« PreviousContinue »
II. Let us proceed therefore in the second place, to point out the Wisdom and Goodness of the Divine Conduct in the Dispensation of them both.
ist. Of Natural Religion, which, as we have seen, is proportionable to the different Abilities and Attainments of Mankind; as these are also to their different Stations and Conditions; both which we shall find exquisitely suited to the wellbeing of the World.
For in the first place, Society is requisite in order to supply the Conveniences, the Comforts and the Neceffaries of Life, as well as to secure the quiet use, and safe possession of them. To preserve Society, among such frail fallible Creatures, there is need of Government, which implies different Stations and Conditions; as these again call for different Abilities and Qualifications. All, 'tis plain, cannot be Governours, nor enjoy the Benefits which attend fome Posts of Wealth and Power : the
many have nothing left them but to obey, to execute the Will of their Superiors, and undergo the Drudgeries of Life. to
The same holds in the Body politic as in the natural, there must be many inferior and more feeble Members, which yet are necessary; neither can the Head Say to the Feet, I have no need of you. But now, if all these different Members of the World had naturally the self-fame Sense and Relish of things; if each Man had originally and unchan
† “ Illi ergo omnes conditi funt ut hæc opera præstent,
quibus in Civitate opus est; conditus est autem Vir sci“ entiâ præditus fui gratia: [i.c. ob finem quem adeptus "sest, sc. Scientiam. ) atque ita fimul colitur Terra, et repe
geably the highest degree of Understanding and Acuteness; the greatest strength of Reason and fineness of Imagination, that is to be met with in any of the Species ; how very unequal and incongruous must this unavoidable diversity of Orders prove! How hard would be the case of them whose lot is to fill the worst and lowest Offices, and yet
who find themselves as well qualified for, and as highly deserving too of the best, (since on this supposition, which leaves it so very little in any one's power to benefit either himself or others, there could scarce be any real desert at all) as those that hold them; and who likewise cannot but be as deeply sensible of all that misery and hardship which arises from the want of them! The common Intellect and Apprehenfion of Man would be but ill placed in an Ox, or Ass; nor would the genius and temper of some philosophic mind be any better suited to him that driveth them, and is occupied in all their labours.
But this must necessarily be the state of things, if all men were by nature furnished with all those rational or intellectual Accomplishments, which adorn some few of them at present. Three parts in four of the world must be unfit for their particular Circumstances, and at odds with their Condition.
How inconsistent also would it be in Nature to implant those various Senses, Appetites, and Tastes in all men, which not one in a thousand would
" ritur Sapientia. Quam fcite ergo dixit ille, quifquis fuit, “ Nifi effent ftulti defolaretur Terra? Maimon. Porta Moj. P. 41. v. Eccius 38.32, 34. Nich. Klim. p.133, &c. A4
have power to gratify! That sublime degree of Reason and Reflection, which could only prove its own tormentor! -- Not to mention what ill influence such a Scheme would have on Government itself; how difficult it must be to rule where every one has the same Strength and Skill; how hard to obey, when all have equal Abilities, and therefore (as they might imagine) an equal right to be their own Directors. * In short, how much more wise and beneficial is the present Constitution of things! Where all is left to Mankind
* Si omnes ingenio pares effent, omnesque in eosdem affectus proclives, aut iisdem Virtutibus ornati ; non effet qui aliûs imperiis parere vellet, aut ei quidpiam concedere, aut qui varietati minifteriorum et artium omnium generum aptus effet. Cum omnes omnia curare nequeant, fingulos in Societate suo munere, in gratiam aliorum, fungi oportet; nec viliffima munera minus sunt necessaria interdum quam sublimiora. Itaque esse oportuit omnibus suum ingenium, ut quisque quod fuum eft ad Societatis felicitatem conferret, et quod cæteris deest sua induftriâ suppleret. Cleric, Silv. Philol. ad Æschin. Socr. p. 170, 171.
+ See Ibbot's Boyle's Lect. 2d sett, ferm. 5. p. 143. & c. or King's Origin of Evil, Note 38. p. 211. 3d Ed.
See Prelim. Diff.to King's Orig of E. and rem.i.p.88.3dEd.
a To form fome notion of this, let it be observed, that when the first foundation of a diversity of Sense and Intellect is once laid in a greater or less susceptibility of Pleasure or Pain, by a Perception of Ideas more acute or dull, more quick or slow, and a proportioned Reflection on them, (which proportion, by the bye, between these two Powers (of pero ceiving and reflecting] is, I believe, in each person pretty exactly kept up, as to the pitch of their Vivacity in both the abovenamed respects, i.e. the Force and Time of their succesfive Operations, or the Momentum and Velocity of their respective Objects) -- from hence the whole Tribe of Affections &c. and the several Degrees in each, are very apparently deducible : supposing only this, I say, which seems to lie in the original Stamina of the Body, and is so far not to be accounted for, at least by me; which therefore and which only I themselves, who have both the forming and dispofing of each other; nay where Men are at liberty in a great measure to frame their own Natures, and Dispositions : where they have no inconvenient or pernicious Principle to lay to Nature's Charge ; + no properly innate Notions, or implanted Instincts ; I no truly natural Appetite or Affe&tion, to sway or byass them ; except that universal Sense, and strong Desire of Happiness, which was absolutely necessary to their Preservation. • By these means we have at first only such should term innate, or strictly natural; since everything besides, that is comprehended under the name of Natural Appetite &c. is properly so far from being such, that it is evidently posterior in the Order of Nature, and entirely grounded on the Ideas which themselves arise from hence, and whose innateness in all senses of that word is now generally given up :- supposing then this one foundation laid by Nature, a difference herein will be enough to constitute the Being more or less sensible, or rational in general; and tend to make it more or less pasionate or mild, eager or indolent &c. in whatsoever it applies itself to; but can this ever actually determine it to any one peculiar fett of Objects, or have any tendency towards giving what we mean by a particular Genius, Taste, or Temper? That, and the whole Conftitution of the Human Mind, or its predominant Qualities, seem to arise afterwards from the particular Asociations which we form ourselves, or learn of others, as these grow gradually, and even mechanically from the Circumstances we are in, or from those Objects that more immediately surround and strike us ; provided that a suitable Attention and regard be paid to each as it presents itself.
For that amidst all this Mechanic Apparatus we have such a distinct Faculty of attending, and determining the subordinate Powers in consequence thereof, as is stated at large by A. Bp. King, I must beg leave to suppose, till all these various Appearances, which seem so much to require it (of which in the following note e.) are solv'd on other Principles; and then indeed this, which, it must be own'd, contains some. thing inexplicable, will be of course excluded. I may add
Thoughts and Inclinations instilled into our Minds as are agreeable to, and for the most part do in fact arise from our particular Place and Circumstances in the World ; and afterwards find room enough to refine, improve and enlarge our Faculties; to qualify ourselves for, as well as by a right Application of them, to merit some superior Station, whenever that shall become void. How regular and beautiful a Subordination must this soon here, that neither are those Asociations themselves, from whence some very ingenious Persons would deduce a total Mechanism, altogether necessary ; nor we so far paffive under them, as to be left without a power of curbing and correcting, breaking and eradicating; as well as of contracting them at first, and afterwards confirming them: to affert this would be advancing a new Doctrine of Habits contrary to the general Sense and Language of Mankind.
Well then, allowing such a degree of Liberty, or active Power to be joined with the other passive Ingredients in our Composition, as such, it must in some measure act independently on each of them, and be capable of forming new Ajociations from its own proper Acts, which will extend to all the rest and influence them; and yet as it will also have some such sort of connection with them all, as to be itself in some respect or other influenc'd by them reciprocally, or (which comes to the same thing) the Mind will be fo far affected in, and through them as to influence it, which we all daily feel : [else how come these parts of our Conftitution to be conftantly applied to with success for the determination of it? Why is Pain present or in prospect used to move a Man, or Arguments and Motives urg’d, if they are really Matters of indifference to his Choice, and have no manner of effect upon it? ] As this grows and gathers strength, like all our other Faculties; and is equally capable of being impaired, and rectified again : (King, Note X. p.406, 407. 3d Ed.)—As it is limited and subject to its laws, not perhaps wholly different, though of a kind distinct, from those of the other Appetites: (however such as make it no less governable, ibid. c.5. $5. fub.4. p.420,&c. with notes 70, p. 417. and 71, p. 422, 423.) and cannot go against these Appetites without manifcft pain and misery to the perfon: ib. Not. N. p. 336, &c. -- As it may be in