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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." ragraph 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. And 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
those sensations by all the definitions one could give him of them." This is true of what he calls sentiments; and as true also of what he calls ideas. Show me one who has not got by experience, i. e. by seeing or feeling, the idea of space or motion, and I will as soon by words make one who never felt what heat is, have a conception of heat, as he that has not by his senses perceived what space or motion is, can by words be made to conceive either of them. The reason why we are apt to think these ideas belonging to extension got another way than other ideas, is because our bodies being extended, we cannot avoid the distinction of parts in ourselves; and all that is for the support of our lives being by motion applied to us, it is impossible to find any one who has not by experience got those ideas; and so, by the use of language, learnt what words stand for them, which by custom came to excite them in his mind; as the names of heat and pleasure do excite in the mind of those who have by experience got them the ideas they are by use annexed to. Not that words or definitions can teach or bring into the mind one more than another of those I call simple ideas; but can by use excite them in those who, having got them by experience, know certain sounds to be by use annexed to them as the signs of them.
50. Fourthly, "The fourth way of knowing," he tells us, "is by conjecture, and thus only we know the souls of other men and pure intelligences," i. e. We know them not at all: but we probably think there are such beings really existing in "rerum naturâ." But this looks to me beside our author's business here, which seems to me to examine what ideas we have, and how we came by them. So that the thing here considered, should in my opinion be, not whether there were any souls of men or pure intelligences any where existing, but what ideas we have of them, and how we came by them. For when he says, we know not angels, either "in themselves, or by their ideas, or by consciousness," what in that place does angel signify? What idea in him does it stand for? Or is it the sign of no idea at all, and so a bare sound without signification?
He that reads this seventh chapter of his with attention, will find that we have simple ideas as far as our experience reaches, and no farther. And beyond that we know nothing at all, no not even what those ideas are that are in us, but only that they are perceptions in the mind, but how made we cannot comprehend.
51. In his Eclaircissements on the Nature of Ideas, p. 535 of the quarto edition, he says, that "he is certain that the ideas of things are unchangeable." This I cannot comprehend; for how can I know that the picture of any thing is like that thing, when I never see that which it represents? For if these words do not mean that ideas are true unchangeable representations of things, I know not to what purpose they are. And if that be not their meaning, then they can only signify, that the idea I have once had will be unchangeably the same as long as it recurs the same in my memory; but when another different from that comes into my mind, it will not be that. Thus the idea of a horse, and the idea of a centaur, will, as often as they recur in my mind, be unchangeably the same; which is no more than this, the same idea will be always the same idea; but whether the one or the other be the true representation of any thing that exists, that, upon his principles, neither our author nor any body else can know.
52. What he says here of universal reason, which enlightens every one, whereof all men partake, seems to me nothing else but the power men have to consider the ideas they have one with another, and by thus comparing them, find out the relations that are between them; and therefore if an intelligent being at one end of the world, and another at the other end of the world, will consider twice two and four together, he cannot but find them to be equal, i. e. to be the same number. These relations, it is true, are infinite, and God, who knows all things and their relations as they are, knows them all, and so his knowledge is infinite. But men are able to discover more or less of these relations, only as they apply their minds to consider any sort of ideas, and to find out intermediate ones, which can show the relation of those ideas, which cannot be