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Choices, and prefers a Shell before the moft
ufeful Things in Life.

Now a good Man merely through the Love
of Reafon, is offended at their Condud, and
would do all that he could to abate the Fren2;y
of the one, and the Stupidity of the other.

Let this a little reprefent to us the Conduct
of God towards fallen Man. God is Reafon
itfelf; how highly therefore muft he be offend-
ed at the Follies and Stupidity of Mankind ?
If a Madman feems fo unreafonable a Creature
to us becaufe he fancies himfelf to be fome-
thing that he is not ; how unreafonable muft
fallen Man, who is fallen from all true
Knowledge of himfelf, appear to him who is
infinite Reafon ? Again,

2 ?56 A Practical Treatife.

AoAjN, God is Goodne/s itCzlf ; if therefore
human Goodne.fsis inclined to endeavour the
Cure of Madme72 and Fools ^ muft not Good'- .
riefs itklf be much, more inclined to cor red:
the Madnefs and Folly of fallen Man ?

W-e fee that Men are faid to, be MadyV>}htn
they fancy themfelves, and the things aboqtx
them, to be different from, what they, are,;,
they are faid to be Fools, when they miftkke
the ^^i^^f^ of Things : Now if this be true,
as it mofl: certainly is, it may ferve to {hew
us, that Man in his prefent State of Diforder
and Ignorance, muft appear to God both as
Fool '3ind: Mad; for every Sinner is truly J\(fa4p
as he imagines. himfelf, and. all. Things about
him, to, be what they are not ; he is realjy
2i Fool, as he is ridiculous in his Choices, ajid
miftak^s the Value oi Things. .; ->

Now Religion is ourC/^r^, it is God's m?r*-,-
ciful Cornmunication of fuch Rules and Dif-
cipline of Life^, a^ may ferv.e to deliver us from
the Infatuation and Ignorance of our fallen
State. It i^. to teach us the Knowledge of
ourfelves^ and all Things aboUjVus, th^t we
may no longer ad: like Madmen ', it is to
teach us the iv\xt Value oi Things, that we
may know our Good and Evil, and not be as
Ideots in the Choice of Things.

Now Fools and Madmen have their Para-
dife, and are pleafed with their imaginary,
Happinefs ; this makes them ayerfe from all
Methods of Cure.


upon Chrijlian Perfection. 187

For this reafon, God preffes his Inftmcfli-
ons upoQ us with Terrors and Threatnings,
and makes thofe Virtues which are the natural
Good and Cure of our Souls, fuch Duties to
him, as he will punifli the Negleftof them.

So that the Power of God is mercifully em-
ployed to move us to fuch a reafonable Way-
of Life, a5 is neceflary for our Happinefs.

Some People are fo weak, as to wonder,
what.we call Sin, fhould be fo odious to God,
or what it can fignify to God, whether we are
nsoife or foQliJh*

Let fuch confider, that God is Wifdom and
i?f^« itfelf, and confequen tly everyThing that
is contrary to Reafon and Wifdom, is contrary
to his Nature; fo that a State of Sin, is a State
of Contrariety to God. To aik therefore why
God hates all Sin, is the fame Thing as to afk
why God cannot tell any fort oiLye-y it is be-
caufe every Deviation from Truth is contrary
to his Nature, which is Truth itfelf ; fo every
Inftance of Sin, as it is an unreafonable Acft,
i^ contrary to his Nature, who is Reafon itfelf.

There is therefore a Neceffity from the
Nature of Things, that every Creature be de-
livered from Sin, before it can enter into the
beatifick Prefence of God; for if God could
reward wicked Beings, and make them happy
fay the Enjoyment of his Prefence, hewould
as much ceafe to ad according to the Nature
of Things, as if he fhould punifli a Being
that lived in Innocence ; for to punilh Inno-

iSS A PraSikal "Treatife

C€nce, and to reward Sin, are equally contrary
tp the Nature 2Lndi Reafon of Things.

This Obfervation may teach us to admire
the ExcellencyoftheChriftianReligion, which
reftores Sinners to God by io great an Atone^
ment for Sin, and whichonly admits the Repen^
tance and Devotion of fallen Man, through the
Merits and Mediation of the Son of God.

To return : Let fuch People alfo confider,
that even reafonable Men have a neceflary
Diflike of Fools and Madmen, they cannot
poffibly make them the Objeds of their Plea-
lure and Affedion.

But now, if fome Things are fo odious irt
themfelves, thateven the Reafon of Man can*
I50t but abhor them, how much more odious,^
how much more contrary to the Perfedlionof
the divine Nature, muft the Folly and Mad?
nefs of Sin be ?

Thus if we confider what Reafon is in
ourfelves, that it neceflarily diflikes unreafon-
able Perfons as well as Things; we may have
fome Notion how all Sin and Sinners, that is,
all Beings which a(ft contrary to Reajon, muft
be in a State of the utmoft Contrariety to
God, who is the bigheji Reafon,

God is Love, yet it is certain, that he can
only love fuch Things as are lovely; fo God is
Goodnefsy yet he cannot make Sinners happy,
becaufe there is as muchGontradid:ion to Rea-
fon and Perfedtion in making Sinners happy, as
in lovingThings that are not truly lovely, or in


upon Chrijiian PerfeSiion. i8g

hating Things that are not hateful. This may
ferve to give us in fome meafure a true Idea of
the Nature of Religion and the Nature of Sin.

That Religion is God*s gracious Method
of delivering us from the Unreafonablencfs
and Corruption of our Natures, that by com-
plying with its Rules and Difcipline we may
be fo altered in our Natures, fo reftored to
Reafon, as to be fit for the Rewards of an
infinitely wife and perfect Being.

That Sin is the Mifery and Diforder, the
Madnefs and Folly of our Nature, which as
neceffarily feparates us from Q^q^^. as God its
contrary to all Unreafona;blen%fs/

I HAVE juft mentioned thefe Things, to
help us to conceive rightly what is meant by
the Reafonablenefs and Necefiity of thofe
Tempers which Religion requires. And I
hope this is fufiicient to give any one apofi-
tive Aflarance, that Religion is fo far from
being an Impofition upon us, confifting of
needlefs Duties, that it is founded in the
Nature and Reafon of Things, and is as ne-
ceffary to reftore us to the Enjoyment of
God, as it is neceflary that Godfhould love
Things according as they are lovely.
, For let any one carefully confider thisPro-
pofition, whether it be not abfolutely certain,
that God loveth all Things, accordino-ly as
they are lovely. Is not this as certain, as
that God is Reafon itfelf ? Could he be infi-
nitely reafonable, or Reafon in Perfedion, if he
did not regard Things according to their Na-
tures I

'19^ A Practican^reatife

tures? hatingorily thofeThings'thit are'truly
'hateful, and loving Things lb far as they are
lovely. To a<ft by any other Rule, than the
R-eafon and Nature of Things, is to acfl by
Huniour and Caprice.

Let this therefore teach us, that as we 'are
in ourfelves, fo we are neceffarily either
odious or acceptable to God.

So faras we Ceafe from Sin, and fuffer our-
felves to be made wife and reafonable by the
-Wifdom and Reafon of Religion 3 fo far we
make ourfelves Objects of the Love of that
infinitely perfect Being, who neceflarily loves
Beings as the/afe lovely in their Nature.

And fo far as we continue in the- Madnefs
and Folly of Sin, and neglect the Rules of
Religion, which would deliver us frorn the
Guilt and Slavery of it; fo far we make it
neceffary for that perfect Being to hate us,
who cannot but hate Things accordingly as
they are in themfelves hateful.

Some People, either through Self-love, or
fome confufed Opinion of God and them-
felves, are always fancying themfelves to be
particular Y^somxlt^ oi God, imagining all
their little SuccefTes, or Bleffings, in their
Health and Circumftances above other Peo-^
pie, to bediftinguifliing Marks of God's par^
//(T^Zar Kindnefs towards them.

But fuch Perfons muft confider, that God
is Reafon itfelf, that he is fubjed: to no parti-
cular Fondnefsj no more than he is capable oF
Weaknefs ; and that he can no more love


upon Chrijlian PerfeBion. igt

them with ^Lnypartkular Love, that is not an
ad: of the higheil: Reafon, that he can lye, or
adt contrary to the Truth.
„- They (hould confider, that the Things of
this Life, its SacceffesandProfpcrities, are fo far
from being Marks of God*s particular Favour,
that Afflidions have a much better Claim to
it ; for whom the Lord loveth he chajlenetby &c.

When fuch People fancy themfelvesin the
particular Favour of God, they (hould confi-
der, that to be loved by God, is to be loved by
infinite Reafon and Wifdoniy and that Reaf6n
can only love or approve Things as they arc
conformable to it. To be approved by Rea-
fon, we muftadl conformably to Reafon.; and
to be approved by the higheft Reafon, we
muft ad: conformably to the higheft Reafon.

So that when our Lives are conformable to
the higheft Reafon, then may we believe that
fo far as they are fuch, fo far are they in the
Favour of God, who is the higheft Reafon.
To fancy that any Thing elfe can make us Fa-
vourites of God is niere Ignorance and Pride,
and owing to the fame Vanity and Self-love^
which makes fome People think that they are
admired all thut know them*

For fo fure as Gpd is Reafon itfelf, io fure
is it, that to be loved by God, and to be ap-
proved by the higheft Reafon, is the fame
Thing y io that if he, whofe Life is not con-
formable to the higheft Reafon, imagines that
he \?. particularly beloved by God, he is guilty


J9 2 A PraSiical Treatife

ef the fame iVbfurdlty, as if he believed that
God is not the higheft Reafon, or Reafon ill

It is not more certain that there is but one
God, than it is certain that there is but on^
Wayof makingourfelves Objects of his Love,
namely, by conforming and acting according
to the higheft Reafon. When ©ur Lives are
agreeable to Reafon and the Nature of
Things, then are our Lives agreeable to God.

Now fo far as we act conformably to Reli-
gion, fo far we act according to the higheft
Reafon, and draw near to God, by a Wifdom
that comes from God, and was revealed unto
us, that it might make us fuch reafonable Be-
ings, as to be fit Objects of his eternal Love.

For a Religion from God muft be accord-
ing to the Nature of God, requiring no other
change of Thoughts or Actions but fuch a$
is conformable to Truth and Reafon.

Now the Reafonablenefs of Adions confifts
in their Fitnefs to be done ; there is a Rea*
fonablenefs in being thankful for Mercies i
there is a Reafonablenefs in rejoicing at
Things that are joyful ; and fo in all other
Adions' or Tempers, they are either reafon-
iiblc or unreafonable, as they arc agreeable or
contrary to the Nature of Things.

This is what I would have undefftood by
the Reafonablenefs of all religious Duties or
Tempers ; they are all required becaufe they
are as fuitable to the Nature and Reafon of
Things, as it is fuitable to the Reafon of


upon Chrifiia7% PerfeEiton. 193

Things to be thankful for Mercies, or fear
Things that are truly dreadful.

Thus, for Inftance, Humility is nothing
elfe but a right Judgment of ourfelves, and is
only fo far enjoined as it is fuitable to the
Truth of our State, for ^o think worfe of our-
felves than we really are, is no more a Virtue
than to make^i;^ to be lefs ihznfour.

On the contrary, he that is proud, offends
as much againft Truth and Reafon, and judges
as falfely of himfelf, as the Madman who fan-
cies himfelf to be a King, and the Straw, to
v/hich he is chained, to be a 'Throne of State.

Having obferved thus much concerning
the Reafonablenefs of Tempers or Duties to
which Religion demands, I proceed now to
fiiew, wherein the Reafonablenefs and Necef-
fity of Self-denial confifts. *

If a Perfon was to walk upon a Rope acrofs
fome great River, and he was bid to deny him-
felf the Pleafure of walking in Silver Shoes, or
looking about at the Beauty of the Waves, or
liftening to the Noife of Sailors ; if he was
commanded to deny hinsfelf the Advantage of
Jijhing by the Way, would there be any Hard-
fliip in fuch Self-denial ? Would not fuch
Self-denials be as reafonable, as commanding
him to love Things that will do him good,
or to avoid Things that are hurtful.

Strait is the Gate, and ?2arrow is the Way
that leadeth unto Life, faith our bleffed Saviour,
Now if Chrillians are to walk in a narrow Way

O to

194 ^ PraEikal Treatif^

that leadeth to eternal Life, the chief Bufinefs
of a Chriftian muft be, to deny himielf all
thofe Things which may either flop or lead
him out of his narrow Way. And if they
think thatPleafuresandlndulgences are confif-
tent with their keeping this narrowWay,they
think as reafonably as if the Man upon the
Rope (hould think, that he might fafely ufe
Silver Shoes, or flop in his Way to catch Fifh.

Again, if a Man that was a Slave to Sot-
tifhnefs and ftupifying Pleafures, that render-
ed him averfe from all Exercifes of the Mind,
was yet obliged in order to fave his Life, to
attain to fuch or fuch a Degree of mathema-
tical Knowledge, muft it not be as neceffary
for fuch a one to deny himfelf thofe Indul-
gences which increafed his Stupidity, as it
would be neceffary to lludy the Relations of

Now this is the Foundation of all Chriftian
Self-denial ; we are born and bred in Slavery
to Sin and corrupt Tempers, and are only to
be faved by putting off this old Man, and be-
ing renewed in Holinefs and Purity of Life.
The Denials therefore of Religion are only the
neceffary Means of Salvation, as they are ne-
ceffary to leffen the Corruption of our Nature,
deftroy our old Habits, alter the Tafte and
Temper of our Minds, and prepare us to relifli
and rapire after Holinefs and Perfection.

For fince our Souls are in a State of Cor-
ruption, and our Life is a State of Probation,
in order to alter and remove this Corruption,


up072 Chrtflian Perfe&ion. 19:5

it is certain, that every Thing ahdevery Way
of Life, which nouri(hes and increafes ourCor-
ruption, is as much to be avoided, as thofe
Things v^hich beget in us Purity and Holi-
liefs, are to be fought after.

A Man that wants his Health, is as well
andfor the fame Reafons, to avoid fuch Things
as nourifh his Illnefs, as he is to take Medi-
cines that have a healing Quality, Self-denial
is therefore as effential to the ChriftianXife>
as Prayer is, it being equally neceffary to deny
ourfelves fuch Things as fupport our Corrup-
tion, as it is neceffary to pray for thofe Things
which will do us good, and purify ourNatures.

The whole of the Matter is this, Chriflians
are called from a State of Diforder, Sin and
Ignorance, to a State of Holinefs and Refem-
blance of the divine Nature. If therefore
there are any Things, or any Ways, that cor-
rupt our Minds, fupport our Vanity, increafe
our Blindnefs, or nourifli Senfuality, all thefe
are as neceffarily to be avoided, as it is necef-
fary to be holy.

If there are any Denials or Mortifications
that purify and enlighten the Soul, that leffen
the Power of bodily Paffions, that raife us to
a heavenly Affedion, and make us tafte and
relifh the Things that be of God, thefe are as
necefiarily to be pradlifed, as it is neceffary to
believe in Jefus Chrift.

So that the Matter comes to this, if there
are no Indulgences in eatmg to. do us Harm,

O 2 then

19^ -^ Practical Tj^eatife

then fajling is of no Ufe, but if there are, if
they enflave theSoul and give it a fenfualTafte,
then we are as much obliged to abftain from
what does us this harm, as we are obliged to
pray for any Thing that can do us good.

No Chriftian that knows any Thing of the
Gofpel, can doubt wh^xh^v fa/iing be a com-
mon Duty of Chriftianity, fince our Saviour
has placed it along with fecret Alms and pri-
vate ?xd.ycv,JVhen thoufafieth^ anoint thy Heady
and wafi thy Face, that thou appear not unto
Men tofajly but t:^ thy Father which is in fecret y
and thy Father which feet h infecretfiall reward
thee openly (a).

So that the fame Inftrucflions, and the fame
Reafons are given for private Fajiingy as for
fecret Aims and private Prayer, that thy Father
which feeth in fecret may reward thee openly.
Now as it is manifeftly entitled to the fame
Reward, it is manifeftly put upon the fame
Foot as private Prayer, and as equally accept-
able to God.

Eating and drinking are the common
Support of Life, but then as they are the Sup-
port of a corrupt Life, the Nourifhment of a
difordered Body that weighs down the Soul,
whofe Appetites and Tempers are in a State of
Enmity with the Life and Purity of the Soul,
it is necefiary, that we take Care fo to fupport
the Life of the Body, as not to occafion the
Sicknefs and Death of the Soul.

(a) Matt. vii. 15.


upon Chriftian Perfection. 197

The Fall of Man confifts very much in the
Fall of the Soul into the Dominion and Power
of the Body, whofe Joy, and Health, and
Strength, is often the Slavery, Weaknefs, and
Infirmity of the Soul.

How far our Bodies afFecl our Habits, or
Ways of Thinking, may be feen by the Dif-
ference between Sicknefs and Health, Youth
and old Age. Thefe different States of the
Body alter the whole Turn of our Minds, and
give us new Ways of Thinking, all owing to
the different Strength of bodily Appetites and
Tempers. No fooner is the Body weakened
by any Occafion, but the Soul is more at Li-
berty, fpeaks higher for itfelf, and begins to
adl more reafonably.

What is the Reafon that a Midnight Re-
fleftion goes generally deeper than a Thought
at any other Time ? No Reafon can well be
affigned, but the Peace and Tranquillity of the
Body, which gives the Soul a Liberty of fee-
ing farther into Things, than at any other

The Difference between the fame Man full
and failing, is almofl the Difference of two
Perfons, a Man that in the Morning finds
himfelf fit for any Meditations, is after a full
Meal changed into another Creature, fit only
for idle Amufements, or the Yawnings of aa

He has not only created a Dulnefs in his
Soul, but has perverted its Tafte, for he can
be pleafed with a Romance o^ impertinent Hu-

O3 . tory.

198 A Practical "Treatife

tory, at the fame Time he lias no Relifli for a
Book of Devotion, that requires lefsrVttention.

I MENTION this to {hew, that Fajlinghcis a
nearer Relation to all religious Tempers, than
is generally thought ; and that indulgent or
full feeding, does not only dull the Mind, but
more particularly gives it a Dulnefs towards
the Things of Religion. If it were not thus,
a Book of religious Reflexions would be as
acceptable at fuchTimes, as thofe other Books
which require as much or more Attention.

And the Reafon of this is plain, becaufe
all our Tempers and Defires are always fuit-
able to the State we are in ; if we are in a
State of fenfual Joy, feeling the Happinefs of
zfull Stomach and heated Bloody we relifh or
defire nothing but what fuits with it. For
this Reafon Plays, and Romances, and vain Di-
verfions, can entertain a Man that has eat as
long as he could ; but Lectures uponMorality,
or Difcourfes upon Death and Judgment, would
tire him into Sleep. What weoblerve of the
jfaundice,^ that it makes us fee all Things yel-
low, is in a certain Degree true of every State
of the Body -, it makes us conceive Things
with fome Degree of Likenefs to the Condition
it is then in. Every Alteration in the Body
gives fome Alteration to our Wayof conceiving
the fame Things.

As he, therefore, that would fee Things in
their proper Colours, muft firfl cure himfelf
of the Jaundice, fo he that would apprehend


upon Chrijlian PerfeSiion. 199

Things according to their Natures, muft tak^
Care that his Body be fo ordered, as to have as
little a Share as poffible in his Judgments.

WHENa Manhashis Stomach full ofWind,
and feels no pleafant Enjoyment of his Body,
yoU/Can hardly propofe any Thing to him that
will appear realbnable ; do but ftay till his
Stomach is altered, cill he has had a full and
cheariul Meal, and he will be as naturally in
a better Temper, as any other Animal that has
filled its B.-Ily,

When Men have been unreafonably out of
Temper through the mere Motions of the
Body, I believe they often condemn themfelves
afterwards, but then they do not confider, that
the contrary State is a State of the fame Slavery
to the blind Motions of the Body, and liable
to the fame Condemnation. For if difull^ni
fleajant Meal makes us fo gay and cJoearfuly as
to laugh and be pleafed with the vaineji Things,
we are then as unreafonable, and as mereSlaves
to our Bodies, as when a cold ox empty Stomach
Ihali make us angry at every Thmg.

For it as great a Contradiction to Reafon
and Wifdorn to be pleafed with Things or
Perfons becaufe our Body is in a State of Joy,
as it is to be angry and difpleafed at Things
or Perfons, becaule an eafterly Wind, or an in-
digefted Meal has fowered our Spirits

Now both thefe States are equally States of
Slavery to the Body, equally expofe our Fol-
ly, and have the fame Contrariety to Religion.

O4, AMaa

200 A F radical l^reatlf^

A Man is as far from religious Wifdom, when
full feeding has made him merry, vain^ and
trifling, as when a co?2trary State of Body
makes hivcifour, angry, ?LndfretfuL

It is the Bufinefs therefore of Religion, to
put an End to thefe States of Slavery, to deli-
ver Man from the blind Laws of FleJJj and
Bloody and give him a Wifdom and Conftancy,
a Tafte and Judgment fuitable to the Reafon
and Wifdom of the Laws of God ; to fill our
Souls with fuch Principles of Peace, as may
give us Habits of Tranquillity, fuperior to the
changeable Tempers of our Bodies.

'i^iow fajiing, as it is a Denial of bodily In -
diligences, as it difciplines the Body into a
State of Obedience, and contradi(fts its Appe^
tites, is the moft conftant and univerfal Means
of procuring Liberty and Freedom of Mind.

For it is the Love of our Body, and too
much Care of its Enjoyments, that makes us
too fenfibls of its Demands, and fubjedl to its
Tempers. Whatever we nourifh and cheriili,
fo far gains an Intereft in us, and rules us ia
the fame Degree, that it has got our AfFedli-
ens. Till therefore Religion has entered us
into a State of Self-denial, we live in a State
that fuppor ts the Slavery and Corruption of our

For every Indulgence of the Body in Eat-
ing and Drinking is adding to its Power, and
making all our Ways of Thinking fubfervient
to it,

A Man

upon Chrifiian Perfection, ^ox

A Man that makes every Day, a Day of
full and chear/iilMt2\Sy will by Degrees make
the Happinels of every Day depend upon it,
and conlider every Thing with regard to it.

He will go to Churchy or flay at Home, as
it fuits with his Dinner^ and not fcruple to
tell you, that he generally eats too heartily to
go to the Afternoon Service,

Now fach People are under a worfe Difor-
der of Body, than he that has the yaundicCy
and have their Judgment more perverted,
than he that fees all Things yellow.

For how can they be faid to perceive the
Difference of Things, who have more Tafle
for the Preparations of the Kitchen, than for
the Joys and Comforts of the Houfeof God,
who chufe rather to make themfelves unfit for
divine Service, than to baulk the Pleafure of a
full Meal? And this not by Chance, or upon
fjme unufual Occafion, but by a conftant in-
tended Courfe of Life.

Let fuch People deal faithfully with them-
felves, and fearch out their Spirit. Can they
think that they are born again of God, that
they have the Spirit of Cbrijt, who are thus
fubjed: to the Pitafures of Gluttony? Can they
be laid to treat their Bodies as temples of the
Holy Ghoft, who make them unfit for the
holy Service of public Worlhip ? Can they be
faid to offer their Bodies unto God as a rea^
fonabky holy, and living Sacrifice ? Can they be
iaid to love God with all their Heart , and all


202 A P radical Treattfh

their Soul, or to have forfaken all to follow
Chrift, who will not fo much as for fake half
a Meal for the fake of divine Worfhip ?

I KNOW it will be thought too fevere, that
I have called this Gluttony^ becaufe it is the
Pra6lice of Numbers of People of Worth and
Reputation ; but I hope they will turn their
Diflike of the Name, into a Diflike of the
Thing, for it is certainly Gluttony ^ as picl;-
ing of Pockets is flealing.

The Sin of Gluttony is the Sin of Over-eat-
ing, of being too much given to full Meals:
Now this may be difficult in fome Inftances
to ftate exadtly ; yet he that owns he eats fo
much as renders him indifpojediov the publick
Worihip of God, has determined againfi: him-
felf, and put his own Cafe out of all queftion.
For if there be fuch a Sin, as the Sin of over-

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