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naturally and necessarily results from that difference ; he is also endowed with a principle of self-motion or action, in the free use of which he is capable of moral government; that is, he is not only capable of perceiving the propriety or impropriety of actions, and of the exertion or non-exertion of the active faculty ; but also of making, or refusing to make that propriety the ground and reason of action to himself, by which his actions are voluntarily conformable or non-conformable to the aforesaid law. And as man, with these endowments, may be said to be godlike, or be made after the image of God; fo thefe endowments make him an accountable creature ; that is, they render him, in the reason of the thing, accountable for his behaviour to all whom it may concern, namely, the intelligent world, and also to the Deity, who is the most perfeet intelligence.
Man is an intelligent free being, who has it in his power, though some more, some less) and it is left to his option, whether he will voluntarily be a friend or an enemy to the intelligent world; whether he will render himself the proper object of approbation or dislike, of gratitude or resentment,
to all those who, by partaking of a like nature, are capable of being interested in him, or; at least, of discerning the goodness or the baseness of his intentions and actions. Whoever, therefore, from a good or godlike disposition, chuses to be a friend and a benefactor to the intelligent world, and employs his abilities in answering so valuable a purpose, such a man renders himself the proper object of approbation and gratitude to every other intelligent being, as he is their common friend, whether each one is immediately interested in that kindness, or not; and to whom each one ought gratefully to return the kindness, as to a common benefactor, when power and opportunity serve. And, in this view of the case, such a man may not improperly be said to be a friend to God, considered as an intelligent being; seeing he stands disposed to contribute even to his maker's well doing, were the Deity capable of receiving any kindness from him. And though God has no kindness to return, for any good that has, or could possibly have been done to himself; yet, he, as an intelligent being, stands disposed to return the kindness done to his intelligent creatures, as if that kindness had been done to himself ;
seeing he himself would have been benefitted thereby, had he been capable of it, and had stood in his creatures stead. And, on the other side, whoever, from an evil disposition or baseness of mind, chuses to be mischievous and hurtful to the intelligent world, and employs his abilities in answering fo vile a purpose, such an one thereby renders himself the proper object of dislike and resentment to every other intelligent being, as he is a common enemy, whether each one has been an immediate sufferer by him, or not. And, in this view of the case, such a man may not improperly be said to be an enemy and to be injurious to God, considering God to be an intelligent being; seeing he stands disposed to contribute to his maker's hurt, were it poffible such a thing could be. And though God has no evil to retaliate, that has been done to himself; yet he, as an intelligent being, stands disposed to retaliate the evil done to his intelligent creatures, as if it had been done to himself ; seeing he himself would have been a sufferer thereby, had he been capable of it, and had stood in his creatures stead. For, as a benificent mind stands disposed to communicate good to all, and consequently to the Deity, were it pof
lible for his case to admit it; so such a mind thereby, in some measure, lays an obligation of gratitude upon all, and consequently upon the Deity, if I may so speak, to return the kindness to such a benefactor as to a common friend. And as a vicious and evil mind stands disposed to be injurious and burtful to all, and consequently to the Deity, were that possible, when his base purposes require it; fo such a mind thereby Tenders itself, in some measure, the proper object of resentment to all, and consequently to the Deity, who may be said to be injured by him, as a sufferer in the common cause. And,
As man is capable of, and qualified for, so he was most certainly designed and intended by his maker to co-operate and work together with him, in promoting and carrying on the great and ultimate end of creation, viz. a public or general good. Whoever, therefore, from a benevolent mind, puts forth his endeavour to answer this end, by introducing as much happiness into the creation as he can ; such a man must of necetlity render himself truly acceptable to his maker, and worthy of recompence or reward. And, on the other side, whoever,
from a vicious selfishness and baseness of mind, breaks in upon the happiness of others, contributes to their misery, and sets himself as a bar to the common tranquility; such a man renders himself justly displeasing to God, and is the proper objeet of divine revenge. Indeed, as God exists, and is what he is, by, or from an absolute necessity in the nature of things; so, of necessity he must lie absolutely independent of the work of his hands, he can neither receive kindness from them, nor sustain any injury by them. And, I think, it must be acknowledged, that no man ever designed, or intended to do dishonour to God, or to be injurious to him in his character or otherwise; whatever wild or extravagant notions they may have entertained concerning him, or however foolishly and ridiculously they have used those terms or names by which the Deity is commonly characterised. I say, I think no inan ever intended to villify or injure the Deity in any respect, as, I think, there is nothing in nature to be a ground or temotation to man to be guilty of such miscara riages; and therefore, I think, there will be no such thing, nor be any enquiry, at the last judgment, after fuch offences as these.