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the evidence which we have that these events will happen, is only probable evidence. How do we arrive at this probability, which at length becomes so strong and satisfactory, that we repose, and justly too, entire and unlimited confidence in it? Surely by frequent and invariable experience of the established constitution and course of nature. On the first day Adam saw the sun rise and set, he would have no anticipation of its return; on the second, he would begin to anticipate it on the third, but yet with a slender degree of confidence; when he had frequently witnessed its diurnal progress, he would come to the conclusion, that it was the established order of nature that that luminary should rule the day. Thus it is from an invariable experience that reason deduces the inference, that the order of nature is established, and leads us from an observation of the past to anticipate the future, and place unshaken confidence in the permanence of nature's laws. The more frequent and complete our experience, the more satisfied does the mind become with the evidence, but in no case can it ever be made to amount to perfect certainty or to demonstrative proof. Here the weakness of human reason, and the extreme fallibility of the human mind conspicuously appear, since we are liable to endless errors, and in many respects must remain in the greatest uncertainty. The inhabitants of Lisbon or of the Caraccas in South America, reposed as entire confidence in that established order of nature, by which the earth was rendered firm and stable beneath their feet, but a few moments before it opened and swallowed them, as they had done for centuries before. We place confidence in the permanence of nature's laws from experience alone, and this confidence is the product of reason and good sense, exercising themselves about matters of this kind; but after the most complete and ample experience, we are able to arrive only at what is denominated moral proof, strong and satisfactory probability, but can never attain to entire certainty. There are no prin. eiples of science which enable us to determine with perfect certainty, that on the morrow, all the springs of the solar system may not be unloosed, that mighty cement which binds the planets together be dissolved, and the whole structure go to ruin. How absurd and even ridiculous, therefore, does it appear to talk of an inductive principle which instinctively communicates to us a prescience of the future, and antecedently to experience, induces us to repose confidence in the permanence of the order of nature?
Of the Inductive Method of Lord Bacon.
The question here arises in what consists the method of inquiry denominated induction proposed by its author, which has made so much noise, and given rise to so much dissertation in the modern school? Lord Verulam in a single sentence has comprised the substance of this mode of investigation. “ Duæ viæ, sunt,” says he, “atque esse possunt ad inquirendam et inveniendam veritatem; altera a sensu et particularibus advolat ad axiomata maximè generalia, atque ex iis principiis eorumque immota veritate judicat et invenit axiomata media, et hæc via in usu est; altera a sensu et particularibus excitat axiomata ascendendo continenter et gradatim, ut ultimo loco perveniatur ad maxime generalia; hæc via vera est, sed intentata.” The true way of philosophising according to him, is to attempt to draw no conclum sions, not grounded upon an ample induction of facts; and be scrupulously attentive that all the principles we venture to establish, be supported in the utmost extent by experiment and observation, “ Whatever is not deduced from the phenomena,” says Newton,“ is to be called an hypothesis; and hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy.” In this, therefore, lies the true secret of this new method of investigation, that our conclusions should always keep pace with our experience, which would seem to be as natural a mode of procedure to the understanding, as
that the farmer should expect to reap his harvest, only over that portion of the soil where, after due preparation of clearing, plowing, and harrowing, he has sown his seed. And yet natural and spontaneous as is this method of inquiry, when we set ourselves to the search and discovery of truth, there is no discipline to which the human mind submits with greater reluctance, and under the yoke of which it is prone to become more impatient and refractory. Who shall undergo the toilsome task of following the track of nature up the steep and craggy hill of science, where rocks and precipices are to be successively scaled, when by a single flight of genius, in the invention of a happy hypothesis, he may at once, in imagination, ascend to its top, and enjoy the prospects of fame and immortality presented to his view? Men of genius are above all others, the least inclined to en. dure this toil, although it is from them alone that any waluable accessions are to be anticipated to the stock of human learning, or to the dominion of man over nature. Hence it is, that after a slight and cursory contemplation of nature, the ingenuity of mankind is put upon the rack, out of the scanty materials they collect to invent hypothesis after hypothesis, which, after amusing their deluded votaries for a time, gradually sink into disrepute, have their deficiencies disclosed, and at length, like the baseless fabrics of a vision, vanish before the light of truth, and the lessons of experience.
Are we, then, it may be asked, to be prohibited from haz. arding any hypothesis or propounding any theory, until we have travelled over the whole compass of things, or if I may be indulged the expressions, circumnavigated the whole globe of nature in quest of facts; and would not so strict a regimen imposed upon our inquiries, from the natural imbecility of the human faculties, and the limited sphere to which our experience is inevitably circumscribed, put a stop at once to all philosophical pursuits, and preclude the possi