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and three made five, and whether he was dreaming or awake. It is more frange, that fo acute a reafoner fhould not perceive, that his whole train of reafoning to prove that his faculties were not fallacious, was mere fophiftry: for if his faculties were fallacious, they might deceive him in this train of reasoning; and fo the conclufion, That they were not fallacious, was only the teftimony of his faculties in their own favour, and might be a fallacy.

It is difficult to give any reafon for distrusting our other faculties, that will not reach confcioufnefs itself. And he who diftrufts thofe faculties of judging and reafoning which God hath given him, must even reft in his fcepticism till he come to a found mind, or until God give him new faculties to fit in judgement upon the old. If it be not a first principle, That our faculties are not fallacious, we must be abfolute fceptics: for this principle is incapable of proof; and if it is not certain, nothing else can be certain.

Since the time of Des Cartes, it has been fashionable with those who dealt in abftract philosophy, to employ their invention in finding philofophical arguments, either to prove thofe truths which ought to be received as first principles, or to overturn them: and it is not eafy to fay, whether the authority of first principles is more hurt by the first of these attempts, or by the last; for fuch principles can stand fecure only upon their own bottom; and to place them upon any other foundation than that of their intrinfic evidence, is in effect to overturn them.

I have lately met with a very fenfible and judicious treatise, wrote by Father Buffier about fifty years ago, concerning first principles, and the fource of human judgements, which, with great propriety, he prefixed to his treatife of logic. And indeed I apprehend it is a fubject of fuch confequence, that if inquifitive

men

men can be brought to the fame unanimity in the first principles of the other sciences, as in those of mathematics and natural philofophy, (and why fhould we defpair of a general agreement in things that are felf-evident ?), this might be confidered as a third grand æra in the progrefs of human reason,

VOL. II.

Ꮋ Ꮒ .

SKETCH

242

SKETCH II.

Principles and Progress of MORALIT Y.

HE science of morals, like other fciences, is in a very imperfect state among favages; and arrives at maturity among enlightened nations by very flow degrees. This progress points out the historical part, as first in order: but as that history would give little fatisfaction, without a rule for comparing the morals of different ages, and of different nations, I begin with the principles of morality, such as ought to govern at all times, and in all nations. The present sketch accordingly is divided into two parts. In the firft, the principles are unfolded; and the fecond is altogether historical,

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HE hand of God is no where more visible, than in the nice adjustment of our internal frame to our fituation in this world. An animal is endued with a power of self-motion; and

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in performing animal functions, requires not any external aid. This more especially is the cafe of man, the noblest of terrestrial beings. His heart beats, his blood circulates, his ftomach digefts, evacuations proceed, &c. &c. By what means? Not furely by the laws of mechanism, which are far from being adequate to fuch operations. The operations mentioned are effects of an internal power, bestow'd on man for preferving life. The power is exerted uniformly, and without interruption, independent of will, and without consciousness.

Man is a being susceptible of pleasure and pain: these generate defire to attain what is agreeable, and to fhun what is difagreeable; and he is enabled by other powers to gratify his defires. : One power, termed inftinct, is exerted indeed with confciousness; but blindly, without will, and without intention to produce any effect. Brute animals act for the most part by inftinct: hunger prompts them to eat, and cold, to take fhelter; knowingly indeed, but without exerting any act of will, and without forefight of what will happen. Infants of the human species, little fuperior to brutes, are, like brutes, governed by instinct: they lay hold of the nipple, without knowing that fucking will fatisfy their hunger; and they weep when pained, without any view of relief *. . Another power is governed by intention and will. In the progress from infancy to maturity, the mind opens to objects, with

* Akin to thefe, are certain habitual acts done without thought, fuch as fnuffing or grinning. Cuftom enables one to move the fingers on an inftrument of mufic, without being directed by will: the motion is often too quick for an act of will. Some arrive at great perfection in the art of balancing: the flighteft deviation from the just balance is instantly redreffed: were a preceding act of will neceffary, it would be too late. An unexpected hollow in walking, occafions a violent fhock is not this evidence, that external motion is governed by the mind, frequently without confciousness; and that in walking, the body is adjufied beforehand to what is expected?

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out end, of defire and of averfion, the attaining or fhunning of which depend more or lefs on our own will. We are placed in a wide world, left to our own conduct; and we are by nature provided with a proper power for performing what we intend and will. The actions we perform by this power are termed voluntary. There still remain another fpecies of actions, termed involuntary; as where we act by fome irresistible motive against our will. An action may be voluntary, tho' done with reluctance; as where a man, to free himself from torture, reveals the fecrets of his friend; his confeffion is voluntary, tho' drawn from him with great reluctance. But let us fuppofe, that after the firmest resolution to reveal nothing, his mind is unhinged by exquifite torture; the discovery he makes may be justly termed involuntary : he speaks indeed; but he is compelled to it abfolutely against his will.

Man is by his nature an accountable being, answerable for his conduct to God and man. In doing any action that wears a double face, he is prompted by his nature to explain the fame to his relations, his friends, his acquaintance; and above all, to thofe who have authority over him. He hopes for praise for every right action, and dreads blame for every one that is wrong. But for what fort of actions does he hold himself accountable? Not furely for an instinctive action, which is done blindly, without intention, and without will: neither for an involuntary action, because it is extorted from him against his will: and least of all, for actions done without confciousness, fuch as those which preserve life. What only remain are voluntary actions, which are either right or wrong. Such actions are done wittingly and willingly : for these we must answer, if at all accountable; and for thefe every man in confcience holds himself bound to answer.

And now more particularly upon voluntary actions. To intend and to will, tho' commonly held fynonymous, fignify different

acts

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