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can allow him is, that he may be in the "right as well as I, and that we are effentially different in this particular. He may perhaps perceive fomething fimple and continued, which he calls himself; though "I am certain there is no fuch principle in But fetting afide fome metaphyficians CC of this kind," that is, who feel and believe that they have a foul, "I may ven66 ture to affirm of the rest of mankind, that they are nothing but a bundle or collection "of different perceptions, which fucceed "each other with inconceivable rapidity, "and are in a perpetual flux and movement. There is properly no fimplicity in the "mind at one time, nor identity in different [times], whatever natural propenfion we may have to imagine that fimplicity and identity. They are the fucceffive percep"tions only that conftitute the mind * "" If these words have any meaning, it is this My foul (or rather that which I call my foul) is not one fimple thing, nor is it the fame thing to-day it was yesterday; nay, it is not the fame this moment it was the last; it is nothing but a mafs, collection, heap, or bundle, of different perceptions, or objects, that fleet away in fucceffion, with inconceivable rapidity, perpetually changing, and perpetually in motion. There may be fome
Treatife of Human Nature, vol. 1. p. 438. 439. 440.
metaphyficians, to whofe fouls this defcrip-
That body has no existence, but as a bundle of perceptions, whofe existence confifts in their being perceived, our author all along maintains. He now affirms, that the foul, in like manner, is a bundle of perceptions, and nothing else. It follows, then, that there is nothing in the universe but impreffions and ideas; all poffible perceptions being by our author comprehended in those two claffes. This philofophy admits of no other existence whatsoever, not even of a percipient being, to perceive these perceptions. So that we are now arrived at the height of human wisdom; at that intellectual eminence, from whence there is a full profpect of all that we can reafonably believe to exift, and of all that can poffibly become the object of our knowledge. Alas! what is become of the magnificence of external nature, and the wonders of intellectual energy, the immortal beauties of truth and virtue, and the triumphs of a good confcience! Where now the warmth of benevolence, the fire of generofity, the exultations of hope, the tranquil ecstasy of devotion, and the pang of fympathetic delight! All, around, above, and beneath, is one vaft vacuity, or rather an enormous chaos, encompaffed
compaffed with darkness universally and eternally impenetrable. Body and spirit are annihilated; and there remains nothing (for we must again defcend into metaphyfic) but a vaft collection, bundle, mafs, or heap, of impreffions and ideas.
Such, in regard to existence, feems to be the refult of this theory of the understanding. And what is this refult? If the author can prove, that there is a poffibility of expreffing it in words which do not imply a contradiction, I will not call it nonfenfe. If he can prove, that it is compatible with any one acknowledged truth in philosophy, in morality, in religion natural or revealed, I will not call it impious. If he can prove, that it does not arife from common facts mifreprefented, and common words misunderflood, I fhall admit that it may have arifen from accurate obfervation, candid and liberal inquiry, perfect knowledge of human nature, and the enlarged views of true philofophic genius.
Of the Non-existence of Matter.
IN N the preceding fection I have taken a flight furvey of the principles, and method of investigation, adopted by the most celebrated promoters of modern fcepticism, And it appears that they have not attended to the diftinction of reafon and common fenfe, as explained in the first part of this Effay, and as acknowledged by mathematicians and natural philofophers. Erroneous, abfurd, and felf-contradictory notions, have been the confequence. And now, by entering into a more particular detail, we might easily thew, that many of thofe abfurdities that difgrace the philofophy of human nature, would never have exifted, if men had acknowledged and attended to this diftinction; regulating their inquiries by the criterion above mentioned, and never profecuting any chain of argument beyond felf-evident principles. I fhall confine myfelf to two inftances; one of which is connected with the evidence of external fenfe, and the other with that of internal.
That matter or body has a real, feparate,
independent existence *; that there is a real fun above us, a real air around us, and a real earth under our feet, - has been the belief of all men who were not mad, ever fince the creation. This is believed, not because it is or can be proved by argument, but because the conftitution of our nature is fuch that we must believe it. It is abfurd, nay, it is impoffible, to believe the contrary, I could as easily believe, that I do not exift, that two and two are equal to ten, that whatever is, is not; as that I have neither hands, nor feet, nor head, nor cloaths, nor houfe, nor country, nor acquaintance; that the fun, moon, and stars, and ftars, and ocean, and tempeft, thunder, and lightning, mountains, rivers, and cities, have no existence but as ideas or thoughts in my mind, and, independent on me and my faculties, do not exist at all, and could not exist if I were to be annihilated; that fire, and burning, and pain, which I feel, and the recollection of pain that is past, and the idea of pain which I never felt, are all in the fame fenfe ideas or perceptions in my mind, and nothing else; that the qualities of matter are not qualities of matter, but affections of fpirit; and that I have no
*By independent existence, we mean an exiftence that does not depend on us, nor, fo far as we know, on any being, except the Creator. BERKELEY, and others, fay, that matter exifts not but in the minds that perceive it; and confequently depends, in refpect of its existence, upon thofe minds.