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have, and then we must make the best of it we can: but the use of reasoning is not only to find out truth the best we can, but sometimes we are as sure of it, as of light; but then and proalways our reason (such as it is) must lead us into such portions of faith as they can: according as our reason or motives are, so ordinarily is the degree of our faith.
65. To the fifth I need give no other answer but this, that it confesses the main question; for if this be the greatest reason in the world, 'God hath said it, therefore it is true,' it upon this one reason; but befollows, that all our faith relies cause this reason is of no use to us till the minor proposition be reproved, and that it appear that God hath said it, and that in the inquiry after that, we are to use all our reason ;--the consequent is, that in the first and last, reason lends legs to faith,—and nothing can be wisely believed, but what can, by some rational inducement, be proved. As for the last proposition in the objection, 'This is against Scripture, therefore it is absurd and unreasonable,' I have already made it appear to be an imprudent and useless affirmative.
66. The sixth objection complains of them that by weak reasonings lose their religion, but this is nothing against right reasoning: for because mountebanks and old women kill men by vile physic, therefore is it true, that the wise discourses of physicians cannot minister to health? Half-witted people talk against God, and make objections against religion, and themselves have not wit or will enough to answer them, and they intending to make reason to be the positive and affirmative measure of religion, are wholly mistaken, and abuse themselves and others. 2. We are not to exact every thing in religion according to our weak reasonings ; but whatsoever is certain in reason, religion cannot contradict that; but what is uncertain or imperfect, religion oftentimes does instruct and amend it. But there are many mysteries of religion contrary to reason, corrupted with evil manners; and many are contrary to reason, corrupted with false propositions; now these men make objections, which upon their own principles they can never answer: but that which seems impossible to vicious persons, is reason to good men; and that which children and fools cannot answer, amongst wise men hath no difficulty; and the ignorant, and the unstable, wrest some scriptures to their own damna
tion:' but concerning the new atheists that pretend to wit, it is not their reason, but their want of reason, that makes them such; for if either they had more learning, or did believe themselves to have less, they could never be atheists.
67. To the last I answer, (1.) that it is reason we should hear reason wherever we find it, if there be no greater evil brought by the teacher than he can bring good; but if a heretic preaches good things, it is not always lawful to hear them, unless when we are out of danger of his abuses also. And thus truth from the devil may be heard, if we were out of his danger; but because he tells truth to evil purposes, and makes wise sayings to become craft, it is not safe to hear him. (2.) But besides this, although it is lawful to believe a truth which the devil tells us, yet it is not lawful to go to school to the devil, or to make inquiries of him; because he that does so, makes him his master, and gives something of God's portion to God's enemy. As for judicial astrology and genethliacal predictions, for my part I therefore reprove them, not because their reason is against religion, for certainly it cannot be; but because I think they have not reason enough in what they say; they go upon weak principles which they cannot prove; they reduce them to practice by impossible mediums; they draw conclusions with artless and unskilful heads; they argue about things with which they have little conversation; they cannot make scientifical progress in their profession, but out of greediness to do something; they usually, at least are justly suspected to, take in auxiliaries from the spirits of darkness; they have always spoken uncertainly, and most part falsely; and have always lived scandalously in their profession: they have by all religions been cried down, trusted by none but fools, and superstitious people; and therefore, although the art may be very lawful, if the stars were upon the earth, or the men were in heaven, if they had skill in what they profess, and reason in all their pretences, and after all that their principles were certain, and that the stars did really signify future events, and that those events were not overruled by every thing in heaven and in earth, by God, and by our own will and wisdom,-yet because here is so little reason, and less certainty, and nothing but confidence and illusion, therefore it is that religion permits them not; and it is not
the reason in this art, that is against religion, but the folly or the knavery of it, and the dangerous and horrid consequents, which they feel, that run a whoring after such idols of imagination.
A Judgment of Nature, or Inclination, is not sufficient to
1. BECAUSE this rule is of good use, not only for making judgment concerning the states of some men, but also in order to many practices, it will not be lost labour to consider that there are three degrees of practical judgment.
2. The first is called an inclination, or the first natural consonancy between the faculty or disposition of man, and some certain actions. All men are naturally pitiful, in some degree, unless their nature be lame and imperfect: as we say, all men naturally can see,—and it is true, if they have good eyes: so all men naturally are pitiful, unless they have no bowels: but some more, some less. And therefore there is in their natures a conveniency, or agreeing between their dispositions and acts of charity. 1. In the lowest sort there is an aptness to it. 2. In the sweeter and better natures there is a virtual charity. 3. But in those that consider and choose, and observe the commandment, or the proportions of right reason, there is in these only a formal, deliberative, compound, or practical judgment.
3. Now concerning the first sort, that is, the natural disposition or first propensity, it is but a remote disposition towards a right conscience and a practical judgment; because it may be rescinded, or diverted by a thousand accidents, and is nothing else but a relic of the shipwreck which Adam and all the world have made, and may pass into nothing as suddenly as it came. He that sees two cocks fight, though he have no interest in either, will assist one of them at least by an ineffective pity and desire: but this passes no further than to natural effects, or the changes or affections of a loadstone; it may produce something in nature, but nothing in
4. Concerning the second, that is, a virtual judgment, that is a natural inclination passing forth into habit or custom, and delight in the actions of some virtues; it is certain that it is one part of the grace of God, and a more promoted and immediate disposition to the virtue of its kind than the former. Some men are naturally very merciful, and some are abstemious, and some are continent: and these in the course of their life take in every argument and accidental motive, and the disposition swells, and the nature is confirmed. But still it is but nature. The man, it may be, is chaste, because he hates the immodesty of those addresses which prepare to uncleanness; or he loves his quiet, or fears the accidents of his enemy-crime; or there was a terror infused into him by the sight of a sad spectacle, the evil reward of an adulterous person:
quosdam mæchos dum mugilis intrat.-(Jav. x 317.) Concerning this kind of virtual judgment, or confirmed nature, I have two things to say:
5. (1.) That this virtual judgment can produce love or hatred to certain objects, ineffective complacences or disrelishes respectively, proper antipathies and aversations from a whole kind of objects; such as was that hatred that Tamerlane had to Zercon, or some men to cats. And thus much we cannot deny to be produced by the operation and simple apprehension of our senses by pictures and all impressions of fancy: "Cum opinamur difficile aliquid aut terribile, statim compatimur: secundum imaginem autem similiter nos habemus." We find effects and impresses according to the very images of things we see, and by their prime apprehensions: and therefore much rather may these actus imperati,' or more natural and proper effects and affections of will be entertained or produced respectively. Men at first sight fall. in love with women, and that against their reason, and resolution, and counsel, and interest, and they cannot help it; and so they may do with some actions of virtue. And as in the first case they are rather miserable than vicious; so in this they are, rather fortunate than virtuous: and they may be commended, as we praise a fair face, or a strong arm, an athletic health, or a good constitution; and it is indeed a
Vide Aristot. de Anima lib. 2. text. 154.
very good disposition and a facilitation of a virtuous choice. But,
6. (2.) This virtual judgment, which is nothing but nature confirmed by accidents, is not a state of good by which a man is acceptable to God. Neither is it a sufficient principle of a good life, nor indeed of the actions of its own kind. Not of good life, because it may be in a single instance; and it can never be in all. The man that is good-natured, that is naturally meek and loving, goes the furthest upon this account; but without the conjunction of other virtues, it is a great way off from that good state, whither naturally it can but tend and incline: and we see some good things are made to serve some evil; and by temperance, and a moderate diet, some preserve their health, that they may not preserve their chastity and they may be habitually proud, because they are naturally chaste: and then this chastity is no virtue, but a disposition and an aptness only. In this sense that of St. James may be affirmed, "He that offends in one, is guilty of all;" that is, if his inclinations, and his accidentally-acquired habits, be such as to admit a mixture, they are not genuine and gracious: such are these that are the effects of a nature fitted towards a particular virtue. It must be a higher principle that makes an entire piety; nature and the habits growing upon her stock, cannot do it. Alexander was a continent prince, and the captive beauties of Persia were secured by it in their honours; but by rage he destroyed his friend, and by drunkenness he destroyed himself.
But neither is this virtual judgment a sufficient principle of the actions of its own kind; for this natural strength is nothing but an uneasiness and unaptness to suffer by common temptations; but place the man where he can be tempted, and this good disposition secures him not, because there may be something in nature bigger than it.
7. It remains then, that to the constitution of a right and sure conscience, there is required a formal judgment, that is, a deliberation of the understanding, and a choice of the will, that being instructed, and this inclined by the grace of God: "Tantoque laudabilior munificentia nostra fore videbatur, quod ad illam non impetu quodam, sed consilio trahebamur," said Secundus': then it is right and good, then when it is not I Lib. 1. ep. 8. §. 9. Gierig, vol. 1. p. 33.