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all her laws and productions. The study had a delightful influence on the temper of my mind, and inspired into it a love of order in my heart, and in my outward manners. It likewise led me to the great first cause, and in repeated views of harmony, wisdom, and goodness, in all the works of nature, riveted upon my mind a fixed conviction, that all is under the administration of a general mind, as far remote from all malice as from all weakness, whether in respect of understanding, or of power. This gave me a due affection towards the infinitely perfect Parent of Nature; and as I contemplated his glorious works, I was obliged in transports to confess, that he deserved our love and admiration. This did also satisfy me, that whatever the order of the world produces, is in the main both just and good, and of consequence that we ought in the best manner to support whatever hardships are to be endured for virtue's sake: that acquiescence and complacency with respect to ill accidents, ill men and injuries, ought to be our part under a perfect administration; and with benignity and constancy we must ever act, if there be a settled persuasion that all things are framed and governed by an universal mind. Such was the effect the study of natural philosophy had upon my soul. It set beyond all doubt before me the moral perfection of the
Creator and Governor of the universe. And if this Almighty God, I said, is perfect wisdom and virtue, does it not follow that he must approve and love those who are at due pains to improve in wisdom; and what he loves and delights in, must he not make happy? This is an evident truth. It renders the cause of virtue quite triumphant.
But upon ethics or moral philosophy 1 dwelt the longest. This is the proper food of the soul, and what perfects it in all the virtues and qualifications of a gentleman. This science I collected in the first place from the antient sages and philosophers, and studied all the moral writers of Greece and Rome. With great pleasure I saw that these immortal authors had delineated, as far as human reason can go, that course of life which is most according to the intention of nature, and most happy; had shewn that this universe, and human nature in particular, was formed by the wisdom and counsel of a Deity, and that from the constitution of our nature various duties arose : that since God is the original independent being, complete in all possible perfection, of boundless power, wisdom, and goodness; the Creator, Contriver, and Governor of this world, to whom mankind are indebted for innumerable benefits most gratuitously bestowed; we ought to manifest the most ardent love and venera
tion toward the Deity, and worship him with affections of soul suited to the pre-eminence and infinite grandeur of the original cause of all; ought to obey him, as far as human weakness can go, and humbly submit and resign ourselves and all our interests to his will; continually confide in his goodness, and constantly imitate him, as far as our weak nature is capable. This is due to that original most gracious power who formed us, and with a liberal hand supplies us with all things conducive to such pleasure and happiness as our nature can receive. That in respect of mankind, our natural sense of right and wrong, points out to us the duties to be performed towards others, and the kind affections implanted by nature, excites us to the discharge of them: that by the law of our constitution and nature, justice and benevolence are prescribed; and aids and an intercourse of mutual offices required, not only to secure our pleasure and happiness, but to preserve ourselves in safety and in life: that the law of nature, or natural right, forbids every instance of injustice, a violation of life, liberty, health, property; and the exercise of our honourable, kind powers, are not only a spring of vigorous efforts to do good to others, and thereby secure the common happiness; but they really procure us a joy and peace, an inward applause and external advantages; while injustice and malice, anger, hatred, envy, and revenge, are often matter of shame and remorse, and contain nothing joyful, nothing glorious : in the greatest affluence, the savage men are miserable; that as to ourselves, the voice of reason declares, that we ought to employ our abilities and opportunities in improving our minds to an extensive knowledge of nature in the sciences; and by diligent meditation and observation, acquire that prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude, which should constantly govern our lives. That solid prudence, which abhors rashness, inconsiderateness, a foolish selfconfidence, and craft, and under a high sense of moral excellence, considers and does what is really advantageous in life. That justice, which constantly regards the common interest, and in subserviency to it, gives to each one whatever is due to him upon any natural claim. That temperance, which restrains and regulates the lower appetites, and displays the grace and beauty of manners. And that fortitude, which represses all vain and excessive fears, gives us a superiority to all the external accidents of our mortal state, and strengthens the soul against all toils or dangers we may be exposed to in discharge of our duty; as an early and painful death with virtue and honour, is highly pre
ferable to the longest ignominious life, and no advantages can be compared, in point of happiness, with the approbation of God, and of our own hearts.
That if in this manner we live prepared for any honourable services to God, our fellows, and ourselves, and practice piety toward God, good-will toward men, and immediately aim at our own per fection, then we may expect, notwithstanding our being involved in manifold weaknesses and disorders of soul, that the divine goodness and clemency will have mercy on such as sincerely love him, and desire to serve him with duty and gratitude; will be propitious and placable to the penitents, and all who exert their utmost endeavours in the pursuit of virtue: and since the perfection of virtue must constitute the supreme felicity of man, our efforts to attain it must be effectual in obtaining complete felicity, or at least some lower degree of it.
This beautiful, moral philosophy, I found scattered in the writings of the old theist philosophers, and with great pains reduced the various lessons to a system of active and virtuous offices : but this I knew was what the majority of mankind were incapable of doing; and if they could do it, I saw it was far inferior to revelation. Every Sunday I appropriated to the study of revealed religion, and perceived as I read the sacred records, that the