... belief in Christianity is in itself better than unbelief; ... faith, though an intellectual action, is ethical in its origin; ... it is safer to believe; ... we must begin with believing; that as for the reasons of believing, they are for the most part implicit, and need be but slightly recognised by the mind that is under their influence; that they consist moreover rather of presumptions and ventures after the truth than of accurate and complete proofs; and that probable arguments, under the scrutiny and sanction of a prudent judgment, are sufficient for conclusions which we even embrace as most certain, and turn to the most important uses.
Antagonistic to this is the principle that doctrines are only so far to be considered true as they are logically demonstrated. This is the assertion of Locke, who says in defence of it,—"Whatever God hath revealed is certainly true; no doubt can be made of it. This is the proper object of Faith; but, whether it be a divine revelation or no, reason must judge." Now, if he merely means that proofs can be given for Revelation, and that Reason comes in logical order before Faith, such a doctrine is in no sense uncatholic; but he certainly holds that for an individual to act on Faith without proof, or to make Faith a personal principle of conduct for themselves, without waiting till they have got their reasons accurately drawn out and serviceable for controversy, is enthusiastic and absurd. "How a man may know whether he be [a lover of truth for truth's sake] is worth inquiry; and I think there is this one unerring mark of it, viz. the not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built upon, will warrant. Whoever goes beyond this measure of assent, it is plain, receives not truth in the love of it; loves not truth for truth's sake, but for some other by-end."
It does not seem to have struck him that our "by-end" may be the desire to please our Maker, and that the defect of scientific proof may be made up to our reason by our love of Him. It does not seem to have struck him that such a philosophy as his cut off from the possibility and the privilege of faith all but the educated few, all but the learned, the clear-headed, the men of practised intellects and balanced minds, men who had leisure, who had opportunities of consulting others, and kind and wise friends to whom they deferred. How could a religion ever be Catholic, if it was to be called credulity or enthusiasm in the multitude to use those ready instruments of belief, which alone Providence had put into their power? On such philosophy as this, were it generally received, no great work ever would have been done for God's glory and the welfare of man. The "enthusiasm" against which Locke writes may do much harm, and act at times absurdly; but calculation never made a hero. However, it is not to our present purpose to examine this theory, and I have done so elsewhere ... Here I have but to show the unanimity of Catholics, ancient as well as modern, in their absolute rejection of it.