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Book 2. ther what is his, without his knowledge or allowance, is properly called stealing; but that name being commonly understood to fignify alfo the moral pravity of the action, and to denote its contrariety to the law, men are apt to condemn whatever they hear called ftealing as an ill action, difagreeing with the rule of right. And yet the private taking away his fword from a madman, to prevent his doing mifchief, though it be properly denominated ftealing, as the name of fuch a mixed mode; yet when compared to the law of God, and confidered in its relation to that fupreme rule, it is no fin or tranfgreffion, though the name ftealing ordinarily carries fuch an intimation with it.

Relations innumerable.

§. 17. And thus much for the relation of human actions to a law, which therefore I call moral relation.

It would make a volume to go over all forts of relations; it is not therefore to be expected, that I should here mention them all.. It fuffices to our prefent purpofe to show by thefe, what the ideas are we have of this comprehenfive confideration, called relation: which is fo various, and the occafions of it fo many (as many as there can be of comparing things one to another) that it is not very easy to reduce it to rules, or under juft heads. Thofe I have mentioned, I think, are fome of the most confiderable, and fuch as may ferve to let us fee from whence we get our ideas of relations, and wherein they are founded. But before I quit this argument, from what has been faid, give me leave to obferve;

All relations §. 18. First, That it is evident, that all terminate in relation terminates in, and is ultimately fimple ideas. founded on thofe fimple ideas we have got from fenfation or reflection: fo that all that we have in our thoughts ourfelves (if we think of any thing, or have any meaning) or would fignify to others, when we ufe words ftanding for relations, is nothing but fome fimple ideas, or collections of fimple ideas, compared one with another. This is fo manifeft in that fort called proportional, that nothing can be more: for when a man fays, honey is fweeter than wax, it is plain that his thoughts

thoughts in this relation terminate in this fimple idea, fweetness, which is equally true of all the reft; though where they are compounded or decompounded, the fimple ideas they are made up of are, perhaps, feldom taken notice of. V. g. when the word father is mentioned; first, there is meant that particular species, or collective idea, fignified by the word man. Secondly, thofe fenfible fimple ideas, fignified by the word generation: and, thirdly, the effects of it, and all the fimple ideas fignified by the word child. So the word friend being taken for a man, who loves, and is ready to do good to another, has all these following ideas to the making of it up: first, all the fimple ideas, comprehended in the word man, or intelligent being. Secondly, the idea of love. Thirdly, the idea of readiness or difpofition. Fourthly, the idea of action, which is any kind of thought or motion. Fifthly, the idea of good, which fignifies any thing that may advance his happinefs, and terminates at laft, if examined, in particular fimple ideas; of which the word good in general fignifies any one, but, if removed from all fimple ideas quite, it fignifies nothing at all. And thus alfo all moral words terminate at laft, though perhaps more remotely, in a collection of fimple ideas: the immediate fignification of relative words, being very often other fuppofed known relations; which, if traced one to another, ftill end in fimple ideas.

We have ordinarily as clear (or

clearer) a notion of the relation, as

of its foundation.

§. 19. Secondly, That in relations we have for the most part, if not always, as clear a notion of the relation, as we have of those simple ideas, wherein it is founded. Agreement or difagreement, whereon relation depends, being things whereof we have commonly as clear ideas, as of any other whatfoever; it being but the diftinguishing fimple ideas, or their degrees one from another, without which we could have no diftinct knowledge at all. For if I have a clear idea of fweetnefs, light or extenfion, I have too, of equal, or more or lefs of each of these: if I know what it is for one man to be born of a woman, viz. Sempronia, I know what it is for another



man to be born of the fame woman Sempronia; and fo have as clear a notion of brothers, as of births, and perhaps clearer. For if I believed that Sempronia dug Titus out of the parfley-bed (as they used to tell children) and thereby became his mother; and that afterwards, in the fame manner, fhe dug Caius out of the parfley-bed; I had as clear a notion of the relation of brothers between them, as if I had all the skill of a midwife: the notion that the fame woman contributed, as mother, equally to their births, (though I were ignorant or mistaken in the manner of it,) being that on which I grounded the relation, and that they agreed in that circumstance of birth, let it be what it will. comparing them then in their defcent from the fame perfon, without knowing the particular circumftances of that defcent, is enough to found my notion of their having or not having the relation of brothers. But though the ideas of particular relations are capable of being as clear and distinct in the minds of thofe, who will duly confider them, as thofe of mixed modes, and more determinate than thofe of fubftances; yet the names belonging to relation are often of as doubtful and uncertain fignification, as those of substances or mixed modes, and much more than thofe of fimple ideas becaule relative words being the marks of this comparison, which is made only by men's thoughts, and is an idea only in men's minds, men frequently apply them to different comparisons of things, according to their own imaginations, which do not always correfpond with those of others ufing the fame name.

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The notion of the relation is the fame, whether the rule any action is compared to be true or falfe.

§. 20. Thirdly, That in thefe I call moral relations, I have a true notion of relation, by comparing the action with the rule, whether the rule be true or falfe. For if I measure any thing by a yard, I know whether the thing I measure be longer or shorter than that fuppofed yard, though perhaps the yard I measure by be not exactly the ftandard; which indeed is another inquiry. For though the rule be erroneous, and I miftaken in it; yet the agreement or difagreement obfervable in that which I


compare with, makes me perceive the relation. Though measuring by a wrong rule, I shall thereby be brought to judge amifs of its moral rectitude, because I have tried it by that which is not the true rule; yet I am not mistaken in the relation which that action bears to that rule I compare it to, which is agreement or difagreement.


Of Clear and Obfcure, Diftinct and Confufed Ideas.

§. 1. Hour ideas, and taken a view of AVING fhown the original of

clear and Ideas fome

diftinct, others ob

fcure and confused.

their several forts; confidered the difference between the fimple and the complex, and obferved how the complex ones are divided into those of modes, fubftances, and relations; all which, I think, is neceffary to be done by any one, who would acquaint himself thoroughly with the progrefs of the mind in its apprehenfion and knowledge of things: it will, perhaps, be thought I have dwelt long enough upon the examination of ideas. I muft, nevertheless, crave leave to offer fome few other confiderations concerning them. The first is that fome are clear, and others obfcure; fome diftinct, and others confused.

Clear and

obfcure ex

plained by

§. 2. The perception of the mind being most aptly explained by words relating to the fight, we shall beft understand what is meant by clear and obfcure in our ideas, fight. by reflecting on what we call clear and obfcure in the objects of fight. Light being that which difcovers to us vifible objects, we give the name of obfcure to that which is not placed in a light fufficient to difcover minutely to us the figure and colours, which are obfervable in it, and which, in a better light, would be difcernible. In like manner our fimple ideas are clear, when they are fuch as the objects themselves,


from whence they were taken, did or might, in a wellordered fenfation or perception, present them. Whilft the memory retains them thus, and can produce them to the mind, whenever it has occafion to confider them, they are clear ideas. So far as they either want any thing of the original exactnefs, or have loft any of their firft freshness, and are, as it were, faded or tarnished by time; fo far are they obfcure. Complex ideas, as they are made up of fimple ones, fo they are clear when the ideas that go to their compofition are clear and the number and order of thofe fimple ideas, that are the ingredients of any complex one, is determinate and certain.

§. 3. The caufes of obfcurity in fimple Caufes of ob- ideas feem to be either dull organs, or very fcurity. flight and tranfient impreffions made by the objects, or else a weakness in the memory not able to retain them as received. For to return again to visible objects, to help us to apprehend this matter if the organs or faculties of perception, like wax over-hardened with cold, will not receive the impreffion of the seal, from the usual impulse wont to imprint it; or, like wax of a temper too foft, will not hold it well when well imprinted; or elfe fuppofing the wax of a temper fit, but the feal not applied with a fufficient force to make a clear impreffion: in any of these cases, the print left by the feal will be obfcure. This, I fuppofe, needs no application to make it plainer.

Diftinct and


S. 4. As a clear idea is that whereof the confufed, mind has fuch a full and evident perception, as it does receive from an outward object operating duly on a well-difpofed organ; fo a dif tinct idea is that wherein the mind perceives a difference from all other; and a confused idea is such an one, as is not fufficiently diftinguishable from another, from which it ought to be different.


§. 5. If no idea be confufed, but fuch as is not fufficiently diftinguishable from another, from which it fhould be different; it will be hard, may any one fay, to find any where a confused

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