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according to our greatness, and should proportionably resent
contempt. Thus natural conscience, if well informed, will
approve of true virtue, and will disapprove and condemn the
want.of it, and opposition to it; and yet without seeing the
true beauty of it.. Yea, if men's consciences were fully en:
lightened, if they were delivered from being confined to a
private sphere, and brought to view and consider things in
general, and delivered from being stupified by sensual objects
and appetites, as they will be at the day of judgment, they
would approve nothing but true virtue, nothing but general
benevolence, and those affections and actions that are consist:
ent with it, and subordinate to it. For they must see that
consent to Being in general, and supreme respect to the Be-
ing of Beings, is most just ; and that every thing which is in,
consistent with it, and interferes with it, or flows from the
want of it, is unjust, and deserves the opposition of ụniversal
existence.

Thus has God established and ordered, that this principle
of natural conscience, which, though it implies no such thing
as actual benevolence to Being in general, nor any delight in
such a principle, simply considered, and so implies no truly
spiritual sense or virtuous tąste, yet should approve and con,
demn the same things that are approved and condeinned by
a spiritual sense or virtuous taste.

That moral sense which is natural to mankind, so far as it is disinterested and not founded in association of ideas, is the same with this natural conscience that has been described. The sense of moral good and evil, and that disposition to ap: prove virtue and disapprove vice, which men have by natural conscience, is that moral sense, so much insisted on in the writings of many of late : A misunderstanding of which seems to have been the thing that has misled those moralists who. have insisted on a disinterested moral sense, universal in the. world of mankind, as an evidence of a disposition to true vir, tue, consisting in a benevolent temper, naturally implanted in the minds of all men. Some of the arguments made use of by these writers, do indeed prove that there is a moral sense er taste, universal among men, distinct from what arises from

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self love. Though I humbly conceive, there is some confu. sion in their discourses on the subject, and not a proper dis. tinction observed in the instances of men's approbation of virtue, which they produce. Some of which are not to their purpose, being instances of that approbation of virtue, that was described, which arises from self love. But other instances prove that there is a moral: taste, or sense of moral good and evil, natural to all, which does not properly arise from self love. Yet I conceive there are no instances of this kind which may not be referred to natural conscience, and particularly to that which I have observed to be primary in the approbation of natural conscience, viz. a sense of desert and approbation of that natural agreement there is, in manner and measure in justice. But I think it is plain from what has been said, that neither this or any thing else wherein consists the sense of moral good and evil, which there is in natural conscience is of the nature of a truly virtuous taste, or determination of mind to relish and delight in the essential beauty of true virtue, arising from a virtuous benevolence of heart.

But it further appears from this. If the approbation of conscience were the same with the approbation of the inclination, of the heart, or the natural disposition and determination of the mind, to love and be pleased with virtue, then approbation and condemnation of conscience would always be in proportion to the virtuous temper of the mind ; or rather the degree would be just the same. In that person who had a high degree of a virtuous temper, therefore, the testimony of conscience in favor of virtue would be equally full : But he that had but little, would have as little a degree of the testimony of conscience for yirtue, and against vice. But I think the case is evidently otherwise. Some men through the strength of vice in their hearts, will go on in sin against clearer light and stronger convictions of conscience, than others. If conscience's approving duty and disapproving sin, were the same thing as the exercise of a virtuous principle of the heart, in loving duty and hating sin, then l'emorse of conscience will be the same thing as repentance ; and just in the same degree as the sinner feels remore of conscience for sin, in the same

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degree is his heart turned from the love of sin to the batred of it, inasmuch as they are the very same thing.

Christians have the greatest reason to believe, from the scriptures, that in the future day of the revelation of the right, cous judgment of God, when sinners shall be called to answer before their judge, and all their wickedness in all its aggravations, brought forth and clearly manifested in the perfect light of that day, and God will reprove them and set their sins in order before them, their consciences will be greatly awakened and convinced, their mouths will be stopped, all stupidity of conscience will be at an end, and conscience will have its full exercise : And therefore their consciences will approve the dreadful sentence of the judge against them, and seeing that they have. déserved so great a punishment, will join with the judge in condemning them. And this, according to the notion I am opposing; would be the same thing as their being brought to the fullest repentance; their hearts being perfectly changed to hate sin and love holiness; and virtue or holiness of heart in them will be brought to the most full and perfect exercise. But how much otherwise, have we reason to suppose, it will then be ? viz. That the sin and wickedness of their heart will come to its highest dominion and completest exercise ; that they shall be wholly left of God, and given up to their wickedness, even as the devils are ! When God has done waiting on sinners, and his spirit done striving with them, he will not restrain their wickedness, as he does now. But sin shall then rage in their hearts, as a fire no longer restrained or kept under. It is proper for a judge when he condemns a criminal, to endeavor so to set his guilt before him as to convince his conscience of the justice of the sentence. This the Almighty will do effectually, and do to perfection, so as most thoroughly to awaken and conconvince the conscience. But if natural conscience, and the disposition of the heart to be pleased with virtue, were the same, then at the same time that the conscience was brought to its perfect exercise, the heart would be made perfectly ho, ly; or, would have the exercise of true virtue and holiness in perfect benevolence of temper. But instead of this, their

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wickedness will then be brought to perfection, and wicked men will become very devils, and accordingly will be sent away as cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

But supposing natural conscience to be what has been described, all these difficulties and absurdities are wholly avoided. Sinners, when they see the greatness of the Being, whom they have lived in contempt of, and in rebellion and opposition to, and have clearly set before them their obligations to him, as their Creator, preserver, benefactor, &c. together with the degree in which they have acted as enemies. to him, may have a clear sense of the desert of their sing consisting in the natural agreement there is between such contempt and opposition of such a Being, and his despising and opposing them ; between their being and acting as so great enemies to such a God, and their suffering the dreadful consequences of his being and acting as their great enemy: And their being conscious within themselves of the degree of anger, which would naturally arise in their own hearts in such a case if they were in the place and state of their judge. In order to these things there is no need of a virtuous benevolent temper, relishing and delighting in benevolence, and loathing the contrary. The conscience may see the natural agreement between opposing and being opposed, between hating and being hated, without abhorring malevolence from a benevolent temper of mind, or without loving God from a view of the beauty of his holiness. These things have no necessary dependence one on the other.

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of particular Instincts of Nature, which in somo

respects resemble Virtue.

THERE are various dispositions and inclinations natural to men, which depend on particular laws of nature, determining

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their minds to certain affections and actions towards particư.
lar objects ; which laws seem to be established chiefly for
the preservation of mankind, though not only for this, but al-
so for their comfortably subsisting in the world. Which dis-
positions may be called instincts.

Some of these instincts respect only ourselves personally ;
such are many of our natural appetites and aversions. Some
of them are not wholly personal, but more social, and extend
to others, such are the mutual inclinations between the sexes,
&c.....Some of these dispositions are more external and sensi-
tive ; such areøene of our natural inclinations that are pers
sonal....as those that relate to meat and drink. And of this
sort also are some dispositions that are more social, and in
some respecis extend to others; as, the more sensitive incli-
nations of the sexes towards each other. Besides these in-
stincts of the sensitive kind, there are others that are more
internal and mental ; consisting in affections of the mind, ,
which mankind naturally exercise towards some of their fel-
low creatures, or in some cases towards men in general.
Some of these instincts that are mental and social, are what
may be called kind affections ; as having something in them
of benevolence, or a resemblance of it. And others are of a
different sort, having something in them that carries an angry
appearance ; such as the passion, of jealousy between the
sexes, especially in the male towards the female.

It is only the former of these two last mentioned sorts, that it is to my purpose to consider in this place, viz. those natural instincts which appear in benevolent affections, or which have the appearance of benevolence and so in some respects resemble virtue. These I shall therefore, consider ; and shall endeavor to shew that none of them can be of the nature of true virtue.

That kind affection which is exercised towards those who are near one to another in natural relation, particularly the love of parents to their children, called natural affection, is by many referred to instinct. I have already considered this sort of love as an affection that arises from self love ; and in that view, and in that supposition have shewn, it cannot be

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