"The reason he gave us, the law of nature, was giving us all that was absolutely necessary."

— Amory, Thomas (1690/1-1788)

Place of Publication
Printed for J. Noon
1756, 1766
"The reason he gave us, the law of nature, was giving us all that was absolutely necessary."
Metaphor in Context
Here the Ivonist had done, and I was greatly pleased with his sense and piety. What a heavenly Christianity should we profess (I said) if the notions of our modern enthusiasts were as consistent with Christ's great design and profession! We should then set up the Kingdom of God, among men, and be diligent and active in promoting the laws of that kingdom. We should then believe, like Jesus Christ and his apostles, that there is but One God, the Father Almighty. There is no one good (so commonly called) but one, that is God; or only the one God †[2]. Nullus est bonus nisi unus Deus. Castalio. (And Cant. MS. Clem. Alex. adds,-- My Father who is in Heaven .) This is life eternal, to acknowledge thee, O Father, to be the only true GOD ‡[3]. It is one God who will justify §[4]. We know that there is none other Gods but one. For to us there is one GOD the Father ||[5]. There is one GOD and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in you all *[6]. And we should confessone Mediator,--the man Christ Jesus . †[7] We should be consistent, and not throw off those principles upon which christianity was founded, and alone could be first built. We should invite men into our religion, by representing to them the perfection of that primary law of God, reason or natural religion; by declaring the plainness and clearness of it to all attentive and well-disposed minds; and then shew them how worthy it was of the Supreme Governor to give such creatures as he has made us the gospel: that by the religion of favour, he has, with glory to himself, displayed his paternal regard for us, by doing much more than what is strictly necessary for our eternal good. God, on a principle of love, sends his Christ, to advise us and awaken us to a sense of our danger in passing through this world, in case (which he saw would be the thing) we should not constantly attend to the light we might strike out ourselves with some trouble. He calls us in an extraordinary manner to forsake vice and idolatry, and practise the whole system of morality. We might expect, that a good God, would once at least, interpose by such an extraordinary method as revelation, to turn and incline his reasonable creatures, to the study and practice of the religion of nature. This was acting like the Father of the Universe, considering the negligence and corruption of the bulk of mankind. The reason he gave us, the law of nature, was giving us all that was absolutely necessary. Thegospel was an addition of what is excellently useful. What, my beloved, (might a rational divine say) can be more paternal, and worthy of the almighty Creator, than to reveal plainly the motive of a judgment to come, in order to secure all obedience to the religion of nature? Reason may, to be sure, be sufficient to shew men their duty, and to encourage their performance of it with the assurance of obtaining a reward, if they would duly attend to its dictates, and suffer them to have their due effect upon them: it may guide mankind to virtue, and happiness consequent to it, as God must be a rewarder of all those who diligently seek him, and was enough to bring them to the knowledge, and engage them in the practice of true religion and righteousness, if they had not shut their eyes to its light, and wilfully rejected the rule written in their hearts. But as this was what mankind really did, and now do; as errors and impieties, owing to an undue use or neglect of reason, became universal; (just as the case of Christians is, by disregarding the New Testament); and reason, through men's faults, was rendered ineffectual, though stillsufficient, (which justifies both the wisdom and goodness of God, in leaving man for so many ages to his natural will, and so great a part of the globe to this day with no other light than the law of nature); and reason, I say, was rendered ineffectual, tho' still sufficient to teach men to worship God with pious hearts and sincere affections, and to do his will by the practice of moral duties; to expect his favour for their good deeds, and his condemnation of their evil works; then was revelation a more powerful means of promoting true religion and godliness. The gospel is a more effectual light. It is a clearer and more powerful guide: a brighter motive and stronger obligation to universal obedience than reason can with certainty propose. And therefore, though there was not a necessity for God to give a new rule in vindication of his providence, and in order to render men accountable to him for their actions; yet the divine goodness was pleased to enforce the principles of reason and morality more powerfully by an express sanction of future rewards and punishments, and by the gospel restore religious worship to the original uncorrupted rational service of the Deity. This displays his paternal regard to his children, with glory to himself. Love was the moving principle of his sending Christ into the world, to reform the corruptions of reason, to restore it to its purity, and most effectually to promote the practice of the rules of it. The gospel-revelation considered in this manner appears to be the pure effect of the divine goodness. It is a conduct accompanied with the greatest propriety and glory.
(pp. 71-5)
Searching "reason" and "law" in HDIS (Prose)
At least 4 entries in the ESTC (1756, 1763, 1766, 1770).

Text from first printing: The Life of John Buncle, Esq; Containing Various Observations and Reflections, Made in Several Parts of the World; and Many Extraordinary Relations, (London: Printed for J. Noon, 1756). <Link to ECCO><Link to LION>

See also The Life of John Buncle, Esq; Containing Various Observations and Reflections, Made in Several Parts of the World, and Many Extraordinary Relations, 2 vols. (London: Printed for J. Johnson and B. Davenport, 1766). <Link to Google Books>
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.