— 193 —
Eternity.       §27. By the same means therefore, and from the same Original
that we come to have the Idea of Time, we have also that Idea which
we call Eternity; viz. having got the Idea of Succession and Duration,
by reflecting on the Train of our own Ideas, caused in us either by
the natural appearances of those Ideas coming constantly of them-
selves into our waking Thoughts, or else caused by external Objects
successively affecting our Senses; and having from the Revolutions
of the Sun got the Ideas of certain lengths of Duration, we can, in our
Thoughts, add such lengths of Duration to one another, as often
as we please, and apply them, so added, to Durations past or to
come: And this we can continue to do on, without bounds or limits,
and proceed in infinitum, and apply thus the length of the annual
motion of the Sun to Duration, supposed before the Sun’s, or any
other Motion had its being; which is no more difficult or absurd,
than to apply the Notion I have of the moving of a Shadow, one
Hour to day upon the Sun-dial, to the Duration of something last
night; v.g. The burning of a Candle, which is now absolutely
separate from all actual motion, and it is as impossible for the Dura-
tion of that Flame for an hour last Night, to co-exist with any
Motion that now is, or forever shall be, as for any part of Duration,
that was before the beginning of the World, to co-exist with the
motion of the Sun now. But yet this hinders not, but that having the
Idea of the length of the Motion of the Shadow on a Dial between
the Marks of two Hours, I can as distinctly measure in my Thoughts
the Duration of that Candle-light last night, as I can the Duration
of any thing, that does now exist: And it is no more than to think,
— 194 —
that had the Sun shone then on the Dial, and moved after the same
rate it doth now, the shadow on the Dial would have passed from
one Hour-line to another, whilst that Flame of the Candle lasted.
Locke Hum II, 14, §27, pp. 193-194