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Locrensis, that ancient Pythagorean, author of the book concerning the soul of the world, speaks of a most ancient philosophy, even in his time, a weers Sύσα φιλοσοφία, ftirring up and recovering the foul from a state of ignorance to the contemplation of divine things. And though the books attributed to Mercurius Trismegistus were none of them wrote by him, and are allowed to contain some manifest forgeries ; yet it is also allowed, that they contain tenets of the antient Ægyptian philosophy, though dressed perhaps in a more modern garb. To account for which, Jamblichus observes, that the books under his name contain indeed mercurial opinions, though often expresled in the style of the Greek philosophers; as having been translated from the Ægypá tian tongue into Greek.
299. The difference of Isis from Osiris (d) refembles that of the moon from the sun, of the female from the male; of natura naturata (as the schoolmen speak) from natura naturans. But Isis, though mostly taken for nature, yet (as the Pagan divinities were very fluctuating things) it sometimes signified to a @vi And we find in Mountfaucon an Isis of the ordinary form with this infcription Des waulós. And in the menfa Isiaca, which seems to exhibit a general system of the religion and fuperstition of the Ægyptians; Isis on her throne poffesfeth the center of the table. Which may seem to signify, that the universe or só way was the center of the ancient secret religion of the Ægyptians; their Isis or só wãy comprehending both Osiris the author of nature and his work.
300. Plato and Aristotle considered God as abo stracted or distinct from the natural world. But the Ægyptians considered God and nature as mafeth 268.
king One whole, or all things together as making one universe. In doing which they did not exclude the intelligent mind, but considered it as containing all things. Therefore, whatever was wrong in their way of thinking, it doth not, nevertheless, imply or lead to Atheism...
301. The humane mind is so much clogged, and born downward, by the strong and early impref, fions of sense (a), that ic is wonderful, how the ancients should have made even such a progress, and seen fo 'far into intellectual matters, without some glimmering of a divine tradition. Whoever considers a parcel of rude favages left to them. felves, how they are sunk and swallowed up in sense and prejudice, and how unqualified by their natural force to emerge from this state, will be ape to think that the first spark of philofophy was de fived from heaven; and that it was, (as a Heathen writer expresseth it) 9 for apádolo Qiaorodice. • 302. The lapsed state of human kind is a thing co which the ancient philosophers were not strangers. The dúvis, the pugn's the water fuecía shew, thac the Egyptians and 'Pýthagoreans, the Platonists and Stoics, had all fome notion of this doctrine, the outlines of which seem to have been sketched out in those tenets. Theology and philosophy gently unbind the ligaments, that chain the soul down to the earth, and assist her Aight towards the fovereign Good. There is an instinct or tendency of the mind upwards, which sheweth a natural, endeavour to recover and raise ourselves, from our present sensual and low condition, into a state of light, order, and purity.
303. The perceptions of sense are gross : but even in the senses there is a difference. Though harmony and proportion are not objects of sense,
::. (a) 264.
yet the eye and the ear are organs, which offer to the mind such materials, by means whereof she may apprehend both the one and the other. By experiments of sense we become acquainted with the lower faculties of the soul; and from them, whether by a gradual (a) evolution or afcent, we arrive at the highest. Sense fupplies images to memory. These become fubjects for fancy to work upon. Reafon considers and judges of the imaginations. And these acts of reason become new obJects to the understanding. In this scale, each lower faculty is a step that leads to one above it, And the uppermost naturally leads to the Deity, which is rather the object of intellectual knowledge than even of the difcursive faculty, not to mention the sensitive. There runs a chain throughout the whole system of beings. In this chain one link drags another. The meanest things are connected with the highest." The calamity therefore is neither ftrange nor much to be complained of, if a low fensual reader shall, from mere love of the animale life, find himself drawn on, surprised, and betray'd into some curiosity concerning the intellectual. .
304. There is according to Plato properly no knowledge, but only opinion concerning things fensible and perishing (b), not becaufe they are naturally abstruse and involved in darkness, but because their nature and existence is uncertain, evef; Heeting and changing; or rather, becaufe they do. not in strict truth exist at all, being always gene, såting or in fieri, that is, in a perpetual fux, with. out any thing stable or permanent in them to con-, stitute an object of real science. The Pythagoreans and Platonics distinguish between s gluópefuer and sd öv, that which is ever generated and that which exists. Sensible things and corporeal forms. (a) 275. B) 263, 264.
are perpetually producing and perishing, appearing and disappearing, never resting in one ftate, buc always in motion and change ; and therefore in effect, not one being but a succession of beings : while to or is understood to be somewhat of an abstract or spiritual nature, and the proper object of intellectual knowledge. Therefore as there can be no knowledge of things flowing and instable, the opinion of Protagoras and Theatetus, that sense was science, is absurd. And indeed nothing is more evident, than that the apparent sizes and Thapes, for instance, of things are in a constant Aux, ever differing as they are view'd at different distances, or with glasses more or less accurate. As for those absolute magnitudes and figures, which certain Cartesians and other moderns suppose to be in things, that must seem a vain supposition, to whoever confiders, it is supported by no argument of reason, and no experiment of sense.
305. As understanding perceiveth not, that is, doth not hear or fee or feel, so sense knoweth not : And although the mind may use both sense and phancy, as means whereby to arrive at knowledge yet sense or soul, fo far forth as fenfitive, knoweth nothing. For, as it is rightly observed in the Theatetus of Plato, science consists not in the passive preceptions, but in the reasoning upon them, tco Wei creivw.oudroy.oucõ.
306. In the ancient philosophy of Plato and Pythagoras, we find distinguished three forts of objects : In the first place a form or species that is neither generated nor destroyed, unchangeable, invisible, and altogether imperceptible to sense, being only understood by the intellect. A fecond fort there is ever Auent and changing (8), generating and perishing, appearing and vanishing. This V) 263, 264. _ (8) 292, 293.
is comprehended by sense and opinion. The third kind is matter which, as Plato' teacheth, being neither an object of understanding nor of sense, is hardly to be made out by a certain spurious way of reasoning noyoouw true vol w póyış wisón. See his Timæus. The same doctrine iš contained in the Pythagoric treatise De anima mundi, which diftinguishing ideas, sensible things, and matter, ma, keth the first to be apprehended by intellect, the second by sense, and the last, to wit, matter, doguono vólw. whereof Themiftius the Perripatetic assigns the reason. For, saith he, that act is to be esteemed spurious, whose object hath nothing positive, being only a mere privation, as Gilence or darkness. And such he accounteth matter.
307. Aristotle maketh a threefold distinction of objects according to the three speculative sciences Physics he supposeth to be conversant about such things as have a principle of motion in themselves; mathematics about things permanent but not abItracted ; and theology about being abstracted and immoveable ; which distinction may be seen in the ninth book of his Metaphysics. Where by ab. ftracted, xwersør, he understands feparable from corporeal beings and sensible qualities. : 308. That philosopher held that the mind of man was a tabula rafa, and that there were no innate ideas. Plato, on the contrary, held original ideas in the mind, that is, notions which never were or can be in the sense, such as being, beauty, goodness, likeness, parity. Some perhaps may think the truth to be this: That there are properly no ideas or paflive objects in the mind, but what were derived from fense: but that there are also besides these her own acts or operations ; such are notions.
309. It is a maxim of the Platonic philosophy,