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Fifthly, By being able to repeat ideas of any length of time, as of a minute, a year, or an age, as often as we will, in our own thoughts, and adding them one to another, without ever coming to the end of such addition any nearer than we can to the end of number, to which we can always add; we come by the idea of eternity, as the future eternal duration of our souls, as well as the eternity of that infinite Being, which must necessarily have always existed.
Sixthly, By considering any part of infinite duration, as set out by periodical measures, we come by the idea of what we call time in general.
Of Duration and Expansion, considered together.
be of use to and distinct her. Dista
Both capable $1. Though we have in the precedent of greater chapters dwelt pretty long on the conand less. siderations of space and duration; yet they being ideas of general concernment, that have something very abstruse and peculiar in their nature, the comparing them one with another may perhaps be of use for their illustration; and we may have the more clear and distinct conception of them, by taking a view of them together. Distance or space, in its simple abstract conception, to avoid confusion, I call expansion, to distinguish it from extension, which by some is used to express this distance only as it is in the solid parts of matter, and so includes, or at least intimates, the idea of body: whereas the idea of pure distance includes no such thing. I prefer also the word expansion to space, because space is often ap plied to distance of fleeting successive parts, which (viz. expansion which are
hind has this
never exist together, as well as to those which are permanent. In both these (viz, expansion and duration) the mind has this common idea of continued lengths, capable of greater or less quantities : for a man has as clear an idea of the difference of the length of an hour and a day, as of an inch and a foot.
§ 2. The mind having got the idea of the length of any part of expansion, let
Expansion it be a span or a pace, or what length by matter. you will, can, as has been said, repeat that idea; and so, adding it to the former, enlarge its idea of length, and make it equal to two spans or two paces, and so as often as it will, till it equals the distance of any parts of the earth one from another, · and increase thus, till it amounts to the distance of the sun or remotest star. By such a progression as this, setting out from the place where it is, or any other place, it can proceed and pass beyond all those lengths, and find nothing to stop its going on, either in, or without body. It is true, we can easily, in our thoughts, come to the end of solid extension; the extremity and bounds of all body we have no difficulty to arrive at: but when the mind is there, it finds nothing to hinder its progress into this endless expan. sion; of that it can neither find nor conceive any end. Nor let any one say, that beyond the bounds of body there is nothing at all, unless he will confine God within the limits of matter. Solomon, whose understanding was filled and enlarged with wisdom, seems to have other thoughts, when he says, “ heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee :” and he, I think, very much magnifies to himself the capacity of his own understanding, who persuades himself that he can extend his thoughts farther than God exists, or imagine any expansion where he is not.
§ 3. Just so is it in duration. The Nor duramind, having got the idea of any length tion by moof duration, can double,' multiply, and tion. enlarge it, not only beyond its own, but beyond the
existence of all corporeal beings, and all the measures of time, taken from the great bodies of the world and their motions. But yet every one easily admits, that though we make duration boundless, as certainly it is, we cannot yet extend it beyond all being. God, every one easily allows, fills eternity, and it is hard to find a reason why any one should doubt that he likewise fills immensity. His infinite being is certainly as boundless one way as another, and methinks it ascribes a little too much to matter to say where there is no body, there is nothing. Why men § 4. Hence, I think, we may learn the more easily reason why every one familiarly, and
without the least hesitation, speaks of, finite duration than in and supposes eternity, and sticks not to finite expan- ascribe infinity to duration; but it is with sion. more doubting and reserve that many admit or suppose the infinity of space. The reason whereof seems to me to be this ; that duration and extension being used as names of affections belonging , to other beings, we easily conceive in God infinite duration, and we cannot avoid doing so; but not attributing to him extension, but only to matter, which is finite, we are apter to doubt of the existence of expansion without matter, of which alone we commonly suppose it an attribute. And therefore when men pursue their thoughts of space, they are apt to stop at the confines of body, as if space were there at an end too, and reached no farther. Or if their ideas upon consideration carry them farther, yet they term what is beyond the limits of the universe imaginary space; as if it were nothing, because there is no body existing in it: whereas duration, antecedent to all body, and to the motions which it is measured by, they never term imaginary, because it is never supposed void of some other real existence. And if the names of things may at all direct our thoughts towards the originals of men's ideas (as I am apt to think they may very much), one may have occasion
to think by the name duration, that the continuation of existence, with a kind of resistance to any destructive force, and the continuation of solidity (which is apt to be confounded with, and, if we will look into the minute anatomical parts of matter, is little different from, hardness) were thought to have some analogy, and gave occasion to words so near of kin as “durare” and “ durum esse.” And that “durare" is applied to the idea of hardness as well as that of existence, we see in Horace, epod. xvi.“ ferro duravit secula." But be that as it will, this is certain ; that whoever pursues his own thoughts, will find them sometimes launch out beyond the extent of body into the infinity of space or expansion; the idea whereof is distinct and separate from body and all other things : which may (to those who please) be a subject of farther meditation.
$ 5. Time in general is to duration as time to place to expansion. They are so much duration is of those boundless oceans of eternity and as place to immensity as is set out and distinguished expansion. from the rest, as it were, by land-marks; and so are made use of to denote the position of finite real beings; in respect one to another, in those uniform infinite oceans of duration and space. These, rightly considered, are only ideas of determinate distances, from certain known points fixed in distinguishable sensible things, and supposed to keep the same distance one from another. From such points fixed in sensible beings we reckon, and from them we measure our portions of those infinite quantities; which, so considered, are that which we call time and place. For duration and space being in themselves uniform and boundless, the order and position of things, without such known settled points, would be lost in them, and all things would lie jumbled in an incurable confusion.
$ 6. Time and place, taken thus for de. Time and terminate distinguishable portions of those place are
taken for so infinite abysses of space and duration, set out or supposed to be distinguished from ther, as are
set out by the rest by marks and known boundaries, the existence have each of them a two-fold acceptaand motion of bodies.
First, Time in general is commonly taken for so much of infinite duration as is measured by, and co-existent with, the existence and motions of the great bodies of the universe, as far as we know any thing of them: and in this sense time begins and ends with the frame of this sensible world, as in these phrases before-mentioned, before all time, or when time shall be no more. Place likewise is taken sometimes for that portion of infinite space which is possessed by, and comprehended within the material world, and is thereby distinguished from the rest of expansion; though this may more properly be called extension than place. Within these two are confined, and by the observable parts of them are measured and determined, the particular time or duration, and the particular extension and place, of all corporeal beings. Sometimes $7. Secondly, Sometimes the word time for so much is used in a larger sense, and is applied to of either, as parts of that infinite duration, not that we design by were really distinguished and measured measures taken from out by this real existence, and periodical the bulk or motions of bodies that were appointed motion of from the beginning to be for signs, and bodies.
for seasons, and for days, and years, and are accordingly our measures of time;—but such other portions too of that infinite uniform duration, which we, upon any occasion, do suppose equal to certain lengths of measured time; and so consider them as bounded and determined. For if we should suppose the creation, or fall of the angels, was at the beginning of the Julian period, we should speak properly enough, and should be understood, if we said, it is a longer time since the creation of angels than the creation of the world by seven thousand six hundred and forty years; whereby we would mark out so much of that undistinguished duration as we suppose equal to, and would