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never be very lasting. Her Decrees and In-CHAP. "ftincts are powerful; and her Sentiments in- XVI. "bred. She has a strong Party abroad; and as "Strong a one within ourfelves: And when any
Slight is put upon her, fhe can foon turn the Re"proach, and make large Reprifals on the Tafte "and Judgment of her Antagonist *" To which I add the Obfervation of Lord Bacon, "A lit"tle Philosophy helps to make an Atheist, but "a great deal brings round to Religion." And it has been truly obferved, that the Delfts are fo fuperficial in folid Learning, that was it not to prevent the Ignorant from being feduced by their fuperficial Writings, they would be the Contempt of all learned and judicious Chriftians.
BUT Chriftianity infures the Refurrection of the Body, which is that peculiar Life and Immortality to both Parts of our Nature, brought to Light by the Gofpel; which eternal Life is the Gift of God, thro' the Mediator; who has the Gift put into his own Hands, to distribute to the World. So very proper is it for him to have the final Allotment of the Ends, Happiness and Mifery, who is the Head of all the appointed Means, and the Author of eternal Salvation. And as eternal Life is at his Difpofal, and attainable only upon the Conditions of his Gospel; not the natural Confequence of following mere Reafon for a Guide; but a bountiful and gratuitous Superaddition, as I have made appear before, where's the Deift's Provifion for eternal Life?
* Charact. Vol. I. pag. 354
A WISE Bargain, truly, to lofe the total Hap pinefs of his Nature in both its Parts! For if Death, as he owns, is not a Ceafing to be, but a Separation of Soul and Body; and the Reunion of them to a State of Bleffedness is that Immortality and eternal Life, which is the Gift of God to the Faithful in Chrift, exclufive of all the Defpifers of the Gospel; where are his Pretences to that Life of Body and Soul? His Fate, as a Defpifer, is to perish from all Enjoyments; and therefore will find his Refurrection to Condemnation of Body and Soul; which, being void of all Happiness, has not the Name of Life; nor is it privileg'd with the Ceffation of the being of either of them; but a Reunion for ever to fuffer the Indignation of God, upon both, for evermore, fuffering as they finn'd together. His vile Body will be rais'd by the Power of him he fo much contemns, and chang'd, not into a glorious, but viler Body, and join'd to his infidel Soul, to believe too late, and be buffeted and vilified for an obftinate Fool, to all Eternity, for defpifing his Truth, contemning his Revelation, and his coming to Judgment. So little Occafion had he to diftinguish between the Atheist and Deist, feeing their End is like to be the fame.
AND why fhould not their End be the fame, fince their Virtues are the fame? For a Sinner to pretend in his own Sufficiency to approach God, is the fame as to difown him to be what he is; or a Sinner to be a Sinner. Neither of them allow of any pofitive Account hereafter, and in that Refpect they are equal. And what fignifies allowing Virtue here in Name, and God as an Inipector
fpector in Name, or an Example of Benevolence CHAP. in Name? When they believe no folemn Ac- XVI. count to be given, or that they shall suffer any thing in Judgment from him. Is it fo? then there is no Deficiency in Atheism from Deifm, except the Example of the Deity; but all the Ufe the Deists pretend to make of that, is for Benevolence to Society in this Life; and now if this Author allows the Practice of Benevolence and all the human Virtues to the Atheist in the Places above cited, he makes the Example uselefs, and, by his own Conceffion, ought to have own'd him upon Equality as to that also.
MR. Bayle proves the Atheist capable of their Benevolence and human Virtues in various Places of his Dictionary, from the Temper of fome, Education of others, Love of Fame, Sense of Dishonour, Rewards and Punishments of the Magiftrate, or fome Temporal Advantage; not from the Instinct of Confcience, not upon religious Principles, to be fure. And if the Atheist may be virtuous not upon a religious Principle; then the Virtues of the Atheist and Deist are the fame, the Principle being the fame: Neither of them admitting, nor practifing upon the Religion or Principle of being accountable to God. Our Author indeed reprefents the Atheist more fplenetick, and out of Humour, on Account of Disorders in the Syftem of the World; and that is all the real Distinction I can perceive he makes out between them. For as to the Pleafure and Pain naturally confequent to the Practice of Virtue and Vice, which the Deist calls the future Rewards and Punishments of them, they are Rewards and Punishments only in Name; nor can the Deift upon his own Principles pre
CHAP. tend to any other Hereafter-Interest in Virtue, XVI. but that Hereafter-Pleasure. Now if that Pleafure is no more than the natural Confequence of Virtue, then it is infeparable from it; and then the Atheist is entitled to as good a Share of it as the Deift. Tho' he does not believe the Immortality of the Soul, he can make no Alteration as to its After-existence: And therefore if he practises Virtue hère upon the fame Principle with the Deift, the fame Confequence will follow his Actions, and be its future Appendix, whether he intended or defir'd it, or not. This Author declares either against being bribed or terrified into an bonest Practice by God; which is the fame thing as to despise his Rewards, and defy his Punishments,
IN Heathen Countries, ancient or modern, a Deist is a Character of Senfe and Value before God, and Man; the Wifeft of them were fenfible of the Want of true Revelation, and long'd for the Benefit of it: And the Commonalty were influenc'd by a confus'd Belief and Expectation of pofitive Retributions in a future State; and therefore in that Refpect,.upon a better Footing, than Deifts in a Chriftian Country. For thefe reject pofitive Rewards and Punishments of the true Revelation, and in fome measure reject the Revelation on Account of the Sanction of the Punishment; which, by the way, is a very ridiculous Reason for refufal: Because the beneficial Confequence of their embracing is so very great, the worst Terror of the Punishment is levell'd against their Refufal, for fubduing their flubborn Will; and every one that receives the
Charact. Vol. I. pag. 97.
Revelation has it in their own Power to feel no CHAP. ill Effects from an Objection, that is defigned to fave them. The Worm of Confcience that never dies may be the natural Punishment of Sin; but to that is fuperadded the Fire that never all be quenched.
WHEN thefe Deifts therefore talk of future Rewards and Punishments, they still take care to talk as if they believed them not, to be fure, not as fuch. Such a Perfon believing Rewards or Retributions *, &c. can mean no more according to their Scheme than, if fuch a Person believes, &c. For this Author, left he should have advanc'd too much, takes care afterwards in his Mifcellaneous Reflections, to declare himself, and prevent Mistakes. "Even Confcience, I fear, fuch as is "owing to religious Difcipline, will make but "a flight Figure where this Tafte is fet amifs. "Among the Vulgar perhaps it may do Won"ders. A Devil and a Hell may prevail, where "a fail and a Gallows are thought infufficient, "But fuch is the Nature of the liberal, polish'd, "and refined Part of Mankind; fo far are they "from the mere Simplicity of Babes and Suck"lings; that inftead of applying the Notion "of a future Reward or Punishment to their "immediate Behaviour in Society, they are apt, “much rather, thro' the whole Course of their "Lives, to fhew evidently that they look on "the pious Narrations to be indeed no better " than Childrens Tales, or the Amusement of "the mere Vulgar +."
Charad. Vol. II. pag. 71
+Ibid. Vol. III,