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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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"Knowledge being to be had only of visible certain truth, error is not a fault of our knowledge, but a mistake of our judgment, giving assent to that which is true (Locke, Essay on Human Underst. book 4, chapter 20). 'The true,' said Bossuet, after Augustine, 'is that which is, the false is that which is not.' To err is to fail of attaining to the true, which we do when we think that to be which is not, or think that not to be which is. Error is not in things themselves, but in the mind of him who errs, or judges not according to the truth. Our faculties, when employed within their proper sphere, are fitted to give us the knowledge of truth. We err by a wrong use of them. The causes of error are partly in objects of knowledge and partly in ourselves. As it is only the true and real which exists, it is only the true and real which can reveal itself. But it may not reveal itself fully, and man, mistaking a part for the whole, or partial evidence for complete evidence, falls into error. Hence it is that in all error there is some truth. To discover the relation which this partial truth bears on the whole truth is to discover the origin of the error. The causes in ourselves which lead to error arise from wrong views of our faculties and of the conditions under which they operate. Indolence, precipitation, passion, custom, authority, and education may also contribute to lead us into error (Bacon, Noevum Organum, lib. 1; Malebranche, Recherche de la Verite; Descartes, On Method; Locke, On Human Understand. book 6, c. 20)." Fleming, Vocabulary of Philosophy, pages 166-167.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Error'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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