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our minds by his proper substance: because no created thing is big enough to represent what is infinite; and therefore what makes us conceive his infinity, is the presence of his own infinite substance in our minds: which to me manifestly supposes, that we comprehend in our minds God's infinite substance, which is present to our minds; for if this be not the force of his argument, where he says, "nothing created can represent what is infinite; the being that is without bounds, the being immense, the being universal, cannot be perceived by an idea, i. e. by a particular being, by a being different from the universal infinite being itself." It seems to me that this argument is founded on a supposition of our comprehending the infinite substance of God in our minds, or else I see not any force in it, as I have already said. I shall take notice of one or two things in it that confound me, and that is, that he calls God here the Universal Being; which must either signify that being which contains, and is made up as one comprehensive aggregate of all the rest, in which sense the universe may be called the universal being; or else it must mean being in general, which is nothing but the idea of being, abstracted from all inferior divisions of that general notion, and from all particular existence. But in neither of these senses can I conceive God to be the universal being, since I cannot think the creatures either to be a part or a species of him. Next he calls the ideas that are in God particular beings. I grant whatever exists is particular, it cannot be otherwise; but that which is particular in existence may be universal in representation, which I take to be all the universal beings we know, or can conceive to be. But let universal or particular beings be what they will, I do not see how our author can say, that God is an universal being, and the ideas we see in him particular beings; since he in another place tells us, that the ideas we see in God are not at all different from God. "But," says he, " as to particular beings it is not hard to conceive that they can be represented by the infinite being which contains them, and contains them after a very spiritual manner, and conse



quently very intelligible." It seems as impossible to me, that an infinite simple being, in whom there is no variety, nor shadow of variety, should represent a finite thing, as that a finite thing should represent an infinite: nor do I see how its "containing all things in it after a very spiritual manner makes it so very intelligible;" since I understand not what it is to contain a material thing spiritually, nor the manner how God contains any thing in himself, but either as an aggregate contains all things which it is made up of; and so indeed that part of him may be seen, which comes within the reach of our view. But this way of containing all things can by no means belong to God, and to make things thus visible in him, is to make the material world a part of him, or else as having a power to produce all things; and in this way, it is true, God contains all things in himself, but in a way not proper to make the being of God a representative of those things to us; for then his being, being the representative of the effects of that power, it must represent to us all that he is capable of producing, which I do not find in myself that it does.

Secondly, "the second way of knowing things, he tells us, is by ideas, that is, by something that is different from them; and thus we know things when they are not intelligible by themselves, either because they are corporeal, or because they cannot penetrate the mind, or discover themselves to it; and this is the way we know corporeal things." This reasoning I do not understand: first, because I do not understand why a line or a triangle is not as intelligible as any thing that can be named; for we must still carry along with us, that the discourse here is about our perception, or what we have any idea or conception of in our own minds. Secondly, because I do not understand what is meant by the penetrating a spirit; and till I can comprehend these, upon which this reasoning is built, this reasoning cannot work on me. But from these reasons he concludes, "thus it is in God, and by their ideas that we see bodies and their properties; and it is for this reason that the knowledge we have of them is

most perfect." Whether others will think that what we see of bodies, is seen in God, by seeing the ideas of them that are in God, must be left to them. Why I cannot think so, I have shown; but the inference he makes here from it, I think, few will assent to, that we know bodies and their properties most perfectly. For who is there that can say, he knows the properties either of body in general, or of any one particular body perfectly? One property of body in general is to have parts cohering and united together; for wherever there is body, there is cohesion of parts; but who is there that perfectly understands that cohesion? And as for particular bodies, who can say that he perfectly understands gold or a loadstone, and all its properties? But to explain himself, he says, " that the idea we have of extension suffices to make us know all the properties whereof extension is capable, and that we cannot desire to have an idea more distinct, and more fruitful of extension, of figures, and of motions, than that which God has given us of them." This seems to me a strange proof that we see bodies and their properties in God, and know them perfectly, because God hath given us distinct and fruitful ideas of extension, figure, and motion; for this had been the same, whether God had given these ideas by showing them in himself, or by any other way; and his saying, that God has given us as distinct and fruitful ideas of them as we can desire, seems as if our author himself had some other thoughts of them. If he thought we see them in God, he must think we see them as they are in themselves, and there would be no room for saying, God hath given them us as distinct as we could desire: the calling them fruitful shows this yet more; for one that thinks he sees the ideas of figures in God, and can see no idea of a figure but in God, with what thought can he call any one of them feconde, which is said only of such things as produce others? Which expression of his seems to proceed only from this thought in him, that when I have once got the idea of extension, I can frame the ideas of what figures, and of what bigness I please. And in this I agree with him, as appears in what I

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 produc-
tion 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 exten-
sion 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 no-
thing else, I cannot conceive how they can move and
hit one against another, or what can make distinct sur-
faces in an uniform simple extension. A solid ex-
tended 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 Eclaircisse-
ments, he does not allow that we do. He
says far-
ther, "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.


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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

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