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N the Contest carried on for some Years paft be

tween the Defenders of Christianity and Deifts, the latter always appealed to Philosophy, and under that Shelter fpeciously defended themselves : their Procedure obliged the Champions of Christianity to follow and attack them within the Verge of Philosophy; but by the occafional shifting of Principles and Systems, and a dexterous Use of equivocal Language, the Dispute became a Kind of Chase through a Labyrinth, in which the Retreats were endless, and the Victory always incompleat: this Observation made me with the Principles of Philosophy that enter into the Dispute were more clear, limited, and decisive. It seemed reasonable to me to conclude, that true Religion cannot be inconsistent with true

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Philosophy

C E. Philosophy; that if Men be obliged to any Duțies in a State of Nature, such Duties are the indubitable Laws of God, and they cannot differ ef'sentially from the Duties the Deity is pleased to require of us by Revelation. Hence I imagined thạt the Plan of the Mind of Man, if attentively observed, and faithfully delineated, must give Light into the Intention and End of his Creation ; at least the eager Desire of each Party to reconcile Philofo. phy to their own religious Opinions, demonstrates the secret Sense Mankind have of the Necessity that true Philosophy should witness for Religion. Full of these Reflections, I set out in an Enquiry into the Nature of the human Mind, with a View, if porfible, to discover fome Traces of Duty and natural Religion; and to try if any Principles may be fo. lidly established in public View, which may prove decisive in the Dispute between Christians and Deists.

Christians may object to the Trial of Religion by Philosophy, on Account of the Weakness and Incertainty of human Reafon ; but Deifts can have no Objections to it, without bidding Defiance to all equitable Principles of Decision; for Philosophy is their only Luminary to direct them, and their only Resource for the Defence of their Opinions : in fact, this is bringing the Dispute to that Tribunal they themselves set up against Revelation.

Having given some Account of my general Design, my present Business with my Reader is to inform him, that when I made some little Progress in my Observations on the human Mind, I found myfelf involved in Objections and Difficulties that arose from Ambiguities, and from a fraudulent Use of Language, peculiar to modern Philosophy: I found general Expressions passed current for Names of simple Ideas that come to the Imagination from Sensation; and this Cheat made use of to favour false Principles, of the most pernicious Influence to Virtue and Reason; and I found metaphorical Expressions adopted in Philosophy, for the Sake of making a deceitful Transition from the metaphorical to a proper Sense.

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The Confusion and perverse Train of Reasoning occasioned by these Abuscs of Language, obliged me, before I could proceed in the Theory of Man, to clear away the Rubbish of Equivoque, by Way of Introduction, which I have attempted in the two first Sections of the following Sheets.

I afterwards added a few Thoughts on human Instincts, which make the third Section; but having observed upon a Review that I unhinged many settled Opinions, and broke up so much of the Foundations of modern Philosophy, I thought proper to stop there, and publish the Introduction apart, in order to take the Sense of my Cotemporaries upon these my Reflections, before I proceed

There is one Poftulatum I expect to be acknowledged by my candid Reader, at our setting out; it is,

That there is a Poflibility that the Body of the ! Learned may be imposed upon by the present • Mode of Philosophy; and that false Principles in { this Age we live in, may have their Currency ' from the Stamp and Fashion of the Times.' The various Revolutions in the Systems of the Learned, have abundantly proved the Possibility I spoke of; in Consequence of which, I hope my impartial Reader will grant me without Difficulty, that no Names, or Systems, however respectable, thould be allowed any Weight against Evidence or Demonstration. I cannot indeed help owning, that the Obscurity of the Writer, and the great Names I have to contend with, make a Contrast, that with a little Irony may be wrought into a sinart and humourous Critique : but this is the very Thing I protest against, since that Mode of Argument can never be satisfactory,

any further.

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that may be urged equally against every Author who ever ventured to think in a new Tract, and that may serve to defend every System however fantastic, that happens to be in fashion.

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INTRODUCTION, &c. .

SE CT, I,

Of Pleasure, Pain, Self-Love, and Self-Interest, 1. PLEASURE and Pain are general Terms

consequently they have no fenfible or deter mined Idea annexed to them, no more than the Terms Vegetable, Tree, Fruit, Colour, or any other Word of general Import. To explain this Matter a little, I need only repeat some common-place Principles, that are to be met with in every Writer who has treated of the Conceptions of the human Understanding. They obferve, that the Imagina, tion' is only capable of conceiving the Ideas that have been impressed on it by the Senses, or by a Perception of the Operations of the Mind itself; whence it is evident, that the whole Stock of its Ideas must confist in Particulars, that have been fixed upon the Memory by Experience.

2. In the Formation of Language, it was easy to give proper Names to Objects mutually known, to William and Thomas, to Coruder's-Hill and the Thames. But it often became necessary, to treat of Objects with which the Hearers had no Acquaint

Here then would lie an insuperable Obstacle to the further Progress of Language, if general Similarities in the Objects of Nature, that are obvious at the first Glance, had not smoothed the Dif

ficulty,

ance.

ficulty, by parcelling them out into distinct Classes to the Imagination, and thus giving a Foundation to general. Terms. This Advance in Language required little Trouble or Invention ; for in looking over the particular Objects that occured, it was impossible to pass, without Notice, the striking Similarity or Likeness that subfists between several Individuals, and that serves to cast them into separate Tribes or Species. This general Similitude found in Nature became a Model to Men, according to which they formed specific Names, each of which, on that Account, comprehends a Sort or Species, and distinguishes them from all others, such as the Words Cow, Horse, Sheep, Oak, Ash, Elm; One Oak Tree is so like to another in its Leaves, Fruit, Bark, Timber, and Growth, and so ủnlike to an Ath or Elm, as to give Occasion to the general Name Oak, under which that whole Species are distinguished ; and thus specific Names were formed for the different and separate Tribes of Nature. After the Invention of general Names, the Communication between Men became easy; the Carpenter could send his Servant to the Wood, and tell him what Kind of Tree to fell for his purpose; and the Traveller, speaking of the Alps and the Euphrates, is well understood, when he tells you that the first is a Chain of Mountains, and the last a River. If Language had stood at the first Step, and only expressed particular Objects, human Knowa ledge must have teen for ever in an infant State ; but by the Help of specific Terms, Men are cnabled to transinit to Posterity, Maxims and Observations that shall hold good, as long as the Species continue on Earth.

3. Man was so far directed in the Formation of Language by the obvious Plan of the Creation 3 but his fruitful Invention carried him yet further, where his Directions were looser, and less distinct.

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