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amiss, but that they are apprehensive that others think so; for guilt is a passion respecting ourselves, but shame regards others. Now, it is a sign of shame that men love to conceal their faults from others, and commit them secretly in the dark, and without witnesses, and are afraid even of a child or a fool; or if they be discovered in them, they are solicitous to excuse and extenuate them, and ready to lay the fault upon anybody else, or to transfer their guilt, or as much of it as they can, upon others. All which are certain tokens that men are not only naturally guilty to themselves when they commit a fault, but that they are sensible also what opinions others have of these things.
And, on the contrary, men are apt to stand upon their justification, and to glory when they have done well. The conscience of a man's own virtue and integrity lifts up his head, and gives him confidence before others, because he is satisfied they have a good opinion of his actions. What a good face does a man naturally set upon a good deed! And how does he sneak when he hath done wickedly, being sensible that he is condemned by others, as well as by himself! No man is afraid of being upbraided for having dealt honestly or kindly with others, nor does he account it any calumny or reproach to have it reported of him that he is a sober and chaste man. No man blusheth when he meets a man with whom he hath kept his word and discharged his trust; but every man is apt to do so when he meets one with whom he has dealt dishonestly, or who knows some notorious crime by him.
3. Vice is generally forbidden and punished by human laws; but against the contrary virtnes there never was any law. Some vices are so manifestly evil. in themselves, or so mischievous to human society, that the laws of most nations have taken care to discountenance them by severe penalties. Scarce any nation was ever so barbarous as not to maintain and vindicate the honour of their gods and religion by public laws. Murder and adultery, rebellion and sedition, perjury and breach of trust, fraud and oppression, are vices severely prohibited by the laws of most nations--a clear indication what opinion the generality of mankind and the wisdom of nations have always bad of these things.
But now, against the contrary virtues there never was any law. No man was ever impeached for “ living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world"--a plain acknowledgment that mankind always thought them good, and never were sensible of the inconvenience of them; for had they been so, they would have provided against them by laws. This St. Paul takes notice of as a great commendation of the Christian virtues—“ The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, kindness, fidelity, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law;" the greatest evidence that could be given that these things are unquestionably good in the esteem of mankind, “ against such there is no law.” As if he had said, “Turn over the law of Moses, search those of Athens and Sparta, and the twelve tables of the Romans, and those innumerable laws that have been added since, and you shall not in any of them find any of those virtues that I have inentioned condemned and forbidden- a clear evidence that mankind never took any exception against them, but are generally agreed about the goodness of them.
(1635 - 1699.)
[STILLINGFLEET's principal work is entitled Origines Sacre ; or a Rational Account of the Grounds of Natural and Revealed Religion. Late in life, he was engaged in a controversy with Locke, in which he did not come off with the best success. ]
There is a love of ourselves which is founded in nature and reason, and is made the measure of our love to our neighbour; for we are to love our neighbour as ourselves; and if there were no due love of ourselves, there could be none of our neighbour. But this love of ourselves, which is so consistent with the love of our neighbour, can be no enemy to our peace: for none can live more quietly and peaceably than those who love their neighbours as themselves. But there is a selflove which the Scripture condemns, because it makes men peevish and froward, uneasy to themselves and to their neighbours, filling them with jealousies and suspicions of others with respect to themselves, making them apt to mistrust the intentions and designs of others towards them, and so producing ill-will towards them; and where that hath once got into men's hearts, there can be no long peace with those they bear a secret grudge and ill-will to. The bottom of all is, they have a wonderful value for themselves and those 10
opinions, and notions, and parties, and factions they happen to be engaged in, and these they make the measure of their esteem and love of others. As far as they comply and suit with them, so far they love them, and no farther.
If we ask, Cannot good men differ about some things, and yet be good still? Yes. Cannot such love one another notwithstanding such difference? No doubt they ought. Whence comes it, then, that a small difference in opinion is so apt to make a breach in affection? In plain truth it is, every one would be thought to be infallible, if for shame they durst to pretend to it, and they have so good an opinion of themselves that they cannot bear such as do not submit to them. From hence arise quarrellings and disputings, and ill language, not becoming men or Christians. But all this comes from their setting up themselves and their own notions and practices, which they would make a rule to the rest of the world ; and if others have the same opinion of themselves, it is impossible but there must be everlasting clashings and disputings, and from thence falling into different parties and factions; which can never be prevented till they come to more reasonable opinions of themselves, and more charitable and kind towards others.
[DR. WILLIAM SHERLOCK is another of the great divines of the seventeenth century. His. Practical Discourse concerning Death, which appeared in 1690, is one of the most popular theological works in the language. He also wrote a treatise on the Immortality of the Soul, in wbich, while inferring the bigh probability of a future life from arguments drawn from the light of nature, he maintains that only in revelation can evidence perfectly conclusive be found.]
Life not too short.
Such a long life [as that of the antediluvians] is not reconcileable with the present state of the world. What the state of the world was before the flood, in what manner they lived and how they employed their time, we cannot tell, for Moses has given no account of it; but taking the world as it is, and as we find it, I dare undertake to convince those men, who are most apt to complain of the shortness of life, that it would not be for the general happiness of mankind to have it much longer; for, 1st, the world is at present very unequally divided ; some have a large share and portion of it, others have nothing but what they can earn by very hard labour, or extort from other men's charity by their restless importunities, or gain by more ungodly arts. Now, though the rich and prosperous, who have the world at command, and live in ease and pleasure, would be very well contented to spend