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21. We suppose that all men conceive and feel in same ignorance in which they began. But then the same way, the objects that are presented to this is an intelligent ignorance which knows itself. them: but we suppose this very gratuitously, for we Out of the many, however, who have come forth have no proof of it. I see plainly that the same from their native ignorance, there are some who word is used on the same occasion; and that wher- have not reached this other extreme; these are ever two men see snow, for example, they express strongly tinged with scientific conceit, and set up their notion of the same object by the same word- a claim to be the learned and the intelligent. These both saying that it is white; and from this agree are the men that disturb the world; and they genement of the application of terms, we draw a strong rally judge more falsely than all others. The crowd conjecture in favor of a conformity of ideas; but and the men of talent, generally direct the course this is not absolutely convincing, though there is of the world; the others despise it and are degood ground for the supposition.
spised. 22. When we see an effect regularly recurring, 26. We think ourselves much more capable of we conclude that there is a natural necessity for it, reaching the centre of things, than of grasping the as that the sun will rise to-morrow, &c. But in circumference. The visible expanse of the world, many things nature deceives us, and does not yield manifestly surpasses us; but as we visibly surpass a perfect submission to its own ws.
little things, we think ourselves on a vantage 23. Many things that are certain are contradict- ground for comprehending them; and yet it does ed; many that are false pass without contradiction : not require less capacity to trace something down contradiction is no proof of falsehood, nor univer- to nothing, than up to totality. This capacity, in sal assent, of truth.
either ease, must be infinite; and it appears to me 24. The instructed mind discovers that as nature that he who can discover the ultimate principles of carries the imprint of its author stamped on all things, might reach also to the knowledge of the inthings, they all have a certain relation to his two- finitely great. The one depends on the other; the fold infinity. Thus we see that all the sciences are one leads to the other. These extremities touch infinite in the extent to which their researches may and meet in consequence of their very distance. be carried. Who doubts, for instance, that geome- They meet in God, and in God only. try involves in it an infinity of infinites of proposi- If man would begin by studying himself, he tions? It is infinite also in the multitude and the would soon see how unable he is to go further. How delicacy of its principles; for who does not per- can a part comprehend the whole? He would asceive, that any which are proposed as the last, must pire probably to know, at least, those parts which rest upon themselves, which is absurd; and that in are similar in proportion to himself. But all parts fact they are sustained by others, which have others of creation have such a relation to each other, and again for their basis, and must thus eternally ex- are so intertwined, that I think it is impossible to clude the idea of an ultimate proposition.
know one without knowing the other, and even the We see at a glance, that arithmetic alone fur- whole. nishes principles without number, and each science Man, for instance, has a relation to all that he the same.
knows. He needs space to contain him-time for But if the infinitely small, is much less discerni- existence-motion that he may live-elements for ble than the infinitely great, philosophers have much his substance-warmth and food to nourish him, more readily pretended to have attained to it; and and air to breathe. He sees the light, he feels his here all have stumbled. This error has given rise material body. In fact, every thing is allied with to those terms so commonly in use, as “the princi- him. pies of things--the principles of philosophy;" and To understand man, therefore, we must know cher similar expressions, as conceited, in fact, wherein it is that air is needful for his support; though not quite so obtrusively so as that insuffer- and to understand air, we must trace its relation to ably disgusting title, De omni scibili.*
human life. Let us not seek then for assurance and stability. Flame will not live without air; then to compreOur reason is perpetually deceived by the variable- hend the one, we must comprehend the other also. ness of appearances, nothing can fix that which is Since, then, all things are either caused or canses, finite, between the two infinites that enclose it, and assisting or being assisted, mediately or immediAy from it; and when this is well understood, each | ately; and all are related to each other by a natuman will, Í believe, remain quietly in the position ral and imperceptible bond, which unites together in which' nature has placed him. This medium things the most distant and dissimilar; I hold it state, which has fallen to our lot, being always infi- impossible to know the parts, without knowing the nitely distant from the extremes, what matters it whole, and equally so to know the whole, without whether man has, or has not a little more know- knowing the parts in detail. ledge of the things round him? If he has, why And that which completes our inability to know then he traces them a degree or two higher. But the essential nature of things is, that they are simple, is he not always infinitely distant from the ex- and that we are a compound of two different and tremes, and is not the longest human life infinitely opposing natures, body and spirit; for it is impossishort of eternity?
ble that the portion of us which thinks, can be other Compared with these infinities, all finite things than spiritual; and as to the pretence, that we are are equal; and I see no reason why the imagin- simply corporeal, that would exclude us still more ation should occupy itself with one more than an- entirely from the knowledge of things; because other. Even the least comparison that we institute there is nothing more inconceivable, than that matbetween ourselves and that which is finite, gives ter could comprehend itself. us pain.
It is this compound nature of body and spirit 25. The sciences have two extremities, which which had led almost all the philosophers to contouch each other. The one is that pure natural fuse their ideas of things; and to attribute to matter ignorance in which we are born : the other is that that which belongs only to spirit, and to spirit, that point to which great minds attain, who having gone which cannot consist but with matter; for, they say the whole round of possible human knowledge, find boldly, That bodies tend downwards; that they that they know nothing, and that they end in the seek the centre; that they shrink from destruction,
that they dread a vacuum; that they have inclinaThe title of a thesis maintained at Rome, by Jean tions, sympathies, antipathies, &c. which are all Pic de la Miranadole.
qualities that can only exist in mind. And in speak.
THE MISERY OF MAN.
ing of spirits, they consider them as occupying a, age, by their industry and attention, that their forplace, and attribute to them motion from one place tune and reputation, and the fortune and reputation to another, &c. which are the qualities of body. of their friends, be flourishing; and that a failure
Instead, therefore, of receiving the ideas of things, in any one of these things would make them misesimply as they are, we tinge, with the qualities of rable. And hence they are engaged in duties and our compound being, all the simple things that we businesses which harass them from morning to night. contemplate.
"A strange method this,” you would say, “ to make Who would not suppose, when they see us attach men happy; what could we do more effectually to to every thing the compound notions of body and make them miserable ?" Do you ask what we could spirit, that this mixture was familiarly comprehen- do? Alas! we have but to release them from these sible to us? Yet it is the thing of which we know cares, for then they would see and consider themthe least. Man is, to himself, the most astonishing selves; and this is unbearable. And in proof of object in nature, for he cannot conceive whai body this we see, that with all this mass of cares, if they is, still less what spirit is, and less than all, how a have yet any interval of relaxation, they hasten to body and a spirit can be united. That is the climax squander it on some amusement, that shall comof his difficulties, and yet it is his proper being.. pietely fill the void, and hide them from themselves. Modus quo corporibus adhæret spiritus comprehendi On this account when I have set myself to conab hominibus non potest, et hoc tamen homo est.* sider the varied turmoil of life; the toil and dan
27. Man, then, is the subject of a host of errors, ger to which men expose themselves at courts, in that divine grace only can remove. Nothing shows war, and in the pursuit of their ambitious projects, him the truih; every thing misleads him. Reason which give rise to so much quarrell ag and passion, and the senses, the two means of ascertaining the and to so many desperate and fatal adventures : 1 truth, are not only cften unfaithful, but mutually have often said that all the misfortunes of men deceive each other. Cur senses mislead our reason spring from their not knowing how to live quietly by false impressions; and reason also has its re- at home, in their own rooms. If a man, who has venge, by retorting the same trick upon our senses. enough to live on, did but know how to live with The passions of the soul disturb the senses, and himself, he would never go to sea, or to besiege a excite evil impressions; and thus our two sources city, merely for the sake of occupation; and he of knowledge mutually lie and deceive each other. whose only object is to live, would have no need
to seek such dangerous employments.
But when I have looked into the matter more CHAPTER IV.
closely, I have found that this aversion to repose,
and to the society of self, originates in a very powerNothing more directly introduces us to the know-fa! cause, namely, in the natural evils of our weak ledge of human misery, than an inquiry into the and mortal state-a state so completely wretched, cause of that perpetual restlessness in which men that whenever nothing hinders us from thinking of pass their whole lives.
it, and we thoroughly survey ourselves, we are utThe soul is placed in the body to sojourn there terly inconsolables Of course, I speak only of those for a short time. She knows that this is only the who meditate on themselves without the aid of reliprelude to an eternal progress, to prepare for which, gion. For most assuredly it is one of the wonders she has but the short period of this present life. Of of the Christian religion, that it reconciles man to this the mère necessities of nature engross a large himself, in reconciling him to his God; that it portion, and the remainder which she might use, is makes self-examination bearable, and soliiude and small indeed. Yet this little is such a trouble to silence more interesting than the tumults and the her, and the source of such strange perplexity, that busy intercourse of men. But religion does not she only studies how to throw it away. To live produce this mighty change by confining man to the with herself, and to think of herself, is a burden survey of himself. It does this only by leading quite insupportable. Hence all her care is to forget him up to God, and sustaining him, even in the herself, and to let this period short and precious as consciousness of his present misery, with the hop it is, flow on without reflection, whilst she is busied of another existence, in which he shall be freed with things that prevent her from thinking of it.
from it for ever. This is the cause of all the bustling occupations
But as for those who act only according to the imof men, and of all that is called diversion or pas- pulse of those natural motives, that they find within time, in which they have really but one ohject--to ihem, it is impossible that they can live in that tranlet the time glide by without perceiving it. or rather quillity which favors self-examination, without bewithout perceiving self, and to avoid, by the sacri- ing instantly the prey of chagrin and melancholy. fice of this portion of life, the bitterness and disgust The man who loves nothing but self, dislikes noof soul, which would result from self-inspection thing so much as being with himself only. He during that time. The soul finds in herself nothing seeks nothing but for himself; yet he flies from nogratifying She finds nothing but what grieves thing so eagerly as self; for when he sees himself, her when she thinks of it. This compels her to he is not what he wishes; and he finds in himself look abroad, and to seek, by devotion to external an accumulation of miseries that he cannot shun, things, to drown the conscioúsness of her real con- and a vacuity of all real and substantial good which dition. Her joy is in this oblivion; and to compel he cannot fill. her to look within, and to be her own companion, him accumulate around him all the goods and all
Let a man choose what condition he will, and let is to make her thoroughly wretched.
Men are burdened from their infant years with the gratifications seemingly calculated to make him the care of their honor and their property, and even happy in it; if that man is left at any time without of the property and the honor of iheir relations and occupation or amusement, and reflects on what he friends. They are oppressed with the study of lan- is, the meagre, languid felicity of his present lot guages, sciences, accomplishments, and arts. They will not bear him up. He will turn necessarily to are overwhelmed with business, and are taught to gloomy anticipations of the future; and except, believe that they cannot be happy unless they man- therefore, his occupation calls him out of himself,
he is inevitably wretched. The union of mind with matter, is a subject ut- But is not royal dignity sufficient of itself to make terly incomprehensible to man, and yet this is man's its possessyr happy, by the mere contemplation of essential nature.
what he is as a king ! Must he too be withdrawn
from this thought the same as other men? I see I would do if they thought seriously of it, they would plainly that it makes a man happy to turn him so far agree with us at once; only that they would away from the thought of his domestic sorrows, and say also, that they merely seek in these things a vioto engage all the energy of his mind in the attaining lent impetuous occupation, which shall divert them of some light accomplishments, even such as danc- from themselves, and that with this direct intening: but is it so with a king? Would he be hap-tion, they choose some attractive object which enpier in a devotion to these vain amusements, than gages and occupies them entirely. But then they in the thought of his own greatness ? What object will not answer in this way, because they do not more satisfying can be given to him ? Would it know themselves. A gentleman believes sincerely not be thwarting his joy, to degrade his mind to the that there is something noble and dignified in the thought how to regulate his steps by the cadence of chase. He will say it is a royal sport. And it a fiddle, or how to strike a billiard ball; instead of is the same with other things which occupy the. leaving him to enjoy in tranquillity the contem- great mass of men. They conceive that there is plation of the glory and the majesty with which he something really and substantially good in the obis invested? Try it: leave a king to himself with-ject itself. A man persuades himself that if he ob out any delight accruing to him through the senses; tained this employment, then he would enjoy repose. leave him without any care upon his mind, and with. But he does not perceive the insatiability of his own out society, to think at his leisure of himself, and desires; and while he believes that he is in search you will see that a king who looks within, is a man of rest, he is actually seeking after additional care. equally full of miseries, and equally alive to them, Men have a secret instinct leading them to seek with other men. Aence they carefully avoid this; pleasure and occupation from external sources, and there is always about the person of kings, a which originates in the sense of their continual number of menials, whose concern it is to provide misery. But they have also another secret instinct, dirersion when business is done, and who watch for a remnant of the original grandeur of their nature, their hours of leisure to supply them with pleasures which intimates to them that happiness is to be found and sports, that they may never feel vacuity; that only in repose; and from these opposite instincts, is, in fact, they are surrounded by persons who take there eminates a confused project, which is hidden the most scrupulous care, that the king shall not be from their view in the very depth of the soul, and left alone to be his own companion, and in a situa- which prompts them to seek repose by incessant tion to think of himself; because they know that if action ; and ever to expect that the fulness of enhe does, with all his royalty he must be wretched. joyment, which as yet they have not attained, will
The principal thing which bears men up under infallibly be realized, if, by overcoming certain difthose weighty concerns, which are, in other re- ficulties which immediately oppose them, they spects, so oppressive, is that they are thus perpetu- might open the way to rest. ally kept from thinking of themselves.
And thus the whole of life runs away. We seek For instance: What is the being a governor, a repose by the struggle with opposing difficulties, chancellor, a prime minister, but the having a and the instant we have overcome them, that rest number of attendants flocking on every side to pre- becomes insupportable. For generally we are ocvent them from having a single hour in the day in cupied either with the miseries which now we feel, which they can think of self? And when such or with those which threaten; and even when we men are out of favor, and are banished to their see ourselves sufficiently secure from the approach country-seats, where they have no want of either of either, still fretfulness, though unwarranted by money or servants to supply their real wants, then either present or expected affliction, fails not to indeed they are wretched, because then they have spring up from the deep recesses of the heart, where leisure to think of self without hinderance. its roots naturally grow, and to fill the soul with its
Hence it is that so many persons fly to play or to poison. field sports, or to any other amusement which oc- And hence it is plain, that when Cineas said to cupies the whole sval. Not that they expect hap-Pyrrhus, who proposed to himself, after having piness from any thing so acquired, or that they conquered a large portion of the world, then to sit suppose that real bliss centres in the money that down and enjoy repose with his friends, that he had they win, or the hare that they caich. They would better hasten forward his own happiness now, by not have either as a gift. The fact is, they are not immediately enjoying repose, than seek it through seeking for that mild and peaceful course which so much fatigue; he advised a course which involved. leaves a man leisure to speculate on his unhappy very serious difficulties, and which was scarcely more condition, but for that incessant hurry which ren- rational than the project of this hero's youthful ambiders this impracticable.
tion. Both plans assumed that man can be satisfied Hence it is, that men love so ardently the whirl with himself, and with his present blessings, and aot and the tumult of the world; that imprisonment is feel a void in bis heart, which must be filled with imaso fearful a punishment; and that so few persons ginary hopes: and here they were both in error. can endure solitude
Pyrrhus could not have been happy either before or This, then, is all that men have devised to make after the conquest of the world; and most probably themselves happy. And those who amuse them- the life of indolent repose which his minister reselves by showing the emptiness and the poverty of commended, was less adapted to satisfy him, than the such amusements, have certainly a right notion of a restless hurry of his intended wars and wanderings. part of human misery; for it is no small evil to be We are compelled then to admit, that man is so capable of finding pleasure in things so low and wretched, that he will vex himself, independently contemptible; but they do not yet know the full of any external cause of vexation, from the mere depth of that misery which renders these same circumstances of his natural condition; and yet miserable and base expedients absolutely necessary with all this he is so vain and full of levity, that in to man, so long as he is not cured of that internal the midst of a thousand causes of real distress, the natural evil, the not being able to endure the con- merest trifle serves to divert him. So that on seritemplation of himself. The hare that he buys in ous reflection, we see that he is far more to be comthe market, will not call him off from himself, but miserated that he can find enjoyment in things so the chase of it may. And therefore, when we tell frivolous and so contemptible, than that he mourns them that what they seek so ardently will not satis- over his real sorrows. His amusements are infify them, and that nothing can be more mean and nitely less rational than his lamentations. profiiless, we know that, if they answered as they 2. Whence is it that this man, who lost so jately
an only son, and who, under the pressure of legal deceives us, and leads us down imperceptibly in processes and disputes, was this morning so harass- thoughtlessness to the grave. ed, now thinks of these things no more? Alas! it Men finding that they had no remedy for death, is no wonder. He is wholly engrossed in watching misery, and ignorance, have imagined that the way the fate of a poor deer, that his dogs have been to happiness was not to think of these things. This chasing for six hours. “And nothing more than is all that they have been able to invent, to console this is necessary for a man, though he is brim full themselves in the midst of so much evil. But it is of sorrows! If he can but be induced to apply him- wretched comfort; since it does not profess to cure seli' to some source of recreation, he is happy for the mischief, but merely to hide it for a short time. the time; but then it is with a false and delusive And it does so hide it, as to prevent all serious happiness, which comes not from the possession of thought of an effectual cure. And thus a man finds, any real and substantial good, but from a spirit of that by a strange derangement of his nature, ennui, levity, that drowns the memory of his real griefs, and which is the evil that he most strongly feels, is in a occupies him with mean and contemptible things, certain sense his greatest good; and that amuseutterly unworthy of his attention, much more of ment which he regards as his best blessing, is, in his love. It is a morbid and frantic joy, which fact, his most serious evil; because it operates more flows not from the health of the soul, but from its than any thing else to prevent him from seeking a disorder. It is the laugh of folly and of delusion. remedy for his miseries; and both of them are a It is wonderful also to think what it is which pleases striking proof of the misery and corruption of man, men in their sports and recreations. It is true, that and of his greatness also; since both that weariness by occupying the mind, they seduce it from the con- which he feels in all things, and that restless search sciousness of its real sorrows: and so far is a reality. after various and incessant occupation, spring equalBut then they are only capable of occupying the ly from the consciousness of a happiness which he mind at all, because it has created for itself in them, has lost; which happiness, as he does not find it in a merely imaginary object of desire, to which it is himself, he seeks fruitlessly through the whole round fondly and passionately devoted.
of visible things; but never finds peace, because it What think you is the object of those men who is not in us, nor in the creature at all, but in God are playing at tennis with such intense interest of only. mind and effort of body? Merely to boast the next Whilst our own nature makes us miserable in day among their friends that they have plaven ter whalevel slale we are, our desires paint to us anter than another. There is the spring of their de- other condition as being happy, because they join votedness. Others again, in the same way, toil in to that in which we are, the pleasures of a conditheir closets to show the Scavans that they have tion in which we are not; and whenever we shall sulved a question in algebra, which was never atiain those expected pleasures, we shall not be solved before. Others expose themselves, with at therefore happy, because other desires will then least equal folly, to the greatest dangers, to boast at spring up conformed to some other condition, yet length of some place that ihey have taken: and new and unattained. others there are, who wear out life in remarking on Imagine a number of men in chains, and all conthose things; not that they themselves may grow demned to die, and that while some are slaughtered wiser, but purely to show that they see the folly of daily in the sight of their companions, those who yet them. And these seem the silliest of all; because remain see their own sad destiny in that of the slain, they are conscious of their folly; whilst we may and gazing on each other in hopeless surrow, await hope of the others, that they would act differently their doom. This is a picture of the condition of if they knew better.
human nature. 3. A man will pass his days without weariness, in daily play for a trifling stake, whom you would
CHAPTER V. make directly wretched, by giving to him each morning the probable winnings of the day, on con
THE WONDERFUL CONTRARIETIES WHICH ARE FOUND IN dition of his not playing. You will say, "But it is MAN WITH RESPECT TO TRUTH, HAPPINESS, AND MANY the amusement he wants, and not the gain.” Then make him play for nothing, and you will see that THERE is nothing more extraordinary in the nafor want of a risk, be will lose interest, and become ture of man, than the contrarieties, which are disweary. Evidently, then, it is not only amusement covered in it on almost every subject. Man is that he seeks. An amusement not calculated to ex- formed for the knowledge of truth; he ardently cite the passions, is languid and fatiguing. He must desires it; he seeks it; and yet, when he strives to get warmth, animation, stimulus, in the thought grasp it, he so completely dazzles and confounds that he shall be happy in winning a trifle, that he himself, that he gives occasion to doubt whether he would not consider worth a straw, if it were offered has attained it or not. him without the risk of play. He must have an ob- This has given rise to the two sects of the Pyrject of emotion adequate to cxcite desire, and an- rhonists and the Dogmatists, of whom the one ger, and hope, and fear.
would deny that men knew.any thing of truth; the So that the amusements which constitute mens' other professed to show them that they knew it achappiness here, are not only mean—they are false curately; but each advanced reasons so improbable, and deceitful: that is to say, they have for their ob- that they only increased that confusion and perplexject a set of phantoms and illusions, which actually ity in which man must continue, so long as he obcould not occupy the human mind, if it had not lost tains no other light than that of his own underits taste and feeling for that which is really good standing: if it were not filled with low and mean propensities, The chief reasons of the Pyrrhonists are these, with vanity, and levity, and pride, and a host of that we have no assurance of the truth of our prinother vices. And these diversions only alleviate ciples (setting aside faith and revelation) except our present sorrows, by originating a misery more that we find them intuitively within us. But this real and more humiliating. For it is they which intuitive impression is not a convincing proof of mainly hinder us from thinking of ourselves, and their truth; because, as without the aid of faith, we make us lose our time without perceiving it. With- have no certainly whether man was made by a beout them, we should be unhappy, and this unhap- nevolent Deity, or a wicked demon, whether man piness would drive us to seek some more satisfac- is from eiernity, or the offspring of chance, it must tory way of peace. But amusement allures and remain doubtsul whether these principles are given
to us—are true or false; or like our origin, uncer- been an absolute and perfect Pyrrhonist. Nature tain. Further, that excepting by faith, a man has props up the weakness of reason, and prevents her no assurance whether he sleeps or wakes; seeing from reaching this point of extravagance. But then that in his sleep he does not the less firmly believe on the other side, shall man affirm that he possesses that he is awake, than when he really is so. He the truth with certainty, who, if you press him ever sees spaces, figures, movements; he is sensible of so little, can bring no proof of the fact, and is the lapse of time; he measures it; he acts, in short, forced to loose his hold? as if he were a wake. So that as one half of life is Who shall clear up this perplexity ? Common admitted by us to be passed in sleep, in which, how- sense confutes the Pyrrhonists, and reason the Dogever it may appear otherwise, we have no percep- matists. What then must become of thee, O man, tion of truih, and all our feelings are delusions; who searchest out thy true condition, by the aid of who knows but the other half of life, in which we natural reason? You cannot avoid adopting one think we are awake, is a sleep also, but in some re- of these opinions; but to maintain either, is imposspects different from the other, and from which we sible. wake, when we, as we call it, sleep. As a man Such is man in regard to the truth. Consider him dreams often that he is dreaming, crowding one now with respect to that happiness, which in all his dreamy delusion on another.
actions, he seeks with so much avidity; for all men, I leave untouched the arguments of the Pyrrhon- without exception, desire to be happy. However ists against the impressions of habit, education, different the means which they adopt, they aim at manners, and national customs, and the crowd of the same result. The cause of one man engaging similar influences which carry along the majority in war, and of another remaining at home, is this of mankind, who build their opinions on no more same desire of happiness, associated with different solid foundation.
predilections. He will never stir a step but toThe only strong point of the Dogmatists is, that wards this desired object. It is the motive of all we cannot, consistently with honesty and sincerity, the actions of all men, even of those who destroy doubt our own intuitive principles. We know the themselves. truth, they say, not only by reason hg, but by feel- And yet
, after the lapse of so many years, no one ing, and by a quick and luminous power of direct has ever attained to this point at which we are all comprehension; and it is by this last faculty that aiming, but by faith. All are unhappy: princes we discern first principles. It is in vain for reason- and their subjects, noble and ignoble, the old and ing, which has no share in discovering these prin- the young, the strong and the weak, the learned ciples, to attempt subverting them. The Pyrrhon- and the ignorant, the sick and the healthy of all ists who attempt this, must try in vain. However countries, all times, all ages, and all conditions, unable we may be by reasoning to prove the fact, Experience so lengthened, so continual, and so yet we know that we do not dream.. And this ina- uniform, might well convince us of our inability to bility may prove the feebleness of our reason, but be happy by our own efforts. But then here we get not as they pretend, the want of reality and sub- no profit from example. It is never so precisely stance in the subjects of our knowledge. For the similar, but that there is some slight difference, on knowledge of first principles, as the ideas of space, the strength of which, we calculate that our hope time, motion, number, matter, is as unequivocally shall not be disappointed, in this as in former incertain, as any that reasoning imparts. And, after stances. And thus while the present never satisfies all, it is on the perceptions of common sense and us, hope allures us onward, and leads us from misfeeling, that reason must, at last, sustain itself, and fortune to misfortune, and finally to death and everfound its own argument. I perceive that space has lasting ruin. three dimensions, and that number is infinite, and It is remarkable, that in the whole range of nareason demonstrates from this, that there are not ture, there is nothing that has not been accounted two square numbers, of which one is just double fit to become the chief end and happiness of man. of the other. Principles are perceived, propositions The stars, the elements, plants, animals, insects, are deduced: each part of the process is certain, diseases, wars, vices, crimes, &c. Man having though in different ways. And it is as ridiculous fallen from his original and natural state, there is tbat reason should require of feeling and percep- nothing however mean on which he does not fix tion proofs of these first principles before she as- his vagrant affections. Since he lost that which is sents to them, as it would be that perception should really good, any thing can assume the semblance require from reason an intuitive impression of all of it, even self-destruction, though it is so manifestthe propositions at which she arrives. This weak- ly contrary at once both to reason and to nature. ness, therefore, will only serve to abase that reason Some have sought happiness in power; some in which would become the judge of all things, but science or in curious research; and some in volupnot to invalidate the convictions of common sense, tuous pleasure. These three propensities have given as if reason only could be our guide and teacher. rise to three sccts; and they who are called philoWould to God, on the contrary, that we had no need sophers, have merely followed one or other of them. of reason, but that we knew every thing intuitively Those who have come nearest to happiness have by instinct and feeling. But this blessing is with thought, that the universal good which all men deheld from us by our nature; our knowledge by in- sire, and in which all should share, cannot be any tuitive impression is very scanty; and every thing one particular thing, which one only can possess, else must be attained by reasoning.
and which if it be divided, ministers more sorrow Here then is war openly proclaimed among men. to its possessor, on account of that which he has not, Each one must take a side; must necessarily range than pleasure in the enjoyment of that which he himself with the Pyrrhonists or the Dogmatists; has. They conceived that the true good must be for he who would think to remain neuter, is a Pyr- such that all may enjoy it at once, without imperrbonist par excellence. This neutrality is the very fection and without envy; and that no one could essence of Pyrrhonism. He who is not against lose it against his will. They have rightly underthem, is completely for them. What then must a stood the blessing, but they could not find it; and man do in this alternative? Shall he doubt of every instead of a solid and practical good, they have thing? Shall he doubt that he is awake, or that he embraced its visionary semblance, in an unreal and is pinched or burned? Shall he doubt that he doubts? chimerical virtue. Shall he doubt that he is? We cannot get so far as Instinct tells us, that we must seek our happiness this; and I hold it to be a fact, that there never has within ourselves, Our passions drive us forth to