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that makes them Infidels; and this is but a timorous fort of Infidelity at best.
But suppose they could get rid of the Fears of the other World, does this set them at perfect Liberty? Have they no Sense of Modesty or Honour ? No Fear of Shame or Punishment? And if our vicious Lufts and Appetites must be under Restraint, what difference is there, whether they be restrained by the Fears of this World, or of the next? But I must recall that, for there is a great Difference: the Fears of the next World will subdue and morcify our Lufts; and when that is done, we have no more trouble from them, but Virtue grows easy and pleasant: But the Fear of Men only dissembles our Vices, and that makes them very painful when they are restrained ; that it is much more for the Ease and Pleasure of our Lives, to mortify our Lusts with the Fears and Hopes of another World, than to sin by Stealth under the present Restraints
of Shame and Fear. So that their Hopes are very · vain, when they promise themselves a free, uncon
fined, undisturbed Enjoyment of their Lufts: For the Fear of the other World, whether they will or no, will sometimes disturb them; and the more Sense, and Wit, and Philosophy they have, the more it will disturb them ; and if the Fear of God do not disturb them; the Shame and Fear of Men will. · But then they do not consider, that Infidelity destroys more sincere Pleasures than it can give, and draws a very melancholy Veil over human Life.
There is not certainly a more transporting Pleasure in this World, than the Hopes of immortal Life, when we can look beyond the Grave and see endless Ages of Bliss and Happiness: And next to being miserable for ever, there is not a
more dismal Thought, than falling into Nothing, and this is the best which Infidels hope for ; and we may pity, but have no reason to envy, their Hopes.
If a Man be easy and prosperous in this World, nothing can be more terrible than such a Persuasion, That Death, which will certainly come, and we know not how soon, will put an end, not only to our present Enjoyments, but to our Being : And there are few Men so miserable, as to desire Death should ease them upon these Terms, to put an end to their Being and to their Miseries together. Few Men are so dull, as to be imposed on by Epicurus his Fallacy, Thar Death does not belong to us, and we ought not to be concerned about it; for while we are, Death is not, and when Death is, we are not: For we may see and think of Death at a distance, and if Death be nothing to us, the Thoughts of Death, and of being Nothing, must and will be grievous while we live.
But there is no Condition in this World so prof. perous, but a good Man will be contented to change it for a more perfect and endless Happiness; and there is no Condicion so miserable, but the Hopes of immortal Life will support us under it: So that Infidelity is so far from contributing to the Ease and Pleasure of Life, that whether there be another Life or not, the Belief of it is necessary to make us easy and happy in this world. It is impossible ina deed to reconcile bad Men, who have treasured up for themselves Wrath against the Day of Wrath, to the Belief and Hopes of another World: But let them look to that, we have no Reason to be Infidels for Company, or suffer our selves to be persuaded out of the Hopes of Heaven, because they are afraid of Hell.
2. I observe farther, That Death in itself conkdered, is no Argument against a Future State :
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that we die, does not prove that we shall not live after Death: Death indeed is the Occasion of this Dispute, whether there be another Life, but is; no Argument it self that there is not; no more than the Winter Decays of Nature are against the Return of the Spring; which would be thought as incredible, did we not see it done every Year. And therefore no Philosophers make this an Objection against a Future State ; tho it is the only Reason any Man has to question our Immortality, because they see that all Men die: And if the only Reason of doubting whether we are Immortal or no, is no Proof that we are not, fo far we are equal; and the Infidel is as much concerned to prove that there is no Life after Death, as we are to prove that there is.
This is worth observing, because it is much easier to object than to prove; and here the Infidel places his Strength and Confidence ; he looks upon him, : self in possession, and not concerned to prove our Mortality, because 'tis visible that we all die ; and therefore Aings the whole Proof upon us, who affert a Life after Death; and thinks himself safe, that there is no other Life, unless we can prove with mathematical Certainty, and Infallibility, that there is. But now, if Death be no Argument that there is not another Life, if it be possible that those who die may live again out of their Bodies; then it is not sufficient to give them any reasonable Assurance though they could answer all our Arguments for another Life, unless they couldas certainly prove the contrary: For if another Life after this, be possible, though our Arguments are not strict Demonstrations, the thing may be true, is they have no Demonstration against it. I
3. Having brought them under a Necessity of proving the Mortality of the Soul, and that there is no Life after Death, let us now consider what
Degree of Evidence a wise Man ought to demand for this side of the Question, That the Soul is Mortal, and there is no Life after Death. And I affirm, that no wise Man ought to be satisfied with less than the absolute Impossibility that the Soul should live after the Death of the Body. When we offer to prove the Immortality of the Soul, nothing will satisfy these Men, but strict Demonstration; but they little consider,
1. That there is much less Evidence required to induce a wise Man to believe another Life, and to govern his Life by this Persuasion, than what can reasonably satisfy a wise Man, that there is no Life after this.
For, 1. The Belief of another Life is much the safest side of the Question ; if we should happen to be mistaken in it, it costs us nothing: We may live much happier in this World than Infidels do, and please our felves with the entertaining Dreams of Future Happiness; which if they should prove no other but Dreams, are very delightful; and if Death puts an End to us, we shall escape as well in the Grave as Infidels do; but Eternity, the Loss of Eternal Happiness, and the Suffering of Eternal Miseries, depend on the other side of the Question: If we believe that we shall perish in the Grave, and live as those who have no Account to give of their Actions, and should find our felves mistaken in the next World, we are undone for ever. We ought certainly to demand the greatest Evidence for that Gde of the Question, where the Mistake will do us the most irreparable Mischief: And therefore though some good Probabilities and strong Presumptions may be reason enough for a wife man to believe and hope for another Life, when, though he should be mistaken, he shall never be sensible of his Mistake,
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nor suffer any thing by it; yet nothing less than abfolute Demonstration can justify the disbelief of another World ; because a Mistake in this case is nothing less than Eternal Misery.
2. Especially, this absolute Demonstration is necessary, when we believe any thing contrary to the Natural Notions, Desires, Inclinations of Human Nature, and contrary to the general Belief and Persuasion of Mankind. Whether these be good Arguments or no for the proof of another Life, shall be considered hereafter ; but thus much is certain, that they are very good Reasons to demand the most infallible Demonstration that there can be no Life after this, before we reject the Belief of it: Nothing else will excuse us in believing contrary to the Impressions of Nature, but an absolute Certainty that these Desires, and Hopes, and Fears of Nature deceive us. It is great Immodesty to contradict, much more to laugh at the Credulity of Mankind, without being able to oppose Demonstration against Credulity. But the greatest Reason of all is, that nothing less can give us abfolute Security in our Infidelity. The Sense of Nature, especially when all Mankind have the same sense that we have, will be a Bar against every thing but Demonstration, and would make a modest Man suspect even his pretended Demonstrations, when the rest of Mankind don't think them so. Now unless Men be absolutely secure in their Infidelity, Infidelity is worth nothing; and nothing less than mathematical Demonftrations can give them this Security. High Probabilities and Presumptions on Nature's side may create a firm Assent; but mere Probabilities and Conjectures can never prevail against the Sense of Nature.
3. Nor do they consider, that nothing can give us an absolutely Certainty that there is no other Life after this, but the absolute Impossibility that