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things, we must learn fcience, other"wife we fhall fall into error. Philofophy and theology bear teflimony to, "and mutually confirm, one another, "and produce a more perfect knowledge "of the truth: the latter teaches what 66 we ought to believe, and reafon makes us believe it more eafily, and with greater steadiness. They are two lights, "which, by their union, yield a more "brilliant luftre, than either of them "could yield fingly, or both if feparated. "Mofes learned the philofophy of the E


gyptians, and Daniel in Babylon that "of the Chaldeans *." This learned and judicious Peripatetic goes on to show, that Jerome, Auguftine, Gregory of Nice, and Clemens Alexandrinus, entertained the fame honourable opinion of the ancient philofophers. If DES CARTES, and his difciple MALEBRANCHE, had studied the ancients more, and indulged their own imagination less, they would have made a better figure in philosophy, and done much more fervice to mankind. But it was their aim to decry the ancients as much


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Bouju. Introduction à la Philofophie, chap. 9. Paris, 1614. folio.


as poffible and ever fince their time, it has been too much the fashion, to overlook the difcoveries of former ages, as altogether unneceffary for advancing the improvement of the prefent. MALEBRANCHE often inveighs against Ariftotle, in particular, with the most virulent bitterness; and affects, on all occafions, to treat him with fupreme contempt * * Had this great ancient employed his genius in the fubverfion of virtue, or in establishing tenets incompatible with the principles of natural religion, he would have deferved the feverest cenfure. But MALEBRANCHE lays nothing of this kind to his charge; he only finds him guilty of fome fpeculative errors in natural philofophy. Ariftotle was not exempted from that fallibility which is incident to human nature; yet it would not be amifs, if our modern wits would study him a little, before they venture to decide fo pofitively on his abilities and character. It is obfervable, that he is most admired by those who beft understand him. Now, the contrary is true of our modern fceptics: they are moft admired by those who read them leaft, and who

*See Recherche de la Verité, liv. 6. ch. 5.


take their characters upon truft, as they find them delivered in coffeehoufes and drawing-rooms, and other places of fafhionable converfation, whofe doctrines do fo much honour to the virtue and good fenfe of this enlightened age.

I have fometimes heard the principles of the Socratic fchool urged as a precedent to justify our modern fceptics. Modernfcepticism is of two kinds, unlike in their natures, though the one be the foundation of the other. DES CARTES begins with univerfal doubt, that in the end he may arrive at conviction; HUME begins with hypothefis, and ends with univerfal doubt. Now, does not Ariftotle propose, that all investigation fhould begin with doubt? And does not Socrates affirm, that he knows nothing certainly, except his own ignorance?

All this is true. Ariftotle proposes, that investigation fhould begin with doubt *. He compares doubting to a knot, which it is the end of investigation to disintangle; and there can be no folution, where there is no knot or difficulty to be folved.

• Ariftot. Metaphyf. lib. 3. cap. 1. Δύση δ' εκ ἔσιν ἀγνοῦντα τον Stopov, &c.


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But Ariftotle's doubt is quite of a different nature from that of DES CARTES. The former admits as true whatever is felf-evident, without feeking to prove it; nay, he affirms, that thofe men who attempt to prove felf-evident principles, or who think that fuch principles may be proved, are ignorant of the nature of proof *. It differs alfo most effentially from the fcepticifm of Mr HUME. The reasonings of this author all terminate in doubt; whereas Aristotle's conftant aim is, to difcover truth, and establish conviction. He defines philofophy the Science of Truth; divides it into fpeculative and practical; and exprefsly declares, that truth is the end of the former, and action of the latter t.

Cicero, in order to compliment a fect, of which, however, he was not a confiftent difciple, afcribes to Socrates a very high degree of scepticism ‡; making his principles nearly the fame with those of the

Ariftot. Metaphyf. lib. 4. cap. 4.

† Ορθῶς δ ̓ ἔχει καὶ τὰ καλέσαι τὴν φιλοσοφίαν ἐπισήμην τῆς ἀληθείας" θεωρητικῆς μὲν γὰρ τέλος Αληθεία· πρακτικῆς δ ̓ ἔργον.

Metaphyf. lib. 2. cap. I.

Cic. Academ. lib. 1. cap. 12.
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New Academy, who profeffed to believe, that all things are fo involved in darknefs, that nothing can be known with .certainty. The only difference between them, according to Cicero in this place, is, that Socrates affirmed, that he knew nothing, except his own ignorance; whereas Arcefilas, and the reft of the New Academy, held, that man could know nothing, not even his own ignorance, with .certainty; and therefore, that affirmation of every kind is abfurd and unphilofophical. But we need not take this on the authority of Cicero, as we have access to the fame original authors from whom he received his information. And if we confult them, particularly Xenophon, the moft unexceptionable of them all in point of veracity, we fhall find, that the reafonings, the fentiments, and the conduct, of Socrates, are altogether incompatible with univerfal fcepticism. The first science that engaged his attention was natural philofophy; which, as it was taught in thofe days by Zeno, Anaxagoras, and Xenophanes, had very little to recommend it to a man of fenfe and candour. Socrates foon relinquifhed it, from a perfuafion,


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