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which is to be laid upon it. This is a general Account of what may be looked for in the following Treatise. And I shall begin it with That which is the Foundation of all our Hopes and of all our Fears; all our Hopes and Fears, which are of any Consideration ; I mean a future Life.
Of a Future Life. TRANGE Difficulties have been rai-CHAP. sed by some concerning personal Iden- 1.
tity, or the Sameness of living Agents, m implied in the Notion of our existing Now and Hereafter, or in any two successive Mo
PART ments; which whoever thinks it worth 1.
while, may see considered in the first Differutation at the End of This Treatise. But
without Regard to any of them here, let us
and those which we know we may undergo without being destroyed, suggest, as to bere. the Effect which Death may, or may not
e carte have upon us; and whether it be not from thence probable, that we may survive this Change, and exist in a future State of Life and Perception.
I. From our being born into the present World in the helpless imperfect State of Infancy, and having arrived from thence to mature Age, we find it to be a general Law of Nature in our own Species, that the same Creatures, the same Individuals, should exist in Degrees of Life and Perception, with Capacities of Action, of Enjoyment and Suffering, in one Period of their Being, greatly different from those appointed them in another Period of it. And in other Creatures the same Law holds. For the Difference of their Capacities and States of Life at their Birch (to go no higher) and in Maturity; the Change of Worms into Flies, and the vast Enlargement of their locomotive Powers by such Change: and Birds and Insects bursting the
Shell their Habitation, and by this means en-CHAP:
II. We know we are endued with Capacities of Action, of Happiness and Misery: for we are conscious of acting, of injoying Pleasure and suffering Pain. Now that we have these Powers and Capacities before Death, is a Presumption that we shall retain them through and after Death; indeed a Probability of it abundantly sufficient to act upon, unless there be fome positive Reason to think that Death is the Destruction of those living Powers: Because there is in every Case a
PART Probability, that all things will continue as
I. we experience they are, in all Refpects, ex-
think they will be altered. This is that Kind -
any one Substance now existing,
other Power or Event unconnected with this of Death, would destroy these Faculties just at the Instant of each Creature's Death; and therefore no Doubt but that they would remain after it: which shows the high Probability that our living Powers will continue after Death, unless there be some Ground to think that Death is their Destruction. For, if it
I say kind of Presumption or Probability ; for I do not