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DIALOGUES
CONCERNING

NATURAL RELIGION.

Entered

in Stationers- Hall^

according

of Parliament,

to

DIALOGUES
CONCERNING

NATURAL RELIGION;
B

D A V ID

HUME,

ESQ.

THE SECOND EDITION.

&ONBON:
M.DCC.LXXIX.

r,

r\
MAY 2
*,,..,

65
8 "1965
..,.,

DIALOGUES
CONCERNING

NATURAL RELIGION,

PAMPHILUS

IT

to

HERMJPPUS.

has been remarked, my HERMIPpus, that though the ancient phi-

lofophers conveyed moft of their


inftruction in the form of dialogue, this

method of compofition has been

little

practifed

A L O d IT E S

O Is C E R N I K G
r

practifed in later ages, and has feldonl


fucceeded in the hands of thofe who

Accurate and regu


lar argument, indeed, fuch as is now
expected of philofophical inquirers, na

have attempted

it.

methodi
turally throws a man into the
cal and didactic manner ; where he can
immediately, without preparation, ex
plain the point at which he aims; and
thence proceed, without interruption,
tti

is

SYSTEM

in

deduce the proofs on which

cftablifhed.

To

deliver a

converfation, fcarcely appears natural ;


and whik the dialogue-writer delires,

by departing from the

direct:

flyle of

compoiition, to give a freer air to his


performance, and avoid the appearance

of Author and Reader^ he is apt to run


into a worfe inconvenience, and convey
the image of Pedagogue and Pupil. Or
if he carries on the difpute in the natu
of good company, by throw
ing in a variety of topics, and preferving a proper balance among the fpeakral fpirit

ers;

NA TURAL RELIGION.
ers

he often

lofes

fo

much

time in

preparations and tranfitions, that the


reader will fcarcely think himfelf comt>enfated,

by

all

the graces of dialogue,

for the order, brevity, and preeifion$


which are facrificed to them.

THERE

are fbine fubjects, however,

which dialogue-writing is peculiarly


adapted, and where it is ftill preferable
to the direct and fimple method of corn-

to

pofition.

ANY

point of doctrine, which is fo


obvious that it fcarcely admits of difpute, but at the fame time fo important
that it cannot be too often inculcated,

feems to require fome fuch method of


handling it; where the novelty of the

manner may compenfate

the tritenefs of

the iubjecl:; where the vivacity of converfation may enforce the precept; arid

where the variety of

by

lights, prefented
various perfonages and characters,

mav

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
nor redun
appear neither tedious

may
dant.

ANY

the
queftion of philofophy, on
other hand, which is fo obfcure and un
certain^ that

human reafon

can reach no

with regard to it
if it ftiould be treated at all, feems to lead

fixed determination

us naturally into the ftyle of dialogue


and converfation. Reafonable men may

be allowed to

differ,

where no one can

reafonably be pofitive

Oppofite fentiments, even without any decifion, af


ford an agreeable amufement: and if
:

the fubje6t be curious and inter efting^


the book carries us, in a manner, in
to

company

and unites the two great-

and pureft pleafures* of human


ftudy and fociety.

eft

HAPPILY,
to

life,

thefe circumftances are

be found in the fubje6l of

all

NATU

RAL RELIGION. What truth

fo

ob

vious, fo certain, as the BEING of

God,

NATURAL RELIGION,
God, which

the moft ignorant ages have


acknowledged, for which the mod re

fined genuifes have ambitioudy driven

produce new proofs and arguments ?


What truth fo important as this, which
to

is

the

ground of all our hopes, the fured

foundation of morality, the firmed flipport of fociety, and the only principle

which ought never to be a moment abieiit from our thoughts and medita
tions? But in treating of this obvious
and important truth
what obfcure
;

quedions occur, concerning the NA


TURE of that divine Being; his attri
butes, his decrees, his plan of provi
dence? Thefe have been always fubjected to the clifputations of men Con
:

cerning thefe, human reafon has not


reached any certain determination: But
thefe are topics fo intereding, that

we

cannot redrain our redlefs inquiry with


regard to them though nothing but
;

4oubt, uncertainty, and contradiction,


A 3
have

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
have

as yet

been the

refult of

our moft

accurate refearches,

THIS
while

had

lately occafion to obferve,

paffed 5 as ufual, part of the

mer-feafon with

CLEANTHES,

fum~
and

was prefent at thofe converfations of


his with PHILO and DEMEA, of which
I gave you lately fome imperfecl ac
count.

me, was

Your

curioiity,
fo excited, that

you then told


I muft of ne-

more exadl detail of


their reafonings, and difplay thofe va
rious fy Herns which they advanced with

ceffity enter into a

regard to fo delicate a fubjecl: as that of


Natural Religion. The remarkable con
trail in their characters

ftill

farther rai-

fed your expectations ; while you oppofed the accurate philofophical turn of

CLEANTHES

to the carelefs fcepticifm

of PHILO, or compared either of their


difpofitions with the rigid inflexible or

thodoxy of DEMEA. My youth ren*me a mere auditor of their difputes

NATURAL RELIGION.
and that

curiofity natural to the


early fcaibn of lite, has fo deeply im
printed in
memory the whole chain

pates

my

and connection of
that,

hope,

I fliall

their arguments,
not omit or con

found any confiderable part of them in


the

fjscitaL

PART

PART

I.

FTER I joined thecompany, whom


found

library,

CLEANTHES S
CLEANTHES fome

fitting in

DEMEA

paid

compliments, on the great care which


he took of my education, and on his
unwearied perfeverance and conftancy
in

all

his friendfhips.

The

father of

PAMPHILUS, faid he, was your intimate


The foil is your pupil; and may

friend:

indeed be regarded

were we

to

as

your adopted fon,

judge by the pains which

you beftow in conveying to him every


ufeful branch of literature and fcience.
You are no more wanting, I am perfuadecl, in
I fliall,

prudence than in induilry,

therefore,

communicate

to

you
a

PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

14
i>ART

o-vx>

maxim which I have obfcrved with


regard to my own children, that I may
learn how far it agrees with your
prac
tice.
The method I follow in their ea

ducatiou

is

founded on the faying of an

That jludcnts of philofophy


ought frft to karn Logics, then Ethics,
"

ancient,
"

"

next Phvfics, Lift of all the Nature


of
the Cods
This fcience of Natural
*."

Theology, according to him, being the


moft profound and abftrufe of any, re
quired the matured judgment in its ftudents ; and none but a mind, enriched

with

the other faiences, can


fafely be
entruiled with it.
all

ARE you

fo late, fays PiiiLO,in teach*

ing your children the principles of re


ligion? Is there no danger of their neglefting, or reje&ing altogether, thofe

which they have heard fo


during the whole courfe of their

opinions, of
little

education

It is

only

as a fcience, re

plied
*

Chryfippus apud pint, de repug. Stoicorum,

NATURAL RELIGION.
DEMEA, fubjeaed

plied

to

human

15
rea-

that
poflpone
ibning and difputation,
the ftudy of Natural Theology. To feaI

Ibn their minds with early piety, is my


and by continual precept
chief care
;

and

hope too by ex
on their tender
ample, I imprint deeply
mine s an habitual reverence for all the
of religion. While they pafs

and

instruction,

principles

through every other

fcience,

I ftill

re

the uncertainty of each part the


eternal deputations of men; the obfcu-

mark

philofophy; and the ftrange,


ridiculous conclufions, which fome of

rity

of

all

the greateft: geniufes have derived from


the principles of mere human reafon.

Having thus tamed their mind to a pro


I
per fubmirTion and felf-diffidence,
have no longer any fcruple of opening
to them the greateft mylleries of reli
nor apprehend any danger from
that afTuming arrogance of philofophy,

gion

which may lead them to reject the mod


eitabiifhed doctrines and opinions.

YOUR

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

16
FART

YOUR

precaution, fays PHILO, of feafoning your childrens minds early with


piety, is certainly very reafonable ; and

no more than is requifite in this pro


But what I
fane and irreligious age.
chiefly
tion,

is

admire in your plan of educa


your method of drawing advan

from the very principles of philoibphy and learning, which, by infpirivig pride and felf-fufficiency, have
commonly, in all ages, been found fo

tage

deftruclive to the principles of religion,

The

who

vulgar, indeed, we may remark,


are unacquainted with fcience and

profound inquiry, obferving the endIcfs dilputes of the learned, have com
a thorough, contempt for Philolofophv; ami rivet themfelves the fatter,

monly

means, in the great points of


theology which have been taught them,

by

ii

iat

Thefe who enter a

little

into ftudy

and

inquiry, finding many appearances of


evidence in do6lrin.es the newefl and

moil extraordinary, think nothing too


difficult

NATURAL RELIGION.
difficult for

17

reafon; and, prefumptuoufly breaking thro all fences,


profane the inmoil fanctuaries of the

But CLEANTHES

temple.

PART

human

will,

hope,

agree with me, that, after we have abandoned ignorance, the furefl remedy,
there

one expedient left to pre


profane liberty. Let DEMEA S

is ilill

vent this

principles be

improved and cultivated

become thoroughly

Let us

the weaknefs,

of

and narrow

human

of

limits,

conilder

blindnefs,

fenfible

its

reafon: Let us duly


uncertainty and endlefs

even in fubjects of com


and practice: Let the errors

contrarieties,

mon
and

life

deceits of

our very fenfes be

fet

before us

the infuperable difficulties


;
which attend firil principles in all fy*

items

the contradictions

which ad

here to the very ideas of matter, caufe

and
tion

kinds,

mo

extenfion, fpace, time,


and, in a word, quantity of all

effect,

the object of the only fcience

that can fairly pretend to

any certainty
or

i8

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
When

PART or evidence.

thefe topics are dilplayed in their full light, as they are by


and almoil all di
tome

philofophers

vines ;

who

can retain fuch confidence

in this frail faculty of reafon as to pay


any regard to its determinations in
points fo fublime, fo abftrufe, fo re

mote from common

life

and experience ?

When

the coherence of the parts of a


ftone, or even that compofition of parts
which renders it extended; when thefe
familiar objedlsj

fay, are fo inexpli

and contain circumftances fo


with
repugnant and contradictory
cable,

what afiurance

can we

decide concern-

cerning the origin of worlds, or trace


their hiftory

from

eternity to eternity?

WHILE PHILO

pronounced

thefe

words, I could obferve a fmile in the


countenance both of DEMEA and CLE-

ANTHES.

That of

DEMEA

feemed

to

imply an unreferved fatisfaclion in the


do&rines delivered: But, in CLEAN-

NATURAL RELIGION.
THES
air

of

19

features, I could diflinguim an PART


finefTe ; as if he
perceived fome

raillery or artificial malice in the rea-

fonings of PHILO.

You

propofe then, PHILO, faid CLE-

ered religious faith on


philofophical fcepticifm; and you thinly

ANTHES,

to

that if certainty or evidence be


expelled

from every other fubjecl of


inquiry,
will all retire to thefe

it

theological doc

and there acquire a


fuperior force
and authority. Whether
your fcepti
cifm be as abfolute and fincere as
you
trines,

pretend, we {hall learn


the company breaks

by and by, when

up:

We

{hall

then

whether you go out at the door or


the window; and whether
you
lee,

really

doubt, if your body has gravity, or can


be injured
by its fall; according to po
pular opinion, derived from our falla
cious fenfes, and
rience.

may,

And this

more

fallacious expe

confideration,

DEMEA,

think, fairly ferve to abate our


ill-

20

iu

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

wiu

to this

humorous

feel

of the

they be thoroughly in
earned, they will not long trouble the
If

fceptics.

world with

their doubts, cavils,

and

difputes: If they be only in jeft, they


are, perhaps,

bad

raillers

but can ne

ver be very dangerous, either to the


(late, to philofophy, or to religion.

IN

PHILO, continued he,

reality,

it

feems certain, that though a man, in a


fluili of humour, after intenfe reflection

on the many contradictions and imper


fections of

renounce

human

all

reafon,

belief

may

entirely

and opinion;

it

is

impoflible for him to perfevere in this


total fcepticifm, or make it appear in
his conduct for a

objedts prefs in

few hours.

upon him:

External

Paflions fo-

licithim: His philofophical melancholy


ven the utmoft vio
diffipates ; and

lence

upon

his

own

tetnper will not be


time, to preferve the

during any
poor appearance of fcepticifm.
able,

And for
what

NATURAL RELIGION.

11

what reafon impofe on himfelf fucli


violence? This is a point in which
will be impoiTible for

him ever

a
it

to fatis-

fy himfelf, confiflently with his fceptiSo that upon the whole

cal principles

nothing could be more ridiculous than


the principles of the ancient PYRRHO-

NIANS

if in reality

they endeavoured,

as is pretended, to extend,

the fame

fcepticifm,

throughout,

which they had

learned from the declamations of their


fchools,

and which they ought

to

have

confined to them.

IN

view, there appears a great


refemblance between the feels of the
this

STOICS and PYRRHONIANS, though per


petual aiitagoniils and both of them
ieem founded on this erroneous maxim,
That what a man can perform fome:

and in fome difpofitions, he can


perform always, and in every difpofition.

times,

When
is

the mind,

by

Stoical reflections,

elevated into a fublime enthufiafm of

virtue,

22
PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
and ftrongly fmit with
cits of honour or public good, the utmoft bodily pain and fufFerings will
virtue,

not prevail over fuch a high fenfe of

duty; and it is poffible, perhaps, by


in
its means, even to fmile and exult
If this foinethe midil of tortures.
times may be the cafe in fadl and rea
lity,

much more may

in his fchool,

a philofopher,
or even in his clofet,

work himfelf up

to fuch

an enthufiafm,

and fupport in imagination the acuteft


pain or moft calamitous event which he
can poflibly conceive. But how fhall he
fupport this enthufiafm itfelf ? The bent
of his mind relaxes, and cannot be re

him
him un

called at pleafure: Avocations lead

aftray:

Misfortunes

awares:

And

attack

the philojbpher links


degrees into the plebeian.
I

by

ALLOW of your comparifon between

the STOICS and SCEPTICS, replied PHILO.


But you may obferve, at the fame
time,

NATURAL RELIGION.

23

PART
time, that though the mind cannot, in
Stoicifm, fupport the higheft flights of

philofophy
er, it

even when

yet,

dill retains

it

fomewhat of

and the

effects

its

low

former

of the Stoic

difpofition ;
reafoning will appear in his

common

finks

conduct in

life, arid

through the whole

tenor of his actions.

The ancient fchools,

particularly that of ZENO, produced ex


amples of virtue and conflancy which

feem aftoniihing

to prefent times ,

Vain Wifdom all and falfe Pbilfophy.


Yet with a pleafing forcery could charm
Pain, for a while, or anguiih ; and excite
Fallacious Hope, or arm the obdurate breaft

With

In

like

ftubborn Patience, as with triple

manner,

ed himfelf

if a

man has

fteel.

accuflom-

to fceptical considerations

the uncertainty

and narrow

limits

on
of

reafon, he will not entirely forget them


when he turns his reflection on other
fubjects

principles
in his

but in

all

his philofophical

and reafoning,

dare not fay

common conduct, he will be found

different

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

24

PART different

from

thofe,

who

either never

formed any opinions in the cafe, or


have entertained fentiments more fa
vourable to

human

reafon.

To

whatever length any one may


pufh his fpeculative principles of fcepticifm, he muft ait, I own, and live,

and converfe,
conduit

like other

men

and for

not obliged to give


any other reafon, than the abfolute neIf he
ceffity he lies under of fo doing.

this

lie is

ever carries his fpeculations farther than


this iieceffity conftrains him, and philofophifes either on natural or moral
fubjeits,

fur e

and

he

is

allured

fatisfaition

employing himfelf

by a certain pleawhich he finds in

after that

manner.

He confiders befides, that every one, even


in common life, is conftrained to have
more or lefs of this philofophy that
from our earlieft infancy we make con
tinual advances in forming more gene
ral principles of conduit and reafon;

ing;

NATURAL RELIGION.
ing; that the larger experience
quire, and the ftronger reafon

we
we

25
ac- PART
are

endued with, we always render our


principles the more general and comprehenfive; and that what we call phinothing but a more regular
and methodical operation of the fame

lofophy

is

kind.

To

on fuch fubjects
different from realife
and we may

philofophiie

is

nothing eflentially
foning on common

only expect greater (lability, if not great


er truth, from our philofophy, on ac
its exacter and more
fcrupumethod of proceeding.

count of
lous

BUT when we

look beyond human


and the properties of the furrounding bodies When we carry our
fpeculations into the two eternities, be
fore and after the prefent ftateof things
into the creation and formation of the
univerfe
the exifhence and properties
of fpirits the powers and operations of
affairs

one univerfal

Spirit,

exifting without

beginning

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

$6
PART

beginning and without end; omnipo*


tent, omnifcient, immutable, infinite,
We muft be
and incomprehenfible
:

far

removed from the

fmalleft tendency

fcepticifm not to be apprehenfive,


that we have here got quite beyond the

to

reach of our faculties.

So long

as

we

confine our fpeculations to trade, or


morals, or politics, or criticifm, we

make

moment, to com*mon fenfe and experience, which ftrengappeals^ every

then our philofophical conclusions, and

remove (at lead, in part) the fufpicion


which we fo juftly entertain with regard
to every reafoning that is very fubtile
and refined. But, in theological rea-

we have

not this advantage ;


while at the fame time we are employ

fonings,

ed upon objects, which, we muft be


fenfible, are too large for our grafp,
and, of

all

others, require

moft

to

be

We

familiarifed to our apprehenfion.


are like foreigners in a ftrange country,
to

whom

every thing muft feem fufpicious.

NATURAL RELIGION.
cious,

27

and who are in danger every

moment of tranfgrelTmg againft the laws


and cuftoms of the people with whom
they live and converfe. We know not

how far we ought to trail our vulgar


methods of reafoning in fuch a fubjedt
fince, even in common life, and in that
;

province

which

priated to

them, we cannot account

is

peculiarly appro*for

them, and

are entirely guided by a kind


of inftincS or neceffity in employing

them.

ALL

fceptics pretend, that, if reafon

be confidered in an abftracl view, it


furnimes invincible arguments againft
itfelf ;

and that we could never

retain

any conviction or alTurance, on any


fubjecl:, were not the fceptical reafonings fb refined and fubtile, that they
are not able to counterpoife the more
folid and more natural arguments de-

ri^ed from the fenfes and experience.

But

it is

evident,

whenever our argu-

B 4

inents

PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

28
PART

me nts

this

lofe

wide of

and ruii
that the moft re

advantage,

common

life,

fined fcepti.dfm comes to be upon a


footing with them, and is able to op-

and counterbalance them. The


one has no more weight than the other*
The mind mufl remain in fufpenfe be

pofe

tween them; and


fpenfe or balance,

it

is

which

that very fu
is

the triumph

of fc^pticifm.
/

BUT

obferve,

CLEANTHES,

fays

with regard to you, PIIILO, and

all

fpe-

culative fceptics, that your do<5lrine and


practice are as much at variance in the

moft abftrufe points of theory as in the


conduct of common life. Where-ever
evidence difcovers
to

it,

itfelf,

you adhere

notwithflancling your pretended

fcepticifm ;

of your

and I can obferve,

feft to

who make

be

too,

fome

as decilive as thofe

greater profeffions of cer


affurance. In reality, would

tainty and
not a man be ridiculous,

who

pretended
to

NATURAL RELIGION.
NEWTON

29

explication of the
wonderful phenomenon of the rainbow,
to reject

becaufe that explication gives a minute


anatomy of the rays of light ; a fubjecl,
forfooth, too refined for human com-

And what would you fay


?
who
to one,
having no thing particular to
prehenfion

object to the arguments of COPERNICUS


and GALILTEO for the motion of the
earth,

mould with-hold

his aflent,

on

that general principle, That thefe fub*


and remote
jecls were too magnificent
to

be explained by the narrow and

lacious reafon of

THERE

is

mankind

fal

indeed a kind of brutifh

and ignorant fcepticifm, as you well


obferved, which gives the vulgar a ge
neral prejudice againfl what they do
not eafily underfland, and makes them
reject

every principle which requires

elaborate reafoiiing to prove

blim
fatal

and

efla-

This fpecies of fcepticifm is


to knowledge, not to religion;
it.

fince

30

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
fince

we

that thofe

find,

who make

greateft profeffion of it, give often their


affent, not only to the great truths of

Theifm and natural theology, but even


to the moft abfurd tenets which a tra
fuperftition has

ditional

ed to them.

recommend

firmly believe in
witches ; though they will not believe
nor attend to the moft fimple propofition of

They

EUCLID.

But the refined and

philofophical fceptics
fiftence

fall

into an incon-

of an oppofite nature.

They

pufh their refearches into the moft abftrufe corners of fcience;


and their
affent attends

them

in every ftep, pro

portioned to the evidence which they


meet with. They are even obliged to

acknowledge, that the moftabftrufe and


remote objects are thofe which are beft

by philofophy. Light is in
anatomized: The true fyftem

explained
reality

of the heavenly bodies

is

difcovered and

But the nourimment of


by food is ftill an inexplicable

afcertained.

bodies

myftery

NATURAL RELIGION.

cohefion of the parts of PART

my fiery The
:

matter

is flill

incomprehensible.

therefore,

fceptics,

31

Thefe

are obliged, in e-

very queflion, to confider each parti


cular evidence

apart,

and proportion

their afTent to the precife degree of evi

dence which occurs.


tice in all natural,

and

political

the fame,

I
?

religious

This

is

their prac

mathematical, moral,
And why not

fcience.

afk, in the theological

Why mud

conclusions

and
of

nature be alone rejected on the


general prefumption of the infufficiency
this

of

human

reafon, without

any

parti

cular difcuffion of the evidence? Is not

fuch an unequal conduct a plain proof


of prejudice and pailion ?

OUR

fenfes,

you

fay, are fallacious;

our underflanding erroneous our ideas


even of the moft familiar objects, extenfion, duration, motion, full of ab;

furdities

me

and contradictions. You defy

to folve the difficulties, or reconcile

the

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

PART fa^
repugnancies, which you difcover
I have not capacity for fo
in them.

great an undertaking I have not leifure


for it: I perceive it to be fuperfluous.
Your own condudl, in every circum:

and
your principles
ihows the firmefl reliance on all the re
fiance,

ceived

refutes

maxims of fcience, morals, pru-

dence, and behaviour.


I

SHALL never

afTent to fo harfh

au

opinion as that of a celebrated writer *,


who fays, that the fceptics are not a fetft

of philofophers They are only a fed;


of liars. I may, however, affirm, (I hope,
:

without offence) that they are a


jefters

or

whenever

railers.
I

find

But for

my

my

I fhall

entertainment of a

of

part,

myfelf difpofed

mirth and amufement,


chufe

fe6l

to

certainly
lefs

per

plexing and abflrufe nature.


comedy,
a novel, or at moft a hiftory, feems a

more
*

L art

de penfer.

NATURAL RELIGION.
more natural

33

recreation than fuch

taphyficai fubtilties

and

me- P *

abftraclions.

IN vain would the fceptic make a diftintlion between fcience and common
and ano
life, or between one fcience

The arguments employed

ther.

if juft, are

all,

of a fimilar nature, and con

fame force and evidence.

tain the
if there

in

Or

be any difference among them,

the advantage

lies

entirely

on the

fide

of theology and natural religion. Many


principles of mechanics are founded on
yet no man
very abftrufe reafoning
who has any preventions to fcience, even
;

no

fpeculative fceptic, pretends to en

doubt with regard to


The COPERNICAN fyftem con

tertain the leaft

them.

moft furprifing paradox, and


the moft contrary to our natural con

tains the

ceptions, to appearances,
fenfes: yet even monks

are

now

and to our very


and inquifitors

conftrained to withdraw their

oppofition to

it.

And

{hall

PHILO, a

man

R1E

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

34
I>ART

man

of fo liberal a genius, and exten-*

knowledge, entertain any general


undiflinguifhed fcruples with regard to
five

the religious hypothefis, which is found


ed on the firnpleil and moft obvious ar-^

guments % and, unlefs

it

meets with

has fuch eafy accefs and admiffion into the mind of


artificial

obftacles,

man?

AND

here

we may

obferve,

con

tinued he, turning himfelf towards


DEMEA, a pretty curious circumftance
in the hiftory of the fciences. After the
union of philofophy with the popular
religion, upon the firft eflablifhment of
Chriflianity, nothing

among

all

was more ufual,

religious teachers, than de

clamations againfl reafon, againft the


fenfes, againft every principle derived

merely from

human

refearch and in

quiry. All the topics of the ancient Academics were adopted by the Fathers;

and thence propagated for

feveral ages

in

NATURAL RELIGION.

35

In every fchool and pulpit throughout

Chriftendom. The Reformers embraced ^~r


the fame principles of reafoning, or ra
ther declamation; and all panegyrics

on the excellency of

faith

were fure to

be interlarded with fbme fevere flrokes


of

fa tire agaiiift natural reafon.

ce

lebrated prelate too*, of the Romim


communion, a man of the moil extenfive learning,

who

wrote a demonflra-

tion of Chriftianity, has alfb

compofed
which contains all the cavils
of the boldeil and moil determined
a treatife,

PYRRHONISM.
been the

firfl

LOCKE feems to have


Chriftian, who ventured

openly to afTert, that^zzY^ was nothing


but a fpecies of reafon; that religion was
only a branch of philofophy; and that
a chain of arguments, iimilar to that

which

eftablifhed

any truth in morals,

T
politics, or phyiics, w as always employ
ed in difcovering all the principles of

theology, natural and revealed.

The

ill

ufe
* Monf. HUET.

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

36
PART

u fe w hl c h BAYLE and other libertines


made of the philofophical fcepticifm of
the fathers and

firft

reformers,

far

flill

ther propagated the judicious fendment


of Mr LOCKE: And it is now, in a man

pretenders to rcafoning and philofophy, that Atheift and


And
Sceptic are almoft fynonymous.

ner, avowed,

as

by

all

certain, that

it is

no man

is

in earnell

when he
I

profeffes the latter principle ;


fain hope, that there are as few

would

who

ferioufly

maintain the former.

DON

T you remember, faid PHIJLO,


the excellent faying of Lord BACON on
this head ? That a little philofophy, re
man an
plied CLEANTHES, makes a

religion.

great deal converts him to


That is a very judicious re

mark

faidPniLO. But what

Atheift:

in

too,

my

eye

is

have

another paffage, where,

having mentioned DAVID


faid in his heart there

is

fool,

no God,

who
this

great philofopher obferves, that the

A-

theifts

NATURAL RELIGION.
theifls

37

now-a-days have a double

fliare

for they are not contented to


folly
but
lay in their hearts there is no God,

of

they alfo utter that impiety with their


and are thereby guilty of multi
lips
;

plied

Such

and

indifcretioii

imprudence.

people, though they were ever

fo

much

in earned, cannot, methinks, be


formidable.
very

BUT though you mould


this clafs of fools,

rank

me

cannot forbear

municating a remark that occurs

from the hiftory of the

in

com
to

religious

me
and

with which you


It appears to me,
that there are flrong fymptoms of prieilcraft in the whole progrefs of this af
irreligious fcepticifm
.

have entertained us.

During ignorant ages, fuch as


thofe which followed the difTolution of

fair.

the ancient fchools, the priefts percei


ved, that Atheifm, Deifm, or herefy of

any kind, could only proceed from the


prefumptuous queflioning of received

opinions,

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

38

PART O n i
pi onS5 an d from a belief that human
reafon was equal to every thing. Edu

had then a mighty influence


over the minds of men, and was almoil

cation

equal in force to thofe ftiggeftions of


the fenfes and common underftanding,

by which the moil determined fcepdc


mull allow himfelf to be governed. But
at prefent,

cation

when

the influence of edu

much

diminiihed, and men,


from a more open commerce of the
is

world, have learned to compare the po-r


pular principles of different nations and
ages, our fagacious divines

have chan
whole
of
ged
fyftem
philofophy^
and talk the language of STOICS, PLATONISTS, and PERIPATETICS, not that
of PYRRHONIANS and ACADEMICS. If
their

we

diftruft

no other

human

reafon,

we have now

principle to lead us into reli

Thus, fceptics in one age, doggion.


matifhs in another ; whichever
fyftem
beft fuits the purpofe of thefe reverend

gentlemen, in giving them an afcendant


over

NATURAL RELIGION.

39

rer mankind, tHey are fure to make it PART


their favourite principle, and eftablilhed \^^j
tenet.

IT
for

is

very natural, faid

men to embrace thofe

which they

CLEANTHES,
principles, by

find they can befl defend

their doctrines

nor need

we have any

recourfe to prieftcraft to account for fo


And furely,
reafonable an expedient.

nothing can afford a ftronger prefumption, that any fet of principles are true,
be embraced, than to obferve that they tend to the confirma
tion of true religion, and ferve to con

and ought

found the

to

of Atheifts, Libertines,
and Freethinkers of all denominations.
cavils

PART

PART
T.

MUST

II.

CLEANTHES,

own,

faid PAR*

nothing can more


than
the light in which
furprife me,
yon have all along put this argument*

DEMEA,

that

By the whole tenor of your difcourfe,,


one would imagine that you were main
taining the Being of a God, againft the
cavils

of Atheifts and Infidels

neceflitated to

become

and were

champion for

that fundamental principle of all religion.

But

this, I

hope,

is

not,

by any means,

No man no man,
a queftion among
at lead, of common fenfe, I am perfua^
us.

ded, ever entertained a ferious doubt

with regard to a truth


felf-evident.

The

fo certain

queftion

is

and

not concerning

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

42
PART

cerning the BEING, but the NATURE,


of GOD. This I affirm, from the in
firmities

of

human

underftanding, to

be altogether incomprehenfible and un


known to us. The eflence of that Su

preme Mind,

his attributes, the

manner

of his exiftence, the very nature of his


duration
thefe, and every particular
;

which regards fo divine a Being, are


myfterious to men. Finite, weak, and
blind creatures, we ought to humble
ourfelves in his auguft prefence; and,
confcious of our frailties, adore in fi-

lence his infinite perfections,

which eye

hath not feen, ear hath not heard, nei


ther hath it entered into the heart of

man

to conceive.

deep cloud from

in a

They are covered

human

curiofity: It is

profanenefs to attempt penetrating thro


And next to
thefe facred obfcurities
:

the impiety of denying his exiftence, is


the temerity of prying into his nature

and

eflence, decrees

and

attributes.

BUT

NATURAL RELIGION.
BUT

left

lofophy^

fhall

fupport

needs any fupport,

by

my

think, that

you fhould

the better of
piety has here got
I

43

my

my

phi*

opinion, if

a very great

it

au

might cite all the divines, alChriftiamoil, from the foundation of


thority.

ever treated of this or

who have

nity,

any other

theological fubject:

ihall confine myfelf, at prefent,

But I
to one

and philoequally celebrated for piety


It is Father MALEBRANCHE,
fophy.
I

who,

remember, thus
"

felf *.
"

One ought not

he) to call

God

"

exprefs pofitively
"

"

"

"

"

4t

"

exprefles
fo

him-

much

(fays

a fpirit, in order to
what he is, as in or-

der to fignify that he

is

not matter.

Of
a Being infinitely perfect
But in the
this we cannot doubt.

He

is

we ought not to imagine, even fuppoiing him corporeal,


that he is clothed with a human body,
as the ANTHROPOMORPHITES affert-

fame manner

"

ed,

as

under colour that that figure was

C 4
* Recherche de

la Verite, liv. 3.

the
cap. 9.

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

44
PART

^^

"

"

"

"

"

mo ft

tne

"

"

"

we know nothing more


We
than a human mind.
as

he

comprehends the perfections of matter

without being material

he comprehends alfo the perfections


of created fpirits, without being fpirit,

"

rit:

"

fo neither

ought rather to believe, that

"

"

colour that
perfedl

"

any

ought we to imagine, that the Spirit


of God has human ideas, or bears
any refemblance to our fpirit; under

"

"

perfect of

manner we conceive fpiThat his true name is, He that is;

in the

or, in other

words, Being without re-

ftriclion, All

"

finite

and

Being, the Being infi-

univerfal,"

AFTER fo

great anauthority,DEMEA,
replied PHILO, as that which you have
produced, and a thoufand more which

you might produce,


diculous in
exprefs

my

trine.

But

it

would appear

ri

me to add my fentiment, or
approbation of your doc
furely,

where reafonable

men

NATURAL RELIGION.
men

45

treat thefe fubjects, the queftion

can never be concerning the Being ^ but


only the Nature , of the Deity. The for

mer

you well obferve, is uiiqueftionable and felf-evident. Nothing


and the original
exifts without a caufe
truth, as

caufe of this univerfe (whatever

we call GOD

every fpecies of perfection.

it

be)

him
Whoever

and piouily afcribe

to

fundamental truth, deferves every punifhment which can be

fcruples

inflicted

this

among

philofophers, to wit, the

greatefl ridicule, contempt,

probation.

But

tirely relative,

and difap-

as all perfection is

we ought

en

never to ima

gine that we comprehend the attri


butes of this divine Being, or to fuppofe that his perfections have any ana
logy or likenefs to the perfections of a

human

creature.

Wifdom, Thought,

Knowledge thefe we juftly afcribe to him; becaufe thefe words are


honourable among men, and we have
no other language or other conceptions

Deiign,

by

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

46
PART

by which we can

v^O

us beware, left we think,


that our ideas any wife correfpond to

of him. But

exprefs our adoration

let

his perfections, or that his attributes


have any refemblance to thefe qualities

among men.

He

is

infinitely fuperior

view and comprehenfion ;


more the object of worfhip in the

to our limited

and

is

the temple, than of difputation in the


fchools.

IN

reality,

he, there

is

CLEANTHES, continued

no need of having recourfe

to that affected fcepticifm, fo difpleafing

come

to you, in order to

Our

at this deter

no farther
than our experience We have no expe
rience of divine attributes and opera
mination.

ideas reach
:

tions

gifm
felf.

need not conclude

my

fyllo-

You can draw the inference your-

And

a pleafure to me (and I
too) that juft reafoning and

it is

hope to you
found piety here concur in the fame
concluiion, and both of them eftabliih
die

NATURAL RELIGION.

47

the adorably myfterious and incompre- PART


henfible nature of the Supreme Being,
\

NOT

to lofe

any time in circumlocu

CLEANTHES, addreiling himDEMEA, much lefs in replying


I
pious declamations of PHILO

tions, faid
felf to

to the

mall briefly explain


matter.

how

Look round

conceive this

the world: con

template the whole and every part of

You

it:

be nothing but one


great machine, fubdivided into an infi
nite number of leffer .machines, which
will find

it

to

again admit of fubdivifions to a degree

beyond what human fenfes and facul


ties can trace and explain.
All thefe
various machines, and even their moft
minute parts, are adjufted to each other
with an accuracy, which raviihes into
admiration

all

men who have ever con

templated them. The curious adapting


of means to ends, throughout all na
ture, refembles exactly,

though

it

much

exceeds, the productions of human con


trivance ;

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

48

PART trivance

human

of

defign, thought,
intelligence. Since there

wifdom, and

fore the effedls refemble each other,

are led to infer,

all

by

we

the rules of ana

logy, that the caufes alfo refemble ; and


that the Author of Nature is fomewhat
fimilar to the
poffelTed of

mind of man; though

much

portioned to the

larger faculties, pro

grandeur of the work


,

which he has executed. By this argu


ment a pofteriori, and by this argument
alone, do we prove at once the exiflence of a Deity, and his fimilarity to
human mind and intelligence.
I

SHALL be

fo free,

CLEANTHES, faid

you, that from the be


could
not approve of your
ginning
concluiion concerning the fimilarity of

DEMEA,

as to tell
I

the Deity to
prove of the

endeavour to

men

flill

lefs

can

ap

mediums by which you


eftablifh it.
What! No

demonftration of the Being of God


abftraft

arguments

No proofs

No

a priori!

Are

NATURAL RELIGION.
Are

49

which have hitherto been fo


much infilled on by philofophers, all
fallacy, all fophifm? Can we reach no
thefe,

farther in this fubject than experience


I will not
fay, that this

and probability ?
is

betraying the caufe of a Deity

But

this affected candor,

you give
which they ne
ver could obtain by the mere dint of
argument and reafoning,

furely,

by

advantages to Atheifts,

WHAT

chiefly fcruple in this fub


ject, faid PHILO, is not fo much that
all religious arguments are by CLEANI

THES reduced

to experience,

that

as

they appear not to be even the mofl


certain and irrefragable of that inferior
kind.

That a done

will fall, that fire

will burn, that the earth has folidity,


we have obferved a thoufand and a

thoufand times

and when any new

inftance of this nature

is

prefented,

we

draw without hefitation the accuftomed


The exact fimilarity of the
inference.
cafes

PAR

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

50
P
j

*T

cafes gives us a perfect aflurance

and a ftronger evidence


never defired nor fought after.
But

fimilar event
is

of a

where-ever you depart,


from the fimilarity of the

in the leaft,
cafes,

you

di-

minifh proportionably the evidence

and may at laft bring it to a very weak


analogy^ which is confefledly liable to
error and uncertainty.
After having
experienced the circulation of the blood
in human creatures, we make no doubt
that

us

and

takes place in TITIUS and M^EVIBut from its circulation in frogs

it

fifties,

it

is

only a prefumption,

though a ftrong one, from analogy, that


it takes
place in men and other animals.

The analogical
er, when we

reafoning is much weak


infer the circulation of

the fap in vegetables from our experi


ence that the blood circulates in ani

mals

and

thofe,

who

haftily followed

that imperfeft analogy, are found,

more

by

accurate experiments, to have been

miftakeji.

IF

NATURAL RELIGION.
IF

we

51

CLEANTHES, we

fee a houfe,

conclude, with the greateil certainty,


that it had an architect or builder ; becaufe this

is

precifely that fpecies of

which we have experienced to


proceed from that fpecies of caufe. But

effect

you

furely

will not

affirm, that

the

imiverfe bears fuch a refemblance to a


houfe, that

we can with

the fame cer

tainty infer a fimilar caufe, or that the


analogy is here entire and perfect. The
diffirnilitude is fo (Inking, that the ut-

moft you can here pretend

to

is

a guefs,

a conjecture, a prefumptioii concern


ing a fimilar caufe ; and how that pretenfion will be received in the world, I
leave

you

to confider.

IT would furely be very


replied

CLEANTHES

clefervedly

and

blamed and

ill

received,

fliould

be

detefted, did I

allow, that the proofs of a Deity amounted to no more than a guefs or

conjecture.

But

is

the whole adjuft-

ment

PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

52
PART

ment of means

and in

to ends in a houfe

the univerfe fo flight a refemblance

The ceconomy of

final

caufes

The

order, proportion, and arrangement of


?

every part
contrived,

mounting and
certain and infallible.

this inference

for

walking and

them
is

Steps of a ftair are plainly


that human legs may ufe

are

in

contrived

alfo

mounting

and

Human

legs

this inference, I allow,

not altogether fo certain, becaufe of


the diffimilarity which you remark;
is

but does

it,

therefore, deferve the

name

only of prefumption or conjecture

GOOD God!

cried

DEMEA, inter
Zealous
him, where are we
?

rupting
defenders

of religion allow, that the


proofs of a Deity fall fhort of perfect
evidence!

And

you, PHILO, on whofe

depended in proving the


adorable myfterioumefs of the Divine
affiftance

Nature, do you aiTent to

vagant opinions of

all

thefe extra

CLEANTHES

For

what

NATURAL

B.ELIGION.

what other name can

why fpare my
eiples are

cenfure,

PAMPHILUS

them ? Or
prin-

fo

young

man

as

feem not

PHILO, that
in his

give

when fuch

advanced, fupported by fuch

an authority, before

You

53

to apprehend, replied

argue with

own way

CLEANTHES

and by mowing him

the dangerous confequences of his te


nets,

hope

you,

reduce

But what

opinion.
I

at laft to

obferve,

is

which CLEANTHES

flicks

him

to

our

moil with

the reprefentation
has made of the

argument a pofleriori ; and finding that


that argument is likely to efcape your
hold and vanifli into air, you think it

you can

fo difguifed, that
lieve

it

to

be

fet

in

its

fcarcely be

true light.

Now,

however much I may diffent, in other


refpecls, from the dangerous principles
of CLEANTHES, I mud allow, that he
has fairly reprefented that argument ;
and I mail endeavour fo to ftate the

matter

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

54
^*

T matter to

vj

no

you, that you will entertain

farther fcruples

WERE

man

with regard to

to abftracft

it.

from every

thing which he knows or has feen, he

would be altogether
from his own ideas,

incapable, merely
to determine what

kind of fcene the univerfe muft be, or


to give the preference to one ftate or
fituation of things

above another.

For

nothing which he clearly conceives


could be efteemed impoflible or imply

as

ing a contradicflionj every chimera of


his fancy would be upon an equal foot

nor could he aflign any juft reafon, why he adheres to one idea or

ing

fyftem, and rejecfls the others


are equally poflible.

AGAIN

which

he opens his eyes, and


contemplates the world as it really is,
it would be impoflible for him, at firft,
;

after

to aflign the caufe of

much

lefs

any one

event,

of the whole of things or of


the

NATURAL RELIGION.
the univerfe.

He might

fet his

55

Fancy

a rambling ; and flie might bring him


in an infinite variety of reports and reprefentations.
fible

Thefe would

but being

would never, of

all

be pofequally poflible, he
all

himfelf, give a fatis-

fadlory account for his preferring one


of them to the reft. Experience alone
can point out to him the true caufe of

any phenomenon.

Now

according to this method of

reafoning,

DEMEA,

it

follows (and

indeed, tacitly allowed by

is,

CLEANTHES

himfelf), that order, arrangement, or

the adjuftment of final caufes,


ofitfelf,

is

not,

any proof of defign; but only

been experienced to pro


ceed from that principle.
For aught
we can know a priori^ matter may con
fb far as it has

tain the fource or


fpring of order ori
ginally, within itfelf, as well as

does; and there

is

no more

mind

difficulty

in conceiving, that the feveral


elements,

from

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

56

PAST from
c*v^f

an internal unknown caufe, may


fall into the moft exquifite arrangement,

than to conceive that their ideas, in the


great, univerfal

mind, from- a

like in

unknown caufe, fall into that


arrangement. The equal poflibility of

ternal

both thefe fuppofitions

is

by experience we find,
CLEANTHES), that there
between them. Throw
of fteel together, without

allowed.

But

(according to
is

a difference

feveral pieces
fliape or

form

as
they will never arrange themfelves fo
mor
to compofe a watch.
Stone, and

and wood, without an architect,


never erel a houfe. But the ideas in
a human mind, we fee, by an un

tar,

known,

inexplicable oeconomy, arrange


themfelves fo as to form the plan of a
watch or houfe. Experience, therefore,

proves, that there is an original prin


mat
ciple of order in mind, not in
ter.

From

fimilar effedls

milar caufes.
to ends

is

we

infer fi-

The adjuftment of means

alike in the univerfe, as in a

machine

NATURAL RELIGION.

57

machine of human contrivance. The


caufes, therefore, muft be refembling.
I

WAS from

the beginning fcanda-

muft own, with this refeinblance, which is afferted, between the


Deity and human creatures and muft

lifed,

conceive

it

to

imply fuch a degradation

of the Supreme Being as no found


Theift could endure. With your affiftance, therefore,

DEMEA,

I fhall

en

deavour to defend what you juftly call


the adorable myfterioufnefs of the Di
vine Nature, and fhall refute this reafoning of CLEANTHES ; provided he

have made a

allows, that

fentation of

it.

WHEN CLEANTHES
PHILO,

fair repre-

had

after a fliort paufe,

aflented,

proceeded in

the following manner.

THAT

all

inferences,

concerning fad, are

CLEANTHES,

founded on expe-

rience;

58

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
and that all experimental reafonings are founded on the fuppofition,
rience

that fimilar caufes prove fimilar effects,


and fimilar effeds fimilar caufes ; I {hall
not, at prefent,

much

But obferve,

intreat you,

extreme caution

difpute with you.

with what

juft reafoners pro


ceed in the transferring of experiments
to fimilar cafes.
Unlefs the cafes be
all

exactly fimilar, they repofe no perfect


confidence in applying their paft obfer-

vation to any particular phenomenon.


Every alteration of circumftances occafions a

doubt concerning the event

requires new experiments to


prove certainly, that the new circum
ftances are of no moment or impor

and

it

tance.

change in bulk,

fituation,

arrangement, age, difpofition of the air,


or furrounding bodies
any of thefe
;

particulars

mod

may

be attended with the

And
unexpected confequences
tmlefs the objects be quite familiar to us,
it is the higheft temerity to expedl with
:

afTurance,

NATURAL RELIGION.

59

an
aflurance, after any of thefe changes,
fell
event fimilar to that which before
under our obfervation. The flow and
if
deliberate fleps of philofophers, here,

from the
any where, are diftinguifhed
march of the vulgar, who,
precipitate

hurried on

the fmalleft fimilitude,


of all difcernment or con-

by

are incapable
fideration.

can you think, CLEANTHES,


that your ufual phlegm and philofophy
in fo wide a ftep as
have been

BUT

preferved

when you compared to


you have taken,
the univerfe, houfes,

fliips,

furniture,

in
machines ; and from their fimilarity

fome circumftances inferred a fimilari


caufes ? Thought, defign,
ty in their
intelligence,

fuch as

we difcover in men

one
and other animals, is no more than
the uni
of the fprings and principles of
as heat or cold, attradion
verfe, as well

or

repulfion,

which

fall

and a hundred

others,

under daily obfervation.

It
is

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

6o
** T is

an a6tive caufe, by which fome par-

ticular parts of nature,

we

find,

pro

duce alterations on other parts.


can a conclufion, with any

But

propriety,

be transferred from parts to the whole ?


DOC-S not the great
difproportion bar all
co nparifon and inference ? From obferving the growth of a hair, can we
ieara

any thing concerning the gene

ration of a man

Would the manner of a

leafs blowing, even


though perfectly
known, afford us any inilruclioii con

cerning the vegetation of a tree

BUT

allowing that we were to take


the operations of one part of nature
up
on another for the foundation of our

judgment concerning the

origin

of the

whole, (which never can be admitted)


yet

why

bounded

felecT:

fo

minute, fo

weak,

a principle as the reafon

defign of animals
this planet ?

is

found

to

fo

and

be upon

What peculiar privilege has

this little agitation

of the brain which

we

NATURAL RELIGION.
we call
it

thought^ that

we mufl thus make

our

partiality in

indeed

prefeiit it

on

own

favour does

occafions

all

but

found philofophy ought carefully


guard again!! fo natural an illufion.

So

far

to

from admitting, continued

PHILO, that the operations of a part can


afford us

any juft conclusion concerning

the origin of the whole, I will not, allow


any one part to form a rule for another
part, if the latter

the former.

Is

be very remote from


there

any reafonable

conclude, that the inhabi


tants of other planets pofTefs thought,

ground

to

intelligence, reafon, or

any thing fimi-

lar to thefe faculties in

men

When

nature has fo extremely diverfified her


manner of operation in this fmall globe;

can

P ART

model of the whole univerfe? v^L,

the

Our

6j

we

imagine, that

pies herfelf

univerfe?

flie

inceffantly co

throughout fo immenfe a

And

if

thought, as

we may

well fuppofe, be confined merely to

this

narrow

62

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

PART

narrow corner, and has even there fo


limited a fphere of adlion with what
;

propriety can we affign it for the ori


ginal caufe of all things ? The narrow

views of a peafant,

who makes

his

do-

meftic ceconomy the rule for the go


vernment of kingdoms, is in compari-

fon a pardonable fophifm.

BUT were we

ever fo

much

allured,

and reafon, refembling


the human, were to be found through
out the whole univerfe, and were its ac
tivity elfewhere vaftly greater and more
that a thought

commanding than

appears in this
cannot fee, why the opera
it

globe; yet I
tions of a world conftituted, arranged,

can with any propriety be


extended to a world which is in its
adjufted,

embryo-date, and

is

advancing towards

and arrangement. By
obfervation, we know fomewhat of the
ceconomy, atftion, and nouriiliment of
a fmiihed animal ; but we muft tranfthat conftitution

fer

NATURAL RELIGION.

63

with great caution that obfervation


to the growth of a foetus in the womb,
and flill more to the formation of an

fer

male pa
even from our

animalcule in the loins of

its

Nature, we find,
limited experience, poffeiTes an infinite

rent.

number of fprings and principles, which


inceffantly difcover themfelves

on every

change of her pofition and fituation.


And what new and unknown princi
actuate her in fo new and
ples would

unknown

a fituation as that of the for

mation of a univerfe, we cannot, with


out the utmoft temerity, pretend to de
termine.

part of this great fyflem, during a very fhort time, is very


imperfectly difcovered to us ; and do

VERY fmall

we thence pronounce decifively concern


ing the origin of the whole ?

ADMIRABLE
brick,

iron,

conclusion! Stone, wood,

brafs,

have not,

at this

time,

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

64
PART

time, in this minute globe of earth, an


order or arrangement without human
art

and contrivance: therefore the uni-

verfe could not originally attain

der and arrangement,

its

or

without fome-

thing fimilar to human art. But is a part


of nature a rule for another part very

wide of the former ?


whole?

Is it

a rule for the

a very fmall part a rule for


the univerfe ? Is- nature in one fituaIs

tion, a certain rule for nature in

ther fituation vaflly different

ano

from the

former ?

AND can you blame me, CLEANTHES,


if I here imitate the

prudent referve of

SIM ON IDES, who, according to the no


ted (lory, being afked by HIERO, What
God was ? defired a day to think of it,
and then two days more and after that
manner continually prolonged the term,
;

without ever bringing in his definition


or defcription ? Could
you even blame

me,

if I

had anfwered

at firft, that

I did
not

NATURAL RELIGION.

65

P* R
know, and was fenfible that this fubject lay vaftly beyond the reach of my
not

You might cry out fceptic


rallier, as much as you pleafed but

faculties

and

having found, in

fo

much more

jecls

,fe6lions

man

other fub-

familiar, the imper-

and even contradictions of hu

reafon,

fuccefs

many

from

never fhoujd expect any

its

feeble conjectures, in a

fubject fo fublime,

and

fo

remote from

the fphere of our obfervation.

When

fpecies of objects have always been


obferved to be conjoined together, I can

two

infer ^

by cuflom,

the exiflence of one

wherever I fee the exiflence of the other:


and this I call an argument from expe
But how this argument can
rience.
have place, where the objects,

as in the

prefent cafe, are fingle, individual, with


out parallel, or fpecific refemblance,

may be difficult to explain. And will


any man tell me with a ferious counte
nance, that an orderly univerfe muft arife

from fome thought and

art,

like

the

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

66

human; becaufe we have experi


ence of it? To afcertain this reafoning,
it were requifhe, that we had experience

PART the

of the origin of worlds


fufficient, furely, that

and

cities

arife

and

it

is

we have feen

from human

not

{hips

art

and

contrivance.

PHILO was proceeding in this vehe


ment manner, fomewhat between jeft
and earneft, as it appeared to me when
he obferved fome figns of impatience
;

inCLEANTHES, and then immediately


flopped fhort. What I had to fuggeft,
faid

CLEANTHES, is only that you


would not abufe terms, or make ufe of
popular expreffions to fubvert philofophical reafonings. You know, that the
vulgar often diftinguifh reafon from ex
perience, even where the queftion re
lates only to matter of fa6l and exift-

ence; though

it

is

found, where that

reafon is properly analyzed, that it is

thing but a fpecies of experience.

no

To

prove

NATURAL RELIGION.

67

PART
prove by experience the origin of the
univerfe from mind, is not more con-

trary to common fpeech, than to prove


the motion of the earth from the fame

all

And

a caviller might raife


the fame objections to the COPER-

principle.

NIC AN fyftem, which you have urged


againfl

my reafonings.

earths,

might he

feen to

move ? Have

fay,

Have you other


which you have

YES! cried PHILO, interrupting him,


we have other earths. Is not the moon
another earth, which we fee to turn
its centre? Is not Venus another

round

where we obferve the fame phe


nomenon? Are not the revolutions of
earth,

the fun alfo a confirmation, from ana


logy, of the fame theory? All the pla

they not earths, which revolve


about the fun? Are not the fatellites

nets, are

moons, which move round Jupiter and


Saturn, and along with thefe primary
planets

round the fun ? Thefe analogies


and

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

68

PART an(j
refemblances, with others

which

have not mentioned, are the fole proofs


of the COPERNICAN fyftem: and to
belongs to confider, whether you
have any analogies of the fame kind to

you

it

fupport your theory.

IN reality, CLEANTIIES, continued he,

modern fyftem of aftronomy is now


fo much received by all inquirers, and
has become fo efTential a part even of
the

our

earlieft

education, that

commonly very

we

are not

fcrupulous in examin

ing the reafons upon which it is found


ed. It is now become a matter of mere
curiofity to ftudy the firft writers on
that fubjedl, who had the full force of

prejudice to encounter, and were obli

ged

to turn their

fide in

arguments on every

order to render them popular

and convincing. But if we perufe GALILJEO S famous Dialogues concerning


the fyftem of the world, we {hall find,
that that great genius, one of the fublinieft

NATURAL RELIGION.
limeft that ever exifted,

firft

bent

all

endeavours to prove^ that there


was no foundation for the diftinction commonly made between elemen

his

and

tary

fubftances.

celeilial

fchools, proceeding

from the

The

illufions

of

had carried this diftindion very


and had eftabliflied the latter fub-

fenfe,

far;

fiances to be ingenerable, incorruptible,


unalterable, impaflible ; and had afto the
ligiied all the oppoiite qualities

former. But GALILJEO, beginning with


the moon, proved its iirnilarity in every
particular to the earth; its convex
gure, is natural darknefs when not

luminated,
to folid

its

and

denfky,

its

fi
il

diftinclioii in

liquid, the variations of its

phafes, the mutual illuminations of the


earth and moon, their mutual eclipfes,

the inequalities of the lunar furface, &c*


After many inftances of this kind, with

the planets, men plainly


faw that thefe bodies became proper ob

regard to

jects

all

of experience

and

that the fimilarity

^r

70

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

RT

larity

of their nature enabled us to ex

tend the fame arguments and pheno


mena from one to the other.

IN

proceeding of the
aftronomers, you may read your own
this cautious

condemnation, CLEANTHES; or rather

may

fee,

that the fubjedl in

are engaged exceeds

all

which you

human

reafon

and inquiry. Can you pretend to {how


any fuch fimilarity between the fabric
of a houfe, and the generation of a univerfe

Have you

any fuch

ever feen Nature in

fituation as refembles the

fir ft

arrangement of the elements? Have


worlds ever been formed under your
eye and have you had leifure to ob;

whole progrefs of the pheno


menon, from the firft appearance of
order to its final confummation ? If you
ferve the

have, then cite your experience,


deliver

and

your theory.

PART

PART

III.

TTOW the moil abfurd argument, replied

of a

may

CLEANTHES,

in the hands

man

of ingenuity and invention,


acquire an air of probability Are
!

you not aware, PHILO, that it became


necefTary for COPERNICUS and his firft
prove the fimilarity of the
and celeflial matter becaufe

difciples to
terreftrial

feveral philofophers, blinded

by

old fy-

ilems, and fupported by fome fenfible


appearances, had denied this fimilarity?
but that it is by no means neceiTary,
that Theifts

mould prove

the fimilarity

of the works of Nature to thofe of Art;


becaufe this fimilarity is felf-evident
and undeniable? The fame matter, a

like

PAR *

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

72
ART

form: what more is requifite to


Ihow an analogy between their caufes,
\\]^Q

and to afcertain the origin of all things


from a divine purpofe and intention?
Your objections, I muft freely tell you,
are no better than the abftrufe cavils of
thofe philofophers

who

denied motion;

and ought to be refuted in the fame


manner, by illuftrations, examples, and
inftances, rather than

by

ferious argu

ment and philofophy.


SUPPOSE, therefore, that an articu
late voice were heard in the clouds,

much

louder and

any which human

more melodious than


art

could ever reach:

Suppofe, that this voice were extended


in the fame inftant over all nations, and

{poke to each nation in

its

own

lan

guage and dialecfl: Suppofe, that the


words delivered not only contain a juft
fenfe

and meaning, but convey fome

worthy of a be
nevolent Being, fuperior to mankind:
Could
inftrudlion altogether

NATURAL RELIGION.
Could you poffibly

hefitate a

moment

concerning the caufe of this voice ? and


muft you not inftantly afcribe it to fome
defign or purpofe ? Yet I cannot fee but
all the fame objections (if they merit
that appellation)

which

lie

againft the

fyftem of Theifm, may alfo be produ


ced againft this inference.

MIGHT you

not fay, that aH conclu-

Cons concerning fact were founded on


experience: that when we hear an arti

and thence in
fer a man, it is only the refemblance of
the effects which leads us to conclude
culate voice in the dark,

that there

caufe

by

is

a like refemblance in the

but that

its

this extraordinary voice,

loudnefs, extent,

and

flexibility

languages, bears fo little analogy


to any human voice, that we have no
to

all

reafon to fuppofe any analogy in their


caufes
and coiifequently, that a ra
:

tional, wife, coherent fpeech proceeded,

you knew not whence, from fome ac-

cidental

73

74

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

ART cidental

whiftling of the winds, not


from any divine reafon or intelligence ?

You

your own objections in


and I hope too, you fee

fee clearly

thefe cavils

cannot poffibly have


more force in the one cafe than in the
clearly, that they

other,

BUT

bring the cafe ftill nearer the


prefent one of the univerfe, I mall make
two fuppofitions, which imply not any
to

Suppofe,
abfurdity or impoflibility.
that there is a natural, univerfal, inva

common to every in
dividual of human race; and that books
riable language,

are natural productions,


tuate themfelves in the

which perpe
fame manner

with animals and vegetables, by defcent


and propagation. Several expreilions of
our paflions contain a univerfal lan
guage all brute animals have a natural
fpeech, which, however limited, is very
;

intelligible to their

own

fpecies.

as thore are infinitely fewer parts

And
and
lefs

NATURAL RELIGION.

75

contrivance in the fineft compofition of eloquence, than in the coarfeft

lefs

organized body, the propagation of an

ILIAD or

^NEID

is

an

eafier fuppofition

than that of any plant or animaL

SUPPOSE, therefore, that you enter


into your library, thus peopled by na
tural volumes, containing the moft re
fined reafon

and moft

exquifite beauty:
could you poffibly open one of them,
and doubt, that its original caufe bore

the ftrongeft analogy to mind and in


diftelligence? When it reafons and
courfes;

when

it expoftulates, argues,

views and topics ; when


and enforces
it applies fometimes to the pure intel
its

lect,
it

fometimes to the affedions ;

collects, difpofes,

when

and adorns every

confideration fuited to the fubjed: could


that all this, at
perfift in afferting,

you

the bottom, had really no meaning ;


and that the firft formation of this

volume in the

loins

of

its

original parent

PART

76

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

PART rent
proceeded not

from thought and


Your obflinacy, I know, reaches

defign ?
not that degree of firmnefs

even your
fceptical play arid wantomiefs would be
abafhed at fo glaring an abfiirdity.
:

BUT if there be any difference, PHILO,


between

this

fuppofed cafe and the real


it is all to the ad

one of the univerfe,


vantage of the latter.

an animal

The anatomy of

affords

many ftronger inftances of defign than the perufal of


LIVY or TACITUS: and any objection
which you flart in the former cafe,
by

carrying

me

back

to fo unufual

and ex

traordinary a fcene as the firft forma


tion of worlds, the fame
objection has
on
the
place
fuppofition of our
vegeta-^

ting library.

Chufe, then, your party,


without
PHILO,
ambiguity or evafion:
affert either that a rational

no proof of

volume

is

a rational caufe, or admit

of a fimilar caufe to

all

the works of

LET

NATURAL RELIGION.

77

LET me here obferve too, continued


^
GLEANTHES, that this religious arguinent, inftead of being weakened by
i

,.

that fcepticifm fo much


you, rather acquires force

affected

from

it,

becomes more firm and undifputed.


exclude

all

every kind,

The

nefs.

by
and

To

argument or reafoning of
is

either affectation or

mad-

declared profeflion of every

reafonable fceptic

is

only to reject ab-

remote, and refined arguments ;


adhere to common fenie and the plain

flrufe,

to

inflindls

of nature; and to

afTent,

where-

ever any reafons (hike him with fo full


a force, that he cannot, without the
greateft violence, prevent

arguments

for

Natural

it.

Now

the

Religion are

plainly of this kind ; and nothing but


the mod perverfe, obftinate metaphyfics

can

reject

them.

Confider, anatomize

the eye ; furvey its flruclure and con


trivance ; and tell me, from your own
feeling, if the idea

of a contriver does

not immediately flow in upon you with

PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

78

PART a force iik e tnat o f fenfation.

obvious conclufion, furely,


defign ; and

The moft
is

in favour

it

requires time, reflection,


and ftudy, to fummon up thofe frivo
lous, though abftrufe objections, which

can fupport Infidelity. Who can be


hold the male and female of each fpecies,
the correfpondence of their parts and inflindls, their paflions, and whole courfe

before and after generation, but


muft be fenfible, that the propagation

of

life

of the fpecies

intended by Nature?
Millions and millions of fuch inftances
is

prefent themfelves through every part


of the univerfe; and no language can

convey a more intelligible, irrefiftible


meaning, than the curious adjuftment
of final caufes. To what degree, there
of blind dogmatifm muft one
have attained, to rejedl fuch natural and
fore,

fuch convincing arguments

SOME

beauties

in writing

we may

meet with, which feem contrary

to

rules,

NATURAL RELIGION.
rules,

and which gain the

79

affedlions,

and animate the imagination, in oppofition to

and

all

mafters of
for

the precepts of criticifm,


of the eftablifhed

to the authority

Theifm

art.

And

be, as

if the

argument
you pretend, contra

dictory to the principles of logic ; its


univerfal, its irrefiftible influence proves
clearly, that there

may be arguments of

a like irregular nature.


vils

may be urged

Whatever ca

an orderly world,

as well as a coherent, articulate fpeech,


,

will

ftill

be received as an inconteftable

proof of defign and intention,

IT Ibmetimes happens,

own, that

the religious arguments have not their


due influence on an ignorant favage and

barbarian; not becaufe they are obfcure and difficult, but becaufe he ne
ver afks himfelf any queflion with re
gard to them. Whence arifes the cu
rious flrtidure of an

copulation

of

its

animal?

From

parents.

And
thefc

PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

8o
PART
^^v>l

h efe whence

From

few removes

fet

diftance, that to

the

their parents I

darknefs and confuiion


tuated

But

are loft in

nor

is

he ac

them

curiofity to trace

by any

farther.

fuch a

objecfls at

him they

this

is

neither

dogma-

tifm nor fcepticifm, but ftupidity; a


ftate of mind very different from your
fifting,

genious friend.

from

effedls

diftant

You can

in

trace caufes

You can compare the mofl

and remote

and your
from barren-

objecfls

greateft errors proceed not

nefs

my

inquifitive difpofition,

of thought and invention; but

from too luxuriant a


fupprefles

fertility,

your natural good

which

fenfe,

by a

profufion of unneeeflary fcruples and

obje&ions.

HERE

could obferve, HERMIPPUS,


that PHILO was a little embarrafTed and
I

confounded
in

delivering

But while he

hefitated

an anfwer, luckily for


him.

NATURAL RELIGION.
DEMEA

81

broke in upon the dif- PA *T


courfe, and faved his countenance.

him,

YOUR inftance, CLEANTHES, faid he,


drawn from books and language, being
familiar, has, I confefs, fo much more
force

on that account

but

is

there not

fome danger too in this very circumftance


and may it not render us pre;

fumptuous, by making us imagine we


comprehend the Deity, and have fome
adequate idea of his nature and attri
butes ? When I read a volume, I enter
into the mind and intention of the au
thor:

become him, in a manner, for


and have an immediate
and conception of thofe ideas

the inftant;
feeling

which revolved in his imagination while


employed in that competition. But fo
near an approach we never furely can

make

to the Deity.

His ways are not

our ways. His attributes are perfect,


but incomprehenfible.
And this vo

lume of Nature contains a

great

and in

explicable

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

82
PART

explicable riddle, more than any intel*


ligible difcourfe or reafoning.

THE ancient PLATONISTS, you know,


were the moft religious and devout of
all

the Pagan philosophers

yet

many

of them, particularly PLOTINUS, exprefsly declare, that intellect or underis

{landing

not to be afcribed to the

Deity ; and that our moft perfe6l worfhip of him confifts, not in a6ls of ve
neration, reverence, gratitude, or love ;
but in a certain myfterious felf-annihilation, or total extinction
culties.

Thefe ideas

far ftretched;

but

knowledged,

that,

ac

reprefenting the

Deity as
henfible,

and

and compre-

fo fimilar to a

human

are guilty of the grofTeft

and

and make ourthe model of the whole univerfe.

moft narrow
felves

our fa

mufl be

it

fo intelligible

mind, we

all

are, perhaps, too

ftill

by

of

partiality,

ALL thefentiments of the human mind,


gratitude,
-

NATURAL RELIGION.

83

gratitude, refentment, love, friendship,

approbation, blame,

pity,

emulation,

envy, have a plain reference to the (late


and fituation of man, and are calcula
ted

for preferving the exiftence

and

promoting the activity of a fuch a be


It feems
ing in fuch circumflances.
therefore unreafonable to transfer fuch

fentiments to a fupreme exiftence, or to


fuppofe him actuated by them ; and the

phenomena,

of the univerfe will

befides,

not fupport us in fuch a theory. All


ideas derived from the fenfes are

our

confefledly falfe

and

illufive;

and can

not, therefore, be fuppofed to have place

in a fupreme intelligence: And as the


ideas of internal fentiment, added to
thofe of the external fenfes, compofe the
whole furniture of human underftanding, we may conclude, that
materials of thought are in
limilar in the

human and

intelligence.

Now

thinking;

how

can

none of the

any refpect
in the divine

as to the

manner of

we make anycomparifoa

PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

84
P ART

parifon between them, or fuppofe them


any wife refembling? Our thought is
fluctuating, uncertain, fleeting, fuccef-

and compounded and were we to


remove thefe circumftances, we abfolutely annihilate its effence, and it would
in fuch a cafe be an abufe of terms to

five,

apply to
fon.

and

At

it

the

leaft,

refpe<5lful

name of thought
if, it

(as

or rea-

appear more pious

it

really is)

ftill

to

when we mention the


Supreme Being; we ought to acknow
retain thefe terms,

ledge, that their


is

meaning, in that cafe,


totally incomprehensible and that the

infirmities of

our nature do not permit

us to reach any ideas which in the

leafl

correfpond to the ineffable fublimity of


the divine attributes.

PART

PART
TT feems

IV.

ftrange to me, laid


THES, that you, DEMEA,

CLEANwho are

fo fincere in the caufe of religion, fhould

maintain the myiterious, incompreh^nfible nature of the Deity, and


ftill

fhould

infill

fo ftrenuoufly that

no manner of

human

he has

likenefs or refemblance to

creatures.

readily allow,

The

poffeffes

Deity,

can

many powers

which we can have no


But
if our ideas, fo far
comprehenfion
as they go, be not juil, and adequate,
and

attributes, of
:

and correfpondeiit to
know not what there
worth inniling on.

his real nature, I

in this fubjecl:
the name, with

is

Is

out any meaning, of fuch mighty im-

portance ?

PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

86
A T
r

^ portance? Or how do you MYSTICS,


vo who maintain the abfolute

incompre-

henfibility of the Deity,

Sceptics or Atheifls,
the firft caufe of all

from

differ

who aflert, that


is unknown and

unintelligible? Their temerity

mud

be

very great, if, after rejecting the pro


duction by a mind ; I mean, a mind
refembliiig the

no

human,

(for

know

other), they pretend to affign,

of

with

certainty, any other fpecific intelligible


caufe: And their confcience muft be

be very fcrupulous indeed,

if

they re-

fufe to call the univerfal, unknown caufe


a God or Deity ; and to beftow on him

fublime eulogies and unmean


ing epithets as you mall pleafe to re
quire of them.
as

many

WHO could imagine, replied DEMEA,


that
cal

CLEANTHES, the calm, philofophiCLEANTHES, would attempt to re

fute his antagonifts,

name

to

them

by

affixing a nick

and, like the

common
bigots

NATURAL RELIGION.

87

and mquiiitors of the age, have


recourfe to invective and declamation,
inftead of reafoning? Or does he not
bigots

re
perceive, that thefe topics are eafily
torted, and that ANTHROPOMORPIIITE
is

an appellation

and im

as invidious,

dangerous confequences, as the


he has
epithet of MYSTIC, with which

plies as

honoured us? In reality, CLEANTHES,


confider what it is you affertwhen you
reprefent the Deity as fimilar to a

man mind and


is

the foul of

What

underftanding.

man?

hu

competition of

various faculties, paflioiis, fentiments,


ideas ; united, indeed, into one felf or
perfon, but Hill diftinct from each other.
When it reafons, the ideas, which are
the parts of its difcourfe, arrange
felves in a certain form or order
;

themwhich

not preferved entire for a moment,


but immediately gives place to another
is

arrangement.
fions,

new

New

opinions,

affections,

which continually
F

new

new

diverfify the
2

paf-

feelings arife,

mental
fcene,

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

88

PART f
cene) an
riety

<i

How

able.

perfect

which

it the greatefl vafucceffion imagin

produce in

and moft rapid


is

this

compatible with that

immutability
all

and

fimplicity
true Theifts afcribe to the

the fame a6t, fay they, he


fees paft, prefent, and future: His love
and hatred, his mercy and juftice, are

Deity

By

one individual operation: He is entire


in every point of fpace ; and complete
in every inflant of duration.
No fuc
ceffion,

no change, no

diminution.

acquisition,

no

What he is implies not in it

any fhadow of diftindlion or diverfity.


And what he is, this moment, he ever
has been, and ever will be, without any

new judgment,

fentiment, or operation.
ftands fixed in one fimple, perfecft
ftate
nor can you ever fay, with any

He

propriety, that this aft of his is different


from that other; or that this judgment

or idea has been


lately formed, and will

give place, by fucceffion, to any differ


ent judgment or idea.
1

NATURAL RELIGION.

89

I c AN
readily allow, faidCLE A NT HE s,
that thofe who maintain the perfect (im-

of the Supreme Being, to the ex


tent in which you have explained it,

plicity

are complete MYSTICS, and chargeable


with all the confequences which I have

drawn from
in
it.

their opinion.

They are,
a word, ATHEISTS, without knowing
be allowed, that the
attributes of which we

For though

it

Deity pofTefTes
have no comprehenfion
never to afcribe to

yet ought

him any

attributes

which

are abfolutely incompatible


that intelligent nature efTential to

A mind, whofe

acts

we

with
him.

and fentiments and

ideas are not diftinct

and

fucceffive

wholly fimple, and totally


immutable; is a mind, which has no
thought, no reafon, no will, no fenti-

one, that

is

ment, no love, no hatred ; or in a word,


It is an abufe of
is no mind at all.
terms to give

we may

it

that appellation;

as well fpeak

and

of limited extenlion

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

90
PART

-g

on

w ithout

figure, or

of number with

out competition.

PRAY

confider, faid

PHILO,

whom

you

are at prefent inveighing againft.

You

are

honouring with the appellation


of Atheijl all the found, orthodox di
vines, almoft,

who have

and you

treated of this

will at laft be,

yourreckon
your
the
found
in the world.
Theifl
ing,
only
But if idolaters be Atheifts, as, I think,
fubjecT:

felf, found, according to

may

juftly

be

aflerted,

and Chriftian
what becomes

Theologians the fame


of the argument, fo much celebrated,
derived from the univerfal confent of
;

mankind

BUT becaufe I know you are not


much fwayed by names and authorities,
I

mall endeavour to fliow you, a

more

little

diftindlly, the iiiconveniencies

of

Anthropomorphifm, which you


have embraced and mall prove, that

that

there

NATURAL RELIGION.

91
of *

no ground to fuppofe a plan


in the divine
the world to be formed

there

is

mind, confiiling of

diftinft ideas, dif

in the fame manner


ferently arranged;
in his head the
as an architeft forms
to
of a houfe which he intends

plan

execute,

IT

is

not eafy,

own,

to fee

what

whether
fuppofition,

this
gained by
we judge of the matter by Reafon or by
We are ftill obliged to

is

Experience.

order to find the


higher, in
had afcaufe of this caufe, which you
and conclufive,
figned as fatisfaaory

mount

IF

Reafon

(I

mean

abflracl reafon,

derived from inquiries a priori) be not


alike mute with regard to all queftions
this fenconcerning caufe and effect ;
tence at leaft it will venture to pro
That a mental world, or uni-

nounce,
verfe of ideas, requires a caufe as much,
univerfe of
as does a material world, or

F 4

objeas;

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

92
PART

pbjefts

and, if fimilar in

its

arrange^

ment, muft require a fimilar caufe. For


what is there in this fubjeft, which
fhould occafion a different conclufion or
inference?

In an abftracl view, they

are entirely alike ; and no difficulty at


tends the one fuppofition, which is not

common

to

both of them.

AGAIN, when we

will needs force

fome fentence,
which lie beyond

Experience to pronounce

even on thefe fubjedts,


her fphere; neither can

me

perceive,

any

material difference in this particu

lar,

between thefe two kinds of worlds ;

but finds them to be governed by fimi


lar principles, and to depend upon an
equal variety of caufes in their opera

We

have fpecimens in minia


ture of both of them.
Our own mind

tions.

refembles the one:

mal body the

A vegetable or

other.

ani

Let Experience,

judge from thefe famples.


Nothing feems more delicate, with re
therefore,

gard

NATURAL RELIGION.

93

and as
thefe caufes never operate in two perfons after the fame manner, fo we never
find two perfons who think exactly aNor indeed does the fame perfon
like.
think exactly alike at any two different
gard to

its

caufes, than thought

difference of age,
periods of time.
of the difpofition of his body, of wea

of food, of company, of books,


of paffions any of thefe particulars, or

ther,

more minute,

others

are fufficient to

machinery of thought,
and communicate to it very different
movements and operations. As far as
we can judge, vegetables and animal

alter the curious

bodies are not

more

delicate in their

motions, nor depend upon a greater


of
variety or more curious adjuflment
fprings

How

and

principles.

therefore mall

we

fatisfy

our-

concerning the caufe of that Be


whom
fuppofe the Author of

felves

ing,

you

Nature, or, according to your fyftem

of

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

94

of Anthropomorphifm, the ideal world,

^j

into

which you

Have we not

trace

the material

the fame reafon to trace

that ideal world into another ideal world,

or

new

intelligent principle

But

if

we

flop,

and go no farther

Why
How

not flop at the material world ?


can we fatisfy ourfelves without

going on

what

in

infnitum?

why go fo far

And

after

all,

fatisfacftion is there in that infinite

progreflion ? Let us remember the ftory


of the INDIAN philofopher arid his ele

phant.

It

was never more applicable

than to the prefent fubjecl. If the ma


terial world refts upon a fimilar ideal
world, this ideal world muft reft upon
fome other ; and fo one, without end.
It

were

better, therefore, never to look

beyond the prefent material world, By


fuppofing it to contain the principle of
its order within itfelf, we
really affert it
to

be God; and the fooner we arrive at

that divine Being, fo

much

the better.

When you go one ftep beyond the inundane

NATURAL RELIGION.
Jane fyftem, you only
fitive

humour, which

excite
is

it

95

an inquiimpoffible

ever to fatisfy.

To fay, that the different ideas, which


compofe the reafon of the Supreme Be
of themfelves, and
ing, fall into order,

own

their

by

really to talk
If it has
precife meaning.

without any
a meaning,

nature,

would

is

fain

why it

know,

fenfe to fay, that the parts


of the material world fall into order, of

is

not

as

good

themfelves, and

by

their

own

nature.

opinion be intelligible,
while the other is not fo ?

Can

the one

WE have, indeed,

experience of ideas,

which fall into order, of themfelves,


and without any knoivn caufe But, I
:

am

fure,

we have

rience of matter,
as in all inftances

getation,

much

larger expe

which does the fame;


of generation and ve

where the accurate

the caufe exceeds

all

analylis of

human comprehenfion,

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

96

We

henfioii.

have

alfo experience

particular fyfterns of thought

of

and of

matter, which have no order of the


of the fecond, in
firft, in madnefs ;
then fhould we think,
corruption.
:

Why

that order

the other

is

more

And

effential to

one than

if it requires a caufe in

both, what do we gain by your fyftem,


in tracing the univerfe of objects into a
fimilar univerfe of ideas ? The firft ftep,

which we make,

leads us

on

for ever,

were, therefore, wife in us, to limit


all our
inquiries to the prefent world,

It

without looking farther. No fatisfaction can ever be attained by thefe fpeculations, which fo far exceed the nar

row bounds of human underflanding.


IT was ufual with the PERIPATE
TICS, you know, CLEANTHES, when
the caufe of any phenomenon was de

manded,

to

have recourfe

to thtir facul

or occult qualities; and to fay, for


inftance, that bread nourifhed by its nu
ties

tritive

NATURAL RELIGION.

97

and ferma purged by


But it has been difcoits purgative
vered, that this fubterfuge was nothing
but the difguife of ignorance and that

tritive faculty,
:

thefe philofophers, though lefs inge


nuous, really faid the fame .thing with

the fceptics or the vulgar, who fairly


not the caufe
confeffed, that they knew

In like manner,
when it is afked, what caufe produces
order in the ideas of the Supreme Be

of thefe phenomena.

can any other reafon be affigned


by you, Anthropomorphites, than that
it is a rational faculty, and that fuch is

ing

the nature of the Deity?

But

why

fimilar anfwer will not be equally fatisfadlory in accounting for the order of

the world, without having recourfe to


any fuch intelligent creator as you in
fill

on,

may

be

difficult to

determine.

only to fay, that fuch is the nature


of material objects, and that they are
It is

originally poffefTed of a faculty of


Thefe are only
order and proportion.

all

more

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

98
PART

more learned and

iv.

elaborate

conreffing our ignorance

one hypothecs any

real

the other, except in

mity

to

You

its

ways of

nor has the

advantage above
greater confor

vulgar prejudices.

have difplayed

this

argument

with great emphafis, replied CLEANTHES You feem not fenfible, how eafy
:

it

to

is

it.

Even

if I affign a caufe for

life,
is it

anfwer

any

objection,

in

common

any event j

PHILO, that

can^

not aflign the caufe of that caufe, and

anfwer every new queftion which ruay


inceffantly be ftarted ? And what phi-*
lofophers could poffibly fubmit to fo rigid a rule ? philofophers, who confefs

ultimate caufes to be totally unknown ;


and are fenlible, that the moft refined
principles, into

phenomena,
cable

as

are to the

are

which they trace the


ftill to them as
inexpli

phenomena themfelves
The order and ar
vulgar.

thefe

rangement of nature, the curious

ad*-

juftment

NATURAL RELIGION.

99

final caufes, the plain ufe PART

juftment of

and intention of every part and orall

organ;

thefe befpcak in the clear-

language an intelligent caufe or


The heavens and the earth
author.
efl

join in the fame teftimony

chorus of Nature

raifes

praifes of its Creator:

mofl alone, diflurb

mony.
vils, and
is

You

one

You
this

The whole

hymn to

the

alone, or al-

general har
doubts, ca

ftart abftrufe

objections: You afk me, what


the caufe of this caufe ? I know not ;

I care

not

that concerns not

have found a Deity; and here

my inquiry.
are wifer or

me.

flop

Let thofe go farther,

who

more

PRETEND

to

enterprifing.

be neither, replied

PHILO and for that very reafon, I


mould never perhaps have attempted to
:

am

fo far; efpecially when I


fenfible, that I muft at lafl be contented

go
to

fit

down with

the

fame anfwer,

which, without farther trouble, might


have

^-v-^

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

100

have

fatisfied

am

If I

rance of

ftill

me from

the beginning^
to remain in utter igno

caitfes,

and can abfolutely give

an explication of nothing,
efteem
for a

it

any advantage

moment

lhall

never

move

to

a difficulty, which,

off

you

acknowledge, muft immediately, in


full force, recur

upon me.

its

Naturalifts

indeed very juftly explain particular

by more

general caufes ; though


thefe general caufes themfelves mould
remain in the end totally inexplicable
efFedls

but they never furely thought

it fatis-

fadlory to explain a particular effecfi: by


a particular caufe, which was no more
to be accounted for than the effeft itfelf.

An

ideal fyftem, arranged of it-

without a precedent defign, is not


a whit more explicable than a material
felf,

one,

which

attains

its

order in a like

manner; nor is there any more

difficul

ty in the latter fuppofition than in the


former.

PART

PART
"OtTT

to

mow

you

V.

flill

more

veniencies, continued

incori- PART

PHILO, in

your Anthropomorphifm ; pleafe to


take a nexv furvey of your
principles.
Like effedh prove like caufes.
This is
the experimental

argument

and

this,

you fay too, is the fole theological ar


gument. Now it is certain, that the
liker the effects are which are
feen,
and the liker the caufes which are in
ferred,

the ftronger

Every departure on
niflies the

is

the argument.

dimiand
renders
the
probability,
either fide

experiment lefs conclufive. You can


not doubt of the principle
neither
:

ought you

to reject

its

conferences

ALL

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

J02

ALL

new

the

in aft.ro-

difcoveries

nomy, which prove the immenfe gran


deur and magnificence of the works of
Nature, are fo

additional argu
ments for a Deity, according to the true
fyflem of Theifm: but, according to

many

your hypothefis of experimental Theifm,


they become fo

moving

the

many

effecft ftill

refemblance to the

and contrivance.

by re
from all

objections,

farther

effedts

of human art

For if LUCRETIUS

*,

even following the old fyftem of the


world, could exclaim,
Qujg regerc immenfi fummam, quis habere profund
Indu roanu validas potis eft moderanter habenasi
1

Quis pariter
Ignibus

coelos

omnes convertere

et

omnes

aetheriis terras fuffire fcraces ?

Omnibus inque

TULLY

locis cfie

omni tempore

pra^ilo:

efteemed this reafoning fo


natural as to put it into the mouth of
If

-\

EPICUREAN
mmi mtuer fotu it
his

^uibus enim oculis aPlato fab? icam


*vejler

illam tanti
opens, qua confirm a

Deo atque
(zdijicari

Lib.

xi.

1094.

f De

nat.

Deor-

lib,

NATURAL RELIGION.
muiidum fadt ?

tidifcdri

err amenta?

quds molitio? quiz

qui veftes?

qu<s

mcchin&f

qui mmiftri tanti muneris fuerunt? quern-

admodum autem

obedire et parere volun-

tati arcbitecli aer,

ignis,

aqua, terra po-

tuerunt? If this argument,


any force in former ages ;

fay,

had

how much

when
greater mufl it have at prefent
the bounds of Nature are fo
infinitely
enlarged, and fuch a magnificent fcene
;

is

opened to us ?

It is flill

more unrea-

fonable to form our idea of fo unlimit


ed a caufe from our experience of the
narrow productions of human defign

and invention.

THE

difcoveries

by

microfcopes, as

they open a new univerfe in miniature^


are flill objections, according to you,

arguments, according to me. The far


we pufh our refeafches of this kind,

ther

we

are

caufe of

flill

all

led to infer the univerfal


to

be vaftly different from

man**

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

04
RT

mankind, or from any objecft of human


obfervation.
experience and

AND

what fay you

to the difcoveries

anatomy, chemiftry, botany?


Thefe furely are no objections, replied

in-

CLEANTHES: they only


inftances of art
ftill

difcover

and contrivance.

the image of

mind

mind like
know of no

on

Add,

PHILO.

the human, faid

other, replied

It is

reflected

us from innumerable objects.


a

new

CLEANTHES,

And theliker the better, infilled PHILO.


To be fure, faid CLEANTHES.
Now, CLEANTHES,
an

air

PHILO, with

faid

of alacrity and triumph, mark

the confequences.

Firft.,

By

this

me-

all
fhod of reafoning, you renounce
claim to infinity in any of the attributes
of the Deity. For as the caufe ought
to the effect;
only to be proportioned
and the effed, fo far as it falls under our

cogaifance,

is

not

infinite

what preterilions,

NATURAL RELIGION.
tenfions

have we, upon your fuppofi-

dltions, to afcribe that attribute to the

You will dill infill, that,


by removing him fo much from all fimilarity to human creatures, we give
vine Being

into the moil arbitrary hypothefis, and


at the fame time weaken all proofs of
his exiftence.

Secondly^

You have 110 reafon, on your

the
theory, for afcribing perfection to
Deity, even in his finite capacity; or for

fuppofing

him free from every error, mi-

flake, or incoherence, in his

underta

There are many inexplicable dif


ficulties in the works of Nature, which,
if we allow a perfedl author to be proved
kings.

a priori^ are eafily folved, and

only feeming

row

capacity

difficulties,

become

from the nar

of man, who

cannot trace

infinite relations.

But according to your

method of
become all

and perhaps

reafoning, thefe difficulties


real;

infifted on, as

new

will

be

inflances of likenefs

03

to

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

io6

human art and

contrivance. At lead,
muft
acknowledge, that it is impofyou
lible for us to tell, from our limited
to

views, whether this fyftem contains any


great faults, or deferves any confiderable praife, if cornpared to other pofCould a
fible, and even real fyftems.
peafant, if the JNEID were read to him 3
pronounce that poem to be abfolutely
faultlefs, or

even affign to

it its

proper

rank among the productions of human


wit he, who had never feeii any other
;

production?

BUT

were

this

a production,
certain,

it

whether

world ever

muft
all

flill

fo perfect

remain un

the excellencies of

the work can juftly be afcribed to the


workman. If we furvey a ihip, what an
exalted idea muft we form of the inger

nuity of the carpenter

who framed

complicated, ufeful, and beautiful a


chine? And what furprife muft we

when we

find

him

fo

ma
fee],

a ftupid mechanic,

who

NATURAL RELIGION.

107

\vho imitated others, and copied an art $


which, through a long fucceffion of ages,
after

multiplied

trials,

miftakes, cor

and controve.rhad
been
fies,
gradually improving ?
Many worlds might have been botched
and bungled, throughout an eternity,
ere this fyflein was (truck out; much
rections, deliberations,

labour

and

loft

many fruitlefs

a flow, but continued

carried

on during

trials

made

improvement

infinite ages in the art

In fuch fubjecfts,
of world-making.
who can determine, where the truth;
nay,

who can conjecture where

bability, lies

the pro

amidft a great number


may be propofed,

of hypothefes which

and a

ftill

greater

number which may

be imagined ?

AND what

fliadow of an argument,

continued PHILO,

can you produce,

from your hypotheiis, to prove the unity

great number of men


in
a
join
building houfe or fhip, in rear-

of the Deity?

ing

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

xoS
PART

n g a city, in framing a commonwealth


why rftay not feveral deities combine in
contriving and framing a world ? This
j

is

only fo

human
among

much

affairs.

feveral,

greater

fimilarity to

By iharing the work


we may fo much far

ther limit the attributes of each,

and get

rid of that extenfive power and

know

which muft be fuppofed in one


deity, and which, according to you, can
only ferve to weaken the proof of his

ledge,

exiftence.

And

fuch

if

foolilh,

fuch vi

man

can yet often


unite in framing and executing one

cious creatures as

how much more thofe deities or


daemons, whom we may fuppofe feveral
plan

degrees

To
fity, is

more

perfect ?

multiply caufes, without necefindeed contrary to true philofo-

phy: but

this principle applies

the prefent cafe.


cedently proved

Were one
by your

not to

deity ante

theory,

who

\vere poflefled of every attribute requiVite

NATURAL RELIGION.
fite
it

of the univerfe

to the production

would be

needlefs, I

109
;

own, (though not ^

abfurd), to fuppofe any other deity exiftent.


But while it is ftill a queflion,

Whether

all

thefe attributes are united

in one fubject, or difperfed among feveral independent beings ; by what phe

we pretend to de
cide the controverfy ? Where we fee a
body raifed in a fcale, we are fure that
nomena

in nature can

there

in the oppofite fcale,

is

however

concealed from light, fome counterpoifing weight equal to

lowed

to doubt,

it

but

it is flill al

whether that weight

be an aggregate of feveral diflin6l bodieSe or one uniform united mafs. And


y

if the

weight requifite very

much

ex

ceeds any thing which we have ever


feen conjoined in any {ingle body, the

former fuppofition becomes

flill

more

probable and natural. An intelligent


being of fuch vail power and capacity
necefTary to produce the univerfe,
pr, to fpeak in the language of ancient

as

is

philofophy,

no

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
philofophy, fo prodigious an animal,
exceeds all analogy, and even compre-

henfion.

BUT

farther,

CLEANTHES: Men

are

mortal, and renew their fpecies by ge


neration ; and this is common to all li

ving creatures. The two great fexes of


male and female, fays MILTON, animate
the world.

Why muft this circumftance,

fo univerfal, fo effential,

be excluded

from thofe numerous and limited

dei

Behold, then, the theogeny of


ancient times brought back upon us.
ties

AND why

not become a

thropomorphite

Why

perfecfl

not

afTert

Anthe

deity or deities to be corporeal, and to


have eyes, a nofe, mouth, ears, &c. ? E-

PICURUS maintained,

that

ever feen reafon but in a

no man had

human

figure;

muft have a human


argument, which is de-

therefore the gods

And this
fervedly fo much

figure.

ridiculed

by CICERQ,
becomes,

NATURAL RELIGION.

iij

pARt
becomes, according to you, folid and
philofophical.

IN a word, CLEANTHES, a man,

who

follows your hypothefis, is able, per


haps, to afTert, or conjecture, that the
imiverfe, fometime, arofe

from fome-

thing like defign: but beyond that pofition he cannot afcertain one fingle cir-

cumftance

and

is left

afterwards to

fix

every point of his theology, by the utmoft licenfe of fancy and hypothefis.

This world, for aught he knows,

is

very

and imperfect, compared


perior flandard; and was only the firft
rude eflay of fome infant deity, who af
terwards abandoned it, afhamed of his
lame performance: it is the work only
of fome dependent, inferior deity and
to a fu^-

faulty

is

it

the object of derifion to his fuperiors:


is the
production- of old age and dotage

fome fuperannuated deity


fince his death, has run on
in

$ure$,

from the

firft

and ever
at adven-

impulfe and active


force

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

ji2
!PART

force

which

it

received

You
DEMEA, at

from him.

juftly give figns of horror,

thefe ftrange fuppofitions

but

thefe,

and a thoufand more of the fame kind,

CLEANTHES S fuppofitions, not


mine. From the moment the attributes
are

of the Deity are fuppofed finite, all thefe


have place. And I cannot, for my part,
think, that fo wild and unfettled a fyftem of theology is, in any refpedl, pre
ferable to

none

at all.

THESE
own,

fuppofitions I abfolutely difcried CLEANTHES: they flrike me,

however, with no horror;

when
in

efpecially,

propofed in that rambling

which they drop from you.

way

On

the

contrary, they give me pleafure, when


I fee, that,
by the utmoft indulgence of

your imagination, you never get rid of


the hypothefis of defign in the univerfe ;
but are obliged at every turn to have

recourfe to

it.

To

this conceffion I

ad

here fteadily ; and this I regard as a fufficient foundation for religion.

PART
TT muft

VI.

faid
flight fabric, indeed,
which can be ereftecl on fo

be a

DEMEA,

While we are
tottering a foundation.
uncertain, whether there is one deity
or

whether the deity or dei


to whom we owe our exiflence, be

many

ties,

perfect

preme,

or imperfect, fubordinate or fudead or alive ; What truft or con

repofe in them ?
devotion or worihip addrefs to

fidence can

we

What

them ?
What veneration or obedience pay them ?

To

all

the purpofes of

life,

the theory of

becomes altogether ufelefs and


even with regard to fpeculative confe:

religion

quences,

its

to
uncertainty, according

you,

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

ii4
PART

mu ft render it
yO11 muft
you,
and unfatisfactory.
^

totally precarious

To render it ftill more unfatisfaftory,


faid PHILO, there occurs to me another
hypothecs, which muft acquire an air
of probability from the method of reafoning fo

That

THES.
caufes

much

on by CLEANeffedls arife from like

infifted

like

this principle

he fuppofes the

foundation of all religion. But there is


another principle of the fame kind, no

and derived from the fame


fource of experience That where fevelefs certain,

ral

known

circumftances are obferved

unknown will alfo be


Thus, if we fee the
limbs of a human body, we conclude,
that it is alfo attended with a human
to be fimilar, the

found

fimilar.

head, though hid from us.


Thus, if
we fee, through a chink in a wall, a
fmall part of the fun, we conclude,

were the wall removed, we fliould


the whole body.
In fliort, this

that,

fee

method

NATURAL RELIGION.

115

method of reafoning is fo obvious and


familiar, that no fcruple can ever be

made with

Now
far as

if

regard to

its folidity.

we

it falls

furvey the univerfe, fo


under our knowledge, it

bears a great refemblance to an animal


or organized body, and feems actuated

with a

like principle

of

life

and motion.

continual circulation of matter in

a continual
produces no diforder
wafle in every part is incellantly re

it

the clofeft fympathy is per


paired
ceived throughout the entire fyflem
and each part or member, in perform
:

ing
its

its

own

whole.
is

proper

both to

offices, operates

prefervation and to that of the

The world,

an animal

therefore,

and the Deity

SOUL

of the world, actuating


actuated by it.

You

have too

much

AJNTHES, to be at

all

infer,
is

the

it,

and

learning,

CLE-

furprifed at this

opinion,

n6
PART

^^j

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
opinion, which,
tained by almoft

you know, was main-*


all

the Theifts of anti

quity, and chiefly prevails in their difFor though


courfes and reafonings.
fometimes the ancient philofophers rea-

fon from final caufes, as if they thought


the world the workmanfhip of God ;
yet it appears rather their favourite no
tion to confider it as his body, whofe

organization renders

And

him.

it

it

fubfervient to

muft be

confefled, that

as the univerfe refembles

body than
art

it

more

does the works of

and contrivance;

if

human
human

our limited

analogy could ever, with any propriety,


be extended to the whole of nature, the
inference feems jufter in favour of the
ancient than the modern
theory.

THERE

are

many

other advantages,

too, in

the former
theory, which re
commended it to the ancient Theolo
gians.
their

Nothing more repugnant


notions,

to all

becaufe nothing more

repugnant

NATURAL RELIGION.

117

PART
repugnant to common experience, than
mind without body a mere fpiritual
;

fubftance, which

not under their

fell

nor comprehenfion, and of which


they had not obferved one fingle in-

ienfes

ftance

nature.

all

throughout

Mind

and body they knew, becaufe they felt


both an order, arrangement, organi
:

zation, or internal machinery, in both,

they likewife knew, after the fame man


ner and it could not but feem reafon:

able to transfer this experience to the


univerfe; and to fuppofe the divine

mind and body


to have,

to

be

alfo coeval,

and

both of them, order and ar

rangement naturally inherent in them,


and infeparable from them,

HERE,

therefore,

is

new

fpecies

of Anthropomorphifm^ CLEANTHES, on

which you may deliberate and a the


ory which feems not liable to any
;

confiderable difficulties.

much

fuperior,

furely,

You

are too

to fyftematical

preju-

n8

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

PART

prejudices , to find

^^^

fuppofing an animal body


nally, of itfelf, or from unknown caufes,
pofleiTed of order and organization, than
in fuppofing a fimilar order to
belong
to mind. But the
vulgar prejudice^ that

any more

difficulty in
to be, origi

body and mind ought always to accom


pany each other, ought not, one fhould
think, to be entirely negleded

fince

founded on vulgar experience, the


only guide which you profefs to follow
it is

in
if

thefe theological
And
inquiries.
you aflert, that our limited experi
all

ence

an unequal ftandard,
by which
to judge of the unlimited extent of na
ture
you entirely abandon your own
hypothefis, and miift thenceforward
adopt our Myfticifm, as
call
is

you
it,
and admit of the abfolute
incompre-

henfibility of the Divine Nature.

THIS theory,

own,

replied

CLEAN-

THES, has never before occurred to me,


though a pretty natural
and I
one;

cannot

NATURAL RELIGION.

119

cannot readily, upon fo fhort an exanimation and reflection, deliver any


opinion with regard to

it.

You

are

very fcrupulous, indeed, faid PHILO:


I to examine
any fyftem of yours,

were
I

mould not have

acfled

with half that

caution and referve, in flarting objec


tions

and

difficulties to

it.

However,

any thing occur to you, you will


oblige us by proposing it.
if

WHY

then,

replied

CLEANTHES,

it

feems to me, that, though the world


does, in many circumitances, refemble

an animal body

alfo defective in

mo ft

yet

many

is

the analogy

circumflances,

no organs of fenfe ;
no feat of thought or reafon; no one
precife origin of motion and acflion. In
the

material

feems to bear a flronger refemblance to a vegetable than to an ani

fhort,

it

mal, and your inference would be fo


of

far inconclufive in favour of the foul

the world.

BUT

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

20

PART

g UT ^ n

next pl ace , your theory


feems to imply the eternity of the world ;
and that is a principle, which, I think,
t|ie

can be refuted by the ftrongeil reafons


and probabilities. I fliall fiiggeft an

argument
lieve,

to this purpofe, which,

be

has not been infifted on

who

writer,

reafon

by any
from the

Thofe,
of arts and fciences, though
their inference wants not force, may

late origin

perhaps be refuted by considerations


derived from the nature of human fbciety,

which

is

in continual revolution,

between ignorance and knowledge, li


berty and flavery, riches and poverty;
fo that

it is

from our

impoflible for us,

limited experience, to foretell with affurance what events may or may not

be expeeled. Ancient learning and hiftory feem to have been in great danger
of entirely periiliing after the inunda
tion of the barbarous nations
thefe convulfions continued a
er,

or been a

little

more
N

and had

little

long

violent,

we

fhould

NATURAL RELIGION.
fhould not probably have

121

now known

what

pafled in the world a few centuries


before us. Nay, were it not for the fuperftition of the Popes,

who

prefer ved

jargon of LATIN, in order to


iitpport the appearance of an ancient
a

little

and univerfal church, that tongue muft


have been utterly loft in which cafe,
:

the Weftern world, being totally bar


barous, would not have been in a fit
difpofition

for

receiving the

GREEK

language and learning, which was con


veyed to them after the facking of CON

STANTINOPLE.
books had been
mechanical

When

learning

extinguished, even the

would have fallen condecay and it is eafily ima


arts

;
fiderably to
gined, that fable or tradition

afcribe to

and

them a much

later

might
origin

than the true one.

This vulgar argu


ment, therefore, againfl the eternity of
the world, feems a little precarious.

BUT

here appears to be the founda-

tion

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

122
PART

on o f a better argument. LUCULLUS


was the firft that brought cherry-trees
from ASIA to EUROPE; though that tree
ti

thrives

fo

many EUROPEAN

well in

climates, that

grows in the woods

it

without any culture.

Is it poflible, that,

throughout a whole eternity, no

EURO

PEAN had

ever faffed into ASIA, and


thought of tranfplanting fo delicious a
fruit into his own country ? Or if the
tree

was once

gated,
rilh?

how

tranfplaiited

could

Empires

it

and propa

ever afterwards pe-

may rife and fall;

liberty

and

flavery fucceed alternately ; igno^


ranee and knowledge give place to each

other; but the cherry-rtree will flill re


main in the woods of GREECE, SPAIN,

and ITALY, and

by

will never

the revolutions of

IT

is

be

human

affecfled

fociety.

not two thoufand years fince

vines were tranfplaiited into FRANCE;


though there is no climate in the world

more favourable

to

them.

It is

not three
centuries

NATURAL RELIGION.

123

centuries fince horfes, cows, meep, fwine,


in AMERICA,
dogs, corn, were known
Is it
that, during the revolu
poffible,

tions of a

whole

never
eternity, there

COLUMBUS, who might open the


communication between EUROPE and
arofe a

We may

and that continent?


imagine, that all

as

men would wear

well

flock-

and never
ings for ten thoufand years,
have the fenfe to think of garters to tie
them. All thefe feem convincing proofs
of the youth, or rather infancy, of the
world as being founded on the ope
;

ration of principles more conftant and


human foReady than thofe by which

No

governed and directed.


convulfion of the
thing lefs than a total
ciety

is

elements will ever deftroy

ROPEAN
are now

all

the

EU

animals and vegetables which


to

be found in the Weftern

world.

AND what argument have you againfl


fuchcoiivuUions, replied PHILO, Strong

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
PART

and almofl inconteftable proofs may be


traced over the whole earth, that every
part of this globe has continued for
many ages entirely covered with water.

And though

order were fuppofed infeparable from matter, and inherent in


it ; yet may matter be fufceptible of

many and

great revolutions, through


the endlefs periods of eternal duration.

The

inceffant changes, to

part of

it is

fubje6t,

feem

which every
to intimate

fome fuch general transformations tho


at the fame time it is obfervable, that
all the changes and
corruptions of which
we have ever had experience, are but
paffages from one ftate of order to
;

an->

other ; nor can matter ever reft in total

deformity and confufion.

What w e
r

fee

in the parts, we may infer in the whole 5


at lead, that is the method of
reafoning

on which you

And

were

your whole theory.


obliged to defend any par
reft

ticular fyftem of this nature

(which

never willingly fliould do), I efteem none

more

NATURAL RELIGION.

125

PART
plaufible than that which afcribes
eternal inherent principle of order

more
an

world
though attended with
revolutions and al
and
continual
great

to the

This at once folves

terations.
culties

general,

and
is

fatisfaclory,

we

all diffi

by being fo
complete and

if the folution,

not entirely
is

it

at leaft a

muft, fooner or

later,

theory that

have recourfe

whatever fyflem we embrace. How


could things have been as they are, were

to,

there not an original, inherent principle


of order fome where, in thought or in

matter?

And

it

is

very indifferent to

which of thefe we give the preference.


Chance has no place, on any hypotheiis,
fceptical or religious.
Every thing is
furely governed by fleady, inviolable
laws.
And were the inmofl effence of

things laid open to us, we fhould then


difcover a fcene, of which, at prefent,

we can have no

idea.

Inflead of

admi

ring the order of natural beings, we


fhould clearly fee, that it was abfolutely
impoffible

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

126
PART

impoffible for them, in the fmalleft artide, ever to admit of any other difpofition.

WERE

any one inclined to revive the


ancient Pagan Theology, which main
tained, as we learn from Heliod, that
this globe was governed by 30,000 dei

who

from the unknown


powers of nature you would naturally
ties,

arofe

CLEANTHES, that nothing


gained by this hypothefis and that
objedl,

is

as eafy to fuppofe all

mals, beings
perfedl,

from a

to
like

men and

is
it

ani

more numerous, but

lefs

have iprung immediately


Pufh the fame in
origin.

ference a ftep farther ; and you will find


a numerous fociety of deities as expli
cable as one univerfal deity, who poffefles, within himfelf, the powers and

All
perfections of the whole fociety.
thefe fyftems, then, of Scepticifm, Poly-

theifm, and Theifm,

on your

principles, to

you muft allow,


be on a like foot
ing:

NATURAL RELIGION.
ing,

and that no one of them has any

advantage over the others. You may


thence learn the fallacy of your prin
ciples.

PART

127

PART
T>UT

here, continued

VII.

PHILO, in ex- PART

amining the ancient fyflem of the


foul of the world, there flrikes me,

all

on a fudden, a new idea, which, if juft,


muft go near to fubvert all your reafoning, and deftroy even your firft in
ferences, on which you repofe fuch con
If the univerfe bears a greater
likenefs to animal bodies and to vege

fidence.

tables,
it is

than to the works of

more probable,

that

human art,

its

caufe re-

fembles the caufe of the former than


that of the latter,

rather to

and

be afcribed

vegetation than

to

its

origin ought

to generation or

reafon

or

defign.

Your conclufion, even according to your

own

DIALOG UES CONCERNING

130

PART owll
principles,
defective.

therefore lame

is

and

PRAY open up this argument a little


For I do not
farther, faid DEMEA.
rightly apprehend
manner in which

it,

in

that concife

you have

exprefTed

it.

OUR

friend

CLEANTHES,

replied

PHILO, as you have heard, aflerts, that


fince no queftioii of fadl can be proved
otherwife than

by

experience, the exift-

ence of a Deity admits not of proof


from any other medium. The world,
fays he, refembles the works of human
contrivance: Therefore
alfo

its

caufe muft

refemble that of the other.

Here

we may remark,

that the operation of


one very fmall part of nature, to wit
man, upon another very fmall part, to

wit that inanimate matter lying within


his reach,

is

the rule

THES judges of the

by which CLEAN

origin of the whole;

and

NATURAL RELIGION.
and he meafures objeds, fo widely difproportioned, by the fame individual
ftandard.
But to wave all objections
drawn from this topic; I affirm, that
there are other parts of the uiiiverfe
(belides the machines of human inven
tion) which bear ftill a greater refemblance to the fabric of the world, and

which therefore

afford a better conjec


ture concerning the univerfal
origin of

Thefe parts are animals


The world plainly revegetables.

this fyftem.

and

fembles more an animal or a vegetable,


than it does a watch or a
knitting-loom.

more probable,
refembles the caufe of the former. The

Its caufe, therefore, it is

caufe of the former

generation or ve
caufe, therefore, of the
is

The
we may infer

getation.

to be fomething iiworld,
milar or analogous to generation or ve

getation.

BUT how
MEA,

conceivable, faid DEthat the world can arife from


is it

any

thing

DIALOGUES CONCERTINO

132
PART

thing fimilar to vegetation or genera


tion?

VERY
manner

eafily, replied

In like

as a tree iheds its feed into the

neighbouring
trees

PHILO.

fields,

and produces other

fo the great vegetable, the world,

or this planetary fyftem, produces with


in itfelf certain feeds, which, being fcattered into the furrounding chaos, vege
tate into new worlds.
comet, for in-

ftance,
it

is

the feed of a world

has been fully ripened,

and

by

after

pafling

and ftar to ftar, it is at


laft toffed into the unformed elements
which every where furround this uni-

from fun

verfe,

to fun,

and immediately fprouts up into

new fyftem.

OR

if,

for the fake of variety (for

no other advantage), we mould fuppofe this world to be an animal; a co


met is the egg of this animal and in
fee

like

manner

as

an oftrich lays

its

egg
in

NATURAL RELIGION.

133

in the fand, which, without any farther care, hatches the egg, and produces

new animal

you, fays

fo

DEMEA

..... I underftand
But what wild, ar

bitrary fuppofitions are thefe? What


data have you for fuch extraordinary
concluiions ? And is the flight, imagi

nary refemblance of the world to a ve


getable or an animal fufficient to eftablilh the

both

fame inference with regard

Objects, which

to

are in general fo

widely different; ought they to be a


ftandard for each other ?

This is the
RIGHT, cries PHILO
topic on which I have all along infilled.
I
have flill afferted, that we have no
:

data to eftablifh any fyilem of cofmo-.


gony. Our experience, fo imperfect in
itfelf,

and

fo limited

both in extent and

can afford us no probable


conjecture concerning the whole of
But if we muft needs fix on
things.

duration,

fame hypothefis

by what
I

rule, pray,

ought

134

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
ought we

to

determine our choice

Is

any other rule than the greater


fimilarity of the objects compared?
there

And

does not a plant or an animal,


which fprings from vegetation or gene
ration, bear a ftronger refemblance to

the world, than does any


chine,

which

arifes

artificial

ma

from reafon and

defign ?

BUT what
generation

is

this

vegetation

of which you

DEMEA? Can you

talk,

and
faid

explain their opera

tions, and anatomize that fine internal


ftrudlure on which
they depend?

As much, at leaft, replied PHILO,


as CLEANTHES can
explain the opera
tions of reafon, or anatomize that in

ternal ftructure

on which

it

depends.

But without any fuch elaborate


difquifitions,

when

that

fprang from generation

it

I fee

an animal,

that with as great


certainty as

I infer,
;

and

you con
clude

NATURAL RELIGION.

135

elude a houfe to have been reared by

Thefe words, generation, rea-

defign.

powers and
whofe effects are
energies in nature,
known, but whofe efTence is incomprehenfible ; and one of thefe principles,

fon,

mark only

more than

the other, has

made

for being

certain

no

privilege
a ftandard to the whole

of nature,

IN

reality,

DEMEA,

it

may

reafon-

that the larger the


ably be expected,
views are which we take of thine s, the
better will they conduct us in our conclufions concerning fuch extraordinary

and fuch magnincer


little

4
:

.^.ojects.

In

t lis

corner of the world alone, there

are four principles, Reafon, Inftinft, Ge


which are limilar
neration,

Vegetation,

to each other,

milar

and are the caufes of

fi-

a number of other

What
may we naturally

effects.

fuppofe in
the immenfe extent and variety of .the

principles

vmiverfe, could

we
I

travel
2

from planet
to

>

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
and from fyftem to fyftem,
in order to examine each part of this
to planet

fabric

mighty

Any

one of thefe four

mentioned (and a hun


dred others, which lie open to our con
principles above

jecture)

which
world

afford us

may
to

a theory,

by

judge of the origin of the

and

a palpable and egre


gious partiality, to confine our view
entirely to that principle by which our
;

own minds

it is

operate.

Were

this

prin

more

intelligible on that account,


ciple
iuch a partiality might be fomewhat
excufeable But reafon, in its internal
:

fabric

known

and

ftrucliure, is really as little

to us as inftinft or vegetation

and perhaps even that vague, undeterminate word, Nature, to which the
not at the

vulgar refer every thing,

is

bottom more

The effects
known to us

inexplicable.

of thefe principles are

all

from experience: But the principles


themfelves, and their manner of opera
tion, are totally unknown: Nor is it lefs
intelligible^

NATURAL RELIGION,
intelligible, or lefs

137

conformable to ex- ?**

arofe by v^perience, to fay, that the world


med
feed
from
a
by another
vegetation

world, than to fay that it arofe from a


divine reafon or contrivance, according
to the fenfe in

derilands

BUT

which CLEANTHES un*

it.

methinks, faid

DEMEA,

if the

world had a vegetative quality, and


could fow the feeds of

new worlds

into

the infinite chaos, this power would bq


ftill an additional argument for defign
in

its

author.

For whence could arife

wonderful a faculty but from defign ?


Or how can order fpring from any
fo

thing which perceives not that order


which it beftows ?

You

need only look around you, re


plied PHILO, to fatisfy yourfelf with
regard to this queftion. A tree beftows
order and organization on that

which fprings from


I

tree

it,

without know-

in S

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

138

an animal, in the fame


a bird, on
manner, on its offspring
its neft
and inftances of this kind are
even more frequent in the world, than
ing the order

thofe of order,

which

arife

from reafon

and contrivance. To fay that all this


order in animals and vegetables proceeds
ultimately from delign, is begging the
nor can that great point be
queftion
afcertained otherwife than by proving,
a priori^ both that order is, from its na
:

ture, infeparably attached to

and

that

it

can never, of

original unknown

thought

itfelf,

or

from

principles, belong to

matter*

BUT

farther,

DEMEA;

this objection,

which you urge, can never be made


ufe of

by CLEANTHES, without

re

nouncing a defence which he has al


ready made againfl one of my objec

When I inquired concerning


the caufe of that fupreme reafon and
tions.

intelligence, into

which he

refolves e~

verv

NATURAL RELIGION.
very thing
pollibility

139

he told me, that the imof fatisfying fuch inquiries


;

could never be admitted as an objec


We
tion in any fpecies of philofophy.

he nor

ever

is it

;
muftjlopfome where, fays
within the reach of human capacity

to

ex

or fho<w the loft conplain ultimate caufes,


It is Jufficient, if
ne ft ions of any objetts.
as
thejleps, fo far

and

experience

<we

go, arefupported by
Now, that

obfervation.

as
vegetation and generation,

well as

to be principles
reafon, are experienced
of order in nature, is undeniable. If
of cofmogony on the
I reft

my

fyftem

it is

at

former, preferably to the latter,


The matter feems entirely
choice.

my

And when CLEANTHES

arbitrary.

me what

is

the caufe of

my

great vege

tative or generative faculty, I

afk
ly intitled to

him

on

fides

Thefe queforbear

on

chiefly his intereft


occafion to ftick to this

and

the prefent

am equal

the caufe of his

great reafoning principle.


ftions we have agreed to

both

alks

it is

agree-

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

140

Judging by our limited

agreement.
j

and imperfedl experience, generation


has fome privileges above reafon For
we fee every day the latter arife from
the former, never the former from the
:

latter.

COMPARE,

befeech you, the confe-

quences on both fides. The world, fay


animal therefore it is
I, refembles an
;

an animal, therefore
ration.

The

it

arofe

from gene

fteps, I confefs, are

wide;
fome fmall appearance of

yet there is
analogy in each ftep. The world, faysCLEANTHES, refembles a machine;
therefore
arofe

a machine, therefore it
The fteps here are
defign.

it

from

is

equally wide, and the analogy


king.

And

if

he pretends

lefs ftri-

to carry

on

a ftep farther, and to in


fer defign or reafon from the great prin

my hypothefis

ciple of generation,

on which

I infift

may, with better authority, ufe the


fame freedom to puih farther his hy

po thefis^

NATURAL RELIGION.

141

and infer a divine generation PART


or theogeny from his principle of reaI have at lead fome faint fhadow
fon.
of experience, which is the utmoft that

pothefts,

can ever be attained in the prefent fubjecL Reafon, in innumerable inftances,


obferved to arife from the principle
of generation, and never to arife from

is

any other

principle,

HESIOD, and
logifls,

all

the ancient

were fo (truck with

Mytho-

this analogy,

that they univerfally explained the ori

gin of nature from an animal birth, and


PLATO too, fo far as he is
copulation,
intelligible,

feems to have adopted fome

fuch notion in his

THE BRAMINS
arofe

from an

TIM^US.
afTert,

that the

infinite fpider,

world

who fpun

whole complicated mafs from his


bowels, and annihilates afterwards the

this

whole or any part of it, by abforbing


it again, and refolving it into his own
effence.

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

142

PART eflence.

which

Here

a fpecies of cofmogony,
appears to us ridiculous; becaufe

a fpider

is

is

little

contemptible animal,

whofe operations we are never likely to


take for a model of the whole univerfe.
But ftill here is a new fpecies of analogy,

And were

even in our globe.


planet

wholly inhabited

(which

is

by

there a
fpiders,

very poffible), this inference

would

there appear as natural and irre


fragable as that which in our planet afcribes the origin of. all things to defign

and

intelligence,

ANTHES.

"s

explained

by CLE-

Why an orderly

fyftem may
not be fpun from the belly as well as
from the brain, it will be difficult for

him
I

to give a fatisfadlory reafon,

MUST

confefs,

PHILO, replied CLE-

ANTHES, that of all men living, the tafk


which you have undertaken, of railing
doubts and objections, fuits you beft,
and feems, in a manner, natural and un
avoidable to you. So great

is

your

fer

tility

NATURAL RELIGION.
tility

of invention, that

am

143

not ama-

acknowledge myfelf unable, on


a fudden, to folve regularly fuch out-

med

to

of-the-way difficulties
dart upon

as

me though
:

general, their fallacy

you incefTantly
I

and

clearly fee, in
And I
error.

are yourfelf,at prequeftion not, but you


have not the
fent, in the fame cafe, and

folution fo ready as the objection: while


muft be fenfible, that common fenfe

you
and reafon are entirely

againft you;

and

that fuch whimfies as you have deli


con
vered, may puzzle, but never can

vince as.

PAR T

PART
T^THAT
of

you

VIII.

afcribe to the fertility PART

my

invention, replied PHILO,


entirely owing to the nature of the
fubjedt. In fubjeds, adapted to the nar
is

row compafs of human

reafon, there

is

commonly but one determination, which


carries probability or convidlion
it;
all

and

with

man

of found judgment,
other fuppofitions, but that one, ap
to a

pear entirely abfurd and chimerical.


But in fuch queftions as the prefent, a

hundred contradictory views may preferve a kind of imperfect analogy ; and


invention has here full fcope to ex

Without any great

ert itfelf.

thought,

effort

of

believe that I could, in an inilant,

146
PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

an t, propofe other fyftems of cofmov^wj gony, which would have fome faint ap
pearance of truth though it is a thouft

fand, a million to one, if either yours or


any one of mine be the true fyftem,

FOR

inftance

the old
is

what

EPICUREAN

commonly, and

if I fliould revive

hypothefis ? This
believe juftly, e-

fleemed the mofl abfurd fyftem that


has yet been propofed ; yet,

know

not,

whether, with a few alterations, it might


not be brought to bear a faint appear
ance of probability. Inftead of fuppofing matter infinite, as

EPICURUS did;

us fuppofe it finite.
finite num
ber of particles is only fufceptible of fi
let

nite tranfpofitions

and

it

muft happen \

in an eternal duration, that every poffible order or pofition muft be tried an


infinite

number of times.

therefore,

with

all its

This world,
events, even the

moft minute, has before been produced


and deftroyed, and will again be produ
ced

NATURAL RELIGION.

147

ced and deftroyed, without any bounds P AR


and limitations. No one, who has a con- ^v
ception of the powers of infinite, in comparifon of finite, will ever fcruple this

determination.

BUT

this fuppofes, faid

DEMEA,

that

matter can acquire motion, without any

voluntary agent or

AND

where

is

firfh

mover.

the difficulty, replied

PHILO, of that fuppofition? Every event,


before experience,

is

equally difficult

and incomprehenfible; and every event,


after experience, is equally eafy and in
telligible.

from

Motion, in

gravity,

leclricity,

known

from

many

inftances,

elafticity,

from

e-

begins in matter, without any

voluntary agent

and

pofe always, in thefe cafes, an

to fup-

unknown

voluntary agent, is mere hypothefis ;


and hypothefis attended with no advan
tages.

matter

The beginning of motion


itfelf is as

in

conceivable a priori as
its

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

148
its

communication from mind and in

telligence.

BESIDES

why may not motion

have

been propagated by impulfe through all


eternity; and the fame flock of it, or
nearly the fame, be ftill upheld in the
univerfe? As much as is loft by the

compoiition of motion, as

ed by

its

refolution.

caufes are, the fadl


ter

is,

is

And whatever
certain, that

and always has been,

agitation, as far as

tradition reaches.

the

mat

in continual

human experience
There

bly, at prefent, in the

one

much is gain

is

or

not proba

whole univerfe,

particle of matter at abfolute reft.

AND this very confideration too, con


tinued PHILO, which we have ftumbled
on in the courfe of the argument, fuggefts a

new

that

not abfolutely abfurd and

is

probable.

hypothesis of cofmogony,

IsT:here a fyftem,

im

an order,

an (Economy of things, by which mat


ter

H9

NATURAL RELIGION.
can preferve that perpetual agitation which feems eiTential to it, and

ter

yet maintain a confiancy in the forms

which

produces ? There certainly

it

is

fuch an ceconomy for this is actually


The
the cafe with the prefent world.
:

continual motion of matter, therefore^


in

than infinite tranfpofitions, muft

lefs

produce

ceconomy or order; and

this

by its very nature, that order, when once


eflablilhed,

fupports

itfelf,

for

many

not to eternity.
But when
ages,
ever matter is ib poized, arranged, and
if

adjufted, as to continue in perpetual mo


tion, and yet preferve a constancy in the
its

forms,

fituation

mud, of

neceffity,

the fame appearance of art and


contrivance which we obferve at pre
fent.
All the parts of each form muft

have

all

have a relation

whole

to

each other, and to the

and the whole

itfelf

mull have

a relation to the other parts of the uni-*


verfe; to the element, in which the

form

fubfifts

;,

to the materials,

with

which

VIII>

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

150

vnV w k* cn
and

*c

re P a i rs

lts

wafte and decay;

to every other form,

which

is

ho-

any of
thefe particulars deftroys the form and
the matter, of which it is compofed, is
again fet loofe, and is thrown into irre
ftile

or friendly.

defedl in

gular motions and fermentations, till it


unite itfelf to fome other regular form.
If
it,

no fuch form be prepared to receive


and if there be a great quantity of

this corrupted matter in the univerfe,

entirely difordered ;
be the feeble embryo of a

the univerfe itfelf

whether

world in

it

its firft

is

beginnings that

is

thus

deftroyed, or the rotten carcafe of one


languishing in old age and infirmity. In
either cafe, a chaos enfues; till finite,

though innumerable revolutions pro


duce at laft fome forms, whofe parts
and organs are fo adjufted as to fupport.
the forms amidfl a continued fucceffion of matter.

SupposE,(forwefhall endeavour to vary


the

NATURAL RELIGION.

151

the expreflion) that matter were thrown PART


into any position, by a blind, ungraded
force;

tion

it is

mud

evident, that this

in

all

firft

pofi-

probability be the moft

confufed and moft diforderly imagin


able, without any refemblance to thofe

works of human contrivance, which, along with a fymmetry of parts, difcover


an adjuftment of means to ends, and a
tendency to felf-prefervation. If the ac
tuating force ceafe after this operation,
matter muft remain for ever in diforder,

and continue an imrnenfe chaos, with~


out any proportion or activity. But
fuppofe, that the actuating force, what
ever

it

be, dill continues in matter, this

polition will immediately give place


to a fecond, which will likewife in all
firft

probability be as diforderly as the

and

firft,

on through many fucceflions of


changes and revolutions. No particular
fo

order or pofition ever continues a

ment
ftill

mo

The

unaltered.

original forcej
in
remaining
activity, gives a per-

petual

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

152
RT

petual reftleffhefs to matter. Every pof-

produced, and inftantly


deftroyed. If a glimpfe or dawn of or
der appears for a moment, it is inftantly
fible fituation is

hurried away, and confounded, by that


never-ceafing force which actuates every part of matter.

THUS

the univerfe goes on for

many

ages in a continued fucceffion of chaos


and dilbrder. But is it not poffible that
it

may

fettle at laft, fo as

motion and adive force

not to lofe

its

(for that

we

have fuppofed inherent in it), yet fo as


to prefer ve an uniformity of appearance,
amidft the continual motion and fluc
tuation of

its

parts

This

we

find to be

the cafe with the univerfe at prefent.


Every individual is perpetually chan

ging, and every part of every indivi


dual; and yet the whole remains, in ap
pearance, the fame.
May we not hope
for fuch a polition, or rather be affured

of

it,

from the

eternal revolutions of

imguided

NATURAL RELIGION.

153

unguided matter; and may not this account for all the appearing wifdom and
contrivance which

is

in the univerfe

Let us contemplate the fubjedl a

and we

fhall find, that this

little,

adjuflment,

by matter, of a feeming flability in the forms, with a real and per


petual revolution or motion of parts,
if attained

affords a plaufible, if not a true folution

of the
IT

difficulty.

is

in vain, therefore, to infift

upon

the ufes of the parts in animals or ve


getables, and their curious adjuflment
to each other.

would

an animal could
were

fo adjufled

fain

know, how

fubfift, unlefs
?

Do we

its

parts

not find, that

immediately perifhes whenever this


adjuftment ceafes, and that its matter
it

corrupting

tries

fome new form ?

It

hap

pens, indeed, that the parts of the world


are fo well adjufted, that fome regular

form immediately lays claim to this cor


rupted matter: and if it were not fo,

could

154
*

RT

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
Muft it not
animal, and pafs

could the world fubfift


diffolve as well as the

through new pofitions and fituations


till in a great, but finite fucceffion, it
5

fall at laft

into the prefent or

fome fuch

order ?

IT

is

well, replied

CLEANTHES^ you

told us, that this hypothefis was fuggefted on a fudden, in the courfe of the

Had you had

argument.

leifure to ex

amine it, you would foon have percei^


ved the infuperable objections to which

No

it is

expofed.
fubfift, unlefs

it

form, you fay, can

poffefs thole

powers and

organs requifite for its fubfiftence fome


new order or ceconomy muft be tried,
:

and
laft

fo on,

fome

maintain

without intermiffion

order,
itfelf,

cording to this

till

at

which can fupport and


is fallen
upon. But ac
hypothefis, whence arife

the

many conveniencies and advantages


which men and all animals poffefs Two
?

eyes,

two

ears, are

not abfolutely neceffary

NATURAL RELIGION.

153

fary for the fubfiftence of the fpecies.


Human race might have been propaga-

ted

and

cows,
fruits

prefer ved, without horfes, dogs,


fheep, and thofe innumerable

and

producfts

fatisfacTion

which

and enjoyment.

ferve to our
If

no ca

mels had been created for the ufe of

man

in the fandy deferts of AFRICA and


ARABIA, would the world have been

had been fra


med to give that wonderful and ufeful
direction to the needle, would human
fociety and the human kind have been
difTolved ? If no loadflone

immediately extinguifhed ? Though the


maxims of Nature be in general very
frugal, yet inftances of this kind are far

from being
is

and any one of them


proof of defign, and of a

rare;

a fufficient

benevolent defign, which gave rife to


the order and arrangement of the univerfe.

AT

leaft,

you may

fafely infer, faid

PHILO, that the foregoing hypothefis

is

fo

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

156

and imperfect which


not fcruple to allow. But can we

fo far incomplete
I fhall

ever reafonably expect greater fuccefs in


any attempts of this nature ? Or can we
ever hope to erect a fyftem of cofmogony, that will be liable to no excep
tions, and will contain no circumflance

our limited and imperfect


experience of the analogy of Nature?
Your theory itfelf cannot furely pretend
to

repugnant

any fuch advantage; even though you


have run into Anthropomorphijm^ the bet

to

conformity to common
Let us once more put it to

ter to preferve a

experience.

In

trial.

all

ever feen, ideas are


jects,

which we have
copied from real ob

inftances

and are ectypal, not archetypal,

to exprefs myfelf in learned terms

You

and give thought the


In all inftances which we
precedence.
ever
have
feen, thought has no influ
ence upon matter, except where that

reverfe this order,

matter

is

fo conjoined

with

it

as to

have

an equal reciprocal influence upon

it.

No

NATURAL RELIGION.

157

animal can move immediately any P A**


thing but the members of its own body;

No

and indeed, the equality of action and


re-action feems to be an univerfal law
of Nature: But your theory implies a
contradiction to this experience. Thefe
inftances, with many more, which it
were eafy

to cbllecfl, (particularly the

fuppoiition of a mind or fyflem of


thought that is eternal, or, in other

words, an animal ingenerable and im


mortal) ; thefe inftances, I fay, may teach
all of us fobriety in condemning each
other

and

let

us

fee,

no fyflem
be received

that as

of this

kind ought ever

from a

flight analogy, fo neither

to

ought
on
of
a
fmall
account
be
rejected
any
is an inconve
For
that
incongruity.
to

nience from which

nounce no one

to

we can

juftly pro

be exempted.

ALL

religious fyftems, it is confefTed,


are fubject to great and infuperable dif
ficulties.

Each difputant triumphs in


his

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

158

PART hi s turn while he carries


;

on an

offen-

war, and expofes the abfurdities,


barbarities, and pernicious tenets, of his
five

antagonift.

But

all

of them, on the

whole, prepare a complete triumph for

who

them, that no fyflem ought ever to be embraced with


regard to fuch fubjedls For this plain

the Sceptic;

tells

no abfurdity ought ever to


be aflented to with regard to any fubreafon, that

A total

fufpenfe of judgment is
here our only reafonable refource. And
if every attack, as is commonly obfer-

jedl.

ved, and no defence,


gians,

is

fuccefsful

among Theolo
how complete muft

be his victory, who remains always, with


all mankind, on the offenfive, and has
himfelf no fixed ftation or abiding city,

which he

is

ever,

on any

occafion,

ob

liged to defend ?

PART

PART
if fo

many
BUT
argument a

IX.

difficulties

n
pojteriori,

/*

attend the
i

laid

-r-v

DE ME A;

had we not better adhere to that fimple


and fublime argument a priori, which,

by

offering to us infallible demonflra-

tion, cuts off at

once

all

doubt and dif

By this argument, too, we may


the INFINITY of the divine at

ficulty ?

prove

which, I am afraid, can never


be afcertained with certainty from any

tributes

For

other topic.

which

either

how

is finite,

know, may be

fo

can an

effect,

aught we
can fuch an ef

or, for

how

prove an infinite caufe ? The


unity too of the Divine Nature, it is
very difficult, if not abfolutely impoffect, I fay,

fible,

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

160

deduce merely from contemplating the works of nature; nor will


the uniformity alone of the plan, even
fible, to

were

allowed, give us any affurance of


that attribute.
Whereas the argument
it

a priori

You

feem

to reafon,

if thofe

pofed CLEANTHFS, as
tages

DEMEA,

and conveniencies in the

inter-

advan
abftradl

argument were full proofs of its fohdity.


But it is firft proper, in my opinion, to
determine what argument of
ture

you choofe

{hall afterwards,

from

to infift

from

this

na

on; and we

itfelf,

better than

confequences, endeavour
to determine what value we ought to
its ufeful

put upon

it.

THE argument, repliedDE ME A, which


would infift on, is the common one.

Whatever

exifts,

reafon of

its

muft have a

exiftence

lutely impoffible for

it

caufe. or

being abfo-

any thing

to pro

duce

NATURAL RELIGION.
duce

itfelf,

or be the caufe of

161

its

own

In mounting up, therefore,

exiflence.

from effects to caufes, we mufl either


go on in tracing an infinite fucceflion,
without any ultimate caufe at all ; or
mufl at laft have recourfe to fome ulti

mate

caufe, that

Now that the


may

is

necefjarily exiftent:

firft

fuppofition is abfurd,
be thus proved. In the infinite

chain or fucceffion of caufes and

each fingle

effect is

effects,

determined to

exift

by the power and efficacy of that caufe


which immediately preceded but the
;

whole eternal chain or


together,

is

not determined or caufed

by any thing
that

it

much

fucceflion, taken

and yet

is

evident

requires a caufe or reafon,


as

any particular

begins to exift in time.


is flill

it

reafonable,

Why

as

object which

The

queflion

this particular

from eterni
ty, and not any other fucceflion, or no
fucceflion at all.
If there be no nefucceffipn of caufes exifled

ceffarily-exiftent being,

any fuppofition
which

PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

62

FART

which can be formed


fible

nor

is

in Nothing

equally pof-

more abfurdity
having exifted from eter
there any

than there

nity,

is

is

in that fucceffion

of caufes which conftitutes the univerfe.

What was

which de

then,

it,

termined Something to exift rather than


Nothing, and beftowed being on a par
ticular poffibility, exclufive of the reft ?
External caufes^ there are fuppofed to be

none.

Chance

is

word without

meaning. Was it Nothing? But that


can never produce any thing.
We
muft, therefore, have recourfe to a neceflarily-exiftent Being,

REASON

who

carries the

of his exiftence in himfelf ;

and who cannot be fuppofed not to


exift, without an exprefs contradiction.
There is confequently fuch a Being ;
that

is,

there

is

SHALL not

a Deity.
leave

it

CLEANTHES, (though
flatting objections

is

to

PHILO, faid

know

that the

his chief delight)


to

NATURAL RELIGION.

163

to point out the weaknefs of this


It feems to
phyfical reafoning.

meta- ? AR

me

fo

obvioufly ill- grounded, and at the fame


time of fo little confequence to the

and

religion, that I

myfelf venture to

mow the fallacy

caufe of true piety


{hall

of

it.

SHALL begin with

there

is

obferving, that
an evident abfurdity in pretend

ing to demonftrate a matter


to prove

Nothing

it
is

of

by any arguments
demonstrable,

fact,

or

a priori.

unlefs

contrary implies a contradiction.


thing, that is diftinctly conceivable,

the

No
im

Whatever we
conceive as exiftent, we can alfo con
ceive as non-exiftent.
There is no
being, therefore, whofe non-exiftence
plies

a contradiction.

implies a contradiction. Confequently


there is no being, whofe exiftence is
demonftrable. I propofe this argument
as entirely decifive,
reft

and

am

the whole controverfy

willing to

upon

it.

IT

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

164
PART

IT

is

pretended that the Deity

is

neceffarily-exiftent being; and this ne~


is
attempted to be
ceffity of his exiftence
aflerting, that, if we

by

explained

knew

his whole effence or nature, we fhould


perceive it to be as impoffible for him

not to

exift as for twice

four.

But

it

is

two not

to

be

evident, that this can

never happen, while our faculties re

main

the fame as at prefent.


It will
flill be poffible for us, at
any time, to
conceive the non-exiftence of what we

formerly conceived to exift; nor can


mind ever lie under a neceffity of

the

fuppofing any objedl to remain always


in being; in the fame manner as we lie

under a
twice

neceffity of always conceiving


two to be four. The words,

therefore,

necejjary

meaning
none that

or,

is

exiftence,

which

is

the fame thing,

confiftent.

BUT farther: Why may


terial

have no

not the

ma

univerfe be the necefTarily-exiftent

NATURAL RELIGION.
tent Being,
acording to this pretended

We

dare not
explication of neceffity?
affirm that we know all the
qualities of
matter ; and for aught we can deter

mine,

it

may

contain fome

qualities,

which, were they known, would make


its non-exiflence
appear as great a con
tradiction as that twice

two

is

five.

find only one argument


employed to
prove, that the material world is not

the neceflarily-exiftent
Being ; and this
is
derived
from
the contin
argument

gency both of the matter and the form


of the world.
Any particle of mat
"

ter,"

it is

faid *,

be annihilated
1

"

may be conceived to
and any form may

be conceived to be

altered.

Such an

annihilation or alteration, therefore,


is not
But it feems a
impoffible."

great partiality not to perceive, that the

fame argument extends equally to the


Deity, fo far as we have any concep
tion of him
and that the mind can at
;

L
*

Dr CLARKE-

lead

166

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
imagine him to be non-cxiftent,
or his attributes to be altered. It muft

leaft

be fome unknown, inconceivable qua


can make his non-exiflities, which
tence appear impoflible, or his attri
butes unalterable And no reafon can
:

thefe qualities may


not belong to matter. As they are al

be afllgned,
together

why

unknown and

inconceivable,

they can never be proved incompatible


with it.

ADD

to this, that in tracing

an

eter

nal fucceflion of objeds, it feems abfurd to inquire for a general caufe or


firft

exifts

How

can any thing, that


from eternity, have a caufe; fince

author.

that relation implies a priority in time,


and a beginning of exiflence ?

IN fuch a chain,
objedls, each

part

too, or fucceflion of
is

caufed

by

that

which preceded it, and caufcs that


which fucceeds it. Where then is the
difficulty?

NATURAL RELIGION.
difficulty?

But the

WHOLE,

167

you

fay,

wants a caufe. I
anfwer, that the uni
ting of thefe parts into a
like the

whole,
uniting of feveral diftindt counties into
one kingdom, or feveral diftindt
mem
bers into one
body,

is
performed mere
an
ly by
ad
of the mind, and
arbitrary
has no influence on the nature
of things.

Did

{how you the particular caufes of


each individual in a collection of
twenty
particles of matter, I mould think it
I

very unreafonable, fhould you after


wards afk me, what was the caufe of the
whole twenty. That is
fufficiently ex
plained in explaining the caufe of the
parts.

THOUGH
have urged,

the

reafonings which

CLEANTHES, may

you
well

excufe me, faid


PHILO, from flarting
farther

any
difficulties; yet I cannot
forbear infilling flill
upon another to
It
is
obfetved
pic.
by arithmeticians,
that the ptodudts of
9 compofe always
either

PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

i68

PAR r either
9, or

^^

fome

lefTer

produdt of 9

if

you add together all the characters, of


which any of the former produdls is
compofed. Thus, of 18, 27, 36, which

you make 9 by ad-

are produdls of 9,
i

ding

369
add

to 8, 2 to 7, 3 to 6.

a producft alfo of 9

is

and

3, 6,

9,

you make

Thus, of
and if you
18, a lefler

To

a fuperficial obferver, fo wonderful a regularity may


be admired as the effect either of chance

producft of 9 *.

or defign

but a

im
work

fkilful algebraift

mediately concludes it to be the


of neceffity and demonftrates, that it
mufl for ever refult from the nature of
;

thefe
aflc,

numbers.

not probable, I
that the whole oeconomy of the

univerfe

is

Is

it

conducted by a

like

necef

though no human algebra can


furnifh a key which folves the difficul

fity,

ty ?

And

inftead of admiring the order

of natural beings, may it not happen,


that, could we penetrate into the inti

mate
*

Republfque des Lettres, Aout. 1685.

NATURAL RELIGION.

169

mate nature of bodies, we fliouid clear- PART


ly fee why it was abfolutely impoffible
they could ever admit of any other difpofition?

duce

this

So dangerous is it to intro
idea of neceflity into the pre-

fent queftion and fo


naturally does it
afford an inference
directly oppofite to
!

the religious hypothefis

BUT

dropping
continued PHILO
felves to

more

all
;

thefe abftradions,

and confining our-

familiar topics

mall

venture to add an obfervation, that the


argument a priori has feldom been

found very convincing, except

to

peo

ple of a metaphyfical head, who have


accuftomed themfelves to abftracl rea-

foning,

and who finding from mathe

matics,

that

fcurity,

and contrary

the

underflanding fre
quently leads to truth, through obto

firft

appear

ances, have transferred the

fame habit
where it ought

of thinking to fubjecfts
not to have place. Other people, even
L 3
of

170

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

PART o f OOCl fen fe ancl the beft inclined to


g
fome deficiency in
feel

always

religion,

fuch arguments, though they are not

where
perhaps able to explain diftinctly
it lies.

did,

certain proof, that men ever


ever will, derive their religion

and

from other fources than from


cies

this fpe-

of reafoning.

FAR T

PART
TT

is

my

opinion,
that each

DEMEA,

X.

own,

man

replied
feels, in a

PART
<~^>

manner, the truth of religion within


his own breaft ; and from a confcioufnefs of his imbecillity
tlier

and mifery^ ra-

than from any reafoning,

is

led to

protection from that Being, on


whom he and all nature is dependent.
feek

So anxious or

fo tedious are

beil fcenes of

life,

the objedl of

all

We

that futurity

our hopes and

is

ftill

fears.

look forward, and enprayers, adoration and fa-

iiiceflantly

deavour, by
crifice,

to

powers,

whom we

fo

even the

able

to

appeafe

find,

afflidl

L 4

unknown

thofe

by

and

experience,
opprefs us.

Wretched

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

172
PART

Wretched creatures that we

are

what

refource for us amidft the innumerable

did not religion fuggefl


fome methods of atonement, and ap-

ills

of

life,

peafe thofe terrors with


inceflantly agitated

which we are

and tormented

AM

indeed perfuaded, faid PHILO,


that the beft, and indeed the only,
I

method of bringing every one to a due


fenfe of religion, is by jufl reprefentations of the mifery and wickednefs of
men. And for that purpofe a talent of
eloquence and ftrong imagery is more
than that of reafoning and ar
gument. For is it neceflary to prove,
what every one feels within himfelf ?
requifite

It is

only neceflary to make us

if poflible,

feel it,

more intimately and fen-

fibly.

THE

people, indeed, replied

DEMEA,

are fufficiently convinced of this great


The miferies
truth.

and melancholy

of

NATURAL RELIGION.
of

life

""""general

173

the unhappinefs of man


corruptions of our nature

the

the

of pleafures,
unfatisfaclory enjoyment
thefe phrafes have
riches, honours
;

in

become almoft proverbial


guages.
all

men

And who
declare

diate feeling

all

lan

can doubt of what

from

own imme

their

and exerience

PHILO, the learn


ed are perfectly agreed with the vulgar;
and in all letters, facred and profane^

IN

this point, faid

the topic of human mifery has been infifled on with the moft pathetic elo

quence that forrow and melancholy


could infpire.

The

poets,

who

fpeak

from fentiment, without a fyilem, and


whofe teftimony has therefore the more
of this
authority, abound in images
nature.

From HOMER down

to

Dr

the whole infpired tribe have


ever been fenfible, that no other re-

YOUNG,

prefentation

of things would fuit the


feeling

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

174
PART

feeling
dual,

As

and obfervation of each indivi-

to

authorities,

DEMEA,

replied

you need not feek them. Look round


this library of CLEANTHES.
I fliall
venture to affirm, that, except authors
of particular fciences, fuch as chymiftry or botany, who have no occafion
to treat of human life, there is fcarce

one of thofe innumerable writers, from


whom the fenfe of human mifery has

fome pafTage or other, extorted


a complaint and confeffion of it.
At
not, in

on that

leail,

the chance

fide

and no one author has ever, fo


I can
recoiled, been fo extrava

far as

gant as to deny

is

entirely

it.

THERE you mufl


PHILO: LEIBNITZ
perhaps the

is

excufe me, faid


has denied it; and

firft

who

ventured

upon
s

That fentiment had been maintained


by

and fome few others, before


of fo

great fame as that

Dr KING,

LE BNITZ though by none


GERMAN philofopher.
i

NATURAL RELIGION.
fo bold

upon
nion

175

and paradoxical an opi-

at ieaft, the

firft

who made

it

effential to his philofophical fyftem.

DE-

AND by

being the firft, replied


MEA, might he not have been fenfible
of his error ? For is this a fubjecl in

which philofophers can propofe to


make difcoveries, efpecially in fo late
an age ? And can any man hope by a
the fubjeft fcarcely
fimple denial (for
admits of reafoning) to bear down the

united teftimony of mankind, founded

on

fenfe

and confcioufnefs

man, added he,


an exemption from the lot
pretend to
of all other animals ? The whole earth,
and polbelieve me, PHILO, is curfed

AND why mould

<

luted.

perpetual

war

is

kindled a-

Neceffity,
living creatures.
the ftrong and
hunger, want, ftimulate
terror, acourageous: Fear, anxiety,

mongft

gitate

all

the

weak and

infirm.

The

firft

entrance

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

176

PART entrance into life


gives anguim to the
new-born infant and to its wretched

parent: Weaknefs, impotence, diftrefs,


attend each ftage of that life and it is
:

at laft finifhed in

OBSERVE

PHILO, the cu
of Nature in order to

too, fays

rious artifices

embitter the

agony and horror.

life

of every living being.

The

ftronger prey upon the weaker,


and keep them in perpetual terror and

The weaker too, in their


anxiety.
turn, often prey upon the ftronger,
and vex and moleft them without
laxation.

Confider

race of infe&s,

the

that

which

innumerable

either are bred

body of each animal, or

infix their ftings in

have others

him.

re

on

flying about

Thefe infefts

than themfelves,
which torment them. And thus on
ftill

lefs

each hand, before and behind, above


and below, every animal is furround-

ed with enemies, which inceffantly feek


his mifery

and .definition

MAN

NATURAL RELIGION.

MAN

alone, faid

177

DEMEA, feems

to
x.

an exception to this rule.


For by combination in fociety, he can
eaiily matter lions, tygers, and bears,
be, in part,

whofe greater flrength and


turally enable

them

to prey

na

agility

upon him.

ON

the contrary, it is here chiefly,


cried PHILO, that the uniform and

equal

maxims of Nature

parent.

bination,

Man,

it is

furmount

are

true, can,
all

mod

ap

by com

his real enemies,

and become matter of the whole ani


mal creation but does he not immedi
:

ately raife

up

ene

to himfelf imaginary

who

mies, the daemons of his fancy,

haunt him with fuperftitious terrors,


and blaft every enjoyment of life? His
pleafure, as he imagines, becomes, in
their eyes, a crime

his

food and repofe

his
give them umbrage and offence
very fleep and dreams furnifh new ma
terials to anxious fear
and even death,
his refuge from every other ill, prefents
:

only

^J

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

178
PART

on } v t fa d rea d of

^j rable woes.

Nor

and innumedoes the wolf moleft


endlefs

more

the timid flock, than


fuperftition
does the anxious breaft of wretched

mortals.

BESIDES, confider,DEME A: This very


fociety,

by which we furmount

thofe

wild beafts, our natural


enemies; what
new enemies does it not raife to us ?

What wo and
fion

mifery does

it

not occa-

Man is the greateft enemy of man.

Oppreffion,

tumely,

injuftice,

violence,

contempt, con
war,

fedition,

ca

lumny, treachery, fraud; by thefe they


mutually torment each other and they
would foon diffolve that
which
:

fociety

they had formed, were it not for the


dread of ftill greater ills, which mufl
attend their feparation.

BUT though
faid

thefe external
infults,

DEMEA, from

from

all

animals, from men,


the elements, which aflkult
us,

form

NATURAL RELIGION.
frightful catalogue of woes, they
in comparifon of thofe

form a
are

179

nothing

within ourfelves, from the


diftempered condition of our mind and

which

arife

body. How many lie under the linger


ing torment of difeafes ? Hear the pa
thetic enumeration of the great poet.
Intefline ftone

and

ulcer, colic-pangs,

Demoniac

frenzy, moping melancholy,


moon-ftruck madnefs, pining atrophy,
Marafmus, and wide-wafting peftilence.

And

Dire was the

toiling,

deep the groans

DESPAIR.

the Tick, bufieft from couch to couch.


his dart
over them triumphant

Tended

And

DEATH

Shook; but delay d ta

With vows,

ftrike,

tho oft invok d

good and

as their chief

final

hope.

THE diforders of the mind, continued


DEMEA, though more fecret, are not per
lefs

haps

difmal and vexatious.

Re-

morfe, fhame, anguifh, rage, difappoint-

ment, anxiety,

fear, dejection^ defpair;

who

has ever pafled through life with


out cruel inroads from thefe tormen
tors

any

How many have

better fenfations

fcarcely ever felt

Labour and po
verty,

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

180

V erty, fo abhorred by every one, are the


certain lot of the far greater number:
v

and thofe few privileged perfons, who


enjoy eafe and opulence, never reach
contentment or true
goods of
very

life

All the

felicity.

united would not

happy man

but

all

the

make

ills

united

would make a wretch indeed; and any


one of them almoft (and who can be
free from every one?) nay often the abfence of one
fefs all?)

is

good (and who can pof-

fufficient to

render

life

in

eligible.

WERE

a ftranger to drop, on a fud-

den, into this world,

fpecimen of

would

mow him,

an hofpital full
of difeafes, a prifon crowded with malefaclors and debtors, a field of battle
ftrowed with car cafes, a fleet founder
as a

its ills,

ing in the ocean, a nation languiihing

under tyranny, famine, or

peftilence.

To

turn the gay fide of life to him, and


give him a notion of its pleafures ; whi
ther

NATURAL RELIGION.
ther fliould
to

think, that

THERE
inftances,

which

Why

ball,

He might jultly
was only mowing him a
of diftrefs and forrow.

an opera,

diverfity

conduct him? to a

181

to court?

no evading fuch (Inking


faid PHILO, but by apologies,
is

farther aggravate the charge.


have all men, I afk, in all ages,
flill

complained inceffantly of the miferies


of life ?
They have no jxift reafon,
fays one thefe complaints proceed only
from their difcontented, repining, auxi:

And

can there poffibly, I reply, be a more certain foun


dation of mifery, than fuch a wretched
ous difpofition.

temper ?

BUT
as

if

they were really as unhappy

my

they pretend, fays

why do they remain in


Not

fatisfied

with

life,

life

antagonist,
- - -

afraid of death.

This

PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

182

This

the fecret chain,


fay I, that holds
are terrified, not bribed to the

is

We

us.

continuance of our exiftence.

IT

only a

is

delicacy, he may inrefined fpirits indulge,

falfe

which a few
and which has fpread

fift,

among

thefe complaints

the whole race of mankind.

And what

is this

you blame ?

Is it

delicacy,

afk,

which

any thing but a greater

fenfibility to all the pleafures and pains


of life ? and if the man of a
delicate,

refined temper, by being fo much more


alive than the reft of the world, is
only
fo much more
what

unhappy;

ment mufi we form

man

life

judg

in general of

hu

LET men remain

at reft, fays our adthey will be eafy.


They

verfary ; and
are willing artificers of their
fery

No

guor follows

reply

own mi-

an anxious lan

their repofe; difappoint-

ment,

NATURAL RELIGION.

183

P ** RT
rnent, vexation, trouble, their activity
-A..

and ambition.
obferve fomething like what
you mention in fome others, replied

CAN

CLEANTHES: but
or nothing of
that

it is

fent

it.

in myfelf ;

it

common

not fo

confefs,

as

feel little

and hope

you repre>

IF
felf,

human mifery yourDEMEA, I congratulate you

feel

you
cried

on fo happy

not

a fingularity. Others, feem-

have not been


ingly the moft profperous,
afhamed to vent their complaints in the

moft melancholy
to

Let us attend

ftrains.

the great, the fortunate

CHARLES V. when,

emperor,
with human

tired

grandeur, he refigned

his exteniive

all

dominions into the hands of his fon. In


the laft harangue, which he made on
that

memorable

avowed,
*iuhich he

that

occafion,

the

had ever

grtatcjl
enjoyed,

he publicly
frofpcrities

had been mixed


with

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
with fo many adverfities, that he
might
truly jay he had never enjoyed
any fatis-

faflion or contentment.

red

reti

which he fought for fhelter,


him any greater happinefs ? If we

life,

afford

But did the

in

may credit his

fon

account, his repent

ance commenced the


very day of his refignation.

CICERO

fortune, from fmall begin


nings, rofe to the greateft luftre and re

nown;
the

ills

what
of life do
yet

pathetic complaints of
his familiar
letters, as

well as philofophical
difcourfes, con
tain?

And

fuitably to his

own

experi

ence, he introduces CATO, the


great,

the fortunate

CATO, protefting in his


old age, that had he a new life in
his
offer,

he would

ASK

rejeft the prefent.

yourfelf, afk

any of your ac
whether
quaintance,
they would live
over again the

laft

ten or
twenty years

of

NATURAL RELIGION.
of their

life.

No

but the next twenty, PART

they fay, will be better

And from the


What the firft

dregs of

Thus

they find (fuch

at laft

life,

hope to receive

fprightly running could not give.


is

the great-

nefs of human mifery ; it reconciles even


contradictions) that they complain, at

once of the fhortnefs of

and of

life,

its

vanity and forrow.

And is

it

poffible,

CLEANTHES,

faid

PHILO, that after all thefe reflections,


and infinitely more, which might be

you can flill perfevere in


your Anthropomorphifm, and afTert the

fuggefled,

moral attributes of the Deity, his juflice, benevolence,


mercy, and recti
tude,

to be of the

thefe virtues in

power we allow
wills

is

fame nature with


creatures ? His

human

executed

infinite

whatever he

but neither

any other animal

is

happy

man

nor

therefore

he does not will their happinefs. His


wifdom is infinite he is never miftaken
:

in

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

i86
FART

n choofing the means

to

any end

the courfe of Nature tends not to

or animal felicity

therefore

eftabliihed for that purpofe.

it

but

human
is

not

Through

the whole compafs of human knowledge,


there are no inferences more certain

and

infallible

fpedt,

then,

than thefe.

do

his

In what re-

benevolence and

mercy refemble the benevolence and


mercy of men ?

EPICURUS

old queftions are yet

un-

anfwered.

he willing to prevent evil, but not


able ? then is he impotent. Is he able,
Is

but not willing ? then is he malevolent.


Is he both able and willing? whence
then is evil ?

You

afcribe,

CLEANTHES, (and

believe juflly) a purpofe and intention


to Nature.
But what, I befeech you,
is the object of that curious artifice and

machinery,

NATURAL RELIGION.

187

P
machinery, which me has difplayed in
The prefervation alone
all animals ?
of individuals, and propagation of the

feems enough for her purin


pofe, if fuch a rank be barely upheld
the univerfe, without any care or con
It

fpecies.

cern for the happinefs of the members


No refource for this
that compofe it.

no machinery, in order mere


give pleafure or eafe no fund of

purpofe
ly to

pure joy and contentment no indul


gence, without fome want or neceffity
:

accompanying

it.

At

leaf!,

the

few

phenomena of this nature are over


balanced by oppofite phenomena of flill
greater importance,

OUR

fenfe of mufic,

harmony, and

indeed beauty of all kinds, gives fatisfaction, without being abfolutely ne-

and propa
But what rack

ceffary to the prefervation

gation of the fpecies.


arife
ing pains, on the other hand,

from gouts,

gravels,

megrims, tooth~
achs,

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

i88

rheumatifms

achs,

where the injury


animal-machinery is either fmall

to the

or incurable?

feem

frolic,

Mirth, laughter,
gratuitous

play,

fatisfadlions,

which have no farther tendency:

fpleen,

melancholy, difcontent, fuperftition,


of the fame nature. How

are pains

then does the divine benevolence difof you Anthropomorphites ? None but we Myftics, as you were pleafed to call us, can
account for this ftrange mixture of
play

itfelf,

in the fenfe

phenomena, by deriving

it

from

attri

butes, infinitely perfect, but incomprehenfible.

AND

have you

at laft, faid

CLEAN-

THES

fmiling,

betrayed your inten

tions,

PHILO

Your long agreement

with

DEMEA

me

but

did indeed a

find

you were

little

all

furprife

the while

erecting a concealed battery againft me.


And I muft confefs, that you have now
fallen

upon

a fubjecl

worthy of your
noble

NATURAL RELIGION.
noble
verfy

189

of oppolition and contro- PART.


If yon can make out the prefent

fpirit
.

and prove mankind

point,

happy or corrupted, there


once of

all religion.

is

be un

to

an end

at

For to what pur-

pofe eilablim the natural attributes of


the Deity, while the moral are ftill
doubtful and uncertain ?

You
plied

take

umbrage very

DEMEA,

eafily, re

at opinions the

moil in

nocent, and the moft generally received


even amongft the religious and devout

themfelves

and nothing can be more

furpriiing than to find a topic like this,


concerning the wickednefs and mifery

of man,

charged with no

lefs

than

Have not

all
Atheifm and profanenefs.
pious divines and preachers, who have
indulged their rhetoric on fo fertile a

have they not eafily, I fay,


given a folution of any difficulties
which may attend it? This world is

fubjecl:;

but

point

in

comparifon

of the

univerfe

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

190

PART unverfe

this

life

but a

companion of eternity.
evil

phenomena,

tified

moment in
The prefent

therefore,

in other regions,

are

rec

and in fome

future period of exiftence.


And the
eyes of men, being then opened to
larger views of things, fee the whole

connection of general laws ; and trace,


with adoration, the benevolence and

of the Deity, through all the


mazes and intricacies of his providence.
recftitude

No.! replied

CLEANTHES, No! Thefe

arbitrary fuppofitions can never be ad

mitted, contrary to matter of fad, vifible and uncontroverted.


Whence can

any caufe be known but from


effe&s

Whence can any

its

known

hypothefis be

proved but from the apparent pheno


mena ? To eftablifh one hypothefis up

on another, is building entirely in the


air
and the utmoft we ever attain, by
thefe conjectures and ficflions, is to af;

certain the bare poffibility of our opi

nion;

NATURAL RELIGION.

but never can we, upon fuch

nion;

terms, eftablifh

its reality.

THE

only method of fupporting di


vine benevolence (and it is what I will
ingly embrace) is to deny abfolutely
the mifery and wickednefs of man.

Your

reprefentations are exaggerated;

your melancholy views moftly ficti


tious
your inferences contrary to fadl
and experience. Health is more com
mon than ficknefs pleafure than pain ;
And for one
happinefs than mifery.
;

vexation which
tain,

we meet

upon computation,

with,

we

at

hundred en

joyments.

ADMITTING your
PHILO, which yet
ful

you muft,

that, if

fure,

pain be

it

durable.

is

at

pofition,

replied

extremely doubt
the fame time, allow,

lefs

is

frequent than plea

infinitely

more

One hour of

violent and

it is

to outweigh a day, a week, a

often able

month of
our

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

192
PART our

common infipid enjoyments: And


how many days, weeks, and months, are

pafl!ed

by

ments

moft acute tor

feveral in the

fcarcely in one inftance, is ever able to reach ecftafy and


rapture: And in no one inftance can it

Pleafure,

continue for any time at

and

The

altitude.

nerves relax

its

fpirits

the fabric

higheft pitch
evaporate ; the
is

difordered

and the enjoyment quickly degenerates


into fatigue and uneafinefs.
But pain
good God, how often! rifes to
torture and agony; and the
longer it
it
becomes
ftill
more
continues,
genuine
and
torture.
Patience
is
exhauftagony
often,

ed

courage

feizes us

languilhes
melancholy
and nothing terminates our
;

mifery but the removal of its caufe, or


another event, which is the fole cure of
all evil, but which, from our natural
folly,

ror

we

regard with

ftill

greater hor

and confternation.

BUT

not to

infift

upon

thefe topics,

con-

NATURAL RELIGION.
continued PHILO, though moft obvious, PART

and important; I muft ufe the


freedom to admonifh you, CLEANTHES,

certain,

that you have put the controverfy upon


a moft dangerous iffue, and are unawares
introducing a total Scepticifm into the

moft

eflential articles

vealed theology.

of natural and re

What no method of
!

fixing a juft foundation for religion,


unlefs we allow the happinefs of human
life,

and maintain a continued

even in this world, with

all

exiftence

our prefent

and follies,
to be eligible and defirable
But this is
contrary to every one s feeling and ex
perience: It is contrary to an authority
pains, infirmities, vexations,
!

fo eftablifhed as

No

nothing can fubvert


decifive proofs can ever be produced
:

againft this authority ; nor is


for you to compute, eftimate,
pare, all the pains
in the lives of all

mals

and

men

it

poflible

and com

the pleafures
and of all ani

all

And

thus by your refting the


whole fyftem of religion on a point,
:

which,

194
* RT
Jx*
rs>

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
which, from its very nature, muft for
ever be uncertain, you tacitly confefs,

that that fyftem

is

equally uncertain.

BUT

allowing you, what never will


be believed ; at leaft, what you never
poffibly can prove;; that animal, or at
leafl

human

happinefs, in this

life,

ex

you have yet done


is not,
nothing
by any means,
what we expe6l from infinite power,
infinite wifdom, and infinite goodnefs.
ceeds

its
:

Why

is

mifery
For this

there any mifery at

all

in the

world? Not by chance furely. From


fome caufe then. Is it from the inten
tion of the Deity ? But he is perfeftly
benevolent.
tion ? But he

Is it

contrary to his inten

almighty. Nothing can


fhake the folidity of this reafoning, fo
is

except we
affert, that thefe fubjedls exceed all hu
man capacity, and that our common
Ihort, fo clear, fo decifive:

meafures of truth and falfehood are not


applicable to

them

a topic,

which

have

NATURAL RELIGION.
have

all

along infilled on, but which

you have from the beginning


with fcorn and indignation.
,

BUT

rejedled

will be contented to retire

ftill

from

thifc intrenchment, for I


deny that
I will al
in
can
ever
force
me
it:
you
low, that pain or mifery in man is com

power and goodyour fenfe of


thefe attributes
What are you advan
ced by all thefe conceflions ? A mere pof-

patible

with

infinite

nefs in the Deity, even in


:

fibie

compatibility

mufl prove

is

not

fufficient.

thefe pure, unmixt,

You

and un

from the prefent


mixt and confufed phenomena, and
from thefe alone. A hopeful underta
controllable attributes

king

Were the phenomena ever fo pure

and unmixt, yet being finite, they would


be

infufficient for that purpofe.

much

more, where they are


ring and difcordant ?

HERE, CLEANTIIES,

How

alfo fo jar

find myfelf at
eafe

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

196

eafe in

Here

my argument.

Formerly,

triumph.

when we argued concerning

the natural attributes of intelligence and


defign, I needed

all

my

fceptical

and

metaphyfical fubtilty to elude your


In many views of the univerfe,
grafp.
and of its parts, particularly the latter,
the beauty and fitnefs of final caufes
ftrike us with fuch irrefiftible force, that
all

objections appear (what

believe

they really are) mere cavils and fophifms; nor can we then imagine how

was ever poffible for us to repofe any


weight on them. But there is no view
it

of

human

life,

or of the condition of

mankind, from which,


greater! violence,

we can

without the
infer the

ral attributes, or learn that infinite

mo
be

nevolence, conjoined with infinite power

and

infinite

It
eyes of faith alone.
your turn now to tug the labouring

difcover
is

wifdom, which we muft

oar,

and

fubtilties

by the

to fupport

your philofophical
the
dictates of plaia
againft

reafbn and experience.

PART
T SCRUPLE

not to allow, faid

CLEAN-

have been apt to futhe frequent repetition of the word

THES, that
fpecl

XL

which we meet with in all theo


to favour more of pa
logical writers,
and that
negyric than of philofophy;
and even of
any purpofes of reafoning,
would be better ferved, were
infnite,

religion,

we

to reft contented

rate

The

and

more moderate

terms,

tively great,

ciently

fill

with more accu

wife,

and

holy; thefe fuffi-

the imaginations of

and any thing beyond,

no influence

affections or fentiments.

men;

befides that it

leads into abfurdities, has

on the

expreflions.

admirable, excellent, fuperla-

Thus,
in

PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
T

^*
vv^/

we abandon
human analogy, as feems your inten
tion, DEMEA, I am afraid we abandon
in the prefent fubjeCt, if
all

and

no conception of
the great object of our adoration. If we

all -religion,

recain

preferve human analogy, we muft for


ever find it impoffible to reconcile
any
mixture of evil in the univerfe with in
finite attributes

much lefs,

can

we

from the former.


fuppofing the Author of Nature

prove the

latter

finitely perfect,

mankind

though

ever

But
to be

far exceeding

a fatisfaclory account
may
then be given of natural and moral evil,
;

and every untoward phenomenon be ex


A lefs evil may
plained and adjufted.
then be chofen, in order to avoid a
greater: Inconveniencies be fubmitted
to, in

order to reach a defirable end:

And
by

in a word, benevolence,
regulated
and
limited
wifdom,
by

may

neceffity,

produce juft fuch a world

prefent.

as the

You, PHILO, who are fo prompt

at ftarting
views,

and

reflections,

and

analogies

NATURAL RELIGION

199

would gladly hear, at length,

PART

without interruption, your opinion of


new theory and if it deferve our

^v-1*

Analogies;

this

attention,
leifure,

MY

we may

reduce

it

afterwards, at
into form.

more

fentiments, replied PHILO, are

not worth being made a


myflery of;
and therefore, without any
ceremony, I
fhall deliver what occurs to me with
regard to the prefent

It muft,
fubjecT:.
be
if
a
think,
allowed, that,
very li
mited intelligence, whom we fhall
fuppofe utterly unacquainted with the uniI

verfe,

were afTured, that

it

were the

produftion of a very good, wife, and


powerful Being, however finite, he

would, from his conjectures, form be


forehand a different notion of it from

what we find it to be by experience ;


nor would he ever imagine,
merely
from thefe attributes of the caufe, of
which he is informed, that the effect
could be fo

full

of vice and mifery and

diforder,

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

200
PART

diforder, as

pofing

it

now,

appears in this
that

this

life.

Supperfon were

brought into the world, ftill affured


that it was the workmanfhip of fuch a
he
fublime and benevolent Being
;

might, perhaps, be furprifed at the difappointment ; but would never retradl


his former belief, if

founded on any

li
very folid argument ; lince fuch a
mited intelligence muft be fenfible of

and ignorance, and


muft allow, that there may be many
folutions of thofe phenomena, which

his

own

blinclnefs

will for ever efcape his comprehenfion.


which is the real cafe
But

fuppofing,

with regard to man, that this creatvire


of a
is not antecedently convinced

fupreme

intelligence,

benevolent, and
to gather fuch a

powerful, but is left


belief from the appearances of things
this entirely alters the cafe,

nor will he

ever find any realbn for fuch a conclu-

He may

be fully convinced of
the narrow limits of his underftanding ;
but

fiom

NATURAL RELIGION.

201

but this will not help him in forming


an inference concerning the goodnefs
of fuperior powers, fince he muft form
that

inference

from what he knows,

not from what he

ignorant of. The


more you exaggerate his weaknefs and
ignorance, the more diffident you renis

der him, and give him the greater fufpicion that fuch fubjecls are beyond the
reach of his faculties.
therefore, to reafon

You are obliged,


with him merely

from the known phenomena, and

to

drop every arbitrary fuppolition or conjefture.

DID

mow

you a houfe or -palace,


where there was not one apartment
convenient or agreeable; where the
I

windows, doors, fires, paflages, flairs,


and the whole oeconomy of the build
ing, were the fburce of noife, confu-?

and the ex
tremes of heat and cold you would
certainly blame the contrivance, withfion,

fatigue,

darknefs,

out

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

2O2
PART

o^

The

an y farther examination.

ar-

would in vain difplay his fuband prove to yon, that if this

chitecT:
tilty,

door or

may

would

ills

greater

be

window were

that

ftric~lly

enfue.

true

altered,

What he

The

fays

alteration of

one particular, while the other parts of


the building remain, may only augment
the inconveniencies. But ftill you would
in general,

aflert

t;hat,

if

the archi

and good intentions,


he might have formed fuch a plan of
the whole, and might have adjufted the
parts in fuch a manner, as would have
tect

had had

remedied

all

ikill

or moft of thefe incon

His

ignorance, or even
your own ignorance of fuch a plan,
will never convince you of the impofli-

veniencies.

bility

of

it.

If

you

find

many

incon

veniencies and deformities in the build


ing,

into

tect

you will always, without entering


any detail, condemn the archi

NATURAL RELIGION.

203

Is
repeat the queftion
the world, eonfidered in general, and
to us in this life, different
as it

IN

diort,

appears

from what a man, or fuch a limited


would, beforehand, expecl from
being,

a very powerful, wife, and benevolent


to
Deity ? It mud be ftrange prejudice

And from

affert the contrary.


I

thence

the
conclude, that, however confident

world
fitioris

may

be, allowing certain fuppo-

and conjechires, with the idea

of fuch a Deity, it can never afford us


an inference concerning his exidence*
The confidence is not abfolutely denied,
only the inference.
cially

where

Conjectures, efpe-

infinity

is

excluded from

the divine attributes, may, perhaps, be


fufficient to prove a confidence; but

can never be foundations for any in*


ference.

THERE feem

to

be four circumdances,

on which depend
part

of the

ills,

all,

that

or the greateft

moled

fenfible

creatures;

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

204

all

and

not impoffible but


thefe circumftances may be neceffary

creatures

it is

and unavoidable.

yond common

life,

or even of

common

with regard to the ceconomy

that,

life,

We know fo little be

of a univerfe, there

is

no conjecture,

however wild, which may not be juft


nor any one, however plaufible, which
;

may

not be erroneous.

longs to

human

All that be

underftanding, in this

deep ignorance and obfcurity,

is

fceptical, or at leaft cautious

and not

to

to

be

admit of any hypothecs whatever

much

lefs,

to

the caufes of evil,

of any which is fupported


by no appearance of probability. Now
this I affert to be the cafe with regard
all

cumftances on which
of them appear to
the

leaft

degree,

it

and the

cir

depends. None

human
neceffary

reafon, in

or

una^

nor can we fuppofe them


fuch, without the utmoft licenfe of

voidable

imagination,

NATURAL RELIGION.

205

circumftance which intro- PART

duces

nomy

evil, is that

contrivance or ceco-

of the animal creation, by which

pains, as well as pleafures, are employ


ed to excite all creatures to action, and

make them

vigilant in the great

felf-prefervation.

Now

work of

pleafure alone,

various degrees, feems to human


underftanding fufEcient for this purin

its

pofe.

All animals might be conftantly

of enjoyment: but when


urged by any of the neceffities of na
ture, fuch as thirft, hunger, wearinefs ; inftead of pain, they might feel
in a

ftate

a diminution of pleafure,

by which

that
they might be prompted to feek
fubobject which is neceffary to their

Men

purfue pleafure as eager


at leaft, might
ly as they avoid pain ;

fiflence.

have been

fo

conflituted.

It

feems,

therefore, plainly poffible to carry

the bufmefs of

life

on

without any pain.

any animal ever rendered


Why
If ani
?
fufceptible of fuch a fenfation
mals
then

is

^^j

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

2o6

Can ^ e ^ree ^rom

an hour, they
might enjoy a perpetual exemption from
it
and it required as particular a con
trivance of their organs to produce that
ll

feeling, as to

endow them with

fight,

Shall
hearing, or any of the fenfes.
we conjecture, that fuch a contrivance

was

neceflary, wi-.hout

of reafon

conjecture,
truth ?

BUT

and
as

any appearance
we build on that
on the mofl certain
fhall

a capacity of pain

alone produce pain, were

it

would not
not for the

fecond circumftance, viz. the conduct

ing of the world by general laws ; and


this feems nowife
neceflary to a very
perfedl

Being.

It

is

true

if

every

were condudled by particular


volitions, the courfe of nature wou?.d
be perpetually broken, and no man
thing

could employ his reafon in the condu6l


of life. Bur might not other parti
cular volitions

remedy

this

inconveni

ence?

NATURAL RELIGION.
ence? In

fliort,

exterminate

all

be found

207

might not the Deity


it were
ill, where-ever

and produce

PART

all

good,
without any preparation or long proeffects ?
grefs of caufes and
to

BESIDES,

we

rnuft

confider,

that,

of
according to the prefent ceconomy
the world, the courfe of Nature, though
us ap
fuppofed exactly regular, yet to
events are un
pears not fo, and many
ex
certain, and many difappoint our

Health and

pectations.

ficknefs,

calm

and temped, with an infinite number


of other accidents, whofe caufes are un

known and

variable,

have a great in

on the* fortunes of parti


cular perfons and on the profperity of
and indeed all human
public focieties
fuch ac
life, in a manner, depends on
cidents. A being, therefore, who knows

fluence both

the fecret fpriiigs of the univerfe,


eafily,

by

might

particular volitions, turn all

ihcfc accidents to the

good of mankind,
and

208

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

ART

and render the whole world


happy,
^i without difcovering himfelf in any ope
ration.
A fleet, whofe purpofes were
falutary to fociety, might always meet
with a fair wind
Good princes
:

enjoy

found health and long life: Perfons


born to power and authority, be fram
ed with good tempers and virtuous difpofitions.

few fuch events

as thefe,

regularly and wifely conducted, would


change the face of the world ; and yet
would no more feem to difturb the

courfe of Nature, or confound human


condudl, than the prefent oeconomy of
things, where the caufes are fecret, and
variable,

and compounded. Some

CALIGULA

touches, given to

final!

brain in

his infancy, might have converted him


into a TRAJAN
one wave, a little
:

higher than the reft, by burying CJESAR


and his fortune in the bottom of the
ocean, might have reftored liberty to a
confiderable part of mankind*
There

may,

for

aught we know, be good reafons s

NATURAL RELIGION.

209

Providence interpofes not in


but they are unknown to
this manner

foils,

why

^L

and though the mere fuppofition,


that fuch reafons exift, may be fuffius

cient tofave the conclufion concerning

the divine attributes, yet furely it can


never be fufficient to eftablifh that conclufion.

IF every thing in the univerfe be con-

dueled by general laws, and if animals


be rendered fufceptible of pain, it fcarcefeems poffible but fome ill muft arife
ly

and the
in the various {hocks of matter,
and oppofition of
But this ill would be very

various concurrence

general laws
rare,

were

ftance,

it

not for the third circurn-

which

propofed to mention,
which all
frugality with
I

viz. the great


and faculties are diflributed to

powers

So well adjufted
every particular being.
of all ani
are the organs and capacities
to their prefermals, and fo well fitted
as far as hiftory or tradi

vation, that,

tion

210
?

xT

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
tion reaches there
appears not to be
>

j fingle fpecies

any
which has yet been extin-

guifhed in the univerfe. Every animal


has the requifite endowments but thefe
;

endowments

are beftowed with fo fcru-

pulous an oeconomy, that any confiderable diminution muft

entirely deftroy

the creature.

Wherever one power

increafed, there

is

ment

in the others.
Animals,
cel in
are
fwiftnefs,

which ex

commonly

tive in force.

is

a proportional abate

defec

Thofe which

poffefs both,
are either
in
of their
imperfecl
fenfes, or are oppreffed with the fhoft

%ne

craving wants.

The human

whofe chief
excellency
gacity,
tous,

is

of

all

is

fpecies,

reafon and fa-

others the moft neceffi-

and the moft

deficient in
bodily

advantages; without clothes, without


arms, without food, without
lodging,

without any convenience of

what they owe

to their

life,

own

except

fkill

and

In fhort,

Nature feems to
induftry.
have formed anexaft calculation of the
neceffities

NATURAL RELIGION.
neceffities

of her creatures

rigid majler,

has afforded

more powers

or

are

and, like a

them

little

endowments than what

flriclly fufficient

An

neceffities.

211

to

fupply thofe

indulgent parent-would

have beftowed a large

flock, in order to

the
guard againil accidents, and fecure
of
the creature
welfare
and
happinefs
in the rnoft unfortunate concurrence of

Every courfe of life


would not have been fo furrounded with
that the lead departure from
circumftaiices.

precipices,

the true path, by miftake or neceffity,


muft involve us in mifery and ruin.

Some

referve,

fome fund, would have

been provided to enfure happinefs; nor


would the powers and the neceffities
have been adjufted with fo rigid an cecoincon
nomy. The Author of Nature is
is fuppofed
ceivably powerful: his force
inexhauitible
great, if not altogether
:

nor

is

there

judge, to

any reafon,

make him

as far as

we

obferve this

can

ftridt

his crea
frugality in his dealings with
tures.

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

212

PART tures.
his

It

would have been

power

better,

extremely limited, to

were
have

created fewer animals, and to have en

dowed thefe with more

faculties for their

happinefs and prefervation. A builder


is never efteemed
prudent, who under

beyond what

takes a plan

enable

him

IN order

human

his flock will

to finifli.

to cure

moft of the

ills

of

require not that man


the wings of the eagle, the
fwiftnefs of the flag, the force of the ox,
life,

mould have

the arms of the lion, the fcales of the


crocodile or rhinoceros ; much lefs do I

demand
rubim.

the fagacity of an angel or che


I am contented to take an in-

creafe in one fingle

power or faculty of
his foul.
Let him be endowed with a
greater propenfity to induflry and la
bour a more vigorous fpring and ac
a more conflant bent to
tivity of mind
bufinefs and application. Let the whole
;

fpecies pofTefs naturally

an equal

dili

gence

NATURAL RELIGION.
gence with that which

213

many individuals

by habit and refleo


and the moft beneficial confe-

are able to attain

tion

quences, without any allay of

ill, is

the

immediate and necefTary refult of this


endowment. Almoft all the moral, as
well as natural evils of

from

idlenefs

human

and were our

life arife

fpecies,

by

the original conilitution of their frame,


exempt from this vice or infirmity, the
perfect cultivation of land, the

improve

ment of arts and manufactures, the exact


execution

of

office and duty,


and
men at once
immediately follow;

every

fully reach that ftate of fociety,


which is fo imperfectly attained by the

may

befl-regulated government. But as induflry is a power, and the moft valu


able of any, Nature feems determined,
fuitably to her ufual maxims, to beftow
it

on men with a very fparing hand and


;

rather to punifh him feverely for his de


ficiency in it, than to reward him for his

attainments.

She has fo contrived his

frame,

PA * T

214
PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNIN
frame, that nothing but the moft vio
lent neceffity can oblige him to labour;

and

me

employs all his other wants to


overcome, at leaft in part, the want of
diligence, and to endow him with fome
mare of a faculty, of which {he has
thought fit naturally to bereave him.
Here our demands may be allowed
very humble, and therefore the more
If we required the en
reafonable.

dowments of

fuperior penetration and


judgment, of a more delicate tafte of
beauty, of a nicer fenfibility to bene

volence and friendfhip


told, that

we

we might be

impioufly pretend to break

the order of Nature

that

we want

exalt ourfelves into a higher

to

rank of be

which we require,
ing ;
not being fuitable to our ftate and con
that the prefents

dition,

would only be pernicious

But

it is

full

of wants and

hard

to us.

dare to repeat it, it is


hard, that being placed in a world fo
;

neceffities,

where

moil every being and element

is

al-

either

our

NATURAL RELIGION.
our foe or refufes

mould

its

we

affiftance

own temper

have our

alfo

215

to

ftruggle with, and fhould be deprived


of that faculty which can alone fence
againfl thefe multiplied evils.

THE

fourth circumftance, whence athe mifery and ill of the univerfe,


the inaccurate
workmanfliip of all the

rifes
is

fprings

and

principles of the great

chine of nature.

ma

muft be acknow

It

ledged, that there are few parts of the


univerfe, which feem not to ferve fome

purpofe, and whofe removal would not


produce a vifible defect and diforder in

The

the whole.
ther

hang

parts

all

toge

nor can one be touched without

affecting the reft, in a greater or lefs

But

fame time, it muft


be obferved, that none of thefe parts or
principles, however ufeful, are fo ac
degree.

at the

curately adjufted, as to keep precifely


within thofe bounds in which their uti
lity confifts

but they

are, all

of them,
apt,

PART

XI

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

216

PART a
p^

run into the


one extreme or the other. One would
imagine, that this grand production had

on every

occafion, to

hand of the maker


fo little nniihed is every part, and fo
coarfe are the ftrokes with which it is

not received the

laft

Thus, the winds are requi-

executed.

convey the vapours along the


furface of the globe, and to affift men
but how oft, rifing up
in navigation
to tempefts and hurricanes, do they be

fite

to

pernicious ? Rains are necefTary


to nouriih all the plants and animals of

come

the earth
fective

but

how

how

often are they de

often exceflive

Heat

is

and vegetation but


is not always found in the due propor
On the mixture and fecretion of
tion.
requifite to all life

the

humours and juices of the body de

pend the health and profperity of the


animal

but the parts perform not re

What
gularly their proper function.
more ufeful than all the paffions of the
mind, ambition, vanity,

love,

anger

But

NATURAL RELIGION.

217

But how oft do they break their bounds, PART


and caufe the greateil convulfions in
There

nothing fo advan
tageous in the univerfe, but what fre
fociety

is

quently becomes pernicious, by its excefs or defecl:


nor has Nature guarded,
with the requifite accuracy,
all
;

againft

diforder or confufion.

The

irregula
never, perhaps, fo great as to
deftroy any fpecies ; but is often fufEcient to involve the individuals in ruin
rity

is

and mifery.

ON
four

the concurrence, then, of thefe


circumftances, does all or the
part of natural evil depend.
all living creatures
incapable of

greateft

Were

pain, or were the world adrniniftered

by

particular volitions, evil never could

have found accefs into the univerfe

and were animals endowed with a large


and faculties, beyond

ftock of powers

what

ftricT:

neceffity requires

the feveral fprings

and
3

or were

principles of the

univerfe

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

2i8

PART univerfe fo
accurately framed as to preferve always the juft temperament and

v^~>l

medium
little ill

muft have been very


companion of what we feel at
there

in

prefent.

What

on

occafion

this

then
?

ihall

Shall

we pronounce
we fay, that

thefe circumftances are not neceflary,

and that they might eauly have been


altered in the contrivance of the uni

This decifion feems too prefumptuous for creatures fo blind and


verfe

Let us be more modeft in


ignorant.
our conclusions. Let us allow, that,

goodnefs of the Deity (I mean a


goodnefs like the human) could be efta-

if the

blifhed on any tolerable reafons a priorv,


thefe phenomena, however untoward,

would not be

fufficient to fubvert that

but might eafily, in fome


unknown manner, be reconcilable to it.
principle

But

let

us

ftill affert,

that as this

good

not antecedently eftablifhed, but


mufh be inferred from the phenomena,

nefs

is

there can be

no grounds

for fuch an
inference.

NATURAL RELIGION.
inference, while there are fo

219

many

the univerfe, and while thefe

in

might
far

as

fo eafily

human

Sceptic

PA * T

ills

^^j

have been remedied, as


underftanding can be

allowed to judge on fuch a

am

ills

enough

fubjecT:.

to allow, that the

bad appearances, notwithftanding

my reafonings, may be

all

compatible with

fuch attributes as you fuppofe


furely they can never prove thefe

But

attri

Such
butes.
from Scepticifm but muft arife from
the phenomena, and from our confi
dence in the reafonings which we de

a concluiion cannot refult


;

duce from thefe phenomena.

LOOK round

this

uiiiverfe.

What

an immenfe profufion of beings, ani

mated and organized,


tive

You admire

fenfible

and

ac

this prodigious vari

and fecundity. But infpecT: a little


more narrowly thefe living exiftences,
the only beings worth regarding. How
ety

hoftile

and deilructive

O 4

to each other

How

226

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

How

infufficient all of

them

for their

-A.1.

happinefs How contemptible or


The whole
odious to the fpe&ator
prefents nothing but the idea of a blind

own

Nature, impregnated by a great vivify

ing principle, and pouring forth from


her lap, without difcernment or pa
rental care, her

maimed and

abortive

children.

HERE

the

MANICHJEAN

fyftem oc

curs as a proper hypothecs to folve the


and no doubt, in fome redifficulty
:

very fpecious, and has more


probability than the common hypothefis, by giving a plaufible account of the
fpe<5ts,

it is

ftrange mixture of good and ill which


But if we confider, on
appears in life.

the other hand, the perfect uniformity


and agreement of the parts of the uni-

we

fhall

not difcover in

it

any
marks of the combat of a malevolent
with a benevolent being. There is in

verfe,

deed an oppofition of pains and pleafures

NATURAL RELIGION.

221

fares in the feelings of fenfibic creatures : but are not all the operations of v_^

Nature carried on by an oppofitiort of


moifb and
principles, of hot and cold,
dry, light and heavy ? The true conclufion is, that the original Source of all
all thefe
entirely indifferent to
has no more regard to
principles ; and
good above ill, than to heat above cold,

things

is

or to drought
light

above moifture, or to

above heavy.

THERE may four hypotheles be fra


med concerning the firft cauies of the
univerfe: that they are endowed with
that they have per
perfect goodnefs ;
fect malice; that they are oppofite, and

have both goodnefs and malice; that


nor malice.
they have neither goodnefs
Mixt phenomena can never prove the

two former unmixt principles. And the


of general
uniformity and fleadinefs
laws feem to oppofe the third.

The

fourth,

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

222
PART

fourth, therefore, feems

by

far the

moft

probable.

WHAT
ral evil

Or

have faid
concerning natu
will apply to
moral, with little
I

no variation

and we have no more

reafon to infer, that the reditude of the

Supreme Being refembles human reditude than that his benevolence refembles
the human.
Nay, it will be thought,
that we have ftill
greater caufe to ex
clude from
as

we

him moraj

fentiments, fuch

them; fmce moral evil, in the


of
opinion
many, is much more predo
minant above moral, good than natural
evil above natural
good.
feel

BUT

even though this fhould not be

allowed; and though the virtue, which


in mankind, fhould be

is

acknowledged

much

fuperior to the vice ; yet fo long


as there is
any vice at all in the univerfe,

it

will very

thropomorphites,

much puzzle you Anhow to account for it.


You

NATURAL RELIGION.
You muft

for
ailign a caufe

it,

223

without

But
having recourfe to the firft caufe.
as every effedl mull have a caufe, and
that caufe another

you muft

carry on the progreffion


reft

on that

in infmitum,

original principle,

the ultimate caufe of

all

either

who

is

things

Whi

Hold! cried DEMEA:

HOLD

or

ther does your imagination hurry you?


I joined in alliance with you, in order
to prove the incomprehenfible nature of
the Divine Being, and refute the prin
ciples

of CLEANTHES,

fure every thing

ftandard. Bxit

by

now

who would meahuman rule and

find

you running

the topics of the greateft liber


that
tines and infidels ; and betraying

into

all

holy caufe, which you feemingly efpoufed.

Are you

dangerous

fecretly,

enemy than

then, a

more

CLEANTHES

himfelf?

AND

are

you

fo late in perceiving it?

replied

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

224
PART

replied

CLEANTHES.

Believe me,

DE-

ME A

;
your friend PHILO, from the be
ginning, has been amufing himfelf at

both our expence

and

it

muft be con-

feffed, that the injudicious

reafoning of

our vulgar theology has given him but


too juft a handle of ridicule. The total
infirmity of

human

reafon, the abfolute

incomprehenfibility of the Divine Na


ture, the great and univerfal mifery and
ftill

greater wickednefs of

men

thefe

are ftrange topics, furely, to be fo fondly


cherifhed by orthodox divines and doc
tors.

In ages of ftupidity and igno

rance, indeed, thefe principles

may fafe-

ly be efpoufed ; and, perhaps, no views


of things are more proper to promote
fuperftition, than fuch as encourage the

blind amazement, the diffidence, and


melancholy of mankind. But at prefent

BLAME

not fo much, interpofed PHI


LO, the ignorance of thefe reverend gen
tlemen.

NATURAL RELIGION.
tlemen.

225

They know how to change

their

was a
mainmoft
was vanity and
rain, that human life
all the ills and
mifery, and to exaggerate
which are incident to men. But
it

with the times. Formerly

ftyle

to
popular theological topic

pains

of

late years, divines,

retract

this

we

pofition;

find,

and

begin to

maintain,

with fome hefitation, that


there are more goods than evils, more
even in this life.
pleafures than pains,

though

ftill

When religion

flood entirely

per and education,

it

upon tem

was thought pro

as indeed,
per to encourage melancholy;
mankind never have recourfe to fupefo readily as in that difporior

powers
But

fition.

to

form

men

principles,

quences,
batteries,

guments

as

it

is

and

now

have

and

to

learned

draw confe-

the
neceffary to change
ar
fuch
of
to make ufe

as will

endure

at lead

fome

This varia
fcrutiny and examination.
the fame
from
tion is the fame (and
caufes)

226
T

DIALOG UES CONCERNING


caufes) with that which I formerly
marked with regard to Scepticifm.

THUS PHILO

continued to the

re-

laft his

of oppofition, and his cenfure of


eftablifhed opinions.
But I could obferve, that DEMEA did not at all relift
fpirit

the latter part of the difcourfe; and he


took occafion foon after, on fome
pretence or other, to leave the
company.

PART

PART
A FTERDEMEA

XII.

CLEAN-

PART

THES and PHILO contimied the


converfation in the following manner.

^vO

Our

friend, I

am

THES, will have

departure,

afraid, faid

little

CLEAN-

inclination to re

vive this topic of difcourfe, while


are in company; and to tell

you

truth,

PHILO, I fhould rather wifh to reafon


with either of you apart on a fubjecl
fo fublime and interefling. Your
fpirit
of controverfy, joined to your abhor
rence of vulgar fuperitition, carries

you

ftrange lengths,

when engaged

in

an ar

gument; and there is nothing fo facred


and venerable, even in your own eyes,
which you fpare on that occafion.
I

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

228

MUST

am

lefs

confefs, replied

PHILO, that

cautious on the fubjecl: of

Na

on any other; both


know that I can never, on that

tural Religion than

becaufe

head, corrupt the principles of any man


of common fenfe ; and becaufe no one,
I

am confident, in whole eyes I appear


man of common fenfe, will ever inif-

my intentions. You in particular,


CLEANTHES, with whom I live in untake

referved

intimacy

you

are fenfible,

notwithftanding the freedom of


converfation, and my love of fingu-

that,

my
lar

arguments, no one has a deeper fenfe

of religion imprefled on his mind, or


pays more profound adoration to the
Divine Being, as he difcovers himfelf to
reafon, in the inexplicable contrivance

and

of Nature.
purpofe, an
a
intention,
defign, {hikes every where
the
moft carelefs, the moft ftupid
thinker ; and no man can be fo harden
artifice

ed in abfurd fyftems, as at all times to


That Nature docs nothing in
rejed it.
vain.

NATURAL RELIGION.
maxim

is

in^

eftabliflied in all the

merely from the contemplation


of the works of Nature, without any re

fchools,

from a firm conan anatomift, who

ligious purpofe; and,

vidion of

its

truth,

had obferved a new organ or


canal,
would never be fatisfied till he had alfo
difcovered

its

ufe and intention.

One
GOPERNICAN

great foundation of the

fyftem

is

the

maxim, That Nature

afls

by tbcfimpkft methods, and choofes the moft


proper means to any end ; and aftrono-

mers

often, without thinking of

this flrong

ligion.

The fame thing

acknowledge a

firft

their authority

greater, as they
that intention.

IT

is

lay

obfervable in

is

other parts of
philofophy
the fciences almoft lead us

and

it>

foundation of piety and re

And

all

infenfibly to

intelligent
is

thus

often fo

Author;

much the

do not directly profefs

with pleafure

hear

GALEN

reafon concerning the ftrudlure of the

human

230

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

PART

human

^vO

fays he *, difcovers above

body.

mufcles-;

The anatomy of a man,


600

and whoever duly

different
confiders,

thefe, will find, that in each of

Nature muft have adjufted

them

at leaft ten

different circumftances, in order to at

end which

tain the

me

propofed

pro

per figure, juft magnitude, right difpofition of the feveral ends, upper and

lower pofition of the whole, the due infertion of the feveral nerves, veins, and
So that, in the mufcles alone,
arteries
:

above 6000 feveral views and intentions

muft have been formed and executed.

The bones he

calculates to

be 284: The

aimed at in the ftructure of each, above forty. What a pro


diftindl purpofes,

digious difplay of

artifice,

even in thefe

fimple and homogeneous parts ? But if


we confider the fkin, ligaments, veffels,
glandules, humours, the feveral limbs
and members of the body ; how muft

our
* De formatione

foetus*

NATURAL RELIGION.
our aftoniihment

rife

upon
the number and

portion to
the parts fo

231

PART
us, in pro-

intricacy of

artificially adjufted ? The


we advance in thefe refearches,
we difcover new fcenes of art and wifdom: But defcry flill, at a diftance, far

farther

ther fcenes beyond our


reach; in the
fine internal ftrudlure of the
parts, in

the

ceconomy of the

of the feminal

brain, in the fabric

veffels.

All thefe artifices

are repeated in
every different fpecies of

animal, with wonderful variety, and


with exact propriety, fuited to the dif
ferent intentions of Nature in
framing
each fpecies. And if the
infidelity of

GALEN, even when

thefe natural fci-

ences were flill imperfed, could not


withitand fach flriking appearances ;
to what pitch of
pertinacious obflinacy

mufl

a philofopher in this
age have at

tained,

who can now doubt of a Supreme

Intelligence ?

COULD

meet with one of

this fpecies

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

thank God, are very rare)


would afk him: Suppofing there were

cies
I

(who,

a God,

who

did not difcover himfelf

immediately to our fenfes


fible for

him

were

it

pof-

to give ftronger proofs of

his exiflence, than

what appear on the

whole face of Nature

What

indeed

could fuch a Divine Being do, but copy


the prefent oeconomy of things ; render

many

of his

artifices fo plain,

that

no

ftupidity could miftake

them; afford
greater artifices, which

glimpfes of ftill
demonftrate his prodigious fuperiority

and
from
many

above our narrow apprehenfions


conceal altogether a great

fuch imperfect creatures ? Now, accord


ing to all rules of juft reafoning, every
fadl

muft

pafs for undifputed,

when

it

fupported by all the arguments which


its nature admits of; even though thefe
is

arguments be not, in themfelves, very


numerous or forcible How much more,
in the prefent cafe, where no human
:

imagination, can

compute

their

number,
and

NATURAL RELIGION.
and no underftanding eflimate

233
their PART

^^if

cogency ?

SHALL farther add,


THES, to what you have
I

faid

CLEAN-

fo well urged,

that one great advantage of the prinpie of Theifm, is, that it is the only fy-

ilem cf cofniogony which can be ren


dered intelligible and complete, and yet

can throughout preferve a flrong ana

we

every day fee and ex


perience in the world. The comparifon
of the univerfe to a machine of human

logy to what

obvious and natural,


juftified by fo many inflances of

contrivance

and

is

is

fo

order and defign in Nature, that it mufl

immediately

ftrike all

unprejudiced ap-

prehenfions, and procure univerfal ap


probation. Whoever attempts to weaken
this theory,

by

cannot pretend to fucceed

eflablifhing in

that

is

precife

fufficient for
difficulties;

its

place

any other

and determinate:

him,

if

It

is

he dart doubts and

and by remote and


P

abftracl

views

234

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

PART views of
things, reach that fulpenfe of
judgment, which is here the utmoft

boundary of

But befides

his wifhes.

that this ftate of

mind

is

in itfelf unfa-

can never be fleadily main


tisfadory,
tained againft fuch ftriking appearances
it

engage us into the reli


A falfe, abfurd fygious hypothelis.
ftem, human nature, from the force of
as continually

prejudice,

capable of adhering to with

is

obftinacy and perfeverance

But no fy-

in opposition to a theory
fupported by ftrong and obvious reafon, by natural propenfity, and by early

ftem at

all,

education,
fible to

So

think

it

abfolutely impof-

maintain or defend.

little,

replied

PHILO, do

efteem

of judgment in the prefent cafe to be poilible, that I am apt to


this fufpenfe

fufpsdl there enters fomewhat of a dipute of words into this controverfy,

That
ufually imagined.
the works of Nature bear a great ana
inore than

is

logy

NATURAL RELIGION.
logy to the productions of art,

and according

is

235

evident; PART

of good

to all the rules

^^

reafonmg, we ought to infer, if we argue


at all concerning them, that their caufes
have a proportional analogy. But as
there are alfo confiderable differences,

we have reafon

to fuppofe a proportional

difference in the caufes

cular ought to attribute a

and in

parti

much

higher
futo
the
and
of
energy
power
degree
preme caufe than any we have ever ob-

Here then the ex-

ferved in mankind.
iftence of a

DEITY is

plainly afcertainif we make it a que-

ed ,by reafon and


ana
ilion, whether, on account of thefe
call him a mind
logies, we can properly
:

or intelligence, notwithflanding the vafl


difference which may reafonably be

fuppofed

minds

between

what

controverfy

is

this

him and human


but a mere verbal

No man

can deny the

To reanalogies between the


ftrain. ourfelves from inquiring con
effects

cerning the caufes,

P 4

is

fcarcely poffible:

From

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

236

From

this inquiry, the legitimate

clufion

is,

con-

that the caufes have alfo an

analogy And if we are not contented


with calling the firft and fupreme canfe
a
or DEITY, but defire to
vary
:

GOD

the exprefllon; what can


but MIND or

we

THOUGHT,

he

is

call

to

him

which

juftly fuppofed to bear a confi-

derable refemblance?

ALL men

of found reafon are dif-

gufted with verbal difputes, w^hich a-

bound

fo

much

in philofophical

and

theological inquiries ; and it is found,


that the only remedy for this abufe

muft

arife

from

clear definitions,

from

the precifion of thofe ideas which en


ter into any argument, and from the

and uniform ufe of thofe terms


which are employed. But there is a
ftridt

fpecies of controverfy, which,

from the

very nature of language and of human


ideas, is involved in perpetual am
biguity,

and can never, by any pre


caution

NATURAL RELIGION.

237

caution or any definitions, be able to


reach a reafonable certainty or precifion.

Thefe are the controverfies con

cerning the degrees of any quality or


Men may argue to all
circumftance.
eternity, whether HANNIBAL be a
great, or a very great, or a fuperlatively

man, what degree of beauty CLE


OPATRA poffeffed, what epithet of
praife LIVY or THUCIDYDES is intitled

great

to,

to

without bringing the controverfy

any determination.

The

difputants

may here agree in their fenfe, and differ


in the terms, or vice verfa ; yet never be
able to define their terms, fo as to enter
into each others meaning Becaufe the
:

degrees of thefe qualities are not, like


of any
quantity or number, fufceptible
exacl: menfuration, which may be the

ftandard in the controverfy.


difpute concerning
nature,

Theifm

That the
is

of this

and confequently is merely ver

bal, or perhaps, if poflible,

ftill

more

incurably ambiguous, will appear upon


the

DIALOGUES CONCERNING-

238
PARF
j

h e flighteft inquiry. I afk the Thrift,


if he does not allow, that there is a
great
t

and immeafurable, becaufe ineomprehenfible, difference between the human


and the divine mind The more pious
he is, the more readily will he affent to
the affirmative, and the more will he
be difpofed to magnify the difference
:

He
is

will even affert, that the difference

of a nature which cannot be too

much

magnified,

next turn to the

who, I affert, is only nomi


nally fo, and can never poffibly be in
carneft
and I afk him, whether, from
Atheift,

the coherence and apparent


fympathy
all the
parts of this world, there be

in

not a certain degree of analogy among


all the
operations of Nature, in every
lituation

and in every age

whether

the rotting of a turnip, the generation


of an animal, and the ftru<5lure of hu

man

thought, be not energies that pro


bably bear fome remote analogy to each
other

It is

impofGble he can deny

it

He

NATURAL
He

will readily

R.ELIGION.

farther in his retreat

Itiil

aik him,

if it

Ha-

it.

acknowledge

ving obtained this conceilion,

him

239

I
;

puih

and

be not probable, that the

arranged, and ftill


bears
maintains, order in this univerfe,
not alfo fome remote inconceivable a-

principle

which

firft

of
nalogy to the other operations
ture,

and among the

nomy

reft to the ceco-

human mind and

of

Na

thought.

However reludtant, he muft give his


Where then, cry I to both
aflent.
the fubjed of your
Theift allows, that the

thefe antagonifts,

The

difpute?
original

is

is

intelligence

from human reafon

very different

The

Atheift al

of or
lows, that the original principle
der bears fome remote analogy to it.
Will you quarrel,

Gentlemen, about

the degrees; and enter into a controwhich admits not of any precife
verfy,

de
meaning, nor confequently of any
obtermination ? If you mould be fo
ilinate,

ihould not be furprifed to


find

PA

240

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
find you infenfibly change fides ; while
the Theift, on the one hand, exaggerates

the diflimilarity between the

Supreme
and
frail, imperfedt, variable,
Being,
and
mortal creatures and the
fleeting,
Atheift, on the other, magnifies the a;

nalogy

among

all

the operations of

Na

ture, in every period, every fituation,

and every pofition.


Confider then,
where the real point of controverfy lies
and if you cannot lay afide your dif;

putes, endeavour, at leaft, to cure yourfelves

of your animofity.

AND

here

mufl

alfo

acknowledge,
CLEANTHES, that, as the works of Na
ture have a much greater analogy to
the efFedls of our art

than to thofe of our


juftice;

we have

and contrivance,
benevolence and

reafon to infer, that

the natural attributes of the Deity have


a greater refemblance to thofe of men,

than his moral have to

But what

is

human

the confequence

virtues.

Nothing
but

NATURAL RELIGION.
but

this, that

man

are

more

241

the moral

qualities of
defective in their kind

For as the

.than his natural abilities.


is

PART

allowed to be abfb-

Supreme Being
lutely and entirely perfedl; whatever
differs mofl from him, departs the fartheft

from the fupreme flandard of rec


and perfection *.

titude

THESE,
* It feems evident, that the
difpute between the
or at leaft
Sceptics and Dogrnatifts is entirely verbal ;
of doubt and aflurance, which
regards only the degrees
And
with
to
we ought indulge
regard to all reafoning :
fuch difputes are commonly, at the bottom, verbal, and

admit not of any precife determination.


al

Dogmatift

denies, that there arc

with regard to the fenfes and to

all

No

philofophi-

difficulties

fcience

both

and that

thefe difficulties are in a regular, logical method, abfo-

No Sceptic denies, that we lie under


an abfolute neceffity, notwithftanding thefe difficulties,
ef thinking, and believing, and reafoning, with regard to

lutely infolveable.

all

kinds of fubje&s, and even of frequently affenting

with confidence and fecurity.

The

only difference, then,

between thefe fe&s, if they merit that name, is, that


the Sceptic, from habit, caprice, or inclination, infills
moft on the

difficulties

a the necelHty.

the Dograatift, for like reafon^

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

242
PART

THESE, CLEANTHES,
feigned fentiments on this
thefe

are

fubjedl

you know,

fentiments,

ever cherifhed and maintained.

un~
and

my
I

have

But in

my veneration for true


my abhorrence of vulgar

proportion to
religion,

is

fuperftitions

pleafure,
principles,

and

indulge a peculiar
confefs, in pulhing fuch

fometimes into abfurdity,

fometimes into impiety.


fenfible, that

all

And you

are

bigots, notwithftand-

ing their great averfion to the latter a-

bove the former, are commonly equally


guilty of both.

MY
lies,

inclination, replied CLEANTHES,


own, a contrary way. Religion,

however corrupted, is ftill better than


no religion at all. The doctrine of a
future ftate is fo ftrong and neceflary a
fecurity to morals, that we never ought
to abandon or neglect it.
For if finite

and temporary rewards and punifhments have fo great an effect, as we


daily

NATURAL RELIGION.
daily find

how much

greater muft be
fuch as are infinite and

expected from
eternal

243
PART

How

happens

then, faid PHILO,

it

be fo falutary to
hiflory abounds fo

if vulgar fuperflition

that

fociety,

all

mvich with accounts of

its

corifequences on public

affairs

pernicious
?

Fac

tions, civil wars, perfecutions, fubver-

fions

of government, oppreffion, flave-

ry; thefe are the difmal confequences


which always attend its prevalency over
the minds

of men.

If the

religious

fpirit be ever mentioned in any hiftorical narration, we are fure to meet after

wards with a

which attend

detail
it.

of the miferies

And no

period of

time can be happier or more profperous,


than thofe in which it is never regarded
or heard

THE
plied

of.

reafon of this obfervation, re

CLEANTHES,

is

obvious.

The
proper

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

244
PART

proper

^v^

the heart of

of religion

office

is

to regulate

men, humanize

their

con

duit, infufe the fpirit of temperance^


order,

ration

and obedience and as its ope


is filent, and
only enforces the
;

motives of morality andjuftice, it is in


danger of being overlooked, and con

founded

When it

with

diftinguifhes

motives.

other

thefe

itfelf,

and

a feparate principle over men,

has de

proper fphere, and has


a
cover to faction and am
only

parted from

become

it

adls as

its

bition.

AND

fo will all religion, faid

PHILO,
and
rational
except
philofophical
kind.
Your reafonings are more eafily
the

eluded than

my

facts.

The

inference

not juft, becaufe finite and tempo


rary rewards and punimments have fo

is

great influence, that therefore fuch as


are infinite and eternal mufl have fo

much

greater.

the attachment

Confider,

befeech you,

which we have

to pre-

fent

NATURAL RELIGION.
fent things,

and the

little

245

concern which

we

difcover for objects fo remote and


uncertain. When divines are declaim

ing againfl the common behaviour and


conduct of the world, they always reprefent this principle as the flrongefb

imaginable, (which indeed it is) ; and


defcribe almoft all human kind as lying

under the influence of

and funk into


the deepefl lethargy and unconcern about their religious interefts. Yet thefe
fame divines, when they refute their
it,

fpeculative antagonists, fuppofe the


tives

mo

of religion to be fo powerful, that,

without them,

were impoffible for

it

civil fociety to fubfifl

nor are they a-

fliamed of fo palpable a contradiction.


It is certain, from experience, that the
fmalleft grain of natural honefly

benevolence has more


conduct, than the

on mens

mod pompous

views

theological theories

fuggefted

by

fyflems.

A man

works

effect

inceflantly

and

and

natural inclination

upon him ;

it is

for

ever

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

246

ever P rc ^ent to tne

n<

an d mingles

with every view and confiderawhereas religious motives, where

itfelf

tion

they adl at

all,

operate only

by

ftarts

and

bounds and it is fcarcely poffible for


them to become altogether habitual to
the mind.
The force of the greateft
;

gravity, fay the philofophers, is infinite


ly fmall, in comparifon of that of the
leafl

impulfe: yet

it is

certain, that the

fmall eft gravity will, in the end, pre


vail above a great impulfe ; becaufe no
ftrokes or blows can be repeated

fuch conftancy

as attraction

with

and gravi

tation,

ANOTHER

advantage of inclination;

engages on its fide all the wit and in


genuity of the mind ; and when fet in
It

oppofition to religious principles, feeks

every method and art of eluding them:


In which it is almoft always fuccefsful.

Who

can explain the heart of man^ or


account for thofe ftraiige falvos and ex-

NATURAL RELIGION.
with which people

cufes,

when they

felves,

tious

fatisfy

247
them- PART

follow their inclina-

in oppofition

to

their religious

duty? This is well underftood in the


world and none but fools ever
repofe
;

lefs truft

in a

man, becaufe they hear,


from
that,
fludy and philofophy, he has
entertained fome fpeculative doubts
with

regard

And when we
who makes a

to

theological

have

fubjedls.

do with a man,
great profefTibn of reli

gion and devotion

to

has this any other

feveral, who pafs for pru


than
to
dent,
put them on their guard,
left
they be cheated and deceived
efFedl

upon

by

him ?

WE

muft farther

lofophers,

who

flection, ftand

confider, that phicultivate reafon and re

lefs

in need of fuch

mo

keep them under the reftraint


of morals and that the vulgar, xvho
tives to

alone

may

pable of fo

need them, are utterly inca


pure a religion as reprefents
the

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

248

the Deity to be pleafed with nothing but


virtue in human behaviour.
The re

commendations

to the Divinity are ge


nerally fdppofed to be either frivolous

obfervances, or rapturous

We

bigottecl credulity.

ecftafi.es,

or a

need not run

back into antiquity, or wander into re


mote regions, to find inftances of this
degeneracy.

Amongft

ourfelves,

fome

have been guilty of that atrocioufnefs,

unknown
CIAN

to the

EGYPTIAN and GRE

fuperftitions,

of declaiming, in

exprefs terms, againft morality ; and reprefenting it as a fure forfeiture of the

divine favour, if the leafl truft or

ance be laid upon

reli

it.

BUT

even though fuperftition or enthufiafm mould not put itfelf in diredl


di
oppolition to morality ; the very
verting of the attention, the raifing up

new and

frivolous fpecies of merit,

the prepofterous diflribution which

makes of

praife

and blame,

it

nruft have

the

NATURAL RELIGION.

249

the mofl pernicious confequences, and


weaken extremely rnens attachment to
the natural motives of juftice and

hu

manity.

SUCH

a principle of aclion likewife,

not being any of the familiar motives


of human conduct, acts only by inter
vals on the temper; and muft be rouzed

by continual

efforts, in

order to render

the pious zealot fatisfied with his

conduct, and

make him

fulfil his

own

devo

Many religious exercifes


into
with feeming fervour,
are entered
where the heart, at the time, feels cold

tional tafk.

and languid:

habit of diflimulation

by degrees contracted and fraud


and falfehood become the predominant
Hence the reafon of that
principle.
is

vulgar obfervation, that the higheft zeal


in religion and the deepeft hypocrify,
fo far

or

from being

inconfiftent, are often

commonly united

vidual character.

0.3

in the fame indi

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

250

in

THE bad effedts of fuch habits, even


common life, are eafxly imagined
:

but where the

interefts

of religion are

concerned, no morality can be forcible


enough to bind the enthufiaftic zealot,

The

facrednefs of the caufe faaclifies

every meafure which can be


of to promote it.

made

fteady attention alone to fo

ufe

im

portant an intereft as that of eternal


apt to extinguifli the bene
volent affedions, and
beget a narrow,
contrafted felfifhnefs. And when
is

falvation,

fuel*

a temper

is

encouraged, it eafily eludes


the general
precepts of charity and
benevolence.
*11

THUS

the motives of
vulgar fuperftino great influence on
general

tion have

condiuft; nor

is their
operation very fa
vourable to
morality, in the initances

where they predominate.


Is

NATURAL RELIGION.

251

more

any maxim in politics


certain and infallible, than that both
the number and authority of priefls
mould be confined within very narrow
Is there

and that the

limits;

civil

magiftrate

to keep his fafces and


ought, for ever,
axes from fuch dangerous hands ? But

of popular religion were fo


a contrary maxim
falutary to fociety,

if the fpirit

number

ought to prevail. The greater


of priefts, and their greater authority

and

riches, will

the re
always augment

And

the

priefls
though
ligious fpirit.
have the guidance of this fpirit, why

may we
of

life,

not expect a fuperior fandlity


and greater benevolence and

moderation, from perfons


apart for religion,

who

who

are fet

are continually

and who

inculcating it upon others,


muft themfelves imbibe a greater {hare
in
it ? Whence comes it then, that,

of

fact, the

utmofl a wife magiftrate can

to popular
propofe with regard

gions,

is,

as far as poffible, to

reli

make

faving

252
P* RT
X.1 1.

DIALOGUES CONCERNING
faving

game of it, and

to prevent their

pernicious confequences with regard to


fociety ? Every expedient
for fo humble a purpofe

which*he

tries

furrounded

is

with inconveiiiencies. If he admits only


one religion among his fubjedts, he muft
facrifice,

to

an uncertain profpe6t of

tranquillity, every corifideration of pub

reafon, induftry, and


independency. If he gives

lic liberty, fcience,

own

even his

indulgence to feveral feels, which is the


wifer maxim, he muft preferve a very
philofophical indifference to all of them,
and carefully reftrain the pretenfions of
the prevailing fedl ; otherwife he can

but endlefs difputes,


quarrels, factions, perfecutions, and ci
vil commotions.

expec5l

nothing

TRUE

religion, I allow, has

pernicious confequences
treat of religion,

no fuch

but we muft

as it has

commonly

been found in the world; nor have I


any tiling to do with that fpeculative
tenet

NATURAL RELIGION.

253

tenet of
cies

Theifm, which, as it is a fpe- PART


XIT
of philofophy, muft partake of the

^0

beneficial influence of that


principle,

and

at the

fame time muft

like inconvenience,

lie

under a

of being always con

few perfons.

fined to very

OATHS

are requifite in all courts of


judicature; but it is a queftion whether

from any popular


the folemnity and im

their authority arifes


religion.

It is

portance of the occafion, the regard to

and the

on the
general interefts of fociety, which are
the chief reftraints upon mankind.
Cuftom-houfe oaths and political oaths
are but little regarded even by fome
reputation,

who

reflecting

pretend to principles of honefty

and

religion

tion

is

and a Quaker s afTeverawith us juftly put upon the fame


;

footing with the oath of any other perfon. I know, that POLYBIUS * afcribes
the infamy of

GREEK

faith to the pre-

valency
* Lib.

vi.

cap. 54.

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

254
PART

EPICUREAN philofophy:
alfo, that PUNIC faith had

valency of the

^v^ but
as

know

bad a reputation

in ancient times, as

IRISH evidence has in modern; though


we cannot account for thefe vulgar obfervations

by

GREEK

mention, that

mous

Not to
was infa

the fame reafon.

before the

rife

faith

of the

EPICUREAN

in apafphilofophy; and EURIPIDES f,


out to you, has
fage which I mall point
of fatire
glanced a remarkable ftroke
with regard to this
agtiinft his nation,

circumftance.

TAKE

care,

PHILO, replied CLEAN-

THES, take care: puih not matters too


allow not your zeal againft falfe
veneration
religion to undermine your
far;

for the true.

Forfeit not this principle,

the chief, the only great comfort in life;


and our principal fupport amidft all the

The mofl

attacks of adverfe fortune.

agreeable reflection,

f Iphigenia

which
in

it is

Tauride.

poffible
for

NATURAL RELIGION.
for

human

255

imagination to fuggeft,

is

that of genuine
Theifm,
fents us as the

which repreworkmanfhip of a Being


perfedly good, wife, and powerful;
who created us for happinefs and
who,
;

having implanted in us immeafurable


defires of good, will
prolong our exiflence to all eternity, and will transfer
us
into an infinite
of
in or
variety

fcenes,

der to fatisfy thofe


defires, and render

our

complete and durable. Next


to fuch a
Being himfelf (if the comparifori be
lot which
allowed), the
felicity

we can
his

imagine,

is

happiest
that of being under

guardianihip and protection.

THESE

mod

appearances, faid PHILO, are

engaging and alluring

and with

regard to the true philofopher, they are


more than appearances. But it

happens

here, as in the former cafe, that, with

regard to the greater part of mankind,


the appearances are
deceitful, and that
the

PART

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

256

PART tne terrors of


religion
vail

above

IT

its

allowed, that

is

commonly

pre

comforts.

men

never have

recourfe to devotion fo readily as when


dejected with grief or deprefTed with

not this a proof, that the


religious fpirit is not fo nearly allied to
joy as to forrow ?
ficknefs.

Is

BUT men, when

afflicted, find

folation in religion, replied

con-

CLEANTHES.

Sometimes *faid PHILO: but

it is

natu

imagine, that they will form a


notion of thofe unknown beings, fuit-

ral to

ably to the prefent gloom and melan


choly of their temper, when they betake
themfel ves to the contemplation of them.

Accordingly,

we

find the tremendous

predominate in

images

to

and we

ourfelves, after

all

religions;

having employ
ed the moft exalted expreffion in our
fall into the
defcriptions of the Deity,
flatteft

contradiction, in affirming, that


the

NATURAL RELIGION.
damned are infinitely
number to the elecfL
the

SHALL venture

257

PART
fuperior in

to affirm, that there

never was a popular religion, which reprefented the ftate of departed fouls in

fuch a
for

light, as

human

fuch a

it

eligible

kind, that there fhould be

Thefe

ftate.

gion are the


phy.

would render

For as

fine

models of

reli

mere product of philofodeath lies between the eye

and the profpecl of futurity, that event


is fo fhocking to Nature, that it muft
throw a gloom on all the regions which
lie beyond it
and fuggefl to the gene
rality of mankind the idea of CERBERUS
and Furies devils, and torrents of fire
and brimftone.
;

both fear and hope enter


into religion; becaufe both thefe paIT

is

true,

fions, at different times, agitate the

man mind, and


fpecies

hu

each of them forms a

of divinity fuitable to

itfelf.

But

whea

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

258

man
he

is

fie

n a cheerful

difpofition,

for bufmefs, or

company, or
entertainment of any kind and he na
turally applies himfelf to thefe, and
;

When

thinks not of religion.

melan

choly and dejeded, he has nothing to


do but brood upon the terrors of the
invifible world,
ftill

and

to

plunge himfelf

deeper in affli&ion. It

may, indeed,
that
after
he
happen,
has, in this man^
the
ner, engraved
religious opinions
deep into his thought and imagination,
there may arrive a change of health or
circumftances, which

may

reftore his

good-humour, and

raifing cheerful pro-

fpedls of futurity,

make him run

into

the other extreme of joy and


triumph.

But

muft be acknowedged, that,


as terror is the primary
principle of re
ligion, it is the paffion which always
predominates in it, and admits but of
ftill it

fhort intervals of pleafure.

NOT

to mention,

that thefe

fits

of

NATURAL RELIGION.
cxceffive, enthufiaftic joy,

ing the

fits

ftate

where a

it

is

there any ftate of mind


calm and equable. But

is

as the

happy

impomble

man thinks,

that he

to fupport,
lies,

in fuch

profound darknefs and uncertainty, be


tween an eternity of happinefs and an
No wonder, that
eternity of mifery.
fuch an opinion disjoints the
ordinary
frame of the mind, and throws it into
the utmoft confufion. And
though that
feldom fo fteady in its ope
ration as to influence all the actions
;

opinion

is

apt to make a confiderable


breach in the temper, and to
yet

is

that

gloom and melancholy

it

able in

IT

is

all

PART

always prepare the way ^-^o


of fuperftitious terror and

dejection ; nor

this

by exhaufl-

fpirits,

for equal

fo

259

fo

produce
remark

common

fenfe to

devout people.

contrary to

entertain apprehenfions or terrors

upon

account of any opinion whatfoever, or


to imagine that we run
any rifk here
after

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

^6o
-f>ART

after,

by

the freed ufe of our reafon,

^0 Such a fentiment implies both an abfurdity

and an

inconfiftency.

an abfur-

It is

dity to believe that the Deity has hu


man paflions, and one of the loweft of

human

paflions, a refllefs appetite for


It is an inconiiftency to be
applaufe.

Deity has this hu


paflion, he has not others alfo and

lieve, that, fince the

man

in particular, a difregard to the opi


nions of creatures fo much inferior.

To knoiv

GW,

fays

SENECA,

All other worfliip

Jhip him.

is to

is

ivor-

indeed

abfurd, fuperftitious, and even impious.


It degrades him to the low condition of

mankind, who are delighted with intreaty, folicitation, prefents, and flat
Yet

tery.

is

this

impiety the fmalleft

of which fuperftition

monly,

it

him

guilty.

deprefles the Deity far

the condition of
fents

is

mankind

below

and repre-

dsemon, who
power without reafon and
without

as a capricious

exercifes his

Com

NATURAL RELIGION.

.261

without humanity! And were that Di- PART


vine Being difpofed to be offended at
the vices and follies of

who

are his

would
of

it

filly

mortals,

own workmanfhip

ill

furely fare with the votaries

moft

popular

fuperftitions.

would any of human race merit

Nor

his fa

vour, but a very few, the philofophical


Theiftsj who entertain, or rather indeed

endeavour to entertain, fuitable notions


of his divine perfections: As the only
perfons,

intitled to his compaffton

and

would be the philofophical


a
feel
almofl equally rare, who,
Sceptics,
from a natural diffidence of their own
indulgence^

capacity, fufpend, or endeavour to fufpend, all judgment with regard to fuch

fublime and fuch extraordinary fubjefts.

IF the whole of Natural Theology, as


fome people feem to maintain, refolves
itfelf into

one fimple,

what ambiguous,

at leaft

though fomeundefined propofition,

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

262
PART

^vO

pofitioii,

That the caufe or

in the univerfe

analogy to

caufes of order

probably bear fome remote

human

If this

intelligence:

proposition be not capable of extenfion,


variation, or more particular explica
tion

If

affords

it

human

affects

life,

no inference that
or can be the fource

of any action or forbearance

And

if

the analogy, imperfedl as it is, can be


carried no farther than to the human
intelligence

and cannot be

transferred,

with any appearance of probability, to


the other qualities of the mind
If this
:

what can the moft


inquiiitive, contemplative, and religious
man do more than give a plain, philoreally

be the

cafe,

fophical affent

to the

propofition,

as

and believe that the


occurs
arguments on which it is eftablifhed,
exceed the objections which lie againft
it ?
Some aftonifhment indeed will na
turally arife from the greatnefs o the
fome melancholy from its obobjedt
often as

it

fcurity

fome contempt of human

rea-*

fon ?

NATURAL RELIGION.
fon, that

it

fatisfacftory

263

can give no folution more PART


with regard to fo extraor-

dinary and magnificent a qneftion. But


believe

me, CLEANTHES, the mofl na


which a well-difpofed

tural fentiment,

mind

will feel

ing defire

on

this occafion, is a

long

and expectation, that heaven

would be pleafed

to diffipate, at leaft

this

profound ignorance, by
fome
more particular revela
affording
tion to mankind, and making difcovealleviate,

of the nature, attributes, and ope


rations, of the divine object of our faith.

ries

perfon, feafoned with a juft fenfe of


the imperfections of natural reafon,
will fly to revealed truth with the
greateft

avidity

While the haughty

Dogmatifl, perfuaded that he can erect


a complete fyflem of Theology by the

mere help of philofophy, difdains any


farther aid, and rejects this a^ventitious inftrudlor.
cal Sceptic
firft

is,

and moft

in

To be
a man

a philofophiof letters, the

eflTential flep

towards be
ing

DIALOGUES CONCERNING

264
PART

n g a found, believing Chriftian; a


w^vl proposition, which I would willingly
j

to the attention of PAMI


And
PHILUS
hope CLEANTHES will
forgive me for interpofing fo far in

recommend
:

the education and

inftrudlion of his

pupil.

CLEANTHES and PHILO purfued not


and
this converfation much farther
as nothing ever made greater impref:

fion

the reafonings of
confefs, that, upon a

on me, than

all

that day ; fo, I


ferious review of the whole,

cannot

but think, that PHILO S principles are


more probable than DEMEA S ; but that
thofe of

CLEANTHES

approach

nearer to the truth.

FINIS.

ftill

AUG4

PLEASE

CARDS OR

1979

DO NOT REMOVE

SLIPS

UNIVERSITY OF

FROM

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LIBRARY

BL

Hume, David

108
H8
1779

Dialogues concerning
natural religion 2d ed.