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Our Faculties of Discovery suited to our State.       §12. The infinite wise Contriver of us, and all things about us,
hath fitted our Senses, Faculties, and Organs, to the conveniences of
Life, and the Business we have to do here. We are able, by our
Senses, to know, and distinguish things; and to examine them so
far, as to apply them to our Uses, and several ways to accommodate
the Exigences of this Life. We have insight enough into their
admirable Contrivances, and wonderful Effects, to admire, and
magnify the Wisdom, Power, and Goodness of their Author. Such a
Knowledge as this, which is suited to our present Condition, we
want not Faculties to attain. But it appears not, that God intended,
we should have a perfect, clear, and adequate Knowledge of them:
that perhaps is not in the Comprehension of any finite Being. We
are furnished with Faculties (dull and weak as they are) to discover
enough in the Creatures, to lead us to the Knowledge of the Creator,
and the Knowledge of our Duty; and we are fitted well enough with
Abilities, to provide for the Conveniences of living: These are our
Business in this World. But were our Senses alter’d, and made
much quicker and acuter, the appearance and outward Scheme of
things would have quite another Face to us; and I am apt to think,
would be inconsistent with our Being, or at least well-being in this
part of the Universe, which we inhabit. He that considers, how little
our Constitution is able to bear a remove into parts of this Air, not
much higher than that we commonly breath in, will have reason to
be satisfied, that in this Globe of Earth allotted for our Mansion,
the all-wise Architect has suited our Organs, and the Bodies, that
are to affect them, one to another. If our Sense of Hearing were but
1000 times quicker than it is, how would a perpetual noise distract
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us. And we should in the quietest Retirement, be less able to
sleep or meditate, than in the middle of a Sea-fight. Nay, if that
most instructive of our Senses, Seeing, were in any Man 1000, or
100000 times more acute than it is now by the best Microscope,
things several millions of times less than the smallest Object of his
sight now, would then be visible to his naked Eyes, and so he would
come nearer the Discovery of the Texture and Motion of the
minute Parts of corporeal things; and in many of them, probably
get Ideas of their internal Constitutions: But then he would be in a
quite different World from other People: Nothing would appear the
same to him, and others: The visible Ideas of every thing would be
different. So that I doubt, Whether he, and the rest of Men, could
discourse concerning the Objects of Sight; or have any Communi-
cation about Colours, their appearances being so wholly different.
And, perhaps, such a quickness and tenderness of Sight could not
endure bright Sun-shine, or so much as open Day-light; nor take in
but a very small part of any Object at once, and that too only at a
very near distance. And if by the help of such Microscopical Eyes,
(if I may so call them,) a Man could penetrate farther than ordinary
into the secret Composition, and radical Texture of Bodies, he
would not make any great advantage by the change, if such an
acute Sight would not serve to conduct him to the Market and
Exchange; If he could not see things, he was to avoid, at a con-
venient distance; nor distinguish things he had to do with, by those
sensible Qualities others do. He that was sharp-sighted enough to
see the Configuration of the minute Particles of the Spring of a
Clock, and observe upon what peculiar Structure and Impulse its
elastick Motion depends, would no doubt discover something very
admirable: But if Eyes so framed, could not view at once the Hand,
and the Characters of the Hour-plate, and thereby at a distance see
what a-Clock it was, their Owner could not be much benefited by
that acuteness; which, whilst it discovered the secret contrivance
of the Parts of the Machin, made him lose its use.
Locke Hum II, 23, §12, pp. 302-303