Billeder på siden

to our Thoughts; and to them it is, and to them it will always be neceffary, till we can think without being conscious of it.

of it.


[ocr errors]

§. 11. I grant that the Soul in a waking Man is never without Thought, be- It is not alcaufe it is the condition of being awake: but whether fleeping without dream- ways confcions ing be not an affection of the whole Man,Mind as well as Body,may be worth a waking Man's Confideration; it being hard to conceive, that any thing fhould think, and not be confcious of it. If the Soul doth think in a fleeping Man without being confcious of it, I ask, whether during fuch thinking it has any Pleafure or Pain, or be capable of Happiness or Mifery? I am fure the Man is not, no more than the Bed or Earth he lies on. For to be Happy or Miferable without being confcious of it, feems to me utterly inconfiftent and impoffible. Or if it be poffible that the Soul can, whilft the Body is fleeping, have its Thinking, Enjoyments and Concerns, its Pleasure or Pain apart, which the Man is not confcious of nor partakes in; it is certain that Socrates asleep and Socrates awake, is not the fame Perfon: but his Soul when he fleeps, and Socrates the Man, confifting of Body and Soul when he is waking, are two Perfons; fince waking Socrates has no Knowledg of, or Concernment for that Happiness or Mifery of his Soul which it enjoys alone by it felf whilft he fleeps, without perceiving any thing of it; no more than he has for the Happiness or Mifery of a Man in the Indies, whom he knows not. For if we take wholly away all Consciousness of our Actions and Senfations, especially of Pleasure and Pain, and the concernment that accompanies it, it will be hard to know wherein to place perfonal Identity.


without know

§. 12. The Soul, during found Sleep, thinks, fay thefe Men. Whilft it thinks If a fleeping and perceives, it is capable certainly of thofe of Delight or Trouble, as well Man thinks as any other Perceptions; and it must neceffarily be confcious of its own Perceptions. ing it, the But it has all this apart; the fleeping Man, 'tis plain is confcious of nothing fleeping and of all this. Let us fuppofe then the Soul of Caftor, while he is fleeping, retir'd waking Man from his Body; which is no impoffible fuppofition for the Men I have here to are two Perdo with, who fo liberally allow Life, without a thinking Soul, to all other Ani- fons. mals: These Men cannot then judge it impoffible, or a contradiction, that the Body fhould live without the Soul; nor that the Soul fhould fubfift and think, or have Perception, even Perception of Happiness or Mifery, without the Body, Let us then, as I fay, fuppofe the Soul of Caftor feparated, during his Sleep, from his Body, to think apart. Let us fuppofe too, that it chufes for its Scene of Thinking the Body of another Man, v. g. Pollux, who is fleeping without a Soul: For if Caftor's Soul can think, whilft Caftor is afleep, what Caftor is never confcious of, 'tis no matter what place it chufes to think in. We have here then the Bodies of two Men with only one Soul between them, which we will fuppofe to fleep and wake by turns; and the Soul ftill thinking in the waking Man, whereof the fleeping Man is never confcious, has never the leaft Perception. I ask then, whether Caftor and Pollux, thus with only one Soul between them, which thinks and perceives in one what the other is never confcious of, nor is concern'd for, are not two as diftin&t Perfons as Caftor and Her-. cules, or as Socrates and Plato were? And whether one of them might not be very happy, and the other very miferable? Juft by the fame reason they make. the Soul and the Man two Perfons, who make the Soul think apart what the Man is not confcious of. For I fuppofe no body will make Identity of Perfons to confift in the Soul's being united to the very fame numerical Particles of Matter; for if that be neceffary to Identity, 'twill be impoffible in that conftant. flux of the Particles of our Bodies, that any Man fhould be the fame Perfon two Days, or two Moments together.

5. 13. Thus, methinks, every drowsy Nod fhakes their Doctrine, who teach, Impossible to that the Soul is always thinking. Thofe at least who do at any time fleep without convince those dreaming, can never be convinc'd, that their Thoughts are fometimes for four that fleep Hours bufy without their knowing of it; and if they are taken in the very act, wak'd in the middle of that fleeping Contemplation, can give no manner of account of it.

without drea

ming, that

they think.

dream with

9. 14. Twill perhaps be faid, that the Soul thinks even in the foundelt Sleep, That Men but the Memory retains it not. That the Soul in a fleeping Man fhould be this out rememmoment buly a thinking, and the next moment in a waking Man, not remember bering it, in Vol. I. F 2 nor vain urg'd,

nor be able to recollect one jot of all thofe Thoughts, is very hard to be conceiv'd, and would need fome better proof than bare Affertion to make it be believ'd. For who can without any more ado, but being barely told fo, imagine, That the greatest part of Men do, during all their Lives, for feveral hours every day, think of fomething, which if they were ask'd, even in the middle of these Thoughts, they could remember nothing at all of? Moft Men, I think, pafs a great part of their fleep without dreaming. I once knew a Man that was bred a Scholar, and had no bad Memory, who told me, he had never dream'd in his Life till he had that Fever he was then newly recover'd of, which was about the five or fix and twentieth Year of his Age. I fuppofe the World affords more fuch Inftances: At least every one's Acquaintance will furnish him with Examples enough of fuch as pafs most of their Nights without dreaming. Upon this Hy- §. 15. To think often, and never to retain it fo much as one moment, is a very use pothefis the lefs fort of thinking: And the Soul, in fuch a ftate of thinking, does very little, Thoughts of a Sleeping Man if at all, excel that of a Looking-glafs which conftantly receives variety of ought to be Images, or Ideas, but retains none; they difappear and vanifh, and there remoft rational. main no foot-fteps of them; the Looking-glafs is never the better for fuch 1+deas, nor the Soul for fuch Thoughts: Perhaps it will be faid, that in a waking Man the Materials of the Body are employ'd, and made ufe of, in thinking; and that the memory of Thoughts is retain'd by the impreffions that are made on the Brain, and the traces there left after fuch thinking; but that in the thinking of the Soul, which is not perceiv'd in a fleeping Man, there the Soul thinks apart, and making no use of the Organs of the Body, leaves no impreffions on it, and confequently no memory of fuch Thoughts. Not to mention again the abfurdity of two diftin& Perfons, which follows from this Suppofition, I anfwer 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 elfe the Soul, or any feparate 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 ufe, and be able to recall them upon occasion; if it cannot reflect upon what is past, and make ufe of its former Experiences, Reafonings, 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 thofe do whom they condemn, for allowing it to be nothing but the fubtileft parts of Matter. Characters drawn on Duft, that the firft breath of Wind effaces; or Impreffions made on a heap of Atoms, or animal Spirits, are altogether as ufeful, and render the Subject as noble, as the Thoughts of a Soul that perifh in thinking; that once out of fight, are gone for ever, and leave no memory of themfelves behind them. Nature never makes excellent things for mean or no ufes: And it is hardly to be conceiv'd, that our infinitely wife Creator fhould make fo admirable a Faculty as the power of thinking, that Faculty which comes nearest the Excellency of his own incomprehenfible Being, to be fo idly and ufelefly employ'd, at least a fourth part of its time here, as to think conftantly, without remembering any of thofe Thoughts, without doing any good to it felf or others, or being any way ufeful to any other part of the Creation. If we will examine it, we fhall not find, I fuppofe, the motion of dull and fenflefs Matter any where in the Universe made fo little ufe of, and fo wholly thrown away.

[ocr errors]

On this Hypo

deas not de

§. 16. 'Tis true, we have fometimes inftances of Perception, whilst we are thefis the Soul afleep, and retain the memory of thofe Thoughts: But how extravagant and inmust have I coherent for the most part they are; how little conformable to the Perfection riv'd from and Order of a rational Being, thofe who are acquainted with Dreams need Senfation or not be told. This I would willingly be fatisfy'd in, Whether the Soul, when Reflection, of it thinks thus apart, and as it were feparate from the Body, acts lefs rationally which there is than when conjointly with it or no? If its feparate Thoughts be lefs rational, no appearance then thefe Men muft fay, That the Soul owes the perfection of rational Thinking to the Body: If it does not, 'tis a wonder that our Dreams fhould be, for the most part, fo 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, no body

§. 17. Those who fo confidently tell us, That the Soul always actually thinks, elfe can know I would they would alfo tell us what thofe Ideas are that are in the Soul of a



Child before, or juft at the union with the Body, before it hath receiv'd any by Senfation? The Dreams of fleeping Men are, as I take it, all made up of the waking Man's Ideas, tho' for the moft part oddly put together. 'Tis ftrange if the Soul has Ideas of its own, that it deriv'd not from Senfation or Reflection (as it must have, if it thought before it receiv'd any impreffions from the Body) that it fhould never, in its private thinking (fo 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 difcoveries. Who can find it reasonable that the Soul fhould, in its retirement, during fleep, have fo many hours thoughts, and yet never light on any of those Ideas it borrow'd not from SenSation or Reflection; or at leaft preferve the memory of none but fuch, which being occafion'd from the Body, muft needs be lefs natural to a Spirit? 'Tis ftrange the Soul fhould never once in a Man's whole Life recall over any of its pure native Thoughts, and those Ideas it had before it borrow'd 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 manifeftly derive their original from that union. If it always thinks, and fo had Ideas before it was united, or before it receiv'd any from the Body, 'tis not to be fuppos'd, but that during fleep it recolle&s its native Ideas; and during that retirement from communicating with the Body, whilft it thinks by it felf, the Ideas it is bufy'd about fhould be, fometimes at leaft, thofe more natural and congenial ones which it had in it felf, underiv'd from the Body, or its own Operations about them: which, fince the waking Man never remembers, we muft from this Hypothefis conclude, either that the Soul remembers fomething that the Man does not; or elfe that Memory belongs only to fuch Ideas as are deriv'd from the Body, or the Mind's Opérations about them.

ways thinks?

§. 18. I would be glad alfo to learn from thefe Men, who fo confidently pro- How knows nounce, that the human Soul, or which is all one, that a Man always thinks, any one that how they come to know it; nay, how they come to know that themselves think, the Soul alwhen they themselves do not perceive it? This, I am afraid, is to be fure without For if it be not Proofs; and to know, without perceiving: 'Tis, I fufpect, a confus'd Notion a felf-evident taken up to ferve an Hypothefis; and none of thofe clear Truths that either Propofition, it their own Evidence forces us to admit, or common Experience makes it impuneeds proof dence to deny. For the most that can be faid of it, is, That 'tis poffible the Soul may always think, but not always retain it in memory: And, I fay, it is as poffible that the Soul may not always think; and much more probable that it fhould fometimes not think, than that it fhould often think, and that a long while together, and not be conscious to it felf the next moment after, that it had thought.

and yet not


§. 19. To fuppofe the Soul to think, and the Man not to perceive it, is, as That a Man has been faid, to make two Perfons in one Man: And if one confiders well should be busy thefe Mens way of speaking, one fhould be led into a fufpicion that they do fo. in thinking, For they who tell us that the Soul always thinks, do never, that I remember, retain it the fay, That a Man always thinks. Can the Soul think, and not the Man? or a next moment, Man think, and not be confcious of it? This perhaps would be fufpected of very improbaFargon in others. If they fay, the Man thinks always, but is not always conIcious of it; they may as well fay, his Body is extended without having Parts. For 'tis altogether as intelligible to fay, that a Body is extended without Parts, as that any thing thinks without being confcious of it, or perceiving that it does fo. They who talk thus, may with as much reafon, if it be neceffary to their Hypothefis, fay, That a Man is always hungry, but that he does not always feel it: whereas Hunger confifts in that very Senfation, as Thinking confifts in be ing conscious that one thinks. If they fay, That a Man is always conscious to himself of thinking; I ask, how they know it? Confcioufnels is the Perception of what paffes in a Man's own Mind. Can another Man perceive that I am confcious of any thing, when I perceive it not my felf? No Man's Knowledg here can go beyond his Experience. Wake a Man out of a found Sleep, and ask him, What he was that moment thinking on? If he himself be conscious of nothing he then thought on, he must be a notable Diviner of Thoughts that can affure him that he was thinking: May he not with more reafon affure him he was not afleep? This is fomething beyond Philofophy; and it cannot be

[ocr errors]

on or

less than Revelation that discovers to another Thoughts in my Mind, when I can find none there my felf: And they must needs have a penetrating fight, who can certainly fee that I think, when I cannot perceive it my self, and when I declare that I do not; and yet can fee that Dogs or Elephants do not think, when they give all the demonftration of it imaginable, except only telling us that they do fo. This fome may fufpect to be a ftep beyond the Rofecrucians; it seeming easier to make one's felf invifible to others, than to make another's Thoughts vifible to me, which are not vifible to himself. But, 'tis but defining the Soul to be a Subftance that always thinks, and the bufinefs is done. If fuch definition be of any Authority, I know not what it can ferve for, but to make many Men fufpect, that they have no Souls at all, fince they find a good part of their Lives pafs away without thinking. For no Definitions, that I know, no Suppofitions of any Sect, are of force enough to deftroy conftant Experience; and perhaps 'tis the affectation of knowing beyond what we perceive, that makes fo much useless difpute and noife in the World.

No Ideas but §. 20. I fee no reafon therefore to believe, that the Soul thinks before the Senfes from Senfati- have furnish'd it with Ideas to think on; and as thofe are increas'd and retain'd, Refledilo it comes, by exercile, to improve its Faculty of thinking, in the feveral on, evident, if we obferve parts of it, as well as afterwards, by compounding thofe Ideas, and reflecting Children. on its own Operations; it increafes its Stock, as well as Facility, in remembering, imagining, reafoning, and other modes of thinking.

The original of all our Knowledg

§. 21. He that will fuffer himself to be inform'd by obfervation and experience, and not make his own Hypothefis the Rule of Nature, will find few figns of a Soul accuftom'd 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 fhould think fo much, and not reafon at all. And he that will confider, that Infants, newly come into the World, fpend the greateft part of their time in Sleep, and are feldom awake, but when either Hunger calls for the Teat, or fome Pain (the most importunate of all Senfations) or fome other violent Impreffion upon the Body forces the Mind to perceive, and attend to it: He, I fay, who confiders this, will, perhaps, find reafon to imagine, That a Fatus in the Mother's Womb differs not much from the State of a Vegetable; but pafles the greatest part of its time without Perception or Thought, doing very little but fleep in a Place where it needs not feek for Food, and is furrounded with Liquor, always equally foft, and near of the fame Temper; where the Eyes have no Light, and the Ears fo fhut up, are not very fufceptible of Sounds; and where there is little or no variety, or change of Objects to move the Senfes." §. 22. Follow a Child from its Birth, and obferve the alterations that time makes, and you fhall find, as the Mind by the Senfes comes more and more to be furnish'd with Ideas, it comes to be more and more awake; thinks more, the more it has matter to think on. After fome time it begins to know the Objects, which being moft familiar with it, have made lafting Impreffions. Thus it comes by degrees to know the Perfons it daily converfes with, and diftinguish them from Strangers; which are Inftances and Effects of its coming to retain and diftinguifh the Ideas the Senfes convey to it. And fo we may obferve how the Mind, by degrees, improves in these, and advances to the exercife of thofe other Faculties of enlarging, compounding, and abftrating its Ideas, and of reasoning about them, and reflecting upon all thefe; of which I fhall have occafion to speak more hereafter.

§. 23. If it fhall be demanded then, When a Man begins to have any Ideas? I think the true Anfwer is, When he firft has any Senfation. For fince there: appear not to be any Ideas in the Mind, before the Senfes have convey'd any in, I conceive that Ideas in the Understanding are coeval with Senfation; which is fuch an Impreffion or Motion, made in fome part of the Body, as produces fome Perception in the Understanding. 'Tis about thefe Impreffions made onour Senfes by outward Objects, that the Mind feems firft to employ it felf in fuch Operations as we call Perception, Remembering, Confideration, Reasoning, &c. §. 24. In time the Mind comes to reflect on its own Operations about the Ideas got by Senfation, and thereby ftores it felf with a new Set of Ideas, which I call Ideas of Reflection. These are the Impreffions that are made on our Senfes by outward Objects that are extrinfecal to the Mind; and its own Operations, proceed


ing from Powers intrinfecal and proper to it felf, which when reflected on by it felf, become alfo Objects of its contemplation, are, as I have faid, the Original of all Knowledg. Thus the firft Capacity of human Intellect, is that the Mind is fitted to receive the Impreffions made on it; either thro' the Senses by outward Objects; or by its own Operation when it reflects on them. This is the firft ftep a Man makes towards the Difcovery of any thing, and the ground-work whereon to build all thofe Notions, which ever he thall have naturally in this World. All thofe fublime Thoughts, which tower above the Clouds, and reach as high as Heaven it felf, take their rife and footing here: In all that great Extent wherein the Mind wanders, in thofe remote Speculations it may feem to be elevated with, it ftirs not one jot beyond thofe Ideas which Senfe or Reflection have offer'd for its Contemplation.

§. 25. In this Part the Understanding is merely paffive; and whether or no Inthe receptiit will have thefe Beginnings, and as it were Materials of Knowledg, is not in on of fimple Iits own power. For the Objects of our Senfes do, many of them, obtrude deas, the Understanding is their particular Ideas upon our Minds whether we will or no: and the Opera- for the most tions of our Minds will not let us be without, at leaft fome obfcure Notions part passive. of them. No Man can be wholly ignorant of what he does when he thinks. Thefe fimple Ideas, when offer'd to the Mind, the Understanding can no more refufe to have, nor alter, when they are imprinted, nor blot them out, and make new ones it felf, than a Mirror can refufe, alter, or obliterate the images. or Ideas which the Objects fet before it do therein produce. As the Bodies that furround us do diverfly affect our Organs, the Mind is forced to receive the Impreffions, and cannot avoid the Perception of those Ideas that are annex'd to them.



Of Simple Ideas:

HE better to understand the Nature, Manner, and Extent of our Uncompour Knowledg, one thing is carefully to be obferv'd concerning the Ideased Appeara we have; and that is, That Jome of them are fimple, and fome complex.

Tho' the Qualities that affect our Senfes are, in the things themselves, fo united and blended, that there is no feparation, no diftance between them; yet 'tis plain, the Ideas they produce in the Mind enter by the Senfes fimple and unmix'd. For tho' the Sight and Touch often take in from the fame Object, at the fame time, different Ideas; as a Man fees at once Motion and Colour; the Hand feels Softness and Warmth in, the fame piece of Wax: Yet the fimple Ideas, thus united in the fame Subject, are as perfectly diftinct as thofe that come in by different Senfes: The Coldness and Hardness which a Man feels in a piece of Ice, being as diftinct Ideas in the Mind, as the Smell and Whiteness of a Lilly; or as the Tafte of Sugar, and Smell of a Rofe. And there is nothing can be plainer to a Man, than the clear and diftin&t Perception he has of those fimple Ideas; which being each in it self uncompounded, contains in it nothing but one uniform Appearance, or Conception in the Mind, and is not diftinguishable into different Ideas.



§. 2. Thefe fimple Ideas, the Materials of all our Knowledg, are fuggefted The Mind can and furnished to the Mind only by thofe two Ways above-mention'd, viz. Sen- neither make fation and Reflection. When the Understanding is once ftor'd with thefe fimple nor destroy Ideas, it has the Power to repeat, compare, and unite them, even to an almost infinite Variety; and fo can make at pleasure new complex Ideas. But it is not in the power of the most exalted Wit, or enlarg'd Understanding, by a quicknefs or variety of Thought, to invent or frame one new fimple Idea in the Mind, not taken in by the ways aforemention'd: Nor can any Force of the Underftanding destroy thofe that are there. The Dominion of Man, in this little World of his own Understanding, being much-what the fame as it is in the great World of vifible Things; wherein his Power, however manag'd by Art and Skill, reaches no farther than to compound and divide the Materials that


« ForrigeFortsæt »