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existing in it as great a variety of ideas as there are of creatures; all of them real beings, and distinct one from another. If it be said, this means, God can, and knows he can produce them; what doth this say more than every one says? If it doth say more, and shows us not this infinite number of real distinct beings in God, so as to be his very essence; what is this better than what those say, who make God to be nothing but the universe; though it be covered under unintelligible expressions of simplicity and variety, at the same time, in the essence of God? But those who would not be thought ignorant of any thing to attain it, make God like themselves; or else they could not talk as they do, of "the mind of God, and the ideas in the mind of God, exhibitive of all the whole possibility of being" (14).

12. It is "in the divine nature that these universal natures, which are the proper object of science, are to be found. And consequently it is in God that we know all the truth which we know" (15). Doth any universal nature therefore exist? Or can any thing that exists any where or any how, be any other than singular? I think it cannot be denied that God, having a power to produce ideas in us, can give that power to another; or, to express it otherwise, make any idea the effect of any operation on our bodies. This has no contradiction in it, and therefore is possible. But you will say, you conceive not the way how this is done. If you stand to that rule, that it cannot be done, because you conceive not the manner how it is brought to pass; you must deny that God can do this, because you cannot conceive the manner how he produces any idea in us. If visible objects are seen only by God's exhibiting their ideas to our minds, on occasion of the presence of these objects, what hinders the Almighty from exhibiting their ideas to a blind man, to whom, being set before his face, and as year his eyes, and in as good a light as to one not blind, they are, according to this

(14) Reason and Religion, Part I. Contempl. V. § 30, p. 92, 93. (15) Ibid. Part II. Contempl. II. § 30, p. 206.

supposition, as much the occasional cause to one as the other? But yet under this equality of occasional causes, one has the idea, and the other not; and this constantly; which would give one reason to suspect something more than a presential occasional cause in the object.

13. Farther, if light striking upon the eyes be but the occasional cause of seeing; God, in making the eyes of so curious a structure, operates not by the simplest ways; for God could have produced visible ideas upon the occasion of light upon the eye-lids or forehead.

14. Outward objects are not, when present, always occasional causes. He that has long continued in a room perfumed with sweet odours, ceases to smell, though the room be filled with those flowers; though, as often as after a little absence he returns again, he smells them afresh. He that comes out of bright sunshine into a room where the curtains are drawn, at first sees nothing in the room; though those who have been there some time, see him and every thing plainly. It is hard to account for either of these phenomena, by God's producing these ideas upon the account of occasional causes. But by the production of ideas in the mind, by the operation of the object on the organs of sense, this difference is easy to be explained.

15. Whether the ideas of light and colours come in by the eyes, or no ; it is all one as if they did; for those who have no eyes never have them. And whether or no, God has appointed that a certain modified motion of the fibres, or spirits in the optic nerve, should excite, or produce, or cause them in us; call it what you please it is all one as if it did; since where there is no such motion, there is no such perception or idea. For I hope they will not deny God the privilege to give such a power to motion, if he pleases. Yes, say they, they be the occasional, but not the efficient cause; for that they cannot be, because that is in effect to say, he has given this motion in the optic nerve a power to operate on himself, but cannot give it a power to operate on the mind of man; it may by this appointment operate on himself, the impassible infinite spirit, and put him in mind when he is to operate on the mind.

of man, and exhibit to it the idea which is in himself of any colour. The infinite eternal God is certainly the cause of all things, the fountain of all being and power. But, because all being was from him, can there be nothing but God himself? or, because all power was originally in him, can there be nothing of it communicated to his creatures? This is to set very narrow bounds to the power of God, and, by pretending to extend it, takes it away. For which (I beseech you, as we can comprehend) is the perfectest power; to make a machine, a watch, for example, that when the watchmaker has withdrawn his hands, shall go and strike by the fit contrivance of the parts; or else requires that whenever the hand, by pointing to the hours, minds him of it, he should strike twelve upon the bell? No machine of God's making can go of itself. Why? because the creatures have no power; can neither move themselves, nor any thing else. How then comes about all that we see? Do they do nothing? Yes, they are the occasional causes to God, why he should produce certain thoughts and motions in them. The creatures cannot produce any idea, any thought in man. How then comes he to perceive or think? God upon the occasion of some motion in the optic nerve, exhibits the colour of a marygold or a rose to his mind. How came that motion in his optic nerve? On occasion of the motion of some particles of light striking on the retina, God producing it, and so on. And so whatever a man thinks, God produces the thought; let it be infidelity, murmuring, or blasphemy. The mind doth nothing; his mind is only the mirror that receives the ideas that God exhibits to it, and just as God exhibits them; the man is altogether passive in the whole business of thinking.

16. A man cannot move his arm or his tongue; he has no power; only upon occasion, the man willing it, God moves it. The man wills, he doth something; or else God, upon the occasion of something, which he himself did before, produced this will, and this action in him. This is the hypothesis that clears doubts, and brings us at last to the religion of Hobbes and Spinosa,

by resolving all, even the thoughts and will of men, into an irresistible fatal necessity. For, whether the original of it be from the continued motion of eternal all-doing matter, or from an omnipotent immaterial being, which, having begun matter and motion, continues it by the direction of occasions which he himself has also made; as to religion and morality, it is just the same thing. But we must know how every thing is brought to pass, and thus we have it resolved, with out leaving any difficulty to perplex us. But perhaps it would better become us to acknowledge our ignorance, than to talk such things boldly of the Holy One of Israel, and condemn others for not daring to be as unmannerly as ourselves.

17. Ideas may be real beings, though not substances; as motion is a real being, though not a substance; and it seems probable that, in us, ideas depend on, and are some way or other the effect of motion; since they are so fleeting; it being, as I have elsewhere observed, so hard, and almost impossible, to keep in our minds the same unvaried idea, long together, unless when the object that produces it is present to the senses; from which the same motion that first produced it being continued, the idea itself may continue.

18. This therefore may be a sufficient excuse of the ignorance I have owned of what our ideas are, any farther than as they are perceptions we experiment in ourselves; and the dull unphilosophical way I have taken of examining their production, only so far as experience and observation lead me; wherein my dim sight went not beyond sensation and reflection.

19. Truth (16) lies only in propositions. The foundation of this truth is the relation that is between our ideas. The knowledge of truth is that perception of the relation between our ideas to be as it is expressed.

20. The immutability of essences lies in the same sounds, supposed to stand for the same ideas. These

(16) See Reason and Religion, &c. Part II. Contempl. II. § 29. p. 204.

things considered, would have saved this learned dis


21. Whatever exists, whether in God, or out of God, is singular (17).

22. If no proposition should be made,.there would be no truth nor falsehood; though the same relations still subsisting between the same ideas, is a foundation of the immutability of truth (18) in the same propositions, whenever made.

23. What wonder is it that the same idea (19) should always be the same idea? For if the word triangle be supposed to have the same signification always, that is all this amounts to.

24. "I desire to know (20) what things they are that God has prepared for them that love him." Therefore I have some knowledge of them already, though they be such as "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man to conceive."

25. If I have all things actually present to my mind;" why do I not know all things distinctly?

26. He that considers (21) the force of such ways of speaking as these, "I desire it, pray give it me, she was afraid of the snake, and ran away trembling ;" will easily conceive how the meaning of the words "desire" and "fear," and so all those which stand for intellectual notions, may be taught by words of sensible significations.

27. This, however otherwise in experience, should be so on this hypothesis; v. g. the uniformity of the ideas, that different men have when they use such words as these,"glory, worship, religion," are clear proofs that "God exhibited to their minds that part of the ideal world, as is signified by that sign."

28. Strange! that truth being, in any question, but one; the more we discover of it, the more uniform our judgments should be about it (22).

(17) See Reason and p. 206.

(18) Ibid. § 32. p. 207. (20) Ibid. § 34. p. 210. (22) Ibid. § 36. p. 214.


Religion, Part II. Contempl. II. § 30.

(19) Ibid. § 33. p. 208, 209.
(21) Ibid. § 35. p. 211, 212, 213.


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