Transcription of LocHum,691[2]et692[1]et693[1]
— 691 —
Revelation cannot be admitted against the clear evidence of Reason.
      §5. In Propositions then, whose Certainty is built upon the clear
Perception of the Agreement, or Disagreement of our Ideas attained
either by immediate intuition, as in self-evident Propositions, or by
evident deductions of Reason, in demonstrations, we need not the
assistance of Revelation, as necessary to gain our Assent, and intro-
duce them into our Minds. Because the natural ways of Knowledge
could settle them there, or had done it already, which is the
greatest assurance we can possibly have of any thing, unless where
GOD immediately reveals it to us: And there too our Assurance
can be no greater, than our Knowledge is, that it is a Revelation
from GOD. But yet nothing, I think, can, under that Title, shake
or over-rule plain Knowledge; or rationally prevail with any Man,
to admit it for true, in a direct contradiction to the clear Evidence
of his own Understanding. For since no evidence of our Faculties, by
which we receive such Revelations, can exceed, if equal, the certainty
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of our intuitive Knowledge, we can never receive for a Truth
any thing, that is directly contrary to our clear and distinct Know-
ledge, v.g. The Ideas of one Body, and one Place, do so clearly agree;
and the Mind has so evident a Perception of their Agreement, that
we can never assent to a Proposition, that affirms the same Body to
be in two distant Places at once, however it should pretend to the
Authority of a divine Revelation: Since the Evidence, First, That we
deceive not our selves in ascribing it to GOD; Secondly, That we
understand it right, can never be so great, as the Evidence of our
own intuitive Knowledge, whereby we discern it impossible, for
the same Body to be in two Places at once. And therefore, no
Proposition can be received for Divine Revelation, or obtain the Assent
due to all such, if it be contradictory to our clear intuitive Knowledge.
Because this would be to subvert the Principles, and Foundations of
all Knowledge, Evidence, and Assent whatsoever: And there would
be left no difference between Truth and Falshood, no measures
of Credible and Incredible in the World, if doubtful Propositions
shall take place before self-evident; and what we certainly know,
give way to what we may possibly be mistaken in. In Propositions
therefore contrary to the clear Perception of the Agreement or
Disagreement of any of our Ideas, ’twill be in vain to urge them as
Matters of Faith. They cannot move our Assent under that, or any
other Title whatsoever. For Faith can never convince us of any
Thing, that contradicts our Knowledge. Because though Faith be
founded on the Testimony of GOD (who cannot lye) revealing any
Proposition to us: yet we cannot have an assurance of the Truth
of its being a divine Revelation, greater than our own Knowledge.
Since the whole strength of the Certainty depends upon our Know-
ledge, that GOD revealed it, which in this Case, where the Proposi-
tion supposed revealed contradicts our Knowledge or Reason, will
always have this Objection hanging to it, (viz.) that we cannot tell
how to conceive that to come from GOD, the bountiful Author of our
Being, which if received for true, must overturn all the Principles and
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Foundations of Knowledge he has given us; render all our Faculties
useless; wholly destroy the most excellent Part of his Workman-
ship, our Understandings; and put a Man in a Condition, wherein
he will have less Light, less Conduct than the Beast that perisheth.
For if the Mind of Man can never have a clearer (and, perhaps, not
so clear) Evidence of any thing to be a divine Revelation, as it has
of the Principles of its own Reason, it can never have a ground to
quit the clear Evidence of its Reason, to give place to a Proposition,
whose Revelation has not a greater Evidence, than those Principles
have.
Locke Hum IV, 18, §5, pp. 691-692-693