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fome Propofitions of Archimedes without their Demonstrations; this being the case, as we Ihould want all thç intermediate Ideas and Propositions between Euclid's first Book, and Archimedes's Propofitions, we could not be able to tell how thele laft Propositions are connected with those of Euclid : but could any one in his Senses affirm, that for that reason Archimedes's Propofitions are contradictory. Let us form the same Judgment about Mysteries; and tho' we don't perceive how they are connected with the Principles of Reason, let us not infer from thence, that they are contrary to Reason. Thus far our Author, and here I beg leave to obferve, that this supposes the Words, or Terms in which the Mysteries are expressed, convey at least some Ideas or Notions to our Minds, tho' we cannot understand how the Subject and the Attribute are connected together. The better to explain myself, I will make use of a Comparison like that of our Author. Suppose a Man, who having begun to read Euclid's Elements knows what is an Angle, a Right Angle, a Triangle ; but is not gone farther yet than the 19th Proposition of the first Book, where he has learned, that any two Angles of a Triangle are less than two Right Angles; he is told by a Mathematician, that the three Angles of any Triangle are equal together to two Right Angles; he can believe that Proposition to be true, because he understands what is meant by it, tho' he does not perceive how that Propolition is connected with those he is already persuaded of, But if the fame Proposition fhould be offer'd to a Man who had no Notions of Geometry, who does not know what is an Angle, a Triangle, a Right Angle, he could be
lieve indeed, that the Person who spoke to him, did tell him the Truth, but he could not believe the Proposition itself, of which he is supposed not to have the least Notion. In the same manner, if we understand all the Words in which a revealed Mystery is expressed ; and we do not perceive that those Words form a Proposition opposite to any Truth, we know already, we must believe, upon the Authority of God, that such a Mystery is true, cho' we cannot connect it with any known Proposition : but if we do not understand the Words, we cannot properly believe those Mysteries, because to believe, is to think that there is a Connexion between two or more Ideas, which we have in our Mind, tho’ we don't perceive that Connexion: as to know, is to perceive that saine Connexion; and as Knowledge is more or less certain, as our Perception is more or less clear, so Faith is stronger or weaker according to the greater or lesser Veracity and Authority of the Person on whom. we rely. But this only by the way, we return now to our Author.
He makes after Mr. Leibniz a very just 'Obfervation; to shew that there cannot be any invincible Argument against Truth: but what he says upon this Şubject, having been explained in a very clear manner by Leibniz himself, we chufe to refer our Readers to that celebrated Author..
After having endeavour'd to confute Bayle's Arguments against the Distinction of what is above and against Reason, our Author argues against the late Bp. Huet, who in his Book of the Weakness of Human Understanding, undertook to prove, that we cannot trust to our Senses.
. One • Thcodicée Discours Prelim. S. 25.8c.
One of his Arguments, which indeed seems the
should correspond in the Mind, did not decree
the World ; now, God cannot but chuse what... · is most perfect, there is more Harmony or Per
fection in the World, if the Motions of the Body answer exactly to the Ideas of the Mind, than in the contrary Supposition; therefore there must be Bodies, and we may safely trust to our Senses, who represent to us the Being of Bodies. Whether these two Arguments will silence the Idealists, and convince them, that God would not frame our Minds in such a manner, as that we could have all the Notions we have at present, tho' there were no Bodies in the World, we must leave to our Readers to judge; onlywe.mayventure to say that if Mr.Leibniz's Notion of the human Souls be true, there seems to be little occasion for any Bodies at all,
as we shall make it appear in the following Part of this Abstract.
In the second Chapter our Author endea. vours to fhew, what is the proper Ufe of Reason in Matters of revealed Religion. As Reason in Men is the Power they have of perceiving the Concatenation of Truths, the first Queftion is whecher Men can naturally, and without the Affistance of Grace, perceive how revealed Truths are linked together, give their Afent to them, and draw from them new Truths by way of consequence? To solve this Question, our Author obferves, that the Operation of the . Holy Ghoft never takes away the Powers of Nature, but only mends them, and renders them more perfect. In human Reason, says he, two things must be observed; first, the Power itself of perceiving Truth; secondly, the Limitation of that Power, which extends only to certain Objects ; that Limitation is a Defect, which is fupplied by Grace. Man's natural Power of perceiving Truths is thereby inlarged and improved to such a degree, as to make Man able to know the Mysteries of Faith. This being prernised, the Author inquires more diftinctly which are the Defects of Reason, .and how they are fup. plied by Grace. What is faid upon that Subject is summed up by the Author in thefe Words.
os The first Defect of Reason is, that being « ignorant of revealed Truths, it perceives
only chofe, that are naturally known: This * Defect is fupplied by the Word of God being « preached to Man. 2dly, Tho' revealed " Truths be offer'd to Reason, Man cannot “ however be easily brought to give his Affenc os to them: here his Weakness is supported by the
6 Holy Ghost, who confirms by his Teftimo. "ny the revealed Truths. Thirdly, Truths, “ cho'known, are very seldom powerful enough 66 to make Man virtuous ; in this case the 66 Grace of God stirs Man up inwardly to the « Practice of Virtue. Finally, Reafon left to ko itself is not only ignorane of the revealed 66 Truths, but, what is worfe, does not know 66 the inward Operations of the Spirit in other “ Men ; it is made conscious of them by its * own Experience, which is called a Spiritual • Experience." In all these Cases our Author pretends Reason is not destroyed, but only supported; and improved by the medicinal Grace. .
ALL this relates to Reason confidered as 'the power Man has of perceiving Truth ; the Author proceeds next to explain the use of Rearon, as it fignifies the Chain, or Connexion of Truths. Where there is a Connexion or Chain of several things, there must be something first, fecond, &c. and last : and that, which in a Chain of Truths is for it, and to which the following are linked, or from which they are drawn, is called a Principle. Now the Question is, Whether, and how far the Principles of Reafon may be admitted in Religion ? Here the Author observes, that the Principles of Reason, and all Truths in the general, are either necessary or mutable : he calls necessary those whose contrary are absolutely impossible'; such are the mathematical, logical, metaphysical Truths. : He call's mutable those whose contrary are not impoffible, such are the phyfical and moral Truths, as well as those that belong to some other Art or Science. Now the Question is, Whether both or either, or neither of chefe forts of Truths