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we believe, and that by one of the first intellectual tacticians of his time, as an engine against the celebrated Effay on Miracles by Hume. It ftrikes us, however, not only that it does in no respect bear on the conteft, but that it can hardly, without fome degree of absurdity, be eren brought into the field. The instinctire feeling of belief is, by the warmest advocates of its existence, admitted to be originally indiscriminate and extravagant; to be a safe guide only during the immaturity of reason, and, after tha: period, to be neceflarily subjected to the perpetual discipline of experience. But if this feeling was born blind,-if nature has entrufted it to the charge of experience,-and if experience be the only measure of the conformity of its decifions with the actual state of things; on what principle, or by virtue of what right, a according to what rule of procedure, it may afterwards challenge the authority of its instructress, it is not very easy to discover.
If any one propofition be clearer than another, it is this,chat, whatever be our instinctive prepoffeffions, experience alone can Atrike the juft balance between the faith and the veracity of maskind. This, in fact, amounts only to the simple truism, that saking the average of all paft times, testimony has been true for: times out of five, its truth in all future times may be computer at the ratio of four to one. Of this theorem, the reverse can be maintained only on the assumption, that human experience on the subject has hitherto been insufficient, and therefore thould be cosuited with jealousy. Not to dispute the truth of this sentimenzwhich, howeves, lays the axe at the root of all experimental phi losophy, by subverting our confidence in observation, let its corsequences at least be weigbed. If the mass of human experience on the fubject of teftimony be insufficient, then, Gince the whole effe& of experience is to reduce our inftinctive and implicit bele in testimony, the effect of its insufficiency must be, that we are still too credulous. All that we begin with is belief; all that få lows must be reduction; and if the process has not been traced far enough, we have only reduced too little. After all, there seen a fundamental absurdity in the plan of addressing the reason of maskind in favour of an instinctive feeling
Waring indeed the circumstance, that Hume, in the eflay allus ed to, represents the question as a conflict between our experience as to teßimony, and our experience as to the course of nature, thus totally forgetting that an immense part of our knowledge at the course of nature, is drawn from testimony alone ;- in all other respects, his statement of the grounds of dispute itrikes us as a curately corre&t. That whenever the occurrence of an unul event is strongly attefted, there is, and sught to be in our mind 'a conteft of opposite probabilities,' is surely not to be contra