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our Capacities, and Sphere of Perception and CHAP. of Action, may be much greater than at pre
1. sent. For as our Relation to our external Organs of Sense, renders us capable of existing in our present State of Sensation ; so it may be the only natural Hindrance to our existing, immediately and of course, in a higher State of Reflection. The Truth is, Reason does not at all shew us, in what State Death naturally leaves us. But were we sure, that it would suspend all our perceptive and active Powers; yet the Suspension of a Power and the Destruction of it, are Effects so totally different in Kind, as we experience from Sleep and a Swoon, that we cannot in any wise argue from one to the other ; or conclude even to the lowest Degree of Probability, that the same Kind of Force which is sufficient to suspend our Faculties, though it be increased ever so much, will be sufficient to destroy them.
These Observations together may be sufficient to Thew, how little Presumption there is, that Death is the Destruction of human Creatures. However there is the Shadow of an Analogy, which may lead us to imagine Opinion perhaps Antoninus may allude in these Words, as vão οοιμένεις, πότε έμβρυον εκ της γασρος της γυναικός σε εξέλθη, έτως εκδίχε την ώραν ώ ή το ψυχάριον συ το ελύτης τότε εκπε- Tütar. Lib. IX. c. 3.
PAR Tit is; the supposed Likeness which is obser-
living Creatures. And this Likeness is in-
But if, as was above intimated, leaving off the delusive Custom of substituting Imagination in the Room of Experience, we would confine ourselves to what we do know and understand ; if we would argue only from That, and from That form our Expectations; it would appear at first Sight, that as no Probability of living beings ever ceasing to be so, can be concluded from the Reason of the thing; fo none can be collected from the Analogy of Nature ; because we cannot trace any living Beings beyond Death. But as we
are conscious that we are endued with Capa-CHAP. edd cities of Perception and of Action, and are I. 1 living Persons; what we are to go upon is, m
that we shall continue so, till we foresee some he Accident or Event, which will endanger those
Capacities, or be likely to destroy us: which
And thus, when we go out of this World, we may pass into new Scenes, and a new State of Life and Action, juft as naturally as we came into the present. And this new State may naturally be a social one. And the Advantages of it, Advantages of every Kind, may naturally be bestowed, according to some fixt general Laws of Wisdom, upon every one in Proportion to the Degrees of his Virtue. And though the Advantages of that future natural State, should not be bestowed, as these of the present in some Measure are, by the Will of the Society ; but entirely by his more immediate Action, upon whom the whole Frame of Nature depends: Yet this Distribution may be just as natural, as their being distributed here by the Instrumentality of Men. And indeed, though one were to allow any confused undetermined Sense, which People please to put upon the Word natural, it would be a Shortness of Thought scarce credible, to imagine, that no System or Course of things can be fo, but only what we see
PAR Tat present h: especially whilst the Probability
1. of a future Life, or the natural Immortality mof the Soul, is admitted upon the Evidence of
Reason ; because this is really both admitting
See Part II. Ch. ii. p. 238, &c. & Part II. Ch. ii. P 276.
This Credibility of a future Life, which has CHAP. iced been here insisted upon, how little soever it I. tiro may satisfy our Curiosity, seems to answer
all the purposes of Religion, in like manner
cileable with the Scheme of Atheism, and as er
well to be accounted for by it, as that we are
that there can be no future State. But as Reof ligion implies a future State, any Presumption
against such a State, is a Presumption against