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“ Vides sublime, fusum, immoderatum æthera,
Qui, tenero terram circumvectu amplectitur;
Hunc summum habeto Divum."

“ See tl e sublime and wide-expanded æther,
Within his genial arms clasping the earth;
This call thou God and Jove."

“ By air,” says Bishop Berkeley, “ fire is kindled, the lamp of life preserved. The seeds of things seem to lie latent in the air, ready to appear and produce their kind whenever they light on a proper matrix. The whole atmosphere seems alive, and to be a common seminary and receptacle of all vivifying principles. Æther, or pure

invisible fire, the most subtile and elastic of all bodies, seems to pervade and expand itself through the whole universe. If air be the immediate agent or instrument in natural things, it is the pure, invisible fire, that is the first natural mover or spring from whence the air derives its power.

This mighty agent is everywhere at hand, ready to break forth into action, if not restrained and governed with the greatest wisdom. Being always restless and in motion, it actuates and enlivens the whole visible mass, is equally fitted to produce and to destroy, distinguishes the various stages of nature, and keeps up the perpetual round of generations and corruptions, pregnant with forms, which it constantly sends forth and absorbs. So quick in its motions, so subtile and penetrating in its nature, so extensive in its effects, it seemeth no other than the vegetative soul, or vital spirit of the world.- - The phenomena and effects do plainly show that there is a spirit that moves, and a mind or providence that presides. This Providence, Plutarch saith, was thought to be in regard to the world, what the soul is in regard to man. The order and course of things, and the experiments we daily make, show there is a mind that governs and actuates this mundane system, as the proper

agent and

and that the inferior instrumental cause is pure æther, fire, or the substance of light, which is applied and determined by an infinite mind in the macrocosm, or universe, with unlimited power, and according to stated rules, as it is in the microcosm, with limited power and skill, by the human mind. We have no proof, either from experience or reason, of any other agent or efficient cause than mind or spirit. When, therefore, we speak of corporeal agents, or corporeal causes, this is to be understood in a different subordinate and improper sense. That whereof a thing is compounded, the instrument used in its production, and the end for which it was intended, are all in vulgar use termed causes, though none of them be, strictly speaking, agent or efficient. There is not any proof that an extended corporeal or mechanical cause doth really and properly act; even motion itself being, in


truth, a passion. When, therefore, force, power, virtue, or action, are mentioned as subsisting in an exalted and corporeal or mechanical being, this is not to be taken in a true, genuine, and real, but only in a gross and popular sense, which sticks in appearances, and doth not analyse things to their first principles. In compliance with established language, and the use of the world, we must employ the popular currrent phrase ; but then in regard to truth, we ought to distinguish its meaning. This pure spirit

, or invisible fire, is ever ready to exert and show itself in its effects, cherishing, heating, fermenting, resolving, shining, and operating in various manners, where a subject offers to employ or determine its force. It is present in all parts of the earth and firmament, though perhaps latent and unobserved, till some accident produceth it into act, and renders it visible in its effects.

There is no effect in nature great, marvellous, or terrible, but proceeds from fire, that diffused and active principle which, at the same time that it shakes the earth and the heavens, will enter, divide, and dissolve the smallest, closest and most compacted bodies. In remote cavities of the earth, it remains quiet, till perhaps an accidental spark from the collision of one stone against another kindles an exhalation that gives birth to an earthquake or tempest, which splits mountains or overturns cities. The Magi said of God, that he had light for his body and truth for his soul; and in the Chaldaic Oracles, all things are supposed to be governed by a füg voepòv, or intellectual fire: and in the same oracles, the creative mind is said to be εσσάμενος πυρί πύρ, which oriental reduplication of the word fire, seems to imply the extreme purity and force thereof. Thus also in the Psalms, "thou art clothed with light as with a garment, where the word rendered light might have been rendered fire, the Hebrew letters being the same with those in the word that signifies fire, all the difference being in the pointing, which is justly counted a late invention. That other Scripture sentence is remarkable : “ who maketh his ministers a flaming fire,” which might perhaps be rendered, more agreeably to the context, as well as consistently with the Hebrew, after this manner, “ who maketh flaming fire his ministers ;” and the whole might run thus: who maketh the winds his messengers, and flaming fire his ministers.—“ A notion of some

. thing divine in fire animating the whole world, and ordering its several parts, was a tenet of very general extent, being embraced in the most distant times and places, even among the Chinese themselves, who make tien,' æther, or heaven, the sovereign principle or

* The word tien, in the old Celtic language, and in countries far remote from China, signified the Fire of the Sun. The festival of Bel-tien continued to be observed in some parts of Scotland even in the last century; and even cause of all things, and teach that the celestial virtue, by them called Li, when joined to corporeal substance, doth fashion, distinguish, and specificate all natural beings. This Li of the Chinese seems to answer the forms of the Peripatetics; and both bear analogy to the foregoing philosophy of fire. The worship of Vesta at Rome, was in truth the worship of fire.

Nec tu aliud Vestam, quam vitam intellige flammam,saith Ovid in his Fasti. And as in old Rome the eternal fire was religiously kept by virgins, so in Greece, particularly at Delphi and Athens, it was kept by widows. It is well known that Vulcan, or Fire, was worshipped with great distinction by the Egyptians. The Sabeans are also known to have been worshippers of fire. It appears, too, from the Chaldean Oracles, that fire was regarded as divine by the sages of that nation; and it is supposed that Ur of the Chaldeans was so called from the Hebrew word signifying fire, because fire was publicly worshipped in that city. It doth not seem that the prostrations of the Persians before the perpetual fires, preserved with great care in their pyreia, or fire temples, were merely a civil respect, as Dr. Hyde would have it thought. Although he brings good proof that they do not invoke the fire on their altars, or pray to it, or call it God; and that they acknowledge a supreme invisible Deity: civil respects are paid to things as related to civil power; but such relation doth not appear in the pre

It should seem, therefore, that they worship God as present in the fire, which they worship or reverence, not ultimately, or for itself, but relatively to the Supreme Being. It must be owned, that there are many passages in the holy Scripture that would make one think the Supreme Being was in a peculiar manner present and manifest in the element of fire. Not to insist, that God is more than once said to be a consuming fire, which might be understood in a metaphorical sense, the divine apparitions were by fire, in the bush, at Mount Sinai, on the tabernacle, in the cloven tongues. God is represented in the inspired writers, as descending in fire, as attended by fire, or with fire going before him. Celestial beings, as angels, chariots, and such like phenomena, are invested with fire, light and splendor."

It is hoped that these extracts from a truly philosophical work of Berkeley will not appear tedious or misplaced. He wrote before Franklin had exhibited the wonders of modern electricity, and before that method of calling into action elemental fire, had been discovered,

sent case.

now, the shepherds kindle bonfires on midsummer eve, a custom which, Toland, who lived about the beginning of the last century, says was very prevalent in that part of Ireland the most contiguous to Scotland--a relic of the worship of the sun cultivated by the Druids.


which now bears the name of Galvani ; yet we find bim describing, in the most animated language, the wonderful effects of elemental fire, and with the liberality of a philosopher, removing from those who paid divine honors to this element, the imputations of idolatry. It has been fashionable amongst those who have not taken the trouble to ascertain Berkeley's meaning, to ridicule him, as contending for the non-existence of matter; but he in truth never maintained any such doctrine. That matter has no permanent existence, is a truth of philosophy; but that the learned bishop denied the existence of sensible objects, is altogether false ; and it excites surprise, how men, pretending to information and powers of discrimination, could have formed any such supposition ; for he guards against it in many parts of his writings, as apprehensive that some might inadvertently fall into such a niistake.

But why, it will be asked, take such pains to inculcate what the learned know, and the public, generally speaking, hath no inclination to learn ?. The excellence of ancient philosophy has at all times been contended for by some; but it is no longer fashionable, and our youth turn their time to better account, than were they to consume it in the study of that which is no longer prized. It is answered, that these essays are not written for the learned; but in the hope that those who have proceeded so far in their studies, may

be induced to prosecute them with the view of becoming better acquainted with the philosophy of antiquity, the writer has adopted a more popular manner than the excellence of the subject might appear to demand. This philosophy has been prized and honored by the greatest monarchs : the time has been when its professors were reverenced by the people, while they held offices of the first distinction in the state ; and although, as learning falls into decay, the object of learning recedes from our view, yet truth is eternal, and will ultimately prevail over error, From time to time mankind have lost sight of true science; but the darkest ages have been succeeded by others more enlightened, and the restoration of science has ever been effected by a recurrence to the wisdom of former ages. Whenever men shall be convinced, that to wander in an endless labyrinth of experiments concerning the infinitely varied powers of nature, and combinations of material forms, is not the means of acquiring true science; and the period, it is probable, is not far distant, when we shall enter upon the study of truth as a new pursuit, and we trust with all the alacrity inspired by novelty, superadded to motives of a higher order. In a former essay (No. II.) it was observed, that’Aperò, Virtus,was frequently used as a synonyme of Philosophia: it was thus used by Aristotle in an ode there quoted, and it is thus used by Isocrates, who, after informing Demonicus that beanty may fade before disease, and must be destroyed by time: that riches more frequently minister to vice than virtue; and that bodily


strength, unless under the governance of sound discretion, must prove injurious to its possessor, adds, that the acquirement of virtue is alone stable, accompanying the possessor even in old age; more excellent than riches, and more estimable than noble birth, rendering that practicable which to others appear impossible, and boldly meeting what to the multitude appear objects of terror, and accounting sloth disgrace, and labor praise. 'H tñs 'Apetñs xtñois, οίς αν ακιβδήλως εν ταϊς διανοίαις συναυξήθη, μόνη μεν συγγηράσκει πλούτου δε κρείττων, χρησιμώτερα δε ευγενείας έστι, τα μεν τοις άλλοις αδύνατα δυνατά καθιστώσα, τα δε τώ πλήθει φοβερα θαρσαλέως υπομένουσα και τον μεν όκνον ψόγον, τον δε πόνον έπαινον ηγουμένη. Such are the fruits of philosophy, and so powerful the inducements to its study and cultivation, throughout our lives.

The first essay published under this title, had for its object to point out the injustice done to Aristotle by the writer of an introductory essay to a supplement of an Encyclopædia published in Edinburgh, who appeared to have been misled by a faulty Latin translator, and had not taken the trouble to consult the original; and generally to show that modern philosophy does not deserve the estimation in which it is held, and that those, who pretended to guide the pursuits of mankind in quest of knowledge, were themselves ignorant of the philosophy they pretended to despise.

In the second, the character of Lord Bacon, and his claims to the title of a philosopher, were more particularly considered ; and reasons were assigned why he could not possibly be acquainted with the philosophy which he pronounced unprofitable, and why, upon an impartial retrospect, he appears to have been, from want of information, altogether unqualified to afford real assistance to mankind in the pursuit of true knowledge.

The third contained strictures upon the writings of some of Bacon's admirers, who have had no small share in bringing about that disregard of true philosophy which characterises our times, and threatens the return of ages of ignorance, like those that succeeded the fall of the Roman empire. In particular, the attempt of Mr. Dugald Stewart, to show that the induction of Bacon was unknown to Aristotle and the ancients, was fully considered; and proofs adduced, that the induction of Bacon and bis followers has been in use from the earliest times, and is in fact the basis of the demonstrative syllogism. It was shown, that the word metaphysics is misunderstood by writers of our times, who pretend that it was casually given to certain writings of Aristotle composed after his Physics; whereas in truth it refers to what is eternal and unchangeable, and is beyond the cognisance of our senses.


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1 It seems to have escaped the notice of those writers, that the preposition merà, signifies beyond as well as after,

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