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as they practised them more Majorum, as a Law CHAP.
XVI. and Fashion of a Roman, i, e. with a Thirst of, publick Glory, join'd to a Contempt of private Wealth and Luxury, they increased in Empire ; kept that, and Liberty * : But as fast as Corruption enter'd, loft both with the same Pace, they advanced in each. But the Virtue of Great Britain and its Rulers is much more glorious in placing itself in the reverse ; who, having it in their Power, according to that certain Maxim of Tully, Qui mare tenet, eum neceffe eft RERUM potiri, (And is there any other Empire upon this Globe so large as the Ocean? Or so fitted to hold the Balance of at least Europe, Africa, and America ?) Yet religiously abstain from encroaching upon any of the Rights and Liberties of any of their Neighbours ; placing the very Honour and Conscience of their Dominion, in preserving the Peace, and preventing any dangerous Encroachment, one upon another, among neighbouring and respectful Nations.
It is commonly said, that Compafion, Gratitude, Friendship, are disinterested, and have not their Motives from Self-advantage ; which is true in a comparative Sense ; that there is lefs Consideration of immediate Self in them, than in other sociable Efforts : But still Self moves in each of them, and not at all to their Disparagement. These Benevolences are originally founded in Instinct, or that Affection to Society planced in us, as their Source ; and are cultivated by Reason and Consideration : For as much as some
* Patriæ rem unusquisque, non suam, augeri properabat, pauperque in divite, quam dives in paupere imperio versari malebat. Val. Max. Lib. IV. cap. 4. Vol. II.
CHAP. Persons degenerated from Humanity and Reason XVI.
are found void of them. Notwithstanding these Instincts and Affections for Society are as neceffary to folicit Reason to do good to the Publick, as Hunger, and Thirst, and Weariness, are efsential to put Reason, otherwise forgetful, in mind of providing for the Nourishment and Support of the Individual.
The first very naturally and instantaneously shoors up from the universal Root of Instinct, for rescuing from those Evils our common NaCure is liable to ; nor can any refuse it to a proper Object, but such as are loft to Humanity. The assisting such unhappy Objects is so far from opposing Self-affection, that it is an actual relief to its Commotions ; a probable Security moreover of the like Usage under our Misfortunes ; and without doubt a well-pleasing Sacrifice of Thanksgiving to God, that we have hitherto escaped.
GRATITUDE has its Foundation likewise in Nature, and in such a vehement Attraction to Benevolence, and reciprocal Returns to the Benefactor, according to our Ability; and so strong an Impulse upon the Will, that it is in a manner irresistible ; if any thing can be faid to constrain and compel it, it is that, and that is said of the Love of Christ conferr'd upon Man. And are not those Returns both in Nature, and Grace, the most generative and productive of fresh Benefits ? and can Self forget that?
Friendship is very often grounded in a natural Affinity and Cognation of Souls, from a perceiy'd Similitude of Manners and Dispositions : We cannot chuse the Nearness of our CHAP. Blood, whilst an Union as near, and dear, and XVI. faithful, is frequently chosen ; and that lives and subsists upon mutual Kindnesses and a Reciprocation of good Offices, which supposes Self on both sides. But what an incoherent recoiling Objection does Characteristicks bring against Christianity, because it does not expressly allot extraordinary Reward hereafter for extraordinary Friendship between two particular Persons here? Does not that restrain and confine his own boasted Benevolence, which he makes so generally. obligatory? And can he consistently declare that to be fo particularly rewardable, which is a manifest and sometimes vicious Limitacion of, and Exception to his own Principle ? It is a sign he was hard put to it for Objections, when he makes use of such. Do not those Friendships mutually reward themselves, when that peculiar Relation happens to be form’d by a Consent and Harmony of Minds, mutual Esteem, and reciprocal Tenderness and Affection, by blazoning Fame and making two Heroes ? Does Christianity, which in all things improves Nature, forbid it? Does it not leave Nature to its own Attraction in Simi. litudes, when they happen to concur? And are there nor accordingly Instances of such particular dear Friendship ainong Christians; whilst that Religion nobly enlarges the Affection, and would bring all Mankind into the Sphere of its Attracțion? And is not the Instance of the greatest Friend to Mankind our Savicur's dying for Enemies, illustrated from that very Exception he brings against the Apostle ? Rom. v. 7. *
Did not their very Enemies, with great Admiration, give that Character of the primitive Christians, See how they love one another? And does not Simplicius, who has wrote so very well upon Friendship, declare,
66 That a few In« ftances would be some Comfort in this mifes rable Age ; when the Vices and Vileness of “ Mankind seem to have banished it almost quite “ out of the World : *” Consequently, that fix or seven Pair of Friends in so many Ages are mention'd as an extraordinary Thing. Whereas it was so common and so much better enlarg’d among Christians, it has scarce been thought worth mentioning.
So much, in all these Respects, is private Good and Advantage affianc'd with, and connected to the Good we do unto others.
II. SUPPOSE the Motive drawn from the Relation, and Reasonableness of Things. This in some Respect coincides with the former. In one, the Agent is consider'd as he stands affeated, in the other, as he is related to Society. But this takes in the Fitness and Congruity of the Action, and derives the Motive and Obligation upon the Agent from the Confideration of his being so and fo station'd and circumstanced in Life, equally excluding, with the former, SelfAdvantage or Happiness as a faulty Principle. This is true, like the former, but not the whole Truth of the Cafe, that gives Force to the Motive, Spring to the Action, and a Tie to the Obligation, according to the STANDARD of Nature. * Com. on Epiêt. Chap. xxxvii,
сHAP. For what is Fitness and Congruity as applied
XVI. to Action, but a relative Name and Consideration of that Action, as it has a Tendency, and is adapted to some End and Purpose ? All Action has some End, and every Agent is supposed to propose that in the first Place, as his Mark, to give a Scope and View to what he is doing. Fitness then must be in the Nature of a Means to attain, or a Qualification to enjoy that End.
Now the End is actually fix'd and stated by the WILL of God, who is likewise supposed to have proposed it, as the Scope of his Works and the Purpose of his Acting. The End being fix'd, the Means and Qualifications respecting that End are likewise fix'd, and connected together inseparably in the Nature of Things he has made ; nor can any Agent make any Alteration either in the End, or the Means. If therefore he chuses and designs the End, he is necessarily and invariably obliged to chuse and pursue the Means in order to ir.
To have RespeEt unto the Recompence of Reward, is to consider che ulcimate End of our ACtions, and intend the Glory, Fruition, or Vision of God ; and if the Virtue of Righteousness and true Holiness, or Holiness of Truth, Eph. iv. 24. is the preparative Qualification and improveable Image of God for that Enjoyment, that End must be the supreme Measure and Obligation of all our moral Actions; as the Conformity of our particular subordinate Actions to the several Laws and Rules of Virtue (all being so many Directions and Cautions to that End) constitutes their particular and special Morality, F 3