xxvni PHILOSOPHY NOT PREJUDICIAL
tion is urged, evidently fhew by it, that they have no conception of the mind and fpirit of a true philofopher. He, who has fearched into the nature of things with the greateft attention, is moft deeply fenfible of his own ignorance, and moft readily inclined to distruft the ccrtainty of his own conchifions. It is ignorance, that is ever moft attended by prefumption. The, ignorant man fees no- more than is immediately prefentcd to his fenfes; yet he fancies, he underftands the whole of the fubject. .Hc.miftakes.words for ideas,-and accidcntal for necclTary effects ; and forms analogies between things, that are widely and effentially dilferent from each other both in. their nature and circumftances. From this circumfcribed and imperfect view of things he draws the moft irnwarrantable conchifions; and having raflily conceived opinions, that. have no foundation but- in his own imagination., he rctains them with the moft. invincible obftinacy.. The appreheufion of a fingle difficulty is fufficient to fill his mind; and he rejects a doctrine replete with wisdom and goodnefs, meiely becaufe it feems rcpugnant in fome particular inftance.to his preconceived opinions..
, But it is the bufinefs of a true philofopher to endeavour to acquire. clear ideas of things, and to diftiiiguifli between what is certain, what is probable, and what is doubtful. In the profecution of this defign he is-led to afcertain the compafs of his faculties and the extent of his actual and poflible knowledge. The refult of this enquiry, when conducted with candour, is always fufficiently mortifying to human vanity to check that arrogance and felf-conccit, which afuperficial knowledge of the moft obvious of the operations of nature is apt to excite in weak minds. The philofopher is very fenfible of the- infinite hazard of applying rules and maxims, collected from obfervations- made upon one fubject, to controvert pofitions relative to an other, that appears to have little or no affinity with it in the circumftances under confideration.. Heknows, that a man would be guilty of the groffeft abfurdity, who fliould attempt to difpute againft the phenomena of magnetifm and clectricity, becaufe. they do- not accord with the common laws of mechanical motion. If therefore hehas competent evidence of tlie truth of the fa&, he will not be much inclined to cavil with the doBrtnes of revelation., becaufe they do not agree with his principles and preconceived opinions. God is esfentially different from every other being;. and. it.ncceffarily follows from, his infinite peifections, that there muft be many things relating to hisnature, his will, and his dispofal of circumftances and events, which we.