« ZurückWeiter »
to our Roara PropoGrises this Oppo
ever F. Malebranche asserted, was so far from establishing a certain Knowledge, that it rather tended to introduce a most dangerous Py-rhonim, and few'd that this Principle of F. Malebranche, GOD CANNOT Deceive us, is of no 1fe at all in that Father's System, according to which there can be no Sciences either buman or divine. This is what Mr. Bayle fiid of those two fimos Men; so that, says Mr. De Crousaz, this great Remedy against Scepricism, viz. FAITH, on which Mr. Bayle insists so much, is rejected by himself'; since he seems to :pprove of Mr. Arnauld's Objections against F. Malebranche's System. Our Author takes this Opportunity, to shew, that if a Proposicion appears contradictory. '. to our Reason, Faith can never make us bei lieve it.
1. To believe, says he, is to think, to have Ideas of the thing proposed to be believed. I may have so good an Opinion of a Man,as to be per. suaded, that what he fays is true, cho' I don't understand a Word of what he says. But then I can't believe the Proposition he delivers to me, as long as I have no Idea or Notion of it.
2. WHEN we understand the Words that, form a Proposition, if these Words offer a Sense contradictory, or, if join'd togethe they form no Sense at all, because they have no Relation to one another, it is impossible to be-'* lieve that Proposition :
Our Author makes then fome Observations upon what is called believing ; " That Word, " says he, is very equivocal ; use has made it “ signify several different Things, tho' People “ don't take notice of it. Sometimes to be. 6. lieve signifies, not to reject positively a Pros position, as tho it was false. Thus the Dd 3
greatest part of Mankind believe the Reli" gion of their Country, tho' they never exa
min'd it: they don't reject it positively, but " they don't know the Reasons on which it is
56 To believe sometimes signifies something “ more. We not only don't reject a Propofi« tion, but we are moreover inclined to think " ir is true: Thus we believe that our Friends " and Relations are more worthy Men, than " those with whom we are unacquainted.
“ To believe sometimes also signifies to yield &c. to fome Arguments, which borrow their
whole Strength from our Prejudices; we adço mic those Arguments without any Inquiry, 66 without being sensible of their Evidence, “ nay sometimes without understanding the to ineaning of them. By this means we may “ indeed believe contradictory Propositions ; so that is, it will never come into our beads to Ś reject them as false.
“ Add to this, that all contradictory Pros posicions have two Meanings ; when we try
to unite those two Mernings, to consider $.them in one View, and to admit them both ço as true at the same time, we can never do " it ; because it is not poslible to do what is im" posible. But if we consider at once but one 4 of the Meanings of those Propositions, we “ form an Idea of it, and adınit it as true : and ç a few Moments after we consider the other * Meaning of it,' without taking notice then of so that we consider'd first ; thus we admit the “ second also as true.'
9 Peter, James, and John are three hu© man Persons, but we must not say therefore
that these are three human Natures; there is
" but one. In the same manner the Father, es the Son and the Holy Ghost are three di66 vine Persons; but nevertheless there is but ($ one God.
" THERE was a time when the Divines ex65 pressed themselves in these Words; and it " cannot be doubted but several Persons mif“ understood them, and believed at the same s time that there was but one God, and that, $5 there were several. When they considered 66 the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost distin“ guished as Peter, James, and John are, they "s fell into Polylbeism. But when they were « alked, whether there is more than one God, o they forgot their former Opinion, and an« swer'd very sincerely, that there is but one: “ but if a Person had insisted still, and desir'd " them to reconcile their two Assertions, they " would have refus'd to enter into that Laby“ rinth. They considered indeed both Quef
tions separately ; but they chought it a Duty, ço not to consider them in one View.
" Thus also the Stoicks were sensible of the • Beauty of Virtue, and the Horror of Vice, “ like Persons who were persuaded that Man is " a free Agent. But these fame Stoicks. — admitted a Fatum, and spoke of Neces. 66 fity and the Concatenation of all Events in so the strongest Terms. These two Opinions " are inconsistent: But the Stoicks avoided the ço Trouble of perceiving that Inconsistency, by “ never comparing these two opposite Terrets." Thus it appears that Men inay believe Contradictions, because they never compare the opposite Propositions which they admit.
Our Author afterwards says, chat Faith can never be contrary to Reason, to which purpose Dd 4
he he quotes a Passage from Mr. Le Clerc's Book intituled, Sentimens de quelques Theologiens de Hollande sur l'Histoire Critique du Pere Simon, P. 337. but that Passige is too long to be here inserted. He then fiys, that when it happens, that what is called Faith and Reason are opposite to one another, it shews either that we miftook the Sense of some Patige of the Scripture, or that we argued upon false Principles, or drew from true Principles false Consequences. In that Cale we must correct our Way of arguing ; or endeavour by the Use of Reason to find out the true Sense of the Paffage, which is misunderstood; for a Reason in Man is a Ray of the divine Reason: when we find them oppofite, it shews that we are mistaken in what we think to be dictated by one or by the other, Thus far our Author, but it may be very much questioned whether our Athanasians will agree with him. If they think, that because Mr. De Crousaz has endeavoured. to answer Bayle's Objections against R ligion, his Book may be very serviceable to them to answer our present Hereticks or Infidels ; they are very much miltaken, as may appear by what we have quoted from him. He is a great Defender of human Reason, and would bring Faith and Religion itself to that Teit,
Our Author comes afterwards again to the Objections against Motion, and solves them by some Mathematical D-monstrations, to which wer:fer the Reader. He then speaks of Void, and seems inclined to think there is no such ching as a Space entirely void of Matter. He comes afterwards to what Mr. Locke has said, viz. That we don't know the Substances themfelves, but only their Qualities and Attributes:
and and here Mri De Crousaz endeavours to prove that Matter and Space are one and the same thing ; some of his Arguments are the same with those of the Cartesians; and the others are so intricate; that we own we don't understand them, therefore we must refer our Readers to the Book itfelf. :
Mr. De Crousaz next considers Mr. Bayle's Objections with regard to Time, but these being trifling and mére Cavils, we need not enlarge upon them. . We will only observe, that Mr. De Crousaz shews that we must necefa sarily admit, that something is eternal and infinite; tho? we are not able to folve all the Questions that may be proposed concerning Eternity and Infinity.
Our Author comes again to Sextus, describes for the fifth or sixth Time the Character of the Scepticks, and then answers Sextus's Objections concerning the Numbers and Unity. He next confiders - Sextus's Objections against what is commonly called Good or Evi). His Objections are grounded chiefly on this, viz. that what one Man considers as a Good, another looks upon as an Evil, and another is indifferent about it ; hence Sextus concludes, that what is good, evil, or indifferent, is not determined by Nature, since Men differ so much about it. The Substance of our Author's Answer is, that the Opinion of Men is not the Rule of Truth; and that if they would con: ftantly make use of their Reason, and reflect seriously upon what they desire or fear, they would soon agree about what is good or evil. The remaining Part of this Section is taken up in answering what Sextus objects against the Arts and Sciences; but all this not being very
agree ab of this sectects againg very,