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and nothing but this, being the truth which Mr. Brougham has promulgated ? •If it be true,' says Dr. Wardlaw, that for his belief, whatever it may be, a man is no more the subject of praise or blame, than he is for a light or a dark complexion, or for the dimensions of his corporeal frame; then it follows, not merely that man should not account to man for his belief, but also, and with equal certainty, that man has no account to render for his belief to God. . . . We dare not hesitate to say that, between this sentiment and the most explicit statements and uniform assumptions of the Bible, there is a fearful contrariety. Our orator and the inspired penman are quite at issue.'
“ But to us it appears, that the inspired penmen are not more at issue with the orator, than they are with the divine. The divine says, “It is quite impossible that the mind should believe otherwise than as evidence is, or is not discerned.' Then a man is not responsible for his belief, assuredly; for it does not depend on him, but on the evidence.
“ What, then, does the divine proceed to prove? That a man is responsible for his belief? No; but for a very different thing; for bis mode of dealing with evidence.
“ It is a very mischievous proceeding, to confound these two things; and attach, as the reverend author does, to the one, the consequence which belong to the other. From this confusion, the spirit of prosecution derives its principal means of accomplishing its nefarious ends.
“ For what purpose does the reverend doctor, as if in averting some dreadful evil, put forth all his strength to establish a proposition, which no one in the world ever called in question; that a man may deal fairly, or unfairly with evidence, and may, in dealing unfairly with it, contract various degrees of guilt, from the lowest to the highest, perhaps, which can be imputed to a human being. Surely. he does not mean to say, that Mr. Brougham disputes that proposition. Does not Mr. Broughain use the word prejudice, like other men? As often as he does so, he evinces his belief, that men deal unfairly as well as fairly with evidence ; and thereby contract guilt, as far as the want of regard to truth implies it.
“ The quality, then, of the line of conduct pursued on this oca casion, is as follows. The odium which would be justly due to any attempt to deny or explain away the criminality which may be involved in dealing unequally, negligently, or dishonestly with evidence, the reverend author endeavours to excite in the highest possible degree. Having done his best to excite this odium, be: so frames his language, as to attach it to the proposition maintained by Mr. Brougham. The proposition maintained by Mr. Brougham, is a proposition undoubtedly true, as is affirmed by the reverend author himself, and it is a proposition of the highest possible importance, as all the world must allow. Yet the re
verend author does his best to attach odium to this great and sa. lutary truth, and to the man who lent the aid of his powerful name to its dissemination.
“We are perfectly satisfied that Dr. Wardlaw has thus deeply sinned in ignorance, and if he had not totally mistaken the nature of his act, would have been one of the last of men to have adopted so reprehensible a proceeding. No declaration against persecution can be more clear and comprehensive than his. It is a truth,' he says, and says honourably to himself, and usefully to the world, that men ought no longer to be led, and it would be a joyful truth, if truth it were, that they are resolved no longer to be led, blindfold in ignorance. It is a truth, that the principle which leads men to judge and treat each other, not according to the intrinsic merit of their actions, but according to the accidental and involuntary coincidence of their opinions, is a vile principle. It is a truth that man should not render account to man for his belief. And, in as far as this is meant to express the grand principle of universal toleration, there is no length to which I wonld not cheerfully go along with its elaquent and powerful advocate ; the very word, toleration, seeing a riglit to tolerate, supposes the existence of a corresponding right to restrain and coerce, being a term which, in such an application of it, no language ought to retain. Men should be as free to think, as they are free to breathe. 1 make no exceptions. Let truth defend herself; and defend herself by her own legitimate means. She is well able to do so. Nor does she stand in need of any auxiliary methods, beyond those of fair argument and rational persuasion. Give her an open - field, and the free use of her weapons, and she will stand her ground. Legal restraint and suppression have invariably had the effect of giving tenfold prevalence to the dreaded error And measures of coercion, whilst they have made hypocrites by thousands, have never made, and never can make, one geonine convert to her cause.'
“A man, capable of thue pobly expressing himself, respecting freedom of thought, could not have been betrayed into the exceptionable mode of commenting, which he has thought it bis duty to employ, on the language of Mr. Brougham, respecting the great law of belief, had he not, under the influence of a bad habit, which a bad education renders most.extensively and most unhappily prevalent, overlooked and neglected the distinction between the impression which the mind receives from evidence, such as it is presented, and the mental process which is subservient to the presenting of it.
4. The importance of the distinction, thus fatally, and thus frequently overlooked, the consequences attached to its observance, and its non-observance, will amply justify some pains bestowed upon the illustration of it.
“ First of all, we think it necessary to let Dr. Wardlaw see the
opinion entertained by other divines, of the greatest eminence, as well as by philosophers, respecting the impression derived from evidence. 'In other words, the law of the great mental phenomenon, belief.
“ We cannot adduce a name of greater authority, than that of the celebrated Dr. Clarke, a man, uniting, in his own person, some of the highest attributes, both of a divine, and a philosopher. The following are two out of many passages, which his voluminous writings afford.
"«• The eye, when open, sees the object necessarily, because it is passive in so doing. The understanding likewise, when open, perceives the truth of a speculative proposition, necessarily, because the understanding also is passive in so doing. . . . Neither God nor man can avoid seeing that to be true, which they see is true; or judging that to be fit and reasonable, which they see is fit and reasonable.'-Clarke, Answer to the First Letter from a Gentleman at Cambridge. “Without all dispute, perception of ideas is no action at all.
Seeing a thing to be true or false is not an action, nor has any thing to do with the will...','. Being unable to refuse our assent to what is evidently true, is not an action, but a perception.'—Clarke, Remarks upon a Book, intitled, A Philosophical Inquiry concerning Human Liberty.
"In the following passages, we have the sentiments of the great Chillingworth:
“ • Perhaps, you mean such points of faith, as the person to whom they are proposed understands sufficiently to be truths revealed by God. But how, then, can he possibly choose but believe them? Or how is it not an apparent contradiction, that a man should disbelieve what himself understands to be a truth; or any Christian what he understands or but believes to be testihed by God? This indeed is impossible.'—Chillingworth, Religion of Protestants : The Answer to the Preface.
«« If men do their best endeavour to free themselves from all error, and yet fail of it through human frailty, so well am I persuaded of the goodness of God, that if in me alone should meet a confluence of all such errors of all the Protestants in the world, I should not be so much afraid of them all, as I should be to ask pardon for them.' Id. ib.
« • He that would question, whether knowing a thing, and doubting of it: much more, whether knowing it to be true, and believing it to be false, may stand together, deserves, without question, no other answer but laughter. Now, if error and know! ledge cannot consist, then error and ignorance must be inseparable. Him that does err, indeed, you can no more conceive without ignorance than long without quantity, virtuous without quality, a man and not a living creature, to have gone ten miles
and not to have gone five, to speak sense and not to speak.' Id. lb.
“ The following is from another controversial divine of great eminence, who was not liable to the imputation of yielding any thing willingly to the sceptics :
“* The fundamental error in Mr. Bayle's argument seems to be tbis : He saw the essential differences of things; he found those differences the adequate object of the understanding; and so too hastily concluded them to be the adequate object of the will likewise. In this he was mistaken : they are, indeed, the adequate object of the understanding; because the understanding is passive in its perceptions : and, therefore, under the sole direction of those necessary differences. But the will is not passive in its determinations; for instance, that three are less than five, the understanding is necessitated to judge, but the will is not necessitated to chuse five before three.' - Warburton, Div. Leg. B. I. Sec. 4.
“ The proof that belief is not voluntary, is well put by Barrow, in his First Sermon on. Faith.; but the passage is too long for. insertion. Instead of it, take the following from a man of great name, and a tract of great merit:
“ This is the miserable condition of a convict heretic; the punishment which fell on him for expressing thoughts heretical, be must continue to endure for barely thinking; which is a thing not in his own power, but depends on the evidence that appears to him.'--Bishop Hare, Difficulties and Discouragements which attend the Study of the Scriptures in the way of private Judgment,
“After these specimens of the mode of thinking on this important subject, among rational theologiaris, we shall present but a few examples from the writings of philosophers, but those men of the highest name, and of no doubtful character in respect to their faith.
“! That a man should afford his assent to that side on which the less probability appears to him, seems to me utterly impracticable, and as impossible as it is to believe the same thing probable and improbable at the same time.'--Locke, Hum. Underst. B. IV. Ch. 20. Sect. 15, 16.
“ • The mind of man is necessarily passive in two important manners, either as truth, real or apparent, demands its assent; or, as falsehood, real or apparent, demands its dissent. It is in consequence of this passivity of the human mind, which I chuse to call passivity intellectual, that it becomes susceptible of disci-, pline and institution, and thus finds itself adornsd (according as it is cultivated) with the various tribes both of arts and sciences.' --Harris' Philos. Arrang. Ch. XI.
“ This intellectual passivity is completely implied in one of the
leading rules of Descartes' Philosophy. Credidi me,' says he,
pro regula generali sumere posse, omne id quod dilucidé et distincté concipiebam verum esse.' That conception is independent of the will, nobody has disputed. When any conceivable thing is presented to our conception, we can no more avoid conceiving it, than feeling pain when we are hurt.
“ There are two propositions, therefore, of the greatest certainty. and the greatest importance.
“ The first is this, that, as the mind is passive in belief, and the will, to use the words of Dr. Clarke, has nothing at all to do with it, neither merit nor demerit can ever be ascribed to belief, without the utmost confusion of ideas, and the risk of a deplorable train of the most immoral consequences.
“ The second is, that, as the mind is not passive in what it does relating to evidence, but has all the activity which is implied in its most voluntary exertions, merit or demerit may be justly ascribed to it.
“ On hiş mode of dealing with evidence, the good or evil application of the powers of the man, in other words, the greatest possible degree either of virtue or of vice, almost wholly depends.
“ The evidence of this proposition is short and conclusive. The outward acts of the man follow the inward acts of the will ; the acts of the will follow the last determinations of the understanding ; the determinations of the understanding follow the evidence present to the mind. The outward acts of the man, therefore, are all precisely such as the evidence which he has in his contemplation determines them to be.
“ Proper dealing with evidence consist of two things. First, the full collection of it; secondly, the equal reception of it.
“ With regard to the first, it is knowledge that is concerned, With regard to the second, it is fairness.
“ Fulness of Collection.-1. When a man gives himself no concern about evidence, he remains in voluntary ignorance. The degree of criminality which is involved in this, admits of alldegrees, according to the nature of the case. , Where it is of little importance, whether a man is or is not ignorant; very little blame can attach to his ignorance; where it would be impossible for him to acquire knowledge, however important; without neglecting it where it is still of greater importance, ignorance may deserve praise rather than blame. There are cases, however, in which voluntary ignorance implies the greatest wickedness ; and a habit of voluntary ignorance, a habit, to a certain degree predominant, of indifference to evidence on important points, implies one of the most odious and disgusting states of intellectual and moral depravity.
Èquality of Reception.- 2. The criminality of unfairness, also, of course, admits of degrees, according to the less or greater