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“ fusedly.” If we see them in God, and they are not in him confusedly; I do not understand how we can see them in God confusedly. .
23. In the fifth chapter he tells us “ all things are in “ God,” even the most corporeal and earthly, but after « a manner altogether spiritual, and which we cannot « comprehend.” Here therefore he and I are alike ignorant of these good words; “ material things are in “ God after a spiritual manner,” signifying nothing to either of us; and “ spiritual manner," signifies no more but this, that material things are in God immaterially. This and the like are ways of speaking, which our vanity has found out to cover, not remove our ignorance. But “ material things are in God,” becausé “ their ideas « are in God, and those ideas which God had of them “ before the world was created, are not at all different « from himself.” This seems to me to come very near saying, not only that there is variety in God, since we see variety in what “is not different from himself;" but that material things are God, or a part of him ; which, though I do not think to be what our author designs ; yet thus I fear he must be forced to talk, who' thinks he knows God's understanding so much better than his own, that he will make use of the divine intellect to explain the human.
24. In the sixth chapter he comes more particularly to explain his own doctrine, where first he says, “ the « ideas of all beings are in God.” Let it be so, God has the idea of a triangle, of a horsé, of a river, just as we have; for hitherto this signifies no more, for we see them as they are in him; and so the ideas that are in him, are the ideas we perceive. Thus far I then under. stand God hath the same ideas we have. This tells indeed that there are ideas, which was agreed before and I think nobody denies, but tells me not yet what they are.
25. Having said that they are in God, the next thing he tells us is, that we « can see them in God.” His proof, that « our souls can see them in God, is because « God is most straitly united to our souls by his pre“ señce, insomuch that one may say, God is the place 66 of spirits, as spaces are the places of bodies;" in which there is not, I confess, one word that I can understand. For, first, in what sense can he say, that “ spaces are " the places of bodies ;" when he makes body and space, or extension, to be the same thing? So that I do no more understand what he means, when he says, " spaces are the places of bodies," than if he had said, bodies are the places of bodies. But when this simile is applied to God and spirits, it makes this saying, that « God is the place of spirits,” either to be merely me. taphorical, and so signifies literally nothing, or else being literal, makes us conceive that spirits move up and đówn, and have their distances and intervals in God, as bodies have in space. When I am told in which of these senses he is to be understood, I shall be able to see how far it helps us to understand the nature of ideas. But is not God as straitly united to bodies as to spirits? For he is also present, even where they are, but yet they see not these ideas in him. He therefore adds, " that the soul can see in God the works of God, sup« posing God would discover to it what there is in him its inferiour species and individuals. But taking it to be so, that a carrier when he would think of a remedy for his galled horse, or a foot-boy for an excuse for some fault he has committed, begins with casting his eye upon all things; how does this make out the conclusion? Therefore " we can desire to see all objects, « whence it follows that all beings are present to our « minds." Which presence signifies that we see them, or else it signifies nothing at all. They are all actually always seen by us; which, how true, let every one judge,
to represent them,” viz, the ideas that are in him. Union therefore is not the cause of this seeing; for the soul may be united to God, and yet not see the ideas are in him, till he « discover” them to it; so that, after all, I am but where I was. I have ideas, that I know ; but I would know what they are; and to that I am yet only told, that “ I see them in God.” I ask how I see them in God? And it is answered, by my " ins timate union" with God, for he is every-where present. I answer, if that were' enough, bodies are also intimately united with God, for he is every-where present; besides, if that were enough, I should see all the ideas that are in God. No, but only those that he pleases to “ discover.” Tell me wherein this discovery lies, besides barely making me see them, and you ex. plain the manner of my having ideas: otherwise all that has been said amounts to no more but this, that I have those ideas that it pleases God I should have, but by ways that I know not; and of this mind I was before, and am not got one jot farther.
26. In the next paragraph he calls them “ beings, “ representative beings.” But whether these beings are substances, modes, or relations, I am not told ; and so by being told they are spiritual beings, I know no more but that they are something, I know not what, and that I knew before.
27. To explain this matter a little farther, he adds, “ It must be observed, that it cannot be concluded, " that souls see the essence of God, in that they see all “ things in God; because what they see is very imper« fect, and God is very perfect. They see matter di“ visible, figured, &c. and in God there is nothing di“ visible and figured : for God is all being, because he « is infinite, and comprehends all things; but he is not « any being in particular. Whereas what we see is but « some one or more beings in particular; and we do 66 not at all comprehend that perfect simplicity of God “ which contains all beings. Moreover, one may say, " that we do not so much see the ideas of things, as " the things themselves, which the ideas represent. " For when, for example, one sees a square, one says “ not that one sees the idea of a square, which is united « to the soul, but only the square that is without.” I do not pretend to be short-sighted ; but if I am not duller than ordinary, this paragraph shows, that P. M. himself is at a stand in this matter, and comprehends not what it is we see in God, or how. Chap. fourth, he says, in express words, that “it is necessary “ that at all times we should have actually in ourselves “ the ideas of all things.” And in this very chapter, a little lower, he says, that “ all beings are present « to our minds,” and that we have “ general ideas an. “ tecedent to particular.” And, chap. 8th, that we are never without the “ general idea of being :" and yet here he says, “ that which we see" is but “ one or “ more beings in particular.” And after having taken a great deal of pains to prove, that “ we cannot pos- sibly see things in themselves, but only ideas;" here he tells us “ we do not so much see the ideas of things « as the things themselves.” In this uncertainty of the author what it is we see, I am to be excused if my
eyes see not more clearly in his hypothesis than he himself does. - 28. He farther tells us, in this sixth chapter, that
we see all beings, because God wills that that which “ is in him that represents then should be discovered " to us." This tells us only, that there are ideas of things in God, and that we see them when he pleases to discover them; but what does this show us more of the nature of those ideas, or of the discovery of them, wherein that consists, than he that says, without pretending to know what they are, or how they are made, that ideas are in our minds when God pleases to produce them there, by such motions as he has appointed to do it? The next argument for our “ seeing all things in “ God,” is in these words; “ but the strongest of all " the reasons is the manner in which the mind per« ceives all things : it is evident, and all the world « knows it by experience, that when we would think
of any thing in particular, we at first cast our view “ upon all beings, and afterwards we apply ourselves « to the consideration of the object which we desire to “ think on." This argument has no other effect on me, but to make me doubt the more of the truth of this doctrine. First, because this, which he calls the s strongest reason of all,” is built upon matter of fact, which I cannot find to be so in myself. I do not observe, that when I would think of a triangle, I first think of “ all beings;'' whether these words “ all “.beings" be to be taken here in their proper sense, or very improperly for “ being in general. Nor do I think my country neighbours do so, when they first wake in the morning, who, I imagine, do not find it impossible to think of a lame horse they have, or their blighted corn, till they have run over in their minds ! all beings" that are, and then pitch on dapple; or else begin to think of “ being' in general, which is « being” abstracted from all its inferiour species, before they come to think of the fly in their sheep, or the tares in their corn. For I am apt to think that the greatest part of mankind very seldom, if ever at all, think of “ being? in general, i, e. abstracted from all
29. The words wherein he pursues this argument stand thus, " Now it is indubitable that we cannot s6 desire to see any particular object without seeing it " already, although confusedly, and in general. So " that being able to desire to see all beings sometimes " one, sometimes another, it is certain that all beings « are present to our spirits; and it seems all beings « could not be present to our spirits, but because God « is present to them, i. e. he that contains all things in " the simplicity of his being." I must leave it to others to judge how far it is blameable in me; but so it is, that I cannot make to myself the links of this chain to hang together; and methinks if a man would have studied obscurity, he could not have writ more unintelligibly than this. “ We can desire to see all “ beings, sometimes one, sometimes another; there" fore we do already see all things, because we cannot “ desire to see any particular object, but what we see “ already confusedly and in general.” The discourse here is about ideas, which he says are real things, and we see in God. In taking this along with me, to make it prove any thing to his purpose, the argument must, as it seems to me, stand thus: we can desire to have all ideas, sometimes one, sometimes another; therefore we have already all ideas, because we cannot desire to have any particular idea, but what we have already“ con“ fusedly” and “ in general.” What can be meant here by having “ any particular" idea" confusedly “ and in general," I confess I cannot conceive, unless it be a capacity in us to have them; and in that sense