« AnteriorContinuar »
and niouph. For there he puts ideas together, only by his own imagination, not taken from the existence of any thing; and to them he gave names to denominate all things that should happen to agree to those his abstract ideas, without considering whether any such thing did exist or no; the standard there was of his own making. But in the forming his idea of this new substance, he take, the quite contrary course; here he has a standard made by nature, and therefore being to represent that to himself, by the idea he has of it, even when it is absent, he puts in no simple idea into his complex one, but what he has the perception of from the thing itself. He takes care that his idea be conformable to this archetype, and intends the name should stand for an idea so conformable.
$. 47. This piece of matter, thus denominated zahab by Adam, being quite different from any he had seen before, no-body, I think, will deny to be a distinct species, and to have its peculiar essence; and that the name zahab is the mark of the species, and a name belonging to all things partaking in that essence. But here it is plain, the essence, Adam made the name zahab stand for, was nothing but a body hard, shining, yellow, and very heavy. But the inquisitive mind of man, not content with the knowledge of these, as I may say, superficial qualities, puts Adam on farther examination of this matter. He therefore knocks and beats it with flints, to see what was discoverable in the inside: He finds it yield to blows, but not easily separate into pieces : he finds it will bend without breaking. Is not now ductility to be added to his former idea, and made part of the essence of the species that name zahab stands for? Farther trials discover fusibility and fixedness. Are not they also, by the same reason that any of the others were, to be put into the complex idea signified by the name zahab? If not, what reason will there be shown more for the one than the
other? If these must, then all the other properties, pes which any farther trials shall discover in this matter, play ought by the same reason to make a part of the ingre
dients of the complex idea, , which the name zahab stands for, and so be the essence of the species marked by that name. Which properties, because they are endless, it is plain, that the idea made after this fashion by this archetype, will be always inadequate. ..
biridese . 48. But this is not all, it would also folimperfect, low, that the names of substances would not and therefore only have (as in truth they have) but would various. also be supposed to have, different significa. tions, as used by different men, which would very much cumber the use of language. For if every distinct quality, that were discovered in any matter by any one, were supposed to make a necessary part of the complex idea, signified by the common name given it, it must follow, that men must suppose the same word to signify different things in different men; since they cannot doubt but different men may have discovered several qualities in substances of the same denomination, which others know nothing of. Therefore to g. 49. To avoid this, therefore, they fix their spe. have supposed a real essence belonging to cies, a real every species, from which these properties essence is
all flow, and would have their name of supposed..
:the species stand for that. But they not having any idea of that real essence in substances, and their words signifying nothing but the ideas they have; that which is done by this attempt, is only to put the name or sound in the place and stead of the thing having that real essence, without knowing what the real essence is : and this is that which men do, when they speak of species of things, as supposing them made by nature, and distinguished by real essences. Which sup
. 50. For let us consider, when we afposition is of firm, that all gold is fixed, either it means no use. that fixedness is a part of the definition,
part of the nominal essence the word gold stands for; and so 'this affirmation, all gold is fixed, contains nothing but the signification of the term gold. ! Or else it means, that fixedness, pot being a part of the definition of the gold, is a property of that substance itself: in which case, it is plain, that the word gold stands in the place of a substance, having the real essence of a species of things made by nature. In which way of substitution it has so confused and uncertain a signification, that though this proposition, gold is fixed, be in that sense an affirmation of something real, yet it is a truth will always fail us in its particular application, and so is of no real use nor certainty. For let it be ever so true, that all gold, i. e. all that has the real essence of gold, is fixed, what serves this for, whilst we know not in this sense what is or is not gold ? For if we know not the real essence of gold, it is impossible we should know what parcel of matter has that essence, and so whether it be true gold or no.
$. 51. To conclude: what liberty Adam had at first to make any complex ideas of Conclusion. mixed modes, by no other patterns but his own thoughts, the same have all men ever since had. And the same necessity of conforming his ideas of substances to things without him, as to archetypes made by nature, that Adam was under, if he would not wilfully impose upon himself; the same are all men ever since under too. The same liberty also that Adam had of affixing any new name to any idea, the same has any one still (especially the beginners of languages, if we can imagine any such), but only with this difference, that in places where men in society have already established a language amongst them, the significations of words are very warily and sparingly to be altered: because men being furnished already with names for their ideas, and common use having apprcpriated known names to certain ideas, an affected misapplication of them cannot but be very ridiculous. He that hath new notions, will, perhaps, venture sometimes on the coining of new terms to express them; but men think it a boldness, and it is uncertain whether common use will ever make them pass for current. But in communication with others, it is ne
cessary, that we conform the ideas we make the vulgar words of any language stand for to their known proper significations (which I have explained at large already) or else to make known that new signification we apply them to..
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
• Printed by Bri and Law,