A Collection of Passages out of Mr. Leibnitz's Printed Works, which may give Light to many Parts of the fore-going Papers.

No 1.

GOD, according to My Opinion, is an Extramundane Intelligence, as Martianus Capella stiles him; or rather, a Supramandane Intelligence. Theodicæa, pag. 396.

No 2.

We must know, that a Spontaneity strictly speaking, is common to Us with All simple Substances; and that This, in an Intelligent or Free Substance, amounts to a Dominion over its own <377> Actions. —— Naturally, every simple Substance has Perception, &c. Theodic. pag. 479.

But Active Force contains a certain Act or Efficacy, and is something of a middle nature between the Faculty of acting and Action itself: It involves a Conatus or Indeavour, and is of itself carried towards Action; and stands in need of no Helps, but only that the Impediment be taken away. This may be illustrated by the Examples of a Heavy Body stretching the string it is hung by, and of a Bow bent. For though Gravity or Elasticity may and ought to be explained mechanically by the Motion of Æther; yet the ultimate Cause of Motion in Matter, is a Force impressed at the Creation: Which is in every part of matter, but, according to the course of nature, is variously limited and restrained by Bodies striking against each other. And this active Faculty I affirm to be in All Substance, and that some action is always arising from it: So that not even corporeal Substance, any more than Spiritual, ever ceases acting. Which seems not to have been apprehended by Those, who have placed the Essence of Matter in Extension alone, or even in Impenetrability; and fancied they could conceive a Body absolutely at Rest. It will appear also from what I have advanced, that One created Substance does not receive from Another the active Force it self, but only the Limits and Determination of the Indeavour or Active Faculty already pre-existing in it. Acta Erud. Ann. 1694. Pag. 112.

To Act, is the Characteristick of Substances. Ibid. ad Ann. 1695. Pag. 145.

Which primitive active Power is of it self in All corporeal Substance: For, I think, a Body <379> absolutely at Rest is inconsistent with the Nature of Things. Ibid. Pag. 146.

Every Part of Matter is, by its Form, continually Acting. Ibid. Pag. 147.

The Active Power, which is in the Form; and the inertia, or repugnance to Motion, which is in the Matter. Ibid. Pag. 151.

Though I admit every where in Bodies, a Principle superior to the [common] Notion of Matter; a Principle Active, and (if I may so speak,) Vital. Ibid. Pag. 153.

I have elsewhere explained, though it is a Thing perhaps not yet well understood by All, that the very Substance of Things, consists in the Power of Acting and being Acted upon. Ibid. ad Ann. 1698. Pag. 432.

So that, not only every Thing which acts, is a single Substance; but also every single Substance does perpetually act: Not excepting even Matter it self, in which there never is any Absolute Rest. Ibid.

If we ascribe to our own Minds an intrinsick Power of producing immanent Actions, or (which is the same Thing) of Acting immanently: 'Tis no way unreasonable, nay 'tis very reasonable, to allow that there is the same Power in other Souls or Forms, or (if that be a better Expression,) in the Natures of Substances. Unless a Man will imagine, that, in the whole Extent of Nature within the compass of our Knowledge, our own Minds are the only Things endued with Active Powers; or that All Power of acting immanently and vitally (if I may so speak,) is connected with Understanding. Which Kind of Assertions, certainly, are neither founded on any Reason; nor can be maintained, but in opposition to Truth. Ibid. Pag. 433.


Hence we may gather, that there must needs be in corporeal Substance an original Efficacy, or (as it were) prime Recipient of Active Force: That is, there must be in it a primitive Motive Power: Which being added over and above the Extension (or that which is merely geometrical,) and over and above the Bulk (or that which is merely material;) acts indeed continually, but yet is variously modified by the Conatus's and Impetus's of Bodies striking against each other. And This is That Substantial Principle, which, in Living Substances, is stiled Soul; in Others, the Substantial Form. Ibid. Pag. 434.

The materia prima is indeed merely passive, but 'tis not a complete Substance. To make it complete Substance, there must be moreover a Soul, or a Form analogous to Soul, or an original Efficacy, that is, a certain Indeavour, or Primitive Power of Acting; which is an innate Law, impressed by the Decree of God. Which Opinion I think is not different from that of an Eminent and Ingenious Gentleman, who has lately maintained, that Body consists of Matter and Spirit; meaning by the word Spirit, not (as usually) an intelligent thing, but a Soul or Form analogous to Soul; and not a simple Modification, but a substantial Permanent Constituent, which I used to call a Monad, in which is as it were Perception and Desire. Ibid. pag. 435.

On the contrary, I am rather of opinion, that 'tis neither agreeable to the Order, nor Beauty, nor Reason of things, that there should be a Vital Principle or Power of acting immanently, only in a very small part of Matter; when it would be an argument of greater Perfection, for it to be in All matter; and nothing hinders but <383> that there may Everywhere be Souls, or at least Something analogous to Souls; though Souls indued with Dominion and Understanding, such as are Humane Souls, cannot be Everywhere. Ibid. pag. 436.

What doth not act, what wants Active Power, what is void of Discernibility, what wants the whole ground and foundation of Subsistence; can no way be a Substance. Ibid. pag. 439.

See below, No 11.

No 3.

Mr. Bayle has shown at large (in his Answer to a Provincial, ch. 139, p. 748 &c.) that a Mans Soul may be compared to a Balance, wherein Reasons and Inclinations are in the Place of Weights: And, according to Him, the manner of our forming our Resolutions may be explained by This Hypothesis, that the Will of Man is like a Balance, which stands always unmoved when the Weights in Both Scales are equal, and always turns on one side or the other, in proportion as One Scale has more Weight in it than the Other. A New Reason, makes an Overpoise of Weight. A new Idea strikes the Mind more vigorously than a foregoing one, The Fear of a Great Pain, determines more strongly than the expectation of a Pleasure. When Two Passions contend against each other, the stronger always remains Master of the Field, unless the Other be assisted either by Reason, or by some other passion conspiring with it. Theodic. pag. 514.

A Man has always so much the more difficulty of determining himself, as the opposite <385> Reasons draw nearer to an equality: Just as we see a Balance turn so much the more readily, as the Weights in each Scale are more different from one another. However, since there are often more than two ways which a Man may take; we may therefore, instead of This similitude of a Balance, compare the Soul to a Force, which has at one and the same time a Tendency many ways, but acts on That part only where it finds the Greatest Ease, or the Least Resistance. For example: Air strongly compressed in a Glass-Receiver, will break the Glass to get out. It presses upon every part, but at last makes its way where the Glass is weakest. Thus the Inclinations of the Soul, tend towards All apparent Goods; And these are the antecedent Volitions: But the Consequent Volition, which is the last Result, determines itself towards That Good which affects us the most strongly. Ibid. pag. 515.

See below, No 4 and 9.

No 4.

There is never any such thing as an Indifference in æquilibrio; that is, such an one, where every circumstance is perfectly equal on Both sides, so that there is no inclination to one side rather than the other. Theodicæa, pag. 158.

'Tis True, if the Case [of the Ass standing between Two green Fields, and equally liking Both of them] was possible, we must say he would suffer himself to be starved to Death. But at the bottom, the Case is impossible to happen; unless God should order circumstances so on Purpose. Ibid. pag. 161.

See above, No 3; and below, No 9.


No 5.

This is a Consequence of my System of a pre-established Harmony; which it may be necessary here to give some Account of. The Scholastick Philosophers were of Opinion, that the Soul and Body mutually affected each other by a Natural Influence: But since it has been well considered, that [1] Thought and extended Substance have no Connexion with each other, and are Beings that differ toto genere; many modern Philosophers have acknowledged, that there is no physical Communication between the Soul and the Body, though a Metaphysical Communication there always is, by means of which the Soul and the Body make up one Suppositum, or what we call a Person. If there was any physical Communication between them, then the Soul could change the Degree of Swiftness, and the Line of Direction of certain Motions in the Body; and, on the other side, the Body could cause a Change in the Series of Thoughts which are in the Soul. But now, such an Effect as this, cannot be deduced from the Notion of any thing we can conceive in the Body and Soul; though nothing be better known to us [2] than the Soul, because 'tis intimate to Us, that is, to itself. Theodicæa. Pag. 172.


I cannot help coming into this Notion, that God created the Soul in such manner at first, as that it produces within it self, and represents in it self successively, what passes in the Body; and that he has made the Body also in such manner, as that it must of it self do what the Soul wills. So that the Laws which make the Thoughts of the Soul follow each other successively in the Order of final Causes, and in the Order of its Perceptions arising within it self; must produce Images, which shall be coincident, and go Hand in Hand with the Impressions made by Bodies upon our Organs of Sense: And the Laws by which the Motions of the Body follow each other successively in the Order of efficient Causes, are likewise coincident and go Hand in Hand with the Thoughts of the Soul, in such manner as that these Laws of Motion make the Body act at the same Time that the Soul Wills. Ibid. Pag. 176.

Mr. Jaquelot has very well shown, in his Book concerning the Agreement of Reason and Faith, that this is just as if One who knew before-hand every particular thing that I should order my Footman to do to Morrow all the Day long, should make a Machine to resemble my Footman exactly, and punctually to perform all Day to Morrow every Thing I directed. Which would not at all hinder my freely ordering whatever I pleased, though the Actions of my Machine-Footman had no Liberty at all. Ibid. Pag. 176.

The true Means by which God causes the Soul to have a Perception of what passes in the Body, is This; that he has made the Nature of the Soul to be Representative of Bodies, and to <391> be before-hand so constituted, as that the Representations which shall arise in it, one following another according to the natural Succession of Thoughts, shall be coincident with such Change as happens in Bodies. Ibid. Pag. 550.

See above, No 2; and below, No 11.

No 6.

In like manner, should it be the Will of God, that the Organs of human Bodies should move conformably to the Volitions of the Soul, considering those Volitions as occasional Causes; such a Law could not be put in Execution, but by perpetual Miracles. Theodicæa, Pag. 383.

See below, No 8.

No 7.

Nay rather, Matter resists Motion, by a certain natural Inertia, very properly so stiled by Kepler: So that Matter is not indifferent to Motion and Rest, as is vulgarly supposed; but needs a greater active Force, in proportion to the Magnitude of the Body, to put it in Motion. Acta Erudit. ad Ann. 1698. Pag. 434.

A Natural Inertia, repugnant to Motion. Ibid.

A certain Sluggishness, if I may so speak, that is, a repugnancy to Motion. Acta Erudit. ad Ann. 1695. Pag. 147.

A Sluggishness, or Resistance to Motion, in Matter. Ibid. Pag. 151.

The Experiments of Bodies striking against each other, as well as Reason, show that twice as much Force is required to give the same Ve <393> locity [3] to a Body of the same Kind of Matter, double in Bigness. Which would not be needful, if Matter was absolutely indifferent to Rest and Motion, and had not that natural Inertia I spoke of, which gives it a sort of Repugnancy to Motion. Theodicæa. Pag. 142.

It might be expected, supposing Matter indifferent to Motion and Rest, that the largest Body at Rest, might be carried away without any Resistance, by the least Body in Motion. In which Case, there would be Action without Re-action, and an Effect greater than its Cause. Ibid. Pag. 538.

No 8.

Wherefore if God made a general Law, that Bodies should Attract each other; it could not be put in Execution, but by perpetual Miracles. Theodicæa. Pag. 382.

See above, No 6.

No 9.

The same may be said concerning perfect Wisdom, (which is no less regular than Mathematicks;) that if there was not a Best among all the Worlds that were possible to have been made, God would not have made Any at all. Theodicæa. Pag. 116.

See above, No 4, and 3.


No 10.

If we imagine two perfect Spheres concentrical, and perfectly similar both in the Whole and in every Part, to be inclosed one in the other, so as that there shall not be the least Interstice between them; then, whether the inclosed Sphere be supposed to revolve, or to continue at Rest; an Angel himself (not to say more) could discover no difference between the State of these Globes at different Times, nor find any Way of discerning whether the inclosed Globe continued at Rest, or turned about; or with what Law of Motion it turned. Acta Erudit. ad Ann. 1698. Pag. 437.

No 11 .

In my Doctrine of a pre-established Harmony, I show, that every single Substance is naturally indued with Perception; and that its Individuality consists in that perpetual Law, which causes its appointed Succession of Perceptions, arising naturally in order one from another, so as to represent to it its own Body, and, by the same Means, the Whole Universe, according to the Point of View proper to that single Substance; without its needing to receive any physical Influence from the Body. And the Body likewise, on Its Part, acts correspondently to the Volitions of the Soul, by its own proper Laws; and consequently does not obey the Soul, any otherwise than as those Laws are correspondent. Theodicæa. Pag. 479.

It must also be confessed, that every Soul represents to it self the Universe, according to its Point of View, and by a Relation peculiar to it: But there is always a perfect Harmony between them. Ibid. Pag. 552.

The Operation of Spiritual Machines, that is, of Souls, is not mechanical; but it contains eminently, whatever is excellent in Mechanism; the Motions which appear actually in Bodies, being concentrated by representation in the Soul, as in an Ideal World, which represents the Laws of the Actual World, and the Series of their being put in Execution; differing in This from the Perfect Ideal World which is in God, that most of the Perceptions in Human Souls are but confused. For we must know, that every single Substance includes the Universe in its indistinct Perceptions; and that the Succession of these Perceptions is regulated by the particular Nature of the Substance; but yet in a manner which always represents Whole Universal Nature. And every present Perception tends towards a new Perception; as every Motion, which such Perception represents, tends towards a new Motion. But 'tis impossible the Soul should be able to understand distinctly its own whole Nature, and to apprehend how this numberless Number of little Perceptions, heaped up, or rather concentred together, are produced. In order to This, it would be requisite that the Soul understood perfectly the whole Universe, which is included within it; that is, it must be a God. Ibid. Pag. 603.

See above, No 2 and 5.


No 12.

The Chain of Causes connected one with another, reaches very far. Wherefore the Reason alledged by Des Cartes, to prove by a pretended vigorous inward Sense, the independence of our Free Actions; is altogether inconclusive. We cannot, strictly speaking, be sensible of our not depending on other Causes: For we cannot always perceive the Causes, (they being often imperceptible,) on which our Resolutions depend. 'Tis as if a Needle touched with a Loadstone, was sensible of, and pleased with its turning towards the North. For it would believe that it turned it self, independently on any other Cause; not perceiving the insensible Motions of the Magnetick Matter. Theodicæa. Pag. 162.

See below, No 13.

No 13.

An infinite Number of Great and Small Motions Internal and External, concur with us, which generally we are not sensible of. And I have already said, that, when a Man walks out of a Room, there are such reasons which determine him to set One Foot forward rather than the other, though he observes it not. Theodicæa. Pag. 158.

See above, No 12.

[1] The Thinking Substance, he should have said: For Thought, or the Act of Thinking, is not a Substance.

[2] Note. As the Eye see not itself; and if a Man had never seen Another's Eye, nor the Image of his own in a Glass, he could never have had Any Notion what an Eye is: So the Soul discerns not its own Substance.

[3] Note. The Author did not consider, that twice as much force is requisite likewise to stop the same Velocity in a Body of the same Kind of Matter, double in Bigness.

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