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Truths may be imprinted on the Mind, which it never did, nor ever fhall know: For a Man may live long, and die at laft 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 Impreffion 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 fpeaking; which, whilft it pretends to affert the contrary, fays nothing different from those who deny Innate Principles. For no body, I think, ever deny'd, that the Mind was capable of knowing feveral Truths. The Capacity, they fay, is Innate, the Knowledg acquir'd. But then to what end fuch Conteft for certain Innate Maxims? If Truths can be imprinted on the Underftanding without being perceiv'd, I can fee no difference there can be between any Truths the Mind is capable of knowing, in refpe&t of their Original: 'They muft all be Innate, or all Adventitious: In vain fhall a Man go about to diftinguish them. He therefore that talks of Innate Notions in the Understanding, cannot (if he intend thereby any diftinct fort of Truths) mean fuch Truths to be in the Underftanding, as it never perceiv'd, and is yet wholly ignorant of. For if these Words (to be in the Understanding) have any Propriety, they fignify to be understood. So that, to be in the Understanding, and not to be underftood; to be in the Mind, and never to be perceiv'd, is all one as to fay, any thing is, and is not, in the Mind or Understanding. If therefore these two Propofitions, Whatfoever is, is; and 'tis impoffible for the fame thing to be, and not to be, are by Nature imprinted, Children cannot be ignorant of them; Infants, and All that have Souls, muft neceffarily have them in their Understandings, know the Truth of them, and affent to it.

. 6. To avoid this, 'tis ufually anfwer'd, That all Men know and affent to them, when they come to the Ufe of Reason; and this is enough to prove them Innate. I answer,

come to the

§. 7. Doubtful Expreffions, that have fcarce any Signification, go for clear That Men Reasons, to thofe, who being pre-poffefs'd, take not the pains to examine even know them when they what they themselves fay. For to apply this Anfwer with any tolerable Senfe to our prefent Purpofe, it muft fignify one of thefe two things; either, That ufe of Reafon, as foon as Men come to the ufe of Reason, thefe fuppos'd native Infcriptions anfwer'd." come to be known, and obferv'd by them: or elfe, That the Ufe and Exercife of Men's Reasons affifts them in the Discovery of thefe Principles, and certain

ly makes them known to them.

that would not

§. 8. If they mean that by the Ufe of Reafon Men may discover thefe Princi- If Reafon difples; and that this is fufficient to prove them Innate; their way of arguing cover'd them, will ftand thus, (viz.) That whatever Truths Reafon can certainly discover to prove them us, and make us firmly affent to, thofe are all naturally imprinted on the Innate. Mind: fince that univerfal Affent, which is made the Mark of them, amounts to no more but this; That by the Ufe of Reafon we are capable to come to a certain Knowledg of, and Affent to them and by this means there will be no difference between the Maxims of the Mathematicians, and Theorems they deduce from them. All muft be equally allow'd Innate, they being all Discoveries made by the Ufe of Reafon, and Truths that a rational Creature may certainly come to know, if he apply his Thoughts rightly that way.

vers them.

§. 9. But how can thefe Men think the Ufe of Reafon neceffary to discover 'Tis falfe that Principles that are fuppos'd Innate, when Reafon (if we may believe them) is Reafon difconothing elfe, but the Faculty of deducing unknown Truths from Principles or Propofitions that are already known? That certainly can never be thought Innate, which we have need of Reafon to difcover, unlefs, as I have faid, we will have all the certain Truths, that Reafon ever teaches us, to be Innate. We may as well think the Ufe of Reafon neceffary to make our Eyes discover vifible Objects, as that there fhould be need of Reafon, or the Exercife thereof, to make the Underftanding fee what is originally engraven in it, and cannot be in the Understanding, before it be perceiv'd by it. So that to make Reason discover those Truths thus imprinted, is to fay, that the Ufe of Reason difcovers to a Man what he knew before; and if Men have thofe Innate imprefs'd Truths originally, and before the ufe of Reason, and yet are always ignorant of them till they come to the Ufe of Reafon, 'tis in effect to fay, that Men know, and know them not at the fame time.

6. 10.

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§. 10. 'Twill here perhaps be faid, That Mathematical Demonftrations, and other Truths that are not innate, are not affented to, as foon as propos'd, wherein they are diftinguifh'd from thefe Maxims, and other Innate Truths. I fhall have occafion to fpeak of Affent upon the first propofing, more particularly by and by. I fhall here only, and that very readily, allow that these Maxims, and Mathematical Demonftrations are in this different; That the one has need of Reafon ufing of Proofs, to make them out, and to gain our Affent; but the other, as foon as understood, are, without any the leaft reasoning, embrac'd and aflented to. But I withal beg leave to obferve, that it lays open the Weakness of this Subterfuge, which requires the Ufe of Reafon for the Discovery of these general Truths: Since it must be confefs'd, that in their Discovery there is no Ufe made of Reasoning at all. And I think those who give this Anfwer, will not be forward to affirm, That the Knowledg of this Maxim, That it is impoffible for the fame Thing to be, and not to be, is a Deduction of our Reafon. For this would be to deftroy that Bounty of Nature they feem fo fond of, whilft they make the Knowledg of thofe 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 fenfe be fuppos'd, that what was imprinted by Nature, as the Foundation and Guide of our Reafon, fhould need the Ufe of Reafon 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 Affent of the Mind to fome Truths, depends not, either on native Infcription, or the Use of Reafon; but on a Faculty of the Mind quite diftin&t from both of them, as we fhall fee hereafter. Reafon therefore having nothing to do in procuring our Affent to thefe Maxims, if by faying, that Men knowand affent to them, when they come to the Ufe of Reafon, be meant, That the Ufe of Reafon affifts us in the Knowledg of thefe Maxims, it is utterly falfe; and were it true, would prove them not to be Innate.

The coming to §. 12. If by knowing and affenting to them, when we come to the Ufe of Reason, the Uje of be meant, that this is the time when they come to be taken notice of by the Reafon, not Mind; and that as foon as Children come to the Ufe of Reason, they come alfo come to know to know and affent to thefe Maxims; this alfo is falfe and frivolous. First, It is thefe Max- falfe: Because it is evident, thefe Maxims are not in the Mind fo early as the Ufe of Reason: And therefore the coming to the Ufe of Reafon is falfly af fign'd, as the Time of their Discovery. How many Inftances of the Ufe of Reason, may we obferve in Children,long time before they have any knowledg of this Maxim, That it is impoffible for the fame thing to be, and not to be? And a great part of illiterate People, and Savages, pafs many Years, even of their rational Age, without ever thinking on this, and the like general Propofitions. I grant, Men come not to the knowledg of thefe 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 fo, because till after they come to the Ufe of Reason, those general abstract Ideas are not fram'd in the Mind, about which thofe general Maxims are, which are mistaken for Innate Principles, but are indeed Discoveries made, and Verities introduc'd, and brought into the Mind by the fame Way, and difcover'd by the fame Steps, as feveral other Propofitions, which no body was ever fo extravagant as to fuppofe Innate. This I hope to make plain in the fequel of this Difcourfe. I allow therefore a Neceffity, that Men fhould come to the Ufe of Reafon, before they get the Knowledg of thofe general Truths; but deny, that Men's coming to the Use of Reafon is the time of their Discovery.

By this, they §. 13. In the mean time it is obfervable, that this Saying, that Men know, and are not diftin- affent to thele Maxims, when they come to the Ufe of Reafon, amounts, in reality guish'd from other know- of Fact, to no more but this, That they are never known, nor taken notice of, able Truths. before the Ufe of Reafon, but may poffibly be affented to fome time after, during

a Man's Life; but when, is uncertain: And fo may all other knowable Truths, as well as these which therefore have no Advantage, nor Diftinction from others, by this Note of being known when we come to the Ufe of Reafon; nor are thereby prov'd to be Innate, but quite the contrary.

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them Innate.

§. 14. But, Secondly, Were it true, that the precife time of their being If coming to known, and aftented to, were, when Men come to the Use of Reafon; neither the Ufe of would that prove them Innate. This Way of arguing is fo frivolous, as the the time of Reafon were Suppofition of it felf is falfe. For by what kind of Logick will it appear, that their Discove any Notion is originally by Nature imprinted in the Mind in its firit Conftitu- ry, it would tion, because it comes firft to be observ'd, and affented to, when a Faculty of not prove the Mind, which has quite a diftinct Province, begins to exert it felf? And therefore, the coming to the Ufe of Speech, if it were fuppos'd the time that thefe Maxims are firft aflented to (which it may be with as much Truth, as the time when Men come to the Ufe of Reafon) would be as good a Proof that they were Innate, as to fay, they are Innate because Men affent to them, when they come to the Use of Reafon. I agree then with thefe Men of Innate Principles, that there is no Knowledg of thefe general and felt-evident Maxims in the Mind, till it comes to the Exercife of Realon: But I deny that the coming to the Ufe of Reason is the precife time when they are firft taken notice of; and if that were the precife time, I deny that it would prove them Innate. All that can with any Truth be meant by this Propofition, That Men affent to them when they come to the Ufe of Reafon, is no more but this, That the making of general abftra&t 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 ftand for them, till having for a good while exercis'd their Reason about familiar and more particular Ideas, they are by their ordinary Difcourfe and Actions with others, acknowledg'd to be capable of rational Converfation. If affenting to thefe Maxims, when Men come to the Ufe of Reafon, can be true in any other fenfe, I defire it may be fhewn; or at least, how in this, or any other fenfe it proves them Innate.

Mind attains

§. 15. The Senfes at firft let-in particular Ideas, and furnifh the yet empty The Steps by Cabinet: And the Mind by degrees growing familiar with fome of them, they which the are lodg'd in the Memory, and Names got to them. Afterwards the Mind feveral proceeding farther, abftracts them, and by degrees learns the Ufe of general Truths. Names. In this manner the Mind comes to be furnifh'd with Ideas and Language, the Materials about which to exercise its difcurfive Faculty: And the Ufe of Reafon becomes daily more visible, as these Materials that give it Employment increase. But tho' the having of general Ideas, and the Ule of general Words and Reafon ufually grow together; yet, I fee not, how this any way proves them Innate. The Knowledg of fome Truths, I confefs, is very early in the Mind; but in a way that fhews them not to be Innate. For, if we will obferve, we shall find it still to be about Ideas, not Innate, but Acquir'd: it being about thofe firft, which are imprinted by external Things, with which Infants have earliest to do, which make the most frequent Impreffions on their Senfes. In Ideas thus got, the Mind difcovers, That fome agree, and others differ, probably as foon as it has any Use of Memory; as foon as it is able to retain and receive diftinét Ideas. But whether it be then, or no, this is certain it does fo long before it has the Ule of Words, or comes to that which we commonly call the Ufe of Reafon. For a Child knows as certainly, before it can fpeak, the difference between the Ideas of Sweet and Bitter (i. e. That Sweet is not Bitter) as it knows afterwards (when it comes to fpeak) That Wormwood and Sugar-plumbs are not the fame thing.

§. 16. A Child knows not that Three and Four are equal to Seven, till he comes to be able to count to Seven, and has got the Name and Idea of Equality: and then upon explaining thofe Words, he prefently affents to, or rather perceives the Truth of that Propofition. But neither does he then readily affent, because it is an Innate Truth, nor was his Affent wanting till then, because he wanted the Ufe of Reafon ; but the Truth of it appears to him, as foon as he has fettled in his Mind the clear and diftin& Ideas that thefe Names ftand for : And then he knows the Truth of that Propofition, upon the fame grounds, and by the fame means, that he knew before, That a Rod and Cherry are not the fame thing; and upon the fame grounds alfo, that he may come to know afterwards, That 'tis impoffible for the fame thing to be, and not to be; as fhall be more fully fhewn hereafter. So that the later it is before any one comes to have thofe general Ideas about which thofe Maxims are; or to know the Signification of


and under


thofe general Terms that ftand for them; or to put together in his Mind the Ideas they ftand for: the later alfo will it be before he comes to affent to thofe Maxims, whofe Terms, with the Ideas they ftand for, being no more Innate than thofe of a Cat or a Weefel, he muft ftay till Time and Obfervation have acquainted him with them; and then he will be in a Capacity to know the Truth of these Maxims upon the firft occafion that fhall make him put together thofe Ideas in his Mind, and obferve, whether they agree or difagree, according as is exprefs'd in those Propofitions. And therefore it is, that a Man knows that Eighteen and Nineteen are equal to Thirty Seven, by the fame Selfevidence that he knows One and Two to be equal to Three: Yet a Child knows this not fo foon as the other, not for Want of the Ufe of Reason, but because the Ideas the Words Eighteen, Nineteen, and Thirty Seven ftand for, are not fo foon got, as those which are fignify'd by One, Two, and Three.

Alenting, as §. 17. This Evafion therefore of general Affent, when Men come to the ufe foon as propos'd of Reason, failing as it does, and leaving no difference between those fuppos'd food, proves Innate, and other Truths that are afterwards acquir'd. and learnt; Men have enthem not In- deavour'd to fecure an univerfal Affent to thofe they call Maxims, by faying, they are generally affented to as foon as propos'd, and the Terms they are propos'd in, understood: Seeing all Men, even Children, as foon as they hear and understand the Terms, affent to these Propofitions, they think it is fufficient to prove them Innate. For fince Men never fail, after they have once understood the Words, to acknowledg them for undoubted Truths, they would infer, That certainly these Propofitions were firft lodg'd in the Understanding; which, without any teaching, the Mind at the very firft Propofal immediately clofes with, and affents to, and after that never doubts again.

that One and

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If fuch an Af- 6. 18. In anfwer to this, I demand whether ready Affent given to a PropofiJent be a Mark tion upon first Hearing, and understanding the Terms, be a certain Mark of an of Innate,then Innate Principle? If it be not, fuch a general Affent is in vain urg'd as a Proof Two are equal of them: If it be faid, that it is a Mark of Innate, they muft then allow to Three; that all fuch Propofitions to be Innate, which are generally affented to as foon Sweetness is as heard, whereby they will find themselves plentifully ftor'd with Innate not Bitter- Principles. For upon the fame Ground (viz.) of Affent at first hearing Thousand the and understanding the Terms, That Men would have thofe Maxims pals for Inlike, must be nate, they muft alfo admit feveral Propofitions 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 Propofitions in Numbers, that every body affents 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 Propofitions made about feveral of them; but even Natural Philofophy, and all the other Sciences afford Propofitions, which are fure to meet with Affent as foon as they are understood. That two Bodies cannot be in the fame Place, is a Truth that no body any more fticks at, than at this Maxim, That it is impoffible for the fame thing to be, and not to be; That White is not Black; That a Square is not a Circle; That Yellowness is not Sweetness: Thefe, and a Million of other fuch Propofitions, as many at least as we have diftinct Ideas of, every Man in his Wits, at first hearing, and knowing what the Names ftand for, muft neceffarily affent to. If these Men will be true to their own Rule, and have Affent at first hearing and understanding the Terms, to be a Mark of Innate, they must allow not only as many Innate Propofitions as Men have diftin&t Ideas; but as many as Men can make Propofitions wherein different Ideas are denied one of another. Since every Propofition, wherein one different Idea is denied of another, will as certainly find Affent at first hearing and understanding the Terms, as this general one, It is impoffible for the fame to be, and not to be; or that which is the Foundation of it, and is the cafier understood of the two, The Jame is not different: By which account they will have Legions of Innate Propofitions of this one fort, without mentioning any other. But fince no Propofition can be Innate, unless the Ideas, about which it is, be Innate; this will be to fuppofe all our Ideas of Colours, Sounds, Taftes, Figure, &c. Innate; than which there cannot be any thing more oppofite to Reafon and Experience. Univerfal and ready Affent upon hearing and understanding the Terms, is (I grant) a Mark of Self-Evidence; but Self-evidence depending not on Innate Impreffions, but on fomething


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elfe (as we fhall fhew hereafter) belongs to feveral Propofitions, which no body was yet fo extravagant as to pretend to be Innate.

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§. 19. Nor let it be faid, that thofe more particular felf-evident Propofitions Such lefs gewhich are affented to at first hearing, as that One and Two are equal to Three; neral Propofi that Green is not Red, &c. are receiv'd as the Confequences of thofe more univer- before thefe fal Propofitions, which are look'd on as Innate Principles: fince any one who univerfal will but take the pains to obferve what paffes in the Understanding, will cer- Maxims. tainly find, that thefe and the like lefs general Propofitions, are certainly known and firmly affented to, by those who are utterly ignorant of thofe more general Maxims; and fo, being earlier in the Mind than thofe (as they are call'd) firft Principles, cannot owe to them the Affent, where with they are received at firft hearing.

§. 20. If it be faid that these Propofitions, viz. Two and Two are equal to One and One Four; Red is not Blue, &c. are not general Maxims, nor of any great ufe: I anfwer, equal to Two, That makes nothing to the Argument of univerfal Affent, upon Hearing and &c. not general nor useful, Understanding. For if that be the certain Mark of Innate, whatever Propofi- answer'd tion can be found, that receives general Affent as foon as heard and understood, that must be admitted for an Innate Propofition, as well as this Maxim, That it is impoffible for the fame 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 abftract Ideas being more ftrangers to our firft Apprehenfions, than thofe of more particular felf-evident Propofitions; and therefore 'tis longer before they are admitted and affented to by the growing Understanding. And as to the usefulness of these magnify'd Maxims, that perhaps will not be found fo great as is generally conceiv'd, when it comes to its due place to be more fully confider'd.

§. 21. But we have not yet done with Affenting to Propofitions at first hearing These Maxand understanding their Terms; 'tis fit we first take notice, that this, inftead of ims not being being a Mark that they are Innate, is a proof of the contrary: Since it fup- times till proknown Somepofes, that feveral who understand and know other things, are ignorant of thefe pofed, proves Principles till they are propos'd to them; and that one may be unacquainted them not Inwith thefe Truths till he hears them from others. For if they were Innate, nate, what need they be propos'd in order to gaining Affent; when by being in the Understanding, by a natural and original Impreffion (if there were any fuch)

they could not but be known before? Or doth the propofing them, print them clearer in the Mind than Nature did? If fo, then the Confequence will be, That a Man knows them better after he has been thus taught them, than he did before. Whence it will follow, that thefe Principles may be made more evident to us by others teaching, than Nature has made them by Impreffion 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 Knowledg, as they are pretended to be. This cannot be deny'd, that Men grow firft acquainted with many of these self-evident Truths, upon their being propos'd: But it is clear, that whofoever does fo, finds in himself, that he then begins to know a Propofition, which he knew not before, and which from thenceforth he never queftions; not because it was Innate, but because the confideration of the Nature of the things contain'd in thofe Words, would not fufter him to think otherwife; how, or whenfoever he is brought to reflect on them. And if whatever is affented to at first hearing and understanding the Terms, muft pafs for an Innate Principle, every wellgrounded Obfervation drawn from Particulars into a general Rule, muft be Innate. When yet it is certain, that not all, but only fagacious Heads light at first on thefe Obfervations, and reduce them into general Propofitions; not Innate, but collected from a preceding acquaintance and reflection on particular Inftances. Thefe, when obferving Men have made them, unobferving Implicitly Men, when they are propos'd to them, cannot refufe their Affent to. known before propofing, fig§. 22. If it be faid, the Understanding hath an implicit Knowledg of these nifies that the Principles, but not an explicit, before this firft hearing, (as they muft, who Mind is capawill fay, That they are in the Understanding before they are known) it will ble of underbe hard to conceive what is meant by a Principle imprinted on the Under- Standing ftanding implicitly; unless it be this, That the Mind is capable of under- fignifies nos ftanding thing.

Vol. I.


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