“We should be very curious in examining all propositions that pretend to this honor of being general principles; and we should not, without just evidence, admit into this rank mere matters of common fame, or commonly received opinions; no, nor the general determinations of the learned, or the established articles of any church or nation, etc.; for there are many learned presumptions, many synodical and national mistakes, many established falsehoods, as well as many vulgar errors, wherein multitudes of men have followed one another for whole ages almost blindfold. It is of great importance for every man to be careful that these general principles are just and true; for one error may lead us into thousands which will naturally follow, if once a leading falsehood be admitted.”
“These are some of the advantages which arise from the eighth rule, viz: Pursue every inquiry and study in proportion to its real value and importance.
Have a care lest some beloved notion, or some darling science, so far prevail over your mind as to give a sovereign tincture to all your other studies, and discolor all your ideas; like a person in the jaundice, who spreads a yellow scene with his eyes over all the objects which he meets. I have know a man of peculiar skill in music, and much devoted to that science, who found out a great resemblance of the Athanasian doctrine of the Trinity in every single note, and he thought it carried something of argument in it to prove that doctrine. I have read of another, who accommodated the seven days of the first week of creation to seven notes of music, and thus the whole creation became harmonious.”
These two paragraphs have so many applications; we can believe doctrinal issues that are in error and like the first paragraph, "that lead us into a thousand which will naturally follow", so in natural science, like evolution, one error can lead to the denial of God to some. Lately, this applied to me regarding a person, and applying error to misunderstanding them and finding a "jaundice tincture" coloring all conversation.
When I post things like this I don't mean we should question every thing we are taught, but after one has learned and become founded in a belief, this quote cautions us to not become settled and content to look no further. I am reminded how heretics were commonly killed by both Catholic and Protestants because of a blindness to fuller truth. The list of examples are endless, and who knows what each of us considers to be truth that may very well be error? Does this bring to mind any that have made the news lately?
Painting by Lord Frederick Leighton