— 197 —
Why Men more easily admit infinite Duration, than infinite Expansion.       §4. Hence, I think, we may learn the Reason, why every one
familiarly, and without the least hesitation, speaks of, and sup-
poses Eternity, and sticks not to ascribe Infinity to Duration; but ’tis
with more doubting and reserve, that many admit, or suppose the
— 198 —
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
Mens 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 atomical 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. 16. ferro duravit saecula. But be that
as it will, this is certain, That whoever pursues his own Thoughts,
will find them sometimes lanch 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.
Locke Hum II, 15, §4, pp. 197-198