صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

no crime. So that whencesoever we take the rule of moral actions, or by what standard soever we frame in our minds the ideas of virtues or vices, they consist only and are made up of collections of simple ideas, which we originally received from sense or reflection, and their rectitude or obliquity consists in the agreement or disagreement with those patterns prescribed by some law.

$ 15. To conceive rightly of moral actions, we must take notice of them under this two-fold consideration. First, as they are in themselves each made up of such a collection of simple ideas. Thus drunkenness, or lying, signify such or such a collection of simple ideas, which I call mixed modes; and in this sense they are as much positive absolute ideas as the drinking of a horse, or speaking of a parrot. Secondly, our actions are considered as good, bad, or indifferent; and in this respect they are relative, it being their conformity to, or disagreement with, some rule that makes them to be regular or irregular, good or bad, and so, as far as they are compared with a rule, and thereupon denominated, they come under relation. Thus the challenging and fighting with a man, as it is a certain positive mode, or particular sort of action, by particular ideas, distinguished from all others, is called duelling; which, when considered in relation to the law of God, will deserve the name sin; to the law of fashion, in some countries, valour and virtue; and to the municipal laws of some governments, a capital crime. In this case, when the positive mode has one name, and another name as it stands in relation to the law, the distinction may as easily be observed as it is in substances, where one name, v. g. man, is used to signify the thing; another, v. g. father, to signify the relation. The denomi

$ 16. But because very frequently the nations of positive idea of the action, and its moral actions often relation, are comprehended together unmislead us.

der one name, and the same word made use of to express both the mode or action, and its moral rectitude or obliquity; therefore the relation itself is less taken notice of, and there is often no distinction made between the positive idea of the action, and the reference it has to a rule. By which confusion of these two distinct considerations under one term, those who yield too easily to the impressions of sounds, and are forward to take names for things, are often misled in their judgment of actions. Thus the taking from another what is his, without his knowledge or allowance, is properly called stealing; but that name being commonly understood to signify also the moral pravity of the action, and to denote its contrariety to the law, men are apt to condemn whatever they hear called stealing as an ill action, disagreeing with the rule of right. And yet the private taking away his sword from a madman, to prevent his doing mischief, though it be properly denominated stealing, as the name of such a mixed mode; yet when compared to the law of God, and considered in its relation to that supreme rule, it is no sin or transgression, though the name stealing ordinarily carries such an intimation with it. § 17. And thus much for the relation Relationsin

numerable. of human actions to a law, which therefore I call moral relation.

It would make a volume to go over all sorts of relations; it is pot therefore to be expected that I should here mention them all. It suffices to our present purpose to show by these what the ideas are we have of this comprehensive consideration, called relation : which is so various, and the occasions of it so many (as many as there can be of comparing things one to another), that it is not very easy to reduce it to rules, or under just heads. Those I have mentioned, I think, are some of the most considerable, and such as may serve to let us see from whence we get our ideas of relations, and wherein they are

are made

founded. But before I quit this argument, from what has been said, give me leave to observe, All relations $ 18. First, That it is evident that all terminate in relation terminates in, and is ultimately simple ideas. founded on, those simple ideas we have got from sensation or reflection: so that all that we have in our thoughts ourselves (if we think of any thing, or have any meaning) or would signify to others, when we use words standing for relations, is nothing but some simple ideas, or collections of simple ideas, compared one with another. This is so manifest in that sort called proportional, that nothing can be more: for when a man says honey is sweeter than wax, it is plain that his thoughts, in this relation, terminate in this simple idea, sweetness, which is equally true of all the rest; though where they are compounded or decompounded, the simple ideas they


of are, perhaps, seldom taken notice of. V.g. when the word father is mentioned; first, there is meant that particular species, or collective idea, signified by the word man. Secondly, those sensible simple ideas, signified by the word generation; and, thirdly, the effects of it, and all the simple ideas signified by the word child. So the word friend being taken for a man, who loves, and is ready to do good to another, has all these following ideas to the making of it up: first, all the simple ideas, comprehended in the word man, or intelligent being. Secondly, the idea of love. Thirdly, the idea of readiness or disposition. Fourthly, the idea of action, which is any kind of thought or motion. Fifthly, the idea of good, which signifies any thing that may advance his happiness, and terminates, at last, if examined, in particular simple ideas; of which the word good in general signifies any one, but, if removed from all simple ideas quite, it signifies nothing at all. And thus also all moral words terminate at last, though perhaps more remotely, in a collection of simple ideas :

the immediate signification of relative words being very often other supposed known relations, which, if traced one to another, still end in simple ideas.

$ 19. Secondly, That in relations we We have or have for the most part, if not always, as dinarily as clear a notion of the relation, as we have

clear (or

clearer) a of those simple ideas wherein it is founded.

notion of the Agreement or disagreement, whereon re- relation, as lation depends, being things whereof we of its foun

dation. have commonly as clear ideas as of

any other whatsoever; it being but the distinguishing simple ideas, or their degrees one from another, without which we could have no distinct knowledge at all. For if I have a clear idea of sweetness, light or extension, I have too of equal, or more or less, of each of these : if I know what it is for one man to be born of a woman, viz. Sempronia, I know what it is for another man to be born of the same woman Sempronia; and so have as clear a notion of brothers as of births, and perhaps clearer. For if I believed that Sempronia dug Titus out of the parsley-bed (as they used to tell children) and thereby became his mother; and that afterwards, in the same manner, she dug Caius out of the parsley-bed; I had as clear a notion of the relation of brothers between them, as if I had all the skill of a midwife: the notion that the same woman contributed, as mother, equally to their births (though I were ignorant or mistaken in the manner of it), being that on which I grounded the relation, and that they agreed in that circumstance of birth, let it be what it will. The comparing them, then, in their descent from the same person, without knowing the particular circumstances of that descent, is enough to found my notion of their having or not having the relation of brothers. But though the ideas of particular relations are capable of being às clear and distinct in the minds of those who will duly consider them as those of mixed modes, and more determinate than those of substances; yet the objects, or else a weakness in the memory not able to retain them as received. For to return again to visible objects, to help us to apprehend this matter : if the organs or faculties of perception, like wax overhardened with cold, will not receive the impression of the seal, from the usual impulse wont to imprint it; or, like wax of a temper too soft, will not hold it well when well imprinted; or else supposing the wax of a temper fit, but the seal not applied with a sufficient force to make a clear impression : in any of these cases, the print left by the seal will be obscure. This, I suppose, needs no application to make it plainer. Distinct and $ 4. As a clear idea is that whereof the confused, mind has such a full and evident percepwhat.

tion, as it does receive from an outward object operating duly on a well-disposed organ; so'a distinct idea is that wherein the mind perceives a difference from all other; and a confused idea is such an one as is not sufficiently distinguishable from another, from which it ought to be different. Objection.

$ 5. If no idea be confused but such

as is not sufficiently distinguishable from another, from which it should be different; it will be hard, may any one say, to find any where a confused idea. För let any idea be as it will, it can be no other but such as the mind perceives it to be; and that very perception sufficiently distinguishes it from all other ideas, which cannot be other, i. e. different, without being perceived to be so. No idea therefore can be undistinguishable from another, from which it ought to be different, unless you would have it different from itself: for from all other it is evidently different. Confusion of $ 6. To remove this difficulty, and to ideas is in help us to conceive aright what it is that reference to makes the confusion ideas are at any time their names.

chargeable with, we must consider, that things ranked under distinct names are supposed different enough to be distinguished, that so each sort by its peculiar name may be marked, and discoursed

« السابقةمتابعة »