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For they were genuine Deists according to Nature, living in the Fear of God, and therefore were Realists in their Respects to Virtue. But the modern Deists, who erect their System upon the Principles of this Author, may entitle themselves to any Name sooner than true found Deifts. They make mighty high Pretences to the Love of Virtue, upon the old Stoical Principle of being its own Reward, exclusive of the Fear or Favour of God; and so are mere Nominals in the Love of it, and are like to be left in the lurch, as Brutus was, with the Name Virtue. For this Author, more exalted in his own Opinion, than in Title, derides the Fear of God as ridiculous Cowardice, and any Regard to his Rewards as no less ridiculous Avarice * The Stoicks stood to their Principle in their acutest Sufferings. But this Author shews himself Mafter neither of their Courage, nor their Con." sistency. For when his as nominal Virtue is put to the Pinch, then he calls in Rewards, Rewards to its Security and Support, at the fame time be professedly derides the Belief of them. Is not this a great Inconsistency in his moral Ara chitecture ? He neither builds in the Stoick Order and Proportion, nor, in the Socratick ; but makes a Jumble of two Contrarieties to erect one Whole,
Is that moral System beautiful, or deformid, which is deftitute of an intelligent fuper-intend, ing Power, whose head Business is to reward, and punish according to the Agent's Deportment? Is that Building of that great Connoiseur
*Cbarat. Vol. I. pag. 129.
in Beauty, or the Admirers of it most to be ad-CHAP! mired at The Antinomian Principle of serving. XVI. and pleasing God, after discarding any Obligation to his Laws and Commandments, is not more abfurd or fantastical. Besides, they who make their Duty their Interest, and engage themselves to Virtue, as God would have them, for the Sake of the folid Reward he has annex ed, have all the ideal Charms of the Beauty of Virtue, Honesty, moral Tafte, as entire to entertain them by the Way, as those Inamorato's or Don Quixot's of abstracted Charms, who scorn their supreme Interest in the Pursuit. And therefore where such an Interest joins in the Purfuit of Things lovely, the Scent mult be stronger, and the Chase furer and brisker.
And thus we rightly intend and pursue the Good and Happiness of Ourselves, the Service of God, and the Benefit of our Neighbour, in one and the fame Action. For God has made our Duty and Interest, his Glory and our own Good the same Thing ; they are but different Expressions importing the fame Meaning. Man's Happiness was the certain End of God, in creating him ; when that is intended, his Glory is effectually intended, tho' unmentioned : When an intended Work is accomplish'd, and the Work-Mafter attains the End proposed from it, he at the same Time attains all the Glory, refulting, or desired from it: And when the Glory of God is mention'd as the End of our Actions, what does that point to, but a due Care over them, not to disappoint him of his End in creating and preserving us ? When mention'd as the End of our Praise, what is that but acknowledging to his Bounty the Receipt of our
CHA P. Happiness ? So that if God seeks his own Glo
ry, by communicating of his Goodness towards our Happiness, we can never otherwise seek his Glory, but by making his Methods effectual to our own Happiness in his rewarding Favour ; at the same time we design our own true Happiness in all that we do, we design his Glory : We eat, and drink, and should act in all other Things to our own Happiness, therefore are we bid to do the fame to the Glory of God; and to glorify his Goodness by our Thanksgiving. Wherein does the Glory of a Governor consist but in consulting the general Happiness of the Governed? If that is the Scope of his Power, and the Aim of his Authority, and God is our fupreme Governor, Good, or God for that purpose, we can never think of our own, in concert with the general Happiness of Society here and hereafter, but we think of the Glory of God. The Deifts therefore, who neither intend his Glory, nor their own future Happiness from his Rewards, in any thing they do, do violently and unnaturally remove the moral Actions of Men from the Center. God has appointed to them.
No well-meaning Christian, who duly designs his own eternal Happiness, ought therefore to be disquieted; tho’I am afraid not a few have been put under false Fears, where no Fear was, left they should be Hypocrites, because they don't feel in themselves that they love God, and Virtue enough for their own Sake, but unluckily happen to think at the same Time, of their own Advantage by it. That Expression for their own Sake, tho' very common, when it comes to be examin’d, is doubtless nothing more than a Stricture of Piety, and an ex
alted Commendation of God and Virtue, and CH A P. ought to be construed always, in this Life at
XVI. least, with that Qualification. Tho' the Kingdom of Heaven consists of Righteousness, as being the Law of that Kingdom, yet that Law is admirable and amiable with respect to its hape py Confequences upon the Subjects.
· For in a strict Intendment, exclusive of all Thoughts of our own Interest therein, it is, 1. With respect of God; without Faith, the Scripture tells us, it is impossible to please bim ; and what is that Faith, but as it follows, that he is, and is a Rewarder of those that diligently seek to please him? The true Notion therefore is not
to pretend to love Virtue for its own Sake, but for God's Sake, i, e. to do good not for secular Ends and. Expectations, but with intuition on his Command, who fees in secrec whatever is intended to him, and will hereafter reward openly for it. 2. With respect to ourselves it is, in Fact, impracticable in this State of Things. But what is worse, a kind of setting up for Independency, or a scorning to be beholden, or acknowledge ourselves to be what we are, dependant 'needy Beings; an actual undervaluing of God's Rewards; preposterous and inconsiderate Arrogance in such indigent Creatures as we are, it is a false stating our own Case, and therefore must be a wrong Scheme.
Do we pretend to add any thing to God, by pretending to love bim for his own Sake? Does he really stand in any need of our Love, or can we think it is requir’d of us on his own Account? If not, let us make sense of it, and love him as heartily as ever we can, by keeping
CH A P. his Commandments for our own Sake. For XVI.
we indeed stand in need of all the good Effects of those ardent Streamings and Inclinations of the Mind towards the Author of our Felicity, as they return upon the Mind with Intereit, add great Improvement to it, by refining it from the Love of this world, and fitting it for a better. The End of loving God is to be like him, and the End of that is our own Happiness.
Our Love of God is not a giving, but an indigent receiving Love ; ,we love him because he first loved us, a Love of Gratitude for his relative, munificent, and undeserved Kindnesses. What have we to give, but the little Nothing of our Thanks, which acknowledges our Dependance, his, Fulness, and our Need of Receiving ; and is so far acceptable to the generous Giver of all our Enjoyments, and of our Hopes of more? So that to pretend our Love of God in this Life ought to be so simple, pure, and unmix'd, as to have no other Object than merely the Excellency of that Being itself, in order to render it acceptable, or convince our own Minds of the Sincerity of our Love towards him, is indeed to make our Love unacceptable to him, to convict ourselves of Hypocrisy before him, and of being Flatterers in Love, and Sya cophants in Devotion.
But the more dependant we make ourselves on him in acknowledging the Receipts of all that we have in this Life, of the Means of Grace, and the Hope of Glory in the next, then our Love and Devotion respecting him as what he is to us, our Benefactor in these Things, is truly