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of the thing, there is no other way to come to a Certainty, but this of distinguishing, examining, and making just and natural. Inferences, from the Circumstances of a Cafe.
BUT, Thirdly, Is there not enough in the Success and good Effects of the Enquiry, to recompense you for all the Pains you are at in the making of it?
Consider, that to manage this Affair well, is what is absolutely necessary, in order to your forming a right Judgment of thiugs, and to prevent your running into Inconveniences, which may make you uneasy in this Life, and perhaps miserable in the next.
And would not every wife Man therefore, resolve to think and argue as close as possible, and run Consequences as far as they will fairly go; when the Result of his doing thus, tends so much to his present Peace and Quiet, as well as his Everlasting Security?
S E C T. XLVIJ.
YOU will be ready to ask now, Suppose a Man to have gone this way to wotk, with all the Care and Caution imaginable, what will be the Issue of it, and what may he depend upon at lajl for his satisfaction?
Anfw. If after such faithful and diligent Management of the Enquiry (which lies before
'; ■•;: \\ , ■ y°u> you) you find your self fairly indac'd, to conclude, The Evidence to be of such a Nature, as obliges the Vnderfianding of a rational Creature to yield its Assent: I say, you may safely yield your Assent thereto, depending upon it, that you shall not find your self deceiv'd in so doing. SECT. LI.
But then observe, that it lies upon you your self, to be at a Certainty about these two Points. First, That you. have carefully observed the forementiond Rules., in your Enquiry and Examination of things. Secondly, That you have taken Care to fee, whether the Evidence in the present Cafe, comes up to the Characters and Conditions of such an Evidence, as was before demonstrated, directly and positively to oblige Mankind to yield their Assent. For if you are uncertain about either of these particulars, we cannot pretend to answer for the Consequence; otherwise we dare assure you, that you may be easy in the Conclusion you draw.
Quest. TyVT upon what just Grounds may a Man D be ajfurd,, that he fa all not be deceived, in passing such a judgment; supposing these two things you speak of, to be done?
Anfw. The Grounds you have for such an Assurance, are these.
First, That the bountiful and wife Author of Nature, has furnijh'd you (as a rational Agent) with Faculties, by which you ate enabfd to distinguish Right from Wrong, and Truth from Falfiood, in all Cafes that are of real Concern to you.
O 4 For
For without such a Power as this, 'tis utterly impossible, that you should ever behave your self as a a intelligent Creature ought to do. Because, to act in due Order and Decorum, necessarily requires a Capacity of knowing and distinguishing things. And therefore, it you are destitute of such a Capacity, you are under no Moral Obligations either to God or Man. For you cannot be oblig'd to impossibilities: And 'tis absolutely impossible to act rightly, unless it be by mere Accident, without knowing what is Right, and what is not.
So that the Consequence will be this, viz.. That you must either cease to oren your self a rational intelligent Being (and be content to he rank'd with some lower Species of Animals, for the future) or else you must stand by this as a certain Truth, That God has made such a Provision in the Constitution of your reasonable Nature, that you are there by made really capable of doing what I fay.
Secondly, T70U may be certain likewise, That X God Almighty is not, nor cannot be, the Author of any of your Delusions or Mistakes.
He will neither deceive your Faculties with false and wrong Objects; nor mislead them in their Operations, about right and proper Objects.
He will not present Imposture to you, under the specious appearance of Truth -, nor alter the Nature and Order of things, on purpose tc» make you out in your Conclusions about therp.
If you do not firmly believe these things of your Maker, you cannot believe his Moral Perfections. And if you deny those (or any of his) Perfections, you deny his Existence.
And if you believe no God, it is not to be expected, that you mould believe any thing else. And if you once come to such a Degree of Scepticism, you are indeed out of the reach of this Argument, and of all others whatsoever.
S E C T. L.
Thirdly, /"\Bserve now from hence, What afsuV-/ ranee you may have with respeft to the matter we are speaking of. For if you are qualify'd with sufficient Abilities, for the Search and Discovery of necessary Truth; also if the Author of Nature, will be neither the Cause or Occasion of your running into any Mistakes: It follows, That you may come to a determinate Conclusion, about the Truth or Faljhood of a Case, wherein you are deeply concerned; provided you be not wanting to your self, and will use a regular Method in the Enquiry. And consequently, when you are come to such a Conclusion, you may be at a certainty, as to the Point of your own Deception. For you will never be deceiv'd by any thing else, if you do not deceive your selves, but take care to use the Helps, and exert the Powers which God has given you, in such manner as you, are bound to do, and are capable of doing.
Fourthly, J^f OR will the acknowledg'd FalliXN bility of Human Nature, or its Liableness to Deception, or the actual Mistakes and Deceptions of People at any time, in Enquiries of this nature; be any just Ground at all, for you to pretend, you cannot be at a Certainty, and so by that means think to excuse your self from the Labour of trying.
For the Case plainly terminates in this Ihort Dilemma, one fide of which you must of necessity chuse.
Either the Fallibility of Human Nature is really such, that you are constrained thereby to remain always doubtful of the truth of the Conclusions you draw; Or it is not.
If you fay it is, Then you either disown all Obligations to any fort of Duty, which a reasonable Creature JI)ould perform: Or else, Toufallfoul upon the Persecutions of God, in supposing him to have bound you te the discharge of various Duties \ and yet to have made you incapable of such an Exercise of your Faculties, as is absolutely necessary in erdcr thereto.
If you confess it is not, Taen all the Defetlibility, or Liableness to Deception, that is in Human Nature, can never be a Reason, why you should pretend to he always in fufpence about the Conclusions you draw but will only be a Reason, why you should use your utmost Care and Caution in the drawing of them: Which is the very thing that we moll earnestly persuade you to.