— 73 —
      §12. The breaking of a Rule, say you, is no Argument, that it is
unknown. I grant it: But the generally allowed breach of it any where, I
say, is a Proof, that it is not innate. For Example, Let us take any of
these Rules, which being the most obvious deductions of Humane
Reason, and conformable to the natural Inclination of the greatest
part of Men, fewest People have had the Impudence to deny, or
Inconsideration to doubt of. If any can be thought to be naturally
imprinted, none, I think, can have a fairer Pretence to be innate,
than this; Parents preserve and cherish your Children. When therefore
you say, That this is an innate Rule, What do you mean? Either,
that it is an innate Principle; which upon all Occasions, excites and
directs the Actions of all Men: Or else, that it is a Truth, which all
Men have imprinted on their Minds, and which therefore they know,
and assent to. But in neither of these Senses is it innate. First, That
it is not a Principle, which influences all Men’s Actions, is, what I
have proved by the Examples before cited: Nor need we seek so
far as Mingrelia or Peru, to find instances of such as neglect, abuse,
nay and destroy their Children; or look on it only as the more than
Brutality of some savage and barbarous Nations, when we remem-
ber, that it was a familiar, and uncondemned Practice amongst the
— 74 —
Greeks and Romans, to expose, without pity or remorse, their inno-
cent Infants. Secondly, That it is an innate Truth, known to all Men,
is also false. For, Parents preserve your Children, is so far from an
innate Truth, that it is no Truth at all; it being a Command, and
not a Proposition, and so not capable of Truth or Falshood. To make
it capable of being assented to as true, it must be reduced to some
such Proposition as this: It is the Duty of Parents to preserve their
Children. But what Duty is, cannot be understood without a Law;
nor a Law be known, or supposed without a Law-maker, or without
Reward and Punishment: So that it is impossible, that this, or any
other practical Principle should be innate; i.e. be imprinted on the
Mind as a Duty, without supposing the Ideas of God, of Law, of
Obligation, of Punishment, of a Life after this, innate. For that
Punishment follows not, in this Life, the breach of this Rule; and
consequently, that it has not the Force of a Law in Countries, where
the generally allow’d Practice runs counter to it, is in it self evident.
But these Ideas (which must be all of them innate, if any thing as a
Duty be so) are so far from being innate, that ’tis not every studious
or thinking Man, much less every one that is born, in whom they
are to be found clear and distinct: And that one of them, which of
all others seems most likely to be innate, is not so, (I mean the Idea
of God) I think, in the next Chapter, will appear very evident to any
considering Man.
Locke Hum I, 3, §12, pp. 73-74