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fay a weak man, we mean one that has not so much ftrength or power to move, as ufually men have, or ufually thofe of his fize have: which is a comparing his ftrength to the idea we have of the ufual ftrength of men, or men of fuch a fize. The like, when we fay the creatures are all weak things; weak, there, is but a relative term, fignifying the difproportion there is in the power of God and the creatures. And fo abundance of words, in ordinary fpeech, ftand only for relations (and perhaps the greatest part) which at first fight feem to have no fuch fignification: v. g. the fhip has neceffary ftores. Neceffary and stores are both relative words; one having a relation to the accomplishing the voyage intended, and the other to future use. All which relations, how they are confined to and terminate in ideas derived from sensation or reflection, is too obvious to need any explication.

§. I.


Of Identity and Diverfity.

NOTHER occafion the mind Wherein

A often takes of comparing, is the identity con


very being of things; when confidering any thing as exifting at any determined time and place, we compare it with itfelf exifting at another time, and thereon form the ideas of identity and diverfity. When we fee any thing to be in any place in any inftant of time, we are fure (be it what it will) that it is that very thing, and not another, which at that fame time exifts in another place, how like and undiftinguishable. foever it may be in all other refpects and in this confifts identity, when the idea it is attributed to, vary not at all from what they were that moment wherein. we confider their former existence, and to which we compare the prefent. For we never finding, nor conceiving it poffible, that two things of the fame kind fhould exift in the fame place at the fame time, we rightly conclude, that whatever exifts any where at any time, excludes all of the fame kind, and is there itself alone. When therefore we demand, whether any thing

be the fame or no; it refers always to fomething that existed such a time in fuch a place, which it was certain at that inftant was the fame with itfelf, and no other. From whence it follows, that one thing cannot have two beginnings of existence, nor, two things one beginning; it being impoffible for two things of the fame kind to be or exift in the fame inftant, in the very fame place, or one and the fame thing in different places. That therefore that had one beginning, is the fame thing; and that which had a different beginning in time and place from that, is not the fame, but diverfe. That which has made the difficulty about this relation, has been the little care and attention ufed in having precife notions of the things to which it is attributed.

Identity of

§. 2. We have the ideas but of three forts of fubftances; 1. God. 2. Finite intelligences. 3. Bodies. First, God is without beginning, eternal, unalterable, and everywhere; and therefore concerning his identity, there can be no doubt. Secondly, finite fpirits having had each its determinate time and place of beginning to exift, the relation to that time and place will always determine to each of them its identity, as long as it exifts. Thirdly, the fame will hold of every particle of matter, to which no addition or fubtraction of matter being made, it is the fame. For though thefe three forts of substances, as we term them, do not exclude one another out of the fame place; yet we cannot conceive but that they must neceffarily each of them exclude any of the fame kind out of the fame place: or elfe the notions and names of identity and diverfity would be in vain, and there could be no fuch diftinc} tion of fubftances, or any thing else one from another. For example: could two bodies be in the fame place at the fame time, then thofe two parcels of matter must be one and the fame, take them great or little; nay, all bodies must be one and the fame. For by the fame reafon that two particles of matter may be in one place, all bodies may be in one place: which, when it can be fuppofed, takes away the diftinction of identity and diverfity of one and more, and renders it ridiculous,

Identity of


ridiculous. But it being à contradiction, that two or more should be one, identity and diverfity are relations and ways of comparing well-founded, and of use to the understanding. All other things being but modes or relations ultimately terminated in fubftances, the identity and diverfity of each particular exiftence of them too will be by the fame way determined: only as to things whofe exiftence is in fucceffion, fuch as are the actions of finite beings, v. g. motion and thought, both which confift in a continued train of fucceffion: concerning their diversity, there can be no question: becaufe each perifhing the moment it begins, they cannot exift in different times, or in different places, as permanent beings can at different times exift in diftant places; and therefore no motion or thought, confidered as at different times, can be the fame, each part thereof having a different beginning of existence.

§. 3. From what has been faid, it is easy Principium to discover what is fo much inquired after, individuati the principium individuationis; and that, onis. it is plain, is exiftence itself, which deter

mines a being of any fort to a particular time and place, incommunicable to two beings of the fame kind. This, though it seems eafier to conceive in fimple fubftances or modes, yet when reflected on is not more difficult in compound ones, if care be taken to what it is applied: v. g. let us fuppofe an atom, i. e. a continued body under one immutable, fuperficies, exifting in a determined time and place; it is evident that, confidered in any inftant of its exiftence, it is in that inftant the fame with itself. For being at that inftant what it is, and nothing elfe, it is the fame, and fo muft continue as long as its existence is continued; for fo long it will be the fame, and no other. In like manner, if two or more atoms be joined together into the fame mass, every one of thofe atoms will be the fame, by the foregoing rule: and whilst they exift united togethe, the mafs, confifting of the fame atoms, must be the fame mafs, or the fame body, let the parts be ever fo differently jumbled. But if one of thefe atoms be Y 4 taken

taken away, or one new one added, it is no longer the fame mafs, or the fame body. In the state of living creatures, their identity depends not on a mass of the fame particles, but on fomething elfe. For in them the variation of great parcels of matters alter not the identity: an oak growing from a plant to a great tree, and then lopped, is ftill the fame oak; and a colt grown up to a horfe, fometimes fat, fometimes lean, is all the while the fame horse: though in both these cases, there may be a manifeft change of the parts; fo that truly they are not either of them the fame maffes of matter, though they be truly one of them the fame oak, and the other the fame horse. The reafon whereof is, that in these two cafes, a mass of matter, and a living body, identity is not applied to the fame thing.

Identity of vegetables.

§. 4. We must therefore confider wherein an oak differs from a mafs of matter, and that seems to me to be in this, that the one is only the cohesion of particles of matter any how united, the other fuch a difpofition of them as conftitutes the parts of an oak; and fuch an organization of those parts as is fit to receive and diftribute nourifhment, fo as to continue and frame the wood, bark, and leaves, &c. of an oak, in which confifts the vegetable life. That being then one plant which has fuch an organization of parts in one coherent body partaking of one common life, it continues to be the fame plant as long as it partakes of the fame life, though that life be communicated to new particles of matter vitally united to the living plant, in a like continued organization conformable to that fort of plants. For this organization being at any one inftant in any one collection of matter, is in that particular concrete diftinguished from all other, and is that individual life which exifting conftantly from that moment both forwards and backwards, in the fame continuity of infenfibly fucceeding parts united to the living body of the plant, it has that identity, which makes the fame plant, and all the parts of it parts of the fame plant, during all the time that they exist united in that continued orga


nization, which is fit to convey that common life to all the parts fo united.

Identity of animals.

§. 5. The cafe is not fo much different in brutes, but that any one may hence fee what makes an animal, and continues it the fame. Something we have like this in machines, and may serve to illuftrate it. For example, what is a watch? It is plain it is nothing but a fit organization, or conftruction of parts, to a certain end, which wh a a fufficient force is added to it, it is capable to attain. If we would fuppofe this machine one continued body, all whose organized parts were repaired, increafed or diminished by a conftant addition or feparation of infenfible parts, with one common life, we fhould have fomething very much like the body of an animal; with this difference, that in an animal the fitnefs of the organization, and the motion wherein life confifts, begin together, the motion coming from within; 'but in machines, the force coming fenfibly from without, is often away when the organ is in order, and well fitted to receive it.

Identity of


§. 6. This alfo fhows wherein the identity of the fame man confifts; viz. in nothing but a participation of the fame continued life, by conftantly fleeting particles of matter, in fucceffion vitally united to the fame organized body. He that shall place the identity of man in any thing elfe, but like that of other animals in one fitly organized body, taken in any one inftant, and from thence continued under one organization of life in feveral fucceffively fleeting particles of matter united to it, will find it hard to make an embryo, one of years, mad and fober, the fame man, by any fuppofition, that will not make it poffible for Seth, Ifmael, Socrates, Pilate, St. Austin, and Cæfar Borgia, to be the fame man. if the identity of foul alone makes the fame man, and there be nothing in the nature of matter why the fame individual spirit may not be united to different bodies, it will be poffible that thofe men living in diftant ages, and of different tempers, may have been the fame man: which way of speaking must be, from a very strange



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