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the fame Notion having different Refpects, may be convenient or necessary to prove or illuftrate feveral Parts of the fame Difcourfe; and that fo it has happen'd in many Parts of this: But waving that, I halt frankly avow, that I have fometimes dwelt long upon the fame Argument, and express'd it different ways, with a quite different Defign. I pretend not to publish this Effay for the Information of Men of large Thoughts and quick Apprehenfions; to fuch Mafters of Knowledg, I profefs my Jelf a Scholar, and therefore warn them before-hand not to expect any thing here, but what being spun out of my own coarfe Thoughts, is fitted to Men of my own fize; to whom, perhaps, it will not be unacceptable, that I have taken fome pains to make plain and familiar to their Thoughts fome Truths, which establish'd Prejudice, or the Abftractness of the Ideas themfelves, might render difficult. Some Objects had need be turn'd on every fide; and when the Notion is new, as I confefs fome of these are to me, or out of the ordinary Road, as I fuffect they will appear to others, 'tis not one fimple View of it, that will gain it Admittance into every Understanding, or fix it there with a clear and lasting Impreffion. There are few, I believe, who have not obferv'd in themselves or others, that what in one way of propofing was very obfcure, another way of expreffing it has made very clear and intelligible: tho' afterward the Mind found little difference in the Phrafes, and wonder'd why one fail'd 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 Jame Truth fhall be equally relifh'd by every one in the fame Dress, may as well hope to feast every one with the fame fort of Cookery: The Meat may be the fame, and the Nourishment good, yet every one not be able to receive it with that Seafoning; and it must be dress'd another way, if you will have it go down with Some, even of Strong Conftitutions. The truth is, those who advis'd me to publish it, advis'd me, for this reafon, to publish it as it is: And fince I have been brought to let it go abroad, I defire it should be understood by whoever gives himself the Pains to read it. I have fo little Affection to be in Print, that if I were not flatter'd, this Effay might be of fome ufe to others, as I think it has been to me; I should have confin'd it to the View of fome Friends, who gave the firft Occafion to it. My appearing therefore in Print, being on purpofe to be as useful as I may, I think it necellary to make what I have to fay, as eafy and intelligible to all forts of Readers, as I can. And I had much rather the Speculative and Quick-fighted should complain of my being in fome parts tedious, than that any one, not accustom'd to abstract Speculations, or prepoffefs'd with different Notions, should mistake, or not comprehend my Meaning.

It will poffibly be cenfur'd as a great piece of Vanity or Infolence in me, to pretend to inftruct this our knowing Age; it amounting to little lefs, when I own, that I publish this Effay with hopes it may be useful to others. But if it may be permitted to speak freely of those, who with a feign'd Modefty condemn as useless, what they themselves write, methinks it favours much more of Vanity or Infolence, to publish a Book for any other End; and he fails very much of that Refpect he owes the Publick, who prints, and confequently expects Men fhould read that, wherein he intends not they should meet with any thing of ufe to themselves or others: And should nothing else be found allowable in this Treatife, yet my Defign will not ceafe to be fo; and the Goodness of my Intention ought to be fome Excufe for the Worthlefness of my Prefent. 'Tis that chiefly which fecures me from the Fear of Cenfure, which I expect not to escape more than better Writers. Mens Principles, Notions and Relishes are fo different, that it is hard to find a Book which plea


fes or difpleafes all Mcn. I acknowledg the Age we live in is not the least knowing, and therefore not the most eafy to be fatisfy'd. If I have not the good Luck to pleafe, yet no body ought to be offended with me. I plainly tell all my Readers, except half a dozen, this Treatife 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 fecurely: For Ifball find fome better way of pending my Time, than in fuch kind of Converfation. I shall always have the Satisfaction to have aim'd fincerely at Truth and Usefulness, tho' in one of the meanest ways. The Commonwealth of Learning is not at this time without Mafter-Builders, whofe mighty Defigns, in advancing the Sciences, will leave lafting Monuments to the Admiration of Pofterity: But every one must not hope to be a Boyle, or a Sydenham; and in an Age that produces fuch Mafters, as the Great Huygenius, and the Incomparable Mr. Newton, with fome other of that ftrain; 'tis Ambition enough to be imploy'd as an Under-Labourer in clearing Ground a little, and removing fome of the Rubbish that lies in the way to Knowledg: which certainly had been very much more advanc'd in the World, if the Endeavours of ingenious and induftrious Men had not been much cumber'd with the learned, but frivolous Ufe of uncouth, affected, or unintelligible Terms introduc'd into the Sciences, and there made an Art of, to that degree, that Philofophy, which is nothing but the true Knowledg of Things, was thought unfit, or uncapable to be brought into well-bred Company, and polite Converfation. Vague and infignificant Forms of Speech, and Abuse of Language, have fo long pass'd for Mysteries of Science; and hard or misapply'd words, with little or no meaning, have, by Prefcription, fuch a Right to be mistaken for deep Learning, and heighth of Speculation, that it will not be eafy to perfuade, either those who speak, or those who hear them, that they are but the Covers of Ignorance, and Hindrance of true Knowledg. To break in upon the Sanctuary of Vanity and Ignorance, will be, I fuppofe, fome Service to Human Understanding: Tho' fo few are apt to think, they deceive or are deceiv'd in the ufe of Words; or that the Language of the Sect they are of, has any Faults in it, which ought to be examin'd or corrected; that I hope I shall be pardon'd, if I have in the third Book dwelt long on this Subject; and endeavour'd to make it fo plain, that neither the Inveterateness of the Mijchief, nor the Prevalency of the Fashion, fhall be any Excufe for those, who will not take care about the meaning of their own words, and will not fuffer the Significancy of their Expreffions to be enquir'd into.

I have been told, that a fhort Epitome of this Treatife, which was printed 1688. was by fome condemn'd without reading, because innate Ideas were deny'd in it; they too haftily concluding, that if innate Ideas were not fuppos'd, 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 Treatife, I shall defire him to read it thorow; and then I hope he will be convinc'd, that the taking away falfe Foundations, is not to the Prejudice, but Advantage of Truth; which is never injur'd or endanger'd fo much, as when mix'd with, or built on Falfhood. In the Second Edition I added as followeth:


The Bookfeller will not forgive me, if I fay nothing of this Second Edition, which he has promis'd, by the Correctness of it, fhall make amends for many Faults committed in the former. He defires too, that it should be know, that it has one whole new Chapter concerning Identity, and many Additions and Amendments in other places. Thefe I must inform my Reader are not all new Matter, but most of them either farther Confirmation of what I had faid, or Explications, to prevent others being mistaken in the Sense of

Vol. I.



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 deferv'd as accurate a View as I was capable of: Thofe Subjects having, in all Ages, exercis'd the learned part of the World with Queftions and Difficulties, that have not a little perplex'd Morality and Divinity; thofe Parts of Knowledg, that Men are most concern'd to be clear in. Upon a clofer Inspection into the working of Mens Minds, and a stricter Examination of thofe Motives and Views they are turn'd by, I have found Reafon fomewhat to alter the Thoughts I formerly had concerning that, which gives the laft Determination to the Will in all voluntary Actions. This I cannot forbear to acknowledg to the World, with as much Freedom and Readiness, as I at first publish'd what then feem'd to me to be right, thinking my felf more concern'd to quit and renounce any Opinion of my own, than oppofe that of another, when Truth appears against it. For 'tis Truth alone I feek, and that will always be welcome to me, when or from whence foever it comes.

But what Forwardness foever I have to refign any Opinion I have, or to recede from any thing I have writ, upon the first Evidence of any Error in it ; yet this I must own, that I have not had the good Luck to receive any Light from thofe Exceptions I have met with in Print against any part of my Book; nor have, from any thing has been urg'd against it, found Reafon to alter my Senfe, in any of the Points have been question'd. Whether the Subject I have in band requires often more Thought and Attention, than curfory Readers, at least fuch as are prepoffefs'd, are willing to allow; or whether any Obscurity in my Expreffions cafts a Cloud over it, and thefe Notions are made difficult to others Apprehenfion 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 Juftice to my Reader and my felf, 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 imploy in reading; or else that I have writ mine fo obfcurely, that it is in vain to go about to mend it. Which ever of these be that Truth, 'tis my felf only am affected thereby, and therefore I shall be far from troubling my Reader with what I think might be faid, in answer to thofe feveral Objections I have met with, to Paffages here and there of my Book. Since I perfuade my felf, that he who thinks them of moment enough to be concern'd, whether they are true or falfe, will be able to fee, that what is faid, is either not well founded, or else not contrary to my Doctrine, when I and my Oppofer come both to be well understood.

If any, careful that none of their good Thoughts should be loft, have publish'd their Cenfures of my Eflay; with this Honour done to it, that they will not fuffer it to be an Ellay, I leave it to the Publick to value the Obligation they have to their critical Pens, and shall not waste my Reader's Time in fo idle or ill-natur'd an Employment of mine, as to leffen the Satisfaction any one has in himself, or gives to others in fo hafty a Confutation of what I have written.

The Bookfellers preparing for the fourth Edition of my Eflay, gave me Notice it, that I might, if I had leifure, make any Additions or Alterations I should think fit. Whereupon I thought it convenient to advertise the Reader, that befides feveral Corrections I had made here and there, there was one Alteration which it was necessary to mention, because it ran thro' the whole


Book, and is of Confequence to be rightly understood. What I thereupon said, was this.

Clear and distinct Ideas are Terms, which tho' familiar and frequent in Mens mouths, I have reason to think every one who uses, does not perfectly understand. And poffibly 'tis but here and there one, who gives himself the trouble to confider them fo far as to know what he himself or others precisely mean by them: I have therefore in most places chofe to put determinate or determined, instead of clear and diftinct, as more likely to direct Mens Thoughts to my Meaning in this matter. By thofe Denominations, I mean Some Object in the Mind, and confequently determined, i. e. fuch as it is there feen and perceiv'd to be. This, I think, may fitly be call'd a determinate or determined Idea, when fuch as it is at any time objectively in the Mind, and fo determined there, it is annex'd, and without Variation determin'd to a Name or articulate Sound, which is to be feddily the Sign of that very fame Object of the Mind, or determinate Idea.

To explain this a little more particularly. By determinate, when apply'd to a fimple Idea, I mean that fimple Appearance which the Mind has in its view, or perceives in it felf, when that Idea is faid to be in it: By determined, when apply'd to a complex Idea, I mean fuch an one as confifts of a determinate Number of certain fimple or lefs complex Ideas, join'd in fuch Proportion and Situation, as the Mind has before its view, and fees in it felf when that Idea is prefent in it, or should be prefent in it, when a Man gives a Name to it. I fay fhould be; because it is not every one, nor perhaps any one, who is fo careful of his Language, as to use no Word, till he views in his Mind the precife determined Idea, which he refolves to make it the Sign of. The want of this, is the Cause of no fmall Obscurity and Confufion in Mens Thoughts and Difcourfes.

I know there are not Words enough in any Language, to answer all the Variety of Ideas, that enter into Mens Difcourfes and Reasonings. But this hinders not, but that when any one uses any Term, he may have in his Mind a determin'd Idea, which he makes it the Sign of, and to which he should keep it fteddly annex'd, during that prefent Difcourfe. Where he does not, or cannot do this, he in vain pretends to clear or diftinct Ideas: 'Tis plain his are not fo; and therefore there can be expected nothing but Obscurity and Confufion, where fuch Terms are made use of, which have not fuch a precife Determination.

Upon this Ground I have thought determin'd Ideas a way of speaking less liable to mistake, than clear and distinct: And where Men have got fuch determin'd Ideas of all that they reafon, enquire, or argue about, they will find a great part of their Doubts and Difputes at an end. The greatest part of the Questions and Controverfies that perplex Mankind, depending on the doubtful and uncertain Ufe of Words, or (which is the fame) indetermin'd Ideas, which they are made to ftand for; I have made choice of these Terms to fignify, 1. Some immediate Object of the Mind, which it perceives aud has before it, diftinct from the Sound it uses as a Sign of it. 2. That this Idea, thus determin'd, i. e. which the Mind has in it self, and knows, and fees there, be determin'd without any Change to that Name, and that Name determin'd to that precife Idea. If Men had fuch determin'd Ideas in their Enquiries and Difcourfes, they would both difcern how far their own Enquiries and Difcourfes went, and avoid the greatest part of the Disputes and Wranglings they have with others.


Befides this, the Bookfeller will think it neceffary I should advertise the Reader, that there is an Addition of two Chapters wholly new; the one of the Affociation of Ideas, the other of Enthufiafm, Thefe, with fome other larger Additions never before printed, he has engag'd to print by themselves after the fame manner, and for the fame purpose, as was done when this Ellay bad the fecond Impreffion.


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