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B

SELF-LOVE

AND

V1Rt'IIE RECONCILED.

Now

if there

actually be

a

God, these eternal

truths

or fit

nesses may be said,

in some

sense, to lay an obligation

on

God to

act according to them,

that

is,

his perfections

are

such

that

he

will govern

and

regulate

his own actions constantly

and

un-

changeably

by

these eternal

fitnesses

or

unfitnesses of

things

:

For

since he is

self

-

sufficient for his own

preservation and

hap-

piness and

since

none

of these eternal

fitnesses or unfitnesses

can possibly

stand

in opposition to his own

eternal being or

blessedness,

nor

can

they bring

any inconvenience

on

him,

he

can

have

no possible motive,

or

reason,,

or obligation to

act contrary to this

fitness or unfitness of

things;

and the rec-

titude of

his own

nature

seems

unchangeably

to

require

such

a

conduct.

And

if

this be granted, then there

is

a

sufficient

foundation

laid

for

the proof

of all

God's

moral attributes

by

our ideas

of

his

natural

perfections, and

our ideas of

the eternal

rules

of

jus-

tice, veracity

and

goodness

;

and there is

sufficient

assurance

that

he

will

act according to them.

SECT.

III.

In

Human

Actions

these

Fitnesses may

contradict

each

other.

But

in

beings of

sr;

inferior

nature,

before we consider

whe-

ther there

be

a

God or

no,

the

`case

is

not

the

same

;

for it is

possible

that

some of

these rules ofreason, or,

-at

least, the obli-

gations

to

practise them, may, seemingly, or really clash with

each other. As for instance,

in

what

we

have called single or

personal duties Do

we

not

all

agree,

that

a man

is

obliged to

preserve

his own

life,

and

also to

make himself happy

by

such

a

steady dictate

-of

his own

nature,

as seems

essential or

eternal

?

Is

not

this

piece

of self-love inwrought into

his very

constitution

and frame of nature

?

And

do not his

reasoning powers con-

firm

it

?

But

Miserino

lies in

extreme anguish of gout

or

stone,

or

broken

limbs

;

and he seems to be

encouraged, and even

required,

by his

reasoning powers,

to

try

to divest himself of

all

life,

and of

all possible happiness

together;

for he

judges it

better

not to

be,

than

to be miserable.

In

this case self

-

murder;

or the

destruction of

his

being, would be a dictate

of

reason

;

for

it

would

be

a sort of self

-felicitation,

though it stands

directly

contrary

to

self-

preservation.

Again,

in

another case of single

or personal duties.

Phi

-

ledon

is

a

gentleman

of good reason

and learning, but of such

strong and importunate

passions and

appetites,

that everydegree

of

restraint

is

a sensible pain to

-him.

He

sat

down

in

a very

calm and composed

hour

to

judge

whether he should pursue

pleasure

or

virtue.

His

reason told

him much of

the eternal

fitness

of things, and what a

noble victory

it

would

be

to

deny

his appetites and govern

his passions

;

and

that

he was

obliged,