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more open and acute in the others; and we receive Things variously, according as we are, and according as they appear to us. Now, our Perception being so uncertain, and so controverted, it is no, more a Wonder, if we are told, that we may declare, that Snow appears white to us; but that to establish that it is, in its own Essence, really so, is more than we are able to engage: And, this Foundation being shaken, all the Knowledge in the World must, of Necessity, come to nothing. What! do our Senses themselves embarrass one another? h A Picture seems embossed to the Sight, which, in the handling, seems flat: Musk, which delights the Smell, and is offensive to the Taste, shall we call it agreeable, or no? There are Herbs and Unguents, proper for one Part of the Body, that are hurtful to another: Honey is pleasant to the Taste, but offensive to the Sight. They, who, to assist their Lust, were wont, in ancient Times, to make Use of Magnifying Glasses, to represent the Members, they were to imploy, bigger, by that ocular Tumidity, to please themselves the more; to which of the two Senses did they give the Prize, whether to the Sight, that represented the Members large and great as they would desire j or to their Feeling, which represented them little and contemptible? Are they our Senses, that supply the Subject with these different Conditions, and yet the Subjects themselves have, nevertheless, but one? As we see in the Bread we eat, it is nothing but Bread, but, by being eaten, it becomes Bones, Blood, Flesh, Hair, and Nails.
Ut cibus in membra at que artus cum diditur omnes
i. e. As Meats, diffus'd through all the Members, lose Their former Nature, and different Things compose.
The Humidity, sucked up by the Root of a Tree, becomes Trunk, Leaf, and Fruit"; and the Air, though but one, is modulated, in a Trumpet, to a thousand sorts of Sounds/
* Sext. Empir. Pyrrh, Hypot. lib. i, c. 14. p. to.
f Lucret. lib. iii. v. 703, &e.
k Sext. Empu-. Pyrrh. Hypot. lib. i. c. 14. p. 12.
Are they our Senses, I fay, that, in like manner, form these Subjects with so many diverse Qualities, or have they them really such in themselves? And, upon this Doubt, what can we determine of their true Eflence? Moreover, since the Accidents of Diseases, of Delirium, or Sleep, make Things appear otherwise to us than they do to the Healthful, the Wife, and those that are awake, is it not likely, that our right State, and our natural Humours, have also wherewith to give a Being to Things that have Relation to their own Condition, and to accommodate them to themselves, as well as when the Humours are disordered; and is not our Health as capable of giving them an Aspect as Sickness? Why has not the Temperate a certain' Form of Objects relative to it as well as the Intemperate; and why may it not as well stamp them with its own Cha^ raster? He whose Mouth is out of Taste, fays the Wine is flat, the healthful Man commends its Flavour, and the Thirsty, its Briskness. Now, our Condition always accommodating Things to itself, and transforming them accordingly, we cannot know what Things truly are in themselves, because that nothing comes to us but what is falsified and altered by our Senses. Where the Compass, the Square, and the Rule are awry, all Proportions drawn from thence, and all Building erected by those Guides, must, of Necessity, be also crazy and defective. The Uncertainty of our Senses renders every Thing uncertain that they produce.
Denique ut in fabried, sprava est regula prima,
B b 3 /. t.
1 Sext. Empir. Pyrrh. Hypot. Ub. i. c. 14. p. 21. "Lucret. lib. iv. v. 516, ftfe.
But, lastly, as in Building, if the Line •>
As to what remains, who can be* fit to judge of these Differences? As we fay in Controversies of Religion, that we must have a Judge, neither inclining to the one Side, nor the other, free from all Choice and Affection, which cannot be amongst Christians: Just so it falls out in this; for, if he be Old, he cannot judge from the Sense of OldAge, being himself a Party in the Case; if Young, there is the fame Exception; if Healthful, Sick, Asleep, or Awake, he is still the fame incompetent Judge: We must have some one exempt from all these Qualities, to the End that, without Prejudice or Prepossession, he may judge of these, as of Things indifferent to him; and, by this Rule, we must have a Judge that never was.
To judge of the Appearances that we receive of Subjects, we ought to have a deciding Instru
Ju impofMe e this Instrument we must
lo judge den- 'n_ • T I •*•»
mtively of a have Demonstration; to verify the DemonSubjca, by the stration, an Instrument •, and here is our Ne Appearance, ylus ultra. Seeing the Senses cannot deterfrlmZletfel mine our Dispute, being full of Uncertainty themselves, it must then be Reason that must do it i but every Reason must have another to support it, and so we run back to all Infinity: Our Fancy does not apply itself to Things that are strange, but is conceived by the Mediation of the Senses; and the Senses do not comprehend the foreign Subject, but only their own Passions, by which Means Fancy and Appearance are no Part of the Subject, but only of the Passion and Suffering of Sense, which Passion and Subject are different Things; l wherewherefore whoever judges by Appearances, judges by another Thing than the Subject. And if we fay, that the Passions of the Senses convey to the Soul the Quality of strange Subjects by Resemblance; how can the Soul and Understanding be assured of this Resemblance, having, of itself, no Commerce with the foreign Subjects? As they who never knew Socrates, cannot, when they fee his Picture, fay it is like him.
Now, whoever would, notwithstanding, judge by Appearances, if it be by all, it is impossible, because they hinder one another by their Contrarieties and Differences, as we fee by Experience: Shall some select Appearances govern the rest? You must verify this Select by another Select, the seqond by the third, and, consequently, there will never be any End on't. Finally, there is no constant Existence, neither of the Objects Being, nor our own: Both we, and our Judgments, and all mortal Things, are , incessantly Running and Rolling, and, consequently, nothing certain can be established from the one to the other, both the Judging and the Judged being in a continual Motion and Sway.
We have no Communication with Being, by reason that all Human Nature is always in the midst, be- M^- tf,M twixt being Born and Dying, giving but an exists, except obscure Appearance and Shadow, a weak and Pm» '' re«lIy uncertain Opinion of itself: And if, perad- ""f^stantly venture, you fix your Thoughts to comprehend your Being, it would be but like grasping Water, for the more you clinch your Hand to squeese and hold what is, in its own Nature, flowing, so much more you lose of what you would grasp and hold: Therefore, seeing that all Things ace subject to pass from one Change to another, Reason, that there looks for what really subsists, finds itself deceived, not being able to comprehend any Thing that is Subsisting and Permanent, because that every Thing is either entering into Being, and is not yet wholly arrived at it, or begins to Die before it is Born.x Plato said ", ' That Bodies had never any Existence, but * only Birth; conceiving, that Homer had made the Ocean,
B b 4 * and
n In Thtateto, p. 130,
* and Thetis, Father and Mother of the Gods, to shew 'us, that all Things are in a perpetual Fluctuation, Mo
* tion, and Variation; the Opinion of all the Philoso
* phers, as he fays, before his Time, Parmenides only ex
* cepted, who would not allow Things to have Motion -,* of the Power whereof he makes a great Account. Pythagoras was of Opinion, 'That all Matter was Flowing and
Unstable:' The Stoics, 'That there is no Time' present, and that what we call so, is nothing but the Juncture and Meeting of the Future and Past.' Heraclitus, 0 That never any Man entered twice into the fame River:' Epicharmus, * That he who borrowed Money an Hour ago, does not owe it now; and that he who was invited Over-night to come the next Day to Dinner, comes that Day uninvited, considering, that they are no more the same Men, but are become others;' and that " p there could not a mortal Substance be found twice in the fame Condition: For, by the Suddenness and Levity of the Change, it one while Disperses, and another while Re-assembles; it comes, and then goes, after such a manner, that what begins to be Born, never arrives to the Perfection of Being; forasmuch as that Birth is never Finished and never Stays, as being at an End, but, from the Seed, is evermore Changing and Shifting from one to another: As, from the human Seed, first in the Mother's Womb is made a formless Embryo, after being delivered thence,a sucking Infant; afterwards it becomes a Boy, then a Youth, then a full-grown Man, then a Man in Years, and, at last, a decrepid Old Man: So that Age, and subsequent Generation, is always Destroying and Spoiling that which went before. Mutat enim mundi naturam totius atas, Ex alioque alius status excipere omnia debet, Nee manet ilia suifimilis res, omnia migrant, Omnia commutat natura, et vert ere cogitq.
"Seneca, Ep. c8. And Plutarch, in his Tract, intitled, The Signification efthe Word, lib. i. c. 12.
t The following Lines, marked " are a verbal Quotatibn from the last mentioned Tract of Plutarch, except the Verses of Lucretius.
s Lucret. lib. v. v. 826, cjc.