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And these are some of those preceptive Natural Laws which relate to Almighty God, as being immediate and necessary Conclusions without any (a) process of ratiocination resulting from the Notion of God; more might be added and many more secondary Conclusions deducible from them but these may give a Specimen of them, and the evident reasonableness or Naturall Consequence of them;
Now as to the prohibitory Laws of Nature they will appere by the preceptive, rectum est Index sui & obliqui [A straight line is the measure of itself and a crooked line] (11) the opposite of these preceptive Laws are such as fall under the prohibitory Law (b) of Nature and the unnaturalnes and unreasonablenes of these and the reasonablenes (c) of their prohibition will appeare by the reasonablenes & naturalness of those that I have mentioned as preceptive Laws of Nature.
The preceptive capacity of these few lines outlines the appropriate conduct of an honourable Christian and stresses the peregrinatory character of the earthly existence.
The use of the paradox and the composition based on preceptive statements, so familiar from the Exeter "Maxims", also appear in Riddle 40, as well as in the riddle immediately preceding it.
As soon as Indian Vinaya literatures were systematically brought into China in the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-580), they were followed by a flurry of apocryphal activities that almost seemed to have been propelled by a desire to supplement the somewhat socially maladaptive Indian preceptive models.
Composition of apocryphal preceptive scriptures was only one indigenous Buddhist strategy to reconcile the imported moral codes with their feasibility in China.
12) These assertions were unmistakably couched in the language of Bodhisattva preceptive sutras: The Pusa Yinglo Jing proclaimed that, "All mundane and transmundane precepts have the Mind as their essence" (13); the Fanwang Jing also affirmed that the specific regulatory articles were merely "expedient," while the "immaculate Mind Ground of the original self-nature" is the essence underlying external precepts.
Both periods witnessed copious production of preceptive literatures, and the Ming in particular--twenty-six of the twenty-nine precept-related works contained in the Manji Zoku Zokyo were written within the latter time frame.