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complex, beyond all the words that are invented in any language; thence it becomes almost necessary that one name fhould fignify several things. Let us but consider the two colours of yellow and blue, if they are mingled together in any considerable proportion, they make a green : Now there may be infinite differences of the proportions in the mixture of yellow and blue; and yet we have only these three words, yellow, blue, and green, to signify all of them, at least by one single term. : When I use the word shore, I may intend thereby a coast of land near the sea, or a drain to carry off water, or a prop to support a building; and by the found of the word porter, who can tell whether I mean a man who bears burdens, or a servant who waits at a nobleman's gate ? the world is fruitful in the invention of utensils of life, and new characters and offices of men, yet names entirely new are seldom invented ; therefore old names are almost necessarily used to signify new things, which may occasion much confusion and errorin the receiving and communicating of knowledge.
Give me leave to propose one single instance, where. in all those notes shall be remarkably exemplified. It is the word bishop, which in French is called evéque ; upon which I would make these several observations. (1) That there is no natural connection between the lacred office hereby signified, and the letters or found which signify this office ; for both these words evégue and bishop signify the same office, though there is not one letter alike in them ; nor have the letters which compose the English or the French word any thing sacred belonging to them, more than the letters that compose the words king or soldier. (2.) If the meaning of a word could be learned by its derivation or etymology, yet the original derivation of words is oftentimes very dark and unsearchable ; for who would imagine that each of these words are derived from the Latin episcopus, or the Greek EPISCOPOS ? Yet in this instance we happen to know certainly the true derivation ; the French being anciently writ evesque, is borrowed from the first part of the Latin word ; and the old English biscop from the middle of it. (3.) The original Greek word signifies an overlooker, or one who ftands higher than his fellows and overlooks them ; it is a compound word, that primarily signifies sensible ideas, tranflated to signify or include several moral or intellectual ideas; therefore all will grant that the na. ture of the office can be never known by the mere found or sense of the word overlooker. (4:) I add farther, the word bishop or episcopus, even when it is thus tranflated from a fenfible idea, to include several intellectual ideas, may yet equally signify an overseer of the poor; an inspector of the customs; a surveyor of the highways; a supervisor of the excise, &c. But by the consent of men, and the language of fcripture, it is appropriated to signify a sacred office in the church.. (5.) This very idea and name, thus translated from things sensible, to fignify a spiritual and sacred thing, contains but one property of it, (viz.) one that has an oversight, or care over others; but it does not tell us whether it includes a care over one church, or many; over the laity, or the clergy. (6.) Thence it follows; that those who in the complex idea of the word bishop, include an oversight over the clergy, or over a whole diocese of people, a superiority to prefbyters, a distinct power of ordination, &c. must neceffarily disagree with those who include in it only the care of a single con gregation. Thus according to the various opinions of men, this word fignifies a pope, a Gallican bishop, a. Lutherean superintendant, an English prelate, a pastor of a single afsembly, or a presbyter or elder. Thus they quarrel with each other perpetually ; and it is well if any of them all have hit precisely the sense of the sacred writers, and included just the same ideas in its and no others.
Imight make all the same remarks on the word church or kirk, which is derived from KURIOU OIKOS or the house of the Lord; contracted into kyriok, which some fuppose to signify an affembly of christians, some take it for all the world that professes christianity, and some make it to mean only the clergy, and on these accounts. it has been the occafion of as many and as furious controversies as the word bishop which was mentioned before.
T ROM these and other confiderations it will follow,
F that if we would avoid error in our pursuit of knowledge, we must take good heed to the use of words and terms, and be acquainted with the various kinds of them.
I. Terms are either positive or negative.
Negative terms are such as have a little word or syllable of denying joined to them, according to the various idioms of every language, as unpleasant, imprudent, immortal, irregular, ignorant, infinite, endless, lifeless; deathless, nonsense, abyss, anonymous, where the prepositions un, im, in, non, a, an, and the termination less, signify a negation, either in English, Latin or Greek.
Positive terms are those which have no such negative appendices belonging to them, as life, death, end, tense, mortal.
But fo unhappily are our words and ideas linked together, that we can never know which are positive ideas, and which are negative, by the word that is used to express them, and that for these reasons ;
There are some positive terms which are made to signify a negative idea ; as dead is properly a thing that is deprived of life; blind implies a negation or privation of sight; deaf a want of hearing ; dumb a denial of speech.
2dly, There are also some negative terms which imply positive ideas, such as immortal and deathless, which signify ever-living, or a continuance in life; insolent signifies rude and naughty ; indemnify, to keep safe ; and infinite perhaps has a positive idea too, for it is an idea ever growing; and when it is applied to God, it signifies his complete perfection.
3dly, There are both positive and negative terms, invented to signify the same and contrary ideas; as un
happy and miserable, sinless and holy, pure and undefiled, impure and filthy, unkind and cruel, irreligious and profane, unforgiving and revengeful, &c. and there is great deal of beauty and convenience derived to any language from this variety of expression; though some. times it a little confounds our conceptions of being and not-being, our positive and negative ideas.
4tkly, I may add also, that there are some words which are negative in their original language, but seem positive to an Englifhman, because the negation is unknown; as abyss, a place without a bottom ; anodyne, an easing medicine ; amnesty, an unremembrance, or general pardon; anarchy, a state without government; anonymous, that is, nameless ; inept, that is, not fit; iniquity, that is, unrighteousness ; infant, one that can: not speak, (viz.) a child ; injurious, not doing justice or right.
The way therefore to know whether any idea be negative or not is to consider whether it primarily imply the absence, of any positive being, or mode of being; if it doth, then it is a negation or negative idea ; othera ways it is a positive one; whether the word that expreffes it be positive or negative. Yet after all, in many cases this is very hard to determine, as in amnesty, infinite, abyss, which are originally relative terms, but they signify pardon, &c. which seem to be positives. So darkness, madness, clown, are positive terms, but they imply the want of light, the want of reason, and the want of manners; and perhaps these may be ranked ! among the negative ideas.
Here note, that in the English tongue two negative terms are equal to one positive, and signify the same thing, as not unhappy, signifies happy ; not immortal, signifies mortal; he is no im prudent man, that is, he is a man of prudence; but the sense and force of the word in such a negative way of expressions seem to be a little diminified:
11. TERMS ,aredivided into simple or.complex. A
1 simple term is one word, a complex term is when more words are used to signify one thing.
Some terms are complex in words, but not in sense, fuch is the second emperor of Rome; for it excites in our minds only the idea of one man (viz.). Augustus. . Some terms are complex in sense, but not in words; so when I say an army, a forest, I mean a multitude of men, or trees; and almost all our moral ideas, as well as many of our natural ones, are expressed in this manner; religion, piety, loyalty, knavery, theft, include a variety of ideas in each term.
There are other terms which are complex both in words and sense ; so when I say a fierce dog, or a pious man, it excites an idea, not only of those two creatures, but of their peculiar characters also.
Among the terms that are complex in sense, but not in words, we may reckon those simple terms which contain a primary and a secondary idea in them; as when I hear my neighbour speak that which is not true, and I say to him this is not true, or this is false; I only convey to him the naked idea of his error ; this is the primary idea : but if I say it is a lie, the word lie carries also a secondary idea in it, for it implies both • the falmood of the speech, and my reproach and cenfure of the speaker. On the other hand, if I say it is a mistake, this.carries also a secondary idea with it; for it not only refers to the falfhood of his speech, but includes my tenderness and civility to him at the same time. Another instance may be this; when I use the word incest, adultery, and murder, I convey to ano. ther not only the primary idea of those actions, but I include also the secondary idea of their unlawfulness, and my abhorrence of them.
Note 1. Hence it comes to pafs, that among words which fignify the same principal ideas some are clean