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Gift of his Grace) and (in p. 13.) he says expressly, that from these two Sources (the true Obligation of Morality and Man's natural Inability to practise it) Glory to God moji eminently results, and then he discharges every Foundation of Morality but Conformity to the Will of God, not to much as leaving us any Way to discover this Will; as indeed, without some prior Rule of Truth and Right, must be absolutely impossible : And then comes the violent Assertion of Man's Inability to practise Virtue, and the extraordinary Condemnation of the old Philosophers, and particularly of the great Cicero, as he calls him, for maintaining the contrary.
It should seem strange, that the Glory of God should consist in Man's Inability to practise Virtue; and yet, which makes it, if possible, more absurd, that this Virtue should still be required of him. But so it muft be, and Cicero is to be exposed for afferting the contrary in the finest Sentiments. I shall set down the Original and our Author's TranNation, for the Sake of the Beauty and Juftness of the Thought, and to few, how strongly the Sense of Truth must have forced itself on the Mind, even of this bold Writer himself.
Cicero, de Nat. Deor. L. III. C. 36. Atque hoc quidem omnes Mortales fic habent, externas Commeditates, Vineta, Segetes, Oliveta, Ubertatem Frugum, & Fru&tuum, omnemque denique Commoditatem, Profperitatemque Vita, a Diis se babere; Virtutem autem Nemo unquam acceptam Deo retulit. Nimirum recte ; propter Virtutem enim Jure laudamur, & in Virtute re&te gloriamur; quod non contingeret, fi id Donum a Deo, non a nobis, baberemus. At vero aut Honoribus aucti, aut Re familiari, aut fi aliud quippiam na&ti fumus fortuiti Boni, aut depulimus Mali, cum Diis Gratias agimus, tum nihil noftra
Laudi assumptum arbitramur. Num quis, quod bonus Vir effet, Gratias Diis egit unquam? At, quod dives, quod honoratus, quod incolumis. -Ad Rem autem ut rédeam, Judicium hoc omnium Mortalium eft, Fortunam a Deo petendam, a feipjo fumendam effe Şapientiam.
It may hardly be thought worth Notice, that these Sentiments are but inaccurately charged upon Cicero ; for they are by him put in:o the Mouth of one of his opponents, and are therefore not to be confidered as his Opinion, but as what he is to oppose if needfał. Our Author is too superior a Writer to attend to such Niceties of Truth and Fact. This is, indeed, a very trilling Instance of Carelesness and Injustice compared with some of much greater Importance that he has allow'd himself in ; as appears to almost every one that has taken any Notice of him.
This Writer's Translation is thus (P. 14.) “ All the Commodities “ of Life are the Gift of Heaven ; but Virtue no Man ever yet thought “ came from God. For, who ever returned him Thanks that he was “ good and honest! and why should he? for Virtue is properly our “ own Praise, and that in which we ourselves have a Righi to glory. “ This, in short, is the Opinion of all Mankind, that the Goods of « Fortune are to be askid of Heaven, but Wisdom is to be had only « from ourselves."
These, it seems, are the Sentiments of the Pagan World, of the great Cicero, utter Strangers to the Doftrine of divine Grace; and would to God, that Christians maintain'd no worse Principles than these ! But what would this proud Theologilt be at? Would he deny the
Truth of this beathenih Doctrine? or would he contend, that Christi. anity teaches the contrary? Either way he must surely have a very bad Cause. For, in the first Respect ; On what plainer Foundation can all Morality and Religion stand than in the juft Distinction of our Capacities and our Actions? Can any Thing be required of Mankind by Gód, but what is in their own Power? And what else is in a Man's Power, if his own Actions are not !Is the Deity to be thank'd for what he himseif does, or for what Man does ! --~Is not the Depend.ence of a Creature sufficiently secure, if all its Powers and Capacities and Opportunities are acknowledged to be from God, both their Existence and Continuance? But must their Actions also be thought the Actions of God? This is not only absurd, but destructive of all moral Capacity. If the Glory of God refulted from the Inability of his Creatures, as this judicious Divine asserts (p. 13.) his greatest Glory would have consifted in bestowing no Capacities upon any; and in having made no Agents at all. But on the contrary, it seems to be the highest Glory of the Creation, that there are moral Agents in it, who can pay a voluntary Obedience to the Laws of Reason, and to the Will of the great Sovereign and moral Governor of the Universe. But enough upon To plain a Subject, and such evident Principles of Reason and common Sense.
Would our Author then affect to teach, that this Doctrine is contrary to Christianity ? This, indeed, is his professed Design. But as he has brought no Proofs, I hope it will only be taken for the rash and prefumptuous Attempt of Superiority and Insolence.
The Christian Religion is perfectly agreeable to, nay founded on, these great Truths ; as indeed all crue Religion must necessarily be. The moral Agency of Man, and the divine Acceptance of his beft Actions, -run thro' the whole Christian Scheme. If thon doft well, Malt thou not be accepted? He bath few'd thee, O Man, what the Lord requireth of thee, to do Justice, to love Merry, and to walk bumbly with thy Goé. Chriftians are commanded to love Truth, and practise Righteousness; to do the Will of their heavenly Father. He that doth Rightecusness is rigbteous. These Proofs are numberlefs and unnecessary to be brought to any Considerer of Christian Religion ; and why they are thus oppofed I cannot imagine. If it be to promote the Glory of God, he is highly mistaken. His Glory muft necessarily confift in the Excellency and 0. bedience of his Creation, and his higheft Glory in the voluntary and moral Obedience of all his rational Creatures.
Still I am at a Loss to find out what Motive or Mistake could lead this learned Divine into these strange and mischievous Opinions. I know that great Geniuses are apt to scorn the vulgar Track, and often fancy themselves superior to common Sense; and that Zeal for a good Caule will sometimes prejudice a weak Judgment; but I think these Pretences will not excuse a Christian Divine for having misrepresented Christian Principles of such Importance; and for having thus exposed this excellent Religion to the Scorn of all such as pay any Deference to his Authority. Indeed it may well be hoped, that these are few.
I have been sometimes ready to fancy, that this haughty Man might poffibly be mined by a certain known Example of a proud Pharisee, well sepresented in the 18th Chapter of St Luke's Gospel; a Character he might be, perhaps, dilpoled to be a little fond of. This Man is said to
have food and pray'd thus with himself: God, I thank thee that I am not as other Men are, &c. Our Author may have mistaken his Notions of Christianity from the Behaviour of this notable Religionift, and so might imagine this to be an Instance of a christian Spirit, to thank God for a Man's being possessed of such extraordinary Virtues; and in his Zeal for this noble Character might forget that the Parable is told on purpose to expose this very Principle and Behaviour, and to thew in its proper and ridiculous Light such affected Humility and presumptuous Pride.
But be this as it may: One Observation is very plain from this extraordinary Performance. That Learning and Ingertuity are very dangerous Talents in the Hands of a rash, injudicious, bold Man; who will court Applause, and endeavour to raise his own Character and Fortune at the Expence of Truth and Christianity too; who without Caution or Experience, has arrived at such a superior Contempt of Mankind, that he can hope to pass his weak and undigested Criticisms and common.place Learning upon the World for Judgment and Knowledge ; and laugh at the first Principles of Truth and Virtue without having thought about them; and can all the while affect an Air of Gravity and orthodox Opinion, as a special Qualification for Power and Preferment.
These Presumptions may dazzle the Weak and Ignorant; but in the Account of every wise and good Man, such a Character will be juftly despised and avoided.
and Ascent of Vapours, yet none, I think; come fo near the Point, as the Rev. and Learned Doctor Defagaliers ; notwithstanding whose Faithfulness in Experiments and Sagacity in Theory, the Author of the Compendious System of Natural Philosophy, seems to set aside the Doctor's Solution, affirming, that it is attended with insurmountable Difficulties ; however I purpose to faew that the Objections, which are offered, are not so great as to be able to throw down such an Hypothesis (as he calls it) since it is founded upon Experiment. Those who would see the Doctor's Solution may find it in the Philofoph. Trans. but more compendioully set down by Mr. Rg in his Differtation concerning the Formation and Ascent of Vapours, Page 133, Part 2d, of his Compend. Syft. where may be found the Objections he brings, which since I shall examine them, must be set down at large.
Object. 1. “ If the repulsive Power of the Particles of Water is fuffi“ ciently augmented by Heat, as such, to make 'em recede from each o" ther, and specifically lighter than our common Air; how comes it to u pass, that all the Particles of Water, (as soon as, or before, it boils) have' u not their repulsive Forces thus auginented, since they are all under a “ much greater Degree of Heat, than is necessary to raise Vapour?
To this I answer. Let us suppose a Velel of Water set upon a Fire, and let us suppose likewise the Water in the Vessel to be divided into an Аа
infinite Number of parallel Lamina; then the first Lamina heated will be that which is contiguous to the Bottom of the Vessel ; this, therefore, becoming specifically lighter, must ascend till it finds some Medium of the same specifick Gravity with itself ; the next chen contiguous, is that which was the 2d, and the next succeeding is that which was the 3d, and so on for the Others, in their Order; so that the repulsive Forces do begin to exert themselves after a certain Degree of Heat ; but it can't be supposed, that the Water in the Vessel shall vanish like the Aurum Fulminans, or any other combustible: I grant the Particles of Water are under a much greater Degree of Heat, than is juft necessary to raise a Steam ; but yet it does no ways follow, that there is no Medium betwixt that Degree, and what is requir'd to change it into Steam immediately, without any gradual Succession of the Lamina, as it is above described, nor do I think it possible, that such a Degree of Heat can be afforded by human Art.
Object, 2d. “ Allowing that they may rise from the Surface of the Wa-, s6 ter, and float in the circumambient Air, as being specifically lighter " than it, why do not their repulfive Forces, as they rise up in the Air, " and the superincumbent Pressure of the Atmosphere becomes less, drive to them to greater Distances from each other, and so cause them to con
tinue lighter than the Air at all Heights ?
I must needs confess, I can't see how this can be brought against the Doctor as an Objection to what he said; for as yet he never lo much as intimated that the Rarity, or Density of the Vapour, depended on the Pressure of the incumbent Atmosphere, (according to Mr. Rg's own Account of the Doctor's Solution) but chiefly on the Degrees of Heat. Was the Heat to encrease in Proportion as the Vapour ascends, (a Thing no ways to be made out) or should the Doctor have supposed airy Particles to have compos'd the Vapour, (which he entirely opposes) and so to be an elastick Fluid, then there might have been room to think that the Vapour should be lighter than the Air, at all · Heights, (i, e.) that the Prefsure of the Atmosphere, and the repulsive Forces are to each other in a Reciprocal Ratio ; the one increasing as the other decreases.
Your Humble Servant,
Ay, Aug. 3. 1743. N reading over a late Treatise by the Learned and Ingenious Dry
-, intitled, i'he Nature, Folly, Sin, and Danger of being Righteous 07'ermuch, &c. I have ventur'd to make some cursory Remarks, or ther Hints on some Passages in that work. The Dr says, 6. When
once Men have forsaken the Via Regin, the King's High-way to blea. ven, as plainly mark'd out in Holy Scripture ; deserted the stand
ing Rules and Orders of an excellently conftituted Church, as ours is,, “ &c." This manner of Exprelijon, I fay, the Via Regia, the King's., High way to Heaven, whatever good Mcaning was intended thereby, is.. diametrically opposite to the Language of Scripture, where it is expressly.. faid from Christ's own Mouih, “ Enter ye in at the firait Gate ; for 'wide is the Gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to Destruction, and many
ibere be wbich go in thereat : Because ftrait is the Gate, and narrow is the Way, sobich leadeth unto Life, and few there be that find it. St Math. vi. 13, 14.
The Dr tells us. “ It is very observable, that the Righteous overmuch, " the Enthufiafs and falle Spiritualifts, have, in all Ages, bated the Established
Church and Clergy; of late Years, and here in England particularly “ Which I think is much to the Honour of the Church and Clergy."
And again he says, "The Reason, why all the Enemies of the Christian " Religion, (observe by the Way, he is no Christian that differs from his “ High-prieitly Notions) among us, however they may differ in other Re.
spects, do yet, by the Devil's Policy, and their own Inclinations, unite s in one Body against the Established Church and Clergy, is this very ,“ plain one, Because the Established Church is the Fortress, the Strong “ Hold of the Christian Religion, and the Clergy the Garrison, or Soldiers as that defend it.” Much good may it do the Doctor, in indulging so fanguine, and snug a Contentment, and Hagging, as it were himself and Bre thren, in, I fear, a fatal Security. Indeed the London Clergy, and those in large Populous Cities and Towns, may be said, I hope, generally to per form the Duties of their Sacred Function. But alas! is not the Case other
wise in many country Parishes through the Kingdom, by Means of Pluralities and Non-Residence, &c. &c?
Initead of Garrison'd Soldiers, do we find there so much as Sentinels? and do they not flumber, or rather sleep on their Posts! But instead of delivering my own Opinion on this Head, I shall conclude this little Essay with an Abstract or two from the Charges to their Clergy, of two the most eininent Prelates that ever adorned or rather blessed our Church.
if Bishop Bull.] · How much Skill is requisite to qualify a Man for • the Priestly Office ? How great Care in the Discharge of it? What a fad. • Thing it would be, if, through my Unskilfulness or Negligence, any one Soul should miscarry under my Hands, or die and perish eternally!
We minister to Souls. Souls! Methinks in that one Word is a Sermon. • Immortal Souls, precious Souls! one whereof is more worth than all the
World besides, the Price of the Blood of the Son of God. And for our . Encouragement here, let us remember, that tho' many Things are re
quired of a Minister, yet the chief and most indispensible Requisites are . these two, a passionate Desire to save Souls, and an unwearied Diligence • in the Pursuit of that noble Design. The Minister that wants thefe
two Qualifications will hardly pass the Test, or gain the Approbation of • God, the great Judge and Tryer ; but where there are found, they will • cover a Multitude of other Failings and Defects. Let us, therefore, Reve. • rend Brethren, (and may I here conjure both You and Myself by the en. deared Love we bear to our own Souls, and the precious Souls, commit•ted to our Charge, yea by the Blood of the Son of God, the Price of • both.) Let us, I beseech you, from henceforth return to our several • Charges, zealously and industriously plying the great Work and Busi• ness that is before us. Let us think no Pains too great to escape that ' greater Judgment that otherwise attends us. Let us study hard, and . read much, and pray often, and preach in Season and out of Season, • and catechize the Youth, and take wise Opportunities of instructing those
who, being of riper Years, may yet be as unripe in Knowledge, and visit the Sick; Thewing to all our Flock the Example of a watchful, holy,