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ture, but fuch as a future ftate furnishes, of fufficient force to deter fuch men from the practice of vice. Hope and fear are the two grand springs by which that curious machine, the human mind, is actuated; and to deprive Virtue of that fupport which the receives from their influence and operation, and to substitute in their room a fenfe of honour, or a love of moral beauty and order, is to betray the cause of Virtue. Secured by the awful fanctions of religion, the temple of Virtue ftands unfhaken upon a rock: but thefe, her falfe and pretended friends, would fain fubvert that firm and folid foundation, and in lieu of it would erect an house for her upon the fand; but if I may be allowed to borrow the language of Scripture, "When the floods come, and the winds blow, and "beat upon that houfe, it will inevitably fall, "and great will be the fall of it." Hence,
2dly, It is moft unquestionably certain, that religion is of effential use and importance in promoting the temporal interests and felicity of mankind.
Were the belief of a GOD, of a providence, and of a future ftate banished from the world, it is evident that morality would stand on a foundation totally different from that on which it now refts. We should no longer be under an obligation, i. e. we should no longer have any rational or fufficient inducement to facrifice our own happinefs to that of others; every individual would have a separate and detached intereft, which it would, in that
cafe, be his higheft wifdom to purfue, however contrary it might happen to be to that of his neighbour, or of the public. A principle of generofity might indeed deter fome men from embracing opportunities of promoting their own happinefs at the expence of others; but generofity would be a feeble reftraint indeed upon the great majority of mankind, who, when the powerful: feelings of remorfe and fear were extinguifhed, would be little fcrupulous in gratifying to the utmcft extent every paffion and inclination, however depraved and corrupt, which could, in their apprehenfion, conduce to their own perfonal enjoyment; and the more completely a man could diveft himself of every virtuous feeling and fympathetic emotion, the more powerful in fact would be his inducement, the more it would be his intereft, if one may be allowed to use an expreffion at which the mind revolts, to facrifice the happinefs of others to his avarice, his ambition, or his revenge. It must however be acknowledged, that the evidence which nature affords of the great truths of religion, fcarcely amounts to probability: upon that probability, weak as it is, had we no better guide, it would nevertheless be our duty and our wifdom to act; but the truth is, that though in fpeculation it is impoffible to deny that fuch a probability ought to influence our conduct as much as even a certainty, the impreffion made by it is fo weak, that it has never been found to produce any general or permanent effect upon the hearts and lives of
of mankind. The human mind is fo conftituted, as to stand in need of a fpecies of evidence amounting much nearer to moral certainty, in order to effect any great practical purpofe. How invaluable an advantage then ought the Christian revelation to be deemed, which is fo admirably adapted to the wants and wishes of man, and which exhibits the grand doctrines of religion in a light so just and clear; which enforces them by fuch folemn and alarming fanctions; and which confirms and establishes the truth of them by a chain of evidence the most aftonishing, the moft convincing, the moft decifive. This religion has already produced effects highly favourable to the happiness of the human race; and those who are perfuaded of its divine authority, have the firmeft reliance that it fhall finally rife triumphant over all oppofition; and that the knowledge and beneficial influence of it fhall, at length, cover the face of the whole earth, as the waters cover the fea.
On GOVERNMENT and CIVIL LIBERTY
N elegant modern writer, to whom the world is indebted for a striking, and, in fome refpects, a juft view of the internal evidence of Christianity, has been pleafed alfo, in a late volume of difquifitions, to communicate to the public his fentiments on Government and Civil Liberty, which, confidering the prefent advanced ftate of knowledge relative to those topics, are really fomewhat extraordinary. He allows that the fubject has been much hackneyed, but he is induced to take up his pen, in order to expofe and confute thofe "falfe and mifchievous prin
ciples, which," he fays, "have of late been "diffeminated with unufual industry, and are as inconfiftent with common fenfe, as with all human fociety, and which happily require nothing "more than to be fairly ftated to be refuted." Who would not have fuppofed, from this preface, that attempts had been made to revive the exploded fyftems of Hobbes or Filmer, and that
that Mr. Jenys, moved with just indignation to fee the fimple and rational principles of Mr. Locke again called in question, after their authority seemed to be finally established by a prescription of almost a century, had determined to employ his eloquence and fagacity in their fupport. How great then must be our aftonishment, when we difcover that the principles which appear to Mr. J. fo full of abfurdity and mischief, and which disturb his mind with fuch alarming apprehenfions, are no other than the principles of Mr. Locke himself, and of his most distinguished followers; and it is remarkable, that though in the opinion of Mr. J. they require no other refutation than to be fairly stated, they have been gradually gaining ground, not in England only, but through Europe, ever fince Mr. Locke, in confequence of the ever memorable revolution, was employed in the very act of refutation referred to by Mr. J. The first of these monftrous pofitions is this: First, That all men are born equal. Here Mr. J. has the candour to make a voluntary conceffion. He allows that there is a fenfe in which it may be true; and if it means only, that all men are equally born, he will not take upon him to difpute the truth of it; and it must indeed be acknowledged, that if this is all that is meant, it does not seem to carry its own refutation along with it. Of this, however, Mr. J. is pofitive, that in every other sense it must be falfe, for fome are born beautiful and healthy, and fome with L 3 bodies