CHA P. For Piety and Virtue being a moral Obligation XVIII.

upon the Will, as the indispensable Qualification of Man's Happiness; the Truth and Application of the Means, without which that Obligation can't be duly put in Practice, is morally obligatory upon the Will also : If one is a Duty, fo is the other ; if one is necessary, fo is the other. Thus Truth in the Understanding distinguishing true Good from false, in the only true Do&trine, and Instruction of Happiness, (the chief Enquiry after Truth) is chosen, and embraced in the Afpect of being its Good, with a careful Regard to those Refolutions it would bring in, whereon Happiness depends, i. e. for Reproof, for Cor. tection in Righteousness.

If Faith is a Conclusion of a Syllogism for trụe Happiness, and that Conclusion, as such, depends in part upon the Understanding; then Faith, consists in the Fidelity of all the Powers constitutive of the inward Mạn, Understanding, Will, and Affections, to Truth constitutive of Man's Happiness, called in Luke viii. 15. the bonest and Good Heart (a Word that comprehends those three Faculties) bonest, as void of Prevarication, free from Excuses, Self-delusion; good, as Self-determin'd to Self-Salvation, his own greateft Good, and to the Love thereof; and if the Excellency of it so much consists in Fidelity, it must certainly be a moral Virtue. In the Understanding that Fidelity becomes the Guide of Life; in the Intentions Sincerity; in the Affections Purity; in the Will a Choice and Determination cleaving to the Reward of Virtue. For as every Word and Deed derives its Character of Virtue before God, from the Bent and Preference of the Will; it is not the knowing, affenting, or


approving Duty in the Understanding that makes CH A P. Virtue, but by reducing it into Practice by the XVIII. effectual Determination of the Will. The Virtue then of these sort of Men, like the Gnosticks of old, seems to consist chiefly in knowing, defcanting, and talking of it, and talking every body else out of the true Way to that, and Happiness. They appear contented Candidates for Heaven in the Province of Knowledge and Notion, desirous of no other Proficiency in Virtue, than the scientifick Stage of it, according to the Heathen Lucilius,

Virtus est hominis, SCIRE id, quod quæque

habeat res. Virtus, SCIRE, bomini, re&tum, utile, quid

fit bonestum, Que bona, quæ mala item, quid inutile, turpe,

honestum. Virtus, quærenda finem rei SCIRE, modum.


WHEN Faith is obedient to the End, as the Means and the moral Cause of producing it, whoever would obey the Religion of the End to the best of his Power, must conform to the Religion of the Means according as it falls into his Power, and arrives at his Knowledge: The moral Obligation to one is unquestionable, therefore the moral Obligation to the other should as little be brought in question, since Christianity has been proved to be a Scheme of the best Means to that End. Nor is it possible, duly confidering the Nature of God, or Man, for any Man to assign a better, or any so well adapted, in itself, to the compassing of that End,


But what if Faith is the first Principle, and Basis of Natural Religion as well as reveald. and without it, there is a moral Imposibility of pleasing God? Thạt God is, and is a Rewarder of those that diligently seek to please him, is the Creed of Nature; and if a Believer in God does not exert his Faith to chat moral Relation between God and Man, as a Rewarder of Gincere Diligence in serving him, he cannot possibly, as it is very natural to imagine, be the Servant of God, or God be otherwise pleas'd with him.

THOUGH the Believer of God's Existence should be mistaken as to some of his natural Perfections, yet keeping his Faith and Reason up to the religious Aspect of being a Rewarder, that secures all his moral Attributes; and actually exerts them, in fome indeterminate Manner, in his Government over Man. His Veracity in keeping Promise, whence the Notion of Rewarder implanted in Man's Reason had its Confirmation from Heaven from the Beginning, before Adam was turn'd out of Paradise ; his Mercy, Goodness, and Love: And his being a Punisher necessarily included in the other, fecures and exerts his Holiness, and Justice towards the Transgressor. And that lays an implicit Foundation for the Love and Fear of God, and all moral Obedience. And therefore they who reject the explicit, have nothing but implicit Faith to rely upon, which they take so much felf-condemning Pains to deride. But the Author I reply to (more especially one of them) take a more effectual Step, and do the Work at once; in order to supplant Chriftianity, they subvert and tear Natural Religion up by the Roots ; by rejecting God as a Re


warder, the general, common, natural Principlec H AP.
of all Virtue and Hope of Acceptance, they XVIII,
effectually reject all his moral Attributes, and
cancel all moral and religious Obligation to

Now, does not Christianity reveal and unfold that Faith, and render it explicit in all those Particulars ; bow, and for what Reason, and upon whose Account; he is a Rewarder, and Pardoner, and Accepter of our Worship, and Service; and how and in what prescribed Method of the Divine Wisdom all those moral Attributes are to have their governing Influence, and take Effect upon us ? And if the other implicit Faith, wrapt up in Generals, was morally Obligatory, surely this explicit Faith must be much more so, as being so much more satisfactory, and particular. This gives an immediate adequate Explanation of the Bishop of Bangor (now Salisbury's Passage of Sermon before the Society for propogating the Gospel as cited by the Author of Christianity as old, &c. "pag. 68. where the Gospel is ftiled a Republication of the Law of Nature. I persuade myself his Lordship had these original Truths in his View when he express'd himself in that Manner, of which the other has taken fuch Advantage; with this Key, the Affertion bears quite another Meaning, than as it is used and adopted by that Author and brought into Title ; for indeed the Gospel requiring Repentance in virtue of its Explanation of the first Promise, in its Precepts must be declarative likewise of that original Religion, of the End, which was as old as the Creation, the Breach of which Law of Nature was to be repented of.

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XVIII. Ar the fame Time we know and believe how

God is a Rewarder, we know how is a Punisher;
and if this Faith employ'd to its proper Ends is
absolutely necessary, where ever it is sufficiently
reveal'd, to gain Acceptance with God and pre-
vent the other Inconvenience; then it becomes
Self-preservation, the Transgression of which
Law is certainly a very great Sin: And I hope
Self-preservation will be allow'd to be a moral and
the first and greatest of the moral Virtues, tho'
never once called fo. So likewise Faith accom-
plishes its End of good Works, tho' not callid
a moral Virtue, is nevertheless, in the Nature
of Things, the Head of all the moral Virtues
in the Religion of pleasing God. Therefore
that Foundation must be false, That the Christian
Revelation is only a Means of Information, with-
out any Obligation of Believing *

Thus Faith is the Beginning of cleaving unto + God, and one of the weightier Things of the moral Lawll, which must certainly be meant of Faith in God, and not towards Man, because the parallel Plaçe varies it the Love of God I. Besides, all Laws, Human and Divine, when they oblige to the End, oblige, at the same Time, to the properest Means, in the Subject's Power, for answering the End, and punish for the Neglect. And when the Legillator, at any time, enacts and requires any particular, more explicit and effectual Means for advancing and securing the Law of the End, the Subject is par

The Foundation of that Book, Christianity not Myftegious. t Eccl. xxv. 12.

Matth. xxiii. 23. Luke xi. 42.


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