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Of Historical TRUTH.
LISTORICAL Truth derived from 11 the Principle of Testimony, fo different in its nature from all others, and by a method of Reasoning which is peculiar to itself, differs from those, which have been the subject of our previous discussion, in its operation and effeEt upon the understanding.
However certain and convincing it may be, when possessed of its greatest strength, it is only indirect and secondary, amounting to the highest summit of PROBABILITY. And, as the Testimony, on which it depends, is in all cases particularly circumstanced and to be separately investigated, though all
Sight of the Thing under Consideration ; and forcing it upon some remote Difficulty, holds it fast there, intangled, perhaps, and as it weré mánacled in the Chain of Syllogisms, without allowing it the Liberty, much less affording it the Helps, requisite to fhew on which Side, all Things considered, is the greater Probability. Ibid. B. iv c. 17. §. 5.
HISTORICAL Truth be of the same fpecies, it will vary with these circumstances, with the fidelity and success of the investigation, and with the clearness or obscurity of the media through which it comes, almost from the verge of absolute Certainty, through all the degrees of Probability, down to the faintest shades of Uncertainty and Doubt. The Assent with which the mind embraces it, in all the degrees and shades which it asfumes, is called Belief, which is stronger or weaker in its impression, in proposition to itself.
As it is only an enlargement of Facts, and those other Truths that have been previoully considered, lengthened out and conveyed to us by Testimony, it may be ranked under the same common province. Being, however, more general in its operation, more frequent and familiar in its use, though inferior in force, it has, in common language, appropriated to itself the name of Truth as opposed to Falsehood; as the Testimony, on which it is founded, has that of Evidence.
But, however different and interior it may be, HISTORICAL TRUTH, is that on which the mind of man with a peculiar fatisfaction delights to dwell : and it hath pleased that gracious Providence, which benignly consults the dearest feelings of humanity in the promotion of our good, to make it of most interesting and important concern to us, and to hold out some of the principal lights, by which we are obliged, from the condition of our nature, to find our way through the present dark and mysterious scene of things, in which we are only allowed to walk as by the glimmering of a distant twylight, and only “ to see and to know in part.”
CH A P.
I EAVING the Theoretic Division of I this general Chart, we now enter upon the PRACTIC, which is under the government and direction of the Will, or Mind employed in Moral Action.
Aristotle has divided the whole field of knowledge into three grand provinces ; and the line of distinction which he has drawn as the general confine between that of the rational Theoretic Mind, and those both of the Practic and Poetic, is, that the first is
• Ascévoic AI PAKTIKH. See the 23d page of volume, Ou yräpois, na mpatis Wine
productive of necessary, and the other two of contingent, truths.
Thus Truth is the staple produce, and
and he descends to a more particular and
5 Υποκείσθω δύο τα λόγον έχοντα εν μέν και θεωρεμεν τα τοιαύτα των όντων, ών αι αρχαι ΜΗ ΕΝΔΕΧΟΝΤΑΙ ΑΛΛΩΣ ΕΧΕΙΝ, εν δέ γε ώ ΤΑ ΕΝΔΕΧΟΜΕΝΑ. And he farther distinguishes them by calling the first ΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΟΝΙΚΟΝ, and that of the other two ΛΟΓΙΣTIKON. Aristot. Eth. Nicom. lib. vi. cap. i.
Ορθώς δεν έχει και το καλέσαι την φιλοσοφίαν επισήμην της αληθείας: θεωρητικής μεν γαρ τέλG αλήθεια, πρακτικής δε έργον, και γαρ εαν το πως έχει, σκοπώσι, ου το αίτιον καθ' αυτό, αλλά προς τι, και νυν θεωρούσαν οι πρακτικοί. Αriftot. Metaph. lib. ii. cap. i.
Etiamsi A&tiva scientia etiam veritatem rerum agendarum considerat, tamen a Contemplativa duobus modis differt. Ρrimum enim Contemplativa veritaterm per fe confi
cidens considerat quatenus accidit rebus agendis, ut etiam cognosci queant et veritatem in sese habeant. Deinde Contemplativa scientia veritatem considerat sempiternam, quæ semper et omni tempore eft veritas : Activa autem veritatem confiderat fecundum relationem, et tempus præsens atque certum, relatione cæterarum circumstantiarum quæ. in actione considerandæ sunt, ubi aliquando quiddam verum et bonum effe potest, alio autem tempore verum et bonum propter circumstantias non eft. Joannes Ludov, Haven,