« ElőzőTovább »
“ never be very lasting. Her Decrees and In-CHA P. “ stincts are powerful; and her Sentiments in- XVI. “ bred. She has a strong Party abroad; and as strong a one within ourselves : And when
апу “ Slight is put upon ber, fine can soon turn the Re“ proach, and make large Reprisals on the Taste " and Judgment of ber Antagonist *" To which I add the Observation 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 observed, that the Delfts are so superficial in solid Learning, that was it not to prevent the Ignorant from being seduced by their fuperficial Writings, they would be the Contempt of all learned and judicious Chriftians.
But Christianity insures the Resurrection of the Body, which is that peculiar Life and Immortality to both parts of our Nature, brought to Light by the Gospel ; 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 Misery, who is the Head of all the appointed Means, and the Author of eternal Salvation. And as eternal Life is at his Disposal, and attainable only upon the Conditions of bis Gospel ; not the natural Consequence of following mere Reason for a Guide ; but a bountiful and gratuitous Superaddition, as I have made appear before, where's the Deist's Provision for eternal
Charact. Vol. I. pag. 3540
A WISE Bargain, truly, to lose the total Happiness of his Nature in both its Parts ! For if Death, as he owns, is not a Ceasing to be, but à Separation of Soul and Body ; and the Res union of them to a State of Blessedness is that Immortality and eternal Life, which is the Gift of God to the Faithful in Chrift, exclusive of all the Despisers of the Gospel ; where are his Pretences to tbat
. Life of Body and Soul ? His Fate, as a Despiser, is to perish from all Enjoyments ; and therefore will find his Refurrection to Condenination of Body and Soul ; which, being void of all Happiness, has not the Name of Life ; nor is it privileg’d with the Cef, sation of the being of either of them ; but a Reunion for ever to suffer the Indignation of God, upon both, for evermore, suffering as they finn'd together. His vile Body will be rais’d by the Power, of him he so 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 buffered and vilified for an obstinate Fool, to all Eternity, for despising his Truth, contemning his Revelation, and his coming to Judgment. So little Occasion had he to diftinguilh between the Atbeist and Deist, seeing their End is like to be the fame.
AND .why should not their End be the same, since their Virtues are the fame? For a Sinner to pretend in his ovin Sufficiency to approach God, is the same as to disown him to be what he is ; or a Sinner to be a Sinner. Neither of them allow of any positive Account hereafter, and in that Respect they are equal. And what signifies allowing Virtue here in Name, and God as an In
ipector spector in Name, or an Example of Benevolence CHAP. in Name? When they believe no solemn Ac-. XVI. count to be given, or that they shall suffer any thing in Judgment from him. Is it so ? then there is no Deficiency in Atheism from Deism, except the Example of the Deity ; but all the Use 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 Albeist in the Places above cited, he makes the Example uses less, and, by his own Concession, 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 Magistrate, or some Temporal Advantage ; not from the Instinct of Conscience, not upon religious Principles, to be sure. And if the Atheist may be virtuous not upon a religious Principle ; then the Virtues of the Atheist and Deist are the same, the Principle being the same : Neither of them admitting, nor practising upon the Religion or Principle of being accountable to God. Our Author indeed represents the Atheist more fplenetick, and out of Humour, on Account of Disorders in the System of the World ; and that is all the real Distinction I can perceive he makes out between them. For as to the Pleasure and Pain naturally consequent 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 Deist upon his own Principles pre
CH A P. tend to any other Hereafter-Interest in Virtue, XVI. but that Hereafter-Pleasure. Now if that Plea
sure is no more than the natural Consequence of Virtue, then it is inseparable 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. Altera. tion as to its After-existence : And therefore if he practises Virtue here upon the same Principle with the Deift, the fame Consequence will follow his Actions, and be its future Appendix, whether he intended or desir'd it, or not. This Au. thor declares either against being bribed or ter, rified into an bonest PraEtice * by God; which is the same thing as to despise his Rewards, and defy his Punishments,
In Heathen Countries, ancient or modern, a Deist is a Character of Sense and Value before God, and Man ; the Wisest of them were senfible 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 positive Retributions in a future State ; and therefore in that Respect,.upon a better Footing, than Deists in a Christian Country. For these reject positive Rewards and Punishments of the true Revelation, and in some measure reject the Revelation on Account of the Sanction of the Punishment ; which, by the way, is a very ridiculous Reason for refusal: Because the benes ficial Consequence of their embracing is so very great, the worst Terror of the Punishment is levell’d against their Refusal, for subduing their ftubborn Will, and every one that receives the
Charat. Vol. I. pag. 97
Revelation has it in their own Power to feel no CHAP, ill Effects from an Objection, that is designed to
XVI. fave them. The Worm of Conscience that never dies may be the natural Punishment of Sin ; but so that is superadded the Fire that never fall be quenched.
When these Deists therefore talk of future Rewards and Punishments, chey still take care to talk as if they believed them not, to be sure, not as such. Such a Person believing Rewards or Re. tributions *, &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 Miscellaneous Refletions, to declare himself, and prevent Mistakes. " Even Conscience, I fear, such as is
owing to religious Discipline, will make but “ a night Figure where this Taste is set amiss. “ Among the Vulgar perhaps it may do Won“ ders. A Devil and a Hell may prevail, where
a Jail and a Gallows are thought insufficient, “ But such is the Nature of the liberal, polish'd, “ and refined Part of Mankind; so far are they “ from the mere Simplicity of Babes and Suck“ lings ; that instead 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 t."
• Charad. Vol. II. pag. 71; pag. 177
+ Ibid. Vol. III,