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roneous notion, the Brafilians abstain from the flesh of ducks, and of every creature that moves flowly.

A talent for writing feems in Germany to be estimated by weight, as beauty is faid to be in Holland. Cocceius, for writing three weighty folio volumes on law, has obtained among his countrymen the epithet of Great. This author, handling the rules of fucceffion in land-eftates, has with most profound erudition founded all of them upon a very fimple propofition, viz. That in a competition, that defcendent is entitled to be preferred who has the greateft quantity of the predeceffor's blood in his veins. Quæritur, has a man any of his predeceffor's blood in his veins, otherwife than metaphorically? Strange! to build an argument in law upon a pure metaphor.


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Next of reafonings where the conclufion follows not from the premiffes, or fundamental propofition. Plato endeavours to prove, that the world is endowed with wifdom, by the following argu"The world is greater than any of its parts: therefore it is endowed with wifdom; for otherwise a man who is endowed "with wisdom would be greater than the world (a)." The conclufion here does not follow; for tho' man is endowed with wifdom, it follows not, that he is greater than the world in point of fize. Zeno endeavours to prove, that the world has the use of reafon, by an argument of the fame kind. Pope Gregory, writing in favour of the four councils, viz. Nice, Conftantinople, Ephefus, and Calcedon, reasons thus: "That as there are four e"vangelifts, there ought alfo to be four councils." What would he have faid, if he had lived 100 years later, when there were many more than four? In adminiftering the facrament of the Lord's fupper, it was ordered, that the hoft fhould be covered with a clean linen cloth; becaufe, fays the Canon law, the body

(a) Cicero, De natura Deorum, lib. 2. § 12.



of our Lord Jefus Chrift was buried in a clean linen cloth. fephus, in his answer to Appion, urges the following argument for the temple of Jerufalem: As there is but one God, and one "world, it holds in analogy, that there should be but one tem

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ple." At that rate, there fhould be but one worshipper. And why should that one temple be at Jerufalem rather than at Rome or at Pekin? The Syrians and Greeks did not for a long time eat fish. Two reasons are affigned: one is, That fish is not facrificed to the gods; the other, That being immersed in the fea, they look not up to heaven (a). The first would afford a more plausible argument for eating fish. And if the other have any weight, it would be an argument for facrificing men, and neither fish nor cattle. In juftification of the Salic law, which prohibits female fucceffion, it was long held a conclufive argument, That in the scripture the lilies are faid neither to work nor to fpin. Vieira, termed by his countrymen the Lufitanian Cicero, publifhed fermons, one of which begins thus, "Were the Supreme Being to fhow himself σε vifibly, he would chufe the circle rather than the triangle, the square, the pentagon, the duodecagon, or any other figure." But why appear in any of these figures? And if he were obliged to appear in fo mean a fhape, a globe is undoubtedly more beautiful than a circle. Peter Hantz of Horn, who lived in the last century, imagined that Noah's ark is the true construction of a fhip; which," faid he, "is the workmanship of God, and "therefore perfect;" as if a veffel made merely for floating on the water, were the best also for failing. Sixty or feventy years ago, the fashion prevailed, in imitation of birds, to swallow small ftones for the fake of digeftion; as if what is proper for birds, were equally proper for men. The Spaniards, who laid waste a great part of the West Indies, endeavoured to excufe their cruel

(a) Sir John Marsham, p. 221.



ties, by maintaining, that the natives were not men, but a species of the Ouran Outang; for no better reason, than that they were of a copper colour, spoke an unknown language, and had no beard. The Pope iffued a bull, declaring, that it pleased him and the Holy Ghost to acknowledge the Americans to be of the human race. This bull was not received cordially. In the council of Lima, ann. 1583, it was violently difputed, whether the Americans had fo much understanding as to be admitted to the facraments of the church. In the 1440, the Portuguese folicited the Pope's permiffion to double the Cape of Good Hope, and to reduce to perpetual fervitude the negroes, because they had the colour of the damned, and never went to church. In the Frederician Code, a propofition is laid down, That by the law of nature no man can make a testament. And in fupport of that propofition the following argument is urged, which is faid to be a demonftration : No deed can be a testament while a man is alive, becaufe "it is not neceffarily his ultima voluntas; and no man can make 66 a teftament after his death." Both premiffes are true, but the negative conclufion does not follow. It is true a man's deed is not his ultima voluntas, while he is alive: but does it not become his ultima voluntas, when he dies without altering the deed?

Many reafonings have paffed current in the world as good coin, where premiffes and conclufion are both of them falfe. Ariftotle, who wrote a book upon mechanics, was much puzzled about the equilibrium of a balance, when unequal weights are hung upon it at different distances from the centre. Having obferved, that the arms of the balance defcribe portions of a circle, he accounted for the equilibrium by a notable argument: All the properties of the circle are wonderful: the equilibrium of the "two weights that defcribe portions of a circle is wonderful. Ergo, the equilibrium must be one of the properties of the "circle." What are we to think of Ariftotle's logics, when we

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find him capable of fuch childish reafoning? And yet that work has been the admiration of all the world for centuries upon centuries. Nay, that foolish argument has been efpoufed and commented upon by his difciples, for the fame length of time. Το proceed to another instance: Marriage within the fourth degree of confanguinity, as well as of affinity, is prohibited by the Lateran council; and the reason given is, That the body being made up of the four elements, has four different humours in it *. The Roman Catholics began with beheading heretics, hanging them, or ftoning them to death. But fuch punishments were discovered to be too flight, in matters of faith. It was demonstrated, that heretics ought to be burnt in a flow fire: it was taken for granted, that God punishes them in the other world with a flow fire; and hence it was inferred, "That as every prince and every magi"ftrate is the image of God in this world, they ought to follow "his example." Here is a double error in reasoning: first, the taking for granted the fundamental propofition, which is furely not felf-evident; and next, the drawing a conclufion from it without any connection.

It once was a general opinion among thofe who dwelt near the fea, that people never die but during the ebb of the tide. And there were not wanting plaufible reasons. The fea, in flowing, carries with it vivifying particles that recruit the fick. The fea is falt, and falt preferves from rottennefs. When the sea finks in

* The original is curious: "Quaternarius enim numerus bene congruit pro"hibitioni conjugii corporalis; de quo dicit Apoftolus, Quod vir non habet po"tefiam fui corporis, fed mulier; neque mulier habet poteftatem fui corporis, fed

vir; quia quatuor funt humores in corpore, quod conftat ex quatuor elemen"tis." Were men who could be guilty of fuch nonfenfe, qualified to be our leaders in the most important of all concerns, that of eternal falvation?


ebbing, every thing finks with it: nature languifhes: the fick are not vivifyed: they die.

What fhall be faid of a reafoning where the conclufion is a flat contradiction to the premiffes? If a man shooting at a wild pigeon happen unfortunately to kill his neighbour, it is in the English law excufable homicide; because the fhooting an animal that is no man's property is a lawful act. If the aim be at a tame fowl for amusement, which is a trespass on the property of another, the death of the man will be manslaughter. If the tame fowl be fhot at in order to be ftollen, it will be murder, by reafon of the felonious intent. From this laft the following confequence is drawn, that if a man, endeavouring to kill another, miffes his blow, and happeneth to kill himself, he is in judgement of law guilty of wilful and deliberate felf-murder (a). Strange reasoning! to construe an act to be wilful and deliberate felf-murder, contrary to the very thing that is fuppofed.

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A plentiful fource of inconclufive reafoning, which prevails greatly during the infancy of the rational faculty, is the making of no proper diftinction between strong and weak relations. Minutius Felix, in his apology for the Chriftians, endeavours to prove the unity of the Deity from a most distant analogy or relation, viz. That there is but one king of the bees, and that more than one chief magiftrate would breed confufion. It is a proftitution of reason to offer fuch an argument for the unity of the Deity. But any argument paffes current, in fupport of a propofition that we know beforehand to be true. Plutarch fays, 66 that "it feemed to have happened by the peculiar direction of the "gods, that Numa was born on the 21st of April, the very day "in which Rome was founded by Romulus ;" a very childish inference from a mere accident. Suppofing Italy to have been tole

(a) Hale, Pleas of the Crown, cap. 1. 413. VOL. II.



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