The MindScientific Writings by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
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[1.] EXCELLENCY. There has nothing been more without a definition than excellency; although it be what we are more concerned with than anything else whatsoever: yea, we are concerned with nothing else. But what is this excellency? Wherein is one thing excellent and another evil; one beautiful and another deformed? Some have said that all excellency is harmony, symmetry or proportion; but they have not yet explained it. We would know why proportion is more excellent than disproportion; that is, why proportion is pleasant to the mind and disproportion unpleasant? Proportion is a thing that may be explained yet further. ’Tis an equality, or likeness of ratios; so that it is the equality that makes the proportion. Excellency therefore seems to consist in equality. Thus, if there be two perfect equal circles or globes together, there is something more of beauty than if they were of unequal, disproportionate magnitudes. And if two parallel lines be drawn, the beauty is greater than if they were obliquely inclined without proportion, because there is equality of distance. And if, betwixt two parallel lines, two equal circles be placed, each at the same distance from each parallel line, as in (see Drawing 1) Fig. 1, the beauty is greater than if they stood at irregular distances from the parallel lines. If they stand, each in a perpendicular line going from the parallel lines (Fig. 2), ’tis requisite that they should each stand at an equal distance from the perpendicular line next to them; otherwise there is no beauty. If there be three of these circles between two parallel lines, and near to a perpendicular line run between them (Fig. 3), the most beautiful form, perhaps, that they could be placed in, is in an equilateral triangle with the cross line, because there are the most equalities. The distance of the two next to the cross line is equal from that, and also equal from the parallel lines. The distance of the third from each parallel is equal, and its distance from each of the other two circles is equal, and is also equal to their distance from one another, and likewise equal to their distance from each end of the cross line. There are two equilateral triangles, one made by the three circles, and the other made by the cross line and two of the sides of the first protracted till they meet that line. And if there be another like it on the opposite side, to correspond with it, and it be taken altogether, the beauty is still greater, where the distances from the lines in the one are equal to the distances in the other; also the two next to the cross lines are at equal distances from the other two; or, if you go crosswise from corner to corner, the two cross lines are also parallel, so that all parts are at an equal distance. And innumerable other equalities might be found.
This simple equality, without proportion, is the lowest kind of regularity, and may be called simple beauty. All other beauties and excellencies may be resolved into it. Proportion is complex beauty. (see Drawing 2) Thus, if we suppose that there are two points, A [and] B, placed at two inches distance, and the next, C, one inch farther (Fig. 1), ’tis requisite, in order to regularity and beauty, if there be another, D, that it should be at half an inch distance; otherwise there is no regularity, and the last, D, would stand out of its proper place; because now the relation that the space CD bears to BC is equal to the relation that BC bears to AB, so that BCD is exactly similar to ABC. ’Tis evident this is a more complicated excellency than that which consisted in equality, because the terms of the relation are here complex, and before were simple. When there are three points set in a right line, ’tis requisite, in order to regularity, that they should be set at an equal distance, as ABC (Fig. 2), where AB is similar to BC, or the relation of C to B is the same as of B to A. But in the other are three terms necessary in each of the parts, between which is the relation: BCD is as ABC; so that here more simple beauties are omitted, and yet there is a general complex beauty. That is, BC is not as AB, nor is CD as BC, but yet BCD is as ABC. ’Tis requisite that the consent or regularity of CD to BC be omitted, for the sake of the harmony of the whole. For although, if CD was perfectly equal to BC, there would be regularity and beauty with respect to them two, yet AB be taken into the idea, there is nothing but confusion. And it might be requisite, if these stood with others, even to omit this proposition for the sake of one more complex still. Thus, if they stood with other points, where B stood at four inches distance from A, C at two from B, and D at six from C (see Drawing 3), the place where D must stand in, if A, B, C, D were alone, viz., one inch from C, must be so as to be made proportionate with the other points beneath. So that although A, B, C, D are not proportioned, but are confusion among themselves, yet taken with the whole they are proportioned and beautiful.
All beauty consists in similarness, or identity of relation. In identity of relation consists all likeness, and all identity between two consists in identity of relation. Thus, when the distance between two is exactly equal, their distance is their relation one to another; the distance is the same, the bodies are two, wherefore this is their correspondency and beauty. So bodies exactly of the same figure: the bodies are two, the relation between the parts of the extremities is the same, and this is their agreement with them. But if there are two bodies of different shapes, having no similarness of relation between the parts of the extremities, this, considered by itself, is a deformity, because being disagrees with being; which must undoubtedly be disagreeable to perceiving being, because what disagrees with being must necessarily be disagreeable to being in general, to everything that partakes of entity, and of course to perceiving being. And what agrees with being must be agreeable to being in general, and therefore to perceiving being. But agreeableness of perceiving being is pleasure, and disagreeableness is pain. Disagreement or contrariety to being is evidently an approach to nothing, or a degree of nothing, which is nothing else but disagreement or contrariety of being, and the greatest and only evil; and entity is the greatest and only good. And by how much more perfect entity is, that is, without mixture of nothing, by so much the more excellency. Two beings can agree one with another in nothing else but relation; because otherwise the notion of their twoness (duality) is destroyed and they become one.
And so in every case, what is called correspondence, symmetry, regularity and the like, maybe resolved into equalities; though the equalities in a beauty in any degree complicated are so numerous that it would be a most tedious piece of work to enumerate them. There are minions of these equalities. Of these consist the beautiful shape of flowers, the beauty of the body of man and of the bodies of other animals. That sort of beauty which is called “natural,” as of vines, plants, trees, etc., consists of a very complicated harmony; and all the natural motions and tendencies and figures of bodies in the universe are done according to proportion, and therein is their beauty. Particular disproportions sometimes greatly add to the general beauty, and must necessarily be, in order to a more universal proportion — so much equality, so much beauty — though it may be noted that the quantity of equality is not to be measured only by the number, but the intenseness, according to the quantity of being. As bodies are shadows of being, so their proportions are shadows of proportion.
The pleasures of the senses, where harmony is not the object of judgment, are the result of equality. Thus in music, not only in the proportion which the several notes of a tune bear one among another, but in merely two notes, there is harmony; whereas ’tis impossible there should be proportion between only two terms. But the proportion is in the particular vibrations of the air which strike on the ear. And so in the pleasantness of light, colors, tastes, smells and touch: all arise from proportion of motion. The organs are so contrived that, upon the touch of such and such particles, there shall be a regular and harmonious motion of the animal spirits.
Spiritual harmonies are of vastly larger extent; i.e. the proportions are vastly oftener redoubled and respect more beings, and require a vastly larger view to comprehend them, as some simple notes do more affect one who has not a comprehensive understanding of music.
The reason why equality thus pleases the mind, and inequality is unpleasing, is because disproportion, or inconsistency, is contrary to being. For being, if we examine narrowly, is nothing else but proportion. When one being is inconsistent with another being, then being is contradicted. But contradiction to being is intolerable to perceiving being, and the consent to being most pleasing.
Excellency consists in the similarness of one being to another — not merely equality and proportion, but any kind of similarness. Thus similarness of direction: supposing many globes moving in right lines, ’tis more beautiful that they should move all the same way and according to the same direction, than if they moved disorderly, one one way and another another. This is an universal definition of excellency: The consent of being to being, or being’s consent to entity. The more the consent is, and the more extensive, the greater is the excellency.
How exceedingly apt are we, when we are sitting still and accidentally casting our eye upon some marks or spots in the floor or wall, to be ranging of them into regular parcels and figures; and if we see a mark out of its place, to be placing of it right by our imagination — and this even while we are meditating on something else. So we may catch ourselves at observing the rules of harmony and regularity in the careless motions of our heads or feet, and when playing with our hands or wailing about the room.
Pleasedness in perceiving being always arises, either from a perception of consent to being in general, or of consent to that being that perceives. As we have shown, that agreeableness to entity must be agreeable to perceiving entity. ’Tis as evident that it is necessary that agreeableness to that being must be pleasing to it, if it perceives it; so that pleasedness does not always arise from a perception of excellency in general. But the greater a being is, and the more it has of entity, the more will consent to being in general please it. But God is proper entity itself, and these two therefore in him become the same; for so far as a thing consents to being in general, so far it consents to him. And the more perfect created spirits are, the nearer do they come to their creator in this regard.
That which is often called self-love is exceedingly improperly called love. For they do not only say that one loves himself when he sees something amiable in himself, the view of which begets delight; but merely an inclination to pleasure and averseness to pain they call self-love: so that the devils and other damned spirits love themselves, not because they see anything in themselves which they imagine to be lovely, but merely because they do not incline to pain, but to pleasure; or merely because they are capable of pain or pleasure, for pain and pleasure include an inclination to agreeableness and an aversion to disagreeableness. Now how improper is it to say, that one loves himself because what is agreeable to him is agreeable to him, and what is disagreeable to him is disagreeable to him, which mere entity supposes. So that this that they call self-love is no affection, but only the entity of the thing, or his being what he is.
One alone, without any reference to any more, cannot be excellent; for in such a case there can be no manner of relation no way, and therefore, no such thing as consent. Indeed, what we call “one” may be excellent, because of a consent of parts, or some consent of those in that being that are distinguished into a plurality some way or other. But in a being that is absolutely without any plurality there cannot be excellency, for there can be no such thing as consent or agreement.
One of the highest excellencies is love. As nothing else has a proper being but spirits, and as bodies are but the shadow of being, therefore, the consent of bodies to one another, and the harmony that is among them, is but the shadow of excellency. The highest excellency, therefore, must be the consent of spirits one to another. But the consent of spirits consists half in their mutual love one to another, and the sweet harmony between the various parts of the universe is only an image of mutual love. But yet a lower kind of love may be odious, because it hinders or is contrary to a higher and more general. Even a lower proportion is often a deformity, because it is contrary to a more general proportion.
Corollary 1. If so much of the beauty and excellency of spirits consists in love, then the deformity of evil spirits consists as much in hatred and malice.
Corollary 2. The more any doctrine or institution brings to light of the spiritual world, the more will it urge to love and charity.
Happiness, strictly, consists in the perception of these three things: of the consent of being to its own being; of its own consent to being; and of being’s consent to being.
[2.] PLACE OF MINDS. Our common way of conceiving of what is spiritual is very gross and shadowy and corporeal, with dimensions and figure, etc.; though it be supposed to be very clear, so that we can see through it. If we would get a right notion of what is spiritual, we must think of thought or inclination or delight. How large is that thing in the mind which they call thought? Is love square or round? Is the surface of hatred rough or smooth? Is joy an inch, or a foot in diameter? These are spiritual things. And why should we then form such a ridiculous idea of spirits, as to think them so long, so thick, or so wide; or to think there is a necessity of their being square or round or some other certain figure?
Therefore spirits cannot be in place in such a sense, that all within the given limits shall be where the spirit is, and all without such a circumscription where he is not; but in this sense only, that all created spirits have clearer and more strongly impressed ideas of things in one place than in another, or can produce effects here and not there; and as this place alters, so spirits move. In spirits united to bodies, the spirit more strongly perceives things where the body is, and can there immediately produce effects, and in this sense the soul can be said to be in the same place where the body is; and this law is that we call the union between soul and body. So the soul may be said to be in the brain, because ideas that come by the body immediately ensue only on alterations that are made there, and the soul most immediately produces effects nowhere else.
No doubt that all finite spirits, united to bodies or not, are thus in place; that is, that they perceive or passively receive ideas only or chiefly of created things that are in some particular place at a given time. At least a finite spirit cannot thus be in all places at a time equally. And doubtless the change of the place where they perceive most strongly, and produce effects immediately, is regular and successive; which is the motion of spirits.
[3.] PERCEPTION of separate minds. Our perception, or ideas that we passively receive by our bodies, are communicated to us immediately by God, while our minds are united with our bodies; but only we in some measure know the rule. We know that upon such alterations in our minds, there follow such ideas in the mind. It need, therefore, be no difficulty with us, how we shall perceive things when we are separate. They will be communicated then, also, and according to some rule, no doubt, only we know not what.
[4.] UNION of mind with body. The mind is so united with the body, that an alteration is caused in the body, ’tis probable, by every action of the mind. By those acts, that are very vigorous, a great alteration is very sensible; at some times, when the vigor of the body is impaired by disease, especially in the head, almost every action causes a sensible alteration of the body.
[5.] CERTAINTY. Determined that there are many degrees of certainty, though not indeed of absolute certainty; which is infinitely strong. We are certain of many things upon demonstration, which yet we may be made more certain of by more demonstration; because although, according to the strength of the mind, we see the connection of the ideas, yet a stronger mind would see the connection more perfectly and strongly, because it would have the ideas more perfect. We have not such strength of mind, that we can perfectly conceive of but very few things; and some little of the strength of an idea is lost, in a moment of time, as we, in the mind, look successively on the train of ideas, in a demonstration.
[6.] TRUTH is the perception of the relations there are between ideas. Falsehood is the supposition of relations between ideas that are inconsistent with those ideas themselves; not their disagreement with things without. All truth is in the mind, and only there. ’Tis ideas, or what is in the mind, alone, that can be the object of the mind; and what we call truth, is a consistent supposition of relations, between what is the object of the mind. Falsehood is an inconsistent supposition of relations. The truth, that is in a mind, must be in that mind as to its object, and every thing pertaining to it. The only foundation of error is inadequateness and imperfection of ideas; for, if the idea were perfect, it would be impossible but that all its relations should be perfectly perceived.
[7.] GENUS. The various distributing and ranking of things, and tying of them together, under one common abstract idea, is, although arbitrary, yet exceedingly useful, and indeed absolutely necessary: for how miserable should we be, if we could think of things only individually, as the beasts do; how slow, narrow, painful and endless, would be the exercise of thought.
What is this putting and tying things together, which is done in abstraction? ’Tis not merely a tying of them under the same name; for I do believe, that deaf and dumb persons abstract and distribute things into kinds. But it is so putting of them together, that the mind resolves here after to think of them together, under a common notion, as if they were a collective substance; the mind being as sure, in this proceeding, of reasoning well, as if it were of a particular substance; for it has abstracted that which belongs alike to all, and has a perfect idea, whose relations and properties it can behold, as well as those of the idea of one individual. Although this ranking of things be arbitrary, yet there is much more foundation for some distributions than others. Some are much more useful, and much better serve the purposes of abstraction.
[8.] RULES OF REASONING. ’Tis no matter how abstracted our notions are — the further we penetrate and come to the prime reality of the thing, the better; provided we can go to such a degree of abstraction, and carry it out clear. We may go so far in abstraction, that, although we may thereby, in part, see truth and reality, and farther than ever was seen before, yet we may not be able more than just to touch it, and to have a few obscure glances. We may not have strength of mind to conceive clearly of the manner of it. We see farther indeed, but ’tis very obscurely and indistinctly. We had better stop a degree or two short of this, and abstract no farther than we can conceive of the thing distinctly, and explain it clearly: otherwise we shall be apt to run into error, and confound our minds.
[9.] SPACE. Space, as has been already observed, is a necessary being, if it may be called a being; and yet we have also shown, that all existence is mental, that the existence of all exterior things is ideal. Therefore ’tis a necessary being, only as it is a necessary idea, so far as it is a simple idea, that is necessarily connected with other simple exterior ideas, and is, as it were, their common substance or subject. ’Tis in the same manner a necessary being, as any thing external is a being.
Corollary. ’Tis hence easy to see in what sense that is true, that has been held by some. That, when there is nothing between any two bodies, they unavoidably must touch.
[10.] TRUTH, in the general, may be defined, after the most strict an metaphysical manner, the consistency and agreement of our ideas, with the ideas of God. I confess this, in ordinary conversation, would not half so much tend to enlighten one in the meaning of the word, as to say, the agreement of our ideas with the things as they are. But it should be inquired what is it for our ideas to agree with things as they are? seeing that corporeal things exist no otherwise than mentally; and as for most other things, they are only abstract ideas. Truth, as to external things, is the consistency of our ideas with those ideas, or that train and series of ideas, that are raised in our minds, according to God’s stated order and law. Truth, as to abstract ideas, is the consistency of our ideas with themselves. As when our idea of a circle, or a triangle, or any of their parts, is agreeable to the idea we have stated and agreed to call by the name of a circle, or a triangle. And it may still be said, that truth is the consistency of our ideas with themselves. Those ideas are false, that are not consistent with the series of ideas, that are raised in our minds, by according to the order of nature.
Corollary 1. Hence we see, in how strict a sense it may be said, that God is Truth itself.
Corollary 2. Hence it appears, that truth consists in having perfect and adequate ideas of things: For instance, if I judge truly how far distant the moon is from the earth, we need not say, that this truth consists, in the perception of the relation, between the two ideas of the moon and the earth, but in the adequateness.
Corollary 3. Hence certainty is the clear perception of this perfection. Therefore, if we had perfect ideas of all things at once, that is, could have all in one view, we should know all truth at the same moment, and there would be no such thing at ratiocination, or finding out truth. And reasoning is only of use to us, in consequence of the paucity of our ideas, and because we can have but very few in view at once. — Hence ’tis evident, that all things are self-evident to God.
[11.] PERSONAL IDENTITY. Well might Mr. Locke say, that identity of person consisted in identity of consciousness; for he might have said that identity of spirit, too, consisted in the same consciousness; for a mind or spirit is nothing else but consciousness, and what is included in it. The same consciousness is, to all intents and purposes, individually, the very same spirit, or substance; as much as the same particle of matter can be the same with itself, at different times.
[12.] BEING. It seems strange sometimes to me, that there should be being from all eternity; and I am ready to say, “What need was there that any thing should be?” I should then ask myself whether it seems strange that there should be either something or nothing? If so, ’tis not strange that there should BE; for that necessity of there being something, or nothing, implies it.
[13.] THE real and necessary existence of space, and its infinity, even beyond the universe, depend upon a like reasoning as the extension of spirits, and to the supposition of the reality of the existence of a successive duration, before the universe: even the impossibility of removing the idea out of the mind. If it be asked if there be limits of the creation, whether or no it be not possible that an intelligent being shall be removed beyond the limits; and then whether or no there would not be distance between that intelligent being and the limits of the universe, in the same manner, and as properly as there is between intelligent beings and the parts of the universe, within its limits; I answer, I cannot tell what the law of nature, or the constitution of God, would be in this case.
Corollary. There is, therefore, no difficulty in answering such questions as these. What cause was there why the universe was placed in such a part of space? And why was the universe created at such a time? For if there be no space beyond the universe, it was impossible that it should be created in another place; and if there was no time before, it was impossible it should be created at another time.
The idea we have of space, and what we call by that name, is only colored space, and is entirely taken out of the mind, if color be taken away. And so all that we call extension, motion, and figure is gone, if color is gone. As to any idea of space, extension, distance, or motion, that a man born blind might form, it would be nothing like what we call by those names. All that he could have would be only certain sensations or feelings, that in themselves would be no more like what we intend by space, motion, etc. than the pain we have by the scratch of a pin, or than the ideas of taste and smell. And as to the idea of motion, that such an one could have, it could be only a diversification of those successions in a certain way, by succession as to time. And then there would be an agreement of these successions of sensations, with some ideas we have by sight, as to number and proportions; but yet the ideas, after all, nothing akin to that idea we now give this name to. — And, as it is very plain, color is only in the mind, and nothing like it can be out of all mind. Hence ’tis manifest, there can be nothing like those things we call by the name of bodies, out of the mind, unless it be in some other mind or minds.
And, indeed the secret lies here: That, which truly is the substance of all bodies, is the infinitely exact, and precise, and perfectly stable idea, in God’s mind, together with his stable will, that the same shall gradually be communicated to us, and to other minds, according to certain fixed and exact established methods and laws: or in somewhat different language, the infinitely exact and precise divine idea, together with an answerable, perfectly exact, precise and stable will, with respect to correspondent communications to created minds, and effects on their minds.
[14.] EXCELLENCE, to put it in other words, is that which is beautiful and lovely. That which is beautiful considered by itself separately and deformed considered as a part of something else more extended, or beautiful only with respect to itself and a few other things and not as a part of that which contains all things — the universe — is false beauty and a confined beauty. That which is beautiful with respect to the university of things has a generally extended excellence and a true beauty; and the more extended or limited its system is, the more confined or extended is its beauty.
[15.] TRUTH. After all that has been said and done, the only adequate definition of truth is the agreement of our ideas with existence. To explain what this existence is, is another thing. In abstract ideas, ’tis nothing but the ideas themselves; so their truth is their consistency with themselves. In things that are supposed to be without us, ’tis the determination and fixed mode of God’s exciting ideas in us. So that truth, in these things, is an agreement of our ideas with that series in God. ’Tis existence; and that is all that we can say. ’Tis impossible that we should explain a perfectly abstract and mere idea of existence; only we always find this, by running of it up, that God and real existence are the same.
Corollary. Hence we learn how properly it may be said, that God is, and that there is none else; and how proper are these names of the Deity, JEHOVAH, and I AM THAT I AM.
[16.] CONSCIOUSNESS is the mind’s perceiving what is in itself — ideas, actions, passions, and every thing that is there perceptible. ’Tis a sort of feeling within itself. The mind feels when it thinks; so it feels when it discerns, feels when it loves, and feels when it hates.
[17.] LOGIC. One reason why at first, before I knew other logic, I used to be mightily pleased with the study of the old logic, was because it was very pleasant to see my thoughts, that before lay in my mind jumbled without any distinction, ranged into order and distributed into classes and subdivisions, so that I could tell where they all belonged, and run them up to their general heads. For this logic consisted much in distributions and definitions; and their maxims gave occasion to observe new and strange dependencies of ideas, and a seeming agreement of multitudes of them in the same thing, that I never observed before.
[18.] WORDS. We are used to apply the same words a hundred different ways; and ideas being so much tied and associated with the words, they lead us into a thousand real mistakes; for where we find that the words may be connected, the ideas being by custom tied with them, we think the ideas may be connected likewise, and applied every where, and in every way, as the words.
[19.] Things that we know by immediate sensation we know intuitively and they are properly SELF-EVIDENT TRUTHS: as grass is green; the sun shines; honey is sweet. When we say that grass is green, all that we can be supposed to mean by it is that, in a constant course, when we see grass the idea of green is excited by it; and this we know self-evidently.
[20.] INSPIRATION. The evidence of immediate inspiration that the prophets had, when they were immediately inspired by the Spirit of God with any truth, is an absolute sort of certainty; and the knowledge is in a sense intuitive — much in the same manner as faith, and spiritual knowledge of the truth of religion. Such bright ideas are raised, and such a clear view of a perfect agreement with the excellencies of the Divine Nature, that it is known to be a communication from him. All the Deity appears in the thing, and in every thing pertaining to it. The prophet has so divine a sense, such a divine disposition, such a divine pleasure; and sees so divine an excellency, and so divine a power, in what is revealed, that he sees as immediately that God is there, as we perceive one another’s presence, when we are talking together face to face. And our features, our voices and our shapes, are not so clear manifestations of us, as those spiritual resemblances of God, that are in the inspiration, are manifestations of him. But yet there are doubtless various degrees in inspiration.
[21.] MATTER. THOUGHT. It has been a question with some whether or no it was not possible with God, to the other properties or powers of matter, to add that of thought; whether he could not, if he had pleased, have added thinking, and the power of perception, to those other properties of solidity, mobility and gravitation. The question is not here whether the matter that now is, without the addition of any new primary property, could not be so contrived and modeled, so attenuated, wrought and moved, as to produce thought; but, whether any lump of matter, a solid atom, for instance, is not capable of receiving, by the almighty power of God, in addition to the rest of its powers, a new power of thought.
1. Here, if the question be whether or no God cannot cause the faculty of thinking to be so added to any parcel of matter, so as to be in the same place (if thought can be in place), and that inseparably, where that matter is, so that by a fixed law, that thought should be where that matter is, and only there, being always bound to solid extension, mobility and gravity; I do not deny it. But that seems to me quite a different thing from the question whether matter can think, or whether God can make matter think; and is not worth the disputing. For if thought be in the same place where matter is, yet if there be no manner of communication, or dependence, between that and any thing that is material; that is, any of that collection of properties that we call matter; if none of those properties of solidity, extension, etc. wherein materiality consists — which are matter, or at least whereby matter is matter — have any manner of influence towards the exerting of thought; and if that thought be no way dependent on solidity or mobility, and they no way help the matter, but thought could be as well without those properties; then thought is not properly in matter, though it be in the same place. All the properties, that are properly said to be in matter, depend on the other properties of matter, so that they cannot be without them. Thus figure is in matter: it depends on solidity and extension; and so doth motion; so doth gravity; and extension itself depends on solidity, in that it is the extension of the solidity; and solidity on extension, for nothing can be solid except it be extended. These ideas have a dependence on one another; but there is no manner of connection between the ideas of perception and solidity, or motion, or gravity. They are simple ideas, of which we can have a perfect view: and we know there is no dependence. Nor can there be any dependence, for the ideas in their own nature are independent and alien one to another. All the others either include the rest, or are included in them; and, except the property of thought be included in the properties of matter, I think it cannot properly be said that matter has thought, or if it can, I see not a possibility of matter, in any other sense, having thought. — If thought’s being so fixed to matter, as to be in the same place where matter is, be for thought to be in matter; thought not only can be in matter, but actually is, as much as thought can be in place. ’Tis so connected with the bodies of men, or, at least, with some parts of their bodies, and will be forever after the resurrection.
[22.] PREJUDICE. Those ideas which do not pertain to the prime essence of things — such as all colors that are everywhere objected to our eyes; and sounds that are continually in our ears; those that affect the touch, as cold and heats; and all our sensations — exceedingly clog the mind in searching into the innermost nature of things, and cast such a mist over things that there is need of a sharp sight to see clearly through. For these will be continually in the mind and associated with other ideas, let us be thinking of what we will. And it is a continual care and pains to keep clear of their entanglements in our scrutinies into things. This is one way whereby the body and the senses observe the views of the mind. The world seems so differently to our eyes, to our ears and other senses, from the idea we have of it by reason that we can hardly realize the latter.
 The reason why the names of SPIRITUAL THINGS are all, or most of them, derived from the names of sensible or corporeal ones — as imagination, conception, apprehend, etc. — is because there was no other way of making others readily understand men’s meaning, when they first signified these things by sounds, than by giving of them the names.
 There is really a difference that the mind makes in the consideration of an UNIVERSAL (absolutely considered) and a species. There is a difference in the two ideas when we say man, including simply the abstract idea, and when we say [man], the human sort of living creature. There is reference had to an idea more abstract. And there is this act of the mind in distributing an universal into species — it ties this abstract idea to two or more less — abstract ideas and supposes it limited by them.
’Tis not every property that belongs to all the particulars included in and proper to a genus, and that men generally see to be so, that is a part of that complex abstract idea that represents ail the particulars or that is a part of that nominal essence. But so much is essential which, if men should see anything less, they would not call it by the name by which they call the genus. This indeed is uncertain because men never agree upon fixing exact bounds.
 The distribution of the objects of our thoughts into SUBSTANCES and modes may be proper, if by substance we understand a complexion of such ideas which we conceive of as subsisting together and by themselves; and by modes, those simple ideas which cannot be by themselves or subsist in our mind alone.
A part is one of those many ideas which we are wont to think of together. A whole is an idea containing many of these.
[26.] CAUSE is that, after or upon the existence of which, or the existence of it after such a manner, the existence of another thing follows.
[27.] EXISTENCE. If we had only the sense of seeing, be as ready to conclude the visible world to have been an existence independent of perception, as we do; because the ideas we have by the sense of feeling, are as much mere ideas, as those we have by the sense of seeing. But we know, that the things that are objects of this sense, all that the mind views by seeing, are merely mental existences; because all these things, with all their modes, do exist in a looking-glass, where all will acknowledge, they exist only mentally.
’Tis now agreed upon by every knowing philosopher, that colors are not really in the things, no more than pain is in a needle but strictly no where else but in the mind. But yet I think that color may have an existence out of the mind, with equal reason as any thing in body has any existence out of the mind, beside the very substance of the body itself, which is nothing but the divine power, or rather the constant exertion of it. For what idea is that, which we call by the name of body? I find color has the chief share in it. ’Tis nothing but color, and figure, which is the termination of this color, together with some powers, such as the power of resisting, and motion, etc. that wholly makes up what we call body. And if that, which we principally mean by the thing itself, cannot be said to be in the thing itself, I think nothing can be. If color exists not out of the mind, then nothing belonging to body, exists out of the mind but resistance, which is solidity, and the termination of this resistance, with its relations, which is figure, and the communication of this resistance, from space to space, which is motion; though the latter are nothing but modes of the former. Therefore, there is nothing out of the mind but resistance. And not that neither, when nothing is actually resisted. Then, there is nothing but the power of resistance. And as resistance is nothing else but the actual exertion of God’s power, so the power can be nothing else, but the constant law or method of that actual exertion. And how is there any resistance, except it be in some mind, in idea? What is it that is resisted? ‘Tis not color. And what else is it? ‘Tis ridiculous to say, that resistance is resisted. That does not tell us at all what is to be resisted. There must be something resisted before there can be resistance; but to say resistance is resisted, is ridiculously to suppose resistance, before there is any thing to be resisted. Let us suppose two globes only existing, and no mind. There is nothing there, ex confesso but resistance. That is, there is such a law, that the space within the limits of a globular figure shall resist. Therefore, there is nothing there but a power, or an establishment. And if there be any resistance really out of the mind, one power and establishment must resist another establishment and law of resistance, which is exceedingly ridiculous. But yet it cannot be otherwise, if any way out of the mind. But now it is easy to conceive of resistance, as a mode of an idea. ’Tis easy to conceive of such a power, or constant manner of stopping or resisting a color. The idea may be resisted, it may move, and stop and rebound; but how a mere power, which is nothing real, can move and stop, is inconceivable, and ’tis impossible to say a word about it without contradiction. The world is therefore an ideal one; and the law of creating, and the succession, of these ideas is constant and regular.
[28.] Corollary 1. How impossible is it, that the world should exist from eternity, without a mind.
[29.] POWER. We have explained a cause to be that, after, or upon, the existence of which, or its existence in such a manner, the existence of another thing follows. The connection between these two existences, or between the cause and effect, is what we call power. Thus the sun, above the horizon, enlightens the atmosphere. So we say the sun has power to enlighten the atmosphere. That is, there is such a connection between the sun, being above the horizon, after such a manner, and the atmosphere being enlightened, that one always follows the other. So the sun has power to melt wax: That is, the sun and wax so existing, the melting of the wax follows. There is a connection between one and the other. So man has power to do this or that: That is, if he exists after such a manner, there follows the existence of another thing: If he wills this or that, it will be so. God has power to do all things, because there is nothing but what follows upon his willing of it. When intelligent beings are said to have power to do this or that; by it is meant, the connection between this or that, upon this manner of their existing, their willing: in which sense they have the power to do many things that they never shall will.
Corollary. Hence it follows, that men, in a very proper sense, may be said to have power to abstain from sin, and to repent, to do good works and to live holily; because it depends on their will.
[30.] Corollary 2. Since ’tis so, and that absolute nothing is such a dreadful contradiction; hence we learn the necessity of the eternal existence of an all-comprehending mind; and that it is the complication of all contradictions to deny such a mind.
 From what is said above we learn that the seat of the SOUL is not in the brain any otherwise than as to its immediate operations and the immediate operation of things on it. The soul may also be said to be in the heart, or the affections, for its immediate operations are there also. Hence we learn the propriety of the Scripture’s calling the soul the heart, when considered with respect to the will and the affections.
We seem to think in our heads because most of the ideas of which our thoughts are constituted, or about which they are conversant, come by the sensories that are in the head, especially the sight and hearing, or those ideas of reflection that arise from hence; and partly because we feel the effects of thought and study in our head.
[32.] Seeing human souls and FINITE SPIRITS are said to be in this place or that only because they are so as to mutual communications, it follows that the Scripture, when it speaks of God being in Heaven, of His dwelling in Israel, of His dwelling in the hearts of His people, does not speak so improperly as has been thought.
[33.] Dwight’s text has no No. 33.
[34.] When we say that the world, i.e., the material universe, exists nowhere but in the mind, we have got to such a degree of strictness and abstraction that we must be exceedingly careful that we do not confound and lose ourselves by misapprehension. That is impossible, that it should be meant that all the world is contained in the narrow compass of a few inches of space, in little ideas in the place of the brain; for that would be a contradiction. For we are to remember that the human body and the brain itself exist only mentally, in the same sense that other things do. And so that which we call place is an idea too. Therefore things are truly in those places, for what we mean when we say so is only that this mode of our idea of place appertains to such an idea. We would not, therefore, be understood to deny that things are where they seem to be, for the principles we lay down, if they are narrowly looked into, do not infer that. Nor will it be found that they at all make void natural philosophy, or the science of the causes or reasons of corporeal changes; for to find out the reasons of things in natural philosophy is only to find out the proportion of God’s acting. And the case is the same, as to such proportions, whether we suppose the world only mental in our sense, or no.
Though we suppose that the existence of the whole material universe is absolutely dependent on idea, yet we may speak in the old way, and as properly and truly as ever: God in the beginning created such a certain number atoms, of such a determinate bulk and figure, which they yet maintain and always will; and gave them such a motion, of such a direction, and of such a degree of velocity; from whence arise all the natural changes in the universe forever in a continued series. Yet perhaps all this does not exist anywhere perfectly but in the divine mind. But then, if it be inquired what exists in the divine mind, and how these things exist there, I answer: there is his determination, his care and his design that ideas shall be united forever, just so and in such a manner as is agreeable to such a series. For instance, all the ideas that ever were or ever shall be to all eternity, in any created mind, are answerable to the existence of such a peculiar atom in the beginning of the creation, of such a determinate figure and size, and have such a motion given it. That is, they are all such as infinite wisdom sees would follow, according to the series of nature, from such an atom so moved. That is, all ideal changes of creatures are just so, as if just such a particular atom had actually all along existed even in some finite mind, and never had been out of that mind, and had in that mind caused these effects which are exactly according to nature, that is, according to the nature of other matter that is actually perceived by the mind. God supposes its existence; that is, he causes all changes to arise as if all these things had actually existed in such a series in some created mind, and as if created minds had comprehended all things perfectly. And although created minds do not, yet the divine mind doth, and he orders all things according to his mind, and his ideas.
And these hidden things do not only exist in the divine idea, but in a sense in created idea, for that exists in created idea which necessarily supposes it. If a ball of lead were supposed to be let fall from the clouds and no eye saw it till it got within ten rods of the ground, and then its motion and celerity was perfectly discerned in its exact proportion, if it were not for the imperfection and slowness of our minds, the perfect idea of the rest of the motion would immediately and of itself arise in the mind, as well as that which is there. So, were our thoughts comprehensive and perfect enough, our view of the present state of the world would excite in us a perfect idea of all past changes.
And we need not perplex our minds with a thousand questions and doubts that will seem to arise, as to what purpose is this way of exciting ideas, and what advantage is there in observing such a series. I answer: ’tis just all one as to any benefit or advantage, any end that we can suppose was proposed by the Creator, as if the material universe were existent in the same manner as is vulgarly thought. For the corporeal world is to no advantage but to the spiritual, and it is exactly the same advantage this way as the other; for it is all one as to anything excited in the mind.
[35.] SEEING, the brain exists only mentally, I therefore acknowledge that I speak improperly when I say the soul is in the brain — only as to its operations. For, to speak yet more strictly and abstractly, ’tis nothing but the connection of the operations of the soul with these and those modes of its own ideas, or those mental acts of the deity — seeing the brain exists only in idea. But we have got so far beyond those things for which language was chiefly contrived that, unless we use extreme caution, we cannot speak (except we speak exceedingly unintelligibly) without literally contradicting ourselves.
Corollary. No wonder, therefore, that the high and abstract mysteries of the deity, the prime and most abstract of all beings, imply so many seeming contradictions.
[36.] THINGS, as to God, exist from all eternity, alike; that is, the idea is always the same, and after the same mode. The existence of things, therefore, that are not actually in created minds, consists only in power, or in the determination of God, that such and such ideas shall be raised in created minds, upon such conditions.
[37.] GENUS AND SPECIES indeed, is a mental thing. Yet, in a sense, nature has distributed many things into species without [i.e., outside of] our minds. That is, God evidently designed such particulars to be together in the mind and in other things. But ’tis not so, indeed, with respect to all genera. Some therefore may be called ‘arbitrary’ genera, other ‘natural.’ Nature has designedly made a distribution of some things, other distributions are of a mental original.
[38.] BODY INFINITE? If we dispute, whether body is capable of being infinite; let us in the first place put the question, whether motion can be infinite; that is whether there can be a motion infinitely swift. I suppose that every one will see, that if a body moved with infinite swiftness, it would be in every part of the distance passed through exactly at once, and therefore it could not be said to move from one part of it to another. Infinite motion is therefore a contradiction. Supposing therefore a body were infinitely great, it could doubtless be moved by infinite power, and turned round some point or axis. But if that were possible, ’tis evident that some part of that infinite body would move with infinite swiftness; which we have seen is a contradiction. Body therefore cannot be infinite.
[39.] CONSCIENCE. Beside the two sorts of assent of the mind, called will and judgment, there is a third, arising from a sense of the general beauty and harmony of things, which is conscience. There are some things, which move a kind of horror in the mind, which yet the mind wills and chooses; and some, which are agreeable in this way to its make and constitution, which yet it chooses not. These assents of will and conscience have indeed a common object, which is excellency. Still they differ. The one is always general excellency: that is harmony, taking in its relation to the whole system of beings. The other, that excellency which most strongly affects, whether the excellency be more general or particular. But the degree, wherein we are affected by any excellency, is in proportion compounded of the extensiveness, and the intensiveness, of our view of that excellency.
[40.] SINCE all material existence is only idea, this question may be asked: In what sense may those things be said to exist, which are supposed, and yet are in no actual idea of any created minds? I answer: They exist only in uncreated idea. But how do they exist, otherwise than they did from all eternity, for they always were in uncreated idea and divine appointment. I answer: They did exist from all eternity in uncreated idea, as did every thing else, and as they do at present, but not in created idea. But it may be asked: How do those things exist, which have an actual existence, but of which no created mind is conscious? — For instance, the furniture of this room, when we are absent, and the room is shut up, and no created mind perceives it; How do these things exist? — I answer: There has been in times past such a course and succession of existences, that these things must be supposed to make the series complete, according to divine appointment, of the order of things. And there will be innumerable things consequential, which will be out of joint, out of their constituted series, without the supposition of these. For, upon supposition of these things, are infinite numbers of things otherwise than they would be, if these were not by God thus supposed. Yea, the whole universe would be otherwise; such an influence have these things, by their attraction and otherwise. Yea, there must be an universal attraction, in the whole system of things, from the beginning of the world to the end; and to speak more strictly and metaphysically, we must say, in the whole system and series of ideas in all created minds; so that these things must necessarily be put in, to make complete the system of the ideal world. That is, they must be supposed, if the train of ideas be, in the order and course, settled by the Supreme Mind. So that we may answer in short that the existence of these things is in God’s supposing of them, in order to the rendering complete the series of things (to speak more strictly, the series of ideas), according to his own settled order, and that harmony of things, which he has appointed. — The supposition of God, which we speak of, is nothing else but God’s acting, in the course and series of his exciting ideas, as if they (the things supposed), were in actual idea.
But you may object: but there are many things so infinitely small, that their influence is altogether insensible; so that, whether they are supposed or not, there will no alteration be made in the series of ideas. Answer: But though the influence is so small, that we do not perceive, yet, who knows how penetrating other spirits may be, to perceive the minutest alterations. And whether the alterations be sensible, or not, at present, yet the effect of the least influence will be sensible, in time. For instance, let there be supposed to be a leaden globe, of a mile in diameter, to be moving in a right line, with the swiftness of a cannon ball, in the infinite void, and let it pass by a very small atom, supposed to be at rest. This atom will somewhat retard this leaden globe in its motion, though at first, and perhaps for many ages, the difference is altogether insensible. But let it be never so little, in time it will become very sensible. For if the motion is made so much slower, that in a million of years it shall have moved one inch less than it would have done otherwise, in a million million it will have moved a million inches less. So now the least atom, by its existence or motion, causes an alteration, more or less, in every other atom in the universe; so the alteration in time will become very sensible; so the whole universe, in time, will become all over different from what it would otherwise have been. For if every other atom is supposed to be either retarded, or accelerated, or diverted; every atom will cause great alterations (however small for the present) as we have shown already, of retardation. The case is the same as to acceleration; and so as to diversion, or varying the direction of the motion. For let the course of the body be never so little changed, this course, in time, may carry it to a place immensely distant from what the other would have carried it to, as is evident enough. And the case is the same still, if the motion that was before was never so slow is wholly stopped; the difference, in time, will be immense; for this slow motion would have carried it to an immense distance, if it were continued.
But the objector will say: I acknowledge it would be thus, if the bodies, in which these insensible alterations are made, were free, and alone, in an infinite void, but I do not know but the case may be far otherwise, when an insensible alteration is made in a body, that is among innumerable others, and subject to infinite jumbles among them. — Answer. The case is the same, whether the bodies be alone in a void, or in a system of other bodies; for the influence of this insensible alteration continues as steadily forever, through all its various interchanges and collisions with other bodies, as it would if it were alone in an infinite void: so that in time, a particle of matter, that shall be on this side of the universe, might have been on the other. The existence and motion of every atom, has influence, more or less, on the motion of all other bodies in the universe, great or small, as is most demonstrable from the laws of gravity and motion. An alteration, more or less, as to motion, is made on every fixed star, and on all its planets, primary and secondary. Let the alteration made in the fixed stars, be never so small, yet in time it will make an infinite alteration, from what otherwise would have been. Let the fixed stars be supposed, for instance, before to have been in perfect rest; let them now be all set in motion, and this motion be never so small, yet, continued forever, where will it carry those most immense bodies, with their systems. Let a little alteration be made in the motion of the planets, either retardation or acceleration, this, in time, will make a difference of many millions of revolutions: and how great a difference will that make in the floating bodies of the universe.
Corollary. By this we may answer a more difficult question, viz. If material existence be only mental, then our bodies and organs are ideas only; and then in what sense is it true, that the mind receives ideas by the organs of sense; seeing that the organs of sense, themselves, exist no where but in the mind? — Answer. Seeing our organs, themselves, are ideas; the connection, that our ideas have with such and such a mode of our organs, is no other than God’s constitution, that some of our ideas shall be connected with others, according to such a settled law and order, so that some ideas shall follow from others as their cause. — But how can this be, seeing that ideas most commonly arise from organs, when we have no idea of the mode of our organs, or the manner of external objects being applied to them? I answer: Our organs, and the motions in them and to them, exist in the manner explained above.
“Plato, in his ‘Subterranean Cave,’ so famously known, and so elegantly described by him, supposes men tied with their backs towards the light, placed at a great distance from them, so that they could not turn about their heads to it neither, and therefore could see nothing but the shadows of certain substances behind them, projected from it; which shadows they concluded to be the only substance and realities. And when they heard the sounds made by those bodies, that were betwixt the light and them, or their reverberated echoes, they imputed them to those shadows which they saw. All this is a description of the state of those men, who take body to be the only real and substantial thing in the world, and to do all that is done in it; and therefore often impute sense, reason and understanding, to nothing but blood and brains in us.” Cudsworth’s Intellectual System
[41.] As there is great foundation in nature for those abstract ideas which we call universals, so there is great foundation in the common circumstances and NECESSITIES of mankind, and the constant method of things proceeding, for such a tying of simple modes together to the constituting such mixed modes. This appears from the agreement of languages, for language is very much made up of the names of mixed modes. And we find that almost all those names in one language have names that answer to them in other languages. The same mixed mode has a name given to it by most nations. Whence it appears that most of the inhabitants of the earth have agreed upon putting together the same simple modes into mixed ones and in the same manner. The learned and polished have indeed many more than others, and herein chiefly it is that languages do not answer one to another.
[42.] The agreement or similitude of complex IDEAS mostly consists in their precise identity with respect to some third idea of some of the simples they are compounded of. But if there be any similitude or agreement between simple ideas themselves, it cannot consist in the identity of a third idea that belongs to both, because the ideas are simple; and if you take anything that belongs to them, you take all. Therefore no agreement between simple ideas can be resolved into identity, unless it be the identity of relations. But there seems to be another infallible agreement between simple ideas. Thus some colors are more like one to another than others, between which there is yet a very manifest difference; so between sounds, smells, tastes, and other sensations. And what is that common agreement of all these ideas we call colors whereby we know immediately that that name belongs to them? Certainly all colors have an agreement one to another that is quite different from any agreement that sounds can have to them. So is there some common agreement to all sounds, that tastes cannot have to any sound. It cannot be said that the agreement lies only in this, that these simple ideas come all by the ear so that their agreement consists only in the relation they have to that organ. For if it should have been so that we had lived in the world, and had never found out the way we got these ideas we call sounds, and never once thought or considered anything about it, and should hear some new simple sound, I believe nobody would question but that we should immediately perceive an agreement with other ideas that used to come by that sense (though we knew not which way one of them came) and should immediately call it a sound, and say we had a heard a strange noise. And if we had never had any such sensation as the headache, and should have it, I do not think we should call that a new sound; for there would be so manifest a disagreement between those simple ideas, of another kind from what simple ideas have one with another.
I have thought whether or no the agreement of colors did not consist in a relation they had to the idea of space, and whether color it’ general might not be defined: that idea that filled space. But I am convinced that there is another sort of agreement beside that; and the more, because there can no such common relation be thought of with respect to different sounds. ’Tis probable that this agreement may be resolved into identity, if we follow these ideas to their original in their organs. Like sensations may be caused from like motions in the animal spirits. Herein the likeness is perceived after the same manner as the harmony in a simple color, but if we consider the ideas absolutely it cannot be.
Corollary. All universals, therefore, cannot be made up of ideas abstracted from particulars, for color and sound are universals as much as man or horse. But the idea of color or sound in general cannot be made up of ideas abstracted from particular colors or sounds; for from simple ideas nothing can be abstracted. But these universals are thus formed: the mind perceives that some of its ideas agree, in a manner very different from all its other ideas. The mind therefore is determined to rank those ideas together in its thoughts; and all new ideas it receives with the like agreement it naturally and habitually and at once places to the same rank and order and calls them by the same name; and by the nature, determination, and habit of the mind the idea of one excites the idea of others.
[43.] Many of our universal ideas are not arbitrary. The tying of ideas together in genera and species is not merely the calling of them by the same name, but such an union of them that the consideration of one shall naturally excite the idea of others. But the union of ideas is not always arbitrary but unavoidably arising from the nature of the soul, which is such that the thinking of one thing of itself, yea against our wills, excites the thought of other things that are like it. Thus if a person, a stranger to the earth, should see and converse with a man and a long time after should meet with another man and converse with him, the agreement would immediately excite the idea of that other man, and those two ideas would be together in his mind for the time to come, yea, in spite of him. So if he should see a third, and afterwards should find multitudes, there would be a genus or universal idea formed in his mind naturally, without his counsel or design. So I cannot doubt but, if a person had been born blind and should have his eyes opened and should immediately have blue placed before his eyes, and then red, then green, then yellow, I doubt not they would immediately get into one general idea — they would be united in his mind without his deliberation.
Corollary. So that God has not only distributed things into species by evidently manifesting (by His making such an agreement in things) that He designed such and such particulars to be together in the mind; but by making the soul of such a nature that those particulars which He thus made to agree are unavoidably together in the mind — one naturally exciting and including the others.
[44.] Dwight’s text has no No. 44.
[45.] EXCELLENCE. 1. When we spake of excellence in bodies, we were obliged to borrow the word, consent, from spiritual things; but excellence in and among spirits is in its prime and proper sense, being’s consent to being. There is no other proper consent but that of minds, even of their will; which, when it is of minds towards minds, it is love, and when of minds towards other things, it is choice. Wherefore all the primary and original beauty or excellence, that is among minds, is love; and into this may all be resolved that is found among them.
2. When we spake of external excellency, we said, that being’s consent to being, must needs be agreeable to perceiving being. But now we are speaking of spiritual things, we may change the phrase, and say, that mind’s love to mind must needs be lovely to beholding mind; and being’s love to being, in general, must needs be agreeable to being that perceives it, because itself is a participation of being, in general.
3. As to the proportion of this love — to greater spirits, more, and to less, less — ’tis beautiful, as it is a manifestation of love to spirit or being in general. And the want of this proportion is a deformity, because it is a manifestation of a defect of such a love. It shows that it is not being, in general, but something else, that is loved, when love is not in proportion to the extensiveness and excellence of being.
4. Seeing God has so plainly revealed himself to us; and other minds are made in his image, and are emanations from him; we may judge what is the excellence of other minds, by what is his, which we have shown is love. His infinite beauty, is his infinite mutual love of himself. Now God is the prime and original Being, the first and last, and the pattern of all, and has the sum of all perfection. We may therefore, doubtless, conclude, that all that is the perfection of Spirits may be resolved into that which is God’s perfection, which is love.
5. There are several degrees of deformity or disagreeableness of dissent from being. One is, when there is only merely a dissent from being. This is disagreeable to being (for perceiving being only is properly being). Still more disagreeable is a dissent to very excellent being, or, as we have explained, to a being that consents in a high degree to being, because such a being by such a consent becomes bigger; and a dissenting from such a being includes, also, a dissenting from what he consents with, which is other beings, or being in general. Another deformity, that is more odious than mere dissent from being, is for a being to dissent from, or not to consent with, a being who consents with his being. ’Tis a manifestation of a greater dissent from being than ordinary; for the being perceiving, knows that it is natural to being, to consent with what consents with it, as we have shown. It therefore manifests an extraordinary dissent, that consent to itself will not draw its consent. The deformity, for the same reason, is greater still, if there be dissent from consenting being. There are such contrarieties and jars in being, as must necessarily produce jarring and horror in perceiving being.
6. Dissent from such beings, if that be their fixed nature, is a manifestation of consent to being in general; for consent to being is dissent from that which dissents from being.
7. Wherefore all virtue, which is the excellency of minds, is resolved into love to being; and nothing is virtuous or beautiful in spirits, any otherwise than as it is an excuse, or fruit, or manifestation, of this love; and nothing is sinful or deformed in spirits, but as it is the defect of, or contrary to, these.
8. When we speak of being in general, we may be understood of the divine Being, for he is an infinite Being: therefore all others must necessarily be considered as nothing. As to bodies, we have shown in another place, that they have no proper being of their own. And as to spirits, they are the communications of the great original Spirit; and doubtless, in metaphysical strictness and propriety. He is, as there is none else. He is likewise infinitely excellent, and all excellence and beauty is derived from him, in the same manner as all being. And all other excellence, is, in strictness only, a shadow of his. We proceed, therefore, to show how all spiritual excellence is resolved into love.
9. As to God’s excellence, ’tis evident it consists in the love of himself; for he was as excellent, before he created the universe, as he is now. But if the excellence of spirits consists in their disposition and action, God could be excellent no other way at that time; for all the exertions of himself were towards himself. But he exerts himself towards himself, no other way, than in infinitely loving and delighting in himself; in the mutual love of the Father and the Son. This makes the third, the personal Holy Spirit, or the holiness of God, which is his infinite beauty; and this is God’s infinite consent to being in general. And his love to the creature is his excellence, or the communication of himself, his complacency in them, according as they partake of more or less of excellence and beauty, that is of holiness (which consists in love); that is according as he communicates more or less of his Holy Spirit.
10. As to that excellence, that created spirits partake of; that ’tis all to be resolved into love, none will doubt, that knows what is the sum of the Ten Commandments; or believes what the apostle says: That love is the fulfilling of the law; or what Christ says: That on these two, loving God and our neighbor, hang all the law and the prophets. This doctrine is often repeated in the New Testament. We are told that the end of the commandment is love; that to love, is to fulfill the royal law; and that all the law is fulfilled in this one word, love.
11. I know of no difficulties worth insisting on, except pertaining to the spiritual excellence of justice; but enough has been said already to resolve them. Though injustice is the greatest of all deformities, yet justice is no otherwise excellent, than as it is the exercise, fruit and manifestation of the mind’s love or consent to being; nor injustice deformed any otherwise, than as it is the highest degree of the contrary. Injustice is not to exert ourselves towards any being as it deserves, or to do it contrary to what it deserves, in doing good or evil, or in acts of consent or dissent. There are two ways of deserving our consent, and the acts of it: (By deserving any thing, we are to understand that the nature of being requires it:) By extensiveness and excellence; and by consent to that particular being. The reason of the deformity of not proportioning our consent, and the exercise of it, may be seen in paragraphs 3 and 5. As to the beauty of vindictive justice, see paragraph 6.
12. ’Tis peculiar to God, that he has beauty within himself, consisting in being’s consenting with his own Being, or the love of himself, in his own Holy Spirit. Whereas the excellence of others is in loving others, in loving God, and in the communications of his Spirit.
13. We shall be in danger, when we meditate on this love of God to himself, as being the thing wherein his infinite excellence and loveliness consists, of some alloy to the sweetness of our view, by its appearing with something of the aspect and cast of what we call self love. But we are to consider that this love includes in it, or rather is the same as, a love to every thing, as they are all communications of himself. So that we are to conceive of divine excellence as the infinite general love, that which reaches all proportionally, with perfect purity and sweetness; yea, it includes the true love of all creatures, for that is his spirit, or which is the same thing, his love. And if we take notice, when we are in the best frames meditating on divine excellence, our idea of that tranquillity and peace, which seems to be overspread and cast abroad upon the whole earth, and universe, naturally dissolves itself, into the idea of a general love and delight, every where diffused.
14. Conscience is that sense the mind has of this consent: Which sense consists in the consent of the perceiving being, to such a general consent (that is of such perceiving beings, as are capable of so general a perception, as to have any notion of being in general); and the dissent of his mind to a dissent from being in general. We have said already, that it is naturally agreeable to perceiving being that being should consent to being, and the contrary disagreeable. If by any means, therefore, a particular and restrained love overcomes this general consent — the foundation of that consent yet remaining in the nature, exerts itself again, so that there is the contradiction of one consent to another. And as it is naturally agreeable to every being, to have being consent to him; the mind, after it has thus exerted an act of dissent to being in general, has a sense that being in general dissents from it, which is most disagreeable to it. And as he is conscious of a dissent from universal being, and of that being’s dissent from him, wherever he is, he sees what excites horror. And by inclining or doing that, which is against his natural inclination as a perceiving being, he must necessarily cause uneasiness, inasmuch as that natural inclination is contradicted. And this is the disquiet of conscience. And, though the disposition be changed, the remembrance of his having so done in time past, and the idea being still tied to that of himself, he is uneasy. The notion of such a dissent any where, as we have shown is odious; but the notion of its being in himself, renders it uneasy and disquieting. But when there is no sense of any such dissent from being in general, there is no contradiction to the natural inclination of perceiving being. And when he reflects, he has a sense that being in general doth not dissent from him; and then there is peace of conscience; though lie has a remembrance of past dissentions with nature. Yet if by any means it be possible, when he has the idea of it, to conceive of it as not belonging to him, he has the same peace. And if he has a sense not only of his not dissenting, but of his consenting to being in general, or nature, and acting accordingly; he has a sense that nature, in general, consents to him: he has not only peace, but joy of mind, wherever he is. These things are obviously invigorated by the knowledge of God and his constitution about us, and by the light of the gospel.
 Dwight’s text has no No. 46.
[47.] THE foundation of the most considerable species or sorts, in which things are ranked, is the order of the world — the designed distribution of God and nature. When we, in distributing things, differ from that design, we don’t know the true essences of things. If the world had been created without any order, or design, or beauty, indeed, all species would be merely arbitrary. There are certain multitudes of things, that God has made to agree, very remarkably in something, either as to their outward appearance, manner of acting, the effects they produce, or that other things produce on them, the manner of their production, or God’s disposal concerning them, or some peculiar perpetual circumstances that they are in. Thus diamonds agree in shape; pieces of gold, in that they will be divided in aqua regia; lodestones, in innumerable strange effects that they produce; many plants, in the peculiar effects they produce on animal bodies; men, in that they are to remain after this life. That inward conformation, that is the foundation of an agreement in these things, is the real essence of the thing. For instance, that disposition of parts, or whatever it be, in the matter of the lodestone, from whence arises the verticity to the poles, and its influence, on other lodestones and iron, is the real essence of the lodestone that is unknown to us.
[48.] DEFINITION. That is not always a true definition, that tends most to give us to understand the meaning of a word; but that which would give any one the clearest notion of the meaning of the word, if he had never been in any way acquainted with the thing signified by that word. For instance, if I was to explain the meaning of the word motion, to one that had seen things move, but was not acquainted with the word; perhaps I should say, motion is a thing’s going from one place to another. But, if I was to explain it to one, who had never seen any thing move (if that could be). I should say, motion is a body’s existing successively in all the immediately contiguous parts of any distance, without continuing any time in any.
 ’Tis reasonable to suppose that the mere PERCEPTION of being is agreeable to perceiving being, as well as being’s consent to being. If absolute being were not agreeable to perceiving being, the contradiction of being to being would not be unpleasant. Hence there is in the mind an inclination to perceive the things that are, or the desire of truth. The exercise of this disposition of the soul to a high degree is the passion of admiration. When the mind beholds a very uncommon object, there is the pleasure of a new perception with the excitation of the appetite of knowing more of it — as the causes and the manner of production and the like — and the uneasiness arising from its being so hidden. These compose that emotion called admiration.
[50.] Dwight’s text has no No. 50.
[51.] ’Tis hardly proper to say, that the dependence of ideas of sensation, upon the organs of the body, is only the dependence of some of our ideas upon others. For the organs of our bodies, are not our ideas, in a proper sense, though their existence be only mental. Yet there is no necessity of their existing actually in our minds, but they exist mentally, in the same manner as has been explained. See Appendix, p. 669.1 No. 34. The dependence of our ideas upon the organs, is the dependence of our ideas on our bodies, after the manner there explained, mentally existing. And if it be inquired to what purpose is this way of exciting ideas? I answer: To exactly the same purpose is can be supposed, if our organs are actually existing, in the manner vulgarly conceived, as to any manner of benefit, or end, that can be mentioned.
’Tis not proper at all, nor doth it express the thing we would, to say that bodies do not exist without the mind. For the scheme will not allow the mind to be supposed determined to any place, in such a manner to make that proper; for place itself is mental, and within and without are mere mental conceptions. Therefore, that way of expressing, will lead us into a thousand difficulties and perplexities. But when I say, the material universe exists only in the mind, I mean that it is absolutely dependent on the conception of the mind for its existence, and does not exist as spirits do, whose existence does not consist in, nor in dependence on, the conception of other minds. We must be exceedingly careful, lest we confound ourselves in these by more imagination. ’Tis from hence I expect the greatest opposition. It will appear a ridiculous thing, I suppose, that the material world exists no where, but in the soul of man, confined within his skull; but we must again remember what sort of existence the head and brain have. — The soul, in a sense, has its seat in the brain; and so, in a sense, the visible world is existent out of the mind, for it certainly, in the most proper sense, exists out of the brain.
 Dwight’s text has no No. 52
[53.] SENSATION. Our senses, when sound, and in ordinary circumstances, are not property fallible in any thing: that is, we mean our experience by our senses. If we mean any thing else, neither fallibility nor certainty in any way belongs to the senses. Nor are our senses certain in any thing at all, any other way, than by constant experience by our senses: That is, when our senses make such or such representations, we constantly experience that things are in themselves thus or thus. So, when a thing appears after such a manner, I judge it to be at least two rods off, at least two feet broad; but I only know, by constant experience, that a thing, that makes such a representation, is so far off, and so big. And so my senses are as certain in every thing, when I have equal opportunity and occasion to experience. And our senses are said to deceive us in some things, because our situation does not allow us to make trial, or our circumstances do not lead us to it, and so we are apt to judge by our experience, in other and different cases. Thus, our senses make us think, that the moon is among the clouds, because we cannot try it so quick, easily, and frequently, as we do the distance of things that are nearer. But the senses of an astronomer, who observes the parallax of the moon, do not deceive him, but lead him to the truth. Though the idea of the moon’s distance will never be exercised, so quick and naturally, upon every occasion, because of the tediousness and infrequency of the trial; and there are not so many ways of trial, so many differences in the moon’s appearance, from what a lesser thing amongst the clouds would have, as there are in things nearer. I can remember when I was so young, that seeing two things in the same building, one of which was twice so far off as the other, yet, seeing one over the other, I thought they had been of the same distance, one right over the other. My senses then were deceitful in that thing, though they made the same representations as now, and yet now they are not deceitful. The only difference is in experience. Indeed, in some things, our senses make no difference in the representation, where there is a difference in the things. But in those things, our experience by our senses will lead us not to judge at all, and so they will deceive. We are in danger of being deceived by our senses, in judging of appearances, by our experience in different things, or by judging where we have had no experience, or the like.
[54.] REASONING. We know our own existence, and the existence of every thing, that we are conscious of in our own minds, intuitively; but all our reasoning, with respect to real existence, depends upon that natural, unavoidable and invariable, disposition of the mind, when it sees a thing begin to be, to conclude certainly, that there is a cause of it; or if it sees a thing to be in a very orderly, regular and exact, manner, to conclude that some design regulated and disposed it. That a thing that begins to be should make itself, we know implies a contradiction; for we see intuitively, that the ideas, that such an expression excites, are inconsistent. And that any thing should start up into being, without any cause at all, itself, or any thing else, is what the mind, do what we will, will forever refuse to receive, but will perpetually reject. When we therefore see any thing begin to be, we intuitively know there is a cause of it, and not by ratiocination, or any kind of argument. This is an innate principle, in that sense, that the soul is born with it — a necessary, fatal propensity, so to conclude, on every occasion.
And this is not only true of every new existence of those we call substances, but of every alteration that is to be seen: any new existence of any new mode, we necessarily suppose to be from a cause. For instance, if there had been nothing but one globe of solid matter, which in time past had been at perfect rest; if it starts a way into motion, we conclude there is some cause of that alteration. Or if that globe, in time past, had been moving in a straight line, and turns short about at right angles with its former direction; or if it had been moving with such a degree of celerity, and all at once moves with but half that swiftness. And ’tis all one, whether these alterations be in bodies, or in spirits, their beginning must have a cause: the first alteration that there is in a spirit, after it is created, let it be an alteration in what it will; and so the rest. So, if a spirit always, in times past, had had such an inclination, for instance always loved and chosen sin, and then has a quite contrary inclination, and loves and chooses holiness; the beginning of this alteration, or the first new existence in that spirit towards it, whether it were some action, or whatsoever, had some cause.
And, indeed, ’tis no matter, whether we suppose a being has a beginning or no, if we see it exists in a particular manner, for which way of existing we know that there is no more reason, as to any thing in the thing itself, than any other different manner; the mind necessarily concludes, that there is some cause of its so existing, more than any other way. For instance, if there is but once piece of matter existing from all eternity, and that be a square; we unavoidably conclude, there is some cause why it is square, seeing there is nothing in the thing itself that more inclines it to, that figure, than to an infinite number of other figures. The same may be said as to rest, or motion, or the manner of motion; and for all other bodies existing, the mind seeks a cause why.
When the mind sees a being existing very regularly, and in most exact order, especially if the order consists in the exact regulation of a very great multitude of particulars, if it be the best order, as to use and beauty, that the mind can conceive of, that it could have been, the mind unavoidably concludes, that its cause was a being that had design: for instance, when the mind perceives the beauty and contrivance of the world; for the world might have been one infinite number of confusions, and not have been disposed beautifully and usefully; yea, infinite times an infinite number, and so if we multiply infinite by infinite, in infinitum. So that, if we suppose the world to have existed from all eternity, and to be continually all the while without the guidance of design, passing under different changes; it would have been, according to such a multiplication, infinite to one, whether it would ever have hit upon this form or no. Note — This way of concluding, is a sort of ratiocination.
 APPETITES OF THE MIND. As all ideas are wholly in the mind, so is all appetite. To have appetite towards a thing is as remote from the nature of matter as to have thought. There are some of the appetites that are called natural appetites that are not indeed natural to the soul — as the appetite to meat and drink. I believe, when the soul has that sort of pain which is in hunger and thirst, if the soul never had experienced that food and drink remove that pain, it would create no appetite to any [such] thing. A man would be just as incapable of such an appetite as he is to food he never smelt nor tasted. So the appetite of scratching when it itches.
[56.] NUMBER is a train of differences of ideas, put together in the mind’s consideration in orderly succession, and considered with respect to their relations one to another, as in that orderly mental succession. This mental succession is the succession of time. One may make which they will the first, if it be but the first in consideration. The mind begins where it will, and runs through them successively one after another. ’Tis a collection of differences; for ’tis its being another, in some respect, that is the very thing that makes it capable of pertaining to multiplicity. They must not merely be put together, in orderly succession; but it’s only their being considered with reference to that relation they have one to another as differences, and in orderly mental succession, that denominates it number. — To be of such a particular number, is for an idea to have such a particular relation, and so considered by the mind, to other differences put together with it, in orderly succession. — So that there is nothing inexplicable in the nature of number, but what identity and diversity is, and what succession, or duration, or priority and posteriority is.
[57.] DURATION. Pastness, if I may make such a word, is nothing but a mode of ideas. This mode perhaps, is nothing else but a certain veterascence, attending our ideas. When it is, as we say, past, the idea, after a particular manner, fades and grows old. When an idea appears with this mode, we say it is past, and according to the degree of this particular inexpressible mode, so we say the thing is longer or more lately past. As in distance, ’tis not only by a natural trigonometry of the eyes, or a sort of parallax, that we determine it; because we can judge of distances, as well with one eye, as with two. Nor is it by observing the parallelism or aperture of the rays, for the mind judges by nothing, but the difference it observes in the idea itself, which alone the mind has any notice of. But it judges of distance, by a particular mode of indistinctness, as has been said before. So ’tis with respect to distance of time, by a certain peculiar inexpressible mode of fading and indistinctness, which I call veterascence.
[58.] REASONING does not absolutely differ from perception any further than there is the act of the will about it. It appears to be so in demonstrative reasoning because the knowledge of a self-evident truth, ’tis evident, does not differ from perception. But all demonstrative knowledge consists in, and may be resolved into, the knowledge of self-evident truths. And ’tis also evident that the act of the mind in other reasoning is not of a different nature from demonstrative reasoning.
[59.] JUDGMENT. The mind passes a judgment, in multitudes of cases, where it has learned to judge by perpetual experience, not only exceedingly quick, as soon as one thought can follow another, but absolutely without any reflection at all, and at the same moment, without any time intervening. Though the thing is not properly self-evident, yet it judges without any ratiocination, merely by force of habit. Thus, when I hear such and such sounds, or see such letters, I judge that such things are signified without reasoning. When I have such ideas coming in by my sense of seeing, appearing after such a manner, I judge without any reasoning, that the things are further off, than others that appear after such a manner. When I see a globe, I judge it to be a globe, though the image impressed on my sensory is only that of a flat circle, appearing variously in various parts. And in ten thousand other cases, the ideas are habitually associated together, and they come into the mind together. — So likewise, in innumerable cases, men act without any proper act of the will at that time commanding, through habit. As when a man is walking, there is not a new act of the will every time a man takes up his foot and sets it down.
Corollary. Hence there is no necessity of allowing reason to beasts, in man of those actions, that many are ready to argue are rational actions. As cattle in a team are wont to act as the driver would have them, upon his making such and such sounds, either to stop, or go along, or turn hither or thither, because they have been forced to do it, by the whip, upon the using of such words. ’Tis become habitual, so that they never do it rationally, but either from force or from habit. So of all the actions that beasts are taught to perform, dogs, and horses, and parrots, etc. And those, that they learn of themselves to do, are merely by virtue of appetite and habitual association of ideas. Thus a horse learns to perform such actions for his food, because he has accidentally had the perceptions of such actions, associated with the pleasant perceptions of taste: and so his appetite makes him perform the action, without any reason of judgment.
The main difference between men and beasts is that men are capable of reflecting upon what passes in their own minds. Beasts have nothing but direct consciousness. Men are capable of viewing what is in themselves, contemplatively. Man was made for spiritual exercises and enjoyments, and therefore is made capable, by reflection, to behold and contemplate spiritual things. Hence it arises that man is capable of religion.
A very great difference between men and beasts is that beasts have no voluntary actions about their own thoughts; for ’tis in this only, that reasoning differs from mere perception and memory. ’Tis the act of the will, in bringing its ideas into contemplation, and ranging and comparing of them in reflection and abstraction. The minds of beasts, if I may call them minds, are purely passive with respect to all their ideas. The minds of men are not only passive, but abundantly active. Herein probably is the most distinguishing difference between men and beasts. Herein is the difference between intellectual, or rational will, and mere animal appetite, that the latter is a simple inclination to, or aversion from, such and such sensations, which are the only ideas that they are capable of that are not active about their ideas: the former is a will that is active about its own ideas, in disposing of them among themselves, or appetite towards those ideas that are acquired by such action.
The association of ideas in beasts, seems to be much quicker and stronger than in men: at least in many of them.
It would not suppose any exalted faculty in beasts, to suppose that like ideas in them, if they have any, excite one another. Nor can I think why it should be so any the less for the weakness and narrowness of their faculties; in such things, where to perceive the argument of ideas, requires neither attention nor comprehension. And experience teaches us, that what we call thought in them, is thus led from one thing to another.
[60.] THE WILL. ’Tis not that, which appears the greatest good, or the greatest apparent good, that determines the will. ’Tis not the greatest good apprehended, or that which is apprehended to be the greatest good; but the greatest apprehension of. good. ’Tis not merely by judging that any thing is a great good, that good is apprehended, or appears. There are other ways of apprehending good. The having a clear and sensible idea of any good, is one way of good’s appearing, as well as judging that there is good. Therefore, all those things are to be considered — the degree of the judgment, by which a thing is judged to be good, and the contrary evil; the degree of goodness under which it appears, and the evil of the contrary; and the clearness of the idea and strength of the conception of the goodness and of the evil. And that good, of which there is the greatest apprehension or sense, all those things being taken together, is chosen by the will. And if there be a greater apprehension of good to be obtained, or evil escaped, by doing a thing, than in letting it alone, the will determines to the doing it. The mind will be for the present most uneasy in neglecting it, and the mind always avoids that, in which it would be for the present most uneasy. The degree of apprehension of good, which I suppose to determine the will, is composed of the degree of good apprehended, and the degree of apprehension. The degree of apprehension, again, is composed of the strength of the conception, and the judgment.
WILL, ITS DETERMINATION. The greatest mental existence of good, the greatest degree of the mind’s sense of good, the greatest degree of apprehension, or perception, or idea of own good, always determines the will. Where three things are to be considered, that make up the proportion of mental existence of own good; for ’tis the proportion compounded of these three proportions that always determines the will. 1. The degree of good apprehended, or the degree of good represented by idea. This used to be reckoned by many, the only thing that determined the will. — 2. The proportion or degree of apprehension or perception — the degree of the view the mind has of it, or the degree of the ideal perceptive presence of the good in the mind. This consists in two things. (1.) In the degree of the judgment. This is different from the first thing we mentioned, which was the judgment of the degree of good; but we speak now of the degree of that judgment, according to the degree of assurance or certainty. (2.) The deepness of the sense of the goodness, or the clearness, liveliness and sensibleness, of the goodness or sweetness, or the strength of the impression on the mind. As one that has just tasted honey has more of an idea of its goodness than one that never tasted, though he also fully believes that it is very sweet, yea as sweet as it is. And he that has seen a great beauty, has a far more clear and strong idea of it, than he that never saw it. Good, as ’tis thus most clearly and strongly present to the mind, will proportionally more influence the mind to incline and will. — 3. There is to be considered the proportion or degree of the mind’s apprehension of the propriety of the good, or of its own concernment in it. Thus the soul has a clearer and stronger apprehension of a pleasure, that it may enjoy the next hour, than of the same pleasure that it is sure it may enjoy ten years hence, though the latter doth really as much concern it as the former. There are usually other things concur, to make men choose present, before future, good. They are generally more certain of the good and have a stronger sense of it. But if they were equally certain, and it were the very same good, and they were sure it would be the same, yet the soul would be most inclined to the nearest, because they have not so lively an apprehension of themselves, and of the good, and of the whole matter. And then there is the pain and uneasiness of enduring such an appetite so long a time, that generally comes in. But yet this matter wants to be made something more clear, why the soul is more strongly inclined to near, than distant good.
’Tis utterly impossible but that it should be so, that the inclination and choice of the mind should always be determined by good, as mentally or ideally existing. It would be a contradiction to suppose otherwise, for we mean nothing else by good, but that which agrees with the inclination and disposition of the mind. And surely that, which agrees with it, must agree with it. And it also implies a contradiction, to suppose that that good, whose mental or ideal being is greatest, does not always determine the will; for we mean nothing else, by greatest good, but that which agrees most with the inclination and disposition of the soul. ’Tis ridiculous to say that the soul does not incline to that most, which is most agreeable to the inclination of the soul. — I think I was not mistaken when I said that nothing else is meant by good here, but that that agrees with the inclination and disposition of the mind. If they do not mean that that strikes the mind, that that is agreeable to it, that that pleases it, and falls in with the disposition of its nature; then I would know what is meant.
The will is no otherwise different from the inclination, than that we commonly call that the will, that is the mind’s inclination, with respect to its own immediate actions.
[61.] SUBSTANCE. ’Tis intuitively certain that if solidity be removed from body, nothing is left but empty space. Now in all things whatsoever, that which cannot be removed without removing the whole thing, that thing which is removed is the thing itself; except it be mere circumstance and manner of existence, such as time and place, which are in the general necessary because it implies a contradiction to existence itself to suppose that it exists at no time and in no place. And therefore, in order to remove time and place in the general, we must remove the thing itself; so, if we remove figure and bulk and texture in the general, which may be reduced to that necessary circumstance of place.
If, therefore, it implies a contradiction to suppose that body, or anything appertaining to body beside space, exists when solidity is removed, it must be either because body is nothing but solidity and space, or else that solidity is such a mere circumstance and relation of existence which the thing cannot be without, because whatever exists must exist in some circumstances or other, as at some time or some place. But we know and everyone perceives it to be a contradiction to suppose that body or matter exists without solidity; for all the notion we have of empty space is space without solidity, and all the notion we have of full space is space resisting.
The reason is plain: for if it implies a contradiction to suppose solidity absent and the thing existing, it must be because solidity is that thing, and so ’tis a contradiction to say the thing is absent from itself; or because ’tis such a mode or circumstance or relation of the existence as it is a contradiction to suppose existence at all without it, such as time and place, to which both figure and texture are reduced. For nothing can be conceived of so necessarily in an existence, that it is a contradiction to suppose it without it, but the existence itself, and those general circumstances or relations of existence which the very supposition of existence itself implies.
Again, solidity or impenetrability is as much action or the immediate result of action as gravity. Gravity by all will be confessed to be immediately from some active influence. Being a continual tendency in bodies to move, and being that which will set them in motion though before at perfect rest, it must be the effect of something acting on that body. And ’tis as clear and evident that action is as requisite to stop a body that is already in motion, as in order to set bodies a-moving that are at perfect rest. Now we see continually that there is a stopping of all motion at the limits of such and such parts of space, only this stoppage is modified and diversified according to certain laws. For we get the idea and apprehension of solidity only and entirely from the observation we make of that ceasing of motion, at the limits of some parts of space, that already is, and that beginning of motion that till now was not, according to a certain constant manner.
And why is it not every whit as reasonable that we should attribute this action or effect to the influence of some agent, as that other action or effect which we call gravity, which is likewise derived from our observation of the beginning and ceasing of motion according to a certain method? In either case there is nothing observed but the beginning, increasing, directing, diminishing and ceasing of motion. And why is it not as reasonable to seek a reason beside that general one, that it is something — which is no reason at all? I say, why is it not as reasonable to seek a reason or cause of these actions as well in one as in the other case? We do not think it sufficient to say it is the nature of the unknown substance in the one case; and why should we think it a sufficient explication of the same actions or effects in the other? By substance, I suppose it is confessed, we mean only “something,” because of abstract substance we have no idea that is more particular than only existence in general. Now why is it not as reasonable, when we see something suspended in the air, set to move with violence towards the earth, to rest in attributing of it to the nature of the something that is there, as when we see that motion, when it comes to such limits, all on a sudden cease? For this is all that we observe in falling bodies. Their falling is the action we call gravity; their stopping upon the surface of the earth the action whence we gain the idea of solidity. It was before agreed on all hands that there is something there that supports that resistance. It must be granted now that that something is a being that acts there, as much as that being that causes bodies to descend towards the center. Here is something in these parts of space that of itself produces effects, without previously being acted upon. For that being that lays an arrest on bodies in motion, and immediately stops them when they come to such limits and bounds, certainly does as much as that being that sets a body in motion that before was at rest. Now this being, acting altogether of itself, producing new effects that are perfectly arbitrary, and that are no way necessary of themselves, must be intelligent and voluntary. There is no reason in the nature of the thing itself why a body, when set in motion, should stop at such limits more than at any other. It must therefore be some arbitrary, active and voluntary being that determines it. If there were but one body in the universe that always in time past had been at rest, and should now without any alteration be set in motion, we might certainly conclude that some voluntary being set it in motion, because it can certainly be demonstrated that it can be for no other reason; so, with just the same reason, in the same manner we may conclude, if the body had hitherto been in motion and is at a certain point of space now stopped. And would it not be every whit as reasonable to conclude it must be from such an agent, as if in certain portions of space we observed bodies to be attracted a certain way, and so at once to be set into motion, or accelerated in motion? And ’tis not at all the less remarkable because we receive the ideas of light and colors from those spaces, for we know that light and colors are not there, and are made entirely by such a resistance, together with attraction, that is antecedent to these qualities, and would be a necessary effect of a mere resistance of space without other substance.
The whole of what we any way observe whereby we get the idea of solidity or solid body are certain parts of space from whence we receive the ideas of light and colors, and certain sensations by the sense of feeling. And we observe that the places whence we receive these sensations are not constantly the same, but are successively different, and this light and colors are communicated from one part of space to another. And we observe that these parts of space, from whence we receive these sensations, resist and stop other bodies, which we observe communicated successively through the parts of space adjacent, and that those that there were before at rest, or existing constantly in one and the same part of space, after this exist successively in different parts of space. And these observations are according to certain stated rules. I appeal to anyone that takes notice and asks himself, whether this be not all that ever he experienced in the world whereby he got these ideas, and that this is all that we have or can have any idea of, in relation to bodies. All that we observe of solidity is that certain parts of space, from whence we receive the ideas of light and colors and a few other sensations, do likewise resist anything coming within them. It therefore follows that if we suppose there be anything else than what we thus observe, ’tis but only by way of inference.
I know that ’tis nothing but the imagination will oppose me in this. I will therefore endeavor to help the imagination thus. Suppose that we received none of the sensible qualities of light, colors, etc. from the resisting parts of space (we will suppose it possible for resistance to be without them), and they were to appearance clear and pure, and all that we could possibly observe was only and merely resistance; we simply observed that motion was resisted and stopped here and there, in particular parts of infinite space. Should we not then think it less unreasonable to suppose that such effects should be produced by some agent present in those parts of space, though invisible? If we, when walking upon the face of the earth, were stopped at certain limits and could not possibly enter into such a part of space, nor make any body enter into it, and we could observe no other difference, no way nor at any time, between that and other parts of clear space; should we not be ready to say: What is it stops us? What is it hinders all entrance into that place?
The reason why ’tis so exceedingly natural to men to suppose that there is some latent substance, or something that is altogether hid, that upholds the properties of bodies, is because all see at first sight that the properties of bodies are such as need some cause that shall every moment have influence to their continuance, as well as a cause of their first existence. All therefore agree that there is something that is there, and upholds these properties; and ’tis most true, there undoubtedly is. But men are wont to content themselves in saying merely that it is something; but that “something” is he by whom all things consist.
[62.] As BODIES, the objects of our external senses, are but the shadows of beings; that harmony, wherein consists sensible excellency and beauty, is but the shadow of excellency. That is, ’tis pleasant to the mind, because it is a shadow of love. When one thing sweetly harmonizes with another, as the notes in music, the notes are so conformed, and have such proportion one to another, that they seem to have respect one to another, as if they loved one another. So the beauty of figures and motions is when one part has such consonant proportions with the rest, as represents a general agreeing and consenting together; which is very much the image of love, in all the parts of a society, united by a sweet consent and charity of heart. Therein consists the beauty of figures, as of flowers drawn with a pen; and the beauty of the body, and of the features of the face.
There is no other way that sensible things can consent one to another but by equality, or by likeness, or by proportion. Therefore the lowest or most simple kind of beauty is equality or likeness; because by equality or likeness, one part consents with but one part; but by proportion one part may sweetly consent to ten thousand different parts; all the parts may consent with all the rest; and not only so, but the parts, taken singly, may consent with the whole taken together. Thus, in the figures or flourishes drawn by an acute penman, every stroke may have such a proportion, both by the place and distance, direction degree of curvity, etc. that there may be a consent, in the parts of each stroke, one with another, and a harmonious agreement with all the strokes, and with the various parts, composed of many strokes, and an agreeableness to the whole figure taken together.
There is a beauty in equality, as appears very evident by the very great respect men show to it, in every thing they make or do. How unbeautiful would be the body, if the parts on one side were unequal to those on the other; how unbeautiful would writing be, if the letters were not of an equal height, or the lines of an equal length, or at an equal distance, or if the pages were not of an equal width or height; and how unbeautiful would a building be, if no equality were observed in the correspondent parts.
Existence or entity is that, into which all excellency is to be resolved. Being or existence is what is necessarily agreeable to being; and when being perceives it, it will be an agreeable perception; and any contradiction to being or existence is what being when it perceives, abhors. If being, in itself considered, were not pleasing, being’s consent to being would not be pleasing, nor would being’s disagreeing with being, be displeasing. Therefore, not only may greatness be considered as a capacity of excellency; but a being, by reason of his greatness considered alone, is the more excellent, because he partakes more of being. Though if he be great, if he dissents from more general and extensive being, or from universal being; he is the more odious for his greatness, because the dissent or, contradiction to being in general is so, much the greater. ’Tis more grating to see much being dissent from being than to see little; and his greatness, or the quantity of being he partakes of, does nothing towards bettering his dissent from being in general, because there is no proportion between finite being, however great, and universal being.
Corollary. 1. Hence ’tis impossible that God should be any otherwise, than excellent; for he is the infinite, universal and all-comprehending, existence.
2. Hence God infinitely loves himself, because his being is infinite. He is in himself, if I may so say, an infinite quantity of existence.
3. Hence we learn one reason, why persons, who view death merely as annihilation, have a great abhorrence of it, though they live a very afflicted life.
[63.] SENSIBLE THINGS, by virtue of the harmony and proportion that is seen in them, carry the appearance of perceiving and willing being. They evidently show at first blush the action and governing of understanding and volition. The notes of a tune or the strokes of an acute penman, for instance, are placed in such exact order, having such mutual respect one to another, that they carry with them into the mind of him that sees or hears the conception of an understanding and will exerting itself in these appearances. And were it not that we by reflection and reasoning are led to an extrinsic intelligence and will that was the cause, it would seem to be in the notes and strokes themselves. They would appear like a society of so many perceiving beings sweetly agreeing together. I can conceive of no other reason why equality and proportion should be pleasing to him that perceives but only that it has an appearance of consent.
 EXELLENCY may be distributed into greatness and beauty. The former is the degree of being; the latter is being’s consent to being.
[65.] MOTION. If motion be only mental, it seems to follow that there is no difference between real and apparent motion, or that motion is nothing else but the change of position between bodies; and then of two bodies that have their position changed, motion may with equal reason be ascribed to either of them, and the sun may as properly be said to move as the earth. And then returns this difficulty. If it be so, how comes it to pass that the laws of centrifugal force are observed to take place, with respect to the earth, considered as moving round the sun, but not with respect to the sun, considered as moving round the earth? — I answer: It would be impossible it should be so, and the laws of gravitation be observed. The earth cannot be kept at a distance from a body, so strongly attracting it as the sun, any other way than by such a motion as is supposed. That body therefore must be repute to move, that can be supposed so to do, according to the laws of nature universally observed in other things. ’Tis upon them that God, impresses that centrifugal force.
N. B. This answers the objection that might be raised from what Newton says of absolute, and relative, motion, and that distinguishing property of absolute circular motion, that there was a centrifugal force in the body moved; for God causes a centrifugal force in that body, that can be supposed to move circularly, consistently with the laws of motion, in that and in all other things, on which it has a near, or a remote, dependence, and which must be supposed to move in order to the observance of those laws in the universe. For instance, when a bushel, with water in it, is violently whirled round, before the water takes the impression, there is a continual change of position between the water and the parts of the bushel; but yet that [i.e. water] must not be supposed to move as fast as that position is altered; because if we follow it, it will not hold out consistent with the laws of motion in the universe, for if the water moves, then the bushel does not move; and if the bushel does not move, then the earth moves round the bushel, every time that seems to turn round; but there can be no such alteration in the motion of the earth created naturally, or in observance of the laws of nature.
[66.] IDEAS. All sorts of ideas of things are but the repetitions of those very things over again — as well the ideas of colors, figures, solidity, tastes, and smells, as the ideas of thought and mental acts.
[67.] LOVE is not properly said to be an idea any, more than understanding is said to be an idea. Understanding and loving are different acts of the mind entirely. And so pleasure and pain are not properly ideas, though pleasure and pain may imply perception in their nature; yet it does not follow that they are properly ideas. There is an act of the mind in it. An idea is only a perception wherein the mind is passive or, rather, subjective. The acts of the mind are not merely ideas. All acts of the mind about its ideas are not themselves mere ideas. Pleasure and pain have their seat in the will and not in the understanding. The will, choice, etc., is nothing else but the mind’s being pleased with an idea, or having a superior pleasedness in something thought of, or a desire of a future thing, or a pleasedness in the thought of our union with the thing, or a pleasedness in such a state of ourselves and a degree of pain while we are not in that state, or a disagreeable conception of the contrary state at that time when we desire it.
[68.] REASON. A person may have a strong reason, and yet not a good reason. He may have a strength of mind to drive an argument, and yet not have even balances. ’Tis not so much from a defect of the reasoning powers, as from a fault of the disposition. When men of strong reason do not form an even and just judgment, ’tis for one of these two reasons: either a liableness to prejudice, through natural temper, or education, or circumstances; or for want of a great love to truth, and of fear of error, that shall cause a watchful circumspection, that nothing, relative to the case in question of any weight, shall escape the observation and just estimation, to distinguish with great exactness between what is real and solid, and what is only color, and shadow and words.
Persons of mean capacities may see the reason of that, which requires a nice and exact attention, and a long discourse, to explain — as the reason why thunder should be so much feared; and many other things that might be mentioned.
[69.] MEMORY is the identity, in some degree, of ideas that we formerly had in our minds, with a consciousness that we formerly had them, and a supposition that their former being in the mind is the cause of their being in us at present. There is not only the presence of the same ideas, that were in our minds formerly, but also, an act of the judgment, that they were there formerly, and that judgment, not properly from proof, but from natural necessity, arising from a law of nature which God hath fixed.
In memory, in mental principles, habits and inclinations, there is something really abiding in the mind, when there are no acts or exercises of them; much in the same manner, as there is a chair in this room, when no mortal perceives it. For when we say there are chairs in this room, when none perceives it, we mean that minds would perceive chairs here, according to the law of nature in such circumstances. So when we say a person has these and those things laid up in his memory, we mean they would actually be repeated in his mind, upon some certain occasions, according to the law of nature; though we cannot describe, particularly, the law of nature about these mental acts, so well as we can about other things.
[70.] That ’tis not uneasiness in our present circumstances that always determines the WILL, as Mr. Locke supposes, is evident by this: that there may be an act of the will in choosing and determining to forbear to act or move when some action is proposed to a man, as well as in choosing to act. Thus, if a man be put upon rising from his seat and going to a certain place, his voluntary refusal is an act of the will which does not arise from any uneasiness in his present circumstances, certainly. An act of voluntary refusal is as truly an act of the will as an act of choice; and indeed there is an act of choice in an act of refusal. The will chooses to neglect — it prefers the opposite of that which is refused.
[71.] KNOWLEDGE is not the perception of the agreement or disagreement of ideas, but rather the perception of the union or disunion of ideas — or the perceiving whether two or more ideas belong to one another.
[72.] IDENTITY of person is what seems never yet to have been explained. ’Tis a mistake, that it consists in sameness, or identity, of consciousness — if, by sameness of consciousness, be meant having the same ideas hereafter, that I have now, with a notion or apprehension that I had had them before; just in the same manner as I now have the same ideas, that I had in time past, by memory. ’Tis possible without doubt, in the nature of things, for God to annihilate me, and after my annihilation to create another being that shall have the same ideas in his mind that I have, and with the like apprehension that he had had them before, in like manner as a person has by memory; and yet I be in no way concerned in it, having no reason to fear what that being shall suffer, or to hope for what he shall enjoy. — Can any one deny, that it is possible, after my annihilation, to create two beings in the universe, both of them having my ideas communicated to them, with such a notion of their having had them before, after the manner of memory, and yet be ignorant one of another; and in such case, will any one say that both these are one and the same person, as they must be, if they are both the same person with me. ’Tis possible there may be two such beings, each having all the ideas that are now in my mind, in the same manner that I should have by memory, if my own being were continued; and yet these two beings not only be ignorant one of another, but also be in a very different state, one in a state of enjoyment and pleasure, and the other in a state of great suffering and torment. Yea, there seems to be nothing of impossibility in the nature of things, but that the Most High could, if he saw fit, cause there to be another being, who should begin to exist in some distant part of the universe, with the same ideas I now have, after the manner of memory; and should henceforward co-exist with me; we both retaining a consciousness of what was before the moment of his first existence, in like manner; but thenceforward should have a different train of ideas. Will any one say, that he, in such a case, is the same person with me, when I know nothing of his sufferings, and am never the better for his joys.
Consider the following two works by Edwards that have been updated and republished for easy reading:
Ripe for Damnation: Sermons on the Book of Revelation – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). Are you hungry for more of Edwards’ sermons? On the book of Revelation? These new works are not found anywhere on A Puritan’s Mind, and there are new ones not found in his large 2 volume works. 4 deal with the plight of the wicked, and 2 deal with the bliss of saints in heaven. These sermons are powerful, practical, and biblical, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ, and contain 2 never before published sermons.
Justification by Faith Alone – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). In this classic work, Edwards covers the intricacies of how believers are made righteous only through Christ’s merits, and that this justifying righteousness is equally imputed to all elect believers. This is accomplished by the condition of faith as an instrument.