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LET. “ formed elements which every where IV. “ surround this universe, and imme.
“ diately sprouts up into a new sys“ tem.”*
Tim. Vastly ingenious! and really, upon the whole, not improbable ! But pry'thee Tom, if you are not in too great a hurry to be made a Christian, do stop for half an hour, and instruct me a little farther in this New Week’s Preparation of Mr. H. For the specimen you have given ine is so exquisite, that it perfectly makes my mouth to water for more. What is the plan of these famous Dialogues con. cerning Natural Religion?
Com. You shall have it in few wordsOnce upon a time, then, there was a promising young man, whose name was Pamphilus. He was * Dialogues, P, 132.
brought up by a philosopher called 'LET. Cleanthes. Philo, a brother philoso- JV.. pher, came to spend some days with Cleanthes. The Dialogues are supposed to contain the substance of a conversation which passed between thefe personages, by way, among other things, of preparing young Pamphilus, in a proper manner, for the reception of the Gospel, by first
making him a thorough sceptic. Pam· philus, who, as a hearer only, was to
learn and be wise, relates this conversation, in a letter to his friend Hermippus. There is a third speaker in the Dialogues, styled Demea, one of your old fashioned orthodox gentry, who both firmly believes the existence of a Deity, and is rather dirposed to speak well than ill of his Maker. But the two philosophers so
LET. astonish and discompose him, draw
him into so many ambuscades, and raise fo thick a metaphysical duft around him, that at the close of the with Dialogue, the old gentleman is glad to take a French leave, and vanishes fo very suddenly, that whether he went out at the door, or the window, or up the chimney, no body knows to this hour. It would do your heart good to see the fun they make with him.
Tim. Before you go any farther, let me just ask you one question. Pray do you act upon this principle of phi. losophical scepticism in common life?
Tom. O, by no means. If we did, we should walk into a horsepond, or run our heads against a wall, and the boys would laugh at us. No, no, “to whatever length any one may
“ push his speculative principles of let. “ scepticism, he must act, and live, " and converse, like other men ; and “ for this conduct he is not obliged “ to give any other reason, than the “ absolute necessity he lies under of “ so doing.” *
Tim. I think it would be hard upon him if he were obliged to give any other reason; for absolute necessity is an exceeding good one. But what, then, is it you are all about, spending your pains in constructing a system, which you are neceflitated to contradict and protest against, every time you go down a ladder, or get over a style. Surely you ought to be set in a corner, with fools caps upon your heads, like the misses at a boarding school. In the name of common sense, what can you mean? * Dialogues, P. 24.
TOM. - It is an amusement- “ If “a person carries his speculations “ farther than this necessity constrains “ him, and philofophizes either on “ natural or moral subjects, he is al“ lured by a certain pleasure and sa“ tisfaction which he finds in employ“ing himself after that manner." *
Tim. Suppose he were to play at push-pin, or span-farthing, would it not be more to the purpose ? And then he would not disturb his neighbours. But that man's heart must be as wrong as his head, who can “ find " a certain pleasure and satisfaction” in endeavouring to persuade his fellow rationals, that they are without God in the world. However, if amusement be the word, let us believers have some too. If philosophers will * Dialogues, P. 24.