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each diminishes somewhat of its force and vigour.” Notwithstanding the power of doubts, upon doubts, we may boldly affirm, without fear of contradiction, that the above passage contains the quintessence of scepticism ; the art of doubting can no further go. It is to be lamented, however, that while philosophy is thus favourable to scepticism, nature is equally partial to dogmatism, and “ by an absolute and uncontrollable necessity, has determined us to judge, as well as to breathe and feel.” “Whoever has taken the pains to refute the cavils of this total scepticism, has really disputed without an antagonist, and endeavoured by arguments to establish a faculty, which nature has antecedently implanted in the mind, and rendered unavoidable.” Yet, in in another place, Hume says, “This sceptical doubt, both with respect to reason and the senses, is a malady which can never be radically cured, but must return upon us every moment, however we may chase it away, and sometimes may seem entirely free from it. 'Tis impossible, upon any system, to defend either our understanding or senses; and we but expose them farther when we endeavour to justify them in that manner. As the sceptical doubt arises naturally from a profound and intense reflection on those subjects, it always increases, the farther we carry our reflections, whether in opposition or conformity to it. Carelessness and inattention alone can afford us any remedy; for this reason Irely entirely upon them, and take it for granted, whatever may be the reader's opinion at this present moment, that an hour hence he will be persuaded there is both an external and internal world.” This opinion, however, he shortly after recants. “I said that reflections very refined and metaphysical have little or no influence upon us. This opinion I can scarce forbear retracting and condemning, from my present feeling and experience. The intense view of these manifold contradictions and imperfections in human reason has so wrought upon me, and heated my brain, that I am ready to reject all belief and reasoning, and can look upon no opinion even as more probable or likely than another. Where am I, or what? From what causes do I derive my existence, and to what condition shall I return ? Whose favour shall I court, and whose anger must I dread? What beings surround me, and on whom have I any influence, or who have any influence on me? I am confounded with all these questions, and begin to fancy myself in the most deplorable condition imaginable, environed with the deepest darkness, and utterly deprived of the use of every member and faculty. Most fortunately it happens, that since reason is incapable of dispelling these clouds, nature herself suffices to that purpose, and cures me of this philosophical melancholy and delirium, either by relaxing this bent of mind, or by some avocation and lively impression of my senses, which obliterates all these chimeras. I dine, I play a game of backgammon, I converse, and am merry with my friends; and when, after three or four hours' amusement, I would return to these speculations, they appear so cold, and strained, and ridiculous, that I cannot find in my heart to enter into them any further.” Thus, in the philosophy of Hume, in its original and genuine form, nothing can be alleged against Christianity more than against that system of common sense, by which the affairs of the present world are conducted, and which even the sceptics themselves allow that it would be insanity to disregard. Hume's philosophy is absolute scepticism, which destroys every opinion. Truth is but belief, and belief is merely a sensation. But he never proposed to abide by his own conclusions in the affairs of this life. All that he could possibly aim at, as the only practical result of his scepticism, was to be delivered from the anxious thoughts of that futurity which Christianity presents, and to be entitled, upon philosophical principles, to “deem himself unworthy of immortal life.” Disappointed in the expected success of his first work, he disguised his principles in the second, and made them more palatable to the popular taste. In his treatise he had expressed his opinion that “no man needs ever despair of gaining proselytes to the most extravagant hypothesis, who has art enough to represent it in any favourable colours.” But in his essays, he speaks more despondingly of the fortune of abstruse speculations, and trusts for fame to a more popular philosophy. Hence, much of his system in his latter work is thrown into the shade. The tone of absolute scepticism is discarded. Mathematics are no longer represented as a science which comes far short of certainty. In his former work, he had said, “When geometry decides any thing concerning the proportions of quantity, we ought not to look for the utmost precision and exactness. None of its proofs extend so far; it takes the dimensions and proportions of figures justly, but roughly, and with some difficulty; its errors are never considerable, nor would it err at all, did it not aspire to such an absolute perfection.” But ignorance and scepticism, when applied to mathematics, are not treated with the same indulgence as they are when directed against religion. In the essays, mathematics were suffered to rest in peace, and the exact sciences were even treated with some degree of respect. In return, the essays were more unfavourable to religion than the former work; the warfare which had been waged against all opinions was now concentrated into a decided hostility, not only against revealed, but also against natural religion. Instead of metaphysical subtleties and paradoxes, which created little interest, the public were furnished with an essay against the possibility of miracles, and another against the belief of a just and retributive Deity. Now, Hume's opinions had undergone no change except as to the sort of writings which suited the public taste. His philosophy was still phenomenism, it admitted of no other existence discernible to us than our own thoughts, no other laws except the order which our thoughts observe, and no other nature than the appearance of these ideas themselves. His Essay on Miracles is therefore a mere mystification. A miracle, according to Hume, is a violation of the laws of nature, but, according to Hume's inner doctrine, there is no external world, and nature can have no existence, and that which has no existence can have no laws. What are called miracles must be merely interruptions in the usual order of our ideas; all miracles, according to Hume, must be merely subjective, seeing there is no objective or external world. To prove that there can be no miracles, is merely to prove that no miracles can be believed, since, by Hume's exclusion, all truth is subjective, or relates merely to the order of ideas themselves. But the belief in miracles is implied in the argument against them, and therefore that argument is suicidal, and carries its own refutation along with it. But, independent of the reductio ad absurdum which Hume's own philosophy affords against his

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