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moral duties constitute duty and virtue, then, of consequence, God's command in matters of a positive nature constitutes duty and virtue also ; and, therefore, our obedience in either case, resolves into the same principle, and has the same common ground 'of obligation. God's reasons for commanding may be different; but our reasons for obeying are the same. Reasons of the law are one thing; and reasons of the obligation are another. A law should not want its reasons; but yet it is the law and not those reasons, that creates the obligation; for the law would oblige, though we knew nothing of the reasons on which it is founded. Positive duties, therefore, and moral, are alike obligatory, as enjoined by the saine authority and enforced by the same sanctions. Both proceed from the same infinite Goodness, and both lead to the same infinite happiness ; which is sufficient to infer equal obligation, when other circumstances are equal. Moral duties arise from the will or command of God founded on the known and standing reason of things; positive duties from the
will or command of God, founded on occasional reasons, known perhaps to God ALONE. In moral laws we see the reasons first, and by these we come to the knowledge of the law; which method of investigation has probably occasioned the mistake of supposing the reasons obligatory antecedently to the law, though they are proofs oply that there is and must be a law suitable; in positive laws we know the laws first, and afterwards the reasons, (so far as we at all know them) and so nobody suspects an obligation prior to the laws."
Therefore, (to proceed with the same excellent man's sentiments, if not exactly in his words,) let religion and morality go hand in hand. Let pot faith be opposed to morality, nor morality to faith. Let not moral duties be extolled to the neglect of positive; nor positive to the neglect of moral. Let God be loved in the first place; and men for God's sake, in the second, as God has ordained. Let the Christian Sacraments be held in the esteem as divine ordinances, and as the springs of the spirituallife; both productive of moral virtues and perfective of them. Lastly, let all extremes be avoided, and the true medium fixed between enthusi. asm and superstition on one hand, and irreligion or prophaneness on the other; so that all may terminate in glory to God and good to man.
The Observation of Ritual Ordinances, con
ducive, in a high Degree, to the salutary Purposes of Religion.
The majority of mankind are so constituted as to render it difficult to teach them spiritual things without sensible images. It is not, indeed, desirable, if it were possible, that any nation should consist entirely of philosophers: the plough, the loom, the mill, the hammer, the axe, the waggon, and the ship, would stand still, if all men were capable of, and addicted to refined contemplation. But those who are em. ployed in the mechanical works of agriculture and merchandize, are no less interested in religious doctrines, as far as they are effective of salvation, than the professors of theology. To preserve the sepse of religion among the mass of mankind, it is necessary, that there should be public buildings appropriated to divine
service, and rites and ceremonies established in them; with objects PALPABLE TO THEIR SENSES, actions strikingly expressive, even decorous vestments, differing from those in common use, and every thing else that can fix the attention to the main business ; to the offices of devotion, and to the lessons of religious instruction. Indeed, whatever intellectual pride may suggest, All men, however improved, are susceptible of great and desirable effects from the external ceremonies of religion. It has pleased Providence to make the avenues to the soul lead through the organs of sensation. · Those who dissent from the established Church, however far they have thought proper to recede from the vanity of Roman Catholic ceremony, yet retain some solemnities in their external modes of worship, calculated to inspire a religious reverence. Their ministers usually wear black garments; they have edifices set apart for worship, and several of them administer the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper with great solemnity. The Quakers, who recede the farthest from the Church, meet in places appropriated to worship, retain a very re