« EelmineJätka »
Therefore the good or one is not the light that enlightens, but the source of that light.
344. Every moment produceth some change in the parts of this visible creation. Something is added or diminished, or altered in essence, quantity, quality, or habitude. Wherefore all generated beings were said by the ancients to be in a perpetual flux (c). And that which, on a confused and general view, seems one single constant being, shall upon a nearer inspection appear a continued series of different beings. Bur God remains for ever one and the same. Therefore God alone exists. This was the doctrine of Heraclitus, Plato, and other ancients.
345. It is the opinion of Plato and his followers, that in the soul of man, prior and superior to intellect, there is somewhat of an higher nature, by virtue of which we are one ; and that by means of our one or unit, we are most closely joined to the deity. And, as by our intellect we touch the divine intellect, even so by our to èv or unit the very flower of our essence, as Proclus expresseth it, we touch the first one.
346. According to the Platonic philosophy, ens and unum are the same. And consequently our minds participate so far of existence as they do of unity. Buc it should seem that personality is the indivisible center of the soul or mind, which is a monad so far forth as she is a person. Therefore person is really that which exists, inasmuch as it participiates the divine unity, In man the monad or indivisible is the autótól avto the self fame self or very self, a thing, in the opinion of Socrates, much and narrowly to be inquired into and discussed, to the end that, knowing ourselves, we may know what belongs to us and our happiness.
347. Upon mature reflexion the mind of all created beings seemeth alone indivisible, and to partake most of unity. But sensible things are rather considered as one than truly so, they being in a perpe. (c) 304, 336.
tual Aux or succession, ever differing and various. Ne. vertheless, all things together may be considered as one universe (d), one by the connection, relation and order of it's parts, which is the work of mind whose unit is by Platonic, supposed a participation of the first to ev.
348. Socrates, in the Theætetus of Plato, speaketh of two parties of philosophers, the piantes and ci 78 ánev surowtan, the Rowing philosophers who beld all things to be in a perpetual flux, always generating and never existing; and those others wlio maintained the universe to be fixed and immoveable. The difference seems to have been this, that Heraclitus, Protagoras, Empedocles, and in general those of the former fect, considered things sensible and natural ; whereas Parmenides and his party considered to râv, not as the fenlible but as the intelligible world (), abftracted from all sensible things.
349. In effect if we mean by things the sensible ob. jects; these, it is evident, are always flowing ; but if we mean things purely intelligible, then we may say on the other hand, with equal truth, that they are immoveable and unchangeable. So that those, who thought the whole or to sły to be ev esce's a fixed or permanent one, seem to have understood the whole of real beings, which, in their fense, was only the intellectual world, not allowing reality of being to things not permanent.
350. The displeasure of some readers may perhaps be incurred, by furprising them into certain reflexions and inquiries for which they have no curiosity. But perhaps some others may be pleased, to find a dry subject varied by digressions, traced through remote inferences, and carried intoancient times, whose hoary maxims ($) scattered in this effey are not proposed as principles, but barely as hints to awaken and exercise the inquisitive reader, on points not beneath the ac(d) 287, 288. (c) 293, 297, 295. (f) 298, 301.
tention of the ableft men. Those great men, Pytha? goras, Plato, and Aristotle, the most confummate in politics, who founded states, or instructed princes, or wrote most accurately on publick government, were at the same time most acute at all abstracted and fublime speculations; the cleareft light being ever necessary to guide the most important actions. " And whatever the world thinks, he who hath not much meditated upon God, the humane mind, and the Summum bonum, may possibly make a thriving earchworm, but will most indubitably make a sorry patriot and a forry statesman.
351. According to the nice metaphysics of those ancient philosophers to' v, being considered as whaç was first and fimpleft in the deity, was prescindedeven from entity to which it was thought prior and fuperior; and is therefore by the Platonics styled super-effential. And in the Parmenides it is said, io v doch not exist; which might seem to imply a' negation of the divine Being. The truth is, Zeno and Parmenides argued, that a thing existing in time was older and younger than it felf; therefore the constancimmutable condid not exist in time; and if not in time, then in none of the differences of time past, present, or to come; therefore we cannot say that it was, is, or will be But nevertheless it is admitted in the fame Parmenides, that to vũ is every where present to tó fv: that is, instead of a temporary succession of moments, there is one eternal now, or, punctum ftans, as it is termed by the schoolmen.
352. The fimplicity of the Ev (the father in the Pythagoric and Platonic trinity) is conceived such as to exclude intellect or mind, to which it is supposed prior. And that hath created ai suspicion of atheism in this opinion. For, faith the learned doctor Cudworth, shall we say that the first hypoftafis or person is avys and drogas, senfeless and irrational, and altogecher devoid of mind and understanding? or would
) 398, 301, :
tio thc so
orc is ang To tha go wi
Со of no
not this be to introduce a kind of mysterious atheism? To which it may be answered, that whoever acknowledgerh the universe to be made and governed by an eternal mind, cannot be juftly deemed an atheist (8). And this was the tenet of those ancient philosophers. In the Platonic dectrine, the generation of the ris or aéyos was not contingent but necessary, not temporary but from everlasting. There never was a time fupposed wherein ma ex subsisted without intellect, the priority having been understood only as a priority of order or conception, but not a priority of age. Therefore, the maintaining a distinction of priority between co tv and yoūs doth not infer, that the one ever existed without the other. It follows, therefore, that the father or so v may, in a certain fenfe, be said to be äves without atheism, or without destroying the notion of a deity; any more than it would destroy the notion of a humane soul, if we should conceive a diftinction between self and intellect, or intellect and life. To which we may farther add, that it is a docs trine of Platonics, and agrees with their master's tenets, to say that to ży, or the first hypofta sis,contains all excellence and perfection, whereof it is the original source, and is eminenter, as the schools speak, intellect and life, as well as goodness; while the second hypostasis is essentially intellect, and by participation goodness and life ; and the third, life effentially, and by participation goodness and intellect.
-353. Therefore, the whole being considered, it will not seem just, to fix the imputation of atheism upon those philosophers, who held the doctrine of 50 8V; whether it be taken in an abstracted or collective, a metaphysical or merely vulgar meaning (b); that is, whether we prescind unity from effence and intellect, since metaphysical distinctions of the divine attributes do not in reality divide them : or whether we consider the universal system of beings, as one; fince the union, connexion, and order of it's mem. (8) 154, 276, 279, 287.
bers, do manifestly infer a mind or intellect to be he cause thereof.
354. To įv may be conceived either by compofition or division. For as, on the one hand, we may lay the world or universe is one whole or one animal ; so we may, on the other hand, consider the one To Èv by division or abstraction, as somewhat in the order of things prior to mind. In either sense there is no atheism, so long as mind is admitted to preside and direct the animal; and so long as the unum or Tó en is supposed not to exist without mind (a). So that neither Heraclitus nor Parmenides, nor Pythagoras nor Plato, neither the Ægyptians nor Stoics, with their doctrine of a divine whole or animal, nor Xenophanes with his gv xai zāv, are justly to be accounted atheists. Therefore modern atheism, be ic of Hobbes, Spinosa, Collins, or whom you will, is not to be countenanced by the learning and great names of antiquicy.
355. Plato teacheth, that the doctrine concerning the one or unite is a means to lead and raise the mind (b) to the knowledge of him who truly is. And ic is a tenet both of Aristotle and Plato, that identity is a certain unity. The Pythagoræans also, as well as the Platonic philosophers, held unum and ens to be the same. Consistently with which that only can be said to exist, which is one and the same. In things sensible and imaginable, as such, there seems to be no unity, nothing that can be called one prior to all act of the mind; since they being in themfelves aggregates, consisting of parts or compounded of elements, are in effect many. Accordingly it is remarked by Themiftius, the learned interpreter of Aristotle, that to collect many notions into one, and to consider them as one, is the work of intellect, and not of sense or fancy. 356. Aristotle himself, in his third book of the. (a), 287, 288.
(6) 294, 295: Y