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time; yet I am fo far from entitling his Writings to any of the Errors or Imperfections which are to be found in my Effay, as deriving their Original from him, that I must own to your Lordship they were fpun barely out of my own Thoughts, reflecting as well as I could on my own Mind, and the Ideas I had there, and were not, that I know, deriv'd from any other Original. But, poffibly, I all this while aflume to my self an Honour which your Lordfhip did not intend to me by this Intimation; for tho' what goes before and after, feems to appropriate thofe Words to me, yet fome part of them brings me under my ufual Doubt, which I fhall remain under, till I know whom thefe Words, viz. This Talk about clear and diftinct Ideas being made the Foundation of Certainty, belong to.

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The remaining part of this Paragraph contains a difcourfe of your Lordfhip's upon Defcartes's general Rule of Certainty, in thefe Words: For the Cer- P. 248. tainty here was not grounded on the Clearness of the Perception, but on the Plainnefs of the Evidence, which is of that nature, that the very doubting of it proves it; fince it is impoffible, that any thing should doubt or question its own Being, that had So that here it is not the Clearnefs of the Idea, but an immediate Act of Perception, which is the true Ground of Certainty. And this cannot extend to things without our felves, of which we can have no other Perception, than what is caus'd by the Impreffions of outward Objects. But whether we are to judg according to thefe Impreffions, doth not depend on the Ideas themselves, but upon the Exercife of our Judg. ment and Reafon about them, which put the difference between true and falle, and adequate and inadequate Ideas. So that our Certainty is not from the Ideas themselves, but from the Evidence of Reason, that thofe Ideas are true and juft, and confequently that we may build our Certainty upon them.

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Granting all this to be fo, yet I must confefs, my Lord, I do not see how it any ways tends to fhew either your Lordship's Proof, or my Confeffion, that my Proof of an infinite fpiritual Being is not placed upon Ideas; which is what your Lordship profeffes to be your Design here.

But tho we are not yet come to your Lordship's Proof, That the Certainty in my proof of a Deity is not placed on Ideas; yet I crave leave to confider what your Lordship fays here concerning Certainty, about which one cannot employ too many Thoughts to find wherein it is placed. Your Lordship fays, That Defcartes's Certainty was not grounded on the Clearness of the Perception, but on the Plainnefs of the Evidence. And a little lower; Here (i. e. in Defcartes's Foundation of Certainty) it is not the Clearnefs of the Idea, but an immediate Act of Perception, on which is the true Ground of Certainty. And a little lower, That in things without us, our Certainty is not from the Ideas, but from the Evidence of Reafon that thofe Ideas are true and juft.

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Your Lordship, I hope, wil pardon my Dulnefs, if after your Lordship has placed the Grounds of Certainty of our own Existence, fometimes in the Plain- P. 248. nefs of the Evidence, in oppofition to the Clearness of the Perception; sometimes in the immediate Act of Perception, in oppofition to the Clearness of the Idea, and the Certainty of other things without us, in the Evidence of Reason that these Ideas are true and juft, in oppofition to the Ideas themselves: I know not, by these Rules, wherein to place Certainty; and therefore ftick to my own plain way,

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by Ideas, deliver'd in thefe Words: "Wherever we perceive the Agreement B.4.c.4.§.18 or Disagreement of any of our Ideas, there is certain Knowledg; and where"ever we are fure those Ideas agree with the Reality of things, there is cer"tain real Knowledg. Of which Agreement of our Ideas with the Reality of things, I think I have fhewn wherein it is that Certainty, real Certainty, con"fifts Whereof more may be seen in Chap. 6. in which, if your Lordship find any Mistakes, I fhall take it as a great Honour to be fet right by you. Your Lordship, as far as I can guess your Meaning (for I muft own I do not clearly comprehend it) feems to me, in the foregoing Paffage, to oppose this Affertion, That the Certainty of the Being of any thing, might be made out from the Idea of that thing. Truly, my Lord, I am so far from saying (or thinking) fo, that I never knew any one of that mind but Defcartes, and fome that have follow'd him in his Proof of a God, from the Idea which we have of God in us; which I was so far from thinking a sufficient Ground of Certainty,


S. 7.

that your Lordship makes ufe of my denying or doubting of it, against me, as we fhall fee in the following Words, p. 248.

But the Idea of an infinite Being has this peculiar to it, that neceffary Existence is imply'd in it. This is a clear and diftinct Idea, and yet it is deny'd that this deth prove the Existence of God. How then can the Grounds of our Certainty arife from clear and diftin& Ideas, when in one of the clearest Ideas of our Minds, we can come to noCertainty by it?

Your Lordship's Proof here, as far as I comprehend it, feems to be, that it is confefs'd, That Certainty does not arife from clear and diftinct Ideas, because it is deny'd that the clear and diftinet Idea of an infinite Being, that implies neceffary Exiftence in it, does prove the Existence of a God.

Here your Lordship fays, it is deny'd; and in five Lines after you recal that Saying, and use these words, I do not say that it is deny'd, to prove it: Which of these two Sayings of your Lordship's muft I now anfwer to? If your Lordship fays it is deny'd, I fear that will not hold to be fo in matter of Fact, which made your Lordship unfay it; tho' that being moft to your Lordship's purpose, occafion'd, I fuppofe, its dropping from your Pen. For if it be not deny'd, I think the whole Force of your Lordship's Argument fails. But your Lordship helps that out as well as the thing will bear, by the Words that follow in the Sentence, which altogether ftands thus: I do not say, that it is deny'd to prove it; but this is faid, that it is a doubtful thing," from the different Make "of Mens Tempers, and Application of their Thoughts." What can this mean, unless it be to let us know that even clear and diftinct Ideas may lose their effect, by the difference of Mens Tempers and Studies? So that befides Ideas, in order to a right Judgment, a due Temper and Application of the Mind is requir'd.

If I meant in thofe words of mine, quoted here by your Lordship, juft as your Lordship concludes they mean, I know not why I fhould be afham'd of it; for I never thought that Ideas, even the most clear and diftinct, would make Men certain of what might be demonftrated from them, unless they were of a Temper to confider, and would apply their Minds to them. There are no Ideas more clear and diftin& than thofe of Numbers, and yet there are a thoufand Demonstrations concerning Numbers, which Millions of Men do not know, (and fo have not the Certainty about them they might have) for want of Application.

I could not avoid here to take this to my felf: For this Paffage of your Lordship's is pinn'd down upon me fo clofe, by your Lordship's citing the 7th Sect. of the 10th Chapter of my 4th Book, that I am forc'd here to answer for my felf; which I fhall do, after having first set down my words, as they B. 4. c. 10. ftand in the place quoted by your Lordfhip: "How far the Idea of a moft per"fect Being, which a Man may frame in his Mind, does or does not prove the "Existence of a God, I will not here examine. For in the different Make of "Mens Tempers and Application of their Thoughts, fome Arguments prevail <c more on one, and fome on another, for the Confirmation of the fame Truth. "But yet, I think, this I may fay, That it is an ill way of establishing this "Truth, and filencing Atheifts, to lay the whole ftrefs of fo important a "Point as this, upon that fole Foundation, and take fome Mens having that "Idea of God in their Minds (for 'tis evident, fome Men have none, and fome

a worse than none, and the most very different) for the only Proof of a Deity; "and out of an Over-fondness of that darling Invention, cashier, or at leaft "endeavour to invalidate all other Arguments, and forbid us to hearken to thofe "Proofs, as being weak, or fallacious, which our own Existence, and the sen"fible Parts of the Univerfe, offer fo clearly and cogently to our Thoughts, "that I deem it impoffible for a confidering Man to withstand them. For I "judg it as certain and clear a Truth, as can any where be deliver'd, That "the invifible things of God are clearly feen from the Creation of the World, "being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal Power and "Godhead.

The meaning of which Words of mine, were not to deny that the Idea of a moft perfect Being doth prove a God, but to blame those who take it for the only Prouf, and endeavour to invalidate all others. For the Belief of a God being, as I fay in the fame Section, the Foundation of all Religion and genuine Mora

lity, I thought no Arguments that are made ufe of to work the Perfuafion of a God into Mens Minds, thould be invalidated. And the Reafon I give why they should all be left to their fuli Strength, and none of them rejected as unfit to be hearken'd to, is this: Because in the different make of Mens "Tempers and Application of their Thoughts, fome Arguments prevail more

on one, and fome on another, for the Confirmation of the fame Truth." So that my meaning here was not, as your Lordship fuppofes, to ground Certainty on the different Make of Mens Tempers, and Application of their Thoughts, in oppolition to clear and diftinet Ideas, as is very evident from my Words; but to fhew of what ill Confequence it is, to go about to invalidate any Argument, which hath a tendency to fettle the Belief of a God in any one's Mind; because in the difference of Mens Tempers and Application, fome Arguments prevail more on one, and fome on another: fo that I fpeaking of Belief, and your Lordship, as I take it, fpeaking in that place of Certainty, nothing can (I crave leave to fay) be infer'd from thefe Words of mine to your Lordship's purpose. And that I meant Belief, and not Certainty, is evident from hence, That I look upon the Argument there spoke of, as not conclufive, and fo not able to produce Certainty in any one, tho' I did not know how far it might prevail on fome Mens Perfuafions to confirm them in the Truth. And tince not all, nor the most of those that believe a God, are at the Pains, or have the Skill, to examine and clearly comprehend the Demonftrations of his Being; I was unwilling to fhew the weakness of the Argument there fpoke of; fince poffibly by it, fome Men might be confirmed in the Belief of a God, which is enough to preferve in them true Sentiments of Religion and Morality.

Your Lordship hereupon asks, Wherein is this different from what all Men of P. 249 Understanding have faid?

Ianfwer: In nothing that I know; nor did I ever that I remember, fay that it was. Your Lordship goes on to demand,

Why then should thefe clear and fimple Ideas be made the fole Foundation of P. 249. Reafon ?

I anfwer: That I know not: They must give your Lordship a Reason for it, who have made CLEAR Ideas the fole Foundation of Reason. Why I have made fimple ones the Foundation of all Knowledg, I have fhewn. Your Lordship goes on;

One would think by this

By what, I beseech your Lordship?

That these Ideas would prefently fatisfy Mens Minds, if they attended to them. What thofe Ideas are from which your Lordship would expect fuch prefent Satisfaction, and upon what Grounds your Lordship expects it, I do not know. But this I will venture to fay, That all the Satisfaction Mens Minds can have in their Enquiries after Truth and Certainty, is to be had only from confidering, obferving, and rightly laying together of Ideas, fo as to find out their Agreement or Difagreement, and no other way.

But I do not think Ideas have Truth and Certainty always fo ready to fatisfy the Mind in its Enquiries, that there needs no more to be fatisfy'd, than to attend to them, as one does to a Man whom one asks a Question to be satisfied; which your Lordship's way of Expreffion feems to me to intimate. But they must be confider'd well, and their Habitudes exa min'd ; and where their Agreement or Difagreement cannot be perceiv'd by an immediate Comparifon, other Ideas muft be found out to difcover the Agreement or Difagreement of thofe under Confideration, and then all laid in a due order, before the Mind can be fatisfy'd in the Certainty of that Truth, which it is feeking after. This, my Lord, requires often a little more Time and Pains, than attending to a Tale that is told for prefent Satisfaction. And I believe fome of the incomparable Mr. Newton's wonderful Demonftrations coft him fo much Pains, that tho' they were all founded in nothing but feveral Ideas of Quantity, yet those Ideas did not presently fatisfy his Mind, tho' they were fuch that with great application and labour of Thought, they were able to fatisfy him with Certainty, i. e. produce Demonftration. Your Lordfhip adds, But even this will not do as to the Idea of an infinite Being.


P. 249.

P. 249.

P. 249.

P. 249.

S. 6.

Tho' the complex Idea for which the Sound God ftands (whether containing in it the Idea of neceffary Existence or no, for the Cafe is the fame) will not prove the real Exiftence of a Being anfwering that Idea, any more than any other Idea in any one's Mind will prove the Existence of any real Being answering that Idea; yet, I humbly conceive, it does not hence follow, but that there may be other Ideas by which the Being of a God may be proved. For no body that I know, ever faid, that every Idea would prove every thing, or that an Idea in Men's Minds would prove the Existence of fuch a real Being: And therefore if this Idea fails to prove what is propos'd to be prov'd by it, it is no more an Exception against the way of Ideas, than it would be an Exception against the way of a medius terminus, in arguing that fome body us'd one that did not prove. It follows:

It is not enough to fay THEY will not examime how far it will hold; for THEY ought either to say, That it doth hold, or give up this Ground of Certainty from clear and diftin& Ideas.

Here, my Lord, I am got again into the Plural Number: But not knowing any body but my felf who has us'd thefe Words which are fet down out of my Effay, and which you are in this and the foregoing Paragraph arguing againft, I am forc'd to beg your Lordship to let me know, who thofe Perfous are whom your Lordship, joining with me, entitles with me to these Words of my Book; or to whom your Lordfhip joining me, intitles me by thefe Words of mine, to what they have publish'd, that I may see how far I am answerable for them.

Now as to the Words themselves, viz. I will not examine how far the Idea propos'd does or does not prove the Existence of a God, because they are mine; and your Lordship excepts against them, and tells me, It was not enough to say, "I will not examine, &c." For I ought either to have faid, That it doth hold, or give up this ground of Certainty from clear and diftinct Ideas. I will answer as well as I can.

I could not then, my Lord, well fay, That that doth hold, which I thought did not hold; but I imagin'd I might, without entring into the examen, and fhewing the weakness of that Argument, pafs it by with faying, I would not examine, and fo left it with this Thought, Valeat quantum valere poteft.

But tho' I did this, and said not then, I will hold, nay think now it will not hold, yet I do not fee how from thence I was then, or am now under any Neceffity to give up the Ground of Certainty from Ideas; because the Ground of Certainty from Ideas may be right, tho' in the prefent Inftance a right ufe were not made of them, or a right Idea was not made ufe of to produce the Certainty fought. Ideas in Mathematicks are a fure Ground of Certainty; and yet every one may not make fo right a use of them, as to attain to Certainty by them: But yet any one's failing of Certainty by them, is not the overturning of this Truth, That Certainty is to be had by them. Clear and diftinct I have omitted here to join with Ideas, not because clear and diftinct make any Ideas unfit to produce Certainty, which have all other fitness to do it; but because I do not limit Certainty to clear and diftinct Ideas only, fince there may be Certainty from Ideas that are not in all their parts perfectly clear and diftinct.

Your Lordship, in the following Paragraph, endeavours to fhew, That I have not prov'd the Being of a God by Ideas; and from thence, with an Argument not unlike the preceding, you conclude, that Ideas cannot be the Grounds of Certainty, because I have not grounded my Proof of a God on Ideas. To which way of Argumentation I muft crave leave here again to reply, That your Lordship's fuppofing, as you do, that there is another way to Certainty, which is not that of Ideas, does not prove that Certainty may not be had from Ideas, because I make ufe of that other way. This being premis'd, I fhall endeavour to fhew, that my Proof of a Deity is all grounded on Ideas, however your Lordfhip is pleas'd to call it by other Names. Your Lordship's Words are:

But instead of the proper Argument from Ideas, we are told, That" from the cc Confideration of our Selves, and what we find in our own Constitutions,



Reafon leads us to the Knowledg of this certain and evident Truth; "That there is an eternal, moft powerful, and moft knowing Being." All which I readily yield; but we fee plainly, the Certainty is not plac'd in the Idea, but in good and found Reafon, from the Confideration of our Selves and our Conftitutions. What! in the Idea of our Selves? no certainly.

Give me leave, my Lord, to ask where I ever faid, That Certainty was plac'd in the Idea, which your Lordship urges my words as a Contradiction of? I think I never faid fo. 1. Because I do not remember it. 2. Because your Lordship has not quoted any place where I have faid fo. 3. Because I all along in my Book, which has the Honour to be fo often quoted here by your Lordfhip, fay the quite contrary. For I place Certainty where I think every body will find it, and no where elfe, viz. in the Perception of the Agreement or Difagreement of Ideas; fo that in my Opinion, it is impoffible to be plac'd in any one fingle Idea, fimple or complex. I muft own, that I think Certainty grounded on Ideas: And therefore to make your Lordship's Words here, as I think they are meant, in oppofition to what I fay, I fhall take the liberty to change your Lordship's Words here, What! in the Idea of our felves? No certainly; into Words us'd by your Lordship in the foregoing Page, to the fame purpose, What! can the Grounds of our Certainty arife from the Idea of our felves? No certainly.

To which permit me, my Lord, with due refpect to reply, Yes Certainly. The Certainty of the Being of a God in my Proof, is grounded on the Idea of our felves, as we are thinking Beings. But your Lordship urges my own Words, which are, That, "from the Confideration of our felves, and what we find in our Conftitutions, our Reafon leads us to the Knowledg of this "certain and evident Truth."

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My Lord, I muft confefs I never thought, that the Confideration of our felves, and what we find in our own Conftitutions, excluded the Confideration of the Idea either of Being or of Thinking, two of the Ideas that make a part of the complex Idea a Man has of himself. If Confideration of our felves excludes those Ideas, I may be charg'd with fpeaking improperly: but 'tis plain, nevertheless, that I ground the Proof of a God on thofe Ideas, and I thought I fpoke properly enough; when meaning, That the Confideration of those Ideas, which our own Being offer'd us, and fo finding their agreement or difagreement with others, we were thereby, i. e. by thus reafoning, led into the Knowledg of the Existence of the first infinite Being, i. e. of God. I exprefs'd it as I did, in the more familiar way of fpeaking: For my purpose, in that Chapter, being to make out the Knowledg of the Existence of a God, and not to prove that it was by Ideas, I thought it moft proper to express my felf in the most ufual and familiar way, to let it the easier into Mens Minds, by common Words and known Ways of Expreffion: And therefore, as I think, I have fcarce us'd the Word Idea in that whole Chapter, but only in that one place, where my speaking against laying the whole Proof only upon our Idea of a moft perfect Being, obliged me

to it.

But your Lordship fays, that in this way of coming to a certain Knowledg of the Being of a God," from the Confideration of our felves, and what we find in our own Conftitutions," the Certainty is placed in good and found Reafon. I hope fo. But not in the Idea.

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What your Lordship here means by not placed in the Idea, I confefs I do not well understand; but if your Lordship means that it is not grounded on the Ideas of Thinking and Existence before-mention'd, and the comparing of them, and finding their Agreement or Difagreement with other Ideas; that I must take the liberty to diflent from: For in this fenfe it may be placed in Ideas, and in good and found Reafon too, i. e. in Reafon rightly managing those Ideas, so as to produce Evidence by them. So that, my Lord, I must own I fee not the force of the Argument, which fays, not in Ideas but in found Reafon; fince I fee no fuch oppofition between them, but that Ideas and found Reafon may confift together. For inftance: When a Man would fhew the certainty of this Truth, That the three Angles of a Triangle are equal to two right ones; the first thing probably that he does, is to draw Vol. I. Bbb


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