Of Philosophy, and how a Philosopher must be qualified
Such a Summary as this may be given of the Doctrine of Plato. Philosophy is the desire of Wisdom, or solution of the soul from the body, and a conversion to those things, which are true and perceptible by Intellect. Wisdom, is the Science of things Divine and Humane. A Philosopher is he who takes denomination from Philosophy, as a Musician from Musick. He who is to be a Philosopher, must be thus qualified; First, he must have a naturall capacity of all such Learning as is able to fit and bring him to the knowledge of that essence which is perceptible by Intellect, not of that which is in continual fluxion or mutation. Then he must have a naturall affection to Truth, and an aversion from receiving falshood, and besides this, temperate in a manner by Nature; for those parts which use to be transported with passions, he must have reduced to obedience by Nature. For whosoever hath once embraced those disciplines which are conversant in consideration of such things as truly exist, and hath addicted all his study thereunto, little valueth corporeall pleasure. Moreover a Philosopher must have a liberall mind, for the estimation of mean things is contrary to a man who intended to contemplate the truth of things. Likewise he must naturally love Justice, for he must be studious of Truth, Temperance and Liberality. He must also have an acute apprehension, and a good memory, for these inform a Philosopher, those gifts of Nature, if improved by Discipline and Education, make a man perfect in Virtue, but neglected are the cause of the worst ills. These Plato useth to call by the same names with the Virtues, Temperance, Fortitude and Iustice.
That Contemplation is to be preferred before Action
Whereas Life is twofold, Contemplative and Active, the chief Office of the Contemplative consisteth in the knowledge of truth, as of the Active, in the practice of those things which are dictated by Reason. Hence the Contemplative life is first, after which as necessary followeth the Active. That it is so, may easily be proved thus. Contemplation is an Office of the intellect in the understanding of Intelligibles: Action is an operation of the rationall Soul, performed by meditation and service of the body. For the Soul, when it contemplateth the Divinity and the notions thereof, is said to be best affected. This affection is called , Wisdom, which is nothing else but an assimilation to the Deity. This therefore ought to be esteemed the first and principall, as being most expetible and proper to man; for there are no impediments that can hinder it from being within our power, and it is cause of our proposed end. But Active life, and the practise thereof, chiefly making use of the mediation of the body, are many times obstructed; Wherefore those things which the Contemplative life considers in order to the reformation of the manners of men, a Philosopher, as often as necessity requireth, shall transferr to Action. Then shall a good man apply himselfe to the administration of Civill Affairs, when he seeth them ill managed by others. He must look upon the leading of an Army, administration of Justice and Embassies, as things necessary. The institution of Laws, ordering the Common-wealth, the compressure of Seditions, education of youth in Discipline, are the chiefest, and, among those things which relate to Action, of greatest consequence. Hence is it manifest, that a Philosopher must not onely be perseverant in Contemplation, but also cherish and increase it, sometimes giving himself to Action as an attendant upon Contemplation.
The three parts of Philosophy
The study of a Philosopher seemeth according to Plato to be conversant chiefly in three things, in the Contemplation and knowledge of things, in the Practice of Virtue, and in Disputation. The Science of things that are, is called Theoretick, of those which pertain to Action, Practick; the disputative part, Dialectick. Dialectick is divided into Division, Definition, Induction and Syllogisme; Syllogisme into the Apodeictick, which concerneth necessary ratiocination; and Rhetoricall, which concerneth Enthymeme, called an imperfect ratiocination; and lastly into Sophismes. This the Philosopher must look upon, not as the chiefest but a necessary part. Of Practick Philosophy, one part is conversant about Manners, another orders Families, the last takes care of a Commonwealth. The first called Ethick, the second, Oeconomick, the third, Politick. Of Theoretick Philosophy, one part enquires into things immutable and divine, and the first causes of things; this is called Theologie; another the motion of the stars, the revolution and restitution of Celestial Bodies, and the constitution of the world. This is called Physick. That whereby we enquire Geometrically, and those other disciplines which are called , is termed Mathematick. Philosophy being thus divided, wee must first according to Plato speak of the Dialectick part, and in that, first of the Iudiciarie.
Of the Iudiciary part. Whereas there is somthing that judgeth, somthing which is judged, it is necessary also that there be somthing which is made of both these, properly called Iudgement. This Judgement may not unfitly be termed Judiciary, but more commonly that which judgeth. This is twofold; one, from which; another by which judgement is made. That is intellect; this the naturall Organ accommodated for judgement; primarily of true things; secondarily of false; neither is it any thing but naturall reason. To explain this more fully, of things which are, a Philosopher who judgeth the things themselves, may be called a Iudge; reason likewise is a Iudge, by which truth is judged, which even now we called an Organ. Reason is twofold, one incomprehensible and true; the other is never deceived in the knowledge of those things which are. The first is in the power of God, not of man, the second in that of man also. This likewise is twofold, the first Science, and scientifick reason; the second Opinion. The first hath certitude, and stability, as being conversant in things certain and stable. The second, similitude of truth and opinion, as being conversant in things subject to mutation. Of science in Intelligibles, and opinion in sensibles, the principles are Intellection and Sense. Sense is a passion of the soul by the mediation of the body, first, declaring a passive faculty; When through the Organs of sense, the species of things are impress’d in the soul, so, as they are not defac’d by time, but remain firm and lasting, the conservation thereof is called Memory. Opinion is the conjunction of memory and sense; for, when some object occurreth, which can first move the sense, thereby sense is effected in us, and by sense memory. Then again is the same thing objected to our sense, we joyne the precedent with the consequent sense, and now say within our selves, Socrates, a Horse, Fire, and the like: This is termed opinion, when we joyne the precedent memory with the late sense; when these agree within themselves, it is a true opinion, if they disagree, a false; for, if a man, having the species of Socrates in his memory, meet with Plato, and think, by reason of some likenesse betwixt them, he hath met Socrates again, and afterwards joyne the sense of Plato, which he took, as it were, from Socrates, with the memory which he preserved of Socrates, there will arise a false opinion. That wherein sense and memory are formed, Plato compareth to a tablet of wax, but when the soul by cogitation reforming these things, which are conceived in opinion by memory and sense, sooketh upon these as things from which the other are derived: Plato sometimes calleth this a picture and phantasie. Cogitation he calleth the soules discourse within her selfe: Speech, that which loweth from the Cogitation through the mouth by voice. Intellection is an operation of the Intellect, contemplating first Intelligibles. It is two-fold, one of the soul, beholding Intelligibles before she cometh into the body; the other of the same, after she is immers’d in the body: The first is properly called Intellection; the other, whilst she is in the body, is termed naturall knowledge, which is nothing but an intellection of the soul consined to the body. When we say, Intellection is the principle of Science, we mean not this latter, but the other, which is competible to the soul in her separate state, and, as we said, is then called Intellection, now naturall Knowledge. The same Plato termeth simple Knowledge, the wing of the soul; sometimes Reminiscence. Of these simple Sciences consisteth Reason, which is born with us, the efficient of naturall Science; and as reason is two-fold, Scientifick, and opinionative, so Intellection and Sense. It is likewise necessary that they have their objects, which are Intelligibles and Sensibles: And for asmuch as of Intelligibles, some are Primary, as Idaeas, others Secondary, as the Species, that are in matter, and cannot be separated from it. Intellection likewise, must be two-fold, one of Primaries, the other of Scondaries. Again, forasmuch as in Sensibles, some are Primary, as qualities, colour, whitenesse, others by accident, as white coloured, and that which is concrete, as fire: in the same manner is Sense, first, of Primaries, second, of Secondaries. Intellection judgeth primary Intelligibles, not without Scientifick knowledge, by a certain comprehension without discourse. Secondaries the same scientifick reason judgeth, but not without Intellection. Sensibles, as well Primary as Secondary sense, judgeth, but not without opinionative reason. That which is concrete, the same reason judgeth, but not without sense. And since the Intelligible world is the Primary Intelligible, the sensible something concrete, the first Intellection judgeth with reason, that is, not without reason: The other opinionative reason not without sense, whereas there is both contemplation and action; right reason discerneth not in the same manner those which are subject to contemplation, and those which are subject to action: In contemplation it considereth what is true, what false; in things that belong to action, what is proper, what improper, what that is which is done. For, having an innate knowledge of that which is good and honest, by using reason, and applying it to those naturall notions, as to certain rules, we judge whether every thing be good or bad. .
The Elements and Office of Dialectick
Of Dialectick, the first and chiefest Element according to Plato, is, first, to consider the essence of every thing; next, the accidents thereof. What a thing is, it considers, either from its superiors, by division and definition, or contrariwise by Analysis. Accidents which adhere to substances, are considered, either from those things which are contained by induction, or from those which do contain by Syllogisme. Hence the parts of Dialectick are these, Division, Definition, Analysis, Induction, Syllogisme. Of Divisions, one is a distribution of the Genus into Species, and of the whole into parts; as when we divide the Soule into the rationall part, and the irrationall; and the latter, into the concupiscible and the irascible. Another is of a world into divers significations, when the same may be taken severall waies. A third of accidents, according to their subjects; as when we say of good, some belong to the soul, some to the body, some are externall. The fourth of subjects, according to their accidents; as of men, some are good, some ill, some indifferent. Division of the Genus into its Species, is first to be used, when we examine the essence of a thing, this cannot be done but by definitions. Definition is made by Division in this manner, we must take the Genus of the thing to be defined, as that of man, living creature; that we must divide by the next differences, descending to its species, as rationall, and irrationall, mortall, and immortall. Thus by adding the first difference to the Genus, is made the definition of man. Of Analysis there are three kinds, one by which we ascend from Sensibles to primary Intelligibles, another whereby we ascend by demonstrates and subdemonstrates, to indemonstrable immediate propositions. The last, which from supposition proceedeth to those principles which are taken without supposition. The first kind is thus, as if from that Beauty which is in the body, we should proceed to that of the minde, from that to another conversant in the offices of life, thence to that of Lawes, and so at last to the vast ocean of Beauty, that by these steps, as it were, we may arrive at the sight of the supream Beauty. The second kind of Analysis is thus; We must suppose that which we seek, and consider those which are precedent, demonstrating them by progression, from inferiours to superiours, untill we arrive at that which is first and generally granted: From which, beginning anew, we return synthetically to that which was sought. As for example, I enquire whether the Soul be immortall, and supposing it to be so, I enquire whether it be alwaies moved. This being demonstrated, I again enquire, whether that which is alwaies moved, is moved by its selfe, which being again demonstrated, we examine, whether that which is moved by its selfe, be the principall of motion. Lastly, whether a principall is ingenerate; this, as most certain, is admitted by all. That which is ingenerate, is also incorruptible; whence, as from a thing most certain, we collect this demonstration. If a Principle be ingenerate and incorruptible, that which is moved by its selfe is the principle of motion; but the soul is moved by its selfe, therefore the soul is incorruptible, ingenerate, and immortall. The third kind of Analysis upon supposition is this; He who enquireth after a thing, first, supposeth that thing, then observes what will follow upon that supposition. If a reason for the supposition be required, assuming another supposition, he enquireth, whether that which was first supposed, follow again upon another supposition: This he alwaies observeth; untill he come at last to that principle, which is not taken upon supposition. Induction is every method by reason, which proceedeth either from like to like, or from Singulars to Universalls: It is of great efficacy to excite naturall notions.
Of Propositions and Argumentations
Of that speech which we call a Proposition, there are two kinds, Affirmation and Negation; Affirmation, as Socrates walketh; Negation, as Socrates walketh not. Of Affirmative and Negative Propositions, some are Universall, others Particular: A particular affirmative is thus, Some pleasure is good; a particular negative is, some pleasure is not good. An universall affirmative, all dishonest things are ill; an universall negative, no dishonest thing is good. Of Propositions, some are Categoricall, some Hypotheticall: the Categoricall are simple, as every just thing is good: Hypotheticall import consequence or repugnance. Syllogismes are used by Plato, either to consute or demonstrate; to consute, what is false by interrogation, to demonstrate, what is true by declaration. Syllogism is a speech, wherein somethings being laid down, another thing besides those which are laid down, is necessarily inferred from them. Of Syllogismes some are Categoricall, some Hypotheticall, some Mixt: Categoricall are those whose sumptions and conclusions are simple propositions. Hypotheticall are those which consist of Hypotheticall Propositions: Mixt, which conclude both. Plato useth demonstrative arguments in those Dialogues, wherein he explaineth his own doctrine; Probable against Sophists and young men; Latigious against those who are properly called Eristick, as Eutydemus and Hippias. Of Categoricall Syllogismes there are three figures; the first is, that wherein the common extream is first the praedicate, then the subject. The second, when the common extream is praedicate in both: the third, wherein the common extream is subject in both. Extreams are the parts of a Proposition, as in this, A man is a living creature, man and living creature are the extreams. Plato often argueth in the first, second, and third figures; in the first, as in Alcibiade; Just things are honest, Honest things are good, Therefore just things are good. In the second, as in Parmenide; as, That which hath no parts is neither straight nor crooked, But whatsoever hath figure is either straight or crooked, Therefore, whatsoever hath not parts, hath not figure. In the third thus, in the same book, Whatsoever hath figure is qualitative, Whatsoever hath figure is finite, Therefore whatsoever is qualitative is finite. Likewise by Hypotheticall Syllogisme Plato often disputeth, chiefly in Parmenide thus, If one hath not parts, it hath neither beginning, end, nor middle, but if it have neither beginning, end, nor middle, it hath no bound, and if no bound, no figure, Therefore if one hath no parts, it hath no figure. In the Second Hypotheticall figure, ordinarily called the third, wherein the common extream is subject in both, he argueth thus, If one hath not parts, it is neither straight nor crooked, If it hath a figure, it is either straight or crooked, Therefore if it hath no parts, it hath no figure. In the Third figure by some called the second, wherein the common extream twice precedes the other two, he thus argues, in Phaedone, If having the Knowledge of Equality we forget it not, we know, but if we forget it, we have recourse to Reminiscence, &c. Mixt Syllogismes which conclude by consequence, he useth thus;If one is whole and finite, that is, having beginning, middle and end; it hath figure also; But the Antecedent is true, Therefore the Consequent. Of those also which overthrow by consequence, the differences may be gathered out of Plato. Thus when a man hath diligently understood the faculties of the mind, the various differences of men, the severall kinds of reasoning which may be accommodated to this or that, and to what persons such and such reasons are to be used, he, meeting with an opportunity suiting with his purpose, will become a perfect Orator. The reasons of Sophismes and captious arguments are, if we observe narrowly, expressed by Plato in Euthydemo, for there is declared which are in words, which in things, and how they are to be solved. The ten Praedicaments are touched by Plato in Parmenide, and in his other Dialogues; the place of Etymologies is fully set down in Cratylo. To conclude, hee was singularly admirable for division and definition, wherein the greatest force of Dialectick consisteth. The Summe of that which he faith in Cratylo, is this; Hee enquireth whether Names are by the power and reason of Nature, or by imposition. He concludeth that the rectitude of names is by a certain imposition, not temerarious or casuall, but seeming to follow the nature of the things themselves; for rectitude of names is nothing but an imposition consonant to the nature of the thing: Hence every imposition of names is not sufficient for rectitude, neither the nature nor first found of the voice, but that which is composed of both; so as every name is conveniently and properly applyed to the thing. For any name applyed to any thing will not signifie rightly, as if wee should impose the name of horse upon man. To speak is a kind of Action; Not he that speaketh any way speaketh rightly, but he who speaketh so as the nature of the thing requireth. And for as much as expression of names is a part of speaking, as Noun is a part of Speech, to name rightly, or not rightly, cannot be done by any imposition of names, but by a naturall affinity of the name with the thing it self. So that he is a right imposer of names, who can expresse the Nature of the things in their names; for a name is an Instrument of the thing, not every inconsiderate name, but that which agreeth with its nature. By this benefit we communicate things to one another, whence it followeth, that it is nothing else but an instrument accommodated to the teaching and discerning of a thing, as a weavers shuttle to his Webbe. It belongeth therefore to a Dialectick to use names aright; for as a Weaver useth a shuttle rightly, knowing the proper use thereof after it hath been made by the Carpenter; so the Dialectick rightly useth that name which another hath made. And as to make a Helm, is the effice of a Shipwright, but to use it rightly of a Pilot; so he who frameth names, shall impose them rightly, if he do it as if a Dialectick were present, who understandeth the nature of those things which are signified by the names. Thus much for Dialectick.
Of Theoretick Philosophy
We come next to Theoretick Philosophy, whereof one part is Theologick, another Physick, a third Metaphysick. The end of Theologie is the knowledge of primary Causes: Of Physick, to understand the nature of the Universe, what kinde of creature man is, what place he holdeth in the world, whether there be a divine Providence over all things, to which there are other Gods subordinate, how men are in respect of them. The end of Mathematick is, to know the nature of a superficies and a solid, and to consider the motion and revolution of celestiall bodies, the contemplation whereof must first be proposed in briefe. Thus Plato useth to confirm the acutenesse of the minde, for it sharpeneth the understanding, and rendreth it more ready towards the contemplation of divine things. That which considereth Numbers, being likewise a part of Mathematicks, conferreth not a little to the understanding of things that are; It frees us from the errour and ignorance which attend sensible things, and conduceth to the right knowledge of the essence of things: It likewise renders a man expert in military affairs, especially towards the ordering of an Army by the science of Tacticks. Geometry also conferteth much towards the understanding of good it selfe, if a man pursue it not only for mechanicall dimension, but that he may by the helps thereof ascend to things which are not, busying himselfe about those which are in continuall generation and motion. Stereometry likewise is exceeding usefull, for after the second accretion followeth this contemplation, which holdeth the third room. Astronomy also is usefull as a fourth discipline, whereby we consider the motions of Heaven and the Starres, and the author of night and day, months and years. Thus by a familiar kinde of way, finding out him who made all these, and by these disciplines, as from certain rudiments or elements proceeding to things more sublime. Likewise Musick is to be learnt, which relateth to hearing; for, as the eyes are created for Astronomy, so are the ears for Harmony: and as when we apply our selves to Astronomy, we are led from visible things, to the divine invisible ffence; so when we receive the Harmony of voice in at our ears, from audible things, we ascend by degrees to those which are perceived by Intellect, unlesse we pursue Mathematicall disciplines to this end, the contemplation thereof will be imperfect, unprofitable, and of no value. We must therefore presently proceed from those things which are perceived by the eyes and ears, to those which reason only discerneth; for, Mathematick is only a preface to divine things. They who addict themselves to Arithmetick and Geometry, desire to arrive at the knowledge of that which is, which knowledge they obtain no otherwise then as by a dream, but really they cannot attain it, because they know not the principles themselves, nor those things which are compounded of the principles: neverthelesse, they conduce to those things which we mentioned; wherefore Plato will not have such disciplines to be called Sciences. Dialectick method proceeds in such manner, that by Geometricall Hypotheses, it ascendeth to first principles, which are not taken upon Hypotheses. For this reason he calleth Dialectick a Science; but, Mathematick, neither opinion, because it is more perspicuous then sensible things; nor a Science, because it is more obscure then first Intelligibles: But, the opinion of Bodies, the science of Primaries, the contemplation of Mathematicks. He likewise asserteth Faith and Imagination: Faith, of things subject to sense; Imagination of Images and Species. Because Dialectick is more efficacious then Mathematick, as being conversant about divine eternall things, therefore it is put before all Mathematicks, as a wall and fortification of the rest.
Of first matter
We must next give a brief account of Principles, and those things which belong to Theologie, beginning at the first, and from thence descending to the creation of the world, and contemplation thereof, whereby at last we come to the creation and nature of man. To begin with matter; this he calleth the receptacle, nurse, mother, place, and subject of all Images, affirming that it is touched without sense, and comprehended by an adulterate kinde of reason. The property thereof is to undergo the generation of all things, and to cherish them like a Nurse, and to admit all formes, being of her own nature expert of all form, quality, and specie: These things are imprinted and formed in her as in a Table, and she admitteth their figures, not having of her selfe any figure or qualitie. For, she could not be fit to receive the impressions of severall forms, unlesse she were wholly void of all quality, and of those formes which she is about to receive. They who make sweet Unguents of Oyle, make choice of that oyle which hath the least sent; they who would imprint any figures in wax, first smooth and polish the matter, defacing all former figures. It is requisite that matter capable of all things, if it must receive all formes, must not have the nature of any one of them, but must be subjected to all formes, without any qualitie or figure; and being such, it is neither a body nor incorporeall, but a body potentially, as Brasse is potentially a Statue, because then it becomes a Statue, when it puts on the form thereof.
Whereas matter is a Principle, Plato likewise introduceth other principles besides matter. One as an exemplar, Idaeas; another Paternall, God, the Father and Author of all things. Idaea, as to God, is the notion of God, as to us, the primary Intelligible, as to matter, a manner, as to this sensible world an Exemplar, as to it selfe, Essence. For whatsoever is made with understanding, must necessarily be referred to something, as if something be made from another, as my picture from me, the exemplar thereof must be presupposed, and if there be nothing eternall, every Artist conceiveth it first within himselfe, then transferreth the formes thereof into matter. They define Idaea an eternall exemplar of things which are according to Nature; for, the greater part of Platonists will not allow an Idaea to be of things that are made by Art, as of a Shield, or Lute, nor of things which are praeternaturall, as of a Feavour, or unnaturall Choler; nor of singulars, as of Socrates or Plato; nor of vile abject things, as of silth or strawes; nor of relatives, as of greater and longer: For Idaeas are the eternall notions of God, perfect in themselves. That there are Idaeas, they prove thus: Whether God be Intellect or something Intelligent, he must have his Intelligibles, and those eternall and immovable; if so, there are Idaeas. For, if matter it selfe be in it selfe void of measure, it is necessary that it receive measure from some superiour, that is wholly remote from matter: But the Antecedent is true, therefore the consequent; and if so, there are Idaeas, certain measures void of matter. Again, if the world were not made by chance, it must only be made of something, but by something, and not only so, but after the likenesse of something; but, that after whose likenesse it was made, what is it but an Idaea? whence it followeth, that there are Ideas. Again, if intellect differ from true opinion, that which is intelligible differeth from that which is opinionable; and if so, there are intelligibles distinct from opinionables, wherefore there are first Intelligibles, as well as first Sensibles, whence we conclude there are Idaeas.
We come next to speak of the third principle, which Plato, though he think it almost ineffable, conceiveth may bee express’d in this manner. If there are intelligibles, and those neither sensibles, nor coherent with sensibles; but adherent to first Intelligibles, then are there first simple Intelligibles, as there are first sensibles; the Antecedent is true, therefore the consequent. But men subject to perturbation of sence, when they would contemplate somthing intelligible, presently fall upon the thought of somthing sensible, whereby at the same time they imagine magnitude, or figure, or colour, and therefore cannot understand this sincerely: But the Gods being void of corporeall mixtion understand purely and sincerely. Now because the Intellect is better then the Soul, and that Intellect which is alwaies in act, and at once understandeth all things, is better then that Intellect which is in power, and of these, that is most excellent which is the cause ef the other, and superiour to all; This can be nothing else but God, whom we call the first, as being the Cause that the Intellect of the Word alwaies acteth. He, being himself immoveable, acteth upon the Intellect of the World, as the Sun upon the Eye, when it turn eth towards him. And as that which is desired moveth the Appetite it self remaining immoveable; so doth this Intellect move the Intellect of all Heaven. Now this first Intellect being most fair, must have the most fair Intelligible; but nothing is fairer then it self, therefore it alwaies understandeth it self, and its own notions, which Act is called Operation. Moreover, God is first, eternall ineffable, perfect in himself; that is, needing none, and ever perfect, that is, absolute in all times, and every way perfect, that is, absolute in every part, Divinity, Essence, Truth, Harmony, good. Neither do we so name these, to distinguish one from the other, but rather by them all to understand one. He is said to be Good, because he bestoweth his benefits upon all according to their severall capacities, and so is the cause of all goods. Fair, because he is in his essence both more and equall. Truth because, he is the principle of all truth, as the Sun of all light. And Father, as being cause of all things, and adorning the mind of Heaven and Soule of the World after his own exemplar and notions. For according to his own will hee filled all things with himself, exciting the Soul of the World, and converting it to himself, for hee is cause of that Intellect, which being adorned by the Father, adorneth also the Nature of all this World. He is likewise ineffable, and as we said, can only be perceived by the mind, for he is neither genus nor species, nor difference, neither can any accident be applyed to him. He is not ill, for that it were impiety to affirm; nor good, for so he should be termed if he were meanly or highly participant of goodnesse. Nor difference, for that cannot be made according to the notion of him, nor qualited, for he is not made that which he is by quality, nor perfected thereby. Nor void of quality, for he is not deprived of any quality that appertaineth to him. Nor part of any thing, nor as a whole constituted of parts; nor as the same or divers, for nothing can happen to him whereby he may be distinguished from others; Neither doth he move, or is he moved. Hence the first apprehension of him is by abstraction from these things, as wee understand a point by abstraction from sensibles, considering first a superficies: then a line, then a point. The second is by Analogie in this manner. As the Sun is to sight and visible things, himself not being sight, yet affording the one to see the other to be seen, so is the first Intellect to that Intellect, which is in our Soule, and to those things which it understandeth. For, it self is not the Intellect, yet it perfecteth in these the Act of Intellection; to those it affordeth that they are understood, enlightning that truth which is in them. The third way to understand him is thus: when a man beholdeth that Beauty which is in Bodies, hee proceedeth to that which is in the Soul, then to that which is in Offices and Lawes: Lastly, to the vast Ocean of Beauty, after which, he considereth that which is good it self, amiable it self, expetible it self, which shineth like a light, and meeteth the Soul, that which ascends unto it by these degrees. By this he comprehendeth God himself through reason of that excellence, which consisteth in adoration of him. He considereth God void of parts, for nothing was before him a part, and that of which something consisteth is precedent to that whereof it is a part, for a superficies is before a body, and a line before a superficies. Moreover God not having many parts, can neither be locally moved, nor altered by qualities. For if hee be altered, it must be done by himself, or some other; if by some other, that other must be of greater power then he; if by himself, it must be either to better or to worse, both which are absurd. From all these it followeth that God is incorporeal, which may likewise be proved thus. If God were a body, he should consist of matter and form; for every body consisteth of matter, and its form joynes to that matter, which is made like unto the Idaea’s, ad in an ineffable manner participant of them; But that should consist of matter and form is absurd; for then he could not bee either simple or a Principle; therefore he is incorporeall. Again, if he be a body, he consisteth of matter, and consequently is either fire or air, or earth, or water, or somthing made out of these; but none of these is principle by it selfe; besides, he must then bee later then matter, as consisting of it, which being absurd, it is necessary that God be incorporeall. Moreover, if he were a body, it would follow that he must be generable, corruptible, mutable, which to affirm of God were intollerable.
That Qualities are incorporeall, may be proved thus: every body is a Subject, quality is not a Subject but an accident, therefore quality is not a body. Again, no body is in a subject; every quality is in a Subject, therefore quality is not a body. Again, quality is contrary to quality, but no body as no body is contrary to a body; therefore qualities are not bodies. To omit, that it is most agreeable to reason, that as matter is void of quality, so quality should be void of matter, aud if quality be void of matter, it must likewise be void of corporeity, for if qualities were bodies, two or three bodies might be together in the same place, which is absurd. Qualities being incorporeal, the maker of them must be incorporeall also; moreover there can be no efficients, but in corporeals, for bodies naturally suffer and are in mutation, not continuing alwaies in manner nor persevering in the same state. For whensoever they seem to effect any thing, we shall find that they suffer it long before. Whence as there is something which wholly suffereth, so must there bee somthing which wholly acteth; but such only is incorporeall. Thus much concerning principles as far they relate to Theology; we proceed next to Physicall contemplations.
Of the Causes, Generation, Elements, and Order of the World
Forasmuch as of sensible and singular things there must of necessity be some examplars, viz. Idea’s, of which are Sciences and Definitions (for besides all particular men, we conceive a man in our mind, and besides all particular horses a horse, and likewise besides all living creatures a living creature immortall and unbegotten: as from one seale are made many prints, and of one man there may be many Pictures, of all which, the Idaea it self is cause that they are such as it self is) it is necessary that this Universe, the fairest Fabrick of Gods making, be so made by God, that in the making thereof, he look’d upon an Idaea as its exemplar, whilst by a wonderfull providence and most excellent design God applyed himselfe to the building of this frame, because he was good. God therefore made it of all matter, which being before the generation of Heaven, disorderly scattered; he from a deformed confusion reduced to beautifull order, and adorned every way the parts thereof with sit numbers and figures, untill at last he so distinguish’d them as now they are, Fire and Earth to Air and Water, of which there were then only the footsteps, and a certain aptitude to admit the power of Elements, and so without any reason or order, they justled matter, and were justled again by matter. Thus God framed the World of four entire Elements, of whole Fire and Earth, Water and Air, omitting no power or part of any of them. For he saith, it must be corporeall and generated, and subject to touch and sight; but without Fire and Earth nothing can be touched or seen; Wherefore justly he framed it of Fire and Earth, and because it was requisite, there should be some chain to unite these, there is a Divine chain, which according to the proportion of reason maketh one of it self, and those things which are united to it, and the World could not be plain (for then one medium would have served) but sphaericall, therefore there was need of two mediums to the constitution thereof. Betwixt Fire and Earth by the prescription of this reason is interposed Air and Water, that as Fire is to Air, so is Air to Water, and as Air is to Water, so is Water to Earth; and again, as Earth is to Water, so is Water to Air, and as Water is to Air, so is Air to Fire. There being nothing remaining beyond the World, God made the World one, conformable to this Idaea, which is one. He likewise made it such, as that is uncapable of sicknesse or age. For, besides that nothing can befall it whereby it may be corrupted, it is so sufficient to it self, that it hath not need of any exteriour thing. He bestowed upon it a Sphaericall figure, as being the fairest, the most capacious and aptest to motion, and because it needeth not hearing or sight, or the rest of the senses, he gave it not any Organs of sense. He denied all kinds of motion to be competible to it, except the circular, which is proper to the mind and to Wisdom.
Of the convenience of figures with the Elements and World
The world thus consisteth of two parts, a Soul and a Body; this visible and corruptible, that neither subject to sight nor touch: The power and constitution of each is different, the body consisteth of Fire, Earth, Water, and Aire; which foure, the maker of the Universe (there being untill then nothing more confused then the Elements) formed in a Pyramid, a Cube, an Octaedron, and an Icosaedron; but chiefly in a Dodecaedron. Matter, as far as it put on the figure of a Pyramid, became Fire, and mounted upward: For, that figure is the most apt to cut and to divide, as consisting of fewest triangles, and therefore is the rarest of all figures. As far as it is an Octaedron, it took the qualitie of Aire: Where it took that of an Icosaedron, it became Water; The figure of a Cube Earth, as being the most solid and staple of all the Elements. The figure of a Dodecaedron, he used in the fabrick of the Universe. Superficies come nigher the nature of Principles then all these, for they are before solids. Of its nature, the two Parents (as it were) are two Triangles, most fair and rectangular; one a Scalenum, the other an Isosceles; a Scalenum is a triangle having one right angle, the other of two thirds, the last of one third. A Scalenum therefore is the element of a Pyramid, and an Octaedron, and an Icosaedron. A Pyramid consisteth of foure triangles, having all sides equall to one another, each whereof is divided as we said, into six scalenous triangles. The Octaedors consist of eight like sides, whereof each is divided into six Scalenums. The Icosaeders of twenty in the same manner; but the element of a Cube is an Isosceles triangle, for foure such triangles concurring make a square, and six squares a Cube. God made use of a Dodecaedron in the construction of the Universe, whence there are twelve figures of living creatures in the Zodiack, whereof each is divided into thirty parts. Likewise in a Dodecaedron, which consisteth of twelve Pentagones, if each be divided into five triangles, there are in every one six triangles, so that in the whole Dodecaedron, there will be 360 triangles, as many as there are dgrees in the Zodiack. When matter was put into those figures by God, first it was moved rudely without order, untill at last he reduced it to order, each being conjoyned to one another, and composed in due proportion: Neither are these distinct in place, but are in perpetuall motion, which they give likewise into matter. For, being straitned by the compasse of the world, and agitated by mutuall justlings, they are driven, the rare alwaies into the region of the solid, whence nothing is left vacuous, nothing void of body. The inequality which remaineth amongst them causeth convulsion, for matter is agitated amongst them, and they reciprocally by matter.
Of the Soul of the World, the Sphears and Stars
From Bodies hee alloweth that we collect the powers of the Soul, for seeing that we discern all things by the Soul, hee justly placed the principles of all things therein, that whatsoever should occur, we might contemplate it by that which is of kin and neighbour unto it, and attribute an essence thereunto consonant to the functions. Then therefore he called one substance intelligible and indivisible; he placed another divisible amongst bodies, to signifie that the knowledge as well of the one as of the other may be had by Intellect. And knowing that in things intelligible and sensible, there is identity and diversity, he fitly composed the Soul out of all these. For, either the like is known by the like, as the Pythagoreans hold, or, as Heraclitus the Naturalist, unlike alwaies by unlike. That he would that the World should be generate, we must not so understand, as if there shall be any time wherein the world is not, but in as much as it alwaies perisheth in generation, and declareth, that there is some more excellent and principall cause of its essence. The soul of the world which was from all eternity, was not made by God, but only adorned by him, in which respect he is sometimes said to have made it, for that he exciteth it, and converteth the mind thereof, as out of a profound sleep unto himself, that beholding his intelligibles and affecting his notions, it should from thence receive Species and form; whence it is manifest, that the World was endued by God, both with a Soul and mind. For, intending it to be the best, he must have made it animate and intelligent, since an animate thing is more excellent then an inanimate, and an intelligent then an unintelligent; perhaps the mind also could not subsist without a Soul. This Soul, being diffused from the Centre of the world to the extreams, compreendeth the whole body of the World, so as it is extended throughout the Universe, and in that manner joyneth and conserveth the whole. The externall preside over the internall, for they are not divided, but these are divided into seven Circles; from the first distributed according to duple and triple Intervalls. That which is comprehended by the indivisible sphear, is correspondent to it, that which is divided to the other. For the motion of Heaven which comprehendeth all things, being not uncertain, is one and ordinate, but that of the things within it, is changeable, varied by rising and setting, whence called Planetary. The outermost sphear moveth to the right hand from East to West, the innermost contrariwise, to the left hand from West to East, meeting the World. God framed also the Stars and constellations; some fixed for the Ornament of Heaven and might, very many in number. The Erratick are seaven, serving for number and time, and the illumination of all things; for time is an intervall of the motion of the World as an image of eternity, which is the measure of the state of the eternall World. The Planets are not of equall power, the Sun is the leader of all, who illuminateth and sheweth all things to the eye. Next the Moon, which in respect of her power hath the second place. The rest of the Planets, each according to their severall proportions. The Moon maketh the measure of a Month, in that space compleating its circle, and overtaking the Sun. The Sun measureth the Year, for running through the circle of the Zodiack, he compleateth the seasons of the year. Of the other starrs each hath its proper revolution, with which all men are not acquainted but only the Learned. By all those revolutions the absolute number of time is compleated, when coming all to the same point, they are in such order, as if we should imagine a right line to be drawn from the sphear of fixed stars to the Earth; the Centers of them all would be seen in that line. There being seven Orbes in the Planetary sphear, the maker of the World, framed in them seven conspicuous bodies of matter for the most part fiery, and inserted them into the sphears belonging to the other Erratick Circle. The Moon he placed in that Circle which is next the Earth, the Sun in the second, the Morning-star, and the sacred Star of Mercury, in that Orbe which is equall in swiftnesse with the Sun. The rest higher, each in his proper sphear. That of Saturn the slowest of all, he placed in that Orbe which is next to the sixed stars. Second to this is that which they call the sphear of Iupiter, next that of Mars; the eighth which is the Supream power includeth all. These are all living intelligent Creatures, and Gods endued with a sphericall figure.
Of Daemons and Elements
There are other Daemons also which we may call Intelligent Gods, in each of the Elements partly visible, partly invisible, in the aether, fire, air and water, that there be not any part of the World void of Soul, or of an animate creature more excellent then humane nature. Below these are all earthly sublunary things; God is maker of the World, of all Gods and Daemons. This Universe by his Divine Will shall not be dissolved. Over the rest his Sons preside, who by his command and example order whatsoever they do. By these los, nocturnall visions, dreams, Oracles, and whatsoever men referre to divination is artificially wrought. The Earth is fixed in the midst of all, round about the Axletree which passeth through the midst of the World. It is the observer of night and day, the most antient of all Gods in Heaven. Next the Soul of the World it affordeth us most nutriture; about it the Heavens move, and it self is a kind of Starre: It remaineth in its proper place, which by reason of its even weight is the Centre; the aether extriour is divided into the sphear of fixed Starrs, and that of Planets. Next to these is the Air; in the midst the Earth with its humidity.
Of the younger Gods makers of men
After that all these were framed, there remained three kinds of living Creatures which were to be mortall, Volatile, Aquatile, and Terrestriall; the generation whereof he committed to his Son, left if he himself had begotten them, they should have been immortall as well as the rest. They borrowing some little parts from first matter for a certain time, formed mortall living Creatures, and because of Mankind, as being next to the Gods, both the Father of all things, and his Sons likewise have a particular care, the Maker of all things sent down himself their Soules into the earth equall in number to the Starrs, & having imposed each one his proper Star as a vehiculum, like a Law-giver, he pronounced decrees unto them, that he himself might be inculpable, which was that there should arise mortall affections from the body, first senses, next pleasure, then grief, and fear, and anger, which those soules that should overcome, and not suffer themselves to be transported by them, should justly be accounted Victors, and at the last return to their proper Star, though they which should be transported by injustice, should in the second generation undergoe the lives of women, wherein if they ceased not from their wickednesse, they should at last transmigrate into the Nature of brute Beasts, the end of these Labours shall then be, when they have overcome the innate affections of the body, and then return to their proper habit.
Of the Body, and parts of man, and Powers of the Soul
The Gods first formed man of Earth, Fire, Air, and Water, borrowing some parts from matter, (to be restored in their due time) which they so connected to one another by secret ties, as that of all these they framed one body. The most excellent part of the soul that was sent down from Heaven, they placed in the Head, for which as a manured Field they prepared the Brain. About the face they disposed Organs proper for sense; Marrow they made of smooth straight triangles, of which the Elements were formed, that it should be the Origine of prolifick seed. Benes they formed of Marrow and Earth, the Earth moistned, and often dipt in Water and Fire. Flesh is compounded of salt and sharpe, as of a kind of ferment. Marrow they enclosed with bones, bones with sinewes instead of chaines, that by these inflexions the knitting of the joints might be plyant. Over these as a cover is extended the Skin, partly white, partly black, for beauty and use. Of these likewise consist the internall bowells, and the belly, and the intestines, every where rolled about it. And from the mouth above the aspera arteria, and the oesophagus, of which one commeth down to the stomack, the other to the Lungs. Meat is digested in the belly by spirit and heat, and thence distributed to the whole body according to their severall constitutions. The two veines passing along the spine of the Back, meet and crosse at the head, where they spread into many parts. Thus when the Gods had made man, and given him a soul as the Mistresse of his body, they placed the principall part of that soul to which Reason appertaineth, in the head. Whence is derived marrow and sinewes, and by the different affection of this, the minde likewise is altered. Moreover they gave him senses, as the attendants of Reason, and the power of judging and contemplating with Reason. Those parts of the soul, which are moved by meaner affections, they seated in lower places; the irascible part in the heart, the concupiscible about the belly, and the parts next to the Navell, of which hereafter.
After that the Gods had placed the eyes (conduits of light) in the face, they included in them a fiery light, which being smooth and in some manner thick, they conceived of kin to diurnall light. This breaketh forth every where at the Eyes, but chiefly through the Eye-balls, as being there most pure and clear. This agreeing with the externall light, as like with like affordeth the sense of sight, whence in the night, when the light vanisheth and is obscured, this ray of ours no longer mingleth with the immediate air; but, on the contrary, withdrawing it self inwards, smooths and diffuses the motions that are in us, and so bringeth on sleep, whereby the eyelids are shut. If it bring much rest, the sleep is little disturb’d with dreams, but if there remain any motions behind, we are troubled with many illusions. In this manner phantasies, whether true or false, arise. Of the same Nature are images, which we see in glasses, or other smooth pellucid bodies, which exist only by reflection. For, as the glasse is concave or convex, or oblong, the object is differently represented to the beholder. The light being reflected to other parts, those which are dispersed in convex meet in the concave, for in some, the right and left sides seem quite inverted, in others alike; in others, those which are upwards seem downwards, and on the contrary, those which are downwards, upwards.
Of the rest of the Senses
Hearing is given for the perception of voice, it ariseth from a motion made about the head, and setteth in the liver. Voice is that which passeth through the ears, brain, and bloud to the Soul. A sharp voice is that which is moved swiftly, deep which slowly, great which much, small which little. Next followeth the sense proper to the Nostrills, perceptible of odour. Odour is an affection which passeth from the veines of the Nostrills to the parts of the Navell. The Species thereof have no name, except the two that are most common, pleasant, and unpleasant, commonly called sweet and stinking. All Odour is more thick then Air, more thin then Water; for Odour is properly said to be of those things which have not yet received perfect mutation, but consist of a communion of Air and Water, as smoke and mists. For, by the resolution of these into one another, the sense of smelling is made. Tast was made by the Gods to be the judge of different savours. Hence are veines extended to the Heart, by whcih several avours are examined. These Veins by dilating or contracting themselves severally according to the Sapors presented to them, discern their differences. The differences of Sapours are seven; sweet, sharp, sowre, picqueant, salt, acid, bitter; the Nature of sweet Sapour is contrary to all the rest, for by its power it sootheth and pleaseth the moisture of the tongue, whereas of the rest. some disturb and dispell it, as acute Sapors, some heat, and fly upwards, as the hot; others being abstersive, dissolve it, as the bitter; others are by degrees purgative and abstersive, as the salt. Of these some contract the passages; they which do it more roughly, are called acid, they which more gently, austere. The sense of touching was formed by the Gods to discern hot and cold, soft and hard, light and heavy, smooth and rough, and to iudge the differences of each of these; Yielding bodies, we call those which yield to the touch, resisting those which yield not; this proceedeth from the bases of bodies, those which have large bases are firm and solid, these which have narrow bases are yielding, soft, and easily changed. Rough is that which is uneven and hard, smooth that which is plain and thick: As warm and cold qualities are most opposite, so they proceed from the most different causes. That which cutteth by the acutenesse and roughnesse of its parts, begetteth a hot affection, that which is more thick, in penetration, a cold, whilst the more rare are expelled, and the more dense compelled to penetrate into their room. Thence ariseth a concussion and trepidation, and (an affection which is from hence begotten in bodies, ) rigor.
Of Heavy and Light
Heavy and light ought not to be defined by higher or lower place, nothing is high or low; for Heaven being absolutely round, and its convexe extremity even, we cannot term any thing higher or lower; yet may we call that heavy, which is hardly drawn to a place different from its Nature, light which easily; or, heavy is that which consisteth of most parts, light of fewest.
We breath after this manner. The externall Air compasseth us round about, and passeth in at our mouth, nostrills, and invisible Pores of the body, where being warmed, it floweth back again to the externall Air, by that part out of which it flowed, it again thrusteth the externall Air to the interiour. Thus there is an unintermitted succession of inspiration and expiration.
Of the Causes of Diseases
Of Diseases Plato alledgeth many causes. The first is defect or excesse of the Elements, and a change into places which agree not with their Nature. The second a preposterous generation of homogeneall parts, as when of flesh is made blood, or choler, or flegme; for all these are nothing but colliquation, or putrefaction. legm is a new collquation of flesh; sweat and tears, are a kind of Serum of flegm. Flegm intercepted in the outward parts, begetteth Scurse and Leprosie, in the inward being mingled with Melancholy, it causeth the falling-sicknesse. Sharp, and salt flegme engender those affections which consist in rigour, for all bodies that are inflamed with choler must suffer that. A world of various diseases are engendred by choler and flegm. As concerning feavours; Plato conceiveth that a continuall feavour proceedeth from excesse of fire, a quotidian from excesse of air, a tertian from excesse of water, a quartan from excesse of Earth. It remaineth that we here begin to speak of the Soul, though not without some danger, of repeating the same things.
Of the three principall powers of the Soul
The Gods, the makers of mortall Creatures, having received from the first God the Soul of Man immortall, added unto it two mortall parts; yet left the immortall divine part might be infected with mortall extravagances, they seated as Prince of all in the tower, as it were of the body, the Head, in figure resembling the Universe. The rest of the body they appointed as a vehiculum to serve this. To each mortall part they assigned its proper habitation, placing the irascible in the heart, the concupiscible in the midst betwixt the Navell and the Diaphragme, binding it there as a furious savage Beast. They framed the Lungs in respect of the heart, soft, bloodlesse, hollow, and spungy, that the heart being somthing heated with anger, might thereby be refrigerated and asswaged; the Liver to excite and allay the concupiscible part, having both sweetnesse and bitternesse, as likewise for the clearing of divinations which are given by dreams: for as much as in it by reason of its smoothnesse, shining and brightnesse, the power which proceedeth from the mind doth shine forth. The Spleen was made for the benefit of the Liver, to purge and cleanse it; so that those corruptions, which by some diseases, are contracted about the Liver, retire thither.
Of the distinction of the parts of the Soul
That the Soul and parts thereof according to their proper faculties are threefold; every part appointed by reason their severall places, is manifest from hence. Those things which are separated by Nature, are divers; passionate and reasonable are separate by nature; this being conversant in Intelligibles, that in things sad or joyful, to omit the passive part which is common likewise to bruit Beasts. Now these two being distinct by Nature, must likewise be distinguished by place, because for the most part they disagree, and are repugnant to one another; but nothing can be repugnant to it self, neither can those things which are contrary to one another consist together in the same. In Medea anger seemeth to contest thus with reason; I know what I intend is ill, But anger over-rules my will. In Laius, when he ravished Chrysippus, concupiscence contested with Reason; for so he saith; Men to this crime the Gods confine, To know the ill that they decline. That the rationall power is different from the Passive, is evident from this, that they ordered by severall means, one by discipline, the other by habituall practice.
Of the Immortality of the Soul
That the Soul is immortall Plato proveth by these Arguments. The Soul to every thing, wherein it is, conferreth life, as being naturally innate in her self, but that which conferreth life to others never admitteth death, but what is such is immortall. The Soul being immortall, is likewise incorruptible, for it is an incorporeall essence which cannot be changed substantially, and is only perceptible by the Intellect, not by the eyes, and is uniform. Hence it must be simple, neither can be at any time dissolved or corrupted. The body is contrary, for it is subject to sight and other senses, and as it is compounded, so shall it again be dissolved, and it is multiform. When the Soul adhereth to those things which are preceptible by Intellect, it acquieseeth; Now to that by whose presence she is disturbed, she cannot possibly be like, wherefore she is more like to those things which are perceptible by Intellect; but what is such is by nature incorruptible and perishable. Again, the Soul naturally doth preside over the body, not the body over the Soul, but that which by nature ruleth and commandeth is of kin to Divinity, wherefore the Soul being next unto God, must be immortall, not subject to corruption. Again, Contraries which have no medium, not by themselves, but by some accident are so ordered by Nature, that they may be mutually made of one another. But that which men call life is contrary to that which they call death; as therefore Death is a separation of the Soul from the body; so islife a conjunction of the Soul with the body, praeexistent to the Body. But if she be praeexistent, and shall subsist after the body, it followeth that she be sempiternall, for there cannot any thing be imagined whereby she may be corrupted. Again, if learning be Reminiscence, the Soul must be immortall, but that it is reminiscence we prove thus: Learning cannot otherwise consist then by remembrance of those things we formerly know. For, if from Singulars we understand Universalls, how could we discourse by singulars which are infinite? or how from a few perceive Universalls? we should therefore necessarily be deceived, as if we judged that only to be a living Creature which breatheth; or how could the notions themselves have the reason of principles. By reminiscence therefore, from some few which we have conceived in our mind, we understand the rest, and from some occurrent particulars we remember those which we knew long before, but were then given over to oblivion, when the Soul first descended into the Body. Again, if the Soul be not corrupted by its own proper ill, neither can it be destroy’d by that or any other, nor simply by any ill, and being such, shall remain uncorrupted. Again, that which is moved in it self, as being the principle of motion in those things which are moved, is alwaies moved; that which is such is immortall; but the Soul is moved of it self, that which is moved of it self is the principle of all motion and generation; and a principle is expert of generation and corruption, wherefore the Soules of men and of the Universe it self are such, for both partake of the same mistion. He affirmeth the Soul to be moveable in her self, because it hath an innate life, alwaies operating by its power. That rationall Soules are immortall, may clearly be asserted out of Plato; but whether the irrationall be such seemeth doubtfull; yet is it probable that being guided only by Phantasie, not endued with reason or judgement, neither do they contemplate any thing, or discern, or collect from it, nor can they discern ills, but generally understand nothing, nor are of the same nature with those Soules which have Intellect and Reason, but are capable of dying and being corrupted. For as much as they are immortall, it followeth that they are put into bodies, being planted into the formed Nature of Embrio’s, and transmigrate into severall bodies as well humane as others, either according to some certain numbers which they expect, or by the will of the Gods, or for intemperance of life, or for love of the Body. For he Body and Soul have a kind of affinity, as Fire and Brimstone. Moreover the Souls of the Gods have a dijudicative faculty, called Gnostick, and impulsive to some action, called Parastatick, which faculties being likewise in humane Soules, become changed as soon as they come into the bodie, the assistent into the concupiscible, the impulsive into the Irascible.
Of Fate and Free-will
Concerning Fate Plato held thus. All things are in fate, yet all things are not decreed by Fate. For Fate, though it be like a Law, yet it useth not to speak in this manner, that this man shall do thus, and to that man, that shall befall (which were to proceed into infinite, there being an infinite generation of men, and infinite accidents happening daily to them; besides that, this would take away our free-will, our praise or dispraise, and whatsoever is of that kind) but rather thus; Whatsoever Soul chooseth such a life, and doth such things, these shall follow, the Soul therefore is free, and it is left within its power to do or not to do, without any compulsion or necessity. But that which followeth the action is performed by Fate. As from Paris’s ravishing of Helena, (which it is within his power to do or not to do) shall follow that the Grecians contend with the Trojans about Helena. Thus Apollo foretold Laius;If thou beget a Son, that Son shall kill thee. In the Oracle are comprehended both Laius and the begetting of a Son, that which shall follow upon the begetting of the Son depends on Plato. That which may be done is of a middle kind betwixt true and false, and being so indefinite by Nature: that which is in our power, is carried on as it were unto it. That which is done by our election, is presently either true or false; that which is in power, is different from that which is said to be in habit and act. That which is in power declareth an aptitude in that thing, wherein the habit is not yet perfect. So a boy may be said to be a Grammarian, a Musician, a Carpenter in power. He is in habit of one or more of these when he hath acquired that habit. He is said to be in act, when he operateth according to that acquired habit. That which we call possible to be done is none of these. Indeterminate is that which is in our power, and to which part soever it inclineth, will be true or false.
Of the chief Good, and of Virtues. We must next give a short account of Plato’s Ethicks. That which is worthy of all honour, and is the Supreame good, he conceived not easie to be found, and if found, not safe to be declared. For this reason, he communicated the contemplation of the chief good to very few, and those of his most intimate acquaintance, of whom his judgement made choice for this purpose. But our good, if we examine his books dillgently, we shall find he placed in the knowledge of the first good, which may rightly be called God, and the first mind. For all things which men call good, he conceiveth to be called good in this respect, for as much as they derive somthing from that good, as all sweet and hot things are termed such from some participation of the first sweet, and first hot. Of those things which are in us, only the mind and reason have a similitude of the first good. Wherefore he calleth our good, Fair, Venerable, Amiable, Proportionate, and lastly Beatitude. Of those which are commonly called good, as health, beauty, strength, there is none good, unlesse it be employed towards the practise of Virtue. For being separated from Virtue, they are like matter only, and to those who make ill use of them only ill. Yet these Plato sometimes calleth mortal goods. Beatitude he reckoneth not amongst humane goods, but amongst the divine and immortall. Whence he asserteth that the souls of true Philosophers are replenish’d with vast admirable goods, and after the dissolution of their mortall body, are admitted to the table of the Gods, and with them walk over and survey the field of Truth, because they did see they used the utmost endeavours of their Soules to know it, and esteemed it the most precious of all things, by the benefit whereof they illustrated and excited their mind as a lost or blinded sight, preferring the conservation thereof before many corporeall eyes. Foolish men are like those who lead all their life in some Cave under ground, where they never saw the light of the Sun, but only some empty thin shadows of such bodies as are with us upon the Earth, which seeing, they think they see true bodies. As these, if ever they should be brought out of darknesse into the clear light, would questionlesse despise all things which they saw before, and themselves much more, as having been absolutely deceived; So they who rise up out of the darknesse of this life to those things which are divine and fair, in all likelyhood will contemn what before they most esteemed, and love more vehemently this contemplation. Thus it appeareth, that only what is good is honest, and that Virtue sufficeth to Felicity, Moreover, that good and fair consist in knowledge of the first good, he declareth in whole volumes. As concerning those which are good by participation, he speaketh thus in his first Book of Laws. Good is twofold, Humane and Divine, &c. If anything be disjoyned from the first good, and void of the essence thereof, that is called good by the foolish, which in Euthydemo, he affirmeth to be a greater ill to the Possessor. That he conceiveth the Virtues to be eligible in themseles, is manifest, in as much as he affirmeth that only to be good which is honest, which he demonstrateth in many Dialogues, particuly in those of the Common-wealth. Hence he conceiveth that man to be most happy and blessed, who hath attained the Science we mentioned; yet not in respect of the honours which attend such a person, nor of any other reward; for though he be unknown to all men, and such things, as are commonly accounted Ills, as, dishonour, banishment and death happen unto him; he is notwithstanding happy. On the contrary, a man who wants this knowledge, though he possesse all things commonly esteemed good, riches, power, health, strength, and Beauty, he is nothing the more happy. He asserteth an ultimate end, conformable to all these which is to be made like unto God, as far as Humanity is capable of being such. This he expounds variously, somtimes as in Theaeteto) he affirms our resemblance to God to consist in being prudent, just, and holy; wherefore we must endeavour to fly with all possible celerity from hence to those. This flight is the resemblance to God, as much as is possible: The similitude consisteth in Prudence, Justice, and Sanctity; somtimes in Justice only, as in his last Book of the Common-wealth. For a man is never deserted by God, whilst he endeavoureth to be just, and by the very act of Virtue, as much as man is capable of, he is rendred like unto God. In Phaedone he asserteth, that this resemblance to God is acquired by Temperance and Justice, thus. Are not they blessed and happy, and from hence shall go into the best place, who have practised the popular civill Virtue which they call Temperance and Iustice? Again, somtimes he affirmed, that the end of life is to be like unto God, somtimes to follow God, as when hee saith, God indeed according to the old saying, containing the beginning, midale and end of all things, &c. Somtimes he joyneth both together, as when he saith, The Soul following God, and being rendred like unto him, &c. The principle of Utility is good it self; but this is said of God, therefore the end conformable to the principle, is to become like unto God, to the Celestiall, or rather supercelestiall God, who hath not Virtue, but is more excellent then all Virtue. Wherefore it is rightly said, that ; misery, is a perversity of the Genius, , Beatitude is a good habit of the Genius. This similitude to God we shall obtain, if we enjoy convenient nature; in our manner, education and sense, according to Law, and chiefly by reason, and discipline, and institution of wisdom, withdrawing our selves as much as possible from humane affairs, and being conversant in those things only which are understood by contemplation: the way to prepare, and, as it were, to cleanse the Demon that is in us, is to initiate our selves into higher disciplines, which is done by Musick, Arithmetick, Astronomy and Geometry, not without some respect of the body by Gymnastick, whereby it is made more ready for the actions both of Warre and Peace.
The definition and kinds of Virtue
Virtue being divine, is the perfect and best affection of the Soul, which adorneth a man, and rendreth him more excellent and ready, as well for speech as action, whether he do it alone or with others. Of the Virtues, some are placed in the rationall part, some in the irrationall. For whereas the Nature of the rationall part is one, that of the irascible another, that of the concupiscible another, the perfection of these must likewise be different. That of the rationall is Prudence, of the irascible, Fortitude, of the concupiscible, Temperance. Prudence is the Science of things, Good, Bad, and betwixt both. Temperance is an apt moderation of desires and appetites; when when we call Temperance a moderation and obedience, we mean only this, that it is a faculty causing all appetites to be subjected unto it, in decent order, and submisse obedience to be commanded by nature. This is the rationall part. Fortitude is a lawfull observation of a command difficult, or not difficult, that is, it is a faculty which keepeth a lawfull precept. Iustices is an agreement amongst all these, which causeth that the three parts of the Soul agree with one another, and that each be worthily conversant in those things which are proper, and belong unto it. Thus it is a common intire perfection of these three Virtues, Prudence, Fortitude and Temperance, in such manner that reason commandeth, and the rest of the parts, each according to its severall property, are restrained by Reason, and obey it. Hence it followeth, that the Virtues are mutally consequent to one another; Fortitude being the conservation of a lawfull precept, is likewise conservative of right reason. Right reason proceedeth from Prudence; Prudence cohereth with Fortitude, for it is the knowledge of good things, but no man can discern that which is good, if he be distracted by fear, or involved in the like troubles. In like manner, neither can any man be wise, and intemperate, for then he is overcome by affections. If a man do somthing contrary to reason, Plato affirmeth he doth through ignorance and imprudence, so that can be prudent that is intemperate or fearfull. Whence it followeth, that the perfect Virtues cohere to one another, and are inseparable.
Of Virtues, Vices, and their differences
The gifts of Nature and progress in them are called Virtues also, by reason of their similitude with the perfect Virtues, assuming the same name. In this sence we call all souldiers stout, and sometimes call imprudent and rash persons stout, when we speak not of the perfect Virtues, for the perfect neither increase nor decrease; but Vices are intended and remitted. One man is more imprudent and more unjust then another, neither do all the vices follow one another, for they are certain contraries which are not competible to the same. Such is fury to Cowardice, and prodigality to covetousnesse, nor can there be any man at once possessed of all Vices, no more then a body tormented by all diseases. Moreover, there is a mean affection which inclineth not plainly either to Vice or Virtue; for it is not necessary that all men must be good or bad; they are such, who have arrived at the height of these; for it is not easie to passe suddenly from Virtue to Vice, because betwixt extreames there is a great intervall and distance. Of Virtues some are principall, others concomitant; principall are those which are in the rationall part of the Soul, and by which the other Virtues are perfected. Concomitant are those which are in the other part which are subject to Affections. These act honest things according to Reason, not that which is in them, for they have none, but that which they receive from Prudence, which is confirmed in them by custom and exercise. Now for as much as neither science nor art consisteth in any part of the soul, but in the rationall, those virtues which are in the other part, that is subject to affections, cannot be taught, because they are neither Arts nor Sciences, neither have they a peculiar Doctrine. Prudence is a Science, which prescribeth unto every one what is proper to him, as a Pilot, or Master of a Ship, to inferiour ignorant Sailors. The like in a common Souldier and a Generall. For as much as Ills are intended and remitted, offences cannot be equall, but some must be greater, others lesser, for which reason, they, who make Lawes, punish some more gently, other more severely. And though Virtues are certain Heights, as being perfect, and like unto that which is right, yet in another respect they are called mediocrities, because all or the most of them are placed betwixt two Vices, whereof one sinneth in excesse, the other in defect; as on the one side of Liberality is Covetousnesse, on the other Prodigality. For in affections we recede from the mean, when we relinquish that which is placed in Virtue, either by excesse or defect. But neither he, who beholding his Parents wronged is nothing moved thereat, nor he who is incens’d at the smallest matters void of passion or moderate, but the quite contrary. He who at the death of his Parents grieveth not, is void of passion; He who destroyeth himself with grieving, is overpassionate and immoderate; he who grieveth moderately, is moderately passionate. In like manner, he, who feareth upon all occasions, and more then needs, is timerous; he who feareth nothing is rash; He only is stout that can keep a mean betwixt fear and rashnesse; the like in all the rest. And for as much as that which is mean in affections is likewise best, and mediocrity is nothing but a mean betwixt excesse and defect, there are these Virtues termed Mediocrities, because in humane perturbations and passions they affect us a middle kind of way.
That Virtue is voluntary, Vice involuntary
Virtue being chiefly of those things which are in our power, not compulsive (for it could not deserve praise, if it came either by nature or divine decree) it followeth, that Virtue is voluntary, begotten by a servent, generous, and firm impulsion. From this, that Virtue is voluntary, it followeth that Vice is involuntary. For, who, in the most excellent part of himselfe, would ever voluntarily choose that which is the greatest of all Ills? When a man is carried on to Vice, he first inclineth to it, not as if it were ill, but good, and if he fall into ill, doubtlesse, he is deceived with thinking, that this way by a lesser ill, he may arrive at a greater good, and goeth in this manner unwillingly to it. For, it is not possible, a man should pursue ill as it is ill, without any hope of good, or, fear of a greater ill. All ill things therefore, which an ill man doth, are involuntary; for, injustice being involuntary, to act unjustly is so much more involuntary, as the action of Vice is beyond the idle habit thereof. Yet, though wicked actions are involuntary, the wicked neverthelesse ought to be punished, and that not after one manner; but, according to the variety of hurt which they do to those they wrong. That which is involuntary consisteth in ignorance of perturbations, all which may be diverted, either by reason, or civill custome, or diligence.
Of Love and Friendship
Friendship, properly so termed, is made by a mutuall reciprocall benevolence. This is, when either is as much concerned for the happinesse of the oter, as of his own, which equality is preserved only by similitude of manners: For, the like is friend to its like, if they be both moderate; but, the intemperate cannot agree, either with themselves, or the moderate. There are other things which are thought friendships, but are are not such, in which there appeareth some shew of virtue. Of these, is the naturall goodwill of Parents to their Children, and of Kindred one to another, as also that which is called civill and sociable: These are not alwaies accompanyed with mutual benevolence. Likewise, the amatory art is a kind of friendship. That which is honest is proper to a generous soul, dishonest, to a perverse; mean, to one meanly affected. For, as the habit of the rationall soul is three-fold, right, dishonest, and mean; so many different kinds are there of love, which appeareth most clearly in the difference of the ends they propose unto themselves. The dishonest aimes only at corporeall pleasure, and therefore is absolutely bruitish. The honest considereth the minde only, as far as virtue appeareth in it. The mean desireth both the beauty of the soul and of the body; of which love, he who is worthy, is mean likewise; that is, neither absolutely honest nor dishonest. Hence that love which aimeth only at the body, ought to be tearmed a Demon (rather then a Deity, which never descendeth to an human bodie) transmitting divine things to men, and human to God. Of the three kinds of love, that which is proper to a good man, being remote from vicious affections, is artificiall, whence it is placed in the rationall part of the soul. The contemplations thereof are these, to discern who is worthy of love, and to contract friendship with him, and enjoy it: This discernment is made from his aimes or desires, whether they are generous, and directed to a good end, or violent and servent. The contraction, or acquisition of friendship, is made, not by wanton excessive praise, but rather by reprehension, shewing him, that it is not convenient he should live in that manner he doth; when he enjoyeth the love of him whom he affects, he must alwaies exhort him to those things, by exercise whereof, he may arrive at perfect habit. Their end is that of lover and beloved, they may at last become friends.
In justice is so great an ill, that it is better to suffer wrong then to do wrong; for one belongeth to a wicked man, the other to a weak man: both are dishonest, but to do wrong is worse, by how much it is more dishonest. It is as expedient that a wicked man be punished, as that a sick man should be cured by a Physician; for all chastisement is a kind of medicine for an offending Soul. Since the greater part of Virtues are conversant about passions, it is necessary that we define passion. Passion is an irrationall motion of the Soul, arising out of some good or ill; it is called an irrationall motion, because neither judgments nor opinions are passions; but motions of the irrationall parts of the Soul. For in the irrationall part of the Soul, there are motions, which though they are done by us, are yet nothing the more in our power. They are often done therefore contrary to our inclination and will; for somtimes it falleth out, that though we know things to be neither pleasing nor unpleasing, expetible nor avoidable, yet we are drawn by them, which could never be if such passions were the same with Judgement. For we reject judgement when we disapprove it whether it ought to be so or otherwise. In the definition is added, arising from some good or some ill, because of that which is mean or indifferent betwixt these, no passion is ever excited in us. All passions arise from that which seemeth good or ill. If we see good present, we rejoice, if future, we desire. On the conrrary, if ill be present, we grieve, if imminent, we fear. The simple affections, and, as it were, elements of the rest are two; Pleasure and Grief; the rest consist of these. Neither are fear and desire to be numbred among the principall passions, for he who feareth, is not wholly deprived of pleasure, nor can a man live the least moment, who despaireth to be freed or eased of some ill. But it is more conversant in grief and sorrow, and therefore he, who feareth, sorroweth. But he who desireth, like all those who desire or expect somthing, is delighted; insomuch as he is not absolutely confident; and hath not a firm hope he is grieved. And if desire and fear are not principall passions, it will doubtlesse follow, that none of the other affections are simple; as anger, love, emulation and the like; for in these, Pleasure and Grief are manifest, as consisting of them. Moreover of Passions, some are rough, others mild, the mild are those, which are naturally in men, and if kept within their bounds, are necessary and proper to man, if they exceed, vitious. Such are Pleasure, Grief, Anger, Pitty, Modesty; for it is proper to man to delight in those things which are according to Nature, and to be grieved at their contraries. Anger is necessary to repell and punish an injury. Mercy agreeth with Humanity. Modesty teacheth us to decline sordid things. Other passions are rough, and praeternaturall, arising from some depraved or perverse custom. Such are excessive laughter, joy in the misfortunes of others, hatred of Mankind. These, whether intense or remisse, after what manner soever they are, are alwaies erroneous, and admit not any laudable mediocrity. As concerning Pleasure and Grief, Plato writeth thus. These passions are excited in us by Nature. Grief and sorrow happen to those who are moved contrary to Nature; Pleasure to those who are restored to the proper constitution of their Nature. For he conceiveth the naturall state of man to consist in a mean betwixt Pleasure and Grief, not moved by either, in which state we live longest. He asserteth severall kinds of Pleasure, whereof some relate to the Body, others to the Soul. Again, of Pleasures some are mix’d with grief, some are pure. Again, some proceed from the remembrance of things past, others from hope of things to come. Again, some are dishonest, as being intemperate and unjust; others moderate, and joyned with good, as joy for good things, and the Pleasure that followeth Virtue. Now because most Pleasures are naturally dishonest, he thinks it not to be disputed whether Pleasure can be simply and absolutely a good, that being to be accounted poor and of no value, which is raised out of another, and hath not a principall primary essence. For Pleasure cohereth even with its contrary Grief, and is joyned with it, which could not be, if one were simply good, the other simply ill.
Of the formes of Common-wealths
Of the formes of Common-wealth, some are supposed only, and conceived by abstract from the rest. These he delivers in his book of a Commonwealth, wherein he describeth the first concordant, the second discordant, enquiring which of these is the most excellent, and how they may be constituted. He also divideth a Commonwealth like the Soul into three parts, Keepers, Defenders, and Artisicers. The office of the first is to Counsel, to advise, to command; of the second, to defend the Commonwealth, upon occasion, by armes, which answereth to the irascible power; To the last belong Arts and other services. He will have Princes to be Philosophers, and to contemplate the first good, affirming that so only they shall govern rightly. For Mankind can never be freed from ill, unlesse either Philosophers govern, or they who govern be inspired with Philosophy after a divine manner. A Commonwealth is then governed best, and according to Justice, when each part of the City performeth its proper Office. So that the Princes give Laws to the People; the Defenders obey them, and sight for them, the rest willingly submit to their Superiours. Of a Commonwealth he asserteth five kinds, the first, Aristocracy, when the best rule; the second, Timocracy, when the ambitious; the third Democracy, when the people; the fourth, Oligarchy, when a few; the last, Tyranny, which is the worst of all. He describeth likewise other supposed formes of Commonwealth, as that in his Book of Laws; and, that which reformeth others, in his Epistles, which he useth for those Cities that in his Books of Laws he saith are sick. These have a distinct place, and select men out of every age, as according to the diversity of their nature and place, they require different institution, education and armes. The Maritime people are to study Navigation and Seasight; the Iland fighting on foot; those in mountanous Countries to use light armour, those on the shore heavy. Some of these to exercise fighting on horseback. In this City he alloweth not a Community of women. Thus is Politick a Verue conversant both in Action and Contemplation; the end wherof is to constitute a City, good, happy, and convenient to it self. It considers a great many things, amongst the rest, whether War be to be waged or not.
Of a Sophist
Hitherto we have spoken of a Philosopher, from whom a Sophist differeth; In Manners, because he teacheth young men for gain, and desireth rather to seem then to be good. In matter, for a Philosopher is conversant in those things which alwaies are, and continually remain in the same manner; but a Sophist in that which is not, for which reason he seeketh darknesse, that he may not be known to be what he is. To things that are, that which is not, is not opposed as contrary, for it neither existeth, nor is participant of any essence, nor can be understood. So that if any man endeavour to expresse it in words, or comprehend it by thought; he is deceived, because he putteth together things contrary and repugnant. Yet that which is not, as far as it is spoken, is not a pure negation of that which is, but implyeth a relation to another, which in some manner is joined to Ens. So that unlesse we assume somthing from that which is to that which is not, it cannot be distinguished from other things, but thus, as many kinds as they are of Ens, so many are there of Non-Ens, because that which is not an Ens is a Non-Ens. Thus much may serve for an introduction into Plato’s Philosophy: Some things perhaps are said orderly, others dispersedly, or confusedly; yet is all so laid down, that by those which we have delivered, the rest of his Assertions may be found out and contemplated.
Thomas Stanley: The history of philosophy. Vol. I. London: Humphrey Moseley and Thomas Dring, 1656. p. 56 sqq. Dies ist die erste Übertragung des Διδασκαλικὸς τῶν Πλάτωνος δογμάτων in eine neuzeitliche Landessprache.