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attend our search after the ways of God, ferve only to darken the view ftill more, and multitrouble in the gratifying, serving, or supporting others. And tho' such a deep discovery of the Springs of A&tion may feem beft tothew us how men are most easily led, yet were it all true, it wou'd thew at the same time that such Creatures are scarcedy worth the leading ; fince it palls all the pleasure of conversing with them, Itrikes at the very root of universal Benevolence, which alone can supply that pleasure, blasts every publickly social disposition, and all the Charities of private Life: in short, destroys all that is great and good, or amiable in them, or which can make any superior Station eligible amongst them.
But farther, if there be a real System of things pre-establish'd upon different Principles, then must such Schemes of Government prove full as useless, as uncomfortable, being wholly founded on a false bottom, and at every turn opposing what they never can overthrow; since he who framed this System, will assuredly take care to support it in his own way, whether we will or no: and if the original Plan on which it was form'd, and the Laws calculated to direct it, be thought of themselves insufficient to that end, there is still ground (from Nature and Reason, setting aside positive Declarations] to believe, that he would rather interpose sometimes to see cure the establishment thereof, than suffer it to be quite ruin'd and revers'd. The Governour of which System therefore ought to be attended to as such in all good Policy; and our political System framed in some kind of conformity to that great Model; by a careful contemplation of the chief End and prepollent Quality in each part of his Works; by a studious Survey of all the Dignity, and Harmony, and Happiness conspicuous in the general Conduct of them. But in such Schemes as we are now examining, the supreme Governour of the World is either quite omitted, or introduced in so degrading a manner, as makes him ev'n dependent on, and obliged to an evil Principle for most part of the Beauty and chief Benefit of his Work: it gives so base an Idea both of this System and its Author, as muft shock any one who is willing to entertain the least degree of Reverence or Regard for either; or has any just Concern even for himself, as being unavoidably link'd in so near a Relation to, and close Connection with these, from whence he is like to receive so little either of true Honour or Advantage.
ply these very Difficulties. How much better, both the End and the Efect of those which • How much more beautiful and just a Theory might with lefs Labour be erected on found Morals, and a sense of Religion ! which would make all true, rational Pleasure, coincide, and render the present State of things not only uniform and absolutely desirable in itself, but alfo the direct Road; the natural Passport to a better: which, beside a deal of pure good in pofleflion, must fill and extend the Soul with everJafting hope of infinitely greater. Where every Virtue would in every one essentially promote and perfect those of others, and each with infinite Consistency conspire to exert the natural Effects of all in universal Happiness; without that mot: Jey mixture of the contrary Qualities, which can at best but indirectly and accidentally, and by their being extraneoufly
over-ruled, produce any share thereof. For after all, when : once we come to understand ourselves, we shall find that Vice
in general does in its own Nature, and in every Degree of it, tend to produce Misery, or prevent Happiness, either mediately or immediately in every System (from whence indeed it has its Name, and on account of which only it ought to be, and has ever been, prohibited by Divine and Human Laws, ] tho' this its tendency may probably be over-ruled in many particular Cases; or it may be fufpended or superseded by the Introduction of opposite Qualities; which, thro the unavoidable Imperfection of Language, are often mistaken for it; or it may be in such a manner really blended and confounded with these, as to be hardly distinguishable from them; or in such a degree counterpois'd and ballanc'd by some jarring Principles, or inconfiftent Species of its own, that its Effects are not fo plain and obvious ; especially in large Societies and complex Bodies, where more than ordinary Skill is requisite to compute the Consequences of each particular Ad or Habit ; and allign each Influence to its proper Cause. But this grows more apparent in small Families and private Conftitutions, where Vice of every fort and fize is seen to create proportionable Corruption and Disorder in the Body politic, as furely as Venom, or a Poison properly so call’d, does in the natural one: tho’in some critical Circumstances, such a violent Struggle and Convulfion may be rais'd thereby in both of them, as may occafion very extraordinary Effects; and two bad Qualities in conteft with each other, instead of ruining, may possibly relieve an oppress’d Conftitution ; as
place Human Nature in its fairest Light, and represent the lovely Form as worthy of its Ausometimes even bina Venena juvant. Yet still, notwithstanding some such very unusual Phänomena, the distinct Properties and regular Production of natural Bodies, as well as those of moral Qualities, are both of them fix'd, and fairly difcoverable in the main ; we are tolerably well apprised what naturally conduces to the preservation and prosperity of each; and on the whole may rest well satisfied, that if the latter were composed of such a Number of rank heterogeneous Principles as this fame Author is inclined to suppose, they would not long sublift as we now find them; nor could the World possibly go on so well as it has done, and does. So far is that Position therefore from being juft, which this same Author has put into the very Title of his Book, viz. that Vice, properly so called, whether private or public, is a real Benefit, that the reverse is strictly true in general; which might be proved as clearly by an induction of particulars as Sir W. Temple has made out the thing in one strong Case, which was unhappily this Author's leading Instance, viz. that of Luxury, or Excels, being of Advantage to a beneficial Trade. See Temple's Observations on the Netherlands, p. 66. Fol. [Comp. Hucheson's Remarks, No.2.] But granting all the Facts io be just as this Author states them; were the Bulk of Mankind altogether as vile and vicious as he represents them, yet would it be of no real Service to lay open luch a Sink of Pola lution, and thereby only spread the Infection farther still, and faster; it cannot be of so much use to exhibit Men entirely as they are, even in their very worft Light; as it must be to place them where they oft really have been, and where they always might and ought to be. Nor can such Views of the World prove any Entertainment to one that is either des firous of concurring in any thing for the Improvement of it, or of contributing at all to the Eafe and Agreeableness of his own Situation in it.
But I proposed to make only some general Observations on the Genius and main Drift of this celebrated Book, as a Specimen of such sort of Writings; the Particulars of it haying been sufficiently confuted long ago. I shall conclude with observing, that the celebrated Author of the Chara&teristicks, and this Writer, who fo constantly opposes him, are evidently in two Extremes; the first contending for a Benevolence quite pure in kind, and perfectly disinterested, and without any
thor ; as well as of those that display the Beau
and Beneficence of the Divine Oeconomy; and produce an Asurance of that paternal Care, and Conduct of us here, which brings the truest Enjoyment, and most grateful Acknowledgement of present Benefits ; and likewise begets a joyful Hope, and stedfast Expectation of more substantial ones hereafter !
The Consequences of the foregoing Doctrine might be urg'd farther, in regard both to the Atheist and Deist; to convince the one, that all things have not gone at random, but that there are plain tokens of a Plan, and Government; and from what has already past, reason to think that other End than its own Exercise; which is neither reconcileable to Fact, nor to the Frame of such Beings as we are at present: the latter centering all in Self immediately, and conftituting its chief Good in some of the very lowest Gratifications: which is alike groundless, but attended with worse Consequences. Between these there is manifestly a middle way, whereby the moral Sense and that of Honour, &c. may be form’d by way of Habit, really distinct from, and striking previously to any private Views, and generally with greater Force too than cou'd be produced by the most vigorous and intense Reflection (which is ever of great use, and often nécessary in Matters of the last Importance;) yet this may be so far qualify'd by a Mixture of the other Passions, and so well directed to the best and noblest Ends by Reason, as to keep clear of all the Abfurdities of the former System, which runs so naturally into rank Enthufiam; and likewise to avoid the ill Consequences that attend the latter, which is so apt to fink us into the very Dregs of Vice and Villany. This has been just proposed above [ Part 1. Not. a. p. 8, &c.] and I find no fufficient ground to doubt of its being in itself the moft conformable to the true Nature of Mankind in general, and best adapted to promote the highest Degree of Happiness in social Life. A more particular Examination of both the Systems abovementiond, may be read with pleasure in Dr. Brown's Essays on the Characteristicks.
more of it will ever appear, and in a still more perfect manner : to thew the other, that as the several Dispensations of, what we call, Revealed Religion, have hitherto been in the main conformable to those of Providence, in both the natural and moral World, this possibly may come from the fame Author ; and receive yet farther increase, which these also do, as they are daily better understood.
But if this be not the Case in any Degree here, we seem to have nothing left whereon to ground an Analogical Argument (which yet is our best, if not our only natural Argument) for an Hereafter; no visible Footsteps of Wisdom and Goodness, to conduct us in our Search after a First Cause; no settled Foundation for our Hopes of Futurity, the Basis of all Natural Religion : All is Chaos, and Confusion thus far, and therefore may
be fo, for ought we know, eternally, either without any good, consistent Scheme at all, or that, as soon as fix'd, unfix'd again, and disappointed : :- - in short, the Divine Government, if there be one, must on this Scheme be inferior to most Human Administrations.
Thus then we see how neceffary it is to form right Notions of the past State of the World, especially in regard to that important Point, Religion, in order to judge how it will be for the future ; and in what manner we are to conduct ourselves. If it has hitherto been really progressive, we find good Reafon to expect the fame still farther. We have strong Motives to go into this Scheme ourselves; and clear Directions how to proceed in it. Instead of looking back, and la