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that I know speaks any such language. For it may as rationally be concluded, that the dead body of a man, wherein there is to be found no more appearance or action of life than there is in a statue, has yet nevertheless a living soul in it because of its shape, as that there is a rational soul in a changeling, because he has the outside of a rational creature; when his actions carry far less marks of reason with them, in the whole course of his life, than what are to be found in many a beast.
§ 16. But it is the issue of rational pa
rents, and must therefore be concluded to have a rational soul. I know not by what logic you must so conclude. I am sure this is a conclusion that men nowhere allow of. For if they did, they would not make bold, as every where they do, to destroy illformed and mis-shaped productions. Ay, but these are monsters. Let them be so; what will your driveling, unintelligent, intractable, changeling be? Shall a defect in the body make a monster; a defect in the mind (the far more noble, and, in the common phrase, the far more essential part) not? Shall the want of a nose, or a neck, make a monster, and put such issue out of the rank of men; the want of reason and understanding, not? This is to bring all back again to what was exploded just now; this is to place all in the shape, and to take the measure of a man only by his outside. To show that, according to the ordinary way of reasoning in this matter, people do lay the whole stress on the figure, and resolve the whole essence of the species of man (as they make it) into the outward shape, how unreasonable soever it be, and how much soever they disown it; we need but trace their thoughts and practice a little farther, and then it will plainly appear. The well-shaped changeling is a man, has a rational soul, though it appear not; this is past doubt, say you. Make the ears a little longer, and more pointed, and the nose a little flatter
than ordinary, and then you begin to boggle: make the face yet narrower, flatter, and longer, and then you are at a stand: add still more and more of the likeness of a brute to it, and let the head be perfectly that of some other animal, then presently it is a monster and it is demonstration with you that it hath no rational soul, and must be destroyed. Where now (I ask) shall be the just measure of the utmost bounds of that shape, that carries with it a rational soul? For since there have been human foetuses produced, half beast, and half man; and others three parts one, and one part the other; and so it is possible they may be in all the variety of approaches to the one or the other shape, and may have several degrees of mixture of the likeness of a man or a brute; I would gladly know what are those precise lineaments, which, according to this hypothesis, are, or are not capable of a rational soul to be joined to them. What sort of outside is the certain sign that there is, or is not such an inhabitant within? For till that be done, we talk at random of man: and shall always, I fear, do so, as long as we give ourselves up to certain sounds, and the imaginations of settled and fixed species in nature, we know not what. But after all, I desire it may be considered, that those who think they have answered the difficulty by telling us, that a mis-shaped foetus is a monster, run into the same fault they are arguing against, by constituting a species between man and beast. For what else, I pray, is their monster in the case (if the word monster signifies any thing at all) but something neither man nor beast, but partaking somewhat of either? And just so is the changeling before-mentioned. So necessary is it to quit the common notion of species and essences, if we will truly look into the nature of things, and examine them, by what our faculties can discover in them as they exist, and not by groundless fancies, that have been taken up about them.
§ 17. I have mentioned this here, because I think we cannot be too cautious species. that words and species, in the ordinary notions which we have been used to of them, impose not on us. For I am apt to think, therein lies one great obstacle to our clear and distinct knowledge, especially in reference to substances; and from thence has rose a great part of the difficulties about truth and certainty. Would we accustom ourselves to separate our contemplations and reasonings from words, we might, in a great measure, remedy this inconvenience within our own thoughts; but yet it would still disturb us in our discourse with others, as long as we retained the opinion, that species and their essences were any thing else but our abstract ideas (such as they are) with names annexed to them, to be the signs of them.
§ 18. Wherever we perceive the agreement or disagreement of any of our ideas, there is certain knowledge: and whereever we are sure those ideas agree with the reality of things, there is certain real knowledge. Of which agreement of our ideas, with the reality of things, having here given the marks, I think I have shown wherein it is, that certainty, real certainty, consists: which, whatever it was to others, was, I confess, to me heretofore, one of those desiderata which I found great want of.
END OF VOL. II.