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.CH A P. II. Producing one di&tate, or rule of right realan, respecting more
lity, allowed by mankind; and pafing current through the world, without one negative voice, except only from those mer,
whose reafons are utterly captivated by their lufts. $ 1.
UCH is the degeneracy and deep corruption of fome
men's natures, by ill education, base company, and long coltom io fin ; that abaodoning and casting away the boods and restraints of right realon, as well as religion, they give the full scope and liberty to their lufts and paflions, reckoping their chief happiness to confilt in the gratification and satisfaction of their sensitive appetites. They affect a foft, delicate, sensepleasing life ; reckoning it the only real heaven to be desired and fought by them ; and any other heaven beside that to be merely notional and fantastic. This is the element they defire to live and sport in, ficly described, Tit. iii. 3. by ferving divers lufts and pleasures. Hence it comes to pass, that their bor dies terve only to be ftrainers for meats and drinks, and chanpels for filthy lufts to stream through. To this ftream, their masculine agility melts away, and all public hopes and expectaţions from them, are totally defeated and disappointed. Appetite is the master, and reason the slave.
These men (if it be fit to call them men) have bid defiance to their owo reason, and denounced a war agaiol their owa faculties; as if reafoo had licensed and privileged (which it neVer did, nor can do their worse than brutish lults, to act to the yttermoft of their abilities, without any manner of restraint over
them. § 2. But notwithstanding the present captivity of reason, upder ulurping and domineering lusts, fo long as it hath a perma. pent and fixed root and principle in their bature, it is poflible it may recover its thrope and empire over them again ; as many a imprisoned kiog hath done, and probably would do in a very Thort space, if those prejudices they have conceived against its government, were but once fairly confuted and removed ; which certainly is not hard to do.
They are of opinion, that the laws of reason are too levere, Arict, and rigorous ; that they too much abridge them of their pleasures and delights; and ihat the goveromeat of feofuality being more ealy, favourable aod indulgent, is for that reason, much more eligible and desirable.
Whereas right reason deligas not the abandoning of all plea:
fores, but only the exchange of them, and that exchange every way to our great advantage. The only hurt or loss, (if this must be accounted fo) any man can fuftain by the exchange of pleasures made by reason aod religion is this; that they design for you the ratiopal, ordinate, and congruous delights, both of a man, and of a Christian ; in lieu of the lower, baser, and filthy pleasures of a beast or a devil.
They propose to you rules about pleasures, far more safe and grateful, without any culpable severity, or austerity in them, Reason would only regulate and legitimate your delights, and religion fanctify them; that you might much more purely and sweetly enjoy them, without either shame arising from their turpitude, or fear from their guilt. The rules of both are large apd indulgent enough; and, keeping within their lines and limits, men shall find fuch generous, maply, and agreeable de: lights, as are po where to be enjoyed without them.
3. To make this' evident, I shall postulate and presume but one thing, and that a thing so immediately true and selfevident, that in the first gaķed proposal of it, it paturally and easily lets itself into every man's understaadiog, and op sooner asks, but gains the approbation of right reafoo. And that self-evident principle, which I take for granted, oo map of found intellectuals will quarrel or dispute, is this :
That good which compriseth and involvetb the true honour, profit, and pleasure of the whole man, which is more congruous to human nature, and preservative of it, is to be preferred in our estimation and choice, to that which only yields a lower de. gree of pleasure, without profit or honour, to the baleft part of man: and that low and transient pleasure it doth yield, attended and followed with many present and future miseries, defiruttive to the whole man.
The several parts of this complex proposition, cast such a light and glory ropnd about them, that I cannot imagine, but as foon as it shall be propounded to the judgment and cenfure of fouod reason, it muft immediately gain both its approbation and appl.jule.
But because reason in many men is so beclouded and disturb. ed by lusts and passions, that it can peither receive things or derly, nor judge of them truly and impartially ; I conceive it geedful, to demand the cenfure and judgment of their reason, upon the particulars comprised in this general complex propofition; that so weighing and examining them one by one, we may try, whether found reason hath any valuable exception a. gainst any part, or member thereof.
$ 4. And, forf, I take it for granted, that no man's reafon will depy, or demor to this proposition ; that good is to be chajen, and evil to be avoided: for the will is naturally carried to that which is good, as to its proper object, and (huos that which is evil. And that is daturally good, which is convenient and agreeable to nature, and that naturally evil, which is discos. venient and hurtful to pature. So that the choice of good rather than evil is the patural choice of the will; and this choice of the will is founded upon the law of self-preservation, without which the creation would quickly disbaod, and no particular being could be long preserved.
Aod not only the will of rational creatures chuseth the good, and refuleth the evil; but every sensitive creature is endowed with a natural faculty, to discern the one from the other, in order to the preservation of their beings. You find it in the smallest and most despicable animals; and therefore cannot deoy it onto man, the noblek and most excelleat being on earth; except only in his 000-age, before he hath lived to the years of discretion. Children, indeed, in their infancy, have no knowledge to discern between good and evil; Deut. i. men, not discerning good from evil, or chusing evil rather than good, are many degrees beneath babes...
Secondly, Nor will reason heftate at all upon this particular, That there are degrees of goodness found among pleasures and delights ; some are better than others. Every life is not alike pleasant and happy. To deny this, is to make the most defpicable worm, or fiy, equally happy with the most excellent creature upon earth. And beside, for the conviction of such debauched persons as I am here arguing with, it will follow clearly from the denial of that truth, that they really gain nothing to themselves, by all their extravagant and licentious courfes; there being altogether as much pleasure and felicity, in a temperate, chatte, and lober life, as there is in that beaftly life they live ; and their very departure from the way of sobriety, to embrace the ways of debauchery, molt clearly evioceth to the world, that they do not think all pleasures equal ; but that they do confidently expect to find more pleasure and fatisfaction in the way that they chuse, than they did in the way of fobriety, which they have left and abandoned.
Thirdly, I cannot be so ubcharitable to thiok, but the relicts of reafon in the most profligate person, will readily admit and grant, That wherever the good of pleasure, profit, and honour, meet together, and jointly conspire to make tbe life of a man more comfortable, and more durable upon earth; that is much rather to be chosen, than a mere transient touch of sensitive pleafure, accompanied with present regret, and followed with the ruin of estate, name, honour, foul, and body. He that ibioks otherwise, is more fit for a bedlam, than a rational and fober confutation. These things therefore I take for granted, they being innate and self-evident notions and principles in all men.
$ 5. The wisdom and goodness of God are clearly difcerDible, in leaving such principles of reason, and common notices of conscience in men after the fall, as prompt them naturally yoto justice, chastity, temperance, and sobriety; and do struggle within them, to restraiñ them from, or recover them out of their immoralities; from which many advantages do result.
For hereby God is acknowledged all the world over ; mea every where shewing by these things the work of the law writtep in their hearts; Rom. ii. 15.
Hereby kingdoms and commonwealths are preserved; this being the common bridle, which restrains the outrageous lusts of millions of men, which else would turn the world into cogfusion; though here and there some have Nipe bridle, and rua into all excess of riot. We justly admire the providence of God, in butting, bounding, and restraining the boisterous ocean, by mountaios, rocks, and fands : and as much is he to be admired, io curbing the insatiable lusts of men, by these iaDate principles of reason and conscience.
Hereby the way to fin is in some measure barred and shut up; and the further progress of linners, already entered into it, stopped and denied. For actions done with regret, cannot be fupposed to be done so frequently and furiously, as if they were done without any regret ; or that the way to sin was smoothed to them, with a full confent and approbation of their whole felf. For molt liggers find in themselves what Medea did,
Video meliora, proboque, Deteriora fequor -They both fee and approve that which is better, though they • follow that which is worse.'
lo a word, these relicts of reason and conscience in men, are fit handles to catch hold on, for the turning them about from Satan unto God. When Paul reasoned with Felix, about temperançe, righteousness, and judgment to come, bis words laid hold upon these handles, and gave him such a shake, that the text saith, Felix trembled. Aod, O! that this might take hold of the reason and conscience of every profane reader, and produce some niore excellent and lasting effect upon his soul.
§ 6. These notices and dictates of reason and conscience in men, being lo necessary, and many ways beneficial to themselves, as well as to the whole community; it must therefore be a hor. rid villainy to war against them; and, by violence, to suppress and enllave them to their own lufts.
This is, as if a company of desperate ruffians, mould affault innoceat and noble travellers opon the lawful road, biod and gag their guides, whilst they rob and prostitate them. Thus deal brutish lults, (headed by the devil) with the affections of men, travelling along the lawful road of duty, under the conduct of reason and confcience. For this villainy it was, that the apostle tells us, * The wrath of God was revealed from " heaven against the Heathens, who held the truth in uprighte* dusness,” Rom. i. 18. They had the light of natural rea. fon and conscience in them, the io bred notions of good and cvil; which raised their hopes or fears, according to the nature and quality of their actions. • Conscia mens ut cuique sua eft, ita concipit intra
Pectora pro fatto spemque metumque fuo. Ovid, But their headftrong boisterous lusts, rudely and violeatly brake in upon reason and conscience, imprisoned and bound them; as Zedekiah did the faithful prophet Jeremiah, for the discharge of his duty to him. For this, “ the wrath of God was revealed “' from heaven against them.” And indeed, we cannot wonder it should be inceosed against them, as it will agaioft all that act like them. For into fuch a fin as this, many direful aggrava. tions fall in together, to make it a monstrous and prodigious fin. Here we find an high and causeless abuse of the nobles natural faculties and powers of a man's own soul. What harm have thy reason and conscience done thee, by stimulating and persuading thee to temperance, chastity, and fobriety; or by struggling and Ariving with thee, to prevent both thy prefent and future ruio ? Do they lay their faithful and loving hands of restraint upon thee, when they see thee ruoding headłong into destruction ? And do they deserve for this, and no worse than this, to be thus trampled under foot, and abufed ? Ask thyself, man, Whether thou thinkest thy very dog deserves to be hanged, for opening at midnight, and taking that thief by the throat, who came to cut thine? And darest thou use those po
within thee, worse than thou wouldst use a dog ? Hamanity would blush at such an action.
These vile abuses of thy reason and conscience carry also in them an horrid contempt of God; whose patent, officers, and
* As each man's soul of good or ill is conscious,
So hope for good he feels, but fears for pice,