The Elements of Moral Science (1835, 1856 ed.)

Francis Wayland

BOOK 1, CHAPTER 7

Of Natural Religion

IN the preceding chapter, I have endeavored to illustrate the nature of our moral constitution, and to show that, in our present state, conscience, unassisted, manifestly fails to produce the results which seem to have been intended; and which are necessary to our attaining the happiness which is put within our power; and to our avoiding the misery to which we are exposed. That some additional light will be granted to us, and that some additional moral power will be imparted, seems clearly not improbable. This I suppose to have been done by the truths of natural and revealed religion. In the present chapter, I shall treat of natural religion under the following heads:

1. The manner in which we may learn our duty, by the light of nature.
2. The extent to which our knowledge of duty can be carried by this mode of teaching.
3. The defects of the system of natural religion.