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acts in a separate State. And this is the utinoft that the Heathen Philosophers ever pretended to; and the utmost that our modern Deifts, who reject all Revelation, will own: And indeed, when they have laid aside all Revelation, they have no Reason to own any more. But this is not to believe Inmortal Life, but only that the Soul does not lose all Knowledge, or conscious Sensation, in a State of Separation from the Body. But this is a State of Death ftill, not Immortal Life, which is the peculiar Reward our Saviour alone expresly promised to his Difciples.

I must confess (tho' I hope. a prevailing Custom will excuse it) I think we take a wrong Course, when we begin the Proof of Immortal Life with proving the natural Immortality of the Soul: Which, how well soever we can prove it, signifies nothing to a Christian Immortality, For tho' the Soul cannot die with the Body, and lose all Knowledge and Sense in a State of Separation from the Body, yet this does not prove that the Dead shall rise again into Immortal Life, which alone is the Gospel Immortality. And yet this is the Subject of the warmest Disputes and the fiercest Zeal, which neither our Saviour nor his Apostles ever concern'd themselves with. : The not distinguishing between what we commonly call the Immortality of the Soul, and that Life and Immortality which Christ hath brought to Light by the Gospel, very often occasions dangerous Mistakes, to the great Prejudice of the Chriftian Faith. This makes some Men think, that, to prove that Immortal Life which Chrift has promised, it is absolutely necessary to prove, that the Soul is by Nature Immortal ; and that,

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if they can prove the Natural Immortality of the Soul, this proves that Immortal Life which Christ hath promised ; and that, as much as they fail in these Proofs, so much less Evidence they have of the Gospel Immortality. But these are

different Things, and must be prov'd by very different Arguments; and indeed in a différent Order and Method. The Immortality of the Soul does not prove the Gospel Immortality : but the Gospel Immortality is the best Proof of the Natural Immortality of the Soul, which ultimately resolves our Faith into the sole Authority of a Divine Revelation, and a Divine Promise ; as the other Way does into the mere Evidence of Natural Reason; which may greatly endanger our Faith. As to explain this briefly to you.

First, The Immortality of the Soul signifies no more than that it does not die with the Body, does not fall into nothing, or into a State of Insensibility. But that Life and Immortality, which the Gospel promises, is the Resurrection of the Dead. Now these two different Kinds of Immortality must be proved by very different Arguments. The Natural Immortality of the Soul, without a Revelation, can be prov'd only by Natural Arguments, taken from the Nature and Operations of the Soul, &c. But the Resurrection of the Dead can be proved by no Natural Arguments: For it is not in the Power of Nature to raise the Dead. That depends wholly on the good Will and Pleasure of God, which, can be known only by Revelation. So that the Proofs of these two do not depend on each other, We may have a certain Revelation of Immortal Life, whether we can prove the Natural Im. mortality of the Soul or not. And tho' we could

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prove the Immortality of the Soul by plain and self evident Reasons, this does not, and cannot, prove the Gospel Immortality: That is, tho' we could prove that the Soul does not die with the Body, this cannot prove, that the Body shall rise again, and Soul and Body be re-united in Eternal Life. And therefore the Christian Faith of the Resurrection of the Body, and Eternal Life, is not directly and immediately concern'd in this whole Dispute of the Immortality of the Soul. For as the Proofs of Immortal Life are good without it, so the Natural Proofs of the Immortality of the Soul cannot prove the Resurrection of the Body and Immortal Life.

But, 2. Tho the Natural Immortality of the Soul does not prove the Gospel Immortality, yet the Gospel Promises of Immortal Life are the best Proof of the Natural Immortality of the Soul. Chriftians are no farther concern'd in the Belief of the Natural Immortality of the Soul, than to prove that the Soul lives and subfifts after Death, that it does not sleep nor fall into a state of Insensibility between Death and the Refurrection. We have indeed very good Proofs of this in Scripture, without concerning ourselves in this Dispute, of the Natural Immortality of the Soul; as I shall have occasion to thew hereafter. But yet, if we can prove that the Soul is by Nature Immortal, this is a Demonstration against that absurd Opinion of the Sleep or Death of the Soul until the Resurrection.

Now what better Confirmation can there be of all the Natural Arguments for the Immortality of the Soul, than the Gospel Promises of Life and Immortality ? For there is Reason to think


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that the Soul is by Nature Immorrtal, when God has promised to cloath it with an Immortal Body. If the Soul were by Nature mortal, why should it ever rise again, when it once dies? For Death is the Natural End of a Mortal Creature ; and when it dies, it has had all that Being, which it was made for. But if the Soul be by Nature Immortal, and Death signifies only its Separation from the Body, there may be very wife Reasons, why a good God, should cloath the Immortal Souls of good Men with Immortal Bodies again and raise them into Immortal Life. And it will add some force to this Argument, if we consider that bad Men shall rise again into endless Punishments, which is a good Arguinent, that their Souls are by nature immortal. For, whatever other Difficulties there may be in Eternal Punishments, this will be an unanswerable one, that a Mortal Creature should be made Immortal to be punished for ever. For Eternal Punishments can never be just, if the Person who is to suffer them, be by Nature mortal. For such Purishments, as exceed the Proportion of Nature, must exceed the Natural Measures of Justice too. So that the Resurrection of the Body, which is the Gospel Immortality, does by plain and necessary Consequence prove the Immortality of the Soul also: and then we shall more clearly see the Natural Symptoms and Evidences of Immortality, and feel the Force of those Arguments, which, when we begin with them, when they stand alone, how probable foever they may appear, do not carry an absolute Certainty with them.

3. The Evidence of these divine Promises of Life and Immortality, exceeds the Evidence that the World ever had before. What I have already faid, fufficie.tly proves this. For if all the natural Arguments for the Immortality of the Soul, were they never so good, cannot prove the Gospel Life and Immortality, that is, cannot prove, that the Dead shall rise with immortal and incorruptible Bodies ; and if the Gospel Promises of Life and Immortality do more certainly prove the Immortality of the Soul, than any natural Arguments can prove it without such a Promise, there is no doubt but these Gospel Promises are a greater and better Evidence of immortal Life, than the World ever had before.

But that which I at present design, is to consider the difference between a divine Promise and natural Reason, as to the Evidence and Certainty of Faith, that is, between a divine and natural Faith. For even in the natural Knowledge, whatever is not Sense and Demonstration, is no more than natural Faith, or a Belief and Persuasion of the Truth of something, which we neither fee nor can denionstrate by necessary, immediate, self-evident Principles. And such is the Immortality of the Soul and a future State, which we neither see, nor can demonstrate; that is, cannot prove by such neceffary Principles. as it is impossible we should be deceived in, if our Faculties are true.

I know not what some of our modern Deists, who are generally very bold Undertakers, may think of this. But most of the wiseft Philosophers, who did themselves believe the Immortality of the Soul and a future State, never pretended to absolute Certainty and Demonftration, but only to such great Probabilities, which did strongly persuade, and make it very reasonable for a wife Man to believe it. And then I think, without saying one word more, I may very fairly leave it to every Man of common Sense, to judge whether the express


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