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be closely joined with that which is ineffable and superior to all beings. When come so high as the first principle fhe ends her journey and relts. Such is the doctrine of Proclus.
334. But Socrates in the first Alcibiades teacheth on the other hand, that the contemplation of God is the proper means to know or understand our own soul. As the eye, faith he, looking stedfastly at the visive part or pupil of another eye, beholds itself, even so the soul beholds and understands herself, while she contemplates the Deity which is wisdom and virtue or like thereunto. In the Phædon Socrates speaks of God as being tagalès and ca dor (a), the good and the decent: Plotinus represents God as order; Aristotle as law.
335. It may seem perhaps to those, who have been taught to discourse about substratums, more realonable and pious to attribute to the Deity a more subftantial being, than the notional entities of wisdom, order, law, virtue, or goodness, which being only complex ideas, framed and put together by the understanding, are its own creatures, and have nothing substantial, real, or independent in them. But it muit be considered, that in the Platonic system, order, virtue, law, goodness, and wisdom are not creatures of the foul of man, but innate and originally existent therein, not as an accident in a substance, but as light to enlighten, and as a guide to govern. In Plato's style, the term idea doth not merely signify an inertinactive object of the understanding, but is used as synonymous with aproov and diggy, cause and principle. According to that philosopher, goodness, beauty, virtue and such like, are not figments of the mind, nor mere mixed modes, nor yet abstract ideas in the modern sense, but the most real beings, intellectual and unchangeable; and therefore more real than the fleeting transient objects of sense (b), which wanting (a) 260, 220,
(6) 306. X
itabits cannot be fubjects of science (d), much less of intclkotuai ksowledge.
336. By Parmenides, Timæus, and Plato a difinction was made, as hath been observed already, between genitum and ens. The former fort is always generating or in fieri (e), but never exists, because it never continues the same, being in a constant change, ever perishing and producing. By entia they underfand things remote from sense, invisible and in tellcétual, which never changing are still the same, and may therefore be said truly to exist: scíc, which is generally translated substance, but more properly effence, was not thought to belong to things sensible and corporeal, which have no stability; but rather to intellectual ideas, tho' discerned with more difficulty, and making less impression on a mind stupified and immersed in animal life, than grofs objects that continually beset and follicit our senses.
337. The most refined human intellect exerted to its utmost reach, can only seize some imperfect glympses (f) of the divine ideas, abstracted from all things corporeal, sensible, and imaginable. Therefore Pythagoras and Plato treated them in a mysterious manner, concealing rather than exposing them to vulgar eyes; fo far were they from thinking, that thofe abftract things, altho' the most real, were the ficteit to influence common minds, or become principles of knowledge, not to say duty and virtue, to the generality of mankind.
338. Aristotle and his followers have made a monstrous representation of the Platonic ideas; and fome of Plato's own school have said very odd things concerning them. But if that philosopher himself was not read only, but studied also with care, and made his own interpreter, I believe the prejudice that now lies against him would soon wear off (8) or be eyen
(d) 264, 266, 297. (ej 304, 306. (f) 313, 330. (8) 309, 313,
converted into a high esteem for those exalted notions and fine hints, that sparkle and shine throughout his writings, which seem to contain not only the most valuable learning of Athens and Greece, but also a treasure of the moftremote traditions and early science of the east.
339. In the Timæus of Plato mention is made of ancient persons, authors of traditions, and the offspring of the gods. It is very remarkable, that in the account of the creation contained in the fame piece, it is said that God was pleased with his work, and that the night is placed before the day. The more we think, the more difficult shall we find it to conceive, how mere man, grown up in the vulgar habits of life, and weighed down by sensuality, should ever be able to arrive at science, without some tradition (1) or teaching, which might either fow the seeds of knowledge, or call forth and excite those latent feeds that were originally sown in the soul.
340. Hunian souls in this low situation, bordering on mere animal life, bear the weight and see through the dusk of a grofs atmosphere, gathered from wrong judgments daily passed, falle opinions daily learned, and early habits of an older date than either judgment or opinion. Through such a medium the sharpest eye cannot see clearly (i). And if by some extraordinary effort the mind ihould surmount this dusky region, and snatch a glympse of pure light, she is soon drawn backward and depressed by the heaviness of the animal nature, to which she is chained. And if again The chanceth, amidst the agitation of wild fancies and strong affections; to fpring upwards, a second relapse speedily succeeds into this region of darkness and dreams.
341. Nevertheless, as the mind gathers strength by repeated acts, we should not defpond, but continue to exert the prime and flower of our faculties, (6) 298, 301, 302, (i) 292, 293, 294.
still recovering, and reaching on, and struggling into the upper region, whereby our natural weakness and blindness may be in some degree remedied, and a tafte attained of truth and intellectual life. Beside the constant prevailing opinion of the greatest men of antiquity, that there is both an universal spirit author of life and motion, and an universal mind enlightening and ordering all things, it was a received tenet among them, that there is also to Ev or royalov (a), which they looked on as the fons deitatis, the first hypostasis in the divinity.
342. The one, or to ev, being immutableand indivisible, always the same and entire, was therefore thought to exist truly and originally, and other things only fo far as they are one and the same, by participation of the ed èv. This gives unity, stability, reality to things(b). Plato describes God, as Moses, from his being. According to both, God is he who truly is, ó outws Wo. Change and division were esteemed defects or bad. Evil scatters, divides, destroys: Good, on the contrary, produceth concord and union, assembles, combines, perfects, and preserves entire. The several beings which compose the universe are parts
of the same system, they combine to carry on one end, and perfect one whole. And this aptnefs and concurrence thereunto furnishes the partial particular idea of good in the distinct creatures. Hence it might have come to pass, that tázabòv and so ev were regarded as one and the fame.
343. Light and fight (faith Plato in the sixth book of his Republic) are not the sun ; even so truth and knowledge are not the good itself, altho' they approach thereunto, And again, what the fun is in a visible place with refpect to fight and things seen, that same is tágabòv or good in an intelligible place, with respect to understanding and things understood.
(6) 264, 306.
Therefore the good or one is not the light chat 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 faid 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. But God remains for ever one and the fame. 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 fuperior 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 fo by our ro v 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 fame. And consequently our minds participate so far of existence as they do of unity. But it should seem that personality is the indivisible center of the foul or mind, which is a monad so far forth as she is a perfon. Therefore person is really that which exists, inasmuch as it participates of the divine unity. In man the monad or indivisible is the auto to auto the felf same 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 person or mind of all created beings feemeth alone indivisible, and to partake most of unity. But sensible things are rather considered as one than truly fo, they being in a perpe(C) 304, 336.