a concise view of the evidences and corruptions of christianity

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER II. ON THE BELIEF IN A FUTURE STATE. A Future state is the most material consideration in all our speculations concerning natural religion ; for if there is no future state, though we should be able to acquire the most certain knowledge of the nature and attributes of God, as well as the most correct notions of moral obligation, that knowledge would be of little consequence; for to what end or purpose should we trouble ourselves about them ? To induce a man to discharge his duty, he must not only know in what it consists, but he must have sufficient motives to impel him to the observance of it: if he has nothing to expect beyond this life,, why should he sacrifice a present advantage to an abstract sense of duty from which he will derive no manner of benefit ? or to what end should he speculate on the nature and attributes of the deity, which can be of no concern to him when removed from this world and mouldering in the silent oblivion of the grave ? All that a man could be expected to do in such a case would be, to adopt such a line of conduct as would be most likely to secure him as happy an existence, during this life, as the situation in which he was placed could procure him, without troubling his head with any metaphysical researches concerning the deity, or with moral duties, except in so far as they would conduce to his well-being in this world. This, in my opinion, would exclude all notions of religion; because religion would hold forth no motives if there were no hopes beyond the grave. There might, indeed, be some sort of worship, as there was among the heathens, to procure worldly prosperity and temporal advantages, but it would go no further. It is, therefore, of the greatest moment to enquire what hopes of a future state we can derive from the light of n...
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