« ZurückWeiter »
HAPPY, however, the Author, notwithstanding his Cautiousness, that his Letter was not written in a Place where a tremendous, &c. Tribunal, which is an Enemy to all Learning, is not yet established by Law, as we wish it may never be.
We hope he will shortly favour the Public, with the Sequel of his useful Labours į and we do not at all question, but, when this is pubJished in our own Tongue, as it will speedily be, it will meet here with the same Success, as it has had abroad.
ARTICLE IX. Philofophiæ Leibnitianæ & Wolphiance Ufus in Theologia, per præcipua Fidei capita : Præmittitur Dissertatio de Ratione & Revelatione, de Natura & Grafią. Auctore J. TH. C. Wirtemb.
Philosophy in Divinity: With a pre-
THE Defign of this Author, as he informs
1 us in a short Preface, is to shew, that the System of Philosophy, invented by the famous Mr. Leibniz, and explained by Mr. Wolfius, is both inoffensive in itself, and of a very great
Use in Divinity; how this is made out, our Readers will be able to judge by the account we intend to give of this Book. And altho' Mr. Leibniz's Notions, and his very Terms be new, yet we don't think it proper to present our Engtill Readers with a Latin Abstract a. We are of opinion, it is not impossible to find in our own Language fome Words, which will answer exactly to those in Latin or French, which Mr. Leibniz and his Followers make use of; or if that be sometimes impoffible, there is no harın, we think, in borrowing a Word from a Foreign Language, or in usiog a Word in a Sense different from that in which it is usually taken, provided the Notion or Idea to be fixed to chat Word be exactly defined. This is what Cicera did, when he undertook to explain in Latin the Notions of the Greek Philosophers ; his Authosity is a sufficient Apology for us. We come now to our Author.
In his preliminary Differtation he undertakes to shew, 1. That right Reason does not clash with any revealed Doctrine.. 2. What is the proper Use of Reason in Matters of revealed Religion. 3. What difference there is between Nature and Grace, and the divers Operations of both.
FIRST, As to the Agreement between Reafon and Revelation, it is not an easy thing, says our Author, to find out Truth, between two Errors directly oppofice. Some People would extend the Prerogative of Reason so far, as to make it the sole Rule, by which the Holy Scripture fhould be explained, refusing to admit any thing, that does not agree with the Axioms and Principles of Philosophy. Others,,
on See the present State of the Repub.of Let, Vol.IV.p.273;
M4"hilosophy. On the
See the prefent sa
on the contrary, rail against human Reason, and would have it entirely discarded and banilhed out of Divinity, as always disagreeing with che Mysteries of revealed Religion. Our Author chinks we must take a Medium between these two opposite Schemes : and the better to explain his System, he begins with giving us the Definition of Reason, which, according to him, and to Mr. Leibniz, is a Chain or Concatenation of Truths. · But as Reason may be considered either in an abstract manner, as it signifies the Agreement or Disagreement of certain Ideas, whether perceived or not by any intelligent Being, or, as it signifies the Power Man has, of perceiving that Agreement; our Author says, that in the first sense, Reason may be defined as Leibniz has done ; but in the second it must be defined thus, Reason is the Perception of the Concatenation of Truths.. Ratio perspicientia est Nexus Veritatum. In this sense Reason is never corrupted; they, that say, it is, must take the word in quite another Sense.
This being premised, the Author states the Question, which is not, says he, whether the fupreme Reason of God does perceive the Connexion there is between the Truths, which we know naturally, and the Theological Do&trines ;' this is what every body must allow : nor, whether Men, by the help of Reason only, can perceive that conMexion, or clearly explain how the revealed Mysteries agree with philosophical Truth's ; if that was the case, Mysteries could be explained, that is, they would be no longer Mysteries: but the Question is, whether Philosophy or right Reason teaches Men any Propositions, founded on strong Demonstrations, which Propositions be direEtly
• oppo • opposite to fome Doctrines revealed in the HolyScripture. It is further asked, Whether one, who maintains the Mysteries of Religion, be not able to expose the Fallacy of any Argument, made in opposition to them, and to mew, they do not class with Reason? Our Author takes the affirmative fide of this last Question, and consequently the negative of the former a.
H is Reasons are, first, that if Faith was opposite to Reason, it would follow, that two contrary Propositions should be true, which is a flat Absurdity, and would overthrow all human Knowledge b. 2dly, All Truths, either natural or revealed, come from God, who perceives the Connexion there is between them; fo that it is impossible the former should clash with the latter. 3dly, The things which are said in the Scripture of the Mesiab, depend for the most part upon the Testimony of the Senses; and every body must confess that the Faculty of Reasoning owes its beginning to them : for. things being represented to the Mind, Reason observes their likeness, discovers theirConnexion, judges of them, and draws from them new Truths, as so many Consequences. If then all these Acts of the Mind could be intirely or partly contrary to Revelation, we could no longer trust to our Senses, which would be de
structive both of Reason and Religion. • However, as Reason can never be opposite to any revealed Doctrine, it happens nevertheless sometimes, that Reason cannot perceive the Connection there is between natural and revealed Truths. This is what Divines mean, when they distinguish between what is above and what
* See Leibntz, Thcodic, Disc. Prelim. $.73.
Idem. Ibid. §. 3.
is against Reason. Whatever we perceive to be connected with Propofitions obvious to every Capacity, or known by a Chain of Rea. soning, is agreeable to Reason: Whatever we perceive to be really inconsistent with such Propositions, is contrary to Reason. But when some Propofitions cannot by us be connected with other Truths already known, and do not however clash with any of them, we say chese Propofitions are above Reason. .
The famous Mr. Bayle would not admit of his Distinction : " It is founded, said bed, in as the Ambiguity of the word Reafon; for if by 5 char is understood Reason in general, the fú16 premę Reason of God, in this sense of the k word, Mysteries are neither against nor above - Reason: but if by Reason is understood the * Reason of Men, I do not see what Senfe there ft is in the Distinction ; for all Orthodox Di. 66 vines confess, that we cannot see how our My- steries are connected with the Principles of Mc Philofophy: They seem then to us not to a "gree with Reason; now what seems not to a“gree with Reason, feems to be contrary to it, * in the same manner, as what does not seem to b agree with Truth, feems contrary to Truth: 66 Why then should we not say, that Mysteries care contrary to, as well as above Reason ?" The Answer of our Author is, that altho' we cannot perceive how natural Truths are connected with revealed Mysteries, we understand nevertheJess that there is no Contradiction between them, He illuftrates this with the following Example, Suppose all the Books of Euclid's Elements were loft, except the first, and that we found
fome See Leibniz, Theod. Dif. Prelimin. 5. 23. ! . 4 Rep. aux Quest, d'un Provin. Tom. III. p. 999. apud Leibn. Ibid. §. 63.