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objects wherein at a distance it perceives good or evil? And would not quickness of sensation be an inconvenience to an animal that must lie still, where chance has once placed it; and there receive the afflux of colder or warmer, clean or foul water, as it happens to come to it?
$. 14. But yet I cannot but think there is some small dull perception, whereby they are distinguished from perfect insensibility. And that this may be so, we have plain instances even in mankind itself. Take one, in whom decrepid old age has blotted out the memory of his past knowledge, and clearly wiped out the ideas his mind was formerly stored with; and has, by destroying his sight, hearing, and smell quite, and his taste to a great degree, stopped up almost all the passages for new ones to enter; or, if there be some of the inlets yet half open, the impressions made are scarce perceived, or not at all retained. How far such an one (notwithstanding all that is boasted of innate principles) is in his knowledge, and intellectual faculties, above the condition of a cockle or an oyster, I leave to be considered. And if a man had passed sixty years in such a state, as
it is possible he might, as well as three days ; I wonder THE
what difference there would have been, in any intellec-
§. 15. Perception then being the first step Perception st and degree towards knowledge, and the in- the inlet of 2.0 i let of all the materials of it; the fewer senses knowledge.
any man, as well as any other creature, hath, and the fewer and duller the impressions are that are made by them, and the duller the faculties are that are employed
about them; the more remote are they from that knowTACA" ledge, which is to be found in sone men. But this
! being in great variety of degrees (as may be perceived o amongst men) cannot certainly be discovered in the
several species of animals, much less in their parti. cular individuals. It suffices me only to have remarked here, that perception is the first operation of all our
intellectual faculties, and the inlet of all knowledge in parin our minds. And I am apt too to imagine, that it is
perception in the lowest degree of it, which puts the boundaries between animals and the inferior ranks of creatures. But this I mention only as my conjecture by the by; it being indifferent to the matter in hand, which way the learned shall determine of it.
Contempla. $. 1. THE next faculty of the mind. tion.
1 whereby it makes a farther pro
gress towards knowledge, is that which I call retention, or the keeping of those simple ideas, which from sensation or reflection it hath received. This is done two ways; first, by keeping the idea, which is brought into it, for some time actually in view; which is called contemplation. Memory
p. 2. The other way of retention, is the . power to revive again in our minds those ideas, which after imprinting have disappeared, or have been as it were laid aside out of sight; and thus we do, when we conceive heat or light, yellow or sweet, the object being removed. This is memory, which is as it were the store-house of our ideas. For the narrow mind of man not being capable of having many ideas under view and consideration at once, it was necessary to have a repository to lay up those ideas, which at another time it might have use of. But our ideas being nothing but actual perceptions in the mind, which cease to be any thing, when there is no perception of them, this laying up of our ideas in the repository of the memory, signifies no more but this, that the mind has a power in many cases to revive perceptions, which it has once had, with this additional perception annexed to them, that it has had them before. And in this sense it is, that our ideas are said to be in our memories, when indeed they are actually no-where, but only there is an
ability in the mind when it will to revive them again,
A to the fixing any ideas in the memory: but repetition those which naturally at first make the pleasure and deepest and most lasting impression, are pain, six those which are accompanied with pleasure ease or pain. The great business of the senses being to make us take notice of what hurts or advantages the body, it is wisely ordered by nature (as has been shown) that pain should accompany the reception of several ideas; which supplying the place of consideration and reasoning in children, and acting quicker than consideration in grown men, makes both the old and young avoid painful objects, with that haste which is necessary for their preservation; and, in both, settles in the memory a caution for the future..
§. 4. Concerning the several degrees of 1 lasting, wherewith ideas are imprinted on the memory. the memory, we may observe, that some of them have been produced in the understanding, by an object affecting the senses once only, and no more than once; others, that have more than once offered themselves to the senses, have yet been little taken notice of: the mind either heedless, as in children, or otherwise employed, as in men, intent only on one thing, not setting the stamp deep into itself. And in some, where they are set on with cure and repeated impressions, either through the temper of the body, or some other fault, the memory is very weak. In all these cases, ideas in the mind quickly fade, and often vanish quite out of the understanding, leaving no more footsteps or remaining Vol. I.
characters of themselves, than shadores do flying over fields of corn ; and the mind is as void of them, as if they had never been there.
$. 5. Thus many of those ideas, which were produced in the minds of children, in the beginning of their sensation (some of which perhaps, as of some pleasures and pains, were before they were born, and others in their infancy) if in the future course of their lives they are not repeated again, are quite lost, without the least glimpse remaining of them. This may be observed in those who by some mischance have lost their sight when they were very young, in whom the ideas of colours having been but slightly taken notice of, and ceasing to be repeated, do quite wear out: so that some years after there is no more notion nor memory of colours left in their minds, than in those of people born blind. The memory of some, it is true, is very tenacious, even to a' miracle : but yet there seems to be a constant decay of all our ideas, even of those which are struck deepest, and in minds the most retentive; so that if they be not sometimes renewed by repeated exercise of the senses, or reflection on those kind of objects which at first occasioned them, the print wears out, and at last there remains nothing to be seen. Thus the ideas, as well as children, of our youth, often die before us : and our minds represent to us those tombs, to which we are approaching; where though the brass and marble remain, yet the inscriptions are effaced by time, and the imagery moulders away. Tlie pictures drawn in our minds are laid in fading colours, and, if not sometimes refreshed, vanish and disappear. How much the constitution of our bodies and the make of our arzimal spirits are concérned in this, and whether the temper of the brain inakes this difference, that in some it retains the characters drawn on it like marble, in others like free-stone, and in others little better than sand; I shall not here inquire: though it may seem probable, that the constitution of the body does sometimes influence the memory; since we oftentimes find a disease quite strip the mind of all its ideas, and the flames of a fever in a few days cal
cine all those images to dust and confusion, which seemed to bé àś lasting as if graved in marble.
$. 6. But concerning the ideas themselves Constantly it is easy to remark, that those that are repeatedideas oftenest refreshed (ainongst which are those can scarce be that are conveyed into the mind by more tosto tays than one) by a frequent return of the objects or actions that produce them, fix themselves best in the inémory, and remain clearest and longest there : and therefore those which are of the original qualities ot bodies, viz. solidity, extension, figure, motion, and rest; and those that almost constantly affect our bodies, as heat and cold; and those which are the affections of all kinds of beings, as existence, duration and number, which almost every object that affects our senses, every thought which employs our minds, bring along with them: these, I say, and the like ideas, are seldom quite lost, whilst the mind retains any ideas at all.
$. 7. In this secondary perception, as I In remema may so call it, or viewing again the ideas bering, the . that are lodged in the memory, the mind is mind is often oftentimes more than barely passive ; the
acca pont appearance of those dormant pictures depending somereless times on the will. The mind very often sets itself on
work in search of some hidden idea, and turns as it were the eye of the soul upon it ; though sometimes too they start up in our minds of their own accord, and offer themselves to the understanding; and very often are roused and tumbled out of their dark cells into open day-light, by turbulent and tempestuous passions : our affections bringing ideas to our memory, which liad otherwise lain quiet and unregarded. This farther is to be observed, concerning ideas lodged in the memory, and upon occasion revived by the mind, that they are not
only (as the word revive imports) none of them new coll ones; but also that the mind takes notice of them, as
of a former impression, and renews its acquaintance with them, as with ideas it had known before. So that though ideas formerly imprinted are not all constantly in view, yet in remembrance they are constantly known