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"If ev'ry rule of equity demands,
"That vice and virtue from the Almighty's hands,
"A fyftem of confummate skill appear,
"And every cloud difpers'd, be beautiful and clear.
A future State demonftrated from the concurrent consent of Mankind.
GENESIS II. 7.
AND THE LORD GOD FORMED MAN OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND, AND BREATHED INTO HIS NOSTRILS THE BREATH OF LIFE, AND MAN BECAME A LIVING SOUL.
E humbly prefume that we have already fufficiently demonftrated a Future State from the nature of the foul, &c. It may be a further confirmation of this very important truth, to produce competent evidence that it has been acknowledged by ali nations, and inculcated by the wifeft men in all ages. However, before we begin, it may not be improper to remove an objection, which the text of our last difcourfe feems most glaringly to produce against us; for therein we find a whole body of men, who profeffedly difbelieved a future ftate. "The Sadducees fay, that there is no refurrection, neither angel "nor fpirit." When therefore we affert that all mankind believe this truth, it cannot be taken in an unlimited fenfe, for fome mens paffions on the one hand, and their pride on the other, will prompt them to ftart difficulties where none could reasonably arife;-and there was once a fect among the philofo
phers who profeffed themfelves diffident even of their own exiftence-A thought fo ridiculous, that the abfurdity of it muft, doubtless, be evident at first fight, and cannot therefore but be the just object of derifion and contempt.-What therefore is intended by concurrent confent can be no more than this; that the wifeft men in all ages have acknowledged a future ftate; that the number of disbelievers were but few, and thofe probably perfons who led fuch diffolute and abandoned lives, that they rather wished there was no fuch thing, than difbelieved the affertion; and that even the most barbarous nations have entertained fome confufed idea of a life after this. The Sadducees, therefore, we may fuppofe were libertines, much like our modern free-thinkers, who vainly laboured to perfuade themselves that they never should be called to account for their enormous actions; who cruelly delighted to feduce the ignorant and unwary, and tempt them to become advocates for fuch abject and despicable opinions.
The principal aim, therefore, of our prefent difcourfe fhall be to hew, by a cloud of teftimonies, produced from antient authors, that notwithstanding their confused and unworthy conceptions of God and religion; yet a future ftate was always an inconteftible [article of their firm belief: for can it be fuppofed that the foul, which is fo curious and fo apt to pry into the nature of all things, should make no enquiry concerning herfelf? As therefore there have been men in all ages of the world; fo all mankind being trained up in one and the fame school, and under one and the fame guide, namely, nature, have all along acknowledged THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL. The facred fcriptures, which direct our fteps in the path that leads to everlasting life, produce no demonftrations to prove the being of a God; and why? Because it is a truth apparent to fenfe itfelf: And, for the fame reason, there is no exprefs affertion, especially in the books of Mofes, that the foul is immortal; becaufe, if we defcend but ever fo little into ourselves,