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have been already used, but now set in a stronger light.
A believer may be excused by the most hardened atheist for endeavouring to make him a con
vert, because he does it with an eye to both their • interests. The Atheist is inexcuseable who tries
to gain over a believer, because he does not pro• pofe the doing himfelf or the believer any good by fuch a conversion. The prospect of a future state is the fecret
comfort and refreshment of my foul; it is that · which makes nature look gay about me; it * doubles all my pleasures, and supports me under all my
afflictions. I can look at disappointments and misfortunes, pain and fickness, death itself, • and, what is worse than death, the loss of those
who are dearest to me, with indifference, so long as I keep in view the pleasures of eternity, and the state of being in which there will be no fears nor apprehenfions, pains nor forrows, sickness nor separation. . Why will any man be fo imper
tinently officious as to tell me all this is only fan*cy and delusion? Is there any merit in being the ! messenger of ill news? If it is a dream, let me
enjoy it, since it makes me both the happier and
man who believes neither heaven nor hell, or, in ' other words, a future state of rewards and pu
Dishinents. Not only natural self-love, but rea' fon directs us to promote our own interest above : all things. It can never be for the interest of a • believer to do me a mischief, because he is sure
upon the balance of accounts to find himself a
lofer by it. On the contrary, if he confiders his • own welfare in his behaviour towards me, it will • lead him to do me all the good he can, and at * the fame time restrain him from doing me any G3
injury. An unbeliever does not act like a rea' fonable creature, if he favours me contrary to · his present intereft, or does not distress me when it turns to his present advantage. Honour and good-naturė may indeed tie up his hands; but as
these would be very niuch strengthened by reason • and principle, fo without them they are only in• stinéts, or wavering unfettled notions, which reft on no foundation.
Infidelity has been attacked with fo good success of late years,' that it is driven out of all its out5 works.
The atheist has not found his poft te nable, and is therefore retired into Deism, and a disbelief of revealed religion only. But the truth of it is, the grcatest number of this fet of men, are those who, for want of a virtuous education,
or exaning the grounds of religion, know fo ve• ry little of the matter in question, that their in. fidelity is but another term for their ignorance.
As folly and inconfideraténess are the foundations of infidelity, the great pillars and fupports
of it are cither a vanity of appearing wifer than • the rest of mankind, or an ostentation of courage • in defpiling the terrors of another world, which
have fo greåt an influence on what they call • weaker minds; or an averfion to a belief that • inust cue them off from many of those pleafures
they propose to themselves, and all them with • remorse for many of those they have already
tafted. • The great received articles of the Chriftian religion have been fo clearly proved, from the au. thority of that divine revelation in which they
are delivered, that it is impoflible for those who • have ears to hear, and eyes to see, not to be con• vinced of them. But were it poffible for any
thing in the Chriftian Faith to be erroneous, I
can find no ill confequences in adhering to it. • The great points of the incarnation and sufferings
• of our Saviour produce tiaturally such habits of • virtue in the mind of man, that I say, supposing • it were poffible for us to be miftaken in them, the • infidel Himfelf mult at least allow that no other
fystem of religion could fo effectually contribute • to the heightening of morality. They give us
great ideas of the dignity of human nature, • and of the love which the Supreme Being bears * to his creatures, and confequently engage us ' in the highest acts of duty towards our Créaitor, our neighbour, and ourselves. How many
noble arguments has Saint Paul raised from the ? chief articles of our religion, for the advancing * of morality in its three great branches ? To give 'a fingle example in each kind : What can be a
stronger motive to a firm trust and reliance on * the mercies of our Maker, than the giving us his & Son to suffer for us? What can make us tove and * efteérni ever the most inconfiderable of iñankind
more than the thought that Chrift died for him?
Or what dispose us to fet a stricter guard upon • the purity of our own hedres, than our being * members of Christ, and a part of the fociery of • which that ithmaculate person is the Head? But * thefe are only a specimen of thofe admirable in* fortements of morality, which the Apostle has • drawn from the history of our blefed Saviour.
• If our modern infidels considered thefe datters with thar candour and ferioufness which they deferve, we thould not fee their act with such a
spirit of bitterness, arrogance, and malice: They ' would not be raising such infignificant cavils,
doubts, and scruples, as may be started against
every thing that is not capable of mathematical • demonstration; in order to unfettle the minds of • the ignorant, difturb the publick peace, fubvert . morality, and throw all things into confufion and • disorder. If none of these reflections can have any influence on them, there is one that perhaps
may, because it is adapted to their vanity, by which they feem to be guided much more than * their reason, I would therefore have them con
fider, that the wiseft and beft of men, in all ages ! of the world, have been those who lived up to • the religion of their country, when they faw no
thing in it opposite to morality, and to the best
lights they had of the divine nature. Pythago: ras's first rule directs us to worship the gods as it
is ordained by law, for that is the most natural interpretation of the precept. Socrates, who was the most renowned among the Heathens both for wisdom and virtue, in his last moments defires his friends to offer a cock to Æfculapius; doubtless out
of a submissive deference to the established worship of his country. Xenophon tells us, that his Prince (whom he fets forth as a pattern of perfection) when he found his death approaching, offered sacrifices on the mountains to the Persian Jupiter, and the fun, according to the custom of the Persians ; for those are the words of the historian. Nay, the Epicurians and atomical philosophers shewed a very remarkable modestý in this particular ; for though the Being of a God was intirely repugnant to their schemes of
natural philosophy, they contented themselves • 'with the denial of a providence, afferting at the • fame time the existence of gods in general; be
cause they would not shock the common belief of mankind, and the religion of their country,
NO 187. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4.
- -Miferi quibus Intentata nitesatte
HOŘ. Od. v. l. 1. ver. 12. Ah, wretched thofe who love, yet ne'er did try The smiling treachery of the eye! CREECH.
. THE intelligence given by this correspondent is the persons he speaks of, that I tvail insert
his letter at lengih,
on a certaint species of women,' whom tve' ordiriärily call Jilts. You cannot poffibly go upon a more ufeful work, than the confideration of these dangerous animals. The coquettc is indeed
ond degree towards the filt'; But the heart of the ' former is bent upon' admiring herself, and giving * falfe koples to her lovers; but the latter is not • contented to be extremely amiable, but the most 0 add to that advantage a certain delight in being a torment to others. Thus when her lover is in
the full expectation of fuccefs, the jilt fhall ''meet him with a sudden indifference, and admi.
ration in her face at his being furprised that he is received like a stranger, and a cast of her head another away with a pleafant fcorn of the fellow's
insolence. It is very probable the lover goes · Home utterly astonished and dejected, fits down 6 to his fcruroir, fends her word in the most abject
ternts, that he knows not what he has done ; that • all which was desirable in this life is fu suddenly ' vanished from him, that the charmer of his foul • should withdraw the vital beat from the heart * which pants for her. He continues a mournful ' abfence for some time, pining in fecres, and out