— 45 —
Our Capacity suited to our State and Concerns.       §5. For though the Comprehension of our Understandings, comes
exceeding short of the vast Extent of Things; yet, we shall have
Cause enough to magnify the bountiful Author of our Being, for that
Portion and Degree of Knowledge, he has bestowed on us, so far
above all the rest of the Inhabitants of this our Mansion. Men have
Reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for
them, since he has given them (as St. Peter says,) πάντα πρὸς ζωὴν
καὶ εὐσέβειαν
, Whatsoever is necessary for the Conveniences of
Life, and Information of Vertue; 2 Pet.1: 3. and has put within the reach of
their Discovery the comfortable Provision for this Life and the Way
that leads to a better. How short soever their Knowledge may come
of an universal, or perfect Comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet
secures their great Concernments, that they have Light enough to
lead them to the Knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their
own Duties. Men may find Matter sufficient to busy their Heads,
and employ their Hands with Variety, Delight, and Satisfaction; if
they will not boldly quarrel with their own Constitution, and throw
away the Blessings their Hands are fill’d with, because they are not
big enough to grasp every thing. We shall not have much Reason to
complain of the narrowness of our Minds, if we will but employ
— 46 —
them about what may be of use to us; for of that they are very
capable: And it will be an unpardonable, as well as Childish
Peevishness, if we undervalue the Advantages of our Knowledge,
and neglect to improve it to the ends for which it was given us,
because there are some Things that are set out of the reach of it.
It will be no Excuse to an idle and untoward Servant, who would
not attend his Business by Candle-light, to plead that he had not
broad Sun-shine. The Candle, that is set up in us, shines bright
enough for all our Purposes. The Discoveries we can make with this,
ought to satisfy us: And we shall then use our Understandings
right, when we entertain all Objects in that Way and Proportion,
that they are suited to our Faculties; and upon those Grounds, they
are capable of being propos’d to us; and not peremptorily, or
intemperately require Demonstration, and demand Certainty, where
Probability only is to be had, and which is sufficient to govern all
our Concernments. If we will disbelieve every thing, because we
cannot certainly know all things; we shall do much-what as wisely
as he, who would not use his Legs, but sit still and perish, because
he had no Wings to fly.
Locke Hum I, 1, §5, pp. 45-46