THE Reader might be here led to suspect something of Disingenuity; and think I first put a Book upon him, and then give him Reasons why I should not have done it.-----But his Suspicions will cease, when he is appriz'd of the Advantages under which I engaged; which, in one Sense, are superior to what had been known in any former Work of the Kind ; all that had been done in them accruing, of course, to the Benefit of this. I come like an Heir to a large Patrimony, gradually rais'd by the Industry, and Endeavours of a long Race of Ancestors. What the French Academists, the Jesuits de Trevoux, Daviler, Chauvel, Savary, Chauvin, Harris, Wolfius, and many more have done, has been subservient to my Purposes. To say nothing of a numerous Class of particular Dictionaries which contributed their Share; Lexicons on almost every Subject, from Medicine and Law, down to Heraldry and the Manage.
Yet this is but a Part. I am far from having contented my self to take what was ready procured; but have augmented it with a large Accession from other Quarters. No part of the Commonwealth of Learning, but has been traffick'd to on this Occasion. Recourse has been had to the Originals themselves on the several Arts; and, not to mention what small Matters could be furnished de proprio penu, the Reader will here have Extracts and Accounts from a great Number of Authors of all Kinds, either overlook'd by former Dictionarists, or not then extant, and a Multitude of Improvements in the several Parts, especially of Natural Knowledge, made in these last Years. I should produce Instances hereof ; but I hope this would be needless, as it is endless ; and that there are sew Pages which will not afford several.
SUCH are the Sources from whence the Materials of the present Work were derived; which, it must be allowed, were rich enough not only to afford Plenty, but even Profusion: So that the chief Difficulty lay in the Form,; in the Order, and Œconomy of the Work: To dispose such a Variety of Materials in such manner, as not to make a confused Heap of incongruous Parts, but one consistent Whole.----And here it must be confess'd there was no Assistance to be had; but I was forced to stand wholly on my own Bottom. Former Lexicographers have not attempted any thing like Structure in their Works; nor seem to have been aware that a Dictionary was in some measure capable of the Advantages of a continued Discourse. Accordingly, we see nothing like a Whole in what they have done: And hence, such Materials as they did afford for the present Work, generally needed further Preparation, ere they became sit for our Purpose; which was as different from theirs, as a System from a Cento.
THIS we endeavoured to attain, by' considering the several Matters not only absolutely and independently, as to what they are in themselves ; but also relatively, or as they respect each other. They are both treated as so many Wholes, and as so many Parts of some greater Whole ; their Connexion with which, is pointed out by a Reference. So that by a Course of References, from Generals to Particulars; from Premises to Conclusions; from Cause to Effect ; and vice versa, i. e. in one word, from more to less complex, and from less to more: A Communication is opened between the several Parts of the Work; and the several Articles are in some measure replaced in their natural Order of Science, out of which the Technical or Alphabetical one had remov'd them.
FOR an Instance-----The Article ANATOMY is not only consider'd as a Whole, i. e. as a particular Combination or System of Ideas; and accordingly divided into its Parts, Humane and Comparative: and Humane again Subdivided into the Analysis of Solids and Fluids, (which are referr'd to in the several Places in the Book, where they themselves being treated os, refer to others still lower, and so on) but also as a Part of MEDICINE ; which accordingly it refers to, and which it self refers to another higher, &c.----By which means a Chain is carried on from one End of an Art to the other, i. e. from the first or simplest Complication of Ideas appropriated to the Art, which we call the Elements or Principles thereof; to the most complex or general one, the Name or Term that denotes the whole Art.
NOR is the Pursuit dropt here: but as the Elements or Data in one Art, are ordinarily quæsita in some other subordinate one, and are furnished thereby ; (as here for Instance, the Elements of Anatomy are furnished by Natural History, Physicks, and Mechanicks; and Anatomy may be considered as a Datum, or Element furnished to Medicine) We carry on the View farther, and refer out of one Art or Province into the adjoining ones, and thus lay the whole Land of Knowledge open: It appears indeed with the Face of a Wilderness; but 'tis a Wilderness thro' which the Reader may pursue his Journey as securely, tho not so expeditiously and easily, as thro' a regular Parterre.
IT may be even said, that is the System be an Improvement upon the Dictionary ; the Dictionary is some Advantage to the System ; and that this is perhaps the only Way wherein the whole Circle or Body of Knowledge can be deliver'd. In any other Form, many thousand Things must necessarily be hid and overlookl'd : All the Pins, the Joints, the binding of the Fabrick must be invisible of course ; all the lesser Parts, one might say all the Parts whatsoever, must be in some measure swallowed up in the Whole. The Imagination, stretch'd and amplified to take in so large a Structure, can have but a very general, indistinguishing Perception of anyof the Parts.-----Whereas the Parts are not less Matter of Knowledge when taken separately, than when puttogether. Nay, and in strictness, as our Ideas are all Singulars or individuals, and as every Thing that exists is one; it seems more natural to consider Knowledge in its proper Parts, i.e. as divided into separate Articles denoted by different Terms; than to consider the whole Assemblage of it is utmost Composition : which is a thing merely artificial and imaginary.
AND yet the latter Way must be allow'd to have many and real Advantages over the former ; which in truth is only of use and significance as it partakes thereof : for this Reason, that all Writing is in its own Nature artificial; and that the Imagination is really the Faculty it immediately applies to. Hence it should follow, that the most advantageous way, is to make use of both Methods: To consider every Point both as a Part ; to help the Imagination to the Whole : and as a Whole, to help it to every Part.----- Which is the View in the present Work - so far as the many and great Difficulties we had to labour under would allow us to pursue it.
IN this View we have endeavoured to give the Substance of what has been hitherto found in the several Branches of Knowledge both natural and artificial; that is, of Nature, first, as she appears to our Senses ; either spontaneously, as in Natural History; or with the Assistance of Art, as in Anatomy, Chymistry, Medicine, Agriculture, &c. Secondly, to our Imagination; as in Grammar, Rhetorick, Poetry, &c.Thirdly, to our Raison ; as in Physicks, Metaphysicks, Logicks, and Mathematicks. With the several subordinate Arts arising from each; as Architecture, Painting, Sculpture, Trade, Manufactures, Policy, Law &c. and numerous remote Particulars, not immediately reducible to any of these Heads ; as Heraldry, Philology, Antiquities, Customs, &c.
THE Plan of the Work, then, I hope, will be allow'd to be good ; whatever Exceptions may be taken to be Execution of it. It wou'd look extravagant to say, That half the Men of Letters of an Age might be employ'd in it to advantage ; and yet it will appear, that a Work accomplish'd as it ought to be, on the Footing of this, would answer all the Purposes of a Library, except Parade and Incumbrance ; and contribute more to the propagating of useful Knowledge thro' the Body of a People, than any, I had almost said all, the Books extant.----After this, let the Reader judge how far I may deserve Censure for engaging in it, even disadvantageously; and whether to have fail'd in so noble a Design, may not be some degree of Praise.
BUT, it will be here necessary to carry on the Division of Knowledge a little further; and make a precise Partition of the Body thereof, in the more; formal Way of Analysis: The rather, as an Analysis, by shewing the Origin and Derivation of the several Parts, and the Relation in which they stand to their common Stock and to each other; will assist: in restoring 'em to their proper Places, and connecting 'em together.
THIS is a View of Knowledge, as it were, in semine ; exhibiting only the grand, constituent Parts thereof. It would be endless to pursue it into all its Members and Ramifications ; which is the proper Business of the Book it self. It might here, therefore, seem sufficient to refer from the several Heads thus deduced, to the same in the Course of the Work ; where their Division is carried on. And yet this would sometimes prove inconvenient for the Reader; who to find some particular Matter must go a long Circuit, and be bandied from one part of the Book to another : To say nothing of the Interruptions which may frequently happen in the Series of References. To obviate this we shall take a middle Course, and carry on the Distribution further, in a Note in the Margin; but this in a looser manner, to prevent the Embarrass of an Analysis so complex and diffusive as this must prove. Some of the principal Heads of each Kind will here come in sight, and such as will naturally suggest, and lead to the rest ; so that this will afford the Reader a sort of Summary of the Whole: And at the same time will dispense a kind of auxiliary or succedaneous Order thro'out the Whole ; the numerous Articles omitted, all naturally enough ranging themselves to their proper Places among these. A Detail of this Kind is of the more Consequence, as it may not only supply the Office of a Table of Contents, by presenting the dispersed Materials of the Book in one View ; but also that of a Directory, by indicating the Order they are most advantageously read in.-----Note, then, That the initial Articles here, tally to the final ones of the Analysis ; and that the several Members hereof, are so many Heads in the Book.
I MIGHT hero have ended my Preface; and perhaps the Reader would be willing enough to be thus dismiss'd. But something has been already started which will require a further Disquisition.-----The Distribution we have made of Knowledge is founded on this, That the several Branches thereof commence either Art or Science according to the Agency or Non-agency of the human Mind in respect thereof : It remains to take the Matter up a little higher ; and explain the Reason and Manner of this Operation, To consider Knowledge in its Principles, antecedent to such Intervention of ours; and even pursue it up to its Cause, and shew how it exists there, before it be Knowledge : And to trace the Progress of the Mind thro' the Whole, and the Order of the Modifications induced by it. This is a Desideratum, hitherto scarce attempted ; but which we could not here decline entering upon, on account of its immediate Relation to the present Design. 'Tis the Basis of all Learning in general ; the great, but obscure Hinge, on which the whole Encyclopædia turns.
'Tis confessed that all our Knowledge, in its Origin, is no other than Sense; whence it should follow that one Being has no natural Advantage over another in its Disposition for Knowledge, other than what it has in the superior Number, Extent, or Acuteness of its Senses.
'T IS in respect to Language that we are chiefly indebted for what we call Science. By means hereof our Ideas and Notions, though things in their own nature merely personal and adapted only to private use, are extended to others, to improve their stock: and thus, by a kind of second Sense, we get Perceptions of the Objects that are perceived by all Mankind; and are present, as it were by proxy, to things at all Distances from us. We hear Sounds made a thousand Years ago, and see Things that pass a thousand Miles off. If the Eagle really sees, the Raven smells, and the Hare hears, further and better than Man; their Sense, at best is but narrow, in comparison of ours, which is extended, by the Artifice of Language, over the whole Globe. They see with their own Eyes only; we with those of the whole Species.—In respect, by Language we are upon much the same footing, in respect of Knowledge, as if each individual had the natural Sense of a thousand; an Accession which alone must have set us far above any other Animals. But at the same time, this very accession of a multitude of Ideas more than naturally belonged to us, must have been in great measure useless; without certain other Faculties of ordering and arranging them; of abstracting, or making one a Representative of a Number; of comparing them together, in order to learn their Relations; and of compounding, combining them, &c. to make them act jointly. The Effect hereof is what we call Discoursing and Philosophising: And hence arise Doctrines, Theories, &c.
EVERY Word is supposed to stand for some Part, or Point of Knowledge; such as do not, have no business in the Language, and ought of Consequence to be thrown out of doors. It follows, that the Vocabulary of any Language is representative of the several Notions of the People among whom it obtains: I mean of the primary or absolute Notions; for by the Construction of these Words with one another, a new Set of secondary or relative Notions are expressed.—To enter better into this, it is to be observed, that the several Objects of our Senses, with that other Set of Things analogous hereto, the proper Objects of the Imagination, are represented by fixed Names; denoting, some of them, Individuals; others Kinds, &c. Now these, which make the first or fundamental Part of a Language, are no other than a Representation of the Works of Nature, as they exist in a kind of still Life, or in a State of Independency one upon another. But in regard we do not consider the Creation as thus quiescent, but observe a great number of Mutations arise in the Things we are conversant among; we are hence put under a necessity of framing another Set of Words, to express these Variations, and the Actions to which they are owing, with the several Circumstances and Modifications thereof. By this means, Nature is removed out of her dormant Constitution, and shown in Action; and thus may occasional Descriptions be framed, accommodated to the present State of Things.
HENCE arise two Kinds of Knowledge; the one absolute, including the standing Phenomena; the other relative, or occasional, including what is done, or passes, with regard to them. The former is in some Sense permanent; the latter merely transient, or historical. The first is held forth, as already observed, in the Vocabulary; the second vague, and uncircumscribed by any Bounds; being what fills all the other Books extant. In effect, this last, being in some measure casual, may be said to be infinite: for that every new Case, i.e., every new Application and Combination of the former, furnishes a new Accession.
IN the wide Field of Knowledge, appear some Parts which have been more cultivated than the rest; either on account of the Goodness of the Soil, and its easy Tillage, or by reason they have fallen under the Hands of industrious and able Husbandmen. These Spots, being regularly laid out and planted, and conveniently circumscribed or fenced round, make what we call the Arts, and Sciences: And to these have the Labours, and Endeavours of the Men of Curiosity and Learning in all Ages, been chiefly confined. Their Bounds have been enlarged from time to time, and new Acquisitions made from the adjoining Waste; but still the Space of Ground they possess is but narrow; and there is room either to extend them vastly, or to lay out new ones. They show like the Cyclades at a distance: Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto.
ART and Science are indeed two Words of similar Use, and great importance; but, I doubt little understood. The Philosophers have long labour'd to explain and ascertain their Notion and Difference; but alltheir Explanation amounts to little more than the substituting one obscure Notion for another. Their Attempts usually terminate in some barren Definition, which rather casts Obscurity than Light on the SubjectNor is the Reason far to seek, however it may have escap'd Notice; but evidently lies in an Abuse of Language, whereby those different Words come to be applied to Things of the same Nature; and each of themin their turn to Things wholly different. Whence, any Definition that can hold of them universally, must needsbe very abstracted, and general; and may hold of almost any thing else; and of consequence can expressvery little of the Essence, and obvious Phenomena thereof: To come at which, we must be at the Pains of anew Investigation...
TO SCIENCE, then, belong such Things as Men may discover by the use of Reasoning, and Sense:Whatever the Mind descries in virtue of that Faculty whereby we perceive Things, and their Relations, is matterof Science: Such are the Laws of Nature, the Associations of Bodies, the Rules and Canons of Right andWrong, Truth and Error, the Properties of Lines and Numbers, &c. Science, in effect, is the Result of mereReason and Sense in their general or natural State, as imparted to all Men; and not modified, or circumstantiated by any thing peculiar in the Make of a Man's Mind, the Objects he has been conversant among, orthe Ideas he has present to him. Consequently, Science is no other than a Series of Deductions, or Conclusions which every Person, endued with those Faculties, must, with a proper degree of Attention, analyzeand draw: And A Science, i. e. a formed Science, is no more than a System of such Conclusions, relating to some one Subject, orderly and artfully laid down in Words, to save Others the Labour and Expenseof making them at first hand. Thus a Person who has all the Ideas express'd in Euclid's Definitions, andsees the immediate Connection of those in his Axioms; which no Man acquainted with the Language can besupposed without; has it in his Power, with Attention and Industry, to form all the Theorems and Problemsthat follow: He has nothing to do but to range those Ideas orderly in his Mind, compare them together, oneby one in all their Changes, and put down the immediate Relations observ'd in the Comparison, i. e. theirparity,He has nothing to do but to range those Ideas orderly in his Mind, compare them together, oneby one in all their Changes, and put down the immediate Relations observed in the Comparison, i. e. theirparity, disparity, &c. And after the Relations of each to each are thus got; which make a kind of primaryPropositions; to proceed to combine them, and take down the Relations resulting from a Comparison ofseveral Combinations. By such means, without any other Helps than Penetration and Perseverance, mighthe make out an infinite Number of Propositions: more by half than Euclid has done; there being a newRelation, i. e. a new Proportion, resulting from every new Combination.
TO ART, on the other hand, belong such Things as mere general Reason would not have attained to:Things which lie out of the direct Path of Deduction, and which required a peculiar Cast, or Bias of Mindto see or arrive at. A Man might call these the Results of particular, or personal Reason, in opposition tothe former; but that such a Denomination would be thought unphilosophical. It may, perhaps, be morejust to consider the Reason, here, as modified, or tinctured with something in the Complexion, Humour, orManner of thinking of the Person (*René Le Bossu: "Traité du Poème Épique" (Treatise on the Epic Poem), Book 1, Chapter 1.); or as restrained or diverted, out of its proper course, by some Views, orNotices peculiar to him. — The Difference between Art and Science, amounts to much the same as betweenWit and Humour; the former whereof is a general Faculty of exciting agreeable and surprising Pictures in theImagination, by the associating of Ideas, which at the same time have both a notable Diversity and a Congruity; and the latter, a particular one: The former is pure and absolute in its kind; the latter tinged withsomething foreign and complexional.
'TIS essential to Art, therefore, as to Humour, to partake of the Person from whom it proceeded; andconsequently there are as many Arts, as Inventors of Methods of performing, or doing things. Hence, thereis no coming at an Art, otherwise than by learning it. A Person left to his own Thought, will scarceever hit on the same thing, unless either we suppose a marvellous Agreement between the Characters and Circumstances of the Persons; or that the Art is in great measure scientifical, and partakes but little of the Geniusand Humour of the Inventor. There is no such thing, properly speaking, as studying an Art or learning a
Science: The first, every Man beside the Inventor must be taught; the latter, every Man must find. In effect,to attain to an Art, there is some previous Knowledge required, which a Man's own Reason would never havesuggested; whereas a Science requires no more than clear Ideas, and close Attention. With these Helps a Manmay of himself go the whole length of a Science, so far as it is properly a Science. Indeed, if the Improvers, or rather Writers thereof, have gone a jot out of the common way, in compliance with their own personalViews; they have so far adulterated the Science, and put it on the footing of an Art. And to this veryCause are owing a great part of the Difficulties we meet with in attaining the Sciences: The rest are fromwant of Sense, i. e. of Clearness and Precision in our Perceptions, and want of Perseverance and Attention tothem. These render Geometry itself, little other than an Art: We want Preliminaries to it as to other Arts,And thus every Science is an Art to some People, and only to be attained, as we do mechanic Arts, byHabit and Remembrance, instead of Contemplation and Deduction. Reason, clogged and embarrassed byGenius and Complexion, can no more rise to the heights of Science, than when pure and refined, it can descendto the depths of Art.
References :René Le Bossu: "Traité du Poème Épique" (Treatise on the Epic Poem), Book 1, Chapter 1.John Locke: "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding", Book 2, Chapter 11.
AN Art, in this light, appears to be a Portion of Science, or general Knowledge, considered, not in itself,as Science but with relation to its Circumstances, or Appendages. In a Science, the Mind looks directly backward and forward, to the Premises and Conclusions: in an Art we also look laterally, to the concomitant Circumstances. A Science, in effect, is that to an Art, which a Stream running in a direct Channel, without regardto anything but itself and its own progress; is to the same Stream turned out of its proper Course, and runningin a different one disposed into Cascades, Jets, Cisterns, Ponds, &c. and serving to water Gardens,turn Mills, and other particular Purposes. In which case, the Progress of the Stream is not considered withregard to itself, but only as it concerns the Circumstances of the Works: every one of these Works, nay eachpart thereof, are so many Data, which modify the Course of the Stream, and vary it from its original Habitude.'Tis easy to trace the Progress of the former, from its Rise to its End; in regard it flows consequently: Buta Man ever so well acquainted with this, will never be able, of himself, to discover that of the Second, for wantof Acquaintance with the Circumstances, which his Reason can never find out, in regard they depend on theGenius, Humour and Caprice of the Engineer who laid the Design.
THESE are so many different Characters, or Conditions of Art and Science: But there is a Differencebetween them prior to any of these, and of which these are only Consequences. The Origin of them all lieshigher, in the Principle of Action or Operation above specified; namely, as the Mind is either active orpassive therein. With regard to this; those Things may be said to belong to Science which we only see, orperceive; which flow from the Nature and Constitution of Things, by the sole Agency of the Author thereof;subservient only to His general Purposes, exclusive of any immediate Agency or Intervention of Ours: And, onthe contrary, those Things belong to Art, wherein such Science or Perception is further modified and circumstantiated in our Mind, and directed and applied by us, to particular Purposes and Occasions of our own. From hence arise the several Differences above mentioned: For the Matters of Art are only Personal, as they areaccording to the Measure of the Artist's natural Faculties, in respect of Quantity and Degree; and to the Complexion and Cast of his moral Faculties, in respect of their Quality. The Perception, even of Matters of Art, is of the Nature of Science: so that thus far the two agree: And their Difference only commences from the superinducing a further Modification, in the Matter of such Perception; and the giving it a new Direction to some particular End. By means hereof, it becomes invested with a new Set of Conditions and Circumstances, wholly personal; as being all framed and adapted to the particular View and Aim of the Artist, (which is the mere Result of his particular Disposition, Humour, Manner of thinking, Situation, Occasion, etc.) and conducted according to his particular degree of Knowledge, and Address; which is the Essence of a particular Set of Objects, and a particular Organism of Body. In a word, in Art there is a moral View or Motive superadded to the natural Science, or Perception; which Motive is the proper Principle, or primum Mobile of Art: Perception is its Matter; and some Member of the Body its Organ or Instrument. And from such new Principle, etc. arise a new Set of secondary Perceptions, analogous to the natural and primary ones. The whole, therefore, ends in this, That Science arises from a natural Principle, Art from a moral one; or even, as moral Matters are also in one Sense natural, Science may be said to be of divine Original; Art, of human.
FROM this View may appear the deficiency of that established Definition of Art; "An est habitus mentis cum recta ratione operativus"; A habit of the Mind operative according to right Reason: which is evidently taken from a partial Consideration of the Subject. If it be the Character or Condition of Art to proceed according to right Reason; then, the more and purer this Reason, the more perfect the Art. But, in a great part of the Arts, Reason appears to have very little to do; and the less, as those Arts are in greater Purity and Perfection. Thus it is in Poetry; a Man that would undertake an Ode, or an Epic Poem on the strength of his Reason, would be miserably out: All his Efforts would never carry him above the humble Sphere of Versification, where he must be contented to wait for an Impulse of another kind. So far is Reason from leading the way, that it can scarce follow at a distance, so as to keep in sight. The Principle of Motion is evidently something other than Reason; otherwise, the greatest Philosophers would be the best Poets, and vice versa. On the contrary, most of us know of People very weak in Reason, who yet are powerful in Poetry: The Poetical Talent we have seen follow some People to Bedlam, others it has conveyed thither; and, which is still more, some People have first found it there. Poetry is found an Appendage of one kind of Lunacy,and accordingly passes among Physicians for a Symptom thereof; nor is it to be question'd, but, upon a Computation, Moorfields might number double the Poets with any other Spot of the like Dimensions in the Kingdom. — Let not this pass as any Reflection upon the Poets: A Spice of Madness is not so unreputable a thing as some imagine; and a Man that is seated on that Bench, finds himself in the best Company in the World. Some of the greatest Philosophers, Poets, Prophets, and Legislators; I might have said Divines, Fathers, and Ascetics too, of all Ages, are confessedly his Assessors. 'Tis remarkable with what Respect and Awe the Ancients treated People suspected to be touch'd: The very Names they call'd 'em by import the utmost Veneration, and place 'em, as it were, at the Threshold of Jupiter (* "Ecstatici, Phrenetici, Pythii, Siderii, &c."). One of their most common Appellations, Numine afflali, is at the same time the most just and philosophical that can be thought of. In effect, a Share of Fury and Enthusiasm is held by them a sine qua non, a Circumstance absolutely necessary to become anything extraordinary; and hence so many Proverbial Expressions to that Purpose: "No great Genius sine aliqua mixtura, dementia; No great Man sine aliquo afflatu Divino, &c." — We may add, that the Poets themselves have a hundred times expressly attributed all their greater, and happier Thoughts, to Enthusiasm, Ecstasy, and Fury; and they do it implicitly almost in every Piece they write: it being their standing Practice, to take a formal leave of Reason, at first setting out, and call a Muse for their future Guide: which, to talk out of the Poetical Style, is as much as to say, They resign themselves over to the Conduct of Genius and Imagination, which they now find strong and prevalent in 'em. Thus inspired, a new Scene of Objects arises; Castles upon Castles: They see things invisible to other Eyes, that is, the Phenomena of their own Fancy, which exist nowhere else. For tho what one Man's Reason perceives, all others, equally good and perfect, will perceive; even tho it have no Existence but what that Perception gives it: yet it is not so with Imagination, which is a personal Thing, arising from the particular Disposition or Organism, which is different in every two Persons; whereas Reason springs from the general one, which is the same in the whole Species. — From such prevalence of the Imagination, arises what we call Poetry,
Some people give more ear to Authority than to Reason: to such it may not be amiss to observe that this Doctrine is countenanced by the Ancients; who, in some respects, seem to have had clearer and juster Notions than the Moderns; as being less embarrassed with the Jargon, and Refinements of the scholastic Learning. Philosophy, with them, was one degree more simple, and obvious than among us. Nature was not yet covered and concealed under so much Elucidation but afforded more frequent and nearer Views of herself. — Accordingly, the Divine Plato, in his Phaedrus, asserts, "That Enthusiasm and Mania are one and the same thing;" and has a long, and cogent Discourse, to prove that it must be so: And among the several Species of Enthusiasm, he expressly ranks Poetry. In effect, Harmony and Rapture, make two of the principal Branches in his Division of Enthusiasm, or Inspiration. And Plutarch, though he divides Enthusiasm somewhat differently from Plato; yet clearly agrees with him in making Poetry a Species of it. Nay, the most reserved of all the ancient Critics, Longinus, declares, that "the Poet is possessed with a kind of Enthusiasm; that he believes he really sees what he speaks; and represents it so to others that they catch the Enthusiasm, and see it likewise." Add, that speaking of the Orators, he does not scruple to use Rapture, as synonymous with Mania. — But this Point will be considered more fully hereafter.
THE Principle then of the Art of Poetry is something other than Reason; and I know of no Art that has more of the Nature and Essence of an Art, than Poetry: Nothing that can fashion, build, produce things, &c. at that rate: Sculpture, Architecture, Agriculture, &c. are Arts, but in a much inferior Degree. And yet, turning another side of Things forward, Poetry will scarce appear to have anything of an Art in it, but rather to be all the Work of Nature; wherein human Thought and Study have the least hand. It is produced by a Principle superior to that of Reason, i.e. a more immediate Action of the Author of Nature. — But the same may be said of most of the other Arts; and when we say that Art produces Effects, we mean Nature does so. The Poet's Imagination may be considered as a Field, wherein the Author of all Things shows his Handiwork, by the Production of a Set of Objects which existed not before: New Images arise here, like new Plants, according to the settled Laws of the Creator; so fruitful is the Womb of Nature! New Worlds innumerable arise out of a Single old one.
THE Productive Arts, as some love to call 'em, i.e. those from which permanent Effects arise, may be considered as so many secondary or derivative Natures, raised by Engraftment from the old Stock, and spreading or projecting out from this, or that part thereof. Here, at first sight, Man appears somewhat in quality of Creator; the Potter's power over his Clay has been made a Shadow or Similitude of that of the Deity over his Works: and yet the Potter, at best, is only accessory or occasional to his own Productions.
Nature, that is, the Power or Principle of Action and Motion to which we owe this visible Frame and all the Appearances and Alterations therein, acts by fixed Laws, which necessarily produce different Effects, according to the different Circumstances of Things: Thus a glass Globe being swiftly revolved about its Axis, and a Hand applied to its Surface; feels hot, emits Light, attracts Bodies, &c. i.e. is a hot, luminous, electrical Body, though without these Conditions it has none of those Properties. So Gunpowder, otherwise a Mass of dark, inert, motionless Matter; being only touched with a lighted Brand, instantly blazes up, and smokes, with Noise; perhaps bursts a Rock, or drives a Ball, in a parabolic Direction, and levels a Tower, or other Work. Now, nothing arises here but in consequence of pre-established Laws, which import that the Globe and the Powder, whenever by any means they come under these or other Circumstances, shall have these or other Effects. There are no two Bodies in Nature more different than the same is from itself, under the different Circumstances of Contiguity or Non-contiguity with this or the other Body, e.g. a Spark of Fire. But both States are equally natural; and in effect, there must be a Law of Nature for the one, as well as the other. — Now the Agency of Man amounts to this, that he has it in his power to put Bodies in such Circumstances as are necessary to bring them under this or that Law, or to make this or that respective Law take effect. And this we call Art; and by this means we can produce a number of things, or bring them into act, which otherwise would have remained in eternal Non-entity, or barely in Potentiality. Man may be said to create them, but no otherwise than the Apothecary creates the Blister, or the Gardener the Apple; i.e. those Effects would necessarily have arisen, upon the same Position of the Cantharides and the Cutis, or the Scion and Stock, if there never had been an Apothecary or Gardener in the World.
WE may define the Works or Productions of Art, therefore, to be all those Phenomena or Effects which would not have arisen without the Agency or Intervention of Man. Now Man can only be said to act or intervene, so far as what he does is of his own Source or Principle, without being moved or directed by any established Law of Nature, i.e. so far as he is exempted from the Influences of any necessary Laws of Nature concurring, however remotely, to such Effect. So that is, as some Philosophers have maintained, Man were not really and truly a free Agent; there would be no such thing as Art, in the Sense here understood: but Art would only be a name given to that System or Series of Effects, to which Man is made by Nature, and in her hands, subservient; and might with equal reason be attributed to such Effects as any other natural Production, e.g. a Plant, or Mineral, is subservient.
If it had not been for the inspired Writers, we should not have known but that the whole System of our World is a Production of Art; the Result of a new Application of Things made by some created Being, in virtue or consequence of some pre-established Laws of the Almighty. Our general Laws of Nature, and Motion, might only be particular Cases of some more universal ones; special Instances, emerging out of some more general ones which itself was not perhaps the first. Thus, there might be an infinite Series or Subordination of Systems of Nature, each more universal, extensive, and, as we call it, more metaphysical, i.e. nearer the Source of Power and Action, than the other.
SOMETHING like this, we actually see in our own little System: The Mineral World is subservient to the Vegetable; and this to the Animal. Mineral Matters, under certain Conditions which bring them under the Laws of Vegetation, pass into Plants; and from particular Applications of Parcels of Plants, Animal Substances arise.
WE see then, how far Man is concerned in the Productions of Art. Our Endeavors are contrived by Nature to be Means accessory to the Laws taking place, from whence the Effects are to arise. We are part of the Chain whereby the Effect is connected to the Cause. The Circumstances are in our Power on which such and such Laws depend; and thus far we may be said to be Active, in the Case of Art: supposing that there is nothing higher, or further; and that the Chain ends with us; in a word, that our Agency is not subordinate but collateral to that of the Almighty. But if there be other superior Laws which respect those same Circumstances, and which are not in our Power, i.e. if the Circumstances necessary to the former Law, be themselves supposed necessary Laws, and the immediate Work of Nature; our Agency will dwindle into nothing.
The utmost that can be said of us in such case, is, That we are Active in respect of the one, and Passive in that of the other; which to most People may appear a kind of Contradiction. The Statue can't be formed, unless our Desire or Inclination concur thereto; so far its Existence depends on us: But are our Desires and Inclinations with respect thereto of our own growth, or do they arise naturally, in consequence of an Apprehension of Good, and Advantage in the Subject? That is, does anything appear good and advantageous to us absolutely and of itself; or only what the Creator represents to us as so? And do we desire or pursue this seeming Good, from any Principle or Tendency that is in us, other than what we owe to his Laws? The Difficulty seems to amount to this; whether between our Faculties of apprehending and willing, and their respective Objects, there be any Relation which he did not create or establish? Is any allege, that 'tis such Relation constitutes the Faculty; and therefore that the Question ends in this, Whether our Faculties are from God or ourselves: i.e. whether they can be the Causes of themselves? I should suspect some Sophism in the Case, which at present I have not leisure to detect.
BUT having traced the Agency of Man thus far, we must be obliged here to desist; and from the Factive Arts resume the Consideration of the Active ones; i.e. pass from what Art does out of us, to what it is in us: or rather, from the Arts whose Source is supposed in ourselves, and which proceed outwards; to those whose Source seems without us, and tend inwards: That is, from those which arise from our Observation and Reason, directing us how to minister Occasions to the Laws which obtain in the external World; to those which flow into our Imagination, and furnish Occasions to the Laws which obtain in the internal World,—An Inquiry which may perhaps carry us where the Reader little imagines; but which will afford an ample Discussion of the Principle above established; and a further Insight into the Origin and Cause of Science and Art; and the Nature and Measure of our Agency and Passion therein.
WE have already spoken something concerning Poetry; not for its own sake, but as a proper Instance to illustrate the Nature of Art in. It makes the lowest Article in our Analysis; which, in reality, is the highest in the Scale of Art; there being a sort of progressive Rising from the Beginning of the Analysis to the End. It begins with the first Matter of Knowledge, the common Objects of our Senses; and proceeds through the various Modifications they undergo by the other Faculties of Imagination and Reason, till those sensible Objects become so much our own, are so assimilated to us, and as it were humanized; that they are part of ourselves, and obey and take Directions from our Will, and minister to all our Views and Purposes: of which, this of producing Images and making Fables, is in one Sense the highest; inasmuch as the greatest Effects here arise from the slenderest Means and Endeavours. The Poet stirs but little in the Matter; but Nature co-operates so strongly with him, that this little suffices, even to make new Worlds. In effect, the Poet seems, as it were, to sit nearer the Spring of Action than other Men; and to have only to do with the general and higher Principles thereof, which command and direct a Number of other subordinate ones, that he himself is not aware of. What we shall say of Poetry, therefore, will hold proportionally of all the other Arts; and we have only kept to that, because the Influence or Inspiration is here confessedly the purest, and the nearest to Heaven of all others.
The Principle or Spirit of Poetry, may be said to be that of Art in general; and hence many Authors make no scruple to make all Arts the Invention of Poets: Thus it is Homer is often complimented with being the Father of all Arts. — This has, indeed, an Appearance of Truth; but 'tis only an Appearance: For Homer, supposing him the Inventor of Poetry, or at least the best Poet; has no other Title to the Invention of other Arts, than what he derives either from a greater Share of the Spirit whereby they are produced, than other People; or from his having communicated that Spirit, by the Force of his Poems, through other People, where it has generated, and brought forth other Arts; or from the Seeds and Principles of Arts and Inventions which his Imagination was so pregnant withal, and which he disseminated over the World, where many of them, by due Cultivation, have sprung up into the Form and Maturity we now see them.
THE Mind is allowed to be passive in respect of the Matter of the Art of Poetry. We need not quote the Poets to prove it: No true Poet ever questioned his Inspiration: Everybody knows that their whole System is built on the Supposition. And hence the Stories of Apollo and the Muses, of Helicon and Parnassus; the Dreams of Pindus and the Aonian Maids: with a thousand other Reveries. But the Philosophers, and Critics also, give them their Suffrages, and attest their Inspiration, in the strongest Terms. Plato has already been cited to this Purpose: He contends, at large, that all Poetry is "by immediate divine Inspiration, in the proper, and literal Sense of the Word." Aristotle confirms it: "Indeed, Poetry comes by divine Inspiration." And Plutarch says as much of all the Branches of Enthusiasm; Poetical, Divinatory, Bacchical or Corybantical, Martial, and Erotick: to all which, he asserts, the Appellation, 'Enthusiasm,' or 'Divine Fury,' equally agrees.— And not only so, but they hold the Enthusiasm communicable from one to another. It arises from the Poet, as its Centre, and is diffused, in Orbem; in a lesser degree of intenseness, the further it recedes from him. Plato asserts, that the Actors, or those who sung and rehearsed the Poet's Works on the publick Theatres; nay, and the Spectators themselves were all divinely inspired, in some degree: which he illustrates in the Case of a Needle touched by a Magnet which communicates an attractive Property to another Needle; that to a third; and so on, with a continual Diminution. — Nor does the Effect end here, but the Professors of other Arts, as Sculpture, Criticism, and even Philosophy itself, borrow their Flame and Inspiration from this Fire. Thus Phidias declared he was inspired to make that wonderful Statue of Jupiter Olympus, by the reading of Homer; And thus Aristotle may be said to have been inspired by the same Poet, to compose his immortal Poetics: The like is said of Longinus: that he was inspired by the Muses, or with the Fire of a Poet.
SOMETHING like this has been observed, even in the Case of Prayer to God: Several Heretics are on record for possessing their Hearers that way. Racket, executed for Blasphemy under Queen Elizabeth, is said, by the Historian, "to have ravished all that heard him at his Devotions; and converted many in spite of their Teeth:" And Sarravia relates, the People were persuaded that "God directed his Tongue." St. Basil even affirms, "that our Prayers are never right or acceptable, till the Ardor thereof carry us out of ourselves, so that God possess us in some extraordinary manner." And hence the learned and pious Casaubon establishes a new kind of Enthusiasm, which he calls Supplicative, or Precatory; as he does divers others, as Musical Enthusiasm, Mechanical Enthusiasm, etc. To say no more, the Author last mentioned makes no scruple to make even "the ordinary Delights and Benefits Men receive from the Harangues of Orators, Sophists, Preachers, the Effect of Enthusiasm and Inspiration; as being what could never arise from mere Reason." And Plutarch, and others, make that Ardor which the Soldier feels in Battle, of the same kind with that which inspired the Prophet, Orator, and Poet.
WE have here little less than a System, sufficient to account for most of the Phenomena in the Animal World, on Principles of Enthusiasm. Reason, it may be observed, has here little to do; and it would seem, that Man ought rather to be defined, Animal Enthusiasticum, than Animal Rationale. And yet this is only a few, out of infinite Instances, of the immediate Agency and Inspiration of the Deity. We find the same Principle in every Art, every Invention, every Discovery, where no natural and necessary Connection is perceived between the Discovery, and something known before; i.e. where the Reason of such Discovery, is not apprehended by any intuitive Knowledge. What has no immediate Dependence either on what we perceive by Sensation or Reason, comes by the Vehicle of Inspiration, i.e. of Imagination or Invention, for there it ends. The Imagination may be called the Medium of Art, as Sense is of Science. The Faculty of Reason, can make no great Discoveries; it can only advance from one Step to another, which must be ready laid to its Hand; and if these be any where interrupted or discontinued, there it is at a Stand. 'Tis, in fine, a limited Principle, subject to very narrow Bounds; whereas the Imagination seems to be indefinite, and still kept in the Creator's Hand, to be occasionally made use of for the Conduct of Mankind.
THE Truth is, when we say, such a Thing is the Effect of Enthusiasm, or Inspiration; speaking I mean of profane Matters; (the Inspiration, for instance, of Scripture, being Matter of a very different Consideration and quite beside our present Purpose) this does not remove it out of the ordinary Course of Things: It does not put it on any other Principle, different from that whereby Causes and Effects succeed each other in the physical World. We can account for the Phenomena of the Imagination, as well as those of Sensation. They have their respective Laws, like other things; which they are subject to; and to which we have Arts, and Processes appropriated. In effect, all the Inspiration here spoke of, may be produced without any great Conjuration. If the Reader will not take Offence at this novel Philosophy, he may be convinced of it. And so, in the Instance of the Musical Kind.
ENTHUSIASM is defined, in an ancient Author, to be "when a Person engaged in some Office of Religion; and hearing the Sound of Drums, Trumpets, Cymbals, etc, becomes alienated, or transported out of himself, and sees Things unseen to others." And what is here called Enthusiasm, is more significantly called by another, Madness occasioned by the Sound of brazen Instruments: which coincides with the Furor Corybanticus, so much spoke of among the Ancients.
NOW, as we do not know any immediate Correspondence or Connection between any one Sound, and any Idea; 'tis no more strange that one Idea should be excited by it, than another. There is a Law of the Creator, whereby a certain Order and Succession of Vibrations of the Air, is arbitrarily made the Occasion of a certain Perception in our Minds; and as the Circumstances of this Vibration are altered, a different Idea arises: i.e., to every different Combination of such Circumstances, a different Idea is attached; to usual and ordinary Combinations, ordinary Ideas; and to unusual and extraordinary, extraordinary Ideas. And hence there is, perhaps, no Idea, no Image whatever, but may be raised by means of Sound. Now, I do not know what Common Sense is, unless it be the having common Ideas. Just so far as new Perceptions are raised in us, in Exclusion of the old ones, we may be said to be removed out of ourselves, i.e., we are so far got into another System; the Phenomena which now appear themselves to us, being so far different, from what they were before, and even from what they would still be, to another Person in the same Place, but under other Circumstances. On this Principle, we shall scarcely find anything but might be produced by Music; especially, when to the Force of well-adjusted Instruments, which the Ancients seem to have studied more, and understood better, than we; was added the Solemnity of a Temple, the supposed Residence of a God, whose Statue there stood before them; with the awful Rites of Invocation; accompanied with furious Gesticulations, Dancings, and all the Devices that could be thought of, to unhinge the natural Sense, and Reason, which we find is but frail and precarious at best, and apt to play us false when most duly looked to. Few People are able to stand up against mere Music; which, unassisted with anything else, has been made to produce, and remove settled Madness; cure Fevers; drive Persons to kill themselves, or their Friends. 'Tis not long since the Italian died, who had reduced the turning of People mad by his Music, into a regular Art; which he could depend on at any time. — The Reader that has a mind to see further on this Head, may consult the Articles, Sound, Music, Tarantula, etc., in the Body of the Book.
SCALIGER, in his Poetics, makes two Kinds of enthuses, or Poets divinely inspired. The first, those on whom the Inspiration falls, as it were, from Heaven; without any thought or seeking, or at least by means of Prayer and Invocation. The second, those in whom it is procured by the Fumes of Wine.
ALL that is required to the first, is only a delicate, pregnant Imagination; susceptible of any subtle Impressions that may happen to be made in the Course of Things; and ready to take fire at the least Spark. The Surfaces of the finer Fluids, we find, are kept in continual motion by the bare Tremor of the Atmosphere, though to us insensible: And thus the Air is never so still, but that the Aspin Leaf feels its Impulse, and bends and trembles to it; when others require a ruder Gust to move them: Yet these, too, give way in a general Storm; whole Forests then totter indifferently: even the Trunks of sturdiest Oaks, now yield like the rest.
And, accordingly, we read in ancient History, of whole Nations being at once seized with the poetical Fury. Few of the Cities of Greece, not even Athens itself, with all its Philosophy, but have, one time or another, laboured under these epidemical Enthusiasms.
WE have already observed that Invention is the Principle, or Source of Poetry. An excellent modern Poet adds*, that 'tis this which furnishes Art with all its materials, and that without it, Judgment itself can, at best, but steal wisely. Now, this Faculty of Invention itself is usually no other than a Delicacy or Readiness of taking Hints; but even at most, what we are said to invent is only what results, or arises from something already in us. There is no new Matter got by inventing: that can only come by the way of Sense and Observation. All that passes in the other Case is that, from the Memory of certain Things, i.e., the Co-presence of certain Ideas to the Mind; certain new Ideas arise according to the Order of Things. The sprightly Imagination is led, on various Occasions, to compound its Ideas, and many of them so oddly and boldly, that we take its Productions for new Things; and thus think we invent them because they did not exist in us before in that form, though the Matter or Elements thereof did. There is no more real Invention in the Poet than in the Tapestry or Mosaic Worker, who ranges and combines the various coloured Materials furnished to his Hand, so as to make an Assemblage or Picture which before had no Existence.
THE Reader who has any doubt about this need only take the first piece of Poetry that comes in his way, to be convinced, that all that is new and moving in it is no other than a new Composition or Combination of sensible Ideas. In the Il Allegro and Il Penseroso, for instance, two of the most poetical Pieces in our, or perhaps any other Language; how easy is it to resolve all that is so magical and ravishing to the new, uncouth, and frequently wild and romantic Assemblages of Imagery. Indeed, who can contain himself at "Sport which wrinkled Care derides, and Laughter holding both his Sides. Cynthia peeping through a Cloud, while rocking Winds are piping loud. To hear the Lark begin her Flight, and singing startle the dull Night: Or the Cock with lively Din, scatter the Rear of Darkness thin: Or listen how the Hound and Horn loudly rouse the slumbering Morn. Or see glowing Embers through the Room, teach Light to counterfeit a Gloom. Or storied Windows richly dight, casting a dim religious Light. Or hear Orpheus sing such Notes as warbled to the String, drew Iron Tears down Pluto's Cheek. Or Verse with many a winding Bout of linked Sweetness long drawn out, with wanton Heed and giddy Cunning, the melting Voice through Mazes running; untwisting all the Chains that tie the hidden Soul of Harmony."
PERSONIFICATION, deemed of such Extent and Importance that it is often held as the Life and Essence of Poetry, unveils a vast Source of new Imagery. By this, not only different Objects but also different Systems and Worlds are combined and interwoven; and what is characteristic of one Kind of Beings, Man, is attributed to every other: each Object, either of Sense or Imagination, being occasionally invested with all the Characters and Properties belonging to the human Kind. Thus, an Arrow grows impatient and thirsts to drink the Blood of a Foe; or it loiters and stops half-way, loth to carry Death, &c. So, an Action of the Body, Laughter, is above represented as itself laughing, ready to burst its Sides. And in the same Piece, we have one of the Planets, the Moon, represented as tricked up and prounced; and again, as kerchiefed, and in a decent Undress, thus going a Hunting. To declare that a fine Spring Morning, attended with a gentle Gale of Wind, is very pleasant; presently,— "Zephyr with Aurora playing, as he met her once a Maying, on a Bed of Violets blue, and fresh-blown Roses dipped in Dew, filled her with a Daughter fair, ycleped in Heaven Euphrosyne, and Mirth on Earth." How consistent with the Nature of Things, that a Breath of Air should lay an early Hour of the Day down; and that from a green Gown thus given, a Passion of the Mind should in time be brought forth? In effect, the Inspiration of the Poet amounts to little more than relating things that are naturally incongruous. He presents new Objects, new Worlds, but 'tis only by differently combining the Parts of the old one. He does not make anything; he only patches: He does not invent; he only transposes: Nor has he the least Power to move, other than what he derives from the Novelty and Strangeness of his Combinations; to which nothing exists in the ordinary System, anything conformable. To say no more, his Invention furnishes Art; Memory furnishes the Invention; and Sensation the Memory, where all Knowledge originally commences. And the whole Process is nothing but the Action, or Operation of the Deity in a Course of Laws.
THE Inspiration of Orators, bears a near Relation to that of the Poets; though being somewhat grosser, it becomes more technical, and demands more Industry, and Art. Quintilian tells us how a Rhetor is to get inspired ;"not by supinely lolling and gazing at the next movable, and carelessly turning things over in his Mind; but by imagining the Judge and the Audience present, and strongly representing to himself the Time, the Occasion," &c. He adds, that nobody ought to pretend to be an Orator, unless he has this Art of Inspiration at command; so that he can raise it at pleasure.
WHAT has been said above, contains some of the general Principles of Enthusiasm, and their Connection with other physical Effects: and 'twill be easy to trace and pursue the same, where they appear in other Cases, and with other Circumstances. Thus the Inspiration excited by the Orator in his Audience, is resolved, by Casaubon, into the Music of the Speaker, i.e. the Tone and Cadence of his Voice; and the rhythm, or order and placing of his Words: In which last, how simple and trivial soever it may seem, all the great Matters on the Subject allow something mysterious and unaccountably forcible; and accordingly make it the principal Part of Rhetoric. And yet there is nothing in the Whole, but what results from the Powers, Properties, etc. of the several Letters, considered as so many Sounds, artfully combined. In effect, there is some Physics, or Dimension, and some Harmony, or Numbers in all Diction; much more in that of Oratory: And Music itself has no Charm in it, but what it derives from those very Sources.
NOR must it be omitted, that the use of Metaphors contributes its share to the Effect. The Secret whereof consists in this, that they are, as it were, accommodated to the Senses; and present such Images to the Imagination, as move us most when perceived in the Way of Sensation.
AS to that Enthusiasm felt in Prayer, its Cause is not far to seek. The Powers of Rhetoric, and Music, and of a peculiar Fervor of Imagination, raised by an Apprehension of the Presence of God, etc. will go a great way. We may add, that the ancient Heathens made use of Dithyrambics in all their most solemn Prayers; which Proclus observes, are peculiarly fit to stir up enthusiastic Dispositions. A Man that rides Pindar’s Horse, cannot well fail of going at a great rate.
BUT the most extraordinary and unaccountable kind of Inspiration is still behind, viz. that of Prophecy, Divination, discovering of Cures by Dreams, etc. which yet may all be produced by Art; and accordingly, have all been taught and studied like other Arts: not to say, also, practised like them, for a Livelihood. Schools and Colleges of Prophets, Divines, Augurs, etc. were numerous both among Jews and Gentiles; and there was little in their Discipline, but what may be resolved into what has been already said. Here, all the Means above mentioned, all the Springs of Enthusiasm, were used; and frequently combined together, to make the more compound and extraordinary Effect. The Sight of vast Objects, as Rocks and Mountains, wild Prospects, solitary Groves, gloomy Caves, furious Rivers, Seas, etc. which We find to work so strongly on the Mind, were indulged; and frequent Changes, and sudden Transitions made from one to another. Such unusual Objects necessarily suggested unusual Ideas; which were heightened by proper Applications to all the other Senses. And when the Man was at length got out of the ordinary System of Thinking, into another more unusual and extraordinary, though equally physical, or if you will, mechanical one; what he uttered was judged all oracular: It was not his Sense, or Reason that spoke; and therefore it must be that of God himself. And among a large Train of Objects which presented themselves to him, some of 'em could not want an Analogy to Things that were really to come; at least, in the Opinion of a Person already possessed with the Notion thereof. It may be added, that the Prophecies themselves, had their Share in producing Futurity; the Events whereof partook of the Predictions, some more, others less, according to the degree of Possession of the Parties concerned in them. In effect, the Revelations still retained something of the Means made use of to raise 'em. Thus, if the one were either agreeable or displeasing, the other would be of the same Kind: And hence a Revelation was artificially producible of the Complexion required: which was the very Apex of the Art. So that the Divination, when most perfect, really supposed a natural Knowledge of the Thing demanded, and was built on it.
AS to Dreams, &c. there was a Formula for 'em; the Circumstances whereof might be appropriated to raise in the Imagination an Idea of the Thing required. After a number of Ceremonies, the Party was to sleep in the Temple: Pellibus incubuit stratis, somnumque petivit. And the Priests had not only the placing of his Body, and the strewing of his Bed; but also the Management of Odours, Sounds, &c. in the Night-time. So that if any natural Means were known for the Cure, here was room enough to suggest it to the Patient's Imagination, which was made accessible to 'em, and as it were put into their Hands. But, if no proper Remedy were known; as, 'tis probable, they hardly entered so far into the Part: yet, What was thus suggested, perhaps at random, how strongly must it operate, when enforced by the Opinion of its coming by Miracle and Inspiration? We see what the bare Presence and Assurance of a Physician will frequently do; even cure Disorders far out of the Reach of his Skill: and what an Improvement would it not be to the Faculty, to have the surdier Assistance of a little Show of Religion and Ceremony? A deal more might be said on this Head, from the Practice of Exorcisms, Amulets, Phylacteries, etc. to which the Reader may turn in the Book; as also to the Articles Witchcraft, Ephialtes, etc.
IT appears then, that 'tis in vain that we pretend to pervert the Order of Nature. Sensation does and must inevitably precede Imagination; which cannot by any human Means come at the smallest Grain of anything, but what passes through that Canal. There is no harm in saying, that such Things are of Divine Inspiration; the Mischief lies in supposing, that these are more so than others; that what appears only to the Imagination, is more of God than what appears to Sensation: which is, in effect, to say, that we have some Knowledge which we do not receive from God.
For that here we more immediately see the real Cause, without the Cloud and Embarrass of Occasions, which atother times confound us. Occasions, are Causes, with respect to us, who only act at second hand; and the greatSource of our Error, is, that we can't easily see through 'em to the real Cause. Whence, the greater number ofMeans and Occasions we perceive; the further is the Cause apt to be involved, and the more Attention is required to extricate it. And by this way alone can Philosophy lead to Atheism. Our Knowledge, in effect,is all relative; it respects ourselves, and our uses, either more or less immediately; and is chiefly applied in theArts, and Affairs of Life, where Occasions are Causes: And hence we take a Tincture, which we carry with usthroughout; and apply, unawares, the same Notion when we come to philosophize, where we are less interested,and consequently our Knowledge purer and more absolute. And thus we are betrayed fatally to confound Artwith Nature; First Cause with Second; God with ourselves: all which must be done, ere the Philosopher cancommence Atheist.
THIS not distinguishing between Causes and Occasions, has produced an infinite deal of false Reasoning,to the great detriment of our most obvious and palpable Knowledge. We continually over-shoot the Mark; andlooking too far, miss seeing what is close to us. We are willing to leave God out of the Affair as far aswe can, and only have recourse to him when we are at a pinch. He is rarely wanted, unless now and then,for a Miracle, or so. The Deity is not to interpose, nisi dignus vindice nodus, till we have occasion for him;i.e. till the Case becomes so obvious and glaring, that the Charm is broken, and we are forced to see himin spite of all our Prejudice. The Occasions are so visibly inadequate, that our Conscience cries out, and necessitates us to look to and confess a Cause. But, though we be well enough contented to find him at the End ofthe Chain, alas, he must be also present at every Link, or the Whole will fall to pieces. He is not moreconcerned in forming the original Stamen of a Foetus, than in nourishing, assimilating, or bringing it at lengthto Light. We can as easily conceive the first Formation of a piece of unorganized Matter into an Animal,as any other Production of Nature; or even, as we call it, of Art. Generation is effected after the samemanner as other Arts; and the same Principles that will account for the making of a Statue, will account forthat of a Child. If the Figure of a Man arise out of a Mass of Clay, is it by any other Operation than thatof Nature, which according to the Position of the Hand, determines the Parts of the Clay to move in this Direction, or that; according to certain Laws of Motion, and Percussion? And if the same be afterwards hardened, upon standing to the Fire; is it not by the same Nature acting by certain other Laws, the Set or Collection whereof makes the physical Process called Exhalation? The Hand, you'll say, was the Occasion. Butwhat is an Occasion? I doubt we have no just Idea of that Word; and that it implies somewhat of a Contradiction; at least, if anything of Causality be denoted by it. Considering that we say, Light is the Occasionof Shadow, Joy of Sorrow, and everything of its Contrary. If a piece of Phosphorus, upon becoming contiguous to Air, immediately begins to smoke, and produce Fire and Light, with all the wonderful Phenomenathereof, as Colour, Refrangibility, Reflectibility, alternate Fits of easy Refraction and easy Transmission, have different Powers inherent in the different Sides of its Corpuscles, be resolvable by a Prism into all the Appearances of aRainbow, exhibit the Species of Objects, act on and consume Bodies, give Sensations of Heat, Pain, etc.,and all these Properties permanent, and immutable forever; What a System of Laws, what an infinity ofSprings must be played for all this? No Circumstance whereof is in our hand, besides that of Contiguity orNon-contiguity with the Air: which, for our own Glory, we dignify by the Name Occasion, and suppose something in it analogous to Cause; and thus put ourselves in some measure on a footing with the Almighty.
We know, without Light the visible Universe would cease to be; and without Heat, all Motion and Actionmust be at an End: So that it may even be said to be owing to Fire, that there is a World. And yet howeasy is it to produce what thus contains in it all Things! In effect, Fire is an Occasion; and contributes just asmuch to the Existence of the World, as we do to that of Fire. When we are done, we might as well goon, and make ourselves the Causes or Occasions of the Universe; which we are, in the very same Sense,as of any one Phenomenon in it. And thus, the same Principle which appeared so destructive to Religion, isfound equally so to Philosophy. So consistent is the Nature of Things! One Error is subversive of almost allTruth: One Wheel amiss in the Machine of Knowledge, makes the whole a Lie.
OF this, many of the Ancients seem to have had a juster Notion than we; as, in effect, they may be saidto have had more Religion than we. Their Mythology, which is supposed to be their Physics, speaks ofnothing else but God, under various Forms and Shapes, i.e., in various Views and Relations. The Poets,from whom it was taken, first personified God, or the first Cause; and then his Attributes. His Power theycalled Jupiter, which they conceived as his reigning Attribute; his Justice was Juno, the Consort of Power; hisWisdom, Minerva, the Offspring of Jove's Brain, &c. And thus it is they are to be understood,
I MAY add, that the further either of these Sciences is carried, on this footing, the more idle and extravagant it will become; and that the one tends to downright Madness, and the other to downright Atheism. On the one hand, to make a System without a God, is nothing less than to be a God one's self: The Author pretends to make out the Essence by investigating the Mass, and tracing its Connection to the several Parts, thereby establishing the Relation of Cause and Effect, which is the very thing that denomination in the course of things. Yet, by such a system without a God, asserting by his Laws upon the system itself to produce the Effect: And thus what tends most directly to exclude him, is what gives him the most immediate Access.
And, on the other hand, to make a God without a System; that is to talk of a God without a Physiology, or that of the World, is directly to make a God not to be a Cause; but an Antecedent to its Cause: 'Tis to do, I am ashamed to say what!I AM afraid I may seem to have been too long absent from my Subject; but it has been all along inmy eye, and a little Recapitulation will convince the Reader, that we have not wandered far out of theway. We have shown whence all our Knowledge originally rises: that Sensation is its only Source; thatwhat comes this way, comes by the Agency of the Divine Being: that it is further modified in the Memoryor Imagination, where new Assemblages are frequently made, which is called Invention; that it is continuallyaltering, by the Admission of new Ideas from without; but still remains subject to the Laws imposed by theCreator, so that nothing happens therein, but in consequence of such Laws. Thus far the Mind appearsmerely passive: And thus it stands with respect to the Matter of all Knowledge and Art. It remains, now, toconsider its Form, or that whereby such Knowledge becomes Art, i.e. becomes subservient to human Purposes,and under the Direction of human Reason.
HERE, therefore, a new state of the Mind, Agency, and a new Faculty thereof, Reason, come into play: theFoundation and Office whereof, will be ascertained, by inquiring, What there is in the Artist's, e.g. Homer's,Mind, that concurred with his Inspiration or Invention, to the Production of his Poem? This will be foundto resolve into first an Inclination or Desire to produce some Piece, in the way of a Fable, that shall stronglyrepresent the Mischiefs of Discord among Confederates; and, secondly, a Knowledge of the Means necessaryto that End, or an Acquaintance with certain Rules and Measures which tend to produce such Effect.
THE first is a Moral View or Motive which has already been laid down as the Spring or Principle ofall human Action, and which is founded on the Apprehension of Good or Advantage to arise from such Poem.
The second, viz. the Knowledge of the Means, stands on the common Footing of the Knowledge hitherto discussed of.
THE Means and Measures of an Art, make a kind of preliminary Doctrine, necessary or conducivethereto, called the Theory of the Art; which, also, in one Sense, may be considered as another Art, distinct fromthe former: At least, to come at it is the Business of another Art. If, for instance, a certain Position, orSet of Motions of the Body, be constituted by Nature the Occasion of a poetick Inspiration; and such and suchImages and Ideas arising herefrom, be constituted the Occasions of such and such Passions in the Mind of aReader, and such and such Views consistent thereon, viz. an Aversion to Enmity, and Contention: To forman Art productive of these Effects, we must first see and observe such or the like Effects, to arise from suchor the like Causes; and argue or infer that 'tis probable these Motions, or these Images, are the Occasionsthereof: and consider and collect the Order, Manner, and Circumstances thereof, to form the Art or Method.
--So that we have here, as before, 1°, Matter, viz. Phenomena, first furnished by Sensation, and preservedin the Memory; 2° Form, arising from the Moral View, which led us to frame an Art, and in order theretoto consider and dwell on the Phenomena, compare them together, and infer something from them. It appearstherefore, that we have two Arts of Poetry, very different from each other; coming from different Causes,tending to different Purposes and rarely found, in any degree, in the same Person. The first Art Homer has inperfection, the second, Aristotle.
BUT for all their difference, the two are really of the same general Nature, and Kind; and only differin point of Degree, and Subordination; as they are nearer to, or further from, the Principle of all Knowledgeand Art, Sensation. Homer, we have shown, was inspired: He derived his Art only from Nature acting onhim in the ordinary Course of Things, and first presenting Objects to his Sense, then to his Imagination. Andothers are inspired from him, i.e. derive the Inspiration from Nature through his means: among whom is Aristotle.Nature, as she appears to the Senses, is Homer's Subject: as she shows herself in Homer, is Aristotle's;by which time the Inspiration is grown a degree cooler, and less forcible, and the Ideas thus excited at secondhand moving the Mind less, it can attend more steadily to them, and perceive their Relations better. In thefirst it falls like Lightning, immediately from Heaven; the second may be compared to the Reflection of thesame in a Mirror. The reading of Homer, i.e. the exciting and calling up his Ideas and Images, does, as it were,impregnate Aristotle's Imagination; and transplant the Poet's whole Nursery into the Philosopher's Garden, to befurther cultivated. Accordingly, Aristotle applying his Apprehension and Reason to them, and examining themclosely on all Sides, perceives divers Relations and Analogies between them, which Homer was not aware of; andwhich the Warmth of his Imagination, and the quick Succession of new Ideas, would not give him room toattend to. These Analogies he calls Rules, or Laws; the Assemblage or System whereof, make what we callAristotle's Art of Poetry.
An Athenian Sculptor, then, observing an Acanthus shooting up under a Basket, is pleased with the Figure itpresents, and taking the Hint, invents the Capital of a Column on the Model thereof: And by a number oflike Steps, an entire Order gradually arose; and, in time, a whole Art. Things thus advanced; and anotherPerson seeing a Building framed after such manner, he attentively examines the several Members, their Forms,Proportions, &c., and puts them down in writing: And thus does another posterior Art arise. And between thetwo, there still remains the Subordination already observed between the Means or Occasions of producing them;i.e. the Rules thus formed being couched in Words, or Language, supply the Office of the external Objects theywere originally derived from, and prove Occasions of raising Ideas or Images in the Imagination of futureArtists, to be imitated in the proper Materials.
THE Arts then of Poetry and Architecture, come first in at Homer's, and Callimachus's Sense, in the simpleQuality of natural Phenomena, or Objects; which meeting with other Ideas in the Memory, or Imagination, andcoming to be compared and combined therewith, by the Agency of the Moral View, or Principle which suggested the making of a Poem, &c., as advantageous and desirable; new Productions arise, e.g. a Poem, or a Building. Which coming at length under the Cognizance and Consideration of Reason, certain Relations or Analogiesare discovered therein, which tend to propagate, and produce the like at any time. Reason returns Rules forMatter; which Rules, prove like the Philosopher's Stone, which tends to turn all Materials it is applied to, intoGold; and the Materials thus transmuted, like the pretended multiplicative Virtue of the same Gold, from everything they are applied to, produce Rules again. REASON in essence, which is the last Faculty the Matter of Art arrives at, is the first from which theForm 'or Rules' thereof, which are to propagate it, arise. In which view, Reason may be laid down as the Principle of this secondary Art, or Theory; as Imagination of the primary one, or of the Matter. We stillsee the Essence of the first Laws, even in the latter Art: External Objects strike the Sense and Imagination sostrongly; that they reach to Reason; which, like an infinitely elastic Substance, reflects them back again; andthus they again grow into Objects of Sense: and so in a Circle.
THIS seems to make the two Arts differ very widely: And as Reason appears our highest Faculty, (inasmuchas 'tis this alone that tends to produce, and multiply) and accordingly, all our Knowledge appears proportionablyhigher and purer, as Reason is more concerned therein: the Rules or Theory of an Art, appears of infinitelygreater Consequence than the Matter thereof. The former is in some Sense active, and, like the Almighty Mind,tends to produce new Things, new Worlds, new Systems without end; the latter is mere Passion, and ends inbare Brute Perception.
YET, Aristotle's Rules, it must be observed, do not tend to produce Poetry; I mean, not the Matter of Poetry; but only the Form. Aristotle's Art is not the Art of Poetry in that Sense; as its Rules don't tend to produce the Enthusiasm. They only give the human Part, and relate what Reason observes in the Productions ofthe Imagination, i.e., what there is in them that is a proper Object of this last Faculty, and comes under itsNotice. In essence, Poetry is only subject to Aristotle's Rules, as there is Reason, not as there is Inspiration or Invention in it.
THE Source of Poetry, we have observed, lies out of Poetry, in a higher Ground; and to turn the Streamupon us, is the Business of this other Art of Inspiration. The immediate Inspiration is not so immediate as wemight imagine. It is not the ultimate Principle of Art, but is itself subordinate to another further, or purerArt; so that we must not have only Art and Rules to produce Poetry, but also to produce the Principle thereof,Inspiration, or Invention. And the same will hold of the Rules of this last Art, themselves, which will requireothers; and so in infinitum. At least, the Series will be infinite, if we only take ourselves and our own Agency into the Account.
TO clear up this a little further; it is to be observed that the Art, e.g., of Poetry, is not onlythe Result of another higher Art, as above laid down; but, as it consists of Matter and Form; these areeach of them the Subject of a particular Art, and each of them require another higher Art to producethem. The Means, for instance, necessary to Inspiration, or the Invention of Images, make one Art; andthose for their Application to the present Purpose, another. So that the Art of Poetry resolves itself intotwo subordinate ones; the first of which may be called the Art of Invention, the other the Art of Judgment, or Criticism: each of which has all the Characters of the general Art; is come at like it, producesnew Objects like it, and resolves like it into Matter and Form. Nor does the Matter end here: For aseach of these subordinate Arts consists, again, of Matter and Form; each of them resolves further into twoother Arts: and the same may be said of each of these; and so on. So that there is really an infinite Seriesof Arts, previous to any one, and accessory thereto; all distinct from each other, though all of the same general Nature and Kind, and only differing in Point of Order, or Subordinacy. They arise subordinately from the sameCause, and tend subordinately to the same End: Which Difference, or Subordination, as already noted, arisesonly from their greater, or lesser distance from the Principle of all Knowledge, Sensation.
UPON the whole, sensible Nature furnishes the Matter of them all, by means of the Imagination; andmoral Nature the Form, by means or light of Reason. The former Proposition has been sufficiently discussed. It remains to inquire a little further into the latter: For, that Reason furnishes the Means, etc. must befurther qualified, ere it be received. Our Reason, it is to be observed, does not perceive any necessary and immediate Connection between the Means and the Effect: for there really is none. Consequently, Reason cannotbe the Author of them; in regard, the Medium is wanting whereby it could possibly attain them. So that theymust be procured by some other Channel, which will at length be found to end in Sensation. In essence, erewe know that such Means conduce to such End, we must first have observed, or found it so by Experience.
Our Memory suggests to us, that such or the like Causes have been followed by such or the like Effects;which is the only Foundation we have to expect anything from them on the present Occasion. Thus, if Homer'sReason directed him to retire into a Place free of Noise and Disturbance, at a time when his Mind is clear andin due Temper; and there to apply himself with Attention and Earnestness, to think on his Subject: In consequence of which Means, new Ideas and Images present themselves, some more immediately relative to thepresent Purpose, others less: Whence comes all this, but that Homer remembers, such or the like Ideas as arenow wanted, to have arisen upon the use of such or the like Means? And if, among the Crowd of Images,he chooses only such as are most proper, and immediately conducive to his End, and throws aside or expungesthe rest; whence is this, but that he remembers such, on former occasions? The like Process might be observed in the several other Arts. Those we have hitherto chiefly kept to,have been of the symbolical Kind: we shall here give an Instance in what we call the real Kind, viz. Architecture.
An Athenian Sculptor, then, observing an Acanthus shooting up under a Basket, is pleased with the Figure itpresents, and taking the Hint, invents the Capital of a Column on the Model thereof: And by a number oflike Steps, an entire Order gradually arose; and, in time, a whole Art. Things thus advanced; and anotherPerson seeing a Building framed after such manner, he attentively examines the several Members, their Forms,Proportions, etc., and puts them down in writing: And thus does another posterior Art arise. And between thetwo, there still remains the Subordination already observed between the Means or Occasions of producing them;i.e., the Rules thus formed being couched in Words, or Language, supply the Office of the external Objects theywere originally derived from, and prove Occasions of raising Ideas or Images in the Imagination of futureArtists, to be imitated in the proper Materials.
THE Arts then of Poetry and Architecture, come first in at Homer's, and Callimachus's Sense, in the simpleQuality of natural Phenomena, or Objects; which meeting with other Ideas in the Memory, or Imagination, andcoming to be compared and combined therewith, by the Agency of the Moral View, or Principle which suggested the making of a Poem, etc., as advantageous and desirable; new Productions arise, e.g. a Poem, or a Building. Which coming at length under the Cognizance and Consideration of Reason, certain Relations or Analogiesare discovered therein, which tend to propagate, and produce the like at any time. Reason returns Rules forMatter; which Rules, prove like the Philosopher's Stone, which tends to turn all Materials it is applied to, intoGold; and the Materials thus transmuted, like the pretended multiplicative Virtue of the same Gold,from everything they are applied to, produce Rules again.
REASON in essence, which is the last Faculty the Matter of Art arrives at, is the first from which theForm 'or Rules' thereof, which are to propagate it, arise. In which view, Reason may be laid down as the Principle of this secondary Art, or Theory; as Imagination of the primary one, or of the Matter. We stillsee the Effect of the first Laws, even in the latter Art: External Objects strike the Sense and Imagination sostrongly, that they reach to Reason; which, like an infinitely elastic Substance, reflects them back again; andthus they again grow into Objects of Sense: and so in a Circle.
THIS seems to make the two Arts differ very widely: And as Reason appears our highest Faculty, (inasmuchas 'tis this alone that tends to produce, and multiply) and accordingly, all our Knowledge appears proportionablyhigher and purer, as Reason is more concerned therein: the Rules or Theory of an Art, appears of infinitelynearer Consequence than the Matter thereof. The former is in some Sense active, and, like the Almighty Mind,tends to produce new Things, new Worlds, new Systems without end; the latter is mere Passion, and ends inbare Brute Perception.
YET, Aristotle's Rules, it must be observed, do not tend to produce Poetry; I mean, not the Matter of Poetry; but only the Form. Aristotle's Art is not the Art of Poetry in that Sense; as its Rules don't tend to produce the Enthusiasm. They only give the human Part, and relate what Reason observes in the Productions ofthe Imagination, i.e. what there is in them that is a proper Object of this last Faculty, and comes under itsNotice. In essence, Poetry is only subject to Aristotle's Rules, as there is Reason, not as there is Inspiration or Invention in it.
THE Source of Poetry, we have observed, lies out of Poetry, in a higher Ground; and to turn the Streamupon us, is the Business of this other Art of Inspiration. The immediate Inspiration, is not so immediate as wemight imagine. It is not the ultimate Principle of Art, but is itself subordinate to another further, or purerArt; so that we must not have only Art and Rules to produce Poetry, but also to produce the Principle thereof,Inspiration, or Invention. And the same will hold of the Rules of this last Art, themselves, which will requireothers; and so in infinitum. At least, the Series will be infinite, if we only take ourselves, and our own Agency into the Account.
TO clear up this a little further; it is to be observed, that the Art, e.g. of Poetry, is not onlythe Result of another higher Art, as above laid down; but, as it consists of Matter and Form; these areeach of them the Subject of a particular Art, and each of them require another higher Art to producethem. The Means, for instance, necessary to Inspiration, or the Invention of Images, make one Art; andthose for their Application to the present Purpose, another. So that the Art of Poetry resolves itself intotwo subordinate ones; the first of which may be called the Art of Invention, the other the Art of Judgment, or Criticism: each of which has all the Characters of the general Art; is come at like it, producesnew Objects like it, and resolves like it into Matter and Form. Nor does the Matter end here: For aseach of these subordinate Arts, consists, again, of Matter and Form; each of them resolves lower into twoother Arts: and the same may be said of each of these; and so on. So that there is really an infinite Seriesof Arts, previous to any one, and accessory thereto; all distinct from each other, though all of the same general Nature and Kind, and only differing in Point of Order, or Subordinacy. They arise subordinately from the sameCause, and tend subordinately to the same End: Which Difference, or Subordination, as already noted, arisesonly from their greater, or less distance from the Principle of all Knowledge, Sensation.
UPON the whole, sensible Nature furnishes the Matter of them all, by means of the Imagination; andmoral Nature the Form, by means, or light of Reason. — The former Proposition has been sufficiently discussed. It remains to inquire a little further into the latter: For, that Reason furnishes the Means, &c. must befurther qualified, ere it be received. Our Reason, it is to be observed, does not perceive any necessary and immediate Connection between the Means, and the Effect: for there really is none. Consequently, Reason cannotbe the Author of them; in regard, the Medium is wanting whereby it could possibly attain them. So that theymust be procured by some other Channel, which will at length be found to end in Sensation. In essence, erewe know that such Means conduce to such End, we must first have observed, or found it so by Experience.
Our Memory suggests to us, that such or the like Causes, have been followed by such or the like Effects;which is the only Foundation we have to expect any thing from them on the present Occasion. — Thus, if Homer'sReason directed him to retire into a Place free of Noise and Disturbance, at a time when his Mind is clear andin due Temper; and there to apply himself with Attention and Earnestness, to think on his Subject: In consequence of which Means, new Ideas and Images present themselves; some more immediately relative to thepresent Purpose, others less: Whence comes all this, but that Homer remembers, such or the like Ideas as arenow wanted, to have arisen upon the use of such or the like Means? And if, among the Crowd of Images,he chooses only such as are most proper, and immediately conducive to his End, and throws aside or expungesthe rest; whence is this, but that he remembers such, on former Occasions, to have contributed more fullyto Ends like his own; than such others? So that the whole Process appears to be little other than Remembrance;which, we know, resolves into Sense.
OUR Inquiry now draws towards an Issue; and it only remains to show, in what manner Reason attains thisEnd, i.e., what farther or higher Means there are, whereby it is enabled to furnish Measures for the presentExigent, from the Circumstances of past ones? This it exercises by certain Perceptions of Similitude and Dis-similitude, Parity and Imparity, Congruity and Incongruity, between former and present Means, Occasions, &c. Byvirtue of these, the Mind infers, argues, or presumes, That "inasmuch as such Means were followed by such"Effect; such others, by parity of Reason, will be followed by such others:" And that "as there are such"and such Differences between former and present Occasions and Circumstances; there must be such and such"other correspondent Variations in the present Measures, to keep up the Congruity." All which resolves into that comprehensive Word, Analogy. Thus it is found, that every Means, every Step of an Art, includes whathas been already shown of the whole Art; and consists of Matter, furnished by Memory, from Sense and Observation; and Form, furnished by Reason, from Comparison, and Analogy.
AND thus it is Reason that makes all our historical Knowledge of any significance to us. 'Tis this that makes former Cases subservient to the present Occasion. We may look upon this, as the Instrument or Faculty of transferring; whereby the Effects of former Times and Places, are brought over to the present ones. Without this, Sense would lose its chief use; and Memory, with all its Copia, be no other than useless Lumber. 'Tis this Faculty alone that arranges our sensible Ideas into any thing of Subordinacy. Memory only presents 'em such as they first appeared; wholly distinct all, and independent of each other; being connected by nothing but their Compresence, or Co-existence in point of Time and Place. The Establishment of all other Relations is the Work of Reason; which, from these few sensible Relations, infers numerous others, e. g. from the Compresence of two Things, in respect of Time, Place, &c. it concludes that some new Appearance perceived in the one, was occasioned by the other; and therefore, that there was some Power in the latter, by which this was effected, &c. And thus it is we come by the Relations or Perceptions of Cause, Effects; Action, Passion; Property, Quality, &c. So that, to this Faculty of Reason, we owe the whole Science of Physics; which is no other than the Doctrine of Causes: At least, the Form thereof. The Matter, i. e. the Sensations themselves, being furnished by Sense, constitute Natural History, the Basis of all Knowledge whatever.
WE are now got to the Top of all our Natural Faculties, Reason; and the most refined of all our Science, Analogy. It remains to observe, that with this Natural Reason, is connected Moral Inclination. In the Case, for instance, of Good; to the Voice of Reason representing a Thing as such, is connected a Desire or Inclination towards the same; which is the Spring or Principle of all human Action, or Operation; and commands a number of subordinate ones, the application of all which constitutes what we call the Pursuit of such Good.
AND thus we are got to the bottom of all our moral Faculties, Desire or Inclination. Hence, as Reason is the End of Passion, or Perception; Inclination is the Beginning of Action: The one terminating in the Apprehension of Good, where the other commences. And again, as the Perception of Analogy is the ultimate Effect of Science; the Inclination arising by means hereof, is the Beginning of Art: the two being joined, and as it were, inosculated in some middle Point. And thus external or physical Things, come to influence or produce internal, or moral ones; thus the whole Effect of sensible Nature is applied to moral Nature. And thus do Physics take hold of Ethics; God, of Man. Hence, moral Knowledge may be considered as a kind of Medium between Perception, and Inclination; Action, and Passion; Science, and Art: Accordingly, it possesses a middle Region in the Orb of Knowledge; as being that by whose Mediation, a Communication is made between the two; and the Effects of the one imparted, or handed over to the other.
BUT, to determine the Nature and Origin of Analogy; and show how these Notices or Perceptions of Similitude, Parity, &c. by means whereof Reason makes her Conclusions, are arrived at; and whether they arise in the same general manner as other Ideas, by the Agency of the divine Being, (the human Mind remaining wholly passive therein) or whether we perceive or discern 'em immediately, by some intuitive Power inherent in the Nature of the Mind; and so are active therein—will need a little farther Attention.
IT must be allowed, then, that these Perceptions, Similitude, &c. are no proper Objects of Sense: They do not come from without, as any part of the Matter of our Sensations: they are of no Colour, Figure, Solidity, or the like. Nor do they seem to arise immediately, and necessarily, upon any Objects being presented; but rather to require some Action, or Operation of the Mind, to produce and give 'em being. The Truth is, they are not any immediate Objects, but result from a Comparison between several; which Comparison seems to be the Work of the Mind, bringing one to the other, and considering their Agreement and Disagreement.
BUT, tho this bids much fairest for Action of any thing yet alledged; yet will the whole hereof be found to resolve into Sense, and Memory.—Is, seeing a Sword run thro' a Person, I find he dies upon it; and seeing afterwards a Spear run in like manner thro' another, I conclude he will likewise die: Whence is this, but that in the latter Case, some of the Circumstances of the present Transaction, do necessarily recall the Memory of the former ones: Since, so far as they were alike, they were really the same? Consequently, as the Idea of Death was connected to the former; it belongs equally to the latter. In effect, in two similar things, so far as I see a Similitude, so far I see the same thing in both. Similitude is only a Repetition: and therefore what agrees to the one, must, so far as their Similitude goes, agree to the other, for the same Reason that it does to either. Hence, if I am passive in remembering the Sword, and passive likewise in seeing the Spear; and the one be in some respects the same with the other: I am not active in perceiving that Sameness: since 'tis only the Perception of one thing twice over. And my knowing it to be the same now, is only my remembering it to be what I had seen before; with this difference, that the Power which first represented it to me absolutely; does now represent it with this additional Circumstance, that I had seen it before.
AGAIN, if I argue or conclude that what agrees to, or arises from one thing; will do so in another thing similar only in some Circumstances: This is founded wholly on a Presumption, that the Agreement reaches to those Points upon which the former Effect depended. So that all physical Causation, in respect of us, is mere Presumption. Accordingly, the great Regulæ philosophandi established by Sir I. Newton, that "Effects of the same kind, arise from the same Cause:" and that "Qualities which agree to all the Bodies hitherto known, agree universally to all;" are at bottom only Presumptions. Yet are they just physical Laws; and the best the Subject will allow of.
ITS Axioms are only Duplicates of some Proposition, or the same thing expressed in two manners; the one direct, the other implicit; properly called Identical Propositions. Thus that Axiom, "The Whole is equal to its Parts;" easily resolves into this other, "The Whole has the Nature and Characters of a Whole:" which amounts to this, "A Whole is a Whole."TO illustrate the Progress of the Mind in this new Scene: Suppose, for instance, a Ball, or Sphere; and let it be divided into two Parts.—Our Senses do not inform us that the two Segments thereof are equal to the whole one: On the contrary, they represent them as very unequal; and 'tis Reason alone that finds their Equality. The Cause hereof, is, that the Figure, &c., of the divided Sphere, which are the things the Eye takes cognizance of, are very different from those of the whole one; and that the Quantity or Substance, in which alone the Equality consists, is no Object of Sight, but only of Reason; which informs us that the two Segments are still really the whole Sphere, only existing with some variety in respect of Figure, Place, &c. Hence we find it necessary, i.e., included in the Nature and Notion of a Whole, that the Sphere be equal to its Parts; and thus, by analogy, pronounce the same Ratio universally between every Whole and its Parts, and so make an Axiom which is the Foundation of a new kind of universal Knowledge. In effect, to say that the whole Sphere is equal to its Parts, is no more than to say, the Quantity or Substance is not altered by any Alterations made in its Figure, Place, Number, &c., which is as much as to say, that the Substance is the Substance, the Sphere, the Sphere.
FROM such Axioms it proceeds to Theorems and Problems; every one whereof is resolvable into Tests and Hypothesis; each of which may be again resolved into Axioms or identical Propositions, which is called Demonstrating. In fine, all Demonstration supposes Identical Propositions, and turns on 'em; and its Certainty arises from no other Principle, but the Identity or Sameness of the Thing implied in such Propositions, with the Thing express'd.
IT appears then, that the whole Process consists in abstracting, or setting aside the sensible Idea that gave the first Occasion, and considering the Relations thereof by themselves, as if they had distinct, independent Existences. By thus excluding the Consideration of the physical Ens, Sensation and Imagination are of course excluded, with all the Action and Inspiration annex'd to 'em; and thus is Reason left in full play, without anything to supersede, or divert it.- Thus we may be said to make a new World, and furnish it with a new Set of Creatures; and a new Doctrine, which is, as it were, the Shadow of the former. Metaphysics, and Mathematics, in effect, are the Science of Entia humana, or rationis, as Physics of Entia naturae, or sensus.
BUT such Abstracts, e.g., Quantity, Measure, Weight, &c., tho no immediate Objects of Sense, have yet a Connection with things which have, whereby they become of the utmost import in the World. There is that Relation established between the Faculties of Sense and Reason, that tho the Objects of the one be not cognizable by the other, yet the Communication between 'em is by the all-wise Creator made very near and intimate: Such Dimensions, Weight, &c., are combined by him with such Effects, Motions, Resonances, &c., and prove the Occasion of such and such Effects: which is the great Principle of all human Action, and all truly artificial production in the World.
BY means of this Communication, the first Impulse is brought back again from the highest pitch of abstracted Mathematics, to the first Objects of Sense; from Fluxions and Differences, the farthest Parts of the Path of infinite Reason has ever travelled to, to the grossest and most palpable Objects that strike every Sense. And thus are Action and Passion, Sensation and Reason, Art and Science, found to reciprocate, and produce each other.
HAVING thus discuss'd the Nature, and Characters of Art and Science; it remains to settle the Notion of a TERM of Art; a Diction as little understood as any thing in Language. Art and Science, we have observed, are Denominations of Knowledge under this or that Habitude; and Words are Representatives of the several Parts thereof. The whole Compass of Words, in all their Cases, is supposed equivalent to the whole System of possible Science; tho 'tis only a small Part thereof that is actual, i.e., only a few of the possible Combinations are, or ever will be, made.
THE Business of Knowledge, then, is canton'd out among the Body of Words; but they don't bear equal Shares thereof. Being Creatures of our own, we have dealt with 'em accordingly; and made some more, others less significant, at pleasure: some stand for large Tracts, or Provinces; others for little Spots, or petty Districts thereof. In effect, the Order wherein we attain our Knowledge, has occasion'd us to make a kind of Sortment and Package, if I may use the Word, in the Matter thereof. Tho the Mind only sees and perceives Individuals, which alone are the proper Objects thereof; yet it has a Power of combining and complicating these together, for its own conveniency: And hence its progress from Particulars to Generals; from Simple, to Complex. Hence we come to have Words of all Orders, and Degrees; from the Simplicity of an Atom, to the Complexness of the Universe. 'Tis pleasant to trace the Mind bundling up its Ideas, and giving Names to the several Parcels; to observe, for instance, how it proceeds from the simple Idea, Thinking, to the more complex one, Knowledge, thence to the more complex, a Science, thence farther to Scientifical, &c.
INDEED 'tis very few of our Words that express single, or simple Ideas. The Reason is, that observing certain Relations to obtain between the several Ideas; as, of Cause and Effect, Subject and Attribute, &c., we don't so much consider them absolutely and independently, as under such Circumstances and Relations to each other. The great Readiness and Propensity of the Mind to combine, and bundle up its Ideas, and thus pay, or receive 'em in Parcels, has left us very few simple ones; I mean, very few Names which denote only one Idea. The Words Atom, or Mathematical Point, usually imply several Ideas; in regard we are led to take their Attributes, and Relations, into the Consideration of the Subject: Thus we consider the Atom as hard, heavy, and invisible; as the Principle of physical Magnitude; as contributing to the Constitution of Bodies, &c. Even the primary Qualities themselves, as hardness, heaviness, &c., simple as they are in their own Nature;are so far combined with particular Circumstances, e.g. their Cause, Effects, Etc. that their names become none of the least complex.
IN this Sense of Term, we shall find little else but Terms in Language: Among Nouns, little beside proper Names, which indeed are out of the ordinary Case of Language, as serving occasionally to denote a hundred different Subjects. Yet even these sometimes become Terms; as, when any particular Ideas become constantly attached to 'em, e.g., In Maecenas, Machiavel, Augustus, Mars, Bucephalus, Buccentaur, Royal Oak. Among Verbs, very few but are Terms, except the general ones, to be, to do, and to suffer. As all the others suppose these and modify or superadd some farther Circumstance thereto; they commence Terms of course: such for instance is the Word to moisten; which, as it carries a farther meaning than the bare Act of applying a Fluid to a dry Body, and denotes, e.g., the Modus of its Effect, and the Alteration superinduced by it, in the softening, lubricating, &c., is a good Term. So, to strike, as it not only implies a certain Motion of the Arm, but this Motion, effected by the successive Contraction and Dilatation of certain Muscles, &c., has every thing that is essential to a Term. In the same Sense, a Staff is a Term as much as a Lever; and a Fin, as an Axis in peritrochio.
THIS may look like stretching a Point, especially to those who are used to consider Terms as Things, I know not how quaint, and mysterious; and make a Term and a hard Word the same thing. But there is no Remedy: Complexness is the only Characteristic that will be found to hold good of 'em all; and if there be any other more specific and distinguishing Properties in most of 'em, as we shall have occasion hereafter to show there are, yet these, not being universal, cannot be made the Foundation of a just Philosophical Definition. They may perhaps be introduced, to good purpose, into a popular one; as they afford a more useful and adequate Knowledge of the Subject so far as they do obtain.
THUS much relates to what we may call terms of Knowledge, which are one degree more simple than the Terms of an Art, or Science; and were, for that Reason, pitch'd upon to exhibit the common Nature, and Origin of both. These latter arise out of the former, by the Superaddition of some new Character or Condition. They were before Members of the Commonwealth of Knowledge; but are now incorporated into some certain Province, or City thereof; where they become of farther Significance and Consideration than before: that is some new Ideas and Circumstances are now taken into the Combination, which before did not belong to it.--A Term of Art, then, "is a Word that has a Meaning beyond its general, or scientifical one; and this Meaning restrain'd to some one Art." Or, it is "a Word used to denote a certain Combination of Ideas, under some peculiar Relation; retained arbitrarily in some Art, and either not used in any other Art, or for a different Combination, or with other Relations and Circumstances."TO make the way a Wider to the Philosophy of a Term of Art, it is to be observ'd, that from the primary or literal Sense of Words, we frequently, by Abstraction, form a secondary, general, or philosophical one, expressing only the Quality most predominant in the former, exclusive of the particular Circumstances of the Concrete. Thus the Word Spirit, literally and primarily signifying Breath; we thence frame a more simple general meaning, and use the Word for any thin, subtle Matter whatever.—Now, Terms of Art are not immediately formed from the literal, or grammatical, but from the general, or philosophical, Acceptations of Words; which are their proper Basis, or the Ground-work they are erected on. The general or abstract Sense of some Word already established, being found to agree to something which we have occasion to give a Name to; we take the Word in that Sense, and superadd the other Incidents and Circumstances which the present Occasions furnish, thereto: which being different according to the different Matter and Subject of the Art specify the meaning of the Term in this, or that Art. So that the Word which, to raise it to a philosophical or identified Sense, was generalized; to form a Technical one is again particulariz'd, or appropriated, and invested with new Accidents. Which falls in with the Difference above laid down between Art and Science.
THUS, the same Word Spirit, which literally signifies Breath, and philosophically any subtle Substance, is technically brought to denote diverse other things; as, in Anatomy, a thin animal Juice secreted in the Brain, and detached thence through the Nerves for the Uses of Sensation and muscular Motion: in Chemistry, the Exhalations of Bodies expos'd to the Fire: in Theology, the third Person of the Trinity: in Metaphysics, any incorporeal Agent or Intelligence, &c. In all which, we see the same Substratum, viz. a fine subtle Substance; but this modified a great diversity of ways: each of which is susceptible, by farther Super-additions, of infinite more. And hence Legions of sorts of Spirits, both in the human Body, the Chemists' Laboratories, the Hierarchy, &c.
THE Notion of a Term will receive some farther Light from that of a DEFINITION; which is, as it were the Analysis thereof.—By Definition we undo, what was done in the Term; that is, we resolve the complex Ideas into simple ones, or restore the Ideas from their new and artificial State, to their primitive and vague one. A Definition then, may be defined, "an Enumeration of the several simple Ideas couched under any Term, in the Relation wherein they stand to one another."—We have already shown, that Terms are Words which have peculiar and determinate Meanings, resulting from a certain Combination of Ideas; in which view, a Term may be found to be, "a Word that is capable of Definition;" i.e. of having its Sense explained, and ascertained by an Enumeration of its Properties, and Relations: by which it is distinguish'd from other Words merely grammatical, whose Meanings are general and indeterminate, and may be used with equal propriety in a thousand Cases. We can explain a Term: A Word is inexplicable: all we can do towards this, amounts not to Definition, but only to Substitution.
THUS the Idea attached, for instance, to the Word Force, is absolutely incommunicable by means of any Language; we can only try whether the Party have it not already, under another Name; to which end we may tell him 'tis Power, or Energy, or Vigour; if he have Ideas for any of these, he'll take in that of Force, by Relation thereto; if he have not, we must proceed to try him with more, and tell him 'tis Forza,
IF none of these will do, it remains to try, whether he may not have it, without any Name to it; and say, 'tis "That whereby one thing, coming in contact with another, moves, or makes, or breaks it," &c. — If by any of these means he learns what Force is, he does not form any new Idea: he only learns a new Name; and finds that what he calls by one Name, others call by another; or that what he had never taken the Pains to distinguish by any Name, some others have. To get the Idea, he must have recourse to Sensation, not to Language; it being a physical Term, and only to be attain'd that way.
BUT the simple Idea called Force, being given; and coming to be afterwards modified or circumstantiated by new Accidents added thereto, and thus formed into Terms, in this or that Art; 'tis here in the Power of Language, alone, to excite 'em; by resolving such compound Idea into its ingredient ones, which being recompounded or put together again in the manner assigned by the Definition, gives the full adequate Import thereof. Thus the Idea of Force being variously modified, and combined with other Ideas of Centre, Attraction, Repulsion, Will, Machine, &c. in the Words, Central Force, Centripetal Force, Centrifugal Force, Necessity or Moral Force, Mechanick Power, &c. we can, by Definition, arrive at the Meaning thereof; by having those Circumstances specified, or superadded to the Idea of Force. — In this case, there is no coming at the Idea by Sensation; in regard 'tis a Creature of our own, and does not exist anywhere without us, to make an Object of Sense.
HENCE appears all the diversity of Definitions; Technical ones, comporting only to Terms, as to Central Force; Scientifical or Philosophical, to Qualities, as Forcefulness; and Nominal or Succedaneous, belonging to simple Ideas, as Force.
'TIS the various Assemblage of simple Ideas denoted by common Words, that makes all the Variety of Terms; as 'tis of Simples in an Apothecary's Shop, that makes the Variety of his Medicines. — The Analogy goes farther; and it may be said that Terms, like Medicines, only differ from each other as their ingredient Ideas, and the Relations thereof do differ. — If these be not all rehearsed in the Definition, the Term or Medicine is not specified, or distinguished from some other, which may have all except that one or two omitted. Consequently, such one or two are the Characteristics of that Term; which may be explained in some sort, by only enumerating those Characteristics, and couching all the rest under that other Term. This amounts to little more than the Substitution abovementioned; and yet to this is reducible all that the Schoolmen teach of Genus, Species, and Difference.
BESIDE simple Words, which we have observed are, in their own Nature, inexplicable; there are divers others that become accidentally so: And such are all the Data, or preliminary Principles of any Art, with respect to those who confine themselves to the Bounds of that Art. Thus, if it be demanded of an Apothecary, to define one of his Simples, e.g. Mercury; he must needs be at a stand, unless he be likewise versed in Mineralogy; by reason it is putting him to explain a Datum, which his Art does not explain, but assume; the Explication thereof lying in another Province. For the Data or Principles of any Art, are only explicable from another, e.g. those of Chemistry, Pharmacy, &c. from Physics; Physics, from Physiology and Mechanics; Mechanics from Geometry, &c. So that to explain Mercury, would to him be, in some measure, to explain a simple Idea. But ask him to define Calomel, and he is prepared for you; and will readily enumerate the several Ingredients, and the manner of preparing it: which is the proper pharmaceutical Definition of Calomel.
HERE it may be observed, that the Words used in the Definition of a Term, do many of 'em represent complex Ideas; and consequently ought themselves to be defined, if we would have the Definition complete. The Term has usually divers subaltern ones; all which are resolvable into it, and make part and parcel of the Knowledge held forth by it. Thus, if Calomel be defined, "A medicinal Powder precipitated from a Solution of crude Mercury in Aqua fortis, by adding thereto a Lixivium of Sea Salt; and then purified by repeated Ablutions in a Filter," &c. The Ideas, Powder, Precipitated, Solution, Mercury, Aqua fortis, Ablution, Filter, &c. remain to be explained, to furnish the complete Notion of Calomel. — But as this would be endless, and would defeat the Intention of a Definition; the Practice obtains, to suppose all other Terms known, except that particular one under Definition. By this means, we avoid the Embarrass of bringing down every Word to its Principles, or simple Ideas; and acquit ourselves by bringing it to the next complex ones: Since the bringing an unknown Term to several known ones, is a kind of indirect Definition.
SUCH is the Nature of a Technical Definition, which holds good or valid for those of that Art, or Craft; who are to be supposed furnished with the necessary Data, or preliminary Notices. But to make a scientific Definition, we must go still lower; and bring down the Words, if not to their simple Ideas, yet to general or common ones. For it is to be observed, there are great numbers of complex Ideas current among most People, which therefore may be considered as Data, and used as simple ones, for more conveniency sake. All technical Apparatus, then, is to be here thrown by; and instead of giving five or six hard Words for one, the general Effect, and Meanings thereof are to be made use of. Thus, Calomel may be defined "a white Powder, which falls down from Quicksilver dissolved in Spirit of Salt-petre, upon casting Salt therein; and is afterwards washed, again and again, by passing fair Water thro' it," &c. Where, tho several of the Words be complex; yet most People, in the ordinary Course of Life, have framed the complex Ideas belonging to 'em: so that they may be considered as simple ones. — Yet the Definition can scarce be said to be complete, even here: The general or philosophical Sense of Words, we have observed, is formed from the grammatical one; and consequently the Definition ought in strictness to extend thither: The Solution, to be adequate, should go as far as the Knot; the Analysis as the Synthesis.
THE Reader already begins to feel this Preface grow tiresome; and yet half the Business is still behind. When so large a Work was to follow, he perhaps imagines he should have been excused from a long Preface: and the like, probably, may the Author say; who, after so tedious a Work, could not be over-fond of any supernumerary Fatigue. But, the Expediency of the Case, which sway'd and determined the one; may suffice to satisfy the other. Several Matters were purposely waived in the Course of the Book, to be treated of in the Preface; which appeared the properest Place for such Things as have a regard to the whole Work. What has been hitherto insisted on, as well as what remains, immediately affects every Article in the Book; and tends, withal, to let a little needful Light into certain Points hitherto involved in great Obscurity. I consider a Preface, as a kind of Vehicle, wherewithal to convey the Reader commodiously from the Title into the Book. The Preface is a kind of Comment on the Title, the Book a Paraphrase on it: Or, if you had rather, the Book is the Title executed, the Preface the Title explained.
HAVING, therefore, dispatched the leading Words Art, Science, Term, and Definition; we proceed to consider the Nature of a DICTIONARY. It were to be wished that the many Adventurers in Print, who publish their Thoughts under this or that Form and Denomination, would frame themselves a precise Notion of the Character and Laws thereof. There is something arbitrary, and artificial in all Writings: They are a kind of Drafts or Pictures, where the Aspect, Attitude, and Light, which the Objects are taken in, tho merely arbitrary, yet sway and direct the whole Representation.
'TIS beyond my Purpose to enter into the Nature of the several Methods of Composition abovementioned; I shall only note, by the way, that the first Writers in each, marked and chalked out the Measures for all that came after them. The several Manners of composing amount to so many Arts; which, we have already shown, are things in great measure personal, and depend on the Genius or Humour of the Inventors.
WERE we to inquire who first led up the way of Dictionaries, of late so much frequented; some little Grammarian, would, probably, be found at the head thereof: And from his particular Views, Designs, &c., is known, one might probably deduce, not only the general Form, but even the particular Circumstances of the modern Productions under that Name. The Relation, however, extends both ways; and if we can't deduce the Nature of a Dictionary from the Condition of the Author; we may the Conditions of the Author from the Nature of the Dictionary. Thus much, at least, we may say, that he was an Analyst; that his View was not to improve or advance Knowledge, but to teach, or convey it; and that he was hence led to untie the Complexities or Bundles of Ideas his Predecessors had made, and reduce them to their natural simplicity; which is all that is essential to a Dictionarist. Probably this was in the early Days of the Phoenician or Egyptian Sages, when Words were more complex and obscure than now; and mystic Symbols and Hieroglyphics obtained; so that an Explication of their Marks or Words, might amount to a Revelation of their whole inner Philosophy: In which Case, instead of a Grammarian, we must put perhaps a Magus, a Mystes, or Brahman at the head of Dictionaries. Indeed this seems the more probable; for that a grammatical Dictionary could only have place, where a Language was already become very copious, and many Synonyms got into it; or where the People of one Language were desirous to learn that of another: which we have no reason to think could be very early, till much Commerce and Communication had made it necessary.
WHEN a Path is once made, Men are naturally disposed to follow it; even tho it be not the most convenient: Numbers will enlarge, and widen, or even make it straighter and easier; but 'tis odds they don't alter its Course. To deviate from it, is only for the Ignorant and Irregular; Persons who don't well know it, or are too licentious to keep it. And hence the Alterations and Improvements made in the several Arts, are chiefly owing to People of those Characters. There is scarce a more powerful Principle in Nature than that of Imitation, which not only leads us to do what we see others do, but as they do it. 'Tis true there are Exceptions from every Rule: there are Heteroclites, Persons in good measure exempted from the Influence of this Principle; and 'tis happy there are; witness such as Paracelsus, Hobbes, Leibnitz, &c. In effect, If an Art were first broached by a happy Genius, it is afterwards cultivated, on his Principles, to advantage; otherwise not: and it may wait long for the anomalous Hand of some Reformer, to set it to rights. Some of our Arts have met with such Hands, others still want them.
WERE we, now, to give an absolute and consistent Definition of a Dictionary; we should say, "It is a Collection of Definitions of the Words of a Language." Whence, according to the different kinds of Words and Definitions above laid down, i.e. according to the different Matter, and the different View wherein such Matter is considered, will arise different sorts of Dictionaries: Grammatical, as the common Dictionaries of Languages, which for one Word substitute another of equal import, but more obvious sense: Philosophical, which give the general Force or Effect of the Words, or what is common to them in all the Occasions where they occur: and technical, which give the particular Sense attach'd to them in some one or more Arts.
BUT, in truth, this is a little chimerical; and is to forget what has been already said. Tho we have Dictionaries under all these Titles; it would perhaps be hard to find any conformable to this Partition; which is not so much taken from what really is, as what might, or should be. Dictionarists are far from considering their Subject so closely, or confining themselves to so narrow, tho direct, a Channel: They must have more room; and think themselves privileg'd by the general Quality of Lexicographers, to use all kinds of Definitions promiscuously. 'Tis no wonder they should not keep to Views which they had not, and which could only arise from Researches they never made. While the Notions of Term and Art, remain'd yet in the Rubbish they were left by the Schoolmen; those of Definition and Dictionary must needs be vague and arbitrary enough; and the Dictionarists and Expositors, profited by an Embarrassment it was their Business to have removed. They have not only built on it, but improved it, by a continual varying and confounding of Views, imperfect Enumerations, &c.
'TIS not to be imagin'd, the Mischiefs, and Inconveniences that have arose from this single Head; the great Uncertainty it has introduc'd into Language; and the Obstacle it has been to the Improvement thereof. 'Tis certain it has, in great measure, defeated the Intention of Speech; and turn'd Knowledge, which that was to be the Medium of, into Jargon and Controversy. All the Confusion of Babel is brought upon us hereby; and People of the same Country, nay the same Profession, no longer understand one another.— The Effect is, that our Knowledge is grown into little other, than that of Peoples' Misunderstandings or Misapprehensions of one another; which is the only kind of Knowledge that grows; and which will forever grow; there being the Seeds already laid of such Disputes, as, according to the ordinary spreading of such things, must overshadow, and starve every thing else. If all Men meant precisely the same thing by the same Name, there would be no room for their differing, upon any Point, either in Philosophy or any thing else: There is no more possibility of seeing the Relations of Things to each other, differently; than of altering their Nature, and overturning the System. Relations of Ideas are as immutable as the Creator's Will.-- Error, in effect, is no natural Production; nor is there any direct way of coming at it: We must go about for it; and find some Law of Nature, to put it in our Power. So that Error is in one sense Truth ere it takes place; only 'tis not the Truth it is taken for.
THE other, Didactic, just the Converse of the former; in which we go from Words, and Sounds, to Ideas, and Things; that is, begin with the Term, end with the Explanation. — This is the historical Way, or the way of Teaching and Narration; of resolving the extraordinary Knowledge of one Person, into the ordinary of another; of distributing artificial Complications, into their simple Ideas: and thus razing and levelling again what Art had erected.
THE Dictionary comes under the latter Kind. It supposes the Advances and Discoveries made, and comes to explain or relate them. The Dictionarist, like an Historian, comes after the Affair; and gives a Description of what passed. The several Terms, are so many Subjects, supposed to be known to him; and which he imparts to others, by a Detail of the Particulars thereof. Indeed, the Analogy between a Dictionary and a History, is closer than People at first sight may imagine: The Dictionarist relates what has passed with regard to each of our Ideas, in the Coalitions, or Combinations that have been made thereof: His Business is to deliver the Progresses made in the several Parts of Knowledge under his Consideration, by an orderly Retrospect and Deduction of the Terms, from their present complex, to their original simple State. The Dictionary of an Art, is the proper History of such Art: The Dictionary of a Language, the History of that Language. The one relates that such an Art, or such and such Parts thereof, stand so and so; are managed so and so; and the result so and so: The other, that such and such a Word is used as synonymous to such and such others. The Dictionarist is not supposed to have any hand in the Things he relates; he is no more concerned to make the Improvements, or establish the Significations, than the Historian to achieve the Transactions he relates.
THE difference between what we commonly call the History of an Art, and a Dictionary thereof, is only circumstantial; arising from the different Views of the two Authors: The one chiefly regards the Time and Order when each Step, each Advance, was first made, i.e. how it stood with respect to such and such Eras, or Periods of Time; and might more properly be called the Chronology of the Art: the other regarding chiefly the Object or Intention of the Art, relates its present Constitution, and how it proceeds to attain the End proposed. You may add, that the former primarily considers what is past, or already advanced; the other also what is present, or remains to be done: The one tells, e.g. how Mercury finding a dead Tortoise on the Shore, took its Shell, added Strings to it, and made it into a Lyre: The other, how a Lyre is, or may be made. And if you will likewise add this, that the History intermixes divers foreign, and accidental Circumstances with the Discovery; which the Dictionary abstracts and sets aside, and so reduces it nearer to Science: you will have the full and adequate Difference between 'em. Thus the making of the first Lyre is related with some Circumstances which have no place in the proper Structure of the Instrument, and are therefore to be omitted in the Dictionary, which only takes in what belongs to the Art, or Artists in general; not what belongs to some one of 'em.
THE whole, in effect, amounts to this, that the first time of doing a thing, is related by the Historian with the several Particulars which in any wise, though occasionally only and remotely, affected it: Whereas the Dictionarist, coming afterward, keeps more closely and severely to the Point, and relates nothing but what is essential; that is, the first time, the thing is considered as now arising; a new Production or Phenomenon, from some analogous Principle; and therefore we attend to the foreign Causes that brought it forth: whereas afterwards, we consider it as arising from the pre-existing Theory, or Prescriptions of Artists, and thus resolve the Cause into the Art itself.
ANY other difference which there may seem to be between the two; is only as to more or less particular; which, indeed, is a thing that embarrasses and amuses us on many other occasions: Thus in mere civil Histories, if one relates the Series of a Campaign, another the Bombardment of a Town, and a third the Wounding and Death of a general Officer; though the two latter Subjects be only Parts of the former, yet the first will be said to have composed a Piece of History, the second a Piece of Fortification, and the third a Piece of Chirurgery. And yet there is no other difference between them, than between the Geography of a Country, and the Topography of a Village, or a Hillock; the History of a Nation, and the Biography of a single Person.
O say no more, the Dictionary of an Art stands in much the same Relation to the History thereof; that the History of a People, does to the Lives of all the considerable and active Persons therein. Their difference is only as to the Point of Sight; the Eye being supposed so near in the one Case, as to see the Parts distinctly, and in the other so far off, as to take in the Whole completely: whence the one gives you all the Incidents; the other only the greater. In effect, the one is all concerted to one point of view, most favourable to the Whole, and the great Parts; the other to many; the Eye being shifted for each Part, to furnish an adequate Representation thereof. In the one Case, it is supposed within the Work; so as only to see those Parts next it, which necessarily hide the rest; in the other, 'tis without, and can only take cognisance of those which lie outwards: So that the one chiefly discovers how things stand within; the other how they stand with regard to the adjacent ones.
I AM afraid to keep the Reader any longer in this painful way of Disquisition, wherein we are obliged to dig for every step we take. It would doubtless seem a more agreeable, as well as more reputable Employment, to be raising things on high; than thus engaged in sinking, and working under ground: A Castle in the Air is an Object of Pleasure to every body, while it lasts; and withal is easily raised, and at small Expenses. Your Mines and subterranean Matters are mere drudgery, and Pioneers work; difficult to carry on, dubious of Success, and overlooked when done. Being therefore arrived near the Surface, we take this Opportunity to quit the Course, and emerge to open Air.
AFTER so severe an Inquiry into the Reason, Nature, and Perfections of a Dictionary; it may prove dangerous and impolitic to speak any thing about the present one. From the Design of a Dictionary in general, to the actual Performance of any particular one, the Language must be much altered.
INDEED, a too servile Attachment to the Rules and Methods of an Art, in many Cases proves incommodious and impertinent. We know that the Rules of an Art are posterior to the Art itself; and were taken from it or adjusted to it, after the thing itself was done. An Author, therefore, is still in some measure left to his own Conduct, and may consider himself as invested with a sort of discretionary Power, whereby he can dispense with some of 'em, and go by others of his own suggesting, where he apprehends it for the general advantage of the Work. The Heights of Art are never to be reached by the Rules, but by Genius; by reason the Rules were accommodated to a certain Concourse of Circumstances, which rarely happens twice; so that Laws should be made de novo for every new Case, or Condition of things. While a Person considers himself as following at second hand, the Measures pointed out or prescribed by others; he will not go on with that Spirit and Alacrity, as when he follows his own Bent. He should therefore consider himself in the Place of the first Inventor, or as his Representative, or Successor; and therefore qualified to enact with the same Authority for the present occasion, as he did for another.
WHEN a Law is not founded on mere Reason, as we have shown is the Case in Art; the Observation of such Law cannot be enjoined on others. It may well obtain with respect to the Person that first established it, as being agreeable to his personal Reason, i.e. accommodated to his particular Combination of Genius, Situation, and other Circumstances; but can't extend to those in whom this Combination is different. Accordingly, Few Laws of Art are universal. Small matter by what Laws and Prescripts a People is guided, provided they be led on to Happiness; or by what Course a Vessel steers, if she do but make a prosperous Voyage.
WITH this View, in the present Work, we have taken all the Advantages the nature of the Thing would afford us; and have frequently made ourselves Delinquents against strict Rule, for our Reader's good. — A Dictionary, by our own Concession, is to be a History; and yet we have not kept so close to that Form, as to abandon the Benefit of all others. In the business of Mathematics, for instance, the regular way is to relate, or enumerate the several Matters belonging thereto, without investigating or demonstrating their truth: Demonstrations, strictly speaking, have nothing to do in a Dictionary, no more than authentick Instruments, Declarations, &c. in a History. To pretend to demonstrate the several Properties and Relations, e.g. of Lines, Angles, Numbers, &c. in a Dictionary, were an Indiscretion as great, as for an Historian to produce Certificates, and Copies of Parish Registers, of the Births, Burials, Marriages, &c. of the several Persons whose Actions he relates.— And yet, on some extraordinary Occasions, we have not forbore to give Demonstrations; where, for instance, there was any thing very interesting, or important in 'em: A Practice which Historians themselves frequently give into — tho it be a confessed Irregularity, as it breaks in upon the Unity of the Narration, and accordingly gives their Work the Denomination of Mix'd History.
BUT we are far from the Views of some Dictionarists, who think it incumbent on 'em to demonstrate every thing that is capable thereof. This is directly to forget their Quality; to corrupt the Integrity of the Work mal à propos; 'tis being licentious, and impertinent at the same time, and dispensing with the Rules to their own cost. How dear, e.g., must a competent Demonstration of most of Euclid's Propositions be here purchased? Either the Reader must be at the Pains of picking it piecemeal from out of twenty several parts of the Book, where the Alphabet has happen'd to cast it; or the Author must relinquish the Advantages of a Dictionary, and deliver things together, that properly belong to so many several places; or there must be a Repetition of the same thing a dozen times over. And for what? why, to make the Dictionary do the Business of an Euclid's Elements; which it is the un-fittest in the World for. You might with equal propriety make an ozier Basket supply the Office of a Pleasure-Boat; or a Sword-pummel that of a Portmanteau, as Paracelsus is said to have done.
WHEN a thing has been once regularly demonstrated, it may be assumed, or taken for granted: everybody perhaps may be concerned in the Truth of it; but not to see the Truth of it. To make it a Principle to take nothing upon trust, would be as troublesome in the Sciences, as in Life; and we must remain forever, both wretched, and ignorant. Not only Suppositions, but even Errors, frequently lead us to Knowledge otherwise inaccessible. Mathematicians themselves, who of all others keep most to Demonstration, yet find themselves under a frequent Necessity of admitting and making use of things as true, which they do not see to be so; and thus are sway'd, like other People, by Authority. A Person who makes use of the Equality of the Square of the Hypotenuse, to the Squares of the two Sides; upon the Credit of Pythagoras, or Euclid's having demonstrated it; does little more than what they themselves do on many Occasions, who assume and make use of Propositions they have no other evidence of, but the knowledge or remembrance of their having been demonstrated.
THE Case is much the same with experimenting; which stands on the like footing as demonstrating. They are both necessary in their kind; the latter, as it leads on our Knowledge, the former as it follows, and secures the Rear: But their use is to be restrained to these Purposes; and may be dispensed withal in Cases where neither of these are concerned. A Person who would discover any Point in Physicks, or broach and establish any Point in Mathematics, must use 'em: But the Occasion is in great measure private, and personal; and does not extend to the Publick in the same degree as the Knowledge of the Doctrines themselves. That is, the particular means by which a thing was first come at, or is shown to be true, do not interest us so immediately as the Knowledge of the thing itself, which might have arose from various other means, and in other manners: A Man may know a thing in the way of Presumption, of Opinion, of Surmise, of Authority, and forty other ways; which, tho all much inferior and less excellent than the way of Demonstration, and Certainty; yet we are glad of 'em on many occasions, and use 'em to good purpose. Every degree of Knowledge is valuable. It would be an unreasonable, as well as an incommodious Sullenness in us, to refuse all Light, except that of Noon-day. We find our Ease and Happiness frequently depend on the doing of things by Twilight, or even Moon-light, or the still more dubious Light of, perhaps, a Rush or a Glow-worm.
PYTHAGORAS, in all probability, was not ignorant of the Equality of the Square of the Hypotenuse, &c. before he demonstrated it; else, what should have led him to look for the Demonstration? And the like may be said of many of Mr. Boyle's Experiments. Plato even observes, that "the very putting a Question, implies some Knowledge of the thing demanded; since without this we should not know that what is returned is an Answer."
Yet, in the Case of Experiments, as of Demonstrations, we have receded a little from strict Method, in favour of such as have any thing very remarkable or beautiful in 'em. For the rest, the Reader, if his Curiosity serves him, is told where to have 'em at first hand.
IN the Case of Definitions, too, we do not keep inviolably to what has been above laid down; but reserve to ourselves the discretionary Right above specified. We make use occasionally of all sorts of Definitions, as they best suit our Design, the conveying of Knowledge. In effect, we have usually a Regard to the degree of notoriety, importance, &c. of the Term, tho a Point arbitrary, and indefinite enough; and endeavour to accommodate the Explication thereto. 'Tis a Rule with us, to say, Communia proprie, propria communiter; to express common Things so as that even the Learned may be the better for 'em; and the more abstract and difficult, so as even the Ignorant may enter into 'em. Accordingly, in popular Terms we endeavour to give a technical Definition, i.e. to waive the general and obvious Meaning, which is supposed to be known; and enter farther into the nature of the Thing, not known: As in defining of Milk, &c. But in the more remote Terms, the popular and nominal Definition is also given, as being supposed to be here wanted.
THE literal and technical Definitions of a Term, are same and imperfect without each other; the first gives its Use and Effect, as part of general or abstracted Science; the second, as applied to some particular Subject. The literal Notion, e.g. of Relation, is that of "conformity, dependence, or comparison of one thing to another:" Thus much is common to Relation, both in Grammar, Logick, Geometry, &c. i.e. it expresses this, both when applied to Words, to Propositions, to Quantities, &c. The technical Notion of Relation in Grammar, is "the dependence of Words in Construction:" This makes the grammatical Notion of Relation, i.e. it limits or ties down the general abstract Idea of Relation, to the particular Subject of Grammar, Words. Again, the technical Notion of Relation, with regard to Arithmetick, Geometry, &c. is "the conformity, or dependence between two or more Lines or Numbers;" i.e. the Mathematicians adopting the Word into their Art, restrain its literal or general Meaning, to some particular Purposes of their own, i.e. to Quantities.
FROM the whole, it follows, that the two Kinds of Definitions differ as an Art and a Science; as general and particular Reason; and again, as abstract, and concrete. And hence, from the several technical or particular Meanings, one might of themselves run back to the general, or literal Meaning, by abstracting; but not contrariwise, from the general or abstract to the particular ones; in regard those other are arbitrary, and depend on the good pleasure of the Artist who first introduced them.
ACCORDING to strictness, every Term should be first given in its literal, or grammatical Meaning; especially when the same is a Term in several Arts; as this helps to fill up the Series, and show the orderly Derivation of the Word, a primis naturalibus, from the first simple Ideas that gave rise to it, to its last, and utmost Composition. This is like giving the Root of the Family; which is certainly necessary to its Genealogy — Yet we have not always kept to this Method. In some Words, there is a deal of the literal import of the Word preserved in the Term or the technical one; as in the word Free, or Freedom: A Man who has a Notion of Freedom in its common or literal Sense, will easily pass on to all the particular ones, as Free City, Free Port, Freedom of Speech, of Behaviour, &c. So that in this Case, a literal Definition might almost alone suffice; the Word having suffered very little at the hands of Artists. In other Words, the literal or primary import of the Word, is almost lost in the Term: for instance, in the Term Power, in Arithmetick; which will scarce bear any tolerable Definition at all. Literally, the Word implies a Relation of Superiority or Ascendency over something, which in respect hereof is conceived as weak, &c. According to the analogy of Language therefore the Arithmetical Power should have somewhat of this relation of superiority over the Root: But the Root itself is also a Power: So that the Definition of Power must take in two opposite Relations, viz Power and Subjection.
PERHAPS, to go in the most regular manner, and take up things from their Source; one should begin with settling their Etymologies: but the great alterations Words undergo, and the great length they are run from their original Meanings, in being borrowed from one Language or Age to another, would frequently make this not only a tedious, but an useless Labour: so that here, too, we have used a discretionary Power, and only meddled with Etymologies where they appeared of any significance.
TO explain a Term as a Term, we usually express the Circumstances wherewith it is attended in the Art to which it belongs, in their artful Names. This is agreeable to the manner of Artists, who writing of their respective Arts, use Terms as common Words, and suppose 'em to be known: and 'tis this that constitutes a technical Explanation; not the giving the general Effect or Force, in such Words as may equally agree to all other Arts. And yet in some Cases we recede from this Rule, particularly in divers of the lower Class of Manual Arts, and the Structure of some Machines: Thus, e.g. in Turnery, we make no difficulty for instance instead of Chuck, to say a round piece of Wood, &c. The reason is, that where the several subordinate Terms of a Definition are themselves explained in their places, we may suppose 'em understood; but where the Term defined is itself so low, that we do not go lower to define the Parts couched under it; there we choose as more scientific, to substitute some more obvious Name, or the general Meaning of the Word for the Term itself; and thus prefer the general or popular, to the technical Definition.
FOR it is to be observed, that the Dictionary has its Limits; it only carries Matters so low; to a certain pitch or Simplicity where we suppose People may take 'em up, and carry 'em farther as they please. We bring 'em into their Sphere and so leave 'em. So much Knowledge, i.e. such a number of complex Ideas as we may presume 'em usually to have got in the common Occurrences of Life, we are willing to suppose, as a Footing: where these end, our Dictionary is to begin, which is to take in the rest.
IF at any time we explain a complex Idea, which it may be supposed most People have formed; 'tis because we think they don't take in all the simple Ideas that go to constitute it: as in the Case of Milk, Blood or the like; where People are contented with two or three of the more obvious Properties and Phenomena, and slur over the rest.—Thus in Milk, Whiteness and Fluidity are almost alone considered; and this, in the common Opinion, constitute Milk; so that whatever has these two Attributes, comes in for the denomination Milky. The Texture and component Parts of this Milk, the manner of that Fluid's being secreted, collected, &c., with the peculiar Properties, and Virtues resulting from all these are left behind. So in Blood, 'tis enough it be a reddish, pretty compact, animal Juice, when warm, fluid and homogeneous, &c. This is going a great way, and even the Dictionaries seldom go farther: But, for the component Parts, the Cruor and Serum; with the component Principles of these, viz. the Oil, Phlegm, &c., their Form, Properties, &c.
IF, by the Artifice abovementioned, we get free of a vast load of plebeian Words, which must have greatly encumbered us; the Grammar and Analogy of Language disengages us from a still greater number of all kinds. The various States of the same Word, considered as it comes under different Parts of Speech, and accordingly assumes different Terminations, increases the List of Terms immensely: as, in Dark, Darkness, Darkening; Project, Projection, Projectile, Projective, &c. which may either be considered as one and the same Word under different Habitudes; in regard there is a common Substratum of them all: or, as so many different Terms; in regard every one takes in something not contained in the other. This Latitude we make use of occasionally; and either consider the Words this way or that, as seems most advantageous to our purpose. In some Cases, where the Alteration is merely grammatical, we content ourselves to explain 'em in one state, e.g. Shearing; and suppose the Reader able, by Grammar to form the rest, as Shorn, &c. In others, where several particular Ideas are arbitrarily superadded to the Word in one Part of Speech, which do not belong to it in another, we there explain it in all: as, Precipitate, Precipitant, Precipitation, &c.
THIS gives an occasion to mention a strange kind of License frequently practised in our Language. Though there be ordinarily a great deal of difference between the several States or Modifications of the same Word, e.g. Reflecting, Reflection, Reflexible, &c. the same as between the Action and Quality, the Power and the Exercise of it in this or that Case, the Cause and the Effect; yet Authors make no difficulty of using 'em promiscuously: which would make downright Nonsense, were the Readers to keep to the strict import of the Words. But the Truth is, we are not so critical about the Matter; if the Meaning comes within our reach we jump at it, and are glad to take it; without waiting to see whether it would reach us in its present Direction, or whether it might not rather fall short, or fly by us. What Confusion should we make, even in our best and clearest Writers, were we resolved not to understand 'em but according to the strict Rules of Grammar, and not indulge 'em the petty liberty of using quid pro quo, one part of Speech for another? In a thousand Cases, the same Idea is denoted by opposite Terms: Thus, we say, such a Medicine is good for, or against the Worms, Plague, &c.
IT may be urged, that as Custom has authorized this latitudinarian Practice, it is become of grammatical Authority; and that as the License is known, it can't deceive us; since the Readers are led on such occasions to relax the Bands of Grammar, and annul the difference between the Parts of Speech, in order to admit one as a substitute for another. But I am afraid this expedient scarce indemnifies us from the Abuse. Besides the extraordinary embarras of reading what is thus promiscuously wrote, 'tis not always we know when and how to supersede the strict import of an Author's Words, and make him speak Sense in his own despite. This I take to be none of the least occasions of Controversy and Dispute owing to Language, and which we may almost despair of seeing rectified, unless in a new one.
I SHALL not here enter upon the Merits and Defects of the English Tongue, considered as a Language: A great deal has been said on that Head by others, for which the Reader may turn to the proper Article in the Dictionary itself. This Place we reserve, not for other Peoples Notions, but our own; and what we have to add, will be chiefly as it stands with regard to Art, and more particularly to a Dictionary of Arts.
I BELIEVE none will question but we met with Difficulties enough in the Course of this Work. The very Bulk and Dimensions of it confess as much, and the Variety and Uncertainty of its Matter still more. But these were in some sort natural Difficulties, and ought to be considered as necessarily appendant to the very Essence of the Design; and therefore did not afflict us so much as those that rose from it at second hand, or were superadded to it, as it were, by Accident. And such was the present wild State of our Language, which alone were sufficient to have baffled the best Scheme, and broke through the best Measures that could be formed.
WE have already represented Language as something very important; and as having a near and necessary interest in Knowledge. Names, we here add, are solemn things, as they are Representatives of Ideas themselves, and used on most occasions in their stead: and Terms, or Combinations of Ideas, are still more so; as much as complex Engines, are of farther and nicer Consideration than the simple mechanic Powers. But who would imagine this, to consider the wanton use we make of 'em; and with how little Fear, or Discretion, Words are treated among us? Every body thinks themselves privileged to alter, or set aside the old, and introduce new ones at pleasure. England is open to all Nations, at least in this respect; and our Traders in this Commodity, import their Wares from every Country in all security. The mercantile Humour seems to have possessed every Part of us, so that we are not only unwilling to be without the natural Produce of our Neighbours Countries, but we even envy 'em their Fashions, their Follies, and their Words. Scarce a petty Author that appears, but makes his Innovations: But when a Dictionary comes out, 'tis like an East India Fleet, and you are sure of a huge Cargo. The Effect is, that our Language is, and will continue in a perpetual flux; and nobody knows whether he is master of it or no. The utmost he can say, is, that he had it for such a Day, exclusive of what has happened since.
A MAN never knows when he is at the end of the Terms, e.g. in Architecture. When he has got two or three Names, for some one Member, and thinks himself overstocked, 'tis odds he has not half. 'Tis not enough he knows what it is named in the English; but he must likewise learn what the French, Italians, Latins, and Greeks, likewise call it, or frequently find himself at a stand. Thus it is in the Case of Fillets, Lists, Listels, Reglets, Platbands, Bandelets, Tarnias, and Baguettes; of Chaplets, Astragals, Baloons, and Tores; of Gulas, Gueules, Doucines, Cimas, Cymatiums, Ogees, and Talons; Ovums, Ovolos, Echinus's, Quarter-rounds, Boultins, &c. between which, there is no known, allowed differences; but they are either used indiscriminately, or distinguished arbitrarily; one Person making this distinction, and the next another, or perhaps none at all. So that if we come strictly to Dictionaries, we should have a different one for every Author.
BUT the Mischics does not end here: for as the antient Arts are in many respects different from the modern ; the use of their Terms necessarily involves us in a new Consusion, and makes the same Word stand in an antient Author for one thing, and in a modern for another. Thus it is in Parastata, Orthostata, Anta, &c. In essect, there is that Alteration continually making in the Language of Architecture, that there ought, in Propriety, to be a different Dictionary of it for every different Age. THE Truth is, a fourth part of the Words in some of our popular Dictionaries, stand on no better Authority, than the single Practice of some one sancisul Author ; who having an intemperate Desire to Ihew either his Learning or Breeding, has met with Dictionary-Writers sond enough to take his Fripperies off his hands, and cxpose 'em to the Publick for legitimate Goods. By such means, these Exotics have obtain'd a kind of Currency ; so that a Distionary would be thought deseslive without 'em. To omit even our Fopperies would be thought a Failing ; and might even be esteemed by many as the most unpardonable of all. On these accounts we have been oblig'd to temporise a little, how much soever against our Will ;
UPON the whole, nothing could be more desirable than an Index Expurgatorius, to clear the Language of our superfluous Words, and equivocals; all the modern, French and Italian Terms in the several Arts, where we have Latin and Greek ones; and even all the Latin and Greek ones, where we have English or Saxon ones, equal in Sound and Significancy. I think the learned Languages ought to have the preference to the modern, because every Person may be supposed to have read, but not to have travelled; and our Country Words I would prefer to any others, because there is the most analogy between 'em; and they usually retain more of the Origin and Etymology than those transplanted from other Languages.— Such a Reform would reduce our Dictionaries to more reasonable Dimensions; and disencumber the Arts from half the difficulty now to be surmounted in attaining 'em.
BUT, there is another Spring of Words no less prolific than that hitherto spoke of, and which has produced a Swarm of spurious, misshapen Words, which no Nation but our own would ever have own'd: I mean the Itch of coining or making English Words, by a sort of analogy, from the Latin and Greek ones. This Fault the Tribe of Lexicographers have carried to a strange excess. How must a Man stare, to see what detestable Stuff some late Writers of that Class have complimented us with: Words of their own manufacture, scarce fit to do any thing with, except cure Agues! Words such as Scopulosity, Siliculous, Scatebrosity, Siccific, Pugnacity, Segnity, Sputative, Mulierosity, Mugient, Gracility, Fatuousness, Exuccous; and many thousand more, at the Reader's service, to be met withal in a Dictionary which few People are without. One would almost wish the Mold destroyed that such Grotesques were cast in, for fear of new Impressions. We are already overrun with this Author's Scarecrows: but what shall we be when, having thus anglicized all the Greek and Latin Words, he proceeds to do the same with the Dutch, Irish, Welsh &c. Indeed, I am the less angry with him, for that he has carried the Abuse so far, as must not only save People from being seduced but bring the Practice into Contempt. Such Monsters can't possibly live long: if they have escaped the Midwife who ought to have strangled 'em ere they came to light, yet if ever they go abroad they must infallibly be knocked o' the head.
HOW oddly will our Practice in this respect look, when confronted with that of our Neighbours? One of the most learned Men and greatest Critics of the last Age, M. Menage, incurred an infinite deal of Censure, for only endeavouring to introduce the single word Prosateur: and could not succeed in it, notwithstanding that a Word of that import was confessedly wanting in the French; and both the Sound and Analogy of the new Word were unexceptionable.
TO return. The different state of different Arts is very remarkable. Some of them are refined to a degree of subtlety that destroys 'em; as Metaphysics, and Logics: others have had no refinement or polishing at all, but lie waste and over-run for want of it; as Agriculture, Heraldry, &c. The grossness of some is their fault; it being such as disgusts, and forbids a delicate Mind from pursuing them: in others their subtlety and nicety is their bane, as leaving nothing for a hearty Appetite to feed on. What meagre fare for instance, are the School Rules, and Doctrines of Medians, Extremes? &c. They do indeed furnish us with Relations, and true Relations too; but these so remote from all Purposes of Life, that they are in great measure insignificant.
'TIS certain all our Knowledge and Arts ultimately refer to the great End of Preservation. The Faculties of the Mind, like those of the Body, were not given us for the mere Exercise, or Gratification of 'em; but in subserviency to farther purposes. Our Knowledge is all of the Nature of Revelation; and the divine Being reveals nothing to us for the mere vague sake of our knowing it, but that it may minister to his Ends, the being and well-being of his Creatures. Our Perceptions and Notices are all Instruments in his hands, which he has appointed to do his work, and bring about the wonderful and adorable Ends of the Creation. They are second Causes, or at least Occasions of what we do; and no doubt are under the Direction of him for whom we do; whose Glory is served thereby. Tho they extend to abundance of things, yet they all centre and terminate at last in our Preservation; and accordingly, as they are farther from, or nearer to this Point, they are found fainter or stronger: very near they are palpable and cogent; as they recede, they continually abate of their clearness, and evidence; and when arrived at a certain distance, dwindle to nothing, and are lost. At a great height from this Centre, the Nexus or Chain whereby things are held together, and in virtue whereof we proceed from things known to things unknown, becomes insensible; so that we lose our hold, and wander on we don't know where. Our Faculties here suffer; the Objects they meet with are inadequate to 'em; the Air grows too thin for Respiration. But, where we leave off, there possibly some superior Order of Beings may take it up.-- We have, indeed, a kind of Comets in the Affair of Learning, which seem to be got far out of the Orb; so that one would wonder how they came there, or what sustains 'em; as also what they do there. Such are, mere Antiquaries, Etymologists, Microscopists, Alchemists, Physiognomists, and other Searchers of Futurity: But these, for all their seeming distance and irregularity, do all respect the same central Point, and move by the same Law with others; and even answer very good Purposes to the whole.
IN effect, the several Arts have been cultivated to more or less purpose, as our Preservation is more or less immediately interested in 'em; and by this Key one might almost venture to judge which Arts are capable of being carried still farther, and which not. Our Knowledge of very great and of very little things, is very imperfect. e.g., of very great and little Objects, Distances, Sounds, &c. And the reason, no doubt, is, that there is but little Relation between us and them; so that we are but little interested in the Knowledge of them. Those things we have necessarily and immediately to do withal, are made within our reach: for the rest, no matter, to the Creator's chief Purpose, what they are.
AND yet our Leisure and Curiosity have found means of making even these more cognizable than otherwise they are: we can, in some measure, alter the established Relation between our Faculties and their Objects; and make use of one Law of Nature, to undo or supersede another. Thus we can magnify a little Sound or little Body, or a little Distance, &c., or we can diminish large ones; and thus make things in some measure adequate Objects, that naturally are not so.
BUT there is no great advantage in this: We only, by these means, come at a better apprehension of things which Nature seemed to put out of our way for no other reason but because they did not concern us; lest we should be engaged to mistake, and run after things that had no relation to us, to the neglect of those which have. Thus, Anatomy is really found of much less use than at first sight one would imagine;as being employed in taking things asunder and considering their Parts, which Nature chiefly intended to be considered and dealt with together. There is I know not what secret Law, whereby the Effect of a thing is, as it were, attached to its integral State; so that in proportion as you either diminish it, by taking from it, or enlarge it by adding to it, its Effect is altered, in a manner beyond what we can well account for from the bare Consideration of Magnitude.
NO body will take this for a Reflection on Art: 'Tis only a Panegyric on Nature: an Illustration of her Goodness in contriving that things most necessary and useful, should be most obvious, so as to be almost discoverable by a sort of Instinct; and the other less immediately useful ones, left to be accidentally turned up in the Course of Experiment and Disquisition. We may admire her Wisdom still farther in this, that she should as it were go out of her way, and annex a sort of Pleasure, beyond her main Purpose, to the Knowledge even of things not immediately useful; in order to engage us to Industry and Activity. This shows that she has Ends to serve by that very Activity; and perhaps is the best Demonstration in the World of the Necessity we are under to pursue Knowledge; and may raise a Suspicion, that this very Pursuit may possibly contribute to our Preservation in some farther manner not yet attended to.
'TIS no wonder the School Philosophy should be carried such a length; considering the narrowness of its Subject, and the great number of hands to cultivate it for so long a time. Its chief Employment is in assigning, and enumerating the Characters and Differences of our Perceptions, or internal Objects, taken as they are excited in us in the natural Course of things; by which it is distinguished from the Modern, which is chiefly employed in means to vary and modify these Perceptions, and thus find out farther Relations and Differences than would otherwise have appeared. The Philosophers of the former kind are contented to take Nature as she comes home to them; and apply their Reasonings thereto without more ado: Those of the latter, go out in quest of her, to have more Matter to reason upon. The former are more contemplative, the latter more active; the former, in fine, reason, abstract, and discourse more; the latter observe, try, and relate more.
HENCE we discover why the Old is much more persist in its kind than the New. The former has little to do but compare, order, methodize, &c. what is ready at hand; the latter has likewise to find; after which all the labour of the other still remains. The former takes Nature in all her Simplicity; the latter adds Art to her, and thus brings Nature into consideration in all her diversity: the former chiefly considers natural Bodies in their integral State; the latter divides, and analyses them: So that the former finds most of the principal Relations, the latter many more curious, and amusing ones. Hence, the former hastens to its Perfection, and can't long hold out; for that its Matter is limited: the latter can scarce ever arrive at it, since Experiments are endless. To say no more, to have Philosophy in its perfection, we should have the Order, Precision, and Distinctness of the Old; and the Matter, the Copia of the New.
THE modern is yet wild and unascertained. 'Tis not arrived at the Maturity of Method; the Mine is but just opened, and the Adventurers are yet only solicitous about the Matter to see what it affords. Circumstances do not yet come in course; and 'twill be long ere it arrive at a just extent to give room and leisure for reducing it to regularity. True, the Rules and Methods of the ancient, are in some measure applicable to the new, and will go a good way towards the ordering and ascertaining of it; but the present Philosophers seem yet too warm and sanguine for such a Business; which must be left to the succeeding Age to think about. Add, that the farther they go on to dig Materials, still the more difficult will the ranging of them be; inasmuch as there is but one true and just Order to lay them in; and the more of them, the more intricate that Order, and the harder to find. This a Man may be positive of, he never will see half the Experiments and Observations already made, laid up or used in a System of Physics.
BUT when that is done, a deal will still remain, ere we have the chief uses of it. For physical Knowledge, strictly considered, is only a Step, a Means of arriving at a higher and farther kind. Histories, Observations, and Experiments of the Kinds, Order, Strata, &c. for instance of Fossils, are very useful and laudable things, as they tend to lay in a Stock of sensible Phenomena, for the Mind to work upon, digest, and draw new Notices from, for the Improvement of our own Faculties, and the better Conduct of Life: But 'tis a Shortsightedness to forget this farther View, and look only to the Things themselves. The bare Acquisition of new Ideas is no real advantage, unless they be such as have some relation to ourselves, and are in some sense adequate, and adapted to the Circumstances of our Wants, and Occasions, or capable of being made so. Knowledge, in the first State, is like Food in the Stomach, which may please and satisfy us, but is of no use to the Body till farther prepared. It must be brought nearer us, and made more our own, more homogeneous to ourselves, ere it feeds us. The modern Philosophy is not so properly a Philosophy, as the Advent or Opening of one. Its Matter has yet only undergone the first Concoction: we are yet only conversant about new physical Relations, learnt by Sensation; whereas to bring it to the Perfection required, it must have undergone the farther Operations of Imagination, and Reason. Mere Physics, as such, do not make a Philosophy; those Physics must first be carried up to Metaphysics and Ethics, ere we can safely stop. So far as it is Physics, it is foreign to the Mind, and its Occasions; before it affect and influence our Reason and Judgment, it must be subtilized vastly, and made more similar to the Metaphysical Nature of the Mind. While Physics, it remains under the Direction of the Author of Nature; and proceeds wholly by his Laws, and to execute his Purposes: ere it come under our Direction, and become subservient to our Will, it must have laid aside what was active, and necessary in it, and become passive to our Reason, i.e. it must have been transferred from the Dominion of the Almighty's Will, or Reason, and brought under ours; if that do not imply a Contradiction.
TO return. Sensible Phenomena, we have already shown, are the Foundation of Philosophy: but your Edifice will neither make any Figure, nor afford any Convenience, till you have carried it one or two Stories higher. 'Tis but, as it were, the Cellaring, or Ground-work; which one would think were no very comfortable place to live and spend all one's time in. 'Tis one extreme, to take our Lodging as some of the modern Virtuosos are contented to do, underground; and another to reside altogether in Garrets, as the Schoolmen may be said to have done.
THE School Philosophy, however, is of some farther use, as Matter of History: We learn by it how People have thought, what Views have obtained, and in what various Manners the same thing has been conceived; which, though it be Knowledge as it were once removed, yet is not entirely useless.
WHAT has been spoke of the School Philosophy, reminds us of Astrology, the Terms whereof have not been omitted in this Work. Were it only that it has once obtained, is still extant in Books, and has given occasion to abundance of Terms and Phrases, adopted into other Arts; it would have a Title to be remembered. "The History of Mens Follies, says the inimitable Fontenelle, makes no small part of Learning; and unhappily for us, much of our Knowledge terminates there." But this is not all; and they who absolutely reject all Astrology as frivolous, don't know it. Every Art and Science has its Vanities, and Foibles; even Philosophy, and Theology: and every one its good Sense, even Astrology. The heavenly Bodies have their Influences: The Foundation, therefore, of Astrology is good: but those Influences are not directed by the Rules commonly laid down, nor produce the Effects attributed to 'em: so that the Superstructure is false. Astrology, therefore, ought not to be exploded, but reformed. Indeed a Reformation would reduce it into a little compass; but this little is too much to be lost, as it now is, among that heap of Trumpery mixed with it. We have even been careful to preserve what is just and rational, in Physiognomy, Witchcraft, and many other fanciful Arts. The time was, when Physics was not much more worthy the Study of a Man of Sense, than Astrology now is; so that one might propose an Introductio ad sanam Astrologiam, as a Desideratum.
THE Preface is now degenerated into a Dissertation in good earnest: at least, it has got the Length and Formality thereof, and wants only the Accuracy and Precision. Enough has been discoursed of the general Nature, and Subject of the Work: You must now allow me to descend a little more to particular, and personal Matters; and thus end my Preface, where I might have had Precedents enough for beginning it.
I WILL at least deal honestly with my Reader, and not be caught faulty in point of Morality, whatever I may be in anything else. What has been said hitherto, has been on the advantageous side of my Work; and I should not have acquitted myself, should I not likewise mention what may be alleged on the contrary Part.—— The curious Reader, then, may expect, he will here meet with Omissions, and there with Redundancies: here the Method and Economy are not kept to; there an Article is imperfectly treated: here, a Passage from some other Language is not sufficiently naturalized; there a Sentiment of some other Author is not sufficiently digested: There, in fine, the Author was asleep, and here the Printer.
ONE might palliate these Objections, by alleging, that "they are things not peculiar to this Work, but extend to all of the Kind; that most of 'em are things not foreign and accidental to it, but arise of necessity, from the very Nature and form of a Dictionary; and that many of 'em, are not peculiar even to a Dictionary, but agree to all extensive Undertakings, and are appendant to the very best Part of the Design, its Universality:" but instead of extenuating, I had rather be guilty of inflaming, and aggravating 'em.
FOR Errors, they cannot be very few, considering the Hands thro' which most Parts of our Knowledge have passed, and from whom we are obliged to take our Accounts. What one Author, upon the most particular Subject, will you produce, that has not his share of 'em? and what Argus could possibly see, and correct the Errors in all the Authors he had to do with? Scaliger, in his Exercitations against Cardan, has shown some twenty thousand, in one small Work; and no body imagines he has pick'd it perfectly clean. Yet Cardan was no ill Author. Bayle's Dictionary has been called the Errata of Moreri; yet is not Bayle himself without his Errors. The most we can say, is, that we hope there will be few found in the present Work, in comparison of others of the like kind. Many thousands we have corrected, both in the Dictionaries and other Writings we have collated from, by means of the Light which other Parts of Knowledge afforded: But after so large a Harvest, no doubt there remains a tolerable Gleaning. We flatter ourselves, however that what we have overlook'd, the Reader will frequently be enabled to correct, by the Means here afforded; and that there will be few Errors found in the Book, which the Book itself will not help to rectify.
AS to Omissions, there is scarce any avoiding 'em; and the more intelligent the Reader is, the more of this kind he will necessarily meet withal: they being only such in relation to his fullness. Indeed, I must own myself greatly a Debtor on this score; and tho at present insolvent, yet if the Reader will give me Credit, it shall be my endeavour to see all I owe discharged; if not in a Lump, yet by a Course of Payments.
FOR Redundancies, you know there cannot well be richness without 'em. After you have picked whatyou think fit of this kind, and laid it by; 'tis ten to one but the next Person that comes will restore halfof 'em to their places; and tax your Temerity, and want of Taste: and the next after him will go near toreplace the other half.
AS to Irregularities, and breaches of Method, I will not claim Impunity on the Score of being the firstthat introduced any certain Rules, or Method into this way of writing at all: But there will be at least thisSatisfaction attending my Case, that I cannot be indicted for the Breach of any Laws but my own.
AS to Jejuneness, and Crudity; no doubt there must be a deal of that kind, considering the Time so great a Load of Fruit had to hang and ripen. Much of it was gathered ere it could possibly be matured; so that 'tis no wonder it now and then tastes of the Wood. But setting aside this; if a Man may not be allow'd to say a good number of indifferent things, in the Compass of five hundred Sheets, I know not who would be an Author.
LASTLY, as to there being little in it new, and of my own growth; I must here change my Style, and from Confession, turn to Vindication. — The Work is, what it ought to be, a Collection; not the Produce of a single Brain, for that would go but a little way; but of a whole Commonwealth. If any Person will undertake to write a Dictionary, even of some one particular Art, from his own Fund, alone; a Man may safely undertake to prove it good for nothing. I do not pretend to entertain my Guests at this rate, with just what my own scanty Barns afford: The whole Country is ransack'd to make 'em the fuller Banquet. Call me what you will; a Daw, and say I am stuck over with other People's Feathers: with all my Heart; but it would be altogether as just to compare me to the Bee, the Symbol of Industry, as that of Pride. For tho I pick up my Matters in a thousand Places; 'tis not to look gay myself, but to furnish you with Honey. I have rifled a thousand Flowers; prickly ones many of 'em, to load your Hive. No body that fell in my way, has been spared; Ancient nor Modern, Foreign nor Domestic, Christian, nor Jew, nor Heathen: Philosophers, Divines, Mathematicians, Critics, Casuists, Grammarians, Physicians, Antiquaries, Mechanics, all are served alike. The Book is not mine, 'tis every body's; the mix'd Issue of a thousand Loins. The Prince of modern Authors, is pillaged to some purpose; and what Quarter then can any body else expect? If ever you wrote any thing yourself; 'tis possible there is something in it of yours: so that you will at least allow something in it good.
NONE of our Predecessors can blame us for the use we have made of them; since it is their own Practice. It is a kind of Privilege attached to the Office of Lexicographer, if not by any formal Grant, yet by Connivance at least. We have already assumed the Bee for our Device; and who ever brought an Action of Trover or Trespass against that avowed Free-booter? If any body blames us, 'twill ten to one be some of those very Drones, who are sustained by our means.
'TIS idle to pretend any thing of Property in things of this Nature. To offer a thing to the Publick, and yet pretend a Right reserved therein to one's self, if it be not absurd, yet it is sordid. The Words we speak; nay, the Breath we emit, are not more vague and common than our Thoughts, when divulged in print. You may as well prohibit People to use the Light that shines in their Eyes, because it comes from your Candle: E'en clap it in a dark Lanthorn, and let us not be amused, and dazzled by it; if we may not be the better for good things, let's not be the worse for the ill and indifferent ones mix'd with 'em.
WE see the same Thought, which was first started in one Author under a world of Crudity, borrow'd by another become farther improv'd and ripen'd; and at length transmitted to a third, yield Fruit in abundance. All Plants will not thrive in all Soils that will produce 'em; some languish in their Mother-Beds: whence the Gardner is under a frequent necessity of Replanting, Engrafting, &c.
TO do justice to a Collection, I mean a general and promiscuous one; it has its Advantages. Where numbers of things are thrown precariously together, we sometimes discover Relations among 'em, we should never have thought of looking for: As, the Painter's and Sculptor's Fancy, is frequently led on to the boldest and most masterly Designs, by something they spy in the fortuitous Sketches of Chance, or Nature: insomuch that a celebrated Author makes no scruple to lay this down as the first Origin and Occasion of all these Arts. 'Tis certain most of our Knowledge is empirical, the Result of Accident, Occasion, and casual Experiment: 'Tis but very little we owe to Dogmatizing and Method; which, as already observ'd, are posterior Matters, and only come in play after the Game is started. 'Twas, in all probability, the hand of Chance that first threw Sulphur, Charcoal, and Saltpetre together; and what surprizing Effects have not arose from it; what Handle has it given to Art and Contrivance, to direct and apply this fortuitous Production?'TIS indeed surprizing to consider, what slender Experiments and Observations many of the capital Doctrines have arose from: The Blows of a Smith's Hammer on his Anvil, struck out the Principles of Music; which Guido, a poor Friar, perfected by what he observed in conning over his Beads. The Inventions of Printing, of Glass, of the Dipping Needle, of Phosphorus, of Telescopes, of Cassata, of Antimony, &c. are supposed to have arose in the like manner; as the Reader may find under their proper Articles: And how many more we know not, by reason the great Obscurity of their first Rise, ere they attain'd a degree of Usefulness and Perfection sufficient to be taken notice of, has buried the particular Circumstances thereof. If we will hear the ancient Phoenicians, and Egyptians, amongst whom most of the Arts are supposed to arise; they all came from casual Observations: Geometry from the Inundations of the Nile; the Flight of the Crane, gave occasion to the Invention of the Rudder; the Ibis taught to administer a Clyster, &c. In effect, a new Observation in some People's Minds prepared for it, is like a Spark in a heap of Gunpowder, which may blow a whole Mine.
WHAT Advantages may not Philosophy derive from such a Collection, or Farrago of Arts; when 'tis considered, that every Circumstance, every Article of an Art, ought to be look'd upon as a Datum, a Phenomenon, or Experiment in Philosophy; and that the least of 'em may possibly be the Foundation of a new System?— To consider only the Tanning, or Currying of Leather: what is the whole Process, but a Series of physical Effects, arising from new applications of Body to Body? And how many Lectures will the Philosopher have from Painting, Gardening, Agriculture, &c. touching Planting, Engrafting, Pruning, Exposure, Excretion, Walls, &c. which might never have come in his way, but by such a chance? When a thing is once started, it may be applied infinite ways, and no body knows where it will stop.
THROUGHOUT the Whole, we have had a particular regard, both in the Choice of the several Heads, and in dwelling or amplifying upon 'em; to the extending our Views, dilating our Knowledge, opening new Tracks, new Scents, new Vistas. We have endeavour'd not only to furnish the Mind; but to enlarge it, and make it in some measure co-extend with the Dimensions of all Minds, in all Ages and Places, and under all Situations and Circumstances: as Language, in some measure, makes our Senses do. With which view, we have given the Sentiments, Notions, Manners, Customs, &c. of most People, that have any thing new, unusual, or hardy in 'em.
SUCH a Variety of Views, Principles, and Manners of thinking, is a sure Remedy against being too violently attached to any one; and is the best way of preventing the making of Pedants, Bigots, &c. of any kind.
I OWN this is not the way to make a very great progress in any Art; but at the same time it is the only way to hinder our being spoil'd by any; and becoming Creatures rather of Homer or Aristotle's making, than God's: and receiving our Tastes, Views, Relishes, at second hand, rather than from Nature herself. This, however, is only to be understood with regard to personal Benefit. For no doubt the Publick is better provided for, by the mere Pursuers of particular Arts, than the general Appliers to all: since each is hereby brought to greater Perfection; and the Mixture and Temperament, wanting in the Individuals, is found in the Whole.
TO conclude, the ultimate View of a Work of this, or any other kind, should be, the forming a sound Mind, i.e. a System of Perceptions, and Notions agreeing to the System of Things, or in the Relation thereto, intended by its Author. The End of Learning and Study, is not the filling our Heads with other Mens Ideas; that is an Enrichment which may prove for the worse, if it carry any ill Quality with it: Richness is not the chief thing aim'd at; 'tis only a Circumstance, or Matter of a secondary Consideration: Soundness is the first. There are many Manures which the Husbandman dares not use, by reason they would corrupt the Land, at the same time they enriched it; and lay the Foundation of a Disease, which would in the End impoverish, and make it spend itself in unprofitable Weeds. A little pure Logic, or Theology, or Chemistry, in some Peoples Heads, what Mischiefs have they not produced? But it must be owned, Mens Heads are not so soon fill'd: the Memory is not so tenacious as we imagine; Ideas are transient things, and seldom stay long enough with us to do us either much good, or harm: Ten to one but what we read to-day, is forgot again to-morrow. And what chiefly makes new Ideas of any significance, is their extending and enlarging the Mind, and making it more capacious and susceptible. But neither is this Enlargement the last Aim; but is chiefly of use, as it contributes to the increasing our Sensibility, to the making our Faculties more subtle, and adequate, and giving us a more exquisite Perception of things that occur; and thus enabling us to judge clearly, pronounce boldly, conclude readily, distinguish accurately, and to apprehend the manner and Reasons of our Decisions. In which view, several things may be useful, that are not so much direct Matters of Knowledge, as subservient to the same End; for instance, much of the School Philosophy, which by exercising and exciting the Mind, has a kind of collateral tendency to sharpen its Faculties; and needs only be read, not retain'd, to produce its Effect. But neither does the Matter end here: Even this does not amount to the full and adequate End of Knowledge: This is only improving the Organ; and there must be some farther End in such Improvement. No Man sharpens his Weapon on the sole Consideration of having it sharp, but to be the fitter for use. Briefly, then, our Faculties being only so many Inlets, whereby, and according to the Measure whereof, we receive the Intimations of the Creator's Will, or rather, the Effects of his Power and Action; all the Improvements made in 'em, have a tendency to subject us more entirely to his Influence and Direction; and thus make us conspire, and move more in concert with the rest of his Works, to accomplish the great End of all things. In which our Happiness and Perfection consists; the Perfection of a single Nature, arising in proportion as it contributes to that of the ΤΟ ΠᾶΝ.
French translation of THE PREFACE