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a page or thereabout, were indicated in the same manner; but, as they in general consist of single sentences, and as the meaning of the mark by which they were distinguished was not actually expressed, it has not been thought necessary to notice them particularly.

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VINDICATION OF NATURAL SOCIETY: :

OR,

A VIEW OF THE MISERIES AND EVILS ARISING TO MANKIND

FROM EVERY SPECIES OF ARTIFICIAL SOCIETY.

IN A LETTER TO LORD ****

BY A LATE NOBLE WRITER

PREFACE.

B

EFORE the philosophical works of Lord Boling

broke had appeared, great things were expected from the leisure of a man, who, from the splendid scene of action in which his talents had enabled him to make so conspicuous a figure, had retired to employ those talents in the investigation of truth. Philosophy began to congratulate herself upon such a proselyte from the world of business, and hoped to have extended her power under the auspices of such a leader. In the midst of these pleasing expectations, the works themselves at last appeared in full body, and with great pomp. Those who searched in them for new discoveries in the mysteries of nature; those who expected something which might explain or direct the operations of the mind; those who hoped to see morality illustrated and enforced ; those who looked for new helps to society and government; those who desired to see the characters and passions of mankind delineated ; in short, all who consider such things as philosophy, and require some of them at least in every philosophical work, all these were certainly disappointed; they found the landmarks of science precisely in their former places : and they thought they received but a poor recompense for this disappointment, in seeing every mode of religion attacked in a lively manner,

and the foundation of every virtue, and of all gov. ernment, sapped with great art and much ingenuity. What advantage do we derive from such writings? What delight can a man find in employing a capacity which might be usefully exerted for the noblest purposes, in a sort of sullen labor, in which, if the author could succeed, he is obliged to own, that nothing could be more fatal to mankind than his success ?

I cannot conceive how this sort of writers propose to compass the designs they pretend to have in view, by the instruments which they employ.

Do they pretend to exalt the mind of man, by proving him no better than a beast ? Do they think to enforce the practice of virtue, by denying that vice and virtue are distinguished by good or ill fortune here, or by happiness or misery hereafter? Do they imagine they shall increase our piety, and our reliance on God, by exploding his providence, and insisting that he is neither just nor good ? Such are the doctrines which, sometimes concealed, sometimes openly and fully avowed, are found to prevail throughout the writings of Lord Bolingbroke; and such are the reasonings which this noble writer and several others have been pleased to dignify with the name of philosophy. If these are delivered in a specious manner, and in a style above the common, they cannot want a number of admirers of as much docility as can be wished for in disciples. To these the editor of the following little piece has addressed it: there is no reason to conceal the design of it any longer.

The design was to show that, without the exertion of any considerable forces, the same engines which were employed for the destruction of religion, might

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