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The phrases in their context!


Again, were we fully convinced, that our perceptions are dependent, and interrupted, and different, we should be as little inclined to embrace the opinion of a double existence; since in that case we should clearly perceive the error of our first supposition of a continued existence, and would never regard it any farther.
It is therefore from the intermediate situation of the mind, that this opinion arises, and from such an adherence to these two contrary principles, as makes us seek some pretext to justify our receiving both; which happily at last is found in the system of a double existence.
Another advantage of this philosophical system is its similarity to the vulgar one; by which means we can humour our reason for a moment, when it becomes troublesome and sollicitous; and yet upon its least negligence or inattention, can easily return to our vulgar and natural notions.
Accordingly we find, that philosophers neglect not this advantage; but immediately upon leaving their closets, mingle with the rest of mankind in those exploded opinions, that our perceptions are our only objects, and continue identically and uninterruptedly the same in all their interrupted appearances.
There are other particulars of this system, wherein we may remark its dependence on the fancy, in a very conspicuous manner.
Of these, I shall observe the two following.
First, We suppose external objects to resemble internal perceptions.
I have already shewn, that the relation of cause and effect can never afford us any just conclusion from the existence or qualities of our perceptions to the existence of external continued objects: And I shall farther add, that even though they coued afford such a conclusion, we should never have any reason to infer, that our objects resemble our perceptions.
That opinion, therefore, is derived from nothing but the quality of the fancy above-explained, .
We never can conceive any thing but perceptions, and therefore must make every thing resemble them.
Secondly, As we suppose our objects in general to resemble our perceptions, so we take it for granted, that every particular object resembles that perception, which it causes.
The relation of cause and effect determines us to join the other of resemblance; and the ideas of these existences being already united together in the fancy by the former relation, we naturally add the latter to compleat the union.
We have a strong propensity to compleat every union by joining new relations to those which we have before observed betwixt any ideas, as we shall have occasion to observe presently.
[SECT. 5.] Having thus given an account of all the systems both popular and philosophical, with regard to external existences, I cannot forbear giving vent to a certain sentiment, which arises upon reviewing those systems.
I begun this subject with premising, that we ought to have an implicit faith in our senses, and that this would be the conclusion, I should draw from the whole of my reasoning.
But to be ingenuous, I feel myself at present of a quite contrary sentiment, and am more inclined to repose no faith at all in my senses, or rather imagination, than to place in it such an implicit confidence.
I cannot conceive bow such trivial qualities of the fancy, conducted by such false suppositions, can ever lead to any solid and rational system.
They are the coherence and constancy of our perceptions, which produce the opinion of their continued existence; though these qualities of perceptions have no perceivable connexion with such an existence.
The constancy of our perceptions has the most considerable effect, and yet is attended with the greatest difficulties.
It is a gross illusion to suppose, that our resembling perceptions are numerically the same; and it is this illusion, which leads us into the opinion, that these perceptions are uninterrupted, and are still existent, even when they are not present to the senses.
This is the case with our popular system.