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strongly prepossess the Mind, and grow up with it, that it is a known Fact, that they are, not without some Pains and Difficulty, corrected in the After-Stages of Life, when the Mind, if ever, should be grown up to its free and inquisitive State. We see all Ages and Nations, in some degree or other, following the Errors, the Superstitions of their Forefathers, and content with those Notions, whatever they were, which were at first instilled into them. And even in those States, where there is an allowed Liberty of debating and exposing each others Opinions and Absurdities, how seldom is it that Opinions are embraced, or rejected purely according to the Strength of the Arguments that support, or confute them : While Interest, Vanity, Prejudice, have all manifestly their Weight in keeping up Opinions upon the old Ground. And if Men are so rarely,
and with so much Difficulty brought off from their Errors, when they are continually follicited by Information, when the Reason of others concurs to assist their own, how is it to be expected that they should alone disengage themselves from these Errors, reform the Superstition of Ages all at once, and become perfect Masters of all religious and moral Truchs ?
It is certain, that there have been in all Countries, National Revolutions and Alterations in Religious Customs and Opinions, and that some few Converts are made in every Age, by the force of Reason, from one Party to another, --- Prizes, and Reprizals; but as to National Revolutions, they are generally to be ascribed to other Reasons, they have often taken place, when a clear demonstrative Discovery of the Truth, by the meer Strength of free and unprejudiced Reason, has had the least share in effecting them.
The Affertors of the Sufficiency of Human Reason have nothing to alledge in opposition to all these Facts, and this Experience, but that Mankind in these Circumstances have not made a due Use of their Reason; but then to support their Parallel, they should shew us that they have made as undue a Use of their Senses.
I think it is now evident that these Writers have no just Idea of Human Nature, nor of Virtue, nor of the Demonstrations they talk of with so much Familiarity. They appeal to a Sufficiency in the Clouds, not really existing, and make their own Vanity the Standard to judge all Mankind by. Can we help our being born Infants? or can we, in our passive State, avoid the Impressions made on our Minds ? Can we intirely prevent that Reverence and Zeal for them, which are bred up with us, and become as it were a part of us ?
Can Zeal and Negligence, Assurance and Doubting, sublist together in the fame Mind? Can we escape those Employments, which have probably been chosen for us, and by which only we are capable of getting our Subsistence, and all turn Demonstrators and Philosophers at once? Must not this suppose some Fountain of Light, some Spring of Power, which we are all conscious to ourselves we are not Masters of? The Idea of Virtue has been hitherto very unlike that of Intuition; it has carried something of Difficulty and Labour in it. The Virtue of Seeing or Hearing is a thing, which has not as yet
proposed to the Consideration of the World. As to the Point of Demonstracions, these Writers do not seem to be much better acquainted with them; at least they have not yet given us any Thing, that has so much as the Form and Appearance of one:
Could we be favoured with a Set of these Gentlemen's Demonstrations of moral Truths, it would probably furnish out a very curious Entertain
But after all they have advanced in favour of this new Claim, this absolute Sufficiency of Human Reason, it may possibly be doubted which side of the Question they are most desirous to support; whether they are most strenuous in maintaining the Sufficiency or Insufficiency of Human Reason: Both these Claims are such a Contradiction, as Men, so capable of producing their strong Reasons, would never fall into. And yet we find the Doctrine of the Sufficiency of Sincerity continually interspers’d thro’ their Writings. Now, no two Doctrines can be more contradictory, or destructive of each other, than these are: The Doctrine of Sincerity supposes and implies Insufficiency', that we