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sant, and tends to the illustration of the matter in hand, as I am sure yours always does. And after I received your letter on this subject, I communicated the contents thereof to two very ingenious persons nere; and, at the same time I lent them your book, desiring them to examine it strictly; and to find out, and note, what. ever might be changed, added, or substracted. And after a diligent perusal, they agreed with me in the same conclusion, viz. that the work, in all its parts, was so wonderfully curious and instructive, that they would not venture to alter any thing in it. But how. ever, that I may in some measure answer your expectations, I shall briefly note to you, what I conceive on this subject..
And, 1st, the errata typographica (besides those mentioned in the table) are many and great; these therefore, in your next edition, are diligently to be corrected.
2dly, page 270, It is asserted, “ that, without a par6 ticular revelation, we cannot be certain, that matter “ cannot think, or that omnipotency may not endow “ matter with a power of thinking.”...
And, page 314, 315, “ the immateriality of God is “ evinced from the absolute impossibility of matter's “ thinking." These two places, I know, have been stumbled at by some as not consistent. To me indeed they appear, and are, very agreeable; and I have clearly evinced their consistency to those that have scrupled them. But I thought fit to give you this hint, that in your next edition you may prevent any such doubt. My sense of these two places is this. In the first it is said, “ that we cannot tell (without a particular reve« lation to the contrary) but an almighty God can “ make matter think." In the other it is asserted, " that unthinking matter cannot be this almighty “ God.” The next place I take notice of, as requiring some farther explication, is your discourse about man's liberty and necessity. This thread seems so wonderfully fine spun in your book, that, at last, the great question of liberty and necessity seems to vanish. And herein you seem to make all sins to proceed from our under
standings, or to be against conscience, and not at all from the depravity of our wills. Now it seems harsh to you, that a man will be damned, because he understands no better than he does. What you say concerning génera and species is unquestionably true; and yet it seems hard to assert, that there is no such sort of creatures in nature, as birds: for though we may be ignorant of the particular essence, that makes a bird to be a bird, or that determines and distinguishes a bird from a beast; or the just limits and boundaries between each; yet we can no more doubt of a sparrow's being a bird, and an horse's being a beast, than we can of this colour being black, and the other white: though, by shades they may be made so gradually to vanish into each other, that we cannot tell where either determines.
But all this I write more in deference to your desires from me, that to satisfy myself, that I have given you any material hints, or have offered any considerable objection, that is worth your notice and removal. Mr. Norris's unfortunate attempts on your book sufficiently testify its validity; and truly I think he trifles so egregiously, that he should forewarn all men how far they venture to criticise on your book. But thus far, after all, I'll venture to intimate to you, that if you are for another work of this kind, I should advise you to let this stand as it does. And your next should be of a model wholly new, and that is by way of logic; something accommodated to the usual forms, together with the consideration of extension, solidity, mobility, thinking, existence, duration, number, &c. and of the mind of man and its powers; as may make up a complete body of what the schools call logic and metaphysics. This I am the more inclinable to advise on two accounts; first, because I have lately seen Johannis Clerici Logica, Ontologia, et Pneumatologia, in all which he has little extraordinary, but what he borrows from you; and in the alteration he gives them, he robs them of their native beauties; which can only be preserved to them by the same incomparable art that first framed them. Secondly, I was the first that recommended and
lent to the reverend provost of our university, Dr. Ashe, a most learned and ingenious man, your essay, with which he was so wonderfully pleased and satisfied, that he has ordered it to be read by the bachelors in the college, and strictly examines them in their progress therein. Now a large discourse, in the way of a logic, would be much more taking in the universities, wherein youths do not satisfy themselves to have the breeding or business of the place unless they are engaged in something that bears the name and form of logic.
This, sir, is in short what offers itself to me, at pre. sent, concerning your work. There remains only, that I again put you in mind of the second member of your division of sciences, the ars practica, or ethics; you cannot imagine what an earnest desire and expectation I have raised, in those that are acquainted with your writings, by the hopes I have given them from your promise of endeavouring something on that subject. Good sir, let me renew my requests to you therein; for believe me, sir, it will be one of the most useful and glorious undertakings that can employ you. The touches you give in many places of your book, on this subject, are wonderfully curious, and do largely testify your great abilities that way; and I am sure the pravity of men's morals does mightily require the most powerful means to reform them. Be as large as it is possible on this subject, and by all means let it be in English: He that reads the 45th section, in your 129th page, will be inflamed to read more of the same kind, from the same incomparable pen. Look, therefore, on yourself as obliged by God Almighty to undertake this task (pardon me, sir, that I am so free with you, as to insist to yourself on your duty, who, doubtless, understand it better than I can tell you); suffer not therefore your thoughts to rest, till you have finished it; and that God Almighty may succeed your labours, is, and shall be the prayer of,
Mr. Locke to Mr. Molyneux.
Oates, Dec. 26, 1692. WHATEVER has happened to give you leisure sooner than was expected, I hope to receive some ad. vantage by it. And that now you will be able to send me your own thoughts on my book, together with the observations of your friend, into whose hands you have put it with that design. I return you my humble thanks for the papers you did me the favour to send me in your last: but am apt to think you agree with me that there is very little in those papers, wherein either my sense is not mistaken, or very little, wherein the argument is directly against me. I suppose that learned gentleman, if he had had the leisure to read my essay quite through, would have found several of his objections might have been spared. And I can easily forgive those who have not been at the pains to read the third book of my essay, if they make use of expressions that, when examined, signify nothing at all, in defence of hypotheses, that have long possessed their minds. I am far from imagining myself infallible; but yet I should be loth to differ from any thinking man, being fully persuaded there are very few things of pure speculation, wherein two thinking men, who impartially seek truth, can differ, if they give themselves the leisure to examine their hypotheses, and understand one another. I, presuming you to be of this make, whereof so few are to be found, (for it is not every one that thinks himself a lover, or seeker of truth, who sincerely does it,) took the liberty to desire your objections, that in the next edition I might correct my mistakes. For I am not fond of any thing in my book, because I have once thought or said it. And therefore I beg you, if you will give yourself the pains to look over my book, again with this design, to oblige me, that you would use all manner of freedom, both as to matter, style, disposition, and every thing wherein, in your own thoughts, any thing appears to you fit, in the least, to
be altered, omitted, explained, or added. I find none so fit, nor so fair judges, as those whose minds the study of mathematicks has opened, and dis-entangled from the cheat of words, which has too great an influence in all the other, which go for sciences: and I think (were it not for the doubtful and fallacious use that is made of those signs) might be made much more sciences than they are.
I sent order, some time since, that a posthumous piece of Mr. Boyle's should be given to your bookseller in London, to be conveyed to you. It is “ A General “ History of the Air;" which, though left by him very imperfect, yet I think the very design of it will please you; and it is cast into a method that any one who pleases may add to it, under any of the several titles, as his reading or observation shall furnish him with matter of fact. If such men as you are, curious and knowing, would join to what Mr. Boyle had collected and prepared what comes in their way, we might hope, in some time, to have a considerable history of the air, than which I scarce know any part of natural philosophy would yield more variety and use; but it is a subject too large for the attempts of any one man, and will require the assistance of many hands, to make it a history very short of complete.
Since I did myself the honour to write to your brother, I have been very ill, to which you must pardon some part of the length of my silence. But my esteem and respect for you is founded upon something so much beyond compliment and ceremony, that I hope you will not think me the less so, though I do not every post importune you with repeated professions that I am,
Your most humble servant,