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parts being all of the same kind, and without the mixture of any other idea, neither of them can be resolved into two distinct and separate conceptions. Thus they still answer the definition given above, of being one uniform appearance in the mind, with variety or plurality.
But to prevent confounding our simple ideas of space and duration, with those complex modes of them marked out by the several measures commonly in use, as yards, miles, days, years, &c. it may perhaps be most proper to consider the least portions of either whereof we can form a clear and distinct perception, as the simple ideas of that kind out of which all their other modes and combinations are formed. Such an instant, or point, may be conceived to be the same in respect of duration or space, as unity is in respect of numbers; and will serve best to show, how by a continued addition or repetition, our more enlarged and complex ideas are made up.
IV. The Mind can neither make nor destroy them.
These simple ideas, the materials of all our knowledge, are suggested and furnished to the mind only by those two ways before mentioned, viz. sensation and reflection. When the understanding is once stored with these simple ideas, it has the power to repeat, compare, and unite them, even to an almost infinite variety; and so can make at pleasure new complex ideas. But it is not in the
power of the most exalted wit or enlarged understanding, by any quickness or variety of thought, to invent or frame one new simple idea in the mind, not taken in by the ways aforementioned ; nor can any force of the understanding destroy those that are there. The dominion of man in this little world of his own understanding, being much the same as it is in the great world of visible things ; wherein his power, however managed by art and skill, reaches no farther than to compound and divide the materials that are made to his hand ; but can do nothing towards the making the least particle of new matter, or destroying one atom of what is already in being. The same inability will every one find in himself, who shall go about to fashion in his understanding any simple idea, not suggested by external objects, or by reflection from the operations of his own mind about them. Let any one try to fancy any taste, which had never affected his palate ; or frame the idea of a scent he had never smelt; and when he can do this, we may also conclude that a blind man hath ideas of colours, and a deaf man true distinct notions of sounds.
V. They furnish ample materials of Knowledge.
Though the mind cannot in multiplying its conceptions of things, advance one step beyond the materials furnished it by sense and consciousness; yet as it has a power
of combining, modifying, and enlarging them, in all the different ways in which they can be put together, it therefore finds itself in possession of an inexhaustible treasure of ideas, sufficient to employ it to the full extent of all its powers, and furnish matter for all those various opinions, fancies, and views of things, that make up the subject of its thoughts and contemplations. Let us but reflect upon the single idea of unity, or one and observe what a variety of combinations are formed, by continually adding it to itself: insomuch that the understanding finds no stop or boundary, in its progress from number to number. In what an infinity of different lights may extension alone be considered ; what limits can be set to that endless diversity of figures, which it is in the power of the imagination to fashion and represent to itself ? if to these we add those numberless other combinations that result from variously compounding and comparing the rest of our simple ideas,
we shall have little reason to complain of being limited to a scanty measure of knowledge, or that the exercise of the human faculties is confined within narrow bounds.
OF COMPLEX IDEAS.
I. Made by the mind out of simple ones.
WE have hitherto considered those ideas, in the reception whereof the mind is only passive, which are those simple ones received from sensation and reflection before mentioned, whereof the mind cannot make one to itself, nor have any idea which does not wholly consist of them. But as the mind is wholly passive in the reception of all its simple ideas, so it exerts several acts of its own, whereby out of its simple ideas, as the materials and foundation of the rest, the other are framed. The acts of the mind, wherein it exerts its power over its simple ideas, are chiefly these three.
1. Combining several simple ideas into one compound one, and thus all complex ideas are made.
2. The second is bringing two ideas, whether simple or complex, together, and setting them by one another, so as to take a view of them at once, without uniting them into one ; by which way it gets all its ideas of relations.
3. The third, is separating them from all other ideas that accompany them in their real existence; this is called abstraction : and thus all its general ideas are made.
This shows man's power, and its ways of operation, to be much the same in the material and intellectual world : for the materials in both being such as he has no power over, either to make or destroy, all that man can do is either to unite them together, or to set them by one another, or wholly separate them. As simple ideas are observed to exist in several combinations united together, so the mind has a power to consider several of them united together as one idea ; and that not only as they are united in external objects, but as itself has joined them. Ideas thus made up of several simple ones put together, are called complex ; such as are beauty, gratitude, a man, an army, the universe ; which though complicated, of various simple ideas, or complex ideas made up of simple ones, yet are, when the mind pleases, considered each by itself as one entire thing, and signified by one name.
II. The abstrusest Ideas from the two sources.
If we trace the progress of our minds, and with atten: tion observe how it repeats, adds together, and unites its simple ideas received from sensation or reflection, it will lead us farther than at first perhaps we should have imagined. And we shall find, if we warily observe the originals of our notions, that even the most abstruse ideas, how remote soever they may seem from sense, or from any operations of our own minds, are yet only such as the understanding frames to itself by repeating and joining together ideas, that it had either from objects of sense, or from its own operations about them : so that those even large and abstract ideas, are derived from sensation, or reflection, being no other than what the mind, by the ordinary use of its own faculties, employed about ideas suggested by objects of sense, or from the operations it observes in itself about them, may and does attain unto.
I. Perception the first simple idea of Reflection.
PERCEPTON, as it is the first faculty of the mind, exercised about our ideas; so it is the first and simplest idea we have from reflection, and is by some called thinking in general. Though thinking, in the propriety of the English tongue, signifies that sort of operation in the mind about its ideas, wherein the mind is active; where it with some degree of voluntary attention considers any thing. For in bare naked perception, the mind is, for the most part, only passive, and what it perceives, it cannot avoid perceiving.
II. Of the Process of Nature in Perception.
Although there is no reasoning in perception, yet there are certain means and instruments, which by the appointment of nature must intervene between the object and our perception of it ; and, by these our perceptions are limited and regulated.
First, If the object is not in contact with the organ of sense, there must be some medium which passes between them. Thus, in vision, the rays of light; in hearing, the vibration of elastic air ; in smelling, the effluvia of the body smelled, must pass from the object to the organ; otherwise we have no perception. Secondly, There must be some action or impression upon
organ of sense, either by the immediate application of the object, or by the medium that goes between them. Thirdly, The nerves which go from the brain to the organ, must receive some impres