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cording to the complex ideas in us, and not according to precise, distinct, real essences in them; is plain from hence, that we find many of the individuals that are ranked into one sort, called by one common name, and so received as being of one species, have yet qualities depending on their real constitutions, as far different one from another, as from others, froin which they are accounted to differ specifically. This, as it is easy to be observed by all who have to do with natural bodies; so chemists especially are often, by sad experience, convinced of it, when they, sometimes in vain, seek for the same qualities in one parcel of sulphur, antimony or vitriol, which they have found in others. For though they are bodies of the same species, having the same nominal essence, under the same name; yet do they often, upon severe ways of examination, betray qualities so different one from another, as to frustrate the expectation and labour of very wary chemists. But if things were distinguished into species, according to their real essences, it would be as impossible to find different properties in any two individual substances of the same species, as it is to find different properties in two circles, or two equilateral triangles. That is properly the essence to us, which determines every particular to this or that classis; or, which is the same thing, to this or that general name; and what can that be else, but that abstract idea, to which that name is annexed? and so has, in trutlı, a reference, not so much to the being of particular things, as to their general deno. minations.
5. 9. Nor indeed can we rank and sort Not the real things, and consequently (which is the end essence, of sorting) denominate them by their real which we essencés, because we know them not. Our faculties carry us no farther towards the knowledge and distinction of substances, than a collection of those sensible ideas which we observe in them; which, however made with the greatest diligence and exactness we are capable of, yet is more remote from the true internal constitution, from which those qualities flow, than, as I said, a countryman's idea is from the inward con
trivance of that famous clock at Strasburgh, whereof he only sees the outward figure and motions. There is not so contemptible a plant or animal, that does not confound the mest enlarged understanding. Though the familiar use of things about us take off our wonder; yet it cures not our ignorance. When we come to examine the stones we tread on, or the iron we daily handle, we presently find we know not their make, and can give no reason of the different qualities we find in them. It is evident the internal constitution, whereon their properties depend, is unknown to us. For to go no farther than the grossest and most obvious we can imagine amongst them, what is that texture of parts, that real essence, that makes lead and antimony fusible; wood and stones not? What makes lead and iron malleable, antimony and stones not? And yet how infinitely these come short of the fine contrivances, and unconceivable real essences of plants or animals, everyone knows. The workmanship of the all-wise and powerful God, in the great fabric of the universe, and every part thereof, farther exceeds the capacity and comprehension of the most inquisitive and intelligent man, than the best contrivance of the most ingenious man doth the conceptions of the most ignorant of rational creatures. Therefore we in vain pretend to range things into sorts, and dispose them into certain classes, under names, by their real essences, that are so far from our discovery or comprehension. A blind man may as soon sort things by their colours, and he that has lost his smell, as well distinguish a lily and a rose by their odours, as by those internal constitutions which he knows not. He that thinks he can distinguish sheep and goats by their real essences, that are unknown to him, may be plea, id to try bis skill in those species, called cassiowary a,id querechinchio ; and by their internal real essences uetermine the boundaries of those species, without knowing the complex idea of sensible qualities, that each of those names stand for, in the countries where those animals are to be found.
$. 10. §. 10. Those therefore who have been Not substantaught, that the several species of sub- tial forms, stances had their distinct internal substantial which we forms; and that it was those forms which know less: made the distinction of substances into their true species and genera; were led yet farther out of the way, by having their minds set upon fruitless inquiries after substantial forms, wholly unintelligible, and whereof we have scarce so much as any obscure or confused conception in general.
g. 11. That our ranking and distinguish- That the noing natural substances into species, consists minal essence in the nominal essences the mind makes, by we distin. and not in the real essences to be found guish spe. in the things themselves, is farther evident cies, farther from our ideas of spirits. For the mind evident from
spirits. getting, only by reflecting on its own operations, those siinple ideas which it attributes to spirits, it hath, or can have no other notion of spirit, but by attributing all those operations, it finds in itself
, to a sort of beings, without consideration of matter. And even the most advanced notion we have of God is but attributing the same simple ideas which we have got from reflection on what we find in ourselves, and which we conceive to have more perfection in them, than would be in their absence ; attributing, I say, those simple ideas to him in an ụnlimited degree. Thus having got, from reflecting on ourselves, the idea of existence, knowledge, power, and pleasure, each of which we find it better to have than to want; and the more we have of each, the better : joining all these together, with infinity to each of them, we have the complex idea of an eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, ini nitely wise and happy Being. And though we are tol!, that there are different species of angels; yet we know not how to frame distinct specific ideas of them : not out of any conceit that the existence of more species than one of spirits is impossible, but because having no more simple ideas (nor being able to frame more) applicable to such beings, but only those few taken from ourselves, and from the actions of our own minds in VOL.I.
thinking, thinking, and being delighted, and moving several parts of our bodies, we can no otherwise distinguish in our conceptions the several species of spirits one from another, but by attributing those operations and powers, we find in ourselves, to them in a higher or lower degree, and so have no very distinct specific ideas of spirits, except only of God, to whom we attribute both duration, and all those other ideas with infinity; to the other spirits, with limitation. Nor as I humbly conceive do we, between God and them in our ideas, put any difference by any number of simple idcas, which we have of one, and not of the other, but only that of infinity. All the particular ideas of existence, knowledge, will, power, and motion, &c. being ideas derived from the operations of our minds, we attribute all of them to all sorts of spirits, with the difference only of degrees, to the utmost we can imagine, even infinity, when we would fraine, as well as we can, an idea of the first being; who yet, it is certain, is infinitely more remote, in the real excellency of bis nature, from the highest and perfectest of all created beings, than the greatest man, nay purest seraph, is from the most contemptible part of matter ; and consequently must infinitely exceed what our narrow understandings can conceive of him. Whereof . 12. It is not impossible to conceive, there are
nor repugnant to reason, that there may probably
be many species of spirits, as much sepanumberless
jated and diversified one from another by species.
distinct properties whereof we have no ideas, as the species of sensible things are distinguished one from another by qualities which we know, and ob. serve in them. That there should be more species of intelligent creatures above is, than there are of sensible and material below us, is probable to me from hence ; that in all the visible corporeal world, we see no chasms or gaps." All quite down froin us the descent is by easy steps, and a continued series of things, that in cach remove differ very little one from the other. There are fishes that have wings, and are not strangers to the airy region; and there are some birds tlaat are inhabitants of the water, whose blood is cold as fishes, and their fiesh so like in taste, that the scrupulous are al-' lowed them on fish-days. There are animals so near of kin both to birds and beasts, that they are in the middle between both :: amphibious animals link the terrestrial and aquatic together ; seals live at land and sea, and porpoises have the warm blood and entrails of a hog, not to mention what is contidently reported of mermaids or sea-men. There are some brutes, that seem to have as much knowledge and reason, as some that are called men; and the animal and vegetable kingdoms are so nearly joined, that if you will take the lowest of one, and the highest of the other, there will scarce be perceived any great difference between them; and so on, till we come to the lowest and the most inorganical parts of matter, we shall find every-where, that the several species are linked together, and differ but in almost insensible degrees. And when we consider the infinite power and wisdom of the Maker, we have reason to think, that it is suitable to the magnificent harmony of the universe, and the great design and infinite goodness of the architect, that the species of creatures should also, by gentle degrees, ascend upward from us toward his infinite perfection, as we see they gradually descend from us downwards : which if it be probable, we have reason then to be persuaded, that there are far more species of creatures above us, than there are beneath: we being, in degrees of perfection, much more remote from the intinite being of God, than we are from the lowest state of being, and that which approaches nearest to nothing. And yet of all those distinct species, for the reasons abovesaid, we have no clear distinct ideas.
§. 13. But to return to the species of The nominal corporeal substances. If I should ask any essence that
of the speone, whether ice and water were two dis
cies, proved tinct species of things, I doubt not but I from water should be answered in the affirmative : > and and ice. it cannot be denied, but he that says they are two distinct species is in the right. But if an Englishman, bred in Jamaica, who perlaps had never