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" SECT. y.
M YE have thus given an account of the two chief
VV objects of our ideas, viz. Substances and modes, and their various kinds; and in these last sections, we have briefly comprized 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 are these : Substance, quantity, quality, relation, action, passion, where, when, situation, and cloathing. It would be mere loss of time to thew how loose, how injudicious, and even ridiculous is this ten-fold divifion of things; and whatsoever farther relates to them, and which may tend to improve useful knowledge, should be fought 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 I think there is nothing more that need be said on this subject than this, viz. There is some difference between a substance when it is confidered with all its modes about it, or clothed in all its manners of existence, and when it is diftinguished from them, and considered naked without them.
A S being is divided into substance and mode; so A we may consider not-being with regard to both these.
I. NOT-BEING is considered as excluding all substance, and then all modes are also necessarily excluded, and this we call pure nullity, or mere nothing.
This nothing is taken either in a vulgar or a philosophical sense; fo we fay there is nothing in the cup, in a vulgar sense, when we mean there is no liquor in it; but we cannot fay there is nothing in the cup, in a strict philosophical sense, while there is air in it, and perhaps a million of rays of light are there..
-, H. NO'T-BEING, as it has relation to modes: or man. ners of being, may be considered either as a mere ne, gation, 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 fight, nor hearing ; nor when we say a carpenter or a fisherman is unlearned, there 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 man or a horse is deaf, or blind, or dead, or if a physician or a divine be unlearned, these are called privations; so the finfulness 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 de, nominations, 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 fo low a class ; fuch are the situation of bodies, their mutual distances, their particular proportions and measures, the notions of fatherhood, brotherhood, fonship, 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 effence of fincerity 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 non-entities, which have nothing real in them, though sin (or rather the finfulness 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 justeft, way of representing these matters.
OF THE SEVERAL SORTS OF PERCEPTIONS OR IDEAS.
T DEAS may be divided with regard to their original, It their nature, their objects, and their qualities.
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, horn with us, and naturally belonging to our 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 faid to be innate, (as I have shewn in some remarks on Mr Locke's effay, 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 hinder 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 forts, viz. Sensible, spiritual, and abstracted ideas.
I. SENSIBLE or corporeal ideas are derived originally from our senses, and from the communication which 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 occasions 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, there may be treasured up in the memory, 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 our senses If I think of a golden mountain, or a sea of liquid fire, yet the single ideas of fea, fire, mountain, and gold came into my thoughts at first by sensation; the mind has only compounded them.
II. *SPIRITUAL or intellectual ideas are those which we gain by reflecting on the nature and actions of our own fouls, and turning our thoughts within ourselves, and observing what is transacted in our own minds. Such are the ideas we have of thought, assent, diffent, judging, reason, knowledge, understanding, will, love, fear, hope.
By sensation the soul contemplates things (as it were) out of itself, and gains corporeal representations or sena fible ideas; by reflection the soul contemplates itself, and things within itself, and by this means it gains spin ritual ideas, or representations of things intellectual.
Here it may be noted, though the first original of * Here the word Spiritual is used in a mere natural, and not in a Religious sense, . .
these two sorts of ideas, viz. Sensible and spiritual, may be entirely owing to these two principles, sensation and reflection, yet the recollection and fresh excitation of thein may be owning to a thousand other occasions and occurrences of life. We could never inform a man who was born blind or deaf what we mean by the words yellow, blue, red, or by the words loud or thrill, nor convey any just ideas of these things to his mind, by all the powers of language, unless he has experienced those sensations of found and colour ; nor could we ever gain the ideas of thought, judgment, reason, doubting, hoping, &c. by all the words that man could invent, withoue turning our thoughts inward upon the actions of our own souls. Yet when we once have attained these ideas by fenfation and reflection, they may be excited afresh by the use of names, words, signs, or by any thing 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 abAtracted ideas, because though the original 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 mind or body. Now these are of two kinds.
Some of these abftracted ideas are the most absolute general, and universal conceptions of things considered in themselves, without respect to others, such as entity or being, and not-being, efTence, existence, act, power, substance, mode, accident, Sc..
The other fort of abstracted ideas is relative, as when · we compare several things together, and consider merely the relations of one thing to another, entirely drops