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A Treatise of Human Nature

let him follow his inclination, and wait the returns of application and good humour. The
conduct of a man, who studies philosophy in this careless manner, is more truly sceptical
than that of one, who feeling in himself an inclination to it, is yet so overwhelmed with
doubts and scruples, as totally to reject it. A true sceptic will be diffident of his
philosophical doubts, as well as of his philosophical conviction; and will never refuse any
innocent satisfaction, which offers itself, upon account of either of them.
Nor is it only proper we should in general indulge our inclination in the most elaborate
philosophical researches, notwithstanding our sceptical principles, but also that we should
yield to that propensity, which inclines us to be positive and certain in particular points,
according to the light, in which we survey them in any particular instant. It is easier to
forbear all examination and enquiry, than to check ourselves in so natural a propensity,
and guard against that assurance, which always arises from an exact and full survey of an
object. On such an occasion we are apt not only to forget our scepticism, but even our
modesty too; and make use of such terms as these, it is evident, it is certain, it is
undeniable; which a due deference to the public ought, perhaps, to prevent. I may have
fallen into this fault after the example of others; but I here enter a caveat against any
Objections, which may be offered on that head; and declare that such expressions were
extorted from me by the present view of the object, and imply no dogmatical spirit, nor
conceited idea of my own judgment, which are sentiments that I am sensible can become
no body, and a sceptic still less than any other.
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