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hostile to the interests of both. While freedom of discussion was thus restrained, the faculties of the human mind were benumbed, and truth and falshood were confounded together. Crude speculations were ushered into the world, with the authority of truths; and riot only was scepticism propagated by means of the promulgation of opinions, nurtured in ignorance, but encreased from that propensity which the mind has, when newly freed from restrictions, to rush from one extreme to another.

*' From the nature of our constitution >{whose spirit is toleration) and from the freedom of our religion from superstition, scepticism has made liule progress here, in comparison of what it has done upon the Continent. There its triumph has been in proportion to the blind obedience exacted to the national superstition, to which men of sense and observation could not, contrary 10 the dictates of their reason, subscribe; and from that propensity of the human mind, which I have just mentioned, these formed systems for themselves, as distant from the truth, as the doctrines of the high priests of the country were from the pure pre\cepts of Christianity.

"The only species of sceptics that abound in this kingdom, are not- thinking, but may be called talking sceptics. These are men of shallow understandings, and cold hearts; who feeling their incapacity to attract attention, by going on in the ordinary path, endeavour to gain it by stating opinions which may astonish their hearers- and acquire them some degree of applause, for their ingenuity and Jx>ldnese. It may, indeed, be observed of this class, that they take special care never to utter their oracles before those that are capable of entering into arguments with them, though they deliver themselves- with dogmatical assurance before the ignorant and illiterate.

"But let not my noble friend imagine from this account of scepticism, or from his own penetrating observation on the conduct of the gentlemen at ArdentHall, that metaphysical enquiry is without its use. Such enquiry expands the powers of the human mind, enlarges the understanding, and, by placing the science of morals on a true foundation, tends to encrease the happiness of society.

"Would its professors pursue the same plan of investigation that has been so successfully adopted by natural philosophers, that of first making themselves well acquainted with facts, and thoroughly investigating them, before they draw conclusions, they would perceive the necessity of allowinj» first principles, which are so self-evident as not to admit of any direct proof. Indeed, I do not hesitate to assert, that almost all the errors of metaphysicians have arisen from their neglect of natural philosophy.—The extreme accuracy, and exact precision, that is requisite in the investigation of the phenomena of the material woild, would induce like habits of reasoning in regard to that of the mental: while that Colossus of Scepticism, I mean Atheism, wculd by acquaintance with the works of Nature, be utterly annihilated.

'.' I have endeavoured to explain myself to my noble friend as clearly as possible on the subject of his letter; and shall only add, that true philosophy is never the companion of arrogance and vanity. While it investigates with assiduity, and pronounces with diffidence; they assert with boldness and give the crude conjectures of fancy, for the found deductions of truth.

"The natural turn of my mind, and still more the object which have for the greatest part of my life occupied my attention, have effectually precluded me from sceptical opinions, and rendered me callous to the sophistry of their promoters—but it has always appeared to me,

Vol. II. H

that where freedom of discussion is permitted, there scepticism" and infidelity will be but little known."

Such, Maandaara, are the opinions ofthe natural philosopher. The Philosophers at Ardent-Hall declare, that it is a pity so good a man should have so many odd prejudices. I confess, that, to me, who have been accustomed to behold with reverence, the self-inflicted torture of holy men—the noble enthusiasm of the worshippers of System is object of more veneration. It is tiue, these philosophers hold it not necessary to mortify the body, or to bring the irregular passions under subjection. But what is the severest penance of the most pious Yogee, compared to the utter dereliction of eternal happiness? By hope, a man is supported through many sorrows, but, on the shrine of his Idol, the philosophic Sannassee, makes a voluntary sacrifice of even Hope itself.—On the system that he worships, his thoughts for ever dwell, on it, his tongue for ever runs: and while it exclusively occupies every avenue to his foul, he, with a superlative degree of modesty, bestows the epithet of prejudiced etithustaji, on the votary of Christianity. How amiable is this condescension!

Shall I confess to my fiiend—that to my weak mind, the enlightening conversation of the philosophers had become so tiresome, as to render the arrival of Lady Grey, and her blooming party, a considerable relief to my wearied spirits? Till then, I was destitute of all resource: Miss Ardent, being too fond of disputing with the philosophers, and too much engaged by them to attend to me; and her ladyship so entirely engiossed by her darling boy, as to be incapable of attending to asly other object. This boy. is suffered to become so troublesome, that it entirely eradicates that benevolent complacency which one is accustomed to feel at the fight of infant innocence. His parents behold the capriciouihess of his desires increase with gratification, and the irrascibility of his temper receives fuel from satiety: yet do they continue to pamper the over-pampered appetite, and to indulge each caprice of the wayward fancy, in full expectation, that in the age of reason, he will be able to exercise the virtue of sels-controul!—Yes, Maandaara, when, from the pressure of existing circumflances, sparrows are taught to make honey, then shall the passions, which have been fanned into a flame by the breath of indulgence, listen to the voice of moderation!

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