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CHAP. I.

OF THE NATURE OF METHOD AND THE SEVERAL

KINDS OF IT (viz.) NATURAL AND ARBITRARY
SYNTHETIC AND ANALYTIC.

M E THOD, taken in the largest senfe, implies the I i placing of several things, or performing several operations in such an order as is most convenient to attain some end proposed: and in this sense it is applied to all the works of nature and art, to all the divine affairs of creation and providence, and to the artifices, schemes, contrivances and practices of man. kind, whether in natural, civil, or sacred affairs.

Now this orderly disposition of things includes the ideas of prior, posterior, and simultaneous; of superior, inferior, and equal; of beginning, end, and middle, c. which are described more particularly among the general affections of being in ontology. - But in Logic method is usually taken in a more limited sense, and the nature of it is thus described : method is the disposition of a variety of thoughts on any subject, in such order as may best serve to find out unknown truths, to explain and confirm truths that are known, or to fix them in the memory.

It is distributed into two general kinds, (viz.) natural and arbitrary.

Natural method is that which observes the order of nature, and proceeds in such a manner as that the knowledge of the things which follow depends, in a great measure, on the things which go before, and this is twofold, (viz.) Synthetic and Analytic, which are sometimes called Synthesis and Analysis*.

* The word Analysis has three or four senses, which it may not be improper to take notice of here.

i. It fignifies the general and particular heads of a discourse, with their mutual connections, both co-ordinate and subordinate, drawn out by way of abstract into one or more tables, which are frequently placed like an index at the beginning or end of a book.

2. It lignifies the resolving of a difcouse into its various subjects

Synthetic method is that which begins with the parts *, and leads onward to the knowledge of the whole; it begins with the most simple principles, and general truths, and proceeds by degrees to that which is drawn from or compounded of them and therefore it is called the method of composition. '' ci

Analytic method takes the whole compound as it finds it, whether it be a species or an individual, and leads us into the knowledge of it by resolving it into its first principles or parts, its generic nature, and its fpecial properties; and therefore it is called the method of resolution.

... As synthetic method is generally used in teaching the sciences, after they are invented, so analytic is most practised in finding out things unknown. Though it must be confessed that both methods are fometimes employed to find out truth, and to communicate it.

If we know the parts of any subject easier and better than the whole, we consider the parts distinctly, and by putting them together, we come to the knowledge of the whole. So in grammar we learn first to know letters, we join them to make syllables, out of sylla

and arguments, as when any writing of the ancient prophets is refol. ved into the prophetical, historical, doctrinal, and practical parts of it; it is faid to be analysed in general. When a sentence is diftinguish. ed into the Nouns, Verbs, Pronouns, Adverbs and other particles of speech which compose it, then it is said to be analyfed grammatically. When the same sentence is distinguished into Subject and predicate, Proposition, Argument, Act, Object, Caufe, Efect, Adjunct, Oppofite, &c. then it is analysed logically, and metaphysically. This last is what is chiefly meant in the theological schools, when they fpeak of analysing a text of fcripture.",

3. Analysis fignifies particularly the science of algebra, wherein a question being proposed, one or more letters, as, x, y, 2, or vowels, as, a, e, i, &c. are made use of to signify the unknown number, which being intermingled with feveral known numbers in the question, is at laft by the rules of art feparated or released from that entanglement, and its particular value is found out by shewing its equation, or equality to some known number.

4. It signifies analytical method, as here explained in Logic,

* Note, It is contefled that synthesis often begins with the genus and proceeds to the species and individuals. But the genus or generic nature is then conficiered only as a physical or effential part of the fpecies, though it be sometimes called an universal or logical whole. Thus synthetic method maintains its own description till, for it begins with the parts, and proceeds to the whole which is composed of them

bles we compose words, and out of words we make fentences and discourles. So the physician or apothécary knows the nature and powers of his simples, (viz.) his drugs, his herbs, his minerals, &c and puta ting them together, and considering their feveral vir tues, he finds what will be the nature and powers of the bolus, or any compound medicine. This is the synthetic method.,

inn i srodne But if we are betier acquainted with the whole than we are with particular parts, then we divide or resolve the whole into its parts, and thereby gain' a distinct knowledge of them. So in vulgar life we learn in the gross what plants or minerals are; and then by chymistry, we gain the knowledge of falt, sulphur, fpirit, water, earth, which are the principles of them. So we are first acquainted with the whole body of an animal, and then by anatomy or dissection we come to learn all the inward and outward parts of it. This is analytic method.

According to this most general and obvious idea of {ynthetic and analytic method, they differ from each other as the way! which leads up from a valley to a mountain differs from itself, consider as it leads down, from the mountain to the valley; or as St Matthew and St Luke prove Christ to be the son of Abraham ; Luke finds out by analysis, rising from Christ to his ancestors ; Matthew teaches it in the synthetic method, beginning from Abraham, and thewing that Christ is found among his polterity. Therefore it is an usual thing in the sciences, when we have by ana. lysis found out a truth, we use fynthetic method to explain and deliver it, and prove it to be true.

In this easy view of things, these two kinds of method may be preserved conspicuously, and entirely diftinet : but the subjects of knowledge being infinite, and the ways whereby we arrive at this knowledge being alniost infinitely various, it is very difficult, and almost impoflible, always to maintain the precise distinction between these two methods.

This will evidently appear in the following observations.

Obf. I. Analytic method being used chiefly to find out things unknown, it is not liniited or confined mere

ly to begin with some whole subject, and proceed to the knowledge of its parts, but it takes its rise fome. times from one single part of property, or from any thing whatsoever that belongs to a subject which happens to be first and most easily known, and thereby inquiries into the more abftrufe and unknown parts, properties, causes, effects, and modes of it, whether absolute or relative; as for instance.

(1.) Analysis finds out causes by their effects. So in the speculative part of natural philosophy, when we observe light, colours, motions, hardness, foftnefs, and other properties and powers of bodies, or any of the common or uncornmon appearances of things either on earth, or in heaven, we search out the causes of them. So by the various creatures we find out the Creator, and learn his wisdom, power and goodness.

(2) It finds out effects by their causes. So the practical and mechanical part of natural philosophy considers such powers of motion, as the wind, the fire, the water, &c. and then contrives what uses they may be applied to, and what will be their effects in order to make mills and engines of various kinds.

(3.) It finds out the general and special nature of a thing by considering the various attributes of the individuals, and observing what is common, and what is proper, what is accidental, and what is effential. So by surveying the colour, the fhape, motion, rest, place, solidity, extension of bodies, we come to find that the nature of body in general is folid extension ; because all other qualities of bodies are changeable, but this belongs to all bodies, and it endures through all changes; and because this is proper to a body alone, and agrees not to any thing else; and it is the foundation of all other properties.

(4.) It finds out the remaining properties or parts of a thing, by having some parts or properties given. So the area of a triangle is found by knowing the keight and the base. So by having two sides, and an angle of a triangle given, we find the remaining fide and angles. So when we know cogitation is the prime attribute of a spirit, we infer its immateriality, and thence its immortality.

(5.) Analysis finds the means necessary to attain a

proposed end, by having the end first affigned. So in moral, political, economical affairs, having proposed the government of felf, a family, a society, or a nation, in order to their best interest, we consider and search out what are the proper laws, rules and means to effect it. So in the practices of artificers, and the mariu. factures of various kinds, the end being proposed, as, making cloth, houses, ships, &c. we find out ways of composing these things for the several uses of human life. But the putting any of these means in execution to attain the end, is synthetic method.

Many other particulars might be represented, to shew the various forms of analytic method, whereby truth is found out, and some of them come very near to synthetic, so as hardly to be diftinguished.

Obf. II. Not only the investigation of truth, but the communication of it also is often practised in such a method, as neither agrees precisely to synthetic nor' analytic. Some sciences, if you consider the whole of them in general, are treated in synthetic order; so phylics, or natural philosophy, begins usually with an account of the general nature and properties of matter or bodies, and by degrees descends to consider the par ticular fpecies of bodies, with their powers and pro-' perties; yet it is very evident, that when philosopher's come to particular plants and animals, then by chymistry and anatomy they analyse or resolve these bodies into their several constituent parts. On the other hand, Logic is begun in analytic method ; the whole is divided into its integral parts, according to the four operation's of the mind ; yet here and there synthetic methiod is used in the particular branches of it, for it treats' of the ideas in general first, and then descends to the several species of them ; iť teaches us how pro-' positions are made up of ideas, and syllogisms of propositions, which is the order of compositions. "

The ancient fcholaftic writers have taken a greater deal of pains, and engaged in useless disputes about' these two methods; and after all have not been able to give such an account of them as to keep them entirely distinct from each other, neither in the theory nor in the practice. Some of the moderns have avoided this confusion in fome meafure, by confining themselves to

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