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and decent, others unclean ; some chaste, others oba scene ; some are kind, others are affronting and reproachful, because of the secondary idea which custom has affixed to them. And it is the part of a wise man, when there is a necessity of expressing any evil actions, to do it either by a word that has a secondary idea of. kindness, or softness; or a word that carries in it an idea of rebuke and severity, according as the case re. quires. So when there is a necessity of expressing things unclean or obscene, a wise man will do it in the most decent language, to excite as few uncleanly ideas as possible in the minds of the hearers.
Note 2. In length of time, and by the power of custom, words sometimes change their primary ideas, as shall be declared and sometimes they have changed their secondary ideas, though the primary ideas may remain: so words that were once chaste, by frequent use grow obscene and uncleanly; and words that were once honourable, may in the next generation grow mean and contemptible. So the word dame originally fignified a mistress of a family, who was a lady, and
it is used still in the English law to fignify a lady ; : but in common use now-a-days it reprefents a farmer's
wife, or a mistress of a family of the lower rank in the country. So those words of Rabshaketh, Isa. Xxxvi. 12. in our translation, (cat their own dung, E6c.) were doubtless decent and clean language, when our translators wrote them above a hundred years ago. The word dung has maintained its old secondary idea and inoffensive sense to this day ; but the other word in that sentence has by custom acquired a more uncleanly idea, and should now rather be changed into à more decent term, and so it should be read in public, unless it should be thought more proper to omit the sentence.*
For that reason it is, that the Tewish rabbins have fupplied other chaste words in the margin of the Hebrew bible, where the words of the text, through time and custom are degenerated, so as to carry any base
* So in some places of the sacred historians, where it is written, every one that pisses against the wall, we should read every male.
and unclean secondary idea in them; and they read the word which is in the margin, which they call keri, and not that which was written in the text which they call chetib.
Of Words common and proper. III. W ORDS and names are either common or
VV proper. Common names are such as stand for universal ideas, or a whole rank of beings, whether general or special. These are called appellatives ; so fish, bird, man, city, river, are common names; and so are trout, eel, lobster, for they all agree to many individuals, and some of them to many fpecies :" but Cicero, Virgil, Bucephalus, London, Rome, Ætna, the Thames, are proper names, for each of them agrees only to one single being. .
Note here first, that a proper náme may become in some sense common, when it hath been given to several beings of the same kind; fo Cæfar, which was the proper name of the first emperor, Julius, became also a common name to all the following emperors. And tea, which was the proper name of one fort of Indian leaf, is now-a-days become a common name for many infusions of herbs, or plants, in water; as fage-tea, ale-hoof-tea; limon-tea, &c. So Peter, Thomas, John, William, may be reckoned common names also, because they are given to many persons, unless they are determined to signify a single person at any particular time or place. *Note in the second place, that a common name may become proper by cuitom, or by the time or place, or persons that use it; as in Great Britain, when we say the King, we mean our present rightful sovereign King George, who now reigns; when we speak of the prince, we intend his royal highness Frederick Prince of Wales : if we mention the city when we are near London, we generally mean the city of London ; when in a country town, we say the parson or the esquire, all the parish knows who are the lingle persons intended by it ; so when we are speaking of the history of the New Testament, and use the words Peter, Paul, John, we mean those three apostles. ,
Note in the third place, that any common name whatsoever is made proper, by terms of particularity added to it, as the common words Pope, King, horse, garden, book, knife, &c. are designed to signify a fingularidea, when we say the present pope; the King of Great Britain ; the horse that won the last plate at New-Market; the royal garden at Kensington ; this book ; that knife, &c.
Of concrete and abstract Terms.
IV. TIYORDS or terms are divided into abstract
VV or concrete. Abstract terms fignify the mode or quality of a be. ing, without any regard to the subject in which it is; as whiteness, roundness, length, breadth, wisdom, mortality, life, death.
Concrete terms, while they express the quality, do also either express, or imply, or refer to some subject to which it belongs ; as white, round, long, broad, wise, mortal, living, dead: but these are not always noun a ljectives in a gramatical sense; for a fool, a knave, a philosopher and many other concretes are substantives, as well as foliy, knavery, and philosophy, which are the abstract terms that belong to them.
Of univocal and equivocal Words.
T ORDS and terms are either univocal or
V equivocal. Univocal words are such as fignify but one idea, or at least but one sort of thing; equivocal words are such as signify two or more dif. ferent ideas, or different sorts of objects. The words book, bible, fish, house, elephant, may be called univocal words ; for I know not that they fignify any thing else but those ideas to which they are generally affixed; but head is an equivocal word, for it fignifies the head of a nail, or of a pin, as well as of an animal : nail is air equivocal word, it is used for the nail of the hand or foot, and for an iron nail to fasten any thirg; poft is equivocal, it is a piece of timber, or a swift meffenger. A church is a religious assembly, or the large fair building where they meet; aad sometimes the same word means a synod of bishops or of presbyters, and in some places it is the Pope and a general council.
Here let it be noted, that when two or more words fignify the same thing, as wave and billow, mead and meadow, they are usually called synonymous words ; but it seems very strange, that words, which are directly contrary to each other, should sometimes represent almoit the same ideas; yet thus it is in some few instances, a valuable, or an invaluable blessing; a shameful, or a shameless .villian ; a thick fkull, or a thin ikullid fellow, a mere paper skull: a man of a large conscience; little conscience, or no conscience; a famous rascal, or an infamous one : so uncertain a thing is human language, whose foundation and support is custom.
'As words fignifying the same thing are called syncnymous ; so equivocal words, or those which signify feveral things, are called homonymous, or ambiguous and when persons use such ambiguous words, with a design to deceive, it is called equivocation.
Our simple ideas, and especially the sensible qualities, furnih us with a great variety of equivocal or ambia
guous words; for these being the first, and most natural ideas we have, we borrow some of their names, to signify many other ideas, both simple and complex. The word sweet expreffes the pleasant perceptions of almost every senile; fugar is sweet, but it hath not the same sweetneis as music; nor hath music the sweetness of a rofe ; and a sweet prospect differs from them all; nor yer have any of these the same sweetness as discourse, counsel, or meditation hath; yet the royal Psalmist faith of a man, we took sweet counsel together; and of God, my meditation of him shall be sweet. Bitter is also such an equivocal word; there is bitter wormwood, there are bitter words, there are bitter enemies, and a bitter cold morning. So there is a sharpnessin vinegar, and there is a sharpness in pain, in forrow, and in reproach; there is a sharp eye, a sharp wit, and a sharp sword: but there is not one of these seven sharpnesses the same as another of them, and a sharp east wind is different from them all.
There are also verbs, or words of action, which are equivocal as well as nouns or names. The words to biar, to take; to come, to get, are sufficient instances of it; as when we say, to bear a burden, to bear sorrow or reproach, to bear a name, to bear a grudge, to bear fruit, or to bear children; the word bear is used in very different senses ; and so is the word get, when we fay, to get money, to get in, to get off, to get ready, to get a stomach, and to get a cold, &c.
There is also a great deal of ambiguity in many of the English particles, as, but, before, beside, with, without, that, then, there, for, forth, above about, c. of which grammars and dictionaries will sufficiently inform us.
TT would be endless to run through all the varieties I of words and terms, which have different senses