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BOOK Spirit, or the vis plastica mundi ; so Chrysostom calls Lit évépyeta CWTIK, and so Drusius and P. Fagius explain

907 by motion or agitation. And herein we have likewise the consent of those forenamed excellent philosophers, who attribute the origin of particular things in

the world to this agitation or motion of the fluid matChalcid. in ter. For Chalcidius, speaking not only of Thales, PyTim. p. 378.

thagoras, Plato, but of Anaximenes, Heraclitus, and others, says thus of them, omnes igitur hiin motu positam rerum originem censuerunt: they all agreed in this, that the origin of things was to be ascribed to the motion of the parts of matter. So the Phænicians called this motion of the particles of matter αέρα ζοφώδη kai avevmatáồn, a dark and blustering wind. And how suitable this explication of the origin of things, from the motion of fluid matter, is to the history of nature, appears by those many experiments by which mixed bodies are shewed to spring from no other material principle than the particles of fluid' matter: of which

you may read a discourse of that ingenious and learned Boyle's gentleman, Mr. Boyle, in his Sceptical Chymist. Only Chymist, thus much may here suffice to have made it appear

that all those philosophers, who were most inquisitive after the ancient and genuine tradition of the world concerning the first beginning of things, did not only concur with Moses in the main thing, that its beginning was from God, but in the particular circumstances of it, as to the fluid matter and motion thereof, Concerning which I may yet add, if it be material, the testimony of Homer in Plutarch.

'Sxeavoû, őomEP YÉVEGIS TÓUTEGOI TÉTUXTA. lliad. č. v. 246. And in Chalcidius : Inque eadem sententia Homerus Odyss. é. Chalcid.' esse invenitur, cum Oceanum et Thetin dicat parentes p. 378. V. Meurs. Ce

esse genituræ ; cumque jusjurandum Deorum constiin Chal. tuat aquam, quam quidem ipse appellat Stygem, antip. 37.


p. 115,




c. 3.

quitati tribuens reverentiam, et jurejurando nihil con- CHAP. stituens reverentius. To which purpose likewise Ari-stotle speaks in his Metaphysics, that the reason why Metaphys. Styx was made the oath of the gods, was becaused. Para water was supposed to be the material principle of things; which he saith was αρχαία τις αύτη και παλαιά Tepi tñs dúoews ý 86&a, a most ancient tradition concerning the origin of the universe. And tells us before, that some were of opinion, tous tautadaíous, kai modò apó tñs vũv yevéoews kai zpátous Deodornoavtas, that the most ancient and remote persons, and first writers of theology, held this opinion of water being the first material principle of things.

Having thus made it appear what a consent there IV. was between the ancient tradition of the world, and the writings of Moses, concerning the origin of the world, I now come to consider upon what pretence of reason this tradition came to be contradicted, and the eternity of the world asserted. For which we are to consider, that the difference of the former philosophers of the Ionic sect, after the time of Thales, as to the material principle of the world, one substituting air, another fire, instead of water, rendered the tradition itself suspected among other philosophers, especially when the humour of innovating in philosophy was got among them; and they thought they did nothing unless they contradicted their masters: thence came that multiplicity of sects presently among them; and that philosophy, which at first went much on the original tradition of the world, was turned into disputes and altercations, which helped as much to the finding out of truth, as the fighting of two cocks on a dunghill doth to the finding out the jewel that lies there. For which, scraping and searching into the natures of things had been far more proper than contentions and


BOOK wranglings with each other; but by means of this liti

gious humour, philosophy, from being a design, grew to be a mere art; and he was accounted the best philosopher, not that searched further into the bowels of nature, but that dressed and tricked up the notions he had in the best posture of defence against all who came to oppose him. From hence those opinions were most plausible, not which were inost true, but which were most defensible, and which, like Des Cartes's second Element, had all the angles cut off, on which their adversaries might have an advantage of justling upon them; and then their opinions were accounted most pure, when they were so spherical as to pass up and down without interruption. From such a degeneracy of philosophy as this we have now mentioned, arose the opinion of the eternity of the world; for the certain tradition of the world being now lost in a crowd of philosophers, whose main aim was to set up for themselves, and not to trade with the common bank, so that there could be no certain and convictive evidence given to a shuffling philosopher that things were ever otherwise than they are; they found it most defensible to assert that the world never had a beginning, nor would have an end, but always did, and would continue in the state they were in. This opinion, though Aristotle seems to make all before him to be of another mind, yet was hatched, as far as we can find, at first under Pythagoras's successors, by Ocellus Lucanus, as appears by his book still extant, tepi tñs TOŨ martos púoews, of the nature of the universe ; to whom Aristotle hath not been a little beholden, as Ludov. Nogarola hath in part manifested in his notes on Ocellus; although Aristotle had not the ingenuity of Pliny, agnoscere per quos profecerit. From Aristotle this opinion, together with his name, spread it


self much further, and became the opinion most in chaP. vogue among the heathen philosophers, especially after the rise of Christianity; for then not only the Peripatetics, but the modern Platonists, Plotinus, Apuleius, Taurus, lamblichus, Alcinous, Proclus, and others, were all engaged in the defence of the eternity of the world, thinking thereby the better to overthrow Christianity. Hence came the hot and eager contests between Proclus, Simplicius, and Philoponus; who undertook to answer Proclus's eighteen arguments for the eternity of the world, and to charge Aristotle with self-contradiction in reference to it. But nothing were they more troubled about, than to reconcile the Timæus of Plato with the eternity of the world, which they made to be a mere hypothesis, and a kind of diagram to salve Providence withal; although the plain words of Plato, not only there, but elsewhere, do express, as far as we can judge by his way of writing, his real judgment to have been for the production of the world by God. For Plato. Suwhich purpose we have this observable testimony in 185. ed. his Sophista, where he divides all manner of produc- Fic. tions of things into divine and human, and opposes the opinion that conceived all things to be produced by an eternal power, to the opinion of the vulgar; which, saith he, was tņu púow avrà yevvậu åttó TIVOS airias aŭtoMátns kai äveu dlavoias puotons, that all things were produced by a blind force of nature, without any reason or counsel; to which he opposeth the other opinion, that they are made metà cóyou te ka flotýuns belas anò Becü yeryvojéuns, by a Divine power, with infinite reason and wisdom; and when Theatetus expresseth himself in an academical way as to either of these opinions, the Hospes Eleatensis, who there acts the part of the philosopher, tells him, if he thought he were inclinable to the other opinion, νύν αν τώ λόγω μετά πειθούς αναγκαίας

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BOOK ÉTeX EspoữLEV TOLETV óuo hoyeiv, he would undertake to make "._ him confess the contrary, by the evidence of reason

which he would bring. And we shall see what great reason there is for this opinion, when we consider what weak and infirm foundations the contrary is built upon. For all the arguments which either Ocellus, or Aristotle, or the modern Platonists make use of, are built on these following suppositions; which are all false. 1. That it is unconceivable that things should ever have been in any other state than they are. 2. That there is no other way of production but by generation. 3. That God is no free agent, but pro

duced the world by necessity of nature. V. 1. That it is unconceivable that things should ever

have been any otherwise than they are. The reason of which supposition was this: That the general conclusions of reason, which they proceed upon in philosophy, were taken up from the observation of things as they are at present in the world. Which is evident from the ground of Aristotle's condemning the opinion of Empedocles; who asserted the production of the world, and yet the incorruptibility of it: tò per ol ye

véolan mèv, aídcov do uws Elvar pával, tõv áduvátwy, which he Arist. de accounts impossible; and gives this as his reason, Móva Cuelo, 1. i. cap. Io. γαρ ταύτα θετέον ευλόγως, όσα επί πολλών ή πάντων δρώμεν

inápxouta. For, saith he, nothing else can be rationally asserted, but what we find to be in all things, or at least in most; now because there could nothing be found in the world which was produced, (i. e. by generation,) and yet was incorruptible, therefore he concludes it impossible it should be so with the universe. By which we evidently see what the grand principles of reason among the philosophers were; viz. such observations as they had made from the present course of nature in the order of the universe. From hence

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