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against the sunposition itself, than the inference that I drew from it.
This is not a proper place to justify that suppofition; thus much only I thall say at present concerning it. I am so far from retracting it, that I look upon it to be a moft clear and indubitable truth; and think myself to have expressed it with more wariness and reserve than was necessary. My words are-l fee not but that might be esteemed the true measure of happiness and misery: Whereas this might not only be esteemed, but would really he, the true measure of happiness and misery, to the far greater part of mankind, if they were not educated under the hope and fears of future rewards and punishment. The objects of fenfe would then determine the views of most men; of all such, to be fure, who conversed perpetually with them, and wanted the opportunities and capacities.chat were requisite towards withdrawing their thoughts from these things, and fixing them on more refined and reasonable pleasures. And even among those few who were better qualified, still fewer would be found, who, without the hope of another life, would think it worth their while, to live above the allurements of sense and the gratifications of this world, as far as was nea cessary towards attaining the heights of Christian perfection. Nor could any argument be urged, sufficient to induce those so to do, who were otherwise resolved and inclined. The rule of good and evil would not then appear uniform and ina variable ; but would seem different, according to men's different complexions, and inclinations; and whatever they judged to be, upon the whole.
most agreeable or disagreeable to them, that they would be sure (nay they would look upon them. selves as obliged) to pursue or decline, without being restrained by any speculative reasonings, concerning the nature of virtue and vice, and the obligacions men are under, univerfally, to prác rise the one, and eschew the other. .
But this, I am sensible, lies without the com. pass of my inmediate design, which is only to ieckon up the several restrictions, under which what I have laid down in that sermon ought to be understood; restrictions, not now first devised to qualify my doctrine, but plainly proposed together with it, and interwoven into the body of thofe few short reflexions, which I had room to make con. cerning it. And yet the author of the letter, in à very grave and folemn manner, argues through out, as if no one such restriction had been made, Let his caufę bę as good as he prétends it to be, yet surely it is not at all beholden to him for his way of maintaining it. He that talks thus deceitfully, even for truth itself, must needs hurt it more by his example, than he promotes it by his arguments.
But to set aside these restrictions, important as they are, for the present, and take my doctrine at large, even a's che letter-writer hinfelf hath rea presented it ; that is, as briefly contained in (what he calls) my two pofitions *, and “the notions “ on which they are founded + :" Let us fee how far the first charge of novelty can, even upon this foot, be made good against it,
İ. My positions are thefe ; That, “ were there « no life after this,” Firit, « Men would be reals “ ly more miserable than beasts;and Secondly, at the best of men would be often the moft mifers " able.” The notion on which they are founded is, That, “ supposing the present to be the only “ life we are to lead, I see not but that pleasing cs and painful sensations might be esteemed the “ true measure of happiness and misery."
Against both the one and the other, the letter writer exclaims in a most tragical manner: He is « forry to fee such concessions made to the cause « of vice by any preacher of righteousness *; he « never yet heard, nor never expected to hear, « any thing like this from the pulpit t; he knows « not luch that affertions have been ever, before * this, feriously maintained by any perfon of vir6 tue and understanding, much less folemnly << dictated as undoubted truths from the pulpitf: « he thinks, that all, who have any respect for " the clergy, mult lament that such strange doc“ trine should be recommended to the world by « one of that body; andall, who have any regard " to the honour of Christ, must lament to see it « solemnly backed and confirmed by one of his « apostles *.”
The charge of novelty is here urged with so much warmth and gravity, and such an air of assurance, that even a wary reader would be apt to think it well founded; and yet never was there a censure m're rafhly vain, or more entirely deltitute of all colour of truth. For first, as to the
positions themselves, they are so far from being new, that they are commonly to be met with in both antient and modern, domestic and foreign writers ; particularly in the works of our English divines, which are in every one's hands, and with which the author of the letter, I believe, is best acquainted. I begin with archbishop Tillotson, who cannot be suspected to have made 66 conceffions to the cause of vice," either through weakness or a worse reason : and yet there are his expressions: “ The condition of inen in this pre“ fent life is attended with so many frailties, liable 66 to so great miseries and sufferings, to so many " pains and diseases to such various causes of 6. Torrow and trouble, of fear and vexation, by. “ reason of the many hazards and uncertainties, or which not only the comforts and contentments " of our lives, but even life itself is subject to, « that the pleasure and happiness of it is by these rnuch rebated : so that were we not so trained "6 up with the hopes of something better hereaf66 ter, life itself would be to many men an unsupon portable burden. If men were not supported « and born up under the miseries of this pre« fent life, with the hopes and expectations of an 6 happier state in another world, mankind would 66 be the most imperfeet and unhappy part of God's si creation. For altho'other creatures be subjecte 6 ed to a great deal of vanity and misery yet • this hrppiness, that, as they are made for a 66 short duration and continuance, so they are « only affected with the present; they do not fret. 6 and discontent theinfelves about the future; " they are not liable to be cheated with hopes,
" nor tormented with fears, nor vexed at difap
pointments, as the fons of men are. But if " our souls be immortal. this makes abundant " ammends and compenfation for the frailties of “ this life, and all the transitory sufferings and “ inconveniencies of this present state: Human "nature, considered with this advantage, is ina “ finitely above the brute beasts that perish." Serm. vol. ix. pag. 68, 69. Again, “ What " would a man gain by it, if the foul were not “ immortal, but to level himself with the beast's " that peris, [nay] to put himself into a worse ." and more miserable con tition thin any of the u creatures below him ?” Ibid. p. 72.
The same thing is said more shortly, but as fully, by the present Lord Bishop of Rochester; “ Without that belief (of the joys of another life] " as Christians of all men, fo men of all creatures. u were most miserable.” Sermon on Jan. 30. p. 14.
To the like purpose Mr. Glanville. “ If this life " be all, we have the same end and happiness “ with the brutes; and they are happier of the two,
in that they have leser cares and fewer disappoint "ments." Serm. p. 294.
Dr. Moor, whom my Reprover must allow to have been “a person of virtue and understand: ing*,” expreffes himself on this occasion, in very fignificant terms. “ If (says he) there be no life
bereafter, the worst of men have the greatest pare “ of happiness; their passions and affections being “ so continually gratified, and that to the height, " in those things that are fo agreeable, and, right