Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

P. 424. H. One scarce meets with any thing in antiquity concerning Pythagoras's knowledge in physics, but what gives us fresh cause to admire the wonderful sagacity of that extraordinary man. This story of his predicting earthquakes has so much the air of a fable, that I believe it has been generally ranked (as it is by Stanley) with that heap of trash, which the enthusiastic Pythagoreans and Platonists of the lower ages have raked together concerning him. Yet we learn from the collections of Pliny the Elder, which say—“futuro terræ motu, est in puteis turbidior aqua," 1. ii. c. 83, that the ancients profited of this discovery, verified by a modern relation of Paul Dudley, Esq. in the Philosophical Transactions, No. 437. p. 72, who, speaking of an earthquake which lately happened in New England, gives this remarkable account of its preceding symptoms : “A neighbour of mine, that has a Well thirty-six feet deep, about three days before the earthquake, was surprized to find his water, that used to be very sweet and limpid, stink to that degree that they could make no use of it, nor scarce bear the house when it was brought in ; and thinking some carrion was got into the Well, he searched the bottom, but found it clear and good, though the colour of the water was turned wheyish, or pale. In about seven days after the earthquake, his water began to mend, and in three days more returned to its former sweetness and colour.”

P. 426. I. “Cæsar" ( says Cam) “bene et composite paulo ante, in hoc ordine, de vita et morte disseruit, credo falsa existumans ea quæ de inferis MEMORANTUR.” Apud eund. Cicero'steply is to the same purpose : “ Itaque ut aliqua in vita formido improbis esset posita, apud inferos ejusmodi quædam illi ANTIQUI supplicia impiis constituta esse voluerunt : quod videlicet intelligebant, his remotis, non esse mortem ipsam pertimescendam.” Orat. iv. in Catilin. § 4. I cannot conceive what the very ingenious Mr. Moyle could mean in his Essay on the Roman Government, by saying,if the immortality of the soul (by which he means the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments) had been an ESTABLISHED doctrine, Cæsar would not have derided it in the face of the whole senate.—Do not the words of Cicero—Antiqui supplicia impiis constituta esse voluerunt, expressly declare it to be an established doctrine ?

When Juvenal speaks of the impiety of Rome, with regard to this religious opinion, he exhorts the sober part of them to adhere to it, in these words :

“ Sed tu vera puta. Carius quid sentit, et ambo
Scipiadæ ? quid Fabricius manesque Camilli ?

quoties hinc talis ad illos
Umbra venit ? cuperent lustrari, si qua darentur
Sulphura cum tædis, et si foret humida laurus.
Illuc, heu! Miseri traducimur".

Those who understand these lines can never doubt whether a future State was the established doctrine in Rome.—Yet, stranger than all this, the very learned Mosheim, in his De Rebus Christ. Comment. p. 15, speaking of this licentious part of Cæsar's speech, seems to copy Mr. Moyle's opinion (whose works he had translated) in these words“Ita magni hi Homines et Romanæ civitatis principes nunquam ausi fuissent loqui, in Concilio Patrum conscriptorum si Religio credere jussisset, mentes hominum perennes esse.” By his, si Religio credere jussisset, he must mean—if this had been the established Doctrine-He could not mean-had the Pagan Religion in general enjoined it to be believed—For there was no national Religion of Paganisin without it. But the reason he gives for his opinion exceeds all belief. He says, “Cato is so far from blaming Cæsar for this declaration, that he rather openly applauds it"_“Quam orationem M. Portius Cato, illud Stoice Familiæ præsidium et decus, tantum abest, ut reprehendat, ut potius publice pariter in Senatu laudat.” What are these terms of praise ?“Sic enim BENE ET COMPOSITE,” inquit, “Cæsar paulo ante in hoc Ordine de vita et morte disseruit: falsa, credo, existimans quæ de inferis memorantur." Surely this bene et composite disseruit, was so far from being intended by the rigid Stoic as a compliment on his capital Adversary, that it was a severe censure, implying, in every term made use of, that Cæsar's opinion was no crude or hasty sentiment, taken up, as an occasional topic, out of an ill-judged compassion for the Criminals, but that it was the System of his School in this matter, deliberately dressed out with all the charms of his own eloquence, in a studied and correct dissertation.

P. 431. K. Acad. Quæst. l. iv.-The learned Mosheim has done me the honour of abridging my reasoning on this head in the following manner“ Academici, meliores licet et sapientiores Scepticis videri vellent, æque tamen mali et perniciosi erant. Id ipsum enim dogma, in quo vis et ratio disciplinæ Scepticæ posita erat, probabant ‘Nihil cognosci, nihil percipi, nihil sciri posse, et de omnibus idcirco rebus, nullo interposito judicio, disputandum esse.' Hoc unum inter utrosque intererat, quod cum Sceptici statuerent, “nulli rei ad sentiendum, sed perpetuo disputandum esse.' Academici e contrario sciscerent 'in illis quæ veri speciem haberent seu probabilia viderentur, acquiescendum esse.' Atqui hoc ipsum PROBABILE cui sapientem adsentiri volebant Academici, NUNQUAM ILLI REPERIEBANT. Quare non secus ac Sceptici infirmare omnia et incerta reddere studebant. Id vero qui agunt, ut dubium prorsus et anceps videntur Utrum--Animi moriantur an supersint,&c. De rebus Christ. Comment. p. 22.

P. 431. L. The reader may not be displeased to see the judgment of a learned French writer on the account here given of the Academics——“L'on fait voir que l'on doit exclure de ce nombre [des sectes dogmatistes] les nouveaux Academiciens, purs sceptiques, quoy qu'il y aît quelques auteurs modernes qui pretendent le contraire, et entre autres M. Middleton, auteur de la nouvelle Vie du Ciceron Anglois. Mais si l'on examine la source où il a puisé ses sentimens, l'on trouvera que c'est dans les apologies que les Academiciens eux mêmes ont faites pour cacher le scepticisme qui leur étoit reproché par toutes les autres sectes ; et de cette maniere on pourroit soutenir que les Pyrrhoniens mêmes n'étoient point sceptiques. Qu'on se ressouvienne seulement que, suivant le raport de Ciceron, Arcesilaus, fondateur de la nouvelle Academie, nioit que l'on fut certain de sa propre existence. Après un trait semblable, et plusieurs autres qui sont raportés-on laisse au lecteur à décider du caractere de cette secte et du jugement qu'en porte M. Middleton.”—M. De S. Dis. sur l'Union de la Religion, de la Morale, et de la Politique, Pref. p. 12.

P. 432. M. Tully assures us that those of the Old Academy were Dogmatists, Quæst. Acad. lib. i. “ Nihil enim inter PerIPATETICOS et ACADEMIAM illam VETEREM differebat ;” for that the Peripatetics were dogmatists no body ever doubted. Yet the same Tully, towards the conclusion of this book, ranks them with the sceptics, “ Hanc Academiam novam appellabant, quæ mihi vetus videtur ;” for such certainly was the New Academy. The way of reconciling Cicero to himself I take to be this: Where he speaks of the conformity between the Peripatetics and the Old Academy, he considers Plato as the founder of the Old Academy ; this appears from the following words, Academ. 1. ii. c. 5. “Alter [nempe Plato] quia reliquit perfectissimam disciplinam, Peripateticos et Academicos, nominibus differentes, re congruentes : ” And where lie speaks of the conformity between the New Academy and the Old, he considers Socrates as the founder of the Old Academy. For the New, as we here see, claimed the nearest relation to their master. Thus De Nat. Deor. l. i. c. 5, he says, “ Ut hæc in philosophia ratio contra omnia disserendi, nullamque rem apertè judicandi, profecta à Socrate, repetita ab Arcesila, confirmata à Carneade,&c. But Tully, it may be said, in the very place where he speaks of the agreement between the New and Old Academy, understands Plato as the founder of the old; “Hanc Academiam novam appellant ; quæ mihi vetus videtur, si quidem Platonem ex illa vetere numeramus; cujus in libris nihil adfirmatur, et in utramque partem multa disseruntur ; de omnibus quæritur, nihil certi dicitur.” But it is to be observed, that Plato had a twofold character: and is to be considered, on the one hand, as the Disciple and Historian of Socrates; and on the other, as the Head of a Sect himself, and master of Xenocrates and Aristotle. As the disciple, he affirms nothing ; as the master, he is a Dogmatist. Under the first character, Socrates and he are the same ; under the second, they are very different. Tully here speaks of him under the first, as appears from what he says of him, nihil adfirmatur, &c. Plato, in this place, therefore, is the same as Socrates. The not distinguishing his double character, hath occasioned much dispute amongst the Ancients; as the not observing that Cicero hath, throughout his writings, made that distinction, hath much embarrassed the moderns. Diogenes Laertius tells us, there were infinite disputes about Plato's character ; some holding that he did dogmatize, others that he did not. 'Età dè wolani στάσις εστί, και οι μέν φασιν αυτόν δογματίζειν, οι δ' ού. Lib. iii. Seg. 51. Sertus Empiricus says the same thing : τον Πλάτωνα ούν, οι μεν δογματικών έφασαν είναι, οι δε απορηματικόν. He then tells you, some distinguished better : Κατά δε τι δογματικόν. εν μέν γάρ τοις γυμναστικούς φασί λόγοις, ένθα ο Σωκράτης εισάγεται ήτοι παίζων πρός τινας ή αγωνιζόμενος προς σοφιστάς, γυμναστικόν τε και απορηματικόν φασιν έχειν αυτόν χαρακτήρα δογματικών δε, ένθα σπουδάζων, αποφαίνεται ήτοι διά Σωκράτους, ή Τιμαίου, Ý Tivos TÔV TOLOÚTWv. That Cicero made the distinction, delivered above, we shall now see. In the Academic Questions, he speaks of him as the disciple and historian of Socrates"; and, under that character, “nihil adfirmatur, et in utramque partem multa disseruntur, de omnibus quæritur, nihil certi dicitur.” In his Offices he speaks of him as different from Socrates, and the founder of a sect : and then he is a Dogmatist, and, as he says elsewhere, "reliquit perfectissimam disciplinam Peripateticos et Academicos nominibus differentes, re congruentes." His words to his son are : “Sed tamen nostra (nempe Academica] leges non multum a Peripateticis dissidentia, quoniam utrique et Socratici et Platonici esse volumus ;” i. e. He tells his son, that he would both dogmatize like Plato, and scepticize like Socrates. But Grævius, not apprehending this double character of Plato, would change Socratici to Stoici. For, says he, “qui dicere potest se utrumque esse volạisse Platonicum et Socraticum ; perinde est ac si scripsisset utrumque se velle esse Peripateticum et Aristoteleum.” But there was a vast difference between Plato, founder of the Academy, and Socrates ; though none between Plato the disciple and historian of Socrates, and Socrates. The fortune of this note has been very singular; and will afford us a pleasant picture of the temper and genius of Answerers and their ways. One man writing something about Plato and the ancients ; and reading what is here said of Plato's dogmatizing, abuses the author for making him a dogmatist : And another who had to do, I do not know how, with Socrates and the moderns, and reading what relates to Plato's scepticizing, is as plentiful, in his ribaldry and ill language, for making him a

sceptic: while the author was, all the time, giving an historical relation of what others made him ; and only endeavoured to reconcile their various accounts.

P. 435. N. Tusc. Disp. 1. i. c. 16.—Honore refers to his philosophic character; and auctoritate to his legislative. The common reading is, “ cum honore et disciplinâ, tum etiam auctoritate.” Dr. B. in his emen- . dations on the Tusc. Quæst. saw this was faulty ; but not reflecting on the complicated character of Pythagoras, and perhaps not attending to Cicero's purpose (which was, not to speak of the nature of his philosophy, but of the reputation he had in Magna Græcia) he seems not to have hit upon the true reading. He objects to honore, because the particles cum and 'tum require a greater difference in the things spoken of, than is to be found in honos and auctoritas : which reasoning would have been just, had only a philosophic character, or only a legislative, been the subject. But it was Cicero's plain meaning, to present Pythagoras under both these views. So that honos, which is the proper consequence of succeeding in the first; and auctoritas, of succeeding in the latter; have all the real difference that cum and tum require; at least Plutarch thought so, when he applied words of the very same import to the Egyptian soldiery and the priesthood; to whom, like the legislator and philosopher, the one having power and the other wisdom, auctoritas and honos distinctly belong :-Toû pêv di' dvdplav, του δε διά σοφίαν, μένους ΑΞΙΩΜΑ και ΤΙΜΗΝ έχοντος. De Isid. et Osir. Another objection, the learned critic brings against the common reading, has more weight; which is, that in honore et disciplina, two words are joined together as very similar in sense, which have scarce any affinity or relation to one another: on which account he would read MORE et disciplina. But this, as appears from what has been said above, renders the whole sentence lame and imperfect : I would venture therefore to read, (only changing a single letter) “ tenuit Magnam illam Græciam cum honore Ex disciplina, tum etiam auctoritate :" and then all will be right, disciplina referring equally to honore and auctoritate, as implying both his philosophic and civil institutions.*

P. 438. 0. Demonstratio Evangelica ; which, because the World would not accept for demonstration, and because he had no better to give, after a long and vain search for certainty throughout all the Regions of Erudition, he attempted, by the help of Sextus Empiricus, in order to keep himself in credit, to shew that no such thing was to be had. And so composed his book of the Weakness of human understanding. Malebranch has laid open his ridiculous case with great force and skill—“Il est vrai qu'il y en a quelques-uns qui reconnoissent après vingt ou trente années de temps perdu, qu'ils n'ont rien appris dans leurs lectures ; mais il ne leur plaît pas de nous le dire avec sincerité. Il faut auparavant qu'ils ayent prouvé, à leur mode, qu'on ne peut rien sçavoir ; et puis après ils le confessent ; parce qu'alors ils croyent le pouvoir faire, sans qu'on se mocque de leur ignorance."

P. 448. P. Geddes, or his Glasgow editors, (to nrention them for once) in the essay on the composition of the ancients, are here very angry at the author for charging Plato with making a monstrous mis-alliance, merely (as they say) because he added the study of physics to that of morals; and employ six pages in defending Plato's conduct. As these insolent scribblers could not see then, so possibly they will not be ready to learn now, that the term of monstrous mis-alliance, which I gave to Plato's project, of incorpo

[ In the references to the notes N and O in pages 435 and 438, the edition of 181] has been followed, which by mistake quotes them as M and P.)

rating the Pythagoric and Socratic Schools, referred to the opposite and contrary geniuses of those Schools in their MANNER of treating their Subjects, not to any difference which there is in their Subjects themselves. The mis-alliance was not in joining Physics to Morals ; but in joining a Fanatic Mysticism to the cool logic of common sense.

P. 454. Q. The unfairness of readers when their passions have made them become writers, is hardly to be conceived : some of these have represented the three last testimonies as given to prove that Plato believed no future state at all : though the author had plainly and expresly declared, but a page or two before, p. 452, as well as at p. 414, that there was a sort of future state which Plato did believe ; he refers to it again at p. 455, and, what is more, observes here, on this last passage, that Celsua slludes to this very future state of Plato. And what was it but this,—that future happiness and misery were the natural and necessary consequences of Virtue and Vice ; Vice being supposed to produce that imbecility and sluggishness which clogged and retarded the Soul, and hindered it from penetrating into the higher regions.

P. 456. R. This will explain the cause of a fact which Cicero observes concerning them, where he speaks of the liberty which the Greek Philosophers had taken, in inventing new Words—“ ex omnibus Philosophis STOICI plurima novaverunt.” de Fin. 1. ii. c. 2. For the more a Teacher deviates froin common notions, and the discipline of Nature, the less able he will be to express himself by Words already in use.

P. 457. S. This strange Stoical fancy, that the same Scenes of men and things should revive and re-appear, can be only well accounted for by the credit they gave to the dotages of Judicial Astrology, to which their doctrine of Fate much disposed them. This renovation was to happen in the GREAT PLATONIC YEAR, when all the heavenly Bodies were supposed to begin their courses anew, from the same points from which they first set out at their Creation. So Ausonius,

Consumpto Magnus qui dicitur anno
Rursus in antiquum venient vaga sidera cursum,
Qualia dispositi steterant ab Origine Mundi.”

P. 459. T. Cicero makes the famous orator, M. Antonius, give this as the reason why he hid his knowledge of the Greek Philosophy from the People.—“Sic decrevi [inquit Antonius] philosophari potius, ut Neoptolemus apud Ennium, paucis : nam omnino haud placet. Sed tamen hæc est mea sententia, quam videbar exposuisse. Ego ista studia non improbo, moderata modo sint: opinionem istorum studiorum, et suspicionem artificii apud eos, qui res judicent, oratori adversariam esse arbitror. Imminuit enim et oratoris auctoritatem et orationis fidemn.” De Orat. 1. ii. c. 17.

P. 459. U. Orat. pro Muræna. It must be owned, that these words, at first sight, seem to have a different meaning. And the disputandi causa looks as if the observation was confined to Stoicism. For this Sect had so entirely engrossed the Dialectics, that the followers of Zeno were more frequently called Dialectici than Stoici. Notwithstanding this, it plainly appears, I think, from the context, that the other. sense is the true. Tully introduces his observation on Cato's singularity in these words : et quoniam non est nobis hæc oratio habenda aut cum imperita multitudine, aut in aliquo conventu agrestium, audacius paulo de studiis humanitatis, quce et mihi et vobis nota et jucunda sunt, disputabo. Here he declares, his design is not to give his thoughts of the Stoics in particular (though they furnished the occasion) but of the Greek philosophy in general, de studiis humanitatis. He

« IndietroContinua »