1. On the first publication of this volume, a Correspondent did me the favour of marking for me a list of passages in Chillingworth’s celebrated work, besides that which I had myself quoted, in which the argument was more or less brought forward, on which I have animadverted in ch. vii. § 2, p. 226. He did this with the purpose of showing, that Chillingworth’s meaning, when carefully inquired into, would be found to be in substantial agreement with the distinction I had myself made between infallibility and certitude; those inaccuracies of language into which he fell, being necessarily involved in the argumentum ad hominem, which he was urging upon his opponent, or being the accidental result of the peculiar character of his intellect, which, while full of ideas, was wanting in the calmness and caution which are conspicuous in Bishop Butler. Others more familiar with Chillingworth than I am must decide on this point; but I can have no indisposition to accept an explanation, which deprives controversialists of this day of the authority of a vigorous and acute mind in their use of an argument, which is certainly founded on a great confusion of thought.
I subjoin the references with which my Correspondent has supplied me:—
(1.) Passages tending to show an agreement of Chillingworth’s opinion on the distinction between certitude and infallibility with that laid down in the foregoing essay:—
1. “Religion of Protestants,” ch. ii. § 121 (vol. i. p. 243, Oxf. ed. 1838), “For may not a private man,” &c.
2. Ibid. § 152 (p. 265). The last sentence, however, after “when they thought they dreamt,” is a fall into the error which he had been exposing.
3. Ibid. § 160 (p. 275).
4. Ch. iii. § 26 (p. 332), “Neither is your argument,” &c.
5. Ibid. § 36 (p. 346).
6. Ibid. § 50 (p. 363), “That Abraham,” &c.
7. Ch. v. § 63 (vol ii. p. 215).
8. Ibid. § 107 (p. 265).
9. Ch vii. § 13 (p. 452). Vide also vol. i. pp. 115, 121, 196, 236, 242, 411.
(2.) Passages inconsistent with the above:—
1. Ch. ii. § 25 (vol. i. p. 177). An argumentum ad hominem.
2. Ibid. § 28 (p. 180).
3. Ibid. § 45 (p. 189). An argumentum ad hominem.
4. Ibid. § 149 (p. 263). An argumentum ad hominem.
5. Ibid. § 154 (p. 267). Quoted in the text, p. 226.
6. Ch. v. § 45 (vol. ii. p. 391). He is arguing on his opponent’s principles.
2. Also, I have to express my obligation to another Correspondent, who called my attention to a passage of Hooker (“Eccles. Pol.” ii. 7) beginning “An earnest desire,” &c., which seemed to anticipate the doctrine of Locke about certitude. It is so difficult to be sure of the meaning of a writer whose style is so foreign to that of our own times, that I am shy of attempting to turn this passage into categorical statements. Else, I should ask, does not Hooker here assume the absolute certainty of the inspiration and divine authority of Scripture, and believe its teaching as the very truth unconditionally and without any admixture of doubt? Yet what had he but probable evidence as a warrant for such a view of it? Again, did he receive the Athanasian Creed on any logical demonstration that its articles were in Scripture? Yet he felt himself able without any misgiving to say aloud in the congregation, “Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” In truth it is the happy inconsistency of his school to be more orthodox in their conclusions than in their premisses; to be sceptics in their paper theories, and believers in their own persons.
3. Also, a friend sends me word, as regards the controversy on the various readings of Shakespeare to which I have referred (supra, ch. viii. §1, p. 271) in illustration of the shortcomings of Formal Inference, that, since the date of the article in the magazine, of which I have there availed myself, the verdict of critics has been unfavourable to the authority and value of the Annotated Copy, discovered twenty years ago. I may add, that, since my first edition, I have had the pleasure of reading Dr. Ingleby’s interesting dissertation on the “Traces of the Authorship of the Works attributed to Shakespeare.”