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accompanies them, I am inclined to say, ' other writings, though polished with the nicest touches of art, only tinkle on the ear, or affect us like the shepherd's reed. But these, even amidst all their noble ease, strike, alarm, transport us.' When I consider the contents of the Scriptures, and believe myself interested in the promises they make, and the privileges they confer, I am induced to cry out, What are all the other books in the world, compared with these invaluable volumes.'

Herrey.

ON SCEPTICISM IN RELIGION.

LOCKE AND BAYLE.

Bayle. Yes, we both were philosophers; but my philosophy was the deepest. You dogmatized; I doubted.

Locke. Do you make doubting a proof of depth in philosophy? It may be a good beginning of it; but it is a bad end.

Bayle. No:—the more profound our searches are into the nature of things, the more uncertainty we shall find; and the most subtle minds see objections and difficulties in every system, which are overlooked or undiscoverable by ordinary understandings.

Locke. It would be better then to be no philosopher, and to continue in the vulgar herd of mankind, that one may have the convenience of thinking that one knows something. I find that the eyes which nature has given me, see many things

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very clearly, though some are out of their reach, or discerned but dimly. What opinion ought I to have of a physician, who should offer me an eye-water, the use of which would at first so sharpen my sight, as to carry it further than ordinary vision ; but would in the end put them out? Your philosophy is to the eyes of the mind, what I have supposed the doctor's nostrum to be to those of the body. It actually brought your own excellent understanding, which was by nature quick-sighted, and rendered more so by art and a subtilty of logic peculiar to yourself—it brought, I say, your very acute understanding to see nothing clearly; and enveloped all the great truths of reason and religion in mists of doubt.

Bayle. I own it did;—but your comparison is not just. I did not see well, before I used my philosophic eye-water: I only supposed I saw well; but I was in an errour, with all the rest of mankind. The blindness was real, the perceptions were imaginary. I cured myself first of those false imaginations, and then I laudably endea. voured to cure other men.

Locke. A great cure indeed !_and don't you think that, in return for the service you did them, they ought to erect you a statue?

Bayle. Yes; it is good for human nature to know its own weakness. When we arrogantly presume on a strength we have not, we are always in great danger of hurting ourselves, or at least of deserving ridicule and contempt, by vain and idle efforts.

Locke. I agree with you, that human nature should know its own weakness; but it should also feel its strength, and try to improve it. This was my employment as a philosopher. I endeavoured to discover the real powers of the mind, to see what it could do, and what it could not; to restrain it from efforts beyond its ability; but to teach it how to advance as far as the faculties given to it by nature, with the utmost exertion and most proper culture of them, would allow it to go. In the vast ocean of philosophy, I had the line and the plummet always in my hands. Many of its depths I found myself unable to fathom; but, by caution in sounding, and the careful observations I made in the course of my voyage, I found out some truths of so much use to mankind, that they acknowledge me to have been their benefactor.

Bayle. Their ignorance makes them think so. Some other philosopher will come hereafter, and show those truths to be falsehoods. He will pretend to discover other truths of equal importance. A later sage will arise, perhaps among men now barbarous and unlearned, whose sagacious discoveries will discredit the opinions of his admired predecessor. In philosophy, as in nature, all changes its form, and one thing exists by the de. struction of another.

Locke, Opinions taken up without a patient investigation, depending on terms not accurately defined, and principles begged without proof, like theories to explain the phenomena of nature, built on suppositions instead of experiments, must perpetually change and destroy one another. But some opinions there are, even in matters not obvious to the common sense of mankind, which the mind has received on such rational grounds of as, sent, that they are as immoveable as the pillars of heaven; or (to speak philosophically) as the great laws of nature, by which, under God, the universe is sustained. Can you seriously think, that because the hypothesis of your countryman Descartes, which was nothing but an ingenious, well-imagined romance, has been lately exploded, the system of Newton, which is built on experiments and geometry, the two most certain methods of discovering truth, will ever fail; or that, because the whims of fanatics and the divinity of the schoolmen, cannot now be supported, the doctrines of that religion, which I, the declared enemy of all enthusiasm and false reasoning, firmly believed and maintained, will ever be shaken?

Bayle. If you had asked Descartes, while he was in the height of his vogue, whether his system would ever be confuted by any other philosophers, as that of Aristotle had been by his, what answer do you suppose he would have returned?

Locke. Come, come, you yourself know the difference between the foundations on which the credit of those systems, and that of Newton is placed. Your scepticism is more affected than real. You found it a shorter way to a great reputation, (the only wish of your heart,) to object, than to defend; to pull down, than to set up. And your talents were admirable for that kind of work. Then your huddling together in a Critical Dictionary, a pleasant tale, or obscene jest, and a grave argument against the Christian religion, a witty confutation of some absurd author, and an artful sophism to impeach some respectable truth, was particularly commodious to all our young smarts and smat

terers in free-thinking. But what mischief have you not done to human society? You have endeavoured, and with some degree of success, to shake those foundations, on which the whole moral world, and the great fabric of social happiness, entirely rest. How could you, as a philosopher, in the sober hours of reflection, answer for this to your conscience, even supposing you had doubts of the truth of a system, which gives to virtue its sweetest hopes, to impenitent vice its greatest fears, and to true penitence its best consolations ; which restrains even the least approaches to guilt, and yet makes those allowances for the infirmities of our nature, which the stoic pride denied to it, but which its real imperfection, and the goodness of its infinitely benevolent Creator, so evidently require ?

Bayle. The mind is free; and it loves to exert its freedom. Any restraint upon it is a violence done to its nature, and a tyranny, against which it has a right to rebel.

Locke. The mind, though free, has a governor within itself, which may and ought to limit the exercise of its freedom. That governor is reason.

Bayle. Yes :—but reason, like other governors, has a policy more dependent upon uncertain caprice, than upon any fixed laws. And if that reason, which rules my mind or yours, has happened to set up a favourite notion, it not only submits implicitly to it, but desires that the same respect should be paid to it by all the rest of mankind. Now I hold that any man may lawfully oppose this desire in another; and that if he is wise, he will use his utmost endeavours to check it in himself.

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