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If any one will take the trouble of rigidly pursuing the main principle of the first Essay to all its consequences, he will find them of a magnitude and importance of which he was originally perhaps little aware.

In venturing upon these remarks, the author would not be conceived as making any

undue claims to originality. Most of the principles, which he has advanced, have been repeatedly asserted, and have had an influence on mankind of which they themselves were probably unconscious. It often happens, that an important principle is vaguely apprehended, and incidentally expressed, long before it is reduced to a definite form, or fixed by regular proof: but while it floats in this state on the surface of men's understandings it is only of casual and limited utility; it is sometimes forgotten and sometimes abandoned, seldom pursued to its consequences, and frequently de

nied in its modifications. It is only after it has been clearly established by an indisputable process of reasoning, explored in its bearings, and exhibited in all its force, that it becomes of uniform and essential service; it is only then that it can be decisively appealed to both in controversy and in practice, and that it exerts the whole extent of its influence on private manners and public institutions.




Will .....

Page Section 1. On the Terms Belief, Assent, and Opi

II. On the Independence of Belief on the

7 III. On the Opinions of Locke and some other Writers on this subject...........

17 IV. On the Circumstances which have led men

to regard Belief as voluntary ........... 25 V. On the Sources of Differences of Opinion. 35 VI. The same Subject continued. Sources of

Differences of Opinion in the Feelings
and Passions of Mankind........

49 VII. On Belief and Opinions as Objects of

Moral Approbation and Disapproba

tion, Rewards and Punishments.......... 63 VIII. On the Evil Consequences of the Common Errors on this Subject ....

73 b

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