— 710 —
Thirdly, want of Will to use them.
      §6. Thirdly, There are another sort of People that want Proofs, not
because they are out of their reach, but because they will not use them:
Who though they have Riches and Leisure enough, and want
neither Parts nor other helps, are yet never the better for them.
Their hot pursuit of pleasure, or constant drudgery in business
engages some Men’s thoughts elsewhere: Laziness and Oscitancy
in general, or a particular aversion for Books, Study, and Meditation
keep others from any serious thoughts at all: And some out of fear,
that an impartial enquiry would not favour those Opinions, which
best suit their Prejudices, Lives, and Designs, content themselves
without examination, to take upon trust, what they find conven-
ient, and in fashion. Thus most Men, even of those that might do
otherwise, pass their Lives without an acquaintance with, much
less a rational assent to Probabilities, they are concerned to know,
tho they lie so much within their view, that to be convinced of
them, they need but turn their Eyes that way. But we know some
Men will not read a Letter, which is supposed to bring ill news; and
many Men forbear to cast up their Accompts, or so much as think
upon their Estates, who have reason to fear their Affairs are in no
very good posture. How Men, whose plentiful Fortunes allow them
leisure to improve their Understandings, can satisfy themselves
with a lazy Ignorance, I cannot tell: But methinks they have a low
Opinion of their Souls, who lay out all their Incomes in Provisions
for the Body, and employ none of it to procure the Means and Helps
of Knowledge; who take great care to appear always in a neat and
splendid outside, and would think themselves miserable in coarse
Cloaths, or a patched Coat, and yet contentedly suffer their Minds
to appear abroad in a pie-bald Livery of coarse Patches, and
borrowed Shreds, such as it has pleased Chance, or their Country-
Tailor, (I mean the common Opinion of those they have conversed
with,) to cloath them in. I will not here mention how unreasonable
this is for Men that ever think of a future state, and their con-
cernment in it, which no rational Man can avoid to do sometimes:
nor shall I take notice what a shame and confusion it is, to the greatest
— 711 —
Contemners of Knowledge, to be found ignorant in Things they
are concerned to know. But this, at least, is worth the consideration
of those who call themselves Gentlemen, That however they may
think Credit, Respect, Power, and Authority the Concomitants of
their Birth and Fortune, yet they will find all these still carried
away from them, by Men of lower Condition who surpass them in
Knowledge. They who are blind, will always be led by those that
see, or else fall into the Ditch:Cf. Matt. 15: 14; Luke 6: 39 and he is certainly the most subjected,
the most enslaved, who is so in his Understanding. In the foregoing
instances, some of the Causes have been shewn of wrong Assent,
and how it comes to pass, that probable Doctrines are not always
received with an Assent proportionable to the Reasons, which are
to be had for their Probability: but hitherto we have considered
only such Probabilities, whose Proofs do exist, but do not appear
to him that embraces the Errour.
Locke Hum IV, 20, §6, pp. 710-711