« EelmineJätka »
falsehoods. He will pretend to discover other truths of equal importance. A later sage will arise, perhaps anong men now barbarous and unlearned, whose sagacious discoveries will discredit the opinions of his admired predecessor. In philosophy, as ip nature, all changes its form, and one thing exists by the destruction of another.
Locke. Opinions taken up without a patient investigation, depending on teims not accurately defined, and principles begged without proof, like theories to explain the phæıomena of nature, built on suppositions instead of experiments, must perpetually change and destroy one another. But some opinions there are, even in matters not obvious to the common sense of mankind, which the mind has received on such rational grounds of assent, that they are as immoveable as the pillars of heaven ; or (to speak philosophically) as the great laws of Nature, by which, under God, the universe is sustained. Can you seriously think, that, because the hypothesis of your countryman Descartes, which was nothing but an ingenious, well-imagined romance, has been lately exploded. the system of Newton, which is built on experiments and geometry, the two most certain methods of discovering truth, will ever fail ; or that, because the whims of fanatics and the divinity of the schoolmen, cannot now be support. ed, the doctrines of that religion, which I, the declared enemy of all enthusiasm and false reasoning, firmly believe ed and maintained, will ever be shaken ?
Bayle. If you had asked Descartes, while he was in the height of his vogue, whether his system would ever be confuted by any other philosophers, as that of Aristotle had lxeen by his, what answer do you suppose he would have returned?
Locke. Comc, come, you yourself know the difference be. tween the foundations on which the credit of those systems, and that of Newton is placed. Your scepticism is more affected than real. You found it a shorter way to a great reputation, (the only wish of your heart,) to object, than to desend ; to pull down, than to set up. And your talents were adınirable for that kind of work. Then your huddling together in a Critical Dictionary, a pleasant tale, or obscene. joet, and a grave argument against the Christian religion, a witty confutation of some absurd author, and an artful sophisir. to impeach some respectable truth, was particularly commodious to all our young smarts and smatterers in free-thinking. But what mischief have you not done to human society? You have endeavoured, and with some degree of success, to
shake those foundations, on which the wlinle qosial world. and the great fibric of soci! happiness, entirely re-t. llow could you, as a philosopher, in the sober hours of relection, answer for this to your conscience, men suposing you doubts of the truth of a system, which gives to yirtue iis sweetest hopes, to impenitent vice its greitest tears, and in true: penitence ils best consolitions ; which restrails eren the least approaches to guilt, and yet makes those allowance for the infirmities of our mature, wlich the Stoic pride de nied to it, but which its real imperfection, and the goodness of its intinitely benevolent Creilor, so evidently require!
Baule. The mind is free; and it loves to eserc its freedoni Any restraint upon it is a violence done to its nature, and a tyranny, against which it is a right to rebel.
Locke. The mind, though free, has a governor within it self, which may and ought to limit the exercise of its free. dom. That governor is reson.
Boyle. Yes :-hut reason, like other governors, has il policy more dependent upon uncertain caprice, than upon any fixed laws. An: if that reason, which rulesmy mind or yours, has happened to set up a tavourite notion, it not only submits implicity to it, but desires that the same respect should be paid to it by all the rest of ini kini Now I hold that any man may lawfully oppose this desire in another; and that if he is wise, he will use liis utmost endeavours to check it in himself.
Locke. Is there not also a weakness of a contrary nature to this you are now ridiculing? Do we not often take a pleasure in showing our own power, and gratifying our own pride, by degrading the notions set 11p by other men, an generally respected ?
Bayle. I believe we do ; and by this meios it orien hi pens, th:t, it one min builds and conseürtes a temple ir fully, another pulls it down.
Locke. Do you think it beneficial to human society, to have all temples pulled down ?
Bayle. I cannot say that I do.
Locke. Yet I find not in your writings any mark of distinc. tion, to show us which you ineiud to save.
Bayle. A true philosopher, like an impartial historian. must be of no sect.
Locke. Is there no medium between the blind zeal of a ?ectary, and a total indifference to all religion ?
Bayle. With regard to morality, I was not indifferent.
I know very
Lorke. How conlil you then be indifferent with regard to the sanctions religion gives to morality ?llow could you publisi hal tenis so directly and apparently to weaken in man kind the belief of those sanctions ? Wis not this sacrificing the great interest of virtue to the little motives of vanity ?
Bayle. A man may act indiscreetly, but he cannot do wrong, by declaring th:t, which, on a full discussion of the . ! question, he sincerely thinks to be true.
Locke. An enthusiast, who advances doctrines prejudicial lij society, or opposes any that are useful to it, has .ho strength of opinion, and the best of a disturbed i:nagination, to plead in alleviation of his fullt. But your cool head and styd judgment, can have no such excise. well there are passages in all your works, and those not few, where you talk like a rigid moralist. I have also heard
that your character was irreproachably good. But when, : in the noriet laboured, pain of your writings, you sap the
siirest foundations of jul moral cities; what avails it that :ll others, or in the conduct oí your life, you appeared to respect them ? Ilow many, who have stronger passions than you hari, and are desirous to get rid of the curb that restrains them, will luy bolil of your scepticism, to set themselves loose from all obligations of virtie! What a missortine is it to have mare such a use of suchtlents! It would have been better for you and for mankind, if you had been one of the dullest of Dutch theologians, or the most credulous uonk in a Portuguese conveut. The riches of the mind, like those of fortune, inay be employed so perversely, as to become a nuisance and pest, instead of an ornament and support, to society.
Buyle. You are very severe upon mc.—But do you count it nu merit, no service to inankind, to deliver them from the frands and fetters of priestcraft. fron: the deliriums of fanaticism, ind from the terrors and follies of superstition ? Consider how much mischief these have done to the world! Even in the last age, what massicres, what civil wars, what ronvulsions of government, what confusion in society, vid they produce! Nay, in that we both lived in, though muih more e.lightened than the former, did I'not see them (-;. Casiop :a violent persecution in my own country ? and can yon kiame me for striking at the root of these evils ?
lancke The roo! of these cvils, you well know, was false religios · but you struck at the true. Heaven and hell are
not more different than the system of faith I defended, and that which produced the horrors of which you speak. Why would you so fallaciously confound them together in some of your writings, that it requires much more judgment, and a more diligent attention, than ordinary readers have, to separate them again, and to make the proper distinctions! This, indeed, is the great art of the most celebrated free. thinkers. They recommend themselves to warm and ingenuous minds, by lively strokes of wit, and by arguments really strong, agaiust superstition, enthusiasm, and priestcraft. But, at the same time, they insidiously throw the colours of these upon the fair face of true religion ; and dress her out in their garb, with a malignant intention to render her odious or despicable, to those who have not penetration enough to discern the impious fraud. Some of them may have thus deceived themselves, as well as otherx. Yet it is certain, no book that ever was written by the most acute of these gentlemen, is so repugnant to priestcraft
, to spiritual tyranny, to all absurd superstitions, to all that can tend to disturb or injure society, as that gospel they so much affect to despise.
Bayle. Mankind are so made, that, when they have been over-heated, they cannot be brought to a proper temper again, till they have been over-cooled. Ny scepticism might be necessary, to abate the fever and phrenzy of false religion.
Locke. A wise prescription, Indeed, to bring on a para. lytical state of the mind, (for such a scepticism as yours is a palsy, which deprives the mind of all vigour, and deadens its natural and vital powers,) in order to take off a fever, which temperance, and the milk of the evangelical dec trines, would probably cure !
Bayle. I acknowledge that those medicinos have a great power. But few doctors apply them untainted with the mixture of some harsher drugs, or some unsafe and ridiculous nostrums of their own.
Locke. What you now say is too true.-God has given us a most excellent physic for the soul, in all its diseases; but bad and interested physicians, or ignorant and conceifed quacks, administer it so ill to the rest of mankind, that much of the benefit of it is unhappily lost.
CICERO azuinst VERRES. The time is come, Fathers, when that which has long heen wished for, towards allaying the envy your order has been subject to, and removing the imputations against trials, is effectually put in your power. An opinion has long prevailed, not only here at home, but likewise in foreign countries, both dangerous to you, and pernicious to the state,-that, in prosecutions, men of wealth are always safe, however clearly convicted. There is now to be brought upon his trial before you, tothe confusion, I hope, of the propagators of this slanderous imputation, one whose life and actions condemn him in the opinion of all impartial persons; but who, according to his own reckoning and declared dependance upon his riches, is already acquitted; I mean Caius Verres. I demand justice of you, Fathers, upon the robber ofthe public treasury, the oppressor of Asia Minor and Pamphylia, the invader of the rights and privileges of Romans, the scourge and curse of Sicily. If that sentence is passed upon him which his crimes deservė, your authority, Fathers, will be venerable and sacred in the eyes of the public: but if his great riches should bias you in his favour, I shall still gain one point,--to make it apparent to all the world, that what was wanting in this case, was not a criminal nor a prosecutor, but justice and adequatc punish. ment.
To pass over the shameful irregularities of his youth, what does his quæstorship, the first public employment he held, what does it exhibit, but one continued scene of villanies ? Cneius Carbo, plundered of the public money by his own treasurer, a consul stripped and betrayed, an army deserted and reduced to want, a province robbed, the civil and reli. gioris rights of a people violated. The employment he held in Asia Minor and Pamphylia, what did it produce but the ruin of those countries? in which houses, cities, and temples, were robbed by him. What was his conduct in his præstorship hero at home? Let the plundered temples, and public works nego lected, that he might embezzle the money intended for car. rying them on, bear witness. How did he discharge the of ice of a judge ? Let those who suffered by his injustice anwer. But his prostorship in iSicily crowds all his works of