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are often better acquainted with their differences, can more nicely distinguish them from their uses, and better know what they expect from each, than those learned quicked-sighted men, who look so deep into them, and talk so confidently of something more hidden and essential.
V. 25. But supposing that the real es, The specific sences of substances were discoverable by essences are
made by the those that would severely apply themselves
mind. to that inquiry, yet we could not reasonably think, that the ranking of things under general names was regulated by those internal real constitutions, or any thing else but their obvious appearances : since languages, in all countries, have been established long before sciences. So that they have not been philosophers, or logicians, or such who liave troubled themselves about forms and essences, that have made the general names that are in use amongst the several nations of men ; but those more or less comprehensive terms have for the most part, in all languages, received their birth and signification from ignorant and illiterate people, who sorted and denominated things by those sensible qualities they found in them; thereby to signify them, when absent, to others, whether they had an occasion to mention a sort or a particular thing : §. 26. Since then it is evident, that we
Therefore sort and name substances by their nominal, very various
and uncer and not by their real essences; the next
tain, thing to be considered is, how and by whom these essences come to be made. As to the latter, it is evident they are made by the mind, and not by nature : for were they nature's workmanship, they could not be so various and different in several men, as experience tells us they are. For if we will examine it, we shall not find the nominal essence of any one species of substances in all men the same; no not of that, which of all others we are the most intimately acquainted with. It could not possibly be, that the abstract idea to which the name man is given, should be different in several men, if it were of nature's making
and that to one it should be “animal rationale," and to another, “animal implume bipes latis unguibus.” He that annexes the name man to a complex idea made up of sense and spontaneous motion, joined to a body of such a shape, has thereby one essence of the species man; and he that, upon farther examination, adds rationality, has another essence of the species he calls man : by which means, the same individual will be a true man to the one, which is not so to the other. I think, there is scarce. any one will allow this upright figure, so well known, to be the essential difference of the species man; and yet how far men determine of the sorts of animals rather by their shape than descent, is very visible : since it has been more than once debated, whether several human fætuses should be preserved or received to baptism or no, only because of the difference of their outward configuration from the ordinary make of children, without knowing whether they were not as capable of reason, as infants cast in another mould: some whereof, though of an approved shape, are never capable of as much appearance of reason all their lives, as is to be found in an ape, or an elephant, and never give any signs of being acted by a rational soul. Whereby it is evident, that the outward figure, which only was found wanting, and not the faculty of reason, which no-body could know would be wanting in its due season, was made essential to the human species. The learned divine and lawyer must, on such occasions, renounce his sacred definition of “animal rationale, and substitute some other essence of the human species. Nonsieur Menage furnishes us with an example worth the taking notice of on this occasion : “When the
abbot of St. Martin (says he) was born, he had so “ little of the figure of a man, that it bespake him
rather a monster. It was for some time under deli" beration, whether he should be baptized or no. “ However, he was baptized and declared a man pro
visionally [till time should show what he would
proye.] Nature had moulded him so untowardly, " that he was called all his life the Abbot Malotru, “ į e. ill-shaped. He was of Caen. Menagiana, 118."
This child, we see, was very near being excluded out of the species of man, barely by his shape. Ile escaped very narrowly as he was, and it is certain a figure a little more oddly turned had cast him, and he had been executed as a thing not to be allowed to pass for a man. And yet there can be no reason given, why if the lineaments of his face bad been a little altered, a rational soul could not have been lodged in him: why a visage somewhat longer, or a nose flatter, or a wider mouth, could not have consisted, as well as the rest of his ill figure, with such a soul, such parts, as made him, disfigured as he was, capable to be a dignitary in the church.
§. 27. Wherein then, would I gladly know, consist the precise and unmoveable boundaries of that species ? It is plain, if we examine, there is no such thing made by nature, and established by her amongst men. The real essence of that, or any other sort of substances, it is evident we know not; and therefore are so undetermined in our nominal essences, which we inake ourselves, that if several men were to be asked concerning some oddly-shaped fætus, as soon as born, whether it were a man or no, it is past doubt, one should meet with different answers. Which could not happen, if the nominal essences, whereby we limit and distinguish the species of substances, were not made by man, with some liberty ; but were exactly copied from precise boundaries set by nature, whereby it distinguished all substances into certain species. Who would undertake to resolve, what species that monster was of, which is mentioned by Licetus, lib. i. c. 3. with a man's head and hog's body? Or those other, which to the bodies of men had the heads of beasts, as dogs, borses, &c. If any of these creatures had lived, and could have spoke, it would have increased the difficulty. Had the upper part, to the middle, been of human shape, and all below swine; had it been murder to destroy it? Or must the bishop have been consulted, whether it were man enough to be adınitted to the font or no? as, I have been told, it happened in France some years since, in somewhat a like case. So uncertain are the boundaries of species of animals to us, who have no other measures than the complex ideas of our own collecting; and so far are we from certainly knowing what a man is; though, perhaps it will be judged great ignorance to make any doubt about it. And yet, I think, I may say, that the certain boundaries of that species are so far from being determined, and the precise number of simple ideas, which make the nominal essence, so far from being settled and perfectly known, that very material doubts may still arise about it. And I imagine, none of the definitions of the word man, which we yet have, nor descriptions of that sort of animal, are so perfect and exact, as to satisfy a considerate inquisitive person; much less to obtain a general consent, and to be that which men would every-where stick by, in the decision of cases, and determining of life and death, baptism or no baptism, in productions that might happen. But not so
§. 28. But though these nominal essences arbitrary as of substances are made by the mind, they are mixed
not yet made so arbitrarily as those of mixed modes
modes. To the making of any nominal essence, it is necessary, First, that the ideas whereof it consists have such an union as to make but one idea, how compounded soever. Secondly, that the particular idea so united be exactly the same, neither more nor Jess. For if two abstract complex ideas differ either in number or sorts of their component parts, they make two different, and not one and the same essence. In the first of these, the mind, in making its complex ideas of substances, only follows nature; and puts none together, which are not supposed to have an union in nature. No-body joins the voice of a sheep, with the shape of a horse; nor the colour of lead, with the weight and fixedness of gold; to be the complex ideas of any real substances : unless he has a mind to fill his head with chineras, and his discourse with unintelligible words. Men observing certain qualities always joined and existing together, therein copied nature; and of ideas so united, made their complex ones of substances. For though men may make what complex
ideas they please, and give what names to them they will; yet if they will be understood, when they speak of things really existing, they must in some degree conform their ideas to the things they would speak of: or else men's language will be like that of Babel; and every man's words being intelligible only to himself, would no longer serve to conversation, and the ordinary affairs of life, if the ideas they stand for be not some way answering the common appearances and agreement of substances, as they really exist.
Ş. 29. Secondly, though the mind of man, in making its complex ideas of substances, imperfect.
Though very never puts any together that do not really or are not supposed to co-exist; and so it truly borrows that union from nature : yet the number it combines depends upon the various care, industry, or fancy of bim that makes it. Men generally content themselves with some few sensible obvious qualities; and often, if not always, leave out others as material, and as firmly united, as those that they take. Of sensible substances there are two sorts; one of organized bodies, which are propagated by seed; and in these, the shape is that, which to us is the leading quality and most characteristical part that determines the species. And therefore in vegetables and animals, an extended solid substance of such a certain figure usually serves the turn. For however some men seem to prize their definition of “ animal rationale," yet should there a creature be found, that had language and reason, but partook not of the usual shape of a man, I believe it would hardly pass for a man, how much soever it were “ animal rationale.” And if Balaam's ass had, all his life, discoursed as rationally as he did once with his master, I doubt yet whether any one would have thought him worthy the name man, or allowed him to be of the same species with bimself. As in vegetables and animals it is the shape, so in most other bodies, not propagated by seed, it is the colour we most fix on, and are most led byThus where we find the colour of gold, we are apt to imagine all the other qualities,