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run down these Duties of Prayer and Thanksgiving, which are the only Stay of Happiness which Mankind has in this World; without these he is an elated Fool in Prosperity, and a miserable dejected Wretch in Adversity; he has
no Hope of Pardon, and no Expectation of Reward: Quit - not this Hold, whatever you do, and pray to God for të his Grace and Favour to enlighten your Mind, even whilst
you are an Unbeliever, and if to this you join your cart heft Endeavours to be satisfied in your Doubts, God may give you Grace to believe and practice that Holy Religion, which you now so much despise. But have a care
of totally abandoning the Worship of God, for then * you can have no pretence to his Favout; and, tho' you
were willing, I am afraid, you will never be able to be a Believer.
Phil. Your warm Discourse makes me a little serious, and I must needs own that I
envy piness which good Christians receive, in their Devotions z and Dependence upon God; but I have long been used
to a more rational and philosophick Way. However your Arguments seem to carry Weight with them, and your Advice is good; and I'll assure you I will give the both à juft Consideración. But in the mean while, [ will proceed to some other Duty, which Christianity eni joins; and which I have Exceptions to.
Now you Christians profess a Virtue, which you can Mortification, thereby pretending to abridge your selves of some very innocent Pleasures: Bur methinks this is perfect superstitious Folly. For God Almighty gave us these 'good Things to enjoy them, and I think we are Coxcombs if we do'not. Indeed we ought-not to profecute our Satisfa&tions by Injustice, or to purchase our
Pleasure, at the Expence of another Man's Grief; but what reason is there, why a Man should not be as happy as he can, when he does no Body any harm? I do not contend, that a Man Mhould become a Beast for Pleasure; but, when God has provided for us like Gentlemen, why Thould we live like Monks?
Sreda Mortifica- : Cred. You very much mistake the Christian Duty tion a rea- of Mortification, in thinking it to be an unreasonable fonablc Duty.
Injunction. For there is nothing commanded of this Nature in the Gospel, but what is agreeable to the justest Reason: For, when we are commanded by our Saviour, in the Jewish Phrase, to pluck ont our Eye, and cut off our Hand that offends us; that is, to tear away from our Souls the most darling Affection which may occasion us to sin; or when the Apostles tells us, 'eis our Duty to crucify the Flesh with the Affections and Lusts; there is nothing in these Injunctions, but what unprejudiced Reason will agree to. Every one must own, that 'tis our Duty, to arrive at as great a Pitch of Virtue as we can, or however to avoid every known Sin; now, without Mortification and Selfdenial, to do this is hardly possible, Our Passions are head-strong Things, and are not to be governed, by only denying them unlawful Enjoyments; if we gratify them to the height, in all they may innocently enjoy, they will quickly crave what is noxious. A Man, that never denies himself an indifferent thing, when Temptations are strong, knows not how to deny himself a bad one. Therefore all the Parts of Mortification and Self-denial, are very reasonable and useful, to make a Habit of Virtue more easy to us, and to arrive to a more exalted Degree of it. Do you your self be Judge, if a Man shall not be more perfect in the Duty of Temperance, that is very sparing in the use of strong Drinks, than one that takes care only not to drink them quite so long, till his Rcason be infatuated by them. The first keeps such a wide Distance from Intemperance, that there is no fear of falling into it, but the other walks so near the Brink of the Precipice, that a thousand Accidents may make him miscarry. Is not a Man farther removed from the Sin of Gluttony, less liable to impure Thoughts, and better qualified for serious Study, religious Exercises and De votion, that eats always sparingly and frequently intermits his ordinary Meals, than one that eats every Day to Repletion? Is not a Man less liable to fall into unlawful Anger, that checks this Passion upon the justest Occca
fions, that accustoms himfelf to a calm and sober Way of
tle petty Offence ? Nay, even corporal Severities, if - they be not cruel or fanciful
, or done with a Design of Satisfaction, or superstitiously, may have their ufe to wean and deter Men from Sin, and strengthen them in a Habit of Virtue.
Phil. Another Fault I find with the Christian Religion, is for forbidding Polygamy or Concubinage. For what reason is there, that this Religion should deny Mankind that Right, which they claimed in the Patriarchal Times, and under the Law ? if it was unlawful or Inconvenient then, why did God allow it? Or if he saw any Incon
venience in it in latter Times, he might as well have fores seen it many Ages before. So that'tis plain, by God's
allowing it to the Patriarchs, and by the general Practice
may have an hundred, but a Woman can seldom have ifal above a dozen Children; a Woman is fterile before the om is fifty Years old, whilst Men retain their Fecundity, teis oftentimes, to the Extremity of old Age. To say noto ke thing of the Decay of the Beauty and Gracefulness of the A los other Sex sooner than of ours; by which Nature does, er as it were, shew, that it is Time they should be laid aside, near the when they become unagreeable.
Therefore for a Man to be clogged for his whole Life-time, to one Woman, upon wedding these extraordinary Disparities, is unreasonable. But, if
your Christian Legislators would suffer us to manage MatErcan ters, we yould contrive a Way to make Marrimony a
very pleasant thing, to increase the Breed of Mankind,
Cred. Pray, good Philologus, let us have no more of
Polygamy, Town, and which I thought you had been too foberts nos lawful have urged. As for your Argument for Polygamy, dravz Practice of
from the Practice of the ancient and patriarchal Aga the Ancia of the World, I think, That is no Argument for us now. ents, If it was permitted after the Flood, for the speedy Per
pling the World, then the same Reason will not hold not 'when 'tis better stock'd. And then Nature must abound most with Females for this very Purpose; the contrary of which we rather find now. But the case was altered in our Saviour's Time, Polygamy and Concubinage began grow more out of Fashion than formerly, in moft Parti the World, by the prevailing of the Romans, who did not ni them; and his Religion being to be planted chiefly within the Confines of that Empire, it was a more easy Injunta to ordain single Marriage, than in Abraham's or Men's
Time, when Polygamy was almost univerfal. Nor from 2. Neither is it any Argument that Polygamy is groundthe Practice
the Law of Nature, because many barbarous N+ of the Bar
rions do at this Day, and have in all Ages, practiled it For fuch Nations live in a Number of cruel unnawa Czeftoms, which Nature could never direct them to, such as eating Man's Flesh, and even that of their own Chil
dren, publick Commixtures, Incests, and the like. Forbid by 3. Our Saviour Christ taught, a Religion of the mo? Chriftia- fpiritual Nature, that was ever known in the World, cause too
which oblig'd Men not only to avoid all grofs Sins, but Cardal. to curb all unruly and extravagant Appetites. And there
foreiit was but reasonable, that Men should not be allow. ed, under this pure Institution, in the intemperate Excelics of a vagrant Lave, which Polygamy or Concubinage would (tempt Men to.
Such Lucuries would be inconsistent with that Purity of Mind, which the Gospel requirs, und those felhly Delights would be too great an Impedi-ment, of that heavenly Mindedness, which we Chrift
ans are obliged to have. More Core, 14. And though there may be fomething in Polygon fort in fin. or Concubinage, which may gratify a fepłual Man, y sle Mar
they want the Satisfacticns, Tenderness, and Endearment page. of single Marriage. Love, when it is so divided, is like
á River cut into several Chanels, it lofes it self when it runs into so many Strcams. For there is rarely any truc conjugal Love, and sincere Affection to be found among those People or Countries, where these are allowed; for there they generally matrer no more the Death of one of their Wives or Concubines, than of one of their Horses. But if you will take the Opinion even of the ancient Love-Poets, who did not care to have their Liberty in this Matter too much abridged, they declare it for single Marriage, as to the point of Comfort and Satisfaction, in Opposition both to Divorce and Concubinage.
HOR AC E says*:
Felices ter amplius,
Quos irrupta tenet copula : nec malis
Suprema citius folvet amor die.
Thrice Happy is that Pair, and more than fo
Whom undissolved Nuptials tie;
And never part before they die.
And thus PROPERTIUS, Lib. i Eleg. 15.
Exemplo juncte tibi fit in amore Columlue,
Take for Example of your Love,
The Mating of the Faithful Dove;
And all the Wedlock is in Two.
* Hor lib. 1. Car. 53.