Page images
PDF
EPUB

CH A P. I.

Of the Nature of Ideas.

F

IRST, the Nature of Conception or Percep

tion + shall just be mentioned, tho' this may seem to belong to anocher Science rather than Logick.

Perception is that Axt of the Mind (or as some Philosophers call it, rather a Pasion or Impression) wbereby the Mind becomes conscious of any Thing, as when I feel Hunger, Thirst, or Cold, or Heat ; when I see a Horse, a Tree, or a Man ; when I hear a buman Voice, or Thunder, I am conscious of these Things, and this is called Perception. If I ftudy, meditate, wish, or fear, I am conscious of these inward Acts also, and my Mind perceives its own Thoughts, Wishes, Fears, &c.

An Idea is generally defined a Representation of a Thing in the Mind; it is a Representation of something that we have seen, felt, beard, &c. or been conscious of. That Notion or Form of a Horse, a Tree, or a Man, which is in the Mind, is called the Idea of a Horse, a Tree, or a Man. That Notion of Hunger, Cole, Sound, Colour, Thought, or Wish, or Fear, which is, in the Mind, is called the Idea of Hunger, Cold, Sound, Wijh, &c.

It is not the outward Object, or Thing which is perceived, (viz.) the Horse, the Man, &c. nor

Note, The Words Conception and Perception are often used promiscuoufly, as I have done here, because I would not embarrass a Learner with too many Distinctions ; but if I were to distinguish them, I would say Perception is the Consciousness of an Object when present : Conception is the forming an Idea of the Object whether present or absent.

[merged small][ocr errors]

is it the very Perception or Sense, and Feeling, (viz.) of Hunger, or Cold, &c. which is called the Idea ; but it is the Thing as it exists in the Mind by Way of Conception or Representation, that is properly called the Idea, whether the ObjeEt be present or absent.

As a Horse, a Man, a Tree, are the outward Obječts of our Perception, and the outward Archetypes or Patterns of our Ideas ; so our own Sensations of Hunger, Cold, &c. are also inward Archetypes or Patterns of our Ideas : But the Notions or Pictures of these Things, as they are considered, or conceived in the Mind, are precisely the Ideas that we have to do with in Logick. To see a Horse, or to feel Cold is one Thing ; to think of, and converse about a Man, a Horse, Hunger, or Cold, is another.

Among all these Ideas, such as represent Bodies, are generally called Images, especially if the Idea of the Shape be included. Those inward Representations which we have of Spirit, Thought, Love, Hatred, Cause, Effect, &c. are more pure and mental Ideas, belonging more especially to the Mind, and carry nothing of Shape or Sense in them. But I shall have occasion to speak more particularly of the Original and the Distinction of Ideas in the third Chapter. I proceed therefore now to consider the Objects of our Ideas.

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

C H A P.

CHA P. II.

Of the Objects of Perception.

SECT. I.

Of Being in general.

TH

HE Object of Perception is that which is re

presented in the Idea, that which is the Archetype or Pattern, according to which the Idea is formed ; and thus Judgments, Propositions, Reafons, and long Discourses, may all become the Objects of Perception ; but in this place we speak chiefly of the first and more simple Objects of it, before they are join’d and form’d into Propositions or Discourses.

Every Obječt of our Idea is call'd a Theme, whe. ther it be a Being or Not Being ; for Not Being may be proposed to our Thoughts, as well as that which has a real Being. But let us first treat of Beings, and that in the largest Extent of the Word.

A Being is consider'd as possible, or as attual.

When it is considered as possible, it is said to have an Essence or Nature ; such were all Things before their Creation : When it is considered as actual, then it is said to have Existence also ; such are all Things which are created, and God himself the Creator.

Elence therefore is but the very Nature of any Being, whether it be actually existing or no. A Rose in Winter has an Effence, in Summer it has Existence also.

Note,

Note, There is but one Being which includes Existence in the very Essence of it, and that is God, who therefore actually exists by natural and eternal Necessity : But the actual Existence of every Creature is very distinct from its Essence, for it may be or may not be, as God please.

Again, Every Being is consider'd either as subsisting in and by its self, and then it is called a Substance; or it fubfifts in and by another, and then it is called a Mode or Manner of Being. Tho' few Writers allow Mode to be calld a Being in the same perfect Sense as a Substance is ; and some Modes have evidently more of real Entity or Being than others, as will appear when we come to treat of them. These Things will furnish us with Matter for larger Discourse in the following Sections.

SECT. II.
Of Substances and their various kinds.

A

self, without Dependence upon any other created Being. The Notion of subsisting by itself gives occasion to Logicians to call it a Substance. So a Horse, a House, Wood, Stone, Water, Fire, a Spirit, a Body, an Angel are called Substances, because they depend on nothing but God for their Existence.

It has been usual also in the Description of Substance to add, it is that which is the Subject of Modes or Accidents ; a Body is the Substance or Subject, its Shape is the Mode.

But left we be led into Mistakes, let us here take Notice, that when a Substance is said to subsist without Dependence upon another created Being, all that we mean is, that it cannot be annihilated, or utterly destroy'd and reduced to nothing, by any Power inferior to that of our Creator ; tho its present

B

particular

particular Form, Nature and Properties may be alter'd and destroy'd by many inferior Causes : a Horse may die and turn to Dust; Wood may be turned into Fire, Smoak and Ashes; a House into Rubbis, and Water into Ice or Vapour ; but the Substance or Matter of which they are made ftill remains, tho' the Forms and Shapes of it are altered, A Body may cease to be a House or a Horse, but it is a Body still; and in this Sense it depends only upon God for its Existence.

Among Substances some are thinking or conscious Beings, or have a Power of Thought, such as the Mind of Man, God, Angels. Some are extended and solid or impenetrable, that is, they have Dimensions of Length, Breadth, and Depth, and have also a Power of Resistance, or exclude every thing of the same kind from being in the same Place. This is the proper Character of Matter or Body.

As for the Idea of Space, whether it be void or full, i. e. a Vacuum or a Plenum, whether it be interspers'd among all Bodies, or may be supposed to reach beyond the Bounds of the Creation, it is an Argument too long and too hard to be disputed in this Place what the Nature of it is : It has been much debated whether it be a real Substance, or a mere Conception of the Mind, whether it be the Immensity of the Divine Nature, or the mere Order of co-existent Beings, whether it be the manner of our Conception of the Distances of Bodies, or a mere Nothing. Therefore I drop the Mention of it here, and refer the Reader to the first Essay among the Philosophical Efays by I. W. published 1733;

Now if we seclude Space out of our Consideration, there will remain but two Sorts of Substances in the World, i, e. Matter and Mind, or as we

other

« PreviousContinue »