Imágenes de página

without; and the other supposed (with a like ignorance

of what it is) to be the substratum to those operations · we experiment in ourselves within. It is plain then,

that the idea of corporeal substance in matter is as remote from our conceptions and apprehensions, as thet of spiritual substance or spirit: and therefore from our not having any notion of the substance of spirit, we can no more conclude its non-existence, than we can for the same reason deny the existence of body; it being as rational to affirm there is no body, because we have no clear and distinct idea of the substance of matter, as to say there is no spirit, because we have no clear and distinct idea of the substance of a spirit. Of the sorts sorte §. 6. Whatever therefore be the secret,

3.0. of substances. abstract nature of substance in general, all

the ideas we have of particular distinct sorts of substances, are nothing but several combinations of simple ideas, co-existing in such, though unknown, cause of their union, as make the whole subsist of itself. It is by such combinations of simple ideas, and nothing else, that we represent particular sorts of substances to ourselves; such are the ideas we have of their several species in our minds; and such only do we, by their specifick names, signify to others, v. g. man, horse, sun, water, iron : upon hearing which words, every one who inderstands the.language, frames in his mind a combination of those several simple ideas, which he has usually observed, or fancied to exist to

: Your lordship has the idea of subsisting by itself, and therefore you conclude, you have a clear and distinct idea of the thing that subsists by itself: which, methinks, is all one, as if your countryman should say, he hath an idea of a cedar of Lebanon, that it is a tree of a nature to need no prop to lean on for its support; therefore he hath a clear and distinct idea of a cedat of Lebanon; which clear and distinct idea, when he comes to examine, is nothing but a general one of a tree, with which his indetermined idea of a cedar is confounded. Just so is the idea of substance; which, however called clear and distinct, is confounded with the general indetermined idea of something. But suppose that the manner of subsisting by itself gives us a clear and distinct idea of substance, how does that prove, That upon my principles we can come to no certainty of reason, that there is any such thing as substance in the world? Which is the proposition to be proved.

gother gether under that denomination; all:which he supposes to rest in, and be as it were adherent to that unknown common subject, which inheres not in any thing else. Though in the mean time it be manifest, and every one upon inquiry into his own thoughts will find, that he has no other idea of any substance, v. g. let it be gold, horse, iron, man, vitriol, bread, but what he has barely of those sensible qualities, which he supposes. to inhere, with a supposition of such a substratum, as gives, as it were, a support to those qualities or simple ideas, which he has observed to exist united together. Thus the idea of the sun, what is it but an aggregate of those several simple ideas, bright, hot, roundish, having a constant regular motion, at a certain distance from us, and perhaps some other? As he who thinks and discourses of the sun, has been more or less ac, €urate in observing those sensible qualities, ideas, or properties, which are in that thing which he calls the sun.

9. 7. For he has the perfectest idea of Power a great any of the particular sorts of substances, part of our who has gathered and put together most of complex

ideas of sub those simple ideas which do exist in it,

stances. among which are to be reckoned its active powers, and passive capacities; which though not simple ideas, yet in this respect, for brevity sake, may conveniently enough be reckoned amongst them. Thus the power of drawing iron, is one of the ideas of the complex one of that substance we call a load-stone; and a power to be so drawn is a part of the complex one we call iron : which powers pass for inherent qualities in those subjects. Because every substance, being as apt, by the powers we observe in it, to change some sensible qualities in other subjects, as it is to produce in us those simple ideas which we receive immediately from it, does, by those new sensible qualities introduced into other subjects, discover to us those powers, which do thereby mediately affect our senses, as reguJarly as its sensible qualities do it immediately: v. gwe immediately by our senses perceive in fire its heat and colour; which are, if rightly considered, no-U 3


thing but powers in it to produce those ideas in us: we
also by our senses perceive the colour and brittleness of
charcoal, whicreby we come by the knowledge of ano-
ther power in fire, which it has to change the colour
and consistency of wood. By the former, fire iinine-
diately, by the latter it mediately discovers to us these
several qualities, which therefore we look upon to be a
part of the qualities of fire, and so make them a part
of the complex idea of it. For all those powers that
we take cognizance of, terininating only in the altera-
tion of some sensible qualities in those subjects on
which they operate, and so making them exbibit to us
new sensible ideas; therefore it is that I have reckoned
these powers amongst the simple ideas, which niake the
complex ones of the sorts of substances; though these
powers, considered in themselves, are truly complex
ideius. And in this looser sense I crave leave to be on-
derstood, when I name, any of these potentialities
among the simple ideas, which we recollect in our
minds when we think of particular substances. For
the powers that are severally in thein are necessary to
be considered, if we will have true distinct notions of
the several sorts of substances.
And why.

$. 8. Nor are we to wonder, that powers .: make a great part of our complex ideas of substances : since their secondary qualities are those, which in most of thein serve principally to distinguish substances one from another, and commonly make a considerable, part of the complex idea of the several sorts of them. For our senses failing us in the discovery of the bulk, texture, and figure of the minute parts of bodies, on which their real constitutions and differences depend, we are fain to make use of their secondary qualities, as the characteristical notes and marks, whereby to frame ideas of them in our minds, and distinguish then one from another. All which secondary qualities, as has been shown, are nothing but bare powers. For the colour and taste of opium ara, as well as its soporifick or anodyne virtues, mere poi. urs depending on its priinary qualities, whereby,

[ocr errors]



fitted to produce different operations on different parts of our bodies.

§. 9. The ideas that make our complex Threc soris ones of corporeal substances, are of those of ideas three sorts. First, the ideas of the primary ities of thing which are discovered by of substances

complex ones our senses, and are in them even when we perceive them not; 'such are the bulk, figure, number, situation, and motion of the parts of bodics, which are really in them, whether we take notice of them or no. Secondly, the sensible secondary qualities, which depending on tivese, are nothing but the powers those substances have to produce several ideas in us by our seniscs; which ideas are not in the things themselves, otherwise than as any thing is in its cause. Thirdly, the aptness we consider in any substance to give or receive such alterations of primary qualities, as that the substance so altered should produce in us different ideas from what it did before ; these are called active and passive powers : all which powers, as far as we have any notice or notion of them, terminate only in sensible simple ideas. For whatever álteration a loadstone has the power, to make, in the minute particles of iron, we should have no notion of any power it had at all to operate on iron, did not its sensible motion discover it: and I doubt not, but there are a thousand changes, that bodies we daily handle have a power to cause in one

another, which we never suspect, because they never apcheap pcar in sensible effects..

9. 10. Powers therefore justly make a Powers make great part of our complex ideas of sub- a great part stances. He that will examine his complex

of our com.

plex ideas of idea of guld, will find several of its ideas

substances. that make it up to be only powers: as the out power of being melted, but of not spending itself in

the fire ; of being dissolved in aqua regia ; are ideas as necessary to make up our complex idea of gold, as its colour and weight: which, if duly considered, are also nothing but different powers. For to speak truly, yel

lowness is not actually in gold; but is a power in gold . to produce that idea in us by our eyes, when placed in

U 4

a due

[ocr errors]

a due light : and the heat, which we cannot leave out of our ideas of the sun, is no more really in the sun, than the white colour it introduces into wax. These are both equally powers in the sun, operating, by the motion and figure of its sensible parts, so on a man, as to ma ke him have the idea of heat; and so on wax, as to make it capable to produce in a man the idea of white. The now se.

$. 11. Had we senses acute enough to condary qua. discern the minute particles of bodies, and lities of bo- the real constitution on which their sensible dies would qualities depend, I doubt not but they disappear, if

would produce quite different ideas in us; we could discoverthepri. and that which is now the yellow colour of mary ones of gold, would then disappear, and instead of their minute it we should see an admirable texture of parts. parts of a certain size and figure. This microscopes plainly discover to us; for what to our naked eyes produces a certain colour, is, by thus augmenting the acuteness of our senses, discovered to be quite a different thing; and the thus altering, as it were, the proportion of the bulk of the minute parts of a coloured object to our usual sight, produces different ideas from what it did before. Thus sand or pounded glass, which is opake, and white toʻthe naked eye, is pellucid in a microscope; and a hair seen this way; loses its former colour, and is in a great measure pellucid, with a mixture of some bright sparkling colours, such as appear from the refraction of diamonds, and other pellucid bodies. Blood to the naked eye ap. pears all red; but by a good microscope, wherein its lesser pårts appear, shows only some few globules of red, swimming in a pellucid liquor : and how these red globules would appear, if glassos could be found that could yet magnify them a thousand or ten thousand tiines more, is uncertain.

. 8. 12. The infinitely wise contriver of us, of discovery and all things about us, hath fitted our suited to our senses, faculties,, and organs, to the convestate. niences of life, and the business we have to do here. We are able, by our senses, to know and distinguish things; and to examine them so far, as to


« AnteriorContinuar »