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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. 11. $29. p. 204.
things considered, would have saved this learned discourse.
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 Religion, Part II. Contempl. II. $ 30.
(18) Ibid. § 32. p. 207.
(19) Ibid. § 33. p. 208, 209.
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.
(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.
in God. being his own light..,Curterence (27) between
(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, con
cerning a poisonous Fish about the Bahama Islands.
SIR, 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