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Let us, then, suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, vojd of all characters, without any ideas ; how comes it to be furnished Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it, with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason apd knowledge? To this I answer, ip one word, from experience. In that all our kBowledge is founded, and from that it ultimately derives itself. Our observa tion, employed either about external sensible objects, or about the internal operations of our minds, perceived and reflected on by outrelves, is that which supplies our understandings with all the water rials for thinking. These two are the fountains of knowledge, from whence all the ideas we have, or can naturally have, do spring.
First, our senses, conversant about particular sensible objects, do convey into the mind several distinct perceptions of things, accorde ing as those objcets do atlect them; and thus we come by those ideas we have of yellow, white, beat, cold, soft, hard, bitter, sweet, and all those which we call sepsible qualities; which, when I say the senses convey into the mind, I mean, they form external objecte, and convey what produces there those perceptions. This great source of most of the ideas we have, depending wholly upon our senses, and derived by them to the understanding, I call sepsation,
Secondly, the other fountain, from which experience furvjsbetde the understanding with ideas, is the perception of the operations of our own mind within us, as it is employed about the ideas åt has got, which operations, when the soul comes to reflect on and consider, do furnish the understanding with another set of ideas, which could not be bad from things without; and such are perception, thinking, doubting, believing, reasoning, knowing, willing, and all the different actings of our own minds, which we being conscious of, and observing in ourselves, do from these receive into our understandings as distinct ideas, as we do from bodies affecting our senses. This source of ideas every man has in himself; and though it be not sense, as baving nothing to do with external objects, yet it is very like it, and might properly enough be called internal sense. But, as I call the other sensation, so I call this reflection, the ideas it affords being such only as the mind gets by reflecting on its own
operation within itself. By reflection, then, I would be understood to mean, that notice which the mind takes of its own opérations and the manner of them, by reason wbereof there come to be ideas of these operations in the understanding. These two, I say, viz. external material things, as the objects of sensation, and the operations of out own minds within, as the objects of reflection, are to me the only originals from whence all our ideas take their beginnings. The term operations here I use in a large sense, as comprehending not merely the actions of the mind about its ideas, but some sort of passions arising sometimes from them, such as is the satisfaction or uneasiness arising from any thought.
The understanding seems to ine not to have the least glimmering of any ideas, which it doth not receive from one of these two. External ohjects furnish the mind with ideas of sensible qualities, which are all those different perceptions they produce in us; and the mind furnishes the understanding with ideas of its own operations.
The knowing precisely what our words stand for, would, I ima* gine, in this as well as a great many other cases, quickly end the dispute. For I am apt to think that men, when they come to examine them, find their simple ideas all generally to agree, though in discourse with one another they perhaps confound one another with different names. I imagine, that men who abstract their thoughts, and do well examine the ideas of their minds, cannot much differ in thinking, however they may perplex themselves with words, according to the way of speaking of the different schools or sects they have been bred up in; though amongst unthinking men, who examine not scrupulously and carefully their own ideas, and strip them mot from the marks men use for them, but confound them with words, there must be endless dispute, wrangling, and jargon; especially if they be learned, bookish men, devoted to some sect, and accustomed to the language of it, and bave learned to talk after others. But if it should happen, that any two thinking men should really have different ideas, I do not see how they could discourse or argue one with another. Here I must not be mistaken, to think that every floating imagination in men's brains is presently of that sort of ideas I speak of. It is not easy for the mind to put off those confused notions and prejudices it has imbibed from custoin, inadvertency, and common conversation. It requires pains and assiduity to examine its ideas, till it resolves them into those clear and distinct simple ones, out of which they are compounded; and to see whicb, among its simple ones, have or have not a necessary connection and depende ance one upon another. Till a man doth this, in the primary and original notion of things, he builds upon floating and uncertain principles, and will often find himself at a loss.
Locke, Thoughts. I hate vain thoughts; but thy law do I love.
David, The thoughts of the righteous are right; but the thoughts of the wicked are an abomination unto the Lord.
Solomon. As the thoughts are the prime movers of the conduct; as in the sight of the Divine Being they bear the character of good or evil; and as they are therefore cognizable at his tribunal, the moral regulation of them is of the greatest importance.
When weary of this busy buzz of life,
Miss STOCKDALE. A man's thoughts must be going: whilst he is awake, the workings of his mind are as constant as the beating of his pulse. He can no more stop the one than the other. Hence, if our thoughts have nothing to act upon, they act upon theniselves. They acquire a corrosive quality. They become in the last degree irksome and tormenting. Wherefore, that sort of equitable engagement, which takes the thoughts sufficiently, yet so as not to leave them incapable of turning to any thing more important, as occasions offer or require, is a most invaluable blessing : and if the industrious be not sensible of the blessing, it is for no other reason, than because they bave never experienced, or rather suffered the want of it.
Thought—that spiritual portion of ourselves, which can take in the past, dart into futurity, and intimately associate itself with the destiny of men of all countries and all ages.
Neckar. Man is a thinking being, whether he will or not; all he can do is, to turn his thoughts the best way.
Sir W. Temple.
LOVE OF FAME. А man would do well to carry a pencil in his pocket, and write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable, and should be secured, because they seldom return.
Lord Bacon. Thoughts are the very image of the soul, representations to show you what the soul is; and those things concerning which your thoughts do most abound, that carries the frame of the soul. Let a man profess what he will, if his thoughts are generally conversant about worldly things, he has an earthly and worldly mind; and if his thoughts are conversant about sensual things, he has a sensual and carnal mind; for, whatever he inay outwardly say, as he thinks, so is be; there is the image and likeness of the soul.
Unchaste thoughts and loose desires are the beginning of lewd and impure actions; and if they are generated and conceived in the heart—that fruitful womb of iniquity, they will soon be born into the world, and grow up to the full stature of sin.
By day her thoughts in never-ceasing streams
The stagnant ocean of eternity. !
Thoughts in an instant thro’ the zodiac run,
And search the hidden wonders of the deep. BLACKMORE. So soon as ever any new thought begins to bubble in my soul, I am resolved to examine what stamp it is of, whether it spriug from the pure fountain of living waters, or the polluted streams of my own affections; as also which way it tends, or takes its course, towards the ocean of happiness, or the pit of destruction. I find that there is no sin I am betrayed into, but what takes its rise from my inward thoughts. These are the tempters, that first present some pleasing object to my view, and then bias my understanding, and pervert my will to comply with the suggestion.
My soul being by nature swift and nimble, and by corruption inordinate and irregular in its operations, I can never set myself to think upon one thing, but presently another presses in, and another after that, and so on, till, by thinking of so many things at once,
I can think upon nothing to any purpose. And hence it is, that I throw away thousands of thoughts each day for nothing, which, if well managed, might prove very profitabie and advantageous to me; to prevent, therefore, this tumultuous, desultory, and useless working of my thoughts, as I have already resolved to fix my heart upon necessary and useful and good objects; so, to prevent my thoughts