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during which period he became disgusted with the other letters, he continues in the same humorous verbal subtleties of the Aristotelian philosophy, strain. which he found unfruitful and devoid of practical In the same year, Locke returned to Oxford, where utility. Having chosen the profession of medicine, he soon afterwards received an offer of considerable he made considerable progress in the necessary preferment in the Irish church, if he should think fit studies; but finding the delicacy of his constitution to take orders. This, after due consideration, he an obstacle to successful practice, he at length aban- declined. 'A man's affairs and whole course of his doned his design. In 1664, he accompanied, in the life,' says he, in a letter to the friend who made the capacity of secretary, Sir Walter Vane, who was sent proposal to him, are not to be changed in a moment, by Charles II. as envoy to the Elector of Branden- and one is not made fit for a calling, and that in a burg during the Dutch war: some lively and inte- day. I believe you think me too proud to undertake resting letters written by him from Germany on this anything wherein I should acquit myself but unoccasion have recently been published by Lord King.worthily. I am sure I cannot content myself with Those who are acquainted with Locke only in the being undermost, possibly the middlemost, of my character of a grave philosopher, will peruse with profession; and you will allow, on consideration, interest the following humorous account, which he care is to be taken not to engage in a calling wheregives to one of his friends, of some Christmas reli- in, if one chance to be a bungler, there is no retreat. gious ceremonies witnessed by him in a church at * * It is not enough for such places to be in Cleves. 'About one in the morning I went a gos-orders, and I cannot think that preferment of that siping to our lady. Think me not profane, for the nature should be thrown upon a man who has never name is a great deal modester than the service I given any proof of himself, nor ever tried the pulpit.' was at. I shall not describe all the particulars I In 1666, Locke became acquainted with Lord Ashobserved in that church, being the principal of the ley, afterwards Earl of Shaftesbury; and so valuable Catholics in Cleves ; but only those that were par- did his lordship find the medical advice and general ticular to the occasion. Near the high altar was a conversation of the philosopher, that a close and little altar for this day's solemnity; the scene was a permanent friendship sprang up between them, and stable, wherein was an ox, an ass, a cradle, the Virgin, the babe, Joseph, shepherds, and angels, dramatis personæ. Had they but given them motion, it had been a perfect puppet play, and might have deserved pence a-piece ; for they were of the same size and make that our English puppets are ; and I am confident these shepherds and this Joseph are kin to that Judith and Holophernes which I have seen at Bartholomew fair. A little without the stable was a flock of sheer, cut out of cards; and these, as they then stood without their shepherds, appeared to me the best emblem I had seen a long time, and methought represented these poor innocent people, who, whilst their shepherds pretend so much to follow Christ, and pay their devotion to him, are left unregarded in the barren wilderness. This was the show: the music to it was all vocal in the quire adjoining, but such as I never heard. They had strong voices, but so ill-tuned, so ill-managed, that it was their misfortune, as well as ours. that they could be heard. He that could not, though he had a cold, make better music with a chery chase over a pot of smooth ale, deserved well to pay the reckoning, and go away athirst. However, I think they were the honestest singing-men I have ever seen, for they endeavoured to deserve their money, and earned it certainly with pains enough; for what they wanted in skill, they made up in loudness and variety. Every one had his own tune, and the result of all was like the noise of choosing parliament men, where every one endeavours to cry loudest. Besides
Birthplace of Locke. the men, there were a company of little choristers; Locke became an inmate of his lordship's house. I thought, when I saw them first, they had danced This brought him into the society of Sheffield, Duke to the other's music, and that it had been your of Buckingham, the Earl of Halifax, and other celeGray's Inn revels; for they were jumping up and brated wits of the time, to whom his conversation down about a good charcoal fire that was in the was highly acceptable. An anecdote is told of him, middle of the quire (this their devotion and their which shows the easy terms on which he stood with singing was enough, I think, to keep them warm, these noblemen. On an occasion when several of them though it were a very cold night); but it was not were met at Lord Ashley's house, the party, soon dancing, but singing they served for ; for when it after assembling, sat down to cards, so that scarcely came to their turns, away they ran to their places, any conversation took place. Locke, after looking and there they made as good harmony as a concert on for some time, took out his note-book, and began of little pigs would, and they were much about as to write in it, with much appearance of gravity and cleanly. Their part being done, out they sallied deliberation. One of the party observing this, inagain to the fire, where they played till their cue quired what he was writing. "My lord,' he replied, called them, and then back to their places they. I am endeavouring to profit as far as I am able in huddled. So negligent and slight are they in their your company; for having waited with impatience service in a place where the nearness of adversaries for the honour of being in an assembly of the greatest might teach them to be more careful.' In this and geniuses of the age, and having at length obtained
this good fortune, I thought that I could not do him leisure to finish, he had been engaged for better than write down your conversation ; and in- eighteen years. His object in writing it is thus ex. deed I have set down the substance of what has been plained in the prefatory epistle to the reader :said for this hour or two.' A very brief specimen Were it fit to trouble thee with the history of this of what he had written was sufficient to make the essay, I should tell thee that five or six friends meet. objects of his irony abandon the card-table, and en-ing at my chamber, and discoursing on a subject very gage in rational discourse. While residing with remote from this, found themselves quickly at a Lord Ashley, Locke superintended the education, stand by the difficulties that rose on every side. first of his lordship's son, and subsequently of his After we had a while puzzled ourselves, without grandson, the third Earl of Shaftesbury, who figured coming any nearer a resolution of those doubts which as an elegant philosophical and moral writer in perplexed us, it came into my thoughts, that we took the reign of Queen Anne. In 1672, when Lord a wrong course, and that, before we set ourselves Ashley received an earldom and the office of chan- | upon inquiries of that nature, it was necessary to cellor, he gave Locke the appointment of secretary examine our own abilities, and see what objects our of presentations, which the philosopher enjoyed understandings were, or were not, fitted to deal with. only till the following year, when his patron lost This I proposed to the company, who all readily favour with the court, and was deprived of the seals. assented ; and thereupon it was agreed that this The delicate state of Locke's health induced him in should be our first inquiry. Some hasty and un1675 to visit France, where he resided several years, digested thoughts on a subject I had never before first at Montpelier, and afterwards at Paris, where considered, which I set down against our next meethe had opportunities of cultivating the acquaintance ing, gave the first entrance into this discourse; which of the most eminent French literary men of the day. having been thus begun by chance, was continued
by intreaty, written by incoherent parcels; and after long intervals of neglect, resumed again, as my humour or occasions permitted ; and at last, in a retirement where an attendance on my health gave me leisure, it was brought into that order thou seest it.' In proceeding to treat of the subject originally proposed, he found his matter increase upon his bands, and was gradually led into other fields of investigation. It hence happens, that of the four books of which the essay consists, only the last is devoted to an inquiry into the objects within the sphere of the human understanding. Of the contents of the completed work, the following summary will perhaps impart to the reader as definite an idea as our limited space will allow to be conveyed : After clearing the way by setting aside the whole doctrine of innate notions and principles, both speculative and practical, the author traces all ideas to two sources, sensa
tion and reflection; treats at large of the nature of Seal of Locke.
ideas simple and complex ; of the operation of the When Shaftesbury regained power for a brief season human understanding in forming, distinguishing, in 1679, he recalled Locke to England ; and, on tak- compounding, and associating them; of the manner ing refuge in Holland three years afterwards, was in which words are applied as representations of followed thither by his friend, whose safety likewise ideas ; of the difficulties and obstructions in the was in jeopardy, from the connexion which subsisted search after truth, which arise from the imperfecbetween them. After the death of his patron in tion of these signs; and of the nature, reality, kinds, 1683, Locke found it necessary to prolong his stay degrees, casual hindrances, and necessary limits of in Holland, and even there was obliged by the ma- human knowledge.'* The most valuable portions of the chinations of his political enemies at home, to live work are the fourth book, already mentioned, and the for upwards of a year in concealment; in 1686, bow. third, in which the author treats of the nature and ever, it became safe for him to appear in public, and imperfections of language. The first and second in the following year he instituted, at Amsterdam, a books are on subjects of comparatively little appii. literary society, the members of which (among whom cability to practical purposes, and, moreover, conwere Le Clerc, Limborch, and other learned indivi- tain doctrines which have been much controverted duals,) met weekly for the purpose of enjoying each by subsequent philosophers, and seem to be not other's conversation. The revolution of 1688 finally always consistent with each other. The style of the restored Locke to his native country, to which work is plain, clear, and expressive; and, as it was he was conveyed by the fleet that brought over the designed for general perusal, there is a frequent emprincess of Orange. He now became a prominent ployment of colloquial phraseology. Locke hated
der of civil and religious liberty, in a succes- scholastic jargon, and wrote in language intelligible sion of works which have exerted a highly benefi- to every man of common sense. No one,' says his cial influence on subsequent generations, not only pupil, Shaftesbury, has done more towards the rein Britain, but throughout the civilised world. calling of philosophy from barbarity, into the use and While in Holland, he had written, in Latin, A practice of the world, and into the company of the Letter concerning Toleration : this appeared at Gouda better and politer sort, who might well be ashamed in 1689, and translations of it were immediately pub of it in its other dress.'t The influence of the . Essay lished in Dutch, French, and English. The liberal on Human Understanding upon the aims and habits opinions which it maintained were controverted by of philosophical inquirers, as well as upon the minds an Oxford writer, in reply to whom Locke succes. of educated men in general, has been extremely benesively wrote three additional Letters. In 1690 was ficial. Few books,' says Sir James Mackintosh, published his most celebrated work, An Essay concerning Human Understanding. In the composition of Enfield's Abridgment of Brucker's History of Philosophy, this treatise, which his retirement in Holland afforded | Shaftesbury's Correspondence, February 1707.
have contributed more to rectify prejudice, to under- In reference to the writings of Locke, Sir James mine established errors, to diffuse a just mode of Mackintosh observes, that justly to understand their thinking, to excite a fearless spirit of inquiry, and character, it is necessary to take a deliberate survey yet to contain it within the boundaries which nature of the circumstances in which the writer was placed. has prescribed to the human understanding. An Educated among the English dissenters, during the amendment of the general habits of thought is, in short period of their political ascendency, he early most parts of knowledge, an object as important as imbibed that deep piety and ardent spirit of liberty. even the discovery of new truths, though it is not so which actuated that body of men ; and he probably palpable, nor in its nature so capable of being esti imbibed also in their schools the disposition to me. mated by superficial observers. In the mental and taphysical inquiries which has everywhere accommoral world, which scarcely admits of anything panied the Calvinistic theology. Sécts founded in which can be called discovery, the correction of the the right of private judgment, naturally tend to intellectual habits is probably the greatest service purify themselves from intolerance, and in time learn which can be rendered to science. In this respect, to respect in others the freedom of thought to the the merit of Locke is unrivalled. His writings have exercise of which they owe their own existence. By diffused throughout the civilised world the love of the Independent divines, who were his instructors, civil liberty ; the spirit of toleration and charity in our philosopher was taught those principles of relireligious differences; the disposition to reject what- gious liberty which they were the first to disclose to ever is obscure, fantastic, or hypothetical in specu the world.* When free inquiry led him to milder lation ; to reduce verbal disputes to their proper dogmas, he retained the severe morality which was value; to abandon problems which admit of no solu- their honourable singularity, and which continues to tion; to distrust whatever cannot be clearly ex- distinguish their successors in those communities pressed; to render theory the simple expression of which have abandoned their rigorous opinions. His facts; and to prefer those studies which most directly professional pursuits afterwards engaged him in the contribute to human happiness. If Bacon first dis- study of the physical sciences, at the moment when covered the rules by which knowledge is improved, the spirit of experiment and observation was in its Locke has most contributed to make mankind at youthful fervour, and when a repugnance to scholaslarge observe them. He has done most, though often tic subtleties was the ruling passion of the scientific by remedies of silent and almost insensible operation, world. At a more mature age, he was admitted into to cure those mental distempers which obstructed the society of great wits and ambitious politicians. the adoption of these rules ; and thus led to that During the remainder of his life, he was often a man general diffusion of a healthful and vigorous under- of business, and always a man of the world, without standing, which is at once the greatest of all improve- | much undisturbed leisure, and probably with that ments, and the instrument by which all other im- abated relish for merely abstract speculation which provements must be accomplished. He has left to is the inevitable result of converse with society and posterity the instructive example of a prudent refor experience in affairs. But his political connexions mer, and of a philosophy temperate as well as liberal, agreeing with his early bias, made him a zealous adwhich spares the feelings of the good, and avoids vocate of liberty in opinion and in government; and direct hostility with obstinate and formidable pre- he gradually limited his zeal and activity to the illusjudice. These benefits are very slightly counter-tration of such general principles as are the guardians balanced by some political doctrines liable to mis- of these great interests of human society. Almost application, and by the scepticism of some of his all his writings, even his essay itself, were occasional, ingenious followers, an inconvenience to which every and intended directly to counteract the enemies of philosophical school is exposed, which does not reason and freedom in his own age. The first letter steadily limit its theory to a mere exposition of ex on toleration, the most original perhaps of his works, perience. If Locke made few discoveries, Socrates was composed in Holland, in a retirement where he made none. Yet both did more for the improvement was forced to conceal himself from the tyranny which of the understanding, and not less for the progress of pursued him into a forcign land ; and it was pubknowledge, than the authors of the most brilliant lished in England in the year of the Revolution, to discoveries.'*
vindicate the toleration act, of which the author In 1690, L
cke published two Treatises on Civil | lamented the imperfection.' Government, in defence of the principles of the Revo- On the continent, the principal works of Locke lution against the Tories ; or, as he expresses himself, became extensively known through the medium of * to establish the throne of our great restorer, our translations into French. They seem to have been present King William ; to make good his title in the attentively studied by Voltaire, who, in his writings consent of the people, which, being the only one of on toleration and free inquiry, has diffused still farall lawful governments, he has more fully and clearly ther, and in a more popular shape, the doctrines of than any prince in Christendom; and to justify to the English philosopher. the world the people of England, whose love of their Immediately after the Revolution, employment in just and natural rights, with their resolution to pre- the diplomatic service was offered to Locke, who serve them, saved the nation when it was on the very declined it on the ground of ill health. In 1695, brink of slavery and ruin' The chief of his other having aided government with his advice on the subproductions are Thoughts concerning Education (1693), ject of the coin, he was appointed a member of the The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695), two Vin. | Board of Trade, which office, however, the same cause dications of that work (1696), and an admirable quickly obliged him to resign. The last years of his tract On the Conduct of the Understanding, printed | existence were spent at Oates, in Essex, the seat of after the author's death. A theological controversy Sir Francis Masham, who had invited him to make in which he engaged with Stillingfleet, bishop of that mansion his home. Lady Masham, a daughter Worcester, has already been spoken of in our account of Dr Cudworth, and to whom Locke was attached of that prelate. Many letters and miscellaneous by strong ties of friendship, palliated by her attenpieces of Locke have been published, partly in the thon the infirmities of his declining years. The beginning of last century, and partly by Lord King! *omme'n Memoirs of Dro
** Orme's Memoirs of Dr Owen, pp. 99-110. London, 1820. In in his recent life of the philosopher.
this very able volume, it is clearly proved that the Indepen.
dents were tho first teachers of religious liberty.' *Edinburgh Review, vol. IIIVI, p. 243.
Edinburgh Review, vol. Xxxvi, p. 229
death of this excellent man took place in 1704, beneath any man to try, whether another may not when he had attained the age of seventy-two. have notions of things which have escaped him, and
In the following selection of passages from his which his reason would make use of if they came into works, we shall endeavour to display at once the his mind. The faculty of reasoning seldom or never general character of the author's thoughts and opi- deceives those who trust to it; its consequences from nions, and the style in which they are expressed. what it builds on are evident and certain ; but that
which it oftenest, if not only, misleads us in, is, that
the principles from which we conclude, the grounds [Causes of weakness in Men's Understandings.]
upon which we bottom our reasoning, are but a part; There is, it is visible, great variety in men's under something is left out which should go into the reckonstardings, and their natural constitutions put so wide ing to make it just and exact. * a difference between some men in this respect, that | In this we may see the reason why some men of art and industry would never be able to master; and study and thought, that reason right, and are lovers their very natures seem to want a foundation to raise of truth, do make no great advances in their dison it that which other men easily attain unto. coveries of it. Error and truth are uncertainly blended Amongst inen of equal education there is a great in- in their minds, tbeir decisions are lame and defective, equality of parts. And the woods of America, as well and they are very often mistaken in their judgments as the schools of Athens, produce men of several abi- | The reason whereof is, they converse but with one sort lities in the same kind. Though this be so, yet I of men, they read but one sort of books, they will not imagine most men come very short of what they might come in the hearing but of one sort of notions; the attain unto in their several degrees, by a neglect of truth is, they canton out to themselves a little Goshen their understandings. A few rules of logic are thought in the intellectual world, where light shines, and, as sufficient in this case for those who pretend to the they conclude, day blesses them; but the rest of that highest iniprovement; whereas I think there are a vast expansum they give up to night and darkness, great many natural defects in the understanding ca- and so avoid coming near it. They have a petty traf. pable of amendment, which are overlooked and wholly fic with known correspondents in some little creek; neglected. And it is easy to perceive that men are within that they confine themselves, and are dexterous guilty of a great many faults in the exercise and im managers enough of the wares and products of that provement of this faculty of the mind, which hinder corner with which they content themselves, but will them in their progress, and keep them in ignorance not venture out into the great ocean of knowledge, to and error all their lives. Some of them I shall take survey the riches that nature hath stored other parts notice of, and endeavour to point out proper remedies with, no less genuine, no less solid, no less useful, for, in the following discourse.
than what has fallen to their lot in the admired plenty Besides the want of determined ideas, and of saga and sufficiency of their own little spot, which to them city and exercise in finding out and laying in order contains whatsoever is good in the universe. Those intermediate ideas, there are three miscarriages that who live thus mewed up within their own contracted men are guilty of in reference to their reason, where-territories, and will not look abroad beyond the boundby this faculty is hindered in them from that service aries that chance, conceit, or laziness, has set to their it might do and was designed for. And he that re- inquiries, but live separate from the notions, disflects upon the actions and discourses of mankind, courses, and attainments of the rest of mankind, may will find their defects in this kind very frequent and not amiss be represented by the inhabitants of the very observable.
Marian islands, which, being separated by a large 1. The first is of those who seldom reason at all, tract of sea from all communion with the habitable but do and think according to the example of others, parts of the earth, thought themselves the only people whether parents, neighbours, ministers, or who else of the world. And though the straitness and con they are pleased to make choice of to have an implicit veniences of life amongst them had never reached se faith in, for the saving of themselves the pains and far as to the use of fire, till the Spaniards, not many trouble of thinking and examining for themselves. years since, in their voyages from Acapulco to Manilla
2. The second is of those who put passion in the brought it amongst them, yet, in the want and ignoplace of reason, and being resolved that shall govern rance of almost all things, they looked upon themtheir actions and arguments, neither use their own, selves, even after that the Spaniards had brought nor hearken to other people's reason, any farther than amongst them the notice of variety of nations aboundit suits their humour, interest, or party; and these, ing in sciences, arts, and conveniences of life, of which one may observe, commonly content themselves with they knew nothing, they looked upon themselves, I words which have no distinct ideas to them, though, say, as the happiest and wisest people in the universe. in other matters, that they come with an unbiassed indifferency to, they want not abilities to talk and
[Practice and Habit.] hear reason, where they have no secret inclination that hinders them from being untractable to it.
We are born with faculties and powers capable 3. The third sort is of those who readily and sin-almost of anything, such at least as would carry us cerely follow reason, but for want of having that which farther than can be easily imagined; but it is only one may call large, sound, round-about sense, have not the exercise of those powers which gives us ability a full view of all that relates to the question, and may and skill in anything, and leads us towards perfecbe of moment to decide it. We are all short-sighted, tion. and very often see but one side of a matter; our views A middle-aged ploughman will scarce ever be are not extended to all that has a connexion with it. brought to the carriage and language of a gentleman, From this defect, I think, no man is free. We see though his body be as well proportioned, and his but in part, and we know but in part, and therefore joints as supple, and his natural parts not any way it is no wonder we conclude not right from our partial inferior. The legs of a dancing-master, and the fingers views. This might instruct the proudest esteemer of of a musician, fall, as it were, naturally without his own parts how useful it is to talk and consult thought or pains into regular and admirable motions, with others, even such as came short with him in capa- Bid thern change their parts, and they will in vain city, quickness, and penetration ; for, since no one endeavour to produce like motions in the members sees all, and we generally have different prospects of not used to them, and it will require length of time the same thing, according to our different, as I may and long practice to attain but some degrees of a like say, positions to it, it is not incongruous to think, nor | ability. What incredible and astonishing actions do
we find rope-dancers and tumblers bring their bodies to knowledge. What, now, is the cure? No other to ! not but that sundry in almost all manual arts but this, that every man should let alone others' preare as wonderful; but I name those which the world judices, and examine his own. Nobody is convinced takes notice of for such, because, on that very account, of his by the accusation of another: he recriminates they give money to see them. All these admired mo- by the same rule, and is clear. The only way to tios, beyond the reach and almost the conception of remove this great cause of ignorance and error out of unpractised spectators, are nothing but the mere effects the world, is for every one impartially to examine of use and industry in men, whose bodies have nothing himself. If others will not deal fairly with their own peculiar in them from those of the amazed lookers on. minds, does that make my errors truths, or ought it
As it is in the body, so it is in the mind ; practice to make me in love with them, and willing to impose makes it what it is; and most even of those excel on myself? If others lore cataracts on their eyes, lencies which are looked on as natural endowments, should that hinder me from couching of mine as will be found. when examined into more narrowly, to soon as I could ? Every one declares against blind. be the product of exercise, and to be raised to that ness, and yet who almost is not fond of that which pitch only by repeated actions. Some men are re-dims his sight, and keeps the clear light out of his inarked for pleasantness in raillery, others for apo- mind, which should lead him into truth and knowlogues and apposite direrting stories. This is apt to ledge? False or doubtful positions, relied upon as be taken for the effect of pure nature, and that the unquestionable maxims, keep those in the dark from rather, because it is not got by rules, and those who truth who build on them. Such are usually the excel in either of them, never purposely set themselves prejudices imbibed from education, party, reverence, to the study of it as an art to be learnt. But yet it fashion, interest, &c. This is the mote which every is true, that at first some lucky hit which took with one sees in his brother's eye, but never regards the somebody, and gained him commendation, encouraged beam in his own. For who is there almost that is ever him to try again, inclined his thoughts and endea brought fairly to examine his own principles, and see vours that way, till at last he insensibly got a facility whether they are such as will bear the trial? But in it without perceiring how; and that is attributed yet this should be one of the first things every one wholly to nature, which was much more the effect of should set about, and be scrupulous in, who would use and practice. I do not deny that natural dispo- rightly conduct his understanding in the search of sition may often give the first rise to it; but that truth and knowledge, nover carries a man far without use and exercise, and! To those who are willing to get rid of this great it is practice alone that brings the powers of the mind hindrance of knowledge (for to such only I write); to as well as those of the body to their perfection. Many those who would shake off this great and dangerous
good poetic vein is buried under a trade, and never impostor Prejudice, who dresses up falsehood in the produces anything for want of improvement. We see likeness of truth, and so dexterously hoodwinks men's the ways of discourse and reasoning are very different, minds, as to keep them in the dark, with a belief that even concerning the same inatter, at court and in the they are more in the light than any that do not see unirersity. And he that will go but from Westmin- with their eyes, I shall offer this one inark whereby ster-hall to the Exchange, will find a different genius prejudice may be known. He that is strongly of any and turn in their ways of talking ; and one cannot opinion, must suppose (unless he be self-condemned) think that all whose lot fell in the city were born with that his persuasion is built upon good grounds, and different parts from those who were bred at the uni- | that his assent is no greater than what the evidence versity or inns of court.
I of the truth he holds forces him to ; and that they are To what purpose all this, but to show that the dif- arguments, and not inclination or fancy, that make ference, so observable in men's understandings and him so confident and positive in his tenets. Now if, parts, does not arise so much from the natural facul- after all his profession, he cannot bear any opposition ties, as acquired habits! He would be laughed at to his opinion, if he cannot so much as give a patient that should go about to make a fine dancer out of a hearing, much less examine and weigh the arguments country hedger, at past fifty. And he will not have on the other side, does he not plainly confess it is much better success who shall endeavour at that age prejudice governs him? And it is not evidence of to make a man reason well, or speak handsomely, who truth, but some lazy anticipation, some beloved prehas never been used to it, though you should lay be sumption, that he desires to rest undisturbed in. For fore him a collection of all the best precepts of logic if what he holds be as he gives out, well fenced with or oratory. Nobody is made anything by hearing of evidence, and he sees it to be true, what need he fear rules, or laying them up in his memory; practice to put it to the proof? If his opinion be settled upon must settle the habit of doing without reflecting on a firm foundation, if the arguments that support it, the rule; and you may as well hope to make a good and have obtained his assent, be clear, good, and conpainter or musician, extempore, by a lecture and in- vincing, why should he be shy to have it tried whether struction in the arts of music and painting, as a co- they be proof or not? He whose assent goes beyond herent thinker, or strict reasoner, by a set of rules, his evidence, owes this excess of his adherence only showing him wherein right reasoning consists. to prejudice, and docs, in effect. own it when he re
This being so, that defects and weakness in men's fuses to hear what is offered against it; declaring understandings, as well as other faculties, come from thereby, that it is not evidence he seeks, but the want of a right use of their own ininds, Í am apt to quiet enjoyment of the opinion he is fond of, with a think the fault is generally mislaid upon nature, and forward condemnation of all that may stand in oppothere is often a complaint of want of parts, when the sition to it, unheard and unexamined. fault lies in want of a due improvement of them. We see men frequently dexterous and sharp enough in
[Injudicious Haste in Study.] making a bargain, who, if you reason with them about matters of religion, appear perfectly stupid.
The eagerness and strong bent of the mind after
knowledge, if not warily regulated, is often a hin[Prejudices.)
drance to it. It still presses into farther discoveries
and new objects, and catches at the variety of knowEvery one is forward to complain of the prejudices ledge, and therefore often stays not long enough on that mislead other men or parties, as if he were free, what is before it, to look into it as it should, for haste and had none of his own. This being objected on all to pursue what is yet out of sight. He that rides post sides, it is agreed that it is a fault, and a hindrance through a country may be able, from the transient