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it leaves my inference untouched in the full latitude I have expressed it concerning every magistrate; there not being any one magistrate excluded thereby from an obligation to use force to bring men to his own religion, by this your distinction. For if every magistrate, who upon just and sufficient grounds believes his religion to be true, be obliged to use force to bring men to his religion, and every magistrate be himself judge, whether the grounds he believes upon be just and sufficient; it is visible every magistrate is obliged to use force to bring men to his religion ; since any one, who believes any religion to be true, cannot but judge the grounds, upon which he believes it to be true, are just and sufficient; for if he judged otherwise, he could not then believe it to be true. If you say, you must judge for the magistrate, then what you grant is this, That every magistrate who, upon grounds that you judge to be just and sufficient, believes his religion to be true, is obliged to use force to bring men to his religion. If this be your meaning, as it seems not much remote from it, you will do well to speak it out, that the magistrates of the world may know who to have recourse to in the difficulty you put upon them, in declaring them under an obligation to use force to bring men to the true religion; which they can neither certainly know, nor must venture to use force to bring men to, upon their own persuasion of the truth of it; when they have nothing but one of these two, viz. knowledge, or belief that the religion they promote is true, to determine them. Necessity has at last (unless you would have the magistrate act in the dark, and use his force wholly at random) prevailed on you to grant, that the magistrate may use force to bring men to that religion which he believes to be true; but, say you, “his belief must be upon just and sufficient grounds." The same necessity remaining still, must prevail with you to go one step further, and tell me whether the magistrate himself must be judge, whether the grounds, upon which he believes his religion to be true, be just and sufficient; or whether you are to be judge for him. If you say the first, my inférence stands good, and then this question, I
think, is yielded, and at an end. If you say you are to be judge for the magistrates, I shall congratulate to the magistrates of the world the way you have found out for them to acquit themselves of their duty, if you will but please to publish it, that they may know where to find you ; for in truth, sir, I prefer you, in this case, to the pope; though you know that old gentleman at Rome has long since laid claim to all decisions of this kind, and alleges infallibility for the support of his title; which indeed will scarce be able to stand at Rome, or any where else, without the help of infallibility. But of this perhaps more in the next paragraph.
You go on with your specimen in your next paragraph, p. 5, which I shall crave leave of my reader to set down at large, it being a most exact and studied piece of artificial fencing, wherein, under the cover of good words, and the appearance of nice thinking, nothing is said; and therefore may deserve to be kept, not as a specimen of your answering,—for, as we shall see, you answer nothing --but as a specimen of your skill in seeming to say something where you have nothing to
You tell me that I say, p. 120, that " I suppose that you will grant me (what he must be a hard man indeed that will not grant) that any thing laid upon the magistrate as a duty, is some way or other practicable. Now the magistrate being obliged to use force in matters of religion, but yet so as to bring men only to the true religion; he will not be in any capacity to perform this part of his duty, unless the religion he is to promote be what he can certainly know, or else what it is sufficient for him to believe to be the true: either his knowledge, or his opinion, must point out that religion to him, which he is by force to promote. Where, if by knowing, or knowledge, I mean the effect of strict demonstration; and by believing, or opinion, any sort of assent or persuasion, how slightly soever grounded: then you must deny the sufficiency of my division; because there is : a third sort or degree of persuasion, which, though not grounded upon strict demonstration, yet in firmness and stability does far exceed that which is built
upon slight appearances of probability ; being grounded upon such clear and solid proof as leaves no reasonable doubt in an attentive and unbiassed mind: so that it approaches very near to that which is produced by demonstration, and is therefore, as it respects religion, very frequently and familiarly called in Scripture not faith or belief only, but knowledge, and in divers places full assurance, as might easily be shown, if that were needful. Now this kind of persuasion, this knowledge, this full assurance, men may, and ought to have of the true religion : but they can never have it of a false one. And this it is that must point out that religion to the magistrate, which he is to promote by the method you contend for."
Here the first thing you do is to pretend an uncer. tainty of what I mean by “knowing or knowledge, and by believing or opinion.” First, As to knowledge, I have said “ certainly know.” I have called it “vision; knowledge and certainty; knowledge properly so called." And for believing or opinion, I speak of believing with assurance; and say, that believing in the highest degree of assurance is not knowledge. That whatever is not capable of demonstration is not, unless it be self-evident, capable to produce knowledge, how well grounded and great soever the assurance of faith may be wherewith it is received. That I grant, that a strong assurance of any truth, settled upon prevalent and wellgrounded arguments of probability, is often called knowledge in popular ways of talking ; but being here to distinguish between knowledge and belief, to what degrees of confidence soever raised, their boundaries must be kept, and their names not confounded ; with more to the same purpose, p. 120, 121; whereby it is so plain, that by knowledge I mean the effect of strict demonstration, and by believing or opinion, I mean any degree of persuasion even to the highest degree of assurance, that I challenge you yourself to set it down in plainer and more express terms. But nobody can blame you for not finding your adversary's meaning, let it be ever so plain, when you can find nothing to answer to it. The reason therefore which you allege for the denying the sufficiency of my division is no reason at all. Your pretended reason is, because there is “ a third sort or degree of persuasion, which, though not grounded upon strict demonstration, yet in firmness and stability does far exceed that which is built upon slight appearances of probability,” &c. Let it be so, that there is a degree of persuasion not grounded upon strict demonstration, far exceeding that which is built upon slight appearances of probability. But let me ask you what reason can this be to deny the sufficiency of
division, because there is, as you say, a third sort or degree of persuasion ; when even that which you call this third sort or degree of persuasion is contained in my division? This is a specimen indeed, not of answering what I have said, but of not answering, and for such I leave it to the reader.
“ A degree of persuasion, though not grounded on strict demonstration, yet in firmness and stability far exceeding that which is built upon slight appearances of probability, you call here a third sort or degree of persuasion. ” Pray tell me which are the two other sorts; for knowledge upon strict demonstration is not belief or persuasion, but wholly above it. Besides, if the degrees of firmness in persuasion make different sorts of persuasion, there are not only three, but three hundred sorts of persuasion ; and therefore the naming of your third sort was with little ground, and to no purpose or tendency to an answer; though the drawing in something like a distinction be always to the purpose of a man who hath nothing to answer, it giving occasion for the use of many good words, which, though nothing to the point, serve to cover
the disputant's saying nothing, under the appearance of learning, to those who will not be at the pains to examine what he says.
You say, “every magistrate is by the law of nature under an obligation to use force to bring men to the true religion.” To this I urge, that the magistrate hath nothing else to determine him in the use of force, for promotion of any religion one before another, but only his own belief or persuasion of the truth of it. Here you had nothing to do, but fairly to grant or deny; but instead thereof you first raise a groundless doubt, as I have shown, about my meaning, whereof there could be no doubt at all to any one who would but read what I had said; and thereupon having got a pretence for a distinction, you solemnly tell the world there is a third sort of persuasion, which, though not grounded on strict demonstration, yet in firmness and stability does far exceed that which is built upon slight appearances of probability, leaving no doubt, approach. ing near to knowledge, being full assurance." Well, , the magistrate hath a " persuasion of firmness and stability, has full assurance;" must he be determined by this his full assurance in the promoting of that religion by force, of whose truth he is in so high a degree of persuasion so fully assured ? “ No, say you, it must be grounded upon such clear and solid proof as leaves no reasonable doubt in an attentive and unbiassed mind.” To which the magistrate is ready to reply, that he, upon his grounds, can see no reasonable doubt; and that his is an attentive and unbiassed mind; of all which he himself is to be judge, till you can produce your authority to judge for him; though, in the conclusion, you actually make yourself judge for him. “ It is such a kind of persuasion, such a full assurance must point out to the magistrate that religion he is to promote by force, which can never be had but of the true religion;" which is in effect, as every one may see, the religion that you judge to be true, and not the religion the magistrate judges to be true. For pray
tell me, must the magistrate's full assurance point out to him the religion which he is by force to promote; or must he by force promote a religion, of whose truth he hath no belief, no assurance at all? If you say the first of these, you grant that every magistrate must use force to promote his own religion ; for that is the religion whereof he has so full assurance, that he ventures his eternal state upon it. Ay, say you, that is for want of attention; and because he is not unbiassed. It is like he will say the same of you, and then you are quits. And that he should by force promote that religion which