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“ hath for its basis man's nature; not according to his “ intellectuals, which do but darkly grope in the pur“ suit of science, cc.” And again, speaking how reason brings men to the rule of faith, he uses this comparison, ( Append. 2. p. 183.), “ She is like a dim-fighted
man, who used his reason, to find a trusty friend to “ lead him in the twilight, and then relied on his gui“ dance rationally, without using his own reason at all, « about the way itself.” So that, according to him, the certainty of tradition cannot be founded on demonstration, because it is not founded in the intellectual part of man, which only can demonstrate. Besides, if it were founded in the intellectual part, yet that can never be able to demonstrate the certainty of tradition; because that faculty, which is dim-lighted, and does but grope darkly in the pursuit of science, is uncapable of framing demonstrations. Nor can any man understand how dim-fighted reason should fee clearly to chuse its guide any more than its way; especially if it be confidered, what a pretty contradiction it is, to say, that reason, as it is dim-fighted, can see clearly.
But Mr. Cressy is not contented to call every man's reason dim--sighted; he ventures a step farther, and calls it hood-winked and blind: for he tells us, ( Append. c. 6. $ 8.), that “private reason is apparently a most fallible “ guide.” And he pities my Lord Falkland's case; because, in the search of the true religion, he did“ betake “ himself to the casual conduct of blind, human, natural “ reason,” (ibid. $9.); which afterwards ($11.) he calls
a guide that two persons cannot possibly follow toge“ ther; because no two persons that ever followed any “ other guide beside authority, did or could think all
things to be reasonable that all others thought fo;
and, by consequence, such a guide, that, as long as " he continues in that office, there cannot possibly be
any church any where : which (says he) is an infalci lible eviction, that this is an imaginary feducing guide; “ since it is inipossible, that that should be a guide ap
pointed for any Christian, which neither Christ ror his Apostles, nor any of their followers, ever mention
ed; yra, which formally destroys one of our twelvearti"cles of the Apostles creed, viz. I believe the Holy Catholick
church.” Thus he does by reason clearly and infallibly evince, that reason cannot be otherwise than a most blind and fallible guide. This it is to talk of things when a man looks only upon one side of them; as if because reason has a blind side, and is uncertain in some things, therefore we ought to conclude her universally blind, and uncertain in every thing; and as if because all men cannot think all things rcalonable which any one mani thinks to be so, therefore it is to be doubted whether those common principles of reafon be true which mankind are generally agreed in. And that Mr. Crelly speaks here of the use of our private reason in the finding out of our rule, is clear from what he says in the next fection, viz. that “this hood-winked guide (inquiring " into scripture, and searching after tradition) may pol" sibly stumble upon the way to unity and truth; that
is, the true Catholick church.” If this be true, why does Mr. S. pretend, that he can by reason demonstrate the infallibility of tradition, and by this hood-winked guide lead men to the true rule of faith? And what a pitiful encouragement would this be to an inquisitive philofopher, who knowing no other guide but his reason whereby to find out whether scripture or tradition be the rule, to tell him, that, by the help of this hoodwinked guide, he might possibly stumble upon the right?
A man may justly stand amazed at the inconsistency of these mens discourses and principles. In one mood they are all for demonstration, and for convincing men in the way of perfect science, which is the true rule of faith. But then, again, when another fit takes then, there is no such thing as science. Human reason grows all on the sudden dim-lighted, and at the next word is struck stark blind; and then the very utmost that it can do towards the bringing of an unprejudiced and inquin sitive person to the true rule of faith, is, to leave him in a possibility of stumbling upon it: but if he be a heretik that makes use of private reason for his guide, then it " is impossible, but that he with his blind guide should " fall into the pit,” ( Append. c. 7. 98.). I cannot, for my part, imagine how they can reconcile the blind ness of human reason with all that noise which they make about science and demonstration: but this I must Ee 2
confels, conless, that these kind of discourses which I meet with 'in Mr. S. and Mr. Cresly, are very proper arguments to persuade a man of the blindness of human reason. And indeed there is one paffage in Mr. Cresfy which gives me very great satisfaction concerning these matters; where he tells us, ibid. that “the wit and judgment of Catholicks is,
to renounce their own judgment, and depose their own “ wit.” Now, he that professes to have done this, may write contradictions, and no body ought to challenge him for it. However, it is a very ingenuous acknowledgment, that, when he forfook our church, and turned Papilt, he laid aside his judgment and wit; which is just such an heroick act of judgment, as if a man, in a bravery, to shew his liberty, Tould fell himself for a Nave. I am glad to understand, from an experienced person, what charges a man must be at when he turns Roman Catholick, namely, that whoever will embrace that religion, must forfeit his reason.
$ 3. 2dly, The way of demonstration is, according to Mr. S. no certain way to find out the rule of faith. In his fourth Appendix again't my Lord of Down, p: 253. 254. one of the eight mines, as he calls them, which he lays to blow up my Lord's dissuasive against Popery, is this : “That the method he takes in dissuading, cannot “ be held in reason to have power to dissuade, unless it “ be proper to that effect ; that is, not common to that “ effect and a contrary one. Now, that being moft e. “ vidently no inethod or way to such an effect, which ma
ny follow and take, yet arrive not at that effect, it is
plain to common sense, that my Lord of Down mis“ calls his book a dissualive; and that it can have in it no power
of moving the understanding one way or o" ther, unless he can first vouch fome particularity in the " method he takes, above what is in others, in which we " experience miscarriage, cc.” If this be true, then bis method of demonftration is no way to make men cer. tain of what he pretends to demonstrate ; because that is “most evidently no way to an effect which many fol“ low and take, yet arrive not at that effect;" so that "it " is plain to common sense, that Mr. S.'s demonstrations
can have in them no power of moving the understanding, one way or other, unlefs he can vouch
" fome particularity in the demonstrations he pretends
to bring, above what is in other pretended demon“ ftrations, in which we experience miscarriage.” Do not Thomas and Scotus (as Mr. White tells us, Exetasis, P. 24.) all along pretend to demonstrate ? and yet it is generally believed, that, at least where they contradict one another, one of them failed in his demonstrations. Did not Mr. Charles Thynne pretend to have demonstrated, that a man at one jump might leap from London to Rome? and yet I do not think any one was ever satisfied with his demonstration. And Mr. S. knows one in the world, whom I will not name, because he hath since ingenuously acknowledged his error, who thought he had demonstrated the quadrature of the circle; and was so confident of it, as to venture the reputation of his demonstrations in divinity upon it; and some of those divinity-demonstrations - were the very same with Mr. S.'s. Since therefore the world hath experienced so much miscarriage in the way of demonstration, before Mr. S.'s demonítrations can be allowed to signify any thing, he mult, according to his own law, vouch sone particularity in his way and method of demonstration above what is in other nens. He hath not any where, that I remember, told us what that particularity is, wherein his way of demonstration is above other mens: nor can I, upon the most diligent search, find any peculiar advantage that his way has more than theirs above mentioned; unless this be one, that he pretends to demonstrate a self-evident principle, and herein I think he hath plainly the advantage of Mr. Charles Thynne; and unless this may be counted another advantage, that he has lo extraordinary a confidence and conceit of his own demonstrations ; and in this particular, I must acknowledge, that he clearly excells all that have gone before him. In all other things his way of demonstra-'. tion is but like his neighbours.
SECT. II. Mr. S.'s demonstration à priori.
ş Come now to examine his demonstrations of this
self-evident principle, (as he often calls it), That oral tradition is a certain and infallible way of convey
E e 3
ing Christ's doctrine from one age to another, without any corruption or change; which is to say, that it is impollible but that this rule should always have been' kept to. That this is not a felf-evident principle, needs no other evidence, than that he goes about to demonstrate it. But yet, notwithstanding this, I think he hath as much reason to call this a self-evident principle, as to call his proofs of it demonstrations...
§ 2. In order to his demonstration à priori, he lays these four grounds, which I shall set down in his own words, p. 59.
60. 1. That Christian doctrine was at “ first unanimously settled by the Apostles, in the hearts “ of the faithful, dispersed in great multitudes over se“ veral parts of the world. 2. That this doctrine was “ firmly believed by all those faithful, to be the way to “ heaven; and the contradicting or deserting it, to be " the way to damnation : so that the greatest hopes " and fears imaginable were, by engaging the divine
authority, strongly applied to the minds of the first “ believers, encouraging them to the adhering to that “ doctrine, and deterring them from relinquishing it; " and indeed infinitely greater than any other whata “ ever, springing from any temporal consideration : “ and that this was in all ages the persuasion of the “ faithful. 3. That hopes of good, and fears of harm, “ strongly applied, are the causes of actual will. 4. That “ the thing was feasible, or within their power : that “ what they were bred to, was knowable by them. This
put, it follows as certainly, that a great number or body of the first believers, and after faithful in each
age, that is, from age to age, would continue to hold " themselves, and teach their children as themselves had “ been taught, that is, would follow and stick to tradi~ tion; as it doth, that a cause, put actually causing,
produceth its effect.” This is his demonstration, with the grounds of it.
$3. To shew the vanity and weaknefs of this pretended demonstration, I shall affail it these three ways; by thewing, 1. That if the grounds of it were true, they would conclude too much, and prove that to be impossible, which common experience evinceth, and himself must frant to have been. 2. That his main grounds are ap