The Works of John Locke, Vol. 1

An Essay concerning Human Understanding
Part 1 - 1689

 

Table of Contents

 

Page

·          CONTENTS of the NINE VOLUMES
 
 
·          CONTENTS of this VOLUME
 
 
·          PREFACE by the EDITOR
 
 
·          The LIFE OF THE AUTHOR
 
 
·          AN ESSAY concerning HUMAN UNDERSTANDING. IN   FOUR BOOKS
 
 
·          To the right honourable THOMAS, Earl of   Pembroke and Montgomery
 
 
·          THE EPISTLE to the READER
 
 
·          The CONTENTS
 
 
·          Of HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
 
 





 

CONTENTS of the NINE VOLUMES

VOLUME I

PAGE

·       Preface to the Works
 
12
 
·       Life of the Author
 
21
 
·       An Analysis of Mr. Locke’s Doctrine of Ideas
 
54
 
·       An Essay concerning Human Understanding; to the End   of Book III, Chapter VI
 
55
 


VOLUME II

PAGE

·       An Essay concerning Human Understanding; Book III,   Chapter VII to the end of Chapter IV, Book IV
 

 
·       An Essay concerning Human Understanding; Concluded
 

 
·       Defense of Mr. Locke’s Opinion Concerning Personal   Identity
 

 
·       Of the Conduct of the Understanding
 

 
·       Some Thoughts Concerning Reading and Study for a   Gentleman
 

 
·       Elements of Natural Philosophy
 

 
·       A New Method of a Common-Place-Book; Written   Originally in French and Translated into English
 

 


 

VOLUME III

PAGE

·       A LETTER to the Right Rev. Edward Lord Bishop of   Worcester, Concerning Some Passages Relating to Mr. Locke’s Essay of Human   Understanding, in a Late Discourse of his Lordship’s in Vindication of the   Trinity
 

 
·       Mr. Locke’s Reply to the Bishop of Worcester’s   Answer to his Letter
 

 
·       An Answer to Remarks upon an Essay concerning Human   Understanding
 

 
·       Mr. Locke’s Reply to the Bishop of Worcester’s   Answer to his second Letter
 

 


VOLUME IV

PAGE

·       SOME Considerations of the Consequences of lowering   the Interest, and raising the Value of Money. In a Letter Sent to a Member of   Parliament, in the Year 1691
 

 
·       Short Observations on a printed Paper, entitled, for   encouraging the coining Silver Money in England, and after, for keeping it   here
 

 
·       Further Considerations concerning raising the Value   of Money; Wherein Mr. Lowndes’s   Arguments for it, in his late Report concerning an Essay for the Amendment of   the Silver Coin, are particularly examined
 

 
·       Two Treatises of Government:

o     In the former,   the false Principles and Foundation of Si Robert Filmer, and his Followers,   are detected and overthrown;

o     The latter is   an Essay concerning the true Original, Extent, and End of Civil Government
 

 


 

VOLUME V

PAGE

·       A LETTER concerning Toleration, being a Translation   of the Epistola de Tolerantia
 

 
·       A second Letter concerning Toleration
 

 
·       A third Letter for Toleration: To the Author of the   third Letter concerning Toleration
 

 
·       A fourth Letter for Toleration
 

 


VOLUME VI

PAGE

·       THE Reasonableness of Christianity, as delivered in   the Scriptures
 

 
·       A Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity,   from Mr. Edwards's Reflections
 

 
·       A second Vindication of the Reasonableness of   Christianity
 

 


 

VOLUME VII

PAGE

·       A PARAPHRASE and Notes on the Epistles of St. Paul   to the Galatians, I and II Corinthians, Romans, and Ephesians. To which is prefixed an Essay for the   Understanding of St. Paul's Epistles, by consulting St. Paul himself
 

 


VOLUME VIII

PAGE

·       SOME Thoughts concerning Education
 

 
·       An Examination of P. Malebranche's Opinion of seeing   all Things in God
 

 
·       A Discourse in Miracles
 

 
·       Memoirs relating to the Life of Anthony, first Earl   of Shaftesbury
 

 
·       Some familiar Letters between Mr. Locke, and several   of his Friends
 

 


VOLUME IX

PAGE

·       CONTINUATION of familiar Letters between Mr. Locke,   and several of his Friends
 

 
·       The Dedication prefixed to “a Collection of several   Pieces of Mr. John Locke, published by Mr. Des Maizeuux.”
 

 
·       The Character of Mr. Locke, by Mr. Peter Coste: With   a Letter relating to that Character, and to the Author of it
 

 
·       The fundamental Constitutions of Carolina
 

 
·       A Letter from a Person of Quality to his Friend in   the Country; giving an Account of the Debates and Resolutions of the House of   Lords, in April and May, 1675, concerning a Bill, entitled, “An Act to   prevent the Dangers which may arise from Persons disaffected to the   Government.”
 

 
·       Remarks upon some of Mr. Norris’s Books, wherein he asserts P. Malebranche’s Opinion of seeing all Things in God
 

 
·       A Letter to Mr. Oldenburg, Secretary to the Royal   Society
 

 
·       Letters to Anthony Collins, Esq.
 

 
·       A Letter to the Reverend Richard King
 

 
·       A Letter to *** on Dr. Pococke
 

 
·       Letters to the Reverend Richard King
 

 
·       Rules of a Society, which met once a Week, for their   Improvement in useful Knowledge, and for the Promoting of Truth and Christian   Charity
 

 
·       Letters to Mrs. Cockburn
 

 
·       Letter to Mr. Bold
 

 
·       Letter to Mr. Clarke
 

 
·       Letter from Lord Shaftesbury to Bishop Fell
 

 
·       Letter from Sir Peter King to the third Earl of   Shaftesbury
 

 
·       Observations upon the Growth and Culture of Vines   and Olives: The Production of Silk: The Preservation of Fruits. Written at   the Request of the Earl of Shaftesbury; to whom they are inscribed
 

 
·       A History of Navigation from its Original to the   Year 1704
 

 
·       A Catalogue and Character of most Books of Voyages   and Travels
 

 





CONTENTS of this VOLUME

CHAPTER

BOOK I

PAGE

I
 
Introduction
 
55
 
II
 
No Innate Principles in the Mind
 
58
 
III
 
No Innate Practical Principles
 
68
 
IV
 
Other Considerations concerning Innate Principles,   both Speculative and Practical
 
79
 


CHAPTER

BOOK II

PAGE

I
 
Of Ideas in general, and their Original
 
89
 
II
 
Of Simple Ideas
 
97
 
III
 
Of Ideas of one Sense
 
99
 
IV
 
Of Solidity
 
101
 
V
 
Of Simple Ideas of divers Senses
 
104
 
VI
 
Of Simple Ideas of Reflection
 
105
 
VII
 
Of Simple Ideas of both Sensation and Reflection
 
106
 
VIII
 
Some farther Considerations concerning our Simple   Ideas
 
109
 
IX
 
Of Perception
 
116
 
X
 
Of Retention
 
120
 
XI
 
Of Discerning, and other Operations of the Mind
 
124
 
XII
 
Of Complex Ideas
 
129
 
XIII
 
Of Simple Modes, and first of the Simple Modes of   Space
 
132
 
XIV
 
Of Duration, and its simple Modes
 
141
 
XV
 
Of Duration and Expansion, considered together
 
150
 
XVI
 
Of Number
 
155
 
XVII
 
Of Infinity
 
158
 
XVIII
 
Of other Simple Modes
 
166
 
XIX
 
Of the Modes of Thinking
 
168
 
XX
 
Of Modes of Pleasure and Pain
 
170
 
XXI
 
Of Power
 
173
 
XXII
 
Of mixed Modes
 
200
 
XXIII
 
Of our complex Ideas of Substances
 
205
 
XXIV
 
Of collective Ideas of Substances
 
218
 
XXV
 
Of Relation
 
219
 
XXVI
 
Of Cause and Effect, and other Relations
 
223
 
XXVII
 
Of Identity and Diversity
 
226
 
XXVIII
 
Of other Relations
 
238
 
XXIX
 
Of Clear and Obscure, Distinct and Confused Ideas
 
245
 
XXX
 
Of Real and Fantastical Ideas
 
251
 
XXXI
 
Of Adequate and Inadequate Ideas
 
253
 
XXXII
 
Of true and false Ideas
 
259
 
XXXIII
 
Of the Association of Ideas
 
266
 


 

CHAPTER

BOOK III

PAGE

I
 
Of Words or Language in general
 
271
 
II
 
Of the Signification of Words
 
273
 
III
 
Of General Terms
 
276
 
IV
 
Of the Names of Simple Ideas
 
283
 
V
 
Of the Names of mixed Modes and Relations
 
289
 
VI
 
Of the Names of Substances
 
295
 


    
John-Locke
Sir G.Knaller, [Print]
 
T A Dean, [Sculpent]
 

JOHN LOCKE, Born 1632. Died 1704

Published by C. and J. Rivington and Partners. August 1823

 



THE

 W O R K S

OF

J O H N   L O C K E

IN NINE VOLUMES
-

THE TWELFTH EDITION

 ----------------

VOLUME THE FIRST

----------------

 
 

LONDON:

printed   for c. and j. rivington; t. egerton; j. cuthell; j. and a. arch; longman and   co; t. cadell; j. richardson; j. and w. t. clarke; j. mawman; baynes and son;   harding and co.; baldwin and co.; harvey and darton; r. scholey; j. bohn; j.   collingwood; t. tegg; g. and w. b. whittaker; g. mackie; w. mason; hurst,   robinson, and co.; j. hearne; j. brumby; simpkin and marshall; s. prowett; w.   pickering; r. saunders; j. parker, oxford; and stirling and slade, edinburgh.
 


 

----------
 

1824

 

C. Baldwin, Printer, New Bridge-street, London



 


 


 

PREFACE

BY THE

EDITOR


 

The person chiefly concerned in improving this edition of Mr. Lock’s works, having long entertained an high esteem for that author’s writings, and being informed that a new edition of them was preparing, became naturally desirous of seeing one more complete than any of the foregoing; and of contributing his assistance towards it (so far as the short time allowed for that purpose would give leave) by not only collating former editions, and correcting those numerous errors which had crept into most of them; but also by inserting, or giving some description of, such other pieces as are known to have come from the same hand, though not appearing in any catalogue or collection of his works.

The farther liberty has been taken to subjoin a few things by other hands, which seemed necessary to a right use of Mr. Locke’s discoveries, and a more ready application of the principles whereon they are founded, v. g.

1. To the Essay on Human Understanding is prefixed a correct analysis, which has been of considerable service by reducing that essay into some better method, which the author himself shows us, (preface and elsewhere) that he was very sensible it wanted, though he contented himself with leaving it in its original form, for reasons grounded on the prejudices then prevailing against so novel a system; but which hardly now subsist.

This map of the intellectual world, which exhibits the whole doctrine of ideas in one view, must to an attentive reader appear more commodious than any of those dry compends generally made use of by young students, were they more perfect than even the best of them are found to be.

2. There is also annexed to the same essay a small tract in defence of Mr. Locke’s opinion concerning personal identity; a point of some consequence, but which many ingenious persons, probably from not observing what passed between him and Molyneux on the subject, [letters in September and December, 1693, and January, February, May, 1694,] have greatly misunderstood.

It may perhaps be expected that we should introduce this edition of Mr. Locke’s works with a particular history of the author’s circumstances and connections; but as several narratives of this kind have been already published by different writers, viz. A. Wood, [Ath. Ox. Vol. 2d.]; P. Coste, [character of Mr. Locke here annexed]; Le Clerc, [first printed in English before the Letters on Toleration, 1689, but more complete in the edition of 1713, from whence the chief part of the subsequent lives is extracted]; Locke’s Article in the Supplement to Collier Addend.; and by the compilers of the General Dictionary, Biographia Britannica, Memoirs of his Life and Character, 1742, etc. etc. and since most of that same account which has been prefixed to some late editions by way of Life, is likewise here annexed; there seems to be little occasion for transcribing any more of such common occurrences, as are neither interesting enough in themselves, nor sufficiently characteristic of the author. We have therefore chosen to confine the following observations to a critical survey of Mr. Locke’s writings, after giving some account of his literary correspondence, and of such anonymous tracts as are not commonly known to be his, but yet distinguishable from others that have been imputed to him. Besides those posthumous pieces which have been already collected by Des Maizeaux, and joined with some others in the late editions, there is extant,

1. His Introductory Discourse to Churchill’s Collection of Voyages, [in 4 vols. fol.] containing the whole History of Navigation from its Original to that Time, (A. D. 1704) with a Catalogue and Character of most Books of Travels.

These voyages are commonly said to have been published under his direction. They were presented by him to the University of Oxford [v. Collier’s Dict.] That he was well versed in such authors is pretty plain, from the good use he has made of them in his essays; and the introductory discourse is by no means unworthy of him, though deemed too large to be admitted into this publication: whether it may be added, some time hence, in a supplemental volume, along with some of his other tracts hereafter mentioned, must be submitted to the public, and those who are stiled proprietors.

2. For the same reason we are obliged to suppress another piece usually ascribed to him, and entitled, The History of our Saviour Jesus Christ, related in the Words of Scripture, containing, in Order of Time, all the Events and Discourses recorded in the four Evangelists, etc. 8vo. printed for A. and J. Churchill, 1705, concerning which a learned friend, who has carefully examined it, gives the following account: ‘I am inclined to think that this work is the genuine production of Mr. Locke. It is compiled with accuracy and judgment, and is in every respect worthy of that masterly writer. I have compared it with Mr. Locke’s Treatise on the Reasonableness of Christianity, and find a striking resemblance between them in some of their expressions, in their quotations from scripture, and in the arrangement of our Saviour’s discourses.’ Under each of these heads this ingenious writer has produced remarkable instances of such resemblance, but too particular and minute to be here recited; on the last he adds, that whoever reads the Treatise on the Reasonableness of Christianity with the least attention, will perceive that Mr. Locke has every where observed an exact chronological order in the arrangement of his texts, which arrangement perfectly corresponds with that of the History. It would have been very difficult to throw a multitude of citations from the four evangelists into such a chronological series without the assistance of some Harmony, but Mr. Locke was too cautious a reasoner to depend upon another man’s hypothesis; I am therefore persuaded that he compiled his Harmony, the History of Christ, for his own immediate use, as the basis of his Reasonableness of Christianity. And though the original plan of this history may have been taken from Garthwaite’s Evangelical Harmony, 4to. 1633, as Dr. Doddridge supposes, yet the whole narrative and particular arrangement of facts is so very different, that Mr. Locke’s History in 1705 may properly be termed a new work.

3. Select Moral Books of the Old Testament and Apocrypha, paraphrased, viz. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus, in one vol. 12mo. 1706. This useful work is given by tradition to Mr. Locke, and his name often written before it accordingly. It was printed for his old booksellers A. and J. Churchill, and is thought by some good judges to bear evident marks of authenticity: of which I shall only observe farther, that by the method there taken of paraphrasing these writers in one close, continued discourse, where the substance is laid together and properly digested, a much better connexion appears to be preserved, and the author’s sense more clearly expressed, than it can be in any separate exposition of each verse with all the repetitions usual in eastern writings, and all the disadvantages arising from the very inaccurate division of their periods, as is hinted in the judicious preface to that work.

4. A letter to Mrs. Cockburn, not inserted before in any collection of Mr. Locke’s pieces. It was sent with a present of books to that lady, on her being discovered to have written a Defence of his Essay against some remarks made upon it by Dr. T. Burnet, author of the Theory of the Earth, etc. Dr. Burnet’s Remarks appeared without his name in three parts, the first of which was animadverted on by Mr. Locke at the end of his Reply to bish. Stillingfleet in 1697; the two others were left to the animadversion of his friends. Mrs. Cockburn, to whom the letter under consideration is addressed, finished her Defence of the Essay in December, 1701, when she was but twenty-two years old, and published it May, 1702, the author being industriously concealed: which occasioned Mr. Locke’s elegant compliment of its being ‘a generosity above the strain of that groveling age, and like that of superiour spirits, who assist without showing themselves.’ In 1724 the same lady wrote a letter to Dr. Holdsworth on his injurious imputations cast upon Mr. Locke concerning the Resurrection of the same Body, printed in 1726; and afterwards an elaborate Vindication of Mr. Locke’s Christian Principles, and his controversy on that subject, first published, together with an account of her works, by Dr. Birch, 1751, and the forementioned letter added here below, Vol. ix. p. 314.

5. Of the same kind of correspondence is the curious letter to Mr. Bold, in 1699, which is also inserted in the 9th volume, p. 315, as corrected from the original. Mr. Bold, in 1699, set forth a piece, entitled, Some Considerations on the principal Objections and Arguments which have been published against Mr. Locke’s Essay; and added in a collection of tracts, published 1706, three defences of his Reasonableness of Christianity; with a large discourse concerning the Resurrection of the same Body, and two letters on the Necessary Immateriality of created thinking Substance.

Our author’s sentiments of Mr. Bold may be seen at large in the letter itself, Vol. ix. p. 315.

6. Mr. Locke’s fine account of Dr. Pococke was first published in a collection of his letters, by Curl, 1714, (which collection is not now to be met with) and some extracts made from it by Dr. Twells, in his Life of that learned author, [Theol. Works, Vol. I. p. 83.] The same is given at full length by Des Maizeaux, as a letter to ****, (intending Mr. Smith of Dartmouth, who had prepared materials for that life) but without specifying either the subject or occasion.

7. The large Latin tract of Locke’s De Toleratione was first introduced in the late 4to. edition of his works, but as we have it translated by Mr. Popple to the author’s entire satisfaction, and as there is nothing extraordinary in the language of the original, it was judged unnecessary to repeat so many things over again by inserting it. Perhaps it might afford matter of more curiosity to compare some parts of his Essay with Mr. Burridge’s Version, said to be printed in 1701, about which he and his friend Molyneux appeared so extremely anxious, but which he tells Limborch (Aug. 1701) he had not then seen; nor have we learnt the fate of this Latin version, any more than what became of a French one, (probably that of P. Coste, mentioned under Locke’s article in the General Dictionary) in correcting which he (Mr. Locke) had taken very great pains, and likewise altered many passages of the original, in order to make them more clear and easy to be translated.* Many of these alterations I have formerly seen under his hand in the library at Oates, where he spent the last and most agreeable part of his life in the company of lady Masham, and where his own conversation must have proved no less agreeable and instructing to that lady, since by means of it, as well as from an education under the eye of her father, Cudworth, she appears to have profited so much as to compose a very rational discourse, entitled, Occasional Thoughts in reference to a virtuous and Christian Life, published 1705, and frequently ascribed to Mr. Locke. [See particularly Boyer’s Annals of Queen Anne, Vol. III. p. 262.] She was generally believed (as Le Clerc tells us) to be the author of another discourse on the Love of God, in answer to Mr. Norris; which has likewise been attributed to Mr. Locke, and has his name written before it in a copy now in the library of Sion College, but others give it to Dr. Whitby. Of the same excellent lady Mr. Locke gives the following character to Limborch: ‘Ejus [i. e. Historiæ Inquisitionis] lectionem sibi et utilissimam et jucundissimam fore spondet Domina Cudwortha, quæ paternæ benignitatis hæres omnem de rebus religionis persecutionem maxime aversatur.’ Lett. June, 1691. ‘Hospes mea Tyrannidi Ecclesiasticæ inimicissima, sæpe mihi laudat ingenium et consilium tuum, laboremque huic operi tam opportune impensum, creditque frustra de religionis reformatione et Evangelii propagatione tantum undique strepitum moveri, dum Tyrannis in Ecclesiâ vis in rebus religionis (uti passim mos est) aliis sub nominibus utcunque speciosis obtinet et laudatur.’ Id. Nov. 1691.

8. We cannot in this place forbear lamenting the suppression of some of Mr. Locke’s treatises, which are in all probability not to be retrieved. His Right Method of searching after Truth, which Le Clerc mentions, is hardly to be met with; nor can a tract which we have good ground to believe that he wrote, in the Unitarian Controversy, be well distinguished at this distance of time; unless it prove to be the following piece, which some ingenious persons have judged to be his; and if they are right in their conjecture, as I have no doubt but they are; the address to himself that is prefixed to it must have been made on purpose to conceal the true author, as a more attentive perusal of the whole tract will convince any one, and at the same time show what reason there was for so extremely cautious a proceeding. Part of the long title runs thus: ‘The Exceptions of Mr. Edwards in his Causes of Atheism, against The Reasonableness of Christianity as delivered in the Scriptures, examined and found unreasonable, unscriptural, and injurious, etc. London, printed in the year 1695, 47 pages, 4to.

It is uncertain whether he lived to finish that System of Ethics which his friend Molyneux so frequently recommended to him; but from a letter to the same person, dated April 1698, it appears that he had several plans by him, which either were never executed, or never saw the light.

Among the late Mr. Yorke’s papers burnt in his chambers in Lincoln’s-Inn, were many of Mr. Locke’s letters to lord Sommers, but probably no copies of these remain; which must prove an irreparable loss to the public, many of them being in all likelihood written on subjects of a political nature, as that eminent patriot was well acquainted with, and seems to have availed himself considerably of Mr. Locke’s principles throughout his excellent treatise, entitled, The Judgment of whole Kingdoms and Nations concerning the Rights and Prerogatives of Kings, and the Rights, Privileges, and Properties of the People. A work which seems to be but little known at present, though there was a tenth edition of it in 1771. The conclusion is taken almost verbatim from Mr. Locke.

9. Thirteen letters to Dr. Mapletoft, giving some account of his friends, with a large description of a severe nervous disorder and his method of treating it, and frequent intimations of his desire to succeed the doctor in his professorship at Gresham College, etc. were very obligingly communicated by a grandson of the doctor’s; but we have not room to insert them, as they contain very few matters of literature, to which our inquiries are chiefly confined at present; nor shall we be excused perhaps for taking notice of his letter to the earl of **, dated May 6, 1676, with a curious old ms. on the subject of free masonry, published in the Gentleman’s Magazine for September, 1758.

We are informed, that there is a great number of original letters of Mr. Locke, now in the hands of the Rev. Mr. Tooke, chaplain to the British factory at Petersburgh; but have no proper means of applying for them.

10. Forty letters to Edward Clarke, Esq. m. p. are among Dr. Birch’s papers in the Museum, but of like unimportance. Perhaps some readers think that the late editions of Mr. Lock’s works are already clogged with too many of that kind; however I shall give one of these for a specimen, on raising the value of coin, as the same method which he there recommends, viz. of weighing it, has of late been practised. See the letter in Volume ix of this edition, p. 320. The two letters from Lord Shaftesbury and sir Peter King, will speak for themselves.

11. It may likewise be observed, that our author has met with the fate of most eminent writers, whose names give a currency to whatever passes under them, viz. to have many spurious productions fathered on him. Beside those abovementioned, there is a Common-place Book to the Bible, first published in 1693, and afterwards swelled out with a great deal of matter, ill digested, and all declared to be Mr. Locke’s; but whatever hand he might be supposed to have in the original book itself, it is plain he had none in that preface, which is neither sense nor English. A puerile edition of Æsop’s Fables has likewise his name prefixed to it, and was in all probability ascribed to him for no better reason than the frequent mention made of that book in his Thoughts on Education. The title runs thus; ‘Æsop’s Fables in English and Latin, interlineary, for the benefit of those who, not having a master, would learn either of those tongues. The second edition, with sculptures. By John Locke, gent. Printed for A. Bettesworth, 1723.

12. But it is high time to conduct the reader to Mr. Locke’s more authentic and capital productions, the constant demand for which shows that they have stood the test of time, and their peculiar tendency to enlarge and improve the mind, must continue that demand while a regard to virtue or religion, science or common sense remains amongst us. I wish it were in my power to give so clear and just a view of these as might serve to point out their proper uses, and thereby direct young unprejudiced readers to a more beneficial study of them.

The Essay on Human Understanding, that most distinguished of all his works, is to be considered as a system, at its first appearance absolutely new, and directly opposite to the notions and persuasions then established in the world. Now as it seldom happens that the person who first suggests a discovery in any science is at the same time solicitous, or perhaps qualified to lay open all the consequences that follow from it; in such a work much of course is left to the reader, who must carefully apply the leading principles to many cases and conclusions not there specified. To what else but a neglect of this application shall we impute it that there are still numbers amongst us who profess to pay the greatest deference to Mr. Locke, and to be well acquainted with his writings, and would perhaps take it ill to have this pretension questioned; yet appear either wholly unable, or unaccustomed, to draw the natural consequence from any one of his principal positions? Why, for instance, do we still continue so unsettled in the first principles and foundation of morals? How came we not to perceive that by the very same arguments which that great author used with so much success in extirpating innate ideas, he most effectually eradicated all innate or connate senses, instincts, etc. by not only leading us to conclude that every such sense must, in the very nature of it, imply an object correspondent to and of the same standing with itself, to which it refers [as each relative implies its correlate], the real existence of which object he has confuted in every shape; but also by showing that for each moral proposition men actually want and may demand a reason or proof deduced from another science, and founded on natural good and evil: and consequently where no such reason can be assigned, these same senses or instincts, with whatever titles decorated,* whether styled sympathetic or sentimental, common or intuitive,—ought to be looked upon as no more than mere habits; under which familiar name their authority is soon discovered, and their effects accounted for.

From the same principles it may be collected that all such pompous theories of morals, however seemingly diversified, yet amount ultimately to the same thing, being all built upon the same false bottom of innate notions; and from the history of this science we may see that they have received no manner of improvement (as indeed by the supposition of their innateness they become incapable of any) from the days of Plato to our own; but must always take the main point, the ground of obligation, for granted: which is in truth the shortest and safest way of proceeding for such self-taught philosophers, and saves a deal of trouble in seeking reasons for what they advance, where none are to be found. Mr. Locke went a far different way to work, at the very entrance on his Essay, pointing out the true origin of all our passions and affections, i. e. sensitive pleasure and pain; and accordingly directing us to the proper principle and end of virtue, private happiness, in each individual; as well as laying down the adequate rule and only solid ground of moral obligation, the divine will. From whence also it may well be concluded that moral propositions are equally capable of certainty, and that such certainty is equally reducible to strict demonstration here as in other sciences, since they consist of the very same kind of ideas [viz. general abstract ones, the true and only ground of all general knowledge]: provided always that the terms be once clearly settled, in which lies the chief difficulty, and are constantly applied (as surely they may be) with equal steadiness and precision: which was undoubtedly Mr. Locke’s meaning in that assertion of his which drew upon him so many solicitations to set about such a systematic demonstration of morals.

In the same plain and popular introduction, when he has been proving that men think not always, [a position which, as he observes, letter to Molyneux, August 4, 1696, was then admitted in a commencement act at Cambridge for probable, and which few there now-a-days are found weak enough to question] how come we not to attend him through the genuine consequences of that proof? This would soon let us into the true nature of the human constitution, and enable us to determine whether thought, when every mode of it is suspended, though but for an hour, can be deemed an essential property of our immaterial principle, or mind, and as such inseparable from some imaginary substance, or substratum, [words by the by, so far as they have a meaning, taken entirely from matter, and terminating in it] any more than motion, under its various modifications, can be judged essential to the body, or to a purely material system.* Of that same substance or substratum, whether material or immaterial, Mr. Locke has farther shown us that we can form but a very imperfect and confused idea, if in truth we have any idea at all of it, though custom and an attachment to the established mode of philosophising still prevails to such a degree that we scarcely know how to proceed without it, and are apt to make as much noise with such logical terms and distinctions, as the schoolmen used to do with their principle of individuation, substantial forms, etc. Whereas, if we could be persuaded to quit every arbitrary hypothesis, and trust to fact and experience, a sound sleep any night would yield sufficient satisfaction in the present case, which thus may derive light even from the darkest parts of nature; and which will the more merit our regard, since the same point has been in some measure confirmed to us by revelation, as our author has likewise shown in his introduction to the Reasonableness of Christianity.

The abovementioned essay contains some more refined speculations which are daily gaining ground among thoughtful and intelligent persons, notwithstanding the neglect and the contempt to which studies of this kind are frequently exposed. And when we consider the force of bigotry, and the prejudice in favour of antiquity which adheres to narrow minds, it must be matter of surprise to find so small a number of exceptions made to some of his disquisitions which lie out of the common road.

That well-known chapter of Power has been termed the worst part of his whole essay, and seems indeed the least defensible, and what gave himself the least satisfaction, after all the pains he and others took to reform it; [v. Letters between him and Molyneux and Limborch. To which may be added note 45 to King’s Or. of E. p. 220, 4th edit.] which might induce one to believe that this most intricate subject is placed beyond human reach; since so penetrating a genius confesses his inability to see through it. And happy are those inquirers who can discern the extent of their faculties! who have learnt in time where to stop and suspend a positive determination! ‘If you will argue,’ says he, ‘for or against liberty from consequences, I will not undertake to answer you: for I own freely to you the weakness of my understanding, that though it be unquestionable that there is omnipotence and omniscience in God our maker, yet I cannot make freedom in man consistent with omnipotence and omniscience in God, though I am as fully persuaded of both as of any truths I most firmly assent to; and therefore I have long left off the consideration of that question, resolving all into this short conclusion: that, if it be possible for God to make a free agent, then man is free; though I see not the way of it.’ Letter to M. Jan. 20, 169.

13. Connected in some sort with the forementioned essay, and in their way equally valuable, are his tracts on Education and the early Conduct of the Understanding; both worthy, as we apprehend, of a more careful perusal than is commonly bestowed upon them, the latter more especially, which seems to be little known and less attended to. It contains an easy popular illustration of some discoveries in the foregoing essay, particularly that great and universal law of nature, the support of so many mental powers, (v. g. that of memory under all its modifications) and which produces equally remarkable effects in the intellectual, as that of gravitation does in the material world;—I mean the association of ideas: the first hint whereof did not appear till the fourth edition of his essay, and then came in as it were by the by, under some very peculiar circumstances, and in comparatively trivial instances; the author himself seeming not to be sufficiently aware of its extensiveness, and the many uses to which it is applicable, and has been applied of late by several of our own writers. The former tract abounds with no less curious and entertaining than useful observations on the various tempers and dispositions of youth: with proper directions for the due regulation and improvement of them, and just remarks on the too visible defects in that point; nor should it be looked upon as merely fitted for the instruction of schoolmasters or nurses, but as affording matter of reflection to men of business, science, and philosophy. The several editions of this treatise, which has been much esteemed by foreigners, with the additions made to it abroad, may be seen in Gen. Dict. Vol. VII. p. 145.

14. Thus much may serve to point out the importance of some of our author’s more private and recluse studies; but it was not in such only that this excellent person exercised his learning and abilities. The public rights of mankind, the great object of political union; the authority, extent, and bounds of civil government in consequence of such union; these were subjects which engaged, as they deserved, his most serious attention. Nor was he more industrious here in establishing sound principles and pursuing them consistently, than firm and zealous in support of them, in the worst of times, to the injury of his fortune, and at the peril of his life, (as may be seen more fully in the life annexed); to which may be added, that such zeal and firmness must appear in him the more meritorious, if joined with that timorousness and irresolution which is there observed to have been part of his natural temper, note,* p. xxix. Witness his famous Letter from a Person of Quality, giving an account of the debates and resolutions in the House of Lords concerning a bill for establishing passive Obedience, and enacting new oaths to inforce it: [V. Biogr. Brit. p. 2996. N. 1.] which letter, together with some supposed communications to his patron lord Shaftesbury, raised such a storm against him as drove him out of his own country, and long pursued him at a distance from it. [Ib. p. 2997, etc. from A. Wood.] This letter was at length treated in the same way that others of like tendency have been since, by men of the same spirit, who are ready to bestow a like treatment on the authors themselves, whenever they can get them into their power. Nor will it be improper to remark how seasonable a recollection of Mr. Locke’s political principles is now become, when several writers have attempted, from particular emergencies, to shake those universal and invariable truths whereon all just government is ultimately founded; when they betray so gross an ignorance or contempt of them, as even to avow the directly opposite doctrines, viz. that government was instituted for the sake of governors, not of the governed; and consequently that the interests of the former are of superiour consideration to any of the latter;—that there is an absolute indefeasible right of exercising despotism on one side, and as unlimited an obligation of submitting to it on the other: doctrines that have been confuted over and over, and exploded long ago, and which one might well suppose Mr. Locke must have for ever silenced by his incomparable treatises upon that subject,* which have indeed exhausted it; and notwithstanding any objections that have yet been, or are likely to be brought against them, may, I apprehend, be fairly justified, and however unfashionable they grow, continue fit to be inculcated; as will perhaps be fully made appear on any farther provocation.

15. Nor was the religious liberty of mankind less dear to our author than their civil rights, or less ably asserted by him. With what clearness and precision has he stated the terms of it, and vindicated the subject’s just title to it, in his admirable letters concerning Toleration! How closely does he pursue the adversary through all his subterfuges, and strip intolerance of all her pleas!

The first lord Shaftesbury has written a most excellent treatise on the same subject, entitled, An Essay concerning Toleration, 1667, which, though left unfinished, well deserves to see the light; and, as I am assured, in due time will be published at the end of his lordship’s life, now preparing.

16. From one who knew so well how to direct the researches of the human mind, it was natural to expect that Christianity and the scriptures would not be neglected, but rather hold the chief place in his inquiries. These were accordingly the object of his more mature meditations; which were no less successfully employed upon them, as may be seen in part above. His Reasonableness of Christianity, as delivered in the Scriptures, is a work that will richly repay the labour of being thoroughly studied, together with both its Vindications, by all those who desire to entertain proper notions concerning the pure, primitive plan of Christ’s religion, as laid down by himself: where they will also meet with many just observations on our Saviour’s admirable method of conducting it. Of this book, among other commendations, Limborch says, ‘Plus veræ Theologiæ ex illo quam ex operosis multorum Systematibus hausisse me ingenue fateor.’ Lett. March 23, 1697.

In his Paraphrase and Notes upon the epistles of St. Paul, how fully does our author obviate the erroneous doctrines (that of absolute reprobation in particular), which had been falsely charged upon the apostle! And to Mr. Locke’s honour it should be remembered, that he was the first of our commentators who showed what it was to comment upon the apostolic writings: by taking the whole of an epistle together, and striking off every signification of every term foreign to the main scope of it; by keeping this point constantly in view, and carefully observing each return to it after any digression; by tracing out a strict, though sometimes less visible, connexion in that very consistent writer, St. Paul; touching the propriety and pertinence of whose writings to their several subjects and occasions, he appears to have formed the most just conception, and thereby confessedly led the way to some of our best modern interpreters. Vide
Pierce, pref. to Coloss. and Taylor on Rom. No. 60.

I cannot dismiss this imperfect account of Mr. Locke and his works, without giving way to a painful reflection; which the consideration of them naturally excites. When we view the variety of those very useful and important subjects which have been treated in so able a manner by our author, and become sensible of the numerous national obligations due to his memory on that account, with what indignation must we behold the remains of that great and good man, lying under a mean, mouldering tomb-stone, [which but too strictly verifies the prediction he had given of it, and its little tablet, as ipsa brevi peritura] in an obscure country church-yard — by the side of a forlorn wood—while so many superb monuments are daily erected to perpetuate names and characters hardly worth preserving!
 

Books and treatises written, or supposed to be written, by Mr. Locke

·       Epistola de Tolerantia
 
·       The History of our Saviour Jesus Christ
 
·       Select Books of the Old Testament and Apocrypha, paraphrased
 
·       Introductory Discourse to Churchill’s Collection of Voyages
 
·       Exceptions of Mr. Edwards to the Reasonableness of Christianity, etc. examined
 
·       Pieces groundlessly ascribed, or of doubtful authority
 
·       Occasional Thoughts in Reference to a Virtuous and Christian Life
 
·       Discourse on the Love of God
 
·       Right Method of searching after Truth
 
·       Spurious ones:

o     Common Place-Book to the Bible

o     Interlineary Version of Æsop’s Fables
 

P. S. Having heard that some of Mr. Locke’s mss. were in the possession of those gentlemen to whom the library at Oates belonged, on application made to Mr. Palmer, he was so obliging as to offer that a search should be made after them, and orders given for communicating all that could be found there; but as this notice comes unhappily too late to be made use of on the present occasion, I can only take the liberty of intimating it along with some other sources of intelligence, which I have endeavoured to lay open, and which may probably afford matter for a supplemental volume, as abovementioned.
 


THE
LIFE OF THE AUTHOR

 

Mr. John Locke was the son of John Locke, of Pensford, a market-town in Somersetshire, five miles from Bristol, by Ann his wife, daughter of Edmund Keen, alias Ken, of Wrington, tanner. He was born at Wrington, another market-town in the same county. John Locke, the father, was first a clerk only to a neighbouring justice of the peace, Francis Baber, of Chew Magna, but by col. Alexander Popham, whose seat was at Huntstreet, hard by Pensford, advanced to a captain in the parliament’s service. After the restoration he practised as an attorney, and was clerk of the sewers in Somersetshire. This John the father was son of Nicholas Locke, of Sutton Wick, in the parish of Chew Magna, but a younger brother of the Lockes of Charon Court in Dorsetshire.* The late Mr. Locke’s age is not to be found in the registers of Wrington, which is the parish church of Pensford; which gave umbrage to a report that his mother intending to lie in at Wrington, with her friends, was surprised in her way thither, and putting into a little house, was delivered there. Mr. Locke had one younger brother, an attorney, married, but died issueless, of a consumption. By the interest of col. Popham, our author was admitted a scholar at Westminster, and thence elected to Christ-Church in Oxon. He took the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1655, and that of master in 1658.* But though he made considerable progress in the usual course of studies at that time, yet he often said, that what he had learned there was of little use to him, to enlighten and enlarge his mind. The first books which gave him a relish for the study of philosophy, were the writings of Des Cartes: for though he did not always approve of that author’s sentiments, he found that he wrote with great perspicuity. After some time he applied himself very closely to the study of medicine; not with any design of practising as a physician, but principally for the benefit of his own constitution, which was but weak. And we find he gained such esteem for his skill, even among the most learned of the faculty of his time, that Dr. Thomas Sydenham, in his book intitled, ‘Observationes medicæ circa morborum acutorum historiam et curationem,’ gives him an high encomium in these words: ‘You know,’ says he, ‘likewise how much my method has been approved of by a person, who has examined it to the bottom, and who is our common friend; I mean Mr. John Locke, who, if we consider his genius, and penetrating and exact judgment, or the purity of his morals, has scarce any superiour, and few equals, now living.’ Hence he was very often saluted by his acquaintance with the title, though he never took the degree, of doctor of medicine. In the year 1664, sir William Swan being appointed envoy from the English court to the elector of Brandenburgh, and some other German princes, Mr. Locke attended him in the quality of his secretary: but returning to England again within the year, he applied himself with great vigour to his studies, and particularly to that of natural philosophy.* While he was at Oxford in 1666, he became acquainted with the lord Ashley, afterward earl of Shaftesbury. The occasion of their acquaintance was this. Lord Ashley, by a fall, had hurt his breast in such a manner, that there was an abscess formed in it under his stomach. He was advised to drink the mineral waters at Astrop, which engaged him to write to Dr. Thomas, a physician of Oxford, to procure a quantity of those waters, which might be ready against his arrival. Dr. Thomas being obliged to be absent from Oxford at that time, desired his friend Mr. Locke to execute this commission. But it happened, that the waters not being ready the day after the lord Ashley’s arrival, through the fault of the person who had been sent for them, Mr. Locke was obliged to wait on his lordship to make an excuse for it. Lord Ashley received him with great civility, according to his usual manner, and was satisfied with his excuses. Upon his rising to go away, his lordship, who had already received great pleasure from his conversation, detained him to supper, and engaged him to dine with him the next day, and even to drink the waters, that he might have the more of his company. When his lordship left Oxford to go to Sunning-Hill, where he drank the waters, he made Mr. Locke promise to come thither, as he did in the summer of the year 1667. Lord Ashley afterward returned, and obliged him to promise that he would come and lodge at his house. Mr. Locke went thither, and though he had never practised physic, his lordship confided intirely in his advice, with regard to the operation which was to be performed by opening the abscess in his breast; which saved his life, though it never closed. After this cure, his lordship entertained so great an esteem for Mr. Locke that though he had experienced his great skill in medicine, yet he regarded this as the least of his qualifications. He advised him to turn his thoughts another way, and would not suffer him to practise medicine out of his house, except among some of his particular friends. He urged him to apply himself to the study of political and religious matters, in which Mr. Locke made so great a progress that Lord Ashley began to consult him upon all occasions. By his acquaintance with this lord, our author was introduced to the conversation of some of the most eminent persons of that age: such as, Villiers duke of Buckingham, the lord Hallifax, and other noblemen of the greatest wit and parts, who were all charmed with his conversation. The liberty which Mr. Locke took with men of that rank, had something in it very suitable to his character. One day, three or four of these lords having met at lord Ashley’s when Mr. Locke was there, after some compliments, cards were brought in, before scarce any conversation had passed between them. Mr. Locke looked upon them for some time, while they were at play: and taking his pocket-book, began to write with great attention. One of the lords observing him, asked him what he was writing? ‘My lord,’ says he, ‘I am endeavouring to profit, as far as I am able, in your company; for having waited with impatience for the honour of being in an assembly of the greatest geniuses of this age, and at last having obtained the good fortune, I thought I could not do better than write down your conversation; and indeed I have set down the substance of what hath been said for this hour or two.’ Mr. Locke had no occasion to read much of this conversation; those noble persons saw the ridicule of it, and diverted themselves with improving the jest. They quitted their play, and entering into rational discourse, spent the rest of their time in a manner more suitable to their character.

In 1668 our author attended the earl and countess of Northumberland into France; but did not continue there long, because the earl dying in his journey to Rome, the countess, whom he had left in France with Mr. Locke, came back to England sooner than was at first designed. Mr. Locke, upon his return to his native country, lived as before, at the lord Ashley’s, who was then chancellor of the exchequer, but made frequent visits to Oxford, for consulting books in the prosecution of his studies, and keeping the changes of the air. While he was at the lord Ashley’s, he inspected the education of that lord’s only son, who was then about sixteen years of age. This province he executed with great care, and to the full satisfaction of his noble patron. The young lord being of a weakly constitution, his father thought to marry him betimes, lest the family should be extinct by his death. He was too young, and had too little experience, to choose a wife for himself; and Lord Ashley having the highest opinion of Mr. Locke’s judgment, and the greatest confidence in his integrity, desired that he would make a suitable choice for his son. This, it must be owned, was no easy province; for though lord Ashley did not require a great fortune for his son, yet he would have him marry a lady of a good family, an agreeable temper, and a fine person; and above all a lady of good education, and of good understanding, whose conduct would be very different from that of the generality of court-ladies. Notwithstanding all these difficulties, our author undertook the business, and acquitted himself in it happily. From this marriage sprung seven children, all of them healthy. The eldest son, afterward the noble author of the Characteristics, was committed to the care of Mr. Locke in his education. Here was a great genius, and a great master to direct and guide it, and the success was every way equal to what might be expected. It is said, that this noble author always spoke of Mr. Locke with the highest esteem, and manifested on all occasions a grateful sense of his obligations to him: but there are some passages in his works, in which he speaks of Mr. Locke’s philosophy with great severity.

In 1670, and the year following, our author began to form the plan of his ‘Essay on Human Understanding,’ at the earnest request of Mr. Tyrrell, Dr. Thomas, and some other friends, who met frequently in his chamber to converse together on philosophical subjects; but his employments and avocations prevented him from finishing it then—About this time, it is supposed, he was made a fellow of the Royal Society.

In 1672, his great patron Lord Ashley was created earl of Shaftesbury, and lord high chancellor of
England; and appointed him secretary of the presentation to benefices; which place he held till the end of the year 1673, when his lordship resigned the great seal. Mr. Locke, to whom the earl had communicated his most secret affairs, was disgraced together with him: and assisted the earl in publishing some treatises, which were designed to excite the people to watch the conduct of the Roman catholics, and to oppose the arbitrary designs of the court.

In 1675 he travelled into France, on account of his health. At Montpelier he staid a considerable time; and there his first acquaintance arose with Mr. Herbert, afterward Earl of Pembroke, to whom he dedicated his ‘Essay on Human Understanding,’ having the highest respect for that noble lord. From Montpelier he went to Paris, where he contracted a friendship with Mr. Justel, whose house was at that time the place of resort for men of letters: and there he saw Mr. Guenelon, the famous physician of Amsterdam, who read lectures in anatomy with great applause. He became acquainted likewise with Mr. Toignard, who favoured him with a copy of his ‘Harmonia Evangelica,’ when there were no more than five or six copies of it complete. The earl of Shaftesbury being restored to favour at court, and made president of the council in 1679, thought proper to send for Mr. Locke to London. But that nobleman did not continue long in his post; for refusing to comply with the designs of the court, which aimed at the establishment of popery and arbitrary power, fresh crimes were laid to his charge, and he was sent to the Tower. When the earl obtained his discharge from that place, he retired to Holland; and Mr. Locke not thinking himself safe in England, followed his noble patron thither, who died soon after. During our author’s stay in Holland, he renewed his acquaintance with Mr. Guenelon, who introduced him to many learned persons of Amsterdam. Here Mr. Locke contracted a friendship with Mr. Limborch, professor of divinity among the remonstrants, and the most learned Mr. Le Clerc, which he cultivated after his return into England, and continued to the end of his life.

During his residence in Holland, he was accused at court of having writ certain tracts against the government, which were afterward discovered to be written by another person, and upon that suspicion he was deprived of his place of student of Christ-Church.

‘Being observed,’ (says the very unfair writer of his article in Biographia Britannica) ‘to join in company with several English malecontents at the Hague, this conduct was communicated by our resident there to the earl of Sunderland, then secretary of state; who acquainting the king therewith, his majesty ordered the proper methods to be taken for expelling him from the college, and application to be made for that purpose to bish. Fell, the dean: in obedience to this command, the necessary information was given by his lordship, who at the same time wrote to our author, to appear and answer for himself, on the first of January ensuing: but immediately receiving an express command to turn him out, was obliged to comply therewith, and accordingly Mr. Locke was removed from his student’s place on the sixteenth of Nov. 1684.’—But in order to a more complete view of these iniquitous proceedings, it may not be improper to annex the several letters between lord Sunderland and bp. Fell on the occasion, from Dr. Birch’s papers in the Museum. The first from lord Sunderland runs thus: ‘Whitehall, Nov. 6, 1684. The king having been given to understand that one Locke, who belonged to the late earl of Shaftesbury, and has, upon several occasions, behaved himself very factiously against the government, is a student of Christ-Church; his majesty commands me to signify to your lordship, that he would have him removed from being a student, and that, in order thereunto, your lordship would let him know the method of doing it,’ etc. The bishop answered, Nov. 8, 1684. ‘To the right hon. the earl of Sunderland, principal secretary of state: right honourable, I have received the honour of your lordship’s letter, wherein you are pleased to inquire concerning Mr. Locke’s being a student of this house, of which I have this account to render: that he being, as your lordship is truly informed, a person who was much trusted by the late earl of Shaftesbury, and who is suspected to be ill affected to the government, I have for divers years had an eye upon him; but so close has his guard been on himself, that after several strict inquiries, I may confidently affirm, there is not any man in the college, however familiar with him, who had heard him speak a word either against or so much as concerning the government; and although very frequently, both in public and private, discourses have been purposely introduced to the disparagement of his master, the earl of Shaftesbury, his party and designs; he could never be provoked to take any notice, or discover in word or look the least concern. So that I believe there is not a man in the world so much master of taciturnity and passion. He has here a physician’s place, which frees him from the exercise of the college, and the obligation which others have to residence in it, and he is now abroad for want of health; but notwithstanding this, I have summoned him to return home, which is done with this prospect, that if he comes not back, he will be liable to expulsion for contumacy; and if he does, he will be answerable to the law for that which he shall be found to have done amiss. It being probable that, though he may have been thus cautious here where he knew himself suspected, he has laid himself more open at London, where a general liberty of speaking was used, and where the execrable designs against his majesty and government were managed and pursued. If he don’t return by the first of January, which is the time limited to him, I shall be enabled of course to proceed against him to expulsion. But if this method seems not effectual or speedy enough, and his majesty, our founder and visitor, shall please to command his immediate remove, upon the receipt thereof, directed to the dean and chapter, it shall accordingly be executed, by your lordship’s,’ etc. Lord Sunderland’s second letter to the bishop of Oxon: ‘My lord, having communicated your lordship’s of the 8th to his majesty, he has thought fit to direct me to send you the inclosed concerning his commands for the immediate expulsion of Mr. Locke.The inclosed warrant, addressed to the dean and chapter, Nov. 12,Whereas we have received information of the factious and disloyal behaviour of Locke, one of the students of that our college; we have thought fit hereby to signify our will and pleasure to you, that you forthwith remove him from his student’s place, and deprive him of all rights and advantages thereunto belonging, for which this shall be your warrant. And so we bid you heartily farewell. Given at our court of Whitehall, the 11th day of Nov. 1684. By his majesty’s command, Sunderland.’ The bishop answered thus: Nov. 16, ‘Right honourable, I hold myself bound to signify to your lordship, that his majesty’s command for the expulsion of Mr. Locke from this college is fully executed.The last letter from lord Sunderland to the bishop of Oxon:I have your lordship’s of the 16th, and have acquainted his majesty therewith, who is well satisfied with the college’s ready obedience to his commands for the expulsion of Mr. Locke.

With regard to bishop Fell’s conduct on this occasion, Dr. Birch observes, that notwithstanding his many good qualities, he was capable of some excesses in cases where the interest of party could bias him. Life of Tillotson, p. 100, first edition. What has been urged on the bishop’s side as rather favouring Mr. Locke, seems only to prove that all he acted against him might be done with some degree of reluctance; but yet notwithstanding the respect and kindness which he bore toward Mr. Locke, bishop Fell, it seems, on the clearest conviction of his inoffensiveness, under so many trials, had no thoughts of serving him so far as to run the least hazard of suffering for him, or with him. His candour towards Mr. Locke on a former occasion, when application was making for his being admitted to a doctor’s degree at Oxon, on a visit from the prince of Orange, will appear sufficiently from lord Shaftesbury’s letter to the said Dr. Fell, annexed in Vol. ix. p. 321, of this edition.

After the death of King Charles II. Mr. William Penn, who had known our author at the university, used his interest with King James to procure a pardon for him; and would have obtained it, if Mr. Locke had not answered, that he had no occasion for a pardon, since he had not been guilty of any crime.

In the year 1685, when the duke of Monmouth and his party were making preparations in Holland for his unfortunate enterprize, the English envoy at the Hague had orders to demand Mr. Locke and eighty-three other persons to be delivered up by the states-general: upon which he lay concealed to the year following.

During this concealment, our author wrote his ‘Letter of Toleration,’ in Latin, in 1685; which was printed in duodecimo, at Gouda, 1689, under the following title, ‘Epistola de Tolerantia; ad Clarissimum Virum, t. a. r. p. t. o. l. a. [Theologiæ apud Remonstrantes Professorem, Tyrannidis Osorem, Limburgium, Amstelodamensem:] scripta a p. a. p. o. i. l. a.’ [Pacis Amico, Persecutionis Osore, Joanne Lockio, Anglo.]

At Amsterdam he formed a weekly assembly, consisting of Mr. Limborch, Mr. Le Clerc, and others, for conversation upon important subjects, and had drawn up in Latin some rules to be observed by them; but these conferences were much interrupted by the frequent changes he was forced to make of the places of his residence.

Our author’s great work, the ‘Essay concerning Human Understanding,’ he had been employed about for some years, and he finished it in Holland about the end of the year 1687. He made an abridgment of it himself, which his friend Mr. Le Clerc translated into French, and inserted in one of his ‘Bibliotheques.’* This abridgment was so highly approved of by all persons of understanding, and sincere lovers of truth, that they expressed the strongest desire to see the whole work.

About the same time, as Le Clerc informs us, he made several extracts of books, as that of Boyle on Specific Medicines, which is inserted in the second volume of Bibliotheque Universelle; and some others in the following volume.

At length the happy revolution in 1688, effected by the courage and good conduct of the prince of Orange, opened a way for Mr. Locke’s return into his own country; whither he came in the fleet which conveyed the princess of Orange. And upon the restoration of public liberty, he thought it proper to assert his own private rights. He endeavoured therefore to procure his restoration to his place of student of Christ-Church; not that he designed to return thither, but only that it might appear from thence that he had been unjustly deprived of it. But when he found, that the college could not be prevailed on to dispossess the person who had been elected in his room, and that they would only admit him as a supernumerary student, he desisted from his claim.

He was now at full liberty to pursue his speculations, and accordingly, in the year 1689, he published his ‘Essay on Human Understanding.’ This work, which has made our author’s name immortal, and which does honour to our country, gave great offence to many people at the first publication. It was proposed at a meeting of the heads of houses of the University of Oxford, to censure and discourage the reading of it; and after various debates among themselves, it was concluded, that each head of a house should endeavour to prevent its being read in his college. The reason of this is obvious; Mr. Locke had let in more light upon the minds of men than was consistent with the dark designs of some persons.

In the same year Mr. Locke also published his ‘Two Treatises on Government;’ in which he fully vindicated the principles upon which the revolution was founded, and entirely overturned all the doctrines of slavery.

His writings had now procured him such high esteem, and he had merited so much of the government, that it would have been easy for him to have obtained a very considerable post; but he contented himself with that of commissioner of appeals, worth about 2001 per annum. He was offered to go abroad in a public character, and it was left to his choice whether he would be envoy at the court of the emperor, the elector of Brandenbourg, or any other, where he thought the air most suitable to him; but he declined it on account of his ill health.

About this time the public coin was very bad, having been so much clipped, and no care used to remedy it, that it wanted above a third of its due value. The effect of this was, that the people thought themselves a great deal richer than indeed they were: for though the coin was not raised in its value by public authority, it was put off in trade for above a third part more than it weighed. Mr. Locke had observed this disorder ever since his return to England; and he frequently spoke of it, that some measures might be taken to prevent it.—He said, ‘that the nation was in greater danger from a secret unobserved abuse, than from all those other evils of which persons were so generally apprehensive; and that if care was not taken to rectify the coin, that irregularity alone would prove fatal to us, though we should succeed in every thing else.’ One day, when he seemed very much disturbed about this matter, some persons rallied him as if he tormented himself with a groundless fear: he answered, ‘that persons might laugh if they pleased, but they would find in a very short time, that if care was not taken, we should want money in England to buy bread.’ And accordingly there were such disorders on this account, that the parliament took the matter into the most serious consideration. To assist the great men at the head of affairs, who are not always the best judges, to form a right understanding of this matter, and to excite them to rectify this shameful abuse, Mr. Locke published a little treatise, intitled, ‘Some Considerations of the Consequence of the lowering of the Interest, and raising the Value of Money;’ in which there are many nice and curious observations on both those subjects, as well as on trade in general. This treatise was shortly followed by two more upon the same subject, in which he obviated all objections, and confuted all his opposers.

He fully showed to the world by these discourses, that he was able to reason on trade and business, as on the most abstract parts of science; and that he was none of those philosophers, who spend their lives in search of truths merely speculative, and who by their ignorance of those things which concern the public good, are incapable of serving their country. These writings recommended him to the notice of the greatest persons, with whom he used to converse very freely. He held weekly conferences with the earl of Pembroke, then lord keeper of the privy seal; and when the air of London began to affect his lungs, he went for some days to the earl of Peterborough’s seat near Fulham, where he always met with the most friendly reception: but he was obliged afterward entirely to leave London, at least all the winter season, and to go to a greater distance. He had made frequent visits at different times to sir Francis Masham’s, at Oates, in Essex; where he found the air so good, so agreeable to his constitution, and the society so delightful, that he was easily prevailed with to become one of the family, and to settle there during his life. He was received upon his own terms, that he might have his intire liberty, and look upon himself as at his own house. Here he applied himself to his studies as much as his weak health would allow, being seldom absent, because the air of London grew more and more troublesome to him. He came to town only in the summer for three or four months, and if he returned to Oates any thing indisposed, the air of that place soon recovered him.

In 1693 he published his ‘Thoughts concerning the Education of Children,’ which he improved considerably afterward.

In 1695 Mr. Locke published his treatise of ‘The Reasonableness of Christianity, as delivered in the Scriptures:’ written, it is said, in order to promote the scheme which king William III had much at heart, of a comprehension with the dissenters. In this he has proved, that the Christian religion, as delivered in the scriptures, and free from all corrupt mixtures, is the most reasonable institution in the world. This book was attacked by an ignorant, but zealous divine, Dr. Edwards, in a very rude and scurrilous manner. Mr. Locke answered Edwards, and defended his answer with such strength of reason, that he might justly have expected from his adversary a public acknowledgment of his errour, if he had not been one of those writers who have no more shame than reason in them. Mr. Locke was also obliged to Mr. Bold, a worthy and pious clergyman, for vindicating his principles against the cavils of Edwards.

Some time before this, Mr. Toland published a book, intitled, ‘Christianity not mysterious,’ in which he endeavoured to prove, that there is nothing in the ‘christian religion, not only contrary to reason, but even nothing above it.’ Mr. Toland, in explaining some of his notions, used several arguments from Mr. Locke’s ‘Essay on Human Understanding.’ Some unitarians also about this time published several treatises, in which they affirmed, that there was nothing in the christian religion but what was rational and intelligible; and Mr. Locke having asserted in his writings, that revelation delivers nothing contrary to reason; these things engaged Dr. Stillingfleet, the learned bishop of Worcester, to publish a treatise in which he endeavoured to defend the doctrine of the trinity, against Mr. Toland and the unitarians. In this treatise the bishop opposed some of Mr. Locke’s principles, judging them heretical, and favouring the above-mentioned writers. Mr. Locke answered him, and the bishop replied the same year. This reply was confuted, by a second letter of Mr. Locke’s, which drew a second answer from the bishop in 1698; and Mr. Locke again replied in a third letter, wherein he treated more largely of ‘the certainty of reason by ideas, of the certainty of faith, of the resurrection of the same body, and the immateriality of the soul.’ He showed the perfect agreement of his principles with the Christian religion, and that he had advanced nothing which had the least tendency to scepticism, which the bishop had very ignorantly charged him with. But the bishop dying some time after this, the dispute ended. In this controversy every body admired the strength of Mr. Locke’s reasoning, his great clearness and exactness, both in explaining his own notions and principles, and confuting those of his adversary: nor were men of understanding less surprised, that so learned a man as the bishop should engage in a controversy, wherein he had all the disadvantages possible; for he was by no means able to maintain his opinions against Mr. Locke, whose reasoning he neither understood, nor the thing itself about which he disputed. This learned bishop had spent the greatest part of his time in the study of ecclesiastical antiquities, and reading a prodigious number of books, but was no great philosopher; nor had he ever accustomed himself to that close way of thinking and reasoning, in which Mr. Locke did so highly excel. However, though our philosopher had so great a victory over the bishop, and had reason to complain of the bishop’s unjust charges against him, and for his writing on subjects of which he was so grossly ignorant; yet he did not make an insolent triumph over his ignorance, but in the confutation of his errours treated him with great respect. He shows, indeed, that the bishop did not understand the subject he wrote about, and that he was very incorrect and inaccurate in his expressions; but he rather insinuates this by producing the bishop’s own words, and leaving his readers to judge, than reflects on him for it. In short, never was a controversy managed with so much art and skill on one side; nor, on the other, so unjustly, confusedly, or so little to the credit of the author. Time, which is the best judge of things, has abundantly manifested this. The bishop’s writings on that subject, like all those of our author’s adversaries, are neglected and buried in oblivion; but his own will live for ever.

In 1695 Mr. Locke was appointed one of the commissioners of trade and plantations, a place worth 1000 per annum. The duties of this post he discharged with much care and diligence, and with universal approbation. He continued in it till the year 1700, when upon the increase of his asthmatic disorder, he was forced to resign it.

He acquainted no person with his design of leaving that place till he had given up his commission into the king’s own hand. The king was very unwilling to dismiss him, and told our author, that he would be well pleased with his continuance in that office, though he should give little or no attendance; for that he did not desire him to stay in town one day to the hurt of his health. But Mr. Locke told the king, that he could not in conscience hold a place to which such a salary was annexed, without discharging the duties of it; and therefore he begged leave to resign it. King William had a great esteem for our author, and would sometimes send for him to discourse on public affairs, and to know his sentiments of things. Mr. Locke once told the king very plainly, that if the universities were not reformed, and other principles taught there, than had been formerly inculcated, they would either destroy him, or some of his successors, or both.

He had a great knowledge of the world, and was prudent without cunning, easy, affable, and condescending without any mean complaisance. If there was any thing he could not bear, it was ill manners, and a rude behaviour. This was ever ungrateful to him, unless when he perceived that it proceeded from ignorance; but when it was the effect of pride, ill-nature, or brutality, he detested it. He looked on civility not only as a duty of humanity, but of Christianity; and he thought that it ought to be more pressed and urged upon men than it commonly is. He recommended on this occasion a treatise in the moral Essays, written by the gentlemen of Port Royal, ‘concerning the means of preserving peace among men,’ and was a great admirer of Dr. Whichcote’s sermons on the subject. He was exact to his word, and religiously performed whatever he promised. He was very scrupulous of giving recommendations of persons whom he did not well know, and would by no means commend those whom he thought not to deserve it. If he was told that his recommendation had not produced the effect expected, he would say, ‘the reason of that was because he never deceived any person by saying more than he knew; that he never passed his word for any but such as he believed would answer the character he gave of them; and that if he should do otherwise, his recommendations would be worth nothing.’

He was naturally very active, and employed himself as much as his health would permit. Sometimes he diverted himself with working in the garden, which he well understood. He loved walking, but not being able to walk much, through the disorder of his lungs, he used to ride out after dinner; and when he could not bear a horse, he went in a chaise. He always chose to have company with him, though it were but a child, for he took pleasure in talking with children of a good education.* His bad health was a disturbance to none but himself; and any person might be with him without any other concern than that of seeing him suffer. He did not differ from others in his diet, but only in that his usual drink was nothing but water; and he thought that was the means, under God, of lengthening his life. To this he also thought the preservation of his sight was in a great measure owing, for he could read by candle-light all sorts of books to the last, if they were not of a very small print, without the use of spectacles. He had no other distemper but his asthma, except a deafness for about six months, which he lamented in a letter to one of his friends, telling him, ‘he thought it better to be blind than deaf, as it deprived him of all conversation.’

The last fourteen or fifteen years of his life, he spent chiefly at Oates, seldom coming to town; and during this agreeable retirement, he applied himself to the study of the scriptures.

In 1704 our author’s strength began to fail more than ever in the beginning of the summer; a season which for several years had restored him some degrees of strength. His weakness made him apprehend his death was near. He often spoke of it himself, but always with great composure, though he omitted none of the precautions which his skill in medicine could suggest, in order to prolong his life. At length his legs began to swell; and that swelling increasing every day, his strength diminished visibly. He then saw how short a time he had to live, and prepared to quit this world, with a deep sense of the manifold blessings of God to him, which he took delight in recounting to his friends, and full of a sincere resignation to the divine will, and of firm hopes in his promises of a future life. For some weeks, as he was not able to walk, he was carried about the house in a chair. The day before his death, lady Masham being alone with him, and sitting by his bed, he exhorted her, to regard this world only as a state of preparation for a better; and added, that he had lived long enough, and thanked God for having passed his life so happily, but that this life appeared to him a mere vanity. He had no sleep that night, but resolved to try to rise next morning, as he did. He was carried into his study, and placed in an easy chair, where he slept a considerable while at different times. Seeming to be a little refreshed, he would be dressed as he used to be. He then desired lady Masham, who was reading the psalms low, while he was dressing, to read aloud: she did so, and he appeared very attentive, till the approach of death preventing him, he desired her to break off, and a few minutes after expired, on October 28, 1704, in the seventy-third year of his age. He was interred in the church-yard of High Lever, in Essex, and the following inscription, placed against the church-wall, was written by himself:

‘Siste viator, Hic juxta situs est Joannes Locke. Si qualis fuerit rogas, mediocritate sua contentum se vixisse respondet. Literis innutritus, eousque profecit, ut veritati unice litaret. Hoc ex scriptis illius disce; quæ, quod de eo reliquum est, majori fide tibi exhibebunt, quam epitaphii suspecta elogia. Virtutes si quas habuit, minores sane quam sibi laudi, tibi in exemplum proponeret. Vitia una sepeliantur. Morum exemplum si quæras, in evangelio habes; vitiorum utinam nusquam: mortalitatis, certe, quod prosit, hic et ubique.’

Natum An. Dni. 1632, Aug. 29°.

Mortuum 1704, Oct. 28°.

Memorat hac tabula

Brevi et ipsa peritura.

Thus died this great and most excellent philosopher, who, after he had bestowed many years in matters of science and speculation, happily turned his thoughts to the study of the scriptures, which he carefully examined with the same liberty he had used in the study of the other sciences.

There is no occasion to attempt a panegyric on our author. His writings are now well known, and valued, and will last as long as the English language. Some account of these has been given in the editor’s preface, and a farther description of them occurs in Des Maizeaux’s dedication, towards the middle of our last vol. His character, by P. Coste, is likewise delivered at large in the same place, and need not be repeated here, as it inadvertently was in a former edition.
 


AN

ESSAY

CONCERNING

HUMAN UNDERSTANDING

IN FOUR BOOKS

 

As thou knowest not what is the way of the Spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child, even so thou knowest not the works of God, who maketh all things.

Eccles. xi. 5


 

Quam bellum est velle confiteri potius nescire quod   nescias, quam ista effutientem nauseare atque ipsum sibi displicere!

Cic. de Nat. Deor.   Lib. 1
 



 


 

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

THOMAS

Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery,

 

Baron Herbert of Cardiff, Lord Ross of Kendal, Par, Fitzhugh, Marmion, St. Quintin, and Shurland; Lord President of his Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, and Lord Lieutenant of the County of Wilts, and of South-Wales.


 

MY LORD,

This Treatise, which is grown up under your lordship’s eye, and has ventured into the world by your order, does now, by a natural kind of right, come to your lordship for that protection, which you several years since promised it. It is not that I think any name, how great soever, set at the beginning of a book, will be able to cover the faults that are to be found in it. Things in print must stand and fall by their own worth, or the Reader’s fancy. But there being nothing more to be desired for truth, than a fair unprejudiced hearing, nobody is more likely to procure me that than your lordship, who are allowed to have got so intimate an acquaintance with her, in her more retired recesses. Your lordship is known to have so far advanced your speculations in the most abstract and general knowledge of things, beyond the ordinary reach, or common methods, that your allowance and approbation of the design of this treatise, will at least preserve it from being condemned without reading; and will prevail to have those parts a little weighed, which might otherwise, perhaps, be thought to deserve no consideration, for being somewhat out of the common road. The imputation of novelty is a terrible charge amongst those who judge of men’s heads, as they do of their perukes, by the fashion; and can allow none to be right, but the received doctrines. Truth scarce ever yet carried it by vote any where at its first appearance: new opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason, but because they are not already common. But truth, like gold, is not the less so for being newly brought out of the mine. It is trial and examination must give it price, and not an antique fashion: and though it be not yet current by the public stamp; yet it may, for all that, be as old as nature, and is certainly not the less genuine. Your lordship can give great and convincing instances of this, whenever you please to oblige the public with some of those large and comprehensive discoveries you have made of truths hitherto unknown, unless to some few, from whom your lordship has been pleased not wholly to conceal them. This alone were a sufficient reason, were there no other, why I should dedicate this Essay to your lordship; and its having some little correspondence with some parts of that nobler and vast system of the sciences your lordship has made so new, exact, and instructive a draught of, I think it glory enough, if your lordship permit me to boast, that here and there I have fallen into some thoughts not wholly different from yours. If your lordship think fit, that, by your encouragement, this should appear in the world, I hope it may be a reason, some time or other, to lead your lordship farther; and you will allow me to say, that you here give the world an earnest of something, that, if they can bear with this, will be truly worth their expectation. This, my lord, shows what a present I here make to your lordship; just such as the poor man does to his rich and great neighbour, by whom the basket of flowers or fruit is not ill taken, though he has more plenty of his own growth, and in much greater perfection. Worthless things receive a value, when they are made the offerings of respect, esteem, and gratitude; these you have given me so mighty and peculiar reasons to have, in the highest degree, for your lordship, that if they can add a price to what they go along with, proportionable to their own greatness, I can with confidence brag, I here make your lordship the richest present you ever received. This I am sure, I am under the greatest obligations to seek all occasions to acknowledge a long train of favours I have received from your lordship; favours, though great and important in themselves, yet made much more so by the forwardness, concern, and kindness, and other obliging circumstances, that never failed to accompany them. To all this, you are pleased to add that which gives yet more weight and relish to all the rest: you vouchsafe to continue me in some degree of your esteem, and allow me a place in your good thoughts; I had almost said friendship. This, my lord, your words and actions so constantly show on all occasions, even to others when I am absent, that it is not vanity in me to mention what every body knows: but it would be want of good manners, not to acknowledge what so many are witnesses of, and every day tell me, I am indebted to your lordship for. I wish they could as easily assist my gratitude, as they convince me of the great and growing engagements it has to your lordship. This I am sure, I should write of the understanding without having any, if I were not extremely sensible of them, and did not lay hold on this opportunity to testify to the world, how much I am obliged to be, and how much I am,

 

Dorset-Court,   24th of May, 1689

My   LORD,

Your Lordship’s

Most humble, and

Most obedient servant,

JOHN LOCKE



 


 

THE

EPISTLE

TO THE

READER


 

READER,

I here put into thy hands, what has been the diversion of some of my idle and heavy hours: if it has the good luck to prove so of any of thine, and thou hast but half so much pleasure in reading, as I had in writing it, thou wilt as little think thy money, as I do my pains, ill bestowed. Mistake not this, for a commendation of my work; nor conclude, because I was pleased with the doing of it, that therefore I am fondly taken with it now it is done. He that hawks at larks and sparrows, has no less sport, though a much less considerable quarry, than he that flies at nobler game: and he is little acquainted with the subject of this treatise, the UNDERSTANDING, who does not know, that as it is the most elevated faculty of the soul, so it is employed with a greater and more constant delight than any of the other. Its searches after truth, are a sort of hawking and hunting, wherein the very pursuit makes a great part of the pleasure. Every step the mind takes in its progress towards knowledge, makes some discovery, which is not only new, but the best too, for the time at least.

For the understanding, like the eye, judging of objects only by its own sight, cannot but be pleased with what it discovers, having less regret for what has escaped it, because it is unknown. Thus he who has raised himself above the alms-basket, and not content to live lazily on scraps of begged opinions, sets his own thoughts on work, to find and follow truth, will (whatever he lights on) not miss the hunter’s satisfaction; every moment of his pursuit will reward his pains with some delight, and he will have reason to think his time not ill-spent, even when he cannot much boast of any great acquisition.

This, Reader, is the entertainment of those who let loose their own thoughts, and follow them in writing; which thou oughtest not to envy them, since they afford thee an opportunity of the like diversion, if thou wilt make use of thy own thoughts in reading. It is to them, if they are thy own, that I refer myself: but if they are taken upon trust from others, it is no great matter what they are, they not following truth, but some meaner consideration; and it is not worth while to be concerned, what he says or thinks, who says or thinks only as he is directed by another. If thou judgest for thyself, I know thou wilt judge candidly; and then I shall not be harmed or offended, whatever be thy censure. For though it be certain, that there is nothing in this treatise, of the truth whereof I am not fully persuaded; yet I consider myself as liable to mistakes, as I can think thee, and know that this book must stand or fall with thee, not by any opinion I have of it, but thy own. If thou findest little in it new or instructive to thee, thou art not to blame me for it. It was not meant for those that had already mastered this subject, and made a thorough acquaintance with their own understandings; but for my own information, and the satisfaction of a few friends, who acknowledged themselves not to have sufficiently considered it. Were it fit to trouble thee with the history of this Essay, I should tell thee, that five or six friends meeting at my chamber, and discoursing on a subject very remote from this, found themselves quickly at a stand, by the difficulties that rose on every side. After we had a while puzzled ourselves, without coming any nearer a resolution of those doubts which perplexed us, it came into my thoughts, that we took a wrong course; and that before we set ourselves upon inquiries of that nature, it was necessary to examine our own abilities, and see what objects our understandings were, or were not, fitted to deal with. This I proposed to the company, who all readily assented; and thereupon it was agreed, that this should be our first inquiry. Some hasty and undigested thoughts on a subject I had never before considered, which I set down against our next meeting, gave the first entrance into this discourse; which having been thus begun by chance, was continued by intreaty; written by incoherent parcels; and after long intervals of neglect, resumed again, as my humour or occasions permitted; and at last, in a retirement, where an attendance on my health gave me leisure, it was brought into that order thou now seest it.

This discontinued way of writing may have occasioned, besides others, two contrary faults, viz. that too little and too much may be said in it. If thou findest any thing wanting, I shall be glad, that what I have writ gives thee any desire, that I should have gone farther: if it seems too much to thee, thou must blame the subject; for when I put pen to paper, I thought all I should have to say on this matter, would have been contained in one sheet of paper, but the farther I went, the larger prospect I had; new discoveries led me still on, and so it grew insensibly to the bulk it now appears in. I will not deny, but possibly it might be reduced to a narrower compass than it is; and that some parts of it might be contracted; the way it has been writ in, by catches, and many long intervals of interruption, being apt to cause some repetitions. But to confess the truth, I am now too lazy, or too busy to make it shorter.

I am not ignorant how little I herein consult my own reputation, when I knowingly let it go with a fault, so apt to disgust the most judicious, who are always the nicest readers. But they who know sloth is apt to content itself with any excuse, will pardon me, if mine has prevailed on me, where, I think, I have a very good one. I will not therefore allege in my defence, that the same notion, having different respects, may be convenient or necessary to prove or illustrate several parts of the same discourse; and that so it has happened in many parts of this: but waving that, I shall frankly avow, that I have sometimes dwelt long upon the same argument, and expressed it different ways, with a quite different design. I pretend not to publish this Essay for the information of men of large thoughts, and quick apprehensions; to such masters of knowledge, I profess myself a scholar, and therefore warn them beforehand not to expect any thing here, but what, being spun out of my own coarse thoughts, is fitted to men of my own size; to whom, perhaps, it will not be unacceptable, that I have taken some pains to make plain and familiar to their thoughts some truths, which established prejudice, or the abstractedness of the ideas themselves, might render difficult. Some objects had need be turned on every side: and when the notion is new, as I confess some of these are to me, or out of the ordinary road, as I suspect they will appear to others; it is not one simple view of it, that will gain it admittance into every understanding, or fix it there with a clear and lasting impression. There are few, I believe, who have not observed in themselves or others, that what in one way of proposing was very obscure, another way of expressing it has made very clear and intelligible; though afterward the mind found little difference in the phrases, and wondered why one failed to be understood more than the other. But every thing does not hit alike upon every man’s imagination. We have our understandings no less different than our palates; and he that thinks the same truth shall be equally relished by every one in the same dress, may as well hope to feast every one with the same sort of cookery: the meat may be the same, and the nourishment good, yet every one not be able to receive it with that seasoning: and it must be dressed another way, if you will have it go down with some, even of strong constitutions. The truth is, those who advised me to publish it, advised me, for this reason, to publish it as it is; and since I have been brought to let it go abroad, I desire it should be understood by whoever gives himself the pains to read it; I have so little affection to be in print, that if I were not flattered this Essay might be of some use to others, as I think it has been to me, I should have confined it to the view of some friends, who gave the first occasion to it. My appearing therefore in print, being on purpose to be as useful as I may, I think it necessary to make what I have to say, as easy and intelligible to all sorts of readers, as I can. And I had much rather the speculative and quick-sighted should complain of my being in some parts tedious, than that any one, not accustomed to abstract speculations, or prepossessed with different notions, should mistake, or not comprehend my meaning.

It will possibly be censured as a great piece of vanity or insolence in me, to pretend to instruct this our knowing age; it amounting to little less, when I own, that I publish this Essay with hopes it may be useful to others. But if it may be permitted to speak freely of those, who with a feigned modesty condemn as useless, what they themselves write, methinks it savours much more of vanity or insolence, to publish a book for any other end; and he fails very much of that respect he owes the public, who prints, and consequently expects men should read that, wherein he intends not they should meet with any thing of use to themselves or others: and should nothing else be found allowable in this treatise, yet my design will not cease to be so; and the goodness of my intention ought to be some excuse for the worthlessness of my present. It is that chiefly which secures me from the fear of censure, which I expect not to escape more than better writers. Men’s principles, notions, and relishes are so different, that it is hard to find a book which pleases or displeases all men. I acknowledge the age we live in is not the least knowing, and therefore not the most easy to be satisfied. If I have not the good luck to please, yet nobody ought to be offended with me. I plainly tell all my readers, except half a dozen, this treatise was not at first intended for them; and therefore they need not be at the trouble to be of that number. But yet if any one thinks fit to be angry, and rail at it, he may do it securely: for I shall find some better way of spending my time, than in such kind of conversation. I shall always have the satisfaction to have aimed sincerely at truth and usefulness, though in one of the meanest ways. The commonwealth of learning is not at this time without master-builders, whose mighty designs in advancing the sciences, will leave lasting monuments to the admiration of posterity; but every one must not hope to be a Boyle, or a Sydenham; and in an age that produces such masters, as the great — Huygenius, and the incomparable Mr. Newton, with some others of that strain; it is ambition enough to be employed as an under-labourer in clearing the ground a little, and removing some of the rubbish that lies in the way to knowledge; which certainly had been very much more advanced in the world, if the endeavours of ingenious and industrious men had not been much cumbered with the learned but frivolous use of uncouth, affected, or unintelligible terms, introduced into the sciences, and there made an art of, to that degree, that philosophy, which is nothing but the true knowledge of things, was thought unfit, or uncapable to be brought into well-bred company, and polite conversation. Vague and insignificant forms of speech, and abuse of language, have so long passed for mysteries of science; and hard and misapplied words, with little or no meaning, have, by prescription, such a right to be mistaken for deep learning, and height of speculation, that it will not be easy to persuade, either those who speak, or those who hear them, that they are but the covers of ignorance, and hindrance of true knowledge. To break in upon the sanctuary of vanity and ignorance, will be, I suppose, some service to human understanding: though so few are apt to think they deceive or are deceived in the use of words; or that the language of the sect they are of, has any faults in it which ought to be examined or corrected; that I hope I shall be pardoned, if I have in the third book dwelt long on this subject, and endeavoured to make it so plain, that neither the inveterateness of the mischief, nor the prevalence of the fashion, shall be any excuse for those, who will not take care about the meaning of their own words, and will not suffer the significancy of their expressions to be inquired into.

I have been told, that a short epitome of this treatise, which was printed 1688, was by some condemned without reading, because innate ideas were denied in it; they too hastily concluding, that if innate ideas were not supposed, there would be little left, either of the notion or proof of spirits. If any one take the like offence at the entrance of this treatise, I shall desire him to read it through; and then I hope he will be convinced, that the taking away false foundations, is not to the prejudice, but advantage of truth; which is never injured or endangered so much, as when mixed with, or built on falsehood. In the second edition, I added as followeth:

The bookseller will not forgive me, if I say nothing of this second edition, which he has promised, by the correctness of it, shall make amends for the many faults committed in the former. He desires too, that it should be known, that it has one whole new chapter concerning identity, and many additions and amendments in other places. These I must inform my reader are not all new matter, but most of them either farther confirmations of what I had said, or explications, to prevent others being mistaken in the sense of what was formerly printed, and not any variation in me from it; I must only except the alterations I have made in Book II. Chap. 21.

What I had there writ concerning liberty and the will, I thought deserved as accurate a view, as I was capable of; those subjects having in all ages exercised the learned part of the world, with questions and difficulties, that have not a little perplexed morality and divinity; those parts of knowledge, that men are most concerned to be clear in. Upon a closer inspection into the working of men’s minds, and a stricter examination of those motives and views they are turned by, I have found reason somewhat to alter the thoughtsI formerly had concerning that, which gives the last determination to the will in all voluntary actions. This I cannot forbear to acknowledge to the world with as much freedom and readiness, as I at first published what then seemed to me to be right; thinking myself more concerned to quit and renounce any opinion of my own, than oppose that of another, when truth appears against it. For it is truth alone I seek, and that will always be welcome to me, when or from whence soever it comes.

But what forwardness soever I have to resign any opinion I have, or to recede from any thing I have writ, upon the first evidence of any errour in it; yet this I must own, that I have not had the good luck to receive any light from those exceptions I have met with in print against any part of my book; nor have, from any thing that has been urged against it, found reason to alter my sense, in any of the points that have been questioned. Whether the subject I have in hand requires often more thought and attention than cursory readers, at least such as are prepossessed, are willing to allow: or, whether any obscurity in my expressions casts a cloud over it, and these notions are made difficult to others apprehensions in my way of treating them: so it is, that my meaning, I find, is often mistaken, and I have not the good luck to be every where rightly understood. There are so many instances of this, that I think it justice to my reader and myself, to conclude, that either my book is plainly enough written to be rightly understood by those who peruse it with that attention and indifferency, which every one, who will give himself the pains to read, ought to employ in reading; or else, that I have writ mine so obscurely, that it is in vain to go about to mend it. Which ever of these be the truth, it is myself only am affected thereby, and therefore I shall be far from troubling my reader with what I think might be said, in answer to those several objections I have met with, to passages here and there of my book: since I persuade myself, that he who thinks them of moment enough to be concerned whether they are true or false, will be able to see, that what is said, is either not well founded, or else not contrary to my doctrine, when I and my opposer come both to be well understood.

If any, careful that none of their good thoughts should be lost, have published their censures of my Essay, with this honour done to it, that they will not suffer it to be an Essay; I leave it to the public to value the obligation they have to their critical pens, and shall not waste my reader’s time in so idle or ill-natured an employment of mine, as to lessen the satisfaction any one has in himself, or gives to others, in so hasty a confutation of what I have written.

The booksellers preparing for the fourth edition of my Essay, gave me notice of it that I might, if I had leisure, make any additions or alterations I should think fit. Whereupon I thought it convenient to advertise the reader, that besides several corrections I had made here and there, there was one alteration which it was necessary to mention, because it ran through the whole book, and is of consequence to be rightly understood. What I thereupon said was this:

Clear and distinct ideas are terms, which, though familiar and frequent in men’s mouths, I have reason to think every one who uses, does not perfectly understand. And possibly it is but here and there one, who gives himself the trouble to consider them so far as to know what he himself or others precisely mean by them: I have therefore in most places chose to put determinate or determined, instead of clear and distinct, as more likely to direct men’s thoughts to my meaning in this matter. By those denominations, I mean some object in the mind, and consequently determined, i. e. such as it is there seen and perceived to be. This, I think, may fitly be called a determinate or determined idea, when such as it is at any time objectively in the mind, and so determined there, it is annexed, and without variation determined to a name or articulate sound, which is to be steadily the sign of that very same object of the mind, or determinate idea.

To explain this a little more particularly. By determinate, when applied to a simple idea, I mean that simple appearance which the mind has in its view, or perceives in itself, when that idea is said to be in it: by determinate, when applied to a complex idea, I mean such an one as consists of a determinate number of certain simple or less complex ideas, joined in such a proportion and situation, as the mind has before its view, and sees in itself, when that idea is present in it, or should be present in it, when a man gives a name to it: I say, should be; because it is not every one, not perhaps any one, who is so careful of his language, as to use no word, till he views in his mind the precise determined idea, which he resolves to make it the sign of. The want of this is the cause of no small obscurity and confusion in men’s thoughts and discourses.

I know there are not words enough in any language, to answer all the variety of ideas that enter into men’s discourses and reasonings. But this hinders not, but that when any one uses any term, he may have in his mind a determined idea, which he makes it the sign of, and to which he should keep it steadily annexed, during that present discourse. Where he does not, or cannot do this, he in vain pretends to clear or distinct ideas: it is plain his are not so; and therefore there can be expected nothing but obscurity and confusion, where such terms are made use of, which have not such a precise determination.

Upon this ground I have thought determined ideas a way of speaking less liable to mistakes, than clear and distinct: and where men have got such determined ideas of all that they reason, inquire, or argue about, they will find a great part of their doubts and disputes at an end. The greatest part of the questions and controversies that perplex mankind, depending on the doubtful and uncertain use of words, or (which is the same) indetermined ideas, which they are made to stand for; I have made choice of these terms to signify, 1. Some immediate object of the mind, which it perceives and has before it, distinct from the sound it uses as a sign of it. 2. That this idea, thus determined, i. e. which the mind has in itself, and knows, and sees there, be determined without any change to that name, and that name determined to that precise idea. If men had such determined ideas in their inquiries and discourses they would both discern how far their own inquiries and discourses went, and avoid the greatest part of the disputes and wranglings they have with others.

Besides this, the bookseller will think it necessary I should advertise the reader, that there is an addition of two chapters wholly new; the one of the association of ideas, the other of enthusiasm. These, with some other larger additions never before printed, he has engaged to print by themselves after the same manner, and for the same purpose, as was done when this essay had the second impression.

In the sixth edition, there is very little added or altered; the greatest part of what is new, is contained in the 21st chapter of the second book, which any one, if he thinks it worth while, may, with a very little labour, transcribe into the margin of the former edition.



BOOK I
OF INNATE NOTIONS

CHAPTER I

The Introduction

1.
 
An   inquiry into the understanding, pleasant and useful
 
2.
 
Design
 
3.
 
Method
 
4.
 
Useful   to know the extent of our comprehension
 
5.
 
Our   capacity proportioned to our state and concerns, to discover things useful to   us
 
6.
 
Knowing   the extent of our capacities, will hinder us from useless curiosity, skepticism,   and idleness
 
7.
 
Occasion   of this essay
 
8.
 
What   idea stands for
 

 

CHAPTER II

No innate principles in the mind, and   particularly no innate speculative principles

1.
 
The way shown how we come by any knowledge, sufficient to   prove it not innate
 
2.
 
General assent, the great argument
 
3.
 
Universal   consent proves nothing innate
 
4.
 
What   is, is; and, it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be; not universally   assented to
 
5.
 
Not   on the mind naturally imprinted, because not known to children, idiots, etc.
 
6-7.
 
That   men know them when they come to the use of reason, answered
 
8.
 
If   reason discovered them, that would not prove them innate
 
9-11.
 
It   is false, that reason discovers them
 
12.
 
The   coming to the use of reason, not the time we come to know these maxims
 
13.
 
By   this, they are not distinguished from other knowable truths
 
14.
 
If   coming to the use of reason were the time of their discovery, it would not   prove them innate
 
15-16.
 
The   steps by which the mind attains several truths
 
17.
 
Assenting   as won as proposed and understood, proves them not innate
 
18.
 
If such an assent be a mark of innate, then that one and   two are equal to three; that sweetness is not bitterness; and a thousand the   like, must be innate.
 
19.
 
Such less general propositions known before these universal   maxims.
 
20.
 
One   and One equal to two, etc. not general, nor useful, answered
 
21.
 
These   Maxims not being known sometimes till proposed, proves them not innate
 
22.
 
Implicitly   known before proposing, signifies, that the mind is capable of understanding   them, or else signifies nothing
 
23.
 
The   argument of assenting on first hearing, is upon a false supposition of no   precedent teaching
 
24.
 
Not   innate, because not universally assented to
 
25.
 
These   Maxims not the first known
 
26.
 
And   so not innate
 
27.
 
Not   innate, because they appear least, where what is innate, shows itself   clearest
 
28.
 
Recapitulation
 

 

CHAPTER III

No Innate Practical Principles

1.
 
No   Moral Principles so clear and so generally received as the fore-mentioned   speculative maxims
 
2.
 
Faith   and justice no owned as principles by all men
 
3.
 
Obj.   Though men deny them in their thoughts, answered
 
4.
 
Moral   rules need a proof, ergo, not innate
 
5.
 
Instance   in keeping compacts
 
6.
 
Virtue   generally approved, not because innate, but because profitable
 
7.
 
Men’s   actions convince us, that the rule of virtue is not their internal principle
 
8.
 
Conscience   no proof of any innate moral rule
 
9.
 
Instances   of enormities practiced without remorse
 
10.
 
Men   have contrary practical principles
 
11-13.
 
Whole   nations reject several moral codes
 
14.
 
Those   who maintain innate practical principles, tell us not what they are
 
15-19.
 
Lord   Herber’s innate principles examined
 
20.
 
Obj.   Innate principles may be corrupted, answered
 
21.
 
Contrary   principles in the world
 
22-26.
 
How   men commonly come by their principles
 
27.
 
Principles   must be examined
 

 

CHAPTER IV

Other considerations about innate   principles, both speculative and practical

1.
 
Principles   not innate, unless their ideas be innate
 
2-3.
 
Ideas,   especially those belonging to principles, not born with children
 
4-5.
 
Identity   an idea not innate
 
6.
 
Whole   and part, not innate ideas
 
7.
 
Idea   of worship not innate
 
8-11.
 
Idea   of God, not innate
 
12.
 
Suitable   to God’s goodness, that all men should have an idea of Him, therefore naturally   imprinted by him; answered
 
13-16.
 
Ideas   of God, various in different men
 
17.
 
If   the idea of God be not innate, no other can be supposed innate
 
18.
 
Idea   of substance not innate
 
19.
 
No   propositions can be innate, since no ideas are innate
 
20.
 
No   ideas are remembered, till after they have been introduced
 
21.
 
Principles   not innate, because of little use or little certainty
 
22.
 
Difference   of men’s discoveries depends upon the different applications of their   faculties
 
23.
 
Men   must think and know for themselves
 
24.
 
Whence   the opinion of innate principles
 
25.
 
Conclusion
 


 

BOOK II
OF IDEAS

CHAPTER I

Of Ideas in General

1.
 
Idea   is the object of thinking
 
2.
 
All   ideas come from sensation or reflection
 
3.
 
The   objects of sensation on source of ideas
 
4.
 
The   operations of our minds, the other source of them
 
5.
 
All   our ideas are of the one of the other of these
 
6.
 
Observable   in children
 
7.
 
Men   are differently furnished with these, according to the different objects they   converse with
 
8.
 
Ideas   of reflections later, because they need attention
 
9.
 
The   soul begins to have ideas, when it begins to perceive
 
10.
 
The   soul thinks not always; for this wants proofs
 
11.
 
It   is not always conscious of it
 
12.
 
If   a sleeping man things with knowing it, the sleeping and waking man are two   persons
 
13.
 
Impossible   to convince those that sleep without dreaming that they think
 
14.
 
That   men dream without remembering it, in vain urged
 
15
 
Upon   this hypothesis, the thoughts of a sleeping man ought to be most rational
 
16.
 
On   this hypothesis the soul must have ideas not derived from sensation or   reflection of which there is no appearance.
 
17.
 
If   I think when I know it not, nobody else can know it
 
18.
 
How   knows any one that the soul always thinks?   For if it be not a self-evident proposition, it needs proof
 
19.
 
That   a man should be busy in thinking, and yet not retain it the next moment, very   improbable
 
20-23.
 
No   ideas but from sensation, or reflection, evident, if we observe children
 
24.
 
The   original of all our knowledge
 
25.
 
In   the reception of simple ideas the understanding is most of all passive.
 

 

CHAPTER II

Of Simple Ideas

1.
 
Uncompounded   appearances
 
2-3.
 
The   mind can neither make nor destroy them
 

 

CHAPTER III

Of Ideas of One Sense

1.
 
As   Colors of seeing; sounds, of hearing
 
2.
 
Few   simple ideas have names.
 

 

CHAPTER IV

Of solidity

1.
 
We   receive this idea from touch
 
2.
 
Solidity   fills space
 
3.
 
Distinct   from space
 
4.
 
From   hardness
 
5.
 
On   solidity depend impulse, resistance, and protrusion
 
6.
 
What   it is
 

 

CHAPTER V

Of Simple Ideas by More Than One   Sense

 

CHAPTER VI

Of Simple Ideas of Reflection

1.
 
Simple   ideas are the operations of the mind about its other ideas
 
2.
 
The   idea of perception, and idea of wiling, we have from reflection
 

 

CHAPTER VII

Of Simple Ideas, both of sensation   and reflection

1-6.
 
Pleasure   and pain
 
7.
 
Existence   and unity
 
8.
 
Power
 
9.
 
Succession
 
10.
 
Simple   ideas the materials of all our knowledge
 

 

CHAPTER VIII

Other Considerations Concerning   Simple Ideas

1-6.
 
Positive   ideas from private causes
 
7-8.
 
Ideas   in the mind, qualities in bodies
 
9-10.
 
Primary   and Secondary qualities
 
11-12.
 
How   primary qualities produce their ideas
 
13-14.
 
How   Secondary
 
15-23.
 
Ideas   of Primary qualities, are resemblances; of secondary, not.
 
24-25.
 
Reason   of our mistake in this
 
26.
 
Secondary   qualities two-fold; first immediately perceivable; secondly, mediately   perceivable
 

 

CHAPTER IX

Of Perception

1.
 
It   is the first simple idea of reflection
 
2-4.
 
Perception   is only when the mind receives the impression
 
5-6.
 
Children   though they have ideas in the womb, have none innate
 
7.
 
Which   ideas first, is not evident
 
8-10.
 
Ideas   of sensation often changed by the judgment
 
11-14.
 
Perception   puts the difference between animals and inferior beings
 
15.
 
Perception   the inlet of knowledge
 

 

CHAPTER X

Of Retention

1.
 
Contemplation
 
2.
 
Memory
 
3.
 
Attention,   repetition, pleasure and pain, fix ideas
 
4-5.
 
Ideas   fade in the memory
 
6.
 
Constantly   repeated ideas can scarce be lost
 
7.
 
In   remembering, the mind is often active
 
8-9.
 
Two   defects in the memory, oblivion and slowness
 
10.
 
Brutes   have memory
 

 

CHAPTER XI

Of Discerning, etc.

1.
 
No   knowledge without it
 
2.
 
The   difference of wit and judgment
 
3.
 
Clearness   alone hinders confusion
 
4.
 
Comparing
 
5.
 
Brutes   compare but imperfectly
 
6.
 
Compounding
 
7.
 
Brutes   compound but little
 
8.
 
Naming
 
9.
 
Abstraction
 
10-11.
 
Brutes   abstract not
 
12-13.
 
Idiots   and madmen
 
14.
 
Method
 
15.
 
These   are the beginnings of human knowledge
 
16.
 
Appeal   to experience
 
17.
 
Dark   room
 

 

CHAPTER XII

Of complex ideas

1.
 
Made   by the mind out of simple ones
 
2.
 
Made   voluntarily
 
3.
 
Are   either modes, substances, or relations
 
4.
 
Modes
 
5.
 
Simple   and mixed modes
 
6.
 
Substances   single or collective
 
7.
 
Relation
 
8.
 
The   abstrusest ideas from the two sources
 

 

CHAPTER XIII

Of space and its simple modes

1.
 
Simple   modes
 
2.
 
Idea   of space
 
3.
 
Space   and extension
 
4.
 
Immensity
 
5-6.
 
Figure
 
7-10.
 
Place
 
11-14.
 
Extension   and body not the same
 
15.
 
The   definition of extension, or of space, does not explain it
 
16.
 
Division   of beings into bodies and spirits proves not body and space the same
 
17-18.
 
Substance,   which we know not, no proof against space without body
 
19-20.
 
Substance   and accident of little use in philosophy
 
21.
 
A   vacuum beyond the utmost bounds of body
 
22.
 
The   power of annihilation proves a vacuum
 
23.
 
Motion   proves a vacuum
 
24.
 
The   ideas of space and body distinct
 
25-26.
 
Extension   being inseparable from body proves it not the same
 
27.
 
Ideas   of space and solidity distinct
 
28.
 
Men   differ little in clear simple ideas
 

 

CHAPTER XIV

Of duration and its simple modes

1.
 
Duration   is fleeting extension
 
2-4.
 
Its   idea from reflection on the train of our ideas
 
5.
 
The   idea of duration applicable to things whilst we sleep
 
6-8.
 
The   idea of succession not from motion
 
9-11.
 
The   train of ideas has a certain degree of quickness
 
12.
 
This   train, the measure of other successions
 
13-15.
 
The   mind cannot fix long on one invariable idea
 
16.
 
Ideas,   however made, include no sense of motion
 
17.
 
Time   is duration set out by measures
 
18.
 
A   good measure of time must divide its whole duration into equal periods
 
19.
 
The   Revolutions of the sun and moon, the properest measure of time
 
20.
 
But   not their motion, but periodical appearances
 
21.
 
No   two parts of duration can be certainly know to be equal
 
22.
 
Time   not the measure of motion
 
23.
 
Minutes,   hours, and years, not necessary measures of duration
 
24-26.
 
Our   measure of time applicable to duration before   time
 
27-30.
 
Eternity
 

 

CHAPTER XV

Of duration and expansion   considered together

1.
 
Both   capable of greater and less
 
2.
 
Expansion   not bounded by mater
 
3.
 
Nor   duration by motion
 
4.
 
Why   men more easily admin infinite duration, than infinite expansion
 
5.
 
Time   to duration, is as place to expansion
 
6.
 
Time   and place are taken for so much of either as are set out by the existence and   motion of bodies
 
7.
 
Sometimes   for so much of either as we design by measure taken from the bulk or motion   of bodies
 
8.
 
They   belong to all beings
 
9.
 
All   the parts of extension, are extension; and all the parts of duration are   duration
 
10.
 
Their   parts inseparable
 
11.
 
Duration   is as a line, expansion as a solid
 
12.
 
Duration   has never two parts together, expansion all together
 

 

CHAPTER XVI

Of number

1.
 
Number,   the simplest and most universal idea
 
2.
 
Its   modes made by addition
 
3.
 
Each   mode distinct
 
4.
 
Therefore   demonstrations in numbers the most precise
 
5-6.
 
Names   necessary to numbers
 
7.
 
Why   children number not earlier
 
8.
 
Number   measures all measurables
 

 

CHAPTER XVII

Of Infinity

1.
 
Infinity   in its original intentions attributed to space, duration, and number
 
2.
 
The   idea of finite easily got
 
3.
 
How   we come by the idea of infinity
 
4.
 
Our   idea of space boundless
 
5.
 
And   so of duration
 
6.
 
Why   other ideas are not capable of infinity
 
7.
 
Difference   between infinity of space and space infinite
 
8.
 
We   have no ideas of infinite space
 
9.
 
Number   affords us the clearest idea of infinity
 
10-11.
 
Our   different conception of the infinity of number, duration, and expansion
 
12.
 
Infinite   divisibility
 
13-14.
 
No   positive idea of infinity
 
15-16.
 
What   is positive, what negative, in our idea of infinite
 
17-18.
 
We   have no positive idea of infinite duration
 
19.
 
No   positive idea of infinite space
 
20.
 
Some   think they have a positive idea of eternity, and not of infinite space
 
21.
 
Supposed   positive idea of infinity, cause of mistakes
 
22.
 
All   these ideas from sensation and reflection
 

 

CHAPTER XVIII

Of other simple modes

1-2.
 
Modes   of motion
 
3.
 
Modes   of sound
 
4.
 
Modes   of color
 
5.
 
Modes   of taste and smells
 
6.
 
Some   simple mode have no names
 
7.
 
Why   some modes have and others have not names
 

 

CHAPTER XIX

Of the modes of thinking

1-2.
 
Sensation,   remembrance, contemp-lation, etc.
 
3.
 
The   various attention of the mind in thinking
 
4.
 
Hence   it is probable that thinking is the action, not the essence of the soul
 

 

CHAPTER XX

Of modes of pleasure and pain

1.
 
Pleasure   and pain simple ideas
 
2.
 
Good   and evil, what
 
3.
 
Our   passions moved by good and evil
 
4.
 
Love
 
5.
 
Hatred
 
6.
 
Desire
 
7.
 
Joy
 
8.
 
Sorrow
 
9.
 
Hope
 
10.
 
Fear
 
11.
 
Despair
 
12.
 
Anger
 
13.
 
Envy
 
14.
 
What   passions all men have
 
15-16.
 
Pleasure   and pain, what
 
17.
 
Shame
 
18.
 
These   instances do show how our ideas of the passions are got from sensation and   reflection
 

 

CHAPTER XXI

Of Power

1.
 
This   idea how got
 
2.
 
Power   active and passive
 
3.
 
Power   includes relation
 
4.
 
The   clearest idea of active power had from spirit
 
5.
 
Will   and understanding, two powers
 
6.
 
Faculties
 
7.
 
Whence   the ideas of liberty and necessity
 
8.
 
Liberty,   what
 
9.
 
Supposes   understanding and will
 
10.
 
Belongs   not to volition
 
11.
 
Voluntary   opposed to involuntary, not to necessary
 
12.
 
Liberty,   what
 
13.
 
Necessity,   what
 
14-20.
 
Liberty   belongs not to the will
 
21.
 
But   to the agent or man
 
22-24.
 
In   respect of willing, a man is not free
 
25-27.
 
The   will determined by something without it
 
28.
 
Volition,   what
 
29.
 
What   determines the will
 
30.
 
Will   and desire must not be confounded
 
31.
 
Uneasiness   determines the will
 
32.
 
Desire   is uneasiness
 
33.
 
The   uneasiness of desire determines the will
 
34.
 
This   the spring of action
 
35.
 
The   greatest positive good determines not the will, but uneasiness
 
36.
 
Because   the removal of uneasiness is the first step to happiness
 
37.
 
Because   uneasiness alone is present
 
38.
 
Because   all, who all the joys of heaven possible, pursue them not. But a great uneasiness is never neglected
 
39.
 
Desire   accompanies all uneasiness
 
40.
 
The   most pressing uneasiness naturally determines the will
 
41.
 
All   desire happiness
 
42.
 
Happiness,   what
 
43.
 
What   good is desired, what not
 
44.
 
Why   the greatest good is not always desired
 
45.
 
Why,   not being desired, it moves not the will
 
46.
 
Due   consideration raises desire
 
47.
 
The   power to suspend the prosecution of an desire, makes way for consideration
 
48.
 
To   be determined by our own judgment, is no restraint to liberty
 
49.
 
The   freest agents are so determined
 
50.
 
A   constant determination to a pursuit of happiness, no abridgment of liberty
 
51.
 
The   necessity of pursuing true happiness, the foundation of all liberty
 
52.
 
The   reason of it
 
53.
 
Government   of our passions, the right improvement of liberty
 
54-55.
 
How   men come to pursue different courses
 
56.
 
How   men come to choose ill
 
57.
 
First,   from bodily pains. Secondly, from   wrong desires arising from wrong judgment
 
58-59.
 
Our   judgment of present good or evil always right
 
60.
 
From   a wrong judgment of what makes a necessary part of their happiness
 
61-62.
 
A   more particular account of wrong judgments
 
63.
 
In   comparing present and future
 
64-65.
 
Causes   of this
 
66.
 
In   considering consequences of actions
 
67.
 
Causes   of this
 
68.
 
Wrong   judgment of what is necessary to our happiness
 
69.
 
We   can change the agreeableness or disagreeableness in things
 
70.
 
Preference   of vice to virtue, a manifest wrong judgment
 
71-73.
 
Recapitulation
 

 

CHAPTER XXII

Of mixed modes

1.
 
Mixed   modes, what
 
2.
 
Made   by the mind
 
3.
 
Sometimes   got by the explication of their names
 
4.
 
The   name ties the parts of the mixed modes into one idea
 
5.
 
The   cause of making mixed modes
 
6.
 
Why   words in one language have none answering in another
 
7.
 
And   languages change
 
8.
 
Mixed   modes, where they exist
 
9.
 
How   we get the ideas of mixed
 
10.
 
Motion,   thinking, and power, have been most modified
 
11.
 
Several   words seeming to signify action, signify but the effect
 
12.
 
Mixed   modes, made also of other ideas
 

 

CHAPTER XXIII

Of the complex ideas of substances

1.
 
Ideas   of substances, how made
 
2.
 
Our   idea of substance in general
 
3-4.
 
Of   the sorts of substances
 
5.
 
No   clear idea of substance in general
 
6.
 
As   clear an idea of spirit as body
 
7.
 
Powers   a great part of our complex idea of substances
 
8.
 
And   why
 
9.
 
Three   sorts of ideas make our complex ones of substances
 
10.
 
Power   make a great part of our complex ideas of substances
 
11.
 
The   now secondary qualities of bodies would disappear, if we could discover the   primary ones of their minute parts
 
12.
 
Our   faculties of discovery suited to our state
 
13.
 
Conjecture   about spirits
 
14.
 
Complex   ideas of substances
 
15.
 
Idea   of spiritual substances, as clear as of bodily substances
 
16.
 
No   idea of abstract substance
 
17.
 
The   cohesion of solid parts, and impulse, the primary ideas of body
 
18.
 
Thinking   and motivity the primary ideas of spirit
 
19-21.
 
Spirits   capable of motion
 
22.
 
Idea   of soul and body compared
 
23-27.
 
Cohesion   of solid parts in body, as hard to be conceived, as thinking in a soul.
 
28-29.
 
Communication   of motion by impulse, or by thought equally intelligible
 
30.
 
Ideas   of body and spirit compared
 
31.
 
The   notion of spirit involves no more difficulty in it than that of body
 
32.
 
We   know nothing beyond our simple ideas
 
33-35.
 
Idea   of God
 
36.
 
No   ideas in our complex on of spirits, but those got from sensation or   reflection.
 
37.
 
Recapitulation
 

 

CHAPTER XXIV

Of collective ideas of substances

1.
 
One   idea
 
2.
 
Made   by the power of composing in the mind
 
3.
 
All   artificial things are collective ideas
 

 

CHAPTER XXV

Of Relation

1.
 
Relation,   What
 
2.
 
Relations,   without correlative terms, not easily perceived
 
3.
 
Some   seemingly absolute terms contain relation
 
4.
 
Relation   different from the things related
 
5.
 
Changes   of relation may be without any change in the subject
 
6.
 
Relation   only betwixt two things
 
7.
 
All   things capable of relation
 
8.
 
The   ideas of relation clearer often, than of the subjects related
 
9.
 
Relations   all terminate in simple ideas
 
10.
 
Terms   leading the mind beyond the subjects denominated, are relative
 
11.
 
Conclusion
 

 

CHAPTER XXVI

Of cause and effect, and other Relations

1.
 
Whence   their ideas got
 
2.
 
Creation,   generation, making alteration
 
3-4.
 
Relations   of time
 
5.
 
Relations   of place and extension
 
6.
 
Absolute   terms often stand for relations
 

 

CHAPTER XXVII

Of identity and diversity

1.
 
Wherein   identity consists
 
2.
 
Identity   of substances. Identity of modes
 
3.
 
Principium   individuations
 
4.
 
Identity   of vegetables
 
5.
 
Identity   of animals
 
6.
 
Identity   of man
 
7.
 
Identity   suited to the idea
 
8.
 
Same   man
 
9.
 
Personal   identity
 
10.
 
Consciousness   makes personal identity
 
11.
 
Personal   identity in change of substances
 
12-15.
 
Whether   in the change of thinking substances
 
16.
 
Consciousness   makes the same person
 
17.
 
Self   depends on consciousness
 
18-20.
 
Objects   of reward and punishment
 
21-22.
 
Difference   between identity of man and person
 
23-25.
 
Consciousness   alone makes self
 
26-27.
 
Person   a forensic term
 
28.
 
The   difficulty from ill use of names
 
29.
 
Continued   existence makes identity
 

 

CHAPTER XXVIII

Of other relations

1.
 
Proportional
 
2.
 
Natural
 
3.
 
Instituted
 
4.
 
Moral
 
5.
 
Moral   good and evil
 
6.
 
Moral   rules
 
7.
 
Laws
 
8.
 
Divine   law, the measure of sin and duty
 
9.
 
Civil   law, the measure of crimes and innocence
 
10-11.
 
Philosophical   law, the measure of virtue and vice
 
12.
 
Its   enforcements, commendation, and discredit
 
13.
 
These   three laws the rules of moral good and evil
 
14-15.
 
Morality   is the relation of actions to these rules
 
16.
 
The   denominations of actions often mislead us
 
17.
 
Relations   innumerable
 
18.
 
All   relations terminate in simple ideas
 
19.
 
We   have ordinarily as clear (or Clearer) notations of the relation, as of its   foundation
 
20.
 
The   notion of the relation is the same, whether the rule, any action is compared   to, be true or false
 

 

CHAPTER XXIX

Of clear and distinct, obscure and   confused ideas

1.
 
Ideas,   some clear and distinct, others obscure and confused
 
2.
 
Clear   and obscure, explained by sight
 
3.
 
Causes   of obscurity
 
4.
 
Distinct   and confused, what
 
5.
 
Objection
 
6.
 
Confusion   of ideas, is in reference to their names
 
7.
 
Defaults   which make confusion. First, complex   ideas made up of too few simple ones
 
8.
 
Secondly,   or its simple ones jumbled disorderly together
 
9.
 
Thirdly,   or are mutable or undetermined
 
10.
 
Confusion,   without reference to names, hardly conceivable
 
11.
 
Confusion   concerns always two ideas
 
12.
 
Causes   of confusion
 
13.
 
Complex   ideas may be distinct in one part, and confused in another
 
14.
 
This,   if not heeded, causes confusion in our arguings
 
15.
 
Instance   in eternity
 
16.
 
----   Divisibility of matter
 

 

CHAPTER XXX

Of real and fantastical ideas

1.
 
Real   ideas are conformable to their archetypes
 
2.
 
Simple   ideas all real
 
3.
 
Complex   ideas are voluntary combinations
 
4.
 
Mixed   modes, made of consistent ideas, are real
 
5.
 
Ideas   of substances are real, when the agree with the existence of things
 

 

CHAPTER XXXI

Of adequate and inadequate ideas

1.
 
Adequate   ideas are such as perfectly represent their archetypes
 
2.
 
Simple   ideas all adequate
 
3.
 
Modes   are all adequate
 
4-5.
 
Modes   in reference to settled names, may be inadequate
 
6-7.
 
Ideas   of substances, as referred to real essences, not adequate
 
8-11.
 
Ideas   of substances, as collections of their qualities, are all inadequate
 
12.
 
Simple ideas, ϰτυπα, and adequate.
 
13.
 
Ideas of substances are ϰτυπα, inadequate.
 
14.
 
Ideas   of modes and relations are archetypes, and cannot but be adequate
 

 

CHAPTER XXXII

Of true and false ideas

1.
 
Truth   and falsehood properly belong to propositions
 
2.
 
Metaphysical   truth contains a tacit proposition
 
3.
 
No   idea, as an appearance in the mind, true or false
 
4.
 
Ideas   referred to anything may be true or false
 
5.
 
Other   men’s ideas, real existence, and supposed real essences, are what men usually   refer their ideas to
 
6-8.
 
The   cause of such references
 
9.
 
Simple   ideas may be false in reference to others of the same name, but are least   liable to be so
 
10.
 
Ideas   of mixed modes most liable to be false in the sense
 
11.
 
Or   at least to be thought false
 
12.
 
And   why
 
13.
 
As   referred to real existences, none of our ideas can be false, but those of   substances
 
14-15.
 
First,   Simple ideas in the sense not false, and why
 
16.
 
Though   one man’s idea of blue should be different from another’s
 
17.
 
Secondly,   Modes not false
 
18.
 
Thirdly,   Ideas of substances, when false
 
19.
 
Truth   or falsehood always supposes affirmation or negation
 
20.
 
Ideas   in themselves neither true or false
 
21.
 
But   are false, First, when judged agreeable to another man’s ideas without being   so
 
22.
 
Secondly,   When judged to agree to real existence, when they do not
 
23.
 
Thirdly,   When judged adequate without being so
 
24.
 
Fourthly,   When judged to represent the real essence
 
25.
 
Ideas,   when false
 
26.
 
More   properly to be called right or wrong
 
27.
 
Conclusion
 

 

CHAPTER XXXIII

Of the association of ideas

1.
 
Something   unreasonable in most men
 
2.
 
Not   wholly from self-love
 
3.
 
Nor   from education
 
4.
 
A   degree of madness
 
5.
 
From   a wrong connection of ideas
 
6.
 
This   connection how made
 
7-8.
 
Some   antipathies an effect of it
 
9.
 
A   great cause of errors
 
10-12.
 
Instances
 
13.
 
Why   time cures some disorders in the mind which reason cannot
 
14-16.
 
Further   instances of the effects of the association of ideas
 
17.
 
Its   influence on intellectual habits
 
18.
 
Observable   in different sects
 
19.
 
Conclusion
 

 

 


 

BOOK III

OF WORDS

CHAPTER I

Of words or language in General

1.
 
Man   fitted to form articulate sounds
 
2.
 
To   make them signs of ideas
 
3-4.
 
To   make general signs
 
5.
 
Words   ultimately derived from such as signify sensible ideas
 
6.
 
Distribution
 

 

CHAPTER II

Of the signification of words

1.
 
Words   are sensible signs necessary for communication
 
2-3.
 
Words   are the sensible signs of his ideas who uses them
 
4.
 
Words   often secretly referred, First to the ideas in other men’s minds
 
5.
 
Secondly,   to the reality of things
 
6.
 
Words   by use readily excite ideas
 
7.
 
Words   often used without signification
 
8.
 
Their   signification perfectly arbitrary
 

 

CHAPTER III

Of general terms

1.
 
The   greatest part of words general
 
2.
 
For   every particular thing to have a name, is impossible
 
3-4.
 
And   useless
 
5.
 
What   things have proper names
 
6-8.
 
How   general words are made
 
9.
 
General   natures are nothing but abstract ideas
 
10.
 
Why   the genus is ordinarily made use of in definitions
 
11.
 
Generally   and universal are creatures of the understanding
 
12.
 
Abstract   ideas are the essences of the genera and species
 
13.
 
They   are the workmanship of the understanding, but have their foundation in the   similitude of things
 
14.
 
Each   distinct abstract idea is a distinct essence
 
15.
 
Real   and nominal essence
 
16.
 
Constant   connection between the name and the nominal essence
 
17.
 
Supposition,   that species are distinguished by their real essences, useless
 
18.
 
Real   and nominal essence the same in simple ideas and modes, different in   substances
 
19.
 
Essences   ingenerable and incorruptible
 
20.
 
Recapitulation
 

 

CHAPTER IV

Of the names of simple ideas

1.
 
Names   of simple ideas, modes, and substances, have each something peculiar
 
2.
 
First,   Names of simple ideas and substances, intimate real existence
 
3.
 
Secondly,   Names of simple ideas and modes signify always both real and nominal essences
 
4.
 
Thirdly,   Names of simple ideas undefinable
 
5.
 
If
  all were definable, it would be a process in infinitum
 
6.
 
What   a definition is
 
7.
 
Simple   ideas, why undefinable
 
8-9.
 
Instances,   motion
 
10.
 
Light
 
11.
 
Simple   ideas, why undefinable further explained
 
12-13.
 
The   contrary showed in complex ideas by instances of a statue and rainbow
 
14.
 
The   names of complex ideas when to be made intelligible words
 
15.
 
Fourthly,   Names of simple ideas least doubtful
 
16.
 
Fifthly,   Simple ideas have a few ascents in lineâ   prædicamentali
 
17.
 
Sixthly,   Names of simple ideas, stand for ideas not at all arbitrary
 

 

CHAPTER V

Of the names of mixed modes and   relations

1.
 
They   stand for abstract ideas as other general names
 
2.
 
First, The ideas they stand for are made by the   understanding
 
3.
 
Secondly,   made arbitrarily and without patterns
 
4.
 
How   this is done
 
5.
 
Evidently   arbitrary, in that the idea is often before the existence
 
6.
 
Instances,   murder, incest, stabbing
 
7.
 
But   still subservient to the end of the language
 
8.
 
Whereof   the untranslatable words of divers languages are a proof
 
9.
 
This   shows species to be made for communication
 
10-11.
 
In   mixed modes, it is the name that ties the combination together, and makes it   a species
 
12.
 
For   the originals of mixed modes, we look no further than the mind, which also   shows them to be the workmanship of the understanding
 
13.
 
Their   being made by the understanding without patterns shows the reason why they   are so compounded
 
14.
 
Names   of mixed modes stand always for their real essences
 
15.
 
Why   their names are usually got before their ideas
 
16.
 
Reason   of my being so large on this subject
 

 

CHAPTER VI

Of the names of substances

1.
 
The   common names of substances stand for sorts
 
2.
 
The   essence of each sort is the abstract ideas
 
3.
 
The   nominal and real essence different
 
4-6.
 
Nothing   essential to the individuals
 
7-8.
 
The   nominal essence bounds the species
 
9.
 
Not   the real essence which we know not
 
10.
 
Not   substantial forms, which we know less
 
11.
 
That   the nominal essence is that whereby we distinguish species farther evident   from spirits
 
12.
 
Whereof   there are probably numberless species
 
13.
 
The   nominal essence that of the species, proved from water and ice
 
14-17.
 
Difficulties   against a certain number of real essences
 
18-20.
 
Our   nominal essences of substances, not perfect collections of properties
 
21.
 
But   such a collection as our name stands for
 
22.
 
Our   abstract ideas are to us the measure of species. Instances in that of man.
 
23.
 
Species   not distinguished by generation
 
24.
 
Not   by substantial forms
 
25.
 
The   specific essences are made by the mind
 
26-27.
 
Therefore   very various and uncertain
 
28.
 
But   not so arbitrary as mixed modes
 
29.
 
Though   very imperfect
 
30.
 
Which   yet serve for common converse
 
31.
 
But   make several essences signified by the same name
 
32.
 
The   more general our ideas are, the more incomplete and partial they are
 
33.
 
This   all accommodated to the end of speech
 
34.
 
Instance   in cassuaries
 
35.
 
Men   make the species. Instance Gold
 
36.
 
Though   nature makes the similitude
 
37.
 
And   continues it in the races of things
 
38.
 
Each   abstract ideas is an essence
 
39.
 
Genera   and Species are in order to naming.   Instance, watch
 
40.
 
Species   of artificial things less confused than natural
 
41.
 
Artificial   things of distinct species
 
42.
 
Substances   alone have proper names
 
43.
 
Difficulty   to treat of words with words
 
44-45.
 
Instances   of mixed modes in kineah and niouph
 
46-47.
 
Instance   of substances in zahab
 
48.
 
Their   ideas imperfect, and therefore various
 
49.
 
Therefore   to fix their species, a real essence is supposed
 
50.
 
Which   supposition is of no use
 
51.
 
Conclusion
 





 


 

OF

HUMAN UNDERSTANDING

 

BOOK I
 

CHAPTER I

Introduction


 

An enquiry into the   understanding, pleasant and useful

§ 1. Since it is the understanding that sets man above the rest of sensible beings, and gives him all the advantage and dominion, which he has over them; it is certainly a subject, even for its nobleness, worth our labour to inquire into. The understanding, like the eye, whilst it makes us see and perceive all other things, takes no notice of itself; and it requires art and pains to set it at a distance, and make it its own object. But, whatever be the difficulties that lie in the way of this inquiry; whatever it be, that keeps us so much in the dark to ourselves; sure I am, that all the light we can let in upon our own minds, all the acquaintance we can make with our own understandings, will not only be very pleasant, but bring us great advantage, in directing our thoughts in the search of other things.

Design

§ 2. This, therefore, being my purpose, to inquire into the original, certainty, and extent of human knowledge; together with the grounds and degrees of belief, opinion, and assent; I shall not at present meddle with the physical consideration of the mind; or trouble myself to examine, wherein its essence consists, or by what motions of our spirits, or alterations of our bodies, we come to have any sensation by our organs, or any ideas in our understandings; and whether those ideas do in their formation, any, or all of them, depend on matter or no: These are speculations, which, however curious and entertaining, I shall decline, as lying out of my way in the design I am now upon. It shall suffice to my present purpose, to consider the discerning faculties of a man, as they are employed about the objects, which they have to do with: And I shall imagine I have not wholly misemployed myself in the thoughts I shall have on this occasion, if, in this historical, plain method, I can give any account of the ways, whereby our understandings come to attain those notions of things we have, and can set down any measures of the certainty of our knowledge, or the grounds of those persuasions, which are to be found amongst men, so various, different, and wholly contradictory; and yet asserted, somewhere or other, with such assurance and confidence, that he that shall take a view of the opinions of mankind, observe their opposition, and at the same time consider the fondness and devotion wherewith they are embraced, the resolution and eagerness wherewith they are maintained, may perhaps have reason to suspect, that either there is no such thing as truth at all; or that mankind hath no sufficient means to attain a certain knowledge of it.

Method

§ 3. It is, therefore, worth while to search out the bounds between opinion and knowledge; and examine by what measures, in things, whereof we have no certain knowledge, we ought to regulate our assent, and moderate our persuasions. In order whereunto, I shall pursue this following method.

  • First, I shall enquire into the origin of those ideas, notions, or whatever else you please to call them, which a man observes, and is conscious to himself he has in his mind; and the ways, whereby the understanding comes to be furnished with them.
  • Secondly, I shall endeavour to shew what knowledge the understanding hath by those ideas; and the certainty, evidence, and extent of it.
  • Thirdly, I shall make some enquiry into the nature and grounds of faith, or opinion; whereby I mean that assent, which we give to any proposition as true, of whose truth yet we have no certain knowledge: and here we shall have occasion to examine the reasons and degrees of assent.
Useful to know the   extent of our comprehension

§ 4. If, by this enquiry into the nature of the understanding, I can discover the powers thereof; how far they reach; to what things they are in any degree proportionate; and where they fail us: I suppose it may be of use to prevail with the busy mind of man, to be more cautious in meddling with things exceeding its comprehension; to stop when it is at the utmost extent of its tether; and to sit down in a quiet ignorance of those things, which, upon examination, are found to be beyond the reach of our capacities. We should not then perhaps be so forward, out of an affectation of an universal knowledge, to raise questions, and perplex ourselves and others with disputes about things, to which our understandings are not suited; and of which we cannot frame in our minds any clear or distinct perceptions, or whereof (as it has perhaps too often happened) we have not any notions at all. If we can find out how far the understanding can extend its view, how far it has faculties to attain certainty, and in what cases it can only judge and guess; we may learn to content ourselves with what is attainable by us in this state.

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 proportion 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 hath given them (as St. Peter says) πάνταπρς ζων χα εσέ [Editor: illegible character] ειαν, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life, and information of virtue; 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 filled 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 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 proposed 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 things, because we certainly cannot know all things; we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he, who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly.

Knowledge of our   capacity, a cure of scepticism and idleness

§ 6. When we know our own strength, we shall the better know what to undertake with hopes of success: and when we have well surveyed the powers of our own minds, and made some estimate what we may expect from them, we shall not be inclined either to sit still, and not set our thoughts on work at all, in despair of knowing any thing; or, on the other side, question every thing, and disclaim all knowledge, because some things are not to be understood. It is of great use to the sailor, to know the length of his line, though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean. It is well he knows, that it is long enough to reach the bottom, at such places as are necessary to direct his voyage, and caution him against running upon shoals that may ruin him. Our business here is not to know all things, but those which concern our conduct. If we can find out those measures, whereby a rational creature, put in that state in which man is in this world, may, and ought to govern his opinions, and actions depending thereon, we need not to be troubled that some other things escape our knowledge.

Occasion of this essay

§ 7. This was that which gave the first rise to this essay concerning the understanding. For I thought that the first step towards satisfying several enquiries, the mind of man was very apt to run into, was to take a survey of our own understandings, examine our own powers, and see to what things they were adapted. Till that was done, I suspected we began at the wrong end, and in vain sought for satisfaction in a quiet and sure possession of truths that most concerned us, whilst we let loose our thoughts into the vast ocean of being; as if all that boundless extent were the natural and undoubted possession of our understandings, wherein there was nothing exempt from its decisions, or that escaped its comprehension. Thus men extending their enquiries beyond their capacities, and letting their thoughts wander into those depths, where they can find no sure footing; it is no wonder, that they raise questions, and multiply disputes, which, never coming to any clear resolution, are proper only to continue and increase their doubts, and to confirm them at last in perfect scepticism. Whereas, were the capacities of our understandings well considered, the extent of our knowledge once discovered, and the horizon found, which sets the bounds between the enlightened and dark parts of things, between what is, and what is not comprehensible by us; men would perhaps with less scruple acquiesce in the avowed ignorance of the one, and employ their thoughts and discourse with more advantage and satisfaction in the other.

What idea stands for

§ 8. Thus much I thought necessary to say concerning the occasion of this enquiry into human understanding. But, before I proceed on to what I have thought on this subject, I must here in the entrance beg pardon of my reader for the frequent use of the word “idea,” which he will find in the following treatise. It being that term, which, I think, serves best to stand for whatsoever is the object of the understanding when a man thinks; I have used it to express whatever is meant by phantasm, notion, species, or whatever it is which the mind can be employed about in thinking; and I could not avoid frequently using it.

I presume it will be easily granted me, that there are such ideas in men’s minds; every one is conscious of them in himself, and men’s words and actions will satisfy him that they are in others.

Our first enquiry then shall be, how they come into the mind.
 


CHAPTER II

No Innate Principles in the Mind

 

The way shewn how we   come by any knowledge, sufficient to prove it not innate.
 

§ 1. It is an established opinion amongst some men, that there are in the understanding certain innate principles; some primary notions, ϰοιναννοιαι, characters, as it were, stamped upon the mind of man, which the soul receives in its very first being; and brings into the world with it. It would be sufficient to convince unprejudiced readers of the falseness of this supposition, if I should only shew (as I hope I shall in the following parts of this discourse) how men, barely by the use of their natural faculties, may attain to all the knowledge they have, without the help of any innate impressions; and may arrive at certainty, without any such original notions or principles. For I imagine any one will easily grant, that it would be impertinent to suppose, the ideas of colours innate in a creature, to whom God hath given sight, and a power to receive them by the eyes, from external objects: and no less unreasonable would it be to attribute several truths to the impressions of nature, and innate characters, when we may observe in ourselves faculties, fit to attain as easy and certain knowledge of them, as if they were originally imprinted on the mind.

But because a man is not permitted without censure to follow his own thoughts in the search of truth, when they lead him ever so little out of the common road; I shall set down the reasons that made me doubt of the truth of that opinion, as an excuse for my mistake, if I be in one; which I leave to be considered by those, who, with me, dispose themselves to embrace truth, wherever they find it.


 

General assent the   great argument
 

 

§ 2. There is nothing more commonly taken for granted, than that there are certain principles, both speculative and practical (for they speak of both) universally agreed upon by all mankind: which therefore, they argue, must needs be constant impressions, which the souls of men receive in their first beings, and which they bring into the world with them, as necessarily and really as they do any of their inherent faculties.


 

Universal consent proves   nothing innate
 

 

§ 3. This argument, drawn from universal consent, has this misfortune in it, that if it were true in matter of fact, that there were certain truths, wherein all mankind agreed, it would not prove them innate, if there can be any other way shewn, how men may come to that universal agreement, in the things they do consent in; which I presume may be done.



§ 4. But, which is worse, this argument of universal consent, which is made use of to prove innate principles, seems to me a demonstration that there are none such; because there are none to which all mankind give an universal assent. I shall begin with the speculative, and instance in those magnified principles of demonstration; “whatsoever is, is;” and, “it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be;” which, of all others, I think have the most allowed title to innate. These have so settled a reputation of maxims universally received, that it will, no doubt, be thought strange, if any one should seem to question it. But yet I take liberty to say, that these propositions are so far from having an universal assent, that there are a great part of mankind to whom they are not so much as known.


 

Not on the mind   naturally imprinted, because not known to children, idiots, etc
 

 

§ 5. For, first, it is evident, that all children and idiots have not the least apprehension or thought of them; and the want of that is enough to destroy that universal assent, which must needs be the necessary concomitant of all innate truths: it seeming to me near a contradiction, to say, that there are truths imprinted on the soul, which it perceives or understands not; imprinting, if it signify any thing, being nothing else, but the making certain truths to be perceived. For to imprint any thing on the mind, without the mind’s perceiving it, seems to me hardly intelligible. If therefore children and idiots have souls, have minds, with those impressions upon them, they must unavoidably perceive them, and necessarily know and assent to these truths: which since they do not, it is evident that there are no such impressions. For if they are not notions naturally imprinted, how can they be innate and if they are notions imprinted, how can they be unknown? To say a notion is imprinted on the mind, and yet at the same time to say, that the mind is ignorant of it, and never yet took notice of it, is to make this impression nothing. No proposition can be said to be in the mind, which it never yet knew, which it was never yet conscious of. For if any one may, then, by the same reason, all propositions that are true, and the mind is capable of ever assenting to, may be said to be in the mind, and to be imprinted: since, if any one can be said to be in the mind, which it never yet knew, it must be only, because it is capable of knowing it, and so the mind is of all truths it ever shall know. Nay, thus truths may be imprinted on the mind, which it never did, nor ever shall know: for a man may live long, and die at last in ignorance of many truths, which his mind was capable of knowing, and that with certainty. So that if the capacity of knowing, be the natural impression contended for, all the truths a man ever comes to know, will, by this account, be every one of them innate; and this great point will amount to no more, but only to a very improper way of speaking; which, whilst it pretends to assert the contrary, says nothing different from those, who deny innate principles. For nobody, I think, ever denied that the mind was capable of knowing several truths. The capacity, they say, is innate, the knowledge acquired. But then to what end such contest for certain innate maxims? If truths can be imprinted on the understanding without being perceived, I can see no difference there can be, between any truths the mind is capable of knowing, in respect of their original: they must all be innate, or all adventitious: in vain shall a man go about to distinguish them. He therefore, that talks of innate notions in the understanding, cannot (if he intend thereby any distinct sort of truths) mean such truths to be in the understanding, as it never perceived, and is yet wholly ignorant of. For if these words (to be in the understanding) have any propriety, they signify to be understood: so that, to be in the understanding, and not to be understood; to be in the mind, and never to be perceived; is all one, as to say, any thing is, and is not, in the mind or understanding. If therefore these two propositions, “whatsoever is, is;” and “it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be,” are by nature imprinted, children cannot be ignorant of them; infants, and all that have souls, must necessarily have them in their understandings, know the truth of them, and assent to it.


 

That men know them   when they come to the use of reason, answered
 

 

§ 6. To avoid this, it is usually answered, that all men know and assent to them, when they come to the use of reason, and this is enough to prove them innate. I answer,



§ 7. Doubtful expressions that have scarce any signification, go for clear reasons, to those, who being prepossessed, take not the pains to examine, even what they themselves say. For to apply this answer with any tolerable sense to our present purpose, it must signify one of these two things; either, that, as soon as men come to the use of reason, these supposed native inscriptions come to be known, and observed by them: or else, that the use and exercise of men’s reason assists them in the discovery of these principles, and certainly makes them known to them.


 

If reason discovered   them, that would not prove them innate
 

 

§ 8. If they mean, that by the use of reason men may discover these principles; and that this is sufficient to prove them innate: their way of arguing will stand thus, (viz.) that, whatever truths reason can certainly discover to us, and make us firmly assent to, those are all naturally imprinted on the mind; since that universal assent, which is made the mark of them, amounts to no more but this; that by the use of reason, we are capable to come to a certain knowledge of, and assent to them; and, by this means, there will be no difference between the maxims of the mathematicians, and theorems they deduce from them; all must be equally allowed innate; they being all discoveries made by the use of reason, and truths that a rational creature may certainly come to know, if he apply his thoughts rightly that way.


 

It is false that   reason discovers them
 

 

§ 9. But how can these men think the use of reason necessary, to discover principles that are supposed innate, when reason (if we may believe them) is nothing else but the faculty of deducing unknown truths from principles, or propositions, that are already known? That certainly can never be thought innate, which we have need of reason to discover; unless, as I have said, we will have all the certain truths, that reason ever teaches us, to be innate. We may as well think the use of reason necessary to make our eyes discover visible objects, as that there should be need of reason, or the exercise thereof, to make the understanding see what is originally engraven on it, and cannot be in the understanding before it be perceived by it. So that to make reason discover those truths, thus imprinted, is to say, that the use of reason discovers to a man what he knew before: and if men have those innate impressed truths originally, and before the use of reason, and yet are always ignorant of them, till they come to the use of reason, it is in effect to say, that men know, and know them not, at the same time.



§ 10. It will here perhaps be said, that mathematical demonstrations, and other truths that are not innate, are not assented to, as soon as proposed, wherein they are distinguished from these maxims, and other innate truths. I shall have occasion to speak of assent, upon the first proposing, more particularly by and by. I shall here only, and that very readily, allow, that these maxims and mathematical demonstrations are in this different; that the one have need of reason, using of proofs, to make them out, and to gain our assent; but the other, as soon as understood, are, without any the least reasoning, embraced and assented to. But I withal beg leave to observe, that it lays open the weakness of this subterfuge, which requires the use of reason for the discovery of these general truths: since it must be confessed, that in their discovery there is no use made of reasoning at all. And I think those, who give this answer, will not be forward to affirm, that the knowledge of this maxim, “That it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be,” is a deduction of our reason. For this would be to destroy that bounty of nature they seem so fond of, whilst they make the knowledge of those principles to depend on the labour of our thoughts. For all reasoning is search, and casting about, and requires pains and application. And how can it with any tolerable sense be supposed, that what was imprinted by nature, as the foundation and guide of our reason, should need the use of reason to discover it?



§ 11. Those who will take the pains to reflect with a little attention on the operations of the understanding, will find, that this ready assent of the mind to some truths, depends not, either on native inscription, or the use of reason; but on a faculty of the mind quite distinct from both of them, as we shall see hereafter. Reason, therefore, having nothing to do in procuring our assent to these maxims, if by saying, that men know and assent to them, when they come to the use of reason, be meant, that the use of reason assists us in the knowledge of these maxims, it is utterly false; and were it true, would prove them not to be innate.


 

The coming to the use   of reason, not the time we come to know these maxims
 

 

§ 12. If by knowing and assenting to them, when we come to the use of reason, be meant, that this is the time when they come to be taken notice of by the mind; and that, as soon as children come to the use of reason, they come also to know and assent to these maxims; this also is false and frivolous. First, It is false: Because it is evident these maxims are not in the mind so early as the use of reason: and therefore the coming to the use of reason is falsely assigned, as the time of their discovery. How many instances of the use of reason may we observe in children, a long time before they have any knowledge of this maxim, “That it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be?” And a great part of illiterate people, and savages, pass many years, even of their rational age, without ever thinking on this, and the like general propositions. I grant, men come not to the knowledge of these general and more abstract truths, which are thought innate, till they come to the use of reason; and I add, nor then neither. Which is so, because, till after they come to the use of reason, those general abstract ideas are not framed in the mind, about which those general maxims are, which are mistaken for innate principles; but are indeed discoveries made, and verities introduced and brought into the mind by the same way, and discovered by the same steps, as several other propositions, which nobody was ever so extravagant as to suppose innate. This I hope to make plain in the sequel of this discourse. I allow therefore a necessity, that men should come to the use of reason before they get the knowledge of those general truths; but deny, that men’s coming to the use of reason is the time of their discovery.


 

By this they are not   distinguished from other knowable truths
 

 

§ 13. In the mean time it is observable, that this saying, That men know and assent to these maxims, when they come to the use of reason, amounts in reality of fact to no more but this, That they are never known or taken notice of, before the use of reason, but may possibly be assented to, some time after, during a man’s life; but when, is uncertain: and so may all other knowable truths, as well as these; which therefore have no advantage nor distinction from others, by this note of being known when we come to the use of reason; nor are thereby proved to be innate, but quite the contrary.


 

If coming to the use   of reason were the time of their discovery, it would not prove them innate
 

 

§ 14. But, secondly, were it true, that the precise time of their being known, and assented to, were, when men come the use of reason, neither would that prove them innate. This way of arguing is as frivolous, as the supposition of itself is false. For by what kind of logic will it appear, that any notion is originally by nature imprinted in the mind in its first constitution, because it comes first to be observed and assented to, when a faculty of the mind, which has quite a distinct province, begins to exert itself? And therefore, the coming to the use of speech, if it were supposed the time that these maxims are first assented to (which it may be with as much truth, as the time when men come to the use of reason) would be as good a proof that they were innate, as to say, they are innate, because men assent to them, when they come to the use of reason. I agree then with these men of innate principles, that there is no knowledge of these general and self-evident maxims in the mind, till it comes to the exercise of reason: but I deny that the coming to the use of reason is the precise time when they are first taken notice of; and if that were the precise time, I deny that it would prove them innate. All that can with any truth be meant by this proposition, that men assent to them when they come to the use of reason, is no more but this, that the making of general abstract ideas, and the understanding of general names, being a concomitant of the rational faculty, and growing up with it, children commonly get not those general ideas, nor learn the names that stand for them, till, having for a good while exercised their reason about familiar and more particular ideas, they are, by their ordinary discourse and actions with others, acknowledged to be capable of rational conversation. If assenting to these maxims, when men come to the use of reason, can be true in any other sense, I desire it may be shewn; or at least, how in this, or any other sense, it proves them innate.


 

The steps by which the   mind attains several truths
 

 

§ 15. The senses at first let in particular ideas, and furnish the yet empty cabinet; and the mind by degrees growing familiar with some of them, they are lodged in the memory, and names got to them. Afterwards the mind, proceeding farther, abstracts them, and by degrees learns the use of general names. In this manner the mind comes to be furnished with ideas and language, the materials about which to exercise its discursive faculty: and the use of reason becomes daily more visible, as these materials, which give it employment, increase. But though the having of general ideas, and the use of general words and reason, usually grow together; yet, I see not, how this any way proves them innate. The knowledge of some truths, I confess, is very early in the mind; but in a way that shows them not to be innate. For, if we will observe, we shall find it still to be about ideas, not innate, but acquired: It being about those first which are imprinted by external things, with which infants have earliest to do, which make the most frequent impressions on their senses. In ideas thus got, the mind discovers that some agree, and others differ, probably as soon as it has any use of memory; as soon as it is able to retain and perceive distinct ideas. But whether it be then, or no, this is certain, it does so, long before it has the use of words, or comes to that, which we commonly call “the use of reason.” For a child knows as certainly, before it can speak, the difference between the ideas of sweet and bitter (i. e. that sweet is not bitter) as it knows afterwards (when it comes to speak) that wormwood and sugar-plums are not the same thing.



§ 16. A child knows not that three and four are equal to seven, till he comes to be able to count seven, and has got the name and idea of equality: and then, upon explaining those words, he presently assents to, or rather perceives the truth of that proposition. But neither does he then readily assent, because it is an innate truth, nor was his assent wanting till then, because he wanted the use of reason; but the truth of it appears to him, as soon as he has settled in his mind the clear and distinct ideas, that these names stand for: and then he knows the truth of that proposition, upon the same grounds, and by the same means, that he knew before, that a rod and a cherry are not the same thing; and upon the same grounds also, that he may come to know afterwards, “that it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be,” as shall be more fully shown hereafter. So that the later it is before any one comes to have those general ideas, about which those maxims are; or to know the signification of those general terms that stand for them; or to put together in his mind the ideas they stand for; the later also will it be before he comes to assent to those maxims, whose terms, with the ideas they stand for, being no more innate than those of a cat or a weasel, he must stay till time and observation have acquainted him with them; and then he will be in a capacity to know the truth of these maxims, upon the first occasion that shall make him put together those ideas in his mind, and observe whether they agree or disagree, according as is expressed in those propositions. And therefore it is, that a man knows that eighteen and nineteen are equal to thirty-seven, by the same self-evidence, that he knows one and two to be equal to three: yet a child knows this not so soon as the other; not for want of the use of reason, but because the ideas the words eighteen, nineteen, and thirty-seven stand for, are not so soon got, as those which are signified by one, two, and three.


 

Assenting as soon as   proposed and understood, proves them not innate
 

 

§ 17. This evasion therefore of general assent, when men come to the use of reason, failing as it does, and leaving no difference between those supposed innate, and other truths, that are afterwards acquired and learnt, men have endeavoured to secure an universal assent to those they call maxims, by saying they are generally assented to as soon as proposed, and the terms they are proposed in, understood: seeing all men, even children, as soon as they hear and understand the terms, assent to these propositions, they think it is sufficient to prove them innate. For since men never fail, after they have once understood the words, to acknowledge them for undoubted truths, they would infer, that certainly these propositions were first lodged in the understanding, which, without any teaching, the mind, at the very first proposal, immediately closes with, and assents to, and after that never doubts again.


 

If such an assent be a   mark of innate, then “that one and two are equal to three; that sweetness is   not bitterness;” and a thousand the like, must be innate
 

 

§ 18. In answer to this, I demand “whether ready assent given to a proposition upon first hearing, and understanding the terms, be a certain mark of an innate principle?” If it be not, such a general assent is in vain urged as a proof of them: if it be said, that it is a mark of innate, they must then allow all such propositions to be innate, which are generally assented to as soon as heard, whereby they will find themselves plentifully stored with innate principles. For, upon the same ground, viz. of assent at first hearing and understanding the terms, that men would have those maxims pass for innate, they must also admit several propositions about numbers to be innate: and thus, that one and two are equal to three; that two and two are equal to four; and a multitude of other the like propositions in numbers, that every body assents to at first hearing and understanding the terms, must have a place amongst these innate axioms. Nor is this the prerogative of numbers alone, and propositions made about several of them; but even natural philosophy, and all the other sciences, afford propositions, which are sure to meet with assent as soon as they are understood. That two bodies cannot be in the same place, is a truth, that nobody any more sticks at, than at these maxims, “that it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be; that white is not black; that a square is not a circle; that yellowness is not sweetness:” these and a million of such other propositions, as many at least as we have distinct ideas of, every man in his wits, at first hearing, and knowing what the names stand for, must necessarily assent to. If these men will be true to their own rule, and have assent at first hearing and understanding the terms, to be a mark of innate, they must allow, not only as many innate propositions as men have distinct ideas; but as many as men can make propositions wherein different ideas are denied one of another. Since every proposition, wherein one different idea is denied of another, will as certainly find assent at first hearing and understanding the terms, as this general one “it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be;” or that which is the foundation of it, and is the easier understood of the two, “the same is not different:” by which account they will have legions of innate propositions of this one sort, without mentioning any other. But since no proposition can be innate, unless the ideas about which it is, be innate; this will be, to suppose all our ideas of colours, sounds, tastes, figure, etc. innate; than which there cannot be any thing more opposite to reason and experience. Universal and ready assent upon hearing and understanding the terms is (I grant) a mark of self-evidence: but self-evidence, depending not on innate impressions, but on something else (as we shall shew hereafter) belongs to several propositions, which nobody was yet so extravagant as to pretend to be innate.


 

Such less general   propositions known before these universal maxims.
 

 

§ 19. Nor let it be said, That those more particular self-evident propositions, which are assented to at first hearing, as that one and two are equal to three; that green is not red, etc.; are received as the consequences of those more universal propositions, which are looked on as innate principles; since any one, who will but take the pains to observe what passes in the understanding, will certainly find, that these, and the like less general propositions, are certainly known, and firmly assented to, by those who are utterly ignorant of those more general maxims; and so, being earlier in the mind than those (as they are called) first principles, cannot owe to them the assent wherewith they are received at first hearing.


 

One and one equal to   two, etc. not general nor useful, answered.
 

 

§ 20. If it be said, that “these propositions, viz. two and two are equal to four; red is not blue, etc.; are not general maxims, nor of any great use:” I answer, that makes nothing to the argument of universal assent, upon hearing and understanding. For, if that be the certain mark of innate, whatever proposition can be found, that receives general assent as soon as heard and understood, that must be admitted for an innate proposition, as well as this maxim, “that it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be;” they being upon this ground equal. And as to the difference of being more general, that makes this maxim more remote from being innate; those general and abstract ideas being more strangers to our first apprehensions, than those of more particular self-evident propositions; and therefore it is longer before they are admitted and assented to by the growing understanding. And as to the usefulness of these magnified maxims, that perhaps will not be found so great as is generally conceived, when it comes in its due place to be more fully considered.


 

These maxims not being   known sometimes till proposed, proves them not innate.
 

 

§ 21. But we have not yet done with assenting to propositions at first hearing and understanding their terms; it is fit we first take notice, that this, instead of being a mark that they are innate, is a proof of the contrary; since it supposes, that several, who understand and know other things, are ignorant of these principles, till they are proposed to them; and that one may be unacquainted with these truths, till he hears them from others. For if they were innate, what need they be proposed in order to gaining assent, when by being in the understanding, by a natural and original impression, (if there were any such) they could not but be known before? Or doth the proposing them, print them clearer in the mind than nature did? If so, then the consequence will be, that a man knows them better, after he has been thus taught them, than he did before. Whence it will follow, that these principles may be made more evident to us by others teaching, than nature has made them by impression; which will ill agree with the opinion of innate principles, and give but little authority to them; but, on the contrary, makes them unfit to be the foundations of all our other knowledge, as they are pretended to be. This cannot be denied, that men grow first acquainted with many of these self-evident truths, upon their being proposed: but it is clear, that whosoever does so, finds in himself, that he then begins to know a proposition, which he knew not before; and which, from thenceforth, he never questions: not because it was innate, but because the consideration of the nature of the things contained in those words, would not suffer him to think otherwise, how, or whensoever he is brought to reflect on them. And if whatever is assented to at first hearing and understanding the terms, must pass for an innate principle, every well-grounded observation, drawn from particulars into a general rule, must be innate. When yet it is certain, that not all, but only sagacious heads light at first on these observations, and reduce them into general propositions, not innate, but collected from a preceding acquaintance, and reflection on particular instances. These, when observing men have made them, unobserving men, when they are proposed to them, cannot refuse their assent to.


 

Implicitly known   before proposing, signifies, that the mind is capable of understanding them,   or else signifies nothing.
 

 

§ 22. If it be said, “the understanding hath an implicit knowledge of these principles, but not an explicit, before this first hearing,” (as they must, who will say, “that they are in the understanding before they are known”) it will be hard to conceive what is meant by a principle imprinted on the understanding implicitly; unless it be this, that the mind is capable of understanding and assenting firmly to such propositions. And thus all mathematical demonstrations, as well as first principles, must be received as native impressions on the mind: which I fear they will scarce allow them to be, who find it harder to demonstrate a proposition, than assent to it when demonstrated. And few mathematicians will be forward to believe, that all the diagrams they have drawn, were but copies of those innate characters which nature had engraven upon their minds.


 

The argument of   assenting on first hearing, is upon a false supposition of no precedent   teaching.
 

 

§ 23. There is, I fear, this farther weakness in the foregoing argument, which would persuade us, that therefore those maxims are to be thought innate, which men admit at first hearing, because they assent to propositions, which they are not taught, nor do receive from the force of any argument or demonstration, but a bare explication or understanding of the terms. Under which, there seems to me to lie this fallacy, that men are supposed not to be taught, nor to learn any thing de novo; when, in truth, they are taught, and do learn something they were ignorant of before. For first it is evident, that they have learned the terms, and their signification; neither of which was born with them. But this is not all the acquired knowledge in the case: the ideas themselves, about which the proposition is, are not born with them, no more than their names, but got afterwards. So that in all propositions that are assented to at first hearing, the terms of the proposition, their standing for such ideas, and the ideas themselves that they stand for, being neither of them innate; I would fain know what there is remaining in such propositions, that is innate. For I would gladly have any one name that proposition, whose terms or ideas were either of them innate. We by degrees get ideas and names, and learn their appropriated connexion one with another; and then to propositions, made in such terms, whose signification we have learnt, and wherein the agreement or disagreement we can perceive in our ideas, when put together, is expressed, we at first hearing assent; though to other propositions, in themselves as certain and evident, but which are concerning ideas, not so soon or so easily got, we are at the same time no way capable of assenting. For though a child quickly assents to this proposition, “that an apple is not fire,” when, by familiar acquaintance, he has got the ideas of those two different things distinctly imprinted on his mind, and has learnt that the names apple and fire stand for them; yet it will be some years after, perhaps, before the same child will assent to this proposition, “that it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be:” because that, though, perhaps the words are as easy to be learnt, yet the signification of them being more large, comprehensive, and abstract, than of the names annexed to those sensible things the child hath to do with, it is longer before he learns their precise meaning, and it requires more time plainly to form in his mind those general ideas they stand for. Till that be done, you will in vain endeavour to make any child assent to a proposition made up of such general terms: but as soon as ever he has got those ideas, and learned their names, he forwardly closes with the one, as well as the other of the forementioned propositions, and with both for the same reason; viz. because he finds the ideas he has in his mind to agree or disagree, according as the words standing for them, are affirmed or denied one of another in the proposition. But if propositions be brought to him in words, which stand for ideas he has not yet in his mind; to such propositions, however evidently true or false in themselves, he affords neither assent nor dissent, but is ignorant. For words being but empty sounds, any farther than they are signs of our ideas, we cannot but assent to them, as they correspond to those ideas we have, but no farther than that. But the showing by what steps and ways knowledge comes into our minds, and the grounds of several degrees of assent, being the business of the following discourse, it may suffice to have only touched on it here, as one reason that made me doubt of those innate principles.


 

Not innate, because not   universally assented to.
 

 

§ 24. To conclude this argument of universal consent, I agree with these defenders of innate principles, that if they are innate, they must needs have universal assent. For that a truth should be innate, and yet not assented to, is to me as unintelligible, as for a man to know a truth, and be ignorant of it, at the same time. But then, by these men’s own confession, they cannot be innate; since they are not assented to by those who understand not the terms, nor by a great part of those who do understand them, but have yet never heard nor thought of those propositions; which, I think, is at least one half of mankind. But were the number far less, it would be enough to destroy universal assent, and thereby show these propositions not to be innate, if children alone were ignorant of them.


 

These maxims not the   first known.
 

 

§ 25. But that I may not be accused to argue from the thoughts of infants, which are unknown to us, and to conclude from what passes in their understandings before they express it; I say next, that these two general propositions are not the truths that first possess the minds of children, nor are antecedent to all acquired and adventitious notions; which, if they were innate, they must needs be. Whether we can determine it or no, it matters not, there is certainly a time when children begin to think, and their words and actions do assure us that they do so. When therefore they are capable of thought, of knowledge, of assent, can it rationally be supposed, they can be ignorant of those notions that nature has imprinted, were there any such? Can it be imagined, with any appearance of reason that they perceive the impressions from things without, and be at the same time ignorant of those characters which nature itself has taken care to stamp within? Can they receive and assent to adventitious notions, and be ignorant of those which are supposed woven into the very principles of their being, and imprinted there in indelible characters, to be the foundation and guide of all their acquired knowledge, and future reasonings? This would be, to make nature take pains to no purpose; or, at least, to write very ill; since its characters could not be read by those eyes, which saw other things very well; and those are very ill supposed the clearest parts of truth, and the foundations of all our knowledge, which are not first known, and without which the undoubted knowledge of several other things may be had. The child certainly knows, that the nurse that feeds it, is neither the cat it plays with, nor the blackmoor it is afraid of; that the wormseed or mustard it refuses, is not the apple or sugar it cries for; this it is certainly and undoubtedly assured of: but will any one say, it is by virtue of this principle, “that it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be,” that it so firmly assents to these, and other parts of its knowledge? Or that the child has any notion or apprehension of that proposition at an age, wherein yet, it is plain, it knows a great many other truths? He that will say, children join these general abstract speculations with their sucking bottles and their rattles, may, perhaps, with justice, be thought to have more passion and zeal for his opinion, but less sincerity and truth, than one of that age.


 

And so not innate.
 

 

§ 26. Though therefore there be several general propositions, that meet with constant and ready assent, as soon as proposed to men grown up, who have attained the use of more general and abstract ideas, and names standing for them; yet they not being to be found in those of tender years, who nevertheless know other things, they cannot pretend to universal assent of intelligent persons, and so by no means can be supposed innate: it being impossible, that any truth which is innate (if there were any such) should be unknown, at least to any one who knows any thing else: since, if there are innate truths, they must be innate thoughts; there being nothing a truth in the mind, that it has never thought on. Whereby it is evident, if there be any innate truths in the mind, they must necessarily be the first of any thought on; the first that appear there.


 

Not innate, because   they appear least, where what is innate shows itself clearest.
 

 

§ 27. That the general maxims, we are discoursing of, are not known to children, idiots, and a great part of mankind, we have already sufficiently proved; whereby it is evident, they have not an universal assent, nor are general impressions. But there is this farther argument in it against their being innate, that these characters, if they were native and original impressions, should appear fairest and clearest in those persons in whom yet we find no footsteps of them: and it is, in my opinion, a strong presumption, that they are not innate, since they are least known to those, in whom, if they were innate, they must needs exert themselves with most force and vigour. For children, idiots, savages, and illiterate people, being of all others the least corrupted by custom, or borrowed opinions; learning and education having not cast their native thoughts into new moulds, nor, by superinducing foreign and studied doctrines, confounded those fair characters nature had written there; one might reasonably imagine, that in their minds these innate notions should lie open fairly to every one’s view, as it is certain the thoughts of children do. It might very well be expected, that these principles should be perfectly known to naturals, which being stamped immediately on the soul (as these men suppose) can have no dependence on the constitutions or organs of the body, the only confessed difference between them and others. One would think, according to these men’s principles, that all these native beams of light (were there any such) should in those who have no reserves, no arts of concealment, shine out in their full lustre, and leave us in no more doubt of their being there, than we are of their love of pleasure, and abhorrence of pain. But alas, amongst children, idiots, savages, and the grossly illiterate, what general maxims are to be found? what universal principles of knowledge? Their notions are few and narrow, borrowed only from those objects they have had most to do with, and which have made upon their senses the frequentest and strongest impressions. A child knows his nurse and his cradle, and by degrees the play-things of a little more advanced age: and a young savage has, perhaps, his head filled with love and hunting, according to the fashion of his tribe. But he that from a child untaught, or a wild inhabitant of the woods, will expect these abstract maxims and reputed principles of science, will, I fear, find himself mistaken. Such kind of general propositions are seldom mentioned in the huts of Indians, much less are they to be found in the thoughts of children, or any impressions of them on the minds of naturals. They are the language and business of the schools and academies of learned nations, accustomed to that sort of conversation or learning, where disputes are frequent: these maxims being suited to artificial argumentation, and useful for conviction; but not much conducing to the discovery of truth, or advancement of knowledge. But of their small use for the improvement of knowledge, I shall have occasion to speak more at large, l. 4, c. 7.


 

Recapitulation.
 

 

§ 28. I know not how absurd this may seem to the masters of demonstration: and probably it will hardly down with any body at first hearing. I must therefore beg a little truce with prejudice, and the forbearance of censure, till I have been heard out in the sequel of this discourse, being very willing to submit to better judgments. And since I impartially search after truth, I shall not be sorry to be convinced that I have been too fond of my own notions; which I confess we are all apt to be, when application and study have warmed our heads with them.



Upon the whole matter, I cannot see any ground to think these two speculative maxims innate, since they are not universally assented to; and the assent they so generally find, is no other than what several propositions, not allowed to be innate, equally partake in with them; and since the assent that is given them, is produced another way, and comes not from natural inscription, as I doubt not but to make appear in the following discourse. And if these first principles of knowledge and science are found not to be innate, no other speculative maxims can (I suppose) with better right pretend to be so.



 

CHAPTER III

No Innate Practical Principles





 

No moral principles so   clear, and so generally received, as the forementioned speculative maxims.
 

 

§ 1. If those speculative maxims, whereof we discoursed in the foregoing chapter, have not an actual universal assent from all mankind, as we there proved, it is much more visible concerning practical principles, that they come short of an universal reception: and I think it will be hard to instance any one moral rule, which can pretend to so general and ready an assent as, “what is, is;” or to be so manifest a truth as this, “that it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be.” Whereby it is evident, that they are farther removed from a title to be innate; and the doubt of their being native impressions on the mind, is stronger against those moral principles than the other. Not that it brings their truth at all in question: they are equally true, though not equally evident. Those speculative maxims carry their own evidence with them; but moral principles require reasoning and discourse, and some exercise of the mind, to discover the certainty of their truth. They lie not open as natural characters engraven on the mind; which, if any such were, they must needs be visible by themselves, and by their own light be certain and known to every body. But this is no derogation to their truth and certainty, no more than it is to the truth or certainty of the three angles of a triangle being equal to two right ones; because it is not so evident, as “the whole is bigger than a part;” nor so apt to be assented to at first hearing. It may suffice, that these moral rules are capable of demonstration; and therefore it is our own fault, if we come not to a certain knowledge of them. But the ignorance wherein many men are of them, and the slowness of assent wherewith others receive them, are manifest proofs that they are not innate, and such as offer themselves to their view without searching.


 

Faith and justice not   owned as principles by all men.
 

 

§ 2. Whether there be any such moral principles, wherein all men do agree, I appeal to any, who have been but moderately conversant in the history of mankind, and looked abroad beyond the smoke of their own chimneys. Where is that practical truth, that is universally received without doubt or question, as it must be, if innate? Justice, and keeping of contracts, is that which most men seem to agree in. This is a principle, which is thought to extend itself to the dens of thieves, and the confederacies of the greatest villains; and they who have gone farthest towards the putting off of humanity itself, keep faith and rules of justice one with another. I grant that out-laws themselves do this one amongst another; but it is without receiving these as the innate laws of nature. They practise them as rules of convenience within their own communities: but it is impossible to conceive, that he embraces justice as a practical principle, who acts fairly with his fellow highwayman, and at the same time plunders or kills the next honest man he meets with. Justice and truth are the common ties of society; and therefore, even out-laws and robbers, who break with all the world besides, must keep faith and rules of equity amongst themselves, or else they cannot hold together. But will any one say, that those that live by fraud or rapine, have innate principles of truth and justice which they allow and assent to?






 

Objection. Though men   deny them in their practice, yet they admit them in their thoughts, answered.
 

 

§ 3. Perhaps it will be urged, that the tacit assent of their minds agrees to what their practice contradicts. I answer, first, I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts. But since it is certain, that most men’s practices, and some men’s open professions, have either questioned or denied these principles, it is impossible to establish an universal consent, (though we should look for it only amongst grown men) without which it is impossible to conclude them innate. Secondly, it is very strange and unreasonable to suppose innate practical principles that terminate only in contemplation. Practical principles derived from nature are there for operation, and must produce conformity of action, not barely speculative assent to their truth, or else they are in vain distinguished from speculative maxims. Nature, I confess, has put into man a desire of happiness, and an aversion to misery: these indeed are innate practical principles, which (as practical principles ought) do continue constantly to operate and influence all our actions without ceasing: these may be observed in all persons and all ages, steady and universal; but these are inclinations of the appetite to good, not impressions of truth on the understanding. I deny not, that there are natural tendencies imprinted on the minds of men; and that, from the very first instances of sense and perception, there are some things that are grateful, and others unwelcome to them; some things, that they incline to, and others that they fly: but this makes nothing for innate characters on the mind, which are to be the principles of knowledge, regulating our practice. Such natural impressions on the understanding are so far from being confirmed hereby, that this is an argument against them; since, if there were certain characters imprinted by nature on the understanding, as the principles of knowledge, we could not but perceive them constantly operate in us and influence our knowledge, as we do those others on the will and appetite; which never cease to be the constant springs and motives of all our actions, to which we perpetually feel them strongly impelling us.


 

Moral rules need a   proof, ergo not innate.
 

 

§ 4. Another reason that makes me doubt of any innate practical principles, is, that I think there cannot any one moral rule be proposed, whereof a man may not justly demand a reason: which would be perfectly ridiculous and absurd, if they were innate, or so much as self-evident; which every innate principle must needs be, and not need any proof to ascertain its truth, nor want any reason to gain it approbation. He would be thought void of common sense, who asked on the one side, or on the other side went to give, a reason, why it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be. It carries its own light and evidence with it, and needs no other proof: he that understands the terms, assents to it for its own sake, or else nothing will ever be able to prevail with him to do it. But should that most unshaken rule of morality, and foundation of all social virtue, “that one should do as he would be done “unto,” be proposed to one who never heard it before, but yet is of capacity to understand its meaning, might he not without any absurdity ask a reason why and were not he that proposed it bound to make out the truth and reasonableness of it to him? which plainly shows it not to be innate; for if it were, it could neither want nor receive any proof; but must needs (at least, as soon as heard and understood) be received and assented to, as an unquestionable truth, which a man can by no means doubt of. So that the truth of all these moral rules plainly depends upon some other antecedent to them, and from which they must be deduced; which could not be, if either they were innate, or so much as self-evident.


 

Instance in keeping   compacts.
 

 

§ 5. That men should keep their compacts, is certainly a great and undeniable rule in morality. But yet, if a Christian, who has the view of happiness and misery in another life, be asked why a man must keep his word, he will give this as a reason; because God, who has the power of eternal life and death, requires it of us. But if an Hobbist be asked why, he will answer, because the public requires it, and the Leviathan will punish you, if you do not. And if one of the old philosophers had been asked, he would have answered, because it was dishonest, below the dignity of a man, and opposite to virtue, the highest perfection of human nature, to do otherwise.


 

Virtue generally   approved, not because innate, but because profitable.
 

 

§ 6. Hence naturally flows the great variety of opinions concerning moral rules, which are to be found among men, according to the different sorts of happiness they have a prospect of, or propose to themselves which could not be if practical principles were innate, and imprinted in our minds immediately by the hand of God. I grant the existence of God is so many ways manifest, and the obedience we owe him so congruous to the light of reason, that a great part of mankind give testimony to the law of nature; but yet I think it must be allowed, that several moral rules may receive from mankind a very general approbation, without either knowing or admitting the true ground of morality; which can only be the will and law of a God, who sees men in the dark, has in his hand rewards and punishments, and power enough to call to account the proudest offender. For God having, by an inseparable connexion, joined virtue and public happiness together, and made the practice thereof necessary to the preservation of society, and visibly beneficial to all with whom the virtuous man has to do; it is no wonder, that every one should not only allow, but recommend and magnify those rules to others, from whose observance of them he is sure to reap advantage to himself. He may, out of interest, as well as conviction, cry up that for sacred, which if once trampled on and profaned, he himself cannot be safe nor secure. This, though it takes nothing from the moral and eternal obligation which these rules evidently have; yet it shows that the outward acknowledgment men pay to them in their words, proves not that they are innate principles; nay, it proves not so much, as that men assent to them inwardly in their own minds, as the inviolable rules of their own practice: since we find that self-interest, and the conveniencies of this life, make many men own an outward profession and approbation of them, whose actions sufficiently prove, that they very little consider the law-giver that prescribed these rules, nor the hell that he has ordained for the punishment of those that transgress them.


 

Men’s actions convince   us that the rule of virtue is not their internal principle.
 

 

§ 7. For, if we will not in civility allow too much sincerity to the professions of most men, but think their actions to be the interpreters of their thoughts, we shall find that they have no such internal veneration for these rules, nor so full a persuasion of their certainty and obligation. The great principle of morality, “to do as one would be done to,” is more commended than practised. But the breach of this rule cannot be a greater vice, than to teach others, that it is no moral rule, nor obligatory, would be thought madness, and contrary to that interest men sacrifice to, when they break it themselves. Perhaps conscience will be urged as checking us for such breaches, and so the internal obligation and establishment of the rule be preserved.


 

Conscience no proof of   any innate moral rule.
 

 

§ 8. To which I answer, that I doubt not but, without being written on their hearts, many men may, by the same way that they come to the knowledge of other things, come to assent to several moral rules, and be convinced of their obligation. Others also may come to be of the same mind, from their education, company, and customs of their country; which persuasion, however got, will serve to set conscience on work, which is nothing else, but our own opinion or judgment of the moral rectitude or pravity of our own actions. And if conscience be a proof of innate principles, contraries may be innate principles; since some men, with the same bent of conscience, prosecute what others avoid.


 

Instances of   enormities practised without remorse.
 

 

§ 9. But I cannot see how any men should ever transgress those moral rules, with confidence and serenity, were they innate, and stamped upon their minds. View but an army at the sacking of a town, and see what observation, or sense of moral principles, or what touch of conscience for all the outrages they do. Robberies, murders, rapes, are the sports of men set at liberty from punishment and censure. Have there not been whole nations, and those of the most civilized people, amongst whom the exposing their children, and leaving them in the fields to perish by want or wild beasts, has been the practice, as little condemned or scrupled as the begetting them? Do they not still, in some countries, put them into the same graves with their mothers, if they die in child-birth; or dispatch them, if a pretended astrologer declares them to have unhappy stars? And are there not places where, at a certain age, they kill or expose their parents without any remorse at all? In a part of Asia, the sick, when their case comes to be thought desperate, are carried out and laid on the earth, before they are dead; and left there, exposed to wind and weather, to perish without assistance or pitya. It is familiar among the Mingrelians, a people professing Christianity, to bury their children alive without scrupleb. There are places where they eat their own childrenc. The Caribbees were wont to geld their children, on purpose to fat and eat themd. And Garcilasso de la Vega tells us of a people in Peru, which were wont to fat and eat the children they got on their female captives, whom they kept as concubines for that purpose; and when they were past breeding, the mothers themselves were killed too and eatene. The virtues, whereby the Tououpinambos believed they merited paradise, were revenge, and eating abundance of their enemies. They have not so much as a name for Godf, and have no religion, no worship. The saints, who are canonized amongst the Turks, lead lives, which one cannot with modesty relate. A remarkable passage to this purpose, out of the voyage of Baumgarten, which is a book not every day to be met with, I shall set down at large in the language it is published in.



Ibi (sc. prope Belbes in Egypto) vidimus sanctum unum Saracenicum inter arenarum cumulos, ita ut ex utero matris prodiit, nudum sedentem. Mos est, ut didicimus, Mahometistis, ut eos, qui amentes & sine ratione sunt, pro sanctis colant & venerentur. Insuper & eos, qui cum diu vitam egerint inquinatissimam, voluntariam demum pœnitentiam & paupertatem, sanctitate venerandos deputant. Ejusmodi verò genus hominum libertatem quandam effrænem habent, domos quas volunt intrandi, edendi, bibendi, & quod majus est, concumbendi; ex quo concubitu si proles secuta fuerit, sancta similiter habetur. His ergo hominibus dum vivunt, magnos exhibent honores; mortuis veròvel templa vel monumenta extrunt amplissima, eosque contingere ac sepelire maximæ fortunæ ducunt loco. Audivimus hæc dicta & dicenda per interpretem à Mucrelo nostro. Insuper sanctum illum, quem eo loco vidimus, publicitus apprimè commendari, eum esse hominem sanctum, divinum ac integritate pracipuum; eo quod, nec fœminarum unquam esset, nec puerorum, sed tantummodo asellarum concubitor atque mularum. Peregr. Baumgarten, l. 2. c. 1. p. 73.



More of the same kind, concerning these precious saints amongst the Turks, may be seen in Pietro della Valle, in his letter of the 25th of January, 1616. Where then are those innate principles of justice, piety, gratitude, equity, chastity? Or, where is that universal consent that assures us there are such inbred rules? Murders in duels, when fashion has made them honourable, are committed without remorse of conscience, nay, in many places, innocence in this case is the greatest ignominy. And if we look abroad, to take a view of men, as they are, we shall find, that they have remorse in one place, for doing or omitting that, which others, in another place, think they merit by.


 

Men have contrary   practical principles.
 

 

§ 10. He that will carefully peruse the history of mankind, and look abroad into the several tribes of men, and with indifference survey their actions, will be able to satisfy himself, that there is scarce that principle of morality to be named, or rule of virtue to be thought on (those only excepted that are absolutely necessary to hold society together, which commonly, too, are neglected betwixt distinct societies) which is not, somewhere or other, slighted and condemned by the general fashion of whole societies of men, governed by practical opinions and rules of living, quite opposite to others.


 

Whole nations reject   several moral rules.
 

 

§ 11. Here, perhaps, it will be objected, that it is no argument that the rule is not known, because it is broken. I grant the objection good, where men, though they transgress, yet disown not the law; where fear of shame, censure, or punishment, carries the mark of some awe it has upon them. But it is impossible to conceive, that a whole nation of men should all publicly reject and renounce what every one of them, certainly and infallibly, knew to be a law: for so they must, who have it naturally imprinted on their minds. It is possible men may sometimes own rules of morality, which, in their private thoughts, they do not believe to be true, only to keep themselves in reputation and esteem amongst those, who are persuaded of their obligation. But it is not to be imagined, that a whole society of men should publicly and professedly disown, and cast off a rule, which they could not, in their own minds, but be infallibly certain was a law; nor be ignorant, that all men they should have to do with, knew it to be such: and therefore must every one of them apprehend from others, all the contempt and abhorrence due to one, who professes himself void of humanity; and one, who, confounding the known and natural measures of right and wrong, cannot but be looked on as the professed enemy of their peace and happiness. Whatever practical principle is innate, cannot but be known to every one to be just and good. It is therefore little less than a contradiction to suppose, that whole nations of men should, both in their professions and practice, unanimously and universally give the lie to what, by the most invincible evidence, every one of them knew to be true, right, and good. This is enough to satisfy us, that no practical rule, which is any where universally, and with public approbation or allowance, transgressed, can be supposed innate. But I have something farther to add, in answer to this objection.



§ 12. The breaking of a rule, say you, is no argument that it is unknown. I grant it: but the generally allowed breach of it any where, I say, is a proof that it is not innate. For example: let us take any of these rules, which being the most obvious deductions of human reason, and conformable to the natural inclination of the greatest part of men, fewest people have had the impudence to deny, or inconsideration to doubt of. If any can be thought to be naturally imprinted, none, I think, can have a fairer pretence to be innate than this; “parents, preserve and cherish your children.” When therefore you say, that this is an innate rule, what do you mean? Either, that it is an innate principle, which, upon all occasions, excites and directs the actions of all men: or else, that it is a truth, which all men have imprinted on their minds, and which therefore they know and assent to. But in neither of these senses is it innate. First that it is not a principle which influences all men’s actions, is what I have proved by the examples before cited: nor need we seek so far as Mingrelia or Peru, to find instances of such as neglect, abuse, nay and destroy their children; or look on it only as the more than brutality of some savage and barbarous nations, when we remember, that it was a familiar and uncondemned practice amongst the Greeks and Romans, to expose, without pity or remorse, their innocent infants. Secondly, that it is an innate truth, known to all men, is also false. For, “parents, preserve your children,” is so far from an innate truth, that it is no truth at all; it being a command, and not a proposition, and so not capable of truth or falsehood. To make it capable of being assented to as true, it must be reduced to some such proposition as this: “it is the duty of parents to preserve their children.” But what duty is, cannot be understood without a law; nor a law be known, or supposed, without a law-maker, or without reward and punishment: so that it is impossible that this, or any other practical principle, should be innate; i. e. be imprinted on the mind as a duty, without supposing the ideas of God, of law, of obligation, of punishment, of a life after this, innate: For that punishment follows not, in this life, the breach of this rule; and consequently, that it has not the force of a law in countries, where the generally allowed practice runs counter to it, is in itself evident. But these ideas (which must be all of them innate, if any thing as a duty be so) are so far from being innate, that it is not every studious or thinking man, much less every one that is born, in whom they are to be found clear and distinct; and that one of them, which of all others seems most likely to be innate, is not so, (I mean the idea of God) I think, in the next chapter, will appear very evident to any considering man.



§ 13. From what has been said, I think we may safely conclude, that whatever practical rule is, in any place, generally and with allowance broken, cannot be supposed innate; it being impossible that men should, without shame or fear, confidently and serenely break a rule, which they could not but evidently know, that God had set up, and would certainly punish the breach of (which they must, if it were innate) to a degree, to make it a very ill bargain to the transgressor. Without such a knowledge as this, a man can never be certain that any thing is his duty. Ignorance, or doubt of the law, hopes to escape the knowledge or power of the law-maker, or the like, may make men give way to a present appetite: but let any one see the fault, and the rod by it, and with the transgression, a fire ready to punish it; a pleasure tempting, and the hand of the Almighty visibly held up, and prepared to take vengeance (for this must be the case, where any duty is imprinted on the mind) and then tell me, whether it be possible for people with such a prospect, such a certain knowledge as this, wantonly, and without scruple, to offend against a law, which they carry about them in indelible characters, and that stares them in the face, whilst they are breaking it? whether men, at the same time that they feel in themselves the imprinted edicts of an omnipotent law-maker, can with assurance and gaiety slight and trample under foot his most sacred injunctions? and lastly, whether it be possible, that whilst a man thus openly bids defiance to this innate law and supreme law-giver, all the by-standers, yea, even the governors and rulers of the people, full of the same sense both of the law and law-maker, should silently connive, without testifying their dislike, or laying the least blame on it? Principles of actions indeed there are lodged in men’s appetites, but these are so far from being innate moral principles, that if they were left to their full swing, they would carry men to the overturning of all morality. Moral laws are set as a curb and restraint to these exorbitant desires, which they cannot be but by rewards and punishments, that will overbalance the satisfaction any one shall propose to himself in the breach of the law. If therefore any thing be imprinted on the minds of all men as a law, all men must have a certain and unavoidable knowledge, that certain and unavoidable punishment will attend the breach of it. For, if men can be ignorant or doubtful of what is innate, innate principles are insisted on, and urged to no purpose; truth and certainty (the things pretended) are not at all secured by them: but men are in the same uncertain, floating estate with, as without them. An evident indubitable knowledge of unavoidable punishment, great enough to make the transgression very uneligible, must accompany an innate law; unless, with an innate law, they can suppose an innate gospel too. I would not here be mistaken, as if, because I deny an innate law, I thought there were none but positive laws. There is a great deal of difference between an innate law, and a law of nature; between something imprinted on our minds in their very original, and something that we being ignorant of may attain to the knowledge of, by the use and due application of our natural faculties. And I think they equally forsake the truth, who, running into the contrary extremes, either affirm an innate law, or deny that there is a law knowable by the light of nature, i. e. without the help of positive revelation.


 

Those who maintain   innate practical principles, tell us not what they are.
 

 

§ 14. The difference there is amongst men in their practical principles, is so evident, that I think, I need say no more to evince, that it will be impossible to find any innate moral rules by this mark of general assent: and it is enough to make one suspect, that the supposition of such innate principles is but an opinion taken up at pleasure; since those who talk so confidently of them, are so sparing to tell us which they are. This might with justice be expected from those men who lay stress upon this opinion: and it gives occasion to distrust either their knowledge or charity, who, declaring that God has imprinted on the minds of men the foundations of knowledge, and the rules of living, are yet so little favourable to the information of their neighbours, or the quiet of mankind, as not to point out to them which they are, in the variety men are distracted with. But, in truth, were there any such innate principles, there would be no need to teach them. Did men find such innate propositions stamped on their minds, they would easily be able to distinguish them from other truths, that they afterwards learned, and deduced from them; and there would be nothing more easy, than to know what, and how many they were. There could be no more doubt about their number, than there is about the number of our fingers; and it is like then, every system would be ready to give them us by tale. But since nobody, that I know, has ventured yet to give a catalogue of them, they cannot blame those who doubt of these innate principles; since even they who require men to believe that there are such innate propositions, do not tell us what they are. It is easy to foresee, that if different men of different sects should go about to give us a list of those innate practical principles, they would set down only such as suited their distinct hypotheses, and were fit to support the doctrines of their particular schools or churches: a plain evidence, that there are no such innate truths. Nay, a great part of men are so far from finding any such innate moral principles in themselves, that by denying freedom to mankind, and thereby making men no other than bare machines, they take away not only innate, but all moral rules whatsoever, and leave not a possibility to believe any such, to those who cannot conceive, how any thing can be capable of a law, that is not a free agent: and upon that ground, they must necessarily reject all principles of virtue, who cannot put morality and mechanism together; which are not very easy to be reconciled, or made consistent.


 

Lord Herbert’s innate   principles examined.
 

 

§ 15. When I had writ this, being informed, that my lord Herbert had, in his book de Veritate, assigned these innate principles, I presently consulted him, hoping to find, in a man of so great parts, something that might satisfy me in this point, and put an end to my enquiry. In his chapter de Instinctu Naturali, p. 72. edit. 1656, I met with these six marks of his Notitiæ Communes:



1.      Prioritas.

2.     Independentia.

3.     Universalitas.

4.     Certitudo.

5.     Necessitas, i. e. as he explains it, faciunt ad hominis conservationem.

6.     Modus conformationis, i. e. Assensus nullâ interpositâ morâ.



And at the latter end of his little treatise, De Religioni Laici, he says this of these innate principles: Adeo ut non uniuscujusvis religionis confinio arctentur quæ ubique vigent veritates. Sunt enim in ipsâ mente cœlitus descriptæ, nullisque traditionibus, sive scriptis, sive non scriptis, obnoxiæ, p. 3. And, Veritates nostræ catholicæ quæ tanquam indubia Dei effata in foro interiori descriptæ. Thus having given the marks of the innate principles or common notions, and asserted their being imprinted on the minds of men by the hand of God, he proceeds to set them down; and they are these:



1.      Esse aliquod supremum numen.

2.     Numen illud coli debere.

3.     Virtutem cum pietate conjunctam optimam esse rationem cultûs divini.

4.     Resipiscendum esse à peccatis.

5.     Dari præmium vel pœnam post hanc vitam transactam.



Though I allow these to be clear truths, and such as, if rightly explained, a rational creature can hardly avoid giving his assent to; yet I think he is far from proving them innate impressions in foro interiori descriptæ. For I must take leave to observe,



§ 16. First, that these five propositions are either not all, or more than all, those common notions writ on our minds by the finger of God, if it were reasonable to believe any at all to be so written: since there are other propositions, which, even by his own rules, have as just a pretence to such an original, and may be as well admitted for innate principles, as at least some of these five he enumerates, viz. “do as thou wouldest be done unto;” and, perhaps, some hundreds of others, when well considered.



§ 17. Secondly, that all his marks are not to be found in each of his five propositions, viz. his first, second, and third marks agree perfectly to neither of them; and the first, second, third, fourth, and sixth marks agree but ill to his third, fourth, and fifth propositions. For besides that we are assured from history, of many men, nay, whole nations, who doubt or disbelieve some or all of them; I cannot see how the third, viz. “that virtue joined with piety is the best worship of God,” can be an innate principle, when the name, or sound, virtue, is so hard to be understood; liable to so much uncertainty in its signification; and the thing it stands for, so much contended about, and difficult to be known. And therefore this cannot be but a very uncertain rule of human practice, and serve but very little to the conduct of our lives, and is therefore very unfit to be assigned as an innate practical principle.



§ 18. For let us consider this proposition as to its meaning (for it is the sense, and not sound, that is, and must be the principle or common notion) viz. “virtue is the best worship of God;” i. e. is most acceptable to him; which if virtue be taken, as most commonly it is, for those actions, which, according to the different opinions of several countries, are accounted laudable, will be a proposition so far from being certain, that it will not be true. If virtue be taken for actions conformable to God’s will, or to the rule prescribed by God, which is the true and only measure of virtue, when virtue is used to signify what is in its own nature right and good; then this proposition, “that virtue is the best worship of God,” will be most true and certain, but of very little use in human life: since it will amount to no more but this, viz. “that God is pleased with the doing of what he commands;” which a man may certainly know to be true, without knowing what it is that God doth command; and so be as far from any rule or principle of his actions, as he was before. And I think very few will take a proposition, which amounts to no more than this, viz. that God is pleased with the doing of what he himself commands, for an innate moral principle writ on the minds of all men (however true and certain it may be) since it teaches so little. Whosoever does so, will have reason to think hundreds of propositions, innate principles; since there are many, which have as good a title as this, to be received for such, which nobody yet ever put into that rank of innate principles.



§ 19. Nor is the fourth proposition (viz. “men must repent of their sins”) much more instructive, till what those actions are, that are meant by sins, be set down. For the word peccata, or sins, being put, as it usually is, to signify in general ill actions, that will draw punishment upon the doers, what great principle of morality can that be, to tell us we should be sorry, and cease to do that which will bring mischief upon us, without knowing what those particular actions are, that will do so? Indeed, this is a very true proposition, and fit to be inculcated on, and received by those, who are supposed to have been taught, what actions in all kinds are sins; but neither this, nor the former, can be imagined to be innate principles, nor to be of any use, if they were innate, unless the particular measures and bounds of all virtues and vices, were engraven in men’s minds, and were innate principles also; which, I think, is very much to be doubted. And therefore, I imagine, it will scarce seem possible, that God should engrave principles in men’s minds, in words of uncertain signification, such as virtues and sins, which, amongst different men, stand for different things: nay, it cannot be supposed to be in words at all; which, being in most of these principles very general names, cannot be understood, but by knowing the particulars comprehended under them. And in the practical instances, the measures must be taken from the knowledge of the actions themselves, and the rules of them, abstracted from words, and antecedent to the knowledge of names; which rules a man must know, what language soever he chance to learn, whether English or Japan, or if he should learn no language at all, or never should understand the use of words, as happens in the case of dumb and deaf men. When it shall be made out, that men ignorant of words, or untaught by the laws and customs of their country, know that it is part of the worship of God, not to kill another man; not to know more women than one; not to procure abortion; not to expose their children; not to take from another what is his, though we want it ourselves, but, on the contrary, relieve and supply his wants; and whenever we have done the contrary, we ought to repent, be sorry, and resolve to do so no more: when, I say, all men shall be proved actually to know and allow all these and a thousand other such rules, all which come under these two general words made use of above, viz. “virtutes & peccata,” virtues and sins, there will be more reason for admitting these and the like, for common notions and practical principles. Yet, after all, universal consent (were there any in moral principles) to truths, the knowledge whereof may be attained otherwise, would scarce prove them to be innate; which is all I contend for.


 

Obj. Innate principles   may be corrupted, answered.
 

 

§ 20. Nor will it be of much moment here to offer that very ready, but not very material answer (viz.) that the innate principles of morality, may, by education and custom, and the general opinion of those amongst whom we converse, be darkened, and at last quite worn out of the minds of men. Which assertion of theirs, if true, quite takes away the argument of universal consent, by which this opinion of innate principles is endeavoured to be proved: unless those men will think it reasonable, that their private persuasions, or that of their party, should pass for universal consent: a thing not unfrequently done, when men, presuming themselves to be the only masters of right reason, cast by the votes and opinions of the rest of mankind, as not worthy the reckoning. And then their argument stands thus: “the principles which all mankind allow for true, are innate; those that men of right reason admit, are the principles allowed by all mankind; we, and those of our mind, are men of reason; therefore we agreeing, our principles are innate;” which is a very pretty way of arguing, and a short cut to infallibility. For otherwise it will be very hard to understand, how there be some principles, which all men do acknowledge and agree in; and yet there are none of those principles, which are not by depraved custom, and ill education, blotted out of the minds of many men; which is to say, that all men admit, but yet many men do deny, and dissent from them. And indeed the supposition of such first principles will serve us to very little purpose; and we shall be as much at a loss with, as without them, if they may, by any human power, such as is the will of our teachers, or opinions of our companions, be altered or lost in us; and notwithstanding all this boast of first principles and innate light, we shall be as much in the dark and uncertainty, as if there were no such thing at all: it being all one, to have no rule, and one that will warp any way; or, amongst various and contrary rules, not to know which is the right. But concerning innate principles, I desire these men to say, whether they can, or cannot, by education and custom, be blurred and blotted out: if they cannot, we must find them in all mankind alike, and they must be clear in every body: and if they may suffer variation from adventitious notions, we must then find them clearest and most perspicuous, nearest the fountain, in children and illiterate people who have received least impression from foreign opinions. Let them take which side they please, they will certainly find it inconsistent with visible matter of fact, and daily observation.


 

Contrary principles in   the world.
 

 

§ 21. I easily grant, that there are great numbers of opinions, which, by men of different countries, educations, and tempers, are received and embraced as first and unquestionable principles; many whereof, both for their absurdity, as well as oppositions to one another, it is impossible should be true. But yet all those propositions, how remote soever from reason, are so sacred somewhere or other, that men even of good understanding in other matters, will sooner part with their lives, and whatever is dearest to them, than suffer themselves to doubt, or others to question, the truth of them.


 

How men commonly come   by their principles.
 

 

§ 22. This, however strange it may seem, is that which every day’s experience confirms; and will not, perhaps, appear so wonderful, if we consider the ways and steps by which it is brought about; and how really it may come to pass, that doctrines that have been derived from no better original than the superstition of a nurse, and the authority of an old woman, may by length of time, and consent of neighbours, grow up to the dignity of principles in religion or morality. For such, who are careful (as they call it) to principle children well (and few there be who have not a set of those principles for them, which they believe in) instil into the unwary, and as yet unprejudiced understanding (for white paper receives any characters) those doctrines they would have them retain and profess. These being taught them as soon as they have any apprehension; and still as they grow up, confirmed to them, either by the open profession, or tacit consent, of all they have to do with; or at least by those, of whose wisdom, knowledge and piety, they have an opinion, who never suffer these propositions to be otherwise mentioned, but as the basis and foundation on which they build their religion and manners; come, by these means, to have the reputation of unquestionable, self-evident, and innate truths.



§ 23. To which we may add, that when men, so instructed, are grown up, and reflect on their own minds, they cannot find any thing more ancient there than those opinions which were taught them before their memory began to keep a register of their actions, or date the time when any new thing appeared to them; and therefore make no scruple to conclude, that those propositions, of whose knowledge they can find in themselves no original, were certainly the impress of God and nature upon their minds, and not taught them by any one else. These they entertain and submit to, as many do to their parents, with veneration; not because it is natural: nor do children do it, where they are not so taught: but because, having been always so educated, and having no remembrance of the beginning of this respect, they think it is natural.



§ 24. This will appear very likely, and almost unavoidable to come to pass, if we consider the nature of mankind, and the constitution of human affairs; wherein most men cannot live without employing their time in the daily labours of their callings; nor be at quiet in their minds without some foundation or principle to rest their thoughts on. There is scarce any one so floating and superficial in his understanding, who hath not some reverenced propositions, which are to him the principles on which he bottoms his reasonings; and by which he judgeth of truth and falsehood, right and wrong: which some, wanting skill and leisure, and others the inclination, and some being taught, that they ought not to examine; there are few to be found who are not exposed by their ignorance, laziness, education, or precipitancy, to take them upon trust.



§ 25. This is evidently the case of all children and young folk; and custom, a greater power than nature, seldom failing to make them worship for divine what she hath inured them to bow their minds, and submit their understandings to; it is no wonder that grown men, either perplexed in the necessary affairs of life, or hot in the pursuit of pleasures, should not seriously sit down to examine their own tenets; especially when one of their principles is, that principles ought not to be questioned. And had men leisure, parts, and will, who is there almost that dare shake the foundations of all his past thoughts and actions, and endure to bring upon himself the shame of having been a long time wholly in mistake and error? Who is there hardy enough to contend with the reproach which is every where prepared for those who dare venture to dissent from the received opinions of their country or party? And where is the man to be found that can patiently prepare himself to bear the name of whimsical, sceptical, or atheist, which he is sure to meet with, who does in the least scruple any of the common opinions? And he will be much more afraid to question those principles, when he shall think them, as most men do, the standards set up by God in his mind, to be the rule and touchstone of all other opinions. And what can hinder him from thinking them sacred, when he finds them the earliest of all his own thoughts, and the most reverenced by others?



§ 26. It is easy to imagine how by these means it comes to pass, that men worship the idols that have been set up in their minds; grow fond of the notions they have been long acquainted with there; and stamp the characters of divinity upon absurdities and errors, become zealous votaries to bulls and monkeys; and contend too, fight, and die in defence of their opinions: “Dum solos credit habendos esse deos, quos ipse colit.” For since the reasoning faculties of the soul, which are almost constantly, though not always warily nor wisely, employed, would not know how to move, for want of a foundation and footing, in most men; who through laziness or avocation do not, or for want of time, or true helps, or for other causes, cannot penetrate into the principles of knowledge, and trace truth to its fountain and original; it is natural for them, and almost unavoidable, to take up with some borrowed principles: which being reputed and presumed to be the evident proofs of other things, are thought not to need any other
proof themselves. Whoever shall receive any of these into his mind, and entertain them there, with the reverence usually paid to principles, never venturing to examine them, but accustoming himself to believe them, because they are to be believed, may take up from his education, and the fashions of his country, any absurdity for innate principles; and by long poring on the same objects, so dim his sight, as to take monsters lodged in his own brain, for the images of the Deity, and the workmanship of his hands.



 

Principles must be   examined.
 

 

§ 27. By this progress how many there are who arrive at principles, which they believe innate, may be easily observed, in the variety of opposite principles held and contended for by all sorts and degrees of men. And he that shall deny this to be the method, wherein most men proceed to the assurance they have of the truth and evidence of their principles, will perhaps find it a hard matter any other way to account for the contrary tenets, which are firmly believed, confidently asserted, and which great numbers are ready at any time to seal with their blood. And, indeed, if it be the privilege of innate principles, to be received upon their own authority, without examination, I know not what may not be believed, or how any one’s principles can be questioned. If they may, and ought to be examined, and tried, I desire to know how first and innate principles can be tried; or at least it is reasonable to demand the marks and characters, whereby the genuine innate principles may be distinguished from others; that so, amidst the great variety of pretenders, I may be kept from mistakes, in so material a point as this. When this is done, I shall be ready to embrace such welcome and useful propositions; and till then I may with modesty doubt, since I fear universal consent, which is the only one produced, will scarce prove a sufficient mark to direct my choice, and assure me of any innate principles. From what has been said, I think it past doubt, that there are no practical principles wherein all men agree; and therefore none innate.



 

CHAPTER IV

Other Considerations concerning Innate Principles,
both Speculative and Practical





 

Principles not innate,   unless their ideas be innate.
 

 

§ 1. Had those, who would persuade us that there are innate principles, not taken them together in gross, but considered separately the parts out of which those propositions are made; they would not, perhaps, have been so forward to believe that they were innate: since, if the ideas which made up those truths were not, it was impossible that the propositions made up of them should be innate, or the knowledge of them be born with us. For if the ideas be not innate, there was a time when the mind was without those principles; and then they will not be innate, but be derived from some other original. For where the ideas themselves are not, there can be no knowledge, no assent, no mental or verbal propositions about them.


 

Ideas, especially   those belonging to principles, not born with children.
 

 

§ 2. If we will attentively consider newborn children, we shall have little reason to think, that they bring many ideas into the world with them. For bating perhaps some faint ideas of hunger and thirst, and warmth, and some pains which they may have felt in the womb, there is not the least appearance of any settled ideas at all in them; especially of ideas, answering the terms which make up those universal propositions, that are esteemed innate principles. One may perceive how, by degrees, afterwards, ideas come into their minds; and that they get no more, nor no other, than what experience, and the observation of things, that come in their way, furnish them with: which might be enough to satisfy us, that they are not original characters stamped on the mind.



§ 3. “It is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be,” is certainly (if there be any such) an innate principle. But can any one think, or will any one say, that impossibility and identity are two innate ideas? Are they such as all mankind have, and bring into the world with them? And are they those which are the first in children, and antecedent to all acquired ones? If they are innate, they must needs be so. Hath a child an idea of impossibility and identity, before it has of white or black, sweet or bitter? And is it from the knowledge of this principle, that it concludes, that wormwood rubbed on the nipple hath not the same taste that it used to receive from thence? Is it the actual knowledge of “impossibile est idem esse, & non esse,” that makes a child distinguish between its mother and a stranger? or, that makes it fond of the one, and fly the other? Or does the mind regulate itself and its assent by ideas, that it never yet had? Or the understanding draw conclusions from principles, which it never yet knew or understood? The names impossibility and identity stand for two ideas, so far from being innate, or born with us, that I think it requires great care and attention to form them right in our understandings. They are so far from being brought into the world with us, so remote from the thoughts of infancy and childhood; that, I believe, upon examination it will be found, that many grown men want them.


 

Identity, an idea not   innate.
 

 

§ 4. If identity (to instance in that alone) be a native impression, and consequently so clear and obvious to us, that we must needs know it even from our cradles; I would gladly be resolved by one of seven, or seventy years old, whether a man, being a creature consisting of soul and body, be the same man when his body is changed? Whether Euphorbus and Pythagoras, having had the same soul, were the same men, though they lived several ages asunder? Nay, whether the cock too, which had the same soul, were not the same with both of them? Whereby, perhaps, it will appear, that our idea of sameness is not so settled and clear, as to deserve to be thought innate in us. For if those innate ideas are not clear and distinct, so as to be universally known, and naturally agreed on, they cannot be subjects of universal and undoubted truths; but will be the unavoidable occasion of perpetual uncertainty. For, I suppose, every one’s idea of identity will not be the same that Pythagoras, and others of his followers have: And which then shall be true? Which innate? Or are there two different ideas of identity, both innate?



§ 5. Nor let any one think, that the questions I have here proposed about the identity of man, are bare empty speculations; which if they were, would be enough to shew, that there was in the understandings of men no innate idea of identity. He that shall, with a little attention, reflect on the resurrection, and consider that divine justice will bring to judgment, at the last day, the very same persons, to be happy or miserable in the other, who did well or ill in this life; will find it perhaps not easy to resolve with himself, what makes the same man, or wherein identity consists; and will not be forward to think he, and every one, even children themselves, have naturally a clear idea of it.


 

Whole and part not   innate ideas.
 

 

§ 6. Let us examine that principle of mathematics, viz. “that the whole is bigger than a part.” This, I take it, is reckoned amongst innate principles. I am sure it has as good a title as any to be thought so; which yet nobody can think it to be, when he considers the ideas it comprehends in it, “whole and part,” are perfectly relative: but the positive ideas, to which they properly and immediately belong, are extension and number, of which alone whole and part are relations. So that if whole and part are innate ideas, extension and number must be so too; it being impossible to have an idea of a relation, without having any at all of the thing to which it belongs, and in which it is founded. Now whether the minds of men have naturally imprinted on them the ideas of extension and number, I leave to be considered by those, who are the patrons of innate principles.


 

Idea of worship not   innate.
 

 

§ 7. “That God is to be worshipped,” is, without doubt, as great a truth as any can enter into the mind of man, and deserves the first place amongst all practical principles. But yet it can by no means be thought innate, unless the ideas of God and worship are innate. That the idea the term worship stands for, is not in the understanding of children, and a character stamped on the mind in its first original, I think, will be easily granted, by any one that considers how few there be, amongst grown men, who have a clear and distinct notion of it. And, I suppose, there cannot be any thing more ridiculous, than to say that children have this practical principle innate, “that God is to be worshipped;” and yet, that they know not what that worship of God is, which is their duty. But to pass by this:


 

Idea of God not   innate.
 

 

§ 8. If any idea can be imagined innate, the idea of God may, of all others, for many reasons be thought so; since it is hard to conceive, how there should be innate moral principles, without an innate idea of a Deity: without a notion of a law-maker, it is impossible to have a notion of a law, and an obligation to observe it. Besides the atheists, taken notice of amongst the ancients, and left branded upon the records of history, hath not navigation discovered, in these later ages, whole nations at the bay of Soldaniaa, in Brazilb, in Borandayc, and in the Caribbee islands, etc. amongst whom there was to be found no notion of a God, no religion? Nicholaus del Techo in literis, ex Paraquaria de Caaiguarum conversione, has these wordsd: “Reperi eam gentem nullum nomen habere, quod Deum & hominis animam significet, nulla sacra habet, nulla idola.” These are instances of nations where uncultivated nature has been left to itself, without the help of letters, and discipline, and the improvements of arts and sciences. But there are others to be found, who have enjoyed these in a very great measure; who yet, for want of a due application of their thoughts this way, want the idea and knowledge of God. It will, I doubt not, be a surprize to others, as it was to me, to find the Siamites of this number. But for this, let them consult the king of France’s late envoy thithere, who gives no better account of the Chinese themselvesf. And if we will not believe La Loubere, the missionaries of China, even the Jesuits themselves, the great encomiasts of the Chinese, do all to a man agree, and will convince us that the sect of the literati, or learned, keeping to the old religion of China, and the ruling party there, are all of them atheists. Vid. Navarette, in the collection of voyages, vol. the first, and Historia cultus Sinensium. And perhaps if we should, with attention, mind the lives and discourses of people not so far off, we should have too much reason to fear, that many in more civilised countries have no very strong and clear impressions of a Deity upon their minds; and that the complaints of atheism, made from the pulpit, are not without reason. And though only some profligate wretches own it too bare-facedly now; yet perhaps we should hear more than we do of it from others, did not the fear of the magistrate’s sword, or their neighbour’s censure, tie up people’s tongues: which, were the apprehensions of punishment or shame taken away, would as openly proclaim their atheism, as their lives dog.



§ 9. But had all mankind, every where, a notion of a God (whereof yet history tells us the contrary) it would not from thence follow, that the idea of him was innate. For though no nation were to be found without a name, and some few dark notions of him: yet that would not prove them to be natural impressions on the mind, any more than the names of fire, or the sun, heat, or number, do prove the ideas they stand for to be innate: because the names of those things, and the ideas of them, are so universally received and known amongst mankind. Nor, on the contrary, is the want such a name, or the absence of such a notion out of men’s minds, any argument against the being of a God; any more than it would be a proof that there was no load-stone in the world, because a great part of mankind had neither a notion of any such thing, nor a name for it; or be any show of argument to prove, that there are no distinct and various species of angels, or intelligent beings above us, because we have no ideas of such distinct species, or names for them: for men being furnished with words, by the common language of their own countries, can scarce avoid having some kind of ideas of those things, whose names, those they converse with, have occasion frequently to mention to them. And if they carry with it the notion of excellency, greatness, or something extraordinary: if apprehension and concernment accompany it; if the fear of absolute and irresistible power set it on upon the mind, the idea is likely to sink the deeper, and spread the farther; especially if it be such an idea as is agreeable to the common light of reason, and naturally deducible from every part of our knowledge, as that of a God is. For the visible marks of extraordinary wisdom and power appear so plainly in all the works of the creation, that a rational creature, who will but seriously reflect on them, cannot miss the discovery of a deity. And the influence that the discovery of such a being must necessarily have on the minds of all, that have but once heard of it, is so great, and carries such a weight of thought and communication with it, that it seems stranger to me, that a whole nation of men should be any where found so brutish, as to want the notion of a God; than that they should be without any notion of numbers, or fire.



§ 10. The name of God being once mentioned in any part of the world, to express a superior, powerful, wise, invisible being, the suitableness of such a notion to the principles of common reason, and the interest men will always have to mention it often, must necessarily spread it far and wide, and continue it down to all generations; though yet the general reception of this name, and some imperfect and unsteady notions conveyed thereby to the unthinking part of mankind, prove not the idea to be innate; but only that they, who made the discovery, had made a right use of their reason, thought maturely of the causes of things, and traced them to their original; from whom other less considering people having once received so important a notion, it could not easily be lost again.



§ 11. This is all could be inferred from the notion of a God, were it to be found universally in all the tribes of mankind, and generally acknowledged by men grown to maturity in all countries. For the generality of the acknowledging of a God, as I imagine, is extended no farther than that; which if it be sufficient to prove the idea of God innate, will as well prove the idea of fire innate; since, I think, it may be truly said, that there is not a person in the world, who has a notion of a God, who has not also the idea of fire. I doubt not, but if a colony of young children should be placed in an island where no fire was, they would certainly neither have any notion of such a thing, nor name for it, how generally soever it were received, and known in all the world besides: and perhaps too their apprehensions would be as far removed from any name, or notion of a God, till some one amongst them had employed his thoughts, to inquire into the constitution and causes of things, which would easily lead him to the notion of a God; which having once taught to others, reason, and the natural propensity of their own thoughts, would afterwards propagate, and continue amongst them.


 

Suitable to God’s   goodness, that all men should have an idea of him, therefore naturally   imprinted by him, answered.
 

 

§ 12. Indeed it is urged, that it is suitable to the goodness of God to imprint upon the minds of men characters and notions of himself, and not to leave them in the dark and doubt in so grand a concernment; and also by that means to secure to himself the homage and veneration due from so intelligent a creature as man; and therefore he has done it.



This argument, if it be of any force, will prove much more than those, who use it in this case, expect from it. For, if we may conclude, that God hath done for men all that men shall judge is best for them, because it is suitable to his goodness so to do; it will prove not only that God has imprinted on the minds of men an idea of himself, but that he hath plainly stamped there, in fair characters, all that men ought to know or believe of him, all that they ought to do in obedience to his will; and that he hath given them a will and affections conformable to it. This, no doubt, every one will think better for men, than that they should in the dark grope after knowledge, as St. Paul tells us all nations did after God, Acts xvii. 27. than that their wills should clash with their understandings, and their appetites cross their duty. The Romanists say, it is best for men, and so suitable to the goodness of God, that there should be an infallible judge of controversies on earth; and therefore there is one. And I, by the same reason, say, it is better for men that every man himself should be infallible. I leave them to consider, whether by the force of this argument they shall think, that every man is so. I think it a very good argument, to say, the infinitely wise God hath made it so; and therefore it is best. But it seems to me a little too much confidence of our own wisdom to say, “I think it best, and therefore God hath made it so;” and, in the matter in hand, it will be in vain to argue from such a topic that God hath done so, when certain experience shows us that he hath not. But the goodness of God hath not been wanting to men without such original impressions of knowledge, or ideas stamped on the mind; since he hath furnished man with those faculties, which will serve for the sufficient discovery of all things requisite to the end of such a being. And I doubt not but to show that a man, by the right use of his natural abilities, may, without any innate principles, attain a knowledge of a God, and other things that concern him. God having endued man with those faculties of knowing which he hath, was no more obliged by his goodness to plant those innate notions in his mind, than that having given him reason, hands, and materials, he should build him bridges, or houses; which some people in the world, however, of good parts, do either totally want, or are but ill provided of, as well as others are wholly without ideas of God, and principles of morality; or at least have but very ill ones. The reason in both cases being, that they never employed their parts, faculties, and powers industriously that way, but contented themselves with the opinions, fashions, and things of their country, as they found them, without looking any farther. Had you or I been born at the bay of Soldania, possibly our thoughts and notions had not exceeded those brutish ones of the Hottentots that inhabit there; and had the Virginia king Apochancana been educated in England, he had been perhaps as knowing a divine, and as good a mathematician, as any in it. The difference between him and a more improved Englishman lying barely in this, that the exercise of his faculties was bounded within the ways, modes, and notions of his own country, and never directed to any other, or farther inquiries: and if he had not any idea of a God, it was only because he pursued not those thoughts that would have led him to it.


 

Ideas of God various   in different men.
 

 

§ 13. I grant, that if there were any idea to be found imprinted on the minds of men, we have reason to expect it should be the notion of his maker, as a mark God set on his own workmanship, to mind man of his dependence and duty; and that herein should appear the first instances of human knowledge. But how late is it before any such notion is discoverable in children? And when we find it there, how much more does it resemble the opinion and notion of the teacher, than represent the true God? He that shall observe in children the progress whereby their minds attain the knowledge they have, will think that the objects they do first and most familiarly converse with, are those that make the first impressions on their understandings: nor will he find the least footsteps of any other. It is easy to take notice, how their thoughts enlarge themselves, only as they come to be acquainted with a greater variety of sensible objects, to retain the ideas of them in their memories; and to get the skill to compound and enlarge them, and several ways put them together. How by these means they come to frame in their minds an idea men have of a deity, I shall hereafter shew.



§ 14. Can it be thought, that the ideas men have of God are the characters and marks of himself, engraven on their minds by his own finger; when we see that in the same country, under one and the same name, men have far different, nay, often contrary and inconsistent ideas and conceptions of him? Their agreeing in a name, or sound, will scarce prove an innate notion of him.



§ 15. What true or tolerable notion of a deity could they have, who acknowledged and worshipped hundreds? Every deity that they owned above one was an infallible evidence of their ignorance of him, and a proof that they had no true notion of God, where unity, infinity, and eternity were excluded. To which if we add their gross conceptions of corporeity, expressed in their images and representations of their deities; the amours, marriages, copulations, lusts, quarrels, and other mean qualities attributed by them to their gods; we shall have little reason to think, that the heathen world, i. e. the greatest part of mankind, had such ideas of God in their minds, as he himself, out of care that they should not be mistaken about him, was author of. And this universality of consent, so much argued, if it prove any native impressions, it will be only this, that God imprinted on the minds of all men, speaking the same language, a name for himself, but not any idea; since those people, who agreed in the name, had at the same time far different apprehensions about the thing signified. If they say, that the variety of deities, worshipped by the heathen world, were but figurative ways of expressing the several attributes of that incomprehensible being, or several parts of his providence: I answer, what they might be in the original, I will not here inquire: but that they were so in the thoughts of the vulgar, I think nobody will affirm. And he that will consult the voyage of the bishop of Beryte, c. 13. (not to mention other testimonies) will find, that the theology of the Siamites professedly owns a plurality of Gods: or, as the abbe de Choisy more judiciously remarks, in his Journal du Voiage de Siam, 107/177, it consists properly in acknowledging no God at all.



If it be said, That wise men of all nations came to have true conceptions of the unity and infinity of the deity, I grant it. But then this,



First, Excludes universality of consent in any thing but the name; for those wise men being very few, perhaps one of a thousand, this universality is very narrow.



Secondly, It seems to me plainly to prove, that the truest and best notions men had of God were not imprinted, but acquired by thought and meditation, and a right use of their faculties; since the wise and considerate men of the world, by a right and careful employment of their thoughts and reason, attained true notions in this as well as other things; whilst the lazy and inconsiderate part of men, making far the greater number, took up their notions by chance, from common tradition and vulgar conceptions, without much beating their heads about them. And if it be a reason to think the notion of God innate, because all wise men had it, virtue too must be thought innate, for that also wise men have always had.



§ 16. This was evidently the case of all gentilism; nor hath even amongst jews, christians, and mahometans, who acknowledge but one God, this doctrine, and the care taken in those nations to teach men to have true notions of a God, prevailed so far, as to make men to have the same and the true ideas of him. How many, even amongst us, will be found, upon inquiry, to fancy him in the shape of a man sitting in heaven, and to have many other absurd and unfit conceptions of him? Christians, as well as Turks, have had whole sects owning and contending earnestly for it, and that the deity was corporeal, and of human shape: and though we find few among us who profess themselves Anthropomorphites, (though some I have met with that own it) yet, I believe, he that will make it his business, may find, amongst the ignorant and uninstructed christians, many of that opinion. Talk but with country people, almost of any age, or young people of almost any condition; and you shall find, that though the name of God be frequently in their mouths, yet the notions they apply this name to are so odd, low, and pitiful, that nobody can imagine they were taught by a rational man, much less that they were characters written by the finger of God himself. Nor do I see how it derogates more from the goodness of God, that he has given us minds unfurnished with these ideas of himself, than that he hath sent us into the world with bodies unclothed, and that there is no art or skill born with us: for, being fitted with faculties to attain these, it is want of industry and consideration in us, and not of bounty in him, if we have them not. It is as certain that there is a God, as that the opposite angles, made by the intersection of two straight lines, are equal. There was never any rational creature, that set himself sincerely to examine the truth of these propositions, that could fail to assent to them; though yet it be past doubt that there are many men, who, having not applied their thoughts that way, are ignorant both of the one and the other. If any one think fit to call this (which is the utmost of its extent) universal consent, such an one I easily allow; but such an universal consent as this proves not the idea of God, any more than it does the idea of such angels, innate.


 

If the idea of God be   not innate, no other can be supposed innate.
 

 

§ 17. Since then, though the knowledge of a God be the most natural discovery of human reason, yet the idea of him is not innate, as, I think, is evident from what has been said; I imagine there will scarce be any other idea found, that can pretend to it: since if God hath sent any impression, any character on the understanding of men, it is most reasonable to expect it should have been some clear and uniform idea of himself, as far as our weak capacities were capable to receive so incomprehensible and infinite an object. But our minds being at first void of that idea, which we are most concerned to have, it is a strong presumption against all other innate characters. I must own, as far as I can observe, I can find none, and would be glad to be informed by any other.


 

Idea of substance not   innate.
 

 

§ 18. I confess there is another idea, which would be of general use for mankind to have, as it is of general talk, as if they had it; and that is the idea of substance, which we neither have, nor can have, by sensation or reflection. If nature took care to provide us any ideas, we might well expect they should be such, as by our own faculties we cannot procure to ourselves: but we see, on the contrary, that since by those ways, whereby our ideas are brought into our minds, this is not, we have no such clear idea at all, and therefore signify nothing by the word substance, but only an uncertain supposition of we know not what, i. e. of something whereof we have no particular distinct positive idea, which we take to be the substratum, or support, of those ideas we know.


 

No propositions can be   innate, since no ideas are innate.
 

 

§ 19. Whatever then we talk of innate, either speculative or practical, principles, it may, with as much probability, be said, that a man hath 100l. sterling in his pocket, and yet denied, that he hath either penny, shilling, crown, or other coin, out of which the sum is to be made up, as to think that certain propositions are innate, when the ideas about which they are can by no means be supposed to be so. The general reception and assent that is given doth not at all prove that the ideas expressed in them are innate: for in many cases, however the ideas came there, the assent to words expressing the agreement or disagreement of such ideas, will necessarily follow. Every one, that hath a true idea of God and worship, will assent to this proposition, “that God is to be worshipped,” when expressed in a language he understands: and every rational man, that hath not thought on it to-day, may be ready to assent to this proposition to-morrow; and yet millions of men may be well supposed to want one or both those ideas to-day. For if we will allow savages and most country people to have ideas of God and worship, (which conversation with them will not make one forward to believe) yet I think few children can be supposed to have those ideas, which therefore they must begin to have some time or other; and then they will also begin to assent to that proposition, and make very little question of it ever after. But such an assent upon hearing no more proves the ideas to be innate, than it does that one born blind (with cataracts, which will be couched to-morrow) had the innate ideas of the sun, or light, or saffron, or yellow; because, when his sight is cleared, he will certainly assent to this proposition, “that the sun is lucid, or that saffron is yellow;” and therefore, if such an assent upon hearing cannot prove the ideas innate, it can much less the propositions made up of those ideas. If they have any innate ideas, I would be glad to be told what, and how many they are.


 

No innate ideas in the   memory.
 

 

§ 20. To which let me add: If there be any innate ideas, any ideas in the mind, which the mind does not actually think on, they must be lodged in the memory, and from thence must be brought into view by remembrance; i. e. must be known, when they are remembered, to have been perceptions in the mind before, unless remembrance can be without remembrance. For to remember is to perceive any thing with memory, or with a consciousness, that it was known or perceived before: without this, whatever idea comes into the mind is new, and not remembered; this consciousness of its having been in the mind before being that which distinguishes remembering from all other ways of thinking. Whatever idea was never perceived by the mind, was never in the mind. Whatever idea is in the mind, is either an actual perception; or else, having been an actual perception, is so in the mind, that by the memory it can be made an actual perception again. Whenever there is the actual perception of an idea without memory, the idea appears perfectly new and unknown before to the understanding. Whenever the memory brings any idea into actual view, it is with a consciousness, that it had been there before, and was not wholly a stranger to the mind. Whether this be not so, I appeal to every one’s observation; and then I desire an instance of an idea, pretended to be innate, which (before any impression of it by ways hereafter to be mentioned) any one could revive and remember as an idea he had formerly known; without which consciousness of a former perception there is no remembrance; and whatever idea comes into the mind without that consciousness is not remembered, or comes not out of the memory, nor can be said to be in the mind before that appearance: for what is not either actually in view, or in the memory, is in the mind no way at all, and is all one as if it had never been there. Suppose a child had the use of his eyes, till he knows and distinguishes colours; but then cataracts shut the windows, and he is forty or fifty years perfectly in the dark, and in that time perfectly loses all memory of the ideas of colours he once had. This was the case of a blind man I once talked with, who lost his sight by the small-pox when he was a child, and had no more notion of colours than one born blind. I ask, whether any one can say this man had then any ideas of colours in his mind, any more than one born blind? And I think nobody will say, that either of them had in his mind any idea of colours at all. His cataracts are couched, and then he has the ideas (which he remembers not) of colours, de novo, by his restored sight conveyed to his mind, and that without any consciousness of a former acquaintance: and these now he can revive, and call to mind in the dark. In this case all these ideas of colours, which when out of view can be revived with a consciousness of a former acquaintance, being thus in the memory, are said to be in the mind. The use I make of this, is, that whatever idea, being not actually in view, is in the mind, is there only by being in the memory; and if it be not in the memory, it is not in the mind; and if it be in the memory, it cannot by the memory be brought into actual view, without a perception that it comes out of the memory; which is this, that it had been known before, and is now remembered. If therefore there be any innate ideas, they must be in the memory, or else no-where in the mind; and if they be in the memory, they can be revived without any impression from without; and whenever they are brought into the mind, they are remembered, i. e. they bring with them a perception of their not being wholly new to it. This being a constant and distinguishing difference between what is, and what is not in the memory, or in the mind; that what is not in the memory, whenever it appears there, appears perfectly new and unknown before; and what is in the memory, or in the mind, whenever it is suggested by the memory, appears not to be new, but the mind finds it in itself, and knows it was there before. By this it may be tried, whether there be any innate ideas in the mind, before impression from sensation or reflection. I would fain meet with the man, who when he came to the use of reason, or at any other time, remembered any one of them: and to whom, after he was born, they were never new. If any one will say, there are ideas in the mind, that are not in the memory: I desire him to explain himself, and make what he says intelligible.


 

Principles not innate,   because of little use or little certainty.
 

 

§ 21. Besides what I have already said, there is another reason why I doubt that neither these nor any other principles are innate. I that am fully persuaded, that the infinitely wise God made all things in perfect wisdom, cannot satisfy myself why he should be supposed to print upon the minds of men some universal principles; whereof those that are pretended innate, and concern speculation, are of no great use; and those that concern practice, not self-evident, and neither of them distinguishable from some other truths not allowed to be innate. For to what purpose should characters be graven on the mind by the finger of God, which are not clearer there than those which are afterwards introduced, or cannot be distinguished from them? If any one thinks there are such innate ideas and propositions, which by their clearness and usefulness are distinguishable from all that is adventitious in the mind, and acquired, it will not be a hard matter for him to tell us which they are, and then every one will be a fit judge whether they be so or no; since if there be such innate ideas and impressions, plainly different from all other perceptions and knowledge, every one will find it true in himself. Of the evidence of these supposed innate maxims I have spoken already; of their usefulness I shall have occasion to speak more hereafter.


 

Difference of men’s   discoveries depends upon the different application of their faculties.
 

 

§ 22. To conclude: some ideas forwardly offer themselves to all men’s understandings; some sorts of truth result from any ideas, as soon as the mind puts them into propositions; other truths require a train of ideas placed in order, a due comparing of them, and deductions made with attention, before they can be discovered and assented to. Some of the first sort, because of their general and easy reception, have been mistaken for innate; but the truth is, ideas and notions are no more born with us than arts and sciences, though some of them indeed offer themselves to our faculties more readily than others, and therefore are more generally received: though that too be according as the organs of our bodies and powers of our minds happen to be employed: God having fitted men with faculties and means to discover, receive, and retain truths, according as they are employed. The great difference that is to be found in the notions of mankind is from the different use they put their faculties to; whilst some (and those the most) taking things upon trust, misemploy their power of assent, by lazily enslaving their minds to the dictates and dominion of others in doctrines, which it is their duty carefully to examine, and not blindly, with an implicit faith, to swallow. Others, employing their thoughts only about some few things, grow acquainted sufficiently with them, attain great degrees of knowledge in them, and are ignorant of all other, having never let their thoughts loose in the search of other inquiries. Thus, that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right ones, is a truth as certain as any thing can be, and I think more evident than many of those propositions that go for principles; and yet there are millions, however expert in other things, who know not this at all, because they never set their thoughts on work about such angles; and he that certainly knows this proposition, may yet be utterly ignorant of the truth of other propositions, in mathematicks itself, which are as clear and evident as this: because, in his search of those mathematical truths, he stopped his thoughts short, and went not so far. The same may happen concerning the notions we have of the being of a deity: for though there be no truth which a man may more evidently make out to himself than the existence of a God, yet he that shall content himself with things as he finds them in this world, as they minister to his pleasures and passions, and not make inquiry a little farther into their causes, ends, and admirable contrivances, and pursue the thoughts thereof with diligence and attention; may live long without any notion of such a being. And if any person hath by talk put such a notion into his head, he may perhaps believe it; but if he hath never examined it, his knowledge of it will be no perfecter than his, who having been told, that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right ones, takes it upon trust, without examining the demonstration; and may yield his assent as a probable opinion, but hath no knowledge of the truth of it: which yet his faculties, if carefully employed, were able to make clear and evident to him. But this only by the by, to shew how much our knowledge depends upon the right use of those powers nature hath bestowed upon us, and how little upon such innate principles, as are in vain supposed to be in all mankind for their direction; which all men could not but know, if they were there, or else they would be there to no purpose: and which since all men do not know, nor can distinguish from other adventitious truths, we may well conclude there are no such.


 

Men must think and   know for themselves.
 

 

§ 23. What censure doubting thus of innate principles may deserve from men, who will be apt to call it, pulling up the old foundations of knowledge and certainty, I cannot tell; I persuade myself at least, that the way I have pursued, being conformable to truth, lays those foundations surer. This I am certain, I have not made it my business either to quit or follow any authority in the ensuing discourse: truth has been my only aim, and wherever that has appeared to lead, my thoughts have impartially followed, without minding whether the footsteps of any other lay that way or no. Not that I want a due respect to other men’s opinions; but, after all, the greatest reverence is due to truth: and I hope it will not be thought arrogance to say, that perhaps we should make greater progress in the discovery of rational and contemplative knowledge, if we sought it in the fountain, in the consideration of things themselves, and made use rather of our own thoughts than other men’s to find it: for I think we may as rationally hope to see with other men’s eyes, as to know by other men’s understandings. So much as we ourselves consider and comprehend of truth and reason, so much we possess of real and true knowledge. The floating of other men’s opinions in our brains makes us not one jot the more knowing, though they happen to be true. What in them was science, is in us but opiniatrety; whilst we give up our assent only to reverend names, and do not, as they did, employ our own reason to understand those truths which gave them reputation. Aristotle was certainly a knowing man, but nobody ever thought him so because he blindly embraced, or confidently vented, the opinions of another. And if the taking up another’s principles, without examining them, made not him a philosopher, I suppose it will hardly make any body else so. In the sciences, every one has so much as he really knows and comprehends: what he believes only, and takes upon trust, are but shreds; which however well in the whole piece, make no considerable addition to his stock who gathers them. Such borrowed wealth, like fairy-money, though it were gold in the hand from which he received it, will be but leaves and dust when it comes to use.


 

Whence the opinion of   innate principles.
 

 

§ 24. When men have found some general propositions, that could not be doubted of as soon as understood, it was, I know, a short and easy way to conclude them innate. This being once received, it eased the lazy from the pains of search, and stopped the inquiry of the doubtful concerning all that was once styled innate. And it was of no small advantage to those who affected to be masters and teachers, to make this the principle of principles, “that principles must not be questioned:” for having once established this tenet, that there are innate principles, it put their followers upon a necessity of receiving some doctrines as such; which was to take them off from the use of their own reason and judgment, and put them on believing and taking them upon trust, without farther examination: in which posture of blind credulity, they might be more easily governed by, and made useful to, some sort of men, who had the skill and office to principle and guide them. Nor is it a small power it gives one man over another, to have the authority to be the dictator of principles, and teacher of unquestionable truths: and to make a man swallow that for an innate principle, which may serve to his purpose who teacheth them: whereas had they examined the ways whereby men came to the knowledge of many universal truths, they would have found them to result in the minds of men from the being of things themselves, when duly considered; and that they were discovered by the application of those faculties, that were fitted by nature to receive and judge of them, when duly employed about them.


 

Conclusion.
 

 

§ 25. To shew how the understanding proceeds herein, is the design of the following discourse; which I shall proceed to, when I have first premised, that hitherto, to clear my way to those foundations, which I conceive are the only true ones whereon to establish those notions we can have of our own knowledge, it hath been necessary for me to give an account of the reasons I had to doubt of innate principles. And since the arguments which are against them do some of them rise from common received opinions, I have been forced to take several things for granted, which is hardly avoidable to any one, whose task is to shew the falsehood or improbability of any tenet; it happening in controversial discourses, as it does in assaulting of towns, where if the ground be but firm whereon the batteries are erected, there is no farther inquiry of whom it is borrowed, nor whom it belongs to, so it affords but a fit rise for the present purpose. But in the future part of this discourse, designing to raise an edifice uniform and consistent with itself, as far as my own experience and observation will assist me, I hope to erect it on such a basis, that I shall not need to shore it up with props and buttresses, leaning on borrowed or begged foundations; or at least, if mine prove a castle in the air, I will endeavour it shall be all of a piece, and hang together. Wherein I warn the reader not to expect undeniable cogent demonstrations, unless I may be allowed the privilege, not seldom assumed by others, to take my principles for granted: and then, I doubt not, but I can demonstrate too. All that I shall say for the principles I proceed on is, that I can only appeal to men’s own unprejudiced experience and observation, whether they be true or no; and this is enough for a man who professes no more, than to lay down candidly and freely his own conjectures, concerning a subject lying somewhat in the dark, without any other design than an unbiassed inquiry after truth.




BOOK II


 

CHAPTER I

Of Ideas in general, and their Original





 

Idea is the object of   thinking.
 

 

§ 1. Every man being conscious to himself that he thinks, and that which his mind is applied about, whilst thinking, being the ideas that are there, it is past doubt, that men have in their minds several ideas, such as are those expressed by the words, Whiteness, Hardness, Sweetness, Thinking, Motion, Man, Elephant, Army, Drunkenness, and others. It is in the first place then to be inquired, how he comes by them. I know it is a received doctrine, that men have native ideas, and original characters, stamped upon their minds, in their very first being. This opinion I have, at large, examined already; and, I suppose, what I have said, in the foregoing book, will be much more easily admitted, when I have shewn, whence the understanding may get all the ideas it has, and by what ways and degrees they may come into the mind; for which I shall appeal to every one’s own observation and experience.


 

All ideas come from   sensation or reflection.
 

 

§ 2. Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas; how comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it, with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from experience; in all that our knowledge is founded, and from that it ultimately derives itself. Our observation employed either about external sensible objects, or about the internal operations of our minds, perceived and reflected on by ourselves, is that which supplies our understandings with all the materials of thinking. These two are the fountains of knowledge, from whence all the ideas we have, or can naturally have, do spring.


 

The objects of   sensation one source of ideas.
 

 

§ 3. First, Our senses, conversant about particular sensible objects, do convey into the mind several distinct perceptions of things, according to those various ways wherein those objects do affect them: and thus we come by those ideas we have, of Yellow, White, Heat, Cold, Soft, Hard, Bitter, Sweet, and all those which we call sensible qualities; which when I say the senses convey into the mind, I mean, they from external objects convey into the mind what produces there those perceptions. This great source of most of the ideas we have, depending wholly upon our senses, and derived by them to the understanding, I call sensation.


 

The operations of our   minds the other source of them.
 

 

§ 4. Secondly, The other fountain, from which experience furnisheth the understanding with ideas, is the perception of the operations of our own mind within us, as it is employed about the ideas it has got; which operations, when the soul comes to reflect on and consider, do furnish the understanding with another set of ideas, which could not be had from things without; and such are Perception, Thinking, Doubting, Believing, Reasoning, Knowing, Willing, and all the different actings of our own minds; which we being conscious of and observing in ourselves, do from these receive into our understandings as distinct ideas, as we do from bodies affecting our senses. This source of ideas every man has wholly in himself; and though it be not sense, as having nothing to do with external objects, yet it is very like it, and might properly enough be called internal sense. But as I call the other sensation, so I call this reflection, the ideas it affords being such only as the mind gets by reflecting on its own operations within itself. By reflection then, in the following part of this discourse, I would be understood to mean that notice which the mind takes of its own operations, and the manner of them; by reason whereof there come to be ideas of these operations in the understanding. These two, I say, viz. external material things, as the objects of sensation; and the operations of our own minds within, as the objects of reflection; are to me the only originals from whence all our ideas take their beginnings. The term operations here I use in a large sense, as comprehending not barely the actions of the mind about its ideas, but some sort of passions arising sometimes from them, such as is the satisfaction or uneasiness arising from any thought.


 

All our ideas are of   the one or the other of these.
 

 

§ 5. The understanding seems to me not to have the least glimmering of any ideas, which it doth not receive from one of these two. External objects furnish the mind with the ideas of sensible qualities, which are all those different perceptions they produce in us: and the mind furnishes the understanding with ideas of its own operations.



These, when we have taken a full survey of them and their several modes, combinations, and relations, we shall find to contain all our whole stock of ideas; and that we have nothing in our minds which did not come in one of these two ways. Let any one examine his own thoughts, and thoroughly search into his understanding; and then let him tell me, whether all the original ideas he has there, are any other than of the objects of his senses, or of the operations of his mind, considered as objects of his reflection; and how great a mass of knowledge soever he imagines to be lodged there, he will, upon taking a strict view, see that he has not any idea in his mind, but what one of these two have imprinted; though perhaps, with infinite variety compounded and enlarged by the understanding, as we shall see hereafter.


 

Observable in   children.
 

 

§ 6. He that attentively considers the state of a child, at his first coming into the world, will have little reason to think him stored with plenty of ideas that are to be the matter of his future knowledge: It is by degrees he comes to be furnished with them. And though the ideas of obvious and familiar qualities imprint themselves before the Edimemory begins to keep a register of time or order, yet it is often so late before some unusual qualities come in the way, that there are few men that cannot recollect the beginning of their acquaintance with them: and if it were worth while, no doubt a child might be so ordered as to have but a very few even of the ordinary ideas, till he were grown up to a man. But all that are born into the world being surrounded with bodies that perpetually and diversly affect them; variety of ideas, whether care be taken of it or no, are imprinted on the minds of children. Light and colours are busy at hand every-where, when the eye is but open; sounds and some tangible qualities fail not to solicit their proper senses, and force an entrance to the mind: but yet, I think, it will be granted easily, that if a child were kept in a place where he never saw any other but black and white till he were a man, he would have no more ideas of scarlet or green, than he that from his childhood never tasted an oyster or a pineapple has of those particular relishes.


 

Men are differently   furnished with these, according to the different objects they converse with.
 

 

§ 7. Men then come to be furnished with fewer or more simple ideas from without, according as the objects they converse with afford greater or less variety; and from the operations of their minds within, according as they more or less reflect on them. For though he that contemplates the operations of his mind cannot but have plain and clear ideas of them; yet unless he turns his thoughts that way, and considers them attentively, he will no more have clear and distinct ideas of all the operations of his mind, and all that may be observed therein, than he will have all the particular ideas of any landscape, or of the parts and motions of a clock, who will not turn his eyes to it, and with attention heed all the parts of it. The picture or clock may be so placed, that they may come in his way every day; but yet he will have but a confused idea of all the parts they are made up of, till he applies himself with attention to consider them each in particular.


 

Ideas of reflection   latter, because they need attention.
 

 

§ 8. And hence we see the reason why it is pretty late before most children get ideas of the operations of their own minds; and some have not any very clear or perfect ideas of the greatest part of them all their lives: because though they pass there continually, yet, like floating visions, they make not deep impressions enough to leave in their mind clear, distinct, lasting ideas, till the understanding turns inward upon itself, reflects on its own operations, and makes them the objects of its own contemplation. Children when they come first into it, are surrounded with a world of new things, which, by a constant solicitation of their senses, draw the mind constantly to them, forward to take notice of new, and apt to be delighted with the variety of changing objects. Thus the first years are usually employed and diverted into looking abroad. Men’s business in them is to acquaint themselves with what is to be found without: and so growing up in a constant attention to outward sensation, seldom make any considerable reflection on what passes within them till they come to be of riper years; and some scarce ever at all.


 

The soul begins to   have ideas when it begins to perceive.
 

 

§ 9. To ask at what time a man has first any ideas, is to ask when he begins to perceive; having ideas, and perception, being the same thing. I know it is an opinion, that the soul always thinks, and that it has the actual perception of ideas in itself constantly as long as it exists; and that actual thinking is as inseparable from the soul, as actual extension is from the body: which if true, to inquire after the beginning of a man’s ideas is the same as to inquire after the beginning of his soul. For by this account soul and its ideas, as body and its extension, will begin to exist both at the same time.


 

The soul thinks not   always; for this wants proofs.
 

 

§ 10. But whether the soul be supposed to exist antecedent to, or coeval with, or some time after the first rudiments of organization, or the beginnings of life in the body; I leave to be disputed by those who have better thought of that matter. I confess myself to have one of those dull souls, that doth not perceive itself always to contemplate ideas; nor can conceive it any more necessary for the soul always to think, than for the body always to move: the perception of ideas being (as I conceive) to the soul, what motion is to the body: not its essence, but one of its operations. And therefore, though thinking be supposed ever so much the proper action of the soul, yet it is not necessary to suppose that it should be always thinking, always in action. That perhaps is the privilege of the infinite author and preserver of things, who never slumbers nor sleeps; but it is not competent to any finite being, at least not to the soul of man. We know certainly by experience that we sometimes think, and thence draw this infallible consequence, that there is something in us that has a power to think; but whether that substance perpetually thinks or no, we can be no farther assured than experience informs us. For to say that actual thinking is essential to the soul, and inseparable from it, is to beg what is in question, and not to prove it by reason; which is necessary to be done, if it be not a self-evident proposition. But whether this, “that the soul always thinks,” be a self-evident proposition, that every body assents to at first hearing, I appeal to mankind. It is doubted whether I thought at all last night or no; the question being about a matter of fact, it is begging it to bring, as a proof for it, an hypothesis, which is the very thing in dispute: by which way one may prove any thing; and it is but supposing that all watches, whilst the balance beats, think; and it is sufficiently proved, and past doubt, that my watch thought all last night. But he that would not deceive himself, ought to build his hypothesis on matter of fact, and make it out by sensible experience, and not presume on matter of fact, because of his hypothesis; that is, because he supposes it to be so: which way of proving amounts to this, that I must necessarily think all last night, because another supposes I always think, though I myself cannot perceive that I always do so.



But men in love with their opinions may not only suppose what is in question, but allege wrong matter of fact. How else could any one make it an inference of mine that a thing is not, because we are not sensible of it in our sleep? I do not say there is no soul in a man, because he is not sensible of it in his sleep: but I do say, he cannot think at any time waking or sleeping, without being sensible of it. Our being sensible of it is not necessary to any thing, but to our thoughts; and to them it is, and to them it will always be necessary, till we can think without being conscious of it.


 

It is not always   conscious of it.
 

 

§ 11. I grant that the soul in a waking man is never without thought, because it is the condition of being awake: but whether sleeping without dreaming be not an affection of the whole man, mind as well as body, may be worth a waking man’s consideration; it being hard to conceive, that any thing should think, and not be conscious of it. If the soul doth think in a sleeping man without being conscious of it, I ask, whether during such thinking it has any pleasure or pain, or be capable of happiness or misery? I am sure the man is not, any more than the bed or earth he lies on. For to be happy or miserable without being conscious of it, seems to me utterly inconsistent and impossible. Or if it be possible that the soul can, whilst the body is sleeping, have its thinking, enjoyments and concerns, its pleasure or pain, apart, which the man is not conscious of nor partakes in; it is certain that Socrates asleep and Socrates awake is not the same person: but his soul when he sleeps, and Socrates the man, consisting of body and soul when he is waking, are two persons; since waking Socrates has no knowledge of, or concernment for that happiness or misery of his soul which it enjoys alone by itself whilst he sleeps, without perceiving any thing of it; any more than he has for the happiness or misery of a man in the Indies, whom he knows not. For if we take wholly away all consciousness of our actions and sensations, especially of pleasure and pain, and the concernment that accompanies it, it will be hard to know wherein to place personal identity.


 

If a sleeping man   thinks without knowing it, the sleeping and waking man are two persons.
 

 

§ 12. “The soul, during sound sleep, thinks,” say these men. Whilst it thinks and perceives, it is capable certainly of those of delight or trouble, as well as any other perceptions; and it must necessarily be conscious of its own perceptions. But it has all this apart; the sleeping man, it is plain, is conscious of nothing of all this. Let us suppose then the soul of Castor, while he is sleeping, retired from his body; which is no impossible supposition for the men I have here to do with, who so liberally allow life, without a thinking soul, to all other animals. These men cannot then judge it impossible, or a contradiction, that the body should live without the soul; nor that the soul should subsist and think, or have perception, even perception of happiness or misery, without the body. Let us then, as I say, suppose the soul of Castor separated, during his sleep, from his body, to think apart. Let us suppose too, that it chooses for its scene of thinking the body of another man, v. g. Pollux, who is sleeping without a soul: for if Castor’s soul can think, whilst Castor is asleep, what Castor is never conscious of, it is no matter what place it chooses to think in. We have here then the bodies of two men with only one soul between them, which we will suppose to sleep and wake by turns; and the soul still thinking in the waking man, whereof the sleeping man is never conscious, has never the least perception. I ask then, whether Castor and Pollux, thus, with only one soul between them, which thinks and perceives in one what the other is never conscious of, nor is concerned for, are not two as distinct persons as Castor and Hercules, or as Socrates and Plato were? And whether one of them might not be very happy, and the other very miserable? Just by the same reason they make the soul and the man two persons, who make the soul think apart what the man is not conscious of. For I suppose nobody will make identity of person to consist in the soul’s being united to the very same numerical particles of matter; for if that be necessary to identity, it will be impossible, in that constant flux of the particles of our bodies, that any man should be the same person two days, or two moments together.


 

Impossible to convince   those that sleep without dreaming, that they think.
 

 

§ 13. Thus, methinks, every drowsy nod shakes their doctrine, who teach, that the soul is always thinking. Those at least, who do at any time sleep without dreaming, can never be convinced, that their thoughts are sometimes for four hours busy without their knowing of it; and if they are taken in the very act, waked in the middle of that sleeping contemplation, can give no manner of account of it.


 

That men dream without   remembering it, in vain urged.
 

 

§ 14. It will perhaps be said, “that the soul thinks even in the soundest sleep, but the memory retains it not.” That the soul in a sleeping man should be this moment busy a thinking, and the next moment in a waking man not remember nor be able to recollect one jot of all those thoughts, is very hard to be conceived, and would need some better proof than bare assertion to make it be believed. For who can without any more ado, but being barely told so, imagine, that the greatest part of men do, during all their lives, for several hours every day, think of something, which if they were asked, even in the middle of these thoughts, they could remember nothing at all of? Most men, I think, pass a great part of their sleep without dreaming. I once knew a man that was bred a scholar, and had no bad memory, who told me, he had never dreamed in his life till he had that fever he was then newly recovered of, which was about the five or six and twentieth year of his age. I suppose the world affords more such instances: at least every one’s acquaintance will furnish him with examples enough of such, as pass most of their nights without dreaming.


 

Upon this hypothesis   the thoughts of a sleeping man ought to be most rational.
 

 

§ 15. To think often, and never to retain it so much as one moment, is a very useless sort of thinking: and the soul, in such a state of thinking, does very little, if at all, excel that of a looking-glass, which constantly receives variety of images, or ideas, but retains none; they disappear and vanish, and there remain no footsteps of them; the looking-glass is never the better for such ideas, nor the soul for such thoughts. Perhaps it will be said, “that in a waking man the materials of the body are employed, and made use of, in thinking; and that the memory of thoughts is retained by the impressions that are made on the brain, and the traces there left after such thinking; but that in the thinking of the soul, which is not perceived in a sleeping man, there the soul thinks apart, and making no use of the organs of the body, leaves no impressions on it, and consequently no memory of such thoughts.” Not to mention again the absurdity of two distinct persons, which follows from this supposition, I answer farther, that whatever ideas the mind can receive and contemplate without the help of the body, it is reasonable to conclude, it can retain without the help of the body too; or else the soul, or any separate spirit, will have but little advantage by thinking. If it has no memory of its own thoughts; if it cannot lay them up for its own use, and be able to recal them upon occasion; if it cannot reflect upon what is past, and make use of its former experiences, reasonings, and contemplations; to what purpose does it think? They, who make the soul a thinking thing, at this rate, will not make it a much more noble being, than those do, whom they condemn, for allowing it to be nothing but the subtilest parts of matter. Characters drawn on dust, that the first breath of wind effaces; or impressions made on a heap of atoms, or animal spirits, are altogether as useful, and render the subject as noble, as the thoughts of a soul that perish in thinking; that once out of sight are gone for ever, and leave no memory of themselves behind them. Nature never makes excellent things for mean or no uses; and it is hardly to be conceived, that our infinitely wise Creator should make so admirable a faculty as the power of thinking, that faculty which comes nearest the excellency of his own incomprehensible being, to be so idle and uselessly employed, at least a fourth part of its time here, as to think constantly, without remembering any of those thoughts, without doing good to itself or others, or being any way useful to any other part of the creation. If we will examine it, we shall not find, I suppose, the motion of dull and senseless matter, any where in the universe, made so little use of, and so wholly thrown away.


 

On this hypothesis the   soul must have ideas not derived from sensation or reflexion, of which there   is no appearance.
 

 

§ 16. It is true, we have sometimes instances of perception, whilst we are asleep; and retain the memory of those thoughts: but how extravagant and incoherent for the most part they are; how little conformable to the perfection and order of a rational being, those who are acquainted with dreams need not be told. This I would willingly be satisfied in, whether the soul, when it thinks thus apart, and as it were separate from the body, acts less rationally than when conjointly with it, or no. If its separate thoughts be less rational, then these men must say, that the soul owes the perfection of rational thinking to the body; if it does not, it is a wonder that our dreams should be, for the most part, so frivolous and irrational; and that the soul should retain none of its more rational soliloquies and meditations.


 

If I think when I know   it not, nobody else can know it.
 

 

§ 17. Those who so confidently tell us, that “the soul always actually thinks,” I would they would also tell us what those ideas are that are in the soul of a child, before, or just at the union with the body, before it hath received any by sensation. The dreams of sleeping men are, as I take it, all made up of the waking man’s ideas, though for the most part oddly put together. It is strange if the soul has ideas of its own, that it derived not from sensation or reflection (as it must have, if it thought before it received any impressions from the body) that it should never, in its private thinking (so private, that the man himself perceives it not) retain any of them, the very moment it wakes out of them, and then make the man glad with new discoveries. Who can find it reasonable that the soul should, in its retirement, during sleep, have so many hours’ thoughts, and yet never light on any of those ideas it borrowed not from sensation or reflection; or at least preserve the memory of none but such, which being occasioned from the body, must needs be less natural to a spirit? It is strange the soul should never once in a man’s whole life recal over any of its pure native thoughts, and those ideas it had before it borrowed any thing from the body; never bring into the waking man’s view any other ideas but what have a tang of the cask, and manifestly derive their original from that union. If it always thinks, and so had ideas before it was united, or before it received any from the body, it is not to be supposed but that during sleep it recollects its native ideas; and during that retirement from communicating with the body, whilst it thinks by itself, the ideas it is busied about should be, sometimes at least, those more natural and congenial ones which it had in itself, underived from the body, or its own operations about them: which, since the waking man never remembers, we must from this hypothesis conclude, either that the soul remembers something that the man does not; or else that memory belongs only to such ideas as are derived from the body, or the mind’s operations about them.


 

How knows any one that   the soul always thinks? For if it be not a self-evident proposition, it needs   proof.
 

 

§ 18. I would be glad also to learn from these men, who so confidently pronounce, that the human soul, or which is all one, that a man always thinks, how they come to know it; nay, how they come to know that they themselves think, when they themselves do not perceive it. This, I am afraid, is to be sure without proofs; and to know, without perceiving: It is, I suspect, a confused notion taken up to serve an hypothesis; and none of those clear truths, that either their own evidence forces us to admit, or common experience makes it impudence to deny. For the most that can be said of it is, that it is impossible the soul may always think, but not always retain it in memory: and I say, it is as possible that the soul may not always think; and much more probable that it should sometimes not think, than that it should often think, and that a long while together, and not be conscious to itself the next moment after, that it had thought.


 

That a man should be   busy in thinking, and yet not retain it the next moment, very improbable.
 

 

§ 19. To suppose the soul to think, and the man not to perceive it, is, as has been said, to make two persons in one man: and if one considers well these men’s way of speaking, one should be led into a suspicion that they do so. For they who tell us that the soul always thinks, do never, that I remember, say that a man always thinks. Can the soul think, and not the man? or a man think, and not be conscious of it? This perhaps would be suspected of jargon in others. If they say, the man thinks always, but is not always conscious of it; they may as well say, his body is extended without having parts. For it is altogether as intelligible to say, that a body is extended without parts, as that any thing thinks without being conscious of it, or perceiving that it does so. They who talk thus may, with as much reason, if it be necessary to their hypothesis, say, that a man is always hungry, but that he does not always feel it: whereas hunger consists in that very sensation, as thinking consists in being conscious that one thinks. If they say, that a man is always conscious to himself of thinking, I ask, how they know it. Consciousness is the perception of what passes in a man’s own mind. Can another man perceive that I am conscious of any thing, when I perceive it not myself? No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience. Wake a man out of a sound sleep, and ask him, what he was that moment thinking of. If he himself be conscious of nothing he then thought on, he must be a notable diviner of thoughts that can assure him that he was thinking: may he not with more reason assure him he was not asleep? This is something beyond philosophy; and it cannot be less than revelation, that discovers to another thoughts in my mind, when I can find none there myself; and they must needs have a penetrating sight, who can certainly see that I think, when I cannot perceive it myself, and when I declare that I do not; and yet can see that dogs or elephants do not think, when they give all the demonstration of it imaginable, except only telling us that they do so. This some may suspect to be a step beyond the Rosecrucians; it seeming easier to make one’s self invisible to others, than to make another’s thoughts visible to me, which are not visible to himself. But it is but defining the soul to be “a substance that always thinks,” and the businessis done. If such definition be of any authority, I know not what it can serve for, but to make many men suspect, that they have no souls at all, since they find a good part of their lives pass away without thinking. For no definitions, that I know, no suppositions of any sect, are of force enough to destroy constant experience; and perhaps it is the affectation of knowing beyond what we perceive, that makes so much useless dispute and noise in the world.


 

No ideas but from   sensation or reflection, evident, if we observe children.
 

 

§ 20. I see no reason therefore to believe, that the soul thinks before the senses have furnished it with ideas to think on; and as those are increased and retained, so it comes, by exercise, to improve its faculty of thinking, in the several parts of it, as well as afterwards, by compounding those ideas, and reflecting on its own operations; it increases its stock, as well as facility, in remembering, imagining, reasoning, and other modes of thinking.



§ 21. He that will suffer himself to be informed by observation and experience, and not make his own hypothesis the rule of nature, will find few signs of a soul accustomed to much thinking in a new-born child, and much fewer of any reasoning at all. And yet it is hard to imagine, that the rational soul should think so much, and not reason at all. And he that will consider, that infants, newly come into the world, spend the greatest part of their time in sleep, and are seldom awake, but when either hunger calls for the teat, or some pain, (the most importunate of all sensations) or some other violent impression upon the body forces the mind to perceive, and attend to it: he, I say, who considers this, will, perhaps, find reason to imagine, that a fœtus in the mother’s womb differs not much from the state of a vegetable; but passes the greatest part of its time without perception or thought, doing very little in a place where it needs not seek for food, and is surrounded with liquor, always equally soft, and near of the same temper; where the eyes have no light, and the ears, so shut up, are not very susceptible of sounds; and where there is little or no variety, or change of objects to move the senses.



§ 22. Follow a child from its birth, and observe the alterations that time makes, and you shall find, as the mind by the senses comes more and more to be furnished with ideas, it comes to be more and more awake; thinks more, the more it has matter to think on. After some time it begins to know the objects, which, being most familiar with it, have made lasting impressions. Thus it comes by degrees to know the persons it daily converses with, and distinguish them from strangers; which are instances and effects of its coming to retain and distinguish the ideas the senses convey to it. And so we may observe how the mind, by degrees, improves in these, and advances to the exercise of those other faculties of enlarging, compounding, and abstracting its ideas, and of reasoning about them, and reflecting upon all these; of which I shall have occasion to speak more hereafter.



§ 23. If it shall be demanded then, when a man begins to have any ideas; I think the true answer is, when he first has any sensation. For since there appear not to be any ideas in the mind, before the senses have conveyed any in, I conceive that ideas in the understanding are coeval with sensation; which is such an impression or motion, made in some part of the body, as produces some perception in the understanding. It is about these impressions made on our senses by outward objects, that the mind seems first to employ itself in such operations as we call perception, remembering, consideration, reasoning, etc.


 

The origin of all our   knowledge.
 

 

§ 24. In time the mind comes to reflect on its own operations about the ideas got by sensation, and thereby stores itself with a new set of ideas, which I call ideas of reflection. These are the impressions that are made on our senses by outward objects that are extrinsical to the mind, and its own operations, proceeding from powers intrinsical and proper to itself; which when reflected on by itself, becoming also objects of its contemplation, are, as I have said, the original of all knowledge. Thus the first capacity of human intellect is, that the mind is fitted to receive the impressions made on it; either through the senses by outward objects; or by its own operations when it reflects on them. This is the first step a man makes towards the discovery of any thing, and the ground-work whereon to build all those notions which ever he shall have naturally in this world. All those sublime thoughts which tower above the clouds, and reach as high as heaven itself, take their rise and footing here: in all that good extent wherein the mind wanders, in those remote speculations, it may seem to be elevated with, it stirs not one jot beyond those ideas which sense or reflection have offered for its contemplation.


 

In the reception of   simple ideas the understanding is for the most part passive.
 

 

§ 25. In this part the understanding is merely passive; and whether or no it will have these beginnings, and as it were materials of knowledge, is not in its own power. For the objects of our senses do, many of them, obtrude their particular ideas upon our minds whether we will or no; and the operations of our minds will not let us be without, at least, some obscure notions of them. No man can be wholly ignorant of what he does when he thinks. These simple ideas, when offered to the mind, the understanding can no more refuse to have, nor alter, when they are imprinted, nor blot them out, and make new ones itself, than a mirror can refuse, alter, or obliterate the images or ideas which the objects set before it do therein produce. As the bodies that surround us do diversely affect our organs, the mind is forced to receive the impressions, and cannot avoid the perception of those ideas that are annexed to them.
 

CHAPTER II

Of Simple Ideas





 

Uncompounded   appearances.
 

 

§ 1. The better to understand the nature, manner, and extent of our knowledge, one thing is carefully to be observed concerning the ideas we have; and that is, that some of them are simple, and some complex.



Though the qualities that affect our senses are, in the things themselves, so united and blended, that there is no separation, no distance between them; yet it is plain, the ideas they produce in the mind enter by the senses simple and unmixed. For though the sight and touch often take in from the same object, at the same time, different ideas; as a man sees at once motion and colour; the hand feels softness and warmth in the same piece of wax: yet the simple ideas, thus united in the same subject, are as perfectly distinct as those that come in by different senses: the coldness and hardness which a man feels in a piece of ice being as distinct ideas in the mind, as the smell and whiteness of a lily; or as the taste of sugar, and smell of a rose. And there is nothing can be plainer to a man, than the clear and distinct perception he has of those simple ideas; which, being each in itself uncompounded, contains in it nothing but one uniform appearance, or conception in the mind, and is not distinguishable into different ideas.


 

The mind can neither   make nor destroy them.
 

 

§ 2. These simple ideas, the materials of all our knowledge, are suggested and furnished to the mind only by those two ways above-mentioned, viz. sensation and reflection. When the understanding is once stored withthese simple ideas, it has the power to repeat, compare, and unite them, even to an almost infinite variety; and so can make at pleasure new complex ideas. But it is not in the power of the most exalted wit, or enlarged understanding, by any quickness or variety of thought, to invent or frame one new simple idea in the mind, not taken in by the ways aforementioned: nor can any force of the understanding destroy those that are there. The dominion of man, in this little world of his own understanding, being much-what the same as it is in the great world of visible things; wherein his power, however managed by art and skill, reaches no farther than to compound and divide the materials that are made to his hand; but can do nothing towards the making the least particle of new matter, or destroying one atom of what is already in being. The same inability will every one find in himself, who shall go about to fashion in his understanding any simple idea, not received in by his senses from external objects, or by reflection from the operations of his own mind about them. I would have any one try to fancy any taste, which had never affected his palate; or frame the idea of a scent he had never smelt: and when he can do this, I will also conclude that a blind man hath ideas of colours, and a deaf man true distinct notions of sounds.



§ 3. This is the reason why, though we cannot believe it impossible to God to make a creature with other organs, and more ways to convey into the understanding the notice of corporeal things than those five, as they are usually counted, which he has given to man: yet I think, it is not possible for any one to imagine any other qualities in bodies, howsoever constituted, whereby they can be taken notice of, besides sounds, tastes, smells, visible and tangible qualities. And had mankind been made but with four senses, the qualities then, which are the object of the fifth sense, had been as far from our notice, imagination, and conception, as now any belonging to a sixth, seventh, or eighth sense, can] possibly be: which, whether yet some other creatures, in some other parts of this vast and stupendous universe, may not have, will be a greater presumption to deny. He that will not set himself proudly at the top of all things, but will consider the immensity of this fabric, and the great variety that is to be found in this little and inconsiderable part of it which he has to do with, may be apt to think, that in other mansions of it there may be other and different intelligent beings, of whose faculties he has as little knowledge or apprehension, as a worm shut up in one drawer of a cabinet hath of the senses or understanding of a man: such variety and excellency being suitable to the wisdom and power of the maker. I have here followed the common opinion of man’s having but five senses; though, perhaps, there may be justly counted more: but either supposition serves equally to my present purpose.



 

CHAPTER III

Of Ideas of one Sense





 

Division of simple   ideas.
 

 

§ 1. The better to conceive the ideas we receive from sensation, it may not be amiss for us to consider them, in reference to the different ways whereby they make their approaches to our minds, and make themselves perceivable by us.



·       First, Then, there are some which come into our minds by one sense only.

·       Secondly, There are others that convey themselves into the mind by more senses than one.

·       Thirdly, Others that are had from reflection only.

·       Fourthly, There are some that make themselves way, and are suggested to the mind by all the ways of sensation and reflection.



We shall consider them apart under their several heads.


 

Ideas of one sense, as   colours, of seeing; sound, of hearing; etc.
 

 

First, there are some ideas which have admittance only through one sense, which is peculiarly adapted to receive them. Thus light and colours, as white, red, yellow, blue, with their several degrees or shades and mixtures, as green, scarlet, purple, sea-green, and the rest, come in only by the eyes: all kinds of noises, sounds, and tones, only by the ears: and several tastes and smells, by the nose and palate. And if these organs, or the nerves, which are the conduits to convey them from without to their audience in the brain, the mind’s presence-room (as I may so call it) are any of them so disordered, as not to perform their functions, they have no postern to be admitted by; no other way to bring themselves into view, and be perceived by the understanding.



The most considerable of those belonging to the touch are heat and cold, and solidity: all the rest, consisting almost wholly in the sensible configuration, as smooth and rough, or else more or less firm adhesion of the parts, as hard and soft, tough and brittle, are obvious enough.


 

Few simple ideas have   names.
 

 

§ 2. I think, it will be needless to enumerate all the particular simple ideas, belonging to each sense. Nor indeed is it possible, if we would; there being a great many more of them belonging to most of the senses, than we have names for. The variety of smells, which are as many almost, if not more, than species of bodies in the world, do most of them want names. Sweet and stinking commonly serve our turn for these ideas, which in effect is little more than to call them pleasing or displeasing; though the smell of a rose and violet, both sweet, are certainly very distinct ideas. Nor are the different tastes, that by our palates we receive ideas of, much better provided with names. Sweet, bitter, sour, harsh, and salt, are almost all the epithets we have to denominate that numberless variety of relishes, which are to be found distinct, not only in almost every sort of creatures, but in the different parts of the same plant, fruit, or animal. The same may be said of colours and sounds. I shall therefore, in the account of simple ideas I am here giving, content myself to set down only such, as are most material to our present purpose, or are in themselves less apt to be taken notice of, though they are very frequently the ingredients of our complex ideas, amongst which, I think, I may well account solidity; which therefore I shall treat of in the next chapter.



 

CHAPTER IV

Of Solidity





 

We receive this idea   from touch.
 

 

§ 1. The idea of solidity we receive by our touch; and it arises from the resistance which we find in body, to the entrance of any other body into the place it possesses, till it has left it. There is no idea which we receive more constantly from sensation, than solidity. Whether we move or rest, in what posture soever we are, we always feel something under us that supports us, and hinders our farther sinking downwards; and the bodies which we daily handle make us perceive, that, whilst they remain between them, they do by an insurmountable force hinder the approach of the parts of our hands that press them. That which thus hinders the approach of two bodies, when they are moved one towards another, I call solidity. I will not dispute, whether this acceptation of the word solid be nearer to its original signification, than that which mathematicians use it in: it suffices, that I think the common notion of solidity will allow, if not justify, this use of it; but, if any one think it better to call it impenetrability, he has my consent. Only I have thought the term solidity the more proper to express this idea, not only because of its vulgar use in that sense, but also because it carries something more of positive in it than impenetrability, which is negative, and is perhaps more a consequence of solidity, than solidity itself. This, of all other, seems the idea most intimately connected with and essential to body, so as no-where else to be found or imagined, but only in matter. And though our senses take no notice of it, but in masses of matter, of a bulk sufficient to cause a sensation in us; yet the mind, having once got this idea from such grosser sensible bodies, traces it farther; and considers it, as well as figure, in the minutest particle of matter that can exist: and finds it inseparably inherent in body, wherever or however modified.


 

Solidity fills space.
 

 

§ 2. This is the idea which belongs to body, whereby we conceive it to fill space. The idea of which filling of space is, that, where we imagine any space taken up by a solid substance, we conceive it so to possess it, that it excludes all other solid substances; and will for ever hinder any other two bodies, that move towards one another in a straight line, from coming to touch one another, unless it removes from between them, in a line not parallel to that which they move in. This idea of it the bodies which we ordinarily handle sufficiently furnish us with.


 

Distinct from space.
 

 

§ 3. This resistance, whereby it keeps other bodies out of the space which it possesses, is so great, that no force, how great soever, can surmount it. All the bodies in the world, pressing a drop of water on all sides, will never be able to overcome the resistance which it will make, soft as it is, to their approaching one another, till it be removed out of their way: whereby our idea of solidity is distinguished both from pure space, which is capable neither of resistance nor motion; and from the ordinary idea of hardness. For a man may conceive two bodies at a distance, so as they may approach one another, without touching or displacing any solid thing, till their superficies come to meet: whereby, I think, we have the clear idea of space without solidity. For (not to go so far as annihilation of any particular body) I ask, whether a man cannot have the idea of the motion of one single body alone without any other succeeding immediately into its place? I think it is evident he can: the idea of motion in one body no more including the of motion in another, than the idea of a square figure in one body includes the idea of a square figure in another. I do not ask, whether bodies do so exist that the motion of one body cannot really be without the motion of another? To determine this either way, is to beg the question for or against a vacuum. But my question is, whether one cannot have the idea of one body moved whilst others are at rest? And I think this no one will deny. If so, then the place it deserted gives us the idea of pure space without solidity, whereinto any other body may enter, without either resistance or protrusion of any thing. When the sucker in a pump is drawn, the space it filled in the tube is certainly the same whether any other body follows the motion of the sucker or not: nor does it imply a contradiction that, upon the motion of one body, another that is only contiguous to it, should not follow it. The necessity of such a motion is built only on the supposition that the world is full, but not on the distinct ideas of space and solidity: which are as different as resistance and not resistance; protrusion and not protrusion. And that men have ideas of space without a body, their very disputes about a vacuum plainly demonstrate; as is showed in another place.


 

From hardness.
 

 

§ 4. Solidity is hereby also differenced from hardness, in that solidity consists in repletion, and so an utter exclusion of other bodies out of the space it possesses; but hardness, in a firm cohesion of the parts of matter, making up masses of a sensible bulk, so that the whole does not easily change its figure. And indeed, hard and soft are names that we give to things only in relation to the constitutions of our own bodies; that being generally called hard by us, which will put us to pain sooner than change figure by the pressure of any part of our bodies; and that on the contrary soft, which changes the situation of its parts upon an easy and unpainful touch.



But this difficulty of changing the situation of the sensible parts amongst themselves, or of the figure of the whole, gives no more solidity to the hardest body in the world, than to the softest; nor is an adamant one jot more solid than water. For though the two flat sides of two pieces of marble will more easily approach each other, between which there is nothing but water or air, than if there be a diamond between them: yet it is not that the parts of the diamond are more solid than those of water, or resist more; but because, the parts of water being more easily separable from each other, they will, by a side motion, be more easily removed, and give way to the approach of the two pieces of marble. But if they could be kept from making place by that side-motion, they would eternally hinder the approach of these two pieces of marble as much as the diamond; and it would be as impossible by any force to surmount their resistance, as to surmount the resistance of the parts of a diamond. The softest body in the world will as invincibly resist the coming together of any other two bodies, if it be not put out of the way, but remain between them, as the hardest that can be found or imagined. He that shall fill a yielding soft body well with air or water, will quickly find its resistance; and he that thinks that nothing but bodies that are hard can keep his hands from approaching one another, may be pleased to make a trial with the air inclosed in a foot-ball. The experiment, I have been told, was made at Florence, with a hollow globe of gold filled with water and exactly closed, which farther shows the solidity of so soft a body as water. For the golden globe thus filled being put into a press which was driven by the extreme force of screws, the water made itself way through the pores of that very close metal; and finding no room for a nearer approach of its particles within, got to the outside, where it rose like a dew, and so fell in drops, before the sides of the globe could be made to yield to the violent compression of the engine that squeezed it.


 

On solidity depend   impulse, resistance, and protrusion.
 

 

§ 5. By this idea of solidity, is the extension of body distinguished from the extension of space; the extension of body being nothing but the cohesion or continuity of solid, separable, moveable parts; and the extension of space, the continuity of unsolid, inseparable, and immoveable parts. Upon the solidity of bodies also depend their mutual impulse, resistance, and protrusion. Of pure space then, and solidity, there are several (amongst which I confess myself one) who persuade themselves they have clear and distinct ideas; and that they can think on space, without any thing in it that resists or is protruded by body. This is the idea of pure space, which they think they have as clear, as any idea they can have of the extension of body; the idea of the distance between the opposite parts of a concave superficies being equally as clear without as with the idea of any solid parts between: and on the other side they persuade themselves, that they have, distinct from that of pure space, the idea of something that fills space, that can be protruded by the impulse of other bodies, or resist their motion. If there be others that have not these two ideas distinct, but confound them, and make but one of them; I know not how men, who have the same idea under different names, or different ideas under the same name, can in that case talk with one another; any more than a man, who, not being blind or deaf, has distinct ideas of the colour of scarlet, and the sound of a trumpet, could discourse concerning scarlet colour with the blind man I mention in another place, who fancied that the idea of scarlet was like the sound of a trumpet.


 

What it is.
 

 

§ 6. If any one ask me, what this solidity is? I send him to his senses to inform him: let him put a flint or a foot-ball between his hands, and then endeavour to join them, and he will know. If he thinks this not a sufficient explication of solidity, what it is, and wherein it consists; I promise to tell him what it is, and wherein it consists, when he tells me what thinking is, or wherein it consists; or explains to me what extension or motion is, which perhaps seems much easier. The simple ideas we have are such as experience teaches them us, but if, beyond that, we endeavour by words to make them clearer in the mind, we shall succeed no better, than if we went about to clear up the darkness of a blind man’s mind by talking; and to discourse into him the ideas of light and colours. The reason of this I shall show in another place.



 

CHAPTER V

Of Simple Ideas of divers Senses





 

The ideas we get by more than one sense are of space, or extension, figure, rest, and motion; for these make perceivable impressions, both on the eyes and touch: and we can receive and convey into our minds the ideas of the extension, figure, motion, and rest of bodies, both by seeing and feeling. But having occasion to speak more at large of these in another place, I here only enumerate them.



 

CHAPTER VI

Of Simple Ideas of Reflection





 

Simple ideas are the   operations of the mind about its other ideas.
 

 

§ 1. The mind, receiving the ideas, mentioned in the foregoing chapters, from without, when it turns its view inward upon itself, and observes its own actions about those ideas it has, takes from thence other ideas, which are as capable to be the objects of its contemplation as any of those it received from foreign things.


 

The idea of   perception, and idea of willing, we have from reflection.
 

 

§ 2. The two great and principal actions of the mind, which are most frequently considered, and which are so frequent, that every one that pleases may take notice of them in himself, are these two: Perception or Thinking; and Volition, or Willing. The power of thinking is called the understanding, and the power of volition is called the will; and these two powers or abilities in the mind are denominated faculties. Of some of the modes of these simple ideas of reflection, such as are Remembrance, Discerning, Reasoning, Judging, Knowledge, Faith, etc. I shall have occasion to speak hereafter.



 

CHAPTER VI

Of Simple Ideas of both Sensation and Reflection





 

Pleasure and pain.


 

 

§ 1. There be other simple ideas which convey themselves into the mind by all the ways of sensation and reflection, viz. Pleasure or Delight, and its opposite, Pain or Uneasiness, Power, Existence, Unity.



§ 2. Delight or uneasiness, one or other of them, join themselves to almost all our ideas, both of sensation and reflection; and there is scarce any affection of our senses from without, any retired thought of our mind within, which is not able to produce in us pleasure or pain. By pleasure and pain I would be understood to signify whatsoever delights or molests us most; whether it arises from the thoughts of our minds, or any thing operating on our bodies. For whether we call it satisfaction, delight, pleasure, happiness, etc. on the one side; or uneasiness, trouble, pain, torment, anguish, misery, etc. on the other; they are still but different degrees of the same thing, and belong to the ideas of pleasure and pain, delight or uneasiness; which are the names I shall most commonly use for those two sorts of ideas.



§ 3. The infinitely wise author of our being having given us the power over several parts of our bodies, to move or keep them at rest as we think fit; and also, by the motion of them, to move ourselves and other contiguous bodies, in which consist all the actions of our body; having also given a power to our minds in several instances, to choose, amongst its ideas, which it will think on, and to pursue the inquiry of this or that subject with consideration and attention, to excite us to these actions of thinking and motion that we are capable of; has been pleased to join to several thoughts, and several sensations, a perception of delight. If this were wholly separated from all our outward sensations and inward thoughts, we should have no reason to prefer one thought or action to another; negligence to attention; or motion to rest. And so we should neither stir our bodies nor employ our minds, but let our thoughts (if I may so call it) run a-drift, without any direction or design; and suffer the ideas of our minds, like unregarded shadows, to make their appearances there, as it happened, without attending to them. In which state man, however furnished with the faculties of understanding and will, would be a very idle unactive creature, and pass his time only in a lazy, lethargic dream. It has therefore pleased our wise Creator to annex to several objects, and the ideas which we receive from them, as also to several of our thoughts, a concomitant pleasure, and that in several objects, to several degrees; that those faculties which he had endowed us with might not remain wholly idle and unemployed by us.



§ 4. Pain has the same efficacy and use to set us on work that pleasure has, we being as ready to employ our faculties to avoid that, as to pursue this: only this is worth our consideration, that pain is often produced by the same objects and ideas that produce pleasure in us. This their near conjunction, which makes us often feel pain in the sensations where we expected pleasure, gives us new occasion of admiring the wisdom and goodness of our Maker: who, designing the preservation of our being, has annexed pain to the application of many things to our bodies, to warn us of the harm that they will do, and as advices to withdraw from them. But he not designing our preservation barely, but the preservation of every part and organ in its perfection, hath, in many cases, annexed pain to those very ideas which delight us. Thus heat, that is very agreeable to us in one degree, by a little greater increase of it, proves no ordinary torment; and the most pleasant of all sensible objects, light itself, if there be too much of it, if increased beyond a due proportion to our eyes, causes a very painful sensation. Which is wisely and favourably so ordered by nature, that when any object does by the vehemency of its operation disorder the instruments of sensation, whose structures cannot but be very nice and delicate, we might by the pain be warned to withdraw before the organ be quite put out of order, and so be unfitted for its proper function for the future. The consideration of those objects that produce it may well persuade us, that this is the end or use of pain. For though great light be insufferable to our eyes, yet the highest degree of darkness does not at all disease them; because that causing no disorderly motion in it, leaves that curious organ unarmed in its natural state. But yet excess of cold as well as heat pains us, because it is equally destructive to that temper which is necessary to the preservation of life, and the exercise of the several functions of the body, and which consists in a moderate degree of warmth; or, if you please, a motion of the insensible parts of our bodies, confined within certain bounds.



§ 5. Beyond all this we may find another reason, why God hath scattered up and down several degrees of pleasure and pain, in all the things that environ and affect us, and blended them together in almost all that our thoughts and senses have to do with; that we finding imperfection, dissatisfaction, and want of complete happiness, in all the enjoyments which the creatures can afford us, might be led to seek it in the enjoyment of him with whom there is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore.


 

Pleasure and pain.
 

 

§ 6. Though what I have here said may not perhaps make the ideas of pleasure and pain clearer to us than our own experience does, which is the only way that we are capable of having them; yet the consideration of the reason why they are annexed to so many other ideas, serving to give us due sentiments of the wisdom and goodness of the sovereign disposer of all things, may not be unsuitable to the main end of these inquiries; the knowledge and veneration of him being the chief end of all our thoughts, and the proper business of all understandings.


 

Existence and unity.
 

 

§ 7. Existence and unity are two other ideas that are suggested to the understanding by every object without, and every idea within. When ideas are in our minds, we consider them as being actually there, as well as we consider things to be actually without us; which is, that they exist, or have existence: and whatever we can consider as one thing, whether a real being or idea, suggests to the understanding the idea of unity.


 

Power.
 

 

§ 8. Power also is another of those simple ideas which we receive from sensation and reflection. For observing in ourselves, that we can at pleasure move several parts of our bodies which were at rest; the effects also, that natural bodies are able to produce in one another, occurring every moment to our senses; we both these ways get the idea of power.


 

Succession.
 

 

§ 9. Besides these there is another idea, which, though suggested by our senses, yet is more constantly offered to us by what passes in our minds; and that is the idea of succession. For if we look immediately into ourselves, and reflect on what is observable there, we shall find our ideas always, whilst we are awake, or have any thought, passing in train, one going and another coming, without intermission.


 

Simple ideas the   materials of all our knowledge.
 

 

§ 10. These, if they are not all, are at least (as I think) the most considerable of those simple ideas which the mind has, and out of which is made all its other knowledge: all which it receives only by the two forementioned ways of sensation and reflection.



Nor let any one think these too narrow bounds for the capacious mind of man to expatiate in, which takes its flight farther than the stars, and cannot be confined by the limits of the world; that extends its thoughts often even beyond the utmost expansion of matter, and makes excursions into that incomprehensible inane. I grant all this, but desire any one to assign any simple idea which is not received from one of those inlets before-mentioned, or any complex idea not made out of those simple ones. Nor will it be so strange to think these few simple ideas sufficient to employ the quickest thought, or largest capacity; and to furnish the materials of all that various knowledge, and more various fancies and opinions of all mankind; if we consider how many words may be made out of the various composition of twenty-four letters; or if, going one step farther, we will but reflect on the variety of combinations may be made, with barely one of the above-mentioned ideas, viz. number, whose stock is inexhaustible and truly infinite; and what a large and immense field doth extension alone afford the mathematicians?



 

CHAPTER VIII

Some farther Considerations concerning our Simple Ideas





 

Positive ideas from   privative causes.
 

 

§ 1. Concerning the simple ideas of sensation it is to be considered that whatsoever is so constituted in nature as to be able, by affecting our senses, to cause any perception in the mind, doth thereby produce in the understanding a simple idea; which, whatever be the external cause of it, when it comes to be taken notice of by our discerning faculty, it is by the mind looked on and considered there to be a real positive idea in the understanding as much as any other whatsoever; though perhaps the cause of it be but a privation of the subject.



§ 2. Thus the idea of heat and cold, light and darkness, white and black, motion and rest, are equally clear and positive ideas in the mind; though perhaps some of the causes which produce them are barely privations in subjects, from whence our senses derive those ideas. These the understanding, in its view of them, considers all as distinct positive ideas, without taking notice of the causes that produce them: which is an inquiry not belonging to the idea, as it is in the understanding, but to the nature of the things existing without us. These are two very different things, and carefully to be distinguished; it being one thing to perceive and know the idea of white or black, and quite another to examine what kind of particles they must be, and how ranged in the superficies, to make any object appear white or black.



§ 3. A painter or dyer, who never inquired into their causes, hath the ideas of white and black, and other colours, as clearly, perfectly, and distinctly in his understanding, and perhaps more distinctly, than the philosopher, who hath busied himself in considering their natures, and thinks he knows how far either of them is in its cause positive or privative; and the idea of black is no less positive in his mind, than that of white, however the cause of that colour in the external object may be only a privation.



§ 4. If it were the design of my present undertaking to inquire into the natural causes and manner of perception, I should offer this as a reason why a privative cause might, in some cases at least, produce a positive idea, viz. that all sensation being produced in us only by different degrees and modes of motion in our animal spirits, variously agitated by external objects, the abatement of any former motion must as necessarily produce a new sensation, as the variation or increase of it; and so introduce a new idea, which depends only on a different motion of the animal spirits in that organ.



§ 5. But whether this be so or no, I will not here determine, but appeal to every one’s own experience, whether the shadow of a man, though it consists of nothing but the absence of light (and the more the absence of light is, the more discernible is the shadow) does not, when a man looks on it, cause as clear and positive idea in his mind, as a man himself, though covered over with clear sun-shine? And the picture of a shadow is a positive thing. Indeed we have negative names, which stand not directly for positive ideas, but for their absence, such as insipid, silence, nihil, etc. which words denote positive ideas; v. g. taste, sound, being, with a signification of their absence.


 

Positive ideas from   privative causes.
 

 

§ 6. And thus one may truly be said to see darkness. For supposing a hole perfectly dark, from whence no light is reflected, it is certain one may see the figure of it, or it may be painted: or whether the ink I write with makes any other idea, is a question. The privative causes I have here assigned of positive ideas are according to the common opinion; but in truth it will be hard to determine, whether there be really any ideas from a privative cause, till it be determined, whether rest be any more a privation than motion.


 

Ideas in the mind,   qualities in bodies.
 

 

§ 7. To discover the nature of our ideas the better, and to discourse of them intelligibly, it will be convenient to distinguish them as they are ideas or perceptions in our minds, and as they are modifications of matter in the bodies that cause such perceptions in us: that so we may not think (as perhaps usually is done) that they are exactly the images and resemblances of something inherent in the subject: most of those of sensation being in the mind no more the likeness of something existing without us, than the names that stand for them are the likeness of our ideas, which yet upon hearing they are apt to excite in us.



§ 8. Whatsoever the mind perceives in itself, or is the immediate object of perception, thought, or understanding, that I call idea; and the power to produce any idea in our mind I call quality of the subject wherein that power is. Thus a snow-ball having the power to produce in us the ideas of white, cold, and round, the powers to produce those ideas in us, as they are in the snow-ball, I call qualities; and as they are sensations or perceptions in our understandings, I call them ideas: which ideas, if I speak of sometimes, as in the things themselves, I would be understood to mean those qualities in the objects which produce them in us.


 

Primary qualities.
 

 

§ 9. Qualities thus considered in bodies are, first, such as are utterly inseparable from the body, in what estate soever it be; such as in all the alterations and changes it suffers, all the force can be used upon it, it constantly keeps; and such as sense constantly finds in every particle of matter which has bulk enough to be perceived, and the mind finds inseparable from every particle of matter, though less than to make itself singly be perceived by our senses, v. g. Take a grain of wheat, divide it into two parts, each part has still solidity, extension, figure, and mobility; divide it again, and it retains still the same qualities; and so divide it on till the parts become insensible, they must retain still each of them all those qualities. For division (which is all that a mill, or pestle, or any other body does upon another, in reducing it to insensible parts) can never take away either solidity, extension, figure, or mobility from any body, but only makes two or more distinct separate masses of matter, of that which was but one before: all which distinct masses, reckoned as so many distinct bodies, after division make a certain number. These I call original or primary qualities of body, which I think we may observe to produce simple ideas in us, viz. solidity, extension, figure, motion or rest, and number.


 

Secondary qualities.
 

 

§ 10. Secondly, such qualities which in truth are nothing in the objects themselves, but powers to produce various sensations in us by their primary qualities, i. e. by the bulk, figure, texture, and motion of their insensible parts, as colours, sounds, tastes, etc. these I call secondary qualities. To these might be added a third sort, which are allowed to be barely powers, though they are as much real qualities in the subject, as those which I, to comply with the common way of speaking, call qualities, but for distinction, secondary qualities. For the power in fire to produce a new colour, or consistency, in wax or clay, by its primary qualities, is as much a quality in fire, as the power it has to produce in me a new idea or sensation of warmth or burning, which I felt not before by the same primary qualities, viz. the bulk, texture, and motion of its insensible parts.


 

How primary qualities   produce their ideas.
 

 

§ 11. The next thing to be considered is, how bodies produce ideas in us; and that is manifestly by impulse, the only way which we can conceive bodies to operate in.



§ 12. If then external objects be not united to our minds, when they produce ideas therein, and yet we perceive these original qualities in such of them as singly fall under our senses, it is evident that some motion must be thence continued by our nerves or animal spirits, by some parts of our bodies, to the brain, or the seat of sensation, there to produce in our minds the particular ideas we have of them. And since the extension, figure, number and motion of bodies, of an observable bigness, may be perceived at a distance by the sight, it is evident some singly imperceptible bodies must come from them to the eyes, and thereby convey to the brain some motion, which produces these ideas which we have of them in us.


 

How secondary.
 

 

§ 13. After the same manner that the ideas of these original qualities are produced in us, we may conceive that the ideas of secondary qualities are also produced, viz. by the operations of insensible particles on our senses. For it being manifest that there are bodies and good store of bodies, each whereof are so small, that we cannot, by any of our senses, discover either their bulk, figure, or motion as is evident in the particles of the air and water, and others extremely smaller than those, perhaps as much smaller than the particles of air and water, as the particles of air and water are smaller than pease or hail-stones: let us suppose at present, that the different motions and figures, bulk and number of such particles, affecting the several organs of our senses, produce in us those different sensations, which we have from the colours and smells of bodies; v. g. that a violet, by the impulse of such insensible particles of matter of peculiar figures and bulks, and in different degrees and modifications of their motions, causes the] ideas of the blue colour and sweet scent of that flower, to be produced in our minds; it being no more impossible to conceive that God should annex such ideas to such motions, with which they have no similitude, than that he should annex the idea of pain to the motion of a piece of steel dividing our flesh, with which that idea hath no resemblance.



§ 14. What I have said concerning colours and smells may be understood also of tastes and sounds, and other the like sensible qualities; which, whatever reality we by mistake attribute to them, are in truth nothing in the objects themselves, but powers to produce various sensations in us, and depend on those primary qualities, viz. bulk, figure, texture, and motion of parts; as I have said.


 

Ideas of primary   qualities are resemblances; of secondary, not.
 

 

§ 15. From whence I think it easy to draw this observation, that the ideas of primary qualities of bodies are resemblances of them, and their patterns do really exist in the bodies themselves; but the ideas, produced in us by these secondary qualities, have no resemblance of them at all. There is nothing like our ideas existing in the bodies themselves. They are in the bodies, we denominate from them, only a power to produce those sensations in us: and what is sweet, blue or warm in idea, is but the certain bulk, figure, and motion of the insensible parts in the bodies themselves, which we call so.



§ 16. Flame is denominated hot and light; snow, white and cold; and manna, white and sweet, from the ideas they produce in us: which qualities are commonly thought to be the same in those bodies that those ideas are in us, the one the perfect resemblance of the other, as they are in a mirror; and it would by most men be judged very extravagant, if one should say otherwise. And yet he that will consider that the same fire, that at one distance produces in us the sensation of warmth, does at a nearer approach produce in us the far different sensation of pain, ought to bethink himself what reason he has to say, that his idea of warmth, which was produced in him by the fire, is actually in the fire; and his idea of pain, which the same fire produced in him the same way, is not in the fire. Why are whiteness and coldness in snow, and pain not, when it produces the one and the other idea in us; and can do neither, but by the bulk, figure, number, and motion of its solid parts?



§ 17. The particular bulk, number, figure, and motion of the parts of fire, or snow, are really in them, whether any one’s senses perceive them or no; and therefore they may be called real qualities, because they really exist in those bodies: but light, heat, whiteness or coldness, are no more really in them, than sickness or pain is in manna. Take away the sensation of them; let not the eyes see light, or colours, nor the ears hear sounds; let the palate not taste, nor the nose smell; and all colours, tastes, odours, and sounds, as they are such particular ideas, vanish and cease, and are reduced to their causes, i. e. bulk, figure, and motion of parts.



§ 18. A piece of manna of a sensible bulk is able to produce in us the idea of a round or square figure, and, by being removed from one place to another, the idea of motion. This idea of motion represents it as it really is in the manna moving: a circle or square are the same, whether in idea or existence, in the mind, or in the manna; and this both motion and figure are really in the manna, whether we take notice of them or no: this every body is ready to agree to. Besides, manna by the bulk, figure, texture, and motion of its parts, has a power to produce the sensations of sickness, and sometimes of acute pains or gripings in us. That these ideas of sickness and pain are not in the manna, but effects of its operations on us, and are nowhere when we feel them not; this also every one readily agrees to. And yet men are hardly to be brought to think, that sweetness and whiteness are not really in manna; which are but the effects of the operations of manna by the motion, size, and figure of its particles on the eyes and palate; as the pain and sickness caused by manna are confessedly nothing but the effects of its operations on the stomach and guts, by the size, motion and figure of its insensible parts (for by nothing else can a body operate as has been proved:) as if it could not operate on the eyes and palate, and thereby produce in the mind particular distinct ideas, which in itself it has not, as well as we allow it can operate on the guts and stomach, and thereby produce distinct ideas, which in itself it has not. These ideas being all effects of the operations of manna, on several parts of our bodies, by the size, figure, number, and motion of its parts; why those produced by the eyes and palate should rather be thought to be really in the manna, than those produced by the stomach and guts; or why the pain and sickness, ideas that are the effect of manna, should be thought to be no-where when they are not felt; and yet the sweetness and whiteness, effects of the same manna on other parts of the body, by ways equally as unknown, should be thought to exist in the manna, when they are not seen or tasted, would need some reason to explain.


 

Ideas of primary   qualities, are resemblances; of secondary, not.
 

 

§ 19. Let us consider the red and white colours in porphyry: hinder light from striking on it, and its colours vanish, it no longer produces any such ideas in us; upon the return of light, it produces these appearances on us again. Can any one think any real alterations are made in the porphyry, by the presence or absence of light; and that those ideas of whiteness and redness are really in porphyry in the light, when it is plain it has no colour in the dark? it has, indeed, such a configuration of particles, both night and day, as are apt, by the rays of light rebounding from some parts of that hard stone, to produce in us the idea of redness, and from others the idea of whiteness; but whiteness or redness are not in it at any time, but such a texture, that hath the power to produce such a sensation in us.



§ 20. Pound an almond, and the clear white colour will be altered into a dirty one, and the sweet taste into an oily one. What real alteration can the beating of the pestle make in any body, but an alteration of the texture of it?



§ 21. Ideas being thus distinguished and understood, we may be able to give an account how the same water, at the same time, may produce the idea of cold by one hand and of heat by the other; whereas it is impossible that the same water, if those ideas were really in it, should at the same time be both hot and cold: for if we imagine warmth, as it is in our hands, to be nothing but a certain sort and degree of motion in the minute particles of our nerves, or animal spirits, we may understand how it is possible that the same water may, at the same time, produce the sensations of heat in one hand, and cold in the other; which yet figure never does, that never producing the idea of a square by one hand, which has produced the idea of a globe by another. But if the sensation of heat and cold be nothing but the increase or diminution of the motion of the minute parts of our bodies, caused by the corpuscles of any other body, it is easy to be understood, that if that motion be greater in one hand than in the other; if a body be applied to the two hands, which has in its minute particles a greater motion, than in those of one of the hands, and a less than in those of the other; it will increase the motion of the one hand, and lessen it in the other, and so cause the different sensations of heat and cold that depend thereon.



§ 22. I have in what just goes before been engaged in physical inquiries a little farther than perhaps I intended. But it being necessary to make the nature of sensation a little understood, and to make the difference between the qualities in bodies, and the ideas produced by them in the mind, to be distinctly conceived, without which it were impossible to discourse intelligibly of them; I hope I shall be pardoned this little excursion into natural philosophy, it being necessary in our present inquiry to distinguish the primary and real qualities of bodies, which are always in them (viz. solidity, extension, figure, number, and motion, or rest; and are sometimes perceived by us, viz. when the bodies they are in are big enough singly to be discerned) from those secondary and imputed qualities, which are but the powers of several combinations of those primary ones, when they operate, without being distinctly discerned; whereby we may also come to know what ideas are, and what are not, resemblances of something really existing in the bodies we denominate from them.


 

Three sorts of   qualities in bodies.
 

 

§ 23. The qualities then that are in bodies rightly considered, are of three sorts.



First, the bulk, figure, number, situation, and motion, or rest of their solid parts; those are in them, whether we perceive them or no; and when they are of that size, that we can discover them, we have by these an idea of the thing, as it is in itself, as is plain in artificial things. These I call primary qualities.



Secondly, the power that is in any body, by reason of its insensible primary qualities, to operate after a peculiar manner on any of our senses, and thereby produce in us the different ideas of several colours, sounds, smells, tastes, etc. These are usually called sensible qualities.



Thirdly, the power that is in any body, by reason of the particular constitution of its primary qualities, to make such a change in the bulk, figure, texture, and motion of another body, as to make it operate on our senses, differently from what it did before. Thus the sun has a power to make wax white, and fire to make lead fluid. These are usually called powers.



The first of these, as has been said, I think, may be properly called real, original, or primary qualities, because they are in the things themselves, whether they are perceived or no; and upon their different modifications it is, that the secondary qualities depend.



The other two are only powers to act differently upon other things, which powers result from the different modifications of those primary qualities.




 

The first are   resemblances. The second thought resemblances, but are not. The third neither   are, nor are thought so.
 

 

§ 24. But though the two latter sorts of qualities are powers barely, and nothing but powers, relating to several other bodies, and resulting from the different modifications of the original qualities; yet they are generally otherwise thought of. For the second sort, viz. the powers to produce several ideas in us by our senses, are looked upon as real qualities, in the things thus affecting us: but the third sort are called and esteemed barely powers, v. g. the idea of heat, or light, which we receive by our eyes or touch from the sun, are commonly thought real qualities, existing in the sun, and something more than mere powers in it. But when we consider the sun, in reference to wax, which it melts or blanches, we look on the whiteness and softness produced in the wax, not as qualities in the sun, but effects produced by powers in it: whereas, if rightly considered, these qualities of light and warmth, which are perceptions in me when I am warmed, or enlightened by the sun, are no otherwise in the sun, than the changes made in the wax, when it is blanched or melted, are in the sun. They are all of them equally powers in the sun, depending on its primary qualities; whereby it is able, in the one case, so to alter the bulk, figure, texture, or motion of some of the insensible parts of my eyes or hands, as thereby to produce in me the idea of light or heat; and in the other it is able so to alter the bulk, figure, texture, or motion of the insensible parts of the wax, as to make them fit to produce in me the distinct ideas of white and fluid.



§ 25. The reason why the one are ordinarily taken for real qualities, and the other only for bare powers, seems to be, because the ideas we have of distinct colours, sounds, etc. containing nothing at all in them of bulk, figure, or motion, we are not apt to think them the effects of these primary qualities, which appear not, to our senses, to operate in their production; and with which they have not any apparent congruity, or conceivable connexion. Hence it is that we are so forward to imagine, that those ideas are the resemblances of something really existing in the objects themselves; since sensation discovers nothing of bulk, figure, or motion of parts in their production; nor can reason show how bodies, by their bulk, figure, and motion, should produce in the mind the ideas of blue or yellow, etc. But in the other case, in the operations of bodies, changing the qualities one of another, we plainly discover, that the quality produced hath commonly no resemblance with any thing in the thing producing it; wherefore we look on it as a bare effect of power. For though receiving the idea of heat, or light, from the sun, we are apt to think it is a perception and resemblance of such a quality in the sun; yet when we see wax, or a fair face, receive change of colour from the sun, we cannot imagine that to be the reception or resemblance of any thing in the sun, because we find not those different colours in the sun itself. For our senses being able to observe a likeness or unlikeness of sensible qualities in two different external objects, we forwardly enough conclude the production of any sensible quality in any subject to be an effect of bare power, and not the communication of any quality, which was really in the efficient, when we find no such sensible quality in the thing that produced it. But our senses not being able to discover any unlikeness between the idea produced in us, and the quality of the object producing it; we are apt to imagine, that our ideas are resemblances of something, in the objects, and not the effects of certain powers placed in the modification of their primary qualities; with which primary qualities the ideas produced in us have no resemblance.


 

Secondary qualities   twofold; first, immediately perceivable; secondly, mediately perceivable.
 

 

§ 26. To conclude, beside those before mentioned primary qualities in bodies, viz. bulk, figure, extension, number, and motion of their solid parts; all the rest whereby we take notice of bodies, and distinguish them one from another, are nothing else but several powers in them depending on those primary qualities; whereby they are fitted, either by immediately operating on our bodies, to produce several different ideas in us; or else by operating on other bodies, so to change their primary qualities, as to render them capable of producing ideas in us, different from what before they did. The former of these, I think, may be called secondary qualities, immediately perceivable: the latter, secondary qualities mediately perceivable.



 

CHAPTER IX

Of Perception



 

Perception the first   simple idea of reflection.
 

 

§ 1. Perception, as it is the first faculty of the mind, exercised about our ideas; so it is the first and simplest idea we have from reflection, and is by some called thinking in general. Though thinking, in the propriety of the English tongue, signifies that sort of operation in the mind about its ideas, wherein the mind is active; where it, with some degree of voluntary attention, considers any thing. For in bare naked perception, the mind is, for the most part, only passive: and what it perceives, it cannot avoid perceiving.


 

Is only when the mind   receives the impression.
 

 

§ 2. What perception is, every one will know better by reflecting on what he does himself, what he sees, hears, feels, etc. or thinks, than by any discourse of mine. Whoever reflects on what passes in his own mind, can not miss it: and if he does not reflect, all the words in the world cannot make him have any notion of it.



§ 3. This is certain, that whatever alterations are made in the body, if they reach not the mind; whatever impressions are made on the outward parts, if they are not taken notice of within; there is no perception. Fire may burn our bodies, with no other effect, than it does a billet, unless the motion be continued to the brain, and there the sense of heat, or idea of pain, be produced in the mind, wherein consists actual perception.



§ 4. How often may a man observe in himself, that whilst his mind is intently employed in the contemplation of some objects, and curiously surveying some ideas that are there, it takes no notice of impressions of sounding bodies made upon the organ of hearing, with the same alteration that uses to be for the producing the idea of sound? A sufficient impulse there may be on the organ; but if not reaching the observation of the mind, there follows no perception: and though the motion that uses to produce the idea of sound be made in the ear, yet no sound is heard. Want of sensation, in this case, is not through any defect in the organ, or that the man’s ears are less affected than at other times when he does hear; but that which uses to produce the idea, though conveyed in by the usual organ, not being taken notice of in the understanding, and so imprinting no idea in the mind, there follows no sensation. So that wherever there is sense, or perception, there some idea is actually produced, and present in the understanding.


 

Children, though they   have ideas in the womb, have none innate.
 

 

§ 5. Therefore I doubt not but children, by the exercise of their senses about objects that affect them in the womb, receive some few ideas before they are born; as the unavoidable effects, either of the bodies that environ them, or else of those wants or diseases they suffer: amongst which (if one may conjecture concerning things not very capable of examination) I think the ideas of hunger and warmth are two; which probably are some of the first that children have, and which they scarce ever part with again.



§ 6. But though it be reasonable to imagine that children receive some ideas before they come into the world, yet those simple ideas are far from those innate principles which some contend for, and we above have rejected. These here mentioned being the effects of sensation, are only from some affections of the body, which happen to them there, and so depend on something exterior to the mind: no otherwise differing in their manner of production from other ideas derived from sense, but only in the precedency of time; whereas those innate principles are supposed to be quite of another nature; not coming into the mind by any accidental alterations in, or operations on the body; but, as it were, original characters impressed upon it, in the very first moment of its being and constitution.


 

Which ideas first, is   not evident.
 

 

§ 7. As there are some ideas which we may reasonably suppose may be introduced into the minds of children in the womb, subservient to the necessities of their life and being there; so after they are born, those ideas are the earliest imprinted, which happen to be the sensible qualities which first occur to them: amongst which, light is not the least considerable, nor of the weakest efficacy. And how covetous the mind is to be furnished with all such ideas as have no pain accompanying them, may be a little guessed, by what is observable in children new-born, who always turn their eyes to that part from whence the light comes, lay them how you please. But the ideas that are most familiar at first being various, according to the divers circumstances of children’s first entertainment in the world; the order wherein the several ideas come at first into the mind is very various and uncertain also; neither is it much material to know it.


 

Ideas of sensation   often changed by the judgment.
 

 

§ 8. We are further to consider concerning perception, that the ideas we receive by sensation are often in grown people altered by the judgment, without our taking notice of it. When we set before our eyes a round globe, of any uniform colour, v. g. gold, alabaster, or jet; it is certain that the idea thereby imprinted in our mind, is of a flat circle variously shadowed, with several degrees of light and brightness coming to our eyes. But we having by use been accustomed to perceive what kind of appearance convex bodies are wont to make in us, what alterations are made in the reflections of light by the difference of the sensible figures of bodies; the judgment presently, by an habitual custom, alters the appearances into their causes; so that from that which is truly variety of shadow or colour, collecting the figure, it makes it pass for a mark of figure, and frames to itself the perception of a convex figure and an uniform colour; when the idea we receive from thence is only a plane variously coloured, as is evident in painting. To which purpose I shall here insert a problem of that very ingenious and studious promoter of real knowledge, the learned and worthy Mr. Molineaux, which he was pleased to send me in a letter some months since; and it is this: Suppose a man born blind, and now adult, and taught by his touch to distinguish between a cube and a sphere of the same metal, and nighly of the same bigness, so as to tell, when he felt one and the other, which is the cube, which the sphere. Suppose then the cube and sphere placed on a table, and the blind man be made to see: quære, “whether by his sight, before he touched them, he could now distinguish and tell, which is the globe, which the cube?” to which the acute and judicious proposer answers: Not. For though he has obtained the experience of how a globe, how a cube affects his touch; yet he has not yet obtained the experience, that what affects his touch so or so, must affect his sight so or so: or that a protuberant angle in the cube, that pressed his hand unequally, shall appear to his eye as it does in the cube. I agree with this thinking gentleman, whom I am proud to call my friend, in his answer to this his problem; and am of opinion, that the blind man at first sight, would not be able with certainty to say which was the globe, which the cube, whilst he only saw them: though he could unerringly name them by his touch, and certainly distinguish them by the difference of their figures felt. This I have set down, and leave with my reader, as an occasion for him to consider how much he may be beholden to experience, improvement, and acquired notions, where he thinks he had not the least use of, or help from them: and the rather, because this observing gentleman further adds, that having upon the occasion of my book, proposed this to divers very ingenious men, he hardly ever met with one, that at first gave the answer to it which he thinks true, till by hearing his reasons they were convinced.



§ 9. But this is not, I think, usual in any of our ideas, but those received by sight: because sight, the most comprehensive of all our senses, conveying to our minds the ideas of light and colours, which are peculiar only to that sense; and also the far different ideas of space, figure, and motion, the several varieties whereof change the appearances of its proper object, viz. light and colours; we bring ourselves by use to judge of the one by the other. This, in many cases, by a settled habit, in things whereof we have frequent experience, is performed so constantly and so quick, that we take that for the perception of our sensation, which is an idea formed by our judgment; so that one, viz. that of sensation, serves only to excite the other, and is scarce taken notice of itself: as a man who reads or hears with attention and understanding, takes little notice of the characters, or sounds, but of the ideas that are excited in him by them.



§ 10. Nor need we wonder that this is done with so little notice, if we consider how very quick the actions of the mind are performed: for as itself is thought to take up no space, to have no extension; so its actions seem to require no time, but many of them seem to be crowded into an instant. I speak this in comparison to the actions of the body. Any one may easily observe this in his own thoughts, who will take the pains to reflect on them. How, as it were in an instant, do our minds with one glance see all the parts of a demonstration, which may very well be called a long one, if we consider the time it will require to put it into words, and step by step show it another? Secondly, we shall not be so much surprized, that this is done in us with so little notice, if we consider how the facility which we get of doing things, by a custom of doing, makes them often pass in us without our notice. Habits, especially such as are begun very early, come at last to produce actions in us, which often escape our observation. How frequently do we, in a day, cover our eyes with our eye-lids, without perceiving that we are at all in the dark? Men that by custom have got the use of a by-word, do almost in every sentence pronounce sounds which, though taken notice of by others, they themselves neither hear nor observe. And therefore it is not so strange, that our mind should often change the idea of its sensation into that of its judgment, and make one serve only to excite the other without our taking notice of it.


 

Perception puts the   difference between animals and inferior beings.
 

 

§ 11. This faculty of perception seems to me to be that, which puts the distinction betwixt the animal kingdom and the inferior parts of nature. For however vegetables have, many of them, some degrees of motion, and upon the different application of other bodies to them, do very briskly alter their figures and motions, and so have obtained the name of sensitive plants, from a motion which has some resemblance to that which in animals follows upon sensation: yet, I suppose, it is all bare mechanism; and no otherwise produced, than the turning of a wild oat-beard, by the insinuation of the particles of moisture; or the shortening of a rope, by the effusion of water. All which is done without any sensation in the subject, or the having or receiving any ideas.



§ 12. Perception, I believe, is in some degree in all sorts of animals; though in some, possibly, the avenues provided by nature for the reception of sensations are so few, and the perception they are received with so obscure and dull, that it comes extremely short of the quickness and variety of sensation which are in other animals; but yet it is sufficient for, and wisely adapted to, the state and condition of that sort of animals who are thus made. So that the wisdom and goodness of the Maker plainly appear in all the parts of this stupendous fabric, and all the several degrees and ranks of creatures in it.



§ 13. We may, I think, from the make of an oyster, or cockle, reasonably conclude that it has not so many, nor so quick senses, as a man, or several other animals; nor if it had, would it, in that state and incapacity of transferring itself from one place to another, be bettered by them. What good would sight and hearing do to a creature, that cannot move itself to, or from the objects wherein at a distance it perceives good or evil? And would not quickness of sensation be an inconvenience to an animal that must lie still, where chance has once placed it; and there receive the afflux of colder or warmer, clean or foul water, as it happens to come to it?



§ 14. But yet I cannot but think there is some small dull perception, whereby they are distinguished from perfect insensibility. And that this may be so, we have plain instances even in mankind itself. Take one, in whom decrepid old age has blotted out the memory of his past knowledge, and clearly wiped out the ideas his mind was formerly stored with; and has, by destroying his sight, hearing, and smell quite, and his taste to a great degree, stopped up almost all the passages for new ones to enter; or, if there be some of the inlets yet half open, the impressions made are scarce perceived, or not at all retained. How far such an one (notwithstanding all that is boasted of innate principles) is in his knowledge, and intellectual faculties, above the condition of a cockle or an oyster, I leave to be considered. And if a man had passed sixty years in such a state, as it is possible he might, as well as three days; I wonder what difference there would have been, in any intellectual perfections, between him and the lowest degree of animals.


 

Perception the inlet   of knowledge.
 

 

§ 15. Perception then being the first step and degree towards knowledge, and the inlet of all the materials of it; the fewer senses any man, as well as any other creature, hath, and the fewer and duller the impressions are that are made by them, and the duller the faculties are that are employed about them; the more remote are they from that knowledge, which is to be found in some men. But this being in great variety of degrees (as may be perceived amongst men) cannot certainly be discovered in the several species of animals, much less in their particular individuals. It suffices me only to have remarked here, that perception is the first operation of all our intellectual faculties, and the inlet of all knowledge in our minds. And I am apt too to imagine, that it is perception in the lowest degree of it, which puts the boundaries between animals and the inferior ranks of creatures. But this I mention only as my conjecture by the by; it being indifferent to the matter in hand, which way the learned shall determine of it.



 

CHAPTER X

Of Retention





 

Contemplation.
 

 

§ 1. The next faculty of the mind, whereby it makes a farther progress towards knowledge, is that which I call retention, or the keeping of those simple ideas, which from sensation or reflection it hath received. This is done two ways; first, by keeping the idea, which is brought into it, for some time actually in view; which is called contemplation.


 

Memory.
 

 

§ 2. The other way of retention, is the power to revive again in our minds those ideas, which after imprinting have disappeared, or have been as it were laid aside out of sight; and thus we do, when we conceive heat or light, yellow or sweet, the object being removed. This is memory, which is as it were the store-house of our ideas. For the narrow mind of man not being capable of having many ideas under view and consideration at once, it was necessary to have a repository to lay up those ideas, which at another time it might have use of. But our ideas being nothing but actual perceptions in the mind, which cease to be any thing, when there is no perception of them, this laying up of our ideas in the repository of the memory, signifies no more but this, that the mind has a power in many cases to revive perceptions, which it has once had, with this additional perception annexed to them, that it has had them before. And in this sense it is, that our ideas are said to be in our memories, when indeed they are actually no-where, but only there is an ability in the mind when it will to revive them again, and as it were paint them a-new on itself, though some with more, some with less difficulty; some more lively, and others more obscurely. And thus it is by the assistance of this faculty, that we are to have all those ideas in our understandings, which though we do not actually contemplate, yet we can bring in sight, and make appear again, and be the objects of our thoughts, without the help of those sensible qualities which first imprinted them there.


 

Attention, repetition,   pleasure, and pain, six ideas.
 

 

§ 3. Attention and repetition help much to the fixing any ideas in the memory; but those which naturally at first make the deepest and most lasting impression, are those which are accompanied with pleasure or pain. The great business of the senses being to make us take notice of what hurts or advantages the body, it is wisely ordered by nature (as has been shown) that pain should accompany the reception of several ideas; which supplying the place of consideration and reasoning in children, and acting quicker than consideration in grown men, makes both the old and young avoid painful objects, with that haste which is necessary for their preservation; and, in both, settles in the memory a caution for the future.


 

Ideas fade in the   memory.
 

 

§ 4. Concerning the several degrees of lasting, wherewith ideas are imprinted on the memory, we may observe, that some of them have been produced in the understanding by an object affecting the senses once only, and no more than once; others, that have more than once offered themselves to the senses, have yet been little taken notice of: the mind either heedless, as in children, or otherwise employed, as in men, intent only on one thing, not setting the stamp deep into itself. And in some, where they are set on with care and repeated impressions, either through the temper of the body, or some other fault, the memory is very weak. In all these cases, ideas in the mind quickly fade, and often vanish quite out of the understanding, leaving no more footsteps or remaining characters of themselves, than shadows do flying over fields of corn; and the mind is as void of them, as if they had never been there.



§ 5. Thus many of those ideas, which were produced in the minds of children, in the beginning of their sensation (some of which perhaps, as of some pleasures and pains, were before they were born, and others in their infancy) if in the future course of their lives they are not repeated again, are quite lost, without the least glimpse remaining of them. This may be observed in those who by some mischance have lost their sight when they were very young, in whom the ideas of colours having been but slightly taken notice of, and ceasing to be repeated, do quite wear out: so that some years after there is no more notion nor memory of colours left in their minds, than in those of people born blind. The memory of some it is true, is very tenacious, even to a miracle: but yet there seems to be a constant decay of all our ideas, even of those which are struck deepest, and in minds the most retentive; so that if they be not sometimes renewed by repeated exercise of the senses, or reflection on those kind of objects which at first occasioned them, the print wears out, and at last there remains nothing to be seen. Thus the ideas, as well as children, of our youth, often die before us: and our minds represent to us those tombs, to which we are approaching; where though the brass and marble remain, yet the inscriptions are effaced by time, and the imagery moulders away. The pictures drawn in our minds are laid in fading colours, and, if not sometimes refreshed, vanish and disappear. How much the constitution of our bodies and the make of our animal spirits are concerned in this, and whether the temper of the brain makes this difference, that in some it retains the characters drawn on it like marble, in others like free-stone, and in others little better than sand; I shall not here inquire: though it may seem probable, that the constitution of the body does sometimes influence the memory; since we oftentimes find a disease quite strip the mind of all its ideas, and the flames of a fever in a few days calcine all those images to dust and confusion, which seemed to be as lasting as if graved in marble.


 

Constantly repeated   ideas can scarce be lost.
 

 

§ 6. But concerning the ideas themselves it is easy to remark, that those that are oftenest refreshed (amongst which are those that are conveyed into the mind by more ways than one) by a frequent return of the objects or actions that produce them, fix themselves best in the memory, and remain clearest and longest there: and therefore those which are of the original qualities of bodies, viz. solidity, extension, figure, motion, and rest; and those that almost constantly affect our bodies, as heat and cold; and those which are the affections of all kinds of beings, as existence, duration and number, which almost every object that affects our senses, every thought which employs our minds, bring along with them: these, I say, and the like ideas, are seldom quite lost, whilst the mind retains any ideas at all.


 

In remembering, the   mind is often active.
 

 

§ 7. In this secondary perception, as I may so call it, or viewing again the ideas that are lodged in the memory, the mind is oftentimes more than barely passive; the appearance of those dormant pictures depending sometimes on the will. The mind very often sets itself on work in search of some hidden idea, and turns as it were the eye of the soul upon it; though sometimes too they start up in our minds of their own accord, and offer themselves to the understanding; and very often are roused and tumbled out of their dark cells into open day-light, by turbulent and tempestuous passions: our affections bringing ideas to our memory, which had otherwise lain quiet and unregarded. This farther is to be observed, concerning ideas lodged in the memory, and upon occasion revived by the mind, that they are not only (as the word revive imports) none of them new ones; but also that the mind takes notice of them, as of a former impression, and renews its acquaintance with them, as with ideas it had known before. So that though ideas formerly imprinted are not all constantly in view, yet in remembrance they are constantly known to be such as have been formerly imprinted; i. e. in view, and taken notice of before by the understanding.


 

Two defects in the   memory, oblivion and slowness.
 

 

§ 8. Memory, in an intellectual creature, is necessary in the next degree to perception. It is of so great moment, that where it is wanting, all the rest of our faculties are in a great measure useless: and we in our thoughts, reasonings, and knowledge, could not proceed beyond present objects, were it not for the assistance of our memories, wherein there may be two defects.



First, That it loses the idea quite, and so far it produces perfect ignorance. For since we can know nothing farther than we have the idea of it, when that is gone, we are in perfect ignorance.



Secondly, That it moves slowly, and retrieves not the ideas that it has, and are laid up in store, quick enough to serve the mind upon occasion. This, if it be to a great degree, is stupidity; and he, who, through this default in his memory, has not the ideas that are really preserved there, ready at hand when need and occasion calls for them, were almost as good be without them quite, since they serve him to little purpose. The dull man who loses the opportunity whilst he is seeking in his mind for those ideas that should serve his turn, is not much more happy in his knowledge than one that is perfectly ignorant. It is the business therefore of the memory to furnish the mind with those dormant ideas which it has present occasion for; in the having them ready at hand on all occasions, consists that which we call invention, fancy, and quickness of parts.



§ 9. These are defects, we may observe, in the memory of one man compared with another. There is another defect which we may conceive to be in the memory of man in general, compared with some superior created intellectual beings, which in this faculty may so far excel man, that they may have constantly in view the whole scene of all their former actions, wherein no one of the thoughts they have ever had may slip out of their sight. The omniscience of God, who knows all things, past, present, and to come, and to whom the thoughts of men’s hearts always lie open, may satisfy us of the possibility of this. For who can doubt but God may communicate to those glorious spirits, his immediate attendants, any of his perfections, in what proportions he pleases, as far as created finite beings can be capable? It is reported of that prodigy of parts, monsieur Pascal, that till the decay of his health had impaired his memory, he forgot nothing of what he had done, read, or thought, in any part of his rational age. This is a privilege so little known to most men, that it seems almost incredible to those, who, after the ordinary way, measure all others by themselves; but yet, when considered, may help us to enlarge our thoughts towards greater perfection of it in superior ranks of spirits. For this of Mr. Pascal was still with the narrowness that human minds are confined to here of having great variety of ideas only by succession, not all at once: whereas the several degrees of angels may probably have larger views, and some of them be endowed with capacities able to retain together, and constantly set before them, as in one picture, all their past knowledge at once. This, we may conceive, would be no small advantage to the knowledge of a thinking man, if all his past thoughts and reasonings could be always present to him. And therefore we may suppose it one of those ways, wherein the knowledge of separate spirits may exceedingly surpass ours.


 

Brutes have memory.
 

 

§ 10. This faculty of laying up and retaining the ideas that are brought into the mind, several other animals seem to have to a great degree, as well as man. For to pass by other instances, birds learning of tunes, and the endeavours one may observe in them to hit the notes right, put it past doubt with me, that they have perception and retain ideas in their memories, and use them for patterns. For it seems to me impossible, that they should endeavour to conform their voices to notes (as it is plain they do) of which they had no ideas. For though I should grant sound may mechanically cause a certain motion of the animal spirits, in the brains of those birds, whilst the tune is actually playing; and that motion may be continued on to the muscles of the wings, and so the bird mechanically be driven away by certain noises, because this may tend to the bird’s preservation: yet that can never be supposed a reason, why it should cause mechanically, either whilst the tune is playing, much less after it has ceased, such a motion of the organs in the bird’s voice as should conform it to the notes of a foreign sound; which imitation can be of no use to the bird’s preservation. But which is more, it cannot with any appearance of reason be supposed (much less proved) that birds, without sense and memory, can approach their notes nearer and nearer by degrees to a tune played yesterday; which if they have no idea of in their memory, is no-where, nor can be a pattern for them to imitate, or which any repeated essays can bring them nearer to. Since there is no reason why the sound of a pipe should leave traces in their brains, which not at first, but by their after-endeavours, should produce the like sounds; and why the sounds they make themselves, should not make traces which they should follow, as well as those of the pipe, is impossible to conceive.





 

CHAPTER XI

Of Discerning, and other Operations of the Mind





 

No knowledge without   discernment.
 

 

§ 1. Another faculty we may take notice of in our minds, is that of discerning and distinguishing between the several ideas it has. It is not enough to have a confused perception of something in general: unless the mind had a distinct perception of different objects and their qualities, it would be capable of very little knowledge; though the bodies that affect us were as busy about us as they are now, and the mind were continually employed in thinking. On this faculty of distinguishing one thing from another, depends the evidence and certainty of several, even very general propositions, which have passed for innate truths; because men, overlooking the true cause why those propositions find universal assent, impute it wholly to native uniform impressions: whereas it in truth depends upon this clear discerning faculty of the mind, whereby it perceives two ideas to be the same, or different. But of this more hereafter.


 

The difference of wit   and judgment.
 

 

§ 2. How much the imperfection of accurately discriminating ideas one from another lies either in the dulness or faults of the organs of sense; or want of acuteness, exercise, or attention, in the understanding; or hastiness and precipitancy, natural to some tempers, I will not here examine; it suffices to take notice, that this is one of the operations, that the mind may reflect on and observe in itself. It is of that consequence to its other knowledge, that so far as this faculty is in itself dull, or not rightly made use of, for the distinguishing one thing from another; so far our notions are confused, and our reason and judgment disturbed or misled. If in having our ideas in the memory ready at hand consists quickness of parts; in this of having them unconfused, and being able nicely to distinguish one thing from another, where there is but the least difference, consists, in a great measure, the exactness of judgment, and clearness of reason, which is to be observed in one man above another. And hence perhaps may be given some reason of that common observation, that men, who have a great deal of wit, and prompt memories, have not always the clearest judgment, or deepest reason: for wit lying most in the assemblage of ideas, and putting those together with quickness and variety, wherein can be found any resemblance or congruity, thereby to make up pleasant pictures, and agreeable visions in the fancy; judgment, on the contrary, lies quite on the other side, in separating carefully, one from another, ideas, wherein can be found the least difference; thereby to avoid being misled by similitude, and by affinity to take one thing for another. This is a way of proceeding quite contrary to metaphor and allusion, wherein for the most part lies that entertainment and pleasantry of wit, which strikes so lively on the fancy, and therefore is so acceptable to all people; because its beauty appears at first sight, and there is required no labour of thought to examine what truth or reason there is in it. The mind, without looking any farther, rests satisfied with the agreeableness of the picture, and the gaiety of the fancy; and it is a kind of an affront to go about to examine it by the severe rules of truth and good reason; whereby it appears, that it consists in something that is not perfectly conformable to them.


 

Clearness alone   hinders confusion.
 

 

§ 3. To the well distinguishing our ideas, it chiefly contributes, that they be clear and determinate: and where they are so, it will not breed any confusion or mistake about them, though the senses should (as sometimes they do) convey them from the same object differently, on different occasions, and so seem to err. For though a man in a fever should from sugar have a bitter taste, which at another time would produce a sweet one; yet the idea of bitter in that man’s mind, would be as clear and distinct from the idea of sweet, as if he had tasted only gall. Nor does it make any more confusion between the two ideas of sweet and bitter, that the same sort of body produces at one time one, and at another time another idea by the taste, than it makes a confusion in two ideas of white and sweet, or white and round, that the same piece of sugar produces them both in the mind at the same time. And the ideas of orange-colour and azure, that are produced in the mind by the same parcel of the infusion of lignum nephriticum, are no less distinct ideas, than those of the same colours, taken from two very different bodies.


 

Comparing.
 

 

§ 4. The comparing them one with another, in respect of extent, degrees, time, place, or any other circumstances, is another operation of the mind about its ideas, and is that upon which depends all that large tribe of ideas, comprehended under relations; which of how vast an extent it is, I shall have occasion to consider hereafter.


 

Brutes compare but   imperfectly.
 

 

§ 5. How far brutes partake in this faculty, is not easy to determine; I imagine they have it not in any great degree: for though they probably have several ideas distinct enough, yet it seems to me to be the prerogative of human understanding, when it has sufficiently distinguished any ideas, so as to perceive them to be perfectly different, and so consequently two, to cast about and consider in what circumstances they are capable to be compared: and therefore, I think, beasts compare not their ideas farther than some sensible circumstances annexed to the objects themselves. The other power of comparing, which may be observed in men, belonging to general ideas, and useful only to abstract reasonings, we may probably conjecture beasts have not.


 

Compounding.
 

 

§ 6. The next operation we may observe in the mind about its ideas, is composition; whereby it puts together several of those simple ones it has received from sensation and reflection, and combines them into complex ones. Under this of composition may be reckoned also that of enlarging; wherein though the composition does not so much appear as in more complex ones, yet it is nevertheless a putting several ideas together, though of the same kind. Thus by adding several units together, we make the idea of a dozen; and putting together the repeated ideas of several perches, we frame that of a furlong.


 

Brutes compound but   little.
 

 

§ 7. In this also, I suppose, brutes come far short of men: for though they take in, and retain together several combinations of simple ideas, as possibly the shape, smell, and voice of his master make up the complex idea a dog has of him, or rather are so many distinct marks whereby he knows him; yet I do not think they do of themselves ever compound them, and make complex ideas. And perhaps even where we think they have complex ideas, it is only one simple one that directs them in the knowledge of several things, which possibly they distinguish less by their sight than we imagine: for I have been credibly informed that a bitch will nurse, play with, and be fond of young foxes, as much as, and in place of, her puppies; if you can but get them once to suck her so long, that her milk may go through them. And those animals, which have a numerous brood of young ones at once, appear not to have any knowledge of their number: for though they are mightily concerned for any of their young that are taken from them whilst they are in sight or hearing; yet if one or two of them be stolen from them in their absence, or without noise, they appear not to miss them, or to have any sense that their number is lessened.


 

Naming.
 

 

§ 8. When children have, by repeated sensations, got ideas fixed in their memories, they begin by degrees to learn the use of signs. And when they have got the skill to apply the organs of speech to the framing of articulate sounds, they begin to make use of words, to signify their ideas to others. These verbal signs they sometimes borrow from others, and sometimes make themselves, as one may observe among the new and unusual names children often give to things in the first use of language.


 

Abstraction.
 

 

§ 9. The use of words then being to stand as outward marks of our internal ideas, and those ideas being taken from particular things, if every particular idea that we take in should have a distinct name, names must be endless. To prevent this, the mind makes the particular ideas, received from particular objects, to become general; which is done by considering them as they are in the mind, such appearances, separate from all other existences, and the circumstances of real existence, as time, place, or any other concomitant ideas. This is called abstraction, whereby ideas, taken from particular beings, become general representatives of all of the same kind, and their names general names, applicable to whatever exists conformable to such abstract ideas. Such precise naked appearances in the mind, without considering how, whence, or with what others they came there, the understanding lays up (with names commonly annexed to them) as the standard to rank real existences into sorts, as they agree with these patterns, and to denominate them accordingly. Thus the same colour being observed to-day in chalk or snow, which the mind yesterday received from milk, it considers that appearance alone, makes it a representative of all of that kind; and having given it the name whiteness, it by that sound signifies the same quality, wheresoever to be imagined or met with: and thus universals, whether ideas or terms, are made.


 

Brutes abstract not.
 

 

§ 10. If it may be doubted, whether beasts compound and enlarge their ideas that way to any degree; this, I think, I may be positive in, that the power of abstracting is not at all in them; and that the having of general ideas, is that which puts a perfect distinction betwixt man and brutes, and is an excellency which the faculties of brutes do by no means attain to. For it is evident we observe no footsteps in them of making use of general signs for universal ideas; from which we have reason to imagine, that they have not the faculty of abstracting, or making general ideas, since they have no use of words, or any other general signs.



§ 11. Nor can it be imputed to their want of fit organs to frame articulate sounds, that they have no use or knowledge of general words; since many of them, we find, can fashion such sounds, and pronounce words distinctly enough, but never with any such application. And on the other side, men, who through some defect in the organs want words, yet fail not to express their universal ideas by signs, which serve them instead of general words; a faculty which we see beasts come short in. And therefore I think we may suppose, that it is in this that the species of brutes are discriminated from man; and it is that proper difference wherein they are wholly separated, and which at last widens to so vast a distance: for if they have any ideas at all, and are not bare machines (as some would have them) we cannot deny them to have some reason. It seems as evident to me, that they do some of them in certain instances reason, as that they have sense; but it is only in particular ideas, just as they received them from their senses. They are the best of them tied up within those narrow bounds, and have not (as I think) the faculty to enlarge them by any kind of abstraction.


 

Idiots and madmen.
 

 

§ 12. How far idiots are concerned in the want or weakness of any, or all of the foregoing faculties, an exact observation of their several ways of faltering would no doubt discover: for those who either perceive but dully, or retain the ideas that come into their minds but ill, who cannot readily excite or compound them, will have little matter to think on. Those who cannot distinguish, compare, and abstract, would hardly be able to understand and make use of language, or judge or reason to any tolerable degree; but only a little and imperfectly about things present, and very familiar to their senses. And indeed any of the forementioned faculties, if wanting, or out of order, produce suitable effects in men’s understandings and knowledge.



§ 13. In fine, the defect in naturals seems to proceed from want of quickness, activity, and motion in the intellectual faculties, whereby they are deprived of reason; whereas madmen, on the other side, seem to suffer by the other extreme: for they do not appear to me to have lost the faculty of reasoning; but having joined together some ideas very wrongly, they mistake them for truths, and they err as men do that argue right from wrong principles. For by the violence of their imaginations, having taken their fancies for realities, they make right deductions from them. Thus you shall find a distracted man fancying himself a king, with a right inference require suitable attendance, respect and obedience; others, who have thought themselves made of glass, have used the caution necessary to preserve such brittle bodies. Hence it comes to pass that a man, who is very sober, and of a right understanding in all other things, may in one particular be as frantic as any in Bedlam; if either by any sudden very strong impression, or long fixing his fancy upon one sort of thoughts, incoherent ideas have been cemented together so powerfully, as to remain united. But there are degrees of madness, as of folly: the disorderly jumbling ideas together, is in some more, some less. In short, herein seems to lie the difference between idiots and madmen, that madmen put wrong ideas together, and so make wrong propositions, but argue and reason right from them; but idiots make very few or no propositions, and reason scarce at all.


 

Method.
 

 

§ 14. These, I think, are the first faculties and operations of the mind, which it makes use of in understanding: and though they are exercised about all its ideas in general, yet the instances I have hitherto given have been chiefly in simple ideas; and I have subjoined the explication of these faculties of the mind to that of simple ideas, before I come to what I have to say concerning complex ones, for these following reasons.



First, Because several of these faculties being exercised at first principally about simple ideas, we might, by following nature in its ordinary method, trace and discover them in their rise, progress, and gradual improvements.



Secondly, Because observing the faculties of the mind how they operate about simple ideas, which are usually, in most men’s minds, much more clear, precise, and distinct than complex ones; we may the better examine and learn how the mind abstracts, denominates, compares, and exercises its other operations about those which are complex, wherein we are much more liable to mistake.



Thirdly, Because these very operations of the mind about ideas, received from sensations, are themselves, when reflected on, another set of ideas, derived from that other source of our knowledge which I call reflection, therefore fit to be considered in this place after the simple ideas of sensation. Of compounding, comparing, abstracting, etc., I have but just spoken, having occasion to treat of them more at large in other places.


 

These are the   beginnings of human knowledge.
 

 

§ 15. And thus I have given a short, and, I think, true history of the first beginnings of human knowledge, whence the mind has its first objects, and by what steps it makes its progress to the laying in and storing up those ideas, out of which is to be framed all the knowledge it is capable of; wherein I must appeal to experience and observation, whether I am in the right: the best way to come to truth, being to examine things as really they are, and not to conclude they are, as we fancy of ourselves, or have been taught by others to imagine.


 

Appeal to experience.
 

 

§ 16. To deal truly, this is the only way that I can discover, whereby the ideas of things are brought into the understanding: if other men have either innate ideas; or infused principles, they have reason to enjoy them; and if they are sure of it, it is impossible for others to deny them the privilege that they have above their neighbours. I can speak but of what I find in myself, and is agreeable to those notions; which, if we will examine the whole course of men in their several ages, countries, and educations, seem to depend on those foundations which I have laid, and to correspond with this method in all the parts and degrees thereof.


 

Dark room.
 

 

§ 17. I pretend not to teach, but to inquire, and therefore cannot but confess here again, that external and internal sensation are the only passages that I can find of knowledge to the understanding. These alone, as far as I can discover, are the windows by which light is let into this dark room: for methinks the understanding is not much unlike a closet wholly shut from light, with only some little opening left, to let in external visible resemblances, or ideas of things without: would the pictures coming into such a dark room but stay there, and lie so orderly as to be found upon occasion, it would very much resemble the understanding of a man, in reference to all objects of sight, and the ideas of them.



These are my guesses concerning the means whereby the understanding comes to have and retain simple ideas, and the modes of them, with some other operations about them. I proceed now to examine some of these simple ideas, and their modes, a little more particularly.



 

CHAPTER XII

Of Complex Ideas





 

Made by the mind out   of simple ones.
 

 

§ 1. We have hitherto considered those ideas, in the reception whereof the mind is only passive, which are those simple ones received from sensation and reflection before mentioned, whereof the mind cannot make one to itself, nor have any idea which does not wholly consist of them. But as the mind is wholly passive in the reception of all its simple ideas, so it exerts several acts of its own, whereby out of its simple ideas as the materials and foundations of the rest, the other are framed. The acts of the mind, wherein it exerts its power over its simple ideas, are chiefly these three: 1. Combining several simple ideas into one compound one, and thus all complex ideas are made. 2. The second is bringing two ideas, whether simple or complex, together, and setting them by one another, so as to take a view of them at once, without uniting them into one; by which way it gets all its ideas of relations. 3. The third is separating them from all other ideas that accompany them in their real existence; this is called abstraction: and thus all its general ideas are made. This shows man’s power, and its ways of operation, to be much what the same in the material and intellectual world. For the materials in both being such as he has no power over, either to make or destroy, all that man can do is either to unite them together, or to set them by one another, or wholly separate them. I shall here begin with the first of these in the consideration of complex ideas, and come to the other two in their due places. As simple ideas are observed to exist in several combinations united together, so the mind has a power to consider several of them united together as one idea; and that not only as they are united in external objects, but as itself has joined them. Ideas thus made up of several simple ones put together, I call complex; such as are beauty, gratitude, a man, an army, the universe; which though complicated of various simple ideas, or complex ideas made up of simple ones, yet are, when the mind pleases, considered each by itself as one entire thing, and signified by one name.


 

Made voluntarily.
 

 

§ 2. In this faculty of repeating and joining together its ideas, the mind has great power in varying and multiplying the objects of its thoughts, infinitely beyond what sensation or reflection furnishes it with; but all this still confined to those simple ideas which it received from those two sources, and which are the ultimate materials of all its compositions: for simple ideas are all from things themselves, and of these the mind can have no more, nor other than what are suggested to it. It can have no other ideas of sensible qualities than what come from without by the senses; nor any ideas of other kind of operations of a thinking substance than what it finds in itself; but when it has once got these simple ideas, it is not confined barely to observation, and what offers itself from without: it can, by its own power, put together those ideas it has, and make new complex ones, which it never received so united.


 

Are either modes,   substances or relations.
 

 

§ 3. Complex ideas, however compounded and decompounded, though their number be infinite, and the variety endless, wherewith they fill and entertain the thoughts of men; yet, I think, they may be all reduced under these three heads:



·       Modes.

·       Substances.

·       Relations.
 

Modes.
 

 

§ 4. First, Modes I call such complex ideas, which, however compounded, contain not in them the supposition of subsisting by themselves, but are considered as dependencies on or affections of substances; such as are ideas signified by the words triangle, gratitude, murder, etc. And if in this I use the word mode in somewhat a different sense from its ordinary signification, I beg pardon; it being unavoidable in discourses, differing from the ordinary received notions, either to make new words, or to use old words in somewhat a new signification: the latter whereof, in our present case, is perhaps the more tolerable of the two.


 

Simple and mixed   modes.
 

 

§ 5. Of these modes, there are two sorts which deserve distinct consideration.



First, there are some which are only variations, or different combinations of the same simple idea, without the mixture of any other; as a dozen or score; which are nothing but the ideas of so many distinct units added together: and these I call simple modes, as being contained within the bounds of one simple idea.



Secondly, there are others compounded of simple ideas of several kinds, put together to make one complex one; v. g. beauty, consisting of a certain composition of colour and figure, causing delight in the beholder; theft, which being the concealed change of the possession of any thing, without the consent of the proprietor, contains, as is visible, a combination of several ideas of several kinds: and these I call mixed modes.


 

Substances single or   collective.
 

 

§ 6. Secondly, the ideas of substances are such combinations of simple ideas, as are taken to represent distinct particular things subsisting by themselves; in which the supposed or confused idea of substance, such as it is, is always the first and chief. Thus if to substance be joined the simple idea of a certain dull whitish colour, with certain degrees of weight, hardness, ductility, and fusibility, we have the idea of lead, and a combination of the ideas of a certain sort of figure, with the powers of motion. Thought and reasoning, joined to substance, make the ordinary idea of a man. Now of substances also, there are two sorts of ideas; one of single substances, as they exist separately, as of a man or a sheep; the other of several of those put together, as an army of men, or flock of sheep: which collective ideas of several substances thus put together, are as much each of them one single idea, as that of a man, or an unit.


 

Relation.
 

 

§ 7. Thirdly, the last sort of complex ideas, is that we call relation, which consists in the consideration and comparing one idea with another. Of these several kinds we shall treat in their order.


 

The abstrusest ideas   from the two sources.
 

 

§ 8. If we trace the progress of our minds, and with attention observe how it repeats, adds together, and unites its simple ideas received from sensation or reflection, it will lead us farther than at first perhaps we should have imagined. And I believe we shall find, if we warily observe the originals of our notions, that even the most abstruse ideas, how remote soever they may seem from sense, or from any operations of our own minds, are yet only such as the understanding frames to itself, by repeating and joining together ideas, that it had either from objects of sense, or from its own operations about them: so that those even large and abstract ideas are derived from sensation or reflection, being no other than what the mind, by the ordinary use of its own faculties, employed about ideas received from objects of sense, or from the operations it observes in itself about them, may and does attain unto. This I shall endeavour to show in the ideas we have of space, time, and infinity, and some few others, that seem the most remote from those originals.



 

CHAPTER XIII

Of Simple Modes, and first of the Simple Modes of Space





 

Simple Modes.
 

 

§ 1. Though in the foregoing part I have often mentioned simple ideas, which are truly the materials of all our knowledge; yet having treated of them there, rather in the way that they come into the mind, than as distinguished from others more compounded, it will not be perhaps amiss to take a view of some of them again under this consideration, and examine those different modifications of the same idea: which the mind either finds in things existing, or is able to make within itself, without the help of any extrinsical object, or any foreign suggestion.



Those modifications of any one simple idea (which, as has been said, I call simple modes) are as perfectly different and distinct ideas in the mind, as those of the greatest distance or contrariety. For the idea of two is as distinct from that of one, as blueness from heat, or either of them from any number: and yet it is made up only of that simple idea of an unit repeated; and repetitions of this kind joined together, make those distinct simple modes, of a dozen, a gross, a million.


 

Idea of space.


 

 

§ 2. I shall begin with the simple idea of space. I have showed above, chap. 4. that we get the idea of space, both by our sight and touch; which, I think, is so evident, that it would be as needless to go to prove that men perceive, by their sight, a distance between bodies of different colours, or between the parts of the same body, as that they see colours themselves; nor is it less obvious, that they can do so in the dark by feeling and touch.


 

Space and extension.


 

 

§ 3. This space considered barely in length between any two beings, without considering any thing else between them, is called distance; if considered in length, breadth, and thickness, I think it may be called capacity. The term extension is usually applied to it in what manner soever considered.


 

Immensity.


 

 

§ 4. Each different distance is a different modification of space; and each idea of any different distance, or space, is a simple mode of this idea. Men for the use, and by the custom of measuring, settle in their minds the ideas of certain stated lengths, such as are an inch, foot, yard, fathom, mile, diameter of the earth, etc. which are so many distinct ideas made up only of space. When any such stated lengths or measures of space are made familiar to men’s thoughts, they can in their minds repeat them as often as they will without mixing or joining to them the idea of body, or any thing else; and frame to themselves the ideas of long, square, or cubic, feet, yards, or fathoms, here amongst the bodies of the universe, or else beyond the utmost bounds of all bodies; and by adding these still one to another, enlarge their ideas of space as much as they please. The power of repeating, or doubling any idea we have of any distance, and adding it to the former as often as we will, without being ever able to come to any stop or stint, let us enlarge it as much as we will, is that which gives us the idea of immensity.


 

Figure.
 

 

§ 5. There is another modification of this idea, which is nothing but the relation which the parts of the termination of extension, or circumscribed space, have amongst themselves. This the touch discovers in sensible bodies, whose extremities come within our reach; and the eye takes both from bodies and colours, whose boundaries are within its view; where observing how the extremities terminate either in straight lines, which meet at discernible angles; or in crooked lines, wherein no angles can be perceived; by considering these as they relate to one another, in all parts of the extremities of any body or space, it has that idea we call figure, which affords to the mind infinite variety. For besides the vast number of different figures, that do really exist in the coherent masses of matter, the stock that the mind has in its power, by varying the idea of space, and thereby making still new compositions, by repeating its own ideas, and joining them as it pleases, is perfectly inexhaustible; and so it can multiply figures in infinitum.


 

Figure.
 

 

§ 6. For the mind having a power to repeat the idea of any length directly stretched out, and join it to another in the same direction, which is to double the length of that straight line, or else join another with what inclination it thinks fit, and so make what sort of angle it pleases; and being able also to shorten any line it imagines, by taking from it one half, or one fourth, or what part it pleases, without being able to come to an end of any such divisions, it can make an angle of any bigness: so also the lines that are its sides, of what length it pleases; which joining again to other lines of different lengths, and at different angles, till it has wholly inclosed any space, it is evident, that it can multiply figures both in their shape and capacity, in infinitum; all which are but so many different simple modes of space.



The same that it can do with straight lines, it can also do with crooked, or crooked and straight together; and the same it can do in lines, it can also in superficies: by which we may be led into farther thoughts of the endless variety of figures, that the mind has a power to make, and thereby to multiply the simple modes of space.


 

Place.
 

 

§ 7. Another idea coming under this head, and belonging to this tribe, is that we call place. As in simple space, we consider the relation of distance between any two bodies or points; so in our idea of place, we consider the relation of distance betwixt any thing, and any two or more points, which are considered as keeping the same distance one with another, and so considered as at rest: for when we find any thing at the same distance now, which it was yesterday, from any two or more points, which have not since changed their distance one with another, and with which we then compared it, we say it hath kept the same place; but if it hath sensibly altered its distance with either of those points, we say it hath changed its place: though vulgary speaking, in the common notion of place, we do not always exactly observe the distance from these precise points; but from larger portions of sensible objects, to which we consider the thing placed to bear relation, and its distance from which we have some reason to observe.



§ 8. Thus a company of chess-men, standing on the same squares of the chess-board, where we left them, we say they are all in the same place, or unmoved; though perhaps the chess-board hath been in the mean time carried out of one room into another; because we compared them only to the parts of the chess-board, which keep the same distance one with another. The chess-board, we also say, is in the same place it was, if it remain in the same part of the cabin, though perhaps the ship, which it is in, sails all the while: and the ship is said to be in the same place, supposing it kept the same distance with the parts of the neighbouring land; though perhaps the earth hath turned round; and so both chess-men, and board, and ship, have every one changed place, in respect of remoter bodies, which have kept the same distance one with another. But yet the distance from certain parts of the board, being that which determines the place of the chess-men; and the distance from the fixed parts of the cabin (with which we made the comparison) being that which determined the place of the chess-board; and the fixed parts of the earth, that by which we determined the place of the ship; these things may be said to be in the same place in those respects: though their distance from some other things, which in this matter we did not consider, being varied, they have undoubtedly changed place in that respect; and we ourselves shall think so, when we have occasion to compare them with those other.



§ 9. But this modification of distance we call place, being made by men, for their common use, that by it they might be able to design the particular position of things, where they had occasion for such designation; men consider and determine of this place, by reference to those adjacent things which best served to their present purpose, without considering other things, which to answer another purpose would better determine the place of the same thing. Thus in the chess-board, the use of the designation of the place of each chess-man, being determined only within that checquered piece of wood, it would cross that purpose, to measure it by any thing else: but when these very chess-men are put up in a bag, if any one should ask where the black king is, it would be proper to determine the place by the parts of the room it was in, and not by the chess-board; there being another use of designing the place it is now in, than when in play it was on the chess-board, and so must be determined by other bodies. So if any one should ask, in what place are the verses, which report the story of Nisus and Euryalus, it would be very improper to determine this place, by saying, they were in such a part of the earth, or in Bodley’s library: but the right designation of the place would be by the parts of Virgil’s works; and the proper answer would be, that these verses were about the middle of the ninth book of his Æneid; and that they have been always constantly in the same place ever since Virgil was printed; which is true, though the book itself hath moved a thousand times; the use of the idea of place here being to know in what part of the book that story is, that so upon occasion we may know where to find it, and have recourse to it for use.


 

Place.
 

 

§ 10. That our idea of place is nothing else but such a relative position of any thing, as I have before mentioned, I think is plain, and will be easily admitted, when we consider that we can have no idea of the place of the universe, though we can of all the parts of it; because beyond that we have not the idea of any fixed, distinct, particular beings, in reference to which we can imagine it to have any relation of distance; but all beyond it is one uniform space or expansion, wherein the mind finds no variety, no marks. For to say, that the world is somewhere, means no more than that it does exist: this, though a phrase borrowed from place, signifying only its existence, not location; and when one can find out, and frame in his mind, clearly and distinctly, the place of the universe, he will be able to tell us, whether it moves or stands still in the undistinguishable inane of infinite space: though it be true, that the word place has sometimes a more confused sense, and stands for that space which any body takes up; and so the universe is in a place. The idea therefore of place we have by the same means that we get the idea of space, (whereof this is but a particular limited consideration) viz. by our sight and touch; by either of which we receive into our minds the ideas of extension or distance.


 

Extension and body,   not the same.
 

 

§ 11. There are some that would persuade us, that body and extension are the same thing: who either change the signification of words, which I would not suspect them of, they having so severely condemned the philosophy of others, because it hath been too much placed in the uncertain meaning, or deceitful obscurity of doubtful or insignificant terms. If therefore they mean by body and extension the same that other people do, viz. by body, something that is solid and extended, whose parts are separable and moveable different ways; and by extension, only the space that lies between the extremities of those solid coherent parts, and which is possessed by them: they confound very different ideas one with another. For I appeal to every man’s own thoughts, whether the idea of space be not as distinct from that of solidity, as it is from the idea of scarlet colour? It is true, solidity cannot exist without extension, neither can scarlet colour exist without extension: but this hinders not, but that they are distinct ideas. Many ideas require others as necessary to their existence or conception, which yet are very distinct ideas. Motion can neither be, nor be conceived without space; and yet motion is not space, nor space motion: space can exist without it, and they are very distinct ideas; and so, I think, are those of space and solidity. Solidity is so inseparable an idea from body, that upon that depends its filling of space, its contact, impulse, and communication of motion upon impulse. And if it be a reason to prove, that spirit is different from body, because thinking includes not the idea of extension in it; the same reason will be as valid, I suppose, to prove that space is not body, because it includes not the idea of solidity in it: space and solidity being as distinct ideas, as thinking and extension, and as wholly separable in the mind one from another. Body then and extension, it is evident, are two distinct ideas. For,



§ 12. First, Extension includes no solidity, nor resistance to the motion of body, as body does.



§ 13. Secondly, The parts of pure space are inseparable one from the other; so that the continuity cannot be separated neither really, nor mentally. For I demand of any one to remove any part of it from another, with which it is continued, even so much as in thought. To divide and separate actually, is, as I think, by removing the parts one from another, to make two superficies, where before there was a continuity; and to divide mentally, is to make in the mind two superficies, where before there was a continuity, and consider them as removed one from the other; which can only be done in things considered by the mind as capable of being separated; and by separation, of acquiring new distinct superficies, which they then have not, but are capable of; but neither of these ways of separation, whether real or mental, is, as I think, compatible to pure space.



It is true, a man may consider so much of such a space, as is answerable or commensurate to a foot, without considering the rest; which is indeed a partial consideration, but not so much as mental separation, or division; since a man can no more mentally divide, without considering two superficies separate one from the other, than he can actually divide, without making two superficies disjoined one from the other: but a partial consideration is not separating. A man may consider light in the sun, without its heat; or mobility in body, without its extension, without thinking of their separation. One is only a partial consideration, terminating in one alone; and the other is a consideration of both, as existing separately.



§ 14. Thirdly, The parts of pure space are immoveable, which follows from their inseparability: motion being nothing but change of distance between any two things: but this cannot be between parts that are inseparable: which therefore must needs be at perpetual rest one amongst another.



Thus the determined idea of simple space distinguishes it plainly and sufficiently from body; since its parts are inseparable, immoveable, and without resistance to the motion of body.


 

The definition of   extension explains it not.
 

 

§ 15. If any one ask me, what this space, I speak of, is? I will tell him, when he tells me what his extension is. For to say, as is usually done, that extension is to have partes extra partes, is to say only, that extension is extension: for what am I the better informed in the nature of extension, when I am told, that extension is to have parts that are extended, exterior to parts that are extended, i. e. extension consists of extended parts? As if one asking, what a fibre was? I should answer him, that it was a thing made up of several fibres: would he thereby be enabled to understand what a fibre was better than he did before? Or rather, would he not have reason to think, that my design was to make sport with him, rather than seriously to instruct him?


 

Division of beings   into bodies and spirits, proves not space and body the same.
 

 

§ 16. Those who contend that space and body are the same, bring this dilemma: either this space is something or nothing; if nothing be between two bodies, they must necessarily touch: if it be allowed to be something, they ask, whether it be body or spirit? To which I answer, by another question, who told them that there was, or could be nothing but solid beings, which could not think, and thinking beings that were not extended? which is all they mean by the terms body and spirit.


 

Substance which we   know not, no proof against space without body.
 

 

§ 17. If it be demanded (as usually it is) whether this space, void of body, be substance or accident; I shall readily answer, I know not; nor shall be ashamed to own my ignorance, till they that ask show me a clear distinct idea of substance.



§ 18. I endeavour, as much as I can, to deliver myself from those fallacies which we are apt to put upon ourselves, by taking words for things. It helps not our ignorance, to feign a knowledge where we have none, by making a noise with sounds, without clear and distinct significations. Names made at pleasure neither alter the nature of things, nor make us understand them but as they are signs of and stand for determined ideas. And I desire those who lay so much stress on the sound of these two syllables, substance, to consider whether applying it, as they do, to the infinite incomprehensible God, to finite spirit, and to body, it be in the same sense; and whether it stands for the same idea, when each of those three so different beings are called substances. If so, whether it will thence follow, that God, spirits, and body, agreeing in the same common nature of substance, differ not any otherwise, than in a bare different modification of that substance; as a tree and a pebble being in the same sense body, and agreeing in the common nature of body, differ only in a bare modification of that common matter: which will be a very harsh doctrine. If they say, that they apply it to God, finite spirit, and matter, in three different significations; and that it stands for one idea, when God is said to be a substance; for another, when the soul is called substance; and for a third, when a body is called so; if the name substance stands for three several distinct ideas, they would do well to make known those distinct ideas, or at least to give three distinct names to them, to prevent in so important a notion the confusion and errours that will naturally follow from the promiscuous use of so doubtful a term; which is so far from being suspected to have three distinct, that in ordinary use it has scarce one clear distinct signification; and if they can thus make three distinct ideas of substance, what hinders why another may not make a fourth?


 

Substance and   accidents, of little use in philosophy.
 

 

§ 19. They who first ran into the notion of accidents, as a sort of real beings that needed something to inhere in, were forced to find out the word substance to support them. Had the poor Indian philosopher (who imagined that the earth also wanted something to bear it up) but thought of this word substance, he needed not to have been at the trouble to find an elephant to support it, and a tortoise to support his elephant: the word substance would have done it effectually. And he that inquired, might have taken it for as good an answer from an Indian philosopher, that substance, without knowing what it is, is that which supports the earth; as we take it for a sufficient answer, and good doctrine, from our European philosophers, that substance, without knowing what it is, is that which supports accidents. So that of substance, we have no idea of what it is, but only a confused obscure one of what it does.



§ 20. Whatever a learned man may do here, an intelligent American, who inquired into the nature of things, would scarce take it for a satisfactory account, if desiring to learn our architecture, he should be told, that a pillar was a thing supported by a basis, and a basis something that supported a pillar. Would he not think himself mocked, instead of taught, with such an account as this? And a stranger to them would be very liberally instructed in the nature of books, and the things they contained, if he should be told, that all learned books consisted of paper and letters, and that letters were things inhering in paper, and paper a thing that held forth letters: a notable way of having clear ideas of letters and papers! But were the Latin words inhærentia and substantia, put into the plain English ones that answer them, and were called sticking on and under-propping, they would better discover to us the very great clearness there is in the doctrine of substance and accidents, and show of what use they are in deciding of questions in philosophy.


 

A vacuum beyond the   utmost bounds of body.
 

 

§ 21. But to return to our idea of space. If body be not supposed infinite, which I think no one will affirm, I would ask, Whether, if God placed a man at the extremity of corporeal beings, he could not stretch his hand beyond his body? If he could, then he would put his arm where there was before space without body; and if there he spread his fingers, there would still be space between them without body. If he could not stretch out his hand, it must be because of some external hindrance; for we suppose him alive, with such a power of moving the parts of his body that he hath now, which is not in itself impossible, if God so pleased to have it; (or at least it is not impossible for God so to move him:) and then I ask, Whether that which hinders his hand from moving outwards be substance or accident, something or nothing? And when they have resolved that, they will be able to resolve themselves what that is, which is or may be between two bodies at a distance, that is not body, and has no solidity. In the mean time, the argument is at least as good, that where nothing hinders (as beyond the utmost bounds of all bodies) a body put in motion may move on; as where there is nothing between, there two bodies must necessarily touch; for pure space between, is sufficient to take away the necessity of mutual contact: but bare space in the way, is not sufficient to stop motion. The truth is, these men must either own that they think body infinite, though they are loth to speak it out, or else affirm that space is not body. For I would fain meet with that thinking man, that can in his thoughts set any bounds to space, more than he can to duration; or by thinking hope to arrive at the end of either: and therefore, if his idea of eternity be infinite, so is his idea of immensity; they are both finite or infinite alike.


 

The power of   annihilation proves a vacuum.
 

 

§ 22. Farther, those who assert the impossibility of space existing without matter, must not only make body infinite, but must also deny a power in God to annihilate any part of matter. No one, I suppose, will deny that God can put an end to all motion that is in matter, and fix all the bodies of the universe in a perfect quiet and rest, and continue them so long as he pleases. Who ever then will allow, that God can, during such a general rest, annihilate either this book, or the body of him that reads it, must necessarily admit the possibility of a vacuum; for it is evident, that the space that was filled by the parts of the annihilated body, will still remain, and be a space without body. For the circumambient bodies being in perfect rest, are a wall of adamant, and in that state make it a perfect impossibility for any other body to get into that space. And indeed the necessary motion of one particle of matter into the place from whence another particle of matter is removed, is but a consequence from the supposition of plenitude: which will therefore need some better proof than a supposed matter of fact, which experiment can never make out: our own clear and distinct ideas plainly satisfying us, that there is no necessary connexion between space and solidity, since we can conceive the one without the other. And those who dispute for or against a vacuum, do thereby confess they have distinct ideas of vacuum and plenum, i. e. that they have an idea of extension void of solidity, though they deny its existence: or else they dispute about nothing at all. For they who so much alter the signification of words, as to call extension body, and consequently make the whole essence of body to be nothing but pure extension without solidity, must talk absurdly whenever they speak of vacuum, since it is impossible for extension to be without extension. For vacuum, whether we affirm or deny its existence, signifies space without body, whose very existence no one can deny to be possible, who will not make matter infinite, and take from God a power to annihilate any particle of it.


 

Motion proves a   vacuum.
 

 

§ 23. But not to go so far as beyond the utmost bounds of body in the universe, nor appeal to God’s omnipotency, to find a vacuum, the motion of bodies that are in our view and neighbourhood seems to me plainly to evince it. For I desire any one so to divide a solid body, of any dimension he pleases, as to make it possible for the solid parts to move up and down freely every way within the bounds of that superficies, if there be not left in it a void space, as big as the least part into which he has divided the said solid body. And if where the least particle of the body divided is as big as a mustard-seed, a void space equal to the bulk of a mustard-seed be requisite to make room for the free motion of the parts of the divided body within the bounds of its superficies, where the particles of matter are 100,000,000 less than a mustard-seed; there must also be a space void of solid matter, as big as 100,000,000 part of a mustard-seed; for if it hold in one, it will hold in the other, and so on in infinitum. And let this void space be as little as it will, it destroys the hypothesis of plenitude. For if there can be a space void of body equal to the smallest separate particle of matter now existing in nature, it is still space without body; and makes as great a difference between space and body, as if it were μέγα χάσμα, a distance as wide as any in nature. And therefore, if we suppose not the void space necessary to motion equal to the least parcel of the divided solid matter, but to 1/10 or 1/1000 of it; the same consequence will always follow of space without matter.


 

The ideas of space and   body distinct.
 

 

§ 24. But the question being here, “whether the idea of space or extension be the same with the idea of body,” it is not necessary to prove the real existence of a vacuum, but the idea of it; which it is plain men have when they inquire and dispute, whether there be a vacuum or no. For if they had not the idea of space without body, they could not make a question about its existence: and if their idea of body did not include in it something more than the bare idea of space, they could have no doubt about the plenitude of the world: and it would be as absurd to demand, whether there were space without body, as whether there were space without space, or body without body, since these were but different names of the same idea.


 

Extension being   inseparable from body, proves it not the same.
 

 

§ 25. It is true, the idea of extension joins itself so inseparably with all visible, and most tangible qualities, that it suffers us to see no one, or feel very few external objects, without taking in impressions of extension too. This readiness of extension to make itself be taken notice of so constantly with other ideas, has been the occasion, I guess, that some have made the whole essence of body to consist in extension; which is not much to be wondered at, since some have had their minds, by their eyes and touch (the busiest of all our senses) so filled with the idea of extension, and as it were wholly possessed with it, that they allowed no existence to any thing that had not extension. I shall not now argue with those men, who take the measure and possibility of all being, only from their narrow and gross imaginations: but having here to do only with those who conclude the essence of body to be extension, because they say they cannot imagine any sensible quality of any body without extension; I shall desire them to consider, that had they reflected on their ideas of tastes and smells, as much as on those of sight and touch; nay, had they examined their ideas of hunger and thirst, and several other pains, they would have found, that they included in them no idea of extension at all; which is but an affection of body, as well as the rest, discoverable by our senses, which are scarce acute enough to look into the pure essences of things.



§ 26. If those ideas, which are constantly joined to all others, must therefore be concluded to be the essence of those things which have constantly those ideas joined to them, and are inseparable from them; then unity is without doubt the essence of every thing. For there is not any object of sensation or reflection, which does not carry with it the idea of one: but the weakness of this kind of argument we have already shown sufficiently.


 

Ideas of space and   solidity distinct.
 

 

§ 27. To conclude, whatever men shall think concerning the existence of a vacuum, this is plain to me, that we have as clear an idea of space distinct from solidity, as we have of solidity distinct from motion, or motion from space. We have not any two more distinct ideas, and we can as easily conceive space without solidity, as we can conceive body or space without motion; though it be ever so certain, that neither body nor motion can exist without space. But whether any one will take space to be only a relation resulting from the existence of other beings at a distance, or whether they will think the words of the most knowing king Solomon, “The heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee;” or those more emphatical ones of the inspired philosopher St. Paul, “In him we live, move, and have our being;” are to be understood in a literal sense, I leave every one to consider: only our idea of space is, I think, such as I have mentioned, and distinct from that of body. For whether we consider in matter itself the distance of its coherent solid parts, and call it, in respect of those solid parts, extension: or whether, considering it as lying between the extremities of any body in its several dimensions, we call it length, breadth, and thickness; or else, considering it as lying between any two bodies, or positive beings, without any consideration whether there be any matter or no between, we call it distance; however named or considered, it is always the same uniform simple idea of space, taken from objects about which our senses have been conversant; whereof having settled ideas in our minds, we can revive, repeat and add them one to another as often as we will, and consider the space or distance so imagined, either as filled with solid parts, so that another body cannot come there, without displacing and thrusting out the body that was there before; or else as void of solidity, so that a body of equal dimensions to that empty or pure space may be placed in it, without the removing or expulsion of any thing that was there. But, to avoid confusion in discourses concerning this matter, it were possibly to be wished that the name extension were applied only to matter, or the distance of the extremities of particular bodies; and the term expansion to space in general, with or without solid matter possessing it, so as to say space is expanded, and body extended. But in this every one has liberty: I propose it only for the more clear and distinct way of speaking.


 

Men differ little in   clear simple ideas.
 

 

§ 28. The knowing precisely what our words stand for, would, I imagine, in this as well as a great many other cases, quickly end the dispute. For I am apt to think that men, when they come to examine them, find their simple ideas all generally to agree, though in discourse with one another they perhaps confound one another with different names. I imagine that men who abstract their thoughts, and do well examine the ideas of their own minds, cannot much differ in thinking; however they may perplex themselves with words, according to the way of speaking of the several schools or sects they have been bred up in: though amongst unthinking men, who examine not scrupulously and carefully their own ideas, and strip them not from the marks men use for them, but confound them with words, there must be endless dispute, wrangling, and jargon; especially if they be learned bookish men, devoted to some sect, and accustomed to the language of it, and have learned to talk after others. But if it should happen, that any two thinking men should really have different ideas, I do not see how they could discourse or argue one with another. Here I must not be mistaken, to think that every floating imagination in men’s brains is presently of that sort of ideas I speak of. It is not easy for the mind to put off those confused notions and prejudices it has imbibed from custom, inadvertency, and common conversation: It requires pains and assiduity to examine its ideas, till it resolves them into those clear and distinct simple ones, out of which they are compounded; and to see which, amongst its simple ones, have or have not a necessary connexion and dependence one upon another. Till a man doth this in the primary and original notion of things, he builds upon floating and uncertain principles, and will often find himself at a loss.



 

CHAPTER XIV

Of Duration, and its simple Modes





 

Duration is fleeting   extension.
 

 

§ 1. There is another sort of distance or length, the idea whereof we get not from the permanent parts of space, but from the fleeting and perpetually perishing parts of succession. This we call duration, the simple modes whereof are any different lengths of it, whereof we have distinct ideas, as hours, days, years, etc. time and eternity.


 

Its idea from   reflection on the train of our ideas.
 

 

§ 2. The answer of a great man, to one who asked what time was, “Si non rogas intelligo,” (which amounts to this; the more I set myself to think of it, the less I understand it) might perhaps persuade one, that time, which reveals all other things, is itself not to be discovered. Duration, time, and eternity, are not without reason thought to have something very abstruse in their nature. But however remote these may seem from our comprehension, yet if we trace them right to their originals, I doubt not but one of those sources of all our knowledge, viz. sensation and reflection, will be able to furnish us with these ideas, as clear and distinct as many other which are thought much less obscure; and we shall find, that the idea of eternity itself is derived from the same common original with the rest of our ideas.



§ 3. To understand time and eternity aright, we ought with attention to consider what idea it is we have of duration, and how we came by it. It is evident to any one, who will but observe what passes in his own mind, that there is a train of ideas which constantly succeed one another in his understanding, as long as he is awake. Reflection on these appearances of several ideas, one after another, in our minds, is that which furnishes us with the idea of succession; and the distance between any parts of that succession, or between the appearance of any two ideas in our minds, is that we call duration. For whilst we are thinking, or whilst we receive successively several ideas in our minds, we know that we do exist; and so we call the existence, or the continuation of the existence of ourselves, or any thing else, commensurate to the succession of any ideas in our minds, the duration of ourselves, or any such other thing coexistent with our thinking.



§ 4. That we have our notion of succession and duration from this original, viz. from reflection on the train of ideas which we find to appear one after another in our own minds, seems plain to me, in that we have no perception of duration, but by considering the train of ideas that take their turns in our understandings. When that succession of ideas ceases, our perception of duration ceases with it; which every one clearly experiments in himself, whilst he sleeps soundly, whether an hour or a day, a month or a year: of which duration of things, while he sleeps or thinks not, he has no perception at all, but it is quite lost to him; and the moment wherein he leaves off to think, till the moment he begins to think again, seems to him to have no distance. And so I doubt not it would be to a waking man, if it were possible for him to keep only one idea in his mind, without variation and the succession of others. And we see, that one who fixes his thoughts very intently on one thing, so as to take but little notice of the succession of ideas that pass in his mind, whilst he is taken up with that earnest contemplation, lets slip out of his account a good part of that duration, and thinks that time shorter than it is. But if sleep commonly unites the distant parts of duration, it is because during that time we have no succession of ideas in our minds. For if a man, during his sleep, dreams, and variety of ideas make themselves perceptible in his mind one after another; he hath then, during such dreaming, a sense of duration, and of the length of it. By which it is to me very clear, that men derive their ideas of duration from their reflections on the train of the ideas they observe to succeed one another in their own understandings; without which observation they can have no notion of duration, whatever may happen in the world.


 

The idea of duration   applicable to things whilst we sleep.
 

 

§ 5. Indeed, a man having, from reflecting on the succession and number of his own thoughts, got the notion or idea of duration, he can apply that notion to things which exist while he does not think; as he that has got the idea of extension from bodies by his sight or touch, can apply it to distances, where no body is seen or felt. And therefore though a man has no perception of the length of duration, which passed whilst he slept or thought not; yet having observed the revolution of days and nights, and found the length of their duration to be in appearance regular and constant, he can, upon the supposition that that revolution has proceeded after the same manner, whilst he was asleep or thought not, as it used to do at other times; he can, I say, imagine and make allowance for the length of duration, whilst he slept. But if Adam and Eve (when they were alone in the world) instead of their ordinary night’s sleep, had passed the whole twenty-four hours in one continued sleep, the duration of that twenty-four hours had been irrecoverably lost to them, and been for ever left out of their account of time.


 

The idea of succession   not from motion.
 

 

§ 6. Thus by reflecting on the appearing of various ideas one after another in our understandings, we get the notion of succession; which, if any one would think we did rather get from our observation of motion by our senses, he will perhaps be of my mind, when he considers that even motion produces in his mind an idea of succession, no otherwise than as it produces there a continued train of distinguishable ideas. For a man looking upon a body really moving, perceives yet no motion at all, unless that motion produces a constant train of successive ideas: v. g. a man becalmed at sea, out of sight of land, in a fair day, may look on the sun, or sea, or ship, a whole hour together, and perceive no motion at all in either; though it be certain that two, and perhaps all of them, have moved during that time a great way. But as soon as he perceives either of them to have changed distance with some other body, as soon as this motion produces any new idea in him, then he perceives that there has been motion. But wherever a man is, with all things at rest about him, without perceiving any motion at all; if during this hour of quiet he has been thinking, he will perceive the various ideas of his own thoughts in his own mind, appearing one after another, and thereby observe and find succession where he could observe no motion.



§ 7. And this, I think, is the reason why motions very slow, though they are constant, are not perceived by us; because in their remove from one sensible part towards another, their change of distance is so slow, that it causes no new ideas in us, but a good while one after another: and so not causing a constant train of new ideas to follow one another immediately in our minds, we have no perception of motion; which consisting in a constant succession, we cannot perceive that succession without a constant succession of varying ideas arising from it.



§ 8. On the contrary, things that move so swift, as not to affect the senses distinctly with several distinguishable distances of their motion, and so cause not any train of ideas in the mind, are not also perceived to move: For any thing that moves round about in a circle, in less time than our ideas are wont to succeed one another in our minds, is not perceived to move; but seems to be a perfect entire circle of that matter or colour, and not a part of a circle in motion.


 

The train of ideas has   a certain degree of quickness.
 

 

§ 9. Hence I leave it to others to judge, whether it be not probable, that our ideas do, whilst we are awake, succeed one another in our minds at certain distances, not much unlike the images in the inside of a lanthorn, turned round by the heat of a candle. This appearance of theirs in train, though perhaps it may be sometimes faster, and sometimes slower, yet, I guess, varies not very much in a waking men; there seem to be certain bounds to the quickness and slowness of the succession of those ideas one to another in our minds, beyond which they can neither delay nor hasten.



§ 10. The reason I have for this odd conjecture, is from observing that in the impressions made upon any of our senses, we can but to a certain degree perceive any succession; which, if exceeding quick, the sense of succession is lost, even in cases where it is evident that there is a real succession. Let a cannon-bullet pass through a room, and in its way take with it any limb, or fleshy parts of a man; it is as clear as any demonstration can be, that it must strike successively the two sides of the room. It is also evident, that it must touch one part of the flesh first, and another after, and so in succession: And yet I believe nobody, who ever felt the pain of such a shot, or heard the blow against the two distant walls, could perceive any succession either in the pain or sound of so swift a stroke. Such a part of duration as this, wherein we perceive no succession, is that which we call an instant, and is that which takes up the time of only one idea in our minds, without the succession of another, wherein therefore we perceive no succession at all.



§ 11. This also happens, where the motion is so slow, as not to supply a constant train of fresh ideas to the senses, as fast as the mind is capable of receiving new ones into it; and so other ideas of our own thoughts, having room to come into our minds, between those offered to our senses by the moving body, there the sense of motion is lost; and the body, though it really moves, yet not changing perceivable distance with some other bodies, as fast as the ideas of our own minds do naturally follow one another in train, the thing seems to stand still, as is evident in the hands of clocks and shadows of sun-dials, and other constant but slow motions; where, though after certain intervals, we perceive by the change of distance that it hath moved, yet the motion itself we perceive not.


 

This train the measure   of other successions.
 

 

§ 12. So that to me it seems, that the constant and regular succession of ideas in a waking man is, as it were, the measure and standard of all other successions: whereof if any one either exceeds the pace of our ideas, as where two sounds or pains, etc. take up in their succession the duration of but one idea, or else where any motion or succession is so slow, as that it keeps not pace with the ideas in our minds, or the quickness in which they take their turns; as when any one or more ideas, in their ordinary course, come into our mind, between those which are offered to the sight by the different perceptible distances of a body in motion, or between sounds or smells following one another: there also the sense of a constant continued succession is lost, and we perceive it not but with certain gaps of rest between.


 

The mind cannot fix   long on one invariable idea.
 

 

§ 13. If it be so that the ideas of our minds, whilst we have any there, do constantly change and shift in a continual succession, it would be impossible, may any one say, for a man to think long of any one thing. By which, if it be meant, that a man may have one self-same single idea a long time alone in his mind, without any variation at all, I think, in matter of fact, it is not possible; for which (not knowing how the ideas of our minds are framed, of what materials they are made, whence they have their light, and how they come to make their appearances) I can give no other reason but experience: And I would have any one try whether he can keep one unvaried single idea in his mind, without any other, for any considerable time together.



§ 14. For trial, let him take any figure, any degree of light or whiteness, or what other he pleases; and he will, I suppose, find it difficult to keep all other ideas out of his mind: But that some, either of another kind, or various considerations of that idea (each of which considerations is a new idea) will constantly succeed one another in his thoughts, let him be as wary as he can.



§ 15. All that is in a man’s power in this case, I think, is only to mind and observe what the ideas are that take their turns in his understanding; or else to direct the sort, and call in such as he hath a desire or use of; but hinder the constant succession of fresh ones, I think, he cannot, though he may commonly choose whether he will heedfully observe and consider them.


 

Ideas, however made,   include no sense of motion.
 

 

§ 16. Whether these several ideas in a man’s mind be made by certain motions, I will not here dispute: but this I am sure, that they include no idea of motion in their appearance; and if a man had not the idea of motion otherwise, I think he would have none at all: which is enough to my present purpose, and sufficiently shows, that the notice we take of the ideas of our own minds, appearing there one after another, is that which gives us the idea of succession and duration, without which we should have no such ideas at all. It is not then motion, but the constant train of ideas in our minds, whilst we are waking, that furnishes us with the idea of duration: whereof motion no otherwise gives us any perception, than as it causes in our minds a constant succession of ideas, as I have before showed: And we have as clear an idea of succession and duration, by the train of other ideas succeeding one another in our minds, without the idea of any motion, as by the train of ideas caused by the uninterrupted sensible change of distance between two bodies, which we have from motion: and therefore we should as well have the idea of duration, were there no sense of motion at all.


 

Time is duration set   out by measures.
 

 

§ 17. Having thus got the idea of duration, the next thing natural for the mind to do, is to get some measure of this common duration, whereby it might judge of its different lengths, and consider the distinct order wherein several things exist, without which a great part of our knowledge would be confused, and a great part of history be rendered very useless. This consideration of duration, as set out by certain periods, and marked by certain measures or epochs, is that, I think, which most properly we call time.


 

A good measure of time   must divide its whole duration into equal periods.
 

 

§ 18. In the measuring of extension, there is nothing more required but the application of the standard or measure we make use of to the thing, of whose extension we would be informed. But in the measuring of duration, this cannot be done, because no two different parts of succession can be put together to measure one another: and nothing being a measure of duration but duration, as nothing is of extension but extension, we cannot keep by us any standing unvarying measure of duration, which consists in a constant fleeting succession, as we can of certain lengths of extension, as inches, feet, yards, etc. marked out in permanent parcels of matter. Nothing then could serve well for a convenient measure of time, but what has divided the whole length of its duration into apparently equal portions, by constantly repeated periods. What portions of duration are not distinguished, or considered as distinguished and measured by such periods, come not so properly under the notion of time, as appears by such phrases as these, viz. before all time, and when time shall be no more.


 

The revolutions of the   sun and moon, the properest measures of time.
 

 

§ 19. The diurnal and annual revolutions of the sun, as having been, from the beginning of nature, constant, regular, and universally observable by all mankind, and supposed equal to one another, have been with reason made use of for the measure of duration. But the distinction of days and years having depended on the motion of the sun, it has brought this mistake with it, that it has been thought that motion and duration were the measure one of another: for men, in the measuring of the length of time, having been accustomed to the ideas of minutes, hours, days, months, years, etc. which they found themselves upon any mention of time or duration presently to think on, all which portions of time were measured out by the motion of those heavenly bodies; they were apt to confound time and motion, or at least to think that they had a necessary connexion one with another: whereas any constant periodical appearance, or alteration of ideas in seemingly equidistant spaces of duration, if constant and universally observable, would have as well distinguished the intervals of time, as those that have been made use of. For supposing the sun, which some have taken to be a fire, had been lighted up at the same distance of time that it now every day comes about to the same meridian, and then gone out again about twelve hours after, and that in the space of an annual revolution, it had sensibly increased in brightness and heat, and so decreased again; would not such regular appearances serve to measure out the distances of duration to all that could observe it, as well without as with motion? For if the appearances were constant, universally observable, and in equidistant periods, they would serve mankind for measure of time as well, were the motion away.


 

But not by their motion   but periodical appearances.
 

 

§ 20. For the freezing of water, or the blowing of a plant, returning at equidistant periods in all parts of the earth, would as well serve men to reckon their years by, as the motions of the sun: and in effect we see, that some people in America counted their years by the coming of certain birds amongst them at their certain seasons, and leaving them at others. For a fit of an ague, the sense of hunger or thirst, a smell or a taste, or any other idea returning constantly at equidistant periods, and making itself universally be taken notice of, would not fail to measure out the course of succession, and distinguish the distances of time. Thus we see that men born blind count time well enough by years, whose revolutions yet they cannot distinguish by motions, that they perceive not: and I ask whether a blind man, who distinguished his years either by the heat of summer, or cold of winter; by the smell of any flower of the spring, or taste of any fruit of the autumn; would not have a better measure of time than the Romans had before the reformation of their calendar by Julius Cæsar, or many other people, whose years, notwithstanding the motion of the sun, which they pretend to make use of, are very irregular? And it adds no small difficulty to chronology, that the exact lengths of the years that several nations counted by, are hard to be known, they differing very much one from another, and I think I may say all of them from the precise motion of the sun. And if the sun moved from the creation to the flood constantly in the equator, and so equally dispersed its light and heat to all the habitable parts of the earth, in days all of the same length, without its annual variations to the tropicks, as a late ingenious author supposes; I do not think it very easy to imagine, that (notwithstanding the motion of the sun) men should in the antediluvian world from the beginning, count by years, or measure their time by periods, that had no sensible marks very obvious to distinguish them by.


 

No two parts of   duration can be certainly known to be equal.
 

 

§ 21. But perhaps it will be said without a regular motion, such as of the sun, or some other, how could it ever be known that such periods were equal? To which I answer, the equality of any other returning appearances might be known by the same way that that of days was known, or presumed to be so at first; which was only by judging of them by the train of ideas which had passed in men’s minds in the intervals: by which train of ideas discovering inequality in the natural days, but none in the artificial days, the artificial days or νυχθήμερ¸α were guessed to be equal, which was sufficient to make them serve for a measure; though exacter search has since discovered inequality in the diurnal revolutions of the sun, and we know not whether the annual also be not unequal. These yet, by their presumed and apparent equality, serve as well to reckon time by (though not to measure the parts of duration exactly) as if they could be proved to be exactly equal. We must therefore carefully distinguish betwixt duration itself, and the measures we make use of to judge of its length. Duration in itself is to be considered as going on in one constant, equal, uniform course: but none of the measures of it, which we make use of, can be known to do so; nor can we be assured, that their assigned parts or periods are equal in duration one to another; for two successive lengths of duration, however measured, can never be demonstrated to be equal. The motion of the sun, which the world used so long and so confidently for an exact measure of duration, has, as I said, been found in its several parts unequal: And though men have of late made use of a pendulum, as a more steady and regular motion than that of the sun, or (to speak more truly) of the earth; yet if any one should be asked how he certainly knows that the two successive swings of a pendulum are equal, it would be very hard to satisfy him, that they are infallibly so: since we cannot be sure, that the cause of that motion, which is unknown to us, shall always operate equally; and we are sure that the medium in which the pendulum moves, is not constantly the same: Either of which varying, may alter the equality of such periods, and thereby destroy the certainty and exactness of the measure by motion, as well as any other periods of other appearances; the notion of duration still remaining clear, though our measures of it cannot any of them be demonstrated to be exact. Since then no two portions of succession can be brought together, it is impossible ever certainly to know their equality. All that we can do for a measure of time is to take such as have continual successive appearances at seemingly equidistant periods; of which seeming equality we have no other measure, but such as the train of our own ideas have lodged in our memories, with the concurrence of other probable reasons to persuade us of their equality.


 

Time not the measure   of motion.
 

 

§ 22. One thing seems strange to me, that whilst all men manifestly measured time by the motion of the great and visible bodies of the world, time yet should be defined to be the “measure of motion;” whereas it is obvious to every one who reflects ever so little on it, that to measure motion, space is as necessary to be considered as time: and those who look a little farther, will find also the bulk of the thing moved necessary to be taken into the computation, by any one who will estimate or measure motion, so as to judge right of it. Nor indeed does motion any otherwise conduce to the measuring of duration, than as it constantly brings about the return of certain sensible ideas, in seeming equidistant periods. For if the motion of the sun were as unequal as of a ship driven by unsteady winds, sometimes very slow, and at others irregularly very swift; or if being constantly equally swift, it yet was not circular, and produced not the same appearances, it would not at all help us to measure time, any more than the seeming unequal motion of a comet does.


 

Minutes, hours, days,   and years, not necessary measures of duration.
 

 

§ 23. Minutes, hours, days, and years, are then no more necessary to time or duration, than inches, feet, yards, and miles, marked out in any matter, are to extension: For though we in this part of the universe, by the constant use of them, as of periods set out by the revolutions of the sun, or as known parts of such periods, have fixed the ideas of such lengths of duration in our minds, which we apply to all parts of time, whose lengths we would consider; yet there may be other parts of the universe, where they no more use these measures of ours, than in Japan they do our inches, feet, or miles; but yet something analogous to them there must be. For without some regular periodical returns, we could not measure ourselves, or signify to others, the length of any duration, though at the same time the world were as full of motion as it is now, but no part of it disposed into regular and apparently equidistant revolutions. But the different measures that may be made use of for the account of time, do not at all alter the notion of duration, which is the thing to be measured; no more than the different standards of a foot and a cubit alter the notion of extension to those who make use of those different measures.


 

Our measure of time   applicable to duration before time.
 

 

§ 24. The mind having once got such a measure of time as the annual revolution of the sun, can apply that measure to duration, wherein that measure itself did not exist, and with which, in the reality of its being, it had nothing to do: for should one say, that Abraham was born in the two thousand seven hundred and twelfth year of the Julian period, it is altogether as intelligible, as reckoning from the beginning of the world, though there were so far back no motion of the the sun, nor any motion at all. For though the Julian period be supposed to begin several hundred years before there were really either days, nights, or years, marked out by any revolutions of the sun; yet we reckon as right, and thereby measure durations as well, as if really at that time the sun had existed, and kept the same ordinary motion it doth now. The idea of duration equal to an annual revolution of the sun, is as easily applicable in our thoughts to duration, where no sun or motion was, as the idea of a foot or yard, taken from bodies here, can be applied in our thoughts to distances beyond the confines of the world, where are no bodies at all.



§ 25. For supposing it were five thousand six hundred and thirty-nine miles, or millions of miles, from this place to the remotest body of the universe (for being finite, it must be at a certain distance) as we suppose it to be five thousand six hundred and thirty-nine years from this time to the first existence of any body in the beginning of the world; we can, in our thoughts, apply this measure of a year to duration before the creation, or beyond the duration of bodies or motion, as we can this measure of a mile to space beyond the utmost bodies; and by the one measure duration where there was no motion, as well as by the other measure space in our thoughts, where there is no body.



§ 26. If it be objected to me here, that, in this way of explaining of time, I have begged what I should not, viz. that the world is neither eternal nor infinite; I answer, that to my present purpose it is not needful, in this place, to make use of arguments, to evince the world to be finite, both in duration and extension; but it being at least as conceivable as the contrary, I have certainly the liberty to suppose it, as well as any one hath to suppose the contrary: and I doubt not but that every one that will go about it, may easily conceive in his mind the beginning of motion, though not of all duration, and so may come to a stop and non ultra in his consideration of motion. So also in his thoughts he may set limits to body, and the extension belonging to it, but not to space where no body is; the utmost bounds of space and duration being beyond the reach of thought, as well as the utmost bounds of number are beyond the largest comprehension of the mind; and all for the same reason, as we shall see in another place.


 

Eternity.
 

 

§ 27. By the same means therefore, and from the same original that we come to have the idea of time, we have also that idea which we call eternity: viz. having got the idea of succession and duration, by reflecting on the train of our own ideas, caused in us either by the natural appearances of those ideas coming constantly of themselves into our waking thoughts, or else caused by external objects successively affecting our senses; and having from the revolutions of the sun got the ideas of certain lengths of duration, we can, in our thoughts, add such lengths of duration to one another, as often as we please, and apply them, so added, to durations past or to come: and this we can continue to do on, without bounds or limits, and proceed in infinitum, and apply thus the length of the annual motion of the sun to duration, supposed before the sun’s, or any other motion had its being; which is no more difficult or absurd, than to apply the notion I have of the moving of a shadow one hour to-day upon the sun-dial to the duration of something last night, v. g. the burning of a candle, which is
now absolutely separate from all actual motion: and it is as impossible for the duration of that flame for an hour last night to co-exist with any motion that now is, or for ever shall be, as for any part of duration, that was before the beginning of the world, to co-exist with the motion of the sun now. But yet this hinders not, but that having the idea of the length of the motion of the shadow on a dial between the marks of two hours, I can as distinctly measure in my thoughts the duration of that candlelight last night, as I can the duration of any thing that does now exist: And it is no more than to think, that had the sun shone then on the dial, and moved after the same rate it doth now, the shadow on the dial would have passed from one hour-line to another, whilst that flame of the candle lasted.




§ 28. The notion of an hour, day, or year, being only the idea I have of the length of certain periodical regular motions, neither of which motions do ever all at once exist, but only in the ideas I have of them in my memory derived from my senses or reflection; I can with the same ease, and for the same reason, apply it in my thoughts to duration antecedent to all manner of motion, as well as to any thing that is but a minute, or a day, antecedent to the motion, that at this very moment the sun is in. All things past are equally and perfectly at rest; and to this way of consideration of them are all one, whether they were before the beginning of the world, or but yesterday: the measuring of any duration by some motion depending not at all on the real co-existence of that thing to that motion, or any other periods of revolution, but the having a clear idea of the length of some periodical known motion, or other intervals of duration in my mind, and applying that to the duration of the thing I would measure.



§ 29. Hence we see, that some men imagine the duration of the world, from its first existence to this present year 1689, to have been five thousand six hundred and thirty-nine years, or equal to five thousand six hundred and thirty-nine annual revolutions of the sun, and others a great deal more; as the Egyptians of old, who in the time of Alexander counted twenty-three thousand years from the reign of the sun; and the Chinese now, who account the world three millions two hundred and sixty-nine thousand years old, or more: which longer duration of the world, according to their computation, though I should not believe to be true, yet I can equally imagine it with them, and as truly understand, and say one is longer than the other, as I understand, that Methusalem’s life was longer than Enoch’s. And if the common reckoning of five thousand six hundred and thirty-nine should be true (as it may be as well as any other assigned) it hinders not at all my imagining what others mean when they make the world one thousand years older, since every one may with the same facility imagine (I do not say believe) the world to be fifty thousand years old, as five thousand six hundred and thirty-nine: and may as well conceive the duration of fifty thousand years, as five thousand six hundred and thirty-nine. Whereby it appears, that to the measuring the duration of any thing by time, it is not requisite that that thing should be co-existent to the motion we measure by, or any other periodical revolution; but it suffices to this purpose, that we have the idea of the length of any regular periodical appearances, which we can in our minds apply to duration, with which the motion or appearance never co-existed.



§ 30. For as in the history of the creation, delivered by Moses, I can imagine that light existed three days before the sun was, or had any motion, barely by thinking, that the duration of light, before the sun was created, was so long as (if the sun had moved then, as it doth now) would have been equal to three of his diurnal revolutions; so by the same way I can have an idea of the chaos, or angels being created, before there was either light, or any continued motion, a minute, an hour, a day, a year, or one thousand years. For if I can but consider duration equal to one minute, before either the being or motion of any body, I can add one minute more till I come to sixty: and by the same way of adding minutes, hours, or years (i. e. such or such parts of the sun’s revolutions, or any other period, whereof I have the idea) proceed in infinitum, and suppose a duration exceeding as many such periods as I can reckon, let me add whilst I will: which I think is the notion we have of eternity, of whose infinity we have no other notion, than we have of the infinity of number, to which we can add for ever without end.



§ 31. And thus I think it is plain, that from those two fountains of all knowledge before-mentioned, viz. reflection and sensation, we get ideas of duration, and the measures of it. For:



1.      Firstly, by observing what passes in our minds, how our ideas there in train constantly some vanish, and others begin to appear, we come by the idea of succession.

2.     Secondly, by observing a distance in the parts of this succession, we get the idea of duration.

3.     Thirdly, by sensation observing certain appearances, at certain regular and seeming equidistant periods, we get the ideas of certain lengths or measures of duration, as minutes, hours, days, years, etc.

4.     Fourthly, by being able to repeat those measures of time, or ideas of stated length of duration in our minds, as often as we will, we can come to imagine duration, where nothing does really endure or exist; and thus we imagine to-morrow, next year, or seven years hence.

5.     Fifthly, by being able to repeat ideas of any length of time as of a minute, a year, or an age, as often as we will in our own thoughts, and adding them one to another, without ever coming to the end of such addition any nearer than we can to the end of number, to which we can always add; we come by the idea of eternity, as the future eternal duration of our souls, as well as the eternity of that infinite Being, which must necessarily have always existed.

6.     Sixthly, by considering any part of infinite duration, as set out by periodical measures, we come by the idea of what we call time in general.





 

CHAPTER XV

Of Duration and Expansion, considered together





 

Both capable of   greater and less.
 

 

§ 1. Though we have in the precedent chapters dwelt pretty long on the considerations of space and duration; yet they being ideas of general concernment, that have something very abstruse and peculiar in their nature, the comparing them one with another may perhaps be of use for their illustration; and we may have the more clear and distinct conception of them, by taking a view of them together. Distance or space, in its simple abstract conception, to avoid confusion, I call expansion, to distinguish it from extension, which by some is used to express this distance only as it is in the solid parts of matter, and so includes, or at least intimates the idea of body; whereas the idea of pure distance includes no such thing. I prefer also the word expansion to space, because space is often applied to distance of fleeting successive parts, which never exist together, as well as to those which are permanent. In both these (viz. expansion and duration) the mind has this common idea of continued lengths, capable of greater or less quantities: for a man has as clear an idea of the difference of the length of an hour and a day, as of an inch and a foot.


 

Expansion not bounded   by matter.
 

 

§ 2. The mind, having got the idea of the length of any part of expansion, let it be a span, or a pace, or what length you will, can, as has been said, repeat that idea; and so, adding it to the former, enlarge its idea of length, and make it equal to two spans, or two paces, and so as often as it will, till it equals the distance of any parts of the earth one from another, and increase thus, till it amounts to the distance of the sun, or remotest star. By such a progression as this, setting out from the place where it is, or any other place, it can proceed and pass beyond all those lengths, and find nothing to stop its going on, either in, or without body. It is true, we can easily in our thoughts come to the end of solid extension; the extremity and bounds of all body we have no difficulty to arrive at: but when the mind is there, it finds nothing to hinder its progress into this endless expansion; of that it can neither find nor conceive any end. Nor let any one say, that beyond the bounds of body, there is nothing at all, unless he will confine God within the limits of matter. Solomon, whose understanding was filled and enlarged with wisdom, seems to have other thoughts, when he says, “heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee:” and he, I think, very much magnifies to himself the capacity of his own understanding, who persuades himself, that he can extend his thoughts farther than God exists, or imagine any expansion where he is not.


 

Nor duration by motion.
 

 

§ 3. Just so is it in duration. The mind, having got the idea of any length of duration, can double, multiply, and enlarge it, not only beyond its own, but beyond the existence of all corporeal beings, and all the measures of time, taken from the great bodies of the world, and their motions. But yet every one easily admits, that though we make duration boundless, as certainly it is, we cannot yet extend it beyond all being. God, every one easily allows, fills eternity; and it is hard to find a reason, why any one should doubt, that he likewise fills immensity. His infinite being is certainly as boundless one way as another; and methinks it ascribes a little too much to matter, to say, where there is no body, there is nothing.


 

Why men more easily   admit infinite duration than infinite expansion.
 

 

§ 4. Hence, I think, we may learn the reason why every one familiarly, and without the least hesitation, speaks of, and supposes eternity, and sticks not to ascribe infinity to duration; but it is with more doubting and reserve, that many adm