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•. as any Law whatever j or as if the Reason of i Things were not a Law, because, forsooth, it f is consider'd as having, as such, no Sanctions 'annex'd: But surely such Sanctions do not : make any thing more a Law, than it would ( be without them. They may be useful, or '' necessary, to enforce the Law, and to procure t a more regular Obedience to it; but where the 'Law is founded in Reason, it wants no other 'Sanctions to make it a Law, or obligatory, to 'all rational Agents: It is so in itself, and as 'such; and the Sanctions annex'd, are only ex'trinjic Appendages, and enter not necessarily into 'the Idea of a rational Law, or its Obligation as 'such: And whoever will say, that Sanctions » annex'd, are what only make Morality obliga
* tory upon a moral Agent, may as well fay, that
* the Sanctions make it Morality; for surely ,there 'is not more Difficulty in conceiving a moral Law 'obligatory without Sanctions, than in conceiving 'Morality without Obligation.—,But this by the 'way — They who do not like the Word Law, 'may change it, without any Detriment to the
* Question: For call it a Rule of Action j and 'then I apprehend that a rational Agent, is as
* much obliged, as such, i. e. morally obliged, to c act by the Rule of Reason, that is, to act as a 'rational Agent, or as what he is, as if it were
* a Law, guarded by a thousand Sanctions.
* Man then, being a rational Agent, is, sim'ply, and as such, morally obliged to act by the
* Law, or Rule of natural Reason; and what'ever he is so obliged to, is thereby his Duty,
}r- ''founded * founded in, and arising from, the ndtural Re'lation and Fitness of Things j which- is that
* Rule or Law. ,
'The present Question then is, whether the
* AB of ~P ray er, from Man to the supreme Being, 'be an Act to which he is, simply, as a rational c Agent, obliged from the natural Relation and
* Fitness of Things. . v.. »'
'Now,. Man is a Being sensible of the many 'and various -Wants .and Necessities, whether 'Temporal, ox Spiritual, to which he is by his. 'Nature liable. He is dependent upon the fu'preme Being, as his Creator and Preserver, for 'the Supply of such Wants}, and in whose Power
* and Will alone it is to grant, qr not'to grant, 'such Supplies.—Will; it now from hence sol-. 'low, that Man, as asensible, dependent, rational.
* Agent, is oblig'd, as such, simply, and'from 'the natural Relation and Fitness of Things, to. 'apply to that Being, in whose Power and Will
* alone it is to grant such Supplies? Does there
* not seem to be as natural a Connection, Relation,
* and Fitness, between Want, Dependence, &c..
* and Application to him on whom that Depen'dence is, and in whose Power and Will the 'Supply of such Wants are; as there is between
* any moral Fitnesses whatever I don't mean 'a Fitness of Means to an End merely, but a Fit
* ness of Congruity, a Fitness in fe, arising from 'the natural Relation between God and Man.
'May it not be sarther argued, that Man, 'being a Creature thus dependent; all such Acs 'tions, Conduct and Behaviour, which are ex~.
. 'prejtve 'preffive of an Acknowledgement of such Depen
* dence, 'are, as a rational dependent Agent,
* Parts of his moral Duty, arising simply from
* the natural Relation and Fitness of Things? Is 'there not a natural Fitness of ABion, between
such, a dependent State, and the Acknowledgment t of it'? i. e. Is not such a dependent, rational *. Agent, obliged, simply, as such, by the Rule 'of Reason, that is, by the Rule of Fitness, to 1 acknowledge himself to be, by his Conduct and 'Behaviour, what he is; and would not a .contrary 'Conduct be acting counter to the natural Relay. tion, which such a dependent, rational Agent
* bears to him, on whom he is so dependent? *v. Is not the Aft of Prayer therefore, or such 'an Act of Application, (being one of the
* strongest Means of such Acknowledgement, as
* is...before mention'd) an Action whose fmple *• Fitness is founded in the Nature and Reason '. of Things? And, if so, does it not become, as
* such, a Duty, and obligatory., a Part of the 'moral Law, or Religion of Nature? and there
* fore farther, a Part of Conduct which may be
* inquired into by the supreme Judge; to whom 'Man is accountable.—But observe here, that I ~ do not make the Obligation to arise from his f being thus accountable; but from his being a 'sensible, dependent, rational Agent: But since
* he is also an accountable Agent, he may be
* called to account for his Conduct in this, aS . well as any other Part of the moral Law.
\ Farther still, May not the like be said of an
* Obligation of Man, consider'd as a finful of «" D 'fending, 'fending, accountable Agent, to apply for Pardon to that supreme Judge, on whose JVill and 'Power alone such Pardon depends? Is there 'not, as before, a Fitness of Congruity in such 'Conduct, arising from his Nature and Circum
* stances, and the Relation he bears to God? e. 'would such a Creature act as such, if he did
* otherwise; and therefore is not a moral Obli'gatim thereby induced? . .. j., •
,*, The Cafe then being thus, is not Man, as
* a rational Agent, morally obliged to act accord'ing to these moral Relations and Fitnesses? 'Would he behave as a rational Agent, if he 'did not act according to them? If not, then 'by being such, he is morally obliged to act as 'such, i. e. he is morally obliged to act as what
* be is j since otherwise, he could not be, what 'by Supposition he is j for being such, is ailing f as such; they are the same Thing. This is
* what I mean by moral Obligation j which is 'as much Obligation as can be induced by any
* Sanctions whatever: All this I know is strange
* Language to those who cannot see that the
* Obligation, arising from the Nature and Reason 'of 'things, carries its own Sanction along with 'it, from the universal Confusion, naturally con
* sequent upon counteracting them j which, to a 'rational Agent, ought to be, (though in sact it 'prove otherwise) as strong a Sanction as any f Rewards and Punishments superadded; and 'they who deny this to be Obligation, seem to 'have no Notion of any Obligation but external, 'and coercive, or that a Man cannot be said to be
4 'bound * bound in any other Sense than that of being tied
* Neck and Heels.
* But it may be said, perhaps, that the supreme
* Being, having at once, and eternally, one 'determined Scheme of Providence, viz. of al
* wayst and invariably doing what is right and '* fit to be done in all Cafes; and knowing exter
* nally, and at once, all our Wants, and what is
* right and fit to be done; and consequently 'what, in all Cases, will certainly and invaria'bly be done j the ASl of Prayer may appear,
* in the Nature and Reason of Things, to be
* improper, and unfit; as it is supposing, either
* that God may be prevailed upon by it, to do
* what is not right and fit to be done; or else 'that he would not do what is right and fit to 'be done, without it —Also to be useless and
* unnecessary-, since it cannot be supposed that
* he will (or can, morally speaking) alter this
* one eternal Scheme of Providence, fix'd ac'cording to the Standard of Rectitude, on ac
* count of such Application as is supposed; that
* it may be also unwise (and therefore unfit) as 'our Ignorance of the whole Scheme of Provi
* dence may occasion us to ask Things unfit 'and improper, and which, however partially
* good for us, may upon the whole be not so— and the Act of Prayer be thus, in the Nature
* and Reason of Things, useless, unnecessary, un(fit, and unwise-, then, not obligatory, or a 'Dtity; but the contrary of which will be so; 'and, Thy Will be done, as-it is the shortest, so •^it may be thought, perhaps, to be also the
* wisest, and most religious Address.
D 2 'Whether