Page images

quality, considered as in the bodies themselves, is nothing else but a power or aptitude to produce such seusations in us. See Locke's Essay on the Understanding, Book II. chap. 8.

VIII. I might add, in the last place, that as modes belong to substances, so there are some also that are but modes of other modes; for though they subsist in and by the substance, as the original subject of them, yet they are properly and directly attributed to some mode of that substance. Motion is the mode of a body; but the swiftness or slowness of it, or its direction to the north or south, are but modes of motion. Walking is the mode or manner of man, or of a beast; but walking gracefully implies a manner or mode superadded to that action. All comparative and superlative degrees of any quality, are the modes of a mode, as swifter implies a greater measure of swiftness.

It would be too tedious here to run through all the modes, accidents, and relations at large that belong to various beings, and are copiously treated of in general in the science called metaphysics, or more properly ontology; they are also treated of in particular iu those sciences which have assumed them severally as their proper subjects. SECT. V.-Of the ten Categories. Of substances modified.

We have thus given an account of the two chief objects of our ideas, viz. Substances and modes, and their various kinds; and in these last sections, we have briefly comprised the greatest part of what is necessary in the famous ten ranks of being, called the ten predicaments or categories of Aristotle, on which there are endless volumes of discourses formed by several of his followers. But that the reader may not utterly be ignorant of them, let him know the names

these: Substance, quantity, quality, relation, action, passion, where, when, situation, and cloathing. It would be mere loss of time to shew how loose, how injudicious, and even ridiculous, is this ten-fold divi. sion of things; and whatsoever farther relates to them, and which may tend to improve useful knowo


ledge, should be sought in ontology, and in other sciences.

Besides substance and mode, some of the moderns would have us consider the substance modified, as a distinct object of our ideas; but l’think there is nothing more tbat need be said on this subject than this, viz There is some difference between a substauce, when it is considered with all its modes about it, or cloathed in all its manners of existence, and wheu it is distinguished from them, and considered naked without them.

Sect. VI.-Of Not Being. As being is divided into substance and mode, so we may consider not-being with regard to both these.

1. Nut-being is considered as excluding all substance, and then all modes are also necessarily excladed, and this we call pure nullity, or mere nothing.

This nothing is taken either in a vulgar or a philosophical sepse; so we say there is nothing in the cup, in the vulgar sense, when we mean there is no liquor in it; but we cannot say there is nothing in the cup, in a striet philosophical sense, while there is air in it, and perhaps a million of rays of ligbt are there.

II. Not-being, as it has relation to modes or man. ners of being, may be considered either as a mere negation, or as a privation.

A negation is the absence of that which does not naturally belong to the thing we are speaking of, or which has no right, obligation, or necessity to be present with it; as when we say a stone is inanimate, or blind, or deaf, that is, it has no life, nor sight, nor hearing ; nor when we say, a carpenter or a fisherinan is unlearned, these are mere negations.

But a privation is the absence of what does naturally belong to the thing we are speaking of, or which ought to be present with it, as when a nap or a horse is deaf, or blind, or dead, or if a physician or a divine be uplearned, these are called privations; so the siufulness of any human action is said to be a privation; for sin is that want of conformity to the law of God, which ought to be found in every action of man.

Note. There are some writers who make all sort of relative modes or relations, as well as all external denominations, to be mere creatures of the mind, and entia rationis, and then they rank them also under the general head of not-beings; but it is my opinion, that whatsoever may be determined concerning mere mental relations and external denominations, which seem to have something less of entity or being in them, yet there are many real relations which ought not to be reduced to so low a class; such are the situation of bodies, their mutual distances, their parti. cular proportions and measures, the notions of fatherhood, brotherhood, sonship, &c. all which are relative ideas. The very essence of virtue or holiness consists in the conformity of our actions to the rule of right reason, or the law of God; the nature and essence of sincerity is the conformity of our words and actions to our thoughts, all which are but mere relations; and I think we must not reduce such positive beings as piety, virtue, and truth, to the rank of nonentities, which have nothing real in them, though sin (or rather the sinfulness of an action) may be properly called a not-being, for it is a want of piety and virtue. This is the most usual, and perhaps the justest way of representing these matters.



IDEAS may be divided with regard to their original, their nature, their objects, and their qualities. Sect. I.--Of sensible, spiritual, and abstracted Ideas.

There has been a great controversy about the origin of ideas, viz. Whether any of our ideas are innate or no, that is, born with us, and naturally belonging to ou minds ? Mr. Locke utterly denies it; others as positively affirm it: Now, though this controversy may be compromised, by allowing that there is a sense, wherein our first ideas of some things may be said to be innate (as I have shewn in some remarks on Mr. Locke's Essay, which have lain long by me), yet it does not belong to this place and business to have that point debated at large, nor will it binder our pursuit of the present work to pass it over in silence.

There is sufficient ground to say, that all our ideas, with regard to their original, may be divided into three sorts, viz. Sensible, spiritual, and abstracted ideas.

1. Sensible, or corporeal ideas, are derived originally from our senses, and from the communication wbich the soul has with the animal body in this present state; such are the notions we frame of all colours, sounds, tastes, figures, or shapes and motions; for our senses being conversant about particular sensible objects, become the occasious of several distinct conceptions in the mind; and thus we come by the ideas of yellow, white, heat, cold, soft, hard, bitter, sweet, and all those which we call sensible qualities. All the ideas which we have of body, and the sensible modes and properties that belong to it, seem to be derived from sensation.

And howsoever these may be treasured up in the menory, and by the work of fancy may be increased, diminished, compounded, divided, and diversified (which we are ready to call our invention), yet they all derive their first nature and being from something that has been let into our minds by one or other of

If I think of a golden mountain, or a sea of liquid fire, yet the single ideas of sea, fire, mountain, and gold, came ipte my thoughts at first by sensation; the mind has only compounded them.

II. *Spiritual or intellectual ideas are those wbich we gain by reflecting on the nature and actions of our own souls, and turning our thoughts within ourselves, and observing what is transacted in our own minds. Such are the ideas we have of thought, assent, dissent, judging, reason, knowledge, understanding, will, love, fear, hope.

our senses.

* Here the word Spiritual is used in a mere natural, and not in a religious sense.

By sensation the soul contemplates things (as it were) out of itself, and gains corporeal representations or sensible ideas; by reflection the soul contemplates itself, and things within itself, and by this means it gains spiritual ideas, or representations of things intellectual.

Here it may be noted, though the first original of these two sorts of ideas, viz. Sensible and spiritual, may be entirely owing to these two principles, seusation and reflection, yet the recollection and fresh excitation of them may be owing to thousand other occasions and occurrences of life. We could never inform a man who was born biind or deaf what we inean by the words yellow, blue, red, or by the words loud or shrill, nor convey any just ideas of these things to his mind, by all the powers of language, uuless he has experienced those sensations of sound and colour; nor could we ever gain the ideas of thought, judgment, reason, doubting, hoping, &c. by all the words that man could invent, without turning our thonghts inward upon the actions of our own souls. Yet when we once have attained these ideas by sensation and reflection, they may be excited afresh by the use of names, words, sigus, or by any thivg else that has been connected with them in our thoughts: for when two or more ideas have been associated together, whether it be by custom, or accident, or design, the one presently brings the other to mind.

III. Besides these two which we have named, there is a third sort of ideas, which are commonly called abstracted ideas, because, though the origiral ground or occasion of them may be sensation or reflection, or both, yet these ideas are framed by another act of the mind, which we usually call abstraction. Now the word abstraction signifies a withdrawing some parts of an idea from other parts of it, by which means such abstracted ideas are formed, as neither represent any thing corporeal or spiritual, that is, any thing peculiar or proper to miud or body. Now these are of two kinds,

Some of these abstracted ideas are the most absolute, general, and universal conceptions of things

« PreviousContinue »