Imágenes de página
[ocr errors]

that durare is applied to the idea of hardness, as well
as that of existence, we see in Horace, epod. xvi.
“ ferro duravit secula." But be that as it will, this is
certain, that whoever pursues his own thoughts, will find
them sometimes launch out beyond the extent of body
into the infinity of space or expansion; the idea whereof
is distinct and separate from body, and all other things;
which may (to those who please) be a subject of farther
Time to du. $. 5. Time in general is to duration, as
ration is as place to expansion. They are so much of
place to ex- those boundless oceans of eternity and im-
pansion. mensity, as is set out and distinguished from
the rest, as it were by land-marks: and so are made use
of to denote the position of finite real beings, in re-
spect one to another, in those uniform infinite oceans of
duration and space. These rightly considered are only
ideas of determinate distances, from certain known
points fixed in distinguishable sensible things, and sup-
posed to keep the same distance one from another
From such points fixed in sensible beings we reckon,
and from them we measure our portions of those infi-
nite quantities; which, so considered, are that which
we call time and place. For duration and space being
in themselves uniform and boundless, the order and po-
sition of things, without such known settled points, would
be lost in them; and all things would lie jumbled in an
incurable confusion.
Time and §. 6. Time and place, taken thus for
piace are ta. determinate distinguishable portions of
ken for so those infinite abysses of space and duration,
much of ei.

set out, or supposed to be distinguished
ther, as are
set out by the from the rest by marks, and known boun-
existence and daries, have each of them a two-fold ac-
motion of ceptation.

First, Time in general is commonly taken for so much of infinite duration, as is ineasured by, and *co-existent with the existence and motions of the great bodies of the universe, as far as we know any thing of them: and in this sense time begins and ends with the frame

[ocr errors][ocr errors]



of this sensible world, as in these phrases before-men,
tioned, before all time, or when time shall be no more.
Place likewise is taken sometimes for that portion of
infinite space, which is possessed by, and comprehended
within the material world; and is thereby distinguished
from the rest of expansion; though this may more pro-
perly be called extension, than place. Within these
two are confined, and by the observable parts of them
are measured and determined, the particular time or
duration, and the particular extension and place, of all
corporeal beings.
- $. 7. Secondly, Sometimes the word time. Someti
is used in a larger sense, and is applied to for so much
parts of that infinite duration, not that were of either, as
really distinguished and measured out by we design by

measures ta. this real existence, and periodical motions

ken from the of bodies that were appointed from the bulk or mos beginning to be for signs, and for seasons, tion of bo. and for days, and years, and are accord- dies. ingly our measures of time: but such other portions too of that infinite uniform duration, which we, upon any occasion, do suppose equal to certain lengths of measured time; and so consider them as bounded and des termined. For if we should suppose the creation, or fall of the angels, was at the beginning of the Julian period, we should speak properly enough, and should be understood, if we said, it is a longer time since the creation of angels, than the creation of the world, by seven thousand six hundred and forty years: whereby We would mark out so much of that undistinguished duration, as we suppose equal to, and would have admilted seven thousand six hundred and forty annual revolutions of the sun, moving at the rate it now does, And thus likewise we sometimes speak of place, dis, tance, or bulk, in the great inane beyond the confines of the world, when we consider so much of that space · as is equal to, or capable to receive a body of any assigned dimensions, as a cubick foot; or do suppose a point in it at such a certain distance from any part of the universe.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

They belong $. 8. Where and when are questions beto all beings. longing to all finite existences, and are by us always reckoned from some known parts of this sensible world, and from some certain epochs marked out to us by the motions observable in it. Without some such fixed parts or periods, the order of things would be lost to our finite understandings, in the boundless invariable oceans of duration and expansion; which comprehend in them all finite beings, and in their full extent belong only to the Deity. And therefore we are not to wonder that we comprehend them not, and do so often find our thoughts at a loss, when we would consider them either abstractly in themselves, or as any way attributed to the first incomprehensible being. But when applied to any particular finite beings, the extension of any body is so much of that infinite space, as the bulk of the body takes up. And place is the position of any body, when considered at a certain distance from some other. As the idea of the particular duration of any thing is an idea of that portion of infinite duration, which passes during the existence of that thing; so the time when the thing existed is the idea of that space of duration which passed between some known and fixed period of duration, and the being of that thing. One shows the distance of the extremities of the bulk or existence of the same thing, as that it is a foot square, or lasted two years; the other shows the distance of it in place, or existence, from other fixed points of space or duration, as that it was in the middle of Lincoln's-inn-fields, or the first degree of Taurus, and in the year of our Lord 1671, or the 1000 year of the Julian period; all which distances we measure by pre-conceived ideas of certain lengths of space and duration, as inches, feet, miles, and degrees; and in the other, minutes, days, and years, &c. All the parts $. 9. There is one thing more wherein of extension space and duration have a great conforare exten.

mity; and that is, though they are justly sion; and all the parts of

reckoned amongst our simple ideas, yet duration are none of the distinct ideas we have of duration, either is without all manner of com:


position *; it is the very nature of both of them to
consist of parts : but their parts being all of the same
kind, and without the mixture of any other idea, hinder
them not from having a place amongst simple ideas.
Could the mind, as in number, come to so small a -
part of extension or duration, as excluded divisibility,
that would be, as it were, the indivisible unit, or idea;
by repetition of which it would make its more enlarged
ideas of extension and duration. But since the mind is
not able to frame an idea of any space without parts;
instead thereof it makes use of the common measures,
which by familiar use, in each country, have imprinted
themselves on the memory (as inches and feet; or
cubits and parasangs; and so seconds, minutes, hours,
days, and years in duration :) the mind makes use, I
say, of such ideas as these, as simple ones; and these
are the component parts of larger ideas, which the mind,
upon occasion, makes by the addition of such known


* It has been objected to Mr. Locke, that if space consists of parts, as it is confessed in this place, he should not have reckoned it in the nume ber of simple ideas : because it seems to be inconsistent with what he says elsewhere, that a simple idea is uncompounded, and contains in it no. thing but one Agni appearance or conception of the mind, and is not distinguishal Sinto different ideas. It is farther objected, that Mr. Locke has not in the eleventh chapter of the second book, where ke begins to speak of simple ideas, an exact definition of what he understands by the word simple ideas. To these dificulties Mr. Locke an. swers thus : To begin with the last, he deciares, that he has not treated his subject in an order perfectly scholastic, having not had much fami,

liarity with those sort of books during the writing of his, and not rePemembering at all the method in which they are written ; and therefore the king his readers ought not to expect definitions regularly placed at the beginDesi ning of each new subject. Mr. Locke contents himself to 'employ the

principal terms that he uses, so that from his use of them the reader nay kasily comprehend what he means by thein. But with respect to the term simple idea, he has had the good luck to define that in the place cited in the

objection; and therefore there is no reason to supply that defect. The che question then is to know, whether the idea of extension agrees with this

definition? which will effectually agree to it, if it be understood in the

sense which Mr. Locke had principally in his view : for that composition are which he designed to exclude in that definition, was a composition of deas different ideas in the mind, and not a composition of the same kind in a hame thing whose essence consists in having parts of the same kind, where you San never come to a part entirely exempted from this composition. So


di con

lengths which it is acquainted with. On the other side, the ordinary smallest measure we have of either is looked on as an unit in number, when the mind by division would reduce them into less fractions. Though on both sides, both in addition and division, either of space or duration, when the idea under consideration becomes very big or very small, its precise bulk becomes very obscure and confused; and it is the number of its repeated additions or divisions, that alone remains clear and distinct, as will easily appear to any one who will let his thoughts loose in the vast expansion of space, or divisibility of matter. Every part of duration is due ration too; and every part of extension is extension, both of them capable of addition or division in infic de nitum. But the least portions of either of them, whereof we have clear and distinct ideas, may perhaps be fittest to be considered by us, as the simple ideas of that kind, out of which our complex modes of space,

[ocr errors]

that if the idea of extension consists in having partes extra partes, (as the schools speak) it is always, in the sense of Mr. Locke, a simple idea; be. cause the idea of having partes extra partes cannot be resolved into two other ideas. For the remainder of the objection made to Mr. Locke, with respect to the nature of extension, Mr. Locke was aware of it, as may be seen in f. 9. chap. 15. of the second book, where he says, that u the least portion of space or extension, whereof we had a clear and “ distinct idea, may perhaps be the fittest to be considered by us as a sim. « ple idea of that kind, out of which our complex modes of space and “ extension are made up." So that, according to Mr. Locke, it may very fitly be called a simple idea, since it is the least idea of space that the mind come can form to itself, and that cannot be divided by the mind into any less, whereof it has in itself any determined perception. From whence it fol. lows, that it is to the mind one simple idea ; and that is sufficient to take away this objection: for it is not the design of Mr. Locke, in this place, to discourse of any thing but concerning the idea of the mind. Bor if this is not sufficient to clear the difficulty, Mr. Locke hath nothing more to add, but that if the idea of extension is so peculiar that it cannot exactly agree with the definition that he has given of those simple ideas, so that it differs in some manner from all others of that kind, he thinks itinals is better to leare it there exposed to this difficulty, than to make a new division in his favour. It is enough for Mr. Locke that his meaning ein be understood. It is very common to observe intelligible discour # spoiled by too much subtilty in nice divisions. We ought to put things together as well as we can, doctrinæ causâ ; but, after all, several things will not be bundled up together under our terms and ways of speaking. Ihre


« AnteriorContinuar »