A man’s observing the flux of the tide to-day, renders it credible that the same phenomenon may be observed to-morrow. In the same manner, our experience that the Author of nature has annexed pain to vice, and pleasure to virtue, in general, I mean, renders it credible that the same, or a like disposition of things, may take place hereafter. Our observing that the state of minority was designed to be an education for mature life, and that our good or ill success, in a mature life, depends upon our good or ill improvement of our advantages in minority, renders it credible that this life was designed to be an education for a future one; and that our happiness or misery, in a future life, will be allotted us according as our characters shall be virtuous or vicious. For God governs his great kingdom, the world, by very general laws. We cannot, indeed, observe many instances of these laws, but wherever we see any particular disposition of things, we may strongly presume that there are other dispositions of things, in other systems of nature, analogous and of a piece with this.
Source: John Adams’ Diary, May 7, 1756.
They Were Believers is researched, compiled, and edited (with occasional commentary and explanatory notes) by Steve Farrell, Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal. Copyright © 2012-2014 Steve Farrell.