Page images
PDF
EPUB

Agreeably to this, Plotinus says, that “ intelligible place is in God, and not God in it."

The soul, likewise, having the same superiority to the body that God has to the intelligible world, it follows, from the 'same principle, that the soul of the world is not contained in the world, but the world in its soul. Accordingly, Plotinus says, “ The soul is not in it, but it is in the soul; for the body is not the place for the soul, but the soul is in the nous.+ Pursuing the same idea, he would have said that the nous was in the good.

Again, as the soul of man bears the same relation to the body of man that the soul of the world bears to the world, Plotinus says, that “ Plato, giving a soul to the body, did well in saying that the body was in the soul.” He illustrates this by saying, in the same connexion, that it is more proper to say that “air is in light, than that light is in air.” From this specimen of the physics of Plato, some idea may be formed of his metaphysics ; for he is just as great in the one as he is in the other. If we may reduce to some general maxim all his observations concerning the place of things, we should perhaps say, that when two things, which have mutual action, exist together, that which is the more refined and the more excellent of the two, is to be considered as the container, and the other as the contained.

The word Trinity does not much occur in the writings of the Platonists, till we come to Proclus, who has a trinity of trinities, and pretends to find them all in Plato. I am far from being able to develope the ideas of Proclus on this subject, and shall only extract from him so much as may serve

to shew, that he did not mean a trinity of persons, but only of principles. “ Unity,"

he says. “ must precede the trinity.”g He speaks of a “Demiurgus, as placed before the trinity. “ All trinity is wholeness."." In every trinity there is an end, an infinite, and a mixed." **

Every thing divine is

* Ο δε νοητος τοπος εν αυτώ, αυτος δε υκ εν αλλο. Εn. vi. L. vii. C. xxxν. p. 727. (Ρ.)

+ Ψυχη δε 8κ εν εκεινω, αλλ' εκεινος εν αυτη εδε γαρ τοπος το σωμα τη ψυχη, αλλα fuxn Masy sy yo. Ibid. v. L. v. C. ix. p. 528. (P.)

1 “Ωςε ορθως εχειν και ενταύθα λεγειν, ως και αηρ εν τω φωτι, ήπερ το φως εν τω αερι. Διο και Πλατων καλως την ψυχην ενθεις εν τω σωματι επι σαντος, αλλα το σωμα εν τη yux?. Ibid. iv. L. iii. C. xxii. p. 388. (P.)

9 Δει δε αν προ της τριαδO», και προ παντός αληθες εν έκαςο διακοσμο την μοναδα προϋπαρχειν. Πασαι γαρ ταξεις θεων απο μοναδO» αρχονlαι. In Platonem, L. ν. Ε. χήν. p. 281. (P.)

| Και ο μεν εις δημιεργος προ της τριαδαντελαγμενου. Ιbid. L. vi. C. νί. p 856. (Ρ.) | Kas oules si HEV Guptada tpias daoins esir. Ibid. L. iii. C. xx. p. 166. (P.) ** Ex inasyap iso wepas, ateipov, poxlox. Ibid. L. iii. C. xiii. p. 142. (P.)

fair, wise, and powerful. This trinity belongs to all the gods “ For the three trinities themselves, declare mystically the unknown cause of the first, and altogether incommunicable God.”+ With respect to these different trinities, he says,

" the first trinity is called one being.” # He also speaks of the first trinity as establishing all things, the second as giving them motion, and the third as reducing things to their first principles. & But the whole is most obscurely expressed. «« The second trinity,” he says, « is called wholeness, perceived by the mind." NI « Its parts,” he says, « are the one, and the being, which are the extreme, and the middle power joins them, but does not perfectly unite them, as in the former trinity.”I “This second trinity," he says, “ is in the Timeus called αιων.»

.".. « After this,” he says, the third trinity advanced, in which all intelligible multitude appears, in which we also see wholeness, but consisting of many parts.” It

When my readers have perfectly understood these few passages relating to the Platonic trinities, let them proceed to what Proclus farther says of the Demiurgic trinily, ## and of the Demiurgic unity taken “ from the trinity of the governing fathers,” 88 and then he will be pretty well prepared for the study of the Christian Trinity. Iil

we see

* Λεγει τοινυν ο Σωκρατης ως αρα σαν εςι το θειον καλων, σoφoν, δυναίον, και την τριαδα ταυτην διηκειν επι πασας ενδεικνυλαι τας των θεων προοδες. In Platoner, L. i.C. xxi. p. 56. (Ρ.)

+ Και γαρ αι τρεις αυθαι τριαδες μυςικως επαγ/Γελλεσι της το πρωί ο Θει, και αμεθεκ/ πανθελως αγνωςον αιθια. Ιbid. L. iii. C. xiv. p. 143. (Ρ.) 1 Καλείθαι δ' Bν η πρωτη τριας, εν ον.

Ibid. L. iii. C. xx. p. 164. (Ρ.) 5. Επει και των ονlων ή μεν πρωτη τριας εδραζειν ελεγείο τα σανία, και προ των αλλων την δευθεραν τριαδα μενει γεν ο αιων εν αυλη σταθερως ή δε μεία ταυτην, προοδα, και κινησεως, και της κατ' ενεργειαν ζωης τους όλους χορηγος" ή δε τριτη, της επι το εν επιςροφης, και της τελειοληλος συνελισσεσης τα δευθερα σανία προς τας εαυλων αρχας. Ιbid. L. ιν. C. iii. p. 184. (Ρ.)

η Καλειθαι τοινυν ή δευτερα τριας, ολο7ης νοηλη μερη δε αυλης, το έν, και το ον, ακρα λεγω μεση δε η δυναμις όσα κανίουθα συναπίει, και θα ενοι (καθαπερ εν τη προ αυλης) το έν, και το ν. Ιbid. L. iii. C. xx. p. 165. (Ρ.)

& Ibid. (P.) ** Την γε μην δευθεραν μεία ταυλην εν Τιμαια μεν, αιωνα προσείρηκεν. Ιbid. p. 169. (Ρ.)

1 Μεία δε ταυλα, την τριαδα νοησωμεν εφεξης αλλην προιασαν, εν ή το νοησον πληθος εκφαιρείαι παν, ήν και αυτην, ολοληλα μεν, αλλ' εκ μερων πολλων υφιςησιν ο Παρμενιδης. Ibid. L, iii. C. ΧΧ. p. 166. (Ρ.)

11 Και ώσπερ ή τριας και δημιεργικη μελεχει της προς αυλον ένωσεως. Ιbid. L. vi. C. vii. p. 858. (Ρ.)

55 Οι μεν εν και δημιεργικη μονας, της τριαδος των ηγεμονικων παθερών εξηρημενη. Ιbid. C. viii. p. 359. (Ρ.)

!!! The whole of this Section is copied, with a few additions, from the Author's paper in Theol. Repos. 1784, ΙV. pp. 381-999, 102-104.

SECTION II.

blichus says,

Of the Doctrine of the Platonists concerning the Union of the

Soul with God, and general Observations. Having seen this strange confusion of ideas respecting the Divine nature, its operations and influences, we shall the less wonder at the mysticism of these Platonists with respect to the exaltation of the mind of man by a supposed union with the Divine nature, so as to be supported and nourished by it; for it was a maxim with them, that every thing is perfected and nourished by its proper cause, as Jam

“ The soul is perfected by the nous, and nature by the soul; and in like manner other things are nourished by their causes.” * One would think, however, that, admitting this principle, it might be sufficient to suppose every thing to be perfected by its proper and immediate cause; and, therefore, that the mind of man should be perfected by its union to the celestial gods, or at farthest to the divine nous, without having any communication with the highest principle of all, or the good; and, indeed, upon this idea Plotinus speaks of “ the soul being attached to the nous, and the nous to the good.+ Agreeably to this also, Jamblichus speaks of the soul as “ raised by Theurgy" (or certain magical operations) “ above all matter, and united to the eternal Logos."

But this was not sufficient for the souls of these philosophers which aspired higher than those of ordinary men. They thought that they might pass through the intelligible world, to the highest principle of all, and be united to the good itself. Thus Porphyry says concerning Plotinus, that s he was wakeful, and had a pure soul, always aspiring to the Deity, whom he entirely loved; that he did his utmost to deliver himself from the bitter waves of this cruel life, and that thus, as this divine person was raising himself in his thoughts to the first and supreme God, in the method described in the Banquet of Plato, this God, without forın or idea, and placed above the nous, and every thing intel

Ψυχη μεν γαρ απο να τελειείαι, φυσις δε, απο ψυχης τα τε αλλα οσαυλως απο των arlıw tpepelai. C. x. Sect. v. p. 126. (P.)

+ Ανηρημενης δε ψυχης εις νον, και να εις το αγαθον. Εν. vi. L. vii. C. xΧxii. p. 784. (P.)

Η Εκ7%, πασης ύλης αυλην ποιει, μονο το αίδιο Λογω συνενωμενην. Sect. x. C. vi. p. 177. (P.)

ligible appeared to him ; to which God," he adds, “I Porphyry, once approached, and was united, in the 68th year of my age.

The means by which this union with the Deity is effected, is explained by Proclus, as far as mere words can do it; but the meaniog is, I own, above my comprehension, “ The soul,” he says, “ entering into its own unity, beholds every thing, and God.”+ " Ăgain,” he says, “it is the faith of the gods that unites, in an unspeakable manner, all the kinds of gods, and demons, and happy souls to the good.I

Plotinus gives us a more particular account of this mysterious ascent of the soul to God in the following terms, from which some persons may possibly imagine, that they may derive some assistance in attaining to raptures of a similar nature. “ The knowledge, or contact of the good, he (Plato) says is the greatest thing, and the greatest discipline; not meaning that the intuition of the good itself is the discipline, but something to be learned by it. To this we are led by analogies, negations, the knowledge of external things, and certain gradations. For it must be preceded by purgations, prayers,” (supposed to be understood,) “ virtues and ornaments of the mind, the ascent to the intelligible world, fixing there, and laying hold of the things that are there. Whosoever becomes at the same time a spectator and a spectacle, of himself and other things, and becoming essence and nous, and the universal living thing, no longer sees any thing from without, but being himself that thing, that is the intelligible world, or part of it, he is near to it, and within one stage of it,” (that is, the good itself,) “then shining with every thing that is intelligible. Then laying aside all discipline, as the rudiments of a school, and being fixed in the beautiful, he knows whither he is advanced. And being borne thence by the nous itself, as by a wave, and carried aloft by it, as it were swelling, he gains the sudden intuition. Not seeing how, but the

* Ειρη/αι δ' ότι αγρυπνος, και καθαραν την ψυχην εχων, και αει σπευδων προς το Θειον ου δια πασης της ψυχης ηρα, ότι τε τσαντ' εποιει, απαλλαγηναι, πικρον κυμεξυπαλυξαι, τα αιμοβολα τεδε βια ουλως δε μαλιςα τελω τα δαιμονια φωλι πολλακις εναγονλι εαυθον εις τον πρωθον και επεκεινα Θεον ταις εννοιαις, και κατα τας εν τω συμποσιο εφηγημενας οδες τω Πλαιωνι, εφανη εκεινος ο μητε μορφηγμητε τινα ιδεαν εχων, υπερ δε νον, και σαν τον νοη7ον ιδρυμενος και δε και εγω ο Πορφυριος απαξ λεγω πλησιασαι και ενώθηναι, ετος αγων EENKOSOY TE KOL cyồocy. Plutini Vita, ad finem. (P.) + Εις εαυτην εισιaσαν την ψυχην, τα τε αλλα παντα κατοψεσθαι, και Θεον.

In Platonem, L. i. C. iii. p. 7. (P.)

1 Ως μεν το όλον ειπείν, των θεων πισις εςιν ή προς το αγαθον αρρητος ενιζεσα τα θεων γενη συμπαντα, και δαιμονων, και ψυχων τας ευδαιμονας. Ιbid. L. i. . . p. 61. (Ρ.) * Εσι μεν αγαθε ειτε γνωσις ειτε επαφη, μεγιςον, και μεγιςον φησι τελο ειναι μαθημα, ου το προς αυ7ο ιδειν μαθημα λεγων, αλλα περι αυτο μαθεις τι προτερον διδασκεσι μεν εν αναλογιαι τε και αφαιρεσεις, και γνωσεις των εξ αυτά, και αναβασμοι τινες πορεύεσι δε καθαρσεις προς αυτο και αρεται και κοσμησεις, και το νοητα επιβασεις, και απ' αυτο ίδρυσεις, και των εκει επιασεις» ός τις γενη/αι ομο θεαλης τε και θεαμα, αυλος αυτο και των αλλων, και γενομενος 8σια, και νες, και ζωον πανελες, μηκείεξωθεν αυλο βλεπου· τε7ο δε γενομενος, εγΓυς εςι, και το εφεξης εκεινο και πλησιον, αυτο ηδη επι σαντι τω νοητο επισιλέον ενθα δη εασας τις σαν μαθημα, και μεχρι τα παιδαγωγηθεις, και εν καλή ιδρυθεις, ενώ μεν εςι μεχρι τela νοει εξενεχθεις δε τω αυτή τη νε διον κυματι, και υψε υπ' αυτο διον οιδησανθος αρθεις εσειδεν εξαιφνης εκ ιδων όπως, αλλ' η θεα πλησασα φωλος τα ομμαία, ου δ' αυτα πεποιηκεν αλλο οραν, αλλ' αυτο το φως το όραμα ην. Plotini En. vi. L. vii. C. xxxvi. p. 727. (P.)

sight filling his eyes with light, he sees nothing but it, the light itself being the vision. •

As it may be supposed that the learned commentator of Plotinus, viz. Marsilius Ficinus, well understood this sublime part of Platonism, and may explain it better, I shall give his comment upon it. “ The ladder by which we ascend to the principle has seven steps. The first is, the purgation of the mind; the second, the knowledge of the divine works particularly provided; the third, the con. templation of the order by which the inferior works are gradually brought to the superior; the fourth, a certain proportionable comparison, bringing it from this order to that which is divine; the fifth, is negation, by which you separate all that you conceive from the principle; the sixth, is earnest prayer to God, that the Father of the intellectual world himself may truly make you the intellectual world, being virtually this world from the beginning; the seventh, that when you are become the intellectual world, being carried farther by the love of the good, you may be transformed from the intellectual state to the good, which is above intellect.”+

Jamblichus follows Plotinus, and agrees with him in his account of this mystical union of the soul to God. Considering how far the actions of the soul in these divine ecstasies are voluntary, he says, “ This divine irradiation, which comes by prayers, shines and operates voluntarily, and is far from any thing of violence. But, by a divine energy and perfection, as much excels all voluntary motion,

† “ Scala per quam ascenditur ad principium, septem gradus habet: primus est purgatio animi: secundus, cognitio operum divinorum singulatim comparata : tertius, contemplatio ordinis quo opera inferiora reducuntur ad superiora gradatim: quartus, comparatio quædam proportionalis ex ordine hujusmodi ad divinum ordinem sese conferens : quintus, negatio per quam cuncta quæ concipis separes à principio: sextus, supplex ad Deum oratio, ut ipse intellectualis mundi pater te reddat mundum intellectualem actu: ens enim potentia mundus hic ab initio : septimus, ut quum ipse intellectualis mundus evaseris, ulterius amore boni concitus, ex statu intellectuali transformeris in bonum superius intellectu." Plotini En, vi. L. vii. p. 727. (P.)

« PreviousContinue »