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terpreter received three talents of gold; and there were sent to the high-sacrificer, in return for his parchment, ten couches of silver, a crown of gold, censers and cups of gold, a vase of thirty talents of silver—that is, of the weight of about sixty thousand crowns, with ten purple robes, and a hundred pieces of the finest linen.

Nearly all this fine story is faithfully repeated by the historian Josephus, who never exaggerates anything. St. Justin improves upon Josephus; he says that Ptolemy applied to King Herod, and not to the high-priest Eleazar. He makes Ptolemy send two ambassadors to Herod,—which adds much to the marvellousness of the tale; for we know that Herod was not born until long after the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus.

It is needless to point out the profusion of anachronisms in these and all such romances, or the swarm of contradictions and enormous blunders into which the Jewish author falls in every sentence : yet this fable was regarded for ages as an incontestable truth; and, the better to exercise the credulity of the human mind, every writer who repeated it added or retrenched in his own way—so that, to believe it all, it was necessary to believe it in a hundred different ways. Some smile at these absurdities which whole nations have swallowed, while others sigh over the imposture. The infinite diversity of these falsehoods multiplies the followers of Democritus and Heraclitus.

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ARISTOTLE. It is not to be believed that Alexander's preceptor, chosen by Philip, was wrong-headed and pedantic. Philip was assuredly a judge, being himself well-informed, and the rival of Demosthenes in eloquence.

Aristotle's Logic. Aristotle's logic-his art of reasoning, is so much the more to be esteemed, as he had to deal with the Greeks, who were continually holding captious arguments; from which fault his master Plato was even less exempt than others.

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Take, for example, the article by which, in the Phædon, Plato proves the immortality of the soul:

say that death is the opposite of life? Yes. And that they spring from one another? Yes. What then is it that springs from the living? The dead. And what from the dead? The living.

It is, then, m the dead that all living things arise. Consequently, souls exist after death in the infernal regions."

Sure and unerring rules were wanted to unravel this extraordinary nonsense, which, through Plato's reputation, fascinated the minds of men.

It was necessary to show that Plato gave a loose meaning to all his words.

Death does not spring from life; but the living man ceases to live.

The living springs not from the dead, but from a living man who subsequently dies.

Consequently, the conclusion that all living things spring from dead ones, is ridiculous. From this conclusion

you draw another, which is no way included in the premises,—that souls are in the infernal regions after death.

It should first have been proved that dead bodies are in the infernal regions, and that the souls accompany them.

There is not a correct word in your argument. You should have said — That which thinks has no parts; that which has no parts is indestructible: therefore the thinking faculty in us, having no parts, is indestructible.

Or—the body dies because it is divisible; the soul is indivisible: therefore it does not die. Then you would at least have been understood.

It is the same with all the captious reasonings of the Greeks. A master taught rhetoric to his disciple, on condition that he should pay him the first cause that he gained.

The disciple intended never to pay him. He commenced an action against his master, saying — I will never pay you anything; for, if I lose

my cause,

I was * Now Nova Scotia.-T.

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not to pay you until I had gained it; and if I gain it,
my demand is, that I may not pay you.
The master retorted the argument, saying--If you lose,

pay;

if you gain, you must also pay; for our bargain is, that you shall pay me after the first cause that you have gained.

It is evident that all this turns on an ambiguity. Aristotle teaches how to remove it, by putting the necessary terms in the argument.-

A sum is not due until the day appointed for its payment :

The day appointed is that when a cause shall have been gained :

No cause has yet been gained:
Therefore the day appointed has not yet arrived :-
Therefore the disciple does not yet owe anything.
But not yet does not mean never.

So that the disciple instituted a ridiculous action.

The master, too, had no right to demand anything, since the day appointed had not arrived. He must wait until the disciple had pleaded some other cause.

Suppose a conquering people were to stipulate that they would restore to the conquered only one half of their ships; then to have them sawed in two, and having thus given back the exact half, were to pretend that they had fulfilled the treaty. It is evident that this would be a very criminal equivocation.

Aristotle did, then, render a great service to mankind, by preventing all ambiguity; for this it is which causes all misunderstandings in philosophy, in theology, and in public affairs.

The pretext for the unfortunate war of 1756 was an equivocation respecting Acadia.*

It is true that natural good sense, combined with the habit of reasoning, may dispense with Aristotle's rules. A man who has a good ear and voice may sing well without musical rules; but it is better to know them.

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His Physics. They are but little understood; but it is more than probable that Aristotle understood himself, and was understood in his own time. We are strangers to the language of the Greeks; we do not attach to the same words the same ideas.

For instance, when he says, in his seventh chapter, that the principles of bodies are matter, privation, and form, he seems to talk egregious nonsense; but such is not the case. Matter, with him, is the first principle of everything—the subject of everything—indifferent to everything. Form is essential to its becoming any certain thing. Privation is that which distinguishes any being from all those things which are not in it. Matter may, indifferently, become a rose or an apple; but, when it is an apple or a rose, it is deprived of all that would make it silver or lead. Perhaps this truth was not worth the trouble of repeating; but we have nothing here but what is quite intelligible, and nothing at all impertinent.

The act of that which is in power,” also appears a ridiculous phrase, though it is no more so than the one just noticed.

Matter may become whatever you will—fire, earth, water, vapour, metal, mineral, animal, tree, flower. This is all that is meant by the expression, act in power. So that there was nothing ridiculous to the Greeks in saying that motion was an act of power, since matter may be moved; and it is very likely that Aristotle understood thereby that motion was not essential to matter.

Aristotle's physics must necessarily have been very bad in detail. This was common to all philosophers, until the time when the Galileos, the Torricellis, the Guerickes, the Drebels, and the Academy del Cimento, began to make experiments. Natural philosophy is a mine which cannot be explored without instruments which were unknown to the ancients. They remained on the brink of the abyss, and reasoned upon without seeing its contents.

Aristotle's Treatise on Animals. His researches relative to animals were, on the contrary, the best book of antiquity, because here Aristotle made use of his eyes. Alexander furnished him with all the rare animals of Europe, Asia, and Africa. This was one fruit of his conquests. That hero spent in this way immense sums, which at this day would terrify all the guardians of the royal treasury, and which should immortalise Alexander's glory, of which we have already spoken.

At the present day, a hero, when he has the misfore tune to make war, can scarcely give any encouragement to the sciences; he must borrow money of a Jew, and consult other Jews, in order to make the substance of his subjects flow into his coffer of the Danaïdes, whence it escapes through a thousand openings. Alexander sent to Aristotle elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, lions, crocodiles, gazelles, eagles, ostriches, &c.; and we, when by chance a rare animal is brought to our fairs, go and admire it for sixpence, and it dies before we know anything about it.*

Of the Eternal World. Aristotle expressly maintains, in his book on heaven, chap. xi., that the world is eternal : this was the opinion of all antiquity, excepting the Epicureans. He admitted a God-a first mover; and defined him to be "one, eternal, immoveable, indivisible, without qualities.”+

He must, therefore, have regarded the world as emanating from God, as the light emanates from the sun and is co-existent with it.

About the celestial spheres, he was as ignorant as all the rest of the philosophers. Copernicus was not yet come.

* The French goveroment bas effectually wiped away thiş reproach by the establishment of the National Museum, and the Jardin des Plantes, the finest collection in the world.-T.

of Book vii. chap. 12.

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