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and difficulty ; the thought can in an instant transport üs into the most distant regions of the universe ; or even beyond the universe, into the unbounded chaos, where nature is supposed to lie in total confusion. What nee ver was seen, or heard of, may yet be conceived ; por is any thing beyond the power of thought, except what implies an absolute contradiction.
But though our thought seems to possess this un. bounded liberty, wě shall find, upon a neärer examinas tion, that it is really confined within véry narrow liinits, and that all this creative power of the mind a. mounts to no more than the faculty of compounding, transposing, augmenting, or diminishing the materials afforded us by the senses and experience. When we think of a golden mountain, we only join two consistent ideas, gold and mountain, with which we were formerly acquainted. A virtuous horse we can conceive, because, from our own feeling, we can conceive virtue ; and this we may unite to the figure and shape of a horse, which is an animal familiar to as. In short, all the materials of thinking are derived either from our outward or inward sentiment: The mixture and composition of these belongs alone to the mind and will: Or; to express myself in philosophical language, all our ideas or more feebte perceptions are copies of our impressions or more lively ones. - To prove this, the two following arguments will, I hopez be sufficient. First,"When we analyse our thoughts or ideas, however compounded or sublime, we always find that they resolve themselves into such simple ideas as were copied from a precedent feeling or sentiment. Even those ideas, which, ät first view, seem the most wide of this origin, are found, upon a nearer scrutiny, to be derived from-it: The-idea of God, as meaning an infinitely intelligent, wise, and good Being, a arises from reflecting on the operations of our own mind, and augmenting, without limit, those qualities of goodness and wisdom. We may prosecute this inquiry to what Jength we please , where we shall always find, that evesy idea which we examine is copied from a similar impression. Those who would assert, that this position is not universally true, nor without exception, have only one, and that an easy, method of refuting it ; by producing that idea, which, in their opinion, is not derived from this source. It will then be incumbent on us, if we would maintain our doctrine, to produce the imprese sion or lively perception which corresponds to it. ir - Secondly, If it happen, from a defect of the organ, that a man is not susceptible of any species of sensation, we always find that he is as little susceptible of the correspondent ideas. A blind man can form no notion of colours; a deaf man of sounds. Restore either of them thắt sense in which he is deficient; by opening this new inlet for his sensations, you also open an inlet for the ideas ; and he finds no difficulty in conceiving these abjects. The case is the same, if the object proper for exciting any sensation has never been applied to the organ. A LAPLANDER or NEGRO has no notion of the relish of wine. And though there are few or no instances of a like-deficiency in the mind, where a person has never felt, or is wholly incapable of a sentiment or passion that belongs to his species, yet we find the same obserstation to take place in a less degree. 1 A man of mild manners can form no idea of inveterate revenge or
cruelty ; nor can a selfish iheart easily conceive, the - heights of friendship and generosity. It is readily allow
ed, that other beings may possess many senses of which We can have no conception ; because the ideas of them
have never been introduced to us, in the only manner by which an idea can have access to the mind, to wity by the actual feeling and sensation. I F issen ICA
There is, however, one contradictory phenomenon, which may prove, that it is not absolutely impossible for ideas to arise, independent of their correspondent img pressions. I believe, it will readily be allowed, that the several distinct ideas of colour, which enter by the eye, or those of sound, which are conveyed by the ear, are really different from each others though, at the same time, resembling. Now if this be true of different colours, it must be no less so of the different shades of the same colour; and each shade produces a distinct idea, independent of the rest. For if this should be denied, it is possible, by the continual gradation of shades, to Tun a colour insensibly into what is most remote from it ; and if you will not allow any of the means to be different, you cannot, without absurdity, deny the extremes to be the same. Suppose, therefore, a person to have enjoyed his sight for thirty years, and to have become perfectly acquainted with colours of all kinds, except one particular shade of blue, for instance, which it never has been his fortune to meet with. Let all the different shades of that colour, except that single one, be placed before him, descending gradually from the deepest to the lightest, it is plain, that he will perceive a blank where that shade is, wanting, and will be sensible that there is a greater distance in that place between the contiguous colours than in any other. Now
I ask, whether it be possible for him, from his own -imagination, to supply this deficiency, and raise up to
himself the idea of that particular shade, though it haq never been conveyed to him by his senses? I believe there are few bat. will be of opinion that he can : And
thiş may serve as a proof, that the simple ideas are not always, in every instance, derived from the correspondent impressions; though this instance is so singular, that it is scarcely worth out observing, and does not merit, that for it alone we should alter our general maxim.
Here, therefore,' is a proposition, which not only seems, in itself, simple and intelligible ; but, if a proper use were made of it, might render every dispute equally intelligible, and banish all that jargon, which has so long taken possession of metaphysical reasons ings, and drawn disgrace upon them. All ideas, especially abstract ones, are nåturally faint and obscure : The mind haš but a slender hold of them : They are apt to be confounded with other resembling ideas; and when we have often employed any term, though without a distinct meaning, we are apt to imagine it has a determinate idea annexed to it. On the contrary, all impressions, that is, all sensations either outward or inward, are strong and vivid : The limits between them are more exactly determined : Nor is it easy to fall into any error or mistake with regard to them. When we entertain, therefore, any suspicion, that a philosophical term is employed without any meaning or idea (as is but too frequent), we need bút-inquire, from what impression is that supposed idea derived? And if it be impossible to assign any, this will serve to confirm out suspicion. By bringing ideas into so clear a light, we may reasonably hope to remove all dispute, which may arise concerning their nature and reality*...
24, 2m sitzer WOTE MAY mi?'*3.. ini, see
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T: SECTION III. 'EM?!!
avsls S • OF THE ASSOCIATION OF IDEAS. + Lux
. :!is a lon??:44 IT is evident, that there is a principle of connexion be. tween the different thoughts or ideas of the mind, and that, in their appearance to the memory or imagination, they introduce each other with a certain degree of méthod and regularity. In our more serious thinking or discourse, this is so observable, that any particular thought, which breaks in upon the regular tract of chain of ideas, is immediately remarked and rejected. And even in our wildest and most wandering reveries, nay, in our very dreams, we shall And, if we reflect, that the imagination ran not altogether at adventures, but that there was still a connection upheld among the different ideas which succeeded each other. Were the loosest and freest conversation to be transcribed, there would immediately be observed something which connected it in all its transitions. Or where this is wanting, the person who broke the thread of discourse, might still inform you, that there had secretly revolved in his mind a succession of thought, which had gradually led him from the subject of conversation. Among different languages, even where we cannot suspect the least connection or communication, it is found, that the words, expressive of ideas, the most compounded, do yet nearly correspond to each other : A certain proof, that the simple ideas, comprehended in the compound ones, were