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lief. It is pretty nearly as follows. Though vicious and irregular habits entail a certain degree of misery upon those who continue in them, and therefore sufficiently prove it to be a law of nature that punishment should follow vice; yet we must allow, that looking upon the evidence presented to us in the world around, we cannot affirm that evil conduct is exactly so compensated in all instances, after that manner at least which this law seems to demand. Since therefore it does appear that punishments and rewards form part of the moral government of the Supreme Being, we must presume, that there is something which awaits us hereafter; that there is a place where our accounts shall be balanced; that there is in short, a future world, in which we shall, according to our deserts in this world, meet with a compensation for our present imperfect distribution of rewards and punishments.

Now, as all philosophers and Deists of every denomination, and, I believe, every other sectarian of infidelity, admit the necessity of good morality, for the sake of the happiness and

well-being of society at large, as well as of the individual, the argument urged in this fashion, is entitled to credit even with them.

With people in general it needs no comment; it is conclusive to a certain extent; it is plain and simple, and admits neither of being denied or misunderstood. It is one of those strong corroboratives of our religious faith, in which the rational nature of his religion permits the Christian to indulge.

The idea indeed, of compensations in a future life, for the unequal arrangements in this life, to take the question in a more simple form, is one which so easily falls in with the common sentiments of the human creation, that it is especially mentioned by the missionaries, (says B. Constant,) as that which is most easily adopted and received by the rude and ignorant nations with whom they have to deal; being in general acknowledged almost as soon as explained.

There is a passage in the book of Ecclesiastes, which seems so apposite to this subject, that I trust I shall stand excused even

before philosophic eyes for its introduction, and with it shall close this chapter.


"Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it will be well with them that fear God, which fear before him."

“But it shall not be well with the wicked; neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.

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"There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous." Ecclesiastes viii. 11-14.



Mirabaud's System of Nature-Free-will of Man-
Foreknowledge of God.

THERE are some other favourite doctrines of the sceptics in religion, which, however they

may in some sort appear to elude our grasp as theirs, must yet be examined, before we can fairly be allowed to carry our inquiries to the nature of religion itself. Nor can we, perhaps, pursue a fairer plan than that adopted in the preceding chapter, of choosing as expositors of these notions some of the French authors, whose treatises have been translated and lately re-published in this country. We will now pass therefore to the doctrine of Fatalism, a suitable sequel to those opinions which have been just examined, and which we find strongly advocated in a work known under the name of Mirabaud's System of Nature.

Mirabaud was originally an officer in the


French army; then one of the priests of the Orataire at Paris; next a preceptor in the family of the Duke of Orleans; and finally, a member of the Royal Academy, officiating as its secretary till the day of his death, which took place in the year 1760. His biographers relate nothing relative to him beyond these facts which can be important for us to know, or even be supposed to excite an interest. The System of Nature did not make its appearance until some time after his decease; and though published under the sanction of his name, it is not known for certain that he was actually its author. But the turn of thought which pervades those essays which he had given to the world during his life, renders it credible that he was so.

Science and philosophy have made great progress since the day when this book was composed, and of course many of the data which are assumed by the author, are now known to be inaccurate, at least if strictly examined. It would still be very unfair, to visit upon any individual the errors of the age in which he lived, and which, though they offer no sufficient excuse for his atheistical

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