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the organs of different men in a different manner: on the contrary, we believe, with full affurance, founded on fufficient reason, that they affect the fenfes of all men in the fame manner. The peculiar fenfation we receive from them depends on three things; on the nature of the object perceived, on the nature of the organ of perception, and on the nature of the percipient being. Of each of these things the Deity could change the naĽ ture; and make fugar bitter, fire cold, fnow black, and gold green. But till this be done, in other words, while things continue as they are, it is as certainly true, that snow is white, fire hot, &c. as that two and two are equal to four, or a whole greater than a part. If we fuppofe, that fnow, notwithftanding its appearance, is black, or not white, we must alfo fuppofe, that our fenfes and intellect are fallacious faculties; and therefore cannot admit any thing as true which has no better evidence than that of fenfe and intellect. If a creature of a different nature from man were to fay, that fnow is black, and hot, I fhould reply, (fuppofing him to use these words in the fame fenfe in which I use them), It may poffibly have that appearance to your fenfes, but it has not that appearance to mine: it may therefore, in regard to your faculties, be true; and if so, it ought to constitute a part of your philofophy: but of my philofophy it cannot conftitute a part, because, in re
fpect of my faculties, it is falfe, being contrary to my experience *. If the fame being were to affirm, that a part is equal to a whole, I fhould anfwer, It is impoffible; none can think fo but those who are destitute of understanding. If he were to fay, The folar fyftem explained by Newton does not exift, I fhould anfwer, You are mistaken; if your knowledge were not imperfect, you would think otherwife; I am certain that it does exist. —We fee, by thus ftating the cafe, what is the difference between these three
* This does not imply, that the fame thing may be both true and false; true in refpect of one, and falfe in respect of another and confequently, that truth is not fomething abfolute and immutable, but variable and relative. I had remarked, that our fenfations depend on three things, the nature of the object perceived, the nature of the organ of perception, and the nature of the percipient. Confequently, an alteration in any one of thefe, though the other two remain unaltered, alters the fenfation. The quality of the fnow, therefore, the thing perceived, remaining the fame, it may affect one kind of percipient being with one fort of fenfation, and another kind with a fenfation entirely different. A difference of fenfation will alfo arife from the different states of the organ. A man who has had one hand wrapt up in his bofom, and the other expofed to frofty air, will feel the fame water cold with one hand, and warm with the other. Yet he does not believe that there is any change in the water; but he believes that the fame temperature in it occafions both feelings In like manner, we do not conceive any change to be made on the cloth, or even on the colour confidered as a quality in the body, though in day-light it appear to us green, and in candle-light blue, and in every light to a perfon in the jaundice yellow.
forts of certainty. But ftill, in respect to man, these three forts are all equally evident, equally certain, and equally unfufceptible of confutation and none of them can be difbelieved or doubted by us, except we difavow the distinction between truth and falfehood, by fuppofing our faculties fallacious.
4. Of moral truth, we cannot bring ourfelves to think, that the Deity's notions (pardon the expreffion) are contrary to ours. If we believe Him omnifcient and infallible, can we also believe, that, in his fight, cruelty, injuftice, and ingratitude, are worthy of reward and praise, and the oppofite virtues of blame and punishment? It is abfolutely impoffible. The one belief destroys the other. Common fenfe declares, that a being poffeffed of perfect knowledge can no more entertain fuch a fentiment, than I with my eyes open can just now avoid seeing the light. If a created being were to think that virtue which we think vice, and that vice which we think virtue, what would be our notions of his intelligence? Should we not, without hefitation, pronounce him irrational, and his opinion an abfurdity? The abfurdity indeed is conceivable, and may be expreffed in words that imply no contradiction: but that any being fhould think in this manner, and yet not think wrong, is to us as perfectly inconceivable, as that the fame thing fhould be both true and falfe *.
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We speak here of the great and leading principles of moral duty. Many fubordinate duties there are, which refult from the form of particular governments, and from particular modes of education; and there are fome, which, though admirably adapted to the improvement of our nature, are yet fo fublime, that the natural confcience of mankind, unaffifted by revelation, can hardly be fuppofed capable of difcovering them: but in regard to justice, gratitude, and those other virtues, of which no rational beings (fo far as we know) are or can be ignorant, it is impoffible for us to believe that our fentiments are wrong. I fay, there are duties of which no rational beings can be ignorant for if moral sentiments be the refult of a bias, or vis infita, communicated to the rational foul by its Creator, then must they be
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*Locke fays, that Moral Truth is fufceptible of demonftration. If by this he means, that it admits of evi dence fufficient to fatisfy every rational mind, he is certainly in the right. But if by the word demonftration be meant, what Geometricians mean by it, a proof that may be refolved into one or more felf-evident axioms whofe contraries are inconceivable, we confefs that neither moral nor hiftorical truth is fufceptible of demonftration, nor many other truths of the most unquestionable certainty. However, it is not to be fuppofed, that Locke intended to ufe this word in any ftricter fenfe than what is fixed by general practice; according to which, every proof that brings indubitable evidence to the reafon or fenfes may properly be called a demonftration.
as universal as rational nature, and as permanent as the effects of any other natural law; and it is as abfurd to argue against their truth or authenticity, as against the reality of any other matter of fact. But feveral authors of note have denied this inference, as well as the principle whence it proceeds; or at leaft, by calling the one in queftion, have endeavoured to make us fceptical in regard to the other. They have endeavoured to prove, that moral fentiment is different in different countries, and under different forms of religion, government, and manners; that therefore, in refpect of it, there is no vis infita in the mind; for that, previous to education, we are in a ftate of perfect indifference as to virtue and vice; and that an oppofite courfe of education would have made us think that virtue which now we think vice, and that vice which now we think virtue in a word, that moral fentiments are as much the effect of custom and human artifice, as our tafte in drefs, furniture, and the modes of converfation. In proof of this doctrine, a multitude of facts have been brought together, to fhow the prodigious diverfity, and even contrariety, that takes place in the moral opinions of different ages, nations, and climates. Of all our modern fceptical notions, this feemed to me one of the most dangerous. For my own fatisfaction, and for the fake of thofe whom it is my duty to inftruct, I have been at great A a 2 pains