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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 to be received for such, which nobody yet ever put into that rank of innate principles.

SECT. 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, among 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 Japanese, 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. "virtues et 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 innate ; which is all I contend for.

SECT. 20. Obj.-innate principles may be corrupted, answered.-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 among 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 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 litle purpose; and we shall be as much at a loss with as without them, if they may, by any human power, such as 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, among various and contrary rules, not to know which is the right. 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 impressions from foreign opinions. Let them take which side they please, they will certainly find it inconsistent with visible matter of fact and daily observation.


SECT. 21. Contrary principles in the world.-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.

SECT. 22. How men commonly come by their principles.-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, or 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 those 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, selfevident, and innate truths.

SECT. 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.

SECT. 24. This will appear very likely, and almost unavoidably 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 calling; 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.

SECT. 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, skeptical, 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 his own thoughts, and the most reverenced by others?

SECT. 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 long been 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 foundatian 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, to dim his sight, as to take monsters lodged in his own brain for the images of the Deity, and the workmanship of his hands.

SECT. 27. Principles must be examined. By this progress now 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.



SECT. 1. Principles not innate, unless their ideas be innate.-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 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.

SECT. 2. Ideas, especially those belonging to principles, not born with children. If we will attentively consider new-born children, we shall have little reason to think that they bring many ideas 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, afterward, 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.

SECT. 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 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, et non esse," that makes a child distinguish between its mother and a stranger? or that makes it fond of the one and flee 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 nor 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 understanding. 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.

SECT. 4. Identity, an idea not innate.-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?

SECT. 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 show 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.

SECT. 6. Whole and part not innate ideas.-Let us examine that principle of mathematics, viz. "that a whole is bigger than a part." This, I take it, is reckoned among 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.

SECT. 7. Ideas of worship not innate.-"That God is to be worshipped," is, without doubt as great a truth as any can enter into the mind of man,

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