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in moral names that cannot be so easily and shortly done, because of the many decompositions that go to the making up the complex ideas of those modes. But yet for all this miscalling of any of those ideas, contrary to the usual signification of the words of that language, hinders not but that we may have certain and demonstrative knowledge of their several agreements and disagreements, if we will carefully, as in mathematics, keep to the same precise ideas, and trace them in their several relations one to another, without being led away by their names. we but separate the idea under consideration from the sign that stands for it, our knowledge goes equally on in the discovery of real truth and certainty, whatever sounds we make use of.
Misnaming disturbs not the certainty of the knowledge.
§ 10. One thing more we are to take notice of, that where God, or any other law-maker, hath defined any moral names, there they have made the essence of that
species to which that name belongs; and there it is not safe to apply or use them otherwise: but in other cases it is bare impropriety of speech to apply them contrary to the common usage of the country. But yet even this too disturbs not the certainty of that knowledge, which is still to be had by a due contemplation and comparing of those even nick-named ideas.
Ideas of sub
their archetypes without us.
§ 11. Thirdly, there is another sort of stances have complex ideas, which, being referred to archetypes without us, may differ from them, and so our knowledge about them may come short of being real. Such are our ideas of substances, which consisting of a collection of simple ideas, supposed taken from the works of nature, may yet vary from them, by having more or different ideas united in them, than are to be found united in the things themselves. From whence it comes to pass, that they may, and often do fail of being exactly conformable to things themselves.
So far as
so far our
knowledge concerning them is real.
§ 12. I say then, that to have ideas of substances, which, by being conformable to things, may afford us real knowledge, it is not enough, as in modes, to put together such ideas as have no inconsistence, though they did never before so exist: v. g. the ideas of sacrilege or perjury, &c. were as real and true ideas before as after the existence of any such fact. But our ideas of substances being supposed copies, and referred to archetypes without us, must still be taken from something that does or has existed; they must not consist of ideas put together at the pleasure of our thoughts, without any real pattern they were taken from, though we can perceive no inconsistence in such a combination. The reason whereof is, because we knowing not what real constitution it is of substances, whereon our simple ideas depend, and which really is the cause of the strict union of some of them one with another, and the exclusion of others; there are very few of them that we can be sure are, or are not, inconsistent in nature, any farther than experience and sensible observation reach. Herein therefore is founded the reality of our knowledge concerning substances, that all our complex ideas of them must be such, and such only, as are made up of such simple ones as have been discovered to co-exist in nature. And our ideas being thus true, though not, perhaps, very exact copies, are yet the subjects of real (as far as we have any) knowledge of them. Which (as has been already shown) will not be found to reach very far: but so far as it does, it will still be real knowledge. Whatever ideas we have, the agreement we find they have with others will still be knowledge. If those ideas be abstract, it will be general knowledge. But, to make it real concerning substances, the ideas must be taken from the real existence of things. Whatever simple ideas have been found to co-exist in any
substance, these we may with confidence join together again, and so make abstract ideas of substances. For whatever have once had an union, in nature, may be united again.
In our inquiries about substances, we must consider ideas, and not confine
to names, or species supposed set out by names.
§ 13. This, if we rightly consider, and confine not our thoughts and abstract ideas to names, as if there were or could be no other sorts of things than what known names had already determined, and as it were set out; we should think of things with greater freedom and less confusion than perhaps we do. It would possibly be thought a bold paradox, if not a very dangerous falsehood, if I should say, that some changelings, who have lived forty years together without any appearance of reason, are something between a man and a beast: which prejudice is founded upon nothing else but a false supposition, that these two names, man and beast, stand for distinct species so set out by real essences, that there can come no other species between them: whereas if we will abstract from those names, and the supposition of such specific essences made by nature, wherein all things of the same denominations did exactly and equally partake,-if we would not fancy that there were a certain number of these essences, wherein all things, as in moulds, were cast and formed,—we should find that the idea of the shape, motion, and life of a man without reason, is as much a distinct idea, and makes as much a distinct sort of things from man and beast, as the idea of the shape of an ass with reason would be different from either that of man or beast, and be a species of an animal between or distinct from both.
Objection against a changeling being some
§ 14. Here every body will be ready to ask, If changelings may be supposed something between man and beast, pray what are they? I answer, changelings,
which is as good a word to signify something different from the signification of
thing between a man and beast, answered.
man or beast, as the names man and beast are to have significations different one from the other. This, well considered, would resolve this matter, and show my meaning without any more ado. But I am not so unacquainted with the zeal of some men, which enables them to spin consequences, and to see religion threatened whenever any one ventures to quit their forms of speaking, as not to foresee what names such a proposition as this is like to be charged with: and without doubt it will be asked, If changelings are something between man and beast, what will become of them in the other world? which I answer, 1. It concerns me not to know or inquire. To their own Master they stand or fall. It will make their state neither better nor worse, whether we determine any thing of it or no. They are in the hands of a faithful Creator and a bountiful Father, who disposes not of his creatures according to our narrow thoughts or opinions, nor distinguishes them according to names and species of our contrivance. And we, that know so little of this present world we are in, may, I think, content ourselves without being peremptory in defining the different states which creatures shall come into when they go off this stage. It may suffice us, that he hath made known to all those, who are capable of instruction, discoursing, and reasoning, that they shall come to an account, and receive according to what they have done in this body.
§ 15. But, secondly, I answer, the force of these men's question (viz. will you deprive changelings of a future state?) is founded on one of these two suppositions, which are both false. The first is, that all things that have the outward shape and appearance of a man must necessarily be designed to an immortal future being after this life: or, secondly, that whatever is of human birth must be so. Take away these
imaginations, and such questions will be groundless and ridiculous. I desire then those who think there is no more but an accidental difference between themselves and changelings, the essence in both being exactly the same, to consider whether they can imagine immortality annexed to any outward shape of the body? The very proposing it is, I suppose, enough to make them disown it. No one yet, that ever I heard of, how much soever immersed in matter, allowed that excellency to any figure of the gross sensible outward parts, as to affirm eternal life due to it, or a necessary consequence of it; or that any mass of matter should, after its dissolution here, be again restored hereafter to an everlasting state of sense, perception, and knowledge, only because it was moulded into this or that figure, and had such a particular frame of its visible parts. Such an opinion as this, placing immortality in a certain superficial figure, turns out of doors all consideration of soul or spirit, upon whose account alone some corporeal beings have hitherto been concluded immortal, and others not. This is to attribute more to the outside than inside of things; and to place the excellency of a man more in the external shape of his body, than internal perfections of his soul which is but little better than to annex the great and inestimable advantage of immortality and life everlasting, which he has above other mater beings, to annex it, I say, to the cut of his be the fashion of his coat. For this or that mark of our bodies no more carries with it of an eternal duration, than the fashio suit gives him reasonable grounds to never wear out, or that it will make It will perhaps be said, that nobody shape makes any thing immortal, b is the sign of a rational soul within, I wonder who made it the sign of a barely saying it will not make it quire some, proofs to persuade of