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derstandings. So much as we ourselves consider and comprehend of truth and reason, so much we possess of real and true knowledge*.” Is not this then an acknowledgment of innate principles and ideas?
Even virtue cannot be instilled into the mind not formed capable of receiving it. The most ferocious animal may be tamed by proper treatment, so may the character of man be civilized or brutalized by proper or improper regulations; and thus whole kingdoms may be trained to any character by those means, “ for use can almost change the stamp of nature;" but it would be a hopeless attempt to endeavour to make the lion represent the lamb, or to humanize the mind that is naturally brutalized. Nature will have its course ;, “ man plants and man waters the field, but it is God that gives the increase;" but God will only assist those that labour. Man is always in actual thought, unless he is deprived of mind; and therefore the actual perception of ideas in itself is as inseparable from the soul, as actual extension is from the body. Man, therefore, can have no ideas that are not first implanted in the mind by nature, nor can wisdom, by any method, be conveyed to a mind not formed for knowledge; though many moral qualities may be acquired by habit and example.
Our faculties of discovery, as Locke observes, in contradiction to his own argument, are suited to
* No innate principles, Book i. chap. iv.
our state. The infinitely-wise Contriver of us, and of all things concerning us, hath fitted our senses, faculties, and organs, to the conveniences of life, and the business we have to do here. We are able, by our senses, to know and to distinguish things; and to examine them so far as to apply them to our uses, and to accommodate the exigences of life. We have insight enough into their admirable contrivances and wonderful effects, to admire and magnify the wisdom, power, and goodness of their author. Such a knowledge as this, which is suited to our present condition, we want not faculties to attain; but it appears not that God intended we should have a perfect, clear, and adequate knowledge of them; which, perhaps, is not in the comprehension of any finite being. We are, however, furnished with faculties, dull and weak as they are, to discover enough in the crea. tures to lead us to the knowledge of the Creator and the knowledge of our duty; and we are fitted well enough with abilities to provide for the conveniences of living, which is our business in this world ; and though we cannot but allow that the infinite power and wisdom of God may frame creatures with a thousand other faculties and waysof perceiving things than we have, yet our thoughts can go no farther than our own capacities, so impossible is it for us to enlarge our very guesses beyond the ideas received from our own sensation and reflection*.” Capacity
* Ideas of substances, Book ii, chap. 23.
of mind, therefore, depends upon its formation; but the purity of mind depends upon its cultivation.
The rules of mathematics are nothing more than a short method of demonstrating truth to the mind, and they evidently do not reach all things, or all truths; but by joining them to the innate faculties of the mind, all truths, as far as human intelligence extends, may be proved. In the faculty of collecting and comparing together ideas, the mind has the power of varying and multiplying the objects of thought infinitely beyond what sensation, reflection, or any other rule or thing, but its innate principle, can furnish it with; for, by this principle of demonstration, the mind elevates itself above earthly things, by the mathematical proof of innate truth, to which all other demonstrations must be submitted before their proof can be fully established. This faculty of the mind extends beyond the bare consideration or proof of things in this life, to which all others are limited, and in which life, if there be any consolation, the greatest must be that of a full confidence and conviction, that there is another and a better; but this is not to be proved except by the demonstration of the mind, which can realise revelation or inspiration; for without this proof of the mind, it is not all the philosophy of the world that can make men understand the principles of truth or virtue, or prove, to their conviction, that there is either a God or a future state. Indeed, man can only know this by knowing himVOL. II.
self, which does not come under mathematical rule, and cannot be demonstrated by any other than that of innate research; but it is a science of all others most worthy the exercise of the human mind; for if we know ourselves, and examine, by this principle, the shortness, uncertainty, and other circumstances of this life, we shall find, by collecting and joining together the ideas of the mind, the full demonstration and proof, that the termination of life is not by death, and that the soul and mind of man could never have been formed to end at so abrupt a point.
On the Perfectability of Man and the Confirmation of
a future State.
The perfectability of man is a subject which has occupied the attention of philosophers in all ages. It has been often taken up, and variously disputed, but the diversity of opinions, which have been given upon this subject, have so puzzled the enquiry, that they have left little room to form any just conclusions by those means. It appears that there is only one way, or course, to pursue, or only one rule to follow, by which it can be ascertained whether the perfectability of man be possible op not, and that is, by the knowledge or confirmation of the truth of a future state; and this can only be found out by a proof of the truth of the Gospel, compared with a perfect knowledge of human nature and the wonderful works of the creation..
It is certain that, if man had a perfect knowledge of a future state, in his heart, and had a full confirmation of, or confidence in, the truth of the Gospel, he would sin no more, and, therefore, would be perfect; for, “ if he knew the truth, the truth would make him free," and there is no doubt