Imágenes de página


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

any good to itself or others, or being any way useful to any other part of the creation. If we will examine it,

we shall not find, I suppose, the motion of dull and do 25. senseless matter, any where in the universe, made so

little use of, and so wholly thrown away. e maat' $. 16. It is true, we have sometimes in- On this hy

pothesis the stances of perception, whilst we are asleep.

soul must and retain the memory of those thoughts :

have ideas ne so but how extravagant and incoherent for the not derived zan: c. most part they are; how little conformable from sensato the perfection and order of a rational

tion or reflec

tion, of which being, those who are acquainted with dreams need not be told. This I would willingly appearance. be satisfied in, whether the soul, when it thinks thus apart, and as it were separate from the body, acts less rationally than when conjointly with it, or no. If its separate thoughts be less rational, then these men must say, that the soul owes the perfection of rational thinking to the body: if it does not, it is wonder that our dreams should be, for the most part, so frivolous and irrational: and that the soul should retain none of its more rational soliloquics and meditations. .. 17. Those who so confidently tell us, 161 hinh that “ the soul always actually thinks," I when I know would they would also tell us what those it not, noideas are that are in the soul of a child, be- body else can fore, or just at the union with the body, kno

know it. . before it hath received any by sensation. The dreams of sleeping men are, as I take it, all made up of the waking man's ideas, though for the most part oddly put together. It is strange if the soul has ideas of its own, that it derived not from sensation or reflection (as it must have, if it thought before it received any impressions froin the body) that it should never, in its private thinking (so private, that the man himself perceives it not) retain any of them, the very moment it wakes out of them, and then make the man glad with new discoveries. Who can find it reasonable that the soul should, in its retirement, during sleep, have so many hours thoughts, and yet never light on any of those ideas it borrowed not from sensation or reflection;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Theap ei?

ful, 231

[ocr errors]

i branch

or 0221

that 0

1 (07.

it leasts

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

or at least preserve the memory of none but such, which being occasioned from the body, must needs be less natural to a spirit? It is strange the soul should never once in a man's whole life recall over any of its pure native thoughts, and those ideas it had before it borrowed any thing from the body; never bring into the waking man's view any other ideas but what have a tang of the cask, and manifestly derive their original from that union. If it always thinks, and so had ideas before it was united, or before it received any from the body, it is not to be supposed but that during sleep it recollects its native ideas; and during that retirement from communicating with the body, whilst it thinks by itself, the ideas it is busied about should be, sometimes at least, those more natural and congenial ones which it had in itself, underived from the body, or its own operations about them: which, since the waking man neyer remembers, we must from this hypothesis conclude, either that the soul remembers something that the man does not; or else that memory belongs only to such ideas as are derived from the body, or the mind's operations about them.

how $. 18. I would be glad also to learn from any one that these men, who so confidently pronounce, the soul ale that the human soul, or which is all one, ways thinks that a man always thinks, how they come For if it be notaself-evi.

to know it;, nay, how they come to know dent proposi. that they themselves think, when they tion, it needs themselves do not perceive it. This, proof. am afraid, is to be sure without proofs ; and to know, without perceiving: It is, I suspect, a confused notion taken up to serve an hypothesis; and none of those clear truths, that either their own evd dence forces us to admit, or common experience makes it impudence to deny. For the most that can be said of it, is, that it is impossible the soul may always think, but not always retain it in meinory: and I say, it is as possible that the soul may not always think ; and much more probable that it should sometimes not think, that that it should often think, and that a long while together, and not be conscious to itself the next monient aftcr, that it had thought,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

la rent

$. 19. TO

[ocr errors]

. 19. To suppose the soul to think, and That a man the man not to perceive it, is, as has been should be bu. said, to make two persons in one man: and sy in think. if one considers well these men's way of

ing, and yet

o not retain it speaking, one should be led into a suspicion the next mo. that they do so. For they who tell us that ment, very the soul always thinks, do never, that I re- improbable. member, say that a man always thinks. Can the soul think, and not the man? or a man think, and not be conscious of it? This perbaps would be suspected of jargon in others. If they say, the man thinks always, but is not always conscious of it; they may as well say, his body is extended without having parts. For it is altogether as inteiligible to say, that a body is extended without parts, as that any thing thinks without being conscious of it, or perceiving that it does so. They who talk thus may, with as much reason, if it be necessary to their hypothesis, say, that a man is always hungry, but that he does not always feel it: whereas hunger consists in that very sensation, as thinking consists in being conscious that one thinks. If they say, that a inan is always conscious to himself of thinking, I ask, how they know it. Consciousness is the perception of what passes in a man's own mind. Can another man perceive that I am conscious of any thing, when I perceive it not myself? No man's knowledge here can go beyond his experience. Wake a man out of a sound sleep, and ask him, what he was that moment think. ing of. If he himself be conscious of nothing he then thought on, he must be a notable diviner of thoughts that can assure him that he was thinking: may he not with more reason assure him he was not asleep? This is something beyond philosophy; and it cannot be less than revelation, that discovers to another thoughts in my mind, when I can find none there myself: and they must needs have a penetrating sight, who can certainly sce that I think, when I cannot perceive it myself, and when I declare that I do not; and yet can see that dogs or elephants do not think, when they give all the demonstration of it imaginable, except only telling us that they do so. This some may suspect to be a step


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

beyond the Rosecrucians; it seeming easier to make one's self invisible to others, than to make another's thoughts visible to me, which are not visible to himself. But it is but defining the soul to be.“ a substance that always thinks,” and the business is done. If such definition be of any authority, I know not what it can serve for, but to make many men suspect, that they have no souls at all, since they find a good part of their lives pass away without thinking. For no definitions, that I know, no suppositions of any sect, are of force enough to destroy constant experience; and perhaps it is the affectation of knowing beyond what we perceive, that makes so much useless dispute and noise in the world. . No ideas but. 6. 20. I see no reason therefore to befrom sensa- lieve, that the soul thinks before the senses tion or reflec

have furnished it with ideas to think on; if we observe and as those are increased and retained, so children. it comes, by exercise, to improve its faculty of thinking, in the several parts of it, as well as afterwards, by compounding those ideas, and reflecting on its own operations; it increases its stock, as well as facility, in remembering, imagining, reasoning, and other modes of thinking.

$. 21. Ile that will suffer himself to be informed by observation and experience, and not inake his own hypothesis the rule of nature, will find few signs of a soul accustomed to much thinking in a new-born child, and much fewer of any reasoning at all. And yet it is hard to imagine, that the rational soul should think so much, and not reason at all. And he that will consider, that infants, newly come into the world, spend the greatest part of their time in sleep, and are seldom awake, but when either hunger calls for the teat, or some pain, (the most importunate of all sensations) or some other violent impression upon the body forces the mind to perceive, and attend to it: he, I say, who considers this, will, perhaps, find reason to imagine, that a fætus 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 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 furnished 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 senses convey to it. And so we may observe how the mind, by degrecs, improves in these, and advances to the exercise of those other faculties of enlarging, compounding, and abstracting its ideas, and of reasoning about them, and reflecting upon all these; of which I shall have occasion to speak more hereafter,

V. 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 sensation. 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, consideration, reasoning, &c.

9. 24. In time the mind comes to reflect The original on its own operations about the ideas got of all our by sensation, and thereby stores itself with knowledge. a new set of ideas, 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

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


« AnteriorContinuar »