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on the other, they catch at this reed, they lay hold on this chimera, to save themselves from the shock and horror of an immediate and absolute despair.
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 im mortality, new at least to me, are ventured on in them. There, also, the writer has made an attempt to set the gross 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 sake this attempt was chiefly made, profess great admiration for the wisdom of heathen antiquity what pity it is they are not sincere! If they were sincere, how would it mortify them to consider with what contempt and abhorrence their notions would have been received by those whom they so 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, dispassionate, and composed; yet this great master of temper was angry, and angry at his last hour; and angry with his friend; and angry for what deserved acknowledgment; angry for a right and tender instance of true friendship 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 him, with such an affectionate concern as became a friend, 'Where he should deposit his remains?' it was resented by Socrates, as implying a dishonourable supposition, that he could be so mean as to have 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 e.de avour, by their imitation of his illustrious example, to share his glory; and consequently, it would incline them to peruse the following with candour and impartiality: which is all I desire and that, for their sakes: for I am persuaded that an unpreju diced infidel must, necessarily, receive some advantageous impressions from them.
July 7, 1744.
OF THE SEVENTH NIGHT.
In the Sixth Night, arguments were drawn from Nature in proof of Immortality: here, others are drawn from Man; from his discontent; from his passions and powers; from the gradual growth of reason; from his fear of death; from the nature of hope, and of virtue; from knowledge and love, as being the most essential properties of the soul: from the order of creation; from the na ture of ambition, avarice, pleasure.-A digression on the gran deur of the passions.-Immortality alone renders our present state intelligible.-An objection from the Stoics' disbelief of Immortality answered.-Endless questions unresolvable, but on supposition of our immortality.—The natural, most melancholy, and pathetic complaint of a worthy man, under the persuasion of no futurity. The gross absurdities and horrors of annihilation urged home on Lorenzo.-The soul's vast importance; from whence it arises, &c.-The difficulty of being an Infidel; the infamy; the cause; and the character of an infidel state.-What true free-thinking is; the necessary punishment of the false. Man's ruin is from himself.-An Infidel accuses himself of guilt and hypocrisy, and that of the worst sort; his obligations to Christians: what danger he incurs by virtue; vice recommended to him; his high pretences to virtue and benevolence exploded -The conclusion, on the nature of faith, reason, and hope; with an apology for this attempt.
THE INFIDEL RECLAIMED.
PART THE SECOND.
HEAVEN gives the needful, but neglected call.
This, earth and skies* already have proclaim'd. 15
Why discontent for ever harbour'd there?
Is it that things terrestrial can't content?
Sighs on for something more, when most enjoy'd. 45 Is Heaven then kinder to thy flocks than thee?
Not so; thy pasture richer, but remote ;
In part remote; for that remoter part
Man bleats from instinct, though, perhaps, debauch'd
Shall sons of Ether, shall the blood of Heaven,
Our heads, our hearts, our passions, and our powers,
And for this land of trifles those too strong
A soul immortal is a mortal joy.
The Sun's meridian with the soul of man.
To man why, stepdame Nature! so severe ?
Nor reach what reach he might, why die in dread ›