Essays on the Law of Nature

Recommended edition: Political Essays, ed. Mark Goldie (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 79-133.


Since God shows Himself to us as present everywhere and, as it were, forces Himself upon the eyes of men as much in the fixed course of nature now as by the  frequent evidence of miracles in time past, I assume there will be no one to deny the existence of God, provided he recognizes either the necessity for some rational account of life, or that there is a thing that deserves to be called virtue or vice. This then being taken for granted, and it would be wrong to doubt it, namely, that some divine being presides over the world…it seems just therefore to inquire whether man alone has come into the world  altogether exempt from any law applicable to himself, without a plan, rule, or any pattern of his life. No one will easily believe this, who has reflected upon Almighty God, or the unvarying consensus of the whole of mankind at every time and in every place, or even upon himself or his conscience.

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