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Chapter XIX



Of Enthusiasm.

Love of Truth necessary.
      §1. He that would seriously set upon the search of Truth, ought
in the first Place to prepare his Mind with a Love of it. For he that
Loves it not, will not take much Pains to get it; nor be much concerned
when he misses it. There is no Body in the Commonwealth of
Learning, who does not profess himself a lover of Truth: and there
is not a rational Creature that would not take it amiss to be thought
otherwise of. And yet for all this one may truly say, there are very
few lovers of Truth for Truths sake, even amongst those, who
perswade themselves that they are so. How a Man may know
whether he be so in earnest is worth enquiry: And I think there is
this one unerring mark of it, viz. The not entertaining any Proposi-
tion with greater assurance than the Proofs it is built upon will
warrant. Whoever goes beyond this measure of Assent, ’tis plain
receives not Truth in the Love of it; loves not Truth for Truths
sake, but for some other bye end. For the evidence that any Proposi-
tion is true (except such as are self-evident) lying only in the Proofs
a Man has of it, whatsoever degrees of Assent he affords it beyond
the degrees of that Evidence, ’tis plain all that surplusage of assur-
ance is owing to some other Affection, and not to the Love of
Truth: It being as impossible, that the Love of Truth should carry
my Assent above the Evidence, that there is to me, that it is true, As
that the Love of Truth should make me assent to any Proposition,
for the sake of that Evidence, which it has not, that it is true: which
is in effect to Love it as a Truth, because it is possible or probable
that it may not be true. In any Truth that gets not possession of our
Minds by the irresistible Light of Self-evidence, or by the force of
Demonstration, the Arguments that gain it Assent, are the vouchers
and gage of its Probability to us; and we can receive it for no other
than such as they deliver it to our Understandings. Whatsoever
Credit or Authority we give to any Proposition more than it
receives from the Principles and Proofs it supports it self upon, is
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owing to our Inclinations that way, and is so far a Derogation from
the Love of Truth as such: which as it can receive no Evidence
from our Passions or Interests, so it should receive no Tincture
from them.
Locke Hum IV, 19, §1, pp. 697-698