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The existence, therefore, of any being can only be proved by arguments from its cause or its effect; and these arguments are founded enirely on experience. If we reason à priori, any thing may appear able to produce any thing. The falling of a pebble may, for aught we know, extinguish the sun; or the wish of a man controul the planets in their orbit. 'Tis only experience, which teaches us the nature and bounds of cause and effect, and enables us to infer the existence of one object from that of another * Such is the foundation of moral reasoning, which forms the greatest part of human knowlege, and is the source of all human action and behaviour.

Moral reasonings are either concerning particular or general facts. All deliberations in life regard the former; as also all, disquisitions in history, chronology, geography, and astronomy.

The sciences, which treat of general facts, are politics, natural philosophy, physic, chymistry, &'c. where the qualities, causes and effects of a whole species of objects are enquired into.

Divinity or Theology, as it proves the existence of a Deity, and the immortality of souls, is composed partly of reasonings concerning particular, partly concerning general facts. It has a foundation in reason, so far as it is supported by experience. But its best and most solid foundation is faith and divine revelation.

• That impious maxim ofthe antient philosophy, Ex nihilo, nibil fit, by which the creation of matter was excluded, ceases to be a maxim, according to this philoSophy. Not only the will of the supreme Being may create matter ; but, for aught we know à priori, the will of any other being might create it, or any other cause, that the most whimsical imagination can aflign.

Morals

Morals and criticism are not so properly objects of the underftanding as of taste and sentiment. Beauty, whether moral or natural, is felt more properly than perceived. Or if we reafon concerning it, and endeavour to fix its standard, we regard a new fact, viz. the general taste of mankind, or some such fact, which may be the object of reasoning and enquiry.

When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, what havock must we make ? If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasonings concerning quan-tity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning's concerning makers of fact or existence ? No. Commit it then to the flames : For it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion,

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I. COME objects produce immediately an agreeable sensa

tion, by the original structure of our organs, and are thence denominated Good; as others, from their immediate disagreeable sensation, acquire the appellation of Evil. Thus moderate warmth is agreeable and good; excessive heat painful and evil.

Some objects again, by being naturally conformable or contrary to passion, excite an agreeable or painful sensation; and are thence called Good or Evil. The punishment of an adverfary, by gratifying revenge, is good; the sickness of a companion, by affe&ing friendship, is evil.

2. All good or evil, whence-ever it rises, produces various passions and affections, according to the light in which it is surveyed.

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When good is certain or very probable, it produces Joy: When evil is in the same situation, there arises Grief or SORROW.

When either good or evil is uncertain, it gives rise to Fear or Hope, according to the degrees of uncertainty on one side or the other.

Desire arises from good considered simply; and Aversion, from evil. The Will exerts itself, when either the presence of the good or absence of the evil may be attained by any action of the mind or body.

3. None of these passions seem to contain any thing curious or remarkable, except Hope and Fear, which, being derived from the probability of any good or evil, are mixed passions, that merit our attention.

Probability arises from an opposition of contrary chances or causes, by which the mind is not allowed to fix on either side; but is incessantly tossed from one to another, and in one moment is determined to consider an object as existent, and in another moment as the contrary. The imagination or understanding, call it which you please, fluctuates between the opposite views; and though perhaps it may be oftener turned to one side than the other, it is impossible for it, by reason of the opposition of causes or chances, to rest on either. The pro and con of the question alternately prevail; and the mind, surveying the objects in their opposite causes, finds such a contrariety as utterly destroys all certainty or established opinion.

Suppose, then, that the object, concerning which we are doubtful, produce either desire or averfion; it is evident, that, Vol. II.

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according as the mind turns itself to one side or the other, it must feel a momentary impression of joy or sorrow. An object, whose existence we desire, gives satisfaction, when we think. of those causes, which produce it; and for the same reason, excites grief or uneasiness from the oppofite consideration. So. that, as the understanding in probable questions, is dividedin between the contrary points of view, the heart must in the fame manner be divided between opposite emotions. . .

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Now, if we consider the human mind, we shall observe, that with regard to the passions, it is not like a wind instrument of music, which, in running over all the notes, immediately loses: the found when the breath ceases; but rather resembles a stringinstrument, where, after each stroke, the vibrations still retain: fome sound, which gradually and insensibly decays. The ima-. gination is extremely quick and agile; but the passions, in: comparison, are flow and restive : For which reason, when any object is presented, which affords a variety of views to : the one and emotions to the other; though the fancy may change its views with great celerity; each stroke will not pro-. duce a clear and distinct note of passion, but the one paffion will always be mixed and confounded with the other. According as the probability inclines to good or evil, the passion of grief or joy predominates in the composition; and these passions being intermingled by means of the contrary views of the imagination, produce by the union the passions of hope or. fear.

4. As this theory seems to carry its own evidence along with ' it, we shall be more concise in our proofs.

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