Imágenes de página
[ocr errors]

0. 20. There are some I have met with, Some think that put so much difference between infinite they have a duration and infinite space that they per positive idare suade theinselves that they have a positive of eternity, idea of eternity; but that they have not,

and not of in

by finite space. nor can have any idea of infinite space. The reason of which mistake I suppose to be this, that finding by a due contemplation of causes and effects, that it is necessary to admit some eternal being, and so to consider the real existence of that being, as taken up and commensurate to their idea of eternity; but on the other side, not finding it necessary, but on the contrary apparently absurd, that body should be infinite; they forwardly conclude, that they have no idea of infinite

space, because they can have no idea of infinite matter. E:

Which consequence, I conceive, is very ill collected ; because the existence of matter is not ways necessary to the existence of space, no more than the existence of motion, or the sun, is necessary to duration, though duration uses to be measured by it: and I doubt not but that a man may have the idea of ten thousand iniles square, without any body so big, as well as the

idea of ten thousand years, without any body so old. 05399 11

It seems as easy to me to have the idea of space empty E: of body, as to think of the capacity of a bushel with

out corn, or the hollow of a nut-shell without a kernel in it: it being no more necessary that there should be existing a solid body infinitely extended, because we have an idea of the infinity of space, than it is necessary that the world should be eternal, because we have an idea of infinite duration. And why should we think our idea of infinite space requires the real existence of matter to support it, when we find that we have as clear an idea of an infinite duration to come, as we have of infinite duration past? Though, I suppose nobody thinks it conceivable, that any thing does, or has exe isted in that future duration. Nor is it possible to join our idea of future duration with present or past existence, any more than it is possible to make the ideas of yesterday, to-day, and to-morrow, to be the saine; or uring ages past and future together, and make thein

[ocr errors]

to"." .



idet har 101405 Herve


jser er


[ocr errors]

are o

contemporary. But if these men are of the mind, that they have clearer ideas of infinite duration than of infiuite space, because it is past doubt that God has existed from all eternity, but there is no real matter co-extended with infinite space; yet those philosophers who are of opinion, that infinite space is possessed by God's infinite omnipresence, as well as infinite duration by his eternal existence, must be allowed to have as clear an idea of infinite space as of infinite duration; though neither of them, I think, has any positive idea of intinity in either case. For whatsoever positive idea a man has in his mind of any quantity, he can repeat it, and add it to the former as casy as he can add together the ideas of two days, or two paces, which are positive ideas of lengths he has in his mind, and so on as long as he pleases: whereby if a man had a positive idea of infinite, either duration or space, he could add two infinites together ; nay, make one infinite infinitely bigger than another : absurdities too gross to be confuted.

o $. 21. Lut yet after all this, there being sitive ideas men who persuade theniselves that they of infinity, have clear positive comprehensive ideas of cause of mis- infinity, it is fit they enjoy their privilege: takes.

and I should be very glad (with some others that I know, who acknowledge they have none such) to be better informed by their communication. For ! have been hitherto apt to think that the great and inextricable difficulties which perpetually involve all dis'courses concerning infinity, whether of space, duration, or divisibility, have been the certain marks of a defect in our ideas of infinity, and the disproportion the nature thereof has to the comprehension of our narrom 'capacities. For whilst men talk and dispute of infinite space or duration, as if they had as complete and positive ideas of them, as they have of the names they use - for them, or as they have of a yard, or an hour, or any other determinate quantity; it is 110 wonder if the incomprehensible nature of the thing they discourse of, or reason about leads them into perplexities and und contradictions ; and their minds be overlaid by an ob ng



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ject too large and mighty to be surveyed and managed by them. ... 22. If I have dwelt pretty long on the All these consideration of duration, space, and num- ideas from . ber, and what arises from the contemplation sensation and: of them, infinity; it is possibly no more

Ive no more


reflection. In than the matter requires, there being few simple ideas," whose modes give more exercise to the thoughts of men than these do. I pretend not to treat of them in their full latitude ; it suffices to my design to show how the mind receives them, such as they are, from sensation" and reflection; and how even the idea we have of infinity, how remote soever it may seem to be from any object of sense, or operation of our mind, has nevertheless, as all our other ideas, its original there. Some mathematicians perhaps of advanced speculations, may have other ways to introduce into their minds' ideas of infinity ; but this hinders not, but that they themselves, as well as all other men, got the first ideas which they had of infinity, from sensation and reflection, in the method we have here set down.


Of other Simple Modes.

6.1. THOUGH I have in the forego. Modes of

1 ing chapters shown, how from motion. .i simple ideas, taken in by sensation, the mind comes to extend itself even to infinity ; which however it may, of all others, seem most remote from any sensible perception, yet at last hath nothing in it but what is made out of simple ideas, received into the mind by the senses, and afterwards there put together by the faculty the mind has to repeat its own ideas: though, I say, these might be instances enough of simple modes of the simple ideas of sensation, and suffice to show how the mind comes by them; yet I shall for method's sake, , l'oi, I.


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

though briefly, give an account of some few more, and then proceed to more complex ideas.

§. 2. To slide, roll, tumble, walk, creep, run, dance, leap, skip, and abundance of others that might be named, are words which are no sooner heard, but every one who understands English, has presently in his mind distinct ideas, which are all but the different modifications of motion, Modes of motion answer those of exe tension: swift and slow are two different ideas of motion, the measures whereof are made of the distances of time and space put together; so they are complex ideas comprehending time and space with motion. Modes of $. 3. The like variety have we in sounds. sounds. Every articulate word is a different modification of sound: by which we see, that from the sense of hearing, by such modifications the mind may be furnished with distinct ideas to almost an infinite number. Sounds also, besides the distinct cries of birds and beasts, are modified by diversity of notes of different length put together, which make that complex idea called a tune, which a musician may have in his mind when he hears or makes no sound at all, by reflecting on the ideas of those sounds, so put together silently in his own fancy. Modes of $. 4. Those of colours are also very vacolours. rious: some we take notice of as the different degrees, or, as they are termed, shades of the same colour. But since we very seldom make assemblages of colours either for use or delight, but figure is taken in also and has its part in it, as in painting, weaving, needle-works, de. those which are taken notice of do most commonly belong to mixed modes, as being made up of idcas of divers kirde, viz. figure and colour, such as beauty, rainbow, &c. . Modes of . 5. All compounded tastes and smells caste are also modes, made up of the simple ideas of those senses. But they being such as generally wc have no names for, are less taken notice of, and cannot be set down in writing ; and therefore must be left without enumeration to the thoughts and experience of by reader.



$. 6. In general it may be observed, that Some simple those simple modes which are considered modes have but as different degrees of the same simple 10 names. idea, though they are in themselves many of them very distinct ideas, yet have ordinarily no distinct names, nor are much taken notice of as distinct ideas, where the difference is but very small between them. Whether men have neglected these modes, and given no names to them, as wanting measures nicely to distinguish them; or because, when they were so distinguished, that knowledge would not be of general or necessary use; I leave it to the thoughts of others : it is sufficient to my purpose to show, that all our simple ideas come to our minds only by sensation and reflection; and that when the mind has them, it can variously repeat and compound them, and so make new complex ideas. But though white, red, or sweet, &c. have not been modified or made into complex ideas, by several combinations, so as to be named, and thereby ranked into species; yet some others of the simple ideas, viz. those of unity, duration, motion, &c. above instanced in, as also power and ihinking, have been thus modified to a great variety of complex ideas, with names belonging to them.

9. 7. The reason whereof, I suppose, has Why some e been this

been this, that, the great concernment of modes have, men being with men one amongst another,

and others bagay the knowledge of men and their actions,

have not, and the signifying of them to one another, was most necessary; and therefore they made ideas

of actions very nicely modified, and gave those comalebo plex ideas names, that they might the more easily reDUT, cord, and discourse of those things they were daily

conversant in, without long ambages and circumlocu.

tions; and that the things they were continually to ple give and receive information about, might be the easier hep and quicker understood. That this is so, and that men 246in framing different complex ideas, and giving them sta names, have been much governed by the end of speech ', in general (which is a very short and expedite way of Conveying their thoughts one to ancther) is evident in




[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »