— 194 —
      §29. Hence we see, that some Men imagine the Duration of the
World from its first existence, to this present year 1689. to have been
5639 years, or equal to 5639 annual Revolutions of the Sun, and
others a great deal more; as the AEgyptians of old, who in the time of
Alexander counted 23000 years, from the Reign of the Sun; and the
Chineses now, who account the World 3,269,000 years old, or more;
which longer duration of the World, according to their Computa-
tion, though I should not believe to be true, yet I can equally
imagine it with them, and as truly understand, and say one is
longer than the other, as I understand, that Methusalem’s life was
longer than Enoch’s: And if the common reckoning of 5639 should
be true, (as it may be, as well as any other assigned,) it hinders not
at all my imagining what others mean, when they make the World
1000 years older, since every one may with the same Facility
imagine (I do not say believe) the World to be 50000 years old,
as 5639; and may as well conceive the duration of 50000 years,
as 5639. Whereby it appears, that to the measuring the duration of
any thing by Time, it is not requisite, that that thing should be
— 195 —
co-existent to the Motion we measure by, or any other periodical
Revolution; but it suffices to this purpose, that we have the Idea of the
length of any regular periodical Appearances, which we can in our Minds
apply to Duration, with which the Motion or Appearance never
co-existed.
Locke Hum II, 14, §29, pp. 194-195