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6. 5. As by the power we find in-our- And so of i selves of repeatiny, as often as we will, any , duration. . idea of space, we get the idea of inmensity ; so, by being able to repeat the idea of any length: of duration we have in our minds, with all the endles addition of number, we come by the idea of eternity. For we find in ourselves, we can no more come to an end of such repeated ideas, than we can come to the end of number, which every one perceives he cannot. But here again it is another question, quite different from our having an idea of eternity, to know whether there were any real being, whose duration has been eternal. And: as to this, I say, he that considers something now existing, must necessarily come to something eternal. But having spoke of this in another place, shall say here no more of it, but proceed on to some other considerations of our idea of infinity.
5. 6. If it be so, that our idea of infinity Why other be got from the power we observe in our- ideas are not selves of repeating without end our own capable of ideas; it may be demanded, “ why we do nanay. " not attribute infinite to other ideas, as well as those “ of space and duration;" since they may be as easily, and as often repeated in our minds, as the other; and yet no-body ever thinks of infinite sweetness, or infi, nite whiteness, though he can repeat the idea of sweet or white, as frequently as those of a yard, or a day? To which I answer, all the ideas that are considered as harz ing parts, and are capable of increase by the addition of any equal or less parts, afford us by their repetition the idea of infinity; because with this endless repetition, there is continued an enlargement, of which there can be no end. But in other ideas it is not so; for to the largest idea of extension or duration that I al present have, the addition of any the least part nakes an ine crcase; but to the perfectest idea I have of the whitest whiteness, if I add another of a less or equal whiteness,
(and of'a whiter than I have, I cannot add the idea) it. · makes no increase, and enlarges not my idea at all : and therefore the different ideas of whiteness, &c. are called degrees. For those ideas that consist of parts are capa-..
ble of being augmented by every addition of the least
. 7. Though our idea of infinity arise berween inhi. from the contemplation of quantity, and nity of space, the endless increase the mind is able to and space in make in quantity, by the repeated addifinite.
tions of what portions thereof it pleases ; yet I guess we cause great confusion in our thoughts, when we join infinity to any supposed idea of quantity the mind can be thought to have, and so discourse or reason about an infinite quantity, viz. an infinite space, or an infinite duration. For our idea of infinity being as I think, an endless growing idea, by the idea of any quantity the mind has, being at that time terminated in that idea, (for be it as great as it will, it can be 10 greater than it is) to join infinity to it, is to adjust a standing measure to a growing bulk; and therefore
I think it is not an insignificant subtilty, if I say that we are carefully to distinguish between the idea of the infinity of space, and the idea of a space infinite: the first is nothing but a supposed endless progression of the mind, over what repeated ideas of space it pleases ; but to have actually in the mind the idea of a space infinite, is to suppose the mind already passed over, and actually to have 2 view of all those repeated ideas of space, which
an endless repetition can never totally represent to it;
We have no
1. e. of a space or number which the mind actually has, at A and so views and terminates in; and of a space or numnie 1 ber, which in a constant and endless enlarging and pro, Chat gression, it can in thought never attain to. For howy Ce, barge soever an idea of space I have in my mind, it is
no larger than it is that instant that I have it, thongh I be capable the next instant to double it, and so on it is to be infinitum: for that alone is infinite which has no bounds; and that the idea of infinity, in which our thoughts c. n find none.
If $. 9. But of all other ideas, it is numa fords is the ber, as I have said, which I think forclearest idea nishes 11s with the clearest and most distinct of infiniry. idea of infinity we are capable of. for even in space and duration, whin the mind pursues the idea of infinity, it there makes use of the ideas and repetitions of numbers, as of millions and millions of miles, or years, which are so many distinct ideas, kept best by number from running into a confused heap), wherein the mird loses itself; and when it has added together as many millions, &c. as it pleases, of known lengths of space or duration, the clearest idea it can get of intinity, is the confused incomprehensible remainder of endless addible numbers, which allords no prospect of stop or boundary: Our different
$. 10. It will, perhaps, give us a little
y 10. It will, pe conception of farther light into the idca we have of intithe infinityof nity, and discover to us that it is nothing number, du- but the infinity of number applied to deration, and terminate parts, of which we have in our expansion.
" minds the distinct ideas, if we consider, that number is not generally thought by us infinite, whereas duration and extension are apt to be so; which arises from hence, that in number we are at one end as it were: for there being in number nothing less than an unit, we there stop, and are at an end; but in addition or increase of number, we can set no bounds, And so it is like a line, whereof one end terminating with us, the other is extended still forwards beyond all that we can conceive; but in space and duration it is otherwise. For in duration we consider it, as if this line of number were extended both ways to an unconceivable, undeterminate, and infinite length; which is evident to any one that will but reflect on what consideration he hath of eternity; which, I suppose, "he will find to be nothing else, but the turning this infinity of
number both ways, à parte ante and à parte post, as they speak. For when we would consider eternity, a parte ante, what do we but, beginning from ourselves and the present time we are in, repeat in our minds the ideas of years, or ages, or any other assignable portion of duration past, with a prospect of proceeding in such addition, with all the infinity of number? and when we would consider eternity, à parte post, we just after the same rate begin from ourselves, and reckon by multiplied periods yet to come, still extending that line of number, as before. And these two being put together, are that infinite duration we call eternity: which, as we turn our view either way, forwards or backwards, appears infinite, because we still turn that way the infinite end of number, i. e. the power still of adding more.
$. 11. The same happens also in space, wherein conceiving ourselves to be as it were in the centre, we do on all sides pursue those indeterminable lines of number; and reckoning any way from ourselves, a yard, mile, diameter of the earth, or orbis magnus, by the infinity of number, we add others to them as often as we will; and having no more reason to set bounds to those repeated ideas than we have to set bounds to number, we have that indeterminable idea of immensity. I t ti $. 12. And since in any bulk of matter
Infinite di our thoughts can never arrive at the utmost vi divisibility, therefore there is an apparent infinity to us also in that, which has the infinity also of number; but with this difference, that, in the former considerations of the infinity of space and duration, we only use addition of numbers; whereas this is like the division of an unit into its fractions, wherein the mind also can proceed in infinitum, as well as in the former additions ; it being indeed but the addition still of new numbers : Though in the addition of the one we can have no more the positive idea of a space infinitely great, than, in the division of the other, we can have the idea of a body infinitely little; our idea of infinity being, as I may say, a growing or fugitive idea, still in a boundless progression, that can stop nowhere. .. oils 89 vies