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very little reflection would, at least, serve to show imparting thought ; which, in reality, would be to that, in all such conjectures, we are endeavoring imagine so many souls, and to destroy the oneness to pass the bounds which the Almighty has pre- and individuality of man. For, how could part scribed to our understanding, and must therefore A obtain cognizance of what part B experienced ? for ever be baffled in the vain attempt.
There would be an absolute necessity to suppose It is very different when we reason on the mat- another intelligence, apart from this cluster of ter of fact. Setting aside, for the present, that material souls, and essentially one and indivisible, portion of the inquiry which relates to the inferior in which might centre, as in a point, the converging animals, it seems capable of demonstration that rays of intellectual light; or, to speak without a the human soul is a monad, indiscerptible, and, as figure, the several trains of ideas transmitted infar as our experience extends, unchangeable. All ward by the senses. philosophers, we believe, agree that the material Interpose, therefore, as many material apparatus particles or atoms which compose our bodies are in as we please between the external world and the a state of perpetual change, something new being substance that thinks within us, it is but imagining constantly added, while, what previously formed a a circle within a circle; we must at last come to a portion of our system, detaches itself and passes monad, or unity, unextended and indivisible. That away in insensible perspiration; so that in seven which has distinct separate parts can never think. years, according to some calculations, the matter There will always be an absolute necessity, not of which our bodies consist is wholly renewed. In only for a vinculum, or connecting principle, disthis mutation the brain, of course, participates ; tinct from the parts themselves, -and what it is consequently, in the man of to-day there remains that binds together the particles of matter has not one particle of the matter of which his body, never been explained,—but likewise for something seven years ago, consisted. In this respect he is essentially one, which may take cognizance of the as different from his former self as from Eteocles or movements and operations of the material organe Polynices. Yet, though all the matter in his orga- by which it externally manifests its energies, and nized system be changed, there is something in through which it receives ideas of what exists bethe man which remains unchanged; something yond the circle of its own consciousness. Had this that links him with his youth, with his boyhood, view of the question presented itself to Locke, it is with his infancy, in which memory and conscious probable he would have discovered its perfect conness inhere, which survives the repeated vicissi- sistency with the phenomena of thought; and have tudes of his frame, and properly constitutes himself
. thence inferred that, unless it should please God This something cannot be matter, for it has already to confer on matter other qualities than it now been shown that, under this supposition, there possesses, that is, to change its nature, it must for could be no identity, and consciousness would be ever remain incapable of thinking. impossible. For, allowing, for the sake of argument, that it is the brain which receives from withHuman Understanding with religion,—which our
In tracing the connection of the Essay on the out ideas of sensation, and within forms those of limits enable us very imperfectly to accomplish,reflection by contemplating its own operations ; it would be unpardonable to overlook its rigorous the impressions made on it could last no longer demonstration of the existence of a God. It is inthan itself: but it is admitted that the material deed humiliating to our reason that there should particles composing the brain are in a state of con- be individuals whose opinions render such a demonstant flux, and come, in the course of years, to be wholly changed; the material particles which de-stration necessary. But this is the case,—indeed part would, therefore, were they the
depositaries of many ingenious men have amused the world with our ideas, carry away with them all the impressions doubts of their own existence ;-and since it is so, they had, while in the brain, received; it would in we must endeavor to show that nature supplies fact be palpably impossible these should remain us with lights the possession of which renders doubt when the substances on which they had been im- on this subject wholly inexcusable. pressed were detached: but we find that ideas are It is often objected by the lovers of novelty that not thus fleeting ; that they continue to exist in the proofs and arguments made use of in this dethe mind forty, fifty, nay, in some men, a hundred monstration are hackneyed; and so they are. And years: the substance in which our ideas are de- if a man should now go about to show that the posited remains, consequently, the same from youth three angles of a triangle are equal to two right to age; but the matter of our bodies is perpetually ones; or that ten and three and seven are equal changing; therefore the human soul is not mate to twenty, what could he say that would not be rial.
hackneyed? Truth, and our mode of approaching Another view of the question may equally serve it through syllogisms, and the circumstances of to convince us of this truth. If the soul were ma- nature, and the make and powers of one mind, reterial, it must, like all other material substances, maining nearly the same, how can we,-if truth be consist of extended solid parts, and might be di- our object, and, we would not, for novelty's sake, vided ad infinitum. Suppose, however, it consisted embrace error,--do otherwise than repeat, in our only of five parts, corresponding with the number own manner indeed, the arguments which have i of the senses; each part would receive its peculiar heretofore been employed by others for the same ideas; but being separated from its neighbor by purpose? Hippias of Eleia, a man celebrated in the infinite gulf which divides plurality from unity antiquity for his aversion to old truths, once made and diversity from identity, it could never commu- himself merry with Socrates upon the monotony of nicate what it had received, unless we erect each his opinions, and in return was complimented by portion of the soul into a distinct intelligence, en- the philosopher on the wonderful versatility which dued with separate consciousness, and means of enabled him constantly to shift the bases of his
thoughts, and to decide, on the self-same question, | right angles, it is impossible he should know any now one way, and now another.*
demonstration in Euclid. If, therefore, we know Locke in this resembled Socrates, that he felt no there is some real being and that non-entity canaversion to embrace truths because they had been not produce any real being, it is an evident depreviously embraced by others. He was not desir- monstration, that from eternity there has been ous of startling, but of instructing mankind. And something ; since what was not from eternity had being persuaded that real knowledge is condu- beginning; and what had a beginning must be cive to real happiness, he dissembled no truths produced by something else. which he appeared to have discovered, and scorned, “Next it is evident, that what had its being and on all occasions, to dress up popular errors in beginning from another, must also have all that the guise of eternal verities, either for the pur- which is in, and belongs to its being from another pose of eluding persecution, or acquiring for him- too. All the powers it has must be owing to, and self the advantages of power. We may be sure, received from, the same source. This eternal therefore, that he was most earnest in the pursuit, source then of all being must also be the source and most honest in the disclosure of what he con- and original of all power; and so this eternal beceived to be truth; and, accordingly that, in his de ing must be also the most powerful. monstrations of the existence of a God, we behold, “ Again, a man finds in himself perception and not the arguments of a cold, subtile metaphysician knowledge. We have then got one step farther, linked together for display, but the reasoning of a and we are certain now, that there is not only man whose warm conviction gives weight to every some being, but some knowing intelligent being in proof, and infuses through the whole composition the world. There was a time then, when there a vigor and vitality not to be found in the unsa- was no knowing being, and when knowledge betisfactory ratiocinations of a sophist.
gan to be ; or else there has been also a knowing Did the space requisite for the due considera- being from eternity. If it be said, there was a tion of other topics permit, we would willingly time when no being had any knowledge, when have introduced in this place the whole of the in- that eternal being was void of all understanding; comparably splendid chapter to which we have I reply, that then it was impossible there should been alluding. But all we have room for is an ever have been any knowledge: it being as imextract, which may, however, induce the reader, possible that things wholly void of knowledge, if he should happen not to be already acquainted and operating blindiy, and without any perception, with it, to have recourse to the Essay itself. Hav- should produce a knowing being, as it is impossiing observed that, though the evidence of the ex- ble that a triangle should make itself three angles istence of a God be equal to mathematical cer- bigger than two right ones. For it is as repug. tainty, it yet requires thought and attention, and nant to the idea of senseless matter, that it should that the mind should apply itself to a regular de- put into itself sense, perception, and knowledge, duction of it from some part of our intuitive as it is repugnant to the idea of a triangle, that it knowledge, he proceeds :-"I think it is beyond should put into itself greater angles than two right question that man has a clear idea of his own be- ones. ing; he knows certainly he exists, and that he is “ Thus from the consideration of ourselves, and something. He that can doubt whether he be what we infallibly find in our own constitutions, any thing or not, I speak not to, no more than I our reason leads us to the knowledge of this cer. could argue with, pure nothing, or endeavor to tain and evident truth, that there is an eternal, convince non-entity that it were something. If most powerful, and most knowing being; which any one pretends to be so sceptical, as to deny his whether any one will please to call God, it matters own existence, (for really to doubt of it is mani- not. The thing is evident, and from this idea festly impossible,) let him for me enjoy his beloved duly considered, will easily be deduced all those happiness of being nothing, until hunger, or some other attributes, which we ought to ascribe to this other pain, convince him of the contrary: This eternal being. If, nevertheless, any one should then, I think, I may take for a truth, which every be found so senselessly arrogant as to suppose one's certain knowledge assures him of, beyond man alone knowing and wise, but yet the prothe liberty of doubting, viz. that he is something duct of mere ignorance and chance; and that all that actually exists.
the rest of the universe acted only by that blind “In the next place, man knows by an intuitive haphazard, I shall leave with him that very racertainty, that bare nothing can no more produce tional and emphatical rebuke of Tully, to be conany real being, than it can be equal to two right sidered at his leisure: What can be more sillily angles. If a man knows not that non-entity, or arrogant and misbecoming, than for a man to the absence of all being, cannot be equal to two think that he has a mind and understanding in
him, but yet in all the universe beside there is no It has been well observed by an eminent Chris- such thing? or that those things, which with the tian philosopher of our limes, that " in philosophy utmost stretch of his reason he can scarce comequally as in poetry, genius produces the strongest prehend should be moved and managed without impressions of novelty, while it rescues the stalest any reason at all.'"* and most admitted truths from the impotence caused by the very circumstance of their universal admission. Truths, of all others the most awful and mys *De Legib. lib. ii. Cicero's words are:-"Quid terious, yet being at the same time of universal in- est enim verius, quam neminem esse oportere tam terest, are too often considered as so true that they stulte arrogantem, ut in se mentem et rationem putet lose all the powers of truth, and lie bed-ridden in the inesse, in cælo mundoque non puiet? Aut ea quæ dormitory of the soul, side by side with the most de- vix summa ingenii ratione comprehendat, nulla raspised and exploded errors." -Friend, vol. i. tione moveri putet ?"
" From what has been said, it is plain to me, who can be delighted with intellectual beauty, we have a more certain knowledge of the exist- render the study of his writings a passion and a ence of a God, than of any thing our senses have luxury. To pretend to discover all these excelnot immediately discovered to us. Nay, I pre- lencies in the style of Locke would be absurd afsume I may say, that we more certainly know fectation. It has, however, great beauties; and that there is a God, than that there is any thing of these not the least is that admirable perspicuielse without us. When I say we know, I mean ty_in Aristotle's opinion the chiefest excellency of there is such a knowledge within our reach, which language-which almost always enables us rapidly we cannot miss, if we will but apply our minds to to seize his meaning, even in those passages where that, as we do to several other inquiries.". the nature of the subject might have
appeared to Much has, at different times, been written on excuse some degree of obscurity. There is bethe style of the Essay on the Human Understand- sides in most of his compositions, a masculine ing. According to Dugald Stewart, it resembles strength, an earnestness, a warmth, - distinct from that of a well-educated man of the world, rather the warmth of passion,marising evidently from than of a recluse student, “who had made an ob- the force of his convictions, from the intimate ject of the art of composition;" from which it persuasion that what he advances is based on may be inferred that, with Locke, the art of com- truth; and the combination of these qualities, position had not formed an object of study. But, united with the grandeur and importance of the whoever shall duly consider his remarks on Parti- ideas, rises, in many parts of the Essay, into a cles, in the seventh chapter of the third book, will noble eloquence, still more strikingly perceptible certainly conclude that no recluse student could in the Conduct of the Understanding,” and the ever attach more importance than he did to style. vehement refutations of error in the “ Treatise on What his opinion was of the language in use Government.” At the same time it must not be among men of the world, he has also taken care, dissembled that the construction of his sentences in many places, to express; more particularly in is often destitute of all grace; and that the prebook the third, chapter the eleventh, where, con- judice against figurative language, which at one tending for the proper use of words he says,-time possessed him, led too frequently to the em" This exactness is absolutely necessary in inqui- ployment of a bald unvivified form of expression, ries after philosophical knowledge, and in contro- wholly incommensurate to the magnitude of his versies about truth; and though it would be well, ideas. From this charge Lord Bacon himself,-ton, if it extended itself to common conversation next to Milton the most figurature prose writer in and the ordinary affairs of life, yet I think that is our language--is not wholly free, as any one who scarce to be expected.” Farther on he observes, reads the History of Henry VII. and several of " that propriety of speech is that which gives our his other works, will perceive. But the defect is thoughts entrance into other men's minds with more apparent in Locke, who from a false theory the greatest ease and advantage;" and to this he studiously, during many years, labored to deprive is careful to add, that “ the proper signification his works of the advantage and charm derived and use of terms is best to be learned from those, from the judicious use of tropes and figures. who, in their writings and discourses, appear to To proceed, however, with our outline of his have had the clearest notions, and applied their life. “The occupations which now engaged the terms with the exactest choice and fitness.” attention of this great man,” says Lord King, From which it seems evident that the art of com were of the most varied and opposite descripposition commanded no inconsiderable portion of tion. He was at the same time a practical politihis attention; so that if
, after all, his style resem- cian, and a profound speculative philosopher; a ble that of a well-educated man of the world, who man of the world, engaged in the business of the had never regarded language with a rhetorician's world, yet combining with all those avocations the eyes, it must be concluded that the care and pains purity and simplicity of a primitive Christian. He he bestowed on this part of his studies was utterly pursued every subject with incredible activity and thrown away.
diligence; always regulating his numerous inquiWalter Savage Landor, himself a writer re-ries by the love of truth, and directing them to markable for the vigor and originality of his lan- the improvement and benefit of his country and guage, runs, in speaking of Locke, into the oppo- of mankind.” site extreme, giving his style the preference in He now, in defence of the rights of the people, comparison with that of Plato. But this decision published his work on Government; and in the is still more paradoxical than Dugald Stewart's. following year, 1690, a Second Letter on ToleraOf all prose authors, Plato is perhaps the one who tion, in which he further developed the principles has most excelled in the management of language, of religious liberty. About this time, it is supwhich he has invested with every beauty, of which posed, he became acquainted with Newton, Sir it appears to be susceptible in unmetrical composi- John Somers, and the celebrated Earl of Peterbotion; his style successively adapting itself with rough, with whom, when either happened to be equal facility to the highest flights of the imagi- absent from London, he kept up a regular corresnation, the most abstruse inquiries in metaphysics pondence. With Newton also he occasionally and the liveliest and homeliest sallies of familiar corresponded; and there have been preserved and badinage. If we can conceive Shakespeare's published several letters of this great man, partly language applied to philosophical investigations in relating to his “ Account of the Corruptions of all its poetical fervor, power, and flexibility, but Scripture,” which prove at once the irritability, divested of its quaintness, it might give us some goodness of heart, ingenuousness, and constituidea, though still but a faint one, of the splendor tional timidity of that Lux altera gentis. and inexhaustible variety of Plato, which to those In 1691 Locke published his “Considerations
on the Lowering of Interest,” to which, in 1695, , exhausted, and never expecting to rise again. Ho further considerations, forming a second part, were told her his earthly career was now terminated, added. His object, in this work, was to demon- and that in comparatively few hours he should be strate the injustice of raising the denomination and no more. To those present he wished all felicity; lowering the standard of the currency; and in the and to Lady Masham, who lingered in his chamgreat recoinage of 1695 his advice was followed, ber longer than the rest, he expressed his gratiand the current money of the realm restored to the tude to God for the great happiness he had tasted full legal standard. He at the same time antici- in his life; but added that he now found all here pated the conclusion, if not the arguments, of Ben- below was vanity; exhorting her to consider this tham, in his “Defence of Usury ;” showing that world only as a state of preparation for a better. all attempts at regulating the rate of interest in. He overruled her desire to sit up with him, observcrease the difficulty of borrowing, while they pre- ing, that he might perhaps be able to sleep, and judice none but those who need assistance. He would send for her, if any change should happen. was in this year, rather as a compliment than as a Continuing awake all night, however, he in the reward for his labors, nominated a member of the morning was removed into his study, where he Council of Trade; an honor which, on account of enjoyed a short slecp in his chair. He then dehis increasing infirmities, he during the following sired to be dressed, and Lady Masham again comyear resigned.
ing to him he heard her, with great attention, read Though the feebleness of his constitution was a portion of the Psalms; but feeling the near apincompatible with that continued residence in proach of death, stopped her, and a few minutes London, which the duties of a public office might afterwards breathed his last, about three o'clock have required, it seems by no means to have inter- of the 28th of October, aged seventy-two years fered with his literary labors; for in 1695 ap- and two months. peared his “Reasonableness of Christianity ;” and Le Clerc, who, in the French manner, composed in the following year, his first and second Vindi- the eloge of Locke, concludes it with the chacations of this work, together with his then cele- racter of the philosopher, derived from a person brated letters to Stillingfleet, in defence of the who knew him well, probably Lady Masham herEssay on the Human Understanding. Locke now self. This, with Lord King, we adopt as a judiresided with Sir F. and Lady Masham, at Oates, cious and excellent portraiture of the man:-“He near Ongar, in Essex; where he enjoyed, what was," says she, (and I can confirm her testimony he appears always to have highly valued, the so- in great measure, by what I have myself seen here,) ciety of an intellectual and fascinating woman. " a profound philosopher, and a man fit for the Lady Masham was the daughter of Cudworth, most important affairs. He had much knowledge author of the “ Eternal Principles of Morality; of belles lettres, and his manners were very polite and there had subsisted for many years an inti- and particularly engaging: He knew something macy between the philosopher and this amiable of almost every thing which can be useful to manfamily, as appears from a letter addressed, in 1683, kind, and was thoroughly master of all that he had to her Ladyship's brother in Hindoostan. Locke's studied; but he showed his superiority by not apfondness for voyages and travels is well known. pearing to value himself in any way on account of He in fact preferred them to almost every other his great attainments. Nobody assumed less the kind of books; and, in this letter, we find 'him in- | airs of a master, or was less dogmatical; and he quiring curiously about the tricks of the Indian was never offended when any one did not agree jugglers, “which," says he, “must needs be be with his opinion. There are, nevertheless, a speyond legerdemain ;" the notions of the Brahmins, cies of disputants who, after having been refuted concerning spirits and apparitions; and their re- several times, always return to the charge, and ligious opinions and ceremonies, of which he only repeat the same argument. These he could had obtained a tolerably correct idea from Ber- not endure, and he sometimes talked of them with nier, with whom he was personally acquainted. impatience; but he was the first to acknowledge He also desired to learn whether any copies of the that he had been too hasty. In the most trifling Old or New Testament, in any language, existed circumstances of life, as well as in speculative opiamong the oriental nations previous to their com- nions, he was always ready to be convinced by munications with Europeans, consequent upon the reason, let the information come from whomsoever discovery of the passage by the Cape of Good it might. He was the most faithful follower, or Hope.
indeed the slave of truth, which he never abanIn this agreeable retirement he spent the last doned on any account, and which he loved for its four years of his life, engaged in the study of St. own sake. Paul's Epistles, on which he composed a com 6. He accommodated himself to the level of the mentary, published among his posthumous works. most moderate understandings; and in disputing Though struggling with an incurable disease, his with them, he did not diminish the force of their temper continued calm and unruffled. His in- arguments against himself, although they were not terest in the welfare of his friends was unabated. well expressed by those who had used ihem. He Cheerful, but resigned to his fate, he saw death felt pleasure in conversing with all sorts of people, approach without perturbation : he had lived like and tried to profit by their information ; which a Christian, and hoped to meet, in another world, arose not only from the good education he had with a Christian's reward. In the month of Oc- received, but from the opinion he entertained, that tober, 1704, it became evident that his dissolution there was nobody from whom something useful was at hand; and on the 27th, Lady Masham, could not be got. And indeed by this means he not meeting with him in his study, went to his had learned so many things, concerning the arts bedside, where she found him worn down and I and trade, that he seemed to have made them his
particular study; insomuch that those whose pro- reason, and it was very seldom that it did him or fession they were, often profited by his information, any one else any harm. He often described the and consulted him with advantage. Bad manners ridicule of it; and said that it availed nothing in particularly annoyed and disgusted him, when he the education of children, nor in keeping servants saw they proceeded not from ignorance of the in order, and that it only lessened the authority world, but from pride, from haughtiness, from ill. which one had over them. He was kind to his sere nature, from brutal stupidity, and other sunilar vants, and showed them, with gentleness, how he vices; otherwise, he was far from despising whom- wished to be served. He not only kept strictly a ever it might be for having a disagreeable appear- secret which had been confided to him, but he ance. He considered civility not only as some- never mentioned any thing which could prove inthing agreeable and proper to gain people's hearts, jurious, although he had not been enjoined secrecy; but as a duty of Christianity, which ought to be nor could he ever wrong a friend by any sort of in. more insisted on than it commonly is. He recom- discretion or inadvertency. He was an exact obmended, with reference to this, a tract of Messrs. server of his word, and what he promised was de Port Royal, “ Sur les Moyens de conserver la sacred. He was scrupulous about recommending Paix avec les Hommes ;" and he much approved people whom he did not know, and he could not the sermons he had heard from Mr. Whichcote, a bring himself to praise those whom he did not doctor of divinity, on this subject, and which have think worthy. If he was told that his recommensince been printed.
dations had not produced the effect which was ex“ His conversation was very agreeable to all sorts pected, he said, that it arose from his never having of people, and even to ladies; and nobody was deceived any body by saying more than he knew, better received than he was among people of the that what he answered for might be found as he highest rank. He was by no means austere; and stated it; and that, if he acted otherwise, his reas the conversation of well-bred people is usually commendations would have no weight. more easy, and less studied and formal, if Mr. “ His greatest amusement was to talk with senLoeke had not naturally these talents, he had ac- sible people, and he courted their conversation. quired them by intercourse with the world : and He possessed all the requisite qualities for keepwhat made him so much the more agreeable was, ing up an agreeable and friendly intercourse. He that those who were not acquainted with him, did only played at cards to please others, although not expect to find such manners in a man so much from having often found himself among people devoted to study. Those who courted the ac- who did, he played well enough, when he set about quaintance of Mr. Locke, to collect what might be it; but he never proposed it, and said it was only learnt from a man of his understanding, and who an amusement for those who had no conversaapproached him with respect, were surprised to find tion. in him not only the manners of a well-bred man, “ In his habits he was clean, without affectation but also all the attention which they could expect. or singularity: he was naturally very active, and He often spoke against raillery, which is the most occupied himself as much as his health would adhazardous part of conversation if not managed with mit of. Sometimes he took pleasure in working in address; and though he excelled in it himself
, he a garden, which he understood perfectly. He liked never said any thing which could shock or injure exercise, but the complaint on his chest not allowany body. He knew how to soften every thing he ing him to walk much, he used to ride after dinsaid, and to give it an agreeable turn. If he joked ner : when he could no longer bear the motion of his friends, it was about a trifling fault, or about a horse, he used to go out in a wheel-chair; and something which it was advantageous for them to he always wished for a companion, even if it were know. As he was particularly civil, even when only a child, for he felt pleasure in talking with he began to joke, people were satisfied that he well-bred children. The weak state of his health would end by saying something obliging, He was an inconvenience to himself alone, and occanever ridiculed a misfortune or any natural defect. sioned no unpleasant sensation to any one, beyond
“He was very charitable to the poor, provided that of seeing him suffer. His diet was the same they were not the idle or the profligate, who did not as other people's, except that he usually drank frequent any church, or who spent their Sundays nothing but water; and he thought his abstinence in an ale-house. He felt, above all, compassion for in this respect had preserved his life so long, althose who, after having worked hard in their youth, though his constitution was so weak. He attrisunk into poverty in their old age. He said, that buted to the same cause the preservation of his it was not sufficient to keep them from starving, sight, which was not much impaired at the end of but that they ought to be enabled to live with some his life ; for he could read by candle-light all sorts comfort. He sought opportunities of doing good of books, unless the print was very small, and he to deserving objects; and often in his walks he vi- never made use of spectacles. He had no other sited the poor of the neighborhood, and gave them infirmity but his asthma, except that four years wherewithal to relieve their wants, or to buy the before his death he became very deaf, during a medicines he prescribed for them if they were sick, period of about six months. Finding himself thus and had no medical aid.
deprived of the pleasure of conversation, he doubt" He did not like any thing to be wasted: which ed whether blindness was not preferable to deafwas, in his opinion, losing the treasure of which ness, as he wrote to one of his friends; otherGod had made us the economists. He himself was wise he bore his infirmities very patiently."
very regular, and kept exact accounts of every “This," as Le Clerc says, “is an accurate, and • thing:
by no means a flattered description of this great “ If he had any defect, it was the being some- | man.” what passivnate; but he had got the better of it by The views which Locke, after a patient and la