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every thing what it is. The truth of appearance is the conditional conformity of the appearance with the object. The truth of perception is the conditional conformity of our senses (facultates nostras prodromas) with the appearances of things. The truth of understanding is the due conformity between the aforesaid conformities. All truth therefore is conformity, all conformity relation. Three things are to be observed in every inquiry after truth; the thing or object, the sense or faculty, and the laws or conditions by which its conformity or relation is determined. Lord Herbert is so obscure, partly by not thoroughly grasping his subject, partly by writing in Latin, partly perhaps by the "sphalmata et errata in typographo, quædam fortasse in seipso," of which he complains at the end, that it has been necessary to omit several sentences as unintelligible, though what I have just given is far enough from being too clear.
Conditions of truth.
23. Truth, he goes on to say, exists as to the object, or outward thing itself, when our faculties are capable of determining every thing concerning it; but though this definition is exact, it is doubtful, he observes, whether any such truth exists in nature. The first condition of discerning truth in things, is that they should have a relation to ourselves (ut intra nostram stet analogiam); since multitudes of things may exist which the senses cannot discover. The three chief constituents of this condition seem to be: 1. That it should be of a proper size, neither immense, nor too small; 2. That it should have its determining difference, or principle of individuation, to distinguish it from other things; 3. That it should be accommodated to some sense or perceptive faculty. These are the universally necessary conditions of truth (that is of knowledge) as it regards the object. The truth of appearance depends on others, which are more particular; as that the object should be perceived for a sufficient time, through a proper medium, at a due distance, in a proper situation." Truth of perception is conditional
m Inhærens illa conformitas rei cum seipsa, sive illa ratio, ex qua res unaquæque sibi constat.
"Lord Herbert defines appearance, icetypum, seu forma vicaria rei, quæ sub conditionibus istis cum prototypo suo
conformata, cum conceptu denuo sub conditionibus etiam suis, conformari et modo quodam spirituali, tanquam ab objecto decisa, etiam in objecti absentia conservari potest.
also, and its conditions are that the sense should be sound, and the attention directed towards it. Truth of understanding depends on the koivat evvocat, the common notions possessed by every man of sane mind, and implanted by nature. The understanding teaches us by means of these, that infinity and eternity exist, though our senses cannot perceive them. The understanding deals also with universals, and truth is known as to universals, when the particulars are rightly apprehended.
24. Our faculties are as numerous as the differences of things; and thus it is, that the world corresponds Instinctive by perfect analogy to the human soul, degrees of truths. perception being as much distinct from one another as different modes of it. All our powers may however be reduced to four heads; natural instinct, internal perception, external sensation, and reason. What is not known by one of these four means cannot be known at all. Instinctive truths are proved by universal consent. Here he comes to his general basis of religion, maintaining the existence of κοιναι εννοιαι, or common notions of mankind on that subject, principles against which no one can dispute, without violating the laws of his nature. Natural instinct he defines to be an act of those faculties existing in every man of sane mind, by which the common notions as to the relations of things not perceived by the senses (rerum internarum), and especially such as tend to the conservation of the individual, of the species, and of the whole, are formed without any process of reasoning. These common notions, though excited in us by the objects of sense, are not conveyed to us by them; they are implanted in us by nature, so that God seems to have imparted to us not only a part of his image, but of his wisdom.P And whatever is understood and perceived by all men alike deserves to be accounted one of these notions. Some of them are instinctive, others are deduced from such as are. The former are distinguishable by six marks; priority, independence, universality, certainty, so that no man can doubt them
without putting off, as it were, his nature, necessity, that is, usefulness for the preservation of man, lastly, intuitive apprehension, for these common notions do not require to be inferred.
25. Internal perceptions denote the conformity of objects with those faculties existing in every man perceptions. of sane mind, which being developed by his natural instinct, are conversant with the internal relations of things, in a secondary and particular manner, and by means of natural instinct. By this ill-worded definition he probably intends to distinguish the general power, or instinctive knowledge, from its exercise and application in any instance. But I have found it very difficult to follow Lord Herbert. It is by means, he says, of these internal senses that we discern the nature of things in their intrinsic relations, or hidden types of being. And it is necessary well to distinguish the conforming faculty in the mind or internal perception, from the bodily sense. The cloudiness of his expression increases as we proceed, and in many pages I cannot venture to translate or abridge it. The injudicious use of a language in which he did not write with facility, and which is not very well adapted, at the best, to metaphysical disquisition, has doubtless increased the perplexity into which he has thrown his readers.
26. In the conclusion of this treatise, Herbert lays Five notions down the five common notions of natural religion, implanted, as he conceives, in the breasts of all mankind. 1. That there is a God; 2. That he ought to be worshipped; 3. That virtue and piety are the chief parts of worship; 4. That we are to repent and turn from our sins; 5. That there are rewards and punishments in another life. Nothing can be admitted in religion which contradicts these primary notions; but if any one has a revelation from heaven in addition to these, which may happen to him sleeping or waking, he should keep it to himself, since nothing can be of importance to the human
9 P. 60.
Sensus interni sunt actus conformitatum objectorum cum facultatibus illis in omni homine sano et integro existentibus, quæ ab instinctu naturali expositæ, circa analogiam rerum internam,
particulariter, secondario, et ratione instinctûs naturalis versantur. p. 66.
Circa analogiam rerum internam, sive signaturas et characteras rerum penitiores versantur. p. 68. t P. 222.
race which is not established by the evidence of their common faculties. Nor can anything be known to be revealed, which is not revealed to ourselves; all else being tradition and historic testimony, which does not amount to knowledge. The specific difference of man from other animals he makes not reason, but the capacity of religion. It is a curious coincidence that John Wesley has said something of the same kind. It is also remarkable that we find in another work of Lord Herbert, De Religione Gentilium, which dwells again on his five articles of natural religion, essential, as he expressly lays it down, to salvation, the same illustration of the being of a Deity from the analogy of a watch or clock, which Paley has since employed. I believe that it occurs in an inter
27. Lord Herbert sent a copy of his treatise De Veritate several years after its publication to Gassendi. We have a letter to the noble author in Gassendi on the third volume of the works of that philosopher, showing, in the candid and sincere spirit natural to him, the objections that struck his mind in reading the book.* Gassendi observes that the distinctions of four kinds of truth are not new; the veritas rei of Lord Herbert being what is usually called substance, his veritas apparentiæ no more than accident, and the other two being only sense and reason. Gassendi seems not wholly to approve, but gives as the best, a definition of truth little differing from
I have somewhere read a profound remark of Wesley, that, considering the sagacity which many animals display, we cannot fix upon reason as the distinction between them and man; the true difference is, that we are formed to know God, and they are not.
Et quidem si horologium per diem et noctem integram horas signanter indicans, viderit quispiam non mente captus, id consilio arteque summa factum judicaverit. Ecquis non planè demens, qui hanc mundi machinam non per viginti quatuor horas tantum, sed per tot sæcula circuitus suos obeuntem animadverterit, non id omne sapientissimo utique potentissimoque alicui autori tribuat? De Relig. Gentil., cap. xiii.
[The original idea, as has been rightly pointed out to me by M. Alphonse Borghers, the translator of this work, as VOL. II.
well as of my History of the Middle Ages, is in Cicero de Nat. Deorum, ii. 34. Quod si in Scythiam aut in Britanniam, sphæram aliquis tulerit hanc, quam nuper familiaris noster effecit Posidonius, cujus singulæ conversiones idem efficiunt in sole, et in lunâ, et in quinque stellis errantibus, quod efficitur in cœlo singulis diebus et noctibus: quis in illa barbarie dubitet, quin ea sphæra sit perfecta ratione? And with respect to intermediate writers between Lord Herbert and Paley, I have been referred, by two other correspondents, to Hale's Primitive Origination of Mankind, where I had myself suspected it to be, and to Nieuwentyt's Religious Philosopher (English translation, 1730), p. xlvi. of preface.1842.]
Gassendi Opera, iii. 411.
Herbert's, the agreement of the cognisant intellect with the thing known: "Intellectûs cognoscentis cum re cognita congruentia." The obscurity of the treatise De Veritate could ill suit an understanding like that of Gassendi, always tending to acquire clear conceptions; and though he writes with great civility, it is not without smartly opposing what he does not approve. The aim of Lord Herbert's work, he says, is that the intellect may pierce into the nature of things, knowing them as they are in themselves, without the fallacies of appearance and sense. But for himself he confesses that such knowledge he has always found above him, and that he is in darkness when he attempts to investigate the real nature of the least thing; making many of the observations on this which we read also in Locke. And he well says that we have enough for our use in the accidents or appearances of things without knowing their substances, in reply to Herbert, who had declared that we should be miserably deficient, if, while nature has given us senses to discern sounds and colours and such fleeting qualities of things, we had no sure road to internal, eternal, and necessary truths. The universality of those innate principles, especially moral and religious, on which his correspondent had built so much, is doubted by Gassendi on the usual grounds, that many have denied, or been ignorant of them. The letter is imperfect, some sheets of the autograph having been lost.
28. Too much space may seem to have been bestowed on a writer who cannot be ranked high among metaphysicians. But Lord Herbert was not only a distinguished name, but may claim the priority among those philosophers in England. If his treatise De Veritate is not as an entire work very successful, or founded always upon principles which have stood the test of severe reflection, it is still a monument of an original, independent thinker, without rhapsodies of imagination, without pedantic technicalities, and, above all, bearing witness to a sincere love of the truth he sought to apprehend. The ambitious expectation that the real essences of things might be disco
y Misere nobiscum actum esset, si ad percipiendos colores, sonos et qualitates cæteras caducas atque momentaneas sub
essent media, nulla autem ad veritates illas internas, æternas, necessarias sine errore superesset via.