[Page] FREE THOUGHTS In Defence of a Future State, As discoverable by Natural Rea­son, and stript of all Supersti­tious Appendages.

Demonstrating against the Nominal Deists, that the Consideration of Future Ad­vantages is a just Motive to Virtue; of Future Loss and Misery, a powerful and becoming Restraint of Vice.

With Occasional Remarks on a Book intituled, An Inquiry concerning Virtue.

And a Refutation of the reviv'd Hylozoicism of Democritus and Leucippus.

LONDON, Printed for Dan. Brown at the Black Swan and Bible without Temple-bar, and Andr. Bell at the Cross­keys and Bible in Cornhil. M. DCC.


THE Author of the following Sheets, being engag'd to no Sect nor Party of Men, nor biass'd by any particular System of Philosophy, has had no other aim, than to serve the Interests of Virtue and Truth: but because there are so very few that labour the same thing with so unprejudic'd a Mind, he forgoes all the pleasing hopes of having his Essay generally well accepted, and re­quests me to publish a short word to save him from the Calumnies of some angry Brethren of his, who engage their Faith to any thing rather than plain dry [Page] Reason; and being blinded by a jealous Zeal, know not what is said for or a­gainst them. Let the Reader take no­tice then, that our Author has not dis­puted from Scripture, whence it is ob­vious to prove more than he has here as­serted, not out of any contempt of that Authority which he reverences as he ought, but only because the Persons with whom he disputes, dare to call that Authority in question; the Vindication of which the World now expects from the ablest Hands.


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Free Thoughts In defence of a Future State.

Honoured Friend;

I Remember some parts of the Discourse which we had last Tuesday Night at Mr. N's, and the next Night at your house. I am now mind­ed to reconsider the same. I will speak to Passages, as they occur to my Memory, without re­gard to Order or Method; for I always suspect my Abilities, and fear that what I can offer, will not be thought by any other Person worth the while for me to labour to digest it regularly: be­sides, I have not time to digest my Thoughts so as to please my self.

Among other things which the Ingenious and Learned Mr. J. A. was pleas'd to assert, the Import of one was this: That no Action could be pro­perly call'd virtuous, which was done in prospect of advantage to be had in a future State. In answer to this strange Assertion, I aim'd to speak to this sense: He that takes an honest Care of the Interests [Page 2] of his own Person, Family, Friends and Country in this Life, according to his best Judgment of the Course in which things are likely to run, must be acknowledg'd to act rationally and wisely: So he that takes a diligent Care of his own Interests, and the Interests of others in a future State (according to his Sense of that matter after serious Delibera­tion) must be acknowledg'd to act rationally and wisely; and to act rationally and wisely, is to act virtuously. The Prospect of worldly Advantage to be gain'd by this or that honest Action, is so far from taking from that Action the praise of Wisdom, that it rather is the chief Reason for which the Action may be denominated wise: Where­fore why should the prospect of Advantage in a fu­ture State, acquirable by wise, i. e. virtuous Acti­ons, take from those Actions the praise of Wisdom and Virtue? Some that are much in Mr. J. A's Sen­timents, are wont with Railery, and (as they think) Argument mix'd together, to plead, That to do those Actions which are accounted Virtues, in pro­spect of Advantage to be gain'd by them, is mer­cenary and base. Let us examine this Objection, which has an air of Wit, and see whether there is any solid Reason underneath. Mercenary is an Eng­lish Word made from a Latin, signifying Wages, or Hire, payable for Labour or Work to be done. Militari mercede, is to fight for Pay: and whosoever fights for Pay in a good Cause, works or labours for Hire, Wages, in an honest way, deserves his Wa­ges, Hire, Pay; nay farther, ought rather to be commended than reproach'd for doing his Duty.

Mr. J. A. and some others seem to think, that because a mercenary Souldier happens to be common­ly esteem'd a term of Reproach, that therefore Mo­ral Virtue must be utterly disgrac'd by the Epithet Mercenary. But we beg leave to examine this matter [Page 3] thorowly. The Reason why a Mercenary Souldier hap­pens to be commonly esteem'd a term of Reproach, I take to be this: The Mercenary Souldier is common­ly hir'd by an ambitious Prince, to raise the Power of the Prince that hires him, above Law, and oppress a free People: Whereas a Prince that is contented to be just what the Choice of the People, and the Rule of the Law makes him, knows that his People are best govern'd, and most safely defended by the Militia of the Country. In the Case stated, the Mi­litia-man is honourable, and the Mercenary Souldier base. Nay in this Case, the more strenuously the Mercenary Souldier fights, the worse Man he is: but when the Mercenary is engag'd where Honour and Conscience justifies him (which sometimes, tho but rarely happens) his Valour, is true Virtue; his Pay, a reasonable Encouragement of his Valour: and it would not be Valour, but Rashness for a martial Man, whether of the Mercenary or the Militia Or­der, to offer himself to Dangers, where he had no Advantage to make, nor Interest to defend. The Militia-Souldier if he does not fight for pay, yet he does to defend the Country whereof he is a Ci­tizen, and in which he has a private Interest. The Security of his private Interest in the defence of his Country, is the Merces, the Pay, the Hire, the Wages for which he fights: and in the truth and reality of the thing, such a Person is as much a Mercenary, as any Swiss, who with his Masters Consent is hir'd abroad in a just War; or any poor Stroler at home, who having nothing else to fight for, fights for Bread.

The short of this is, He is a base Mercenary that does an ill thing for Gain: He is a worthy Merce­nary that does a justifiable thing for Gain.

The prospect of Advantage in one kind or other, is the Motive of all the deliberate Actions of a ratio­nal Man: and he that has no such thing in his eye, is [Page 4] an unthinking Person; and therefore the prospect of advantage, whether in this or a future State, cannot take from a moral Action the praise of Vir­tue. A Friend of mine (inclin'd to the Sentiments which I labour to refute) is wont to insist much on the glorious saying, That a good Man loves Virtue for its own sake. When I press him to explain clear­ly what he means, he is wont to enlarge elegantly and well upon the agreableness and fitness of Vir­tue; for instance, of Justice, Charity and Mercy: and thus far he is very right; Justice, Charity and Mercy are the most agreable and fit things in the World for a rational Man to practise. But now let me ask, What is it which makes these Virtues so agreable to human Nature, and so fit to be prac­tis'd by rational Man? or I am strangely mistaken, or all that can be assign'd, is, the natural Tenden­cy which they have to benefit Mankind, and to esta­blish the Foundations of Society firm and sure. If so, then I must observe, that every good Man who loves Virtue for its own sake, i. e. for its agreable­ness to human Nature, i. e. for its tendency to benefit Mankind, and establish the Foundations of Society; he loves Virtue mercenarily, for he himself is a Mem­ber of the Society, and his private Benefit is included in that of the publick. But my Friend tells me, and I believe him, that in Acts of Justice (which he al­ways) in Acts of Charity and Mercy (which he fre­quently performs) he has no regard to any advan­tage, upon those accounts likely to accrue to him either in this present or a future State.

I answer, that to a Man in easy Circumstances, the practice of these Virtues yields an immediate and a very great Pleasure; and they may be practis'd by an habitual good Man (such as I reckon my Friend) without any regard had to the future Advantage and farther Pleasure which may accompany them. [Page 5] An habitual good Man may be so taken up with the present Satisfaction of virtuous Deeds, as that he shall be frequent in the practice of them, without giving himself time to consider, whether he may not reasonably hope for a future Compensation. But then it ought to be taken notice of, that a great part, perhaps much the greatest part of Virtue, consists in doing good at the price of suffering Evil: and few, very few (in my poor opinion) would practise Virtue under severe present Discourage­ments, if they had no Hope beyond this Life. I am not surpriz'd to read in antient Story that Men of the fairest Fame, as soon as advanc'd under some Princes, have chang'd their Manners, and lost their Reputation: For when there's no keeping an honest Reputation, and a gainful Post of Honour both, it must be Hope in a future State, or nothing that can perswade them to take care of the former, and let the latter go. I confess it is easy for a Man to be good in easy Circumstances; to be just, when he is not very poor; to be charitable, when he has more than a Competence; to be merciful, when he is likely to gain Friends and Fame by it: but he that is con­tent that Virtue should never be practis'd but in such Cases, is content that the World should be much more wicked than it is, and every good Man more uneasy and more unable to do the Good to which he is inclin'd.

In this place I think it proper to transcribe some Lines from Bishop Taylor in his Ductor Dub. (not that I hope to gain my Point by his Authority, tho I can't but be pleas'd to find so wise a Man in my Sentiments, yet let the Reader only weigh what is said) ‘It is impossible a Man should do great things, or suffer nobly, without consideration of a Re­ward; and since much of Virtue consists in suf­fering evil things, Virtue it self is not a Hap­piness, [Page 6] but the way to one. He does a thing like a Fool that does it for no end; and if he does not choose a good one, he is worse: and Virtue it self would in many Instances be unreaso­nable, if for no material Consideration we should undertake her Drudgery.’ I omit his Quotation from St. Austin, and give his next words with some little addition: ‘Sensual Pleasures, those sensual Pleasures which trespass on the Rights of others, are (while they can be made to consist with the safety of our Persons, and the health of our Bo­dies) highly eligible, and all difficult Virtue to be avoided,’ if in this Life only we have hope. The Author I have quoted, assigns two Causes of Amability, and says there are no more, viz. Per­fection and Usefulness. I think there is but one Cause of Amability, and that is Usefulness: for Per­fections which do not relate to me, I may admire; but nothing can attract my Love, and prompt my Desires, but that which I know to be useful to me at present, or hope to find so hereafter. The Rea­son why a thinking Person loves and desires to practise Virtue, is, because he tastes Pleasure now, or expects it hereafter.

Perhaps the present Pleasure may effectually re­commend some easier Instances of Virtue in happy and blessed times to the practice of well-dispos'd Men: but in most Cases, and to the Many, Virtue will ever need to be recommended by the reasona­ble Hopes of a better Portion in a future State.

Let me put a Case, which I fancy does sometimes, tho but rarely happen: A married Man loves his Wife; first for the sake of her Friends, or her For­tune, or her agreable Features, or his own solemn Vow; but afterwards he loves her for her own sake, find­ing her to be good-natur'd and fruitful, obedient and wise. Now meaning no more than that he [Page 7] admires these great Perfections, that is not, in strict speaking, loving them, or the Wife because she pos­sesses them; then only the Husband may be proper­ly said to love these amiable Perfections, and his Wife who is Mistress of them, when he considers that he is delighted and pleased with the Perfections of his Wife, and made happy by her. In short, let us speak strictly and properly, and then we must affirm that Love is Relative. I may admire what I am never like to be the better for: but what I love, I love because I find great Satisfaction in it at pre­sent, or hope to do so hereafter. The present Pleasures of Virtue are not sufficient to recommend it so much, as but a tolerable Condition of the World does necessarily require: and if we endea­vour to disprove the reasonableness of future Hopes, we open a Flood-gate to a world of Iniquity more than abounds at present, and trouble our own En­joyments and Ease, as well as the Welfare of the Publick. I would be glad to be taught how Men may be perswaded to difficult Virtue; for instance, to do their Country Service, to preserve it, or deliver it from Slavery, when they are like to ruin themselves and their Families by it. Indeed I read of one Codrus, who by his own death purchas'd a happy Victory to his People: But the Historian says, Athens never had another King after him, be­cause they never expected another Codrus. I may say of Men, that dare be good whatever it cost them, as Virgil concerning the scatter'd Trojans, Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto; plainly there's so very few of them, that to keep the World in no worse a condition, than that in which it now stands, it is necessary to take in their Aid, who may be prompt­ed to Virtue by future hopes. I will not here dis­semble what has bin sometimes objected to me by some Deists (to whom yet I can hardly allow that [Page 8] name) They have asserted that the World is pre­serv'd in that tolerable Order which we see, by sense of Honour, and fear of the Civil Magistrates Vengeance: good Men are mov'd to be so by sense of Honour; and the Wicked are restrain'd from that Wickedness from which they are re­strain'd, by fear of the Civil Magistrates Ven­geance: so that there's no need of future Hopes, or Fears for one thing or other; but they that pretend to be influenced by them, are either Hypocrites, or deceiv'd by not examining the Causes of their Acti­ons throughly. This Objection has several parts, which must be answer'd one by one.

Good Men, they say, are mov'd to be so by sense of Honour. By sense of Honour I suppose they do not mean so low a Motive, as the Esteem which ac­companies Virtue, the Reputation and Praise which good Men gain by the practice; tho this is a very material thing, and not so airy as 'tis often repre­sented: for whom others highly esteem, to him up­on occasion they are ready to be kind and useful. But by Sense of Honour, I rather think they mean a Consciousness that it is the most becoming and ho­nourable thing in the World, for reasonable Men to practise Virtue, because the Practice of Virtue is beneficial to Mankind in general, and the chief support of Society.

By the way I take notice, that this very sense of Honour, this being virtuous because Virtue is be­neficial to Mankind, and the chief Support of So­ciety, does prove that the Expectance of Advantage does not take away from the Worth of a virtuous Action, does not make a moral Action unfit to be call'd virtuous: for every Man knows that by doing good to others, he not only contributes to the ease of his own Mind, but also lays up a Reputation, that for ought he can promise himself, he may live [Page 9] to need; and by contributing to the security of the Body-politick, he contributes to the security of his private Interest. But this only by the way, tho it serves to strengthen something I have before an­swer'd: To my purpose it shall be allow'd, that sense of Honour will carry well-dispos'd Men a great way many times in the practice of Virtue; but for want of Education, and by means of ill Education, and ill Examples, the bulk of Mankind are always ill­dispos'd; and even of the well-dispos'd, but very few are able to maintain their Character in a crook­ed and perverse Generation; and fewer yet would do it, were it not for future Hopes. Further, it is too boldly said, and can never be made out, that the generality of good Men are mov'd to be so merely by sense of Honour secular, Honour which relates to this World only: and as to future Hap­piness (be there any such thing or no) 'tis noto­riously unreasonable to conclude, that no Men are powerfully prompted to Virtue by the Desires and Hopes of it, especially when they solemnly protest both living and dying, that they are prompted to it by those Motives.

I would not leave any thing unanswer'd, which has fall'n under my notice, by Reading or Conver­sation, and may seem to have the face of good Ar­gument, in favour of the Sentiments of the Ob­jectors; therefore I will here reply to a Reflexion which I lately met with in a private MS. The Anonymous Author says, That to do good in hopes of Reward hereafter, increases the vitious Principle of Selfishness. Before I answer directly, I will pre­mise something concerning this term Reward, of which the Adversary hopes to make some advantage.

There are some good Men, who are firmly per­swaded that that thinking Principle, which we call the Soul, shall after this Life exist again; and yet [Page 10] believe that Rewards and Punishments are not the most proper Words to express the different Porti­ons in that Life. These Men observe that the Sa­tisfactions and Pleasures of Sense are not equal to the Satisfactions and Pleasures of the Mind; the Sa­tisfactions and Pleasures of the Mind are created by Virtue. To have sober and temperate, just, cha­ritable, merciful and holy Affections, regular Passi­ons, Love, Desire and Joy; Dislike, Hatred, An­ger, fix'd on proper Objects, and exerted in due measure, according as best befits the several Degrees of Goodness or Badness, which may happen to cir­cumstantiate those several Objects: This is to be vertuous, and this creates in the Mind greater Satis­factions and Pleasures than the Satisfactions and Pleasures of Sense. It were easy to demonstrate and illustrate this, but the Men I have to deal with grant it. I hasten: The noblest Idea, Imagination, Con­ception, which we can frame of future Happiness, is to have our good Affections improv'd and most intense, our Passions most wisely directed, and most exactly regular: for, from this most excellent Tem­per of Mind, must needs follow the highest Happi­ness, such Happiness (as the Scripture phrases it) which hath not enter'd into the Heart of Man to conceive; i. e. we cannot conceive, as our Passions and Affections are now, what will be the happy Consequences of their Improvements to Perfection hereafter. On the other side, the Pains of the Mind which it feels from Reflection, after it hath bin engag'd in Wickedness, are far more cruciating, than the Pains which are caus'd by hurting the Or­gans of the Body, according to that of the Scrip­ture, A wounded Spirit who can bear? To have hor­rid, monstrous, and unnatural Affections, Passions misplac'd, irregular and extravagant; this is to be very vitious, and this makes the vitious Man mise­rable [Page 11] in this Life. The most dreadful Idea, Imagi­nation, Conception, which we can frame of future Misery, is to have our Affections in the highest de­gree horrid, monstrous, and unnatural; our Passi­ons in the highest degree misplac'd, irregular, and extravagant: for from this most wicked temper of Mind, must needs follow the extremest Misery, which (if the Pains of the Body are less cruciating, than the Pains of the Mind) Fire can but faintly emblem. Such Happpiness and such Misery which I have now mention'd, some good Men, no Scep­tics as to our future Existence, think to be impro­perly denoted by the terms Rewards and Punish­ments. But why should we contend about words? I think they ought to allow us these Scripture­terms, when we do not condemn this their Descrip­tion of heavenly Happiness, and hellish Torments.

I have now made my way to the Anonymous Au­thor's Reflexion, who opposing the belief of a future State, says, that to do good in hopes of Reward in­creases the vitious Principle of Selfishness. My Reply is, 1. That Selfishness is a Principle which all other living Creatures partake of in common with Man. Every one has it implanted in his Nature, and can­not divest himself of it. Even they that lay vio­lent hands on themselves, are acted by this Principle of Selfishness: for they put an end to their own Lives, because they hope that way to retire from the Evils which they have not patience to endure. 2. This Principle of Selfishness is not in its own nature vitious, but becomes so only by being pur­sued irregularly. The Laws that are in all Nations made to determine and ascertain Property, do plainly declare it to be the common Sense of Mankind, that it is not only lawful, but natural and necessary for a Man to be selfish, to take care of his own Rights: if so, then it can become vitious only by undue [Page 12] Circumstances. Man, as he is a Member of Society▪ has giv'n up several of his natural Rights, for the better preservation and security of what he has not given up. In this state he is, in many Instances by the express Words of positive Law, and in more by Reason and Conscience, bound not to be selfish at the hazard and detriment of the Publick; not to pursue his private Interest, when he cannot do so without visible prejudice to the Body-politick, whereof he is but a single Member. Farther, A private Man, who has a Competence for himself and Family, is bound in Reason and Conscience, not to pursue his own Interest to the prejudice of another Person who has not a Competence, but is in straits. No one must question this, who approves (which I hope we all do) that excellent Rule which makes a part of Natural as well as Reveal'd Religion, viz. Do as you would be done by. To be selfish far­ther than this excellent Rule will allow, is a vitious Principle: but to be selfish as far as this Rule will allow, that is, when neither the Publick, nor any private Person is against Reason damag'd thereby, is natural, necessary and honest; and he that is not selfish, that does not pursue his private Interest in such a Case as this, must be▪ a Fool or a Madman.

The prospect of Reward, where neither the Pub­lick nor any private Person is, against positive Law or right Reason, injur'd, is no Circumstance that can make Selfishness vitious, but rather commends it: for a Man cannot do himself too much good, if in doing himself good he does others no injury.

The next part of the Objection is, That the wicked are restrain'd from that Wickedness from which they are restrain'd, by fear of the Civil Magistrates Vengeance. That the fear of the Civil Magistrates Vengeance is a great restraint of Wickedness, is what no Person will question; but that it should [Page 13] be the only Restraint, and that Men ill-inclin'd, or dangerously tempted, are aw'd by nothing else, is a bold Assertion, impossible to be made out, highly improbable, and particularly unreasonable for the Objectors to assert. It is a bold assertion, because it is impossible to be made out; it is impossible to be made out, because it is impossible for the Objectors to know the Hearts of Men, and discern by what Principles their Actions are govern'd: it is highly improbable, for the Many have either had no Education, or so unhappy an one, and have been engag'd so much among the worst Examples, that their Minds are oftner govern'd by weak and false Principles, than by sound and true: not that I think the Apprehension of Misery, which in a future State will be the Consequence of Wickedness with Impe­nitence, a weak or false Principle, but it is so in the Opinion of the Objectors; and I argue, Suppo­sing that it really were so, yet the Apprehension we speak of, shall still have its Influence on the Minds of the Many. It is particularly unreasonable for the Objectors to assert, That Men ill-inclin'd, or dangerously tempted, are aw'd only by the Civil Magistrates Vengeance, because these very Ob­jectors do commonly impute many of the foolish and wicked Practices of Men to their unhap­py Education, to the ill Company they frequent, and to their superstitious Principles. Possibly the Objectors may be here ready to interpose and tell me, that a weak Argument should not be made use of to an honest and noble Purpose. To admit this for the present (tho I think there may be many cases, in which 'tis reasonable to use an Argument likely to prevail, tho in its own nature weak) yet I judg the Misery which will hereafter fall on the impenitent Wicked, to be a good Argument for the restraint of Wickedness: but be it good or bad, it has [Page 14] its Influence, and therefore the fear of the Magistrates Vengeance is not the only Restraint of Wicked­ness: That it has its Influence, the Objectors ought not to deny, because, as abovesaid, they know not the Hearts of Men, and can't discern by what Prin­ciples their Actions are govern'd; and because they do grant, that the Many are as often govern'd by weak and false Principles, as by sound and true. 'Tis not my business in this place to prove the Ap­prehensions of Misery, threatning impenitent Wic­kedness in a future State, to be a sound Principle for the restraint of Wickedness; but if it does restrain, then the Objectors are in the wrong, who would put upon us, that the fear of the Civil Magistrates Vengeance is the only Restraint. I have bin often studying to find out, what should lead the Ob­jectors to such a strange Assertion, as that, The fear of the Civil Magistrates Vengeance is the only re­straint of Wickedness: the only thing that I can imagine is this; perhaps they observe that very many who profess to believe a future State, where­in the impenitent Wicked shall exist miserable, are yet, notwithstanding such their Profession, as much addicted to Wickedness as any of the most un­gracious Unbelievers, and make as little conscience at least of some Immoralities, as any of them who are either downright Atheists, or so reputed. Ob­serving this, perhaps hence they conclude, that none of all them who profess the same, are aw'd by that their Notion. But may not I as well con­clude, That no Men are aw'd by the penal Laws of the Land, because so great numbers who have read or bin told, and are firmly perswaded, that the Law condemns Petty-larcenary to the Whipping-post, Pillory, or hot Iron; Felony and Treason to the Gallows and the Sled, do yet daily pil­fer, cheat, and break Houses, rob and murder, [Page 15] deface and counterfeit the King's Coin? It is as plain that wicked men, who suffer under this Law, are not aw'd by it, as that wicked Men, who are per­swaded of the future danger of Immorality, are not aw'd by that; and it is as good a Consequence, that the Knowledg of the Penaltys annexed to human Laws, restrains no Wickedness, as that the per­suasion of the future danger of Wickedness does restrain none. So then by the same Argument that the Objectors would prove, that the persuasion of the future danger of Wickedness has no Influence on the Minds of Men, they prove that the Know­ledg of the Penalties annex'd to human Laws has no Influence on them; and so there's an end of all Laws whatsoever. By this Reasoning the Laws of God wrote in the Hearts of Men, and the Laws of Men wrote in Books, are both made insignificant and use­less, good for nothing but to prove a Defect of Wisdom in their Authors. But among those who question the future State, some there are who wil­lingly grant that the Fear of the Civil Magistrates Vengeance, and the fear of future Misery, have both of them an influence to restrain Men from Sin; but to abstain from Sin, out of fear of the one or the other, is, they say, servile and base. To this I reply: It must be granted that the wise Hea­thens, who had form'd their Virtue on the noblest Principles, the love of God, and the joys of a Con­science exercis'd in all manner of well-doing, have justly condemn'd that abstinence from Vice, which is enforc'd merely by a dread of the Rods and Axes of the Civil Magistrate, as servile and base: for he that keeps his hands from stealing and strik­ing, his Tongue from slandering and bearing false Witness, merely that he may avoid the Penalty of human Laws, is not advanc'd the least step to­wards Virtue: he has all the love of Iniquity still [Page 16] about him; and even of that which he does not actu­ally practise, must be deemed guilty in the accounts of God and wise Men, because his desires are to­wards it. No manner of Praise can be justly ascrib'd to him, who would transgress the Law, but that he is afraid to purchase his Transgression at the price of a present severe Penalty. This Man's Nature is wicked, while his Actions are under restraint. This drew that saying from St. Paul, The Law (mean­ing the Law of the Civil Magistrate) is not made for the Righteous but the Wicked. The Righteous abstain from Sin because of the baseness thereof, the Wicked only for fear of the Penalty; the fear of the Penal­ty keeps their Hands, but not their Hearts from Mis­chief, therefore still they are wicked Men.

But there is another kind of Fear, some call it a Fear connate, born with us: but that my Discourse may not lie expos'd to Exceptions, I call it a Fear which the exercise of Reason in meditating and reflecting begets; a Fear of doing that which is odious in the sight of God and good Men, de­structive of our own greatest Happiness, and in­jurious to others. This Fear is a powerful restraint of Sin, and a good advance in the Ways of Virtue. Human Nature is so fram'd by the great God, that every thinking Man not habitually debauch'd, has an aversion against all vile Immoralities in his first wicked Sallies; his Face is cover'd with Shame, and his Heart shook with fear. In his first wicked Sallies the Man is fearful for his present Reputation, and fearful of what may be the fatal future Consequen­ces. Now to be asham'd of being ill thought of, and to be afraid of deserving a miserable Conditi­on, these are degrees of Virtue; for thus a Man takes an honest care of his own Interest, every Man owes this honest care to himself, 'tis no little fault to neglect it: now the doing of that which it were [Page 17] a great fault to neglect, cannot but deserve the name of Virtue.

It is true, that Fear which has for its Object only the Sword of the Magistrate, is servile and base; and such a Man when he has the tempting Hopes of concealing his breach of the Law, will be sure to break it: but a Fear of doing that which is odious in the sight of the most holy Being, and of them who are most like him, is mix'd with some regard to Virtue in its very first Original; a Fear of do­ing that which is destructive of our own Peace of Mind, future Hopes, and also injurious to others, is mix'd with a wise Care of our own honest Interests, and a love of just and righteous dealing, and there­fore cannot justly be reproach'd as servile and base.

To return from this Digression: the next part of the Objection is, That there's no need of future Hopes or Fears for one thing or other, i. e. to keep Men innocent, or to make them virtuous. It is true, there were no need of them, if they had no Influence on Men; but I think I have prov'd that they have, and I will now essay to prove one thing more, viz. if a Man believe that after Death he shall never more exist again, he is not like to become virtuous or innocent either. The Schemes which some Christians frame to themselves of a future State, are as extravagant and improbable as the Im­postor Mahomet's Paradise. I am far from think­ing such Schemes necessary or useful to virtuous ends and purposes: but I look upon the Doctrine of a future State, wherein it will be well with the virtuous, and ill with vitious Men, as the only sure Foundation, which can firmly bear the whole Super­structure of Morality, and make it appear to be every Man's interest to be sober and chaste, just and merciful, charitable and holy, in the worst of Times and most unhappy Circumstances. It may seem [Page 18] perhaps to some, that my former Discourse contra­dicts what I here advance: for I have admitted that the Pleasures of a good Conscience, the Joys of a Mind reflecting on its own virtuous Disposition and beneficial Actings, are far more pleasant and joyous than the Joys and Pleasures of Sense; and that the Torments of a Mind reflecting on its own criminal Disorders, irregular and unnatural Passions and Affections, are far more punishing than the Pains of a wounded or diseased Body. Now judging at first sight this may be mistaken for a good Argu­ment, it is most probable that the bulk of Man­kind should be virtuous, because in this life there's most to be got by Virtue, most to be lost and suffer'd by being vitious. But if this matter be far­ther look'd into and consider'd as it deserves, it will plainly appear, that the Man who questions his Existence in a future State, is still most likely to indulge his sensual Appetite, and prefer such Pleasures before those of a good Conscience: For we are not Masters of the Power of Reasoning in our first years; we are born indeed with a docility above all other Creatures that we know of, with a Capacity of learning to reason; but we learn it by slow degrees: a long while we live only the life of Sense, and then our Choice is govern'd wholly by our sensual Appetites; and we have no regard to any but our selves, except to them who gratify our Desires: nay, which is worse than all this, they that have the most careful Education, do not miss the sight of many vitious Examples. To prefer our selves before all others, and indulge our sensual Appetites, can hardly fail of growing ha­bitual to us, before we are Masters of so much Reason, as to consider how much the practice of Virtue in some denial of our selves and senses, tends to promote the comforts of this life: and when [Page 19] we come to be able to consider this, and actually do consider it, 'tis none of the easiest things imagina­ble to overcome an habitual contrary Inclination.

They are far the lesser number who are ever won to wise Consideration and virtuous Practice; but if the present Advantages of Virtue and Dis­advantages of Vice were all the Argument pro­pounded, it is mighty probable that the sensual Livers would be harder to be reclaim'd than they now are; it is mighty probable they would with strange accord tell their grave Advisers, they did not know but Virtue might have many Charms, and Vice some immediate Troubles and imminent dangers; but they could be content a while with the Pleasures of Sense, bear the Troubles and ven­ture the Dangers; 'twould be seasonable to be so­ber and chaste, when they shall be grown impo­tent and old; to be good-natur'd and obliging, when they shall want power to bear up their high Minds, and make themselves rever'd: to be just and charitable when they shall abound. Will the Opposers of a future State tell these Men, that if they indulge their sensual Appetites till Nature begins to fail, it will be then out of their power to shift their Course, and experience the Comforts which largely flow from well-doing, because their vitious Inclinations will outlive their vitious Powers? Alas! this will but tempt them to have a greater opinion of their Vice; for they may reason thus: The thoughts of that thing can never be punishing to them, from which they cannot withdraw their Affections; therefore except a very painful Sickness, or a more than ordinary Misfortune befal an immoral Man, I can't see how any Argument drawn from the Nature of things in this Life can possibly re­claim him: but it is possible that such a one may be reclaim'd by the Considerations of a future State; [Page 20] for this is an Argument, which if adverted to, must needs at least disturb the Joys, the foolish and mis­chievous Joys of the most prosperous Libertine. It is granted, that generally speaking, Virtue is its own Reward, the virtuous Man meets many present Advantages by being virtuous: but then there are some instances of Virtue, that sometimes happen to engage Men in unwelcome Sufferings; now what shall persuade these Persons to practise Virtue in such Circumstances, if they disbelieve the future State? Again, it is granted, that generally speak­ing vitious Men are greatly punish'd by their own Vices; but then we cannot deny but that with some men some Vices agree better. Some know how to ma­nage their Vices with a sort of Discretion, and while they sooth their Senses, take care of their Health and Fame also. Now what shall perswade these Men to quit those Vices which agree well enough with them, if they fear no miserable Event in a fu­ture State? As I said before, the Doctrine of a fu­ture State is the only sure Foundation which can firmly bear the whole Superstructure of Morality, and make it appear to be every Man's greatest In­terest to be sober and chaste, just and merciful, charitable and holy, in the worst of Times and most unhappy Circumstances.

The Author of the Inquiry concerning Virtue hav­ing advanc'd several Notions (in my opinion) con­trary as well to the Interests of Virtue, as to the short Discourse of mine concerning the future Ad­vantages of it, I purpose now to write brief Notes on that Book, and hope at one and the same time to correct his Mistakes, and justify my own Senti­ments. By the way, the Inquiry concerning Virtue is the Tract I have refer'd to, having formerly had a sight of the MS. tho yet ignorant of the Author.

P. 3. Religion and Virtue are very rarely consider'd [Page 21] apart, or distinguish'd from one another. I will not dispute this with our Author; but then since he does consider them apart, I think it an omission that he has not particularly and distinctly defin'd them: possibly the Definitions of them may be made out from the Course of his Reasonings; but sure they ought some where or other to have bin particu­larly and plainly set down, especially because he himself professes, that the Subject he enters upon needs a very particular Explanation of things, and more than ordinary clearness of Terms.

P. 4. We may do well to consider, what it is that we call Atheism, and what Virtue, and afterwards exa­mine the Consistency of these two together. This is ve­ry incautiously and offensively worded, but I will wait till he openly declares what he calls Atheism, and what Virtue, before I pass my Censure.

P. 5. If every thing that exists, be according to a good Order, and for the best, by being in the wisest and just est manner, then is there of necessity no such thing as real Ill in the Ʋniverse, nothing ill with respect to the whole.

It shall be granted that there is nothing ill with respect to the whole, but still there may be that which is ill, real ill, with respect to some great and noble part of the whole, and no reproach to the wise and just Disposer of the whole neither; be­cause that which is real ill with respect to some great and noble part of the whole, shall after some Revolutions of time, appear to have contributed to the most wise and just disposal of the whole. Let thus much for the present be said in general; when our Author speaks more particularly by instance, I will come up more closely to him, and more particular­ly speak my Mind.

P. 5. Whatsoever in the order of the World is called ill, supposes a possibility in the Nature of the thing, to have bin otherwise contriv'd, or order'd by some Wisdom [Page] or other. The whole might for all that we know have bin otherwise contriv'd and order'd than it is, but we do not know how it could have bin con­triv'd and order'd better; nay indeed we do not know how the whole is contriv'd and order'd, our Knowledg extends but to some parts of the whole, and sees not thro them neither: but that which I admit to be real ill, with respect to some parts of the whole, being only so for a time, and with re­spect to some parts only, is not real ill with re­spect to the whole.

P. 5. If the order of all things be such that nothing can be thought of or imagin'd more wise, perfect, and just, then it is impossible but that there must be Wis­dom, Ʋnderstanding and Design in the whole. I grant the Order of all things with respect to the whole, to be most wise, perfect, and just; in the whole there is Wisdom, Understanding and Design, and that in the perfectest and highest manner and degree. But then from hence I argue thus: If there be perfect Wisdom, Design, and Understanding in the whole, then there must be a most wise, designing, and under­standing Being, in which perfect Wisdom, Design, and Understanding exists. Our Author's Words seem to incline to that old Pagan Doctrine, that the Whole is God; that the whole System of Nature is the only wise, understanding, and designing Be­ing, which to me is perfect Nonsense: for, the Wisdom, Understanding, and Design which our Author speaks of, as existing in the whole, can be nothing but the Congruity and mutual Serviceable­ness of the Parts; but the whole, the whole System of Nature cannot be properly said to be the cause of the Congruity and mutual Serviceableness of the Parts which compose the whole.

P. 6. If there be any thing ill in the Universe from Design, then that which is the Cause of, or which dis­poses [Page 23] all things, is no one good designing Principle. Tho there be nothing ill in the Ʋniverse, with re­spect to the Ʋniverse, from design; yet there may be something temporarily ill in the Parts, which after some Revolutions of time shall appear to have contributed to the Perfection of the Universe; and therefore that Being from whom the Design came, temporarily ill with respect to some part, may ne­vertheless be one good designing Principle or Mind. I will give instance here, tho our Author speaks only in general. If we consider only that part of the Universe which Mankind makes, and that short time which Men live, it is ill, real ill, that the Man who does good should suffer evil, and that the Man who does evil should not suffer proportio­nably to the evil which he does: but if we consi­der this with respect to that State which pro­bably shall be hereafter, with respect to the Advantages which the former shall then probably reap, and the loss which the other shall then probably incur, then there appears no such thing as real Ill in the Universe.

P. 7. Whatsoever is superiour in any degree over the World, or that rules in Nature with Discernment and a Mind, is that which we call God. I do not approve of our Author's definition of God; I would rather, keeping as near to his Phrase as I can, define thus: Whatsoever does exist, having supreme Power over us and all things else, is that which we call God. Pagan Philosophers, the most of them, as well as the Vul­gar, paid religious Worship to many suppos'd powerful inferiour Gods; but most of the Vulgar, and all the Philosophers almost to a Man, ac­knowledg'd one single supreme intelligent Being; for proof of this I refer to Dr. Cudworth's Intellec­tual System.

P. 8. To believe no one supreme good designing Prin­ciple [Page 24] or Mind, but several, is to be a Polytheist. This was not well consider'd by our Author: for if nothing makes a Man a Polytheist, but to believe no one supreme good designing Principle or Mind, but several, then there never was a Polytheist in the World. He that understands the sense of the word Supreme, cannot but perceive, that it is im­possible there should be more than one such. The old Polytheists believ'd and worship'd many supe­riour Powers, but they nor did nor could imagine more than one Supreme.

Sect. 2. p. 12. There is in every Creature a certain Interest or Good, which is an end in that Creature; and to which end, if any thing either of his Appetites, Passions, or Affections be not conducing, but the contra­ry; this is ill to him, and in this manner he is ill, with respect to himself, as he is said to be ill also with respect to others, when any such Appetites or Passions make him injurious to them. Questionless the chief Good of every Creature, is the chief End of every Creature; the End which he ought, and which he is naturally dispos'd to pursue; and which when he does not pursue, his natural Constitution is viti­ated. To apply this to the rational Creature: If we allow Free Will to Man (which I suppose our Author does, because else 'tis Nonsense to talk of Virtue and Vice) then that Man is a good Man, and acts well and wisely, who imploys his Thoughts, and directs his Practice for the attainment of his own chief good. Farther, such is the Constitution and Frame of Man, and such his chief End or Good, that his pursuing the same can never make him injurious to other Men; but on the contrary, his pursuing his own chief End or Good, tends very much to the promoting the chief End or Good of his Brethren. What our Author discourses concern­ing [Page 25] the Animal System and Animal Nature, whether it be accurate and exact, I shall not at present con­cern my self; but the distinction I admit, and thus much I grant him, that no part of the Universe is of it self compleat, but every part has a relation to the whole, whereof it is a part; and that there is no part but contributes to the Perfection of the whole, tho consider'd with less general Respects, it may be for a time ill to some other part, and also to it self.

P. 17. Nor do we say a Man is a good Man, when his Hands are ty'd, which hinders him from doing the harm that he has a mind to do, or (which is near the same) when he abstains from executing his ill Purpose, thro a Fear of some impending Punishment, or thro an Allurement of some private Pleasure or Advantage, which draws him from his ill Intention. Our Author here is making his way to the main purpose of his Book, which being the introducing of a Doctrine that I take to be not only erroneous, but also dis­couraging to Virtue and destructive to Society, I shall therefore watch his Approaches, and make my Remarks upon his specious artful Insinuations. To speak exactly, he that nor does nor means harm, ought to be denominated innocent; and only he that does or is ready to do good, virtuous. But by our Author's Favour, not to be able to do the harm which one has a mind to do, and to abstain from executing an ill purpose thro fear of some im­pending Punishment, or thro allurement of some private Pleasure or Advantage, is not the same, nor near the same thing: for in the one case, the ill-minded Man is wholly govern'd by his irregular Passions and Affections, and restrain'd only by Force exterior from the evil Act; but in the other he makes some use of his Reason, and by that use which he makes of his Reason (tho not the best which might be made) he abstains from the evil Act.

[Page 26] I will grant our Author that the Man who ab­stains from executing his evil purpose, only thro fear of impending Punishment, or thro allurement of some private Pleasure or Advantage (meaning by Punishment, the Punishment which human Laws threaten to evil Actions, and by Pleasure or Advan­tage, sensual Pleasure and secular Advantage) has not well consider'd things, nor exercis'd his Reason so far, as to form those true Notions in his mind which are requisite to set a value upon his absti­nence from evil; nor would I call such a Man in­nocent. But then there are other Fears, and other Hopes to which Men may owe their abstinence from some Evils, and no disparagement to their Inno­cence neither: For instance, I presume it were an injurious evil thing, for a Physician to try an Expe­riment upon a poor Patient, without the Know­ledg and Consent of his Patient, merely to improve his own Knowledg; but this a Physician may have many Opportunities of doing, and that with all imaginable safety to himself, so that not so much as his Skill shall be call'd in question, tho the Ex­periment fails, and the Patient miscarries; for so Pa­tients every day do under the ablest Physicians, pro­ceeding by common Methods: and yet a Physician that has no fears from without to restrain him from trying an Experiment, may be restrain'd by the fears of doing a base thing, by the fears of that Uneasiness which his considering Mind, conscious to the evil Deed, may create him: and whenever such Fears keep a Man free from the evil Act, his Ab­stinence from it is praise-worthy, and he is of right to be deemed innocent. Upon the same score, a due regard had to the Pleasures of a good Con­science, has a great Influence to keep a Man, in such like Circumstances plac'd, innocent, and does not depretiate the Innocence which it preserves. [Page 27] Our Author should not talk in general of Punish­ments and Advantages, the Objects of our Hopes and Fears, without specifying what kind of Punish­ments and Advantages he means, when he lays down such and such Propositions.

I am of the mind, that when we act rationally, we are always influenc'd by some one or other Hope or Fear: Indeed a Man may arrive at a habit of well or ill-doing, and then not advert to the spe­cial Motive in every particular Act; but all momen­tous Actions, and the Original of the good or ill Habit proceeds from some Hope or Fear. What sig­nifies the Decor facti so much talk'd of, the comli­ness and fitness of the Action call'd virtuous, but the advantageousness thereof to one's Self, Coun­try, Neighbourhood, near Relation, Friend, Ac­quaintance? From hence the Action has its Com­liness and Fitness, from hence it is denominated virtuous; and he that does it, does it with this prospect. What I would conclude hence is, That Hope and Fear, which are the Springs of all Action, render an Action good or ill, according to the Na­ture of that thing which is the Object of our Hope and Fear.

But our Author seems to lay a stress upon that distinguishing Epithet private, private Pleasure or Advantage, which otherwhere he calls private Good, Self-good; but in this matter he does not deal distinctly enough neither: for I will grant him, that there are some kind of private Pleasure or Ad­vantage, private Good, Self-good, such as Profit, Pleasure, Honour, all secular Satisfactions, which if they are the chief Designs and Purposes of the Agent, they depreciate that Action which is real­ly advantageous to the Publick, and perhaps to the Doer also, farther than he might hope; but a re­gard had to the private chief Good of every Man, [Page 28] is that which sets the high value upon his Actions, and gives them that Excellence, because of which they may fitly be called virtuous. To speak my sense in every thing as plain as I can: A Man's chief good I allow to consist in just and equal Affections, whereby he is dispos'd to take a wise care of his Health, a duly proportion'd regard of his secular Interests, and to imploy a constant study and labour to do good to all Mankind, as far as his Abilities can reach, and in the order as this or that Society or Person most reasonably calls for a prior regard. These just and equal Affections create to a Man greater Happiness than can accrue to him from secu­lar Satisfactions. Now if the Mind of man shall exist again (as we think it most probable, and mean to give our Reasons) it shall exist with these just and equal Affections, in beneficent degrees still improv­ing, more useful to others, and more happy in it self (for even in this Life as a good Man increases in his good Affections, so his Fervour and his Joys daily advance) A regard had to this Hope is proper to regulate our Judgment and Affections, and dis­pose us to Virtue more powerfully than the Conside­ration of the Happiness which Virtue creates to us in this Life. Now no Man's chief private Good can be separated from the Good of others, tho his secular private Good may: whatsoever is of honest advantage to one's Acquaintance, Friend, Relati­on, Neighbourhood, Country, Mankind in general, has a tendency to one's own chief Advantage, and many times to some inferiour Advantages of one's own also; but no Man could at all endeavour the advantage of others, if it tended to his own greatest loss. There is implanted in Mankind a strong Principle of Self-love prior to all kind re­spect towards others: we cannot but love our own honest secular Interest, before the honest secular In­terest [Page 29] of another Man; our private Self-good future, more ardently than the private Self-good future of another Man. We do ill only when we prefer a small secular Interest of our own before a weighty Interest of another, whose condition is sad and pi­teable, or before a weighty certain Interest of the Publick, or before a probability that we may hap­pen to have in our hands of promoting the Interests of Virtue. And this I think is speaking something more distinctly than our Author has done, and more according to verity.

I said I would assign my Reasons why I thought it most probable that the Mind of Man should exist again after Death, (at what time, as to me is most probable, his regular or irregular Affecti­ons shall create his Happiness or Misery) I will not defer the making good that promise; only let it be consider'd 'tis high Probability, not sensible De­monstration that I pretend to, tho I have a Temptation to pretend even to that, which Temptation I have from the Reasoning of that no­ble Philosopher Mr. Lock, I quote it in the words of Mr. Wynn's Abridgment, p. 200. ‘The Idea of a Supreme Being, infinite in Power, Good­ness and Wisdom, whose Workmanship we are, and on whom we depend, and the Idea of our selves as understanding rational Creatures, would, I suppose, if duly consider'd, afford such Foun­dations of our Duty and Rules of Action, as might place Morality among the Sciences capa­ble of Demonstration; wherein I doubt not but from Principles as incontestable as those of the Mathematics, by necessary Consequences, the measure of right and wrong might be made out to any one, that will apply himself with the same Indifferency and Attention to the one, as he does to the other of these Sciences.’ But of what I have to say let the Reader judg.

[Page 30] I will use the word Mind or Man promiscuously; for it is the reasoning Principle which we call Mind, that does distinguish, and constitute us what we are.

If in the Universe every thing is according to a good Order, and the most agreable to a general Interest that is possible, so that nothing could have bin contriv'd more wisely, and with more advan­tage to the general interest of Beings, or of the U­niverse (which our Author seems to admit, and af­firms to be perfect Theism, p. 7.) then Man or human Mind must exist again after this life end­ed: for, that order of things in which Man's fu­ture Existence is not suppos'd, is not the best or­der which we can imagin; but we have the Idea in our Minds of a juster and wiser Contrivance. In defence of the Doctrine which I now impugn, some have bin pleas'd to say, that every Sin meets with adequate Punishment or Pain in this Life, and every good Deed with adequate Reward or Advan­tage. Were this true, I must confess I could not pretend that any thing is amiss in that order of things, in which Man's future Existence is not suppos'd. But I hope to make the contrary appear to an im­partial deliberate Considerer. There are some Sins, which, as it often happens, do not meet with Punishment, or Pain adequate in this Life; and the most difficult Instances of Virtue, which ever and anon call for our Practice, do not create present Joys equal to the Labours and Dangers thereof.

I do not expect to carry my point by my bare Assertion; nor do I allow any thing to the Autho­rity of my Adversaries, however in Learning my Superiours: therefore I will offer Instance, and reason the matter with them as well as I can. What a World of barbarous Injuries has a cer­tain mighty Potentate caus'd to be committed for the enlargement of his Dominions, and the in­crease [Page 31] of his Glory? What wondrous Successes has he sometimes cunningly bought, sometimes fraudu­lently surpriz'd, and sometimes by over-powering numbers forc'd? With what odious Insolence has he treated not only independent States and Com­monwealths, but also crown'd Heads, in point of due Honour his Equals? How has he slighted his holy Father, and made a mere Property of the Head, as they call him, of the Catholick Church? How has he triumph'd in all these Iniquities, brib­ing blasphemous Panegyricks, and monumental proud Inscriptions (the wit of hungry Priests, ex­pence of servile Courtiers) to his immortal Manship? He has bin for a long time flatter'd, if not belov'd, by crouching Slaves and conquer'd Nations, and fear'd by States inferiour in their numbers, or une­qual thro their own Divisions far and wide, which are the two things the most agreable to an ambiti­ous Soul. He has never wanted Women witty, fair, and easy to excite and answer his Lust; whate­ver his Appetite has coveted, or his Health need­ed for its support, has bin ready for him upon all occasions. But where's the adequate Punishment or Pain all this while? No such thing has as yet be­fall'n him; not but that he has met with Crosses and Disappointments in his well-laid ill Designs, which may have giv'n him an hour's vexation in his Closet, but no long disquiet: for he never was long without taking new Measures to retrieve the old Game, and those new Measures rais'd new Hopes, and those new Hopes brought not more uneasiness than an ordinary Patience might well enough undergo. But (it may be said) he has bin often compell'd to re-deliver his Rapine. Indeed much of this is true, and it could not but sit heavy on a great Heart; but then he never re-deliver'd the whole, and by re­delivering but part, he gain'd something of a spe­cious [Page 32] Title to what he retain'd: and then too he assum'd to himself the Glory of that Peace which himself most wanted, and never condescended (as he loves to speak) to a Peace, but to get new Breath, and divide his united Enemies; one point of which he was always sure of, and seldom miss'd the other. Now all this while where's the adequate Punish­ment? Hitherto all the Misfortunes he has met, have bin no more painful and punishing, than just to give a better relish to his tyrannick Pride and successful Depredations; if there be one single Sin of his that has bin adequately punish'd, it must be his—But I will not speak of lawless Love or—for some Men, beside that they count it no Sin, prefer the Pleasure to the Pain. But it may be by way of Objection reply'd to me, Mark the end of this Man, conclude not that he shall not, because he has not as yet, paid the price of his Crimes. Well! I cannot promise my self to live so long as to mark his end, but I will suppose it as much as can be to the disadvantage of my Cause, tho no one can presume, but that it may be so honourable and so easy, as still to mend my Argument. Sup­pose then that his Armies on all sides shall be re­puls'd and beaten, his Asses grow weary of their Burden, and sick of their Driver; his Domesticks that eat of his Bread, forsake him: suppose that in the midst of his distress, wandring, despis'd, and hated, no one shall love him so well, or hate him so passio­nately, as to rid him of his wretched Life; but that he must be beholden to his own right hand, or to the anguish of his disorder'd Mind: who would call this adequate Pain or Punishment, for millions of Murders, and remorseless Villanies; fruitful Countries laid waste, Temples thrown down, and Sepulchers digg'd up; the bold breach of Faith sworn, all manner of Laws and Rights, for a long [Page 33] Course of early, young, and of vigorous manly years, insulted: does all this deserve no more than that a heavy Misfortune fall upon the guilty Wretch in his old and decaying Age? I wonder how any Man can pretend that this would be ade­quate Punishment, and yet 'tis a hundred to one but the mighty Sinner goes off the Stage suffering little or nothing of all this.

It were not hard to give numerous Instances of vile Men, that have revell'd long in all abomina­ble, and cruel Lewdness and Injustice; who not­withstanding have dy'd without notable Misfortune, or tormenting Regret. I have selected one that pos­sibly has done the most Evil of any name, that is to be met in History, and hitherto he has come off cheap; and if it appears, tho but in a single in­stance, that all Sins are not adequately punish'd in this Life, I presume it must follow, That that or­der of things in which Man's future Existence is not suppos'd, is not the best and wisest order that can be imagin'd.

But farther to evince that all Sins are not ade­quately punish'd in this Life, let it be consider'd, that many times, Persons whose Crimes are hainous, find means to escape the Vengeance of the Ma­gistrate, while they who are less guilty, are very severely dealt with: nay and the former, so it of­ten happens, go on rejoycing in their Crimes, while the latter venture on evil Actions, not without great trouble and anxiety of Mind. Now let my Adversaries call what they will adequate Punish­ment, I am sure it is not the wisest order of things imaginable, that the less guilty suffer most, and the most guilty least, or not at all.

I will dismiss this Argument with the brief men­tion of an Instance or two from antient Story. Cesar was in many a Conspiracy against the Liberty of his [Page 34] Country; at last he absolutely inslav'd it to his own Arbitrary Will, and three years injoy'd the success of his unrighteous Usurpation: At the end of that term Brutus and Cassius, &c. dispatch'd him of a sudden.

If this was adequate Punishment, then subjugating a free People is a light Injury. Orestes slew his Mother, and was all his life-time troubled in Con­science for it; suppose this now was adequate Pu­nishment: But Nero slew his Mother, by whose means he got the Empire, and never was troubled for the matter: He dispatch'd also his Wife Octa­via, and his Master Seneca; he spar'd no Person that gave him offence: his end indeed was tragical, but it was sudden and quick, no way adequate to his horrid Life.

I presume I have now made it appear to an im­partial equal Considerer, that there are some Sins, which (as it often happens) do not meet with Pu­nishment, or Pain adequate in this Life: I hope to make it appear as plainly, that the most difficult Instances of Virtue, which ever and anon call for our Practice, do not create present Joys equal to the Labours and Dangers thereof. Generally speak­ing, such is the nature of Virtue, that it is fitted not only to promote the good. (as our Author phrases it) of the private System, but also of the publick. Virtue naturally tends to the benefit of every particular Man, and also of all Mankind uni­ted in Societies. Temperance conduces to the health of the temperate Man, to the health of his Body, and to the health of his Mind (from the health of both which arises the greatest good which he is ca­pable of at present) and also to the enrichment of the Publick; for, the less is consum'd at home of any thing serviceable to Life, the more remains to be exported abroad by way of Trade▪ Justice and [Page 35] Charity are immediately, visibly beneficial to Socie­ty; and they purchase to the just and charitable Person, not only the agreable Comforts of a good Reputation, but great measures of Security to be treated with Justice again, and reasonable hopes to find a return of Charity in time of need. Now such being the nature of Virtue, so proportion'd and fit­ted to all the honest Desires and nobler Ends of Man­kind in this state, it would become a wise Man in some cases to practise it, even tho he were sure there were no Reward, nothing to be got by it hereafter: but then there are other cases in which Virtue (tho always serviceable to Society) may accidentally happen to be unserviceable to a private Man, and wholly unable to create him present Joys equal to the Labours and Dangers thereof. Nay, there are cases, in which some Virtues, aiming at the Service of the Publick, may become effectual to the utter ruin of a Man's Fortunes, Friends, Health, Life.

Now if it is ever odds against a Man, that his Virtue shall not be successful to the Publick accord­ing to his desire, but on the contrary, prove an oc­casion of ruin to his Fortunes, Family, Friends, Health, Life; how the Reflexion on his Virtue can create him Joy greater, or but equal to the Pain which these Misfortunes will cause, while he believes no future State, I cannot divine.

If it should be objected, that I suppose a Case which ought not to be suppos'd; I reply, that this very case has, within our memory, befall'n several worthy Persons in more than one Country, upon their opposing the Arbitrary Designs of tyrannizing Princes. Their honest Endeavours to preserve their Country from Poverty by loss of Trade, from Slavery, and its numerous attendant Mischiefs, have cost several the loss of high Honours, and valu­able Profits, wasted their Estates, reduc'd their Fa­milies [Page 36] to Hardships, broke their Health in close Prisons, and sometimes put an end to their days by ignominious Punishments.

There is not one Instance of Virtue more widely beneficial, and more truly glorious, than a wise and resolute use of all lawful likely means to preserve to that Society whereof we are Members, the safe and secure enjoyment of their Trade and Liberties. The satisfaction and pleasure of Mind in labouring this thing, will not be denied to be as great, if not greater, than that which proceeds from any other instance of Virtue: but to be (tho accidentally, and by means of consulting the publick Good) the occa­sion of great Misfortune, not only to some Depen­dants, Acquaintance, and Friends, but to Wife and Children also; to the ruin of ones own Health, and shortning ones days; this, in my opinion, cannot but make the most virtuously dispos'd Man, who believes no future State, very uneasy, and hinder him from relishing the Satisfactions which otherwise his Virtue might create to him. I do now, only for Argument sake, suppose a Man, who believes no future State, capable of serving his Country at the price of these Difficulties and Sufferances; but, that being suppos'd, I contend that these▪ Difficulties and Sufferances can­not be more painful, than the consciousness of his Virtue can be joyous. And methinks this may be made out even to a full and fair Demonstration. Unexpected Disappointments, and Losses, the Fals­ness of an intrusted Servant, the Ingratitude of an oblig'd Friend, want of many Necessaries, and un­deserv'd Reproach, these are heavy Weights, and no little power have they to disorder the thoughts of the Mind; it must yet more sensibly touch a Man (especially believing no future State) if his Con­cern and Labour to serve his Country brings ruin on the Wife of his Bosom, and his Children, the pledges [Page 37] of their mutual Love; and I question very much, whether ever any Man, who believes no future State, did despise (the melancholy Prospect being before him) his dear Wife and Children, and undauntedly practise the dangerous Virtue: but a Prison has still a more afflicting Influence on the Mind of a well­dispos'd Man; and by that time Restraint and bar­barous Usage has broke his Health, his Spirits must fail, his Mind must needs languish together with his Body: and when a Man is in continual Pain, tho he does not utterly lose the consciousness of his Inte­grity, yet what comfort can he take in it, when he sees that it has undone, not only his dearest Rela­tives, but himself also; and considers that himself undone is dying, dying for ever, and never like to be the better for his Virtue hereafter? I think our Preachers do not exact the words of Paul literally, when he wish'd that Curse on himself for the sake of his Brethren the Jews: and in my Judgment, as no Man can wish to be miserable hereafter, that others may be happy hereafter; so no Man who looks upon this Life as the end of all things to him, can be con­tent to be miserable in this Life, in hopes to make others happy in this Life. If any Adversary shall oppose his denial to what I have here deter­min'd, then he must be forced to assert, that Man is a Creature in whose Composition there's no such thing as Self-love, or Reason; but this is extremely absurd, and therefore my Determination must be allow'd. It may be easily understood, how it is possible for a Man to give up all that is near and dear to him, nay his very Life, for the Service of his Country, or for the sake of a Friend more ser­viceable to his Country than himself, if he believes that he shall exist again after Death, and then either receive a Recompence of Reward, or find it in his increasing virtuous Affections: but to sacrifice him­self [Page 38] and his nearest and dearest Relations for the Service of his Country, when he believes that both he himself, and they whom he sacrifices, shall exist no more, is not possible to be done, in my judgment, by any but a humorous Man, whose Fancy is over­heated with metaphysical lofty unaccountable Extra­vagancies. I remember, I confess, that Tully, in his Book of Offices, says, that to contemn Life for the In­terest of the Publick, magni & excelsi animi est, is the part of a great and gallant Mind: And I am told by them that have read Tully with more care and heedful Observation than I pretend to, that Tully never made that Notion of a future State an Argument to en­force the Practice of Virtue: If so, then I may ga­ther that Tully did not give any credit to that No­tion; and then it will follow, that his Doctrine, viz. To contemn Life for the Interest of the Publick, is the part of a great and gallant Mind, is contrary to mine: but 'tis Reason I require, and not Authority. Yet I do not grant that Tully never made the Notion of a future State an Argument to Virtue. I will not for­get to examine that Assertion before I finish these Papers. I am much told also by some, who differ with me in these Speculations, as much as they agree with me in Friendship, that it is most just, fitting, reasonable, the Publick should be prefer'd before the Private. But I desire these my Friends to tell me, if they can give any reason why the Publick should be prefer'd before the Private, besides this which I now give, viz. Every private Member of the Society has agreed to do it, and has an Interest in doing it. If they can give me no other reason, which I am perswaded they cannot, then I note, that when a private good Man has no Interest in the Publick, he has no obliga­tion to the Publick. I word it, that when a private good Man has, &c. for I grant that a justly condemn'd Traitor, who has no longer an interest in the Publick, [Page 39] is yet in Conscience bound quietly to suffer the Penal­ty of the Law by him broken; and not only so, but be­cause he expresly or tacitly consented to the Law by which he dies, he ought for the common good to dis­cover his traitorous Accomplices. I restrain my note to a good Man, whose Virtue, through the Iniquity of the times, and the unrighteous Administration of the Executive Power, might, by accident, fatally endanger him. Such a Man is not bound to strive against the stream for his Country's good, to his own (in all probability) utter ruin. I take this to be manifest, tho 'tis (before I was aware) something more than the Position which I undertook to make good, oblig'd me to meddle with; for I was only to prove, that there would be more Pain than Plea­sure in such a virtuous Labour, supposing it possi­ble to be attempted, and I think I have prov'd it: and if there be more Pain than Pleasure in some vir­tuous Actions, then there's an end of the Excellence of those virtuous Actions; then they have not that Worth, as that they should be lov'd for their own sakes. Thus upon the supposition of no future State, it appears that it is not reasonable to practise Virtue, whenever it is likely to rob us of our For­tunes, Fame, Health, or Life: and on the contrary, if it be reasonable to practise Virtue in such difficult cases, then it must be so on this ground, because it is very probable that we shall exist again in a future State. Thus have I expatiated upon one Reason why I think it most probable that the Mind of Man shall exist again after Death.

I shall now assign another, and treat of it more succinctly, because what I have insisted on already makes way for it, and helps to illustrate it.

That Belief, which is generally necessary for the tolerable well-being of the human System, must needs be a Belief of things certainly true: and on [Page 40] the contrary, that Belief which is apparently de­structive of the tolerable well-being of the human System, must needs be a Belief of things absolutly false. But the belief of a future State, wherein the Virtuous shall be happy, the Vicious unhappy, is ge­nerally necessary for the tolerable well-being of the human System, and therefore it is a Belief of what must needs be true; and the Belief, that after this Life ended Men shall exist no more, is apparently de­structive of the tolerable well-being of the human System, and therefore it is a Belief of what must needs be false. To do our Author Justice, he does grant, p. 63, 64. that the Belief of future Reward and Punishment is capable of raising Men to Virtue, and of saving them from falling into a licentious and vicious Practice; tho, I know not how, p. 68. he says something in abatement, viz. the doing any thing on the consideration and foresight merely of Reward, is no Virtue; nor can the endeavour after Virtue, the setting about to make one's self virtu­ous on that score, be any Virtue. I look upon our Author to be a Man of Virtue and Probity, but I am fully satisfied, that this latter Passage does not at all serve the Cause of Virtue, nor the former so much as I could wish: for I reckon, that I have prov'd, that the taking prudent care of a Man's private Interest must needs be first in his thoughts, and is truly virtuous; not to injure others, is Inno­cence; to do them all good, is the Perfection of Virtue. I am pleas'd that our Author grants, that the belief of future Reward and Punishment is ca­pable of raising Men to Virtue; but I contend far­ther, and now hope to make it appear, that the be­lief of a future State, wherein the Virtuous shall be happy, the Vicious unhappy, is generally necessary for the tolerable well-being of the human System. It is to this Belief we owe, that those who are vir­tuous [Page 41] in difficult times and instances (how few or how many soever they are) do not run with a mul­titude to do evil. It is to this Belief we owe, that such Men do not sit still satisfied with their particular unmolested Condition; but generously venture all their Secular Interests to maintain the Cause of Vir­tue, to promote the Practice of moral Goodness, and to redeem the Liberty and Welfare of their Country: And if there were not a considerable num­ber of these in all, as yet free Kingdoms, and Com­monwealths, long e're this there had been no such thing as Commonwealth or Kingdom free: and if there were not some such as these in Kingdoms and Commonwealths inslav'd, the Administration there would be yet more tyrannic and mischievous than it is; the People in those Commonwealths and King­doms much more abus'd and wasted than they are. It is to this Belief we owe the generous Offices of Humanity, of Love, and charitable Supports, which even in our late times we have known dealt to many innocent Persons, when they were miserably ha­rass'd by a Power that overbore the Law to ruin them. It is to this Belief we owe much, perhaps the greatest part of the Honesty which is in Trade; for tho false dealing is common, yet honest dealing is not so hard to be found neither as some would perswade us, who both vilify Human Nature, and deny the future State. By the way, it is not well done of them denying the future State, at one time to speak of noble virtuous Tempers, that are such without regard to what may be hereafter, at ano­ther time to insinuate, that all Men would be Rogues and Knaves had they the secure opportunity, and agreable temptation. I return. Honest dealing, infrequent as it is, would be yet more infrequent, if some Men were not influenc'd by future Hopes and Fears. Who would not use false Arts and ways [Page 42] in Trade, at least so long till he had provided a Competence sutable to his Desires, for himself and Family, if he believ'd that Death was the end of all things? Indeed Reputation on the one hand, and the danger of Penal Laws on the other, may prevent much fraud; but I now speak only of that Fraud which might be secretly and securely practis'd. No secure Opportunities of unjust Gain would ever be let slip, by a Man of a Fortune but moderate, or low, if he had no prospect of being the better for his Virtue hereafter: For tho we are naturally dis­pos'd to help our Kind, yet I think not till we have first provided what we judg we shall need for our selves. He that fares very hardly, when he might accommodate himself better by a Fraud, which may chance to ly both out of the reach of the Law, and out of the danger of discovery, can be prompted to detest such a tempting Injustice, only by his Perswasion of future Existence; at what time his patient enduring of Hardships, his Absti­nence from secure lucrous Injustice, his inexpugna­ble Virtue shall make him inconceiveable amends. In short, if it were not for this belief of a future Existence, we should seldom or never have any thing great and good, useful and praise-worthy said or done: Suspicions, Jealousy, and Diffidence, would encrease to such a height, as to leave no possible room for Friendship, one of the greatest Pleasures of Life; we should have nothing prac­tis'd among Men, but that Honesty which they did not lose by, or could not avoid, with a little cheap and easy, cold and cautious Civility thrown in upon occasion. I think I have now made it ap­pear, that the belief of a future State, wherein the Virtuous shall be happy, the Vicious unhappy, is generally necessary for the tolerable well-being of the human System: Now thence I gather, that it is [Page 43] a Belief which must needs be true; and on the other side, the Belief, that after this Life ended, Men shall exist no more, being destructive of the tolerable well-being of the human System, it fol­lows that it is a false Belief: For tho it may often happen in particular Cases, that the leading a Man into the knowledg, and perswading him of the truth of a thing, may prove detrimental to him, yet this is but by accident, thro some weakness and in­disposition of the Mind, or pravity of the Temper of the Person, who is perswaded and let into the knowledg of Truth: Truth in its own nature has no unhappy detrimental Tendency, or to particu­lar Men, or to Mankind in general. Now the be­lief of what I have bin discoursing, is of most wide, is of universal, most useful, and advantageous In­fluence to all and every Man; and therefore I con­clude, it must needs be a true Belief: The con­trary Belief is of most wide, is of universal, most pernicious, and destructive Influence to all and every Man; and therefore I conclude, it must needs be a false Belief. I am strongly perswaded, that hardly any man will dare to say, that a Perswa­sion universally pernicious and destructive, may pos­sibly prove true; that a Belief universally useful and advantageous, may possibly prove false: but I am sure our Author cannot say it, who, in the be­ginning of his Book, affirms that all things in the Universe are according to a good order, and that nothing could have bin contriv'd more wisely, with more Advantage to the general Interest of Beings: for it is no good Order, but diametrically contrary to the general Interest of Rational Beings, that Truth should be, of its own nature, mischievous; Falshood, of its own nature, useful and advantage­ous. As I once said before, I look upon our Au­thor as a Man of Virtue and Probity; he grants [Page 44] much of what I have said concerning the usefulness of the Belief above-mention'd, and of the mischie­vousness of the contrary: For by the belief of future Advantages to Virtue, he says, p. 75. That a Man may keep himself virtuous, where an Atheist cannot. I advance farther, and infer, from the Concession, the truth of that Belief, which is able to keep a Man virtuous, where the Atheistical Belief cannot. And when any Person shall shew me the weakness of my Inference, I promise to revoke it. In the mean time I cannot but wonder at what has fall'n from our Author's Pen, p. 51. ‘Religion (according to the kind it may be of) is capable of doing great good, or great harm, and Atheism not any po­sitive good or harm.’ I grant the former part of this Assertion, Religion (according to the kind it may be of) is capable of doing great good or great harm: But then I contend, that Atheism is incapa­ble of doing positive good, and capable of doing nothing but positive harm. The Reason which our Author brings for his offensive Doctrine, is, ‘For however it (Atheism) may be indirectly an oc­casion of Mens losing a good and sufficient sense of Right and Wrong; yet it will not, as Athe­ism merely, be the occasion of setting up false Right and Wrong, which only fantastical Rea­soning,’ ill Custom, or ill Religion can do. To this I reply, that Atheism, as Atheism merely, tho it tends not to any Religion at all, yet it does lead Men to ill Custom, and fantastical Reasoning, which our Author admits likely to be the occasion of setting up false Right and Wrong, and conse­quently of doing no positive good, but much posi­tive harm: For if the Atheist is capable of doing any positive good, it must be only then, when his Circumstances in the World are easy, and to his Hearts content; but at every other time, if he has [Page 45] an inviting great probability of Success and Secre­cy, he cannot restrain himself from making his Circumstances easy, and to his Hearts content, by doing positive harm. This I have prov'd in what went before; I only now add, that I am strong­ly of the opinion, that were our Author to choose a Servant with whom he must intrust a considerable Stewardship in the East or West-Indies, where he had no means narrowly to inspect his Management, or punish his Mismanagement, he would rather choose a Servant of good Reputation in the belief of a future State, than a Servant of good Reputation in the Atheistick Belief.

P. 53. ‘It is possible for a Creature capable of using Reflection, to have a liking or dislike of moral Actions, and consequently a sense of Right and Wrong, before such time as he may have any Notion or Sense of God at all: this is what will hardly be question'd.’

By several Passages which follow, I cannot but allow, that our Author has no ill meaning in this; but then it has so untoward an Air, and is liable to so obvious and unhappy Misconstruction, that I think fit to descant upon it; but this I shall do with all candour.

That a Creature capable of using Reflection, may have a Dislike of moral Actions, before he has any Notion or Sense of God at all; thus much of the Remark is by me wholly granted to our Author: For, nothing can contribute more to a Dislike of moral Actions, than the utter want of all Notion or Sense of God. But what degree of liking of mo­ral Actions, what measure of sense concerning right and wrong, a Creature capable of using Re­flection may have, before he has any Notion or Sense of God at all, ought to be carefully examin'd and distinctly weigh'd, before any deduction be [Page 46] made or intimated from such a Remark as this.

With our Author's leave thus much I will pre­sume to determine and make good, viz. It will not only be question'd, but absolutely deny'd by the generality of thinking Men, that a Creature capable of using Reflection, can have so just a liking of moral Actions, and so true a sense of Right and Wrong, before he has the notion and sense of God, as he ought to have, and cannot but have, using Reflection, when he has once learn'd the No­tion, and becomes affected with the sense of a God.

Indeed moral Actions are altogether agreable to a rational Nature, or (as our Author phrases it) to a Creature using Reflection: but the Exercise of his Reason, or his using Reflection will lead him to the Notion of a God, and that Notion will make his Sense of right or wrong more correct, and give it a larger Scope, give it a wider field to exercise it self in; that Notion heedfully adverted to, will raise his liking of moral Actions far above what it could arrive at without it. And this our Author seems to grant, p. 59. ‘If there be a Being con­ceiv'd All-intelligent and All-seeing, of infi­nite Power, Wisdom, and Goodness, the Belief of such a Being must of necessity be highly effectual to the creating or farthering of good Affections, and to the removing of contrary ones, by rendering every thing that is of Vir­tue more lovely, splendid, and attractive; and every thing that is of Vice, more ignomini­ous and deform'd.’ But without the Notion of a Being All-intelligent, All-seeing, of infinite Power, Wisdom and Goodness, the rational or re­flecting Creature's liking of moral Actions, will show it self only in some cheap and easy Instances, and be very apt to be diverted or abated by the secular Interest of the private System. In few and [Page 47] plain words, this matter may be thus sum'd up: A Man that has no Notion nor Sense of a God may possibly like and practise moral Actions, when he has no beloved Lust to gratify, nor dreaded Danger to avoid, the one of which may be easily gratified, and the other securely avoided by Acti­ons immoral: but when he has a beloved Lust to gratify, which may be easily gratified, or a dread­ed Danger to avoid, which may be securely avoid­ed, and no Notion nor Sense of God at all to in­fluence him, he will at that time be sure to gratify his Lust, and do what he can to avoid his dan­ger, tho the means to be us'd for such ends be never so immoral: the reason of this is, because in all Creatures, especially the rational, Self-love is the predominant Principle. A rational Creature who believes a God, and expects a future Existence, may generously prefer the noble Interests of Society be­fore Wealth and Health, and even his Life it self, if the Case so require, because he expects hereafter to find an inconceivable Advantage in so doing: but there is no Argument in Nature, no Reason, nor shadow of a Reason to perswade a rational Man who knows nothing of God, and expects no future Existence, to venture the loss of his Life, or but of his Estate (without which he cannot pro­vide Necessaries for his Wife and Children) for the Service of his Country, when the Laws and Liber­ties thereof are in danger either from crafty Priests imposing gainful Doctrines for necessary Faith, or arbitrary Princes dispensing with the Laws which they swore to maintain.

P. 81. ‘It will appear that one who has not the opinion or belief of an intelligent Principle, or God, may, tho very difficultly, and at a great hazard, be capable of Virtue, so as to have an Honesty, a Faith, a Justice, perhaps of great [Page 48] Note and Worth; may have many generous and good Passions, and possibly that of love to Virtue for its own sake, as well as for being believ'd advantageous.’

I am not willing to quit the respect which I have, and think I ought to have for our Author; yet I can­not but declare that he has here made a very erro­neous and pernicious Conclusion, which neither does appear from the Reasons by him offer'd, nor can it be made to appear from any thing which the Wit of Man can offer: indeed he has cautiously worded his Conclusion, and wisely guarded himself. He has wisely guarded himself in this Prefatory Inducti­on—‘If the Reasons I have offer'd be found of any weight.’ I am glad that he is not confident of having prov'd so erroneous and pernicious a Doctrine. He has worded it very cautiously, viz. in these Phrases and Terms of abatement, ‘may, tho with great difficulty, and at a great hazard,—may perhaps,’—may possibly. But contrary to what he has thus concluded, I have already prov'd, and shall now essay farther to confirm it, that one who has not the Opinion or Belief of an in­telligent Principle or God, can by no means be capa­ble of such a Virtue, as to have an Honesty, a Faith, a Justice of great weight and worth. I take my rise for what I have now in my thoughts, from a Passage of our Author, according to him, p. 59. The word God imports no less than a Being all-intelligent, all-seeing, of infinite Power, Wisdom and Goodness. ‘The Belief of such a Being (he says) must of necessity be highly effectual to the creating or farthering of good Affections, and to the removing of contrary ones, by rendring every thing that is of Virtue more lovely, splendid and attractive; and every thing that is of Vice, more ignomi­nious and deform'd.’ Now the Loveliness of Vir­tue [Page 49] consists wholly in its Advantageousness, Advan­tageousness of one sort or other, or else 'tis an emp­ty Phrase, mere insignificant Cant. Such as the Ad­vantageousness of Virtue is, such, and no other, is its Loveliness: and on the other side, answerable to the Disadvantageousness of Vice, is its Ignominy and Deformity. By the belief of a Being all-intelligent, all-seeing, of infinite Power, Wisdom and Good­ness, a rational Creature becomes perswaded of a greater Advantageousness in Virtue, Disadvanta­geousness in Vice, than he could possibly be perswa­ded of without it. The belief of a Being with the abovementioned Perfections makes Man's future Existence credible; for, I have already prov'd that all things are not according to a good order, if Man shall not exist again. I add now, if Man's fu­ture Existence be necessary to justify God's Wisdom, it is not hard to be conceiv'd how the same is as ne­cessary to justify his Goodness: For, the worldly Pro­sperity of free Agents, who make the worst use of their free Will, and the worldly Adversity of free Agents, who make right use of it, are as unanswer­able Arguments against the Goodness, as against the Wisdom of God, if free Agents must not exist again. I need not make words to show, how the Omnipo­tence, and Omniscience of God join with his infinite Wisdom and Goodness to ascertain us of our future Existence. Now if there be a God, who is (as our Author allows the word to signify) a Being all­intelligent, all-seeing, of infinite Power, Wisdom and Goodness; then we shall exist again, and after this Life receive Rewards, or (to speak with them whose nicer Philosophy excepts against that term Rewards) we shall become inconceivably happy by our Virtue, and unexpressible Losers by our Vice. And this Perswasion is evidently powerful to en­gage Men to the practice of the most difficult Vir­tue, [Page 50] and to restrain them from the most pleasing, secret, and secure Vice. Such a Man as this may have, nay, using Reflection, cannot but have Ho­nesty, Faith, and Justice of the greatest note and worth, cannot but have many generous and good Passions, not without a love to Virtue for its own sake: But he that has not the Opinion or Belief of an intelligent Principle or God, may perhaps be ca­pable of some cheap and easy Virtue, such as sutes best with his natural Temper, and does not much trouble the Condition of his Affairs; but is cer­tainly incapable of that more noble, and more difficult Virtue, which threatens ruin to his For­tunes, or an untimely end to his Life.

I determine thus, because there is in every Crea­ture (to use our Author's Phrase) a certain Inte­rest or Good, which is as an end in that Creature, to which God or Nature design'd him. That certain Interest or Good, to which God or Nature design'd his rational Creature Man, Man is bound in duty to pursue: to this end, if his Passions and Affections are wisely, primarily directed, it is his duty, it is that which he ought to do, and for which he ought to be commended.

If there be any such thing as God, or Virtue, then there must be a future State: this Consequence I have in some measure already prov'd, and mean to confirm it further, but I will take no advantage of it now.

If there be any such thing as a future State, then it is the Duty and Virtue of a rational Man prima­rily to direct his Passions and Affections for the se­curing his Interest in that State, because his Interest in that State (supposing such a thing) is immensly more considerable than his Interest in this: but if there be no future State, then the certain Interest, or Good, or chief End of Man, is such as his Nature is capable of in this Life; and his pursuing that is [Page 51] what he ought to do, is his Virtue, or else Virtue is but a Name, of which no body knows what to make.

If Man's chief Interest, Good, or End be in a fu­ture State, then he ought not, cannot dispense with his Care to purchase that, for the sake of any Interest of any others. If Man's chief Interest, Good or End, be in this present Life, then he ought not, cannot dispense with his preferring that before any Interest of any others; and thence it will undenia­bly follow, that he is utterly incapable of practising any instance of noble and difficult Virtue, which happens to threaten ruin to his Fortunes, and an untimely end to his Life. But I will search into this matter yet more nicely, that I may take from my Adversaries all subtil specious pretence of Reply.

The chief Interest, Good or End of Man in this Life is either corporeal, or mental; if the Mind be a Principle distinct from Body, then this distinction is just, and ought to be admitted, and may be thus desin'd, or describ'd: Mental Interest is the Plea­sure which the Mind receives by reflecting on its Virtue; Corporeal Interest is the Pleasure which the Mind tasts by mediation of the Senses. If the Mind is not a Principle distinct from Body, then all our Interest in this Life is only Corporeal, and all Plea­sure no other than bodily Pleasure; and then a Man ought to prefer his bodily Pleasure before any Inte­rest of any others, because if there be no future Existence, bodily Pleasure is his chief Interest, Good or End.

But perhaps some Friends of our Author, tho they admit nothing but Body in Nature, and esteem Thinking, and Arguing to be the effects only of Mat­ter and Motion, may yet distinguish as I have done, and make the Pleasure which Human Nature is ca­pable of, twofold; the Pleasure which is tasted by [Page 52] means of the Senses, and the Pleasure which is tasted by Reflection. Hereupon perhaps they may say, that the Pleasure which is tasted by Reflection (which they will call too, the Pleasure of the Mind) is the chief Interest, Good, or End of Man; and then con­clude, that tho the Pleasure of the Mind, which is tasted by Reflection, cannot but be prefer'd by a reasonable Man before all other Considerations whatsoever, that may happen to come in competi­tion with it; yet Corporeal Pleasure, the Pleasure which is tasted by mediation of the Senses, is a meaner Interest and End, which a reasonable Man ought not to pursue before the Interests of Society, tho there be no Life after this. These Gentlemen (and I think our Author accords with them thro­out his second Book) determine that the present mental Satisfaction, which good Men receive by re­flecting on their virtuous Actions, is sufficient to perswade all considering Persons to the practice of Virtue, tho there be no Life after this. I reply, it may be sufficient to perswade the most considering Persons in most cases, but in all cases it is not so. I have given some instances, I am able to give many more, and shall if that be stood upon; but, think­ing it may not by impartial Readers, I chuse to argue closely, and carry on my Reply: That Con­sideration which is not sufficient to prompt think­ing Persons to Virtue in all cases, does in effect, if there be no other to be offer'd, betray the Cause of Virtue; for if the necessity of Virtue be not in all cases as well as in some, in the most difficult cases as well as in the most common and easy, provided for, the Cause of Virtue is as good as given up: For, who shall draw the Line, and measure Distances, set out the exact Bounds, and nicely determine, that if Circumstances be so and so discouraging, Dangers so and so pressing, a good [Page 53] Man need not hazard his Fortunes or his Life, to serve his Friend, the starving Mobility, or the Liberty and Property of the Freeholders of his Country; but in all cases one moment less discou­raging, less pressing and hazardous, it becomes him to be resolutely virtuous, honest and good. 'Tis precarious Impertinence for any Man to pretend any thing of this nature; for, the reasonableness of be­ing true to one's Friend, just to all Persons, chari­table to the Necessitous, and bold in the defence of Liberty and Property, is not at all alter'd by the different Circumstances of Times, Things or Places, but remains always one and the same, be they more or less discouraging, pressing and hazardous, with­out any alteration, unless that it greatly becomes a virtuous, honest and good Man, when his Duty hap­pens to be more difficult and dangerous, to exert himself so much the more. And to do this, he shall never want Motive sufficiently powerful, if he be throly convinc'd of the certainty of a future State: but if he be not, a cheaper, easier Virtue shall con­tent him. Now to prevent an Objection which I suspect, and to take away all ansa of Cavil, I own, that now and then an eminent Person may in an odd humour, and in an unthinking heat, venture on a glorious Action, that not only looks well, but is also highly useful, and beneficial to the Publick, which may cost him his honourable Station in the Commonwealth, the loss of his Fortunes, and per­haps of his Life, tho he believes no future State: but I positively affirm, that this can be done by no Man who disbelieves a future State, when he acts deliberately; and I defy all my Adversaries round, together with the Author of the Inquiry, and his Favourers, to assign a Reason sufficient to prompt a deliberate thinking Man to do it. I have discours'd with some of them, Men of as singular Learning, [Page 54] and of as acute Parts perhaps as any that now live; and nothing could I ever hear from them as an Ar­gument for Virtue, the future State not being suppos'd, but that Virtue was its own present sufficient Reward, which, as I have shewn, holds but in common cases. I have also shown to how little purpose they affect the use of that fam'd saying, Virtue is its own Reward, and to be lov'd for its own sake. To love Virtue for its own sake, as the brave Heathen Philosophers us'd to speak, and to love God for his own sake, as we now commonly word it, signifies nothing but to love God without low secular Regards: to love Virtue, when it is discountenanc'd, when it is the Enemy of a Man's temporal Ends and Prosperities; this he only can constantly do who believes a future State. But I am amaz'd to hear our Author expose his own Argumenta­tion as he does in the close of the Passage by me last cited. ‘A Man (says he) who has not the Belief of a God, may possibly love Virtue for its own sake, as well as for being believ'd ad­vantageous.’

Can any thing deserve to be lov'd for its own sake which is not advantageous? If so, then our Author will incur this gross Absurdity, that a thing may deserve to be lov'd for its own sake, which is not at all lovely. Certainly this is the oddest di­stinction that ever was coin'd by a Man of Letters and good Sense, which every one that reads our Au­thor's Inquiry concerning Virtue, must grant him to be. If Advantageousness be not that which makes Virtue deserve to be lov'd for its own sake, then, for ought I know, Vice may deserve to be lov'd for its own sake, in which there is nothing truly advan­tageous. But I leave it to our Author's second thoughts, whether he will forgo this Distinction, or [Page 55] explain it; for my part, I know not what to make of it as it lies. Just at this moment, a Gentleman, that knows what Subject I am writing upon, and has seen some of my Papers, is pleas'd to tell me, that I have imitated an absurd Practice of the Papists, proving one Doctrine by another that needs proof. The Papists (says this Gentleman) having a gain­ful Interest in the Doctrine of praying to Saints, and thereupon a great inclination to believe it, did de­fend the same, when the Protestants objected that the Saints could not hear Prayers, by this Invention. The Saints understood all things, viewing them in the mirror of Divinity; or as others are pleas'd to phrase it, in speculo Trinitatis, in the Looking-glass of the Trinity: So I having an inclination to believe a future State, and not being able to demonstrate it by direct proof, endeavour to make it good by this fetch, There must be a future State, or there can be no such thing as Virtue. Now by the favour of this Gentleman, whose singular Learning I high­ly honour, I shall show that there is no manner of similitude between the Practice of the Papists in the Instance before us, and mine in managing the Ar­gument I have attempted. There might be a simi­litude perhaps, if he would put it thus: The Papists prove that Saints ought to be pray'd to, because else there's no such thing as a Mirror of the Divi­nity, or Looking-glass of the Trinity, wherein all things are visible to them: And I prove the truth of a future State, because else there's no necessity of Virtue. But then I desire this Gentleman to consi­der that both he and I laugh at the Mirror of the Divinity, or Speculum Trinitatis, as much as at the Doctrine of praying to Saints; whereas tho he questions the future State, yet we both admit the necessity of Virtue: therefore if I show that there is no Argument sufficient to prompt Men to Virtue, [Page 56] and restrain them from Vice in the most difficult Times and Places, but the Belief of a future State, I appeal to all impartial Judges, whether I don't gain my point.

One of my Friends, who is, as I am, fully per­swaded that we shall exist again in a more blessed or sad State, according as we frame our Spirits, and demean our selves in this Life, did once let me know that he had some Meditations in hand, whereby he thinks he shall demonstrate the Im­mortality of the Soul: But what he has farther than such moral Demonstration as I have offer'd, Demonstration from the generally receiv'd Idea of God, and from the Concessions of all Men of Sense, who are not such Enemies to Virtue, as in some Cases to free Mankind from the Obligation; also what he has farther than high Probabilities from Topics Philosophical, with regard to which Men of Sense are in Prudence bound to act, I cannot conceive: and to speak ingenuously, I do not think it agreable to the infinite Wisdom, which we ac­knowledg in God, to have made the Notions of a future State, and the Immortality of the Soul, so clear, obvious, and certain, as to put them beyond dispute. For where Notions are but high Proba­bilities, or such moral Demonstrations as require Thought and Labour to make out; Attention and quitting all Prejudices before they can be admit­ted, there is room for the exercise of Considerati­on, Prudence, and Industry: But were all bright Demonstration concerning the Notions of future State, and the Soul's Immortality, the matter is so vastly, so immensly momentous, that we should be irresistibly carried to secure our chief Interest, with­out reasoning and considering upon it; and then our Happiness would be our Fate, not the Attain­ment or Reward of our wise Meditation, and vir­tuous [Page 57] rational Choices. If it be agreeable to the infinite Wisdom of God to create a Creature with the Powers of considering, thinking, and reflecting, and to leave him much in the hands of his own Free Will, so that he may consider, think, reflect, and act wisely, or let it alone; then to me it seems necessary, that the Notions of future State and Im­mortality of the Soul, should be no clearer, nor more obvious, nor more certain than they are, i. e. but demonstrably certain upon the supposition that all Men are oblig'd to be morally honest in all Times, Circumstances, and Places; and also but highly probable from Philosophical Arguments. The Use that I make of this, is, That I hope my Adversaries will not deny, but that all Men are oblig'd to be morally honest in all Times, and Cir­cumstances, and Places; and that it becomes wise Men to consider, think, and reflect; and that where they are not govern'd by the greatest Probabilities, there they are not wise: and if they can give me a cogent Argument, which shall oblige Men to Vir­tue, and restrain them from Vice, in all Times, Circumstances, and Places, a future State not be­ing suppos'd, I promise to discard it.

Our Author in the 2d part of his Book profes­sedly proposes to show what Obligation there is to Virtue, and how any one may have reason to embrace Virtue, and shun Vice. In this part he ingenuously and appositely to this Design expatiates upon many useful Notices, which have no small Influence to perswade to Virtue, and restrain from Vice, but offers at no Reason which comes up so high; as to perswade Men to the one, and restrain them from the other, in those difficult Cases which I have stated. Now tho I think that I have sufficiently se­cur'd my Discourse already, from what might be objected out of this Author (for his 2d Book has [Page 58] no new Notions in abatement of what I have ad­vanc'd concerning a future State) yet I purpose to look into this second part, that I may not seem knowingly to have overlook'd any Obligation to Virtue, which might perhaps be thought powerful enough to influence considering Persons in all Times, Circumstances, and Places, without the interventi­on of a future State.

P. 83. His Preface, in short, runs thus: To be virtuous, is for a rational Creature, in the use of good Ʋnderstanding and Judgment, to have the disposition and temper of his Mind sutable and agreeing with the good of his Kind. A rational Creature, whose Affections are sutable and agreeing to the good of his Kind, has also other Affections towards the private Nature or Self-system; and in following the first of these, the Creature must often contradict and go against the latter: it may seem there­fore that the pursuing the common Interest or good of his Kind, is a hindrance to the attainment of private Good. I do here, and shall abridg, keeping very close to his Phrase, not in the least varying his Sense. P. 85. Affections to the good of the Publick do often expose to Hardships and Hazards, by over-ruling their Oppo­sites, the Self-preservative Passions, and by necessitat­ing the Creature to Self-denial, and, as it were, Self-desertion. Well! the Truth of this we subscribe to, but now we want to know what that is, set­ting aside the Notion of a future State, which has a force of sound Reason powerful enough to per­swade considering Men to cherish their good Af­fections to the Publick, when the doing so expo­ses them to Hardships and Hazards, and forces them to deny themselves, and quit their self-pre­servative Passions (which, by the way, is Self-de­sertion with a witness, Self-desertion, without the abatement in that Phrase, As it were.)

[Page 59] To solve this Difficulty, after some Amusements, our Author addresses himself thus: P. 90, 91. The natural Affections towards the private System, or Self, may be in a too great, and therefore vitious degree; they may also be too weak, in a degree too low and vi­tious that way. He makes this out by several Instan­ces; but I need not trouble my self with his In­stances, for I admit the Notion: Natural Affections to the private or Self-system, may be too strong, or too weak, and then are vitious. This being laid down, I was expecting how he would manage it, in proof of this difficult Proposition which lies upon his hands, viz. That a Man was oblig'd to cherish good Affections towards the Publick, when the doing so would expose him to Hardships and Hazards, force him to deny himself, and quit his self-preservative Passions; but instead of this, all that our Author proposes to himself to prove, is, p. 101. That to have excellent Affections (such as have bin mention'd, just Affections both to publick and private) is to have the chief enjoyment of life. 2. To have the Self-passions excessive, and beyond a just degree, is injurious to the Creature, and of Self-ill. 3. To have no Affections towards the Kind, nor self-ones, is prejudicial to the Creature.

Now let all these Propositions be granted him, I do not see that he has made the least step towards solving the Difficulty which he had rais'd: he offers not one word to prove, that a Man ought to che­rish good Affections to the publick, when the do­ing so will expose him to Hardships and Hazards, and make him quit his self-preservative Passions: All that I can collect from the whole course of his Reasonings in what follows, is, That a Man's Af­fection to private good, is too high, or too low, and thereby irregular and vitious, when his serv­ing and taking care of himself takes off his Affec­tion [Page 60] from the Publick; i. e. in short, according to our Author, whenever publick and private Good come in competition with one another, a Man is in Duty bound to undergo Hardships and Hazards, to deny, to desert himself, to quit his self-pre­servative Passions, and labour the good of the publick. Now I may take up the words of the rich Man in the Gospel to our Lord Christ, who had recommended to him a Doctrine of self-denial, tho not of quitting his self-preservative Passions: This is a hard saying, and who can bear it? Wise Lawgivers use to enforce their Precepts with Promises and Threats; so our Lord: and in the Old Testament this is the Language of the Law, Do this and live: But who ever heard of such a Law-giving Language as this, Do this and die? Quit your self-preservative Passions, and consult the good of the Publick, tho you lose your For­tunes, Health, and Life by it; when the good of the Publick is in danger, let the private System be sa­crific'd; 'tis a Man's duty then to dy, and there's an end of him.

As the Apostle spake of himself and Fellow Christians, so I of such as cherish good Affecti­ons to the Publick, If in this Life only they have hope, they are of all Men the most miserable. But who shall perswade Men to submit to the Miseries of which we have spake, if there be no hope beyond this Life? Our Author must not undertake it, for I find he is furnish'd with no Arguments to that purpose. His Arguments prompt to Virtue only in common Cases. One that has no other nor better, can have (to use our Author's Phrase and Reasoning, p. 116.) only a partial Affection to Vir­tue, an Affection only to some Particulars, which is an Inconsistency and Contradiction; this partial Af­fection [Page 61] has no Foundation or Establishment in Rea­son, but depends solely on Capriciousness and Hu­mour.

I might dismiss our Author now, and think of concluding this (such as it is) defence of the No­tion of a future State. But I must confess I am perswaded that several of the most speciously said things which are behind, are so unhappi­ly worded and dispos'd, that they tempt, or at least leave room for Opinions inconsistent with the universal necessity of Virtue; I therefore think it meet not to pass them over altogether without animadversion: it looks well what he says, P. 106. To have the natural Affections, such as are founded in Love, Complacency, good Will, and in a sympathy with the Kind or Species, is to have the chief En­joyment of Life. But as far as I can perceive, he takes it for granted, that a Man who disbelieves a future State, may yet have the natural Affections, such as are founded in Love, Complacency, good Will, and in a sympathy with the Kind or Species, in as high a degree as any one else, and by that means be hap­py in the chief Enjoyment of Life. Now this I find fault with: for tho I grant, that a Man who questi­ons the future State, and has his natural Affections beneficently dispos'd to the good of his Kind, par­takes largely of the chief Enjoyments of life; yet I have already prov'd that such a one cannot in all difficult Circumstances so effectually exert his bene­ficent Affections, as he that believes a future State: and now I farther add, that the Man who cannot in all difficult Circumstances so effectually exert his beneficent Affections, cannot have that high degree of inward Satisfaction and Joy as the other: for, the wider the Extent, and the higher the Degree of Virtue is, the more satisfying and joyous are the [Page 62] reflexive Thoughts in the Mind of a virtuous Man; and what is still more, the bare consciousness of me­riting and possessing the Esteem and Love of others, cannot possibly be so satisfying and joyous, as when it is join'd with the comfortable assurance of having done that which is well-pleasing to God, and with the expectance of being the better for it, not in this Life only, but also in the Life to come.

It looks very well what he says, p. 139. That to want the natural Affections (the above-mention'd benefi­cent Affections) is to be chiefly miserable. And upon this Head he very truly and pathetically describes the Disorders and Mischiefs of excessive, irregular, selfish Passions, the Torments of unnatural and horrid Affections; the Pain, Anxiety, Misery which are consequent to vain Fear, fierce Anger, Luxury and Lust, Pride and Ambition; Envy, Hatred and Malice, Revenge, Cruelty, and Tyranny: but all this while he forgets to take notice of what I have already mention'd, viz. that tho generally speaking vitious Men are greatly punish'd by their own Vices, yet some Vices at some Opportunities agree better with them; some vitious Men know how to manage their Vices with a sort of Discreti­on, and while they sooth their Senses, and wrong their Neighbour, take care of their Health and Fame. Now nothing can make this sort of Men uneasy, but the Consideration of what may be hereafter. Now this Topick our Author has not insisted up­on, I cannot say he has not touch'd it, but he has touch'd it at such a rate, that without doing him injury, I may venture to say he does not seem over-earnestly concern'd to have it believ'd that the Man whose Affections are vitious, ought to fear what may befal him in a future State. Let the Reader judg. P. 193. What enjoyment, or what rest is there for him, who is not conscious of the merited Affection or [Page 63] Love of any human Soul, but on the contrary is con­scious of merited Hatred, not only from every Fellow-Creature, but from every thing in the universal Na­ture? What ground of Horrour and Despair? What foundation of Fear, and continual Apprehension from Mankind, and from superiour Powers, whenever any such are credited, or but suspected? Upon this Passage I shall make no worse reflection than this: Tho the thoughts of an ill Man reflecting on his criminal Actions, do naturally create him much Misery; yet that Discourser, who treating upon this Argument, leaves him room to doubt of a future State, does, against the Interests of Society and Government, ease him of too much of the Burden: For, what­ever cause he has to be troubled in Mind, it is a great abatement to think, that when he dies there's an end of it. Fear and Shame are the only re­straints of an evil Inclination; but set aside the No­tion of a future State, and from some Persons in some Cases you remove these restraints: For, some Persons are too big for Laws, and no Man, at least no Infidel to that Notion, blushes in the dark. A Standing Army and the Inquiry con­cerning Virtue, will compleat a Tyrant by freeing him from the fear of God and Man; the latter alone will finish a Libertine. This may seem too severely said, because I have acknowledg'd, that the Inquiry offers many excellent Arguments for Vir­tue, and against Vice. But since those excellent Arguments are partial, of force only in particular, and not serving in all difficult Cases; since no turpi­tude, no dangers are mention'd, causing Fear or Shame to the Vitious, but what are of no longer duration than this short Life; the mighty and the wary Sinner are really tempted to indulge their irregular Passions and Affections.

[Page 64] I dismiss our Author; and now it comes into my mind to talk, as I promis'd, with that very learned Acquaintance, who would bear me down that Tully never made the Notion of a future State an Argu­ment for Virtue. My reading has been narrow, and my Memory such, as to have little of what I have read at command; but examining it at leisure, I remember something in Tully's Tract wrote to Pomponius Atticus, titled Cato Major, de Senectute, which, if I am not greatly mistaken, disproves his Assertion.

The Discourse is Dialogue; but what is said under the Person of Cato was the sense of Tully, as is plain from these words of his: Ipsius Catonis sermo expli­cabit nostram omnem de senectute sententiam; Cato's Discourse will declare my whole sense concerning old Age. Now not to take advantage of the dying Speech put into the mouth of Cyrus by Xenophon, which Tully under the person of Cato recites with approbation, let the Reader judg of this Passage, so remarkable, that it has been almost as much cited as any Text in the Bible. O praeclarum diem, cùm ad illud divinum animorum concilium, coetúm (que) proficis­car, cúm (que) ex hac turba, & colluvione discedam! Pro­ficiscar enim non ad eos solùm viros, de quibus ante dixi; sed etiam ad Catonem meum, quo nemo vir me­lior natus est, ne (que) pietate praestantior! O blessed Day, when I shall arrive at the Divine Assembly of Souls, when I shall leave this vile Crowd and Earth behind; for there I shall meet not only those [noble Romans] whom I just now mention'd, but also my Cato, than whom a more worthy and pious Man the World has not known! Now that which gave Tully the confidence of expecting to be happy after Death in the company of those gallant Men, who, as he, had deserv'd well of the Age they liv'd in, was this: he was not asham'd of the Life he had led, but was [Page 65] conscious to his own Merit. Non me vixisse poenitet, quoniam ita vixi, ut non me frustra natum existimem. Towards the end of this Book he adds, Quod si in hoc erro, quòd animos hominum immortales esse credam, lubenter erro: nec mihi hunc errorem, quo delector, dum vivo, extorqueri volo. If I mistake in thinking the Souls of Men to be immortal, I mistake with delight; nor would I have this Mistake, with which I am pleas'd, torn from me as long as I live.

I had almost overseen the smart Reflection which follows: Sin mortuus (ut quidam minuti Philosophi censent) nihil sentiam, non vereor ne hunc errorem me­um mortui Philosophi irrideant. But if, when I am dead, I become nothing but sensless Matter (as some silly Philosophers think) those silly Philoso­phers will become sensless Matter too, and so there will be no danger of their hitting me in the teeth with this my Mistake.

By this it appears to me, that this Prince of Phi­losophers, and true Father of his Country, this ve­nerable Master of righteous Morals, now with his dear Cato, the noble Scipio's, his friendly Fannius, Laelius, and Scaevola, sustain'd his honest Mind under all the Labours and Difficulties of Virtue, by con­templating the infinite Advantages he should reap in a future State: And surely while he acquaints others with what Expectations he was influenc'd, he may justly be look'd upon as one that seriously endeavour'd to influence them by the same. It is true, he does not speak of the Immortality of the Soul, and the Blessedness which waits the Virtuous, with that confidence which is peculiar to Christians; but he speaks of it as of a thing so very probable, that he thought it highly became him to express his regard to it, by a Virtue so settled and firm, as no Adversity could shake.

[Page 66] One thing more I desire of my Acquaintance (whose singular Parts and Learning make me that I cannot argue against him, without fear and suspi­cion of my self; tho let me do what I can, I am not able to complement him with submitting my Under­standing) i. e. that he would a little consider the Design and Purpose of Tully in that Golden Frag­ment of his sixth Book, Somnium Scipionis, the only valuable Remain of six Books de Republicâ; the loss of which I should infinitely regret now, as Men of Sense and Probity have done formerly, were it not for the incomparable Discourses concerning Go­vernment, which that Wise, Learned and truly No­ble Gentleman Algernon Sidney hath left us.

Tully's Dream in the Person of Scipio is so fine a Piece, I can hardly forbear translating the whole: The Reader I hope will forgive me, if I take it from the beginning, and go as far as the Passage I shall chiefly insist on.

‘When I came into Afric, Colonel (as you know) of the fourth Legion under Marcus Manilius, I made it my business to meet Masanissa, a King, who for very good reasons was much a friend to our Family: I no sooner came to him, but the aged Prince took me in his Arms, and wept; a while after recovering from his Transport, he lifts up his Eyes to Heaven, and breaks out into this Exclamation: O thou great God, the Sun! and you the rest Inhabitants Celestial! I bless and praise you all, that once before I dy, I have the happiness to behold within my own Dominions, and under this Roof, P. Cornelius Scipio, whose very Name I love to hear; so dear, and so well fix'd in my Mind is the memory of that most excellent and invincible Man. Then I ask'd him some Questions concerning his Kingdom; he me some concerning our Commonwealth. This kind of [Page 67] Discourse took up the whole day; in the Evening we were royally entertain'd, and continued our Discourse till midnight. He dwelt upon the name of Africanus, and talk'd much of the great things done and said by him: After this we withdrew to Rest. Travelling and sitting up late laid me in a profound sleep. And here (for it often comes to pass, that the Thoughts and Discourse of the Day produce in sleep something like that which Ennius writes of Homer, whom he read and stu­died so long till he dream'd that himself was Ho­mer) Africanus appear'd to me in that form, with which, not the remembrance of his Person, but the Idea of his Statue made me acquainted. I knew 'twas he, and stood amaz'd: but he bid me quit my fear, and, with a presence of Mind, heed what he should say to me. See you that City (showing me Carthage from a high starry radiant place) which I taught to obey the Romans; she the old War renews, and has not the wit to be quiet. You come now to fight against this City, tho hardly of Age to command; two years hence you shall be Consul, and take it, and so deserve the honourable Sirname, which by Adop­tion you inherit: but when you have ras'd Car­thage, and triumph'd; when you have discharg'd the high Office of Censor, and gone Embassador over Egypt, Syria, Asia, Greece, you shall be again, tho absent, chosen Consul, finish a long War, and destroy Numantia. But when in your triumphal Chariot you shall be carried up to the Capitol, you'll find the State in Confusion by the seditious management of my Nephew Tiberius. And now Africanus, Inheritor of my Name and Virtue, you must stand by your Country with all your Wisdom and Courage: and doubtful at this juncture will your own Fate seem; for, when your [Page 68] Age hath measur'd eight times seven annual courses of the Sun (both which numbers are full and mysterious) a momentous critical Period to you, the Eyes of the Senate, and all good Men of our Confederates, and all that own the Latin Name will be set on you alone, their Hearts all turn'd towards you; you are the Man on whom the Safety of the City then relies, and you being Dictator (if so be you luckily escape the Trea­chery of your impious Kinsmen) shall preserve and settle it safe. Here Laelius and the rest sur­priz'd, show'd their Concern; but Scipio gently smiling said, Let me dream on, and all will be well; listen then to what follows. That you, Afri­canus, may be more vigorous in defence of the Go­vernment, know of a certain, that for all them, who have sav'd their Country from ruin, signally serv'd its Interests, amplified and better'd the condition thereof, there is a determinate Seat in Heaven allotted, where they shall enjoy an everlasting Age of Bliss.

Without going any farther, I can't but conclude, that this waking Dream of Tully under the Person of Scipio, speaks the sense which Tully had of a fu­ture State, as plainly as it shows his Wit and Judg­ment. It is to me an amazement, that any Men should think, as I am told some do, that Tully is in jest here, and devis'd this ingenious Dream, not to give the Romans a true account of the real sense of his Mind, but only to cozen them into a Zeal for their Country, whenever it should be dangerous to ap­pear in defence of its Interests; into a love of Justice, and moral Honesty, when the Practice was like to be detrimental to a Man's Affairs in the World. Indeed this great Man had not the very same sense of a future State, with respect to all Circumstances, as perhaps the Jews of old had, or some Christians [Page 69] since his time: tho by the way, it is not very plain in the Old Testament, that the Jews had any no­tion at all of a future State; I deny not but that they did believe it, for they might gather it from the same Principles of Reason which we do: but it does not appear to me in those Books, that their Pro­phets plainly taught it them. The most learned among Christian Doctors freely grant that the Pro­mises and Threatnings in the Old Testament look not beyond this Life, tho (they say) relatively consider'd, they denote more, and serve as Types of Gospel-Revelations. As for some Christians, they have drawn a Scheme of future State, not only without, but directly contrary to the lines of the Gospel: What the Gospel says of this matter, if rightly understood, is not contrary to Reason: But Tully had not that Light, yet his Reason led him to the knowledg of a future State, wherein good and bad Men meet with duly proportion'd Fruits of their good and bad way of living, tho he incumbers the Notion with Philosophical Fables. But if it could be made out that Tully did not believe this Notion, which in his Dream he makes an Argument for the most difficult Virtue, viz. that of serving one's Country in a time of imminent danger; yet thus much I shall incontestably gain, viz. that in Tully's opinion there was no Argument but this of force to perswade Men in that case: And then he is with me thus far, that a general reception of this Notion is necessary for the tolerable well-being of Society.

But I will not yet dismiss this fictitious Dream, dream'd by a wise Man, when his Eyes were open, his Mind present with it self, studious and serious; it may be worth our while to translate a little of Macrobius's elegant Exposition upon it. ‘Between the Books of Plato and Tully concerning Govern­ment, this difference appears at first sight: Plato [Page 70] describes that Form which was most necessary for the Ends of Government; Tully that which was antiently instituted among the Romans. Pla­to, by means of a quick and piercing Genius, seeing thro the nature and reason of things, per­ceiv'd that all his Discourse concerning Govern­ment was to no purpose, unless the Minds of Men were possess'd with a love of Virtue; without which, not only a great Commonwealth, but every lesser Society, and indeed every private House is obnoxious to the most destructive Dis­orders. To possess Men with the love of Virtue, so necessary to the well-being of all Societies in general, he saw that nothing would conduce so much, as the making it appear that the ad­vantages of Virtue were not terminated with the short Life of Man: this prompted him to essay the proof of the Immortality of the Soul. Having prov'd that’ (by such Arguments as in those days went for Apodictic) ‘he look'd upon it as a necessary Consequence, to assign to Souls, freed from the Prison of the Body, divers Habi­tations, with respect to their good or ill deserving, in the future State: this he has done in his Phaedo, and in his Gorgias, sweetning his graver Morals with the pleasantry of the wise Socrates; but this he has done more especially in those Volumes in which he form'd his Scheme of a Commonwealth: and this order and method, so wisely design'd by Plato, Tully with no less Judgment has imitated. To this purpose Macrobius in his first Chapter. The Title of the fourth is, What may be the purpose and scope of this Dream, where he speaks thus: ‘Towards the end of the sixth Book, when Laelius wonder'd that no Statues were erected to Scipio Nasica, as a Reward of his publick Service in slaying one of the seditious Gracchi; Scipio re­plied, [Page 71] Tho the Consciousness of their worthy Deeds be the highest Reward of Virtue, yet that divine Virtue’ (viz. of slaying Tiberius Gracchus, who troubled the Peace of the State, and affected Tyrannick Power) ‘covets no erected Statues, nor Triumphs with fading Lawrel crown'd, but some more stable and flourishing Rewards. Laelius asks, What are those? Scipio replies, Suffer me to pursue what I have to say farther, and so falls into the Story of his Dream, showing that those were more stable, and flourishing Rewards which were laid up in Heaven for the Defenders of their Country; as appears from these words, Quo sis, Africane, alaerior, &c. That you, Africanus, may be more vigorous in defence of the Government, know of a certain, that for all them who have sav'd their Country from ruin, signally serv'd its In­terests, amplified and better'd the condition thereof, there is a determinate Seat in Heaven allotted, where they shall enjoy an everlasting Age of Bliss. And a little after, declaring what sort of Seat that was, he says: And so, Scipio, after the example of your Grandfather, and of me who begat you, live justly and piously. It is a piece of Justice and Piety to be useful to Parents and Relations: but to be useful to one's Country, that's the greatest Justice and Piety, that's the way to Heaven, and the company of those Worthies who have finish'd their course, and now in­habit that place which you see, pointing to the Gallery.

There is another beautiful place in the Dream, which confirms me, both that Tully did really be­lieve a future State, and thought it the only Argu­ment for difficult Virtue. Igitur altè spectare si voles, &c. Therefore if you will lift up your Eyes and Thoughts towards this eternal Seat, seek not the Applause of the Vulgar, nor place all your hope on those Rewards which Men bestow on [Page 72] Men. You must be won by the Charms of Virtue alone; as to what others talk of you, let them look to that, but talk of you they will. The Opinion of the World concerning us is bounded within the compass of these Countries which we know: no one's Fame can be everlasting, it lessens by the death of succeeding Generations, till with late Posterity 'tis buried. He had no sooner fi­nish'd this Admonition, but I replied: Well Afri­canus! if Heaven is open to those who deserve well of their Country, I shall now, tho I always trod in my Father's and your steps, and never de­generated; I shall now, having an Eye to the Reward before me, contend more earnestly to obtain it. Upon this he urg'd: Be sure you do so, and reckon that it is not you who are mortal, but only your Body; for, it is not the Form and Figure that appears, which constitutes a Man what he is, but it is the Mind which is the Man: know then that thou art a God, at least, if that be a God which lives, and has sense, which remembers, and takes care of things to come, which rules, commands, and moves the Body over which it is set, as the great God moves, commands and rules the World.’

Just at this period I am told, that from this very Dream it may be made appear, that Tully did not be­lieve the future State: I have now read it over again and again, and am amaz'd at the strangeness of the assertion. Indeed Tully says, that Souls do move themselves by an interior motion of their own; and thence he concludes that they had no beginning, but ever did exist, and ever shall. But then it is plain he holds, that they have existed in another state be­fore this, and shall exist in another after this. And that the State after this, was a State wherein all Souls were not like to be in the same condition, he [Page 73] sufficiently intimates, by putting those words into Africanus's Mouth: Hanc tu exerce, &c. exercise this your immortal Soul in the best Works: the best are, an endeavour to serve your Country, with which your Soul is exercis'd, and thereby shall soon­er ascend to this happy Dwelling. I shall move no more words concerning Tully's Sense of this matter, which might be farther confirm'd from Multitudes of Passages in his Works. Yet let me refer my Reader to what the Author of the Letter to the Deist, p. 105. has taken notice of as quoted by my Lord Herbert of Cherbury, in his Treatise de Religione Gen­tilium.

I mean now to cast my Eye on those places in Tul­ly, wherein some have told me, he directly denies the future State.

Let the Reader allow me to introduce the first Passage objected against me, with a short prefatory Account of the Occasion and Subject of the Ora­tion, where it is to be found. Clodius a wild young noble Roman in love with Pompeia the Wife of Ce­sar, found means to get into Cesar's House in Wo­man's Habit, on a solemn Festival, when the Ladies were celebrating a secret Service (at which Men were never present) to the Goddess Ceres. He carried his Disguise so aukwardly, that it was discover'd: the Story taking air, he was accus'd by one of the Tri­bunes for profaning the Lady's Religion. He pleaded for himself, that he was absent from Rome on the Day the Fact was charg'd: Tully strengthened the Evi­dence against him, deposing that on that very day Clodius had bin at his House. This notwithstand­ing, Clodius, bribing his Judges, was acquitted, but never forgave Cicero his Deposition. By the same means he gain'd his Absolution, he soon after pro­cur'd himself to be chose Tribune, and by the help of the Consuls Gabinius and Piso, he perswaded the [Page 74] People to banish Cicero, then demolish'd his Country seats, burn'd his House in the City, and on the ground built a Temple to Liberty. But Clodius his insolence increasing, Pompey found it his Interest to have Cicero recall'd; the People unanimously voted it, and order'd his Houses to be rebuilt at the com­mon Charge. When Clodius could not stem this Tide by bold force, he labour'd to give his prevail­ing Adversary what trouble he could under the co­lour of Religion; it was impossible, he pleaded, for Cicero to be reinstated in his City Dwelling, be­cause on the very ground, on which the same stood, a Temple had bin built to Liberty. Cicero pleads his right, and overthrows the cheating Pretence of Religion, in his Oration pro domo sua ad Pontifices. He lays open the Craft of the Ministers of Religion, and exposes Clodius farther, in his Oration de Harus­picum Responsis; and there having recounted the many Villanies, and odious Lewdness of his Adver­sary, he proves him to be miserable, tho his corrupt Judges had absolv'd him: for he stood condemn'd in his own Mind, and in the opinion of all good Men, the Consciousness of which was the most se­vere of Punishments. He flourishes upon this Topick thus: Tu cùm furiales in concionibus voces mittis, cùm domos Civium evertis, cùm lapidibus optimos viros foro pellis, cùm ardentes faces in vicinorum tecta jactas, cùm aedes sacras inflammas, cùm servos concitas, cùm sacra ludos (que) conturbas, cùm uxorem sororem (que) non discer­nis; cùm quod ineas cubile non sentis; cùm baccharis, cùm furis, tum das eas poenas, quae sunt solae hominum sceleri a Diis immortalibus constitutae. When you ha­rangue the People with malicious Eloquence, when you demolish the Houses of Citizens, when with Stones you pelt and drive the most worthy Senators from the Forum, when set fire to common Dwellings, and sacred Temples; when you stir up Slaves to Sedition, and disturb the Ce­lebration [Page 75] of religious Ordinances; when you know no diffe­rence between your Wife and your Sister, and matter not whose Bed you defile; when you lewdly revel, and outragiously debosh, then you suffer those Pains, which are the only that the Gods have ordain'd to punish the Wickedness of Men. Now this is one of the places represented to me, as a plain Declaration of Tully's Opinion against a future State; and the Represen­ter is in doubt whether he shall look upon me as dull of understanding, because I do not conceive it to be so, or obstinate for not acknowledging it. Well! I cannot help what any Man thinks of me: nay, tho I am really desirous to be well thought of, and would give something for the Represen­ter's good word; yet in this case I cannot think, as he would have me, because in truth the matter appears otherwise to me than it does to him. I am indeed convinc'd from this place, that Tully believ'd none of the Snakes and burning Torches of the in­fernal Furies, so much talk'd of by the Poets; none of the material Fire, scorching Flame, and stifling Smoke, which some of the more ignorant Christians take into their Description of Hell: but as I conceive, he might for all that he has here said, really believe a future State, where the Punishment of evil deeds shall be the same in substance, tho not in degree, as it is here. Tully's business in this Oration was to paint out Clodius in his true Colours, to let People see into the hands of what an ill Man they had giv'n the Power of a Tribune, to let his Judges see what a guilty wretch they had absolv'd; to convince his whole Audience, that a Villain ab­solv'd by corrupt Judges could not yet but be mi­serable, thro the irregularity of his Passions and Affections, and the consciousness of his Misdeeds: pursuant to this purpose it was proper for him to distinguish between the Punishments exacted by Men, [Page 76] which were sometimes bought off, and those inflict­ed by the Gods, which were never to be avoided; the one reaching Body and Goods, the other the Mind. The Gods interpose not in what concerns the former, their Inflictions are laid on the Mind.

Self-consciousness and Reflection are the Mini­sters of their Vengeance, they make use of no other to punish Wickedness. This is all that Tully says; and many good Men, as well Christians as De­ists, who believe the future State, will say upon the matter the same thing. But tho according to Tully the Gods have ordain'd only Self-consciousness and Reflection to punish Wickedness in this Life; may they not have ordain'd this also, tho this only, to punish it hereafter? I say not everlastingly, for Tully had other Notions of the Gods than that comes to; but so long at least, till the Punishment shall work a change of Mind in the Sufferer, and then the Punishment cannot but cease. I interest not my self in the case, but take it for granted that Tully could not make the Gods Authors of no Punishments, but what were design'd for the amendment of the Sufferer, and the instruction of the Beholder.

But farther, Tully was a Man that knew how to praise and dispraise, none better; when he pleads for Archias the Poet, Ligarius, or Milo, his Decorati­ons have all the Life and Force that Wit and Friend­ship can give them; and when he accuses Catiline or Clodius, Piso and Gabinius, his Accusations have all the Weight and bitter Vehemence that Wit and Anger can give them. His Talent was to move the Affections of his Hearers, in order to which he did not so much consider what was nicely true, as what was proper to be said for the end he aim'd at. Now if he had not believ'd a word of a future State, he would not yet in this Oration have denied it, be­cause [Page 77] it was improper, and very contrary to the end which he aim'd at to do so. When the Ora­tor with flowing merciless Eloquence was exaggerat­ing the Torments which Clodius could not but suffer, tho his Judges had absolv'd him, through his sense of the Odium which he had incurr'd from all true Lovers of their Country, and conscious Reflection on his Demerits; was it not, I appeal to the Rea­der, was it not very improper for him to tell his Auditors that the vile Man would be tormented by his evil Conscience while he liv'd, and no longer? Could Tully be so weak, when he labour'd to perswade the Citizens that Clodius was very miserable, tho not condemn'd and punish'd according to the Laws of his Country, as to profess that after a little while he must pass into the same State of eternal Forgetfulness, as the worthiest Senator of 'em all? They must have a mean Conceit of the Orator that put this upon him; but however, I am sure his words will not bear it.

Yet one Remark farther: Tully was not like to deny the future State in his Invective against Clodius, because whatever his Rhetorick might be able to perswade the People, that Clodius suffer'd by his consciousness of his Villanies, yet it did not appear that Clodius had suffer'd more vexation of Spirit than Tully who declaim'd against him. Tully was witness against Clodius in the matter of his trespass on the Lady's Religion, mov'd to do it by his im­perious Wife Terentia, who hated Clodius, because her Husband was to have married his Sister: hence began the difference between them, for before they had bin Friends. By Bribery and popular Arts Clo­dius became a Tribune; Cicero fear'd his Power, was cheated by his seeming Reconciliation, forsook his advantage of commanding under Cesar, meanly sol­licited his own Cause in mourning Habit with long [Page 78] neglected Hair, attended by 20000 Gentlemen, e­nough to have defended him, had not the Mind of their Leader bin full of Confusion and Fear. Clodius insulted him till he fled, pursued him with the Votes of the People, oppos'd his return with armed Force, and after that boldly stood his ground, till he fell by the hands of Milo, a Tribune of as great Reso­lution as himself. Now an equal Considerer of this Story will be apt to suspect that the honest Man had more trouble and vexation of Spirit, dur­ing the Contention, than the violent, leud and un­just Tribune. Indeed when the stream was turn'd, and the Favour of the People again came about to Tully, he bore hard upon Clodius with the best Wea­pon he had, his eloquent Tongue; but he could not get his publick Acts rescinded, even Cato oppos'd that, nor his Person condemn'd; this disturb'd his Thoughts, and heated him into that satyrical Ha­rangue which labours to prove the Man to be mise­rable, tho he had scap'd his revenge. But when all is done, Cicero that was concern'd to have it be­liev'd that Clodius was severely punish'd by his guilty Conscience, was not so weak as to add, he was not like to be punish'd by the same hereafter. I will add but one note by the way, and I have done with my Reply to this Objection: Disorders and trou­ble of Mind are commonly consequent to those vile Deeds which Clodius committed, but they are not always so, nor does it plainly appear that Clodius suffer'd those Torments; more likely it is, that his Mind was lifted up with the thoughts of hav­ing pretty well weather'd the Storm: but if wick­ed Men are to suffer nothing after this life, a great many will go off, as Clodius did, with suffering little or nothing at all.

Another Passage objected against me, to prove that Tully was an absolute Infidel to a future State, [Page 79] is this, in his Oration against Calpurnius Piso: I will briefly recite, and reply.

Me tamen fugerat Deorum immortalium has esse in im­pios & consceleratos poenas certissimas constitutas. Nolite enim putare, P. C. ut in scena videtis homines conscele­ratos, impulsu Deorum, terreri furiarum taedis ardenti­bus; sua quem (que) fraus, suum facinus, suum scelus, sua audacia de sanitate ac mente deturbat; hae sunt impiorum furiae, hae flammae, hae faces.

I did not consider, that these (speaking of the torments of a guilty Mind) were the certain Punishments award­ed by the Gods against vile and profligate Men: For I would not have you think, O Conscript Fathers, that wic­ked Men, as sometimes on a Stage, are by the impulse of the Gods, terrified with the burning Torches of the Furies; every ones own Fraud, his own Wickedness, his own Villany, his own desperate Boldness, puts him beside himself, and disorders his Thoughts; these are the Furies that torment the wicked, these the Flames, and these the Torches.

A very like Passage to this occurs in his Orati­on for Ruscius; and if this had not bin objected a­gainst me, I might have bin apt to have quoted it in proof of Tully's Belief of a future State: For Furies, flaming Torches, and all that, were in those days part of the description of future Punishments. Now Tully here seems to admit the Notion of future Punishments, only he corrects a popular Mistake concerning the nature of them. Furies and Flames are Metaphors of real Evils; and Devils are no such idle Stories, unless Fools and Knaves have the paint­ing them. They now range up and down the World (for ours is not the Age in which any of them are to be chain'd up) seeking whom they may devour. There's the Devil of Pride, the De­vil of Cruelty, the Devil of Bigotry, and that grand Devil the Father of these, the Devil of ill [Page 80] nature, Noon-day Devils most an end, so far are they from flying when the early Dawn breaks: but there's the Devil of Envy, the Devil of Treachery, the Devil of Fraud, and the Devil of Lust, sneek­ing Devils, that choose rather to walk in Darkness; Legion may well be their common name, for there's no counting their number; and vast havock do they make, both in Church and State, perhaps they know not that distinction; but 'tis certain they ne­ver mind it: nay they pursue all vile Wretches into the other World also, such is their implacable Malice; and all they who carry irregular Passion, and base Affections with them out of this life, car­ry these Devils with them into the next; and till they recover an honest mind, by them they are like to be tormented. I know nothing that Tully has advanc'd against these Notions, but I am much mis­taken if right Reason does not favour them: Yes, and Revelation also; else what mean those words of the Apostle St. James, God tempts no Man, but eve­ry Man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own Heart's Lust and entic'd. All Temptations come from some Devil or other, who takes up his seat in the Heart of a vile Man; but whatever De­vils there are in the Heart, this is a Comfort, it is possible they may be exorcis'd, sometimes by the ra­tional Discourses of a virtuous Monitor, sometimes by the woful experience of the possess'd; and he must have a very unreasonable Prejudice against Scripture, that thinks none of them can be ejected nor by Prayer, nor by Fasting.

Tully somewhere has these words, Qui requirunt, quid qua (que) de re ipsi sentiamus, curiosius id faci­unt, quam necesse est. They who search what is our particular Opinion about every thing are more curious than is necessary.’ He means, I suppose, that in many Points his particular Senti­ments [Page 81] are not easy to be discover'd; but if they be harder to be discover'd in one place than another, I take them to be so in his Orations, for there he ever exerts all the mighty Powers of his command­ing Eloquence, and says all that can be said to serve his Friend and plague his Enemy, without tying him­self up to the strict Rules of Truth, or keeping an exact constant agreement with his own Philosophi­cal Notions. He was of the mind as the well-spoken Men of his Profession still are, viz. that the Cause, whose Patronage they undertake, ought not to suffer for want of speaking up for it: But in his Divine (I had almost said inspir'd) Books of Offices (they are inspir'd with a Spirit of Honesty and Goodness, with a Spirit of Wisdom and Truth) in those Books wrote when Civil Broils had thrust him out of all publick Business; in his Discourses concern­ing the nature of the Gods, and in his Tusculan Questions; in these Pieces or no where we may ex­pect to find the Heart and Soul of the Man. But even in these a learned Acquaintance would bear me down that Tully discovers his disbelief of a future State: I press him to cite some Passage to that pur­pose; he offers me these words, ‘Me verò delectat (animae credere immortalitatem) id (que) primùm ita esse velim, deinde etiamsi non sit, mihi tamen per­suaderi velim.’ Cicero in Tuscul. Quaest. 1.

Paulo inferius.

Feci mehercule (Platonis sc. evolvi librum de ani­mâ) & quidem saepius, sed nescio quomodo, dum le­go, assentior cùm deposui librum, & mecum ipse de immortalitate animorum coepi cogitare, assensus omnis illa elabitur.

It delighteth me (viz. to believe the Immor­tality of the Soul) and first I wish it may be true, [Page 82] and then should it not be true, I wish I may be persuaded that it is.

A little after.

I have done it often (i. e. I have often read Plato's Book of the Soul) but it happens, I know not how, that while I read him I assent to what he says; but when I have laid the Book aside, and begin to consider with my self concerning the Immortality of the Soul, all that Assent va­nishes.

I am very glad of this Objection, 1. Because I take it to be as good as any he can produce in fa­vour of this Assertion, that Tully did not believe the Immortality of the Soul, nor consequently a future State. 2. Because (tho I am far from being con­vinc'd by it, and dare hardly hope to convince him) the examining of this Passage will, in my opi­nion, utterly shame his Assertion before all impar­tial Considerers. In order to do this fairly and fully, first, I call to mind, that I have heard him some­times reprove the Ignorance or Prevarication of sundry Writers who quote for Tully's Sayings those words which he speaks, not of himself, but only puts into the mouth of a third Person against whom he disputes. Now I must observe to my Acquain­tance, that these two Passages which he has quoted, as Testimonies that Tully disbeliev'd the Immorta­lity of the Soul, and consequently a future State, are not spoken by Tully as from himself, but are the words which he puts into the Mouth of a third Person against whom he disputes, which I prove thus: Tul­ly makes his way to the first of his Tusculan Questi­ons concerning the contempt of Death, by giving an account how he came to exercise himself in [Page 83] weighty Philosophical Questions; then he tells his Friend Brutus, to whom he writes, that this was the method which he took, Ponere jube­bam de quo quis audire vellet, & id aut sedens, aut ambulans disputabam, ita (que) dierum quin (que) Scholas ut Graeci appellant, in totidem libros con­tuli; fiebat autem ita, ut cùm is, qui audire vellet, dixisset quid sibi videretur, tum ego con­tradicerem. I bid him (i. e. the Person with whom he confer'd) to set down that Point or Question, concerning which he would gladly hear; and then sitting, or as I walk'd, I discuss'd the same: So the Schola's, as the Greeks call them, the Conferences of five days I disposed into five Books; and thus were the Conferences manag'd, when he that desir'd to hear the Question discuss'd had said what he thought good, then I on the other side spake my Mind.’ From these words in the Preface to the first Dialogue, it is beyond controversy plain, that the words spoken by Atticus, or the Hearer (as are those objected against me) represent not the Mind of Tully, but what Marcus (the other fictitious Name in the Dialogue) replies; that, and that only can fairly be charg'd on him: which be­ing very material, I crave leave to set before the Reader some remarkable Portions of it. N. 27. Ʋnum illud erat insitum priscis illis, quos Cascos appellat Ennius, esse in morte sensum, ne (que) excessu vitae sic deleri hominem, ut funditus interiret: id (que) cùm multis aliis rebus, tum è pontificio jure, & ceremoniis sepulchrorum intelli­gi licet: quas maximis ingeniis praediti, nec tan­ta cura coluissent, nec violatas tam inexpiabili [Page 84] religione sanxissent, nisi haesisset in eorum men­tibus, mortem non interitum esse omnia tollen­tem at (que) delentem, sed quandam quasi migra­tionem commutationém (que) vitae, quae in claris viris & foeminis, Dux in coelum soleret esse: in caeteris humi retineretur, & permaneret ta­men.’

It was with those Antients whom Ennius calls Casci, as a natural Sentiment, that Death did not bereave a Man of all Sense, nor make an utter end of him: which, among other things, ap­pears from Pontifical Laws, and from Sepul­chral Rites, which Men of the best sense had never so carefully observ'd, nor enforc'd with so fatal Penalty, but that it was a settled Prin­ciple with them, ‘That Death was not the end of all things, but a certain removal as it were, and change of one Life for another, by means of which famous Men and Wo­men were translated into Heaven, others left below,’ but still left in Existence.

‘N. 30. Firmissimum hoc afferri videtur cur Deos esse credamus, quòd nulla gens tam fera, ne­mo omnium tam sit immanis, cujus mentem non imbuerit Deorum opinio. Multi de Diis prava sentiunt: omnes tamen esse vim & naturam di­vinam arbitrantur. Nec vero id collocutio ho­minum, auc consensus efficit, non institutis opinio est confirmata, non legibus. Omni autem in re, consensio omnium gentium lex Naturae pu­tanda est. This seems a strong Argument why we should believe the Being of Gods, because there is no Nation so wild, no Man [Page 85] so savage, whose Mind is not indued with an Opinion of Gods. Many Men have an un­worthy Opinion of Gods, but all judg that there is a Nature and Power Divine; and this is not the effect of Conference and friendly Agreement, it is not owing to Customs or Laws: but that thing, whatever it is, which has the consent of all Nations, is to be deem'd a Law of Nature.’

N. 31. Maximum vero argumentum est, na­turam ipsam de immortalitate animorum tacitam judicare, quod omnibus curae sunt, & maximè quidem,’ quae post mortem futura sunt.

‘But 'tis a very great Argument that Na­ture it self gives a silent Verdict for the Im­mortality of the Soul, because all Men are concern'd, most highly concern'd about what shall be hereafter.’

N. 33. Nemo unquam sine magna spe im­mortalitatis, se pro patria offerret ad mortem. Licuit esse otioso Themistocli, licuit Epaminondae, licuit (ne & vetera & externa quaeram) mihi, sed nescio quomodo inhaeret in mentibus, quasi saeculorum quoddam augurium futurorum, id (que) in maximis ingeniis, altissimis (que) animis, & ex­istit maximè, & apparet facillimè; quo quidem dempto, quis tam esset amens qui semper in la­boribus,’ & periculis viveret?

‘None ever without a strong hope of Im­mortality, would venture his Life to save his Country. Themistocles might have liv'd at [Page 86] ease, so might Epaminondas, and (not to hunt after old and foreign Examples) so might I my self, but that I know now not how, there is inherent in our Minds, a certain foreboding of a Life to come; and that same foreboding is most busy, and does most plain­ly appear in Men of the best Wits, and most discerning Minds; which Notion being set aside, Who would be so mad as to live in continual Labours and Dangers?’ He pursues this point by taking notice what respect several Orders of Men, Poets, Mechanicks, Philoso­phers, have to this Notion; and then has these words: ‘Sed ut Deos esse natura opinamur, qua­les (que) sint ratione cognoscimus; sic permanere ani­mos arbitramur consensu nationum omnium: qua in sede maneant, quales (que) sint ratione discen­dum est, cujus ignoratio finxit inferos, easabque; for­midines, quas tu contemnere non sine causa videbare.’

But as by nature we are inclin'd to think that there are Gods, and by reason learn what to think of them: So by the consent of all Nations we are mov'd to believe that Souls remain after Death: in what place they remain, and what nature they are of, 'tis Reason must teach us; the ignorance of which thing (viz. the nature of the Soul) invent­ed the Inferi, and those Bugbears, which you not without cause seem to despise.

Here again Tully owning his Belief of a fu­ture State, discovers that his Thoughts con­cerning it were widely different from the Fan­cies of Poets, and dreams of Priests; but [Page 87] tho he was free from the Errors which they had introduc'd into natural Religion, and above the imaginary Fears which, he says, were wont to afright Women and Children, espe­cially when a pale Ghost was brought on the Stage, with a dreadful Verse of Homer in his Mouth, whose hollow Noise proclaim'd I know not what about Fell Acheron, gloomy Caves, cragged impending Rocks, and pitchy Dark­ness; yet he is far from setting aside that great restraint of secret dishonesty, the apprehension of being in a worse State for it hereafter. Of this we have a manifest Testimony in what follows. Our excellent Author having run over several philosophical Arguments for the Im­mortality of the Soul, seeks to credit his Dis­course by a very remarkable account of the Words and Actions of dying Socrates—His & talibus adductus Socrates, nec Patronum quaesivit ad judicium Capitis, nec judicibus supplex fuit, adhibuit (que) liberam contumaciam a magnitudine animi due­tam, non a superbia: & supremo Vitae die de hoc ipso multa disseruit; & paucis antè diebus, cum facile possit educi ex custodiâ, noluit: & cum pent in manu jam mortiferum illud teneret poculum, lo [...]utut ita est, ut non ad mortem trudi, verum in eoelum videretur ascendere. Ita enim censebat, ita (que) disse­ruit duas esse vias, duplices (que) cursus animorum [...] corpore excedentium: nam qui se humanis vitiis con­taminâssent, & se totos libidinibus dedissent, quibus caecati velut domesticis vitiis, at (que) flagitiis se inqui­nâssent, vel in Rempublicam violandam frandes in­expiabiles concepissent, iis devium quoddam iter esse, seclusum a Concilio Deorum: qui autem se in­tegros castos (que) servassent, quibus (que) fuisset minima [Page 88] cum corporibus contagio, sese (que) ab his semper sevo­câssent, essent (que) in corporibus humanis vitam imitati Deorum, his ad illos a quibus essent profecti reditum facilem patere.

Socrates, by these and the like Arguments perswaded, neither demanded to have Coun­cil allow'd him, when his Life was so near­ly concern'd, nor with humble deference courted the favour of his Judges, but us'd a free and undaunted Boldness before them, which proceeded not from Vanity and Pride, but from the just greatness of his Mind. Also he discours'd of this very thing (viz. the im­mortality of the Soul) on the day he died. And a few days before, when he might easi­ly have bin convey'd out of Prison by his Friends, he refus'd. When he was just ready to take the deadly Hemloc-potion in his hand, it appear'd by his Discourse, that he did not look upon himself as a Criminal going to suffer a violent Death, but as a just Man as­cending up to Heaven. Such was his Per­swasion, and therefore he declar'd that when Souls depart out of the Body, there lay two ways before them; they who defil'd them­selves with Vices common to Men, who gave themselves wholly up to lustful Passions and Affections, by which being blinded, Dis­honesty became familiar and habitual to them, or who by conspiring against the Laws and Liberties of their Country had contracted an inexpiable Guilt, all of this sort took a by way secluded, and fenc'd off from the hap­py Assembly of the Gods: but they whose [Page 89] wiser care had preserv'd themselves pure and virtuous, whose Minds were never poison'd with corporeal Pleasures, but always restrain'd their Affections from such Objects, and, while in the Body, liv'd the Life of Gods, all they after Death took the road leading to the good Gods whence they came.’

By this it plainly appears that Tully believ'd a future State, such a future State in which there was a good and a bad, that to be enjoy'd, this to be suffer'd by Men, according to what they do in the Body: so little is the difference between this honest Pagan Theist, and a sober Christian; and perhaps if things were equally weigh'd, it might appear much one and the same thing to all the Purposes of Virtue, whether wicked Men shall hereafter find a Hell to punish their Misdeeds, or carry it with them. But if I should leave my last Citation thus, and pass on to something else, I doubt not but one or other of my Ad­versaries (who are now and then kindly visiting, and freely objecting against me) would tax me of disingenuity, and dissembling, of designed­ly over-looking that which makes against me, and I know nothing is got to a good Cause by such a Conduct; therefore I will read on, and consider what may be made of those words, which seem not of a piece with the rest.

‘Ita (que) commemorat, ut Cygni, qui non sine causâ Apollini dicati sunt, sed quòd ab eo divina­tionem habere videantur, quâ providentes quid in morte boni sit, cum cantu, & voluptate morian­tur; sic omnibus & bonis & doctis esse faciendum: [Page 90] nec vero de hoc quisquam dubitare possit, nisi idem nobis accideret diligenter de animo cogitantibus, quod iis saepe usu venit, qui acriter oculis deficien­tem solem intuerentur, ut aspectum omnino a­mitterent. Sic mentis acies seipsam intuens, non­nunquam hebescit: ob eam (que) causam contemplan­di diligentiam amittimus. Ita (que) dubitans, cir­cumspectans, haesitans, multa adversa revertens, tanquam ratis in mari immenso nostra vehitur Oratio.’

‘Therefore He (Socrates) remarks that as Swans, not without reason sacred to Apollo, from whom they have the Gift of Divinati­on, foreseeing the good there is in death, dy with Joy and Singing: So should the Virtuous and the Wise, Men of good Sense and Learn­ing do; of this there is no doubt to be made, unless that should befal us thoughtfully consi­dering the nature of the Soul, which com­monly happens to them who gaze on the Sun in Eclipse, till they can see no longer; for so the Sight of the Mind, turn'd upon it self, and intently examining its own Nature, grows dim, by which means we lose all the expected fruit of our diligent Contemplati­on: So while I my self doubt, and look round the thing in question, while I demur, and consider once and again what may be said pro and con, my Discourse is like a floating Ves­sel tost to and fro in the wide Sea.’

I must confess, that from this Passage one might be apt to imagine, that Tully, even in the most serious matter, was a little addicted to [Page 91] the Academic wanton Rhetorical Way of talk­ing all that came into his thoughts, what side soever of the Question was serv'd or prejudic'd by it: he had giv'n occasion to be suspected of this Vanity once before. N. 49. ‘Praeclarum autem nescio quid adepti sunt, qui didicerunt, se, cum tempus mortis venisset, totos esse perituros; quod ut ita sit (nihil enim pugno) quid habet ista res aut laetabile aut gloriosum?’

‘They have discover'd a worthy Secret in­deed, who have learn'd, that when they die, they must wholly perish and be no more; which to suppose it true (for I dispute not against it) what have they rejoice at, and be proud of?’

But now I answer; 1st, That perhaps there is more of a Rhetorical Apophasis, than Acade­mic Scepticism in both these Passages. Tully delights much in this Figure Apophasis, which promises not to mention those things which are most industriously mention'd and offer'd to the Hearers consideration. In the latter of these Passages he says, that he would not dispute a­gainst them who pretended to have discover'd that Death was the end of all things, and yet in the very next words he does dispute a­gainst them, and that sufficiently to the de­claration of his own Opinion upon the Que­stion, if not to the conviction of his Adversa­ries. N. 49. ‘Nec tamen mihi sane quicquam occurrit, cur non Pythagorae sit & Platonis vera sententia. And yet I know no reason but that the opi­nion of Pythagoras and Plato may be true; [Page 92] which was for the Immortality of the Soul. And a little after, Ne (que) aliud est quidquam, cur incredibilis his animorum videatur aeterni­tas, nisi quod nequeunt qualis animus sit vacans corpore, intelligere, & cogitatione comprehendere. Nor is there any thing else in the case, why they (his Adversaries) could not believe the Immortality of the Soul, but because they can't conceive how the Soul can subsist with­out the Body, and think, and by thinking un­derstand; and yet they understand nothing of the nature of the Soul in the Body.’ Much more to the same purpose follows.

2dly, As to that Reflection which Tully makes, after the account which he had given of Socra­tes, viz. ‘That his Discourse was like a float­ing Vessel toss'd to and fro in the wide Sea:’ I answer, That notwithstanding this Comparison, suppos'd to savour so much of the old academic Uncertainty, he continues his Discourse, per­swading to the practice of Virtue, and to the contempt of Death, because of the Advantages which good Men should find thereby hereafter. And 3dly, What is still more, He always brings in Atticus, the other Person in the Dialogue, as convinc'd by what he offers, and fully satis­fied concerning the Truth of the Immortality of the Soul: by which the Orator enforces what he says concerning the Contempt of Death, and the Practice of Virtue. 4ly. To put this matter out of controversy, and make it in­contestably manifest, that Tully was not such a Sceptic in the Question concerning the Im­mortality of the Soul, as one or two of my Acquaintance contend; at the latter end of [Page 93] a set Speech which Plato puts into the Mouth of dying Socrates.

N. 99. ‘Sed tempus est jam hinc abire me, vos ut vitam agatis: Ʋtrum autem sit melius, Dii immortales sciunt, hominem quidem scire arbitror neminem.’

‘But 'tis now time that I go hence and die, do you my Friends live on: but which of the two is best, that only the Gods know; I am of the mind that no Man living does.’ Up­on these words the Orator has this Reflection. Etsi, quod praeter Deos negat scire quenquam, id scit ipse, utrum melius; nam dixit ante; sed suum illud, nihil ut affirmet, tenet ad extremum. Tho, that which he says none but the Gods know, he himself knows well, he knows which is better; he had before declar'd which is better; but that way of his (that way afterwards call'd Academic) of determining nothing,’ he holds to the end. Here Tully plainly reproves that foolish Philosophical Hu­mour, which obtain'd so much, of talking off and on, in matters of moment; and declares it as his opinion, that however Socrates in his last words did seem to play fast and loose, yet he was in his own mind sufficiently convinc'd of the Immortality of the Soul, and the future State, on which account it was better for injur'd good Men to die than to live.

I hope this labour, to prove that Tully did not disbelieve the Immortality of the Soul, conse­quently nor a future State, may not seem to the Reader tedious, or impertinent: for if it [Page 94] could be made out, that the wisest of the Hea­thens rejected these Notions, and never us'd them as Arguments to encourage Virtue, and restrain Vice, it would be a prejudice against my Discourse, who have endeavour'd to gain some Credibility to these Notions from the Principles of natural Reason. It would be a prejudice, I say, against, not an utter subversi­on of my Discourse; for my Adversaries must show where I have argued wrong, and not tell me of great Authorities against me, if they mean utterly to subvert it. But if, when they object great Authorities against me (which I ac­knowledg to be a Prejudice, for how can I hope to see farther than such a Man as Tully?) I give a fair Answer, and make it appear, that the Citations which are objected against me are by my Adversaries mistaken, and misapplied; and that the same, if rightly consider'd, are so far from contradicting, that they favour the Doctrines which I defend, by the acknowledg'd Principles of natural Reason; then, I think, I have been all this while strengthning those Doctrines, not spending my time in an imper­tinent Labour. I have this to say further for my self, I have not only answer'd the Objections which have been offer'd by my learned Acquain­tances, but I have also accounted for those Diffi­culties which I my self chanc'd to meet with while I read those Tracts of the great Orator, whence their Objections were taken. For, I will never contend for any Opinion, against which I know of an Objection, which appears so considerable, that it is the interest of the Opinion to have the Objection pass'd over, [Page 95] without any notice taken of it. If I could not have solv'd those Difficulties, which I my self chanc'd to meet with, I would have given up the Authority of Tully, tho the Objections of my Adversaries were not of strength sufficient to oblige me to it. In pleading a Cause at the Bar in our Courts of Judicature, the Lawyer will answer what he can, but to be sure start no Objection against his Client, which is not easily answer'd; and possibly sometimes he may win the day by taking no notice of some Circum­stances which the Adversary oversees: but in our Disputes concerning Philosophical Truths, a Man must leave no Objection without Reply; for these Causes are try'd over and over again every day, and he that takes no notice of a considerable Objection, will be found out by one or other, and suppos'd to have silently pass'd it by, as being conscious of the weakness of his Cause, and unable to answer it.

Again, in answering I have answer'd fairly; I have not by a cheating Translation or other­wise, misrepresented the Author to serve the ends of my Discourse, which is a method but too frequent with them who dispute for Reli­gious Opinions, but thereby they do their Cause, be it good or bad, a great disservice: for a bad Cause by dissembling Artifices is render'd more odious in the eyes of all prudent Men who search diligently into the nature of things; and a good Cause by such poor methods is brought under deserv'd suspicion. I will give one in­stance of this, which shall not be an invidious one, from a Writer now living, nor shall it be off from our purpose. Mr. Stanley in his Life [Page 96] of Socrates, represents that renowned Philo­sopher (very truly in my opinion) as a Man perswaded of the Immortality of the Soul, and of a future State: but he overdoes the thing by dissembling Artifice, in a prevaricat­ing Translation of a Passage from Plato, as if the truth of the Immortality of the Soul, and the future State were in danger of finding no acceptance among thinking Men, unless Socrates spake up to these Notions with as full Assurance, and in as plain and positive words, as any Christian whatsoever. The Passage in Plato is this:

Pla. Phaed. [...].

For a Translation of this Paragraph Mr. Stanley was pleas'd to give his Readers these words:

‘Truly did I not believe I should go to just Gods, and to Men better than any liv­ing, I were inexcusable for contemning Death; but I am sure to go to the Gods, very good Masters, and hope to meet with [Page 97] good Men, and am of good Courage, hop­ing that something of Man subsists after Death, and that it is then much better with the good than the bad.’ But this is not a fair rendring of this Passage which Plato a­scribes to Socrates.

If there be nothing alter'd nor left out, this Speech (which Plato relates as the Speech of So­crates, or makes for him, agreable to the Sen­timents he suppos'd Socrates to entertain) in plain English sounds thus:

‘For did I not think to go, O Simmias and Cebes, first to other Gods wise and good, in the next place to Men deceas'd better than those here among the living, I should offend in being so willing to die. But now well you know that I hope to go to good Men, tho of this I have not all the Confidence imaginable: but that I shall go to the Gods very good Masters, of this you well know that I have as strong a confidence, as of any such like thing; so that for this cause I am not so much troubled to die, but I have hope concerning the Dead; and as it was said of old, it shall go better with the good than the bad.’

This is the Picture which Plato draws of So­crates; the bolder strokes which Mr. Stanley gives to it, may perhaps grace it, but then they misrepresent it. According to Plato, So­crates did think the Soul was immortal, Socrates was perswaded that there was a future State. He hop'd it should go well with him after Death, nay he had a Confidence of these things; not indeed all the Confidence imaginable, not such a Confidence as Men have of a mathe­matical [Page 98] demonstration; but yet such a Confi­dence as was sufficient to make him content to dy rather than do a base or a mean thing to save his Life.

After all that I have now said and answer'd, both to the Author of the Inquiry concerning Virtue, and to the occasional Objections of o­thers, in justification of that grand Motive to Virtue, the Hopes of future Advantage, and in proof of the immortality of the Soul, and the certainty of a future State, I do freely confess that if any Person has thrown off a conscien­tious Sense of the necessary Obligation which lies upon all rational Men to be virtuous in private, as well as publick; in the most diffi­cult, as well as the most easy Circumstances, then have I said nothing which can much affect him: but then I please my self to think, that if a Man does not look upon himself as freed from such Obligation, if he does not own himself a dangerous Member of Society, unworthy to be lov'd as a Friend, unfit to be trusted in any matter of moment, where he may be tempted to be false, with probable hopes of concealing the Crime, he will hardly be able to get rid of the moral Demonstrations which I have made out, evincing the Immortality of the Soul, the certainty of a future State, and the Wisdom of living so in this World, as Men that expect to receive hereafter endless advantage by their Virtue.

But what, it may be said, if a Man positive­ly denies the Immortality of the Soul, and e­steems the future State as a Fable; if he looks upon Virtue as obligatory, only while it serves [Page 99] the Necessities and Comforts of this Life present, have we no Arguments to evince the erroneous­ness of that mischievous Opinion? Yes surely; but in order to do it, we must consider what particular System of universal Nature those Men frame to themselves against whom we dispute. The very learned Dr. Cudworth in his Intellectual System, for a fuller Confutation of Atheism, pretends to examine, and refute all the various forms thereof: Now tho I would not subscribe to all which that most highly deserving Author urges against the several Forms of Atheism; yet I am persuaded most of his Materials are proper and serviceable, only I am inclin'd to think, they are capable of still farther Improvement.

The Democritic and Epicurean Atomic Hypo­theses; also the Anaximandrian or Hylopathian, and that wild fancy of corrupted Stoicism, which supposes the World to be one huge Plant or Vegetable, having a plastic Nature, orderly disposing the whole without Mind or Under­standing; these the Doctor thinks are by saga­cious Moderns laid aside as indefensible: but the boldest and most dangerous Hypothesis which is now reviv'd, is that of Strato Lampsacenus, which he calls the Hylozoic Hypothesis, that a­scribes to Matter, Life and Perception. The Moderns who take up with this Scheme, assert that the whole Mass of boundless Mattter hath existed from all Eternity, mov'd, as now, from all Eternity, and by its various, natural, and ne­cessary Motions has produc'd and will pro­duce all that ever has bin, and that ever shall be produc'd; that human Cogitation is nothing but [Page 100] local Motion, yet all Motion not Cogitation, but only Motion so circumstanc'd, in Bodies so modi­fied. Against this bold and precarious Hypothe­sis, the Doctor disputes in the close of his 3d Chap. and partly in the 5th. But without wrong to him, I may venture to affirm that he has not said all which may be said; and one thing I wish unsaid, viz. that the Hylozoic Phi­losophers are not fit to be disputed with any more than a Machine is, p. 846. l. 5. For, this has the face of an ingenious Reflection; but then it is also liable to be suspected, as an Ar­tifice of a Disputant that is at a nonplus, and has no convincing Argument to offer against his subtle Adversary. Yet this may be pleaded for the learned Doctor, that he did not turn the Hylozoics off so, whatever he contemptu­ously and angrily replied, when he was sur­priz'd with the thoughts of their strange and precarious Assertion, which makes Cogitation to be nothing but local Motion: for in the above­cited place, and elsewhere, he disputes against this Assertion.

One thing he observes very well, viz. That which inclines the Hylozoics to their Hylo­zoicism, is, ‘Because they are sensible, that if there were any other Action beside local Motion, there must needs be some other Sub­stance beside Body,’ p. 845. It is one good step towards the cure of a Disease, rightly to understand the Nature of it, the Causes whence it sprang, and the Fuel with which 'tis fed; but after that, a particular Skill is necessary to work the Cure. The learned Doctor in his Pre­face, where he gives an account of his Book, [Page 101] affirms that it is as certain to him as any thing in all Geometry, that Cogitation and Under­standing can never possibly result out of Mag­nitudes, Figures, Sights, and local Motions. I am as much perswaded as he, that Cogitation and Understanding cannot result from these Principles; but I wish he had pointed his Finger to the place where he has made this as cer­tain as any thing in all Geometry. But yet I will not say that a Geometrical Certainty of this Truth is not to be had; what one Man has not demonstrated, another may. Mr. Ab­badie among a great deal of Lum­ber, Abbadie of the Truth of Christian Re­ligion.has some excellent Materials; I will select what I judg most con­clusive, and not scruple to alter what I hope to dispose to better advantage. Matter acquires not Thought by Motion, because in Mo­tion there are but three things which can be consider'd: the Thing mov'd; the Place from whence 'tis mov'd; the Place to which it comes. Now Thought is none of all this. If it be said that Thought is the effect of some particular Motion, then it will follow, that that Effect is nobler than its Cause; and not only so, but likewise that it is an Effect quite of another nature than its Cause.

Bare Motion does not produce Thought, because all Matter does not think. Different kinds of Motion do not produce Thought, be­cause that which makes Motion different is only slowness or swiftness, directness and obliquity, with which Thought has no more affinity, than with Motion consider'd abstractly.

[Page 102] It is not barely Matter which acts when we think, because the parts of Matter may act, and be reflected on upon another; but 'tis impossible that any of them should act or be reflected on themselves; whereas that thinking Principle which is in us reflects on it self, on its own Actions, Thoughts; and on the manner of its actings and thinking.

Matter and Motion act only on Objects pre­sent and contiguous: but Thought flies over the wide Ocean, pervades the Earth, and reaches the Stars; reviews past things, and makes use­ful Conjectures at Futurities; reflects, provides against Accidents that may or may not hap­pen.

By Diseases Men sometimes have their Heads so disorder'd, that their Imaginations are confus'd, and things appear to them otherwise than they really are, while their Understandings remain clear, and they argue justly upon those false ap­pearances, being very sensible that their Diseases occasion those false appearances of things; thence it seems natural to conclude that their Reason­ing Principle, which is not so easily hindred in its Office by Diseases, is something distinct from Matter.

These are the most considerable Philosophic Arguments, which I remember to have read against the Hylozoics: I hope I have not spoil'd them in my recital; but the Reader may con­sult the French Author translated by Lussan.

I have nor Health, nor Time, nor yet Learn­ing enough to make the most of a philosophic Argument drawn from the acknowledg'd Princi­ples, Laws, and Powers of Matter against these [Page 103] Hylozoics: but I beg leave to offer one or two Thoughts, such as they are, against these bold and precarious Philosophers.

The first shall be Argument ad hominem: If I should assert, that the Table on which I now write, does understand and think, the Hylozo­ics could no more demonstrate the contra­ry, than I can demonstrate that Matter, how­ever mov'd, is incapable of thinking. But,

2. This seems to me Demonstration: If Thought be nothing but Matter mov'd, it is impossible for us to conceive a thought of a thing which is not Matter. Again, if Matter of itself does not think but as 'tis mov'd, then 'tis Motion, not Matter, which is Thought, or the Cause of Thought: but how extravagant and contradicti­ous is it to affirm, that an Accident which relates to Matter is a real thing, or the cause of a real Effect, which is of another nature, and more noble than Matter?

3. There can be no such thing as Free Will in Man, if there be nothing but Matter in the World: For, the Laws of Matter are constant, one and the same without variation; and if there be no such thing as Free Will in Man, then there's no such thing as Virtue or Vice. Now I am of the Mind, that he who without prejudice seriously considers this Argument, will be abundantly satisfied that Matter, howe­ver mov'd, is incapable of thinking, tho he has not a Geometrical Certainty, or intuitive Know­ledg of the same.

If I had a good Benefice instead of a lean Vicarage, I could be content with a Parliamen­tary Right to the Tithes of my Parish, and let [Page 104] the Jure Divino Right go: So I think, an honest good Man may be satisfied, safely satisfied, that Matter, however mov'd, cannot think; because if there be no free Mind able to alter the natu­ral and necessary motions of Matter, then there's no such thing as right and wrong; and to talk of regular and irregular Passions and Affecti­ons, is a Jest. But I leave the prosecution of this Subject to the abler Pen of a worthy Friend, whose Meditations I long to see. But I hope the Reader will allow me to have sufficiently prov'd what I first undertook, viz. That the prospect of future Advantage does not take off from the praise of Virtue: also that he who be­lieves there is no God, or who calls the im­mense Body of universal Matter, God; that he who denies the Immortality of the Soul, and expects no future State, does thereby disown the most powerful Obligations to Virtue, makes himself unfit to be lov'd intirely, or trusted confidently: for Men of common Sense will ever choose to love and trust him, who looks upon himself under the highest Obligations and most forcible Motives to be grateful and faithful; and be apt to neglect him, whatever Virtue he professes, or is by Nature and Education inclin'd to, who owns no Obligations nor Motives to Virtue, besides present usefulness, which in some Cases it has not, and no restraint of pleasing Vice but human Laws, which reach not a world of Cases.

POSTSCRIPT to a Friend, who dissuaded the printing of the foregoing Sheets.


YOU are pleas'd to allow the Strength of my Argument thro this whole Dis­course, but you would not have me publish my Papers, because you can see little in them, beside what you met with some years since in a judicious and solid small Tract, in­titled, A Letter to the Deists.

This is very friendly, and I own the Obli­gation; but I were unworthy of your Friend­ship, if I should subscribe to your Judgment, because you are my Friend: and I were still unworthy, if denying to be govern'd by you, I should refuse to give my Reasons.

I am not of the Comic Poet's mind, from whom we have the Proverb, Nullum est jam dictum, quod non dictum fuit prius. I rather fancy, since the Universe has no bounds, that there may be eternal Progressions in Reasonings, eternal advances in Know­ledg: so that if perhaps I have wrote no­thing but what has bin wrote before, yet there's no cause to imagin the Subject to have bin so copiously and clearly handled already, that nothing of moment can be added by the [Page 106] study of them who come after. Upon which account I had reason on my side, thus far at least, viz. That I endeavour'd to give some new accession of strength to those Foundations of natural Religion, with­out which I don't see how difficult Virtue can subsist. Let me digress so far as here to call in a few words, which should have bin inserted in my Dissertation, being part of a Letter wrote to me, by one that uses me kindly as you do. ‘It seems plain, that no Man loves Misery, no nor Labour to no purpose; and he that thinks he shall cease to be after this Life, must think he shall cease to exercise Virtue, his chief Delight, or his All: so he has no Motive to dy for the sake of his Country, or on any noble account whatsoever; and at last will come to this Result, that Self-pre­servation is the truest Virtue, tho on the meanest Terms.’

But to return, that I have troubled the Press with nothing but what the Letter to the Deist made publick some years past: This I think I may, without departing from the Rules of Modesty, positively deny. But not to offend the Reader with a Crambe bis coctâ, I shall only note, that it must be granted me, I did not borrow from that Let­ter all which I have offer'd in defence of this Doctrin, that the hope of future Reward is not [Page 107] a base mercenary, but a reasonable and just Motive to Virtue. 2. Nor thence have I bor­row'd what I have answer'd to the Objections of nominal Deists drawn from the Writings of moral Heathens: for I met those Objections in Conversation, not Books. 3. What I have oppos'd to the Author of the Inquiry concern­ing Virtue, could not be borrow'd from the Letter to the Deist, which was wrote before it, but must needs be as new as the Inquiry: And if the Inquiry be an ingenious, subtle, erroneous, and dangerous Book, then it will be farther granted, that a solid good answer comes seasonably and usefully: whether my Answer be such, the Reader must judg; but for your part, Sir, you have approv'd it, and therefore if you agree with your self, you must not blame my printing.

Now as to those particular Arguments, the Substance of which I confess my self to have in common with the Letter to the De­ist; I will not say as Hierom's Master Do­natus commenting on the above-cited Verse from Terence, Pereant qui ante nos nostra dix­erunt; Confounded be all they who said the things which I have said, before I said them: no, I had rather go into that better natur'd Defence; Non quicquid cum antiquis convenit, ex antiquis sumptum: Upon which Lemma, Paschasius has this witty Epigram, tho he points it with a little of Donatus's assuming waggish Self-love.

Plurima me veterum sensa expressisse fatebor,
Ne fatear, fursim, vel furiosus ego.
Multa sed ex aliis falsò sumpsisse putabis,
Quae mea percupiam dicier, & mea sunt.
Conveniunt tamen haec antiquis: Dî male perdant
Antiquos, mea qui praeripuere mihi.

I gave these Lines to be translated to my se­cond Son, the Boy you took such a fancy to.

Often on antient Fancies have I hit,
And for this Luck must I be call'd a Cheat?
They err who say I steal the Antients Fame;
For I no more than what's my own do claim:
In mine, and theirs, if you no difference see,
Blame th' Antients for their stealing mine from me.

Now my hand is in to you, it comes into my mind, that you once acquainted me, that some of my learned Acquaintance dislik'd this Essay: But this I am far from putting off with that old hypocritical Saw, No Man can have a meaner Opinion of my performance than I have my self; because their dislike, whereof I have bin all along conscious, prompted me to consider the matter again and again; and that repeated Consideration has confirm'd me in my Sentiments, and made me in love [Page 109] with them: so that if these Acquaintances can still be my Friends notwithstanding their Dislike, I will thank them for their Dislike, as well as for their Friendship.

This notwithstanding, I am not so vain as to reckon that I have, borrowing or not borrowing, exhausted the Argument; or said half which their singular Parts and At­tainments might have help'd me to have said: no, for even my present mediocrity could and would have added some method, and farther strength to it; but my much Bu­siness, and many Infirmities made me wil­ling to put such an end to it as you see.

I have now one Favour to beg of you, and I take leave: pray thank my Adversaries in my Name for their opposing the Sentiments in this Dissertation defended; thank them heartily. I really hold it a very singular good Office to have my Sentiments seriously and strenuously oppos'd: for, no longer than I can defend, will I retain them. Old as I am, I am not so afraid of altering my Opini­ons, as not to listen to Reason whoever offers it: he that convinces my Understanding, shall, while I live, lead my Affections; but if what is offer'd has not evidence enough to convince me, they use me very hardly who will not admit me into their Friendship, because I am not their Proselyte. I am pleas'd to be seriously and strenuously op­pos'd [Page 110] by them who best can do't, even tho they go for Hereticks, that so I may go up­on the surer ground.

And for this cause I much wonder, that the best Reformed Church should have any of her Sons desirous to put a Restraint on the Press: for all Truths, the more they are impugn'd, the surer they are establish'd; and the more the Press is restrain'd, the more our Articles will be suspected, whether there be any o­ther just cause of suspicion or no. There's ten thousand to one against a Man who takes Doctrines upon trust, and assents to this or that Scheme with Faith implicit; but that which he suffers to be examin'd, to be sift­ed, and which he himself considers over and over again, in that it is impossible he should be deceiv'd, unless it be a matter wherein he may be mistaken innocently, and without prejudice to his future hopes.

I thought I had done, but one thing more comes in my way. You once let me know that I was suspected to favour heretical Opi­nions. To this I answer, I hope it is no fault not to run from the converse of Men of Learning and Probity; but from the Persons you nam'd I do assure you I differ, and that in all points that can be insimulated of Heresy: particularly I think the Socinians in the wrong, and never was of their Con­gregation; I do not know the names of three [Page 111] Socinians, nor the Persons of any two such; but I confess I look upon them as Men of Learning and Probity. Allow me but to have Charity for all honest Men however differently perswaded, and you will have no cause to deny me being a not unworthy Member of the Church of England. And pray observe one thing more, their Con­versation is very narrow, who are perswad­ed altogether as the Men they converse with. I take it, that a free Conversation is the most useful thing in the World, and that their Company is worth nothing who will not endure Contradiction. They whom I con­verse with, know, and are not angry with my Church-Sentiments; I know, and will never persecute their dissent: For,

Non eadem sentire bonis, de rebus iisdem,
Incolumi licuit semper amicitia.

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