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have said L. 2. C. 13. But then this can by no means proceed from a supposition, that I see these figures only in God; for there they do not produce one another, but are there, as it were, in their first pattern to be seen, just such and so many as God is pleased to show them to us. But it will be said, our desire to see them is the occasional cause of God's showing them us, and so we see whatever figure we desire. Let it be so, this does not make any idea feconde, for here is no production of one out of another; but as to the occasional cause, can any one say that it is so? I, or our author, desire to see an angle next in greatness to a right angle; did upon this God ever show him or me such an angle? That God knows, or has in himself the idea of such an angle, I think will not be denied; but that he ever showed it to any man, how much soever he desired it, I think may be doubted. But after all, how comes it by this means that we have a perfect knowledge of bodies and their properties, when several men in the world have not the same idea of body, and this very author and I differ in it? He thinks bare extension to be body, and I think extension alone makes not body, but extension and solidity; thus either he, or I, one of us, has a wrong and imperfect knowledge of bodies and their properties. For if bodies be extension alone, and nothing else, I cannot conceive how they can move and hit one against another, or what can make distinct surfaces in an uniform simple extension. A solid extended thing I can conceive moveable; but then, if I have a clear view of bodies and their properties in God, I must see the idea of solidity in God, which yet I think, by what our author has said in his Eclaircissements, he does not allow that we do. He says farther, "that whereas the ideas of things that are in God contain all their properties, he that sees their ideas may see successively all their properties." This seems to me not to concern our ideas more, whether we see them in God, or have them otherwise. Any idea that we have, whencesoever we have it, contains in it all the properties it has, which are nothing but the relations it has to other ideas, which are always the same. What
he says concerning the properties, that we may successively know them, is equally true, whether we see them in God, or have them by any other means. They that apply them as they ought to the consideration of their ideas, may successively come to the knowledge of some of their properties; but that they may know all their properties is more than I think the reason proves, which he subjoins in these words," for when one sees the things as they are in God, one sees them always in a most perfect manner." We see, for example, in God, the idea of a triangle, or a circle; does it hence follow, that we can know all the properties of either of them? He adds, that the manner of seeing them "would be infinitely perfect, if the mind which sees them in God was infinite." I confess myself here not well to comprehend his distinction between seeing after a manner" [tres parfait] most perfect and infinitely perfect;" he adds, "that which is wanting to the knowledge that we have of extension, figures, and motion, is not a defect of the idea which represents it, but of our mind which considers it." If by ideas be meant here the real objects of our knowledge, I easily agree, that the want of knowledge in us is a defect in our minds, and not in the things to be known. But if by ideas be here meant the perception or representation of things in the mind, that I cannot but observe in myself to be very imperfect and defective, as when I desire to perceive what is the substance of body or spirit, the idea thereof fails me. To conclude, I see not what there is in this paragraph that makes any thing for the doctrine of seeing all things in God.
46. "The third way of knowing is by consciousness or interior sentiments; and thus," he says, "we know our souls; and it is for this reason that the knowledge we have of them is imperfect, we know nothing of our souls but what we feel within ourselves." This confession of our author brings me back, do what I can, to that original of all our ideas which my thoughts led me to when I writ my book, viz. sensation and reflection; and therefore I am forced to ask any one who is of our author's principles, whether God had not the
idea of mine, or of an human soul, before he created it? Next, whether that idea of an human soul be not as much a real being in God as the idea of a triangle? If so, why does not my soul, being intimately united to God, as well see the idea of my soul which is in him as the idea of a triangle which is in him? And what reason can there be given, why God shows the idea of a triangle to us, and not the idea of our souls, but this, that God has given us external sensation to perceive the one, and none to perceive the other, but only internal sensation to perceive the operation of the latter? He that pleases may read what our author says in the remainder of this, and the two or three next paragraphs, and see whether it carries him beyond where my ignorance stopped; I must own that me it does not.
47." This (i. e. the ignorance we are in of our own souls,) says he, may serve to prove that the ideas that represent any thing to us that is without us are not modifications of our souls; for if the soul saw all things by considering its own proper modifications, it should know more clearly its own essence, or its own nature, than that of bodies; and all the sensations or modifications whereof it is capable, than the figures or modifications of which bodies are capable. In the mean time, it knows not that it is capable of any such sensation by sight, as it has of itself, but only by experience; instead of that, it knows that extension is capable of an infinite number of figures by the ideas that it has of extension. There are, moreover, certain sensations, as colours and sounds, which the greatest part of men cannot discover whether they are modifications of the soul; and there are figures which all men do not discover by the idea of extension to be modifications of bodies." This paragraph is, as he tells us, to prove, "That the ideas that represent to us something without us, are not modifications of the soul;" but instead of that, it seems to prove that figure is the modification of space, and not of our souls. For if this argument had tended to prove, "That the ideas that represent any thing
without us were not modifications of the soul," he should not have put the mind's not knowing what modifications itself was capable of, and knowing what figures space was capable of, in opposition one to another: but the antithesis must have lain in this, that the mind knew it was capable of the perception of figure or motion without any modification of itself, but was not capable of the perception of sound or colour without a modification of itself. For the question here is not whether space be capable of figure, and the soul not; but whether the soul be capable of perceiving, or having the idea of figure, without a modification of itself, and not capable of having the idea of colour without a modification of itself. I think now of the figure, colour, and hardness of a diamond that I saw some time since: in this case I desire to be informed how my mind knows that the thinking on, or the idea of the figure, is not a modification of the mind; but the thinking on, or having an idea of the colour or hardness, is a modification of the mind? It is certain there is some alteration in my mind when I think of a figure which I did not think of before, as well as when I think of a colour that I did not think of before. But one, I am told, is seeing it in God, and the other a modification of my mind. But supposing one is seeing in God, is there no alteration in my mind between seeing and not seeing? And is that to be called a modification or no? For when he says seeing a colour, and hearing a sound, is a modification of the mind, what does it signify but an alteration of the mind from not perceiving to perceiving that sound or colour? And so when the mind sees a triangle, which it did not see before, what is this but an alteration of the mind from not seeing to seeing, whether that figure be seen in God or no? And why is not this alteration of the mind to be called a modification, as well as the other? Or indeed what service does that word do us in the one case or the other, when it is only a new sound brought in without any new conception at all? For my mind, when it sees a colour or figure, is altered, I know, from the not having such or such a perception to the having
it; but when, to explain this, I am told that either of these perceptions is a modification of the mind, what do I conceive more than that from not having such a perception my mind is come to have such a perception? Which is what I as well knew before the word modification was made use of, which, by its use, has made me conceive nothing more than what I conceived before.
48. One thing I cannot but take notice of here by the by, that he says, that "the soul knows that extension is capable of an infinite number of figures by the idea it has of extension," which is true. afterwards he says, that "there are no figures, which all men do not discover by the idea they have of extension to be modifications of body." One would wonder why he did not say modifications of extension, rather than as he does modifications of body, they being discovered by the idea of extension; but the truth would not bear such an expression. For it is certain that in pure space or extension, which is not terminated, there is truly no distinction of figures; but in distinct bodies that are terminated there are distinct figures, because simple space or extension, being in itself uniform, inseparable, immoveable, has in it no such modification or distinction of figures. But it is capable, as he says; but of what? Of bodies of all sorts of figures and magnitudes, without which there is no distinction of figures in space. Bodies that are solid, separable, terminated, and moveable, have all sorts of figures, and they are bodies alone that have them: and so figures are properly modifications of bodies, for pure space is not any where terminated, nor can be; whether there be or be not body in it, it is uniformly continued on. This that he plainly said there, to me plainly shows that body and extension are two things, though much of our author's doctrine be built upon their being one and the same.
49. The next paragraph is to show us the difference between ideas and sentiments in this, that "sentiments are not tied to words; so that he that never had seen a colour, or felt heat, could never be made to have