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why men are bound to obey God is plainly nothing PROP. but weakness or want of power; because, if they themselves were all-powerful, it is manifest they could' not be under any obligation to obey; and, consequently, power would give them an undoubted right to do what they pleased. That is to say; if men were not created and dependent beings, it is true they could not indeed be obliged to the proper relative duty of created and dependent beings, viz. to obey the will and command of another in things positive. But from their obligation to the practice of moral virtues, of justice, righteousness, equity, holiness, purity, goodness, beneficence, faithfulness, and truth, from which Mr Hobbes fallaciously, in this argument, and most impiously in his whole scheme,* endeavours to discharge them; from this they could not be discharged by any addition of power whatsoever; because the obligation to these things is not, as the obligation to obey in things of arbitrary and positive constitution, founded only in the weakness, subjection, and dependency of the persons obliged; but also, and chiefly, in the eternal and unchangeable nature and reason of the things themselves: For these things are the law of God himself, not only to his creatures, but also to himself, as being the rule of all his own actions in the government of the world.

I have been the longer upon this head, because moral virtue is the foundation and the sum, the essence and the life, of all true religion; for the security whereof all positive institution was principally designed; for the restoration whereof all revealed. religion was ultimately intended; and inconsistent wherewith, or in opposition to which, all doc

note,--Si cui durum hoc videbitur, illum rogo ut tacita cogitatione considerate velit, si essent duo omnipotentes, uter utri obedire obligaretur. Confitebitur, credo, neutrum neutri obligari. Hoc si verum est, verum quoque est quod posui, homines ideo Deo subjectos esse, quia omnipotentes non sunt.-De Cive, c. 15. sec. 7.

* Ut enim omittam vin et naturam Deorum, ne homines quidem censetis, nisi imbecilli essent, futuros beneficos et benignos fuisse. Cic de Nat. Deor. lib. 1.


PROP. trines whatsoever, supported by what pretence of rea son or authority soever, are as certainly and necessarily false, as God is true.

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II. Though these eternal moral obligations are indeed of themselves incumbent on all rational beings, even antecedent to the consideration of their being the positive will and command of God, yet that which most strongly confirms, and in practice most effectually and indispensably enforces them upon us, is this; that both from the perfections of God, and the nature of things, and from several other collateral considerations, it appears, that as God is himself necessarily just and good in the exercise of his infinite power in the government of the whole world, so he cannot but likewise positively require that all his rational creatures should in their proportion be so too, in the exercise of each of their powers in their several and respective spheres: That is; as these eternal moral obligations are really in perpetual force, merely from their own nature, and the abstract reason of things; so also they are moreover the express and unalterable will, command, and law of God to his creatures, which he cannot but expect should, in obedience to his supreme authority, as well as in compliance with the natural reason of things, be regularly and constantly observed through the whole crea


This proposition is very evident, and has little need of being particularly proved.

For 1st. The same reasons which prove to us that ral duties God must of necessity be himself infinitely holy, and positive just, and good, manifestly prove, that it must also will and be his will, that all his creatures should be so likeof God, wise, according to the proportions and capacities of proved their several natures. That there are eternal and considera- necessary differences of things, agreements and distion of the agreements, proportions and disproportions, fitnesses divine and unfitnesses of things, absolutely in their own nature, has been before largely demonstrated. That, with

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regard to these fixed and certain proportions and fit- PROP. nesses of things, the will of God, which can neither, be influenced by any external power, nor imposed upon by any error or deceit, constantly and necessarily determines itself to choose always what in the whole is best and fittest to be done, according to the unalterable rules of justice, equity, goodness, and truth; has likewise been already proved. That the same considerations ought also regularly to determine the wills of all subordinate rational beings, to act in constant conformity to the same eternal rules, has in like manner been shown before. It remains therefore only to prove, that these very same moral rules, which are thus of themselves really obligatory, as being the necessary result of the unalterable reason and nature of things, are moreover the positive will and command of God to all rational creatures; and, consequently, that the wilful transgression or neglect of them, is as truly an insolent contempt of the authority of God, as it is an absurd confounding of the natural reasons and proportions of things. Now this also plainly follows from what has been already laid down: For, the same absolute perfection of the divine nature, which (as has been before shown) makes us certain that God must himself be of necessity infinitely holy, just, and good; makes it equally certain, that he cannot possibly approve iniquity in others. And the same beauty, the same excellency, the same weight and importance of the rules of everlasting righteousness, with regard to which God is always pleased to make those rules the measure of all his own actions, prove it impossible but he must likewise will and desire that all rational creatures should proportionably make them the measure of theirs. Even among men, there is no earthly father, but in those things which he esteems his own excellencies, desires and expects to be imitated by his children. How much more is it necessary that God, who is infinitely far from being subject to such passions and variableness as frail men are; and who has


an infinitely tenderer and heartier concern for the happiness of his creatures, than mortal men can have for the welfare of their posterity; must desire to be imitated by his creatures in those perfections which are the foundation of his own unchangeable happiness? In the exercise of his supreme power, we cannot imitate him ; in the extent of his unerring knowledge, we cannot attain to any similitude with him. Job xl. 9. We cannot at all thunder with a voice like him; nor are we able to search out and comprehend the least part of the depth of his unfathomable wisdom. But his holiness and goodness, his justice, righteousness, and truth; these things we can understand; in these things we can imitate him; nay, we cannot approve ourselves to him as obedient children, if we do not imitate him therein. If God be himself essentially of infinite holiness and purity; (as, from the light of nature, it is of all things most manifest that he is,) Hab. i. 13. it follows, that it is impossible but he must likewise be of purer eyes than to behold with approbation any manner of impurity in his creatures; and consequently it must needs be his will, that they should all (according to the measure of their frail and finite nature) be holy as he is holy. If God is himself a being of infinite justice, righteousness, and truth, it must needs be his will, that all rational creatures, whom he has created after his own image, to whom he has communicated some resemblance of his divine perfections, and whom he has indued with excellent powers and faculties to enable them to distinguish between good and evil, should imitate him in the exercise of those glorious attributes, by conforming all their actions to the eternal and unalterable law of righteousness. If God is himself a being of infinite Mat. v. 45 goodness, making the sun to rise on the evil and on


the good, and sending rain on the just and on the Acts xiv. unjust; having never left himself wholly without witness, but always doing good, given men rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling their hearts with food and gladness; it cannot but be his will


that all reasonable creatures should, by mutual love PROP. and benevolence, permit and assist each other to enjoy in particular the several effects and blessings of the divine universal goodness. Lastly, if God is himself a being of infinite mercy and compassion, as it is plain he bears long with men before he punishes them for their wickedness, and often freely forgives them his ten thousand talents; it must needs be his Mat. xviii. will, that they should forgive one another their hun-24. 28. dred pence; being merciful one to another, as he is Lu. vi. 36. merciful to them all; and having compassion each Mat. xi. on his fellow-servants, as God has pity on them.23. Thus from the attributes of God, natural reason leads men to the knowledge of his will: All the same reasons and arguments, which discover to men the natural fitnesses or unfitnesses of things, and the necessary perfections or attributes of God, proving equally at the same time, that* that which is truly the law of nature, or the reason of things, is in like manner the will of God. And from hence the soberest and most intelligent persons among the heathens in all ages, very rightly and wisely concluded that the best and certainest part of natural religion, which was of the greatest importance, and wherein was the least danger of their being mistaken, was† to imitate the moral attributes of God, by a life of holiness, righteousness,

*Ita principem legem illam et ultimam, mentem esse omnia ratione aut cogentis aut vetantis Dei.--Cic. de Leg. lib. 2.

Quæ vis non modo senior est quam ætas populorum et civitatum, sed æqualis illius cœlum atque terras tuentis et regentis Dei. Neque enim esse mens divina sine ratione potest, nec ratio divina non hanc vim in rectis pravisque sanciendis habere.—Ibid.

+ Vis Deos propitiare? Bonus esto. Satis illos coluit, qui imitatus est.-Senec. Epist. 96.

Καὶ γὰρ δεινὸν ἂν εἴν, εἰ πρὸς τὰ δῶρα καὶ τὰς θυσίας ἀποβλέπεσιν ἡμῶν οἱ θεοί, ἀλλὰ μὴ πρὸς τὴν ψυχὴν, ἄν τις ὅσιος καὶ δίκαιος ὢν τυγχάνη. Πολλῷ γε μᾶλλον, διμαι, ἢ πρὸς τὰς πολυτελεῖς ταῦτας πομπάς τε καὶ θυσίας. -Plato in Alcibiade, 2.

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Collitur autem, non taurornm opimis corporibus contrucidatis, nec auro argentove suspenso, nec in thesauros stipe infusa; sed pia et recta voluntate.-Senec. Epist. 116.

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