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But though animals learn many parts of their knowlege from observation, there are also many parts of it, which they derive from the original hand of nature; which much exceed the share of capacity they possess on ordinary occasions ; and in which they improve, little or nothing, by the longest practice and experience. These we denominate Instincts, and are fo apt to admire, as fomething very extraordinary, and inexplicable by all the disquisitions of human understanding. may very much surpass another in attention and memory and observation, this will make a very great difference in their reasoning.

2. Where there is a complication of causes to produce any effect, one mind may be much larger than another, and better able to comprehend the whole system of objects, and to infer justly their consequences.

3. One man is able to carry on a chain of consequences to a greater length than another.

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4. Few men can think long without running into a confufion of ideas, and mistaking one for another; and there are various degrees of this infirmity.

5. The circumstance, on which the effect depends, is frequently involved in other circumstances, which are foreign and extrinsic. The separation of it often requires great attention, accuracy, and subtilty.

6. The forming general maxims from particular observation is a very nice operation ; and nothing is more usual, from haste or a narrowness of mind, which sees not on all sides, than to commit mistakes in this particular.

7. When we reason from analogies, the man, who has the greater experience or the greater promptitude of suggesting analogies, will be the better reasoner.

8. Byasses from prejudice, education, pallion, party, &c. hang more upon one mind than another.

After we have acquired a confidence in human testimony, books and conversation enlarge much more the sphere of one man's experience and thought than those of another.

It would be easy to discover many other circumstances that make a difference in the understandings of men.

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But our wonder will, perhaps, cease or diminish; when we consider, that the experimental reasoning itself, which we pofsess in common with beasts, and on which the whole conduct

of life depends, is nothing but a species of instinct or me· chanical power, that acts in us unknown to ourselves; and in

its chief operations, is not directed by any such relations or comparisons of ideas, as are the proper objects of our intellectual faculties. "Though the instinct be different, yet still it is an instinct, which teaches a man to avoid the fire; as much as that, which teaches a bird, with such exactness, the art of incubation, and the whole oeconomy and order of its nursery.

SECTION X.

. OF MIRACLE S.

P A RT I.

T HERE is in Dr. TILLOTSON's writings an argument

1 against the real presence, which is as concise, and elegant, and strong as any argument can possibly be supposed against a doctrine, that is so little worthy of a serious refutation. 'Tis acknowleged on all hands, says that learned prelate, that the authority, either of the scripture or of tradition, is founded merely in the testimony of the apostles, who were eye-witnesses to those miracles of our Saviour, by which he proved his divine million. Our evidence, then, for the truth of the Christian religion is less than the evidence for the truth of our senses; because, even in the first authors of our religion, it was no greater; and 'tis evident it must diminish in passing from them to their disciples; nor can any one be so certain of the truth of their testimony, as of the immediate cbject of his senses. But a weaker evidence can never destroy a stronger; and therefore, were the doctrine of a real presence ever so clearly revealed in scripture, it were directly contrary to the rules of just reasoning to give our assent to it. It contradicts sense, though both the scripture and tradition, on which it is supposed to be builts,

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carry not such evidence with them as sense; when they are considered merely as external evidences, and are not brought home to every one's breast, by the immediate operation of the Holy Spirit.

Nothing is so convenient as a decisive argument of this kind, which must at least filence the most arrogant bigotry and superftition, and free us from their impertinent solicitations. I flatter myself, that I have discovered an argument of a like nature, which, if just, will, with the wise and learned, be an everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion, and consequently, will be useful as long as the world endures. For so long, I presume, will the accounts of miracles and prodigies be found in all history, sacred and profane.

Though experience be our only guide in reasoning concerning matters of fact; it must be acknowleged, that this guide is not altogether infallible, but in some cases is apt to lead us into errors and mistakes. One, who, in our climate, should expect better weather in any week of JUNE than in one of DECEMBER, would reason justly, and conformably to experience; but 'tis certain, that he may happen, in the event, to find himself mistaken. However, we may observe, that, in such a case, he would have no cause to complain of experience; because it commonly informs us beforehand of the uncertainty, by that contrariety of events, which we may learn from a diligent observation. All effects follow not with like certainty, from their supposed causes. Some events are found, in all countries and all ages, to have been constantly conjoined together : Others are found to have been more variable, and sometimes to disappoint our expectations; so that

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in our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence.

A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence. In such conclusions as are founded on an infallible experience, he expects the event with the last degree of assurance, and regards his past experience as a full proof of the future existence of that event. In other cases, he proceeds with more caution: He weighs the opposite experiments: He considers which side is supported by the greatest number of experiments: To that side he inclines, with doubt and hesitation ; and when at last he fixes his judgment, the evidence exceeds not what we properly call probability. All probability, then, supposes an opposition of experiments and observations; where the one side is found to over-balance the other, and to produce a degree of evidence, proportioned to the superiority. An hundred instances or experiments on one side, and fifty on another, afford a very doubtful expectation of any event; though an hundred uniform experiments, with only one that is contradictory, reasonably beget a pretty strong degree of assurance. In all cases, we must balance the oppofite experiments, where they are opposite, and deduct the smaller number from the greater, in order to know the exact force-of the superior evidence. : To apply these principles to a particular instance; we may observe, that there is no species of reasoning more common, more useful, and even necessary to human life, than that derived from the testimony of men, and the reports of eyewitnesses and spectators. This species of reasoning, perhaps, one may deny to be founded on the relation of cause and effect. VOL. II.

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