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ing the lawful dominion of our reason is greater or than the present age, with our present pase than any which they can commit. If after all, sions, can possibly pretend to. For my part, you should confess all these things, yet plead I quit it without a sigh, and submit to the sove the necessity of political institutions, weak and reign order without murmuring. The nearer wicked as they are, I can argue with equal, we approach to the goal of life, the better we perhaps superiour force concerning the neces- begin to understand the true value of our exissity of artificial religion; and every step you tenco, and the real weight of our opinions. advance in your argument, you add a strength We set out much in love with both; but we to mine. So that if we are resolved to submit leave much behind us as we advance. We our reason and our liberty to civil usurpation, first throw away the tales along with the rattles we have nothing to do but to conform as quiet- of our nurses; those of the priest keep their ly as we can to the vulgar notions which are hold a little longer; those of our governours connected with this, and take up the theology the longest of all. But the passions which of the vulgar as well as their politics. But if prop these opinions are withdrawn one after we think this necessity rather imaginary than another; and the cool light of reason at the real, we should renounce their dreams of so- setting of our life, shews us what a false ciety, together with their visions of religion, splendour played upon these objects during our and vindicate ourselves into perfect liberty. more sanguine seasons. Happy, my Lord, if
You are, my Lord, but just entering inio the instructed by my experience, and even by my world; I am going out of it. I have played errours, you come early to make such an estilong enough to be heartily tired of the drama. mate of things, as may give freedom and ease Whether I have acted my part ir it well or ill, to your life. I am happy that such an estipostarity will judge with more cundour than I, mate promises me comfort at my death.
I KAVL endeavoured to make this edition of our nature binds us to a strict law and rery something more full and satisfactory than the narrow limits. We ought afterwards to rem first. I have sought with the utmost care, and examine the principles by the effect of the read with equal attontion, every thing which composition, as well as the composition by that has appeared in public against my opinions; I of the principles. Wo ought to compare our have taken advantage of the candid liberty of subject with things of a similar nature, and friends ;
and if by these means I have been even with things of a contrary nature ; for better enabled to discover the imperfoctions discoveries may be and often are made by the of the work, the indulgence it has received, contrast, which would escape us on the single imperfect as it was, furnished me with a new view. The greater number of the comparisons motive to spare no reasonable pains for its we make, the more general and the more certain improvement. Though I have not found suffi- our knowledge is like to prove, as built upon a cient reason, or what appeared to me sufficient, more extensive and perfect induction. for making any material change in my theory, If an inquiry thus carefully conducted, should I have found it necessary in many places to fail at last of discovering the truth, it may explain, illustrate, and enforce it. " I have answer an end perhaps as useful, in discovering prefixed an introductory discourse concerning to us the weakness of our own understanding. Taste: it is a matter curious in itself; and it If it does not make us knowing, it may make leads naturally enough to the principal inquiry. us modest. If it does not preserve us from This, with the other explanations, has made errour, it may at least from the spirit of errour; the work considerably larger; and by increase and may make us cautious of pronouncing with ing its bulk has, I am afraid, added to its faults; positivendss or with haste, when so much labour 80 that, notwithstanding all my attention, it may end in so much uncertainty. may stand in need of a yet greater share of in- I could wish that in examining this theory, dulgence than it required at its first appearance. the same method were pursued which I endea
Thoy who are accustomed to studies of this voured to observe in forming it. The objecnaturo will expect, and they will allow too for tions, in my opinion, ought to be proposed, many faults. They know that many of the either to the several principles as they are objects of our inquiry are in themselves ob- distinctly considered, or to the justness of the scure and intricate ; and that many others have conclusion which is drawn from them. But it been rendered so by affected refinements or false is common to pass over both the premises and learning; they know that there are many im- conclusion in silence, and to produce as an pediments in the subject, in the prejudices of objection, some poetical passago which does others, and even in our own, that render it a not seem easily accounted for upon the princi. matter of no small difficulty to shew in a clear ples I endeavour to establish. This manner light the genuine face of nature. They know of proceeding I should think very improper. that whilst the mind is intent on the general The task would be infinite, if we could estascheme of things, some particular parts must blish no principle until we had previously unbe neglected; that we must often submit the ravelled the complex texture of every image stylo to the matter, and frequently give up the or description to be found in poels and orators. praise of elegance, satisfied with being clear. And though we should never be able to reconcile
The characters of nature are legible, it is the effect of such images to our principles, this true ; but they are not plain enough to enable can never overturn the theory itself, whilst it is those who run, to read them.' We must make founded on certain and indisputable facts. A use of a cautious, I had almost said, a timorous theory founded on experiment, and not assumed, method of proceeding. We must not attempt is always good for so much as it explains. Our to ily, when we can scarcely pretend to creep. inability to push it indefinitely is no argument In considering any complex matter, we ought to at all against it. This inability may be owing cxamine every distinct ingredient in the com- to our ignorance of some necessary mediums; position, one by one ; and reduce every thing to a want of proper application; to many other to the utmost simplicity; since the condition causes besides a defect in the principles we Vol. 1.-3
omploy. In reality, the subject requires a in it. The use of such inquiries may be very much closer attention, than we dare claim from considerable. Whatever turns the soul inward our manner of treating it.
on itself, tends to concenter its forces, and to fit If it should not appear on the face of the it for greater and stronger flights of scienco. work, I must caution the reader against ima- By looking into physical causes, our minds gining that I intended a full dissertation on are opened and enlarged ; and in this pursuit, the Sublime and Beautiful. My inquiry went
whether we take or whether we lose our gamuo, no farther than to the origin of these ideas. the chace is certainly of service. Cicero, truo If 'the qualities which I have ranged under as he was to the academic philosophy, and the head of the Sublimo be all found consistent consequently led to reject the certainty of with each other, and all different from those physical, as of every other kind of knowledge, which I place under the head of beauty; and yet freely confesses its great importance to tha if those which compose the class of the Beau- human understanding; “Est animorum inga tifal have tho samo consistency with them- niorumque nastrorum nuturale quod dam quasi selves, and the same opposition to those which pabulum consideratio contemplatioque nature." are classed under the denomination of Sublime, if we can direct the lights we derive from I am in little pain whether any body chooses to such exalted speculations, upon the humbler follow the name I give them or not, provided field of the imagination, whilst we investigate he allows thut what I dispose under different the springs, and trace the courses of our pasheads are in reality different things in nature, sions, we may not only communicate to tto The use I make of the words may be blamed, taste a sort of philosophical solidity, but we as too confined or too extended ; my meaning may reflect back on the severer sciences somo cannot well be misunderstood.
of the graces and elegancies of taste, without To conclude ; whatever progress may be which the greatest proficiency in those sciences made towards the discovery of truth in this will always have the appearance of someting matter, I do not repent the pains I have taken illiberal