Observations upon experimental philosophy to which is added The description of a new blazing world
Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of, 1624?-1674.

21. Whether an Idea haue a Colour, and of the Idea of a Spirit.

I Have declared in my former discourse, that there is no Colour without body, nor a body with∣out colour, for we cannot think of a body without we think of colour too. To which some may ob∣ject, That if colour be as proper to a body as matter, and if the mind be corporeal, then the mind is also coloured. I answer, The Mind, in my opini∣on, has as much colour as other parts of Nature. But then perhaps they will ask me, what colour the Mind is of? My answer is, That the Mind, which is the rational part of Nature, is no more subject to one co∣lour, then the Infinite parts of Nature are subject to one corporeal figurative motion; for you can no more confine the corporeal mind to a particular com∣plexion, then you can confine Infinite matter to one particular colour, or all colours to one particular figure. Again, they may ask, Whether an Idea have a Page  74 colour? and if so, whether the Idea of God be colour∣ed? To which I answer, If the Ideas be of corporeal finite figures, they have colours according to the na∣ture, or property, or figure of the original; but as for the Idea of God, it is impossible to have a corporeal Idea of an infinite incorporeal Being; for though the finite parts of Nature may have a perception or know∣ledg of the existence of God, yet they cannot possibly pattern or figure him, he being a Supernatural, Immate∣rial, and Infinite Being: But put the case (although it is very improbable, nay, against sense and reason) there were natural immaterial Idea's, if those Idea's were finite, and not infinite, yet they could not possibly express an infinite, which is without limitation, by a finite figure which hath a Circumference. Some may say, An Immaterial Idea hath no Circumference. But then I answer, It is not a finite Idea, and it is impossible for an Idea to be Infinite: for I take an Idea to be the pi∣cture of some object, and there can be no picture with∣out a perfect form; neither can I conceive how an im∣material can have a form, not having a body; where∣fore it is more impossible for Nature to make a picture of the Infinite God, then for Man, which is but a part of Nature, to make a picture of infinite Nature; for Nature being material, has also a figure and matter, they being all one, so that none can be without the o∣ther, no more then Nature can be divided from her self. Thus it is impossible for Man to make a figure, Page  75 or picture of that which is not a part of Nature; for pictures are as much parts of Nature, as any other parts, nay, were they monstrous, as we call them; for Nature being material, is also figurative, and being a self-moving matter or substance, is divideable, and composeable; and as she hath infinite corporeal figu∣rative motions, and infinite parts, so she hath infinite figures, of which some are pictures, others originals; and if any one particular Creature could picture out those infinite figures, he would picture out Nature; but Nature being Infinite, cannot be pictured or patterned by any finite and particular Creature, although she is material; nevertherless she may be patterned in parts: And as for God, He being individeable and immaterial, can neither be patterned in part, nor in whole, by any part of Nature which is material, nay, not by infinite Nature her self: Wherefore the notions of God can be no otherwise but of his existence, to wit, that we know there is something above Nature, who is the Author and God of Nature; for though Nature hath an infi∣nite natural knowledg of the Infinite God, yet being divideable as well as composeable, her parts cannot have such an infinite knowledg or perception; and being composeable as much as divideable, no part can be so ignorant of God, as not to know there is a God. Thus Nature hath both an infinite and finite perceptions; in∣finite in the whole, as I may say for better expressions sake, and finite in parts. But mistake me not, I do Page  76 not mean, that either the infinite perception of Nature, or the finite perceptions of natural parts and Creatures, are any otherwise of that supernatural and divine being then natural; but yet they are the most purest parts, being of the rational part of Nature, moving in a most elevating and subtile manner, as making no exact fi∣gure or form, because God hath neither form nor fi∣gure; but that subtile matter or corporeal perceptive motion patterns out onely an over-ruling power, which power all the parts of Nature are sensible of, and yet know not what it is; like as the perception of Sight see∣eth the ebbing and flowing of the Sea, or the motion of the Sun, yet knows not their cause; and the perception of Hearing hears Thunder, yet knows not how it is made; and if there be such ignorance of the corporeal parts of Nature, what of God? But to conclude, my opinion is, That as the sensitive perception knows some of the other parts of Nature by their effects, so the rati∣onal perceives some effects of the Omnipotent power of God; which effects are perceptible by finite Crea∣tures, but not his Infinite Nature, nor Essence, nor the cause of his Infiniteness and Omnipotency. Thus although Gods Power may be perceived by Natures parts, yet what God is, cannot be known by any part: and Nature being composeable, there is a general ac∣knowledgment of God in all her parts; but being also divideable, it is the cause there are particular Religions, and opinions of God, and of his divine Worship and Adoration.