— 78 —
      §19. Nor is the Fourth Proposition (viz.) Men must repent of their
Sins, much more instructive, till what those Actions are, that are
— 79 —
meant by Sins, be set down. For the word Peccata, or Sins, being
put, as it usually is, to signifie in general ill Actions, that will draw
on punishment upon the Doers; What great Principle of Morality
can that be, to tell us we should be sorry, and cease to do that,
which will bring mischief upon us, without knowing what those
particular Actions are, that will do so? Indeed, this is a very true
Proposition, and fit to be inculcated on, and received by those, who
are supposed, to have been taught, what Actions in all kinds are
sins; but neither this, nor the former, can be imagined to be innate
Principles; nor to be of any use, if they were innate, unless the
particular measures and bounds of all Vertues and Vices, were
engraven in Men’s Minds, and were innate Principles also, which,
I think, is very much to be doubted. And therefore, I imagine, it
will scarce seem possible, that God should engrave Principles in
Mens Minds, in words of uncertain signification, such as Vertues
and Sins, which amongst different Men, stand for different things:
Nay, it cannot be supposed to be in words at all, which, being in
most of these Principles very general names cannot be understood,
but by knowing the particulars comprehended under them. And in
the practical instances, the measures must be taken from the know-
ledge of the Actions themselves, and the Rules of them abstracted
from words, and antecedent to the knowledge of Names; which
Rules a Man must know, what Language soever he chance to learn,
whether English or Japan, or if he should learn no Language at all,
or never should understand the use of Words, as happens in the case
of Dumb and Deaf Men. When it shall be made out, that Men
ignorant of Words, or untaught by the Laws and Customs of their
Country, know that it is part of the Worship of God, Not to kill
another Man; Not to know more Women than one; Not to procure
Abortion; Not to expose their Children; Not to take from another
what is his, though we want it our selves, but on the contrary,
relieve and supply his wants; And whenever we have done the
contrary, we ought to repent, be sorry, and resolve to do so no
more: When, I say, all Men shall be proved actually to know, and
allow all these and a thousand other such Rules, all which come
under these two general words made use of above, viz. Virtutes et
Peccata, Vertues and Sins, there will be more reason for admitting
these, and the like, for common Notions, and practical Principles:
— 80 —
yet after all, universal Consent (were there any in Moral Principles)
to Truths, the knowledge whereof may be attained otherwise,
would scarce prove them to be innate; which is all I contend for.
Locke Hum I, 3, §19, pp. 78-79-80