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The first is that of Substance, by which I mean That, to us, unknown Nature, upon which all that we do know of the Nature of any thing depends, as to its Being; and which is, as to its Essence in general, independent on every thing but God.
The next is Attribute, by which is to be understood, absolutely, all that belongs to a Substance, and is not the Substance it self; or, all of the Substance that falls under our Knowledge and Apprehension : but when taken relatively to other things appertaining to a Substance, is that which constitutes the specifick Elence of it, according to our Denomination of its Esence. Thus by some Extensicn, by others impenetrable Extension is call'd the Attribute of Body, as distinguishing it fpecifically from things immaterial. I add according to our Denomination of its Essence, because, whether that Attribute flows immediately from its Effence or not, (which perhaps is only known to the Creator) it is sufficient if to it we can reduce, as to their Fountain-head, all the other specific Attributes, which we do apprehend to belong unto it.
Property I understand in a larger Şense than Attribute relatively consider'd, and in a more restrain’d Sense than Attribute taken absolutely; viz. Any. Attribute belonging to the Specific Esence of a Substance, whether deriving
from it immediately, or from some other Attribrité.
And by Mode, or Qnality is meant a Pro: perty, which gives some peculiar Denomination to the Substànce.
Human Soni, the Subject of our Enquiry, it is sufficient at present to define tius, a finite Spirit so closely united by the Will and Power of its Creator, to an organical terre
ftrial Body was to composé one entire Nature and Persón. It is sufficient here to define the Soul as it is in this state, because our Knowledge of wliat it is now, is the only Foundation of our Knowledge, (so far as the Light of Nature guides) of what it will be in another.
There is yet another Teříň which needs explication, and that because its different Acceptations lias caus'd Opposition, where there was no Contradi&tion : It is the word Idea, whichi some understand, according to the Etimon of it, barely to fignifie, those Impressions which by the Presence of sensible Objects, or the Power of Memory, are niade on the Imagination. Others take it in the Cartesian Sense, for the immediaté Object of our Thoughts, while we do think ; let that Object be of what Natúre it will, or however it is represented to the Mind ; and in this sense we have an Idea of whatever we can believe possibly, or actually true.
I shall take it in this last Sense, tho others have been censur'd for so using it; and justly too, if, in the main, they extend it to all knowable Truths, and when it serves a Turn, confine it only to such as are known by explicit Evidence; which is a Fault obvious in a whole Sect of very modern Philosophers.
From these Terms thus explain'd, several Controversies arise, which yet I think it an improper Method to engage in here ; it being sufficient that they are clear and intelligible ;
and whether they are proper Vehicles of any Truths, will best appear by the Application of them. This is all I think requisite to premise for the better understanding of what follows.
What sort of Proof is to be expected
and insisted upon.
Have something to add for the better
Reception of it; and that is concerning the Nature of the Proof I intend to insist upon, and it is reasonable to expect from
ist, I hope no Man expects to meet withi what is properly calld sensible Proof, in an Argument for the Existence of a Thing altogether remote from Sense; nor therefore,
2dly, Must he expect Mathematical Proof in the common acceptation for Geometrical, as it is conversant about Things and the Relations of Things, which fall under our Senses; not but that there are many Propositions, and some, I hope, in these Papers, which are built upon Axioms, as properly stild, and deduc'd as demonstrably from them, as any Proposition in Eiclid but, being of an abstracted Nature, are not so easily, nor so fully afsented to, by the
generality of Mankind, as those Sciences which bring Recson down to Serse, and so are better adapted to the weakness of Human Understanding; not again that these have any Advantage of the other, in point of Evidence, with a Capacity susceptible of both,
And therefore, 3dly, most Readers cannot hope to find such Proof here, be it of what Nature foever, as, will leave no Scruple or Hesitation in their Minds.
It is one ill effect of the Fall, that our Understanding is more deeply immers'd in Sense, and so (naturally] cramp'd when it aims at intellectual Objects, that Men of ftrong Reasoning in other Cases, often think
we talk of we know not what, when we are got upon this Subject ; to conquer this Dificulty, there is requisite a found and piercing Jrsdgmenta frequent Exercise, and a very particular Application : Those that have not thus employ'd 4 considerable part of their time, I can only desire to reflect, after they have perus'd this Eifay, upon what the Proof I shall bring amounts to all together ; and to try if they can bring better, or as good Reason to the contrary; and if they çannot, whatever Difficulties they find in the Apprehension, the Scale of Judgment will at last turn on our side; and, to carry on the Simile, will weigh as far down, tho not so swiftly, as if there were no opposite Weight.
4thly, As to the Method of proceeding in Our Proof, it will be the analitic or probatio. ê: posteriori, from the Effect to the Caufe; whiçlı, tho it is not fo perfect a Methodi
, nor consequently the Reafoning by it so strong as the synthetic, or probatio a priori, from the Cause to the Effect; yet it is, in its kind, a good and effectual Method of Proof; otherwise we must be fçeptiçal in the fafgreatest part of scientific knowledge, which leads us no otherwiseto.the Cause, than by the Effett which lies nearer to us; besides that all Relation is reciprocal, and we may safely follow the Chain of Rcaloning cither way; not that,