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feems, discovered the truth in spite of it. Is this according to the ufual economy of NaÞ ture? Does this language become her fervants and interpreters? Is it poffible to devise any fentiments or maxims more fubverfive of truth, and more repugnant to the spirit of true philofophy?

Further: All external objects have fome qualities in common; but between an exter-→ nal object and an idea, or thought of the mind, there is not, there cannot poffibly be, C any resemblance. A grain of fand, and the globe of the earth; a burning coal, and a lump of ice; a drop of ink, and a fheet of white paper, refemble each other, in being extended, folid, figured, coloured, and divifible; but a thought or idea has no extenfion, folidity, figure, colour, nor divifibility: fo that no two external objects can be fo unlike, as an external object and (what philofophers call) the idea of it. Now we are taught by BERKELEY, that external objects (that is, the things we take for external objects) are nothing but ideas in our minds; in other words, that they are in every respect different from what they appear to be. This candle, it seems, hath not one of thofe qualities it appears to have: it is not white, nor luminous, nor round, nor divifible, nor extended; for to an idea of the mind, not one of these qualities can poffibly belong. How then shall I know what it really is? From what it feems to be, I can conclude


clude nothing; no more than a blind man, by handling a bit of black wax, can judge of the colour of fnow, or the visible appearance of the starry heavens. The candle may be an Egyptian pyramid, the King of Pruffia, a mad dog, or nothing at all: it may be the ifland of Madagascar, Saturn's ring, or one of the Pleiades, for any thing I know, or can ever know, to the contrary, except you allow me to judge of its nature from its appearance; which, however, I cannot reasonably do, if its appearance and nature are in every refpect fo different and unlike as not to have one fingle quality in common. I must therefore believe it to be, what it appears to be, a real, corporeal, external object, and fo reject BERKELEY'S fyftem; or I never can, with any fhadow of reason, believe any thing whatsoever concerning it. Will it yet be faid, that the belief of this fyftem cannot in the least affect our fentiments and conduct? With equal truth may it be faid, that Newton's conduct and fentiments would not have been in the least affected by his being metamorphofed into an idiot, or a pillar of falt.

Some readers may perhaps be diffatisfied with this reasoning, on account of the ambiguity of the words external object and idea; which, however, the affertors of the nonexistence of matter have not as yet fully explained. Others may think that I must have misunderstood the author; for that he was too acute a logician to leave his fyftem expofed

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pofed to objections fo decifive, and fo obvious. To gratify such readers, 1 will not infist on these objections. That I may have mifunderstood the author's doctrine, is not only poffible, but highly probable; nay, I have reafon to think, that it was not perfectly understood even by himself. For did not BERKELEY write his Principles of human Knowledge, with this exprefs view, (which does him great honour), to banish scepticism both from science and from religion? Was he not fanguine in the hope of fuccefs? And has not the event proved, that he was egregiously mistaken? For is it not evident, from the ufe to which other authors have applied it, that his fyftem leads to Atheism and univerfal fcepticism? And if a machine disappoint its inventor fo far as to produce effects contrary to those he wished, intended, and expected; may we not, without breach of charity, conclude, that he did not perfectly understand his plan? At any rate, it appears from this fact, that our author did not foresee all the objections to which his theory is liable. He did not foresee, that it might be made the foundation of a sceptical fyftem: if he had, we know he would have renounced it with abhorrence.

This one objection, therefore, (in which I think I cannot be mistaken), will fully anfwer my present purpose: Our author's doctrine is contrary to common belief, and leads to univerfal scepticifin. Suppofe it, then, univerfally

niverfally and seriously adopted; fuppofe al men divested of all belief, and confequently of all principle: would not the diffolution of fociety, and the deftruction of mankind, neceffarily enfue?


Still I fhall be told, that BERKELEY was a good man, and that his principles did him no hurt. I allow it; he was indeed a moft excellent perfon; none can revere his memory more than I. But does it But does it appear, that he ever acted according to his principles, or that he thoroughly understood them? Does it appear, that, if he had put them in practice, no hurt would have enfued to himself *, or to fociety? Does it appear, that he was a fceptic, or a friend to fcepticifm? Does it appear, that men may adopt his principles without danger of becoming fceptics? The




* Let it not be pretended, that a man may disbelieve his fenfes without danger of inconvenience. Pyrrho (as we read in Diogenes Laertius) profeffed to disbelieve his fenfes, and to be in no apprehenfion from any of the objects that affected them. The appearance of a precipice or wild beast was nothing to Pyrrho; at least he faid fo: he would not avoid them; he knew they were nothing at all, or at least that they were not what they seemed to be. Suppofe him to have been in earneft; and fuppofe his keepers to have in earnest adopted the fame principles would not their limbs and lives have been in as great danger, as the limbs and life of a blind and deaf man wandering by himself in a folitary place, with his hands tied behind his back? I would as foon fay, that our senses are useless faculties, as that we might difbelieve them without danger of inconvenience.



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contrary of all this appears with uncontrovertible evidence.

Surely pride was not made for man. The moft exalted genius may find in himself many affecting memorials of human frailty, and fuch as often render him an object of compaffion to those who in virtue and underftanding are far inferior. I pity BERKELEY's weakness in patronising an abfurd and dangerous theory; I doubt not but it may have overcaft many of his days with a gloom, which neither the approbation of his confcience, nor the natural ferenity of his temper, could entirely diffipate. And though I were to believe, that he was intoxicated with this theory, and rejoiced in it; yet ftill I fhould pity the intoxication as a weakness: for candour will not permit me to give it a harsher name; as I fee in his other writings, and know by the teftimony of his contemporaries, particularly Pope and Swift, that he was a friend to virtue, and to human nature.

We must not suppose a false doctrine harmlefs, merely because it has not been able to corrupt the heart of a good man. Nor, becaufe a few fceptics have not authority to render fcience contemptible, nor power to overturn fociety, muft we fuppofe, that therefore fcepticism is not dangerous to science or mankind. The effects of a general fcepticism would be dreadful and fatal. We must therefore, notwithstanding our reverence for VOL. I. K k


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