Principles of Reason, as being founded in the Nature of Things; and have most, if not all of them, been in some Measure discovered by Men of Genius in the Heathen World, who were destitute of Revelation, though perhaps somewhat enlightned by ancient Tradition from the Beginning. — I would, now only add a few Words to shew the Connection between them and Christianity, or Reveal'd Religion, which is to be considered only as a further Means for our Instruc­tion, and to beget, improve and perfect in us, all the Vir­tues of an honest Heart and good Life.

2. For however evident these Truths and Duties may be to a serious, thinking and considerate Person, who has Means of Information, and Leisure to give a proper Attention to them; yet such, and so many, are the Cares and Busi­nesses, and the Pleasures and Amusements of this Life, which do unavoidably engage the Attention of the general Rate and Bulk of Mankind, that it is hardly to be expected that they should ever attain to the distinct practical Knowledge of them in their present Condition, without Assistance from above. — So that an express Revelation is highly expedient, or rather necessary as a Means to render them, in any tolera­ble Measure capable of answering the End of their Being; especially considering that no Philosopher or Teacher, with­out a sufficiently attested Commission from GOD, even if he could discover all these Laws of Nature, could have Au­thority [Page 64]enough to enjoin them as the Laws of GOD; and that this would be the most direct and compendious Method of answering this End. —

3. And, indeed, considering that the Wisdom, Power and Goodness of GOD are such as could not fail to enable and dispose him to do all that was fit and necessary to conduct the Creatures which he had made (and would not desert,) to that Happiness which must have been the End of their Being; I cannot doubt but that even the first Parents of Man­kind, upon their first coming into Being and in their State of Innocence, being then perfect Strangers to every Thing, and having every Thing to learn, that related to their Well­being, must, in some Manner or other, have been taught by GOD himself, many Things relating to Language, Food, the Origin of Things, Philosophy, Religion &c. (at least so much as was necessary for them to begin with) in order to their Well-being and Happiness. — And when they had sin­ned against him, and fallen into a State of Mortality and Misery, it is natural to conclude, from the same Goodness and Compassion of the Father of Mercies, that he would take Pity of them and teach them, (what they could no otherwise know,) in what Method and upon what Terms they should be pardoned and restored to his Favour, and how they should so conduct for the future as to be accepted with him. — All this, is, also, very agreeable to the most ancient authentic Account we have of the Origin of Mankind.

4. Accordingly we have abundant Evidence both from Prophesy and Miracles, and undoubted Tradition ever since; That GOD, (after a Series of introductory Instructions, Revelations and Institutions from the Beginning,) did at length send a glorious Person, under the Character of his own Son, into our Nature, who had had inexpressible Glory with him before the World was; being the Brightness of his Glory, and the express Image of his Person, and by whom he visibly displayed and exerted his Almighty Will and Authority in the Creation and Government of the World, and in whom dwelt the Fulness of the Godhead bodily in his incarnate State. — This glorious Person GOD sent among us to act as a [Page 65]Mediator between him and us. — For as we are Sinners, it was very fit he should treat with us by a Mediator, and as we are Men, it was no less proper that he should do it by one that should appear in our own Nature, and converse fa­miliarly among us, that he might the better instruct us by his Example as well as his Precepts.

5. And as this was fit in it self, so accordingly the Fact was, that in this incarnate State, he abundantly prov'd by his Miracles that he was indeed a Teacher come from GOD, and being cloathed with Divine Authority, he taught us all the great Principles of moral Truth and Duty, above demon­strated, much more perfectly than ever they had been known before, and in a Manner and Language, admirably suted to make the strongest Impressions upon the Minds of Men, not only of the more thinking, but even of the general Rate and the lowest Sort of the human Kind; and enjoined them upon us, under the most weighty Sanctions and affecting Conside­rations, as the Will and Law of GOD concerning us; and at the same Time set us a most amiable Example that we should follow his Steps.

6. And, as it was highly expedient, that we should be strongly affected with a Sense of the Heinousness of Sin, as the most effectual Means to bring us to Repentance, and, at the same Time, have sufficient Security of Pardon upon our Repentance; it pleased GOD to appoint that his Son, (voluntarily submitting to it,) should die for both these Purposes; — that he should die in our Stead, as a Sacrifice for the Atonement of our Sins, and to set before us an Emblem of the Greatness of our Guilt, and the Heinousness of our Sins in order to induce us to repent of them and forsake them; and to purchase and ensure Pardon and Ac­ceptance for us upon our Repentance and Reformation: which merciful Purpose and Intention he had exhibited from the Beginning by the Institution of Sacrifices. — Accord­ingly the blessed JESUS was graciously pleased to submit to a most painful and ignominious Death, for our Sakes, mak­ing [Page 66] his Soul an Offering for our Sins, as the true Antitype of all the ancient Sacrifices.— And, thereupon (having pur­chased a Right so to do,) he did, in GOD's Name, promise and ascertain Pardon to our sincere Repentance and Return to our Duty, and the Acceptance of our faithful, though very weak, Endeavours, to yield a stedfast and persevering Obedience to all his holy Laws for the Time to come.

7. And because of our great Weakness and Inability to repent, reform and obey, without GOD's Help, amid so many Temptations to the contrary, he has also, for CHRIST'S Sake, sent his Holy Spirit, (by whom he has always immedi­ately exerted his Almighty Power in the Creation and Govern­ment of the World,) and promised his gracious Assistance to enable us to withstand the Temptations that lie in our Way; to mortify our Lusts and vicious Habits, and to comply with all the Duties incumbent upon us:— who accordingly is ever ready to assist us in all our honest and faithful Endeavours, and to render them effectual for the Renovation of our Souls, and enabling us to bring forth Fruits meet for Repentance, even all the Fruits of a sincere, universal and persevering Obedience to the Gospel.

8. And since as Things now stand, we cannot have much else in View besides a short and uncertain Life, attended with many Calamities and Death at the End of it, and should otherwise be generally attended with much Uncertainty about a future Life; CHRIST has, moreover, by his Sufferings and Death in our Behalf, taken away the Curse and Sting of our Calamities and Dissolution, and turned them into a Blessing and made them a Means of promoting our greatest Good: and, has by his triumphant Resurrection and Ascension opened to us the glorious Views of a blessed Immortality, both in Body and Soul, and ascertained to us an eternal Life of unspeakable Happiness to be bestowed upon us, in Consequence of our final Perseverance in Well-doing, conformable to his In­structions.

9. And in the mean Time; as we could not, without In­struction from above, sufficiently know what Manner of Wor­ship [Page 67]and Service would be acceptable to GOD; it was very needful that CHRIST should teach us how to worship and adore him acceptably, even in Spirit and in Truth.— And as GOD has been pleased to derive down all his Blessings and Favours to us by the Mediation of his blessed Son and the Influence of his Holy Spirit; so it is fit, as he hath taught us, that all our Worship and Service, our Prayers and Praises, should be offered up to him, by the Assistance of his Holy Spirit, and through the Mediation of his dear Son, as the Condition of their obtaining Favour and Acceptance with him.

10. And, lastly, As every Thing that concerns the Weal of Mankind, is best promoted social Combinations; so GOD has by his Son JESUS CHRIST, appointed that we do jointly combine, or unite together in promoting our true Happiness, which is the chief End of our Being, and live in the constant Exercise of social Religion and Worship for that Purpose. — And therefore, he has instituted Baptism, as a Rite of our Admittance into this Society, representing and obliging us to all Purity and Holiness in Heart and Life: — and the holy Eucharist as a Means for keeping up a lively Sense of his Sufferings and Death, and of the mighty Obligations we are under to be faithful to him who is the great Author and Finisher of our Faith, and to persevere in Love and Unity one with another as Brethren and Fellow-Members of that holy Community of all good Men and An­gels, whereof he is the Head. — And he has, moreover appointed an Order of Men to administer these sacred Rites, and to preside in the Exercise of this social Religion and Worship, and explain and inculcate the Divine Philosophy which he hath taught us, in order to qualify and prepare us for that eternal Happiness which he hath provided and as­certained to us.

11. Now, therefore, all those who do firmly believe all the great Truths of this Holy Religion whether Natural or Revealed: i. e. whether founded in Nature, or meerly de­pending on Revelation; and under the Influence of them, do, by Faith, look for Assistance and Acceptance only through [Page 68]his Mediation and in the Method which he hath prescribed; and conformable to his Instructions, do heartily repent and forsake their Sins and return to their Duty, and faithfully live and act in all their Behaviour both towards GOD and Man, from a Sense of Duty to GOD their great Creator, and JESUS CHRIST their great Lawgiver and Mediator, and persevere faithful to the Death in Obedience to the Will and Law fo GOD, made known to them by this great Prophet, his visible Representative and Vicegerent; as they are said to be true Christians, and to belong to that heavenly Com­munity which is called his Kingdom, (whereof he is the Head, Lord and King) even while they continue in this pre­sent State; so they shall through his Merits and Mediation, be accepted with him here; and inconceiveably and forever happy with him, in his glorious Kingdom in the Life to come.

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Mr. WALLASTON'S Prayer, R. N. p. 120. somewhat enlarged.

O Thou Almighty Being upon whom depends the Exis­tence of the World and every Creature therein; by whom all Things are governed and conducted to their several Ends; and by whose good Providence I have been most kindly preserved and provided for, from the Begin­ning of my Life to this Moment, and enjoyed many undeserv­ed Advantages and Favours, both for Body and Soul, and especially the inestimable Advantages of Chrisianity: I be­seech Thee graciously to accept my most grateful Sense and Ac­knowledgement of all thy Bounty and Beneficence towards me, (and particularly the Preservation of the Night, [Day] past) Let my Soul praise Thee while I live, and all that is within me bless thy holy Name.

And, whereas, notwithstanding the mighty Obligations of thy Goodness, I have, in many Instances, ungratefully and pervers­ly sinned against thy most righteous and reasonable Laws; I hum­bly declare before Thee my utter Abhorrence of all my Perverseness, and my serious Resolution to be more watchful against all Temptations, and to amend my Conduct for the Time to come. —And I earnestly beg the Forgiveness of my many Offences, and that thou wilt deliver me from the evil Consequences of all my Transgressions and Follies; and endue me with such Dispositions and Powers, as may carry me innocently and safely through all future Trials; and enable me, upon all Occasions to behave my self conformable to all the Laws of Reason and Nature, which are thy Laws; in all Wisdom and Virtue; in Temperance, Piety, Justice and Charity; with a humble Dependance on thy infinite Wisdom, Power and Goodness, and under an habitual Sense of thy All-seeing Eye, and the Account I am to give of my self to Thee.—

[Page 70] I humbly beg Leave to command my self to thy gracious Protection and Conduct (this Day [Night] and) at all Times: Suffer none of thy Creatures to injure me, no Misfortune to befall me, nor me to hurt my self by any Error or Misconduct of my own;— and vouchsafe me clear and distinct Apprehen­sions and a right Judgment in all Things, together with all virtuous Tempers and Dispositions, and so much Health and Prosperity as may be truly good for me in this present State of Probation.— Grant that I may, at least, pass my Time in Peace with Contentment and Tranquility of Mind; and, that, having faithfully discharged my Duty to Thee my GOD, to my Family and Friends, and to my Country and all Man­kind, and endeavoured to improve my self in all virtuous Ha­bits and useful Knowledge, I may at last make a calm and decent Exit, and happily find my self in a better State; a State of unmixed and endless Happiness in the Life to come.—

All which, and whatsoever else thou seest needful, both for me and my Friends and all thy People, I humbly beg through the Mediation of thy blessed Son Jesus Christ, comprehending them with my self, in that excellent Form of Prayer which he hath taught us,— Our Father, &c.


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