Page images
PDF
EPUB

On reviewing my subject, by the light which this argument, and others of like tendency, threw upon it, I was more inclined than ever to pursue it, as it appeared to me to strike directly at the main root of all our infidelity. In the following pages it is, accordingly, pursued at large ; and some arguments for immortality, new at least to me, are ventured on in them. There also the writer has made an attempt to set the grofs absurdities and horrors of annihilation in a fuller and more affecting view, than is (I think) to be met with elsewhere.

The gentlemen, for whose fake this attempt was chiefly made, profess great admiration for the wisdon

of heathen antiquity : what pity it is they are not fin<cere! If they were fincere, how would it mortify them to consider, with what contempt and abhorrence their notions would have been received by those whom they fo much admire! What 'degree of contempt and abhorrence would fall to their share, may be.conjectured by the following matter of fact (in my opinion) extremely memorable. Of all their heathen worthies, Socrates (it is well known) was the most guarded, difpassionate, and compofed : yer this great master of temper was-angry; and angry at his last hour; and angry with his friend ; and angry for what 'deserved acknowledgement; angry for a right and tender instance of true friendfhip towards him. Is not this surprising? What could be the cause ? The cause was for his honour: it was a truly noble, though, perhaps, a too punctilious, regard for immortality: for his friend

asking

alking him, with such an affectionate concern as became a friend, “Where he should depofite his remains ?" it was resented by Socrates, as implying a dishonourable fuppofition, that he could be so mean, as to have a regard for any thing, even in himself, that was not immortal.

This fact well considered would make our infidels withdraw their admiration from Socrates; or make them endeavour, by their imitation of this illustrious example, to share his glory : and, consequently, it would incline them to peruse the following pages with candour and impartiality : which is all I defire ; and that, for their fakes: for I am persuaded, that an unprejudiced infidel muft, necessarily, receive fome advantageous impressions from them.

July 7, 17446

Vol. LXI.

M

CON

[ocr errors]

CONTENTS OF THE SEVENTH NIGHT.
IN the sixth Night

arguments were drawn, from Na-
ture, in proof of immortality : here, others are
drawn from Man: from his Discontent, Ver. 29; from
his Pasions and Powers, 64; from the gradual growth
of Reason, 81 ; from his fear of Death, 86; from the
nature of Hope, 104, and of Virtue, 139, &c. from
Knowledge and Love, as being the most effential pro-
perties of the soul, 253 ; from the Order of Creation,
290, &c. from the nature of Ambition, 337, &c. Ava-
rice, 460; Pleasure, 477; a digression on the grandeur
of the Passions, 521. Immortality alone renders our
present state intelligible, 545. An objection from the
Stoics disbelief of immortality answered, 585. End-
less questions unresolvable, but on fuppofition of our
immortality, 606. The natural, most melancholy, and
pathetic complaint of a worthy man, under the per-
suasion of no futurity, 653, '&c. The gross absurdi-
ties and horrors of annihilation urged home on Lorenzo,
842, &c. The soul's vast importance, 990. &c. from
whence it arises, 1078. The Difficulty of being an in-
fidel 1131, the Infamy, 1148, the Cause, 1183, and
the Character, 1203, of an infidel state. What true
free-thinking is, 1217.. The necessary punishment of
the false, 1271. Man's ruin is from himself, 1303.
An infidel accuses himself of guilt, and bypocrisy; and
that of the worit sort, 1319. His obligation to Chrif-
tians, 1337. What danger he incurs by Virtue, 1345.
Vice recommended to him, 1364. His high pretences
to Virtue and Benevolence, exploded, 1373. The
conclusion, on the nature of Faith, 1427: Reason,
1439; and tope, 1443 ; with an apology for this at-
tempt, 1470.

[ocr errors]

N I G H T VII. HEAVEN gives the needful

, but neglefted, call. What day, what hour, but knocks at human hearts, To wake the soul to sense of future scenes? Deaths ftand, like Mercurys, in every way, And kindly point us to our journey's end.

5 Pope, who couldst make immortals ! art thou dead? I give thee joy : nor will I take my leave; So soon to follow. Man but dives in death; Dives from the sun, in fairer day to rise ; The grave,

his subterranean road to bliss. 10 Yes, infinite indulgence plann'd it fo; Through various parts our glorious story runs ; Time gives the preface, endless age unrolls The volume (ne'er unroll'd!) of human fate.

This, earth and skies * already have proclaim'd. 15. The world 's a prophecy of worlds to come ; And who, what God foretels (who speaks in things, Still louder than in words) shall dare deny ? If nature's arguments appear too weak, Turn a new leaf, and stronger read in man. If man sleeps on, untaught by what he fees, Can he prove infidel to what he feels ? He, whose blind thought futurity denies, Unconscious bears, Bellerophon ! dike thee, His own indictment; he condemns himself; 25

M 2

Who

20

Night the Sixth.

Who reads his bosom, reads immortal life;
Or, nature, there, imposing on her fons,
Has written fables; man was made a lye.

Why discontent for ever harbour'd there?
Incurable consumption of our peace !

30 Resolve me, why the cottager and king, He whom sea-sever'd realms obey, and he Who steals his whole dominion from the waste, Repelling winter blasts with mud and straw, Disquieted alike, draw Ggh for figh,

35 In fate fo diftant, in complaint so near ?

Is it, that things terrestrial can't content?
Deep in rich pasture, will thy flocks complain ?
Not so; but to their master is deny'd
To share their sweet ferene. Man, ill at ease,
In this, not his own place, this foreign field,
Where nature fodders him with other food
Than was ordain?d his cravings to fuffice,
Poor in abundance, famish'd at a feast,
Sighs on for something more, when most enjoy’d.

45
Is heaven then kinder to thy Alocks than thee ?
Not so; thy pasture richer, but remote ;
In part, remote ; for that remoter part
Man bleats from inftinet, though perhaps, debauch'd
By sense, his reason sleeps, nor dreams the cause.

50. The cause how obvious, when his reason wakes ! His grief is but his grandeur in disguise.; And discontent is immortality.

Shall sons of æther, shall the blood of heaven, Sct up their hopes on earth, and stable here 55

« PreviousContinue »