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this world : and as to the other world, there can be no inconvenience in the mistake ; for when a man is not, it will be no trouble to him that he was once deceived about these matters. And where no obligation of conscience nor of reason can be pretended, there certainly the laws of civility ought to take place. Now men do profess to believe that there is a God, and that the common principles of 1 cligion are true, and to have a great veneration for these things: can there then be a greater insolence, than jor a man, when he comes into company, to rally and jail foul upon those things for which he knows the company have a reverence 2 Can one man offer a greater affront to another, than to expose to scorn him whom he owns and declares to be his best friend, the patron of his life, and the greatest benefactor he hath in the world? and doth not every man that owns a God say this of him 2 But when the generality of mankind are of the same opinion, the rudeness is still the greater. So that, whoever doth openly contemn God and religion, does delinqi.ere in majestate” populi, et humani generi; : “He “ does offend against the majesty of the people, and that “ reverence which is due to the common apprehensions “ of mankind, whether they be true or not;" which is the greatest incivility that can be imagined. This is the first confideration, and it is the least, that I have to urge in this matter; but yet I have insisted the longer upon it, because it is such a one as ought especially to prevail upon those who, I am afraid, are too often guilty of this vice; I mean those who are of better breeding, because they pretend to understand the laws of behaviour, and the decencies of conversation, better than other men. 2.dly, Supposing it were doubtful, whether there be a God or not, and whether the principles of religion were true or not, and that the arguments were equal on both sides; yet it would be a great folly to deride these things. And here I suppose as much as the Atheist can, with any colour of reason, pretend to. For no man ever yet pretended to demonstrate, that there is no God, nor no life after this : for these being pure negatives,

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