Page images


himself born to promote the public good and wel- PROP. fare of all his fellow-creatures, and consequently obliged, as the necessary and only effectual means to that end, tot embrace them all with universal love and benevolence, so that he cannot, without acting contrary to the reason of his own mind, and transgressing the plain and known law of his being, do willingly any hurt and mischief to any man, no, not even to those who have first injured him,|| but ought, for the public benefit, to endeavour to appease with gentleness rather than exasperate with retaliations; and finally, to comprehend all in one word, (which is the top and complete perfection of this great duty,) ought to love all others as himself. This is the argumentation of that great master Cicero, whose knowledge and understanding of the true state of things, and of the original obligations of human nature, was as much greater than Mr. Hobbes's as his helps and advantages to attain that knowledge were less.


Thirdly. With respect to ourselves, the rule of of sobrierighteousness is; that every man preserve his own ty, or being, as long as he is able, and take care to keep towards himself at all times in such temper and disposition themboth of body and mind, as may best fit and enable and of the him to perform his duty in all other instances. That unlawful. is ; he ought to bridle his appetites, with temperance; self-murto govern his passions, with moderation; and to der.

* Homines hominum causa sunt generati, ut ipsi inter se alii aliis prodesse possint.-Cic. de Offic. lib. 1.

Ad tuendos conservandosque homines, hominem natum esse. -Cic. de Finib. lib 3.

+ Omnes inter se naturali quadam indulgentia et benevolentia contineri.-Cic. de Legib. lib. 1.

Ex quo efficitur, hominem naturæ obedientem, homini nocere non posse.--Cic. de Offic. lib. 3.

|| Οὔτε ἄρα ἀνταδικεῖν δεῖ, ὅτε κακῶς ποιεῖν ἐδένα ἀνθρώπων, ἐδ ̓ ἂν ὁτιεν πάσχηὑπο αὐτῶν. Plato in Critone.

§ Tum illud effici, quod quibusdam incredibile videatur, sit autem necessarium, ut nihil sese plus quam alterum diligat.-Cic. de Legib. lib. 1.


ness of


PROP. apply himself to the business of his present station in the world, whatsoever it be, with attention and contentment. That every man ought to preserve his own being as long as he is able, is evident; because what he is not himself the author and giver of, he can never of himself have just power or authority to take away. He that sent us into the world, and alone knows for how long time he appointed us our station here, and when we have finished all the business he intended we should do, can alone judge when it is fit for us to be taken hence, and has alone authority to dismiss and discharge us. This reasoning has been admirably applied by Plato, Cicero, and others of the best philosophers. So that though the stoics, of old, and the deists of late, have, in their ranting discourses, and some few of them in their rash practice, contradicted it, yet they have never been able, with any colour of reason, to answer or evade the force of the argument; which, indeed, to speak the truth, has been urged by the fore-mentioned philosophers with such singular beauty, as well as invincible strength, that it seems not capable of having any thing added to it. Wherefore I shall give it you, only in some of their own words. We men, (says* Plato, in the person of Socrates,) are all, by the appointment of God, in a certain prison or custody, which we ought not to break out of, and run away. We are as servants, or as cattle, in the hand of God. And would not any of us, saith he, if one of our servants should, contrary to our direction, and to escape out of our service, kill himself, think that we had just reason to be very angry, and if it was in our power, punish him for it? So likewise Cicero ; God,


* Εν τινε φρέρα ἔσμεν ὁ ἄνθρωποι, καὶ ἐ δεῖ δὴ ἑαυτὸν ἐκ ταύτης λύειν, ἐδ ̓ ἀποδιδράσκειν. — Θεὸς εἶναι ἡμῶν τὰς ἐπιμελεμενες. καὶ ἡμᾶς τὰς ἀνθρώπες ἐν τοῦ κλημάτων τοις θεοῖς εἶναι. Ουκᾶν καὶ σὺ ἂν, τοῦ σαυτῇ κτημάτων εἴτι αὐτὸ ἑαυτὸ ἀποκτιννύοι, μὴ σημήναντός σε ὅτι βούλει αὐτὸ τεθνᾶναι, χαλεπάνοις ἂν αὐτῷ, καὶ. εἴ τινα ἔχοις τιμωρίαν, τιμωροῖο ἄν.—Plato in Phad.


says he,* the supreme governor of all things, forbids PROP. us to depart hence without his order: and though, when the divine providence does itself offer us a just occasion of leaving this world, (as when a man chooses to suffer death rather than commit wickedness,) a wise man will then indeed depart joyfully, as out of a place of sorrow and darkness into light; yet he will not be in such haste as to break his prison contrary to law; but will go when God calls him, as a prisoner when dismissed by the magistrate or lawful power. Again that short remainder of life, saith he, which old men have a prospect of, they ought neither too eagerly to desire, nor yet on the contrary unreasonably and discontentedly deprive themselves of it: for, as Pythagoras teaches, it is as unlawful for a man, without the command of God, to remove himself out of the world, as for a soldier to leave his post without his general's order. And in another place unless that God, saith he,‡ whose temple and palace this whole world is, discharges you himself out of the prison of the body, you can never be received to his favour. Wherefore you, and all pious men, ought to have patience to continue in the body, as long as God shall please, who sent us hither; and not force yourselves out of the world, before he calls for you, lest you be found deserters of the station appointed you of God. And

* Vetat enim dominans ille in nobis Deus, injussu hinc nos suo demigrare. Cum verò causam justam Deus ipse dederit, ne ille medius fidius vir sapiens, lætus ex his tenebris in lucem illam excesserit; nec tamen illa vincula carceris ruperit; leges enim vetant; sed tanquam a magistratu, aut ab aliqua potestate legitima, sic a Deo evocatus, atque emissus, exirit.-Cic. Tusc. Quæst. lib. 1.

+Illud breve vitæ reliquum nec avide appetendum sensibus, nec sine causa deserendum est; vetatque Pythagoras injussu imperatoris, id est, Dei, de præsidio et statione vitæ decedere.-Cic. de Senect.

Nisi enim Deus is, cujus hoc templum est omne quod conspicis, istis te corporis custodiis liberaverit; huc tibi aditus patere non potest.- -Quare et tibi et piis omnibus retinendus est animus in custodia corporis; nec injussu ejus, a quo ille est nobis datus, ex hominum vita migrandum est; munus humanum assignatum a Deo defugisse videamini.-Cic. Somn. Scipion.


PROP. to mention no more,-that excellent author, Arrian : wait, saith he,* the good pleasure of God: when he signifies it to be his will that you should be dis charged from this service, then depart willingly; but, in the meantime, have patience, and tarry in the place where he has appointed you: wait, and do not hurry yourselves away wilfully and unreasonably. The objections, which the author of the defence of self-murder, prefixed to the Oracles of Reason, has attempted to advance against this argument, are so very weak and childish that it is evident he could not, at the time he wrote them, believe in earnest that there was any force in them; as when he says, that the reason why it is not lawful for a centinel to leave his station without his commander's order, is because he entered into the service by his own consent; as if God had not a just power to lay any commands upon his creatures without their own consent: Or when he says, that there are many lawful ways to seek death in; as if, because a man may lawfully venture his life in many public services, therefore it was lawful for him directly to throw it away upon any foolish discontent. But the author

of that discourse has since been so just as to confess his folly, and retract it publicly himself. Wherefore, to proceed. For the same reason that a man is obliged to preserve his own being at all, he is bound likewise to preserve himself, as far as he is able, in the right use of all his faculties: that is, to keep himself constantly in such temper, both of body and mind, by regulating his appetites and passions, as may best fit and enable him to perform his duty in all other instances, For, as it matters not whether a soldier deserts his post, or by drunkenness renders himself incapable of performing his duty in it; so for a man to disable himself, by any intemperance

* Εκδέξασθε τὸν θεόν· ὅταν ἐκεῖνος σημήνῃ καὶ ὑπολύσῃ ὑμᾶς ταύτης τῆς ὑπηρεσίας τότ ̓ ὑπολὺεσθε πρὸς αὐτόν· ἐπὶ δὲ τῇ παρίντος ἀνάσχεσθε ἐνοικέντες ταύτην τὴν χώραν, εἰς ἣν ἐκεῖνος ὑμᾶς ἔταξεν. Μείνατε, μὴ ἀλογίστως ἀπέλε Onre.-Arrian, lib. 1.


or passion, from performing the necessary duties of PROP. life, is, at least for that time, the same thing as depriving himself of life. And neither is this all. For great intemperance and ungoverned passions not only incapacitate a man to perform his duty, but also expose him to run headlong into the commission of the greatest enormities: there being no violence or injustice whatsoever, which a man, who has deprived himself of his reason by intemperance or passion, is not capable of being tempted to commit. So that all the additional obligations which a man is any way under, to forbear committing the most flagrant crimes, lie equally upon him to govern his passions and restrain his appeties: without doing which, he can never secure himself effectually from being betrayed into the commission of all iniquity. This is indeed the great difficulty of life, to subdue and conquer our unreasonable appetites and passions. But it is absolutely neccessary to be done: And it is * moreover the bravest and most glorous conquest in the world. Lastly: For the same reason that a man is obligednot to depart wilfully out of this life, which is the general station that God has appointed him, he is obliged likewise to attend the duties of that particular station or condition of life, whatsoever it be, wherein povidence has at present placed him, with diligence, and contentment: Without being either uneasy and discontented, that others are pla ced by povidence in different and superior stations in the world; or so extremely and unreasonably solicititous to change his state for the future, as thereby to neglect his present duty,

From these three great and general branches, all The law of the smaller and more particular instances of moral nature obligations may (as I said) easily be deduced.



lutely un

5. And now this, (this eternal rule of equity, which and absoI have been hitherto discribing,) is that right reason changea

* Οί μεν ἄρα νίκης ἕνεκα πάλης καὶ δρόμων καὶ τῶν τοιέτων, ἐτόλμησαν ἀπέχεσθαι. -Οἱ δὲ ἡμέτεροι παῖδες, ἀδυνατήσεσι καρτερειν, πολὺ καλλίονος Evexa víxns.-Plato de Legib. lib. 8.


« PreviousContinue »