I – Of Philosophy, and how a Philosopher must be qualified II – That Contemplation is to be preferred before Action III – The three parts of Philosophy IV – Dialectick V – The Elements and Office of Dialectick VI – Of Propositions and Argumentations VII – Of Theoretick Philosophy VIII – Of first matter IX – Of Ideas X – Of God XI – Of Qualities XII – Of the Causes, Generation, Elements, and Order of the World XIII – Of the convenience of figures with the Elements and World XIV – Of the Soul of the World, the Sphears and Stars XV – Of Dæmons and Elements XVI – Of the younger Gods makers of men XVII – Of the Body, and parts of man, and Powers of the Soul XXVIII – Of sight XIX – Of the rest of the Senses XX – Of Heavy and Light XXI – Of Respiration XXII – Of the Causes of Diseases XXIII – Of the three principall powers of the Soul XXIV – Of the distinction of the parts of the Soul XXV – Of the Immortality of the Soul XXVI – Of Fate and Free-will XXVII – Ethick XXVIII – The definition and kinds of Virtue XXIX – Of Virtues, Vices, and their differences XXX – That Virtue is voluntary, Vice involuntary XXXI – Of Love and Friendship XXXII – Of Passions XXXIII – Of the formes of Common-wealths XXXIV – Of a Sophist
The Introduction of Albinus to the Dialogues of Plato Ἀλϰίνοος
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.
The teaching of the peculiar opinions of Plato would be something of this kind.
Philosophy is a longing after wisdom, or a release or withdrawal of the soul from the body, while we are turning ourselves to what is perceived by mind, and to things that exist truly. Now Wisdom is the knowledge of things divine and human; and the person called a philosopher is so named from it, as a musician is from music. Now it is necessary for such a person to be naturally disposed, in the first place, towards those kinds cf learning, that possess the power to fit him for, and lead him to, the knowledge of the existence, perceived by mind, and not of that, which wanders about, and is in a state of flowing. Next, he must have a love for truth, and by no means admit a falsehood. Moreover, he must be naturally temperate, and, as regards the portion of the soul, subject to being affected by circumstances, naturally subdued. For he, who is eager after instruction relating to things existing, and who turns to these his longing, will look upon pleasures with little admiration. It is requisite too for him, who is about to be a philosopher, to be mentally free. For all little considerations are opposed to the soul, that is about to contemplate subjects pertaining to god and man. And towards justice likewise it is requisite for him to be naturally disposed, as it is towards truth and freedom (in thought) and temperance; and there ought to be in addition an aptitude to learn, and a (good) memory. For these things form the species of a philosopher. Since these naturally good qualities, when they meet with a proper education and fitting aliment, render a person perfect for virtue; but when they are neglected, they become the cause of great mischief. And these Plato was accustomed to call by names similar to the virtues, temperance, and fortitude, and justice.
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.
Since life is twofold, Contemplative and Active, of the former the chief point lies in the knowledge of truth; but of the latter, in doing what is suggested by reason. The Contemplative life then is the one held in honour, but the Active that which follows and is necessary. That such is the case will be clear from hence. Contemplation is an operation of the mind, while it is thinking upon what is perceptible by mind; but Action is an operation of the rational soul, perfected by means of the body. The soul then, when contemplating the deity and the thoughts of the deity, is said to be in a good state; and this state goes by the name of intelligence; which a person would say is nothing else than an assimilation with the deity; and hence such would take the lead, and be held in honour, and be prayed for the most, and be the most appropriate (for man) nor is it to be hindered, and is placed in our power; and it is the cause of the end laid down for us. But Action and the Active, performed through the body, can be hindered or may be carried on, when the things, which are seen during a contemplative life, require a person to apply them to the moral conduct of man. For he, who is intent upon his duty, will come to public affairs, when he sees them improperly administered by some persons, through his considering that to act as a general, and a judge, and an ambassador, are things of circumstances, but that the best in action, and as taking the lead in it, is that relating to legislation, and statesmanship, and the regulation and instruction of young persons. It is proper then, from what has been said, for the philosopher to be never deficient in Contemplation, but to feed it ever and to increase it, as being near to his proceeding on to a life of Action.
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.
The study of the philosopher seems to rest, according to Plato, on three points; on the view and perception of things that exist; on doing what is correct; and on the theory itself of reasoning.
The perception of things that exist is Contemplative; but Practical (science) is concerned about things to be done; and Dialectical about reasoning. Now this last is subdivided into the Distributive, and the Definitive, and the Inductive, and the Syllogistic; and this last into the Demonstrative, which is concerned about the syllogism, which exists of necessity; and into the Tentative, which is seen in the case of a syllogism, resting on opinion; and into the third, Rhetorical, which is concerned about the enthymeme, which is called an imperfect syllogism; and still further into Sophisms; which would not be that, which takes the lead in the eye of the philosopher, but what is necessary.
Of Practical science one part is seen to be concerned about the care of morals, and another about the regulation of a household, and another relating to the state, and its safety. Of these, the first is called Moral; the second, Œconomical; the third, Political. Of the Contemplative one portion, relating to what is unmoved and the first cause, and such things as are divine, is called Theological; another portion, relating to the movement of the stars, and their periodical revolutions, and their return to the spot from whence they started, and to the constitution of this world, is Physical; but another portion, viewed by means of geometry and the rest of learning, is Mathematical. Such then being the subdivision and portioning out of the kinds of philosophy, we must first speak of the Dialectical, as it is agreeable to the doctrines of Plato; and first of all about the Judicatory.
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.
Since there is that, which judges, and likewise that, which is judged, there will be also that, which is.effected by them, what a person would call judging. Properly one would call the act of judging the judging faculty, but more commonly that which judges. Now this is twofold; one, by which a thing is judged; the other, through which it is. Of which the former would be the intellect that is in us; the latter, the organ, that is naturally judicatory, acting like a leader to what is true; but like a follower after what is false. Now this organ is nothing else than natural reason. And, as regards things that exist, the philosopher would be called more clearly a judge, by whom things are judged. But reason likewise is a judge, through which the truth is judged, and which we have said is an organ. Now reason is twofold. One is altogether to be not made captive and is accurate; the other is not to be deceived by falsehoods as regards the knowledge of things. The former of these can be attained by god, but not by man; but the latter can be attained by man likewise. Now this is also twofold; one is conversant about things perceptible by mind; the other about things perceptible by a sense; of which the one, conversant about things perceptible by mind, is Science and Scientific Reason; but the other, conversant about things perceptible by a sense, is Opinionative and Opinion. From whence the Scientific possesses a firmness and stability, as being conversant with principles firm and stable; but the Credible and Opinionative (possess) probability, as being conversant about things not stable.
Now of Science, conversant about things perceptible by mind, and of Opinion, conversant about things perceptible by a sense, the principles are Intelligence and Perception. Now Perception is an affection of the soul, that gives, like a leader, by means of the body a previous intimation of a power that has been affected. But when there has been produced in the soul by means of the organs of sense an impression according to its sensation, [which is a sensation,] then, in order that (the impression) may not be evanescent, but permanent, [and preserved] the preservation of it is called Memory. But Opinion is the complication of memory and sensation. For when we meet for the first time with a thing perceptible by a sense, and a sensation is produced in us by it, and from this sensation Memory, and we subsequently meet again with the same thing perceived by a sense, we combine the memory previously brought into action with the sensation produced a second time; and we say within ourselves, as, for instance, say, Socrates, (or) a horse, (or) fire, or whatever thing there may be of such a kind. Now this is called Opinion through our combining the recollection brought previously into action with the sensation recently produced. And when these, placed along each other, agree, a true opinion is produced; but when they swerve from each other, a false one. For if a person, having a recollection of Socrates, and meeting with Plato, imagines, through some similarity, that he is meeting again with Socrates, and afterwards combines the sensation, which he has received from Plato, as if he had received it from Socrates, with the recollection, which he has of Socrates, the opinion would be a false one. Now that, in which memory and sensation are produced (conjointly), Plato likens to an impression on wax; but when the soul, after remoulding by an exercise of thought the things, which have been imagined out of sensation and memory, looks upon them, as upon those, out of which they have been produced, Plato calls this a painting to the life; and sometimes too a phantasy. But he calls the exercise of thought a talking of the soul to itself; and talking (he says) is a flowing from it, proceeding with a vocal sound through the mouth. Now Cogitation is an operation of the mind, while contemplating the first things perceptible by mind. And this seems to be twofold; one, while it was contemplating things perceptible by mind, previous to the soul existing in the body; another, after it had been compelled to come into this body. Of these, one [that contemplated previous to the soul existing in the body] was called Cogitation; but after it existed in the body, that, which was then called Cogitation, was now called Physical Thinking, as being a cogitation in a subjective soul. When therefore we say that Cogitation is the beginning of Scientific Reasoning, we do not mean that, which is so called now, but that, which, as we have said, was then, when the soul existed apart from the body, called Cogitation, but is now Physical Thinking. Now Physical Thinking is called by him (Plato) both a simple science, and a fledging of the soul; and sometimes, recollection. From these sciences that are simple, Physical and Scientific Reason, which exists in Nature, is composed. Since then there is Reason existing, both Scientific and Opinionative, and there is a Cogitation existing and Sensation, there are also things, that are subjective to them; as for instance, those, that are perceptible by mind, and those likewise, by a sense.
Now, since of things perceptible by mind some are primary, as ideas, and some secondary, as species, which, being (impressed) on Matter, are inseparable from it, Cogitation is twofold, one of the primary, and another of the secondary. And again, since of things perceptible by a sense, some are primary, as qualities — for instance, colour, whiteness, — but some according to accident — as white mixed with another colour, — and, moreover, a congregated mass, as fire, honey, — so there is sensation, one part of which is of primaries, and called itself primary; and another of secondaries, (and called) secondary. Of the primaries, perceptible by mind, Cogitation judges, not without Scientific Reason, by means of a certain apprehension, and not by a discourse in detail; but of the secondary, a sense judges not without Opinionative Reason; but of the congregated mass, Opinionative Reason (judges) not without a sense. Now since the world, perceptible by mind, is a primary perceptible, but that, perceptible by a sense, is a congregated mass, of the world, perceptible by mind, Cogitation judges, together with Reason that is not without reason; but of that perceptible by a sense Opinionative Reason (judges) not without a sense.
Since then there is Contemplation and Action, right reason does not judge in a similar manner of things, which fall under Contemplation, and of what are to be done; but in the case of Contemplation it looks to the truth, and to what is not in that condition; but in the case of things to be done, to what is appropriate, and what is strange, and what is being done. For by having a natural notion of what is beautiful and good we make use of reason; and referring to these natural notions, as to some determinate standards, we decide, whether any of these things are in this state or in a different one.
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.
The most elementary part of Dialectic Science he deems to be, first, the looking upon the essence of every thing whatsoever, and then, upon what relates to its accidents. It looks upon each thing, as it is in itself, either from above, in the way of Division or Definition, or from below, in that of Analysis; but on the accidents of, and that which exist in, essences, (it looks) either from the things contained, through Induction, or from the things containing, through a Syllogism; so that, according to this account, in Dialectical Science there is a dividing, and a defining, and an analyzing, and, moreover, that which is inductive and syllogistic. Now the dividing is the separating a genus into its species, or a whole into its parts; as when we separate the soul into the rational, and that affected by circumstances; and again the (so) affected into the irascible and the concupiscible. The division too of the voice (is) into the things signified; as when one and the same word is referred to many things; and the division of accidents into things subjective; as when we say of good things, that some are so, as regards the soul, some, as regards the body, and some are external; and that of things subjective into accidents; as when we say of men, that some are good, some bad, and some between (both). It is necessary then to make use of the separation of the genus into its species for the purpose of knowing thoroughly each thing by itself, and what it is according to its essence. But this cannot take place without a Definition. Now a Definition is produced from a division after this manner. Of the thing, that is about to fall under a Definition, it is requisite to take (in the first place) the genus; as in the case of man (the genus) is an animal; and then to separate it, according to its proximate differences descending to the species; as, for instance, to rational and irrational, mortal and immortal; so that if the proximate differences are combined with the genus, that proceeds from them, there exists a definition of man.
But of Analysis there are three kinds; one is an ascent from things perceptible by a sense to the primary perceptible by mind; another is an ascent through things (fully) shown and obscurely shown to propositions not to be demonstrated and without a middle; and another is that, which ascends from an hypothesis to principles not hypothetical. Now the first is something of this kind; as if we should proceed from the beauty relating to the body to the beauty relating to the soul; and from this to that in pursuits; and from this to that in laws; and then to the wide sea of beauty; and then, after having proceeded thus, we should discover what remains, namely, beauty itself. The second kind of Analysis is something like this. It is requisite to suppose what is to be sought, and to see what things are before it, and to show these from what come after, by ascending up to those before, until we arrive at the first and what is acknowledged; and beginning (again), from this we shall descend to what is sought by the Synthetical manner. For instance, I am seeking, whether the soul is immortal; and after supposing this very thing, I inquire whether it is always moved; and after showing this, whether what is always moved is self-moved; and again, after showing this, I consider whether what is self-moved is a beginning of motion; and then, whether a beginning is unbegotten; which is laid down as being acknowledged, inasmuch as the unbegotten is likewise the indestructible; from which, as from a thing quite clear, making a beginning I will put together a demonstration of this kind — If a beginning be a thing unbegotten and indestructible, that, which is self-moved, is a beginning of motion. Now the soul is a thing selfmoved; it is therefore indestructible, and unbegotten, and immortal. But the Analysis from an hypothesis is of this kind — A person, inquiring into a matter, lays down that very thing hypothetically; and he then considers what will follow upon the assertion so laid down; and after this, whether it is requisite to give a reason for the hypothesis; and, laying down another hypothesis, he inquires whether what had been previously laid down, follows again the other hypothesis; and so he continues to do, until he arrives at some principle not hypothetical.
Induction is wholly a method by reasoning, which proceeds from the like to the like, or from particulars to generals. Induction is particularly useful for exciting notions connected with physics.
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 that portion of reasoning, which we call a Proposition, there are two kinds; one is Affirmation, the other Negation. Affirmation is a thing of this kind — Socrates is walking about; but Negation is a thing of this kind — Socrates is not walking about. Of Affirmation and Negation, there is one kind relating to what is Universal, another to what is Particular. An Affirmation relating to what is Particular is of this kind — “A certain pleasure is a good:” a Negation is of this kind — “A certain pleasure is not a good.” But an Affirmation relating to what is Universal is of this kind — “Every disgraceful thing is an evil:” a Negation is of this kind — “Not one of disgraceful things is a good.”
Of Propositions some are Categorical, some Hypothetical. The Categorical are simple; as “Every just thing is beautiful;” but the Hypothetical point out a Consequence or Repugnance.
Plato makes use likewise of the operation of Syllogisms, when he is disproving or proving; when disproving falsehoods by a searching inquiry; and when proving truths by a certain kind of teaching. Now a Syllogism is a reasoning, in which, on some things being laid down, something necessarily turns out different from what has been laid down. Of Syllogisms there are some Categorical; others Hypothetical; and others Mixed. Of these the Categorical are those, of which the assumptions and conclusions are simple propositions; the Hypothetical are those, that proceed from hypothetical propositions; and the Mixed are those, that combine the (other) two.
The man makes use likewise of Demonstrative (reasoning), in the dialogues that covertly lead (to truth), and of Detective, in those against the Sophists and young persons but the Litigious, against those called peculiarly Litigious, as, say, for instance, Euthydemus and Hippias. Of the Categorical, whose forms are three, the first is that, in which the common extreme is first the predicate, and then the subject; the second is, in which the common extreme is the predicate in both; the third is, in which the common extreme is the subject in both. Now the Extremes I call the parts of Propositions; as in the Proposition, “Man is an animal,” we call “Man” an extreme, and so too “Animal.” According to the first, second, and third forms, Plato frequently asks reasons. According to the first (he argues) thus in the Alcibiades — “Just things are honourable. But honourable things are good. Therefore just things are good.” According to the second, in the Parmenides, thus — “That which has no parts, is neither straight nor round. But that which partakes of figure is either straight or round. Hence that, which has no parts, does not partake even of figure.” According to the third in the same book thus — “That, which partakes of figure, has some quality; and that, which partakes of figure, is bounded; therefore that, which has some quality, is bounded.” And in many books we shall find hypothetical reasons asked by him; and especially in the Parmenides we shall find them such as these — “If the one has no parts, it has neither a beginning, a middle, nor an end, nor has it a limit; and if it has not a limit, neither does it partake of figure. If then the one has no parts, neither does it partake of figure.” According to the second hypothetical form, which the majority say is the third, according to which the common extreme follows both the ends, he asks in this manner — “If the one has no parts, it is neither straight nor round. (But) if it partakes of figure, it is either straight or round. If then it has no parts, it does not partake of figure.” And yet according to the third form, but the second with some persons, according to which the common extreme leads both, he asks thus in the Phædo — If, after we have received the knowledge of what is equal, we have not forgotten it, we know it; but, if we have forgotten it, we recall it to mind. And of the Mixed he makes mention, which thus build up (a reasoning) from a consequence — “If the one is a whole and limited, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and partakes of figure. Now, since the leading is so, so is the ending.” Of those too, that pull down from a consequence, (it is most easy) to contemplate the differences in a similar manner.
When therefore a person looks carefully into the powers of the soul, and into the difference of men, and the kinds of reasoning, and acutely perceives which of them are suited to the soul in this way or that, and being what himself by what and what kind of reasonings he can be persuaded, such a person, if he lays hold of a fitting opportunity for the use (of his faculties), will become a perfect orator; and his oratorical skill would be justly called the science of speaking well.
And of Sophisms too we shall find the method delineated by Flato in the Euthydemus, if we carefully read the book; so that it is indicated covertly, what Sophisms are in words, and what in things, and what are the solutions of them.
Moreover he has pointed out secretly the ten Categories in the Parmenides and the other dialogues; and he goes through the whole question of etymology in the Cratylus; and, to speak simply, the man is the most sufficient and wonderful in the business relating to Definitions and Divisions; all of which show forth especially the power of the Dialectic art.
The matter of the Cratylus has a meaning of this kind. Plato inquires there whether names are from nature or imposition; and he is satisfied that the correctness of names is referable to imposition; not however simply so, nor accidentally, but so that the imposition follows upon the nature of the thing; for the correctness of the name is nothing else than the imposition, which agrees with the nature of the thing; nor is yet the imposition, whatever it may be, of the name, sufficient by itself for correctness; nor is nature, nor the first utterance of the voice; but that which is (compounded) of both, so that the peculiarity of every name is laid down according to its affinity with the nature of the thing; for assuredly, should what is accidental be imposed upon an accidental thing, it would not signify what is correct; as if, for instance, we should give to a man the name of a horse; since to speak is some one of actions; so that a person would not speak correctly by speaking in any manner soever, but if he should speak in such a way, as things exist naturally. Now since to give a name to a thing is a part of speaking, so is a name a part of speech; (and) to name a thing correctly or not would take place, not according to any imposition whatsoever, but according to a natural affinity with the thing. Hence he would be the best name-imposer, who should mark out by the name the nature of the thing. For the name is an instrument of a thing, not such as occurs accidentally, but has a mutual relation by nature; and through it we teach each other the things, and we judge of them; so that the name is something with a teaching, and the instrument, that judges of the existence of each thing, as the shuttle is of weaving.
With regard to the Dialectic art, this too will take place, (to wit,) to make use of names correctly. For as a man skilled in weaving would make use of a shuttle, through knowing its work, after a workman had manufactured it, so the Dialectician would, after the name-imposer had imposed the name, make use of it in a proper and advantageous manner. For it is the part of an artificer to make a rudder, but of the steersman to make use of it properly. So too the name-imposer himself would make a proper use of the imposition, if he were to make the imposition in the presence of the Dialectician, who knows the nature of the things that are the subject (of the names.) And let so much be written down on the Dialectical question.
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.
Now let us speak in order of the Contemplative kind. Of this we have said that one portion is Theological; another Physical; and another Mathematical: and that of the Theological the end is the knowledge relating to the first causes, and to what is the most above, and to principles; but of the Physical to learn what is the nature of the Universe; and what kind of animal is man; and what place he occupies in the world; and whether god has any forethought respecting the Universe; and whether there are other gods under his orders; and what is the condition of man with respect to the gods; but of the Mathematical, to consider the superficial and triply-separated nature, relating both to motion and an onward carrying on, and how it exists.
Let then the Contemplation of the Mathematical portion be laid down summarily. Now this was received by Plato for the acuteness of thought, as sharpening the intellect, and as furnishing an accuracy towards the consideration of things existing. That too, which relates to Numbers, being a portion of the Mathematical, introduces an affinity, not such as is accidental, to an upward approach to things existing; and it almost relieves us from the error and ignorance relating to things perceptible by a sense; and it co-operates towards the knowledge of existence, and becomes well-constituted, as regards war, by means of the theory of tactics. So too that relating to Geometry is the most fit for a knowledge of the good; at least when a person pursues Geometry, not for any practical purpose, but makes use of it, as something additional, so as to ascend to the ever-existing being, and not to waste his time about what is generated and destroyed.
Geometry is, moreover, very useful; for after its second increase there follows the contemplation according to it, which has a third increase. Useful likewise as a fourth subject for learning is Astronomy; according to which we shall contemplate the onward movement of the stars in heaven, and of heaven, and the artificer of night and day, and of months and years; from whence by some familiar road we shall search out the artificer of the universe while proceeding from these subjects of learning, as from some basis and elements (by degrees to higher matters). And of Music too we shall have a care by bringing the hearing of it to our ears. For as the eyes are constituted with respect to Astronomy, so is the hearing with respect to Harmony. And as, by turning our thoughts to Astronomy, we are led on the road from things seen to an existence unseen and perceptible by mind, so by listening to the voice of Harmony, we pass, in like manner, from things heard to those that are beheld by the mind itself; so that, unless we pursue in this way these subjects of learning, our contemplation on these matters will be incomplete, and unprofitable, and nothing worth. For it is meet to turn quickly from things to be seen and heard to those, which it is possible to see by the reasoning faculty alone of the soul. For the looking into Mathematical learning is a kind of prelude to the contemplation of things existing. For Geometry, and Arithmetic, and the sciences that follow upon them, although desirous to lay hold of the Being, yet are they in a dream respecting the Being, and unable to see it, as a day-dream, through being ignorant both of the principles (of things) and of what are formed from those principles. They happen, nevertheless, to be very useful, according to what has been stated. From whence Plato said that such subjects of learning were not sciences at all. The Dialectic art is then a progression, that naturally ascends from Geometrical Hypotheses to the first principles of things and non-hypothetical. From whence he called the Dialectic art a science. But the subjects of (such) learning (he said) were neither opinion, through their being more clear than things perceptible by a sense; nor a science, through their being more obscure than the primaries perceptible by mind; but of bodies he says (there is) an opinion; of the primaries a science; but of (such) subjects of learning a mental notion. He lays down too, that Faith and Fancy are something; and that of these Faith is of things perceptible by a sense; but Fancy of resemblances and kinds.
Since then the Dialectic art is the most powerful of the subjects of learning, inasmuch as it is conversant about things divine, and stable, on this account it is ranked above the other subjects of learning, and is, as it were, the copingstone and guard.
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.
After this let us speak consecutively about Principles and Theological Contemplations, commencing from on high from the primaries, and descending from them, and looking into the creation of the world, and ending with the creation and nature of man.
And let us speak first of Matter.
This then he calls a mould, that receives every impression, and a nurse, and a mother, and a space, and a thing subjective and tangible, (and) without sensation, and to be apprehended by spurious reasoning; and that it possesses a peculiarity of such a kind, that it receives all creations, and has the reputation of a nurse by nourishing them, and admits all forms, being itself without Figure, and Quality, and Species, but moulded into such, and fashioned, as if it were a mould, and put into a form by them, possessing no peculiar figure or quality. For there would not be any thing properly prepared for various configurations and forms, unless it were itself without Quality, and not partaking of these species, which it must receive. For we see that those, who prepare sweetsmelling ointments from oil, make use of the most sweetscented; and those, who are desirous of fabricating figures from wax or clay, smooth down those substances, and render them shapeless in order that they may receive (new shapes). It is fitting then for Matter which receives every thing, if it is about to receive forms universally, to be subject to the possessing not one of their natures, but to be without Quality, and without form for the purpose of receiving forms; and being such, it would be neither a body nor without a body, but a body in posse, as we understand of copper, that it is a statue in posse, because, after having received the form, it will become a statue.
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.
While matter retains the character of a Principle, (Plato) admits still other principles likewise, both the pattern-like, that is, relating to Ideas, and that of god, the father and the cause of all things. Now Idea is, as regards god, a mental operation by him; as regards us, the first thing perceptible by mind; as regards Matter, a standard; but as regards the world, perceptible by a sense, a pattern; but as considered with reference to itself, an existence. For universally all that is generated according to a design ought to be generated for something. For if any thing be produced from any thing, as my own resemblance is from myself, there must be a pattern previously laid down; and whether the pattern be within or without, each of the artificers, having the pattern in himself, on every side and in every manner, invests its form with Matter.
Now persons define Idea as the eternal pattern of things existing according to Nature. For it does not please the majority of Platonists (to admit) that there are Ideas of works of art, such as of a shield, or lyre; nor yet of things, that are contrary to Nature, such as of fever, and cholera; nor of what exists according to a part, as of Socrates and Plato; nor of things of no value, such as of filth and rotten thatch; nor of that, which exists with reference to something, as of a greater and superior; for Ideas are the notions of god eternal and perfect in themselves.
Now that there are Ideas, in this way too they exhort (us). For whether the deity be mind or something mental, it has thoughts, and these too both eternal and not to be turned aside. And if this be so, there are Ideas. For if Matter is on its own account without (a standard of) measure, it must meet with a standard from something else, that is superior and without matter; hence if the antecedent (is true), so is the consequent; and if this be so, Ideas are certain (standards of) measures without Matter. Moreover, if the world is not such, as it is, from chance, not only has it been produced out of something, but by something; and not only so, but for something likewise. Now what could that, for which it has been produced, have been else than Idea? so that thus there would have been Ideas. Moreover, if mind differs from true opinion, what is perceived by mind differs also from what is held as an opinion; and if this be so, [things perceived by the mind are different from those held as opinions; so that] there will have been the primaries perceived by mind, and the primaries perceived by a sense; and if this be so, there are Ideas. Now mind does differ from a true opinion; so that there will have been Ideas.
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.
We must now render an account, next in order, of the third principle, which Plato considers to be almost impossible to be told. We may however be led to it after this manner. If things are perceptible by mind, and these too not perceptible by a sense, nor with a participation in the things perceptible by a sense, but belonging to some primaries perceptible by mind, there are simple primaries perceptible by mind, as there are primaries likewise perceptible by a sense. If then the antecedent (is true), so is the consequent. Now men — as being infected with the suffering from sensation, so that, when they determine to think upon something perceptible by mind, they keep in their fancy that, which is perceptible by a sense, so as to think at the same time of magnitude, and form, and colour — do frequently think not clearly upon things perceptible by mind; whereas the gods, being freed from things perceptible by a sense, (do think) clearly and without a mixture (of fancies). Now since Mind is superior to the living principle, and as the Mind, which is, according to its working, thinking upon all things simultaneously and for ever, is superior to a mind in posse; and as the cause of that is better than this, and what exists is still above these, this would be the primary god, as being the cause of perpetually operating for the mind of the whole heaven. Now he is operating, although unmoved himself, for that (mind), as the sun does for vision, when it looks for him, and as that, which has the faculty of desire, excites desire, itself being unmoved. At least in this way will this Mind likewise excite the mind of the whole heaven. Now, since the primary Mind is the most beautiful, there must needs be the most beautiful thing placed under it. But nothing is more beautiful than itself. It would therefore be thinking for ever upon itself and its own cogitations; and this its mental energy is Idea. Moreover the primary god is eternal, ineffable, perfect in itself, that is, not wanting in any thing, ever-perfect, that is, for ever perfect, all-perfect, that is, perfect in every way, a divinity, holiness, truth, symmetry, good. And I say not this, as if giving a definition, but as of one had in mind according to all. He is a good, because, being the cause of all good, he bestows kindness on all things according to his power; and a beautiful thing, because he is (so) by himself more than that by nature and symmetrical; and truth, because he is the beginning of all truth, as the Sun is of all light; and he is the father, by being the cause of all things, and by putting into order the heavenly mind, and the soul of the world, with reference to himself and his own cogitations. For according to his own will he has filled all things with himself, after having raised up the soul of the world and turned it to himself, being the cause of that mind, which, being put into order by the father, puts into order the whole of nature in this world. He is moreover ineffable, and to be comprehended by mind alone, as has been stated; since he is neither genus nor species, nor difference; nor has there happened to him any thing either evil — for it is not lawful to state this; or good — for he would be such according to the participation of something, especially goodness; nor difference — for this (cannot be) according to the notion of him; nor being with equality — for he has not been made a quality, nor perfected by quality; nor without quality — for he has not been deprived of any quality, coming upon him; nor a part of any thing; nor as a whole, possessing any parts; nor so as to be any thing the same or different — for nothing has happened to him, according to which he is able to be separated from the rest of things; nor does he move, nor is he moved.
Now (the) first notion of him will be that, which is according to the abstraction from (all) these things; as we have had a notion of a point according to an abstraction from what is perceptible by a sense, by thinking upon a superficies, then a line, and lastly a point. The second notion will be that, which is according to analogy somehow in this way. For the analogy which the sun has to the seeing faculty and to things seen, without being himself vision, but enabling it to see and them to be seen, this analogy has the primary mind to the thinking faculty, and to the things thought of. For not being what the thinking faculty is, it enables it to think, and for things perceptible by mind to be thought of, by throwing around them the light of truth. But the third notion would be something of this kind. A person, after contemplating the beauty in bodies, will then proceed to the beauty of the soul; and afterwards to that, which is in pursuits and laws; and then to the wide sea of the beautiful; after which he will think of the good itself, and the lovely, and desirable, as it were a light that has appeared, and is shining out upon the thus ascending soul. In this way he thinks too upon god, on account of his excellence in a state of honour, and that he is without parts, through there being nothing prior to him; for a part, and that, from which (any thing is composed), is prior to that, of which it is a part; for the plane is prior to the bulk in a body, and the line is prior to a plane. By not having parts then he would be unmoved, as regards space and change. For if he were changed, it would be either by himself or by another. Now if it were by another, that other would be more powerful than he; but if by himself, he would be changed either for the worse or the better. Now both of these (suppositions) are absurd. From all which it appears that he is without body; which may be shown from these proofs likewise. For if god were body, he would be Material and with a Form, through every body being a dual substance, composed of Matter and of Form united to it; which are assimilated to Ideas and partake of them in some kind of manner hard to be explained. Now it is absurd for god to be composed of Matter and Form. For he will not be simple, nor capable of being a beginning; so that the deity would be a thing without body; and from another point, if he is body, he would be Material, and would be either fire or water, or earth or air, or something (produced) from them. Now each of these at least is not capable of being a beginning; and he would be really produced posterior to Matter, if he were Material; which suppositions being absurd, we must understand him to be without body. For if he were body, he would be destroyed, and produced, and changed. But each of these events is absurd in his case.
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.
Qualities moreover can be shown in this manner to be incorporeal. Every body is in a subjective state. But a Quality is not in a subjective state, but accidental. Body is therefore not a Quality. Every Quality is in a subjective state; but no body is in a subjective state. Quality therefore is not body. Further, one quality is the opposite to another quality. But one body is not so to another body; and body differs, as far as it is body, in nothing from body; but it does differ in Quality, and not, by Zeus, in bodies. Qualities are therefore not bodies. And it is most reasonable, that, as Matter is devoid of Quality, so Quality should be devoid of Matter; and if Quality be immaterial, Quality will be incorporeal. For if Qualities were bodies, two and three bodies would be in the same place — a thing the most absurd. But if Qualities are incorporeal, that which fabricates them (would be) incorporeal. Now there can be no other things that fabricate but incorporeals. For bodies are subject to suffering and to flowing, and to being not always in the same state and similar, and not permanent and firmly fixed; and even in cases, where they seem to be active in something, they are found to be previously passive in much. As then there is something clearly passive, so there must be something truly active. Now we should not find any thing else to be this, but what is incorporeal.
The discourse then respecting the Principles of things would be of some such kind as this, when called Theological. Let us then proceed next in order to what is called Physical, beginning from some point here.
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.
Since of the things, which are perceptible by a sense according to nature and individually, there must be some patterns defined, (namely) Ideas, from which Sciences and Definitions are produced — for besides all men a certain man is thought of, and besides all horses a certain horse — and generally, besides living beings a living being not generated and indestructible, in the same manner as from one seal there are many impressions, and of one man ten thousand likenesses upon ten thousand, the Idea (itself) being originally the cause of each being such as it is itself — it is a thing of necessity that the World should have been fabricated by the deity, as the most beautiful composition, while he was looking to some Idea of a World, as being the pattern of this World, made, as it were, after the resemblance of that Idea, according to which it was, after being assimilated, worked out; while the deity came by a most wonderful forethought and mode of life to fabricate the World, because he was good. He fabricated it therefore from the whole of matter; which moved about in no order and superfluously, previous to the generation of heaven; and taking it away from its disordered state he led it to the best order, and he adorned its parts with becoming numbers and forms, so as to discriminate how fire and earth exist at present with reference to air and water — things that exhibited previously merely foot-marks, and (were) the receptacle of the powers of the Elements, and were without reason and without measure shaking Matter and were shaken by it. For from each of the four elements, as a whole, he generated the World; and from all fire and earth and water and air leaving out neither any part or power, through having reflected, in the first place, that it was requisite to be a body and a production, and altogether tangible and visible; since without fire and without earth it was not possible for any thing to be either visible or tangible. According then to a fair reason he formed it of earth and fire. But since it was requisite for some chain to be in the midst of both of these; and since the divine chain is that of proportion, which has by nature the power to make itself and what are united with it one; and since the World was not a plane — for one middle power would have been sufficient — but spherical — and required two middle powers for the fitting together — on this account, in the midst of fire and of earth, both air and water were arranged according to the manner of a proportion; so that, as fire is to air, so air should be to water, and this last to earth, and conversely; and by nothing being left from without, he made the World his only begotten, and assimilated it, according to number, to the Idea, that was one O. He made it, moreover, without disease and without old age — inasmuch as nothing could come to it, naturally able to corrupt it — and self-sufficient, and in need of nothing from without; and he put round it a spherical form, the most regular kind of figure, and the most capacious, and the most easy to be moved. But, since it requires neither vision nor hearing, nor any thing else of that kind, he did not attach to it organs of such a kind for ministering (to the senses); and after taking away the other kinds of motion, he gave it only the circularly-progressive, which has an affinity with that of Mind and Thought.
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 3 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.
As the things, of which the World consists, are two, (namely,) body and soul, of which the former is visible and tangible, but the latter invisible and intangible, the power and constitution of each happens to be different. For its body is generated from fire and earth and water and air. These four substances did the fabricator of the World take together, while they were not, by Zeus, preserving the order of the elements; and he gave to them the form of a Pyramid, and a Cube, and an Octohedron, and Eikosihedron, but, above all, a Dodecahedron. And as far as Matter assumed the form of a Pyramid, it became Fire, that form being the most piercing, and made up of the fewest triangles, and in this manner the most attenuated; but as far as (it assumed the form) of an Octohedron, it took the quality of air; and as far as that of an Eikosihedron, it had the quality of water; and the form of a Cube he assigned to earth, as being the most solid and stable; but he made use of the form of the Dodecahedron for the Universe. But more than all these was the Plane of the nature of a Principle. For Planes are prior to Solids. And of the nature of a Plane there are, as it were, some two progenitors, the most beautiful, in the form of right-angled triangles; one, the Skalene; the other, the Isoskeles; the Skalene having one angle a right angle, and another twothirds (of a right angle), and the remainder the third (of a right angle). Now the former, [I mean the Skalene triangle,] is the element of the Pyramid, and Octohedron, and Eikosihedron; the Pyramid consisting of four equilateral triangles, each of which is divided into six Skalene triangles, as described already; but the Octohedron in like manner of eight, each of which is divided into six Skalene; and the Eikosihedron (in like manner) of twenty. But the other, [I mean the Isoskeles,] becomes the constituent form of the Cube; for when four Isoskeles triangles come together, they make a Square; from six squares of which kind is formed a Cube. But for the Universe the deity made use of the Dodecahedron. Wherefore there are seen [in heaven] the forms of twelve animals in the circle of the Zodiac, and each of them is divided into thirty parts. And nearly so in the case of the Dodecahedron; which consists of twelve pentagons, (each) divided into five triangles, so that, as each consists of six triangles, there are found in the whole Dodecahedron three hundred and sixty triangles, being as many as there are parts in the Zodiac. Matter then, being fashioned into these forms by the deity, was moved at first with (indistinct) footsteps, and without order, but was subsequently reduced into order by the deity, while all things were fitted together according to a proportion with each other. These things, however, when separated, do not remain at rest, but have a ceaseless shaking and communicate it to Matter. Wherefore being bound to the circumference of the World, they are driven on with it; and, while so driven on, they are carried against each other, the thinner particles into the places of the grosser; and by this means there is left no vacuum, destitute of some body; and as this inequality continues, it gives rise to a shaking; for by these particles Matter is shaken and they by it.
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.
Bodies then has (Plato) introduced for the instruction of the Soul, touching the powers that are exhibited in it. For since we judge of each of things existing by the Soul, he has fairly placed in it the Principles of all existing things, in order that, while contemplating each of the things that fall under it, according to their affinity and proximity, we should represent to ourselves its being in harmony with its acts. By saying then that there is a certain existence perceptible by the mind, which is indivisible, he has represented to himself another existence likewise, relating to bodies, which is divisible, by showing that he is able to lay hold by intellect of each of these existences; and by seeing that, as regards things perceptible by mind, there is an identity and a difference, and (so too) as regards things perceptible by a sense, from all these he has made the Soul a contribution. For either the like is known by the like, which is the favourite doctrine of the Pythagorean, or the unlike by the unlike, which is that of Heracleitus, the Physical philosopher. But when (Plato) says that the World has been generated, we must not understand him, as if there were once a time, when the World was not; but because it is ever in generation, and shows forth something as a cause more ancient than its own constitution. And even the deity does not make the Soul ever existing of the World, but puts it in order. And in this way he might be said to make it, by arousing up, as if from a drowsiness or heavy sleep, and turning to himself both its mind and itself, so that, by looking to what is perceptible by his mind, it may, while eagerly seeking his notions, assume species and forms. It is plain then that the World is a thing of life and intellectual. For the deity being desirous of making it the best (work), made it consequently both with life and intellect. For that, which is with life, is, taken as a whole, a completed work superior to that, which, taken as a whole, is without life; and the intellectual than the non-intellectual; although perhaps by the mind not being able to subsist without a thing of life, but by the life being extended from the centre to the extremities, it has happened, that it surrounds the body of the World in a circle and entirely conceals it, so that it stretches along the whole of the World, and in this manner binds and keeps it together; and that the particles without have a power over those within. For that, which is without, remains uncut; but that, which is within, is cut into seven circles, divided from the commencement into double and triple intervals. Now that, which is comprehended by the (portion) of the sphere remaining uncut, is very like to the same; but the cut (like to) the different. For the movement of the heaven, which embraces all things, is not-wandering, as being one and in order; but that, which is within, is various, and changed by risings and settings; and hence it is called wandering. But that, which is without, is carried along to the right, by being moved from east to west; but that, which is within, conversely to the left, from west to east, meeting the world. The deity made, moreover, the constellations and stars; and of these some not wandering, the ornament of heaven and of night, being very many in number; and (the planets), being seven, for the generation of number and time, and the exhibition of things existing. For an interval in the movement of the World has produced Time, the image, as it were, of eternity, which is a measure of the staying of the eternal World. But the non-wandering stars are not similar in power. The Sun is the leader of all, showing and illuminating all things. But the Moon is seen in the second rank, on account of her power; and the other planets proportionally, each according to its own share. Now the Moon makes the measure of a month, after it has completely gone through its own revolution, and overtaken the Sun in such (a time); but the Sun in that of a year. For after it has gone round the circle of the Zodiac, it completes the seasons of the year; while the rest make use singly of their own periodical revolutions, which are beheld, not by ordinary persons, but by the properly instructed. Now from all these revolutions the perfect number and time is completed, when all the planets, after arriving at the same point, obtain such an arrangement, that a straight line being conceived to be let fall from the non-wandering sphere to the earth in the manner of a perpendicular, the centres of all are seen upon that line. There being then seven spheres in the wandering sphere, the deity made seven visible bodies out of a substance, for the most part fire-like, and fitted them to the spheres, formed out of the circle of the different and the wandering. And he placed the Moon in the first circle after the Earth; and the Sun he arranged for the second circle, and Lucifer and the so-called sacred star of Hermes into the circle, which moves with a velocity equal to the Sun, but at a distance from it; and above the rest, (each) in its own sphere, the slowest of them lying under the sphere of the nonwandering, which some call by the name of the star of Saturn; and that, which is the next after it in slowness, by the name of Jupiter, under which is that of Mars. But in the eighth the power, which is above, is thrown around them all. And all these are living intellectual beings, and gods, and of a spherical form.
There are other Dæmons 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 Dæmons. 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.
There are other Dæmons likewise, which a person might call created gods, according to each of the Elements. Some are visible, others invisible, in Æther (hot air) and Fire, and in Air (cold air) and Water; so that no part of the World is without a share of life, nor of a living being superior to the nature of man. To these are committed all under the Moon, and upon the Earth. For the deity is himself the maker of the Universe, and of the gods and dæmons. Now the Universe will not have, according to his will, a dissolution; but the rest his children lead according to his command, and doing what they do in imitation of him; and from whom are rumours, and voices (from heaven), and dreams, and oracles, and whatever is made an art of by mortals in the way of prophecy. Now the Earth lies in the midst of the whole (circles), and is twisted round the pole, which is stretched through all, the guardian of day and night, and is the oldest of the gods in heaven, and, after the soul of the World, furnishing us abundant food; about whom the World revolves, she being herself a star, but who, through her being a thing equally balanced, remains lying in the middle, and similar to those surrounding her. But the Æther is separated towards the most outward parts, and to the sphere of the non-wandering, and to that of the wandering; and after those spheres is that of the Air; and in the middle is the Earth with its own moisture.
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.
When all had been put into order by him, he left three remaining kinds of living beings, the winged, the aquatic, and the foot-walking. These the deity enjoined upon his offsprings to make, in order that the things moulded by him might not be immortal. They then, after they had borrowed from the primary matter certain portions for definite periods, as if they were to be paid back again, fabricated mortal things of life. But when there was respecting the race of Man, as being the nearest related to gods, again a care both to the father of all, and to the gods, his offspring, the artificer of the Universe sent down upon earth the souls of this race, equal in number to the stars; and after he had placed each soul in a star, as in a vehicle connected with it, he did, in order that he might be without blame, lay down laws, fixed by Fate, after the manner of a Law-giver; that from the body should arise mortal affections, first, sensations, then pleasure and pain, and fear and anger, and that the souls, which obtained a mastery over these (feelings), and were not controlled by them, should live justly, and arrive at the star, connected with them; while they, who were overcome by (their own) injustice, should come in their second birth to the life of a woman; and, if they did not cease then, at last to the nature of wild beasts; and that the end of their labour should be to overcome what had grown upon them, and to return to their proper state.
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.
The gods then, in a leading manner, moulded man from Earth and Fire and Air and Water, after borrowing certain portions with the view of repaying them. And, after putting them together with invisible bolts, they worked out some one body, and bound the master portion of the soul, sent down to the head, after placing as a substratum the brain in the manner of a ploughed field; and they put around the face the organs of the senses, to fulfil their fitting office. And they formed the marrow out of the smooth and straight triangles, of which the elements were composed, for it to be the generation of semen; but the bone from earth and marrow wetted, and frequently dipped in water and fire, and the nerves from bone and flesh; but the flesh itself was created out of a saline and acrid substance, like something fermented. And they placed around the marrow, bone; and around the bones, nerves; and through the means of the nerves were produced the bendings and bindings of the joints; and coverings for them by means of the flesh applied over them, here white, and there tawny, for the great utility itself of the body. From these were the internal viscera likewise put into folds, both the belly and the entrails rolled around it, and higher up from the mouth (came) the arteries and the opening of the larynx, one of which goes to the stomach, and the other to the lungs. The food too is arranged along the gut, comminuted and macerated by the breath and heat, and thus passes on to the whole body, according to its peculiar changes; while the two veins, that proceed along the spine, from opposite sides, infold the head and meet each other, and divide themselves hither and thither into many parts. The gods then having made man, and bound to his body the soul to be its mistress, located that, which rules according to reason, about the head, where is the commencement of the marrow, and nerves, and mental aberrations, according as they are affected; while the senses likewise lie around the head, as if they were the leading power of spear-bearing guards. In this spot is also that, which reasons, and contemplates, and judges. But that portion of the soul, which is affected by circumstances, they placed lower down, namely, the irascible about the heart, and the concupiscible about the lower belly and the parts about the navel; of which mention will be made 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.
After placing in the face the light-enduring eyes, they enclosed in them the light-like portion of fire; which being smooth and dense, they conceived to be the brother of the light of day. Now this runs through the whole of the eye, and especially the middle of it, in the most easy manner, (as being) the most pure and clear; and having a sympathy with the light without, as like has with like, it furnishes the sense of sight. Hence when light has departed at night or become obscured, that, which flows from us, adheres no longer to the air that is near; but, being kept within, it smooths down and disperses the emotions within us, and becomes the bringer-on of sleep, by which the eyelids are closed; and when there is a great quietness, slumbers fall upon (us) with short dreams; but when some emotions are still left, frequent phantoms are produced around us; and in this way are formed visions, that become, according to a direct road, some, day-dreams, and some, night-dreams; and after these the image-makings, existing in mirrors, and other things, that are transparent and smooth, are perfected, not otherwise than by refraction, according as the mirrors have a convexity, concavity, or length; for the appearances will be different, through the lights being reflected to different parts, and slipping-off from the convexity, but coming together to the convexity. For thus in some cases the left and the right are seen on opposite quarters; in others, according to equality; and in others, what is at the bottom is changed to what is at the top, and contrariwise.
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.
Hearing has been created for distinguishing sound. It commences from a movement about the head and ends at the seat of the liver. And sound is that, which passes through the ears and brain and blood in succession, until the soul is struck. An acute sound is that, which is moved quickly; a grave, slowly; a great one (is what is moved) with much (force); a small one (that which is moved) with little (force).
Following upon these there has been put together the power of the nostrils for the perception of smells. Now Smell is an affection, descending from the veins in the nostrils to the places about the navel. But it does not happen that the kinds of it have received a name, except two, the most belonging to a genus, (namely) the sweet-smelling, and the bad-smelling, which have the appellation of painful and pleasant; but (it does happen) that all smell is denser than air, and thinner than water; and properly the things, in which the genus of Smell is reasonably said, that have not obtained a perfect change, but have a participation in air and water; and these are according to smoke and fog; for through these changing into each other the sense of smelling is completed.
And Taste too have the gods made the judge of juices the most varied, by extending to the heart the veins from it, that are to be the provers and judges of the juices; for these, when brought together and separated, according as the juices fall upon them, define the change in them. Now there are seven varieties in juices; sweet, vinegar-like, rough, salt-like, sour, bitter. And of these it happens that the sweet is of an opposite nature to all the rest, diffusing familiarly its moisture about the tongue; but those, that stirabout and tear its skin, are acrid; those, that inflame and run upwards, are pungent; those, that have a detersive power so great as to cause it to waste, are sour; those, that are quietly cleansing and detersive, are salt-like; but of those, that contract the pores and unite (their parts), the more rough, are harsh; while those, that produce a less effect, are bitter.
But the power of the Touch has been prepared by the gods to lay hold of things warm and cold, and soft and hard, and light and heavy, and smooth and rough, so as to judge of the differences in them; and we call things, that receive a touch, yielding; but those, that do not yield, resisting. Now this happens according to the bases of the bodies themselves. For those, that have a larger base, are stable, and fixed to their seat; but those, that stand upon a small one, are yielding easily, and are soft and change their place easily. Now that, which is rough, would be with an unequal surface combined with hardness; but that, which is smooth, (would be) what is with an equal surface combined with thickness. Moreover as the properties of cold and heat are the most opposite, they are combined from opposite causes. For that, which by the sharpness and roughness of its particles cuts through (a thing), produces the property of heat; but the thicker particles (produce) cold; while by their ingress they drive out the lesser, and compel the small ones to enter on the other hand into their vacant place. For a shaking and trembling takes place then; and upon this occurring the property of cold arises in bodies.
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.
It is by no means proper to define the Heavy and Light by the up and down; for there is neither the up nor the down. For since the whole of heaven is like a sphere, and formed accurately even on its outward surface, some persons do not justly call one part up, and another down. For that is heavy, which is drawn with difficulty to a place contrary to nature; but (that which is drawn) easily, is light; and still further, heavy is that, which is composed of rather many particles; light, of very few.
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.
We respire in this manner. There is around us from without a great quantity of air. Now this passes to within through the mouth, and nostrils, and the rest of the pores of the body, seen (only) by reason; and, after being warmed, it proceeds with haste to what is cognate in the external portions; and according to the road, by which it goes out, it drives back again the air to the parts within; and in this manner unceasingly, the circle being completed, are inspiration and expiration produced.
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.
The causes of diseases (Plato says) are many. In the first place, the deficiency or the excess, in the elements, and their change into other places not their own; secondly, the inverse generation of homogeneous substances; as if from flesh were produced blood, or bile, or phlegm; for all these things are nothing else than a wasting away. For phlegm is the wasting away of flesh; but sweat and a tear are, as it were, the serous portions of phlegm. Now phlegm, when left without, produces leprosy and scurvy; but, when it is within and mingled with black bile, it induces what is called the holy disease. Now the phlegm, that is acrid and salt-like, is the cause of the affections, that exist with a cold. And all the parts, that are in a state of inflammation from bile, suffer this. For bile and phlegm work out very many and very various sufferings; the continued fever is produced from fire being in excess; the quotidian, from the excess of water being so; the tertian, from that of air; and the quartan, from that of earth.
Let us speak next in order of the Soul, taking up the discourse from some point here, even though we shall appear to repeat some things.
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.
The gods, who formed the race of mortals, after they had received, as we have shown, the Soul of man, that is immortal, added to it two mortal portions. But that the divine and immortal portion of it might not be infected by the trifles of mortals, they placed over the body, as if they were appointing a ruler and a king over a citadel and assigning to him a residence, the head, which possesses a form, imitating that of the Universe; and they placed under it the rest of the body to minister to it; and attached that portion to it, as it were a vehicle, while they assigned to its mortal parts a dwellingplace, one to one part and another to another. For they placed that, which feels anger, in the heart; but that, which is affected by desire, in the intermediate place between the boundary on the side of the navel and that of the diaphragm, after binding it down, as if it were a mad and wild beast. But the lungs they planned, for the sake of the heart, to be soft and without blood, and with cavities, and sponge-like, in order that the heart, while leaping, according as anger was boiling, might have a softening down; but the liver for exciting the feeling of desire in the soul, and for rendering it gentle, by having a sweetness and bitterness; and moreover for making manifest the prophetic power in dreams; for there is shown in it the power carried on from the mind through what is smooth and thick and brilliant; but the spleen for the sake of the liver, in order that the former may cleanse the latter, and render it brilliant, and at least receive to the same the differences, generated by certain diseases around the liver.
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.
That the Soul is tripartite according to its powers, and that its parts are distributed to their own place according to reason, we may learn from hence. In the first place, the things, separated by nature, are different. Now that, which has the property of suffering, is naturally separated from that, which has the property of reasoning; since the latter is conversant about things, perceived by the mind; but the former about things painful and pleasant, and still further what has the property of suffering, being about things with life. Secondly, since the part, that has the property of suffering, and that, which has the property of reasoning, are different by nature, it is meet for them to be in separate places. For they are found to be at war with each other. Now nothing is able to be at war with itself; nor can the things opposed to each other stand together at the same time about the same object. At least in the case of Medea, anger is seen to be at war with reason; for she says
I know how great the ills I’m about to do;
But rage has a pow’r greater than my counsels.
And in the case of Laius, when carrying off Chrysippus, desire is at war with reason; for he says
Alas! this thing from god to man’s an ill
When, what is good, one knows, but uses not.
Still further is it presented to the mind, that the property of suffering is different from that of reasoning, from the care of the property of reasoning being one thing, but that of suffering another; for the former is effected by the discipline of teaching; the latter by the practice of morality.
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.
That the soul is immortal (Plato) proves by proceeding in this manner. The soul brings life to whatsoever she is attached, as being a thing born with herself. Now that, which brings life to any thing, is itself non-recipient of death; and a thing of this kind is immortal. If then the soul is immortal, it would be indestructible likewise. For it is an incorporeal existence, (and) not to be changed in its substance, and perceptible by mind, and invisible, and of one form; (and) therefore not to be put together; not to be dissolved; not to be scattered about. But the body is altogether the contrary; it is perceptible by sense; visible; to be scattered about; to be put together; of many forms. The soul too, being by means of the body close upon what is perceived by a sense, becomes giddy and is troubled, and, as it were, drunk; but being close upon what is perceived by mind, she becomes itself of itself composed and tranquil; nor is she like to that, by which, when she is close to it, she is troubled; so that she is rather like to what is perceived by mind. Now what is perceived by mind, is naturally not to be scattered about, and indestructible.
Moreover the soul naturally takes the lead. Now that, which naturally takes the lead, is like to what is divine; so that the soul, by being like to what is divine, would be indestructible, and incorruptible. (Again,) the contraries, that have no middle term, and exist, not according to themselves, but by some accident, are constituted by nature to be produced from each other; for instance, that, which men call life, is the contrary to death. As then death is the separation of the soul from the body, so likewise is life the meeting of the soul, which existed, it is plain, previously, with the body. If then the soul will be after death, and was, before it fell in with the body, it is reasonable to believe that it is eternal. For it is not possible to conceive what will destroy it.
Moreover if learning is (but) recollection, the soul would be immortal. Now that learning is (but) recollection, we may be led (to believe) in this manner; for learning could not be based otherwise than on the recollection of what has been known of old. For if we have an idea of universals from things taken in parts, how shall we find a way through things that are infinite, as regards their parts? or how from a few: for we should have been deceived by a falsehood, as say for example, by having decided that, what makes use of respiration, is alone a living being; or how would thoughts have the property of a principle? By an act of recollection then we have an idea from small cogitations, that secretly fall from some things taken in parts, while we are remembering what was known of old, but of which we met with the oblivion, when we were invested with a body.
Further, the soul is not corrupted by its own wickedness; neither will it be corrupted by that of another person, nor by any thing else at all. And being in this state, it would be a thing incorruptible. Moreover that, which is self-moved, is ever-moved in the manner of a principle. Now a thing of this kind is immortal. The soul too is self-moved. Now the self-moved is the principle of all motion and generation. But a principle is not generated, and is not to be destroyed; so that the soul of the Universe would be such, and that of man likewise; since both have a share in the same mixture. Now he says that the soul is self-moved, because it possesses a life born with it, (and) ever in action by itself.
That rational souls then are immortal, a person might, according to this man, firmly assert; but whether the irrational are so likewise, is a doubtful point. For it is probable that irrational souls, driven about by a mere phantasy, and making no use of either reasoning or judgment, or contemplation and their combination, or intellectual apprehension, but, being altogether without thought, belong neither to a nature perceptible by mind, nor to an existence the same as the rational, and are mortal and corruptible.
And it follows upon the reasoning that souls are immortal, that they are introduced into bodies by their being innate in the natures, that form the fœtus; and, by passing into many bodies, both human and not human, they ever remain the same in number, either by the will of the gods or through incontinence or a love for the body; for body and soul possess somehow an affinity with each other, like fire and brimstone.
The soul of the gods too possesses the judging faculty, which may be called Gnostic, and the impelling, which a person would name the Parastatic, and the appropriating; which powers, existing in human souls likewise, after being invested with body, receive, as it were, a change, the appropriating into the feeling of desire, and the impelling into that of anger.
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.
On the question of Fate something of this kind is the doctrine of this man. All things he says are in Fate, but all things are not however fated. For Fate, while holding the rank of a law, does not, as it were, say that one person shall do this, and another suffer that; for it would proceed to infinity; since the things produced are infinite, and infinite too the accidents around them; moreover that, which is in our power, would depart, and praise too and blame, and every thing (else) that borders on them; but (it says) that if a soul selects a life of this kind, and does some such acts, some such things will follow it. The soul then is without a master, and it rests with itself to do or not an act; nor is it forced to do this (or that). But that, which follows upon the doing, will be accomplished according to Fate. For instance, should a Paris carry off a Helen, it being in his power to do so, there will follow, that the Greeks will make war upon the Trojans for the sake of Helen. So too did Apollo foretell to Laius
If thou child gettest, thee that child shall kill.
Now in the oracle is comprehended both Laius and his childgetting; but the consequence is fixed by Fate.
Now the nature of a possibility falls somehow in the middle between the true and the false; but that, which rests on ourselves, is borne, as it were, on a vehicle, upon that (possibility) which is naturally indefinite. Now that, which happens with our own choice, will be either true or false; but it differs from what is in possibility, that is (to say), what exists according to a habit and an active operation. For that, which is in possibility, indicates a certain fitness, as regards some things, which have not, as yet, the habit; as for example, a boy will be said to be in possibility a grammarian, or a flute-player, or a carpenter; but he will be such in the habit of some one or two of these (trades), when he shall have learned them, or possessed some of these habits: but as regards active operation, when he operates from the habits, which he possesses. But possibility is neither of these; while that, which rests on ourselves, being indefinite, receives, according to the balance either way, the truth or not.
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.
We must next speak in order and summarily of what has been said by the man on points of Morality. The good to be most honoured and the greatest, he conceived it was not easy to discover, nor safe for those, who discovered it, to expose before all. To a very few then of his well-known friends, and those previously tried, did he give a share of his lectures on the good. If any one however takes up his writings carefully, (he will say that) he has laid down our good in the knowledge and contemplation of the primary good, which a person would call god and the primary mind. For all the things, that in any way are held by man to be good, he conceived to have obtained that appellation from their participating somehow in the primary and most honoured (good), in the manner that things sweet and hot obtain their appellations according to their participation in their primaries; but of the things, that are with us, only mind and reason reached to a similitude with the very (good). Hence our good is a thing honourable and venerable and divine and lovely and symmetrical, and called somehow happiness; but of the things, that are said by the many to be good, such as health, and beauty, and strength, and wealth, and what are near to these, there is not one altogether a good, unless it meets with the use of it arising from virtue; for when these are separated, they hold merely the rank of matter, existing as an evil to those, who use them evilly. And sometimes he has called even mortal things good. And happiness he conceived to exist not in human things, but in divine and blessed. From whence he said that the souls of philosophers in reality were filled with things great and wonderful, and that after the dissolution of the body they became hearth-fellows with the gods, and go round with them, while surveying the level plane of truth; since even during the period of life they had a desire for his knowledge, and honoured his pursuit above (all); by which after (they) are purified and revivified, as it were, some eye of the soul, that, having been previously lost and blinded, is better to be saved than ten thousand eyes, becomes able to reach the nature of all that is rational. But on the other hand, men without minds are likened to those, who live under the earth, and who have never seen the brilliant light (of the sun), but look upon some dim shadows of the substances, that are with us, and conceive that they are clearly laying hold of what (really) exist. For as these, when they meet with a return from darkness, and arrive at a clear light, reasonably condemn what appeared then, and themselves likewise, for having been greatly deceived before; so they, who pass from the darkness, in which they have lived, to things that are truly divine and beautiful, will despise what was previously viewed by them with wonder, and they will have a more violent desire for the contemplation of the last mentioned. And for them it is all in harmony to say that the honourable is the (only) good; and that virtue is self-sufficient for happiness. But why the good consists in the knowledge of the first (being) and is honourable, has been made manifest through the whole of his compositions. But in what relates to (the good) by participation (he explains) somehow in this manner, in the first book of the Laws — “Good things are two-fold; some relating to man, others to the gods,” and so on. Now if there is any thing separated (from virtue), it is without a share in the existence of the First; and yet this is called by the senseless a good; and to him who has this, Plato says in the Euthydemus, there is a greater evil. And that he considered virtues to be chosen for their own sakes, we must take as a thing that follows, through his considering what is honourable as the only good. Now this very thing is shown in very many (dialogues), and especially in the whole of the Republic. For (he thinks) that the person, who possesses the before-mentioned knowledge, is the most fortunate and most happy; not on account of the honours, which, by being such, he will receive, nor on account of (other) rewards, but that, even if he lives in obscurity amongst all men, and there happen to him what are said to be evils, such as disfranchisement, and exile, and death, (he will nevertheless be happy); but on the other hand, that he, who possesses, with the exception of this knowledge, every thing considered a good, such as wealth, and great kingly power, and health, and strength, and beauty of body, will not be at ail more happy. To all which he placed as an end, that was to follow, a similarity to god, as far as is possible. Now he takes this in hand in various ways. At one time he says, as in the Thesetetus, that to be prudent, and just, and holy, is a similarity with god; and hence it is meet to endeavour to fly as quickly as possible thither from hence; for that flight is a similarity to god, as far as is possible; and that it is a similarity likewise to become just and holy with prudence. At another time he says, as in the last book of the Republic, that to be just alone (is so); for never is that person at least neglected by the gods, who shall be willing to be ready to become just, and, by making virtue his pursuit, to be assimilated to god, as far as it is possible for a man to be. But in the Phaedon he says that to be prudent and just is to have a similarity with a god, in these words — “Are not,“ says he, “those the most fortunate and blessed, and proceeding to the best place, who make the virtue relating to the people and the state their pursuit, which persons call temperance and justice?” At another time he says that the end (of life) is assimilated with god; and another, (it is) to follow (god), as when he states, “Now god, as the old saw (says, contains) the beginning and end,” and so on. At another time both; as when he says, — “But the soul, that follows god, and is likened to him,” and so on. For the beginning of utility is the good, and this is said (to be) from god. The end therefore would follow upon the beginning, or on the being assimilated to god; that god, to wit, who is in heaven, or, by Zeus, above heaven, and who does not possess virtue, but is better than it. From whence one would correctly say that misery is the evil-doing of a presiding genius, but happiness the good-doing; and that we shall arrive at the being assimilated to god by making use of a fitting nature, and morals, and of conduct according to law, and perception, (according to nature,) and, what is the chief (of all), of reason and instruction, and the handing down of Contemplation, so that we may for the most part stand aside from human affairs, and be ever busied in those perceived by mind. Now the previous sacrifice to, and previous cleansing for, the deity within us, if we are about to be initiated into the greater subjects of learning, would be through Music, and Arithmetic, and Astronomy, and Geometry, while we are taking care at the same time of the body by means of the Gymnastic art, which puts bodies into a state well prepared for war and peace.
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.
While Virtue is a thing divine, it is itself a constitution of the soul perfect and the best, by causing a man to be with a good habit, and firm, and consistent, in speaking and acting, as regards both himself and others. But of its forms some are under reason, some are not. For as the irascible, the rational, and the concupiscible are different, so different too would be the complete state of each. Now the perfection of the rational part is Prudence; of the irascible, Fortitude; but of the concupiscible, Temperance. Now Prudence is a knowledge of things good and bad, and of what are neither the one nor the other. But Temperance is a well-ordering (of the soul) relating to desires and longings, and their obedience to the leading power. But when we say that Temperance is a well-ordering and obedience, we suggest something of this kind, that there is a power, according to which the longings are in a well-regulated and obedient state, as regards that, which is naturally the master, namely, the rational power. But Fortitude is a power preservative of a lawful dogma dreadful or not dreadful, [that is, a power preservative of a lawful dogma]. But Justice is a certain agreement on the part of these with each other, being a certain power, according to which the three parts of the soul agree and harmonize with each other, and each performs its own office according to its worthiness, that there may be a completion of three combined virtues, Prudence, Fortitude, and Temperance, while reason is the ruler, and the rest of the parts of the soul are kept down, according to their own peculiarities, by reason, and by their being obedient to its rein; from whence we must conceive that these virtues follow (each other) in turn. For as Fortitude is preservative of a lawful dogma, so it is of right reason. [For a lawful dogma is a kind of right reason.] But right reason comes from Prudence. Moreover, Prudence stands as an ally with Fortitude. For it is the knowledge of good things. Now no one is able to see what is good, while it is rendered obscure by cowardice, and the feelings that follow upon cowardice. And nearly in the same manner a person is unable to act with prudence in union with intemperance, or generally through being subdued by any feeling. And if he does any thing contrary to right reason, Plato says that he suffers thus through ignorance and folly; so that he would not be able to possess Prudence, while he is intemperate and a coward. The perfect virtues therefore are thus inseparable from each other.
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.
In another way likewise there are what are called Virtues, such as good natural qualities, and a progress towards them, that have an appellation, similar to their perfections, through a similarity with them. Thus, for instance, we call certain soldiers brave; and sometimes we say that certain persons are brave, although they are thoughtless, while we are taking into account virtues that are not perfect. Now the perfect virtues have neither an extension nor remission. Vices however admit both of extension and remission; for one person is more thoughtless and more unjust than another. And yet vices do not follow each other. For some are opposites; which cannot exist around the same person. For such is the state of boldness as compared with cowardice, and extravagance, with a love of money; since it is really impossible for a man to exist, who is laid hold of by every kind of vice; for neither can the body possess in itself all the evils of the body. We must therefore admit a certain intermediate state, neither bad nor good. For all men are not either (entirely) good or bad; since such are those, who are making a progress to a sufficient good; for it is not easy to pass immediately from vice to virtue; since there is a great interval between extremes from each other, [and an opposition]. And we must consider that some Virtues lead and others follow; and that the leaders are those, which are in the (portion), influenced by reason, from whom the rest obtain their perfection; but the followers are those in the portion affected by suffering; for these work out what is right, not according to the reason that is in them — for they have it not — but according to that, which is bestowed upon them by Prudence, (and) generated by custom and practice. And since neither sciences nor arts exist in any other part of the body, except the rational alone, the virtues connected with that, which is affected by suffering, are not to be taught, because there are neither arts nor sciences; for they do not possess a peculiar contemplation. Prudence however, as being a science, imparts to each (subordinate virtue) its own peculiarity, just as the pilot gives to the sailors certain orders, not contemplated by them, and they obey him. And the same reasoning applies to a soldier and a general.
Since then vices admit of extension and remission, the sins (arising from them) would be not equal, but some greater and others less; and consequently some are punished more, and others less, by lawgivers. But though Virtues are extremes, through their being perfect, and similar to what is straight, they would be in another way means, through there being seen about all or the most of them two vices, one on each side, in excess and deficiency; as in the case of liberality, there is on one side parsimony, on the other extravagance. For in such circumstances there is a want of moderation, according as what is becoming is either in excess or deficiency. For neither would a person be apathetic, who, when his parents are assaulted, is not angry; nor would he be moderately affected, who (is angry) at every thing even of a common kind; but quite the contrary. Again, in like manner, he, who is not pained, when his parents die, is apathetic; while he, who is affected excessively, so as to waste away by grief, is immoderately affected; but he, who suffers this pain in moderation, is moderately affected. Moreover he, who dreads every thing and beyond moderation, is a coward; but he, who fears nothing, is bold; while he, who is moderate in things of fear and boldness, is brave. And the same reasoning applies to other cases. Since then moderation in all affections is the best, and nothing else is moderate, but what is a mean between excess and deficiency, on this account Virtues (are) of this kind, through a mediocrity, because they cause us to be in a medium state in affections.
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.
Since there is, if any thing else, what is in our power and without a master, Virtue is likewise a thing of this kind. For what is honourable would not be an object of praise, if it were from nature or a divine lot. Virtue therefore will be likewise a voluntary thing, existing, according to some impulse, fiery, and noble, and permanent. From Virtue then being voluntary, it follows that Vice is involuntary. For who would willingly choose to have in the best part of himself and in the most worthy of honour the greatest of ills. But if any one rushes on to Vice, in the first place he will rush on not as to Vice itself, but as to a good thing. And if a person improperly stretches himself onward altogether to viciousness, such a person has been deceived, as having been about to reap a greater good at a distance from home by means of some lesser ill; and in this way he will arrive at it unwillingly. For it is impossible that a person should wish to rush on to what are ills in themselves, with neither the hope of (some) good nor the fear of a greater ill. Whatever wrongs then a bad man does are involuntary. Since then a wrong is involuntary, the doing an injustice is still more an involuntary act, by how much the greater ill it would be for that person to be active in doing an injustice, than for injustice to keep itself quiet. And yet, although acts of injustice are involuntary, we must punish the doers of injustice differently. For different are the mischiefs done; and the involuntariness lies either in ignorance or some suffering. Now all of these it is permissible to turn aside by reasoning, and urbanity in conduct, and care. So great an ill (then) is injustice, that to act unjustly is a thing more to be avoided than to suffer unjustly. For the former is the work of a bad man; but the latter is the suffering of a weak one. And both is a base thing. But to act unjustly is so much the greater ill, as it is the baser thing. And it is an advantage to him, who acts unjustly, to undergo punishment, as it is to a person diseased to give up his body to a physician to cure. For all punishment is a cure for a soul that has sinned.
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.
That, which is called especially and properly Friendship, is nothing else than what exists according to a reciprocal kind feeling. Now this takes place, when each party wishes equally that his neighbour and himself should do well. And this equality is not otherwise preserved than through a similarity in manners. For like is friendly to like, when they are in moderation; but when they are immoderate, they can suit neither each other, nor what are moderate. There are likewise some other friendships so considered, but not however really being so, that receive a colour, as it were, from Virtue; such as the natural friendship of parents towards their offspring, and of relations towards each other, and that which is called political and sociable. But these do not always have a reciprocity of kind feelings. There is likewise an amatory kind of friendship. Now of the amatory one kind is well-behaved, as being that for a virtuous soul; but another ill-conducted, as being for a vicious (soul); and there is an intermediate (kind) forth at, which is of a medium disposition. For as there are three states of the soul in a rational living being, one good, another bad, and a third between those two, so there will be three amatory states, differing from each other in kind. Now that they are three, their aims point out especially by differing from each other. For the bad is the love of the body alone, through its being overcome by what is pleasant; and this is after the manner of beasts; but the well-behaved is for the sake of the naked soul, in which there is seen a fitness for virtue; but the intermediate has a longing for the body, and a longing likewise for the beauty of the soul. He too, who is worthy to be loved, is himself a mean, as being neither ill-conducted nor well-behaved; from whence we must call the love, that lays claim to the body, some dæmon rather than a god, who has never been generated in an earthly body, (and) is the conveyer of what is sent by the gods to man, and conversely. The amatory then, being thus commonly divided into the three kinds before mentioned, the one, which relates to the love of the good, being freed from an affection, becomes a thing of art; from whence it is placed in the rational (portion) of the soul; and its contemplations are to know the person worthy to be loved, and to possess and make use of him; and further to judge of him from his propensities and impulses, whether they are noble, and lending to what is honourable, and whether they are violent and fervid. And he, who strives to possess it, shall possess it, not by rendering delicate or praising the object of his love, but by repressing it rather, and showing that by a person, being in the state he is now, life is not to be lived. And when he gets the party loved into his power, he will make use of him, after having enjoined the things, through which he will, after being practised in them, become perfect; and the end to them (will be), that, instead of a lover and a beloved, they will 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.
But since most Virtues are conversant with Affections, let us define what kind of a thing is an Affection.
Now an Affection is an irrational movement of the soul, as regards either an ill or a good. And a movement has been called irrational, because Affections are neither decisions nor opinions, but movements of the irrational portions of the soul. For in the part of the soul, subject to Affections, there exist things, which, although they are our works, are nevertheless not in our power. They are however frequently produced in us, when not willing and resisting. Sometimes too, while knowing that, what have fallen on us, are neither painful, nor pleasant, nor fearful, we are not the less led by them; what we should not have suffered, had these Affections been the same as decisions. For the latter we reject, when we condemn them, whether fittingly or not fittingly. For a good or for an ill: since on the appearance of an indifferent thing an Affection is not put into motion. For all Affections exist, according to the appearance of a good or an ill. For if we imagine that a good is present, we are pleased; and if it is about to be, we desire it; but if we imagine that an ill is present, we are pained; and what is about to be, we fear. For there are two Affections, simple and elementary, (namely,) Pleasure and Pain, and from these the rest are formed. For we must not number with these Fear and Desire, as being of the nature of principles and simple. For he, who fears, is not entirely deprived of pleasure: since if a person has existed through a time, that may have happened, while despairing of a release from, or an alleviation of, the ill; he abounds however in being pained and troubled; and on this account he is united to pain; and he, who desires, while remaining in the expectation of obtaining (his wish), is pleased; but as he is not completely confident, nor has a firm hope, he is weighed down. Since then Desire and Fear are not of the nature of principles, it will be conceded without a doubt that not one of the other Affections is simple, such, I mean, as Anger, and Regret, and Jealousy, and such like. For in these Pleasure and Pain are seen, mixed up, as it were, in a manner with them. But of Affections some are of a wild kind, others of a tame. Now the tame are such as exist in man according to nature; (being) both necessary and proper; and they are in this state, while they preserve some measure; but when there is found in them a want of measure, they then become deviations from right. Of such a kind are Pleasure, Pain, Anger, Pity, Shame. For it is proper to be pleased at things that happen according to nature, but to be pained at their contraries. And Anger is necessary for selfdefence and to avenge oneself upon foes; and Pity is proper for a love of mankind; and Shame is requisite for a retreat from things that are base. But other Affections, which are contrary to Nature, are of a wild kind, and arise from a perversion (of mind), and improper habits. Of such a kind is (excessive) laughter, and a rejoicing over calamities, and a hatred of mankind; which, by being stretched out and relaxed, and existing in any state whatsoever, are deviations from right, through not receiving any moderation.
And on the subject of Pleasure and Pain Plato says, that these Affections, existing somehow naturally in us from the beginning, are put into motion and carried onward; since Pain and Sorrow are generated for those, who are excited contrary to nature; but Pleasure for those, who return to their former state according to nature. Now he conceives that the state according to nature is a mean between Pain and Pleasure — while it is the same with neither of them — in which (mean) we exist for the greater portion of time. He teaches moreover that there are many kinds of Pleasures, some (felt) through the body, and others through the soul; and that of Pleasures some are mixed with their opposites; but others remain pure and undefiled; and that some are the result of memory, and others united to hope; and that some are disgraceful, such as are unrestrained, and combined with injustice, but others moderate, and participating somehow otherwise in the good, such as the good-will felt towards the good, and the pleasure received from acts of virtue. But since many pleasures are naturally in no repute, we must not inquire, whether they can belong to the simple good. For that seems (to be) evanescent and of no value, which is an after-production, not by nature, and has nothing essence-like, or that takes the lead, but is co-existing with its opposite; for Pleasure and Pain are mingled. Now this would not have happened, if one (namely, Pleasure) were a simple good, and the other (namely, Pain) an ill.
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 Polities (Plato) says that some (exist in reality, but some) are supposed to exist, such as he has detailed in the Republic. For in that (treatise), he has depicted the former as unwarlike; but the latter as being in a feverish state and warlike, while seeking which of these would be the best, and how they should be constituted. And it is there that, nearly alike to the division of the soul, is a Polity divided into three parts, relating to the guardians and aiders and operatives; to the first of which he assigns the counselling and ruling power; to the second, that of fighting for (the state), if need be; who are to be put into order according to the principle of anger, as if they were the allies of the rational principle; but to the last (he assigns) arts, and the rest of handicrafts. And he conceives it right for the rulers to be philosophers, and contemplative of the primary good; for they alone will administer all things properly; for never will human affairs cease from ills, unless philosophers become kings, or those, who are called kings, become, from some divine allotment, truly philosophers. For states will act the best and with justice at that time, when each portion of it is under its own law; so that the rulers may consult for the people, and the co-fighters be their servants and fight in their behalf, while the rest follow them obediently. And he says there are five kinds of Polities; (the first), an aristocracy, when the best are in power; the second, a timocracy, where those fond of honours are the rulers; the third, a democracy; and after this an oligarchy; and the last, a tyranny, which is the worst. He depicts likewise other Polities, hypothetically; of which there is that in the Laws, and that too, after correction, in the Epistles; of which he makes use for the states, that are labouring, as mentioned in the Laws, under a disease, and possessing a region bounded off, and persons selected from every age, so that, according to the differences in their nature, and places, there may be a need of peculiar instruction and of bringing up and of using arms. For they, who are near the sea, would apply themselves to navigation and to naval battles: while those, dwelling inland, would be fitted for fighting on foot, and the use of arms, either the lighter, like mountaineers, or the heavier, like persons living on hilly plains; and some would practise cavalry exercise. But in this state he does not lay down by laws that women are to be in common.
Political virtue is therefore contemplative and practical, and that which chooses to make a state good and happy, and of one mind and of one voice; (and) it enjoins commands, and has under it the science of war, and generalship, and law-judgments. For Political science considers ten thousand other matters, and especially this very one, whether we must engage in war or not.
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.
It has been stated before what kind of person is the philosopher. From him the Sophist differs, first in manner, in that he is the seeker of pay from young persons, and is willing to be considered a person with bodily and mental accomplishments, rather than to be so; and (secondly) in matter, in that the philosopher is conversant with things existing for ever and in the same state; while the Sophist busies himself about that which is not, and retires to a spot, difficult to be seen on account of its darkness. For to that, which is, that, which is not, is not opposed. For the latter is unsubstantial and unintelligible, nor has it any basis; and which, if a person were compelled to speak of, or to think upon, he would be overthrown, through his bringing a battle around himself. Now that which is not, as far as it is understood, is not a naked negation of what is, but (it is) with a joint-meaning as regards another thing, which follows upon the primary being; so that, unless these too had participated in that, which is not, they would not have been separated from the others. But now, as many soever as are the beings that are, so many times is the being, which is not. For that, which is a not-being, is not a being.
So much it suffices to be said for an Introduction to the doctrine-making of Plato; of which a part has been stated in an orderly manner; but a part dispersedly and in no order; so that it is in the power of any one, from what has been said, to become contemplative and detective of the rest of his doctrines by following out these.
That for a person about to enter upon the Dialogues of Plato, it is fitting that he should know previously what a Dialogue is. For neither without some art and power have dialogues been written, nor is it easy for a person, unskilled in contemplation, to know them artistically. It is agreeable then for a philosopher, who is making for himself an insight into every matter of whatever kind, to examine, (first,) the essence of the thing, and afterwards, what power it has, and not with reference to what is naturally useful and what is not. Now (Plato) says thus — “On every matter, O boy, there is one commencement to those about to consult properly. It is needful to know, about what is the consultation; or else there must needs be an erring in this matter. Now it lies hid from the majority, that they do not know the essence of each thing; (but), as if they did know, they do not, at the commencement of the inquiry, agree (amongst themselves), but as they proceed, they pay the reasonable (penalty); for they agree neither with themselves nor with others.” In order then that we may not suffer this, while entering upon the Dialogues of Plato, let us consider this very thing, which I have spoken of, what is a dialogue. [For neither without some art and power have dialogues been written.]. It is then nothing else than a discourse composed of question and answer upon some political or philosophical matter, combined with a becoming delineation of the manners of the characters introduced, and the arrangement as regards their diction.
[2.] Now a dialogue is called a discourse, as a man (is called) an animal. But since of a discourse there is one kind arranged (in the mind) and another pronounced (by the mouth), let us hear about the one pronounced (by the mouth). And since of the latter there is one kind spoken, as a continued narration, and another by question and answer, questions and answers are the peculiar mark of a dialogue; from whence it is said to be a discourse by interrogation; and moreover it is applied to some political and philosophical matter; because it is meet for the subject matter to be related to the dialogue. Now the matter is that relating to politics and philosophy. For as the matter of fables is laid down as adapted to tragedy and poetry in general, so is to dialogue philosophy, that is (to say), what relates to philosophy. But as regards that, which is combined with a becoming delineation of the manners of the characters introduced, (and) their being different in their discourses through life, some as philosophers, and others as sophists, it is requisite to assign to each their peculiar manners; to the philosopher that, which is noble, and simple, and truth-loving; but to the sophist that, which is of many hues, and tricky, and reputationloving; but to an individual what is peculiar to him. Added to this, (the definition) speaks likewise of the arrangement, as regards their diction; and reasonably so. For as the measure ought to be adapted to tragedy and comedy, and the fiction (of the subject) to the bruited story, so ought the diction and composition, adapted to the dialogue, possess what belongs to the grace of an Attic style, and is neither superfluous nor deficient.
[3.] But if a so-called discourse, not being made in the form, as I have laid down, but deficient on these points, is said to be a dialogue, it will not be said so correctly. Thus that, which is said in the case of Thucydides to belong to the power to represent the peculiarity of dialogues, but rather two public speeches composed on set purpose against each other. — Since then we have ascertained what is a dialogue, let us look into the different kinds of the Platonic dialogue, that is, into their characteristics, how many are the topmost, and how many of them exist subdivided into the uncut.
[4.] As regards their characteristics, which are two, one explanatory and the other exploratory, the explanatory is suited to the teaching and practice of truth, but the exploratory to an exercise and conflict, and the confutation of falsehood; and while the explanatory directs its aim to things, the exploratory does so to persons.
[5.] Of the dialogues of Plato there are drawn out in the class of Physics, the Timaeus; in that of Morals, the Apology; in that of Logic, the Theages, Cratylus, Lysis, Sophist, Laches, (and) Statesman; in that of confutation, the Parmenides (and) Protagoras; in that of statesmanship, the Crito, Phædon, Minos, Banquet, Laws, Epistles, Epinomis, Menexenus, Cleitophon, (and) Philebus; in the tentative (class are) the Euthyphron, Meno, Ion, (and) Charmides; in the obstetrical, the Alcibiades; and in the overthrowing, the Hippias, Euthydemus, (and) Gorgias.
[6.] Since then we have seen their differences, how they exist naturally, and their characteristics, let us state, in addition, from what dialogues persons must begin their entrance upon a discourse of Plato. For opinions are different. For some begin with the Epistles; and some with the Theages. And there are those, who divide the dialogues into tetralogies; and rank as the first tetralogy that, which contains the Euthyphron, Apology, Criton, and Phædon; the Euthyphron, as in it the charge against Socrates is brought forward; the Apology, since it was necessary for him to defend himself; the Crito, on account of his staying in prison; and afterwards the Phædon, since in it Socrates meets with the end of life. And of this opinion are Derkyllides and Thrasyllus. But they seem to me to have wished to assign an order to the persons (of the dialogues) and the circumstances of their lives — a matter which is perhaps useful for something else, but not however for that, which we are wishing now; for we wish to discover the commencement and arrangement of instruction that is according to wisdom. We say then that the commencement of a discourse of Plato is not one and defined; for that, being perfect, it is similar to the perfect figure of a circle. For as the commencement of a circle is not one and defined, so neither is it of a discourse.
[7.] We will not however on this account enter upon it in any manner soever, nor accidentally. For if it is requisite to describe a circle, a person does not describe it, beginning from any point, but [from that which is nearest at hand; in like manner —] in whatever state each of us may be with regard to the discourse, beginning from that he will enter upon the dialogues of Plato. For there is a state according to nature, for instance, good or bad; and that according to age, where a person, for instance, is in the season for philosophizing or has passed it; and that, according to a predilection, as, for instance, in favour of philosophy or history; and that, according to a habit, as in being, for example, previously initiated (in instruction), or without instruction, and that, according to the matter, as being engaged, for example, in philosophy, or dragged around by (political) circumstances.
[8.] He then, who is, according to nature, well born, and according to age is in the season for philosophizing, and according to a predilection, for the sake of exercising himself, is proceeding to reasoning, and he, who, according to a habit, has been previously initiated in instruction, and has been drawn aside from political circumstances, will begin from the Alcibiades to be well-turned by the inclination of intellect, and to know of what thing it is needful to make for himself a care, and, as it were by a beautiful pattern, to see who is the philosopher and what is his pursuit, and upon what suppositions his discourse is carried on. (Such a person) must enter upon the Phaedo next in order; for in it (Plato) states who is the philosopher, and what is his pursuit; and upon the supposition of the soul being immortal he goes through the discourse relating to it. After this it would be requisite to enter upon the Republic. For, commencing with the earliest instruction, he delineates the whole of education, by making use of which a person would arrive at the possession of virtue. But since it is requisite for us to be versed in the knowledge of things divine, so as to be able, by possessing virtue, to be assimilated to them, we shall enter upon the Timæus; for by entering upon this account relating to Nature, and on the socalled theology, and the arrangement of the Universe, we shall clearly have a recollection of things divine.
[9.] But if any one, to speak summarily, is able to survey correctly the arrangement of the dialogues, suited to the teaching according to Plato, to him who chooses the doctrines of Plato * * For as it is necessary to become a spectator of his own soul and of things divine, and of the gods themselves, and to obtain the most beautiful mind, he must cleanse out the false opinions of his conceptions. For not even have physicians deemed the body capable of enjoying the food brought to it, unless a person shall have previously cast out what was in it in the way of an obstacle. But after the cleansing out, it is requisite to excite and call forth the sentiments, imparted by nature, and to cleanse out these too, and to exhibit them pure, as principles. In addition to this, through the soul being thus previously prepared, it is necessary to introduce into it its peculiar doctrines, according to which it may be perfected; now these relate to physics, and theology, and morality, and statesmanship. And that the doctrines may remain in the soul and not be chased away, it will be necessary for it to be delivered to the reasoning relating to causation, in order that a person may lay hold firmly of the proposed aim. In addition to these it is meet that, what is not contrary to reason, should be furnished, in order that we may not be carried aside by some sophist, and turn our thoughts into a worse direction. That we may therefore cast out false opinions, it will be necessary to enter upon the dialogues of the tentative character, and which possess the confuting and the so-called cleansing power. And that a person may call forth into light the notions relating to physics, it will be necessary to enter upon the dialogues of the obstetrical character, for this is peculiar to them; since in those there are doctrines relating to physics, and to morals, and to statesmanship, and to the regulation of a household; of which some have a reference to contemplation and a contemplative life; but others to action and an active life; but both of them relate to the being assimilated to god. And that these, after being imparted, may be not escaping from us, it will be necessary to enter upon the dialogues of a logical character, which is also of the exploratory kind. For they possess both the distinguishing and defining methods, and, moreover, the analytical and syllogistical, through which truths are shown and falsehoods confuted. Moreover, since it is requisite for us to be not led aside contrary to reason by sophists, we shall enter upon the dialogues of a demonstrative character; in which it is in our power to learn thoroughly how it is meet to listen to sophists, and in what manner to carry ourselves towards those, who act wrongly in matters relating to reason.
Alcinous, the Platonic philosopher, lived probably in the time of the Caesars. He was the author of an Ἐπιτομὴ των Πλάτωνος δογμάτων, an analysis of Plato’s philosophy according to later writers. It is rather in the manner of Aristotle, and freely attributes to Plato any ideas of other philosophers which appeared to contribute to the system. He produced in the end a synthesis of Plato and Aristotle with an admixture of Pythagorean or Oriental mysticism, and is closely allied to the Alexandrian school of thought. He recognized a god who is unknowable, and a series of beings (δαίμονες) who hold intercourse with men. He recognized also Ideas and Matter, and borrowed largely from Aristotle and the Stoics.
The Ἐπιτομή has been translated by Pierre Balbi (Rome, 1469) and by Marsilio Ficino; into French by J. I. Combes-Dounous (Paris, 1800), and into English by Thomas Stanley in his History of Philosophy. Editions: Heinsius (Leiden, 1630); Fischer (Leipzig, 1783); in Aldine Edition of Apuleius (Venice, 1521; Paris, 1532); Fell (Oxford, 1667). See Ritter, Geschichte der Philosophie, iv. 249.
— Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, Cambridge: University Press, 1910. Volume 1, p. 523.
Der antike griechische Philosoph Ἀλϰίνοος, Alkínoos, lebte vermutlich im 2. Jahrhundert, über seine Biographie ist nichts bekannt; er gilt als Vertreter des Mittelplatonismus, sein Διδασϰαλιϰὸς τῶν Πλάτωνος δογμάτων, eine der wenigen Quellen für das mittelplatonische Verständnis vor dem Aufkommen des Neuplatonismus im 3. Jahrhundert, umfaßt einen Überblick zur platonischen Philosophie. Der ebenfalls bezeugte Titel Ἐπιτομὴ τῶν Πλάτωνος δογμάτων, also ‚Auszug‘ statt ‚Lehrbuch‘ scheint nicht authentisch, obgleich es sich bei diesem Kompendium um die Kurzfassung einer nicht überlieferten, umfangreicheren Schrift handeln könnte. Seine Darstellung ist von aristotelischem, stellenweise von stoischem Gedankengut beeinflußt, polemisiert jedoch auch gegen stoische Positionen. Im Werk finden sich Parallelen zu Apuleij De Platone et eius dogmate, im 12. Kapitel eine Passage, die mit einem Fragment des Philosophen Ἄϱειος Δίδυμος, Areios Didymos, übereinstimmt. Im Neuplatonismus des 3. Jahrhunderts sowie bei den spätantiken Neuplatonikern gehörte der Didaskalikos nicht zu den im Unterricht verwendeten Werken. Die früheste erhaltene Handschrift, der Codex Parisinus Graecus 1962, stammt aus der zweiten Hälfte des 9. Jahrhunderts.
Kapitel 1–3 behandeln die Begriffe Philosophie und Philosoph, die intellektuellen und charakterlichen Voraussetzungen, die verschiedenen Lebensweisen sowie die Einteilung der Philosophie in Teilgebiete.
Kapitel 4–6 umfassen Dialektik und Erkenntnistheorie. Dabei geht es um Denkvorgang und Vernunft, Urteil und Meinung, Erinnerung und Vorstellung, um νόησις, noēsis, und deren Objekte, um die Sinneswahrnehmung und ihre Objekte sowie um die Logik, die Aristoteles folgend, doch mit Bezugnahme auf Platons Werke exemplifiziert wird.
Kapitel 7–26 behandeln Theoretisches wie die philosophische Relevanz von Mathematik, Astronomie und Musiktheorie, Prinzipienlehre und Theologie, wobei die Materie, die platonischen Ideen, der erste Gott und die Qualitäten behandelt werden. Es folgen Naturphilosophie, Kosmologie, Anthropologie sowie eine Betrachtung des Verhältnisses von Notwendigkeit und Willensfreiheit.
Kapitel 27–33 widmen sich praktischer Philosophie, der Ethik, Liebe, Leidenschaften und dergleichen; abschließend wendet sich der Text den Staatsformen zu.
In Kapitel 34 grenzt Alkínoos Sophisten und Philosophen voneinander ab.