We have seen that there are certain intuitive truths, the belief of
which is implanted as a part of our mental constitution, and that there
is a _test_ by which we can distinguish them from all other kinds of

We have seen, also, that we are dependent on these truths for a large
portion of our acquired knowledge, inasmuch as they are the basis of
_reasoning_, which is that process by which we gain new truths by the
aid of those already believed.

It has been intimated, also, that it is chiefly by the aid of these
principles that a harmonious system of truth is to be anticipated, in
which all minds will eventually agree, at least in all great questions
involving the eternal interests of our race.

We will now proceed in an inquiry as to what are _the sources of human
knowledge_ in addition to these first implanted truths.

In the first place, then, we have our own personal experience of the
nature and action of our own minds, and of the qualities and powers of
the persons and things around us. Next we have the experience of other
minds as to their own mental history and the properties and powers of
all that has surrounded them. This knowledge is communicated by them to
us either directly by word of mouth, or indirectly by writings and

The experience of a single mind is very limited both as to space and
time, and it is only by the united experience of many persons, in
different periods and places, that we arrive at what are called the laws
of nature and experience. The laws of day and night, summer and winter,
the tides, and all the other phenomena of nature, are simply a uniform
succession and regularity of events, from which men infer a future
regularity of the same experience. Much of this knowledge of past
uniformity is transmitted from others to us, and rests on our confidence
in human testimony, and it has been shown that this confidence is based
on one of the intuitive truths.

Next, we have the knowledge gained by the process of reasoning, and for
this we are dependent on the intuitive truths which are the foundation
of all reliable deductions.

Lastly, we have the resource of _revelations_ from the Creator of all,
who can communicate to us knowledge that we can not gain either by
intuition, or experience, or reasoning.

In regard to the kinds of knowledge to be gained from each of these
sources, it is clear that the experience of ourselves and others
furnishes us with nothing but facts, as it regards matter and mind, as
they are developed in _this_ world only. As it respects the Creator, his
character and designs, the immortality of the soul, and the future
destiny of our race, we gain nothing by our own personal observation or
experience. “No man hath seen God at any time.” No one has gone to “the
silent land” to learn by inspection the secrets of that dim shore, or
the destiny of the soul when it passes from earth.

Neither have we any resource in the experience of others who can go to
the invisible world and transmit to us the knowledge there gained. There
is not a man upon earth that can furnish any reliable information on
these subjects from any personal knowledge.

It becomes, then, a most interesting inquiry as to the amount and kind
of knowledge to be gained by means of the intuitive truths, experience,
and reasoning, independently of revelation. In what follows this inquiry
will be pursued.