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to be such as have been formerly imprinted; i. e. in view, and taken notice of before by the understand
$. 8. Memory, in an intellectual creature,
. D. VIMOY11 in the me is necessary in the next degree to percepmory, obli.. tion. It is of so great moment, that where vion and slowness.
it is wanting, all the rest of our faculties
. are in a great measure useless : and we in our thoughts, reasonings, and knowledge, could not proceed Beyond present objects, were it not for the assistance of our memories, wherein there may be two defects: . First, that it loses the idea quite, and so far it produces perfect ignorance. For since we can know nothing farther than we have the idea of it, when that is gone, we are in perfect ignorance. * Secondly, That it moves slowly, and retrieves not the ideas that it has, and are laid up in store, quick enough to serve the mind upon , occasion. This, if it be to a great degree, is stupidity; and he, who, through this default in his memory, has not the ideas that are really preserved there, ready at hand when need and ocean casion calls for them, were almost as good be without them quite, since they serve him to little purpose. The dull man who loses the opportunity whilst he is seeking in his mind for those ideas that should serve his turn, is not much more happy in his knowledge than one that is perfectly ignorant. It is the business therefore of the memory to furnish the mind with those dormant ideas which it has present occasion for; in the having them ready at hand on all occasions, consists that which we call invention, fancy, and quickness of parts.
$. 9. These are defects, we may observe, in the me: mory of one man compared with another. There is another detect which we may conceive to be in the meinory of man in general, compared with some superior created intellectual beings, which in this faculty may so far excel inan, that they may have constantly in view the whole scene of all their former actions, wherein no one of the thoughts they have ever had may slip out o
their sight. The omniscience of God, who knows all things, past, present, and to come, and to whom the thoughts of men's hearts always lie open, may satisfy us of the possibility of this. For who can doubt but God may communicate to those glorious spirits, his immediate attendants, any of his perfections, in what proportions he pleases, as far as created finite beings can be capable ? It is reported of that prodigy of parts, monsieur Pascal, that till the decay of his health had impaired his memory, he forgot nothing of what he had done, read, or thought, in any part of his rational age, This is a privilege so little known to most men, that it seems almost incredible to those, who, after the ordinary way, measure all others by themselves ; but yet, when considered, may help us to enlarge our thoughts to: wards greater perfection of it in superior ranks of spirits. For this of Mr. Pascal was still with the narrowness that human minds are confined to here, of having great variety of ideas only by succession, not all at once : whereas the several degrees of angels may probably have larger views, and some of them be endowed with capacities able to retain together, and constantly set before them, as in one picture, all their past knowledge at once. This, we may conceive, would be no small advantage to the knowledge of a thinking man, if all his past thoughts and reasonings could be always present to him. And therefore we may suppose it one of those ways, wherein the knowledge of separate spirits may exceedingly surpass ours... §. 10. This faculty of laying up and re
Brutes have taining the ideas that are brought into the
memory. mind, şeveral other animals seen to have to a great degree, as well as man. For to pass by other instances, birds learning of tunes, and the endeavours one may observe in them to hit the notes right, put it past doubt with me, that they have perception, and retain ideas in their memories, and use thein for patterns. For it seems to me impossible, that they should endea: vour to conform their voices to notes (as it is plain they do) of which they had no ideas. For though I should
gránt grant sound may mechanically cause a certain motion of the animal spirits, in the brains of those birds, whilst the tune is actually playing; and that motion may be continued on to the muscles of the wings, and so the bird mechanically be driven away by certain noises, beeause this may tend to the bird's preservation : yet that can never be supposed a reason, why it should cause mechanically, either whilst the tune is playing, much less after it has ceased, such a motion of the organs in the bird's voice, as should conform it to the notes of a foreign sound; which imitation can be of no use to the bird's preservation. But which is more, it cannot with any appearance of reason be supposed (much less proved) that birds, without sense and memory, can approach their notes nearer and nearer by degrees to a tune played yesterday; which if they have no idea of in their memory, is no-where, nor can be a pattern for them to imitate, or which any repeated essays can bring them nearer to. Since there is no reason why the sound of a pipe should leave traces in their brains, which not at first, but by their after-endeavours, should produce the like sounds; and why the sounds they make themselves, should not make traces which they should follow, as well as those of the pipe, is impossible to con. ceive.
Of Discerning, and other Operations of the Mind.
No know. $. 1. A YOTHER faculty we imay take kedge with.
A notice of in our minds, is that of ont discern, discerning and distinguishing between the meni.
several ideas it has. It is not enough to hare a confused perception of something in general : unless the mind bid a distinct perception of different
objects and their qualities, it would be capable of. very little knowledge; though the bodies that affect us were as busy about us as they are now, and the mind were continually employed in thinking. On this faculty of distinguishing one thing from another, depends the evidence and certainty of several, even very general propositions, which have passed for innate truths ; be.cause men, overlooking the true cause why those propositions find universal assent, impute it wholly to native uniform impressions: whereas it in truth depends upon this clear discerning faculty of the mind, whereby it perceives two ideas to be the same, or different. But of this more hereafter.
$.. 2. How much the imperfection of ac- The diffe. curately discriminating ideas one from ano- rence of wit ther lies either in the dulness or faults of and judg.
ment. the organs of sense; or want of acuteness, exercise, or attention, in the understanding; or hastiness and precipitancy, natural to some tempers, I will not here examine : it suffices to take notice, that this is one of the operations, that the mind may reflect on and observe in itself. It is of that consequence to its other knowledge, that so far as this faculty is in itself dull, or not rightly made use of, for the distinguishing one thing from another; so far our notions are confused, and our reason and judgment disturbed or misled. If in having our ideas in the memory ready at hand consists quickness of parts; in this of having them unconfused, and being able nicely to distinguish one thing from another, where there is but the least difference, consists, in a great measure, the exactness of judgment, and clearness of reason, which is to be observed in one man above another. And hence perhaps may be given some reason of that common observation, that men, who have a great deal of wit, and prompt meinories, have not always the clearest judgment, or deepest reason: for wit lying most in the assemblage of ideas, and putting those together with quickness and variety, wherein can be found any resemblance or congruity, thereby to make up pleasant pictures, and agreeK 4
able visions in the fancy; judgment on the contrary,
6. 3. To the well distinguishing our
ideas, it chiefly contributes, that they be confusion.
clear and determinate : and where they are
so, it will not breed any confusion or mistake about them, though the senses should (as sometimes they do) convey them from the same object ditferently, on different occasions, and so seem to err. For though a man in a fever should from sugar have a bitter taste, which at another time would produce a sweet one; yet the idea of bitter in that man's mind, would be as clear and distinct from the idea of sweet, as if he had tasted only gall. Nor does it make any more confusion between the two ideas of sweet and bitter, that the same sort of body produces at one tiine one, and at another time another idea by the taste, than it makes a confusion in two ideas of white and sweet, or white and round, that the same piece of sugar produces them both in the mind at the same time. And the ideas of orange-colour and azure, that are produced in the mind by the same parcel of the infusion of lignum nephriticum, are no less distinct ideas, than those of the same colours, taken from two very different bodies.
$. 4. The