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A Digresion concerning Connate Ideas, or In
UT this is the great Difficuly, What the
Voice and Sense of Nature is , which if it fignify any thing, must signify some Natural and Inbred Knowledge ; which is exploded as a ridiculous Conceit by some great and profound Philosophers of our Age; who will allow no Innate Knowledge, but affert the Soul to be a Rasa Tabula, White Paper, whereon nothing is written, but is capable of any Impressions, and must receive all from without: That nothing is in the Un derstanding, but what enters by the Senfes ; which is the old Atheistick Hypothesis, which baniihes Original Mind and Wisdom out of the World, makes Mind younger than Matter, later than the making of the World, and therefore noe the Maker of it. I should not trouble my self at this time with profess'd Atheists; but when Men who profess to believe a God, and another World, advance such Principles as tend to overturn, or at least very much weaken the Belief of both, it is fitting upon such an Occasion, to consider what they have to say. And I shall Reafon upon their own Principles, upon the Supposition that there is a God, who is the Maker of the World.
1. Then, if we allow that there is a God, and that he made the World, as Mr. Lock does, this is Domonstration,
1. That Knowledge is before the Things that are known, and is the Maker of them: For if God made the World, he knew what he would make, before he made it; and therefore the Ideas of all things were originally in the divine Mind, before any thing was made.
2. Hence it follows, that Ideal Knowledge is essential to a Mind; it is found no where originally but in the eternal Mind; and it is essential to the very Notion and Idea of a Mind: For what is a Mind, without the images and Ideas of Things? Which is a good Argument that created Minds, as far as they partake of the Eternal Mind, have the Natural Ideas of Things interwoven in their Frame and Conftitution, if I may fo speak. For a Mind is a Mind, whether created or uncreated: And if created Minds are made after the Pattern of the divine Mind, (and there is no other Pattern for our Minds) Natural Ideas must be as essential to created Minds, as they are to the uncreated Mind; for there is no Notion of a Mind without them.
Of which more presently. 3. This proves that all Truths, and all true Ideas, are Eternal: They may be seen, and known, and discovered anew, but cannot be made: They always were in the divine Mind, and cannot be otherwise than they always were. And therefore our Improvement in true Knowledge, does not confift in framing and making new Ideas of Things, but in finding out the old ones; for Truth is no more to be made, than God.
4. I shall observe but this one thing more, That Ideas are not in the Things whose Ideas they are, but in the Mind that conceives and apprehends them; for Mind is the original Seat of Ideas : And this proves that no Ideas can come into the Mind from without, because they
are not without, though they may be excited, and rais'd, and brought into view, by external Impressions. But if the Work of the Mind be not to make new Truths, and new ideas, but to discover old ones; these old Truths, which are not in the Things without, must be originally in the Mind itself, or else all the tumblings and joggings in the World will never find them there.
2. To confirm this, Let us consider the Nature of Human Souls, as Rational and Intelligent Beings.
1. And in the first place, I suppose all who believe the Mofaical History of the Creation, will allow, that the first Man is the most perfect Pattern and Exemplar of Human Nature, in its Natural State: For the first Man was immediately made by God, and made such a Creature as God intended Man to be ; for he was to propagate the same Nature, which God had given him, to his Pofterity.
Now we all know that Adam was created with the natural Ideas and Knowledge of Things, and had all his Knowledge from within, not from without: He knew what every Thing was at the first sight, and what its natural Powers and Properties were ; which could not be from external Impressions, in which way at best nothing can be known without long Observation, and many Experiments, and a train of Reasonings ; and therefore must be from connate or inbred Ideas, which were then bright and sparkling in his Mind. He could speak as soon as he was made, and if he had an inbred natural Knowledge of Words, he must have an inbred Knowledge of Things, which are signified by Words. For a Mind must conceive and have formed
Notions and Ideas of Things, before it can fpeak.
Now indeed it does not hence follow that every Child must speak, and have the actual Exércise of its Reason as soon as it is born, because Adam was created in the perfect and actual Exercise of these Powers; for Adam was not created a Child, but a Man, and therefore created in a manly State of Knowledge, with those clear and bright Ideas of Truth, which become the Vigor and Maturity of human Understandings. But it does hence follow, That the Soul of Man, in its original Conftitution, and in the most perfect State of its Nature, is not a Rasa Tabula, without any Notions or Ideas of Truth imprinted on it; but that it has its most natural and perfect Knowledge from within, from contemplating its own Notions and Ideas of Truth. Nay, it hence follows, That if Adam's Soul had these natural Impressions and Characters on it, which were the Principles of all rational Knowledge; all human Souls have fơ too, or else they have not the same Nature that Adam's Soul had: For a Soul with the natural Ideas of Things, and a Soul without any such natural Ideas, are not of the fame Kind and Species of Souls. And if Adam was to beget his own Likeness, the Souls as well as Bodies of his Children must have the same natural Characters and Impressions on them. And that it must be so, will appear, if we consider,
2dly, What a rational Soul, and an intelligent Principle is. Mr. Lock will allow the Soul to be a rational intelligent Principle; and then undertakes to prove, how a rational Soul, which has a natural Principle of Understanding, may form its own Notions, without any natural and connate Ideas. But now it seems necessary to me, first to enquire what this conceiving; think
ing, rational Principle is; and whether there can be a rational Nature, without the Principles of Reason innate to it. Now I can no more understand how a Soul, which has no rational Ideas, fhould have any Principle of Reason or Thought, and therefore should ever actually think, than I can, how that which has no natural Heat, should ever warm or burn. For the Principle and the Act are of the fame Kind; and that which can think, must have some natural Thoughts or Ideas which can be brought into Act, which are the natural Seeds and Principles of Thinking. I
I do desire to know what the Sentient Faculty is ;- whether there must not be Sense in the Soul, to make it capable of the external Impressions of Pain or Pleasure: And by the fanie Reason there must be Knowledge in the Souly1
od make it capable of knowing external Objects. There is no Thought in the World, but only in Minds; and therefore all the Things of the World can never put a Thought into us, but can only raise it: That if we have no Thoughts within to be brought into Act, we can never have any, no more than the Stones of the Street. If no Thoughts can come into us from without, we must find them all withing, and what is within, belongs to our Na: ture, and has always been there, though we did no sooner find it. . Life is nothing else but confcious: Perception, either Knowledge or Sense; and then I would know how a living Nature can be without natural Know: ledge. For if all Knowledge, muft come from without, Life itself-muft do so, lifc Knowledge bé Life. Life is an internal Principle of Perception, which can never be without the internal Seeds and Principles of Knowledge or Senseo
I would desire to know why iexternal Objects do not form the fame Notions and ideas in the