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29. This argues that the ground of it is the always immutable relations of the same ideas. Several ideas that we have once got acquainted with, we can revive; and so they are present to us when we please. But the knowledge of their relations, so as to know what we may affirm or deny of them, is not always present to our minds; but we often miss truth, even after study. But in many, and possibly not the fewest, we have neither the ideas, nor the truth, constantly, or so much as at all, present to our minds.
And I think I may, without any disparagement to the author, doubt whether he ever had, or, with all his application, ever would have, the ideas of truth present to the mind, that Mr. Newton had in writing his book.
30. This section (23) supposes we are better acquainted with God's understanding than our own. But this pretty argument would perhaps look as smilingly thus: We are like God in our understandings; he sees what he sees, by ideas in his own mind; therefore we see what we see, by ideas that are in our own minds.
31. These texts (24) do not prove that we shall "hereafter see all things in God." There will be objects in a future state, and we shall have bodies and
32. Is he, whilst we see through the veil of our mortal flesh here, intimately present to our minds?
33. To think of any thing (25) is to contemplate that precise idea. The idea of Being, in general, is the idea of Being abstracted from whatever may limit or determine it to any inferior species; so that he that thinks always of being in general, thinks never of any particular species of being; unless he can think of it with and without precision, at the same time. But if he means, that he thinks of being in general, whenever he thinks of this or that particular being, or sort of being; then it is certain he may always think of being
(23) See Reason and Religion, Part II. Contempl. II. § 37. p. 215.
(24) Ibid. § 38. p. 216, 217.
(25) Ibid. § 39. p. 217, 218.
in general, till he can find out a way of thinking on nothing.
34. Being in general, is being (26) abstracted from wisdom, goodness, power, and any particular sort of duration; and I have as true an idea of being, when these are excluded out of it, as when extension, place, solidity, and mobility, are excluded out of my idea. And therefore, if being in general, and God, be the same, I have a true idea of God, when I exclude out of it, power, goodness, wisdom, and eternity.
35. As if there was no difference (27) between "man's being his own light," and "not seeing things in God." Man may be enlightened by God, though it be not "by seeing all things in God."
The finishing of these hasty thoughts must be deferred to another season.
(26) Reason and Religion, Part II. Contempl. II. § 40. p. 219. (27) Ibid. § 43. p. 223.
ANTHONY COLLINS, ESQ.
A Letter from Mr. Locke to Mr. Oldenburg, concerning a poisonous Fish about the Bahama Islands.
I HEREWITH send you an account I lately received from New Providence, one of the Bahama Islands, concerning a fish there; which is as followeth :
"I have not met with any rarities here, worth your acceptance, though I have been diligent in inquiring after them. Of those which I have heard of, this seems most remarkable to me. The fish which are here, are many of them poisonous, bringing a great pain on their joints who eat them, and continue for some short time; and at last, with two or three days itching, the pain is rubbed off. Those of the same species, size, shape, colour, taste, are one of them poison, the other not in the least hurtful: and those that are, only to some of the company. The distemper to men never proves mortal. Dogs and cats sometimes eat their last. Men who have once had that
disease, upon the eating of fish, though it be those which are wholesome, the poisonous ferment in their body is revived thereby, and their pain increased."
Thus far the ingenious person, from whom I had this relation, who, having been but a very little while upon the island when he writ this, could not send so perfect an account of this odd observation as one could wish, or as I expect to receive from him, in answer to some queries I lately sent him by a ship bound thither. When his answer comes to my hand, if there be any thing in it which may gratify your curiosity, I shall be glad of that or any other occasion to assure you that I am,
Sir, Your most humble servant,
A Letter to Anthony Collins, Esq.
Oates, 4 May, 1703. NONE of your concerns are of indifference to me. You may from thence conclude I take part in your late great loss. But I consider you as a philosopher, and a christian; and so spare you the trouble of reading from me, what your own thoughts will much better suggest to you.
You have exceedingly obliged me, in the books of yours that you have sent me, and those of mine you have been at so much trouble about. I received but just now the packet, wherein they and your obliging letter were; that must be my excuse for so tardy a return of my thanks.
I am overjoyed with an intimation I have received also, that gives me hopes of seeing you here the next week. You are a charitable good friend, and are resolved to make the decays and dregs of my life the pleasantest part of it. For I know nothing calls me so much back to a pleasant sense of enjoyment, and
makes my days so gay and lively, as your good company. Come, then, and multiply happy minutes upon, and rejoice here in the good you do me. For I am, with a perfect esteem and respect,
Your most humble and most obedient servant,
To the same.
Oates, 3 June, 1703.
It is not enough to have heard from my cousin King that you got safe to town, or from others that you were since well there. I am too much concerned in it, not to inquire of yourself, how you do. Besides that I owe you my thanks, for the greatest favour I can receive, the confirmation of your friendship, by the visit I lately received from you. If you knew what satisfaction I feel spread over my mind by it, mind by it, you would take this acknowledgement as coming from something beyond civility; my heart goes with it, and that you may be sure of; and so useless a thing as I am have nothing else to offer you.
As a mark that I think we are past ceremony, I here will send you a new book† in quires, with a desire you get it bound by your binder. In the parts of good binding, besides folding, beating, and sewing, will I count strong pasteboards, and as large margins as the paper will possibly afford; and, for lettering, I desire it should be upon the same leather blacked, and barely the name of the author, as, in this case, Vossius.
Pardon this liberty, and believe me, with perfect sincerity and respect, &c.
* Sir Peter King.
"G. J. Vossii Etymologicum Linguæ Latina." Amstelo dami 1695.