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the juftnefs of this thought believe it? They do not; otherwise they would have found no ground for their complaints against Providence. They love to fay fine things about virtue; but do not believe it to be the best thing in the world; or their faith at beft is no better than that of the geuerality of profeffed Chriftians; for at bottom moft men value filver and gold above virtue, which they every day exchange for a fmall fhare of thefe metals. Meantime they affect to honour the virtuous, and complain that providence does not give them a larger share of fuch advantages as they themselves admire, and in which they place the chief happiness of man. But if men did think more honourably of virtue, and of the economy of God, they might, by a fair trial, get full fatisfaction. For if they would de vote themselves to the study of virtue, they would find things fo ordered, that in proportion to their application, would be their progrefs; and in proportion to their progrefs in virtue, would be their inward contentment; till at last, under the patronage and direction of God, they would arrive at fuch a pitch of perfection, as would enable them to make light of external advantages. It is plain, that God intends a higher happiness for man than arifes from the enjoyment of riches, or fame, or health, or strength of body or of mind, even a participation of the divine nature, and the inconceivable happinefs refulting from it; and doth fo order things, that every one who will, in good earneft, enter into this defign, fhall fucceed in proportion to his industry: to which both good and bad men, with a little attention, can bear witness in this life, and fhall give ample teftimony when the fcene is concluded; for it is then that the wifdom, power, and goodness, of the divine œconomy, shall shine forth in full luftre; and God will be juftified in all his ways.'

In the fifth book our Author treats of moral government; and here he is very fevere upon thofe who think that happiness is the ultimate end and object of the divine government: part of what he says on this head is as follows:

The only hypothefis on this fubject that is tolerable, is that which makes, not the good of the whole, but of every individual, the ultimate end and object of the divine government; affuring every one, the devils not excepted, that by a due course of fuffering, they shall be brought to happiness. This is a doctrine which no goodnatured man would chufe to confute, and no modelt man will maintain, without the authority of revelation: for if a forfeiture is incurred, it belongs to the judge, and to him alone, to grant a release. But even this hypothefis cannot take place, without the fuppofition of a forfeiture to juftice; for without a forfeiture to justice, it would be abfurdly impious to fuppofe, that the Supreme Ruler would permit multitudes of creatures to go through fcenes of vice aud mifery to that happiness to which he could bring them, by ways more agreeable to himself, and lefs painful to them. Thus you see, that justice is infeparable from our ideas of God, and cannot be excluded by any account of things devifed by the wit of men.

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The learned of our day will have us to think, that happiness, mere happiness, is the ultimate end and object of the divine government. But whatever reason there is to expect the happiness of the

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just, there is no ground to believe, that God will make bad men happy. They confidently affirm, that a being completely happy in himfelf, could have no other end in bringing creatures into exiftence, than to make them happy. But this is unpardonable rashness. For if the fole end of bringing creatures into being, was to make them happy, then they could not be in pain or mifery for a single moment; because the Supreme Ruler could not be difappointed of his end in one fingle inftance, or for one moment of time. Plans formed by beings of limited capacity may fail in the execution; but no defect can be imputed to him whofe understanding is infinite, and whofe power is without controul. This hypothefis, therefore, must be fundamentally wrong.

In writings on this fubject, the fole and ultimate end are put for the fame thing; for this reafon, that fubordinate ends are of the nature of means, that are dropped or purfued with a view only to the ultimate end; which therefore is the fole end in every just plan. Common fenfe will hardly authorife weak mortals to fix the ultimate end and object of the divine government; but the greateft poffible increase of moral worth, feems beft to correfpond to appearances, and to the dignity of the Supreme Ruler; and probably was meant, in the laf age, by the glory of God, and is now exchanged for the happinefs of the creature, by thofe who favour a more lax theology; the tendency of which error is, to bring down virtue to the rank of a mean, or fubordinate end, the place it always held with hypocrites and villains of all kinds, who regard it no farther than ferves their purpose.

They argue, that every good parent would do every thing, to the utmost stretch of his power, to make his children happy; that there is scarce a man poffefied of fo little goodness, who, if he had the power, would not make every one who exited, and every one especially whom he brought into existence, as happy as he could make them; and hence conclude peremptorily, that he who exceeds all other beings in goodness, will do every thing poffible to make his creatures happy. This, it must be owned, has a fpecious appearance, and is extremely flattering; and no wonder it fhould be greedily fwallowed. But this is nothing other than reafoning, and a fpecies too of reafoning that is apt to mislead; for it is indeed what Lord Bolingbroke calls making God after the image of man: and, what is worst of all, this fine reafoning, like many other productions of that faculty, is contrary to fact, and to all our ideas of abfolute perfection. For it is plain, God doth not all that is poflible to be done, to make all his creatures happy; and therefore the happinefs of the creature could not be the ultimate end and object of his government.

No doubt, the generality of parents would make every thing give way to the happiness of their children; because they are more itrongly attached to their childrens intereft than to juftice; and therefore, poffeffed of the power, would intend nothing but a fucceffion of pleafurable fenfations for thofe they love, and would make every thing yield and give way to their ultimate end and object. But we muft entertain higher and more honourable thoughts of the Supreme Ruler. Could we believe, that there is no effential difference be

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twixt virtue and vice, no innate beauty in the one, or odioufnefs in the other, or that an intelligent being might be infenfible to the difference, as has been faid or infinuated by late writers, we might make what we please the ultimate end and object of the divine government. But common fente perceives, and feels, the difference betwixt a man of worth and a villain, as plainly and fenfibly, as the difference betwixt black and white, fweet and bitter and to fuppofe that the difference is not equally perceptible to God, is unpardonable blafphemy. Could we believe that the Deity hath but a slender regard for the difference betwixt right and wrong conduct, fuch as appears often in parents, magiftrates, ftatefmen, and even in the generality of mankind, we might expect that he would promote the happiness of his creatures at any rate. But this fuppofition is impious and incredible. Could we fuppofe, that the love of his creatures exceeded his love of juftice, we might think he would make juftice yield and give way to the happinets of his creatures. But this fuppofition is horrid; and whatever, through the influence of felf-love, men may think in their own particular cafe, it is impoffible for a man of fenfe to entertain this judgment of the divine administration.

Upon the whole, this hypothefis, which, through the faulty negligence of the learned, has obtained an univerfal currency, is fit to be adopted by none but pirates, and robbers, and corrupted ftatef men, who fhow no regard to the difference betwixt right and wrong, beyond what fuits the purposes of them and their affociates.'

We cannot help obferving, on this occafion, that our Author has treated thofe, whom he calls the learned of our day, with an unbecoming feverity, and that he himself is guilty of the fame rafonefs which he fays is unpardonable in them. He allows that common fenfe will hardly authorife weak mortals to fix the ulti mate end and object of the divire government, and yet he fcruples not to affirm, with a fufficient degree of confidence, that all know enough of the fupreme excellence of moral worth, to filence their murmurs against its being the ultimate end and object of the divine government.

Now without prefuming to affirm what is, or what is not, the ultimate end of the divine government, it is obvious that the difference between the learned of our day and our Author is very inconfiderable. If moral worth be the ultimate end and object of the divine government, the all-wife Author of our frame has eftablished fo intimate a connection between moral excellence and happiness, that we cannot make improvements in the one without promoting the other. The difpute therefore whether moral worth or happiness be the ultimate end of the divine government, feems to be little more, if any thing, than a dispute about words.

But be the difference, between our Author and those whom he cenfures with fo much feverity, greater or lefs, it furely becomes every writer on fuch fubjects to express himself with

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great caution, modefty, and diffidence, and to confider ferioufly, whether it is not rafhnefs and prefumption in the most exalted of the human fpecies to pronounce pofitively what is the ultimate end of the divine government. We fhall make no apology for thefe obfervations, as we have too high an opinion of our Author's candour to fuppofe that he can poffibly be offended with them.

In the fixth book he treats of moral obligation; in the feventh, of confcience; and in the eighth, of a future judgment: on all which fubjects the Reader will meet with many fenfible obfervations.

The ninth book contains a refutation of objections to the evidence of primary truths; and the Doctor endeavours to fhew, that the belief of primary truths is founded on grounds that are indifputable; that all primary truths, however various in other refpects, have the fame, that is, abfolute evidence; that in judging of any fubject, no regard must be had to arbitrary fuppofitions, when oppofed to known facts or indubitable truths; that our ideas of divine truth are not more obfcure or imperfect, than are our ideas of numberless realities in nature on which we proceed without hefitation; and that the little attention we give to the primary truths of religion and morality, and not any defect of evidence, is the true caufe of the weakness of our belief.

in the conclufion our Author addreffes himself to men of fense and probity; and here we meet with the following paffage :

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If the prefent attempt to vindicate the truths of natural religion has any good effect, it will be followed with a vindication of the Chriftian revelation; as the Author of the Appeal is perfuaded, that the evidence for both is the fame for if it is allowed to be impoffible to give due attention to a few phenomena of nature, and doubt of the natural and moral government of God, he hopes he fhall make it appear to be equally impoflible, in confiftency with common fenfe, to attend to a few obfervations arifing from the face of the fcriptures, and doubt of their divine original. But in the prefen: state of things, a defence of Chriftianity feems to be premature; and a refutation of the furmifes of iceptics is of more confequence than is generally thought. Though the distempers of our ftate are not wholly, or chiefly, yet in fome measure they are owing to that fpirit of infidelity and irreligion which hath long prevailed, and is now become almoft univerfal. When the Roman republic was arrived at its highest itch of grandeur, and, through diffolutenefs of manners, was brought to the brink of that abyfs into which it plunged foon after, it is remarkable, that multitudes of all ranks, and of no contemptible character, adopted the doctrine of Epicurus; and it is worthy of notice, that numbers have appeared among us, beyond what were known in former ages, devoted to pleasure, and to money as the mean of pleasure, who profefs no religion, pay no attention to Deity, do nothing with a view to his approbation, take not the least trouble

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to fhun the things that offend him; but, with high talk about focial duties, appear on all occafions as infenfible of their obligations to their Maker as the dumb cattle. This may be imputed to a variety of caufes; but must be owing in a great measure to a wrong way of thinking about religion; because it is incredible, that people of common understanding would act this part, if they seriously believed its primary truths. They confider grofs vice as deftructive of fociety, and punishable on that account; and believe, that a decent regard to religious rites is fit and neceffary upon feveral accounts; but carry their views no farther. They do not admit the furmifes of fceptics, nor do they reject them, or not with the contempt they deferve. They allow, that the capital doctrines of religion and morality have great appearance of truth or probability, but do not believe them to be abfolutely indubitable. They have, in fhort, no fuch belief of thefe truths as would induce them to alter their courfe, or give them the leaft diflurbance on account of that forgetfulness of God into which they have fallen. What effect an earthquake, or the peftilence, or a formidable French invafion, might have, is uncertain; but it feems agreed, that there is not as much regard to God and a good confcience, as would fave the nation in a fevere trial; and hardly fo much as is neceffary for the prefervation of decency and good order. And if this is the truth, it demands the ferious attention of every good citizen, and indeed of every one who hath the feelings of a man. In vain are all our improvements in commerce, manufactures, and agriculture, if, in the nature of things, and in the righteous judgment of God, we are upon the brink of that dreadful abyfs into which the Romans precipitated themselves, through a contempt of the primary truths of religion and morality.

Whether this is indeed the ftate of thefe nations, mufl be left to the judgment of the few who are capable of looking beyond their prefent gains and prefent pleafares, to the fafety of their country; but that a difbelief, an infenfibility, and even an ignorance of primary truths, is prevalent to an uncommon degree among people of rank and fashion, and, what is most to be regretted, amongst those of otherwife refpe&table characters, is apparent.

There remains, then, no hope under heaven, but in that portion of probity and good fenfe yet to be found in a people once ce. lebrated for thefe qualities; and to it we appeal.'

We have only to add, that it will give us pleasure to see our Author's Vindication of the Chriftian Religion, and hope he will foon favour the public with it.

ART. VIII. Sentimental Fables. Defigned chiefly for the Use of Ladies. 8vo. 6s. bound. Robinfon.

1772.

N our Review for March, 1771, we fully expreffed our warm esteem of the pleafing method of conveying useful leffons to young and tender minds, by apologues, or moral fables, properly adapted to strike their imaginations, and impress their

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In the account of Dr. Langhorne's Fables of Flora.

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