— 174 —
      §18. I endeavour, as much as I can, to deliver my self from those
Fallacies, which we are apt to put upon our selves, by taking Words
for Things. It helps not our Ignorance, to feign a Knowledge, where
we have none, by making a noise with Sounds, without clear and
distinct Significations. Names made at pleasure, neither alter the
nature of things, nor make us understand them, but as they are
signs of, and stand for determined Ideas. And I desire those who lay
so much stress on the sound of these two Syllables, Substance, to
consider, whether applying it, as they do, to the infinite incompre-
hensible GOD, to finite Spirit, and to Body, it be in the same sense;
and whether it stands for the same Idea, when each of those three so
different Beings are called Substances? If so, whether it will not thence
follow, That God, Spirits, and Body, agreeing in the same common
nature of Substance, differ not any otherwise than in a bare different
modification of that Substance; as a Tree and a Pebble, being in the
same sense Body, and agreeing in the common nature of Body,
differ only in a bare modification of that common matter; which will
be a very harsh Doctrine. If they say, That they apply it to God,
finite Spirits, and Matter, in three different significations, and that
it stands for one Idea, when GOD is said to be a Substance; for another,
when the Soul is called Substance; and for a third, when a Body is
called so. If the name Substance, stands for three several distinct
Ideas, they would do well to make known those distinct Ideas, or at
least to give three distinct names to them, to prevent in so im-
portant a Notion, the Confusion and Errors, that will naturally
follow from the promiscuous use of so doubtful a term; which is so
far from being suspected to have three distinct, that in ordinary use
it has scarce one clear distinct signification: And if they can thus
make three distinct Ideas of Substance, what hinders, why another
may not make a fourth?
Locke Hum II, 13, §18, p. 174