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on in their sins, shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
It is manifest now, that there is no transition from one of these senses to the other without a sophism. And, for example, it is evident that they would argue very ill that should hope for heaven, while they persevere in their sins, because Christ came to save sinners; and because he says, that wicked women should precede the pharisees in the kingdom of heaven; seeing that he did not come to save sinners abiding in their sins, but to teach and admonish them to forsake their sins.
To pass from what is true in some respect, to what is
simply true. This is called in the schools, à dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter. And the Epicureans fall into this sophism, when they would prove that the gods had human shape because there is no form so lovely as that, and because all that is lovely ought to be in God. For human form is not absolutely beautiful, but only in respect of other bodies; and so being a perfection only secundum quid, or in some respect, and not simply, it does not follow that it ought to be in God because all perfections are in God, there being no perfections but what are simply so; that is, which exclude all manner of imperfection that can be ascribed to God.
We find also, in Cicero, lib. iii. De Natura Deorum, a ridiculous argument of Cotta against the existence of God, which may be reduced to this sophism : “How," says he, “can we conceive of God, when we can attribute no virtue to him.? for shall we say that he has prudence? prudence consists in the choice of good and evil: now God can have no need of this choice, not being capable of any evil. Shall we say that he has understanding and reason? we make use of under, standing and reason to discover what is unknown to us, by what we know; now there can be nothing una known to God. Nor can justice be in God, which
only relates to human society; nor temperance, because he has no pleasures to govern; nor fortitude, for that pain never oppresses God, nor labour wearies him ; and, besides, he is exposed to no danger. How, then, can that be God which has neither understanding nor virtue ?"
Nothing can be conceived more impertinent than this manner of arguing. For thus might any countryman discourse, who, never having seen any other than thatched houses, and having heard that in cities there are no houses covered with thatch, should thence conclude that there are no houses in cities, and that they who live in cities are miserably exposed to all the injuries of the weather. For thus Cotta, or rather Cicero argues.
There can be no virtues in God like to those which are in men; therefore, there can be no virtue in God. And what is more wonderful, is this; that he concludes that there is no virtue in God, only because the imperfections of human virtue cannot be in God. So that it is one of his proofs that God wants understanding and knowledge, that all things are known to him. And that God sees nothing, because he sees all things; that he is powerless because he is omnipotent; and that he enjoys nothing of happiness, because he enjoys all felicity.
To abuse the ambiguity of words because it may be done
To this sort of sophisms may be referred all syllogisms that are vicious, whether it be that the middle term is taken in one sense in the first proposition, and in another sense in the second, or whether the terms of the conclusion be not taken in the same sense as they are in the premises. For ambiguity is not restrained to the words which are grossly equivocal, for they rarely fail; but extends to whatever can change the sense of words, especially when men are not easily aware of the change, in regard that divers things being signified by the same sound, they take them for the same thing. The remedy against which confusion of ambiguous
words is, to define them so clearly that no man can be deceived.
I shall therefore produce some examples of this ambiguity that many times deceives men of ripe apprehensions. Such is that which is found in words that signify some whole, which may be taken either colJectively or distributively; thus ought the sophism of the stoics to be resolved, who argued that the world was an animal endued with reason.
For that which has the use of reason is better than that which has not.
Now there is nothing, say they, better than the world.
Therefore the world hath the use of reason.
The minor of this argument is false; because they attribute to the world, what can only be ascribed to God, who is that Being, than whom there is nothing better, nor more perfect. But if it be spoken of created things only, nothing can be more perfect than the world, if it be collectively taken for the universe. But bence it can only be inferred, that the world is endued with reason, in some of its parts, as angels and men; but conjunctively it cannot be said to be a rational animal.
It would also be a bad way of arguing to say, that a man thinks, and a man is composed of soul and body, therefore the soul and body think. For it is suffcient to say that a man thinks, when only one part of him thinks; from whence it no way follows that the other part thinks.
(Continued from vol. ii. p. 45.) TURNING my eyes on my black attendant, I could not avoid starting at the wildness of his countenance. Had he appeared before me at our first interview with such distorted angry features, far from having associated with, I would have fled from him, as from the serpent's hiding-place. Reader! have you any idea of the ter
rific and vivid flashes darting from the eyes of the queen of the wilderness when her young are threatened by the bold hunter? Have you ever witnessed the bull.dog furiously rushing on his fierce assailant? Can you represent to yourself ferocity personified? If not you cannot trace to your mind's eye the faithful, and I may add, the frightful, picture exhibited by Domingo. Fearing that the least delay might be attended with fatal consequences, I hastened to go out, and without a certain degree of violence that I could remove the black from a scene which seemed to have concentrated all at once the whole of his most energetic faculties into that single one-fury.
I was well aware that any explanation would have been then out of its place; and in order to give the poor fellow time to recover from the storm that raged in his mind, I conversed for a time with my young friend, from whom, on inquiry, I learned the cause of that flogging we had so very nearly witnessed. He told me that one had torn a leaf of his grammar; another had negligently written his copy; a little bullet of paper intended by the third for a boy opposite, had unluckily hit the master; a fourth had mimicked the stammering of the head usher; the fifth had been caught playing at marbles during the school hour; and the last had endeavoured by a lie to avoid punishment of an offence he had committed. I dismissed my young friend, and left the school-yard. Observing that the most violent emotion, by which Domingo's mind had been so vehemently agitated, had in a great measure subsided, I began with him the following colloquy.
Self. Well, friend! you do not seem to be very highly pleased with our late visits.
Domingo. Massa! me run away as fast as my legs can carry me. This a country of liberty! this a country of christians! this a country that is so vociferous against the inhumanity of the white men abroad against negro slaves! Me have lived many years in Jamaica, Guadaloupe, and other islands; me have served several masters; me have seen a great deal in those islands, but me can take my oath that I never witnessed such an horrible abuse of authority and such unnatural cruelty. Out of the numerous lashes distributed amongst my sable brethren there may be a few that are to be placed to the account of whim, caprice, or barbarity ; but most of these lashes are justly inflicted on idleness and other real vices. Their number, it is true, transgress sometimes the bounds of mercy, but negro man has sufficient strength, and fortitude too, to bear them. Negro slave besides is aware of that which he has to expect when swerving from his duty: he has, or ought to have, sense enough to submit to his situation, and to endeavour to render it as comfortable as it may be. But a child is naturally heedless and giddy; he has not yet the full enjoyment of his rea. son; bis judgment is not yet matured by experience; his ignorance ought to be his excuse, his weakness his shield. A single smile of infantine innocence, a single pearly tear moistening the rosy cheeks of the little cherub, would suddenly appease the most violent emotion of my soul.
Had I not interrupted him, he would undoubtedly have gone on much longer in that strain, and given further vent to his feelings that seemed sorely wounded.
Self. But, my good fellow, granting that which you alledge in favour of children, Don't you think that it behoves parents and others intrusted with the education of youth, to correct them when they depart from those rules, or deviate from those principles so essential to the welfare of the society of which they are to become members? Don't you admit that if correction be necessary to inculcate in their young minds those ideas of propriety, of morality, and of religion, those rudiments of learning which will enable them to become useful to that society, and pave the way to their future fame, power, riches, and thereby insure their future welfare; don't you think, if, by means of timely and efficient correction, we can attain those most desirable ends, that correction is not only alJowable, but even a duty incumbent on parents and masters?
Dom. If correction were the only means of obtaining those ends, which by the bye are not yet proved to be the sole foundation of human happiness, I might