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novation of things, such a future state of existence PROP. of the same persons, as that, by an exact distribution of rewards and punishments therein, all the present disorders and inequalities may be set right; and that the whole scheme of Providence, which to us who judge of it by only one small portion of it, seems now so inexplicable and much confused, may appear at its consummation to be a design worthy of infinite wisdom, justice, and goodness. Without this* all comes to nothing. If this scheme be once broken, there is no justice, no goodness, no order, no reason, nor any thing upon which any argument in moral matters can be founded, left in the world. Nay, even though we should set aside all consideration of the moral attributes of God, and consider only his natural per . fections, his infinite knowledge and wisdom, as framer and builder of the world; it would even in that view only appear infinitely improbable that God should have created such beings as men are, and indued them with such excellent faculties, and placed them on this globe of earth, as the only inhabitants for whose sake this part at least of the creation is manifestly fitted up and accommodated; and all this without any further designs than only for the maintaining a perpetual succession of such short-lived generations of mortals as we at present are; to live in the utmost confusion and disorder for a very few years, and then perish eternally into nothing. What can be iina , gined more vain and empty? What more absurd ?
Ita sit, ut si ab illa rerum summa, quam superiùs comprehendimus, aberraveris ; omnis ratio intereat, et ad nihilum omnia revertantur.--Laciant. lib. 7.
+ Non enim temerè, nec fortuito sati et creati sumus ; sed profecto fuit quædam vis, quæ generi consuleret humano ; nec id gigneret aut aleret, quod cum exantlarisset omnes labores, tum incideret in mortis malum sempiternum.--Cic. Tusc. Quæst. lib. 1.
Si sine causa gignimur, si in hominibus procreandis providentia nulla versatur, si casu nobismetipsis ac voluptatis nostræ gratia nascimur; si nihil post mortem sumus; quid potest esse tam supervacuum, tam inane, tam vanum, quam humana res est, quam mundus ipse? --Lactant. lib. 7.
seen in his
as in the
PROP. What more void of all marks of wisdom, than the faIV. bric of the world, and the creation of mankind, upon
this supposition ? But then, take in also the consideration of the moral attributes of God, and it amounts (as I have said) to a complete demonstration that
there must be a future state. Why the 6. It may here at first sight seem to be a very wisdom of strange thing, that through the whole system of naso clearly ture in the material, in the inanimate, in the irraand plainly tional part of the creation, every single thing should
have in itself so many and so obvious, so evident governa
and undeniable marks of the infinitely accurate skill the moral,
and wisdom of their Almighty Creator, that, from fabric of the brightest star in the firmament of heaven to the ral world. meanest pebble upon the face of the earth, there is
no one piece of matter which does not afford such
art and exact skill of the workman; and yet the ex- PROP. cellency of the end or use for which the whole was contrived he would not at all be able, even though he was himself a skilful artificer, to discover and comprehend, without seeing the whole fitted up and put together: So though in every part of the natural world, considered even single and unconnected, the wisdom of the great creator sufficiently appears, yet his wisdom, and justice, and goodness in the disposition and government of the moral world, which necessarily depends on the connexion and issue of the whole scheme, cannot perhaps be distinctly and fully comprehended by any finite and created beings, much less by frail and weak and short-lived mortals, before the period and accomplishment of certain great revolutions. But it is exceedingly reasonable to believe, that as the great discoveries, which by the diligence and sagacity of later ages have been made in astronomy and natural philosophy, have opened surprising scenes of the power and wisdom of the creator, beyond what men could possibly have conceived or imagined in former times ; so at the unfolding of the whole scheme of providence in the conclusion of this present state, men will be surprised with the amazing manifestations of justice and goodness which will then appear to have run through the whole series of God's government of the moral world.
This is the chief and greatest argument on which the natural proof of a future state of rewards and punishments must principally be founded. Yet there are also several other collateral evidences which jointly conspire to render the same thing extremely credible to mere natural reason : As,
1st. There is very great reason, even from the bare of the imnature of the thing itself, to believe the soul to be mortality immortal, separate from all moral arguments drawn and the from the attributes of God, and without any consi- natural deration of the general system of the world, or of the have of it. universal order and constitution, connexion, and de
PROP. pendencies of things : The immortality of the soul
has been commonly believed in all ages and in all
other cause than to the author of nature himself: And the most learned and thinking part of mankind, at all times and in all countries, where the study of philosophy has been in any measure cultivated, have almost generally agreed, that it is capable of a just proof from the abstract consideration of the nature and operations of the soul itself: That none of the known qualities of matter can in any possible variation, division, or composition, produce sense, and thought, and reason, is abundantly evident, as has been demonstrated in the former discourse :f That matter consists of innumerable, divisible, separable, and for the most part actually disjoined parts, is acknowledged by all philosophers : That, since the powers and faculties of the soul are the most remote and distant from all the known properties of matter that can be imagined, it is at least a putting great violence upon our reason to imagine them superadded by omnipotence to one and the same substance, cannot easily be denied: That it is highly unreasonable and absurd to suppose the soul made up of innumerable consciousnesses, as matter is necessarily made
of innumerable parts; and, on the contrary, that it is highly reasonable to believe the seat of thought to be a simple substance, such as cannot naturally be divided and crumbled into pieces, as all matter is manifestly subject to be, must of necessity be confessed: Consequently the soul will not be lia
* Et primum quidem omni antiquitate, &c.--Cic. Tusc. Quæst. lib. 1.
+ Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God. See also a letter to Mr Dodwell, with the several answers and replies.
ble to be dissolved at the dissolution of the body, PROP. and therefore it will naturally be immortal. All this seems to follow, at least with the highest degree of probability, from the single consideration of the soul's being indued with sense, thought, or consciousness. I cannot imagine, saith Cyrus,* (in that speech which Xenophon relates he made to his children a little before his death,) that the soul, while it is in this mortal body, lives, and that when it is separated from it, then it should die : I cannot persuade myself that the soul, by being separated from this body, which is devoid of sense, should thereupon become itself likewise devoid of sense: On the contrary, it seems to me more reasonable to believe that, when the mind is separated from the body, it should then become most of all sensible and intelligent; thus he : But then further; if we take also into the consideration all the higher and nobler faculties, capacities, and improvements of the soul, the argument will still become inuch stronger. I am persuaded, saith Cicero, when I consider with what swiftness of thought the soul is indued, with what a wonderful memory of things past, and forecast of things to come; how many arts, how many sciences, how many wonderful inventions it has found out, that that nature, which is possessor of such faculties, cannot be mortal : Again; the me. mory, saith he,f which the soul has of things that have been, and its foresight of things that will be, and its large comprehension of things that at present
"Ου του έγωγε, ώ παίδες, έδε τέτό πώποτε επεισθην, ώς ή ψυχή, έως αν έν θνητώ σώμαλι ή, ζή: όταν δε τέτε απαλλαγή, τέθνηκεν. 'Ουδέ γε όπως άφρων έσται η ψυχή επειδην τα άφρονος σώματος δίχα γένηται, έδε τέτο πέπεισμαι. , 'Αλλ' όταν άκρατος και καθαρός ο νές εκκριθή, τότε και φρονιμώτατον είκός αυτός είναι.-Cyrus apud Χen.
+ Quid multa? Sic mihi persuasi, sec sentio; quum tanta celeritas animorum sit, tanta memoria præteritorum, futurorum providentia, tot artes, tantæ scientiæ, tot inventa ; non posse eam naturam, quæ res eas contineat, esse mortalem.--Cic. de Senectute.
* Quod et præterita teneat, et futura provideat, et complecti possit præsentia ; hæc divina sunt. Nec invenietur unquam, unde ad hominem venire possint, nisi a Deo.--Idem. Tusc. Quæst. lib. 1.