"What is it then that lights the Candle again, when it is put out?"

— Burnet, Thomas (c.1635-1715)

Place of Publication
Printed for M. Wotton, [etc.]
"What is it then that lights the Candle again, when it is put out?"
Metaphor in Context
As to the First: I wonder how you can observe that your Soul sometimes does not think; for when you do observe it, you think. If a man cou'd think and not think at the same time, he might be able to make this Observation. But howsoever that be, I do not understand how the Soul, if she be at any time utterly without Thoughts, what it is that produces the first Thought again, at the end of that unthinking Interval. You say Matter cannot produce a Thought; and you say an unthinking Substance cannot produce a Thought: and I know nothing in (unthinking) Man, but one of these two. What is it then that lights the Candle again, when it is put out? Besides I am utterly at a loss how to frame any Idea of a dead Soul, or of s Spirit without Life or Thoughts. What is the Soul when it does not think? what Idea or Definition can you give of her in that State? she be actually something if she exist. She must then have some Properties whereby she may be defin'd or describ'd; something whereby she is distinguished from Nothing, and from Matter. What Security can we have upon this Supposition, that we shall not fall into this Sleep at Death? and so continue without Life or Thought? And bare being is but the immortality of a senseless Stone. You think also which is more surprising, that Angels sleep by fits. If Angels have Bodies, there may be some pretence for this: but if they have no Bodies, they can have no Fumes or Vapors that cause Sleep, nor any wast of Spirits to be recruited. [etc.]
(pp. 8-9)
Reading Burnet's three Remarks
Burnet, Thomas; Locke, John, and Porter, Noah. Remarks Upon an Essay Concerning Humane Understanding: Five Tracts. Garland Publishing, Inc. New York and London, 1984.
Lockean Philosophy
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.