Ferd Warner.

A system of divinity and morality : in a series of discourses on all the essential parts of natural and revealed religion ... to which are added, some occasional discourses (Volume 4) online

. (page 1 of 37)
Online LibraryFerd WarnerA system of divinity and morality : in a series of discourses on all the essential parts of natural and revealed religion ... to which are added, some occasional discourses (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 37)
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'^ V




Divinity and Morality ;



On all the effcntial Parts of

Natural and revealed Religion :

Compiled from the Works of the following cmineat Di-
vines of the Church of England, viz.
















Ben. Calamy,






And others

To which arc added,

Sqme Occasional DISCOURSES,

The Whole Revised and Corrected


Redor of Qucenhithe, London.

In four volumes.

V O L. IV. "^

L O ¥i B O N :

Printed for R. G P. i F F ! T H s, in Pater-no/}er-rQii\

( 1 )

Difcourfe CIII. Dr. Clarke.

The DrFFERENCE betwecH good ard


Ifai. V. 20.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good
evil 3 that put darknefs for light, and iigbt
for darknefs ; that put bitter for fweet, and
fweet for bitter.

TH E reafonablenefs of religion is the grearefl
condemnation of fin and wickednefs, as be-
ing contrary to the nature of man, the reafon of
things, and the pofitive command of God. The
.diftin(flion of moral adions is as necefiary and mani-
fed as the difference of natural fenfible objeds.
Light and darknefs, fweetnefs and bitter, are fo
evidently contrary to each otlier, that no men can
miflake them, who have the ufe of their fenfes.
Pain and pleafure are fo diredlly oppofite, that no-
thing but lofs of life can make us infenfible of them.
Moral good and evil, virtue and vice, are as wide-
ly different in their own nature, as the perceptions
of our outward fenfes. And God has endued us
with faculties of the foul to diftinguifh the one, as
well as bodily fenfe to difcern the other. Whoever
then will obftinately deny all diflindion between
good and evil, virtue and vice, muft as much lay
afide the ufe of his natural reafon and underftand-
ing ; as he that would confound light and darknefs,
muft deny the evidence of his fenfes. And if fuca
a perfon receives the juft punifhmcnt of fm, he ^t-
Vol. IV, B fervcs

^ The difference between Difc, CIII.

ferves no more pity, .than one that falls from a pre-
cipice, becaufe he would not open his eyes to fee
his danger. Mifery and deftrudion mud neceffa-
rily enfue from our ncgleding thofe rules, on which
God and nature have made the happinefs of the foul
to depend ; this, as certain as the deftrudion of the
body, mull be the confequence of not diftinguifli-
ing between things wholfome and poifonous.

By how much clearer tlie difference is between
good and evil •, by how much the more obflinately
wilful fmners ihut their eyes againft the light of rea-
fon and ccnfeience, the excellency and necefiity of
virtur-, which is the only plain way to true happinefs \
by fo much the lefs pitiable is their deftrudion.

That there is originally in the nature of things,
a neceffary and eternal difference between good and
evil, virtue and vice, which reafon conRantly
obliges men to regard, is fuppofed in the ttxt ; by
the prophets comparing the difference of good and
evil, to that which is fo very obvious and fenfible,
as light and darknefs : A difference fo plain and
ielf-evident, that nothing can be more manifeft.
For as he who would abfurdly contend that there
was no difference between light and darknefs, could
not be confuted by any ftronger argument, than
the evidence of his own fenfes •, fo any one who
perverfely denies all difference between good and evil,
can have no better argument offered, to convince
him of this great md fundamental truth, than by^
appealing to his ovvn reafon and confcience. When
men vvili deny a truth as evident as that between light
/Hid darkneis, punidiment is clia proper remedy for
fuch obliinacy. Natural good and evil, in fuch in-
lla!.ces, as are perfonal ro us, ^ndi where the effedl
is not remote, we are always fenfibie of, and can
e-iily dillinguifh. . Death and life, ficknefs and
health, pleafure and pain, poverty ard riches, ho-
: M' ~ind dir^race, are differences which none dif-


Difc. cm. good and roil, &;c. 3

pute, nor will any one be carelefs therein ; but men
always purfue the one, and endeavour to avoid the
. other 5 yet in thefe things is originally founded the
difference of moral good and evil, which are fo
much negleded. That which truly tsnds to the
perfedlion of human nature, and the general happi-
nefs of mankind, is moral good, as well as natural.
Moral evil is what corrupts, depraves and diflionours'
our nature, and renders it really miferable ; this
difquiets mens minds, weakens their bodies ; ruins
their eftates, and deflroys their reputation ; this
breaks laws, difturbs good government, diibrders
and confounds the world. Thefe rcfpedtive effects,
tho' fometimes at a diftance, arc yet mod certain'
and of natural confequence ; fo that even in nature,
virtue and vice, wifdom and folly, are as diitina;
and unalterable, as happiaefs and mifery.

God hath fo confticuted our nature, that the
things which univerfally promote our hapoinefs, arc
the chief inftances of our duty ; the performance of
which is the mofl dire6l means to attain cverlaftino-
happinefs. The final event of things will always
be fuch as is now defcribed, and the order of nature
tends to make it fo. The fear and love of God,
the obeying his commands, the fcnfe of his prefenc
and future favour, is the only fare foundation of
that fohd peace and fatisfadlion of mind, in which a
rational immortal fpirit can pofTibly acquiefce. Pi-
ety towards God is therefore as necefiariiy good in
itfelf, and is in nature and reafon of as'^'an un-
changeable obligation, as the creator is infinitely iu-
pcrior to his creatures. Temperance and fobriety;
diligence and patience, the due government of our
appetites, and rcftraint of our paffions, are I'w^ only
natural and moft certain means of preferving th^
•health of our bodies, of improving the faculdcs of
our minds, and of qualifying us for the regular per-
tormuuce of all duties of life. Such governaient of

4 The dif}re?2ce between Difc. CIIL

ourfelves, is as neceflarily good and obligmg in the
nature of the thing, as ic is ufcful and excellent in
its ejfedls. Juftice and rightcoufnefs, goodnefs and
charity, faithfulnefs and truth, fubjedion and obe-
dience to government and laws, are the only pofii'
ble means of prefcrving the public peace, the order,
mutual protedlion and lupport of fociety •, on which
depends all our happinefs, andVhatever is moft va-
luable. Thefe are as unchangeably wife and good,
and by the eternal reafon of things, are of as in-
difpenfible obligation ; as it is natural and necefiary
for us to defire our own happinefs and the public
welfare. Wicked and unreafonable men v/ill be
governed by no rule, but their prefent appetites.
Whatever gratifies their luft or paiTion, that they
chufc as their good and happinefs ; not conHdering
that it may prove to themfclves or others the
gieattft evil, deftruc^ive of public peace, order and
government. For want of this confideration, they
confound the natural and eternal difference of thing?;,
judging of good and evil by their own fenfual lulls
and paifioiiS. But as the difference of light and
darkncfs cannot be changed by the will and pleafure
of men ; fo good and evil are prior and fuperior to
ail human laws, and which they cannot alter.

Human laws are to enforce and fecure the
pra6lice of what was before in ' their own nature^
good and ufeful to fociety. It is not therefore bare-
ly the force and obligation of a law, that makes a
thing good and fit to be pradifed ; but the v;ifdom
and goodnefs of the things themfelves is the ground
and foundation of all wile laws. So that men are
ompellcd by laws to do, what would otherwifc
have been reafonable and good for them to have
•done. We arc obliged by nature and reafon, to
adore and worfhip God, to pray and give thanks to
him, as the fupreme author and preferver of our
being ; and to do what good we can to all men,


Difc. cm. good and evil, i^c, 5

promoting the happinefs of our fellow creatures, the
peace and good order of the world. It is nectfiary
the fear and authority of laws fhould prevent thofe
from hindering this great end, who would not other-
wife be reftrained by reafon or the fear of God.
But the obligation of right reafon would dill have
been the fame, had no human laws been made.
Nay, fbouid, any human authority require us to de-
Itroy and do all manner of evil to each other, and
cfteem it truer greatnefs to ruin than to protedl man-
kind, and preferve the common rights of focieties y
yet it would be neither wife, nor good, nor rea-
Ibnable or honourable fo to do •, any more than for
men agreeing to call poifon wholfome, would make
it fo, or for darknefs to put on the nature of light.
Wicked -.id unreafonable men know they do evil ;
and are fenfible that the pradice of virtue and good-
nefs is infinitely more rcafonable than debauchery
and injuftice. Tho' their lulls and paiTions have
fuch dominion over them, that they will commit
unjuft and wicked adions •, yet they know better
things, and approve of them as more wife and rea-
fonablc. The fenfe of this they cannot get rid of;
but it gives their minds great uneafmefs. The re-
proach of confcience imbitters all their fmful enjoy-
ments ; and they fccretly condemn themfelves,
where no laws have power to do it. The crimes
they commit are a continual flavery and burden up-
on their minds. The adions of vlittious and reli-
gious men they cannot but approve of. They will
fooncr truft a good man in any importaiu bufincfs,
than one that is vicious ; and always deiire to have
ihcir affairs managed by men of uprightnefs and in-
tegrity. And will at laft wifli, however they have
lived, that they could but die at leaft, *' the death of
^' the righteous, and that their laft end may be like
*^ his •," which clearly acknowledges the excellency

B b 3 of

S 7he difference between Difc. CIII.

of virtue, and proves the neceflary and eternal dif-
ference between good and evil, virtue and vice.

But God has moreover, by exprefs declaration of
his will in holy fcripture, and By his pofitive com-
mandj eilablifhed and confirmed this original diffe-
rence of things, and by his power will fupport and
maintain it. The natural and unchangeable difFe-
rc-nce of good and evil, is fuppofed in the text, to
Ipe equally evident, ^yith that of light and darknefs.
And that God v;ill interpofe his fuprerne power
and authoricy to confirm and fupport this difference
of things, is contained in the pofitive declaration in
the text' J wherein a fevere woe is denounced againft

Online LibraryFerd WarnerA system of divinity and morality : in a series of discourses on all the essential parts of natural and revealed religion ... to which are added, some occasional discourses (Volume 4) → online text (page 1 of 37)