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*lofopher if you either begin or end your "inquiries with the belief of any thing. Well, Sir, you may doubt and difpute as long as you pleafe; but I be "lieve that I am come to a fure founda"tion; here therefore will I begin to "build, for I am certain there can be no
danger in trusting to the stability of "that which is immoveable. — Certain "Poor credulous fool! hark ye, firrah, you may be what the vulgar call an ho neft man, and a good workman; but "I am certain (I mean I am in doubt "whether I may not be certain) that you are no philofopher. Philofopher in"deed! to take a thing of fuch confequence for granted, without proof, " without examination! I hold you four
to one, that I fhall demonstrate a priori, "that this fame edifice of yours will be "good for nothing. I am inclined to "think, that we live in too early a period 66 to difcover ANY PRINCIPLES that will "bear the examination of the latest pofterity; the world, Sir, is not yet arrived
" reject all belief and reafoning, and can look upon no "opinion even as more probable or likely than another. Treatife of Human Nature, vol. 1. p. 456.
at the years of difcretion: it will be "time enough two or three thousand years "hence for men to begin to dogmatize, “and affirm, that two and two are four, “that a triangle is not a fquare, that the "radii of the fame circle are equal, that 66 a whole is greater than one of its parts; "that ingratitude and murder are crimes, "that benevolence, juftice, and fortitude, are virtues; that fire burns, that the "fun fhines, that human creatures exift,
or that there is fuch a thing as exiftence. These are points which our po"sterity, if they be wife, will very probably reject. These are points, which "if
"Perhaps we are still in too early an age of the world, to discover any principles which will bear the "'examination of the latest posterity."
Treatife of Human Nature, vol. 1. p. 473.
Some perhaps may blame me for laying any ftrefs on detached fentences, and for understanding these ftrong expreffions in a ftrict and literal fignification. But it is not my intention to take any unfair advantages. I fhould willingly impute thefe abfurd fentences and expreffions to the author's inadvertency: but then I muft impute the whole fyftem to the fame caufe; for they imply nothing that is not again and again inculcated, either directly or indirectly, in Mr HUME's book. It is true fome of them are felf-contradictory, and all of them ftrongly display. the futility of this pretended fcience. But who is to
"if they do not reject, they will be arrant "fools. This is my judgement, and I am certain it is right. I maintain, in"deed, that mankind are certain of nothing but I maintain, notwithstanding, that my own opinions are true. "And if any body is ill-natured enough to call this a contradiction, I protest a"gainst his judgement, and once for all "declare, that I mean not either to con "tradict myself, or to acknowledge my“self guilty of self-contradiction.”
I am well aware, that mathematical certainty is not to be expected in any fcience but mathematics. But I fuppofe, that in every science, fome kind of cer tainty is attainable, or fomething at least fufficient to command belief: and whether this reft on felf-evident axioms, or on the evidence of fenfe, memory, or teftimony, it is ftill certainty to me if I feel
༥ ལ་རྣོ། སྟ་ན
blame for this? They who allow themselves to contradict matter of fact, either in converfation or writing, will find it no eafy matter to avoid contradicting themfelves.
Again, if this fcience be fo ufelefs, and if its inutility be fometimes acknowledged even by Mr HUME himself, why, it may be faid, fo much zeal in confuting it? For this plain reafon, Because it is immoral and pernicious, as well as unprofitable and abfurd.
that I must believe it. And in every fcience, as well as in geometry, I prefume it would be consistent both with logic and with good fenfe, to take that for an ultimate principle, which forceth our belief by its own intrinfic evidence, and which cannot by any reasoning be rendered more evident,
SE C T. II.
natural philofophy, the evidence of fenfe and mathematical evidence go hand in hand; and the one produceth conviction as effectually as the other. A natural philofopher would make a poor figure, fhould he take it into his head to difbelieve or diftruft the evidence of his fenfes. The time was, indeed, when matters were on a different footing; when phyfical truths were made out, not by experiment and obfervation, but by dint of fyllogifm, or in the more compendious way of ipfe dixit. But natural philosophy was then, what the philofophy of the mind in the hands of our fceptics is now, a fyftem of fophifms, contrived for the vindication of falfe theories.
That natural philofophers never queftion the evidence of fenfe, nor feek either to difprove, or to correct it, by reafoning, is a pofition, which at firft fight may feem difputable to many. I foresee several objections, but fhall content myself with examining two of the most confiderable. And these I fhall fet in fuch a light, as will, I hope, fhow them to be inconclufive, and at the fame time preclude all other objections.
1. Do we not, (it will be faid), both in our physical obfervations, and in the common affairs of life, reject the evidence of fight, in regard to the magnitude, extenfion, figure, and distance, of vifible objects, and truft to that of touch, which we know to be lefs fallacious? I fee two buildings on the top of yonder mountain; they seem to my eyes to be only three or four feet afunder, of a round' fhape, and not larger than my two thumbs: but I have been at the place, and having afcertained their distance, fize, and figure, by touch, or menfuration, I know, that they are fquare towers, forty yards afunder, and fifty feet high. Do I not in this cafe reject the evidence of my fight as falla