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which reason, stories of ghosts and apparitions pafs current with the vulgar. Eloquence alfo has great power over the mind; and, by making deep impreffions, enforces the belief of facts upon evidence that would not be regarded in a cool mo
The dependence that our perception of real exiftence, and confequently belief, hath upon oral evidence, enlivens focial intercourfe, and promotes fociety. But the perception of real existence has a still more extenfive influence; for from that perception is derived a great part of the entertainment we find in history, and in hiftorical fables (a). At the fame time, a perception that may be raised by fiction as well as by truth, would often mislead were we abandoned to its impulfe: but the God of nature hath provided a remedy for that evil, by erecting within the mind a tribunal, to which there lies an appeal from the rafh impreffions of fenfe. When the delufion of eloquence or of dread subfides, the perplexed mind is uncertain what to believe. A regular process commences, counfel is heard, evidence pro
(a) Elements of Criticisin, ch. 2. part 1. § 7.
duced, and a final judgement pronounced, fometimes confirming, fometimes varying, the belief impreffed upon us by the lively perception of reality. Thus, by a wife appointment of nature, intuitive belief is eller
fubjected to rational difcuffion: when Wow Judy confirmed by reafon, it turns more vigorous and authoritative: when contradicted by reason, it difappears among fenfible people. In fome inftances, it is too headftrong for reafon; as in the case of hobgoblins and apparitions, which pafs current among the vulgar in fpite of reafon.
We proceed to the other kind of belief, that which is founded on reafoning; to which, when intuition fails us, we must have recourse for ascertaining certain facts. Thus, from known effects, we infer the existence of unknown caufes. That an effect must have a caufe, is an intuitive propofition; but to ascertain what particular thing is the caufe, requires commonly a procefs of reafoning. This is one of the means by which the Deity, the primary caufe, is made known to us, as mentioned above, Reafon, in tracing caufes from known effects, produces different degrees of conviction. It fometimes Dd 2 produces
produces certainty, as in proving the exiftence of the Deity which on that account is handled above, under the head of knowledge. For the most part it produces belief only, which, according to the ftrength of the reafoning, 'fometimes approaches to certainty, fometimes is fo weak as barely to turn the fcale on the fide of probability. Take the following examples of different degrees of belief founded on probable reafoning. When Inigo Jones flourished and was the only architect of note in England; let it be fuppofed, that his model of the palace of Whitehall had been prefented to a ftranger, without mentioning the author. The ftranger, in the first place, would be intuitively certain, that this was the work of fome Being, intelligent and fkilful. Secondly, He would have a conviction approaching to certainty, that the operator was a man. And, thirdly, He would have a conviction that the man was Inigo Jones; but lefs firm than the former. Let us next suppose another English architect little inferior in reputation to Jones; the ftranger would ftill pronounce in favour of the latter; but his belief would be in the lowest degree.
When we investigate the caufes of certain effects, the reafoning is often founded upon the known nature of man. high country, for example, between Edinburgh and Glafgow, the people lay their coals at the end of their houfes, without any fence to fecure them from theft whence it is rationally inferred, that coals are there in plenty. In the west of Scotland, the corn-ftacks are covered with great care and nicety: whence it is inferred, that the climate is rainy. Placentia is the capital town of Biscay: the only town in Newfoundland bears the fame name; from which circumftance it is conjectured, that the Bifcayners were the firft Europeans who made a fettlement in that ifland.
Analogical reasoning, founded upon the uniformity of nature, is frequently cmploy'd in the investigation of facts; and we infer, that facts of which we are uncertain, must resemble thofe of the fame kind that are known. The reasonings in natural philofophy are moftly of that kind. Take the following examples. We learn from experience, that proceeding from the humbleft vegetable to man, there are num
berlefs claffes of beings rifing one above another by differences fcarce perceptible, and leaving no where a fingle gap or interval: and from conviction of the uniformity of nature we infer, that the ling is not broken off there, but is carried on in other worlds, till it end in the Deity I proceed to another example. Every man is confcious of a felf-motive power in himfelf; and from the uniformity of nature, we infer the fame power in every one of our own fpecies. The argument here from analogy carries great weight, because we entertain no doubt of the uniformity of nature with respect to beings of our own kind. We apply the fame argument to other animals; tho' their refemblance to man appears not fo certain, as that of one man to another. But why not alfo apply the fame argument to infer a felf-motive power in matter? When we fee matter in motion without an external mover, we naturally infer, that, like us, it moves itself. Another example is bor row'd from Maupertuis. As there is no "Known fpace of the earth covered with water fo large as the Terra Auftralis incognita, we may reafonably infer, that