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As to his profound Respect and religious Vez
For as they believe those Rewards and Púnishments in no other Sense, than as they are the natural Consequences of their Actions ; and reject the Belief of any positive Retribution of any Good or Evil, but what is the neat Produce and natural Sequel of the Action itself: -They influence and operate not as Rewards and Punishments to be distributed positively and legally by God as a Governor ; but as mere Consequences, which would follow from the Action whether there was any Law, any Sanction, any Account to be given, any Judge, any God. For that Action, which naturally produces all the Good, or Evil here: after, operates of itself without the Afistance of Law, Sanction, Belief of future Account, Judge, or God.
And therefore if God is believed not to have that Power, or not to take that Care to reward
Virtue, and punish Vice, with some further po-CH A P. fitive, legal Good and Evil, than what is the na- XVI. tural Effect and Consequence of the Action ; the Thoughts of God, Judge, or future Account, can have no Power left to influence and oblige to the Action. The Action on Account of its Consequence is all that obliges ; and yet no body to take an Account of the Performance or Nonperformance of it. God is out of the Case, if he has nothing to add besides the natural Consequence, for that adds itself without his Interposal.
I AŃ confirm'd in this by what Mr. Locke has observed, H. Understanding, Book II. Chap. xxviii. §. 6. “. It would be in vain for one intel
ligent Being to set a Rule to the Actions of Canother, if he had it not in his power to re$ ward the Compliance with, and punish De$€ viation from his Rule, by fome Good and “ Evil, that is nợt the natural Product or Con
sequence of the Action itself. For that being
a natural Convenience, or Inconvenience, would “ operate of itself without a Law. This, if I
mistake not, is the true Nature of all Law,
properly so called.” He adds a little after, « He [God] has a Right to give a Rule where
by Men should govern themselves : We are « his Creatures : He has Goodness and Wisdom
to direct our Actions to that which is best : “ And he has Power to enforce it by Rewards “ and Punishments, of infinite Weight and Du“ ration, in another Life ; for no body can take
us out of his Hands. This is the only true « Touchstone of moral Rectitude ; and by com
paring them to this Law, it is, that Men judge of the most considerable moral Good or
CHAP.“ Evil of their Actions ; that is, whether as XVI. “ Duties, or Sins, they are like to procure them
Happiness or Misery from the Hand of the “ Almighty." Conform to this rational Principle, the great Apostle, who labour'd more than them all, declares the Premium of his Virtue not to consist only in inward Satisfaction, but that á Crown of Righteousness was laid up for bim, to be given him by the Lord the righteous Judge AT THE GREAT DAY, and to all those, as well as himself, that lov'd and waited for his glorious Appearing. There doubtless is a Joy and Satisfaction of Mind, a natural Happiness and SelfEnjoyment attendant upon the Habit and Difposition of Virtue, independent upon the GospelDifpenfation and its future Distributions ; and being annex'd as Fruit to a Tree, may go along with the virtuous Heathens to bless them in another World. But the remunerative, adjudg'd, fupervenient Happiness allotted to the Righteous at that Day (and so of Misery, over and above the natural Disquietude of Vice) is the Effect of the Mediation of Christ, and proceeds from the bountiful Goodness, and severe Judgment of God, in that merciful Dispensation towards Men. So that, whilft a virtuous Heathen in a Heathen Country may enjoy his Degree of Happiness hereafter ; the virtuous Deist in a Protestant State (if such there can be, considering the Opposition of their Mind to the only Truth that can fructify Virtue) will for their Infidelity be cursed by that Judge, and wither'd away like the FigTree, from the natural good Effects of Virtue. So contrary to Nature, and Truth, and the real conscientious Good of Society, and of themfelves, is the Religion of the Deists..
С НАР, For as to Fear of future Punishment, this Au- XVI. thor has taken care to run that down as Entbukasm. Speaking of the Nature of that Passion, he says, “ It can hardly be withouc some Mix“ ture of Enthusiasm, and Horrors of a super“ stitious Kind *" If these Men have chearfully thrown off the judicial Distribution of aveng: ing Punishment hereafter, what Hold, what Security can the Magistrate or Society have of such Persons Fidelity to sovereign, or Social Rights ; which so very frequently and unavoidably depend upon a conscientious Regard to an Oaib? But what Conscience can he have of that Appeal to God, who believes he will not posicively inflict any thing on him in another Life for the Breach of it? God is only a modish speculative Theory to adorn Discourse, or an Inquiry after Virtue, but he is a God not to be fear'd in their Actions ; or to be govern'd by'; or appealed to in an Oath.
And this way of not fearing God is the true Secret of the Method, of what he calls putting himself and his Disciples into good Humour, whenever they think upon him t. And he gives this Reason of not having any Fear of him ; for it is Malice only, and not Goodness, that makes us afraid || ; which I have confuted before. The requisite Fear that evil Doers should maintain towards Civil Government, is derived from the Fear of God, the supreme religious Governor over Men, as its Fountain, and is fed by it. Governors are the Image of God, as Governors :
Chara&. Vol. I. pag. 307. | Ihid. pag. 39.
Taid. pag. 22, 33.
CHA P. But how should the Image be respected, when XVI. the Principal is neglected ? Is not this the old
Misdemeanour, is not this renewing the great Offence against God, and Society, verbis ponere, ré tollere? To grant the Belief of a God in Words, and as a mere Word, and by Infidel Tenets at the same time subvert all real EFfects of it.
But if there is most certainly some future Aca count, and the Light of Nature suggests it ; and Christianity, ever following and unfolding Nature and the Truth of Things, ratifies, and renders it more explicit ; then there is a Judge then there are Rewards and Punishments in good éarnest, and to some Purpose ; then they confist of additional, positive, legal Pain, and Pleafure over and above what God has naturally annex'd to the Performance of such and such Ac. tions, as a present natural Encouragement, or Difcouragement to them ; and a Foretaste of greater, to be hoped, or feared. It is very true, that Habits of Virtue are previously neceffary to make Heaven enjoyable, by seasoning the Understand ing, Will, and Affections to it ; and a great Part of its Happiness indispensably depends upon the Degrees of that Qualification, as our bodily Senses are necessary to enjoy this World : But some further positive additional Enjoyments (as it is natural to suppose the Wages differs from the Work) seem to be the Favour of that Reward, whether by enlarging the Faculties, or multiplying the objects, or both ; or by other Additions that have not entered into the Heart of Man to conceive. As temporal Life is the Qualification, but not the Giver of temporal Enjoyments ; so Virtue is a Qualification, but not