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solos credit habendos esse deos, quos ipse colit." For since the reasoning faculties of the soul, which are almost constantly, though not always warily nor wisely, employed, would not know how to move, for want of a foundation and footing, in most men; who through laziness or avocation do not, or for want of time, or true helps, or for other causes, cannot penetrate into the principles of knowledge, and trace truth to its fountain and original; it is natural for them, and almost unavoidable, to take up with some borrowed principles: which being reputed and presumed to be the evident proofs of other things, are thought not to need any other proof themselves. Whoever shall receive any of these into his mind, and entertain them there, with the reverence usually paid to principles, never venturing to examine them, but accustoming himself to believe them, because they are to be believed, may take up from his education, and the fashions of his country, any absurdity for innate principles; and by long poring on the same objects, so dim his sight, as to take monsters lodged in his own brain, for the images of the Deity, and the workmanship of his hands.
§. 27. By this progress how many there are who arrive at principles, which they ^"°tci^ges believe innate, may be easily observed, in examined. the variety of opposite principles held and contended for by all sorts and degrees of men. And he that shall deny this to be the method, wherein most men proceed to the assurance they have of the truth and evidence of their principles, will perhaps find it a hard matter any other way to account for the contrary tenets, which are firmly believed, confidently asserted, and which great numbers are ready at any time to seal with their blood. And, indeed, if it be the privilege of innate principles, to be received upon their own authority, without examination, I know not what may not be believed, or how any one's principles can be questioned. If they may, and ought to be examined, and tried, I desire to know how first and innate principles can be tried; or at least it is reasonable to demand the marks and characters, whereby the genuine innate principles may be distinguished from others; that so, amidst the great variety of pretenders, I maybe kept from mistakes, in so material a point as this. When this is done, I shall be ready to embrace such welcome and useful propositions; and till then I may with modesty doubt, since 1 fear univeral consent, which is the only one produced, will scarce prove a sufficient mark to direct my choice, and assure me of any innate principles. From what has been said, I think it past doubt, that there are no practical principles wherein all men agree; and therefore none innate.
Other Considerations concerning Innate Principles, both Speculative and Practical.
Had those, who would persuade
unksTtheir US t*lat; tnere are innate principles, not ideas be in- taken them together in gross, but considered nate. separately the parts out of which those propositions are made; they would not, perhaps, have been so forward to believe they were innate: since, if the ideas which made up those truths were not, it was impossible that the propositions made up of them should be innate, or the knowledge of them be born with us. For if the ideas be not innate, there was a time when the mind was without those principles; and then they will not be innate, but be derived from some other original. For where the ideas themselves are not, there can be no knowledge, no assent, no mental or verbal propositions about them. Ideas, espe- §. 2. If we will attentively consider newcially those born children, we shall have little reason to tol0rinn-g think, that they brin£ many ideas into the ples"not world with them. For bating perhaps some born with faint ideas of hunger and thirst, and warmth, children. an(j some pains which they may have felt in the womb, there is not the least appearance of any settled ideas at all in them; especially of ideas, answering the terms which make up those universal propositions, that are esteemed innate principles. One may perceive how, by degrees, afterwards, ideas come into their minds; and that they get no more, nor no other, than what experience, and the observation of things, that come in their way, furnish them with: which might be enough to satisfy us, that they are not original characters stamped on the mind.
§. S. "It is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be," is certainly (if there be any such) an innate principle. But can any one think, or will any one say, that impossibility and identity are two innate ideas? Are they such as all mankind have, and bring into the world with them? And are they those which are the first in children, and antecedent to all acquired ones? If they are innate, they must needs be so. Hath a child an idea of impossibility and identity, before it has of white or black, sweet or bitter? And is it from the knowledge of this principle, that it concludes, that wormwood rubbed on the nipple hath not the same taste that it used to receive from thence? Is it the actual knowledge of " impossibile est idem esse, & non esse," that makes a child distinguish between its mother and a stranger? or, that makes it fond of the one, and fly the other? Or does the mind regulate itself and its assent by ideas, that it never yet had? Or the understanding draw conclusions from principles, which it never yet knew or understood? The names impossibility and identity stand for two ideas, so far from being innate, or born with us, that I think it requires great care and attention to form them right in our understandings. They are so far from being brought into the world with us, so remote from the thoughts of infancy and childhood; that, I believe, upon examination it will be found, that many grown men want them.
§. 4. If identity (to instance in that alone) Identity, an be a native impression, and consequently so |^notinclear and obvious to us, that we must needs know it even from our cradles; I would gladly be resolved by one of seven, or seventy years old, whether a man, being a creature consisting of soul and body, be the same man when his body is changed? Whether Euphorbus and Pythagoras, having had the same soul, were the same men, though they lived several ages asunder? Nay, whether the cock too, which had the same soul, were not the same with both of them? Whereby, perhaps, it will appear, that our idea of sameness is not so settled and clear, as to deserve to be thought innate in us. For if those innate ideas are not clear and distinct, so as to be universally known, and naturally agreed on, they cannot be subjects of universal and undoubted truths; but will be the unavoidable occasion of perpetual uncertainty. For, I suppose, every one's idea of identity will not be the same that Pythagoras, and others of his followers have: And which then shall be true? Which innate? Or are there two different ideas of identity, both innate?
§. 5. Nor let anyone think, that the questions I have here proposed about the identity of man, are bare empty speculations; which if they were, would be enough to show, that there was in the understandings of men no innate idea of identity. He that shall, with a little attention, reflect on the resurrection, and consider that divine justice will bring to judgment, at the last day, the very same persons, to be happy or miserable in the other, who did well or ill in this life; will find it perhaps not easy to resolve with himself, what makes the same man, or wherein identity consists; and will not be forward to think he, and every one, even children themselves, have naturally a clear idea of it.
Whole and §. 6. Let us examine that principle of mapart not in- thematicks, viz. "that the whole is bigger nate idea*. than a part." This, I take it, is reckoned amongst innate principles. I am sure it has as good a title as any to be thought so; which yet nobody can think it to be, when he considers the ideas it comprehends in it, " whole and part," are perfectly relative: but the positive ideas, to which they properly and immediately belong, are extension and number, of which alone whole and part are relations. So that if whole
and part are innate ideas, extension and number must be so too; it being impossible to have an idea of a relation, without having any at all of the thing to which it belongs, and in which it is founded. Now whether the minds of men have naturally imprinted on them the ideas of extension and number, I leave to be considered by those, who are the patrons of innate principles.
§. 7. "That God is to be worshipped," Ideaof woris, without doubt, as great a truth as any shlP not lacan enter into the mind of man, and de- .nate. serves the first place amongst all practical principles. But yet it can by no means be thought innate, unless the ideas of God and worship are innate. That the idea the term worship stands for, is not in the understanding of children, and a character stamped on the mind in its first original, I think, will be easily granted, by any one that considers how few there be, amongst grown men, who have a clear and distinct notion of it. And, I suppose, there cannot be any thing more ridiculous, than to say that children have this practical principle innate, " that God is to be worshipped;" and yet, that they know not what that worship of God is, which is their duty. But to pass by this:
§. 8. If any idea can be imagined innate, jjeaof the idea of God may, of all others, for many not ;nnate, reasons be thought so; since it is hard to conceive, how there should be innate moral principles, without an innate idea of a Deity: without a notion of a law-maker, it is impossible to have a notion of a law, and an obligation to observe it. Besides the atheists, taken notice of amongst the ancients, and left branded upon the records of history, hath not navigation discovered, in these later ages, whole nations at the bay of Soldania («), in Brazil (£), in Boranday (c), and in the Caribbee islands, &c. amongst whom there was to be found no notion of a God, no religion? Nicholaus del Techo in literis, ex Paraquaria de Caaiguarum conver- (a) Roe apud Thevenot, p. 2. (b) Jo. de Lery, o. 16*.
(c) Martiniere fg. Terry $ and Ovington JJfc