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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 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 same 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 have any ideas of) to that sovereign 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 the operations of our own minds, by reflection; or by our senses, from exterior things; to that vastness to which infinity can extend them. Idea of God.
§. 35. For it is infinity, which joined to
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 and uncompounded ; yet, I think, I may say we have no other idea of him, but a complex one of existence, knowledge, power, happiness, &c. infinite and eternal: which are
all distinct ideas, and some of them, being relative, are again compounded of others ; all which being, as has been shown, originally got from sensation and reflection, go to make up the idea or notion we have of God.
§. 36. This farther is to be observed, that there is no idea we attribute to GodNo idea in
our complex bating infinity, which is not also a part
one of spirits, our complex idea of other spirits. Because but those got being capable of no other simple ideas, be- from sensa
tion or res longing to any thing but body, but those
flection, which by reflection we receive from the operation of our own minds, we can attribute to spirits no other but what we receive from thence: and all the difference we can put between them in our contemplation of spirits, is only in the several extents and degrees of their knowledge, power, duration, happi
For that in our ideas, as well of spirits, as of other things, we are restrained to those we receive from sensation and reflection, is evident from hence, that in our ideas of spirits, how much soever advanced in perfection beyond those of bodies, even to that of infinite, we cannot yet have any idea of the manner wherein they discover their thoughts one to another: though we must necessarily conclude, that separate spirits, which are beings that have perfecter knowledge and greater happiness than we, must needs have also a perfecter way of communicating their thoughts than we have, who are fain to make use of corporeal signs and particular sounds : which are therefore of most general use, as being the best and quickest we are capable of. But of immediate communication, having no experiment in ourselves, and consequently no notion of it at all, we have no idea how spirits, which use not words, can with quickness, or much less how spirits, that have no bodies, can be masters of their own thoughts, and communicate or conceal them at pleasure, though we cannot but necessarily suppose they have such a power.
g. 37. And thus we have seen, what kind Recapitulaof ideas we have of substances of all kinds,
wherein they consist, and how we came by them. From whence, I think it is
very evident, First, That all our ideas of the several sorts of sub-' stances are nothing but collections of simple ideas, with a supposition of something to which they belong, and in which they subsist; though of this supposed something we have no clear distinct idea at all.
Secondly, That all the simple ideas, that thus united in one common substratum make up our complex ideas of several sorts of substances, are no other but such as we have received from sensation or reflection. So that even in those which we think we are most intimately acquainted with, and that come nearest the comprehension of our most enlarged conceptions, we cannot go beyond those simple ideas. And even in those which seem most remote from all we have to do with, and do infinitely surpass any thing we can perceive in ourselves by reflection, or discover by sensation in other things, we can attain to nothing but those simple ideas, which we originally received from sensation or reflection; as is evident in the complex ideas we have of angels, and particularly of God himself.
Thirdly, That most of the simple ideas, that make up our complex ideas of substances, when truly considered, are only powers, however we are apt to take them for positive qualities ; v. g. the greatest part of the ideas that make our complex idea of gold are yellowness, great weight, ductility, fusibility and solubility in aqua regia, &c. all united together in an unknown substratum; all which ideas are nothing else but so many relations to other substances, and are not really in the gold, considered barely in itself, though they depend on those real and primary qualities of its internal constitution, whereby it has a fitness differently to operate, and be operated on by several other substances.
CH A P. XXIV.
Of collective Ideas of Substances.
One idea. several single substances, as of man, horse, gold, violet, apple, &c. the mind hath also complex collective ideas of substances; which I so call, because such ideas are made up of many particular substances considered together, as united into one idea, and which so joined are looked on as one: v.g. the idea of such a collection of men as make an army, though consisting of a great number of distinct substances, is as much one idea, as the idea of a man: and the great collective idea of all bodies whatsoever, signified by the name world, is as much one idea, as the idea of any the least particle of matter in it; it sufficing to the unity of any idea, that it be considered as one representation or picture, though made up of ever so many particulars.
§. 2. These collective ideas of substances Made by the the inind makes by its power of composi- power of tion, and uniting severally either simple or composing
in the mind. complex ideas into one, as it does by the same faculty make the complex ideas of particular substances, consisting of an aggregate of divers simple ideas, united in one substance; and as the mind, by putting together the repeated ideas of unity, makes the collective mode, or complex idea of any number, as a score, or a gross, &c. so by putting together several particular substances, it makes collective ideas of substances, as a troop, an army, a swarm, a city, a fleet; each of which, every one finds, that he represents to his own mind by one idea, in one view; and so under that poțion considers those several things as perfectly ove, as one ship or one atom. Nor is it harder to conceive, how an arıny of ten thousand men should make one idea, than how a man should make one idea; it being as easy to the mind to unite into one the idea of a great VOL. II.
number of nien, and consider it as one, as it is to unite into one particular all the distinct ideas that make up the composition of a man, and consider them all together as one. All artificial
6. 3. Ainongst such kind of collective things are ideas, are to be counted most part of articollective
ficial things, at least such of them as are ideas,
made up of distinct substances : and, in truth, if we consider all these collective ideas aright, as army, constellation, universe, as they are united into so many single ideas, they are but the artificial draughts of the mind; bringing things very remote, and independent on one another, into one view, the better to contemplate and cliscourse of them, united into one conception, and signified by one name. For there are no things so remote, nor so contrary, which the mind cannot, by this art of composition, bring into one idea; as is visible in that signified by the name universe.
Of Relation. Relation
BESIDES the ideas, whether simwhat.
has of things, as they are in themselves, there are others it gets from their comparison one with another. The understanding, in the consideration of any thing, is not confined to that precise object : it can carry any idea as it were beyond itself, or at least look beyond it, to see how it stands in conformity to any other. When the mind so considers one thing, that it does as it were bring it to and set it by another, and carry its view from one to the other : this is, as the words import, relation and respect; and the denominations given to positive things, intimating that respect, and serving as marks to lead the thoughts beyond the subject itself denominated to something distinct from it, are what we call relatives; and the things so brought