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But as his proof of the heavenly bodies having souls is the regularity of their motions, it is possible that he might consider matter, before it was reduced into order, as having been without a soul; and though he speaks of the soul of the world as having existed before the body, it is possible that by body he might not mean mere matter, but matter reduced into order, and formed into a regular universe. “ He,” (viz. God,) he says, “ gave a soul, which, by its origin and power, is prior to, and older than the body, as its governess and directrix." *
He then proceeds to give an account of the essential parts and principles of this soul of the universe; but I have no occasion to follow him so far.
One reason, however, why it may be doubted whether the soul of the world was supposed by Plato to be given it by God, is, that in one passage of his writings he supposes that there were more of these souls than one. Having defined soul to be the cause of self-motion, in answer to the question, whether there was only one soul in the universe, he answers, “ more than one, two at least, one benevolent, and the other of a contrary disposition.” | Now, according to Plato, nothing evil was made by the supreme Being himself; and, therefore, it should seem that this malevolent soul, or principle, in nature, must have had some other origin, and, perhaps, have been co-existent with matter, though subject to the controul of the supreme and good Being.
It was allowed that there was something divine in the souls of men, which Clemens Alexandrinus calls the ves, that was in it, which he says the Platonists made to be an emanation from the Deity. It is probable, therefore, that Plato might suppose the proper vuxn in the soul of the world to be essential to matter, and that God imparted the ves.
That God is good, and can only be the cause of good, is most expressly asserted by Plato. 6. For the evils of life,' he
says, we must seek for some other cause than God.”S According to Plato, the supreme Being himself is not only not the author of evil, but even not of things that are imperfect, and subject to decay and death. However, since it was proper, in order to complete the whole system, that
* Ο δε και γενεσει και αρείη, προλεραν και πρεσβυ/εραν ψυχην σωμαίος, ως δεσπολιν και αρξaσαν αρξoμενε συνεςησαίο. Timeus, p. 478. (Ρ.)
+ Δυουν μεν γεπε, ελατίον μηδεν τιθωμεν, γαρ τε ευεργελιδόν, και τα τανανλια δυναdems egepravachan. De Leg. L. X. p. 608. '(P.)
1 “Οι μεν αμφι Πλατωνα ναν μεν εν ψυχη θειας μοιρας απορροιαν υπαρχονία ψυχην δε εν σωμαλι καλοικίζεσιν. Strom. v. p. 590. (Ρ.)
9 Των δε κακων, αλλα τα δει ζηλειν τα αίτια, αλλ' και τον Θεον. De Rep. L. ii. P. 399. (P.)
such things should be formed, having himself made the celestial and immortal beings, that is, the heavenly bodies, (to each of which he assigns a soul,) Plato introduces the Divine Being as solemnly addressing himself to them, and giving them directions for the production of such creatures as he could not make, himself, (since, then, they would necessarily bave been immortal,) viz, man and all terrestrial animals. (Timæus, p. 481.)
This universe, created as it was, Plato speaks of, as a divinity, and in the highest style; using the following remarkable expressions at the close of his Timæus: “ This universe, comprehending mortal and immortal beings, and complete, being a visible living creature, containing visible things, the image of the intelligible,” (that is, the invisible world of ideas,) " is the greatest and best visible God, the fairest and the most perfect; this one heaven” (viz. system) “ being the only-begotten.”*
"* On this principle it was, that Plato, and the other heathen philosophers, vindicated the system of Polytheism ; supposing that one supreme God made a number of subordinate beings, each of them invested with a limited jurisdiction, so as to be considered as gods.
That matter was the source of all evil was the doctrine of all the Platonists, as well as of the oriental philosophers. Plotinus says, that “matter is absolutely evil, having no portion of good in it.”+
Tbus I have given the best view that I been able to col. lect of every thing that can be supposed to constitute the Trinity of Plato, from his own writings, without finding in them any resemblance to the Christian Trinity, or indeed any proper personification of the divine logos, which has been made the second person in it.
I have particularly examined what the learned Dr. Cudworth and others have advanced on this dark subject, without seeing their conclusions properly supported. To shew on how slight foundations such writers as he (who certainly did not mean to deceive) can advance such things as he does, and how far their imagination and hypothesis can impose upon them, I shall lay before my readers two of his assertions on this subject.
Ile says, I" In his second epistle to Dionysius, he” (Plato) * Θνητα γαρ και αθαναλα ζωα λαβων, και ξυμπληρωθεις οδε κοσμος, ούτω ζωον δραθον, τα δραια περιεχον, εικων τα νοη78, Θεος αισθηλος μεγιςος και αριςος, καλλισος τε και τελεω7αίος, εις έρανος οδε, μονογενης ων. Τimaeus, p. 501. (Ρ.)
+ Οπερ εςιν η υλη, τείο το ονλως κακον, μηδεμιαν εχων αγαθα μοιραν. Εn. i. E. Fii. Sect. v. p. 75. (P.)
* Intellectual System, L. i. C. i. p. 407. (P.)
“ does mention a Trinity of divine hypostases all together.” From this, one would expect at least something like the Athanasian doctrine of three persons in one God. But all that I can learn from Plato in this epistle is as follows: Sending his letter to a great distance, and apprehensive of the possibility of its not reaching the person to whom it was addressed, he says, that he had written so obscurely, that only Dionysius bimself could understand it. things are about the king of all, and all things are for the sake of him, and he is the author of every thing that is fair and good; but the second about the second, and the third about the third. The mind of man may stretch itself to learn what these things are, looking at those which resemble them, of which none do it sufficiently ; but with respect to the king, and the things of which I speak, there is nothing like them.”*
This is Dr. Cudworth's Trinity of divine hypostases, and it is certainly as obscure as any doctrine of the Trinity needs to be. Plato himself, or Dionysius, can alone explain it to us. I imagine, however, that, in this dark manner, he might refer to one or other of the ternaries above-mentioned, viz. the suprenie Being, his ideas, and the visible world; or the supreme Being, the visible world, and primeval matter.
Again, the Doctor says, (p. 406,) “ In other places of his" (Plato's) writings, he frequently asserts above the selfmoving psyche, an immoveable and standing yes, or inteilect, which was properly the Demiurgus, or architectonic framer of the whole world.” But it has appeared, that, according to Plato, the supreme Being himself, whom he styles the good, was the Demiurgus with respect to every thing that is immortal and perfect, and that not his ves, but those other created immortal beings, were the makers of man and all other mortal and imperfect creatures.
Ás to the many passages in the writings of Plato, which, he says, teach the contrary doctrine, I can only say, that I have not found any of them; and that if there be any such, they must be contradicted by what I have already quoted from him.
In a tract that remains, of Timæus Locrus, from whom it is acknowledged that Plato borrowed the outlines of his system, we perceive to trace of two intelligent beings, but of one only, which he calls God, a being essentially good, who himself formed the world out of pre-existent matter. « God,” he says, « being good, and seeing matter capable of receiving ideas,” (meaning, probably, the impressions of ideas,) “ and capable of change, but variously and irregularly, was desirous of reducing it into order, and to bring it from uncertain changes to a fixed state, that the differences of bodies night correspond and not vary at random, made the world out of the whole of matter; giving all nature for its boundary, that it might comprehend everything within itself, and be one, his only-begotten, a perfect, living, rational and spherical body.”+
Περι τον πανιων βασιλεα παντ' εςι, και εκείνη ένεκα σανία, και εκεινο αιθιον απανίων των καλων, δευθερον δε περι τα δευτερα, και τριλον περι τα τριλα" ή αν ανθρωπινα ψυχη, περι αυλα ορεγείαι, μαθει ποι’ ατία εςι, βλεπεσε
οσα εις τα αυλης συγγενη, ών εδεν έκανως εχει τα δε βασιλεως σερε, και ως ειπον, εδεν εςι τoιείο. Εpist. ad Dionysium it.
According to Timæus, ideas and nous must have been synonymous, and the same with the divine Being himself, or the proper furniture of his mind. For having begun with saying that “ there are two causes of all things, viz. mind, (nous,) of those things that are according to reason, and necessity, of those things that are acted upon like body. The former,” he says, “ was called God, being the origin of the best things.” He then says, that “all things are idea, matter and sensible things, their offspring." The former, viz. idea, he defines to be something unbegotten, immoveable and abiding, intelligible, and the pattern of things that are produced and changeable."'S
Afterwards, having said that matter is eternal, he says, “there are two opposite principles, idea, which may be compared to the male or the father, and matter, to a female or the mother; and the third,” he adds, " is the offspring of these,"|| meaning nature. This is in reality the whole of Plato's system, and delivered with greater clearness than he has done it himself; and we see that, in effect, it is the
Πριν ων ωρανον γενεσθαι, λογω ης ην ιδεα τε και υλα, και ο Θεος δημιεργος τω βελ
De Anima Mundi, in Gale's Opuscula Mythologica, p. 545. (P.) + Αγαθος ων ο Θεος, ορων τε ταν υλαν δεχομεναν ταν ιδεαν και αλλοιωμεναν, πανίοιως μεν, αλακίως δε, εδειτ' ες ταξιν αυλαν αγεν, και εξ αοριςων μεταβολαν, ες ωρισμεναν καλασασαι" ιν' ομολογοι ται διακρισεις των σωμαίων γιγνουνίο, και μη κατ' αυλομαίος τροπας δεχoιλο εποιησεν ων τον δε τον κοσμον εξ απασας τας υλας, δρον αυλον κατασκευαξας τας τω ονλος φυσιος, δια το πανία τ' αλλα εν αυτω περιεχεν, ένα, μονογενη, τελειον, εμψυχον τε και λογικον (κρεσσονα γαρ τα δε αψυχω και αλογω εσον) και σφαιροειδες σωμα. Ibid. (P.)
Η Δυο αιλιας ειμεν των συμπανίων: νοον μεν, των καλα λογον γιγνομενων αναγκαν δε, των βια κατίας δυναμεις των σωμαίων: τει δε, τον μεν, τας τ' αγαθω φυσιος ειμεν, Θεον τε ονυμαινεσθαι, αρχαν τε των αριςων. Ιbid. p. 544. (Ρ.)
5 Τα δε ξυμπανία, ιδεαν, υλαν, αισθητον τε, οιον εκγονον τελεων" και το μεν, ει μεν αγεναλoν τε και ακιναίον, και μενον τε, και τας, ταυτα φυσιος νοαλoν τε και παραδειγμα των γενωμενων, σκασα εν μεταβολα ενίι. Ιbid. (Ρ.) | Ταυλαν δε τας υλαν αιδιον μεν εφα.--Δυο ών αιδε αρχαι εναντιαι ενι αν το μεν
ειδος λογον εχει αρρενος τε και ταιρος" αδ' υλα, θηλεος τε και μαλερος τριλα δε ειμεν τα εκ
Ibid. p. 545, (Ρ.)
doctrine of one God, who made all things out of uncreated matter, from patterns of things existing in his own mind.
That Plato borrowed from Timæus we see in his copying his very phraseology. For he says that, “ the origin of the world is mixed, being produced from the conjunction of necessity and mind, nous.” *
we must distinguish two causes of things, the one necessary, the other divine.”+ Nothing could be more exactly copied.
He also say,
CHAPTER VII. &
A VIEW OF THE PRINCIPLES OF THE LATER
Those who are usually called the later Platonists, were those philosophers, chiefly of Alexandria, who, a little before and after the commencement of the Christian æra, adopted the general principles of Plato, but not without incorporating with them those of other philosophers, so that theirs was not an absolutely pure and unmixed Platonism. However, in their notions concerning God, and the general system of things, they aimed at this, pretending only to interpret the meaning of Plato, and to reason from his principles, though their refinements have only served to make the system more mysterious and absurd.
and Nature. We see, in the writings of these later Platonists, or may better conjecture from them, what was meant by the ideal or intelligible world, which makes so great a figure in this system, and which is sometimes confounded with nous or logos, the seat, receptacle, or place of this ideal world. But, in their writings, the term logos, of which so much account is made in the works of Philo, and the philosophizing Christians, does not much occur; though there can be no diffi
Μεμιγμενη γαρ ην η ταδε κοσμα γενεσις, εξ αναγκης τε και να συς ασεως εγενηθη. Timæus, Opera, p. 533, Ed. Gen. (P.)
Η Διο δη χρη δυο αιλιας ειδη διοριζεσθαι" το μεν, αναγκαιον" το δε, θειον. Ιbid. Þ. 542. (P.)
| Copied, with enlargements, from the author's paper, Theol. Rep. IV. p. 381.