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would inquire into the nature, cause, or manner of it,
Communica. the power of cominunication of motion by tion of moimpulse : and of our souls, the power of tion by im. exciting motion by thought. These ideas, pulse, or by the one of body, the other of our minds,
by equally in. every day's experience clearly furnishes us telligible. with : but if here again we inquire how this is done, we are equally in the dark. For to the communication of motion by impulse, wherein as much motion is lost to one body as is got to the other, which is the ordinariest case, we can have no other conception, but of the passing of motion out of one body into another: which, I think, is as obscure and uncone ceivable, as how our minds move or stop our bodies by thought, which we every moment find they do. The increase of motion by impulse, which is observed or believed sometimes to happen, is yet harder to be understood. We have by daily experience clear evidence of motion produced both by impulse and by thought; but the manner how, hardly comes within our comprehension: we are equally at a loss in both.. So that however we consider motion, and its communication, either from body or spirit, the idea which belongs to spirit is at least as clear as that which belongs to body. And if we consider the active power of moving, or, as I may call it, motivity, it is much clearer in spirit than body; since two bodies, placed by one another at rest, will never afford us the idea of a power in the one to move the other, but by a borrowed motion : whereas the mind, every day, affords us ideas of an active power of moving of bodies; and
therefore it is worth our consideration, whether active * power be not the proper attribute of spirits, and pas
sive power of inatter. Hence may be conjectured, that created spirits are not totally separate from matter, because they are both active and passive. Pure spirit, viz. God, is only active; pure matter is only passive; those beings that are both active and passive, we may judge to partake of both. But be that as it will, I
think, we have as many, and as clear ideas belonging to spirit, as we have belonging to body, the substance of each being equally unknown to us, and the idea of thinking in spirit as clear as of extension in body; and the communication of motion by thought, which we attribute to spirit, is as evident as that by impulse, which we ascribe to body. Constant experience makes us sensible of both these, though our narrow understandings can comprehend neither. For when the mind would look beyond those original ideas we have from sensation or reflection, and penetrate into their causes, and manner of production, we find still it discovers nothing but its own short-sightedness.
§. 29. To conclude; sensation convinces us, that there are solid extended substances; and reflection, that there are thinking ones: experience assures us of the existence of such beings; and that the one hath a power to move body by impulse, the other by thought; this we cannot doubt of. Experience, I say, every moment furnishes us with the clear ideas, both of the one and the other. But beyond these ideas, as received from their proper sources, our faculties will not reach. If we would inquire farther into their nature, causes, and manner, we perceive not the nature of extension clearer than we do of thinking. If we would explain them any farther, one is as easy as the other; and there is no more difficulty to conceive how a substance we know not should by thought set body into motion, than how a substance we know not should by impulse set body into motion. So that we are no more able to discover wherein the ideas belonging to body consist, than those belonging to spirit. From whence it seems probable to me, that the simple ideas we receive from sensation and reflection are the boundaries of our thoughts; beyond which the mind, whatever efforts it would make, is not able to advance one jot; nor can it make any discoveries, when it would pry into the nature and hidden causes of those ideas. Idea of body $. 30. So that, in short, the idea we have and spirit of spirit, compared with the idea we have compared. of body, stands thus: the substance of spi
rit is unknown to us; and so is the substance of body
The notion terial spirit may have perhaps some diffi of spirit inculties in it not easy to be explained, we volves no have therefore no more reason to deny or more diffidoubt the existence of such spirits, than
culty in it :
than that of we have to deny or doubt the existence of body body; because the notion of body is cumbered with some dificulties very hard, and perhaps impossible to be explained or understood by us. For I would fain have instanced any thing in our notion of spirit more perplexed, or nearer a contradiction, than the very notion of body includes in it: the divisibility
infinitum of any finite extension involving us, whether we grant or deny it, in consequences impossible to be explicated or made in our apprehensions consistent; consequences that carry greater difficulty, and more apparent absurdity, than any thing can follow from the notion of an immaterial knowing substance,
§. 32. Which we are not at all to won- We know der at, since we having but some few super- nothing be.
yond our ficial ideas of things, discovered to us only in jce by the senses from without, or by the file mind, reflecting on what it experiments in itself with
in, have no knowledge beyond that, much less of the internal constitution, and true nature of things, being destitute of faculties to attain it. And therefore experimenting and discovering in ourselves knowledge, and the power of voluntary motion, as certainly as we experiment, or discover in things without us, the cobesion and separation of solid parts, which is the extension and motion of bodies; we have as much reason to be satisfied with our notion of immaterial spirit, as with our notion of body, and the existence of the one as well as the other. For it being no more a contradiction that thinking should exist, separate and independent from solidity, than it is a contradiction that solidity should exist, separate and independent from thinking, they being both but simple ideas, independent one froin another; and having as clear and distinct ideas in us of thinking, as of solidity: 1 know not why we may not as well allow a thinking thing without solidity, i. e. immaterial, to exist, as a solid thing without thinking, i. e. matter, to exist; especially since it is not harder to conceive how thinking should exist without matter, thau how matter should think.. For whensoever we would proceed beyond these simple ideas we have from sensation and reflection, and dive farther into the nature of things, we fall presently into darkness and obscurity, perplexedness and difficulties; and can discover nothing farther but our own blindness and ignorance. But whichever of these complex ideas be clearest, that of body, or immaterial spirit, this is evident, that the simple ideas that make them up are no other than what we have received from sensation or reflection: and so is it of all our other ideas of substances, even of God himself. Idea of God., Wood, cu . 33. For if we examine the idea ne
have of the incomprehensible supreme being, we shall find, that we come by it the same way; and that the complex ideas we have both of God and separate spirits are made up of the simple ideas we receive from reiection: v. g. having, from what we experiment in ourselves, got the ideas of existence and duration; of knowledge and power; of pleasure and happiness; and of several other qualities and powers,
which it is better to have than to be without: when we would frame an idea the most suitable we can to the supreme being, we enlarge every one of these with our idea of infinity; and so putting them together, make
our complex idea of God. For that the mind has such 2017
a power of enlarging some of its ideas, received from sensation and reflection, has been already shown.
$. 34. If I find that I know some few things, and some of them, or all, perhaps imperfectly, I can frame an idea of knowing twice as many; which I can double again, as often as I can add to number; and thus enlarge my idea of knowledge, by extending its comprehension to all things existing, or possible. The same also I can do of knowing them more perfectly; i. e. all their qualities, powers, causes, consequences, and relations, &c. till all be perfectly known that is in them, or can any way relate to them; and thus frame the idea of infinite or boundless knowledge. The saine may also be done of power, till we come to that we call infinite; and also of the duration of existence, without beginning or end; and so frame the idea of an eternal being. The degrees or extent wherein we ascribe existence, power, wisdom, and all other perfections (which we can lrave any ideas of) to that sovercign being which we call God, being all boundless and infinite, we frame the best idea of him our minds are capable of: all which is done, I say, by enlarging those simple ideas we have taken from tlie operations of our own minds, by reflection ; or by our senses, from exterior things, to that vastness to which infinity can 'extend them.
$. 35. For it is infinity, which joined to Idea of God. our ideas of existence, power, knowledge, &c. makes that complex idea, whereby we represent to ourselves, the best we can, the supreme being. For though in his own essence (which certainly we do not know, not knowing the real essence of a pebble, or a fly, or of our own selves) God be simple aud uncompounded ; yet, I think, I may say we have no other idea
of him, but a complex one of existence, knowledge, photos, power, happiness, &c. infinite and eternal: which are