Imágenes de página

ceive, and attend to it: He, I say, who considers this, will perhaps find reason to imagine, that a futus in the mother's womb differs not much from the state of a vegetable, but passes the greatest part of its time without perception or thought, doing very little but sleep in a place where it needs not seek for food, and is surrounded with liquor, always equally soft, and near of the same temper; where the eyes have no light; and the ears so shut up, are not very susceptible of sounds; and where there is little or no variety or change of objects to move the senses.

$ 22. FOLLOW a child from its birth, and observe the alterations that time makes, and you shall find, as the mind by the senses comes more and more to be furnish. ed with ideas, it comes to be more and more awake; thinks more, the more it has matter to think on; after some time it begins to know the objects, which being most familiar with it, have made lasting impressions. Thus it comes by degrees to know the persons it daily converses with, and distinguish them from strangers; which are instances and effects of its coming to retain and distinguish the ideas the senfes convey to it. And so we may observe how the mind by degrees improves in these, and advances to the exercise of those other faculties of enlarging, compounding, and abitracting its ideas, and of reasoning about them, and reflecting upon all these ; of which I shall have occasion to speak more hereafter.

§ 23. If it shall be demanded, then, When a man begins to have any ideas? I think the true answer is, When he first has any fenfation ; for since there appear not to be any ideas in the mind before the senses have conveyed any in, I conceive that ideas in the understanding are coeval with sensation; which is such an impression or motion made in some part of the body, as produces some perception in the understanding. It is about these impressions made on our senses by outward objects that the mind seems first to employ itself in such operations

as we call perception, remembering, confideration, reasoning, &c.

§ 24. The Original of all our Knowledge. In time the mind comes to reflect on its own operations about the itiltas got by fenfation, and thereby stores itself with a new set of ileris, which I call ideas of reflection. These are the impressions that are made on our Senses by outward objects that are extrinsical to the mind ; and its own operations, proceeding from powers intrinsical and proper to itself, which, when reflected on by itself, become also objects of its contemplation, are, as I have said, the original of all krowledge. Thus the first capacity of human intellect is, that the mind is fitted to receive the impressions made on it, either through the senses by outward objects, or by its own operations when it reflects on them. This is the first step a man makes towards the discovery of any thing, and the groundwork whereon to build all those notions which ever he shall have naturally in this world. All those sublime thoughts which tower above the clouds, and reach as high as heaven itself, take their rise and footing here. In all that great extent wherein the mind wanders in those remote speculations it may seem to be elevated with, it stirs not one jot beyond those ideas which fense or reflection have offered for its contemplation. ♡ 25. In the reception of simple Ideas the Underfandirig

is for the most part pasive. , In this part the understanding is merely pallive; and whether or no it will have these beginnings, and, as it were, materials of knowledge, is not in its own power; for the objects of our senses do many of them obtrude their particular ideas upon our minds whether we will or no, and the operations of our minds will not let us be without at least some obscure nocions of them. No man can be wholly ignorant of what he does when he thinks. Those fimple ideas, when offered to the mind, the understanding can no more refuse to have, nor alter when they are imprinted, nor blot them out, and make new ones itself, than a mirror can refuse, alter, or obliterate the images or ideas which the objects set before it do there in produce. As the bodies that surround us do diversely affect our organs, the mind is forced to receive the impressions, and cannot avoid the perception of those ideas that are annexed to thein.



1. Uncompounded Appearances. THE better to understand the nature, manner, and

1 extent of our knowledge, one thing is carefully to be observed concerning the ideas we have, and that is, that some of them are simple, and forme complix.

Though the qualities that affect our senses are, in the things themselves, so united and blended, that there is no separation, no distance between them, yet it is plain the ideas they produce in the mind enter by the senses fimple and unmixed; for though the right and touch often take in from the fame object, at the same time, different ideas, as a man fees at once motion and colour, the hand feels softness and warmth in the same piece of wax, yet the simple ideas thus united in the same subject are as perfectly distinct as those that come in by different senses, the coldness and hardness which a man feels in a piece of ice being as distinct ideas in the mind as the smell and whiteness of a lily, or as the taste of sugar, and smell of a rose ; and there is nothing can be plainer to a man than the clear and distinct perceptions he has of those simple ideas, which being each in itself uncompounded, contains in it nothing but one uniform appearance or conception in the mind, and is not distinguishable into different ideas.

§ 2. The Mind can neither make ner dilxoy them. THESE simple ideas, the materials of all our knowledge, are suggested and furnished to the mind only by those two ways above-mentioned, viz. fenjation and reflection. When the understanding is once stored with these ample

ideas, it has the power to repeat, compare, and unite them, even to an almost infinite variety, and so canmake at pleasure new complex ideas; but it is not in the power of the most exalted wit, or enlarged understanding, by any quickness or variety of thoughts, to invent or frame one new fimple idea in the mind, not taken in by the ways aforementioned; nor can any force of the understanding destroy those that are there, the do. minion of man in this little world of his own understanding being much-what the same as it is in the great world of visille things, wherein his power, however managed by art and skill, reaches no farther than to compound and divide the materials that are made to his hand, but can do nothing towards the making the least particle of new matter, or destroying one atom of what is already in being. The same inability will every one find in himself, who shall go about to fashion in his understanding any limple idea not received in by his senses from external objects, or by reflection from the operations of his own mind about them. I would have any one try to fancy any taste which had never affected his palate, or frame the idea of a scent he had never smelt; and when he can do this, I will also conclude, that a blind man hath ideas of colours, and a deaf man true distinct notions of sounds.

$ 3. This is the reason why, though we cannot believe it impossible to God to make a creature with other organs, and more ways to convey into the understanding the notice of corporeal things than those fove, as they are usually counted, which he has given to man, yet I think it is not posible for any one to imagine any other qualities in bodies, howsoever constituted, whereby they can be taken notice of, besides sounds, tastes, smells, visible and tangible qualities. And had mankind been made with but four senses, the qualities then, which are the objects of the fifth sense, had been as far from our notice, imagination, and conception, as now any belonging to a fixth, seventh, or eighth sense, can poslibly be ; which, whethes yet some other creatures, in some other parts,

of this vast and stupendous universe, may not have, will be a great presumption to deny. He that will not set himself proudly at the top of all things, but will confider the immensity of this fabric, and the great variety that is to be found in this little and inconsiderable part of it which he has to do with, may be apt to think, that in other manfions of it there may be other and different intelligent beings, of whose faculties he has as little knowledge or apprehension as a worm thut up in one drawer of a cabinet hath of the senses or understanding of a man, such variety and excellency being suitable to the wisdom and power of the Maker. I have here followed the common opinion of man's having but five senses, though perhaps there may be justly counted more ; but either supposition serves equally to my present purpose.


§ 1. Division of Simple Ideas. THE better to conceive the ideas we receive from

I sensation, it may not be amiss for us to consider them in reference to the different ways whereby they make their approaches to our minds, and make themselves perceivable by us.

First, then, There are some which come into our minds by one sense only.

Secondly, There are others that convey themselves into the mind by more senses than one.

Thirdly, Others that are had from reflection only.“

Fourthly, 'There are some that make themselves way, and are suggested to the mind by all the ways of sensation

[ocr errors]

We shall consider them apart under there several heads. Ideas of one Sense, as Colours, of Secing, Sound, of Hear

ing, c. FIRST, There are fome ideas which have admittance only through one sense, which is peculiarly adapted to receive them. Thus light and colours, as white, red, yellow,

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »