Imágenes de página

Creation, $. 2. Having thus, from what our senses generation, are able to discover, in the operations of

king as bodies on one another, got the notion of teration,

'cause and effect, viz. that a cause is that which makes any other thing, either simple idea, substance or mode, begin to be : and an effect is that which had its beginning from some other thing: the mind finds no great difficulty to distinguish the several originals of things into two sorts.

First, when the thing is wholly made new, so that no part thereof did ever exist before; as when a new particle of matter doth begin to exist, in rerum natura, which had before no being, and this we call creation.

Secondly, when a thing is made up of particles, which did all of them before exist, but that very thing so constituted of pre-existing particles, which, considered all together, make up such a collection of simple ideas as had not any existence before ; as this man, this egg, rose, or cherry, &c. And this, when referred to a substance, produced in the ordinary course of nature by internal principle, but set on work, and received from some external agent or cause, and working by insensible ways, which we perceive not, we call generation; when the cause is extrinsecal, and the effect produced by a sensible separation, or juxta-position of descernible parts, we call it making; and such are all artificial things. When any simple idea is produced, which was not in that subject before, we call it alteration. Thus a man is generated, a picture made, and either of them altered, when any new sensible quality or simple idea is produced in either of them, which was not there before ; and the things thus made to exist, which were not there before, are effects; and those things, which operated to the existence, causes. In which, and all other causes, we may observe, that the notion of cause and effect has its rise from ideas, received by sensation, or reflection; and that this relation, how comprehensible soever, terminates at last in

them. For to have the idea of cause and effect, it suf· fices to consider any simple idea, or substance, as begin• ning to exist by the operation of some other, without

knowing the manner of that operation.

$. 3. Time and place are also the founda- Relations of tions of very large relations, and all finite Time. beings at least are concerned in them. But having already shown, in another place, how we get these ideas, it may suffice here to intimate, that most of the denominations of things, received from time, are only relations. Thus when any one says, that queen Elizabeth lived sixty-nine, and reigned forty-five years, these words import only the relation of that duration to some other, and mean no more than this, that the duration of her existence was equal to sixty-nine, and the duration of her government to forty-five annual revolutions of the sun; and so are all words, answering, how long. Again, William the Conqueror invaded England about the year 1066, which means this, that

taking the duration from our Saviour's time till now, i for one entire great length of time, it shows at what

distance this invasion was from the two extremes; and

80 do all words of time, answering to the question, c. when, which show only the distance of any point of

time, from the period of a longer duration, from Rod which we measure, and to which we thereby consider out it as related. . des §. 4. There are yet, besides those, other words of De time, that ordinarily are thought to stand for positive

ideas, which yet will, when considered, be found to in me be relative, such as are young, old, &c. which include calie and intimate the relation any thing has to a certain pode length of duration, whereof we have the idea in our bitki minds. Thus having settled in our thoughts the idea theme of the ordinary duration of a man to be seventy years,

when we say a man is young, we mean that his age is ele yet but a small part of that which usually men attain mesto: and when we denominate him old, we mean that white his duration is run out almost to the end of that which Proin men do not usually exceed. And so it is but comhotel paring the particular age, or duration of this or that

ali man, to the idea of that duration which we have in our Seat minds, as ordinarily belonging to that sort of animals:

which is plain, in the application of these names to

other. things : for a man is called young at twenty Olen years, and very young at seven years old; but yet a


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

horse we call old at twenty, and a dog at seven years, because in each of these, we compare their age to different ideas of duration, which are settled in our minds, as belonging to these several sorts of animals, in the ordinary course of nature. But the sun and stars, though they have out-lasted several generations of men, we call not old, because we do not know what period God hath set to that sort of beings. This term belonging properly to those things, which we can observe in the ordi. rary course of things, by a natural decay, to come to an end in a certain period of time; and so have in our minds, as it were, a standard to which we can compare the several parts of their duration; and, by the relation they bear thereunto, call them young or old: which we cannot therefore do to a ruby or diamond, things whose usual periods we know not.

5. 5. The relation also that things have Relations of

to one another in their places and displace and extension. tances, is very obvious to observe; as

above, below, a mile distant from Charing-cross, in England, and in London. But as in dua ration, so in extension and bulk, there are some ideas that are relative, which we signify by names that are thought positive; as great and little are truly relations, For here also having, by observation, settled in our minds the ideas of the bigness of several species of things from those we have been most accustomed to, we make them as it were the standards whereby to denominate the bulk of others. Thus we call a great apple, such & one as is bigger than the ordinary sort of those we have been used to; and a little horse, such a one as comes not up to the size of that idea, which we have in our minds, to belong ordinarily to horses : and that we be a great horse to a Welshman, which is but a little one to a Fleming; they two having, from the different breed of their countries, taken several-sized ideas to not a which they compare, and in relation to which they denominate their great and their little.

$. 6.' So likewise weak and strong are Absolute

but relative denominations of power, com Souls stand for re. pared to some ideas we have at that time dations. of greater or less power. Thus when we line.


say a weak man, we mean one that has not so much strength or power to move, as usually men have, or usually those of his size have: which is a comparing his strength to the idea we have of the usual strength of men, or men of such a size. The like, when we say the creatures are all weak things; weak, there, is but a relative term, signifying the disproportion there is in the power of God and the creatures. And so abundance of words, in ordinary speech, stand only for relations (and perhaps the greatest part) which at first sight seem to have no such signification : v. g. the ship has necessary stores. Necessary and stores are both relative words ; one having a relation to the accomplishing the voyage intended, and the other to future use. All which relations, how they are confined to and terminate in ideas derived from sensation or reflection, is too obvious to need any explication.


Of Identity and Diversity. 1. A NOTHER occasion the mind wherein

1 often takes of comparing, is the identity con. very being of things; when considering sists. any thing as existing at any determined time and place, we compare it with itself existing at another time, and thereon form the ideas of identity and diversity. When we see any thing to be in any place in any instant of time, we are sure (be it what it will) that it is that very thing, and not another, which at that same time exists in arother place, how like and undistinguishable soever it may be in all other respects : and in this consists identity, when the idea it is attributed to, vary not at all from what they were that moment wherein we consider their foriner existence, and to which we compare the present. For we never fiuding, nor conceiving it possible, that two things of the same kind should exist in the same place at the same time, we rightly conclude, that whatever exists any where at any time, excludes all of the same kind, and is there itself alone. When therefore we demand, whether any thing Y 3


[ocr errors]

be the same or no; it refers always to something that existed such a time in such a place, which it was certain at that instant was the same with itself, and no other. From whence it follows, that one thing cannot have two beginnings of existence, nor two things one beginning; it being impossible for two things of the same kind to be or exist in the same instant, in the very same place, or one and the same thing in different places. That therefore that had one beginning, is the same thing; and that which had a different beginning in time and place from that, is not the sanie, but diverse. That which has made the difficulty about this relation, has been the little care and attention used in having precise notions of the things to which it is attributed

$. 2. We have the ideas but of three Identity of substances.

sorts of substances; 1. God. 2. Finite in:

* telligences. 3. Bodies. First, God is with: out beginning, eternal, unalterable, and everywhere; and therefore concerning his identity, there can be no doubt. Secondly, finite spirits having had each its determinate time and place of beginning to exist, the relation to that time and place will always determine to each of them its identity, as long as it exists. Thirdly, the same will hold of every particle of matter, to which no addition or subtraction of matter being made, it is the same. For though these three sorts of substances, as we term them, do not exclude one another out of the same place; yet we cannot conceive but that they must necessarily each of them exclude any of the same kind out of the same place: or else the notions and names of identity and diversity would be in vain, and there could be no such distinction of substances, or any thing else one from another. For example: could two bodies be in the same place at the same time, then those two parcels of matter must be one and the same, take them great or little: nay, all bodies must be one and the same. ·- For by the same reason that two particles of matter may be in one place, all bodies may be in one place : which, when it can be supposed, takes away the distinction of identity and diversity of one and more, and renders it


[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »