« PreviousContinue »
Fellow-Creatures : There are likewise In-Serm. I.
I am afraid it would be thought very
Serm. I. a Manner wholly in Riches, Honours, sen
sual Gratifications; infomuch that one scarce hears a Reflection made upon Prudence, Life, Conduct, but upon this Supposition. Yet on the contrary, that Persons in the greatest Afluence of Fortune, are no happier than such as have only a Competency; that the Cares and Disappointments of Ambition for the most Part far exceed the Satisfactions of it; as also the miserable Intervals of Intemperance and Excess, and the many untimely Deaths occasioned by a dissolute Course of Life: These things are all seen, acknowledged, by every one acknowledged; but are thought no Objections against, though they expresly contradict, this universal Principle, that the Happiness ef the present Life consists in one or other of them. Whence is all this Absurdity and Contradiction? Is not the middle Way obvious ? Can any thing be more manifest, than that the Happiness of Life consists in Thele possessed and enjoyed only to a certain Degree; that to pursue them beyond this Degree, is always attended with more Inconvenience than Advantage to a Man's self, and often with extream Misery and Unhappiness. Whence then, I say, is all
this Absurdity and Contradiction? Is it really Serm. I.
The Sum of the whole is plainly this.
Serm. I. Virtue. Men follow or obey their Nature
in both these Capacities and Respects to a certain Degree, but not intircly: Their Actions do not come up to the whole of what their Nature leads them to in either of these Capacities or Respects; and they often violate their Nature in both. i. e. As they neg. lect the Duties they owe to their FellowCreatures, to which their Nature leads them; and are injurious, to which their Nature is abhorrent: So there is a manifest Negligence in Men of their real Happiness or Interest in the present World, when that Interest is inconsistent with a present Gratification; for the sake of which they negligently, nay, even knowingly are the Authors and Instruments of their own Misery and Ruin. Thus they are as often unjust to themselves as to others, and for the moft Part are equally so to both by the same Actions.
M. ii. 14.
Law, do by Nature the things contain-
S speculative Truth admits of diffe- Ser. II. rent Kinds of Proof, so likewise mu
Moral Obligations may be shewn by different Methods. If the real Nature of any Creature leads him and is adapted to such and such Purposes only, or more than to any other ; this is a Reason to believe the Author of that Nature intended it for those Purposes. Thus there is no Doubt the Eye was intended for us to see with. And the more complex any Constitution