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Instances here mentioned. And these things CHAP. are to be considered, as a Declaration of the III. Author of Nature, for Virtue, and against m Vice: They give a Credibility to the Supposition of their being rewarded and punished Hereafter ; and also Ground to hope and to fear, that they may be rewarded and punished in higher Degrees than they are Here. And as all this is confirmed, so the Argument for Religion, from the Constitution and Course of Nature, is carried on farther, by observing, that there are natural Tendencies, and, in innumerable Cases, only artificial Hindrances, to this moral Scheme's being carried on much farther towards Perfection, than it is at present m. The Notion then of a moral Scheme of Government, much more perfect than what is seen, is not a fictitious, but a natural Notion ; for it is suggested to our Thoughts, by the essential Tendencies of Virtue and Vice. And these Tendencies are to be considered as Intiinations, as implicit Promises and Threatnings, from the Author of Nature, of much greater Rewards and Punishments to follow Virtue and Vice, than do at present. And indeed, every natural Tendency, which is to continue, but which is hindred from becoming Effect by only accidental Causes, affords a Presumption, that such Tendency will, fome Time or other, in p. 85, &c.
PAR T become Effect: a Presumption in Degree
I. proporţionable to the Length of the Duration, w through which such Tendency will continue.
And from these things together, arises a real Presumption, that the Moral Scheme of Government established in Nature, shall be carried on much farther towards Perfection hereafter; and, I think, a Presumption that it will be absolutely compleated. But from these things, joined with the moral Nature which God has given us, considered as given us by Him, arises a practical Proof” that it will be compleated : a Proof from Fact; and therefore a distinct one from That, which is deduced from the eternal and unalterable Relations, the Fitness and Unfitness of Actions.
* See this Proof drawn out briefy, Ch. vị. p. 167, &c.
CH A P.
CH A P. IV.
Of a State of Probation, as implying
Trial, Difficulties and Danger.
HE general Doctrine of Religion, that CHAP.
our present Life is a State of Proba. IV. tion for a future one, comprehends under it several particular things, distinct from each other. But the first, and most common Meaning of it, seems to be, that our future Interest is now depending, and depending upon Ourselves ; that we have Scope and Opportunities Here, for that good and bad Behaviour, which God will reward and punish Hereafter ; together with Temptations to one, as well as Inducements of Reason to the other. And this is, in great measure, the same with saying, that we are under the moral Government of God, and to give an Account of our Actions to Him. For the Notion of a future Account and general righteous Judgment, implies some sort of Temptations to what is Wrong: otherwise there would be no moral Possibility of Doing Wrong, nor Ground for Judgment, or Discrimination. But there is this Difference, that the Wod Probation is more distinctly and particularly expressive of
PART Allurements to Wrong, or Difficulties in ad-
Danger of Miscarrying by such Temptations,
And as the moral Government of God,
Interest is in Danger from themselves, or they CHAP.
And we find many are