A Letter to a Deist

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A Letter to a Deist Concerning the Beauty and Excellency of Moral Virtue and the Support and Improvement which it receives from the Christian Revelation
by John Balguy

Eds habere Vires Virtutem, tantumque in omni re valere quantum veteres Philosophi crediderunt; nemo Sanus affirmaverit.

-Erasmus.

Sir,
Have again peruſed with freſh Pleaſure, and freſh Concern , the Volumes of CHARACTERISTICKS which you was pleased to pjreſent me with ſome time ago. And I aſſure you, the Condition of Impartiality, which you impoſed on me, has been punctually obſerved. I heartily wiſh the Noble Author had been as unprejudiced in Writing, as I was in Reading. If he had, I am perſuaded his Readers would have found double Pleafure, and double Inſtruſtion. It ſeems to me, that his Lordſhip had little or no Temptation to purſue any Singularities of Opinion by way of Diſtinſtion. His fine Genius would ſufficiently have diſtinguiſhed him from vulgar Authors, in the High-Road of Truth and good Senſe; on which Account his Deviations ſeem the more to be lamented. The Purity and Politeneſs of his Style, and the Delicacy of his Sentiments, are, and muſt be acknowledged by all Readers of Taſte and Sincerity. But nevertheleſs , as his Beauties are not eaſy to be overlooked, ſo neither are his Blemiſhes. His Works appear to be ſtained with ſo many groſs Errors, and his fine Thoughts are ſo often mingled with Abſurdities, that however we may be charmed with the one, we are forced to Condemn the other.

It is but a ſmall Matter that the Clergy are the conſtant Mark oſ his Satyr. They who are prejudiced againſt the Chriilian Re ligion, are naturally diiguſted at Sts Mi ni ſters : Nor do I know, Sir, an ſoſſonce to the contrary, excepting your ſelſ. But conſidering what a general Aſſedkm--ſor Mankind, wliat an univerſal Benevolence our great Author maintains, and recom mends:, it is ſomeV/hat diſſicult to account ſor that Rancour, that Keenneſs oſ Spirit, which appears in his Writings, whenever he, touches -jon our Prpſeſiion. Any accidenLal Me xjiion oſ it kindles his Diſpleaſiire, and brings us under Correſtion. Let but the Idea oſ our ſun&ion croſs his Way immediately he quits the Game he is in Purſuit oſ, and does us the Honour to hunt us ſor ſeveral Pages together. Nor does he think ſit to ſingle out Particulars, but le vels and lets ſly, at the whole Order. Such a Proceeding as this needs no Remarks oſ mine, and they are ſtill leſs neceſTary in writing to you, who as you never ſollow the Example, ſo you have too much Huma nity and Juſtice to utter a Sylable in De ſence oſ it. I ſhall thereſore only obſerve bow it would have looked, ſuppoſing he had laid it down in the ſorm oſ a Propoſition, and inſerted it into his Doſtrine. It is natural and reaſonable to ſliew Benevo* lence, and be well aſſedioned towards all Mankind, excepting the Miniſters oſ the Goſpel.

I am equally at a Loſs to account ſor that extraordinary way oſ Thinking, which appears in his Eſſaj on Wit and Humour. To make Raillery the Teſt oſ Right Reaſon, and Ridicule the Touchſtone oſ Truth, is to maintain ſomethino; that ſar exceeds the Bounds oſ a Paradox. I rnuſt own I cannot but wonder, whenever I think oſ it, that ſo able and accurate a Writer could ever take it into his Head to advance ſuch an uncouth , abſurd Notion,, All I can naake oſ it is, that his Lordſliip had a mind to divert himſelſ with ſome Speculation en tirely new, and peculiar to himſelſ: Such as no Man had ever entertained beſore him, and none would be likely to entertain aſter him.

It is neither my Intention, nor your Deſire, that I (hould go through the Ckaratſerijlicks, and point put whatever may ſeem liable to Objection. This is a Work, ſor which, at preſent, I have neither Time nor Inclination. I am glad thereſore that you have conſined me to the Enquiry concerning Virtue - 5 where I {hall ſind little more to do, thien to tell you how much I admire it. I think it indeed, in the main, a Perſormance ſo juſt and exaſt, as to deſerve higher Praiſes then I am able to give it : But notwithſtanding this Acknowledgment, I cannot agree to every Particular contained in it. And you muſt give me leave to add, Sir, that the very Point with which you ſeem to be moſt pleaſed, appears to me the moſt exceptiona ble. I mean that low and disadvantageous Account he has given oſ thoſe Religious Motives^ which both Reaſon and Revelation ſet beſore us. I cannot but think he has carried the Notion oſ Diſintereſt too ſar, and am ſo rry to ſind that you ſeem to carry it ſtill ſurther.

Beſore I trouble you with my Reaſons, it jnay be very ſitting to make the ſollowing Conceſſions. I can by no means approve oſ that Doſtrine which reſolves all Morality into Selſ-Intereſt : A Dodrine that not only debaſes Virtue, but ſinks it to a Level with the moſt indiſſerent Aſtions. Whenever theſe happen to be equally proſitable, they become, according to this Opinion, equally eligible. Are there then no Propenſities, no Inclinations in our Nature, drawing us, as it were, out oſ our ſelves, in behalſ oſ our ſellow-Creatures, even to the Neglect oſ what we^ call Selſ-Advantage ? Is there likewiſe no intrinſick Goodneſs in Virtue to aſcertain its Superiority, and determine our Preſerence? Suppoſe it in anylnſlance un proſitable v ſupppſe it prejudicial, would it ceaſe to be Virtue? Would the eternal and immutable Relations oſ Things be hereby deſtroyed? It might be ſaid indeed, in ſuch a Caſe, that its Obligations were ſuſpended or overruled - 5 but ſtill, its Nature would remain the ſame, nor would it loſe any thing oſ its own intrinſick Worthineſs. We may be ſuppoſed to be placed in ſuch Circum- ſiances, as to be incapable oſ practiſing it j and ſuch a Suppoſition may ſbew how much it wants to be ſupported by Rewards : but theſe Rewards have no Inſluence, no Eſſed upon Virtue itſelſ, whatever Eſſects they ſnay have upon us. < I look upon it as certain Truth, that nothing can be more binding upon teaſonable Creatures than Reaſon; and that a good Law obliges as much, iſ not more than the Legiſlator himſelſ. God has no ; Superior to preſcrit^ Laws to hi inland v-t is -e-r-nally boiiri,(l by the Reſtitude oſ his own Nature ^ jtſſyt is,, the Rules- oſ ri ſ& | . ; Thſeſeſ j> ſo many Laws to him, \ a 3?* perpetu ally and inviolably ot/erveb : Tliey ſtrictly and ſormally oblige hm ;> nor can die Ob ligation be^ever dilTolved :\And yet no Proſit 5 no Advantage ariks to liirr? ſrom thence, as being incapable oſ receiving any. Who ever aſſirms that God s Goodneſs to his Creatures is, in any Reſpeſt, ſerviceable to himſelſ} muſt alſo aſſirm, that he is more happy ſince the Creation than he was be ſore, and that the Creation was neceſlary to compleat his H^ppjneſs^ which being evi dently impoſlible, it ſollows that the Goodneſs oſ God is entirely independent on Selſ-Intereſt, and has not the leaſt Connexion with it. And ^ſince his Goodneſs is moſt perſeſt, does it not alſo, ſollow, that the "more ours reſembles his, the nearer it ap proaches to Perſeſtion^ and by Conſequen.ee the more diſintereſted, the more perſedl? Very true ^ but then we muſt remember tjip inſinite Disparity oſ Nature and Condition. Iſ ours be ſuch, that it will not ſuſſer us in rnany Caſes to praſtiſe this rnoſt perſeſt Virtue, we muſt be content with that which is leſs perſect. And iſ we purſue this as ſar as we can,, we (hall have no Reaſon to complain, or be diiTatisſied. But to return, I think it appears ſrom what I have {aid, that nothing can tend more to ^the Diſparagement and Diminution oſ Virtue, then to ſound it thus on Selſ-Intereſt. ^ What ever may be laid oſ ſoine other Kinds oſ Virtue, yet Social Virtue, or Benevolence, muſt ſtand upon another ſoot, or ſall to the Ground. ſor no Services, no Acts oſ Beneſicence to our ſello\v-Creatures can be Virtuous, while we are deſtitute oſ all Aſſeſtion ſor them, and mean nothing but the ſerving oſ our ſelves. Were it otherwiſe, it would ſollow, that Human Virtues were nothing more than ſo many Modiſications oſ Selſ-Love. And upon the ſame Suppoſition, Human Goodneſs would be oſ a quite diſſerent Nature ſrom Divine Good neſs, as appears ſrom what I have juſt now obſerved ^ which is as much as to ſay, that it would be no Goodneſs at all.

But aſter all, though Intereſt can never enter into the Nature and Conſtitution oſ Virtue, yet why may it not be allowed to accompany and ſtand beſide her ? NotwitMtanding all that has been granted, I can ſee no Reaſon why Virtue, and the Re wards oſ Virtue muſt needs be ſeparated, and ſet at Variance. Its Excellencies and Advantages ſeem by God and Nature to be joined together, and why ſhould Man at tempt to put them aſunder? Let Virtue be decked in all her Charms :, let her be painted as lovely a ſorm as is poſlible ^ there is no Danger oſ the Pictures out doing the Original. But (till, what Reaſon can any Man have to* (trip her oſ her Dowry, and preſent her empty-handed? The Royal Moraliſt has represented her otherwiſe:, and in Conſormity to his Deſcription, why may (he not be ſet ſorth as holding temporal Advantages in one Hand, and a bleſſed Immortality in the other?

You ſay, that Views and Intentions oſ Selſ-Good, in Proportion to the Extent oſ their Inſluence, are deſtruclive oſ Virtue. And I grant, iſ they deſtroy Benevolence, they deſtroy Virtue. Or iſ they diminilh the ſormer, they in Proportion diminiſli the latter. But 1 am not able to diſcover that they do either the one or the other. A certain Perſon believes nothing ei ther oſ Providence or a ſuture State , but yet has a contiderable Share oſ Benevo lence: And this Benevolence prompts him to ſuitable Aſts oſ Kindneſs and Beneſi cence. Suppoſe him aſterwards convinced oſ thoſe great Truths, what Eſſeſt would they have upon him ? Would they take away, or Men his Benevolence? I ſee no Reaſon to^ſuppoſe it. ſor how ſhould a Man s aiming to procure himſelſ Happineſs in another World, render him either diſaſſeded, or leſs kind to his Brethren in this ? Since that Happineſs is ſuppoſed com mon to all that will qualiſy themſelves ſor it, _ there can be no interſering, no Compe tition oſ Intereſt to occaſion Contention, and impair Benevolence. And what elſe ſhould do it, I cannot conceive. You will ſay perhaps, that though his Benevolence do remain the ſame, y-et that he is not equally inſluenced by it. That the new Motives which his Convidion has intro duced, muſt aſſect his Determinations, and proportionally detrad ſrom the Merit and Virtue oſ his good Actions. To which I anſwer, that however the new Motives may operate, they cannot hinder the Eſſicacy oſ the old one. Whatever Good they may produce over and above, (as indeed much may be expeded ſrom their Conjunction with the ſormer Principle) yet dill the Be nevolence being ſuppoſed, the ſame in De gree muſt, I think, remain the ſame in ſorce and Inſluence. But let us hear what the Author oſ the CharaBeriſt icks ſays about this Matter, can ſear or Hope conſiſt in Reality with Virtue, or Goodneſs^ iſ it (land as a conſiderable Motive to any A& , oſ which ſome better Aſſe&ion ought alone, to have been a ſuſſicient Cauſe. Again : ſ In this Religious T)iſcipline ( vi&. oſ Hope and ſear ) the Principle oſ Selſ-Love which is naturally ſo prevailing in us^ being improved and made jlronger every Day by the Exerciſe oſ the Paſſwns in a.Snbjeſt oſ more extended Selſ-Inter eſt ^ there may be Reaſon to appre hend, leſrthe Temper oſ this Kind ſtould ex tend itſelſ in general through all the Parts oſ Liſe. ſor iſ the. .Habit ſa ſitch, as to occatiGn in every ? articular ^ ,a ſtriſſer Attention te Selſ-Good^ and Interest, it musi inſenjibly diminiſo the Aſſections towards Publick Good, and introduce a certain Narrowneſs oſ Spirit. Whether by this., the Author did not mean toſhew, or inſinuate the Inconvenience and Damage that Virtue Curtains., ſrom the ſa-. ture and inviſible Motives oſ Religion, let the Reader judge. My Buſineſs is ^to (hew,, iſ I can, that, theſe Apprehenſions are groundleſs ; and that in ſome Caſes, a siritſ Attention to Selſ-Good, is oſ great Service to the Publick. -Iſ I be not very much deceived, the Motives oſ Religion are ſo ſar ſrom weakening or leſTenirig Benevo*

  • Vpl. U, Pag, 8,

[ 3] lence, that they naturally tend to increaſe and ſtrengthen it. By theſe Motives I mean the poſitive Rewards which we be lieve Revelation has ſet beſore us, added to thoſe Advantages and Enjoyments which naturally ſlow ſrom Virtue. That is, that complex Good, which is meant by a bleſſed Immortality, oſ whatſoever Ingredients it may conſiſt. Let it then be conſidered, what Eſſeſts the Expectation oſ this great and endleſs Happineſs is like to have on the Minds oſ Men. Now I think it na turally tends to give them great Peace and Tranquillity oſ Mind, and to make them habitually well pleaſed and joyſul, in pro portion to the Strength oſ their Hopes. The Queſtion then is, Whether this Tranquillity and Joy do not as naturally tend to increaſe and cheriſli Benevolence :, and by Conſe- quence contribute to that Goodneſs oſ Tem per which our Author requires. This I own is no Queſtion with me : However, I am willing it ſhould be determined by Experience and Obſervation. Recoiled, Sir, what you have ſeen and known, and tell me whether, extern Paribw, thoſe Men be not raoſt benevolent and kindly diſpoſed, who are beſt pleaſed with their Hopes and Proſpeſts. Do not compare this to thoſe Mechanical Aſſections, which riſe and ſall with our Spirits, and depend on the little Accidents and Events oſ Human Liſe. For as this is regular and conſtant as the Cauſe which produced it, ſo it is aided by Reaſon, and ſtrengthen d by Reſlection. When Men conſider how their Labours here will be recompenſed and crowned hereaſter, and what an inexhau ſtible ſund oſ Happineſs God has provided ſor them in the next Liſe y their Minds are ſilled not only with pleaſing Expectations oſ their own Bliſs, but with a grateſul Senſe oſ his Bounty and Goodneſs : And ſmce they cannot poſllbly make him any Requital, their Gratitude naturally ſlows put in Streams oſ Kindrneſs upon theiY ſellow-Creatures. This, I ſay, is not only natural, but highly agreeable to Reaſon , and even Revelation.

- 1 - Again, how nniſt it endear Good Men to one another, -to conſider themſelves as Perſons deſigned ſor a perpetual Coha bitation hereaſter > Members oſ an im mortal Society, and ſriends and Compa nions ſor ever ! Here are Bonds oſ Love, and Principles oſ Benevolence, which only Religion can ſurniſli , and which entirely depend on the Rewards oſ ſuturity. On the other Hand , iſ we ſuppoſe Mankind without any Hope, any Proſped in ano ther World , expecting nothing more, than as ſoon as this Liſe was done, to periſh and be extinct -, ſuch a Thought , ſuch a Be lieſ as this, would be ſuſſicient to damp every good Deſign , and ſtrike all Virtue dead. Upon this Suppoſition, how ſew would give themſelves Trouble to do good Oſſices either ſor others, or themſelves? Who would think it worth his while to ex ert himſelſ vigorouſly in the Service oſ the Pubiick, iſ he knew that in a ſew Years, both he and they were to loſe their Exiſtence, and ſink together into utter Obli vion? Men would then almoſl give them ſelves up to ſad Thoughts , and gloomy Reſlections :, and in ſuch a dejeded, diſconſolate State as this, what Room, what En couragement to cultivate virtuous Diſpoſitions? Surely Benevolence mud, at leaſt, thrive ill in ſuch a Soil. -In ſhort, to preſcribe and preach up Virtue without a ſuture State, appears to me no otherwiſe than as a Sort oſ Religious Knight-Errantry. However Men may gaze or liſten ſor a while, they will never be inſluenced by a Doſlrine that is carried ſo high, as to be above the Principles oſ Human Na ture.

Upon the whole, what our Author s real Opinion was concerning ſuturity, he has not thought ſit to inſorm us , nor ſhall I preſume to determine. He oſten throws out oblique Hints againſt Inſinite Rewards-^ and as oſren ſpeaks in ſavour oſ common and natural Virtms ; But what to conclude ſrom hence, perhaps you, Sir, may know better than I do. I iliall thereſore leave theſe Ambiguities and Uncertainties, and proceed to ſomething that is clearer.

He has expreſly granted, that the Principle oſ Rewards and Puniſliments, how merce nary or ſervile ſoever it may be accounted^ is yet in many Circuniſtances a great Advan tage^ Security, and Support to Virtue *. And ſince you ſeem to be ſo ſar oſ a diſſerent Opinion in reſpeſt oſ Rewards, as to make Virtue its own ſuſſicient Reward, and to think it depredated by any other:, I muſt deſire you to peruſe and weigh what the Author has added about this Matter. In the mean Time, give me leave to oſſer you the ſollowing Conſiderations.

Let it be obſerved then in the ſirſt Place, how ſmall a Proportion oſ Mankind are ca pable oſ diſcerning in any conſiderable Degree, the inward Beauty and Excellence oſ Virtue. In the CharaBertſticks we ſind a good Taſle required ſor this Purpoſe ^ and whether that Taſte be derived ſrom Nature or Education, there is ^ little Rea- ſon to exped it ſhould be ſound in the Bulk oſ Mankind. Nor will even ^that Moral Senſe, which an excellent Writer has oſ late contended ſor in another Enquiry ſ , prove much more eſſectual. ſor ſuppoſe it to

  • Vol. II. Pag. 60.

t Enquiry into the original Ideas oſ Beauty and Virtue. be [ 73 be as real and extenſive as he repreſents it, yet iſ it be not kept up and cheriſhed by Care, Attention, and the Practice oſ Vir tue, it muſt ſoon grow dull, iſ it be not almoſt extinguiſlied. How then can it be imagined, that in reſpect oſ the Generality oſ the World, it ſhould be ſuſſicient ſor the Support oſ Morality, and the Maintenance oſ Virtue ? I need not ſurther obſerve how little probability there is oſ their arriving at ſuch a Knowledge by abſtracted Reaſo- nings and Speculations. To expect indeed any way that the greateſt Part oſ Mankind ſhould have juſl Ideas oſ Virtue, and un* derſtand its worth ; is to expeſt that the greateſt Part oſ Mankind ſhould become Philoſophers . But ſuppoſing the Excel lence oſ Virtue were in a good Meaſure per ceived by them, how would they be aſ- ſeſted by it ? What ſlight hold would ſuch intellectual Beauties take on the Under- ſtandings oſ the Vulgar , and how ſeebly would they operate upon them? It muſt be ſomething more ſubſtantial that can make any conſiderable Impreſlion on their groſs Minds : Something that can either ſlrike their Senſes, pr work upon their Paſlions. And what can be ſitter ſor this Purpoſe than Rewards and Puniſhments? Theſe excite their ſtrongeſt Paſlions, and work upon Man kind more powerſully than any tiling CQuld do. Moſt certain it is, that ever theſe ſail to bring Men to their Duty, nothing would be ſuſſicient*, nothing, I mean, leſs than Compulſion, which is in- conſiſtent with our Nature. The Wiſdom and Goodneſs oſ God are very conſpicupus thereſore in this Proviſion ſor our Security, Such ſtrong Sanctions were abſolutely ne- ceſlſary: And however vicious Men may be with them, they would have been inſi nitely more ſo without them.

But ſurther , to diſcover the Neceſlity oſ theſe Motives, we ought to conſider a great Part oſ Mankind as deeply engaged in ſinſul Courſes. It is reaſonable to think, that regard muſt be had to the reclaiming oſ theſe. To ſacilitate the Converſion oſ Evil Men, you will allow, Sir, to be an Inten tion worthy oſ inſinite Goodneſs. Is then the Excellence oſ Virtue to be looked upon as a Cauſe adequate to ſuch an Eſſect? Was it proper that the Reſormation oſ the Wick ed ſhould be wholly leſt to their own Rea- ſon -, or, iſ you will, to that Moral Se?iſe beſore ſpoken oſ? Alas! their Reaſon is ex ceedingly darkened and depraved :> and their Moral Senſe muſt be grown very lan guid, iſ it be not quite loſt. Repreſent to a vicious Man the Beauty oſ Virtue, you ſpeak to him in a Language that he does not underſtand. Let Virtue her ſelſ plead her own Cauſe, and ſet ſorth her own Me rit, he will not ſo much as bear the Voice oſ the Charmer. His Eyes, his Ears, his Heart are ſixed upon quite diſſerent Objeds - 5 inſomuch that all Attempts ſrom this Quar ter are utterly loſt upon him. But let him be told that the Paths in which he is en gaged lead to- his Ruin :, that he is incurring endleſs M ſery, and ſorſeiting eternal Hap* pineſs: This may probably work upon him, iſ he be not quite incorrigible. Such ſor cible Arguments will prevail, iſ any thing can : In ſliort, a ſtrong Attachment to Sin produced by Inclination, and conſirmed by Cuſtom, all Men allow is hard to be broken* I would only ask then, whether your Prin ciple taken alone, or reinſorced by Goſpel- Motives, be more likely to do it. I believe you will be ſo reaſonable, and ſo ingenuous as to ſay the latter. But perhaps you W lladd, that Converts thus made, are not Converts to Virtue, as being aſted and ſwayed merely by Conſiderations oſ Intereſt.

I have already told you why I cannot agree to ſuch a Concluſion : But here I muſl rejeſt it upon another Account. He who removes out oſ the Ways oſ Vice into the Ways oſ Virtue, wholly ſrom a Regard to his own Saſety and Welſare, may, and probably will, iſ he continue therein, be inſluenced aſterwards by higher Conſiderations, and become virtuous at laſt even upon your own Principle. This is a natural Suppoſiticm s The Author oſ the CbaraSeriſticks takes notice oſ it - 3 and I doubt not but it is oſten veriſied in ſaſt. And indeed what wonder iſ a Man, who embraces Virtue upon any Principle, diſcover the Beauty and Excellency oſ it ſooner than he who is wallowing in Sin and Senſuality? And this, iſ I miſtake not, clearly (hews the Uſeſul- neſs and Advantage oſ the Motives thatj am deſending. They draw Men out oſ their evil Courſes, which no other Inducements have Power to do :, and then commit them into the Hands oſ Virtue, to be taught and intruded by her ever aſter. And thus ha ving ſo ſair an Opportunity oſ discovering her Worth, it is not to be imagined that they will long continue ſtrangers to it. Be reconciled then , Sir , to thoſe Motives which you have hitherto diſapproved :, iſ it be ſor no other Reaſon, than that they maniſeſtly ſupport and ſtrengthen your own Principle.

Another Prooſ how uſeſul theſe Motives are to Virtue, and how neceſTary to ſupport it, may be drawn ſrom a State oſ Suſſering ^ and more eſpecially ſrom the Caſe oſ Per- ſecution. A conſidcrate Mind that is at caſe, unmoleſted by Want, or Grieſ, or Pain, may be ſuppoſed carable oſ obſer- ving the Excellence oſ Virtue, and oſ re ceiving ſuitable Impreſlions ſrom it. He is at leiſure to reſleſt upon it without Diſſra ction, and the more he reſleſts, the more reaſon he will ſind to approve and admire it. But when a Man is ſunk into Adverſity, and has various Hardſhips to ſtruggle with ^ eſpecially when theſe Hardſhips are occaſioned and brought upon him by his adhe rence to Virtue -, will he not then want ſome ſurther Support than Virtue is able to give him ? What Conſolation can ſlie pour into an aſſliſted and ſorrowſul Breaſt ? What Remedies can ſlie adminiſter to heal his Grieſ, and ſooth him in his Suſſerings? She may ſtill appear lovely in his Eyes - ſtill diſplay her Beauty, and ſliine out with her uſual Luſtre: But is this ſuſſicient to mitigate his Pains , or diſpel the thick Gloom that hangs over his Heart? , Ex tol Virtue, Sir, as much as you can :, ex- liauſt your Eloquence in her Praiſe : Yet aſter all, Truth will oblige you to acknow ledge, that (he is impotent in the Day oſ Adverſity, and not capable alone oſ ſup- porting Men in Diſtreſs. The Stoicks in deed denied this with great Reſolution and Obſtinacy ^ but their boaſtſul Declarations on this Head, were in reality only ſo many Inſults upon human Nature, and Contradiſtions to common Experience . Moſt certainly nothing can ſupport a Man under the Preſſure oſ any great Evil , but the Hope and Proſpeſt oſ ſucceeding; Good : And iſ he ſuſſers in the Cauſe oſ Virtue, tis plain that ſomething is wanting to make up her Deſiciencies, and cpmpenſate his Suſſerings. So that here again we perceive tbe great Uſeſuhieſs oſ thoſe Rewards and Encouragements which Heaven has annex ed to Virtue, and entailed upon her Vota ries. Here is more than an Equivalent ſor the moſt grievous Suſſerings ^ a Comſort adminiſtred, that has Strength and Sub- ſtance capable oſ bearing up the moſt de- jeſted Spirits, and ſuſlaining all their In- ſirmities. But this Obſervation will ſtill appear to have greater Weight, iſ we ex tend it to the Caſe oſ Perſecution. Let us conſider a Man ſuſſering Martyrdom, and behold him led by Truth and Virtue to a Stake : In this Extremity how is he to be ſupported - 5 whither can he turn ſor relieſ? What can bare Virtue do ſor him, in the Height oſ Torture, and the Agonies oſ Death? Would he not naturallv ſly out into Brutus s Exclamation, and loudly complain that Virtue had betrayed him ? Would you expect to ſupport and comſort him in his laſl Moments, by a lively Repreſentation oſ her Charms? Alas! it would avail no more at that Jundure, than the Contemplation oſ ſorne ſine Piſture. Whereas, let but Reli gion ſtep in to his Aid, and liſt up his Eyes to thoſe Jovs and Glories that (he has pre pared ſor him above:, he is comſorted at once -, his Torments are in a manner ſor gotten : The ſlames have loſt their ſorce, and Death its Sting, and he paſſes trium phant into another World.

I deſire, Sir, you will not look upon this as a ſlight oſ Enthuſiaſm, or a ſan ciſul Deſcription carried beyond the Bounds oſ Truth. The Hiſtory oſ our Religion, ſurniſhes us with a Multitude oſ Vouch ers, and ſets beſore us many Inſtances oſ the Power and Eſſicacy oſ thoſe Motives againſt which you objeſt , and that in ſuch Circumſtances as I have been ſpeaking oſ. And the ſame might be obſerved in Re- ſped oſ the Temptations incident to Proſ- perity, which would be more powerſul and prevailing than they are, iſ it were not ſor the Inſluences oſ another World. Does it not appear then ſrom the ſore going Conſiderations , that theſe Motives greatly beſriend Virtue, and ſtrengthen her Intereſts? We plainly ſee ſhe is not ſelſ-ſuſſicient , and how could her Deſects be better ſupplied, than by thoſe Rewards which Revelation has oſſered Men? I de- ſire no more, than that they may be looked upon as her Auxiliaries :, and ſuch, I think, upon an impartial Enquiry, you muſt diſ- cover them to be.

I might ſarther obſerve, that Mankind is much indebted to theſe Motives, as they occaſion the doing oſ much more Good in the World, than otherwiſe would be done. Diſorder, much Miſchieſ is hereby prevented , and many Aſtions perſormed, highly beneſicial to the Publiclr, as well as advantageous to ^ private Perſons. And ſuppoſing ſuch Aſtions were in no Caſe , and in no Degree, truly Virtuous; yet ſince ſo much Beneſit redounds ſrom them, and they ſo much conduce to the Welſare oſ Mankind:, that Principle ſrom whence they ſpring, muſt be allowed to be very uſeſul. Were we to ſubſtradt ſrom the Good that has been done in the World , that Share which was owing to Proſpeds oſ Advan tage, and Views oſ Intereſt:, the Remain der, in all likelihood, would not be ve ry conſiderable. And yet this Remainder would have been the Whole, iſ we ſuppoſe Virtue ſtripped oſ all Advantages, and leſt to her ſelſ. As Man is a reaſonable Creature, he is capable oſ diſcovering and admiring the intrinſick Excel lence oſ Virtue j but nevertheleſs, as he is conſcious oſ his own Indigence and Inſir mity, he cannot well pretend to neglect thoſe Appendages oſ Intereſt that belong to her. Tis Vanity and Preſumption in him to ſlight thoſe Advantages which are ſo neceſſary to his Weil-Being. On the other Hand tis mean, and mercenary, to purſue thcſe Advantages alone. To pre vent both, God has cloſely connected our Duty and Intereſt, and interwoven ihim to? gether. And this Conjunction has been oſ great Service to Mankind at all Times, and upon all Occaſions. I believe it may be ſaid, that ſrom this complicated Principle have ſlowed all thoſe great and illuſtrious Aſtions that make ſuch a ſigure in Hiſtory, and have been the Delight and Admiration oſ all Ages. Many oſ the antient Heroes oſ Greece and Rome had a lively Senſe oſ Virtue, and were eſpecially ſamous ſor the Love oſ their Country, and an inviolable Attachment to the Intereſts thereoſ: But was this the only Principle that prompted them to ad ſo heroically, and deſerve ſo well oſ Mankind ? Were they not alſo excited and animated by an ardent Third aſter Glory ? Did they not expeſt to im mortalize their Names, and perpetuate the ſame oſ their Actions? When Socrat.es ſell a Sacriſice to Truth and Virtue, did he not propoſe to pleaſe God and pro cure his ſavour? A nobler View indeed than the other :, but yet it was a View oſ Intereſt, though ſuch a one as Virtue can never be aſhamed oſ. A Deſire to pleaſe the ſupreme Being, and obtain his Appro bation, is ſo wiſe and worthy an Intenti on, ſo juſt a Principle oſ Aſtion, ſo agree able to the Dictates oſ right Reaſon, and the genuine Inclinations oſ human Nature, that it may ſeem to rival the pureſt and moſt diſintereſted Love oſ Virtue, or at leaſt to claim a Place very near it. In Socrates they were joined together, as in deed they always ought to be. His ex alted Mind ſaw, what only Revelation could teach others -, that to diſunite Virtue and Intereſt, and ſollow either ſeparately, was to act contrary to Nature, and the Rules oſ ſound Wiſdom: And while others de voted themſelves to the Purſuit oſ earthly ſame and human Praiſe, that Shadow oſ Honour - 5 he ſound out and ſollowed the Subſtance :> driving to recommend himſelſ to that Being, in whoſe Approbation con- ſids the Perſeſtion oſ all Glory. In (hort, that he leſt this World with ſo much In^ diſſerence, or rather Inclination, was owing to the ſtrong Hopes he had oſ the Joys and Glories oſ another. Oſ his Charaſter and Conduct ( perhaps the bed in all the Heathen World ) I have taken more particular Notice, that it might diſpoſe you to hear with leſs Prejudice what is ex- preſsly owned concerning the great ſoun ders cſ our Religion - 5 or at lead, to ob viate ſuch Exceptions as you might o- therwiſe be apt to make. When it is ſaid, that the one had reſpeEi to the Recompense cſ Reward, and that the other endured the Croſs, and deſpiſed the Shame, ſor the Joy (bat was ſet beſore him - 5 this is abundant Authority ſor us Believers, and ſully aſſures us, that the rriixed Principle beſore-mentioned is perſectly right. We are hence throughly convinced, that Intereſt may be regarded and propoſed, without any Diminution oſ Virtue, or Derogation ſrom it ^ and in ſliort, that they are and ought to be indiilblubly united. As you diſown this Authority , I am content to i-eſer you to the Reaſori oſ the Thing *, only deſiring, as I juſtly may, that what was never objeſted againſt Socrates^ may Hot be objected againſt Moſes and Chriſt.

Having complied with your Requeſt, and laid beſore you my Sentiments, though brieſly, concerning a Book that you think ſit to call your Oracle^ and that is eſteemed and ſtudied by you accordingly : Let me intreat you in my Turn, to reſume and re-examine with the ſame impartiality that you required ſrom me, that Book which we believe to be truly and ſtridly Oracu lar : Bring along with you that Venera tion ſor Morality and Virtue which you proſeſs, and try whether you cannot ſind in the New Teſlanient the nobleſt Precepts and ſublimeſt Paterns that you ever met with* As you may there diſcover the Rea- ſonableneſs, the ſitneſs, the Uſeſulneſs oſ thoſe Motives which I have been contending ſor ^ ſo you may obſerve notwithſtanding, the moſt exalted Benevolence both taught and exempliſied. You may there have the Pleaſure oſ perceiving all human Duty reſolvecl into the Love oſ God and Man. You will alſo ſind Selſ-Love made the Rule oſ our Love ſor others , and all Behaviour, all Proceedings towards others ſorbidden, except ſuch as we judge to be reaſonable towards our ſelves : You will ſind real Aſ- ſeſtion and unſeigned Good-Will eſTentially conſtituting Chriſtian Charity , and all out ward Acts oſ Beneſicence declared to be ineſſectual and worthleſs, that do not proceed ſrom that inward Principle : You will ſind Benevolence and Kindneſs laid down as the Rule by which Men will be ſinally judg ed^ and thoſe repreſented as moſt deſerving, who do the moſt good in proportion to their Abilities : But what I would more par ticularly point out to your Obſervation, is the Extent and Diſſuſiveneſs oſ Chriſtian Benevolence, which comprehends, as you would wiſh it to do, the whole Species, and ſpreads itſelſ over the ſace oſ the whole Earth. Inſtead oſ that partial Love, thoſe contracted Aſſedions, whether ſor Kindred, Neighbours , ſriends or Country, which both Jews and Gentiles were too apt to run into, and even make their boaſtoſ:, Chrjſtianity requires us to love all without Diſtinſtion, and opening our Arms as wide as poſlible, embrace Mankind with an univerſal Good-will. How will you be able to ſorbear admiring the Nobleneſs and Generoſity oſ thoſe Precepts, which throwing down the narrow Limits and Boundaries oſ Aſſection which had been at any time ſet up, enlarge and draw it out to the ut- moſt , and will have nothing leſs than the whole human Kind to be the proper and adequate Objed oſ human Love ? Not that the Goſpel intends to looſen the Ties oſ Nature, or diſſolve the Obligations ariſing ſrom any oſ the Relations beſore-mentioned ^ but to ſix them in their proper Order, and make them ſubordinate to that Obligation, which oſ all others is the ſtrongeſt and moſt natural. And very ſitting it was, to rectiſy the Miſtakes oſ thoſe, who had ſo ſar inverted the Duties oſ Benevolence, as to degrade that, which next to the Love oſ God, is the higheſt oſ all : And it was well iſ ſome went not ſo ſar, as even to diſcard it.

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But to return-, how juſt, how ſine an Explication oſ the Precept concerning the Love oſ our Neighbour , will you ſind couched under the Parable oſ the Good Samaritan? How beautiſul appears the Aſtion, how amiable the Character? In Oppoſition to thoſe who underſtood the Word Neighbour in too literal and narrow a Senſe, our Saviour has here inſormed us, in a moſt lively and elegant Manner, that it is not to be reſtrained to nearneſs oſ Situation, ſamiliarity, or Acquaintance-., but that every Human Creature, whatever be his Country, his Manners, his Religion, is to be reputed our Netgloboiir, and treated as ſuch. Had a foreigner oſ ſome remote Country been repreſented as the Perſon in Diſtreſs, or as the Perſon who relieved him, the ſined Part oſ the Illuſtration had been loſt. But the Object oſ Compaſſiort is a Jew , and Succour is brought him by a Samaritan :, who breaking through the National and Religious Prejudices that poſTeſTed and mutually inſlamed the Minds oſ thoſe People againſt each other, ſuns to his Relieſ, and treats him with as much Humanity and Tenderneſs oſ Aſſection i as iſ he had been not only his Neighbour, but his Brother. The generous Samaritan conſiders him only as a Man in Diſtreſst This was enough to excite his Compaſ- ſion, and quicken his Care. All Animo- ſities are laid aſleep and ſorgotten, and he extends his Arms, and opens his Purſe, ſor the Preſervation oſ a Liſe that would otherwiſe have been loſt. What a Pattern oſ true Benevolence is here ! a Pattern that our Saviour has commanded us to imitate ^ and which you, Sir, muſt allow to be high ly worthy oſ our Imitation. -Let me

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only obſerve ſurther, by the Way, that whoever through Party-Prejudice, or Con* trariety oſ Sentiment , ſh ſies his Pity, or withholds Relieſ, upon leſiTer Occaſions than this , is ſo ſar only a Chriſiian in Name, By ſuch a Violation oſ Humanity, he dou bly violates Chriſtianity ; which, I venture to aſTure you, is only Humanity ſublimated and reſined, and brought nearer to Per ſection.

It has been objected againſt our Religi on, that it takes ſo little Notice oſ ſriend- /;//?, as neither preſcribing it, nor recom mending it to Men s Choice and Appro bation. But how unjuſt and groundleſs is this Objeſtion ? Iſ Men reckon ſriend- ſriip among their Privileges, yet why muſt they inſiſt upon its being made a Duty? As a Privilege, is it not enough that it is permitted, and no where pro hibited :, Or however, is it not ſuſſicient, that Chriſt has countenanced it by his own Example, in taking one oſ his Diſ- ciples into his Boſom, and admitting him into a ſuperior Share oſ his ſamiliarity and Love ? But as to his Silence on this Subject, whoever rightly conſiders the Mat- .ter, will ſind little Reaſon to wonder at it. It was not his Intention to ſtraiten Mens Aſſeſtions, which perhaps were too rpucli ſlraitened Already j but to widen

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and enlarge them. He did not aim to collect the Rays oſ Mens Love, and center them upon (ingle Objeſts , to the Prejudice oſ others :, but rather ſtrove to ſpread them ſar and wide, and make them as diſſuſive as poſlible. Iſ he ſaw, as pro bably he did, that while Men warmed their Breaſts with private ſriendſhips, they grew in Proportion cooler towards the Publick , was there any Reaſon to add ſuel to ſuch a ſlame? We may ſup- poſe him willing rather to check this In clination , than to cultivate it. , Howe ver, ſince he neither expreſly approve^ nor condemned ſriendſhip, this at lead ought to content us. As his great De- ſign was to promote univerſal Love and Charity, it may rather be wonder d, that he ſliould even connive at thoſe particu lar Unions that might ſeem to interſere with it, than that he (hould paſs them over in proſound Silence. But let me add, that how little ſoever he has thought ſit to promote the Love oſ ſriends, he has not only encouraged, but ſtricUy enjoined the Love oſ Enemies: A Duty but little known, and leſs pradiſed, beſore his Ap pearance. This (hows, that lie was more ſollicitous to ſupply Deſeſts, than to prune away Redundancies. The Excellency oſ this Doctrine, the Agreeableneſs oſ it to

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uncorrupt ^Reaſon, and the Improve ment it brings to Morality, are Subjects too copious to be inſiſted on at this Time.

I proceed thereſore to obſerve, that as our Saviour did not enjoin ſriendship , though he thought ſit, as he ſaſely might, to practiſe it himſelſ , ſo the ſame may be ſaid oſ a higher Attachment *, I mean the Love oſ our Country^ which has been ſo much and ſo oſten celebrated by other Mo- raliſts. Though he has ſet Men a bright Example oſ it, I do not remember thatlhe has given any expreſs Precept concerning it. And the Reaſon I take to be the ſame in this Caſe, as in the ſormer. Man s Love oſ his Country is doubtleſs a noble Aſſedion , and iſ it were always regularly entertained and purſued, too much Counte nance and Encouragement could never be given it. But iſ through Mens Imprudence and ſolly, it contributes to weaken or diſ- ſolve higher Obligations :> iſ it tends to contraſt their Minds , and alienate their Aſſe&ions ſrom the reſt oſ Mankind, tis no longer Praiſe- worthy, but inglorious and detrimental. Iſ the Jews ſell into ſuch a Partiality - 5 iſ they were diſaſſeſted to other Nations, and too ſond oſ them- ſelves :, it rnuſt be owned they had a better Excuſe than any other People could pre-

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lend to. They were ſenced about by Di vine Laws, and a ſtrong Partition was thrown up between them and the reſt oſ the World :, to prevent the Inſedion oſ Ido latry, which they were ſo prone to catch. The Greeks and Romans had the ſame Partiality ſor themſelves, without any ſuch Pretence-, and they covered it under the ſpecious Names oſ Love, Piety, and Zeal. And in Truth, it had very beneſicial Eſſeſts at Home. It worked them up to an unuſu- al Pitch oſ Induſtry and Vigor , and pro duced many great Aſtions, and ſplendid Enterprizes. But aſter all, it had an ill Aſpecl on the Nations round about them, who were oſten great Suſſerers by it. They were not only called, but conſidered as Barbarians, and almoſt looked upon as Creatures -oſ another Species : Inſulted up on every Occaſion, and treated with great Cruelty and Scorn. That ſtrong Paſlion ſor their Country, which poſleſs d the Minds, and inſluenced the Counſels oſ thoſe polite Republicks, made them ſrequently aſt like true Barbarians. It gave them a Right in their own Imaginations, to carry their Conqueſts, and extend their Domini ons as ſar as they could : To invade the Territories oſ thoſe who had never in jured, never provoked them ^ and put Chains about the Necks oſ innocent Kings

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and Princes.- -See, Sir, the Eſſeds oſ

a miſguided and prepoſterous Benevolence, and conſeſs that it ſlood in need oſ thoſe wiſe Regulations which Chriſtianity brought along with it. Here we learn, that the Love oſ Mankind ought to be the ruling and predominant Aſſection ^ and by Conſe- quence, that no other ought to interſere with it, but every Thing, give way to it. That whatever other Paſſions we entertain, we muſt take Care to keep them ſubordi- nate to this, without which they can nei ther be laudable nor innocent. In ſliort, we may, and ought to be as kind and ſer- viceable as we can to our Neighbours , ſriends , and Country , but our Aſſeſtions muſt not ſlop there, nor be ſuſſered to ter minate on theſe Objects : ſor our Religion has commanded us to love all Men as. Neighbours, as Countrymen, as ſriends > as Brethren.

I need not extend this Obſervation to Mens Aſſection ſor their Kindred , which muſt needs be ſubjeſt to the ſame Rules and Regulations. Whenever this natural Bias becomes too ſtrong, it ought to be checked and counter-poiſed. ſor no Incli nation, no Aſſection muſt be ſuſſered to ri val that ſupreme Principle, which you call the Love oſ Mankind, and we Chriſtian, Charity. And how, Sir, can you re-

E 2 tain


[ 3*3

tain any Prejudice againſt a Religion that holds ſorth ſuch a ſublime Syſtem oſ Mo rality? That contains Rules and Precepts, ſo excellent, and ſo divine? Examine the Wiſdom oſ the Ancients , look through the Productions oſ all Ages ^ and iſ in any, or in all oſ them, a Scheme oſ Dodrine can be ſound, more juſt and glorious in it ſelſ, or more conducive to the Welſare and Per- ſedion oſ Mankind :, that better anſwers all wiſe and good Purpoſes, whether Human or Divine : inſtead oſ recommending the Goſpel to you any more , I (hall ear- neſtly intreat you to embrace that in the Room oſ it, and adhere to it while you live.

When you have impartially conſidered the Principles oſ Christianity, let me de- ſire you to caſt your Eye upon that illu- ſlrious Example , that perſed Pattern oſ Virtue and all Goodneſs which our Saviour has ſet Men, Since you are ſo ſmitten (as well you may) with the Beauties oſ Virtue, and the Charms oſ Benevolence - y behold here the higheſt Inſtance oſ it, that ever appeared among the Children oſ Men! ſeaſt your Mind with the Con templation oſ a Character that is entirely rnade up oſ Love :, ſuch Love, as no Eye, till then, had ſeen, nor Ear had heard, nei- ther Ipad it enter d into the Heart oſ Man


[37]

to conceive. Examine with the moſt criti cal Exadneſs , mark its ſeatures, and ob- ſerve its Proportions and tell me iſ the Reſult be not perſed Beauty : Iſ it be not inſinitely amiable and excellent ſrom ſirſt

to laſt.- That the Son oſ God ſhould

Veil his Glory, come down ſrom Heaven, take our ſrail Nature upon him, and that under the ſorm oſ a Servant, making a low and obſcure Appearance, and cloathing himſelſ in the humbleſt Circumſtances : That he (hould endure a ſad Variety oſ Mi- ſery, and undergo all manner oſ Shame and Contempt , Contradiction and Calumny 7 Pain and Perſecution : That he ſhould ſub- mit to be outraged, inſulted and abuſed by the meaneſt oſ Mankind :, bearing it with invincible Patience, Meekneſs, and Cori- ſlancy j and driving at the ſame Time to do all poſlible Good, even to thoſe very Men, who thus maliciouſly and impiouſly treated him: In a word, that he ſliould live a la borious and wretched Liſe, and aſter that die a painſul and ignominious Death: And all this ſor us Men, and ſor our Salvation:, Rebels againſt Heaven, and Apoſtates ſrom our Duty : This, I ſay, is a Scene oſ ſo aſtoniſhing a Nature, and every Thing in it is ſo Great and Divine, as to be above the Power oſ Words, and the utmoſt Reach oſ Expreſlion. Such a Sublimity oſ Good-

neſs


C 38 ]

neſs can no more be deſcribed, than it can be imitated. I content my ſelſ thereſore with admiring it in Silence , and recom mending it to your ſerious Contemplation : Not without Hopes, that ſuch an unparal- lelled Example, added to ſuch excellent Pre cepts, will be able to ſcatter thoſe Preju dices that cloud your Mind , and ob- ſtruct your Belieſ, which is the earneit Wiſh oſ,


S I R,

Tour moſt Humble Servant^ 6Cc.



00 KS printed ſor J. PEMBERTON^ the Golden-Buck, agamſt St. Dunſtan j- Church, in ſleetſtreet.

i. r TH H E Uſe and Intent oſ Prophecy, In the JL ſeveral Ages oſ the World : In Six Di& courſes, delivered at the Temple Church, in April and May, 1724. Publiſhed at the Deſire oſ the Mailers oſ the Bench oſ the Two Honourable So cieties. To which are added, Three Diſſer rations. I. The Authority oſ the Second Epiille oſ St. Peter. II. The Senſe oſ the Antienrs beſore Chriſt, upon the Circumſtances and Conſequences oſ the ſall. III. The Bleſſing oſ JM, Gen. xlix. The Second Edition Corrected.

2. A Sermon preach d beſore the Sons cſ the Clergy, at St. Paul s, Decem. ?. 1710.

3. A Sermon preach d beſore the Right Honou rable the Lord-Mayor, &c. at St. Paul s, Novem ber ?. 1712.

4. A Sermon preach d beſore the Honourable Houſe oſ Commons, at St. Margaret s Wejlmwjler % March 8. 1714.

5. A Sermon preach d at the Temple Church, November 20. 1715.

6. A Sermon preach d beſore the Society ſor the Propagation oſ the Goſpel in ſoreign Parts, at St.Maryle-Bov. ſebruary iſ. 171?.

7. A Sermon preach d beſore the Honourable Houſe oſ Commons, at St. Margaret s Weſimin- ſter, Juve 7. 1716.

All written by Thomas Sherlock, D. D. Dean oſ Chirheſter, and Maſler cſ the Temple.

8. Twenty Eight Sermons and Diſcouries upon plain and practical Subjects, very uſeſul to be read in ſamilies, under the ſollowing Heads, viz. I. God- lineſs the Delign oſ the Chriilian Religion. 2. Oſ

the


BOOKS printed ſor J. Pembertori.

the Wiſdom and Goodneſs oſ Providence. 3. Oſ Religious Melancholy. 4. Oſ the Immortality oſ the Soul. 5. Oſ the Neceſlity oſ Holineſs in order to Happineſs. 6. Oſ the Truth and Ex cellency oſ the Goſpel. 7. Oſ good and bad Er- amples. 8. Oſ Publick Prayer and Thankſgiving. 9. Oſ the ſuture Judgment. 10. Oſ ſaith and Works. IT. Oſ ſetting God always beſore us.

1 2. Oſ perſecting Holineſs in the ſear oſ God.

13. Oſ doing Good to all Men. By the Right Reverend Dr. John Moore, late Lord Biſtiop oſ Ely. Publiſhed with a Recommendatory Preſace to each Volume. By Samuel Clark, D. D. Redor oſ St. James s Weſtminjler.

9. The Hiſtory oſ the Pontiſicate, ſrom its ſuppoſed Beginning to the End oſ the Council oſ Trent, Anno Dow. 1563. In which the Corruptions oſ the Scriptures and Sacred Antiquity, ſorgeries in the Councils, and Incroachment oſ the Court oſ Rome on the Church and State, to ſupport their In ſallibility, Supremacy, and other Modern Doctrines are ſet in a true Light. By Laurence Hovel, A. M. The Second Edition. Price 6 s.

10. A Compleat Hiſtory oſ the Holy Bible, con tained in the Old and New Teſtament : In which . are inſerted the Occurrences that happened during the Space oſ about ſour Hundred Years, ſrom the Days oſ the Prophet Mahcbi, to the Birth oſ our Bleſled Saviour, and that have been omitted in all, or moſt oſ the ſormer Works oſ this Nature. The Whole illuſtrated with Notes $ explaining ſeveral diſſicult Texts, and reconciling many ſeerning Contradictions in the Tranſlations, as well EvgliJI) as others, oſ the ſacred Scriptures, Adorn d with above 1 50 Cuts, engraven by J. Sturt. In three Volumes. By Laiirer.ce Hovel, A, M. The fourth Edition corrected.