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err, or truth were to be established by the vote of the mul titude: yet this with moft men ferves the turn. The tenet has had the attestation of reverend antiquity, it comes to me with the paffport of former ages, and therefore I am fecure in the reception I give it: other men have been, and are of the fame opinion (for that is all is faid) and therefore it is reasonable for me to embrace it. A man may more juftifiably throw up crofs and pile for his opinions, than take them up by fuch measures. All men are liable to errour, and most men are in many points, by paffion or intereft, under temptation to it. If we could but fee the fecret motives that influenced the men of name and learning in the world, and the leaders of parties, we should not always find that it was the embracing of truth for its own fake, that made them efpouse the doctrines they owned and maintained. This at leaft is certain, there is not an opinion fo absurd, which a man may not receive upon this ground. There is no errour to be named, which has not had its profeffors and a man fhall never want crooked paths to walk in, if he thinks that he is in the right way, wherever he has the footsteps of others to follow.

§. 18. But, notwithstanding the great Men not in fo many ernoife is made in the world about errours rours as ima- and opinions, I must do mankind that right, gined. as to fay there are not so many men in errours and wrong opinions, as is commonly fuppofed. Not that I think they embrace the truth; but indeed, because concerning those doctrines they keep fuch a ftir about, they have no thought, no opinion at all. For if any one fhould a little catechife the greatest part of the partizans of moft of the fects in the world, he would not find, concerning thofe matters they are fo zealous for, that they have any opinions of their own: much lefs would he have reafon to think, that they took them upon the examination of arguments, and appearance of probability. They are refolved to stick to a party, that education or intereft has engaged them in; and there, like the common foldiers of an army, fhow their courage and. warmth as their leaders direct, without ever examining or fo much as knowing the cause they contend

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for. If a man's life fhows, that he has no ferious regard for religion; for what reafon fhould we think, that he beats his head about the opinions of his church, and troubles himself to examine the grounds of this or that doctrine? It is enough for him to obey his leaders, to have his hand and his tongue ready for the fupport of the common cause, and thereby approve himself to those, who can give him credit, preferment or protection in that fociety. Thus men become profeffors of, and combatants for, thofe opinions they were never convinced of, nor profelytes to; no, nor ever had fo much as floating in their heads: and though one cannot fay, there are fewer improbable or erroneous opinions in the world than there are; yet it is certain, there are fewer that actually affent to them, and mistake them for truth, than is imagined.


Of the Divifion of the Sciences.

Three forts.

§. I.


LL that can fall within the compafs of human understanding, being either, firft, the nature of things, as they are in themselves, their relations, and their manner of operation: or, fecondly, that which man himself ought to do, as a rational and voluntary agent, for the attainment of any end, especially happiness: or, thirdly, the ways and means, whereby the knowledge of both the one and the other of these is attained and communicated: I think, fcience may be divided properly into these three forts. §. 2. First, the knowledge of things, as 1. Phyfica. they are in their own proper beings, their conftitution, properties, and operations; whereby I mean not only matter and body, but fpirits alfo, which have their proper natures, conftitutions, and operations, as well as bodies. This, in a little more enlarged fenfe of the word, I call urin, or natural philofophy. The end of this is bare fpeculative truth; and whatsoever can


2. Practica.


afford the mind of man any fuch, falls under this branch, whether it be God himself, angels, fpirits, bodies, or any of their affections, as number, and figure, &c. §. 3. Secondly, Пpaxτin, the skill of right applying our own powers and actions, for the attainment of things good and ufeful. The most confiderable under this head is ethics, which is the feeking out thofe rules and measures of human actions, which lead to happiness, and the means to practise them. The end of this is not bare fpeculation, and the knowledge of truth; but right, and a conduct fuitable to it. S. 4. Thirdly, the third branch may be called Enμwrinn, or the doctrine of signs, the most usual whereof being words, it is aptly enough termed alfo Aoyun, logick; the bufinefs whereof is to confider the nature of figns, the mind makes ufe of for the understanding of things, or conveying its knowledge to others. For fince the things the mind contemplates are none of them, befides itself, prefent to the underflanding, it is neceffary that fomething else, as a fign or representation of the thing it confiders, fhould be prefent to it: and thefe are ideas. And because the scene of ideas that makes one man's thoughts, cannot be laid open to the immediate view of another, nor laid up any where but in the memory, a no very fure repofitory; therefore to communicate our thoughts to one another, as well as record them for our own ufe, figns of our ideas are alfo neceffary. Those which men have found most convenient, and therefore generally make use of, are articulate founds. The confideration then of ideas and words, as the great inftruments of knowledge, makes no despicable part of their contemplation, who would take a view of human knowledge in the whole extent of it. And perhaps if they were distinctly weighed, and duly confidered, they would afford' us another fort of logic and critic, than what we have been hitherto acquainted with.

§. 5. This feems to me the first and most general, as well as natural divifion of the objects of our understanding. For a man can employ his thoughts about nothing, but either the contemplation of things them

This is the

first divifion

of the objects of knowledge.


felves for the discovery of truth; or about the things in his own power, which are his own actions, for the attainment of his own ends'; or the figns the mind makes ufe of both in the one and the other, and the right ordering of them for its clearer information. All which three, viz. things as they are in themselves knowable; actions as they depend on us, in order to happiness; and the right ufe of figns in order to knowledge, being foto cœlo different, they feemed to me to be the three great provinces of the intellectual world, wholly separate and diftinct one from another.

The End of the Effay of HUMAN Understanding.

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