Page images
PDF
EPUB

bers, do manifestly infer a mind or intellect to be che cause thereof. ;

354. THE ONE or To v may be conceived either by con position 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 ONË, sov, by division or abstraction, as fonięwhat 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

To v is supposed not to exist without mind (a). So I , that neither Heraclitys nor Parmenides, nor Pythagoras, nor Plato, neither the Ægyptians nor Stoics, with their doctrine of a divine whole or animal, nor Xenophanes with his êv xal nãv, are justly to be accounted atheists. Therefore modern atheism, be it of Hobbes, Spinosa, Collins, or whom you will, is not to be countenanced by the learning and great names of antiquity. !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 it is a tenet both of Aristotle and Plato, that identity is a certain unity. The Pythagorans also, as well as the Platonic philosophers, held unum and ens to be the fame. Consistently with which that only can be said to exist, which is one and the fame. In things sensible and imaginable, as such, there seenis to be no unity, nothing that can be called one prior to all act of the mind; since they being in themselves aggregates, conGifting 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 che (0) 23,7, 288.. (5) 294, 295.

Soul,

Soul, faith it is the mind that maketh each thing to be one, co dě Ev TODÔN TÉTO vôs éxasdr. How this is done, Themiftius is more particular, observing, that as being conferreth essence, the mind by virtue of her fimplicity conferreth simplicity upon compounded beings. And, indeed, it seemeth that the mind, so far forth as person, is individual(a) therein resembling the divine one by participation, and imparting to other things what itself participates from above. This is agreeable to the doctine of the ancients, however the contrary opinion of supposing number to be an original primary quality in 'things, independent of the mind, may obtain among the moderns.

357. The Peripatetics taught, that in all divisible things there was somewhat indivisible, and in all compounded things somewhat simple. This they derived from an act of the mind. And neither this simple indivisible unite, nor any sum of repeated unites, confequently no number, can be separated from the things themselves, and from the operation of the mind. Themiftius goeth so far as to affirm, that it cannot be separated from the words or figns; and, as it cannot be uttered without them, so faith he, neither can it be conceived without them. Thus much upon the whole may be concluded, that, distinct from the mind and her operations, there is in created beings neither unite nor number,

358, Of inferior beings the human mind, self, or person is the most simple and undivided essence (6). And the supreme father is the most perfect one. Therefore the fight of the mind towards God is called by the Platonics Qugni uove geo's uóver. The fupreme being, faith Plotinus, as he excludes all diversity, is ever alike present. And we are then present to him, when, recollected and abstracted from the world and fensible objects, we are most free and disengaged (6) from all variety. He adds, that in the intuition of : (a) 345, 346, 347. 6) 347. () 268.

the

the supreme deity the soul finds her wished for end and repose ; which that philosopher calls awaking out of his body into himself.

359. In the tenth book of the arcane, or divine wisdom of the Ægyptians, we are taught that the supreme being is not the cause of any created thing; but that he produced or made the word; and that all created beings were made by the word, which is accordingly styled the cause of all causes : and that this was also the doctrine of the Chaldæans. Plato, likewise, in his letter to Hermias, Erastus, and Coriscus, speaks of God the ruler and cause of all things, as having a father : And in his Epinomis, he expresly teacheth that the word or nóyos made the world. Accordingly faint Augustine in his commentary on the beginning of faint John's Gospel, having declared that Christ is the wisdom of God by which all things were made, observes that this

doctrine was also found in the writings of philofo. - phers, who taught that God had an only begotten Son by whom are all things.

360. Now, though Plato had joined with an ima. gination the most splendid and magnificent, an intellect not less deep and clear ; yet it is not to be fupposed, that either he or any other philosophers of Greece or the east, had by the light of nature attained an adequate notion of the Holy Trinity, nor even that their imperfect notion, so far as it went, was exactly just ; nor perhaps that those sublime hints, which dart forth like fases of light in the midst of a profound darkness, were originally struck from the hard rock of human reason; but rather derived, at least in part, by a divine tradition (a) from the au. thor of all things. It seems a remarkable confirmation of this, what Plotinus observes in his fifth Ennead, that this doctrine of a Trinity, father, mind, and souls was no late invention, but an ancient tenet. . () 298, 301. Y 2

361 361. Certain it is, that the notion of a Trinity is to be found in the writings of many old heathen philosophers, that is to say, a notion of three divine hypostases. Authority, light, and life did, to the eye of. reason, plainly appear to support, pervade, and animate the mundane system or macrocosm. The same appeared in the microcosm, preserving soul and body, enlightening the mind, and moving the affections. And there were conceived to be neceffary, universal principles, co-existing and co-operating in such sort, as never to exist asunder, but on the contrary to constitute one Sovereign of all things. And, indeed, how could power or authority avail or subsist without knowledge or either without life and action?

362. In the administration of all things there is authority to establish, law to direct, and justice to execute. There is first the source of all perfection, or fons deitatis, secondly the supreme Reason, order, or róz , and lastly the Spirit which quickens and inspires. We are sprung from the father, irradiated or enlightened by the son, and moved by the spirit. Certainly, that there is father, son, and spirit; that these bear analogy to the sun, light, and heat; and are otherwise expressed by the terms, principle, mind, and soul; by one or to ev, intellect, and life ; by good, word, and love; and that generation was not attributed to the second hypostasis, the võs or nóg , in respect of time, (8), but only in respect of origine and order, as an eternal necessary emanation; these are the express tenets of Platonists, Pythagoreans, Ægyptians, and Chaldæans.

363. Though it may be well presumed there is nothing to be found on that sublime subject in hu. man writings, which doch not bear the sure signatures of humanity; yet it cannot be denied, that seve. ral fathers of the church have thought fit to illustratę the christian doctrine of the holy Trinity, by fimi

litudes 18) 352.

fitudes and expressions borrowed from the most emia nent heathens, whom they conceived to have been no strangers to that mystery; as hath been plainly proved by Beffarion, Eugubinus, and Doctor Cudworth. *. 364. Therefore, how unphilosophical soever that doctrine may seem to many of the present age, yer ic is certain, the men of greatest fame and learning among the ancient philosophers held a Trinity in the Godhead. It must be owned, that upon this point fome later Platonists of the Gentile world seem to have bewilder'd themselves, (as many Christians have also done ) while they pursued the hints de rived from their predecessors, with too much curiosity.

365. But Plato himself consider'd that doctrine as a venerable mystery, not to be lightly treated of or tashly divulged. Wherefore, in a letter to Dionysius he writes (as he himself professeth) ænigmatically and briefly in the following terms, which he giveth for a summary of his notion concerning the supreme being, and which being capable of divers senses, I leave to be decyphered by the learned reader. Held tov w ovi wv Boxer onnéd távt’ést, mis &zésvg Évexa návla, w éxeīvo astion árávTwv tūv xar@v, déjegov de Trepd ta' dévlege, w tPÍToy Tripi ta' wygóta. Plato enjoins Dionyfius over and over, with great earneftness not to suffer, what he communicates concerning the mystery of the divine nature, to fall into illiterate or vulgar hands, giving it withal as a reason for this caution, that nothing would Teemn more ridiculous or absurd to the common run of mankind. He adds, that in regard writings might miscarry, the prudent way was to write nothing at all on those matters, but to teach and learn them by word of mouth: for which reason, faith he, I have never wrote any thing thereon; nor is there, nor shall there ever be any thing of Plato's extant on that subject. He farther adds, as for what hath been now faid, ic belongs all to Socrates.

« EelmineJätka »