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veries de

pends upon the different application of

their Facul


Difference of $.22. To conclude: Some Ideas forwardly offer themfelves to all Mens UnMens Difco- derftandings; fome forts of Truths refult from any Ideas, as foon as the Mind puts them into Propofitions; other Truths require a train of Ideas plac'd in order, a due comparing of them, and deductions made with attention before they can be difcover'd and affented to. Some of the first fort, because of their general and eafy reception, have been mistaken for innate; but the truth is, Ideas and Notions are no more born with us than Arts and Sciences, tho' fome of them indeed offer themselves to our Faculties more readily than others, and therefore are more generally receiv'd; tho' that too be according as the Organs of our Bodies and Powers of our Minds happen to be imploy'd: God having fitted Men with Faculties and Means to difcover, receive and retain Truths, according as they are imploy'd. The great difference that is to be found in the Notions of Mankind, is from the different use they put their Faculties to; whilft fome (and those the most) taking things upon truft, mifimploy their power of Affent, by lazily enflaving 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 fwallow. Others, imploying their Thoughts only about fome few things, grow acquainted fufficiently with them, attain great degrees of Knowledge in them, and are ignorant of all other, having never let their Thoughts loofe in the fearch 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 Propofitions that go for Principles; and yet there are Millions, however expert in other things, who know not this at all, because they never fet their Thoughts on work about fuch Angles: And he that certainly knows this Propofition, may yet be utterly ignorant of the Truth of other Propofitions, in Mathematicks it felf, which are as clear and evident as this; because, in his fearch of thofe mathematical Truths, he ftop'd his Thoughts fhort, and went not so far. The fame may happen concerning the Notions we have of the Being of a Deity; for tho' there be no Truth which a Man may more evidently make out to himself than the Existence of a God; yet he that fhall content himself with things, as he finds them in this World, as they minifter to his Pleasures and Paffions, and not make inquiry a little farther into their Caufes, Ends and admirable Contrivances, and purfue the Thoughts thereof with Diligence and Attention, may live long without any Notion of fuch a Being. And if any Perfon hath by talk put fuch a Notion into his Head, he may perhaps believe it ; but if he hath never examin'd it, his knowledg 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 truft, without examining the Demonftration, and may yield his Affent as a probable Opinion, but hath no knowledg of the Truth of it; which yet his Faculties, if carefully imploy'd, were able to make clear and evident to him. But this only by the by, to thew how much our Knowledg depends upon the right use of thofe Powers Nature hath bestow'd upon us, and how little upon fuch innate Principles, as are in vain fuppos'd to be in all Mankind for their Direction; which all Men could not but know, if they were there, or elfe they would be there to no purpose: And which fince all Men do not know, nor can distinguish from other adventitious Truths, we may well conclude there are no fuch.

Men must

think and know for themselves.

§. 23. What Cenfure, doubting thus of innate Principles, may deserve from Men, who will be apt to call it pulling up the old Foundations of Knowledg and Certainty, I cannot tell; I perfuade my felf at leaft, that the way I have purfu'd, being conformable to Truth, lays thofe Foundations furer. This I am certain, I have not made it my business either to quit or follow any Authority in the ensuing Difcourfe: Truth has been my only Aim, and wherever that has appear'd to lead, my Thoughts have impartially follow'd, without minding whether the Footsteps of any other lay that way or no. Not that I want a due refpect to other Mens Opinions; but after all, the greatest Reverence is due to Truth and I hope it will not be thought Arrogance to fay, that perhaps we should make greater progrefs in the Discovery of rational and contemplative Knowledg, if we fought it in the Fountain, in the Confideration of things themselves, and made ufe rather of our own Thoughts than other Mens to find

it: For I think we may as rationally hope to fee with other Mens Eyes, as to know by other Mens Understandings. So much as we our felves confider and comprehend of Truth and Reafon, fo much we poffefs of real and true Knowledg. The floating of other Mens Opinions in our Brains, makes us not one jot the more knowing, tho' they happen to be true. What in them was Science, is in us but Opiniatrety; whilft we give up our Affent only to Reverend Names, and do not, as they did, imploy our own Reason to understand those Truths which gave them Reputation. Ariftotle was certainly a knowing Man; but no body ever thought him fo, because he blindly embrac'd, and confidently vented the Opinions of another. And if the taking up of another's Principles, without examining them, made not him a Philofopher, I fuppofe it will hardly make any body elle fo. In the Sciences, every one has fo much as he really knows and comprehends: What he believes only, and takes upon truft, are but fhreds; which, however well in the whole piece, make no confiderable addition to his ftock who gathers them. Such borrow'd Wealth, like Fairymony, tho' it were Gold in the Hand from which he receiv'd it, will be but Leaves and Duft when it comes to ufe.

24. When Men have found fome general Propofitions, that could not be Whence the Gdoubted of as foon as understood, it was, I know, a fhort and easy way to con- pinion of include them innate. This being once receiv'd, it eas'd the Lazy from the pains of nate Principles. fearch, and ftop'd the Inquiry of the Doubtful concerning all that was once Mafters and Teachers, to make this the Principle of Principles, That Principles must not be queftion'd; for having once eftablifh'd this Tenet, that there are innate Principles, it put their Followers upon a neceffity of receiving fome Doarines as fuch; which was to take them off from the ufe of their own Reafon and Judgment, and put them on believing and taking them upon truft, withoutfarther examination: In which pofture of blind Credulity, they might be more eafily govern'd by, and made ufeful to fome fort of Men, who had the Skill and Office to principle and guide them. Nor is it a fmall Power it gives one Man over another, to have the Authority to be the Dictator of Principles and. ftil'd innate. And it was of no fmall advantage to those who affected to be Teacher of unquestionable Truths, and to make a Man fwallow that for an innate Principle, which may ferve to his purpose who teacheth them; whereas had they examin'd the ways whereby Men came to the knowledg of many univerfal Truths, they would have found them to refult in the Minds of Men from the being of things themfelves, when duly confider'd; and that they were difcover'd by the application of thofe Faculties, that were fitted by nature to receive and judg of them, when duly imploy'd about them.


§. 25. To shew how the Understanding proceeds herein, is the Defign of the following Difcourfe; which I fhall proceed to, when I have first premis'd, that hitherto, to clear my way to thofe Foundations which I conceive are the only true ones whereon to cftablish thofe Notions we can have of our own Knowledg, it hath been neceffary for me to give an account of the Reafons I had to doubt of innate Principles. And fince the Arguments which are against them do fome of them rife from common receiv'd Opinions, I have been forc'd to take feveral things for granted, which is hardly avoidable to any one, whofe Task it is to fhew the falfhood or improbability of any Tenet: it happening in Controverfial Difcourfes, as it does in affaulting of Towns, where if the Ground be but firm whereon the Batteries are erected,there is no farther Inquiry of whom it is borrow'd,nor whom it belongs to, fo it affords but a fit rife for the prefent purpose. But in the future part of this Difcourfe, defigning to raife an Edifice uniform and confiftent with it felf, as far as my own Experience and Obfervation will affift me, I hope to erect it on fuch a Balis, that I fhall not need to fhore it up with Props and Buttreffes, leaning on borrow'd or beg'd Foundations; or at leaft, if mine prove a Caftle in the Air, I will endeavour it fhall be all of a piece,and hang together. Wherein I warn the Reader not to expect undeniable cogent Demonftrations, unless I may be allow'd the Privilege, not feldom affum'd by others, to take my Principles for granted; and then, I doubt not, but I can demonftrate too. All that I fhall fay for the Principles I proceed on, is, that I can only appeal to Men's own unprejudic'd Experience and Obfervation, whether they be true or no; and this is enough for a Man who profeffes no more, than to lay down candidly and freely his own ConjeEtures, concerning a Subject lying fomewhat in the dark, without any other defign than an unbiafs'd Inquiry after Truth.



Idea is the §. 1.
Object of

All Ideas

come from

Senfation or



Of Ideas in general, and their Original.


VERY Man being conscious to himself that he Thinks, and that which his Mind is apply'd about whilft thinking, being the Ideas that are there, 'tis paft doubt that Men have in their Minds feveral Ideas, fuch as are thofe exprefs'd by the words, Whiteness, Hardness, Sweetness, Thinking, Motion, Man, Elephant, Army, Drunkenness, and others. It is in the first place then to be enquir'd, how he comes by them? I know it is a receiv'd Doctrine, that Men have native Ideas and original Characters stamp'd upon their Minds in their very firft Being. This Opinion I have at large examin'd already; and, I fuppofe, what I have faid in the foregoing Book will be much more cafily admitted, when I have fhewn 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 fhall appeal to every one's own Obfervation and Experience. §. 2. Let us then fuppofe the Mind to be, as we fay, White-Paper, void of all Characters, without any Ideas; how comes it to be furnish'd? Whence comes it by that vaft ftore which the bufy and boundlefs Fancy of Man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the Materials of Reafon and Knowledge? To this I anfwer, in one word, from Experience ; In that all our Knowledg is founded, and from that it ultimately derives it self. Our Obfervation employ'd either about External fenfible Objects, or about the Internal Operations of our Minds, perceiv'd and reflected on by our felves, is that which supplies our Understandings with all the Materials of thinking. These two are the Fountains of Knowledg, from whence all the Ideas we have, or can naturally have, do fpring.

The Objects of §. 3. First, Our Senfes, converfant about particular fenfible Objects, do convey Senfation one into the Mind feveral diftin&t Perceptions of Things, according to thofe various Source of ways wherein thofe 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 fenfible Qualities; which when I fay the Senfes convey into the Mind, I mean, they from External Objects convey into the Mind what produces there thofe Perceptions. This great fource of moft of the Ideas we have, depending wholly upon cur Senfes, and deriv'd by them to the Understanding, I call SENSATION.

The Operations of cur Minds the other Source of


§. 4. Secondly, The other Fountain, from which Experience furnifheth the Understanding with Ideas, is the Perception of the Operations of our own Mind within us, as it is employ'd about the Ideas it has got; which Operations when the Soul comes to reflect on and confider, do furnish the Understanding with another fer of Ideas, which could not be had from Things without; and fuch are Perception, Thinking, Doubting, Believing, Reasoning, Knowing, Willing, and all the different actings of our own Minds; which we being confcious of and obferving in our felves, do from thefe receive into our Understandings as diftin&t Ideas, as we do from Bodies affecting cur Senfes. This fource of Ideas every Man has wholly in himfelf: and tho' it be not Senfe, as having nothing to do with External Objects, yet it is very like it, and might properly enough be


call'd Internal Senfe. But as I call the other Senfation, fo I call this REFLEC TION, the Ideas it affords being fuch only as the Mind gets by reflecting on its own Operations within it felf. By REFLECTION then, in the following part of this Difcourfe, 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 thefe Operations in the Understanding. These two, I fay, viz. External Material things, as the Objects of SE NSATION; 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 ufe in a large fenfe, as comprehending not barely the Actions of the Mind about its Ideas, but fome fort of Paffions arifing fometimes from them, fuch as is the fatisfaction or uneasiness arifing from any thought.

S. 5. The Understanding feems to me not to have the leaft glimmering of All our Ideas any Ideas, which it doth not receive from one of these two. External Objects are of the one furnish the Mind with the Ideas of fenfible Qualities, which are all thofe different or other of thefe. Perceptions they produce in us: And the Mind furnishes the Understanding with Ideas of its own Operations.

Thefe, when we have taken a full furvey of them and their feveral Modes, Combinations, and Relations, we fhall 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 thorowly fearch 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 Senfes, or of the Operations of his Mind, confider'd as Objects of his Reflection: And how great a mass of Knowledg foever he imagines to be lodg'd 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; tho' perhaps, with infinite variety compounded and enlarg'd by the Understanding, as we fhall fee hereafter.

§. 6. He that attentively confiders the state of a Child, at his first coming into Obfervable in the World, will have little reafon to think him ftor'd with plenty of Ideas, that Children. are to be the matter of his future Knowledg: 'Tis by degrees he comes to be furnish'd with them. And tho' the Ideas of obvious and familiar Qualities imprint themselves before the Memory begins to keep a Regifter of Time and Order; yet 'tis often fo late before fome unufual 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 order'd 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 furrounded with Bodies that perpetually and diverfly affect them; variety of Ideas, whether care be taken about it or no, are imprinted on the Minds of Children. Light and Colours are bufy at hand every where, when the Eye is but open; Sounds, and fome tangible Qualities fail not to follicite their proper Senfes, and force an entrance to the Mind: but yet, I think, it will be granted eafily, that if a Child were kept in a place where he never faw 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 tafted an Oyster or a Pine-Apple, has of thofe particular Relishes.

§. 7. Men then come to be furnifh'd with fewer or more fimple Ideas from Men are diffe without, according as the Objects they converse with, afford greater or lefs va- rently furriety; and from the Operations of their Minds within, according as they more nifh'd with or lefs reflect on them. For tho' he that contemplates the Operations of his ing to the difthefe, accordMind, cannot but have plain and clear Ideas of them; yet unless he turn his ferent ObThoughts that way, and confiders them attentively, he will no more have clear jects they con and diftinct Ideas of all the Operations of his Mind, and all that may be observed verse with. 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 fo plac'd, that they may come in his way every day; but yet he will have but a confus'd Idea of all the parts they are made up of, till he applies himself with attention to confider them each in particular.

Vol. I.


§. &.


Ideas of Re- §. 8. And hence we see the reason, why 'tis pretty late before most Children Rellion later, get Ideas of the Operations of their own Minds; and fome have not any very because they need Attenti- clear or perfe&t Ideas of the greateft part of them all their Lives: becaufe tho they pass there continually, yet like floating Vilions, they make not deep Impreffions enough to leave in the Mind clear diftin&t lafting Ideas, till the Understanding turns inwards upon it felf, reflects on its own Operations, and makes them the Object of its own Contemplation. Children, when they come first into it, are furrounded with a world of new things, which by a conftant follicitation of their Senfes, draw the Mind conftantly to them, forward to take notice of new, and apt to be delighted with the variety of changing. Objects. Thus the first Years are ufually employ'd and diverted in looking abroad. Mens bufinefs in them is to acquaint themselves with what is to be found without; and fo, growing up in a conftant Attention to outward Senfations, feldom make any confiderable Reflection on what pafles within them till they come to be of riper Years; and some scarce ever at all.

The Soul be

§. 9. To ask at what time a Man has firft any Ideas, is to ask when he begins gins to have to perceive; having Ideas, and Perception, being the fame thing. I know it is Ideas, when an Opinion, that the Soul always thinks, and that it has the actual Perception it begins to perceive. of Ideas in it felf conftantly as long as it exifts; and that actual Thinking is as infeparable from the Soul, as actual Extenfion is from the Body: which if true, to enquire after the beginning of a Man's Ideas, is the fame as to enquire after the beginning of his Soul. For by this account, Soul and its Ideas, as Body and its Extenfion, will begin to exift both at the fame time.

The Soul

§. 10. But whether the Soul be fuppos'd to exift antecedent to, or coeval thinks not al- with, or fome time after, the firft Rudiments or Organization, or the beginways; for this nings of Life in the Body; I leave to be difputed by thofe who have better wants Proofs. thought of that matter. I confefs my felf to have one of thofe dull Souls, that doth not perceive it felf always to contemplate Ideas; nor can conceive it any more neceffary 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 Effence,but one of its Operations. And therefore, tho' Thinking be fuppos'd ever fo much the proper Action of the Soul, yet it is not neceffary to fuppofe that it fhould be always thinking, always in action. That perhaps is the Privilege of the infinite Author and Preferver of Things, who never fumbers nor fleeps; but is not competent to any finite Being, at least not to the Soul of Man. We know certainly by Experience that we fometimes think, and thence draw this infallible Confequence, That there is fomething in us that has a Power to think: But whether that Subftance perpetually thinks or no, we can be no farther affur'd than Experience informs us. For to say that actual Thinking is effential to the Soul, and infeparable from it, is to beg what is in queftion, and not to prove it by Reafon; which is neceflary to be done, if it be not a felf-evident Propofition. But whether this, That the Soul always thinks be a felf-evident Propofition, that every body affents to at first hearing, I appeal to Mankind. "Tis doubted whether I thought all laft Night or no; the Question being about a Matter of Fact, 'tis begging it to bring as a proof for it, an Hypothesis which is the very thing in difpute; by which way one may prove any thing: and 'tis but fuppofing that all Watches, whilft the Ballance beats, think; and 'tis fufficiently prov'd, and paft doubt, that my Watch thought all laft Night. But he that would not deceive himself, ought to build his Hypothefis on Matter of Fact, and make it out by fenfible Experience, and not prefume on Matter of Fact, because of his Hypothefis; that is, because he fuppofes it to be fo: which way of proving amounts to this, That I must neceffarily think all laft Night, because another fuppofes I always think, tho' I my felf cannot perceive that I always do fo.

But Men in love with their Opinions may not only fuppofe what is in queftion, but alledg wrong Matter of Fact. How else could any one make it an · Inference of mine, that a thing is not, because we are not fenfible of it in our fleep? I do not say there is no Soul in a Man, because he is not fenfible of it in his fleep: But I do fay, he cannot think at any time waking or fleeping, without being fenfible of it. Our being fenfible of it is not neceflary to any thing, but


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