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gry with them: Let us no,w proceed to enquire, whether it afforded them anybetter help. Reason 2. In fettling the Rules of Morality. unable to 'Tis an easy Matter for Christians, with R"uoc the Li8ht of Revelation (by which they Morality, are taught every thing necessary) shining round about them, to shew how the several Precepts of Morality agree with the Dictates of Reason: But, without that Light, to have discover'd these Things by Reason only, had been a Thing next to impossible. The Philosophers indeed, who since the Accession of this Light, have publifh'd their several Systems, have been more clear and uniform, both in the Measures of human Duty, and in the Motives requisite to the Performance of it; n but then this Clearness and Uniformity are really owing to the help of Revelation, which has given us a far more exact Knowledge than we had before, of the Nature and Attributes of God, from whence many of the Duties do immediately flow, and also a far greater Certainty of suture Rewards and Punishments, as well as a clearer Conviction of the necessity of Sobriety, Temperance, and other moral Virtues, as Preparations for our Happiness in the next Life, by perfecting our Nature in this.
* Bishop of Lotidons- ?d Pastoral Letter.
We will supppse, however, that our Phi- The a«loibpher,by the mere strength of hjs Parts, jj£j£w' and without any Assistance from Reve- incapalation, had drawn up a compleat Scheme j?le "»'"" of Morality for the publick use; yet mridt how would he go about to convince the publick of the reasonableness of submitting to it? I know of no way, but either by the Strength of Rea/bn or Argument, or by his own private Credit and Authority; but neither of these upon Trial, I fear, would be found sufficient to answer his Purpose. For suppose either by his Scheme never so compleat, and him- Ar&umentfelf never so able to enforce it \ yet considering the Careleshess and want of Attention in some, the Prejudices and and false Notions in others, the sensual Appetites and worldly Business in many, and the vicious Practices and evil Habits almost in all, we shall find, that his Rules and Precepts would be far from meeting with that ready Reception, which he might imagine. The Bulk and Generality of Men (even in the present times of ScieiTce) are incapable of entering far into deep and abstruse Reasoning. Some labour under natural Defects, which no Care or Study can remove j others are confined to a little set of Notions suggested by Things that are familiar to them; and not a few
have the greatest share of their Time taken up in providing themselves with the Necessaries of Life. To many, that have more Leisure and Opportunity, thinking and reasoning is so difficult a Task, that they choose rather to content themselves with Ignorance in such Points, as they are not bold enough to hope for Knowledge: In some, that might prevail with themselves to attend to the Instructions of the Philosopher,0 their pre-conceiv'd Opinions, concerning religious and moral Matters, are a strong Obstruction: And by those, who had devoted themselves to Licentiousness, the most prevailing reasonings would not be regarded, when they came to disturb them in their darling Vices, and to teach them what they had no desire to know. Or by Thus, by one means or other, our theirown P Philosopher's good Intention of reform
Autbority. ^ ^ Wosld ^^ be entirdy ^
unless (which comes next to be considered) his own Credit and Authority, would stand him any stead, but on this he can have no just Reliance. The natural Equality of all Men is a Notion,which, however true, when rightly understood, is liable to be abused to very
• Bffrart's Dcmonft. Vol. i, * Cor>)beare'i Expediency of Divine Revelation.
unhappy Purposes. It will, indeed fol-
in Points of this Nature, unless it be conformable to his own private Opinion* For let us suppose our Philosopher addressing himlelfto a Libertine, and per. suading him to leave his Vices, and confine himself within the^ Rules that he would prescribe him; might not he answer his Adviser ?—" 11 am no more "under your Direction in this Aflair, "than yfcu are under mine. In some "Things, as a Man of more enquiry, "I may permit you to see for me, but "you must allow me, I hope, to feel "for my self. I feel my self happy in "the way of Life, which I have cho"sen, and shall become very uneasy "by the Restraints, which you advise* "Pursue you then your own Satisfacti— "on, in what manner you please, and "leave me to the same Liberty in con"suiting mine". I see not what return he could make to such an Answer, or by what Argument he could hope to prevail on his Compliance; but I plainly see the justness of that reply,which anr ancient Author makes to the Question, D/V/ the (Philosophers then teach nothing that was right? " Yes, fays he, many Things j "but their Precepts have»no Weight, "because they are humane, and want
il a divine
q Raver's Necessity of a Divine Revelation.