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Id. de Fals.
one mind over the world; and that Aristotle and his chaP. followers were of the same mind with Antisthenes, that there was but one God in nature, and many po- Rel. I. v. pular gods. But was not Aristotle charged with im-Id. de Ira piety at Athens, and forced on that account to with-Bessarion c. draw to Chalcis, where he died, or, as some say, was poisoned? So Eumelus, and the anonymous author of his Life, published by Menagius. It cannot be denied that there was a prosecution against hinn by Eurymedon and Demophilus; but so there was against Anaxagoras and Socrates; but the pretence against Aristotle was not for impiety in his doctrine, but for a profane hymn, which he was said to have made on his friend Hermias; such as were wont to be made to Apollo. This Athenæus denies; and Aristotle sent an Athen.l. xv. apology for himself to Athens; but it was not received. ed. Lugd. The truth was, Aristotle found it was time for him to be gone, lest, as - he told his friends, that city should offend twice against philosophy: for, as he said in his Ælian. iii. letter to Antipater, he found the city abounded with - 36. sycophants; and he was fallen under Alexander's displeasure, on the account of Callisthenes his kinsman; and in a letter of his to Antipater he had said, he would be revenged on the sophister; and he publicly affronted him by the great present he sent to Xenocrates, and none to him: which was sufficient intimation to his enemies, which he never wanted, saith Aristocles, because of the interest he had in princes. And if Pliny's story be true (which Plutarch and Appian inti- Plin. N. H. mate too) as to Antipater's design, Alexander had cause for his displeasure. But Aristocles saith, That Euseb.
Præp. Ev. Apellicon (to whom his books came) wrote so full al. xv. c. 2. vindication of him, that those who read that, need no
But they are his principles which we inquire after, and not his practices. Alexander Aphrodisiensis,
1.xxx. c. 16. I.
BOOK who is thought to have understood Aristotle's mind as
well as any commentator, owns, that Aristotle, without
doubt, asserted, that there was one Eternal Mind Aphrodis. in Arist. Physic.
which gave the first motion to matter; and that thereby things were put into such an order, not by chance, but from the first Mover, so as to produce the variety of species in the world, and to make them useful to each other, and for the good of the whole; and such an universal Providence, he saith, Aristotle did hold. So much then is confessed by one who was thought his most judicious interpreter. But let us see whether Aristotle may not be reasonably presumed to go beyond
this : for, 1. he blamed Anaxagoras for making no more Metaphys. 1. i. c. 4.
use of his Eternal Mind, than merely to set things in
order at first. Then it follows, that, according to him, Ibid. l. xiv. God must be more than a mere first Mover. 2. He makes
this famous conclusion of his Metaphysics, that things are best governed by one head; which signified no
thing, if there be nó Providence. Clausulam hanc tam taphys. insignem amplector et laudo, said one of his most bit1. xiv. c. 10.
ter enemies, and it cannot be denied, that he there compares the government of the world with that of an army or family, wherein there are several ranks and
orders of men for different purposes; which must supAristot. Eth. pose a particular inspection and care. 3. He makes
the complete happiness of mankind to be Değóv ti, a di*vine thing; and must suppose Providence, as I shall now make it to appear. He affirms, that a man's complete happiness depends upon something divine in him, in the exercise whereof his happiness consists. And therefore he advises those that study to be happy anaBavariçevv, to draw themselves off from mortal things, and to live according to that which is the best thing in us, viz. our minds ; which although they do not so appear in bulk, yet in reality are far greater, and of
1. i. c. 10. ed. Par.
Ibid. 1. x.
more value than other things. By which he plainly CHAP. owns such a principle in mankind as is capable of a greater happiness than the things of this world can give him; because his mind is of a higher nature than they. But then the question arises, whether mankind can make themselves happy by this Divine principle within them? He grants in one place, that if there be any Aristot. Eth. gift from God, it is most reasonable it should be that l. i. c. 10. which is best for them; but he avoids the dispute there, because his business was to put men upon using their own endeavours to be happy: but in his last book, where he speaks of this divine happiness, he saith, 'O 8è κατά νούν ενεργών και τούτον θεραπεύων και διακείμενος άριστα, και θεοφιλέστατος έoικεν είναι ει γάρ τις επιμέλεια των ανθρωπίνων υπό Θεών γίνεται, ώσπερ δοκεϊ, και είη αν εύλογον χαίρειν τε αυτούς το αρίστω και συγγενεστάτω" τούτο δ' αν είη ο νούς, That he that acts according to his mind, and is dis-Eth. 1. x. posed to do the best things, is the most likely to be beloved of God: for if there be any care above of human affairs, as there seems to be, it is most reasonable to suppose that the gods love what is best and nearest to them; which is our mind. But doth he not seem to speak very doubtfully in this matter? It is observed by his Commentator, that his manner of expression is such as he uses when there is no manner of doubt. But we must take Aristotle as a philosopher, and consider on what grounds he went. He had no revelation to direct him, and so was to judge according to what he thought most reasonable; and this he declares he took to be so.
And in his following words he saith, Kai τους αγαπώντας μάλιστα τούτο και τιμώντας, άντευποιεϊν ως των φίλων αυτούς επιμελομένους και ορθώς τε και καλώς πράττοντας, That those who did most esteem and value their own minds, the gods did regard as their friends, and such as did the best actions. That word áVTEUTOLETV is
De Div. 1. i. 25.
BOOK very emphatical in this case; for it implies a retribu
tion of a reward for doing good. So that here we have the complacency which God takes in those that are good, and do good; and the reasonableness of expecting a recompense for it. Aristotle was no fool, but was
especially admired by very great men; particularly by Tusc. 1. i. Cicero, and Quintilian, and Pliny, for the greatness of Acad. 1. 1.4. his wit and subtlety : Aristoteles vir summo ingenio,
scientiæ copia. Singulari vir ingenio Aristoteles, et Plin. N.h: pane divino : and such a person would never have been 1. viii. 16, guilty of so great impertinency to set down such ex
pressions as these, if he had not thought them fit to be believed; but he would have set some mark upon them, that they were the opinions of other men, and not his own: and in this case he had more particular reason to have done it; for any one that compares these expres
sions with those in Plato, de Rep. would think that Rep. 1. X. Aristotle had taken them from thence. For Plato there p. 760. ed.
saith the same thing; That a good man is copians, one in favour with God; and whosoever is so, shall receive the best things from him. And we cannot suppose that he that designs to be good, and minds the practice of virtue, will be neglected above, when he makes it his business to be as like God as he can. And Plato, who was far from being uncertain as to Providence, makes use of the same kind of expression. Elkés γ έφη τον τοιούτον μη αμελείσθαι υπό του ομοίου. It is not probable that he should be neglected of one so like him. And Aristotle in the foregoing chapter saith, 'ER' őpor ομοίωμά τι της τοιαύτης ενεργείας υπάρχει, The gods are in a state of perpetual bliss, and mankind are capable of happiness, as they come nearer to a resemblance of them Can any expressions come nearer than these do? We find Aristotle, on other occasions, not very shy of expressing his dissent from Plato, even in these
Aristot. Ethic. l. x. c. 8.
books of morals. How warmly doth he dispute against CHAP. Plato's notion of ideas! He saith, there are three kinds
Aristot. of men pretend to happiness; the sensual and volup- Ethicot. i. tuous ; which, he saith, is the happiness of slaves and c. 3, 4. brutes : the busy and active men place it in honour ; which is not in their power. But besides these, there are those who place it in contemplation ; which is most agreeable to the most perfect faculty we have. But then he saith, Some friends of his had introduced ideas to this purpose ; however he was resolved to prefer truth before them. Here we see he sticks not at contradicting Plato, as to his ideas; but is so far from doing it in the present case, that he takes his very expressions as his own; which he would never have done, if he had not thought them agreeable to truth and rea
He did not like Plato's ideas, nor his poetical fictions about a future state; which made him more reserved in discoursing about it; but he was satisfied in these three things. 1. That the mind of man was capable of a real happiness distinct from the body. 2. That this happiness lies in a similitude to God, as the most perfect Being. 3. That it was reasonable to suppose God should make the best to be most happy. In his Great Morals, he declares it not to be cou-Id. Mag.
Mor. 1. i. 5. rage, but madness, not to be afraid of the gods. And if there be no Providence, what reason can there be for fear?
In the conclusion of his Eudemian Morals, he makes Id. Eudem. it the best end of a man to contemplate God; and said, that it argues a very ill mind to hinder his worship and service, and the best temper of mind to be little affected with sensual inclinations; and this, saith he, is the great end of virtue and goodness.
These are not the expressions of a man that despised
1. vii. c. 15.