Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

least confess yourselves to be as ignorant as · I. Neither your imaginations nor mine

are able to comprehend in what manner a body is susceptible of ideas; and do you conceive better in what manner a substance, of what kind foever, is fufceptible of them? As you cannot comprehend either matter or fpirit, why will you prefume to assert any thing?

The superstitious man comes afterwards, and declares, that all those must be burnt for the good of their Souls, who so much as suspect that it is possible for the body to think without any foreign assistance. But what would these people say should they themselves be prov'd irreligious ? And indeed, what man can presume to affert, without being guilty at the same time of the greatest impiety, that it is imposible for the Creator to form matter with thought and sensation ? Consider only, I beg you, what a Dilemma you bring yourselves into ; you who confine in this manner the power of the Creator. Beasts have the same organs, the same sensations, the same perceptions as we; they have memory, and combine certain ideas. In ease it was not in the power of God to animate matter, and inform it with sensation, the consequence would be, either that beasts are mere machines, or that they haye a spiritual Soul.

ME

METHINKS it is clearly evident that beasts cannot be mere machines, which I prove thus. God has given them the very same organs of sensation as to us: If therefore they have no sensation, God has created an useless thing; now, according to your own confeffion, God does nothing in vain; he therefore did not create so many organs of sensation, merely for them to be uninform’d with this faculty; confequently beasts are not mere machines. Beasts, according to your assertion, cannot be animated with a spiritual şoul; you will therefore, in spite of your self, be reduced to this only assertion, viz. that God has endued the oryans of beasts, who are mere matter, with the faculties of fensation and perception, which you call inftinct in them. But why may not God, if he pleases, communicate to our more delicate organs that faculty of feeling, per

ceiving, and thinking, which we call hu| man reason? To whatever side you turn,

you are forced to acknowledge your own ignorance, and the boundless power of the Creator. Exclaim therefore no more against the fage, the modest philosophy of Mr. Locke, which, so far from interfering with religion, would be of use to demonstrate the truth of it, in case religion wanted any such support. For what philosophy can be of a more religious nature than

that,

that, which affirming nothing but what it conceives `clearly, and conscious of its own weakness, declares that we must always have recourse to God in our examining of the first principles. . - Besides, we must not be apprehensive, that any philosophical opinion will ever prejudice the religion of a country. Tho' our demonstrations clash directly with our mysteries, that is nothing to the purpose, for the latter are not less revered upon that account by our christian philofophers, who know very well that the objects of reason and those of faith are of a. very different nature. Philosophers will never form a religious sect, the reason of which is, their writings are not calculated for the vulgar, and they themselves are free from enthusiasın. If we divide mankind into twenty parts, it will be found that nineteen of these consist of persons enıployed in manual labour, who will never know that stich a man as Mr. Locke exifted. In the remaining twentieth part how few are readers? And among such as are fo, twenty amuse themselves with romances to one who studies philosophy. The thinking part of mankind are confin'd to a very Imall number, and these will never disturb the peace and tranquility of the world!

NEITHER Montagne,' Locke, Bayle, Spinoza, Hobbes, the Lord Shaftsbury, Cola fins nor Toland lighted up the firebrand of discord in their countries; this has generally been the work of divines, who, being at first puffed up with the ambition of becoming chiefs of a sect, foon grew very desirous of being at the head of a party. But what do I say? All the works of the modern philosophers put together will nem ver make so much noise as even the difpute which arose among the Franciscans, merely about the falhion of their neeves, and of their cowls.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

IA FRENCHMAN, who arrives in Lon.

I don, will find philofophy, like every thing else, very much changed there. He had left the world a plenum, and he now finds it a vacuum. At Paris the universe is seen composed of vortices of fubtile matter ; but nothing like it is seen in London. In France it is the pressure of the moon that causes the tides ; but in England it is the sea that gravitates towards the moon ; so that when you think that the moon should make it flood with us, those Gentlemen fancy it should be ebb, which, very unluckily, cannot be proved. For to be able to do this, it is neceffary the moon and the tides should have

been

« AnteriorContinuar »