صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

bare insensible matter; nor ever could be, without an immaterial thinking being.

abstract substance.

§ 16. By the complex idea of extended, No idea of figured, coloured, and all other sensible qualities, which is all that we know of it, we are as far from the idea of the substance of body as if we knew nothing at all: nor after all the acquaintance and familiarity which we imagine we have with matter, and the many qualities men assure themselves they perceive and know in bodies, will it perhaps upon examination be found, that they have any more or clearer primary ideas belonging to body, than they have belonging to immaterial spirit.

§ 17. The primary ideas we have peculiar to body, as contradistinguished to spirit, are the cohesion of solid, and consequently separable, parts, and a power of communicating motion by impulse. These, I think, are the original ideas proper and peculiar to body; for figure is but the consequence of finite extension.

The cohe

sion of solid

parts and impulse the primary

ideas of body.

818. The ideas we have belonging and peculiar to spirit are thinking and will, or a power of putting body into motion by thought, and, which is consequent to it, liberty. For as body cannot but communicate its motion by impulse to another body, which it meets with at rest; so the mind can put bodies into motion, or forbear to do so, as it pleases. The ideas of existence, duration, and mobility, are common to

them both.

Thinking and motivity the primary ideas of spi

rit.

19. There is no reason why it should be thought strange, that I make mobility belong to spirit: for having no other idea of motion but change of distance with other beings that are considered as at rest,-and finding that spirits, as well as bodies, cannot operate but where they are, and that spirits do operate at several times

Spirits capable of mo

tion.

in several places,-I cannot but attribute change of place to all finite spirits (for of the infinite spirit I speak not here.) For my soul being a real being, as well as my body, is certainly as capable of changing distance with any other body, or being, as body itself; and so is capable of motion. And if mathematician can consider a certain distance, or a change of that distance between two points, one may certainly conceive a distance, and a change of distance between two spirits: and so conceive their motion, their approach or removal, one from another.

§ 20. Every one finds in himself, that his soul can think, will, and operate on his body in the place where that is; but cannot operate on a body or in a place an hundred miles distant from it. Nobody can imagine, that his soul can think or move a body at Oxford, whilst he is at London; and cannot but know, that, being united to his body, it constantly changes place all the whole journey between Oxford and London, as the coach or horse does that carries him, and I think may be said to be truly all that while in motion; or if that will not be allowed to afford us a clear idea enough of its motion, its being separated from the body in death, I think, will: for to consider it as going out of the body, or leaving it, and yet to have no idea of its motion, seems to me impossible.

§ 21. If it be said by any one, that it cannot change place, because it hath none, for the spirits are not in loco, but ubi; I suppose that way of talking will not now be of much weight to many, in an age that is not much disposed to admire or suffer themselves to be deceived by such unintelligible ways of speaking. But if any one thinks there is any sense in that distinction, and that it is applicable to our present purpose, I desire him to put it into intelligible English; and then from thence draw a reason to show that immaterial spirits are not capable of motion. Indeed

motion cannot be attributed to God; not because he is an immaterial, but because he is an infinite spirit. $ 22. Let us compare then our complex Idea of soul idea of an immaterial spirit with our comand body plex idea of body, and see whether there compared. be any more obscurity in one than in the other, and in which most. Our idea of body, as I think, is an extended solid substance, capable of communicating motion by impulse: and our idea of soul, as an immaterial spirit, is of a substance that thinks, and has a power of exciting motion in body, by willing or thought. These, I think, are our complex ideas of soul and body, as contradistinguished; and now let us examine which has most obscurity in it, and difficulty to be apprehended. I know that people, whose thoughts are immersed in matter, and have so subjected their minds to their senses that they seldom reflect on any thing beyond them, are apt to say, they cannot comprehend a thinking thing, which perhaps is true: but I affirm, when they consider it well, they can no more comprehend an extended thing. § 23. If any one say, he knows not what it is thinks in him, he means, he knows not what the substance is of that thinking thing: no more, say I, knows he what the substance is of that solid thing. Farther, if he says he knows not how he thinks, I answer, neither knows he how he is extended; how the solid parts of body are united, or cohere together to make extension. For though the pressure of the particles of air may account for the cohesion of several parts of matter, that are grosser than the particles of air, and have pores less than the corpuscles of air,-yet the weight or pressure of the air will not explain, nor can be a cause of the coherence of the particles of air themselves. And if the pressure of the æther, or any subtiler matter than the air, may unite, and hold fast together the parts of a particle of air, as well as other

Cohesion of solid parts in body as hard to be conceived as thinking in a soul.

bodies; yet it cannot make bonds for itself, and hold together the parts that make up every the least corpuscle of that materia subtilis. So that that hypothesis, how ingeniously soever explained, by showing that the parts of sensible bodies are held together by the pressure of other external insensible bodies, reaches not the parts of the æther itself; and by how much the more evident it proves, that the parts of other bodies are held together by the external pressure of the æther, and can have no other conceivable cause of their cohesion and union, by so much the more it leaves us in the dark concerning the cohesion of the parts of the corpuscles of the æther itself; which we can neither conceive without parts, they being bodies, and divisible, nor yet how their parts cohere, they wanting that cause of cohesion, which is given of the cohesion of the parts of all other bodies.

§ 24. But, in truth, the pressure of any ambient fluid, how great soever, can be no intelligible cause of the cohesion of the solid parts of matter. For though such a pressure may hinder the avulsion of two polished superficies, one from another, in a line perpendicular to them, as in the experiment of two polished marbles; yet it can never, in the least, hinder the separation by a motion, in a line parallel to those surfaces; because the ambient fluid, having a full liberty to succeed in each point of space, deserted by a lateral motion, resists such a motion of bodies so joined no more than it would resist the motion of that body, were it

all sides environed by that fluid, and touched no other body and therefore, if there were no other cause of cohesion, all parts of bodies must be easily separable by such a lateral sliding motion. For if the pressure of the æther be the adequate cause of cohesion, whereever that cause operates not, there can be no cohesion. And since it cannot operate against such a lateral separation (as has been shown), therefore in every imaginary plane, intersecting any mass of matter, there

could be no more cohesion than of two polished surfaces, which will always, notwithstanding any imaginable pressure of a fluid, easily slide one from another. So that, perhaps, how clear an idea soever we think we have of the extension of body, which is nothing but the cohesion of solid parts, he that shall well consider it in his mind may have reason to conclude, that it is as easy for him to have a clear idea how the soul thinks, as how body is extended. For since body is no farther nor otherwise extended than by the union and cohesion of its solid parts, we shall very ill comprehend the extension of body, without understanding wherein consists the union and cohesion of its parts; which seems to me as incomprehensible as the manner of thinking, and how it is performed.

§ 25. I allow it is usual for most people to wonder how any one should find a difficulty in what they think they every day observe. Do we not see, will they be ready to say, the parts of bodies stick firmly together? Is there any thing more common? And what doubt can there be made of it? And the like, I say, concerning thinking and voluntary motion: Do we not every moment experiment it in ourselves; and therefore can it be doubted? The matter of fact is clear, I confess; but when we would a little nearer look into it, and consider how it is done, there I think we are at a loss, both in the one and the other; and can as little understand how the parts of body cohere as how we ourselves perceive, or move. I would have any one intelligibly explain to me how the parts of gold, or brass (that but now in fusion were as loose from one another as the particles of water, or the sands of an hour-glass), come in a few moments to be so united, and adhere so strongly one to another, that the utmost force of men's arms cannot separate them: a considering man will, I suppose, be here at a loss to satisfy his own, or another man's understanding.

26. The little bodies that compose that fluid we

« السابقةمتابعة »