« AnteriorContinuar »
and agility of genius in our method; whilst merr are carried away with their own impetuous motions : and would therefore add, not wings, but weights to their capacities.
Nay, by means of our tables, we question not but to secure the most difficult point of all; and bring it about, as it were, spontaneously, that after mankind, (though at the first entrance it may seem somewhat difficult and strange) shall be a little accustomed to the natural subtilty of things exposed to their view; and become familiar withi their differences, plainly marked out in experience, they shall soon look upon that subtilty of words and disputes, which has hitherto employed and detained their thoughts, but as a ludicrous thing, a kind of charm, infatuation, or spectre; and pronounce of nature, what is usually said of fortune, that she has a lock before, but none behind: as all that late and preposterous subtilty of dispute, coming after the time of things is past, only catches at, but never lays hold of nature.
We also judge ourselves here, to use a true, lively, and animated form of instruction : for we do not pluck the sciences, like flowers, from the stalk ; but deliver them over, roots and all, that they may be transplanted, or new set, in better genius's, as in a more fruitful soil; that will bring them to gieater perfection. And for the
errors, over-sights, imperfections, and abrupt breakings-off of our enquiries, we, in our method have this advantages that our errors may easily 'be observed, and rejected, before they can deeply infect the mass of knowledge; that our imperfections and defects may be readily supplied and corrected; and the enquiries left unfinished, be continued under a successive course of additions and improvements : and it is then that men will know their own strength, when infinite numbers shall not do the same things over and over again; but some supply and finish, what others begun and left imperfect.
We have also hopes, by this method, to prevent the retortings whereto our frequent mention of works might have exposed us, if we had not pressed mankind to converse with things themselves : for men cannot now well require those works from us, which we require from them; whilst any one may easily perceive, that we do not barely talk about works, because the tables themselves contain some draughts, designs, and earnests of new works; and, at the same time, plainly shew that our scope is not in the empirical manner, to derive works from works; but, like interpreters of nature, causes from works; and again, new works from those causes. Thus avoiding an unseasonable and hasty turning aside to works, at the beginning;
but observing, and waiting, the due and appointed time of the harvest.
In the last place, we hope also by this means to possess mankind of a just opinion, not only of the efficacy and intention of our work; but also of the bulk and magnitude thereof: and thus prevent them from imagining that the work we labour with, is an immense thing, beyond the power of mortals to effect; whereas it generally happens that the most useful things are the least voluminous. And though the enquiry into nature we have here begun, may be too much for a few; it might prove a facile work for a society of men. And with a view to shew this still more clear and practicable, we shall here subjoin a catalogue of general tables, that may, perhaps, include the whole.
A CATALOGUE OF GENERAL TABLES; FOR ENQUIRING INTO ALL THE WORKS
Tables for the enquiry of motion.
Tables for enquiring into the operations, impressions, and influence of things at a distance. · Tables for enquiring into vegetation, and life of all kinds.
Tables for enquiring into the actions and passions of the animal body.
Tables for enquiring into the senses, and their objects.
Tables for enquiring into the affections of the mind.
Tables for enquiring into the mind and its faculties.
And these tables regard the separation, or division of nature, in point of form ; but the following regard the construction of nature in point of matter. . Tables of enquiry into the structure, or architecture of the universe.
Tables for enquiring into the great relations, or accidents, of existence.
Tables for enquiring into the consistences of bodies, or their inequality of parts.
Tables for enquiring into species, or the fabrication, and common associations of things.
Tables for enquiring into the lesser relations, or properties, of bodies. *
And thus the universal enquiry may be comprehended in thirteen general tables, with their dependents or lesser tables; which are to be made occasionally, or as immediate use shall re
* What additions, or improvements, might be made to this catalogue, for promoting the general design thereof?
quire: for we in no case proceed without our tables, or papers. As a specimen, we will here annex that set of tables, required by our method in the case of motion; which is a copious and diffusive subject.
A TABLE FOR A LEGITIMATE ENQUIRY
The inferior machine of the understanding, or a sequence of tables upon the first view.
Collective tables, exhibiting a digest, or regular series of bistory to the first article ; to shew the terms and differences of motion.
A table of motion by external application; or motion of adherence.
A table of motion by internal application; or the motion of mixture.
A table of the motion of application to fibres ; or the motion of identity.
A table of the motion of assimilation.
A table of the motion of impression; or signature.
A table of the motion of excitation.
Collective tables of digested history, to the second artic'e.
A table of the subjects of motion.
Collective tables of regular history to the third article.