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extension, could not at once receive all the ideas conceivable in infinite space, because but a little part of that infinite space can be applied to the soul at once. To conceive thus of the soul's intimate union with an infinite being, and by that union receiving of ideas, leads one as naturally into as gross thoughts, as a country maid would have of an infinite butter-print, in which was engraven figures of all sorts and sizes, the several parts whereof being, as there was occasion, applied to her lump of butter, left on it the figure or idea there was present need of. But whether any one would thus explain our ideas, I will not say, only I know not well how to understand what he says here, with what he says before of union, in a better sense.
20. He farther says, that had we a magazine of all ideas that are necessary for seeing things, they would be of no use, since the mind could not know which to choose, and set before itself to see the sun. What he here means by the sun is hard to conceive, and according to his hypothesis of "seeing all things in God," how can he know that there is any such real being in the world as the sun? Did he ever see the sun? No, but on occasion of the presence of the sun to his eyes, he has seen the idea of the sun in God, which God has exhibited to him; but the sun, because it cannot be united to his soul, he cannot see. How then does he know that there is a sun which he never saw? And since God does all things by the most compendious ways, what need is there that God should make a sun that we might see its idea in him when he pleased to exhibit it, when this might as well be done without any real sun at all.
21. He farther says, that God does not actually produce in us as many new ideas as we every moment perceive different things. Whether he has proved this or no, I will not examine.
22. But he says, that "we have at all times actually in ourselves the ideas of all things." Then we have always actually in ourselves the ideas of all triangles, which was but now denied, "but we have them confusedly." If we see them in God, and they are not
in him confusedly, I do not understand how we can see them in God confusedly.
23. In the fifth chapter he tells us "all things are in God," even the most corporeal and earthly, but after a manner altogether spiritual, and which we cannot comprehend." Here therefore he and I are alike ignorant of these good words; "material things are in God after a spiritual manner," signifying nothing to either of us; and "spiritual manner" signifies no more but this, that material things are in God immaterially. This and the like are ways of speaking which our vanity has found out to cover, not remove our ignorance. But " material things are in God,' because their ideas are in God, and those ideas which God had of them before the world was created, are not at all different from himself." This seems to me to come very near saying, not only that there is variety in God, since we see variety in what" is not different from himself;" but that material things are God, or a part of him; which, though I do not think to be what our author designs, yet thus I fear he must be forced to talk, who thinks he knows God's understanding so much better than his own, that he will make use of the divine intellect to explain the human.
24. In the sixth chapter he comes more particularly to explain his own doctrine, where first he says, "the ideas of all beings are in God." Let it be so, God has the idea of a triangle, of a horse, of a river, just as we have; for hitherto this signifies no more, for we see them as they are in him, and so the ideas that are in him are the ideas we perceive. Thus far I then understand God hath the same ideas we have. This tells us indeed that there are ideas, which was agreed before, and I think nobody denies, but tells me not yet what they are.
25. Having said that they are in God, the next thing he tells us is, that we "can see them in God." His proof, that "our souls can see them in God, is because God is most straitly united to our souls by his presence, insomuch that one may say, God is the place
of spirits, as spaces are the places of bodies;" in which there is not, I confess, one word that I can understand. For, first, in what sense can he say, that
spaces are the places of bodies;" when he makes body and space, or extension, to be the same thing. So that I do no more understand what he means, when he says, "spaces are the places of bodies," than if he had said, bodies are the places of bodies. But when this simile is applied to God and spirits, it makes this saying, that "God is the place of spirits," either to be merely metaphorical, and so signifies literally nothing, or else, being literal, makes us conceive that spirits move up and down, and have their distances and intervals in God, as bodies have in space. When I am told in which of these senses he is to be understood, I shall be able to see how far it helps us to understand the nature of ideas. But is not God as straitly united to bodies as to spirits? For he is also present, even where they are, but yet they see not these ideas in him. He therefore adds, "that the soul can see in God the works of God, supposing God would discover to it what there is in him to represent them," viz. the ideas that are in him. Union therefore is not the cause of this seeing; for the soul may be united to God, and yet not see the ideas are in him, till he " discover" them to it; so that, after all, I am but where I was. I have ideas, that I know; but I would know what they are; and to that I am yet only told, that "I see them in God." I ask how I see them in God? And it is answered, by my "intimate union" with God, for he is every where present. I answer, if that were enough, bodies are also intimately united with God, for he is every where present; besides, if that were enough, I should see all the ideas that are in God. No, but only those that he pleases to "discover." Tell me wherein this discovery lies, besides barely making me see them, and you explain the manner of my having ideas: otherwise all that has been said amounts to no more but this, that I have those ideas that it pleases God I should have, but by ways that I know not; and of this mind I was before, and am not got one jot farther.
26. In the next paragraph he calls them "beings, representative beings." But whether these beings are substances, modes, or relations, I am not told; and so by being told they are spiritual beings, I know no more but that they are something, I know not what, and that I knew before.
27. To explain this matter a little farther, he adds, "It must be observed, that it cannot be concluded, that souls see the essence of God, in that they see all things in God; because what they see is very imperfect, and God is very perfect. They see matter divisible, figured, &c. and in God there is nothing divisible and figured: for God is all being, because he is infinite, and comprehends all things; but he is not any being in particular. Whereas what we see is but some one or more beings in particular; and we do not at all comprehend that perfect simplicity of God which contains all beings. Moreover, one may say, that we do not so much see the ideas of things, as the things themselves, which the ideas represent. For when, for example, one sees a square, one says not that one sees the idea of a square, which is united to the soul, but only the square that is without." I do not pretend not to be short-sighted; but if I am not duller than ordinary, this paragraph shows, that P. M. himself is at a stand in this matter, and comprehends not what it is we see in God, or how. Chap. fourth, he says, in express words, that "it is necessary that at all times we should have actually in ourselves the ideas of all things." And in this very chapter, a little lower, he says, that "all beings are present to our minds," and that we have "general ideas antecedent to particular." And chap. 8th, that we are never without the " general idea of being :" and yet here he says, "that which we see" is but "one or more beings in particular." And after having taken a great deal of pains to prove, that "we cannot possibly see things in themselves, but only ideas;" here he tells us "we do not so much see the ideas of things as the things themselves." In this uncertainty of the author what it is we see, I am to be excused if my
eyes see not more clearly in his hypothesis than he himself does.
28. He farther tells us, in this sixth chapter, that
we see all beings, because God wills that that which is in him that represents them should be discovered to us." This tells us only, that there are ideas of things in God, and that we see them when he pleases to discover them; but what does this show us more of the nature of those ideas, or of the discovery of them, wherein that consists, than he that says, without pretending to know what they are, or how they are made, that ideas are in our minds when God pleases to produce them there, by such motions as he has appointed to do it? The next argument for our "sceing all things in God," is in these words; "but the strongest of all the reasons is the manner in which the mind perceives all things: it is evident, and all the world knows it by experience, that when we would think of any thing in particular, we at first cast our view upon all beings, and afterwards we apply ourselves to the consideration of the object which we desire to think on.” This argument has no other effect on me, but to make me doubt the more of the truth of this doctrine. First, because this, which he calls the "strongest reason of all," is built upon matter of fact, which I cannot find to be so in myself. I do not observe, that when I would think of a triangle, I first think of " all beings;" whether these words "all beings" be to be taken here in their proper sense, or very improperly for "being" in general. Nor do I think my country neighbours do so, when they first wake in the morning, who, I imagine, do not find it impossible to think of a lame horse they have, or their blighted corn, till they have run over in their minds" all beings" that are, and then pitch on dapple; or else begin to think of "being" in general, which is "being" abstracted from all its inferior species, before they come to think of the fly in their sheep, or the tares in their corn. For I am apt to think that the greatest part of mankind very seldom, if ever at all, think of "being" in general, i. e. abstracted from all its inferior species and individuals.