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a state of wavering and fluctuation ; fometimes indulging every loose desire, as if we were not accountable beings ; and sometimes yielding to superstitious fears, as if there were no god but the devil. To a well-disposed mind, the existence of a supreme benevolent Deity, appears highly probable : and if by the Audy of theology that probability be improved into a certainty, the conviction of a supreme Deity who rules with equity and mildness, will be a source of constant enjoyment, which I boldly fet above the titillating pleasures of external sense. Possibly there may be less present amusement in abstract studies, than in newspapers, in party-pamphlets, or in Hoyl upon Whift: but let us for a moment anticipate futurity, and imagine that we are reviewing paft transactions,—how pleasant the retrospect of those who have maintained the dignity of their nature, and employ'd their talents to the best purposes !
Contradictory opinions that have influence on practice, will be regretted by every person of a found heart; and as erroneous opinions are commonly the result of imperfect education, I would gladly hope, that a remedy is not altogether out of reach. At the revival of arts and sciences, the learned languages i were our fole ftudy, because in them were
locked up all the treasures of useful knows ledge. This study has long ago ceased to be the chief object of education; and yet the original plan is handed down to us with very little variation. Wishing to contribute to a more perfect System of education, I present to the public the following Sketches. The books that have been published on morality, theology, and the art of reasoning, are not eminent either for fimplicity, or for perspicuity. To introduce these into the subjects mentioned, is my aim; with what success, is with deference submitted to the judgement of others. The historical part, hitherto much neglected, is necessary as a branch of my general plan; and I am hopeful, that, befide instruction, it will contribute to recreation, which, in abAtract studies, is no less necessary than pleaJant.
SKETCH S K E TCH
Principles and Progress of Reason.
Principles of Reason.
Ffirmation is that sort of expression
which the fpeaker uses, when he defires to be believed. What he affirms is termed a proposition.
Truth and error are qualities of propofitions. A proposition that says a thing is what it is in reality, is termed a truc proposition. A proposition that says a thing is what it is not in reality, is termed an erroneous proposition.
Truth is so essential in conducting affairs, that man would be a disjointed being were it not agreeable to him. Truth accordingly is agreeable to every human being, and falsehood or error disagreeable.
The pursuit of truth is no less pleasant than the pursuit of any other good *.
Our knowledge of what is agreeable and disagreeable in objects is derived from the sense of beauty, handled in Elements of Criticism. Our knowledge of right and wrong in actions, is derived from the moral sense, to be handled in the sketch immediately following. Our knowledge of truth and error is derived from various sources.
Our external senses are one source of knowledge : they lay open to us external subjects, their qualities, their actions, with events produced by these actions. The internal senses are another source of knowledge: they lay open to us things passing in the mind ; thinking, for example, deliberating, inclining, resolving, willing, consenting, and other acts; and they also lay open to us our emotions and passions. There is a sense by which we perceive the truth of many propositions; such as, That every thing which begins
* It has been wisely observed, that truth is the fame to the understanding that music is to the ear, or beauty to the eye.
to exist must have a cause; That every effect adapted to some end or purpose, proceeds from a designing cause; and, That every effect adapted to a good end or purpose, proceeds from a designing and benevolent cause. A multitude of axioms in every science, particularly in mathematics, are equally perceived to be true. By a peculiar sense, of which afterward, we know that there is a Deity. There is a sense by which we know, that the external figns of passion are the same in all men; that animals of the same external appearance, are of the same species, and that animals of the same species, have the same properties (a). There is a sense that dives into futurity: we know that the sun will rise to-morrow; that the earth will perform its wonted course round the sun ; that winter and summer will follow each other in succession; that a stone dropt from the hand will fall to the ground; and a thousand other such propositions.
There are many propositions, the truth of which is not fo apparent: a process of
(a) Preliminary Discourse.