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thinking, and being delighted, and moving several
. 12. It is not impossible to conceive, there are nor repugnant to reason, that there may probably
be many species of spirits, as much sepanumberless
rated and diversified one from another by species.
distinct properties whereof we have no ideas, as the species of sensible things are distinguished one from another by qualities which we know, and obi serve in them. That there should be more species of intelligent creatures above lis, than there are of sensible and material below us, is probable to me from hence; that in all the visible corporeal world, we see no chasms or gaps. lll quite down from us the descent is by easy steps, and a continued series of things, that in cach remove differ very little one from the other. There are fishes that have wings, and are not strangers to the airy region; and there are some birds tliat are inhabi
corpo one, tinct slou it ca
tants of the water, whose blood is cold as fishes, and their fiesh so like in taste, that the scrupulous are al-' lowed them on fish-days. There are animals so near of kin both to birds and beasts, that they are in the middle between both :: amphibious. animals link the terrestrial and aquatic together; seals live at land and sea, and porpoises have the warm blood and entrails of a hog, not to mention what is confidently reported of mermaids or sea-men. There are some brutes, that seem to have as much knowledge and reason, as some that are called men; and the animal and vegetable kingdoms are so nearly joined, that if you will take the lowest of one, and the highest of the other, there will scarce be perceived any great difference between them; and so on, till we come to the lowest and the most inorganical parts of matter, we shall find every-where, that the several species are linked together, and differ but in almost insensible degrees. And when we consider the infinite power and wisdom of the Maker, we have reason to think, that it is suitable to the magnificent harmony of the universe, and the great design and infinite goodness of the architect, that the species of creatures should also, by gentle degrees, ascend upward from us toward his infinite perfection, as we see they gradually descend from us downwards : which if it be probable, we have reason then to be persuaded, that there are far more species of creatures above us, than there are beneath: we being, in degrees of perfection, much more remote from the intinite being of God, than we are from the lowest state of being, and that which approaches nearest to nothing. And yet of all those distinct species, for the reasons abovesaid, we have no clear distinct ideas. .
§. 13. But to return to the species of The nominal corporeal substances. If I should ask any. essence that one, whether ice and water were two dis
of the spe
cies, proved tinct species of things, I doubt not but I
from water should be answered in the affirmative : > and and ice. it cannot be denied, but he that says they are two distinct species is in the right. But if an Englishman, bred in Jamaica, who perhaps had never li?
seen nor heard of ice, coming into England in the win-
or forms of things, whereby all the indivisences.
duals existing are by nature distinguished into species, these things are necessary.
$. 15. First, To be assured that nature, in the production of things, always designs them to partake of certain regulated established essences, which are to be the models of all things to be produced. This, in that crude sense it is usually proposed, would need some better explication before it can fully be assented to. .
§. 16. Secondly, It would be necassary to know whether nature always attains that essence it designs in the "dyetion of things. The irregular and monstrous
of t. these of u subst
births, that in divers sorts of animals have been ob-
§. 18. Fourtbly, The real essences of Our nominal those things, which we distinguish into spe- essences of cies, and as so distinguished we name, ought substances
not perfect to be known; i. e we ought to bave ideas
deas collections of of them. But since we are ignorant in properties. these four points, the supposed real essences of things stand us not in stead for the distinguishing substances into species.
$. 19. Fifthly, The only imaginable help in this case would be, that having framed perfect complex ideas of the properties of things, flowing from their different real essences, we should thereby distinguish them into species. But neither can this be done ; for being ignorant of the real essence itself, it is impossible to know all those properties that flow from it, and are so annexed to it, that any one of them being away, we may certainly conclude, that that essence is not there, and so the thing is not of that species. We can never know what is the precise number of properties depending on the real essence of gold, any one of which failing, the real essence of gold, and consequently gold, would not be there, unless we knew the real essence of gold itself, and by that determined that species. By the word gold here, I must be understood to design a particular piece of matter; v. g. the last guinea that was coined. For if it should stand here in its ordinary signification for that complex idea, which I or any one else calls gold ; i. e. for the nominal essence of gold, it Ii3
would be jargon : so hard is it to show the various meaning and imperfection of words, when we have nothing else but words to do it by.
1:20. By all which it is clear, that our distinguishing substances into species by names, is not at all founded on their real essences; nor can we pretend to range and determine them exactly into species, according to internal essential differences, But such a
$. 21. But since, as has been remarked, collection as we have need of general words, though we our name know not the real essences of things; all we stands for. can do is to collect such a number of simple ideas, as by examination we find to be united together in things existing, and therefore to make one complex idea. Which though it be not the real essence of any substance that exists, is yet the specific essence, to which our name belongs, and is convertible with it; by which we may at least try the truth of these nominal essences. For example, there be that say, that the essence of body is extension : if it be so, we can never mistake in putting the essence of any thing for the thing itscif. Let us then in discourse put extension for body; and when we would say that body moves, let us say that extension moves, and see how ill it would look. He that should say that one extension by impulse moves another extension, would, by the bare expression, sufficiently show the absurdity of such a notion. The essence of any thing, in respect of us, is the whole complex idea, comprehended and marked by that name; and in substances, besides the several distinct simple ideas that make them up, the confused one of substance, or of an unknown support and cause of their union, is always a part : and therefore the essence of body is not bare extension, but an extended solid thing: and so to sav an extended solid thing moves, or impels another, is ail one, and as intelligible as to say, body moves or impels. Likewise to say, that a rational animal is capable of conversation, is all one as to say a man. But no one will say, that rationality is capable of conversation, because it makes not the whole essence to which we give the name man.