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ment, and its loss, from the idea of the child retnrning to her memory, all representations, though ever so reasonable, are in vain; and therefore some in whom the union between these ideas is never dissolved, spend their lives in mourning, and carry an incurable sorrow to their graves.
§. 14. A friend of mine knew one per- Farther infectly cured of madness by a very harsh
stances of the and offensive operation. The gentleman, effect of the who was thus recovered, with great sense
of ideas. of gratitude and acknowledgement, owned the cure all his life after, as the greatest obligation he could have received; but whatever gratitude and reason suggested to him, he could never bear the sight of the operator : that image brought back with it the idea of agony
which he suffered from his hands, which was too mighty and intolerable for him to endure.
§. 15. Many children imputing the pain they endured at school to their books they were corrected for, so join those ideas together, that a book becomes their aversion, and they are never reconciled to the study and use of them all their lives after; and thus reading becomes a torment to them, which otherwise possibly they might have made the great pleasure of their lives. There are rooms convenient enough, that some men cannot study in, and fashions of vessels, which though ever so clean and commodious, they cannot drink out of, and that by reason of some accidental ideas which are annexed to them, and make them offensive : and who is there that hath not observed some man to flag at the appearance, or in the company of some certain
person not otherwise superior to him, but because having once on some occasion got the ascendant, the idea of authority and distance goes along with that of the person, and he that has been thus subjected, is not able to separate them?
$. 16. Instances of this kind are so plentiful everywhere, that if I add one more, it is only for the pleasant oddness of it. It is of a young gentleman, who having learnt to dance, and that to great perfection, there happened to stand an old trunk in the rooin where he learnt. The idea of this remarkable piece of houshold-stuff had so mixed itself with the turns and steps of all his dances, that though in that chamber he could dance excellently well, yet it was only whilst that trunk was there ; nor could he perform well in any other place, unless that or some such other trunk had its due position in the room. If this story shall be suspected to be dressed up with some comical circumstances, a little beyond precise nature; I answer for myself, that I had it some years since from a very sober and worthy man, upon his own knowledge, as I report it: and I dare say, there are very few inquisitive persons, who read this, who have not met with accounts, if not examples of this nature, that may parallel, or at least justify this.
§. 17. Intellectual habits and defects this Its influence on intellec.
way contracted, are not less frequent and tual habits. powerful, though less observed. " Let the
ideas of being and matter be strongly joined either by education or much thought, whilst these are still combined in the mind, what notions, what reasonings will there be about separate spirits ? Let custom from the very childhood have joined figure and shape to the idea of God, and what absurdities will that mind be liable to about the Deity ?
Let the idea of infallibility be inseparably joined to any person, and these two constantly together possess the mind; and then one body, in two places at once, shall unexamined be swallowed for a certain truth, by an implicit faith, whenever that imagined infallible person dictates and demands assent without inquiry.
§. 18. Some such wrong and unnatural Observable
combinations of ideas will be found to estain different
blish the irreconcilable opposition between
different sects of philosophy and religion; for we cannot imagine every one of their followers to impose wilfully on himself, and knowingly refuse truth offered by plain reason. Interest, though it does a great deal in the case, yet cannot be thought to work whole societies of men to so universal a perverseness, as that every one of them to a man should knowingly main
tain falshood: some at least must be allowed to do what all pretend to, i. e. to pursue truth sincerely; and therefore there must be something that blinds their understandings, and makes them not see the falshood of what they embrace for real truth. That which thus captivates their reasons, and leads men of sincerity blindfold from common sense, will, when examined, be found to be what we are speaking of: some independent ideas, of no alliance to one another, ‘are by education, custom, and the constant din of their party, so coupled in their minds, that they always appear there together; and they can no more separate them in their thoughts, than if there were but one idea, and they operate as if they were so. This gives sense to jargon, demonstration to absurdities, and consistency to nonsense, and is the foundation of the greatest, I had almost said of all the errours in the world ; or if it does not reach so far, it is at least the most dangerous one, since so far as it obtains, it hinders men from seeing and examining. When two things in themselves disjoined, appear to the sight constantly united; if the eye sees these things riveted, which are loose, where will you begin to rectify the mistakes that follow in two ideas, that they have been accustomed so to join in their minds, as to substitute one for the other, and, as I am apt to think, often without perceiving it themselves ? This, whilst they are under the deceit of it, makes them incapable of conviction, and they applaud themselves as zealous champions for truth, when indeed they are contending for errour; and the confusion of two different ideas, which a customary connexion of them in their minds hath to them made in effect but one, fills their heads with false views, and their reasonings with false consequences. §. 19. Having thus given an account of
Conclusion. the original, sorts, and extent of our ideas, with several other considerations, about these (I know not whether I may say) instruments or materials of our knowledge; the method I at first proposed to myself would now require, that I should immediately proceed to show what use the understanding makes of them, and what knowledge we have by them. This was that Vol. II. L
which, in the first general view I had of this subject, was all that I thought I should have to do; but, upon a nearer approach, I find that there is so close a connexion between ideas and words; and our abstract ideas, and general words, have so constant a relation one to another, that it is impossible to speak clearly and distinctly of our knowledge, which all consists in propositions, without considering, first the nature, use, and signification of language; which therefore must be the business of the next book.
Of Words or Language in general.
OD having designed man for a Man fitted to GOD
sociable creature, made him not form articulate sounds.
only with an inclination, and under a ne
cessity to have fellowship with those of his own kind: but furnished him also with language, which was to be the great instrument and common tie of society. Man therefore had by nature his organs so fashioned, as to be fit to frame articulate sounds, which we call words. But this was not enough to produce language; for parrots, and several other birds, will be taught to make articulate sounds distinct enough, which yet, by no means, are capable of language.
§. 2. Besides articulate sounds therefore, To make them signs of
it was farther necessary, that he should be ideas. able to use these sounds as signs of internal
conceptions; and to make them stand as marks for the ideas within his own mind, whereby they might be made known to others, and the thoughts of men's minds be conveyed from one to another. To make
$. 3. But neither was this sufficient to neral signs. make words so useful as they ought to be.
It is not enough for the perfection of language, that sounds can be made signs of ideas, unless those signs can be so made use of as to comprehend several particular things: for the multiplication of words would have perplexed their use, had every particular thing need of a distinct name to be signified by. To remedy this inconvenience, language had yet a farther improvement in the use of general terms, whereby one word was made to mark a multitude of particular existences : which advantageous use of sounds was obtained only by the difference of the ideas they were made signs of: those names becoming general, which are made to stand for general ideas, and those remaining particular, where the ideas they are used for are particular.
$. 4. Besides these names which stand for ideas, there be other words which men make use of, not to signify any idea, but the want or absence of some ideas simple or complex, or all ideas together ; such as are nihil in Latin, and in English, ignorance and barrenness. All which negative or privative words cannot be said properly to belong to, or signify no ideas : for then they would be perfectly insignificant sounds; but they relate to positive ideas, and signify their absence. §. 5. It may also lead us a little towards
Words ulti. the original of all our notions and know- mately deledge, if we remark how great a dependence rived from our words have on common sensible ideas :
such as sig
nify sensible and how those, which are made use of to stand for actions and notions quite removed from
sense, have their rise from thence, and from obvious sensible ideas are transferred to more abstruse significations; and made to stand for ideas that come not under the cognizance of our senses : v.g. to imagine, apprehend, comprehend, adhere, conceive, instil, disgust, disturbance, tranquillity, &c. are all words taken from the operations of sensible things, and applied to certain modes of thinking. Spirit, in its primary signification, is breath: angel a messenger : and I doubt not, but if we could trace them to their sources, we should find, in all languages, the names, which stand for things that fall not under our senses, to have