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Fool; not so much for want of natural Sense, as
From the foregoing Arguments, and many The absolute others, 'tis evidently prov'd there is a God; and and moral
Perfections not only that, but we may from thence, and by
and Attributes the fame Method of Reasoning, plainly discover
of God discoand infer most of his Attributes and Perfections, verable by the which render him, to us his Creatures, an awful Light of Naand adorable Obječt. As first, that God is a necessarily Self-existent and Eternal Being ; that he is an Unchangeable and Independent Being ; that he is but One; that he is a Being most Simple, Uniform, Indivisible, and Incorruptible ; that he is Omnipotent, or All-powerful ; Omniscient, or infinite in Knowledge ; that he is a Pure Spirit, without Body, Parts, or Passions ; that he acts freely, as he pleases, without Necesfity: And, lastly, that he must necessarily be a Being of infinite Goodness, Mercy, Justice, and Truth, and all other moral Perfections ; such as become the supreme Ruler and Judge of the World.
The Providence of God is most rationally in- The Proviferr'd from his being proved the Author or Maker dence of God,
or his Governof the World, and all Things therein. For not
ment of the only Man, as being endow'd with Understanding World, and all and Wisdom, but even Birds, Beasts, Infects, Things therein, and all Creatures having Life and Sense, we con- plainly inferrid ftantly observe to have a special Care, Regard, from the Light and Tenderness of their Offsprings; and as it is a Part of natural Goodness, can we, on any account, suppose the fame Carefulness and providential Regard to the Works of his Hands, wanting in that great Being whom we grant to be possess’d of infinite Goodness, Mercy, and
Benevolence? But this is directly proved from several Observations on the Works of Nature, as the Motions of the heavenly Bodies, contrary to the proper Laws of Nature, &c. to answer a general End. Wherefore we must conclude, that the fame God who created all Things, and upholds and preserves them by his continual Concourse, does also, by his all-wise Providence, constantly govern and direct the Issues and Events of Things, takes care of this lower World, and of all, even the finallest Things therein ; disposes Things in a regular Order and Succession in every Age from the Beginning of the World to its final Period; but inspects, with a more particular Regard, the
moral Actions of Men. A Future State A FUTURE State of Rewards and Punishof Rewards ments may be concluded also by the Strength and Punish, and Light of Reason. For, (1.) The Nature of ments proved. Man
is such, that he acts freely, of choice, and First, from Man's being unconstrained ; and hath a Law imprinted in his an accountable Mind, which constantly directs him to do that, Creature; and in every Cafe, which is fit and requisite from the the Nature of Nature of Things. If he acts agreeable to this Virtue and
Law of right Reason, it is reputed Virtue ; if contrary to it, it is called Vice : But Virtue merits Reward, and Vice Punishment, from the Nature thereof: Yet there Rewards and Punishments, ’tis plain, are not equally distributed in this Life; and since they are from God, to whom alone Man can be accountable for his moral Actions, and he is infinitely just, it follows there must be another and future State, in which Vir. tue and Vice must receive a perfect and equitable Distribution of Rewards and Punishments, pro
portionable to the several Degrees of Merit and Secondly, from Demerit. (2.) From the natural Inclination and Nan's natural Desire of Immortality, and an unavoidable ConDefire of Im
cern for what is to come hereafter, implanted in mis tality.
all Men, we may very probably conclude a Future State. (3.) The Dignity and Excellency of Thirdly, from Man's Nature plainly shews him design'd and the Dignity of intended for a better and more worthy State of Man's Nature. Life, than the best he can enjoy in this World, (4.) The natural Self-consciousness and Judgment Fourthly, from which all Men secretly make of their own Actions Conscience. in their own Minds, is by all allowed to be no small Proof of a future State of Account. (5.) It Fifthly, from hath been the confess'd Judgment and Opinion of the Consent of almoit all the Heathen World, and has obtained Nations. as universally, both as to Time and Place, nearly as the Notion of a God itself; and therefore mult be the Result of Reason, and deem'd a Certainty.
HAVING establish'd in the Mind a firm and Piety the imrational Belief of a Deity, his Providence and mediate ConGovernment of the World, and a future State of sequence of our Life, there must necessarily ensue the Practice of bis Providence,
Belief of God, Piety, or an effectual Sense of the Obligations and a Future we are under to love, fear, serve, praise, pray to, State. and adore the sacred Name, and glorious Majesty of God. From hence also we are induced to trust in, to rely and depend upon him ; to exercise Patience and Hope in Times of Amiction and Adversity, and to keep ourselves humble in Times even of the greatest Prosperity and Feli
city; to have always a due and folemn Regard | to the Rectitude of all our Actions, and to be
always in a proper Degree of Resignation both of ourselves and Fortunes, to the sovereign Dispose and Pleasure of God, who tho' he be the Most
High, and his Dominion over all, yet he is i righteous in all his Ways, and his tender Mercies
are over all his Works.
Of ETHICS, or Moral Virtues.
219THICS is that Science, or pra- Definition of
Etical Discipline, which teacheth Ethics.
are capable of in this Life. This Science is also called Morality, or Moral Philosopby.
It is called Morality, because it directs the Why call d Manners of Men aright, and determines them to Morality. the Ways of Virtue, and from the deceitful and dangerous Paths of Vice.
Since the chiefest Happiness of Life consists The Object of, in the Tranquillity and Pleasure of the Mind, and and Prerequithis can proceed from nothing but the Conscious- fates to this
. ness of a Series or Life of Actions perform'd according to the Rule of Reason, Virtue, and Honesty; it follows, that in order to have a just Notion of this most useful Science, and treat of it in a proper Manner, we must first consider the Nature of buman Astion, and the Law by which it is regulated.
Human Action, or Agency, is that which/ari- Human Actions seth from the proper and distinguishing Princi- what, and ples of Man, viz. the Will and Understanding. It muft flow from the Will, that it may be free ; and from the Understanding, that it may be rational ; and being thus both free and rational, it must be buman.