In Pride, in reasoning Pride their Error lies,
Who quit their Sphere and rush into the Skies.
Pietate adversus Deos sublata, Fides etiam, & Societas
Humani Generis, & excellentissima Vertus Justitia tollitur,
Credendum est neminem virorum honorum talem fuisse, nise adjuvante Deo.
Deum roga bonam mentem, bonam valetudinem Animi, deinde Corporis.
The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.
Thou castest off Fear, and restrainest Prayer before God.
Watch and pray that ye enter not into Temptation.
MAT. 26.

By SAMUEL JOHNSON, D.D. President of King's College, and Lecturer of Trinity Church, in NEW-YORK.

NEW YORK: Printed by W. Weyman, in Broad-street, not far from the Exchange. 1760.



THE following Discourse was written some Time past, at the earnest Request of a Person of Note, who put into my Hands a Manuscript, wherein it was undertaken to prove by Reason, That Prayer, as it implies a Petition to GOD, to supply any Wants of ours, is in effect, an utterly impertinent and insignificant Thing, and but a meer "useless Ceremony."—Who the Author of that Paper was, I know not, nor do I desire to know: But as the Doctrine contained in it, is of most fatal Tendency, I was willing to do my utmost to confute it.—And as I have too much Reason now, to fear there may be some others among us, that may have unhappily imbibed the like unaccountable way of Reasoning, (if it may be called Reasoning) when I had taken the Trouble of writing it, I was willing, upon the Advice of Friends, to make it more extensively useful, by com­mitting it to the Press, and I pray GOD it may be attended with his Blessing.


TO His EXCELLENCY JEFFERY AMHERST, Esq Major General, and Commander in Chief, of all His Majesty's Forces in NORTH-AMERICA.

May it please your EXCELLENCY,

AS Your Excellency's Conduct with Regard to Religion, as well as in all other Respects, has been truly exemplary; I humbly beg Leave to inscribe the following DISCOURSE, in the Cause of Religion, to Your Excellency's Name, and wish it was more worthy of Your Acceptance.

PERMIT me, SIR, on this Occasion, to join with the whole Nation, and especially, all the English AMERICA, in congratulating Your Excellency, most affectionately, on the glorious Success of His Majesty's Arms, under Your Conduct, in the Re­duction of all CANADA, which is an Event of immortal Renown, and a signal Reward of Your Piety and Virtue; and I beg Leave to subscribe myself, with great Esteem,

May it please Your Excellency, Your Excellency's, Most humble, and Most obedient Servant, SAMUEL JOHNSON.
[Page 5]

A Demonstration of the great Duty, and Usefulness of PRAYER.

WHAT is here attempted, is, a Demonstration of the Reasonableness, Usefulness, and great Duty of PRAYER, as including, not only a most grateful Acknowledgement of all the Instances of GOD's Goodness towards us, but also a humble and resigned Address to him for the Supply of our Wants, under a deep Sense of our intire Dependence upon him.

IN both these Senses I maintain, that Prayer is an indispensible Duty, founded in the Reason and Nature of Things; in the Nature of GOD and of Man, and the Relation, in which, by the Necessity of our Na­ture, we stand in to him. In order to be convinced of this, we need only consider fully, What we mean by the Word Duty?—What GOD is?—And what we are?—and the Nature of that Relation we stand in to him. These I must therefore define; and

1. By the Word Duty, I mean, that Obligation we are immediately under from the inward Sense of our own Reason and Consciences, to consider and treat, or conduct, towards every Being, Person, and Thing, as being what in Truth it is, in order to our true Happiness. But that which gives it the full Force of Obligation, and so constitutes the complete Notion of Duty, is, the Consideration of it, not only as being a Dictate of our own Reason and Consciences, arising from our Conception of the Truth and Nature of Things; but moreover, and chiefly, as being the Will of God, our great Creator and moral Governor [Page 6] concerning us, relating to what he requireth us to do or forbear, in order to our true Happiness.—Now,

2. By God, I mean, That great and glorious Being who is infinitely intelligent and active, infinitely wise and powerful, Holy, Just, and Good, from whom we and all Things derive, and on whom we do in­tirely depend for every Moment we live, and every Breath we breathe, and all we enjoy and hope for, both in Time and to all Eternity; to whom we are accountable for all that we think, speak, and do; and from whose Goodness and Justice, we have all Reason to expect we shall be rewarded, or punished, according as our Behaviour is good or bad, vertuous or vicious. Whether every one that pretends to think in earnest, hath this Notion of GOD, I know not; but to me it evidently appears, from the Con­sideration of Nature and Providence, that this is the Notion we ought to have of him. And I would wish any one that hesitates, exactly to read and consider Dr. CLARK's Demonstration of the Existence and Attri­butes of GOD; and Mr. WALLASTON's Religion of Nature; not to mention the Archbishop of CAMBRAY, and many others. And,

3. By Man, I mean, what every one that duly considers, and truly knows himself, must be intuitively sensible he really is; a meer dependent Being, that came into Being, and subsists by the meer Will and Power of GOD, having no Sufficiency in himself to continue himself in Being, Life, or Health, so much as one Moment, nor so much as to think any Thing of himself, but all his Sufficiency is of GOD, both with regard to his Being, and Well-being. He is indeed furnished with intelligent and free, active, self exerting Powers; but at the same Time, (as he is in Fact now) he is a very frail and sickly, a very weak and mortal Creature, and which is worse, he is a very sinful and untoward Creature, and is daily [Page 7] violating the inward Sense of his own Reason and Conscience, and acting contrary to the moral Per­fections, and consequently the Will of his Maker, Pre­server, and Governor.—And yet, from the divine Attributes, compared with his present State, and the Powers and Faculties he is endowed with, from whence the true End of his Being must be judged of, there seems all imaginable Reason to conclude, that this Life is not his All, but that he is now only in a State of Probation for another State after this Life; that, as to his better Part, he is really an immortal Being, and accountable for his Behaviour here.—Now therefore,

4thly. THE Relation we stand in to God, is evi­dently that of Creatures to their Creator; that of mere Dependents to their Benefactor; that of Subjects to their King and Governor; and moreover, that of Sinners and Criminals with regard to their Judge; and unable, without his Instruction and Assistance, to qua­lify themselves for, or to regain, his Favour.—If then it be our Duty, considering ourselves as being what we are, to conduct ourselves towards God as being what he is, it demonstratively follows,

5thly. THAT it must be our Duty, not only as Creatures, Children, Dependents, and Subjects, to give all possible Expression and Proof of our Love, Gratitude, and Obedience to God, as our Creator and Father, and our great Benefactor and Supreme King and Governor; but moreover, as we are frail Crea­tures, and liable to innumerable Casualties and Cala­mities, and depend on him every Moment for our Pre­servation and Well-being, it must be evidently fit, right, and our bounden Duty, every Day to implore his Protection and Blessing, and humbly address our selves to him for the Supply of our Wants.

And lastly, as we are Sinners, and have in fact, in innumerable Instances, violated our Duty to him as [Page 8] our King and our Judge, to whom we are account­able for our Behaviour; and at the same Time, if we do at all know our selves, we must be conscious, not only of our Guilt, but also of our great Weakness, and of the little Command we have of our Appetites and Passions, especially (as the Case generally is) if we have contracted any vicious Habits, which are ex­tremely difficult to conquer; I say, the Fact being thus, it must be no less evidently fit, right, and our bounden Duty, most humbly to confess and bewail our Sins, and beg God's Pardon for whatsoever we have done amiss, and to implore his Help and Assistance to ena­ble us to conduct better for the future, and to bear with Patience whatsoever he calls us to suffer in the Course of his Providence, and to do with Chearfulness and Fidelity what he requires of us, in order to answer the End of our Being, which is our true Perfection and Happiness.

Thus it appears to me, that this Duty of Prayer, is demonstratively established from the Reason and Na­ture of Things; and this Reasoning is confirmed to be Right from Fact and Experience correspondent to it, it being always found, that, by such a constant Course of Prayer, joined with Vigilance, and a due Care of their Conduct, good Men have been enabled to gain and maintain a good Mastery of their vicious Tempers and Habits, and to make Proficiency in every Virtue, agreeable to an ancient Maxim or Observation, "That as persisting in a Course of sinning will make a Man leave praying, so a stedfast Perseverance in a Course of Prayer, will eventually make a Man leave sinning, and return to his Duty."

Now against all this, it hath been objected by some, who I doubt do not rightly know God, or themselves, "That it reflects hard on the Wisdom, Benevolence, and Justice of God, to suppose, that he hath not given Mankind sufficient Capacities to distinguish Right from [Page 9] Wrong, Virtue from Vice, &c and sufficient Abili­ties to answer the End of their Being: And if he hath done this, Prayer must be a useless Ceremony." This is illustrated, by comparing Man to a Machine, which if it is not so made as to answer it's End without a con­tinual Interposition, it must give but a poor Notion of the Wisdom or Power of its Author, &c.

To this I answer:—If Man were indeed but a Ma­chine, this Reasoning would be right enough, even him supposing a conscious Machine. But it can be nothing to the Purpose if he be, as in fact he is, not only an intelligent, but also a free, active, self-exert­ing Creature, and therefore of a Nature to be led to answer the End of his Being, not by Mechanism, but in the Way of moral Government, being designed to be influenced by Considerations and Motives suggested to his Understanding, under the Sense of which he is freely to exert his own Activity, in order to answer the End of his Being.

In this Case, he may be (as in fact, I allow he is) endowed with sufficient Powers, Faculties, and Means to answer the End of his Being, so that it shall be his own Fault if he does not; and yet, as he is a free Agent, it must be in his Power to abuse his Liberty, and other Faculties, so as to fall short of it, without the Divine Interposition. But this, from the Nature of moral Government, he may always be secure of, if he will in earnest apply himself to God by Prayer, and dili­gently make use of the Means which he hath put within his Power, and pointed out to him.

But for the full clearing up of this Objection, and the further Demonstration of the Duty of Prayer, I will next proceed, and go upon the Principle the Ob­jector allows, viz. "That the Duty of any Creature must be determined, (or judged of) by the End for which it was created."—Let us then consider, what must be supposed to be the End for which Man was [Page 10] created? And as to this, no doubt but it must be al­lowed, that the End for which it must be supposed an infinitely wise and good God brought Man into Being, was, that he might do Honour to his Maker, and enjoy himself, and be, in some good Degree, happy in the Participation and Enjoyment of his Good­ness. And he that willed this End, must have willed the Means necessary to it. Consequently it is allowed, that Man is furnished with sufficient Powers, Abilities, and Means for his true Happiness. He is an intelli­gent Creature, and consequently capable of knowing wherein his true Happiness consists, and the Means of attaining it. And he is a free, active, self-exerting Creature, and therefore is capable of an active Appli­cation of himself to the Pursuit of his Happiness, in the Use of the Means conducive to it. But then, he is of himself an ignorant Creature, and therefore needs to be instructed both in the End and Means; and he is a weak dependent Being, and therefore needs to be assisted, as well as instructed; for both which he must necessarily depend upon God.

And indeed I am apt to think, that if the Nature of a Creature, as such, be duly considered, it will be found that no Creature is, or ever was, or can be made self-sufficient to its own Happiness; nor is it fit it should, if it were possible. On the Contrary, as every Crea­ture is in it self, a meer dependent Being, it is most fit that every conscious, intelligent Creature, should ha­bitually live under a deep Sense of it's Dependence, as a necessary Means to it's true Happiness, and account it its greatest Glory, it's true Perfection, and highest Satisfaction, to hold a perpetual Intercourse with the great Parent Mind, the eternal Father of Spirits, in and by whom it lives and moves, and hath it's Being; and in doing this, to make it it's own intelligent free Act, and Deed to exert and express it's Sense of it's De­pendence, and its earnest Aspirations alter, and Strug­gles [Page 11] towards an intire free active Union of it's Will with the Will of it's great and Almighty Parent, in Con­formity to the moral Perfections of his Nature, where­in it's highest Perfection and Happiness consists. And this, in Effect, is all that is implied in Prayer, which therefore must in the Nature of the Thing, be a ne­cessary Means towards answering the End of our Being. Now therefore let us lay these Propositions together.

1. The End of our Being is our true and endless Happiness. I say endless, because it is plain we can­not be truly Happy, without having a Prospect of being endlessly so; and it is no less plain that we can­not attain to the intire End of our Being, so as to be truly Happy, in this very mixed imperfect State; our Existence therefore must reach forward and extend to an endless State of further Proficiency after this Life.

2. It is impossible we should be Happy; nay im­possible in the Nature of the Thing, but that we must be miserable under the Power and Guilt of Sin, or in a Course of Deviation from moral Rectitude, both from the mischeivous Nature of Sin in it self, and from the inward Reproaches of our own Reason and Consciences, as well as the Displeasure of our Maker. On the Contrary,

3. Our true Happiness, as free, intelligent and ac­tive Beings, or moral Agents, must consist in the vast Satisfaction arising from the Consciousness of our sin­cere and faithful Practice of, and Proficiency in, all moral Virtues, and a Sense of the Divine Favour and Approbation, which will not fail to attend it.

4. Our Practice and Proficiency in all moral Vir­tues, implies, our Conformity to the moral Perfections of God, the Author of our Being, and on whom we depend; at least, our constant Care and Endeavour, as far as we are able, to be Holy as He is Holy, Pure as He is Pure, Righteous as He is Righteous, true and faithful, kind and merciful, as He is: All which are, [Page 12] in the Nature of them, conducive and necessary to our Happiness, and therefore must be his Will and Law concerning us, because he would have us happy. Now,

5thly, and lastly, The natural and necessary Means, in the Nature of Things, towards these Attainments, is to have Recourse to GOD, and converse frequently with that great Pattern of all moral Perfection; la­menting our many and great Deficiencies, in falling short of these Things, and our great Untowardness in acting so much the Reverse of them, so contrary to his blessed Will; imploring his Pardon and Mercy for our past Miscarriages, and expressing our earnest Aspi­rations after Amendment, and better Proficiency for the future; and finally, from a due Sense of the great Weakness of our Reason and Resolution, and the Strength of our Appetites and Passions, and ill Habits, and the many Temptations that surround us, earnestly soliciting the secret Influences and Assistances of that great Parent Spirit on whom we depend, to enable us to gain and maintain the Mastery of our selves, and to make all possible Proficiency in all those Virtues and moral Attainments, wherein our true Perfection and Happiness consists.

Now all these are the proper Exercises of Prayer! and sure I am, He cannot see either deep or far into the present Condition of human Nature, who is not fully sensible that such a Practice is evidently, in the Nature of Things, conducive and necessary to all moral Proficiency; and consequently, that it is so far from being "a useless Ceremony," that it is of the greatest Use, and therefore an indispensible Duty, as being a necessary Means towards answering the End of our Being.

If, indeed, our Objector is fully sure and conscious to himself, that he never has, nor ever does, in the least vary, in Thought, Word, or Deed, from the great Rules of Virtue, and moral Rectitude, it will [Page 13] be allowed that he has no Occasion to ask GOD's Par­don; and if he perfectly knows that he has always in himself that Strength and Presence of Mind, as to have and maintain an intire Mastery of his Lusts and Pas­sions, and that he can steadily withstand all Temptati­ons, and that by dint of his own Strength, he always actually does his whole Duty, all that is Right and Good, both towards GOD and Man, I own he has no Occasion to ask GOD's Help, but has infinite Re­son to be thankful, and this is all he has to do.—But I very much question, whether he can or will venture to say all this: Nay I question, whether this last was ever the Case of any Creature, no not even of the highest Angel in Heaven, without a divine Influence, much less of such a frail Creature as Man evidently is.—

For my own Part, I must be free to confess, that it is far from being the Case with me, and I believe there are very few considerate Persons but such as will rea­dily join with me. I am conscious that I am so un­toward and deficient, and so weak and infirm, that I need to ask God's Pardon and Mercy, and his Help and Assistance every Day that I live; and this I find to be the only Course I can take, in Conjunction with due Care and Vigilence, to get the better of my Infir­mities, and to make any tolerable Proficiency in Vir­tue. And it is to me the greatest Satisfaction in the World, to hold such a frequent Intercourse with the great Father of my Spirit, and thereby to impress my Mind with a due Sense of his perpetual Presence with me, and Inspection over me, and in View thereof, to commit myself to his Protection, Guidance and Bles­sing in all my Ways.

This Sense of God's universal Presence and All-see­ing Eye, which is vastly improved and cultivated by the daily Exercise of Prayer, is of the utmost Impor­tance to make us watchful and circumspect in all our Behaviour before him, nay, in the Tempers of our [Page 14] Hearts, as well as the Conduct of our Lives; and the more so, as it hath moreover the greatest Tendencey to make and keep us humble, for, Humility is the Basis of all other Virtues, as on the other Hand, Pride, Self-Conceit, and Self-sufficiency, are Tempers ex­tremely misbecoming a meer dependent, weak, and sin­ful Being, and utter Enemies to all Proficiency in Knowledge, or Virtue. It is therefore very fit that our Creator should keep us in a perpetual State of Depen­dence, and that we should, by the frequent Practice of Prayer, keep up and cultivate in our Minds, a most humble Sense of our Weakness, Dependence and Un­towardness, as a necessary Means in order to our A­mendment and Proficiency in Virtue and Happiness.

Since therefore it is thus manifest, that Prayer is in the Nature of the Thing, such an effectual Means to promote our Proficiency in all moral Virtue, in order to our true Happiness, which is the End of our Being, it is evident, That inasmuch as God wills this End, he must most certainly also will this Means, and conse­quently, that it must be his Will and Law concerning us, that we should live in the daily Performance of this Duty. It must therefore be a direct Rebellion against him, and the Constitution which he hath made, to live in the Neglect of it.

And since we are placed in Society, and have com­mon Sins to confess and reform, and common Wants, both Temporal and Spiritual, that we must depend up­on God, the common Father and Lord of all, for the Supply of, and inasmuch as every thing that Concerns our common Weal, is best promoted by social Combi­nations, it is evident that a common social and public Worship, in Prayer as well as Praise, must be our in­dispensible Duty, as well as Personal: Especially, if we moreover consider, that such a common social Wor­ship in jointly paying our common Duty, to our common heavenly Father, Lord, and Governor, is [Page 15] most amiable in itself, and hath, in the Nature of the Thing, a direct Tendency to promote universal Bene­volence, Brotherly Love, the Love of public Weal, and all social Virtues towards one another, as well as Piety towards God. So that, in order to any one's be­ing a true Patriot or Friend to the public Weal of Mankind, and his Country, it is indispensibly neces­sary that he should set a good Example of a frequent and religious Attendance on the public Worship: Nay he must be an Enemy to Mankind if he does not.—And it is a Thing of most melancholly Consideration in this degenerate Age, that since Prayer, both personal and social, hath been so much decryed and despised, and the public Worship, as well as private, so much neglected, and especially by many great Examples in our Nation, there hath been a vast Increase of all Sorts of Immo­ralities, and such a Deluge of Vice prevailing, as threatens the utter Ruin both of our Nation and its Colonies.

But to proceed. It is further objected against this great Duty of Prayer, That, in the Nature of the Thing, Prayer can attain no End, and therefore must be impertinent, because there is a certain established Course of Providence, which cannot be altered with­out a Miracle, which we have no right to expect or desire.—To this I answer,—

1. A Miracle implies a very sensible and manifest Variation from the known established Laws of Nature, whereas, he that hath studied Nature, can easily con­ceive of a thousand Cases wherein God may secretly interpose to prevent, or bring about various Events in the Course of Providence, without any sensible Varia­tion from the general known established Laws of Na­ture; as, in varying the Course of Winds and Weather, preventing or healing Sicknesses, and the like.— Nor can it reasonably be denied, or doubted, but God can secretly influence the Thoughts, Purposes and Re­solutions [Page 16] of Men, in a Manner, (in the Time of it) insensible to themselves, and without at all interrupt­ing their Freedom, which may be attended with Events, either on the one Hand very fatal, * or greatly beneficial to them on the other, that would not otherwise have occurred, and which in many Cases, may have great and lasting influence, even on the public Affairs of Mankind, as well as those of particu­lar Persons.— And I believe there are not many that have duly observed the State of their own Minds, and the Course of Providence in the various Events that have occurred to them, but who (without the least Tincture of Enthusiasm) will find Reason to be con­vinced, that they have, in several, and somtimes very remarkable Instances, been under such an Influence and Conduct, and many Events have occurred, of which no other Account could be given.—This being suppos­ed, it will follow, that it is a most reasonable Duty, not only to thank God for his kind and watchful Pro­vidence over us, but also to pray to him for his gra­cious Protection, Guidance and Blessing. But,

2. I would further observe, that as this Objection proceeds upon the Supposition of only a general Pro­vidence, or a Kind of Fate, and implies in it the Denial of any particular providential free Interposition, in Be­half of either particular Nations or Individuals, it be­trays a very low, and most unworthy Conception of the infinite Being; for it imports as tho' he either can­not or will not, so conduct the general Course of his Providence, as at the same Time to attend to, pro­vide for, and influence the Affairs of particular Nati­ons, and Communities of Men (as is fit upon some special Emergencies, either for Correction, or Retri­bution) and even of every individual Person, in Pro­portion [Page 17] to their several bad or good moral Qualifica­tions. Whereas it is certain, that his infinite Wisdom and Power must enable him, and his infinite Benevo­lence and Justice must, in all Reason, be conceived to dispose him at once, equally to give Attention to what concerns the whole of Things, and at the same Time to what relates to the Case of every Individual.

But lastly, supposing Prayer should not procure any Alteration in the Course of Providence, (as for wise and good Reasons, in many Instances the Case may be) it doth not follow but that several excellent Ends may be accomplished by it, particularly, as it cultivates and improves in our Minds a great Sense of God and our Dependence upon him, and disciplines us to the Exercise of an implicit Faith in him, and a humble Resignation to his all disposing Will, and a greater Concern to please him in all our moral Con­duct, that we may be the better qualified for future Favours. But for further Satisfaction on this Head, I would wish the Objector to read and consider well what Mr. Wollaston answers to this Objection.

And lastly, it is objected, "That Prayer implies a low and unworthy Notion of the Deity, either as not knowing or not willing what is best for us of him­self: Whereas it is impossible but that God must know what we Want infinitely better than we do our­selves, and must be disposed to do what is fit and best for us, without any Information or Importunity of ours."

To this I answer.— It is very true, God knows what we want, and is disposed to do what is best for us; but as we are reasonable, free, self-exerting Crea­tures, and our true Perfection and Happiness is, in the Nature of it, to be accomplished by our own Ac­tivity, under the Influence of the divine Aid, in the Use of proper Means, it is not fit that he should pros­titute his Favours upon us, without our own Activity [Page 18] in endeavouring to qualify ourselves for them. Since then, Prayer, as I have shewn, hath a direct and natural Tendency to promote and improve in us all those moral Qualifications that render it fit he should bestow his Favours upon us, it is therefore fit in itself, and must accordingly be his Will, that we should use this Exercise as a Means for our Proficiency, and as a Condition of his Bestowments; Just as it is fit that a kind Parent who knows what is best for his Child, and is sufficiently disposed to bestow it, should yet require him in a dutiful Manner to ask it as a Favour, as being a proper Means to cultivate and improve in him all those dutiful and filial Tempers, and that de­cent and obedient Behaviour which, as it contri­butes to his own Happiness, does at the same Time qualify him to receive his Parent's Favours.

It is therefore an utterly wrong Notion of Prayer, to imagine that the Intent of it is to inform God of what he is ignorant of, or incline him to do what is best for us, as tho' he were not otherwise so disposed. No: The Intent of it is, to keep up in our Minds a lively and habitual Sence of our Dependence, and to qualify us to receive the Blessings we pray for, by cul­tivating and improving in our Souls, all those dutiful Tempers and Dispositions of Faith, Hope, Trust in Him, and Submission to Him, and a Concern above all Things, to conform ourselves to his Will, and the moral Perfections of his Nature, wherein our real Per­fection and Happiness consists; and which are, in the Nature of the Things themselves, Qualifications ne­cessary to fit us to receive the Favours we ask for, and without which we should never answer the End of our Being.

Thus I think I have answered, or obviated every Objection that hath been offered against the Duty of Prayer▪ arguing only from the Reason and Nature of Things, to which I was confined by the Argumenta­tions [Page 19] of the Objector, who, by one Expression he has, seems to think we have no other Way of coming to the Knowledge of our Duty but by Reasoning.— But, alas! What a very little would Mankind ever have known about the Reason and Nature of Things, espe­cially Divine Things, without Divine Instruction?— When indeed, we are instructed in the first Rudiments of the Knowledge of God and ourselves, and our Rela­tion and Duty to Him and one another, the Connecti­ons that obtain in the Nature of Things between those Truths and Duties, will, to a thinking Person, be de­monstratively obvious; as Solomon observes, Wisdom is easy to him that understandeth, i. e. having learned it by teaching.—And this, I apprehend, is the Reason that we have now so many fine Demonstrations of Re­ligion and Morality, which have so blown us up with a Conceit of the Sufficiency of our own Reason, that we are apt to imagine we could have discovered all these Truths and Duties of ourselves without any Di­vine teaching; whereas the Truth is, without having first had the Data in Scripture given us, we should scarce ever have had a Thought of them, much less been able to demonstrate them by the Dint of our weak Reason.

What a miserable Hand, Mankind would have made of Reasoning from the Nature of Things, with­out Divine Teaching or Revelation, is abundantly evi­dent from Fact, to whoever looks into the real State of those Millions of People, where the Ancient Original Instructions have in a great Measure, been gradually lost, and for Want of which they are, in Fact, sunk into such an abject Condition of Ignorance and De­pravity, as is hardly to be conceived by us, who have had the inestimable Advantage of Divine Teaching.— It is true, there were some extraordinary Men in the Heathen World, that did attain to the Knowledge of many sublime Truths and Duties: But from Facts [Page 20] which there is no disputing, there is the greatest Rea­son to conclude that they would scarce ever have thought of them, if it had not been for some Remains of the Original divine Instructions handed down to them from the Beginning, by Tradition. For it is to Tradition that they frequently ascribe their best Noti­ons, which they picked up in their Travels, far and wide among the Wisest and most Ancient Nations the Chaldeans, Egyptians and Phenicins, whose Notions were still so much the better by how much the older, and the nearer they approached to the Fountain Head, and by how much the nearer Connections they had with that Nation, among whom those Original divine In­structions were handed down by Writing, together with the ancient sacred Heiroglyphics. See Shuckford's Connection, and Hutchinson's Works.

We have in particular some fine Passages in Plato, Tully, Seneca, and others, relating to the Subjects be­fore us, our Dependence on the divine Aids, and the Duty of Prayer. Plato in Menone says, ‘Virtue does not derive from Nature, nor Teaching, but from a divine Influence.’Tully in Nat. Deor. says, ‘We must believe that no Good Man was ever such, but by the Assistance of God, and that no one was ever a great Man without a divine Inspiration or In­fluence.— And Seneca, Ep. 41. says, No one is a good Man without God, and that there is no good Mind or Disposition without him. Ep. 71.’—And ‘accordingly he directs with regard to Prayer, Ep. 10. That we should first beg of God a good Un­derstanding, and good Health of the Soul, and then that of the Body.’Plato wrote an excellent Dialogue, his 2d Alcihiades, meerly upon the Subject of Prayer, wherein he introduces Socrates (who was the Oracle of Wisdom in those Days) as highly commend­ing that Prayer of an ancient Poet, ‘That God would give us those Things that are really good for [Page 21] us, whether we ask them or not; and that he would by no means grant us those Things that are bad for us, however so earnestly we should desire them.’— In short it doth not appear that any of the wisest and greatest Men, even in the Heathen World (none but a few Atheists) ever doubted but that Prayer is an indispensible Duty: All their Difficulty was to know what they ought to pray for, and how they should pray acceptably. Here indeed Socrates laments the Darkness they were under, and judges it a Thing of so much Importance, that he is perswaded God will send some great Person to instruct Mankind how to per­form this Duty.

Now I would ask our Objector; Did these great Men discover these Things by their own reasoning and the meer Light of Nature?— If so, it is plain that Prayer must be a Duty not only evidently founded in Nature, but discoverable by meer Reason, and con­sequently be a most reasonable Duty, so that it must be flying in the Face of Reason to doubt of it, or ne­glect it.—On the other Hand, if, (as I rather think) they had these Things by Tradition derived down ori­ginally from divine Instruction, (tho' when taught they appeared intirely agreeable to Reason) this proves that such an original divine Instruction and Injunction there was; and if so, it must be a direct Rebellion against Heaven, as well as Reason, to hesitate about it, and not live in the due Performance of it.

Whatever therefore some Men may think, it yet remains a most certain Truth, that God hath from the Beginning, and thro' all Ages since, at sundry Times and in divers Manners, instructed Mankind in these Affairs, and expressly declared his Will and our Duty relating to them. It is indeed a Thing of most melancholly Consideration, that this should become a Matter of doubt, as it is, with many in this degenerate Age, which, as it has sadly forsaken God, seems to [Page 22] be abandoned by him!— Nay, some have peremptorily concluded against it, while others most ungratefully make a meer Joke of it, and treat it with the utmost Contempt.—However, I can't but earnestly wish that Gentlemen would once again seriously return to the Consideration of this Matter, and be perswaded to think it, at least possible, that they may be misled:— That it is a most fatal Thing for them, if they be:— And that it is, therefore, infinitely worth the While for them, again to enquire with Candor, and without Pre­judice or Partiality, into this important Affair.— Parti­cularly I would wish them to read and consider with the utmost Exactness, some Things that have been written of late Years, and particularly Bishop Butler's Analogy, Bishop Berkeley's Minute Philosopher, and President Forbes's Works, Doctor Ellis of the Know­ledge of Divine Things, and a late Peice called Deism revealed, and Clayton, &c. against Bolingbroke, not to mention West, Leland, Browne, and several others, all which have written long since it seems by many to have been, inconsiderately taken for granted, that all Pretences to reveal'd Religion are meer Impostures.

And before I take my Leave of this Subject, I will venture to offer a short Sketch of Argumentation a priori, from the Divine Attributes, and the Nature of Things, to prove, that there must have been, and consequently that in Fact there most certainly was, from the Beginning, a Divine Revelation or Instruc­tion given to Mankind. And,

1. I presume I may take it for granted, That Man­kind were at first brought into Being by an infinitely Wise and Good God.

2. They must therefore have been made for a wise and good End.— Now, as I have observed above,

3. This End must have been, that they might be Happy, or in some good Degree enjoy themselves. And,

[Page 23]4. It is a maxim of eternal Truth, That he that wills an End, if he be Wise and Good, must, of Course, will the Means necessary for the Accomplish­ment of that End. Now,

5. Look into the Nature of Man, and consider what must be the necessary Means of his Well-being, and you will find, he must as a social Creature have some Language, and as an Animal he must know what is proper Food and other Means for his Subsistance, and consequently know something of the Nature of the Things about him.—Nor can he be Happy without knowing from thence something of the Author of Na­ture, his Maker, and Benefactor, his Preserver, and Governor, who must be his Chief Good, and conse­quently, how to conduct himself so as to be secure of his Favour in Conformity to all those moral Laws, which, both with regard to his Maker, himself, and his Species, are in the Nature of Things, necessary to his Happiness: Nor must he be ignorant of their Sancti­ons, the Happiness that will attend his Obedience to them, and the Misery that must result from his Dis­obedience.— But,

6. However so necessary these Things and the Knowledge of them are, as Means to Man's Well-being and Happiness, and however so perfect you may sup­pose his Powers and Faculties to have been, it is plain that when he first came into Being he must have been totally ignorant of them.— Now

7. It cannot, I think, be doubted, but that it was possible for God Almighty, either by himself or some other Agent, to appear to the first of our Species, and converse with them, and instruct them in the Know­ledge of all these Things, so necessary to their Well-being.

8. If therefore our Maker infinitely wise and good, designed our Well-being and Happiness as his End, it is Demonstration that he must have immediately ap­peared, [Page 24] or some how instructed the first of our Species, in the Knowledge of all these necessary Means in order thereunto, and put them within the reach of their Power, and it must have been his Will that they should make use of them for that End.—

Can it then be imagined, That the infinitely wise and good Father of Mankind, would bring them into Being and then desert them?—Would he leave them to grope out the Means of their Well-being themselves, in pursuit of which they could not fail, without In­struction, of making 10,000 fatal Blunders?—At best, if they could have at all subsisted, it must have been several Ages before they could have beat out any thing of a tolerable Scheme of Life.—It cannot there­fore be, but they must have been immediately instruct­ed and put into a State of moral Government, accord­ing to the Tenor of which they should be happy or miserable, according as they should behave themselves well or ill:— Be obedient or disobedient to his In­structions and Injunctions, under the Sanctions of Life or Death.

And when they had been surprized by a Temptati­on into an Act of Disobedience, and so forfeited that Immortality and Happiness they were designed for, and brought themselves into a State of Mortality, Sin and Misery, such as we do in Fact find ourselves in, is there not in this Case, all imaginable Reasons from the Consideration of the same Divine Attributes, his Wisdom and Goodness, to conclude, that he would still consider them with Compassion as his own Off­spring, tho' in a State of Rebellion, and at the same Time that he passed upon them the Sentence of his Justice, open a Way for Mercy to take Place con­sistent with it, and discover to them the Method and Means for their Recovery and Restoration to that Im­mortality and Happiness which they had lost by Sin?

[Page 25]In order to this, which was the original End of these Being, this new State into which they were reduced by Sin, must, in the Nature of it, necessarily require new Truths to be discovered, which they could no otherwise come to the Knowledge of, and thence new Means to be prescribed, and new Duties enjoined.— And as God must be infinitely the best Judge what is best for us, what could be more fit than that we should wholly refer ourselves to him? And what better, or other Method could be devised, than that he should treat with as Sinners by a Mediator, and that we should be required by Faith to look for Pardon, Mercy, and Acceptance, thro' the Merits and Intercession of that all-sufficient Mediator, upon Condition of our sin­cere Repentance, and return to our Duty; and to depend on the Aids of the Divine Spirit, to enable us to repent and reform, and to return to such a Faith­ful and preserving Obedience as our present frail Con­dition will admit of, and such as is, in the Nature of it, necessary to qualify us for his Favour? And in such a State of the Case, can it be, but that a constant Course of Prayer, for Pardon and Assistance, and Watchfulness against all Temptations, must be prescrib­ed, as the most apposite Means for gaining the Victo­ry of Sin, and a Habit of new Obedience, in order to that blessed End?

All these Things do thus evidently appear a priori to be most fit and reasonable in themselves, from the Consideration of the Divine Attributes, and the Nature of Things: But then they also appear, a Posteriori, to have been Fact, from the Account which the Holy Scriptures gives us of the Origin of Mankind, and the subsequent Conduct of God towards them.— In­deed the first Account of these Things is very short, and not so particular as I have represented them, espe­cially in our present Translation, tho' they appear much more so, to one that understands the Hierogly­phical [Page 26] Nature of the most ancient original Language and Institutions, and Manner of Instruction, and inter­prets them as he ought, by the subsequent Facts cor­respondent to them, both sacred and profane; the due Consideration of all which, cannot fail of giving us the highest moral Certainty, that the Nature of the Things (supposing them) are capable of: But doubt­less, they were then much more particularly explained than is accounted for, in the very short History we have of them.

Upon the whole; I can't but think that whoever shall meekly and candidly consider the whole of Things; the real Condition of Mankind, and the in­trinsic Excellency of the Things themselves, discover­ed and taught in the Holy Scriptures; their real Fit­ness to all our Needs, and to all the Purposes of Vir­tue and Happiness, which are the End of our Being; and at the same Time, the whole Series of Revelation from the Beginning, thro' all the ancient Ages, sup­ported by a Series of Miracles and Prophesies, and the exact Correspondence of Facts and Events, must be convinced, that there hath been one Uniform con­sistent Scheme of Religion and Providence worthy of God, and fitted to the present Condition of Mankind, carrying on from the Beginning of the World to this Day, and to continue to the Consummation of all Things, when Mortality shall be swallowed up of Life, in complete, unmixed, and endless Happiness.

Now supposing the Holy Scriptures to be an ex­press Declaration of the Will of God and our Duty, it would be endless to take notice of all the Passages wherein this Duty of Prayer is therein enjoined, and spoken of as practised by all good Men, and the many great and precious Promises which are made to the sin­cere and faithful Performance of it.— I shall only take notice of that Passage of the Prophet, where God de­clares his Readiness and Purpose, to do what was re­quisite [Page 27] for the Weal of his People, I have spoke it, and will do it, says he. But adds, I will yet for this be en­quired of, (or sought to) by the House of Israel, to do it for them, (Ezek. 36.37.) Which plainly intimates that which was always the great Maxim of the Divine Conduct towards the Children of Men, viz. That however ready he is to do us good, yet it is his Will that we should exert ourselves, and pray to him to co-operate with us, and to grant us what we want, as the Condition of his Bestowments. Not that he wants our Homage for his own Sake, but for our Sakes, he requires it, because he knows it is highly beneficial to us, and the best Means we can use, to render our­selves qualified for his Favours.—And this you have seen was accordingly the Practice of all the great, wise, and good Men of all Ages, not only of the Patriarchs, Jews and Christians, but even of the Hea­thens themselves.

Ought we not then severely to suspect ourselves, when we are tempted to go into Conclusions so singu­lar, whether we are not under some great Delusion, and be very jealous, whether it may not be occasioned by too much Affectation of Singularity, or too much Self-sufficiency, or Sensuality, or some other wrong Temper, which may have strangely warped and biassed our Minds?— Let us rather with all the Wise and Good, be content, and rejoice to be directed by God, who knows what are the best Means to our best Good, infinitely better than we do, and diligently make use of all the Means that he hath appointed for that End: And let us be solicitously upon our guard, least there be in any of us an evil Heart of Unbelief, in departing from the living God, our chief and only Good, and least we justly fall under that Censure which was unjustly thrown upon Job; Thou castest off Fear, and restraineth Prayer before God.—Ch. 15.4.

[Page 28]And if by any Means we have been so unhappily misled, as to have our Hearts, in any Degree alieniated from him, let us immediately and seriously bethink ourselves, and take the Advice given him by one of his Friends (22. 21.) Acquaint now thyself with God, (which is to be done by reading his Holy Word, and conversing frequently with him in Prayer) and be at Peace with him, (by the diligent Exercise of Prayer and Vigilence in all well-doing) so shall good come unto thee; all that is really Good, all that is best for thee here, and endless Happiness hereafter.— I conclude all with the excellent Advice which King David gave his Son, when he was going off the Stage, 1 Cor. 28.9. And thou Solomon, my Son, know thou the God of thy Father, and serve him with a perfect Heart and a willing Mind; for if thou seek him, he will be found of thee, but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.


A LETTER to a FRIEND, relating to the same Subject. West-Chester, January 15, 1758.

Dear Sir,

I thank you for yours of the 2d. and am very glad that you took in so good part, the friendly and well-meant Free­dom I used, in expostulating with you, on Account of your not frequenting the public Worship so much as you ought, and used to do.—Had you varied only in some meerly speculative and doubtful, or indifferent Point, the Mat­ter were not so much:— But what I wrote about was a practical Affair, and such an one, as I think must evidently appear, to any one that thinks seriously, of the greatest Importance of [...] Thing in the World beside.— It was a Matter indeed both of Truth and Right, resulting even from strict Demonstration; for so I must think the Duty of publickly worshipping the Deity, as well as in private, evidently is.—It is a Matter of strict Justice, from which no moral Agent can be at Liberty to vary. For all Moralist's must and do allow, that Gratitude is strictly due from Dependents to a Benefactor, and the Worship of GOD is in effect nothing else but our Expression of Gratitude, and of our due Sense of our Dependence on him, and Submis­sion to him, as our Supreme Father, Lord and Governor, and most kind Friend and Benefactor. See Walleston, R. N. p. 124, 5, 6, or 124— to 126.

And methinks he must have a very depraved Mind who does not see, that our constant holding this Intercourse with the Father of our Spirits, who is the Light and Life of our Souls, and the great Source and Patern of all moral Perfection, is, in the Nature of the Thing, directly connected with every good Temper, and virtuous Disposition, wherein the true Perfection and Happiness of every reasonable and immortal Nature con­sists:— And moreover, That to do this first, and most reasona­ble Act of Justice and Duty, openly and jointly, in Society with our Friends and Neighbours, as Brethren and Children of the same common heavenly Parent, does, in the Nature of it, happily tend to conciliate Benevolence, and promote every so­cial, as well as personal Virtue, wherein the public Weal and Happiness of Mankind consists; and consequently that the Ex­ample of a contrary Conduct, in neglecting so important a Duty, [Page 2] must be really Criminal; (vastly more Criminal than open In­gratitude to a human Benefactor, as base and injurious as that is accounted) especially in Persons of Education and public In­fluence in the Society: It must be Criminal, not only against their own Souls, but even against the Society itself, as well as the common Parent and Lord of the whole social System, the great Father of whom the whole Family of Heaven and Earth is named.

But you say, I am not satisfied in this, or that, or any parti­cular System, &c. Dear Sir, I beg in the Name of Truth, Can­dor, and Benevolence; is it fit you should neglect the plainest and most important Duty, both to your Maker and great Bene­factor▪ and to the Society whereof you are a Member, as well as to your own Soul, till you can do it in Company where every thing is intirely perfect, according to your Notion of Things? Can you make no Allowances for the Mistakes and Differences among Christians which yet perhaps, in many Instances, may be chiefly, if not only, in Sounds?—Would not Candor dispose you to put the best and most favourable Construction, especially on such Things as have the Sanction of the public Sense and Authority? And would not a Sense of Duty dispose you, if pos­sible to conform to it?— Is there not something extremely inde­corous in an Affectation of Singularity:mdash;And what I beseech you, do you think would in a little Time become of all public Virtue and Order, and indeed of every thing that is amiable among Mankind, if every one should renounce the open Wor­ship of the Deity, which one may do as well as another, and the lesser People will soon be apt to learn to do, from the Greater? —How can you endure so much as the Appearance of having a Hand in such public Havock? It is shocking and deplorable to see the Churches already so much deserted. And then, what a hideous Thing must it be, for a Family of young Children to be bred up under the Example of a Parent that shews no open Re­gard to the God that made them, and the Saviour that redeemed them?— What can be expected, if they have any regard for their Parent, but that they will learn from his Example, to have no Fear of God before their Eyes *; the Consequence of which will be, that they will of Course run into all manner of Vices, that will destroy them in the midst of their Days!— As the Fact has sadly been in innumerable Instances in this miserable Age, in Conse­quence of those licentious Principles that now obtain and issue in the neglect and contempt of all public Religion, as well as private.—On which Account methinks (supposing nothing evi­dently sinful imposed upon me, in which I must be active) I would be zealous and steady in worshipping God, almost any [Page 3] how, rather than not at all, and according to any System rather than none. Nay I protest, if it were possible for me to believe Chris­tianity and it's Sacraments to be but a meer human Contrivance, yet it's Moral is so excellent, and it's Doctrines and Rites do so evidently tend to purify the Heart, and to promote Devo­tion, and universal Justice and Benevolence, and all kinds of Virtue, that I would steadily attend upon all it's public Offices, and by my Example and Influence, do all the Honour I could to it, for the sake of the public good of Mankind.—

I am verily perswaded that Popery itself, as bad as it is, does nothing near the Mischief towards destroying the Virtue and morals of Mankind, as Scepticism, and the loose Notions that are so much in vogue in our unhappy Nation, and in these de­generate and apostatizing Days. How inexcusable then must it be to neglect so excellent a Method of Worship, as that in the Church of England, especially in one that does not doubt, as you profess▪ that the Christian System is a divine Revelation?— If so, how can you hesitate a Moment, to worship God accord­ing to a Liturgy that is very little else but a judicious Collection out of that very System, the Holy Scriptures, which you profess to believe?— If there be some few Passages in it that you are not well satisfied in, or that imply Doctrines about which you doubt, yet so long as you are not obliged to assent to those Particulars, they ought by no Means to tempt you to neglect a plain and most necessary Duty: And even those Passages, if you would consider them with Candor, and a Disposition to understand them in such a Sense, as, putting the most favourable Construc­tion upon them, they would well admit of, you might at least bear with them. You ought surely to consider them, (having the Sanction of Authority) at least with the like Candor, as Horace says he would have for any Author, in that fine Passage of his,—ubi plura ni [...]ent, non ego paucis, Offendar Maculis, quas aut incuria fudit, aut humana parum cavit natura.— "I will not, says he, be offended at a few Faults, which are owing to Inat­tention, or the unavoidable Frailty of human Nature."—Sine crimine nemo, optimus ille qui minimis urgetur.— "None he adds are without some fault, he is the best who has fewest,"— It is moreover even demonstrably the Result of all true Philosophy and exact Thinking, as well as Christianity, to lead us directly to God, and to the deepest and most serious Sense of our intire Dependence upon him, and our vast Obligations to his infinite Goodness: It must therefore be a most mad and vain Philosophy indeed, and Science falsly so called, that tends to alienate our Minds from him, or tempt us to neglect the constant Adoration of him, both severally and socially. So that I hope you will join, with Horace in another fine Passage, Par [...]us Deorum Cul [...] infrequens, Insipientis dum Sapientiae, Consultus erro, nunc re [...]res­ [...]m, [Page 4] vela dare, at (que) interare Cursus cog [...]r relictos, &c. The pur­port of which is, "I have but seldom been a Worshipper of the Deity, since I have been wandering after the mad Philosophy, i. e. of the Epicureans and Sceptics, but now in view of His Al­mighty Power and tremendous Authority, I am obliged to retreat and alter my Course, and return to my Duty."

There is one thing more in your Letter I beg Leave to remark upon, and I have done; and that is, your Notion, That no Man shall be accountable, or punishable for believing, or disbelieving &c. as being out of his Power, &c.— I agree with you that no Man is accountable for what is out of his Power, under such Means and Assistances as God allows him; and also, that in many Cases it is out of our Power to yield or withhold our Assent: But this is only in Matters of pure Science, either Intuitive or Demon­strative, where our Minds are passive to the clear Light of Truth: However even here, we may abuse our Liberty, by neglecting to give our Attention, or take Time to consider, &c.— But there are many Cases short of Intuition or Demonstration, and those of very great Importance, in which we are obliged either to act or forbear, and in which it may require much Thought and Care, in order to make up a just Judgment among Probabilities and Reasons of Credibility, which ought to preponderate and determine a wise and considerate Man; in doing which he must be active. And he must be a great Stranger to human Nature, who does not know that Men do many Times criminally bring themselves to be perswaded of some of the absurdest and most mischeivous Things in the World.— Quod volumus facile credimus, "What we strongly desire, we are easily induced to believe. Where Men's Pride, Lusts, Prejudices, Interests, Conversations, &c. are in one Scale, they will often strongly weigh down against the highest Probabilities, and even moral Certainty in the other; nay many Times induce them to believe, as well as to act wrong, in spite of Demonstrati [...] itself.— A very wise Man tells us, There is a Way that seemeth Right to a Man, when the End thereof is the Ways of Death; and St. Paul tells us of some, who, because they re­ceived not the Love of the Truth, but had Pleasure in Unrighteous­ness, were left to strong Delusions to believe a Lie, to their final De­struction. We should therefore take Care how we give into that fashionable Doctrine of the Innocency of Error, and be very diffi­dent of ourselves, and very jealous least some wrong Temper, or Disposition should prevail in us to byass our Judgments, and make us see Things otherwise than they really are, as it were thro' a coloured Glass, or a distempered Eye, and remember that Things are inflexible: We cannot alter them by our Imaginati­ons: They will be just what they are, let us think of them how we please. Our best Way therefore is, with great Humility, Candor and Docility, to bend our Minds to them, and endeavour [Page 5] to think of them exactly as they are, and guard against a [...] of Self-sufficiency, and leaning too much to our own Understanding, particularly, when we find ourselves tempted to vary (and especi­ally in Practice) from the public Sense and Practice of the Com­munity and of many of the wisest, the greatest and best of the human Kind.—And where Things yet remain somewhat doubt­ful, the safest Side may however be very evident: And surely he must be beside himself, who does not, in such Cases, religiously and steadily adhere to the safest Side; and who can doubt in the Case before us which that is?

In a Word, let us thoroughly know ourselves, and be deeply sensible that the Mind of Man is, at best, but a poor frail Crea­ture of itself, and stands in the greatest Need of the Divine In­struction, Conduct and Assistance: There is therefore no better Course we can take, than that suggested by the wise King▪ In all our ways to acknowledge God, and then we may confide in him to direct our Paths; and that of a Wiser than he, who tells us, If a Man will do his Will, he shall know of the Doctrine whether it be of God.—I am grieved to hear you complain of endless Doubts and Perplexities in Matters of Religion, for it is indeed a miserable State to be worried with a Spirit of Scepticism, and dark Suspi­cions and Surmizes about this, and that, and t'other.—Nubila me [...] est haet ubi regnant.—"It is a cloudy doleful State of Mind where these prevail."— Pray sit down then, and carefully dis­tinguish and separate Things certain from Things doubtful, and abide by them, and give the Doubts to the Winds; but never doubt whether you ought diligently to attend on the public Ser­vice of God.— Attend, I say, in the first Place, and above all Things, to plain evident practical Matters, and especially live in the constant regular practice of true Devotion towards God in Christ, who is our only supreme Good; and trouble not your Head with curious Disputes and Speculations, and perplexing Doubts and Intricacies, many of which, are only Strifes about Words, and others, about Things we have no concern with, and Things quite beyond our Faculties.

I will only add, that I am fully perswaded when you come to leave this World, it will be the greatest Satisfaction to you, to be able to say with the Royal Psalmist, Lord I have loved the Habitation of thy House, and the Place where thy Honour dwelleth.—I hope therefore you will this once excuse this long Letter from a faithful Friend, who is solicitously concerned for your best Good, and I commend you to God's gracious Protection, Conduct and Blessing, and remain, Dear Sir,

Your very affectionate Friend, and humble Servant, S. JOHNSON.
[Page 6]

P.S. I subjoin an excellent Passage of Dr. [...] the present most worthy Archbishop of Canterbury, in Serm. 9. P. 149.

"There must be public Virtue, or Government cannot stand: —There must be private Virtue, or there cannot be Public:— There must be Religion, or there can be neither:—There must be true Religion, or there will be false:—There must be Atten­dance on God's Worship, or there will be no Religion at all."

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