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the fear of the Lord- therefore Mall they CHAP. eat of the fruit of their own way, and be fils II. led with their own devices. For the Security of the fimple fall say them, and the Profperity of fools Mall destroy them. And the whole Paffage is so equally applicable, to what we experience in the present World, concerning the Consequences of Men's Actions, and to what Religion teaches us. is to be expected in another, that it may be questioned which of the two was principally intended.

Indeed when one has been recollecting the proper Proofs of a future State of Rewards and Punishments, nothing methinks can give one so sensible an Apprehension of the latter, or Representation of it to the Mind; as observing, that after the many disregarded Checks, Admonitions and Warnings, which People meet with in the ways of Vice and Folly and Extravagance ; Warnings from their very Nature ; from the Examples of Others; from the lesser Inconveniences which they bring upon themselves; from the Instructions of wise and virtuous Men: After these have been long despised, scorned, ridiculed : after the chief bad Consequences, temporal Consequences, of their Follies, have been delayed for a great while ; at length they break in irresistibly, like an armed Force : Repentance is too late to relieve, and can

PAR T serve only to aggravate, their Distress : The

I. Case is become desperate : and Poverty and WuSickness, Remorse and Anguish, Infamy and Death, the Effects of their own Doings,

0verwhelm them, beyond Possibility of Remedy or Escape. This is an Account of what is in Fact the general Constitution of Nature.

It is not in any fort meant, that accurd-
ing to what appears at present of the natu-
ral Course of things, Men are always uni-
formly punished in Proportion to their Mif-
behaviour: But that there are very many
Instances of Misbehaviour punished in the
several Ways now mentioned, and very dread-
ful Instances too; fufficient to show what the
Laws of the Universe may admit; and, if
thoroughly considered, sufficient fully to an-
fwer all Objections against the Credibility of
a future State of Punishments, from any

ginations, that the Frailty of our Nature and
external Temptations, almost annihilate the
Guilt of human Vices: as well as Objections
of another Sort; from Necefsity ; from Sup-
positions, that the Will of an infinite Being
cannot be contradicted, or that he must be
incapable of Offence and Provocation?.

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See Chap. iv. & vi.


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Reflections of this Kind are not without CHA P.
their Terrors to serious Persons, the most II.
free from Enthusiasm, and of the greatest in
Strength of Mind: But it is fit things be
ftated and considered as they really are.
And there is, in the present Age, a certain
Fearlessness, with regard to what may be
hereafter under the Government of God,
which, nothing but an universally acknow-
ledged Demonstration on the side of Atheism,
can justify; and which makes it quite ne-
ceffary, that Men be reminded, and if pof-
fible made to feel, that there is no Sort of
Ground for being thus presumptuous, even
upon the most sceptical Principles. For,
may it not be said of


being born into the World, he may

behave fo, as to be of no Service to it, but by being made an Example of the woful Effects of Vice and Folly ? That he may, as any one may, if he will, incur an infamous Execution, from the Hands of civil Justice; or in some other Course of Extravagance shorten his Days: or bring upon himself Infam

and Diseases worse than Death? So that it had been better for him, even with regard to the present World, that he had never been born. And is there any pretence of Reason, for People to think themselves


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PART secure, and talk as if they had certain Proof,

I. that let them act as licentiously as they will, w there can be nothing analogous to This,

with regard to a future and more general Interest, under the Providence and Govern. ment of the same God?


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S the manifold Appearances of Design CHAP.

and of final Causes, in the Constitu- III. tion of the World, prove it to be the Work of an intelligent Mind; so the particular final Causes of Pleasure and Pain distributed amongst his Creatures : prove that they are under his Government; what may be called His natural Government of Creatures endued with Sense and Reason. This, however, implies somewhat more than seems usually attended to, when we speak of God's natural Government of the World. It implies Government of the very fame Kind with That, which a Master exercises over his Servants, or a civil Magistrate over his Subjects. These latter Instances of final Causes, as really prove an intelligent Governor of the World, in the Sense now mentioned, and before a diftinctly treated of; as any other Instances of final Causes prove an intelligent Maker of it.


But this alone does not appear at first Sight to determine any thing certainly, con* Chap. ii.



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