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ces of nature, and of all the usual customs and conveniences of life. Like the lind boy couched by Cheselden for the cataract, he was incapable of estimating the true direction and distance of things. The objects which were presented to his notice affected him as they do an infant or a little child. He endeavoured, for instance, to lay hold of all bright and glittering objects just as a child does; and when he could not reach them, or was forbidden to touch them, he cried. He was attracted by the brightness of an object; but he seemed incapable of distinguishing one objeďt from another. When objects were brought very neat to him, he generally gazed at them with a stupid look which only in particular instances was expressive of curiosity and astonishment. He could not distinguish animated things from inanimate; but ascribed a degree of life to all. He had no ideas of family, of relationship and friendship, and would often ask for an explanation of what is meant by mother, brother, and sister. He had no moral or religious ideas; and even the sentiments of modesty and shame, so deeply implanted in the human breast and so easily called into action, seem never to have been excited in his bosom. In a word, his mind was essentially an unintelligent blank; and this merely because it had been shut out from any connexion with the soutward world of men and nature. No basis had been laid for its operations; the power destined to bring it into action had never touched it; it was like some desert place of earth, where the sun never shone, and the breeze never blew, and the rain never descended, that presents to the eye of the beholder one unvaried surface of arid and withering desolation.
Ø 43 Of connatural or innate knowledge. The considerations of this chapter naturally bring us upon the question of innate or connatural knowledge. It was formerly maintained by certain writers, that there are in the minds of men ideas and propositions which are not acquired or taught at any time or in any way, but are coetaneous with the existence of the mind itself, being wrought into, and inseparable from it. It was maintained that they are limited to no one class, neither to the rich nor the poor, neither to the learned nor the ignorant, to no clime and to no country, but all participate in them alike. These propositions and ideas, being coetaneous with the existence of the soul, and being there established at the commencement of its existence by the ordinance of the Deity, were regarded as the first principles of knowledge, and as the rules by which men were to be guided in all their reasonings about natural and moral objects.
From these innate and original propositions, the following may be selected as specimens of the whole: (1.) Of the natural kind. The whole is greater than a part: Whatever is, is : It is impossible for the same thing to be and not to be at the same time and in the same sense. (2.) Of the moral kind. Parents must be honoured : Injury must not be done: Contracts should be fulfilled, &c. -3.) Of the religious kind. There is a God: God is to De worshipped: God will approve virtue and punish vice
Ø 44. The doctrine of innate knowledge not susceptible of proof.
It will not be deemed necessary to spend much time on this subject, or to enter into any length of investigation There seems to be an utter absence of all satisfactory evidence, that there is in men any amount of knowledge whatever answering to this description. The prominent argument brought forward by the supporters of this doctrine was this, that all mankind, without exception, and from the earliest period of our being able to form an acquaintance with their minds, exhibit a knowledge of ideas and propositions of this kind, and that this universal knowledge of them cannot be accounted for, except on the ground of their being coetaneous with the mind's existence, and originally implanted in it. Now if we admit that all men are acquainted with them and assent to them, this by no means proves them innate, so long as we can account for this acquaintance and this assent in some other way. It is granted by all that the mind exists, that it is capable of action, and that it possesses the power or the ability of acquiring knowledge. If, therefore, in the exercise of this ability, which all admit it to have, we can come to the knowledge of what are called innate or connatural ideas and propositions, it is unnecessary to assign to them another o. igin, in support of which no positive proof can be brought.
But the truth is, that all men are not acquainted with the ideas and propositions in question, and especially do not exhibit such an acquaintance from the first dawn of their knowledge, as would be the case if they were connatural in the mind. The supposed fact on which this argument is founded is a mere assumption; it has never been confirmed by candid and careful inquiry, which ought to be done before it is made use of as proof; nor is it susceptible of such confirmation.
$ 45. The doctrine tried by the idea of a God. Every enumeration of innate propositions embraces the following, That all men have a notion of a God; and undoubtedly, if there be any one which has a claim to universality and early developement, it is this. But, in point of fact, we know that all men are not acquainted with this notion; the testimony of travellers among uncivilized nations has been given again and again, that there is not such a universal acquaintance. It is true that all men have in themselves the elements from which the idea may be formed; but, owing to the peculiar circumstances of extreme depression and ignorance in which they are sometimes placed, there are some individuals in whom it is not developed ; and perhaps whole tribes or classes of men, as some travellers have stated, in whom the developement is so weak, if it exists at all, as to be imperceptible. There is also a class of unfortunate persons to be found in civilized and Christian nations (we have reference to the deaf and dumb, those in the situation of the young man at Chartres), who will throw light on this subject, if men will but take the trouble to examine those who have in no way received religious instruction. There is reason to believe that, in many cases, they will be found utterly without a knowledge of their Creator.
Massieu was the son of a poor shepherd in the neighbourhood of Bordeaux. Destitute from birth of the sense of hearing, and, as a natural consequence, of the power of speech, he grew up, and knew barely enough to enable him to watch his father's flocks in the fields. Al. though his capacity was afterward fully proved to be of the most comprehensive and splendid character, as it was not then drawn out and brought into action, he appeared in early life to be but little above an idiot. In this situation he was taken under the care of the benevolent Sicard, who was able, after great labour and ingenuity, to quicken by degrees the slumbering power of thought into developement and activity Did his instructer suppose that Nassieu was acquainted with the notion of a God ? Far from it ; he had abundant evidence to the contrary; nor did he even undertake to teach him that vast idea for some time.
He directed his attention at first to knowledge more obvious anți accessible in its origin; he led him, in perfect consistency with what is required by the nature and laws of the mind, by easy steps from one degree of knowledge to another, till he supposed him capable of embracing the glorious conception of a First Cause. Then he contrived to arouse his attention and anxiety; he introduced him to a train of thought which would naturally bring him to the desired result; he had previously taught him the relation of cause and effect; and on this occasion he showed him his watch, and, by signs, gave him to understand that it implied a designer and maker; and the same of a picture, a piece of statuary, a hook, a building, and other objects indicative of design. Then he held up before him a chain, showing him how one link was connected with, and dependant on, another; in this way he inttoduced into the mind of Massieu the complex notion of the mutual depend fnce and concatenation of causes. At last the full idea, the conception of a primary, self-existent, and self-energetic cause, the notion of a God) came like light from Heaven into his astonished and rejoiting soul. He trembled, says his historian; he was deeply affected, prostrated himself, and gave signs of reverence and adoration. And when he arose, he uttered by sighs also, for he had no other language, these beautiful words, which his instructer declared he should never forget : Ah! let me go to my father, to my mother, to my brothers, to tell them of a God; they know Him not.*
* See the work of Sicard, entitled Cours d'Instruction d'un Seurd. Muct de Narssance, chap. XXV.
Such facts and instances settle this question; they prove that the doctrine of inborn and connatural knowledge is unfounded ; and may we not add that they are in perfect accordance with a well-known passage of the Apostle Paul: “ The invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.”
$ 46. The discussion of this subject superseded and unnecessary. It is an additional reason for not entering with more fullness and particularity into this inquiry, that the doctrine of innate or connatural knowledge has been frequently discussed at length and refuted, particularly by Gassendi and Locke, and more recently by De Gerando. This being the case, and public sentiment at the same time decidedly rejecting it, it cannot be supposed that every writer on the human mind is called upon to introduce the subject anew, to go over a train of argument, and slay a victim already thrice slain. Let us ask, Are we called upon at the present day to consider and refute every wild notion which has ever been proposed ? On that ground we should not stop here; we must follow Locke further, and undertake a confutation of the doctrine of Malebranche, that we see all things in God; we must follow Reid in his laboured and conclusive overthrow of the long-established opinion, that we know nothing of the material world except by means of filmy images or pictures, actually thrown off from outward objects, and lodged in the sensorium. But such a course will be purposely avoided; it would be alike toilsome and unsatisfactory; it would be as unreasonable as to require from every author in Natural Philosophy a new confutation of the Alchemists, and to exact from every modern astronomer a like renewed discomfiture of the long-since exploded theories of the heavenly motions. Mr. Locke himself seems willing to admit, that the discussion does not naturally and necessarily make a part of Mental Philosophy; and gives us clearly to understand that it holds so conspicuous a place in his Essay, merely from the accidental circumstance of the prevalence in his own time of the error which he confuted. Accordingly, when he prepared an
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