Imágenes de página

distinct bulks, which is the subject and foundation of division, comes, after a little progression, to be confounded, and almost lost in obscurity. For that idea, which is to represent only bigness, must be very obscure and confused, which we cannot distinguish from one ten times as big, but only by number; so that we have clear distinct ideas, we inay say, of ten and one, but no distinct ideas of two such extensions. It is plain from hence, that when we talk of infinite divisibility of body, or extension, our distinct and clear ideas are only of numbers; but the clear distinct ideas of extension, after some progress of division, are quite lost: and of such minute parts we have no distinct ideas at all :: but it. rcturus, as all our ideas of intinite do, at last to that of number always to be added; but thereby never amounts to any distinct idea of actual įntinitc parts. We have, it is true, a clear idea of division, as often as we think of it; but thereby we have no more a clear idea of infinite parts in matter, than we have a clear idea of an infinite number, by being able still to add new numbers to any assigned numbers we have: endless divisibility giving us no more a clear and distinct idea of actually infinite parts, than endless addibility (if I may so spcak) gives us a clear and distinct idea of an actually infinite number; they both being only in a power still of increasing the number, be it already as great as it will. So that of what remains to be added (wherein consists the infinity) we have but an obscure, imperfect, and confused idea ; tiom or about which we can argue or reason with no certainty or clearness, no more than we can in arithmetick, about a number of which we have no such distinct idea as we have of 4 or 100; but only this relative obscure one, that compared to any other, it is still bigger: and we have no more a clear positive idea of it when we say or conceive it is bigger, or more than 400,000,000, than it we should say it is bigger than 40, or 4; 400,000,000 having no nearer a proportion to the end of addition, or number, than 4. For he that adds only 4 to 4, and so proceeds, shall as soon come to the end of all addition, as he that adds 400,000,000

to 400,000,000. And so likewise in eternity, he that
has an idea of but four years, has as much a posi-
tive complete idea of eternity, as he that has one of
400,000,000 of years : for what remains of eternity be-
vond either of these two numbers of years is as clear
w the one as the other; i. e. neither of them has any
clear positive idea of it at all. For he that adds only
tour years to 4, and so on, shall as soon reach eternity,
as he that adds 400,000,000 of years, and so on; or,
if he please, doubles the increase as often as he will :
the remaining abyss being still as far beyond the end of
all these progressions, as it is from the length of a day
or an hour. For nothing finite bears any proportion
to infinite; and therefore our ideas, which are all
finite, cannot bear any. Thus it is also in our idea of
extension, when we increase it by addition, as well as
when we diminish it by division, and would enlarge
our thoughts 10 infinite space. After a few doublings
of those ideas of extension, which are the largest we
are accustomed to liave, we lose the clear distinct idea
of that space: it becomes a confusedly great one, with
a surplus of still greater; about which, when we would
argue or reason, we shall always find ourselves at a loss;
confused ideas in our arguings and deductions from that
part of them which is confused always leading us into

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

81. DESIDES what we have already Real ideas

D mentioned concerning ideas, other are conformconsiderations belong to them, in refer- able to their ence to things from whence they are taken, archetypes. or which they may be supposed to represent: and thus, I think, they may come under a threefold distinction;

[ocr errors]

and are,

First, either real or fantastical.

[ocr errors]


Secondly, adequate or inadequate. : Thirdly, true or false.

First, by real ideas, I mean such as have a foundation in nature; such as have a conforinity with the real being and existence of things, or with their archetypes. Fantastical or chimerical I call such as have no foundation in nature, nor have any conformity with that reality of being to which they are tacitly referred as to their archetypes. If we examine the several sorts of ideas before-inentioned, we shall find, that,

§. 2. First, our simple ideas are all real, Simple idcas all real.

as all agree to the reality of things, not that

they are all of them the images or representations of what does exist; the contrary whereof, in all but the primary qualities of bodies, hath been already shown. But though whiteness and coldness are no more in snow than pain is; yet those ideas of whiteness and coldness, pain, &c. being in us the effects of powers in things without us, ordained by our Maker to produce in us such sensations; they are real ideas in us, whereby we distinguish the qualities that are really in things themselves. For these several appearances being designed to be the mark, whereby we are to know and distinguish things which we have to do with, our idcas do as well serve us to that purpose, and are as real distinguishing characters, whether they be only constant effects, or else exact resemblances of something in the things themselves; the reality lying in that steady correspondence they have with the distinct constitutions of real beings. But whether they answer to those constitutions, as to causes or patterns, it matters not; it suffices that they are constantly produced by thein. And thus our simple ideas are all real and true, because they answer and agree to those powers of things which produce them in our minds; that being all that is requisite to make them real, and not fictions at pleasure. For in simple ideas (as has been shown) the mind is wholly confined to the operation of things upon it, and can make to itself no simple idea, more than what it has received.


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

§. 3. Though thie mind be wholly pas- Complex sive in respect of its simple ideas; yet I ideas are vos think; we may say, it is not so in respect luntary comer of its complex ideas : for those being com. Dnatione. ? binations of simple ideas put together, and united under one general name; it is plaiu that the mind of man uses some kind of liberty, in forming those complex ideas: low else comes it to pass that one manis idea of gold, or justice, is different from another's? but because he has put in, or left out of his, sone simple idea, which the other has not. The question: then is, which of these are real, and which barely imaginary combinations ? What collections agree to the reality of things, and what not? And to this I say, That, . . .

$. 4. Secondly, mixed modes and rela. tions have no other reality but what they have in the minds of men, there is nothing of consistent more required to this kind of ideas to ideas, are make them real, but that they be so frained, real, that there be a possibility of existing conformable to thein. These ideas themselves, being archetypes, cannot differ from their archetypes, and so cannot be chimerical, unless any one will jumble together in them inconsistent ideas. Indeed, as any of them have the names of a known language assigned to them, by whichi he that has them in his mind would signify them to others, so bare possibility of existing is not enough; they must have a conformity to the ordinary signification of the name that is given them, that they may not be thought fantastical: as if a inan would give the name of justice to that idea, which common use calls liberality. Put this fantasticalness relates more to propriety of speech, than reality of ideas: for a man to be undisturbed in danger, sedately to consider what is tittest to be done, and to execute it steadily, is a mixed mode, or a complex idea of an action which may exist, But to be undisturbed in danger, without using one's reason or industry, is what is also possible to be; and so is as real an idea as the other. Though the first of

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


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

these, having the name courage given to it, may, in respect of that name, be a right or wrong idea : but the other, whilst it has not a common received name of any known language assigned to it, is not capable of any deformity, being made with no reference to any thing but itself.

$. 5. Thirdly, our complex ideas of subIdeas of sub

stances being made all of them in reference stances are seal, when to things existing without ns, and intended they agree to be representations of substances, as they with the ex. really are; are no farther real, than as they istence of

are such combinations of simple ideas, as things.

are really united, and co-exist in things without us. On the contrary, those are fantastical which are made up of such collections of sinple ideas as were really never united, never were found together in any substance; v. g. a rational creature, consisting of a horse's head, joined to a body of human shape, or such as the centaurs are described : or, a body yellow, very inalleable, fusible, and fixed; but lighter than coinmon water: or an uniform, unorganized body, consisting, as to sense, all of similar parts, with perception and voluntary motion joined to it Whether such substances as these can possibly exist or no, it is probable we do not know: but be that as it will, these ideas ot substances being made conformable to no pattern existing that we know, and consisting of such collections of ideas, as no substance ever showed us united together, they ought to pass with us for barely imaginary; but much more are those complex ideas so, which contain in them any inconsistency or contradiction of their parts.

[blocks in formation]


« AnteriorContinuar »