Category Archives: Philosophy

Item of the Day: Utopia (1743)

Full Title: Utopia: or the Happy Republic; a Philosophical Romance, in two books. Book I. Containing Preliminary Discourses on the happiest State of a Commonwealth. –II. Containing a Description of the Island of Utopia, The Town, Magistrates, Mechanic Trades, and Manner of Life of the Utopians, Their Traffick, Travelling, Slaves, Marriages, Military Discipline, Religions. Written in Latin by Sir Thomas More, Lord High Chancellor of England. Translated into English by Gilbert Burnet . . . Glasgow: Printed by Robert Foulis, and sold by him there; and, at Edinburgh, by Mess. Hamilton and Balfour Booksellers, MDCCXLIII. [1743]

The Second BOOK.

THE Island of Utopia, in the Middle of it where it is broadest, is two Hundred Miles broad, and holds almost at the same Breadth over a great Part of it; but it grows narrower towards both Ends. Its figure is not unlike a Crescent: Between its Horns, the Sea comes in eleven Miles broad, and spreads itself into a great Bay, which is environed with Land to the Compass of about five Hundred Miles, and is well secured from Winds: There is no great Current in the Bay, and the whole coast is, as it were, one continued Harbour, which gives all that live in the Island great Convenience for mutual Commerce: But the Entry into the Bay, what by Rocks on one Hand, and Shallows on the other, is very dangerous. In the Middle of it there is one single Rock, which appears above Water, and so is not dangerous; on the Top of it there is a Tower built, in which a Garrison is kept. The other Rocks lie under Water, and are very dangerous. The Channel is known only to the Natives, so that if any Stranger should enter into the Bay, without one of their Pilots, he would run a great Danger of Shipwrack: For even they themselves could not pass it safe, if some Marks that are on their Coast did not direct their Way; and if these should be but a little shifted, any Fleet that might come against them, how great soever it were, would be certainly lost. On the other Side of the Island, there are likewise many Harbours; and the coast is so fortified, both by Nature and Art, that a small number of Men can hinder the Descent of a great Army. But they report (and there remain good Marks of it to make it credible that this was no Island at first, but a part of the Continent. Utopus that conquered it whose Name it still carries, for Abraxa was its first Name) and brought the rude and uncivilized Inhabitants into such a good Government, and to that Measure of Politeness, that they do now far excel all the rest of Mankind; having soon subdued them, he designed to separate them from the Continent, and to bring the Sea quite about them, and in order to that he made a deep Channel to be digged fifteen Miles long: He not only forced the Inhabitants to work at it, but likewise his own Soldiers, that the Natives might not think he treated them like Slaves: and having set vast Numbers of Men to work, he brought it to a speed Conclusion beyond all Men’s Expectations: By this their Neighbours, who laughed at the Folly of the Undertaking at first, were struck with Admiration and Terror when they saw it brought to Perfection. There are Fifty-four Cities in the Island, all large and well built: The Manners, customs, and Laws of all their cities are the same, and they are all contrived as near in the same Manner as the Ground on which they stand will allow: The nearest lie at least Twenty-four Miles Distance from one another, and the most remote are not so far distant, but that a Man can go on Foot in one Day from it, to that which lies next it. Every City sends three of their wisest Senators once a year to Amaurat, for consulting about their common Concerns; for that is the chief Town of the Island, being situated near the Center of it, so that it is the most convenient Place for their Assemblies. Every city has so much Ground set off for its Jurisdiction, that there is twenty Miles of soil round it, assigned to it: And where the Towns lie wider, they have much more Ground: No Town desires to enlarge their Bounds, for they consider themselves rather as Tenants than Landlords of their Soil. They have built over all the Country, Farm-houses for Husbandmen, which are well contrived, and are furnished with all Things necessary for Country Labour. Inhabitants are sent by Turns from the cities to dwell in them; no Country Family has fewer than forty Men and Women in it, besides tow Slaves. There is a Master and a Mistress set over every Family; and over thirty Families there is a Magistrate settled. Every Year twenty of this Family come back to the Town, after they have stayed out two Years in the Country: And in their Room there are other twenty sent from the Town, that they may learn Country Work, from those that have been already one Year in the Country, which they must teach those that come to them the next Year from the Town. By this Means such as dwell in those Country Farms, are never ignorant of Agriculture, and so commit no Errors in it, which might otherwise be fatal to them, and bring them under a Scarcity of Corn. But tho’ there is every Year such a shifting of the Husbandmen, that none may be forced against his Mind to follow that hard Course of Life too long; yet many among them take such Pleasure in it, that they desire Leave to continue many Years in it. These Husbandmen labour the Ground, breed Cattle, hew Wood, and convey it to the Towns, either by Land or Water, as is most convenient. They breed an infinite Multitude of Chickens in a very curious Manner: For the Hens do not sit and hatch them, but they lay vast Numbers of Eggs in a gentle and equal Heat, in which they are hatched; and they are no sooner out of the Shell, and able to stir about, but they seem to follow them as other Chickens do the Hen that hatched them. They breed very few Horses, but those they have, are full of Mettle, and are kept only for exercising thier Yourth in the Art of sitting and riding of them; for they do not put them to any Work, either of Plowing or Carriage, in which they employ Oxen; for tho’ Horses are stronger, yet they find Oxen can hold out longer; and as they are kept upon a less Charge, and with less Trouble: And when they are so worn out, that they are no more fit for Labour, they are good Meat at last. They sow no corn, bu that which is to be their Bread; for they drink either Wine, Cider, or Perry, and often Water, sometimes pure, and sometimes boiled with Honey or Liquorish, with which they abound: and tho’ they know exactly well how much Corn will serve every Town, and all that Tract of Country which belongs to it, yet they sow much more, and breed more Cattle than are necessary for their Consumption: And they give that Overplus of which they make no Use, to their Neighbours. When they want any Thing in the Country which it does not produce, they fetch that from the Town, without carrying any Thing in Exchange for it: And the Magistrates of the Town take Care to see it given them: For they meet generallly in the Town once a Month, upon a Festival Day. When the Time of Harvest comes, the Magistrates in the Country send to those in the Towns, and let them know how many Hands they will need for reaping the Harvest; and the Number they call for being sent to them, they commonly dispatch it all in one Day.

 

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Filed under 1740's, Philosophy, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Utopia

Item of the Day: Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon (1733)

Full Title: The Philosophical Works of Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Albans, and Lord High-Chancellor of England; Methodized, and made English, from the Originals. With Occasional Notes, To explain what is obscure; and shew how far the several Plans of the Author, for the Advancement of all the Parts of Knowledge, have been executes to the Present Time. Vol. I. By Peter Shaw, M.D. London: Printed for J. J. and P. Knapton; D. Midwinter and A. Ward; A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch; J. Pemberton; J. Osborn and T. Longman; C. Rivington; F. Clay; J. Batley; R. Hett; and T. Hatchett, M.DCC.XXXIII. [1733].

SUPPLEMENT I.

THE NEW ATLANTIS; OR, A PLAN OF A SOCIETY

FOR THE PROMOTION OF KNOWLEDGE.

Delivered in the Way of Fiction.

PREFACE.

THE present Piece has, perhaps, been esteemed a greater Fiction than it is: The Form fo the History is purely imaginary; but the Things mentioned in it seem purely Philosophical; and, if Men would exert themselves, probably practical. But whilst our Minds labour under a kind of Despondency and Dejection, with regard to operative Philosophy; and refuse to put forth their strength; the Wings of Hope are clipped. And, in this situation, the mind seems scarce accessible but by Fiction. For plain Reason will here prove dull and languid; and even Works themselves rather stupefy than rouze and inform. Whence the prudent and seasonable use of Invention and Imagery, is a great Secret for winning over the Affections to Philosophy. We have here, as in miniature, a Summary of Universal Knowledge; Examples, Precepts and Models for improving the Mind in History, Geography, Chronology, Military Discipline, Civil Conversation, Morality, Policy, Physicks, &c whence it appears like a kind of Epitome, and farther Improvement of the Scheme of the Augmentis Scientiarum. The dignity and utility of the Design may appear from hence; that not only Mr. Cowley endeavoured to imitate it, in his Plan of a Philosophical Society; but even the Royal Society of London, and the Royal Academy of Paris, have, from their first Institution, employed themselves, and still continue employed, in its execution.

SECT. I.

1.  After a twelvemonth’s stay at Peru, we sailed from thence for China and Japan, by the South-Sea; and had fair Winds from the East, tho’ soft and gentle, for above five Months: then the Wind changed and settled in the West, for several days; so that we made little way, and sometimes purposed to sail back. But now there arose strong Winds from the South, one point to the East, which carried us to the North: by which time our Provisions failed us. And being thus amidst the greatest wilderness of Waters in the World, we gave ourselves for lost. Yet lifting up our hearts to God, who sheweth his wonders in the Deep; we besought him that as in the beginning he disclosed the face of the Deep, and made dry Land appear; so we might now discover Land, and not perish. The next day about Evening, we saw before us, towards the North, the appearance of thick Clouds, which gave us some hopes for as that part of the South-Sea was utterly unkown; we judged it migh have Islands or Continents, hitherto undiscovered. We, therefore, shaped our Course towards them, and in the dawn of the next day plainly discerned Land.

2.  After sailing an hour longer, we entered the Port of a fair city; not large, but well built, and affording an agreeable Prospect from the Sea. Upon offering to go on shore, we saw People with Wands in their hands, as it were forbidding us; yet without any Cry or Fierceness; but only warning us off by Signs. Whereupon we advised among ourselves what to do: when a small Boat presently made out to us, with about eight Persons in it; one whereof held in his hand a short, yellow Cane, tipped at both ends with blue; who made on board our Ship, without any shew of distrust. And seeing one of our number present himself somewhat at the head of the rest, he drew out, and delivered to him, a little Scroll of yellow polish’d Parchment, wherein were written in ancient Hebrew, ancient Greek, Latin of the School, and in Spanish, these Words: Land ye not, and provide to be gone within sixteen days; except ye have farther time given you: but if ye want fresh Water, Provision, Help for your Sick, or Repair for your Ship, write down your Wants, and ye shall have what belongs to Mercy. The Scroll was sealed with Cherubims Wings, and a Cross.

3.  This being deliver’d, the Officer return’d, and left only a Servant to receive our Answer. Our Answer was, in Spanish, That our Ship wanted no Repair; for we had rather met with Calms and contrary Winds, than Tempests: but our Sick were many; so that if not permitted to land, their Lives were in danger. Our other Wants we set down in particualr; adding, that we had some little store of Merchandize; which, if they pleased to traffick for, might supply our Wants, without being burdensome to them. We offered Money to the Servant; and a Piece of Crimson Velvet to be presented the Officer: but the Servant took them not; and would scarce look upon them: so left us, and retun’d in another little Boat that was went for him.

4.  About three Hours after our Answer was dispatch’d, there came to us a Person of Figure. He had on a Gown with wide Sleeves, a kind of Water-Camblet, of an excellent and bright Azure; his under Garment was green, so was his Hat, being in the form of a Turban, curiously made; his Hair hanging below the Brims of it. He came in a boat, some part of it gilt, along with four other Persons; and was follow’d by another Boat, wherein were twenty. When he was come within bow-shot of our Ship, Signals were made to us, that we should send out our boat to meet him; which we presently did, manned with the principal Person amongst us but one, and four of our number with him. When we came within six Yards of their Boat, they bid us approach no farther: we obeyed; and thereupon the Person of Figure, before described, stood up and, with a loud Voice, in Spanish, asked, Are ye Christians? We answered, yes; fearing the less, because of the Cross we had seen in the Signet. At which Answer, the said Person lift up his right Hand towards Heaven, and drew it softly to his Mouth; a Gesture they use when they thank God, and then said; If ye will swear by the Merits of the Saviour, that ye are no Pirates; nor have shed Blood, lawfully or unlawfully, within forty Days past; ye have Licence to come on shore. We said, we were all ready to take the Oath. Whereupon, one of those that were with him, being, as it appear’d, a Notary, made an entry of this Act. Which done, another of the Attendants in the same Boat, after his Lord had spoke to him, said aloud; My Lord would have ye know, that it is not out of Pride, or Greatness, that he does not come on board your Ship; but as in your Answer, you declare you have many sick among you, he was warned by the City-Conservator of Health to keep at a distance. We bowed ourselves, and answered, we accounted what was already done a great Honour, and singular Humanity; but hoped, that the Sickness of our Men was not infectious. Then he returned. . . .

 

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Filed under 1600's, 1700's, Culture, Eighteenth century, Enlightenment, Fiction, Modern Language Translations, Philosophy, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Reason

Item of the Day: Chesterfield to his Son on Vanity (1774)

Full Title: Letters Written by the Late Right Honourable Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, to His Son, Philip Stanhope, Esq; Late Envoy Extraordinary at the Court of Dresden. Together with Several Other Pieces on Various subjects. Published by Mrs. Eugenia Stanhope, From the Originals Now in Her Possession. In Two Volumes. Vol. II. Dublin: Printed by G. Faulkner, in Parliament-street, M.DCC.LXXIV.

Letter LXXII.

Bath, November the 16th, 1752.

My Dear Friend,

Vanity, or to call it by a gentler name, the desire of admiration and applause, is, perhaps, the most universal principle of human actions; I do not say, that it is the best; and I will own, that it is sometimes the cause of both foolish and criminal effects.  But it is so much oftener the principle of right things, that, though they ought to have a better, yet, considering human nature, that principle is to be encouraged and cherished, in consideration of its effects.  Where that desire is wanting, we are apt to be indifferent, listless, indolent and inert; we do not exert our powers; and we appear to be as much below ourselves, as the vainest man living can desire to appear above what he really is.

As I have made you my confessor, and do not scruple to confess even my weaknesses to you, I will fairly own, that I had that vanity, that weakness, if it be one, to a prodigious degree; and, what is more, I confess it without repentence; nay I am glad I had it; since, if I have the good fortune to please in the world, it is to that powerful and active principle that I owe it.  I began the world, not with a bare desire, but with an insatiable thirst, a rage for popularity, applause, and admiration.  If this made me do some silly things, on one hand, it made me, on the other hand, do almost all the right things that I did:  it made me attentive and civil to the women I disliked, and to the men I despised, in hopes of the applause of both:  though I neither desired, nor would have accepted the favours of the one, nor the friendship of the other.  I always dressed, looked, and talked my best; and, I own, was overjoyed whenever I perceived that by all three, or by any one of them, the company was pleased with me.  To men, I talked whatever I thought would give them the best opinion of my parts and learning; and, to women, what I was sure would please them; flattery, gallantry, and love.  And moreover, I will own to you, under the secrecy of confession, that my vanity has very often made me take great pains to make many a woman in love with me, if I could, for whose person I would not give a pinch a snuff.  In company with men, I always endeavoured to out-shine, or, at least, if possible, to equal the most shining man in it.  This desire elicited whatever powers I had to gratify it; and where I could not perhaps shine in the first, enabled me, at least, to shine in the second or third sphere.  By these means I soon grew in fashion; and when a man is once in fashion, all he does is right.  It was infinite pleasure to me, to find my own fashion and popularity.  I was sent for to all parties of pleasure, both of men or women; where, in some measures, I gave the tone.  This gave me the reputation of having had some woman of condition; and that reputation, whether true or false, really got me others.  With the men I was a Proteus, and assumed every shape, in order to please them all: among the gay, I was the gayest, among the grave, the gravest; and I never omitted the least attentions of good breeding, or the least offices of friendship, that could either please, or attach them to me: and accordingly I was soon connected with all the men of any fashion or figure in town.

To this principle of vanity, which Philosophers call a mean one, and which I do not, I owe great part of the figure which I have made in life.  I wish you had as much, but I fear you have too little of it; and you seem to have a degree of laziness and lislestness about you, that makes you indifferent as to general applause…

 

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Filed under 1770's, Family, Letters, Philosophy, Posted by Matthew Williams

Item of the Day: Aristotle’s Ethics and Politics (1797)

Full Title: Aristotle’s Ethics and Politics, Comprising his Practical Philosophy, Translated from the Greek. Illustrated by Introductions and Notes; The Critical History of his Life; and a New Analysis of his Speculative Works. By John Gillies. Vol. I. London: Printed for A. Strahan; and T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, in the Strand, 1797.

 

PREFACE.

Aristotle is the most voluminous, and generally deemed the most obscure, of all the Greek writers of classic antiquity. His imperfect yet copious remains, which are now rather admired than read, and which were formerly much read and little understood, still naturally arrange themselves in the minds of those capable of digesting them, under their original form of an encyclopedy of science; in many parts of which, the author’s labours are, doubtless, excelled by those of modern philosophers; while in other parts, those of the most important nature, his intellectual exertions remain hitherto unrivalled. It seemed high time, therefore, to draw the line between those writings of the Stagirite which still merit the most serious attention of the modern reader, and those of which the perusal is superseded by more accurate and more complete information. This line I have preseumed to draw in the present work, by endeavouring to the best of my abilities to translate the former perspicuously and impressively, while I contented myself with giving a distinct and comrpehensive analysis of the latter.

The “Ethics to Nicomachus and the Politics” ought never to have been disjoined, since they are considered by Aristotle himself as forming essential parts of one and the same work; which, as it was the last and principal object of his studies, is of all his performances the longest, the best connected, and incomparably the most interesting. The two treatises combined, constitute what he calls his practical philosophy; an epithet to which, in comparison with other works of the same kind, they will be found peculiarly entitled. In the Ethics, the reader will see a full and satisfactory delineation of the moral nature of man, and of the discipline and exercise best adapted to its improvement. The Philosopher speaks with commanding authority to the heart and affections, through the irresistible conviction of the understanding. His morality is neither on the one hand too indulgent, nor on the other impracticable. His lessons are not cramped by the narrow, nor perverted by the wild, spirit of system; they are clear inductions, flowing naturally and spontaneously from a copious and pure source of well-digested experience.

According to the Stagirite, men are and always have been not only moral and social, but also political animals; in a great measure dependent for their happiness and perfection on the public institutions of their respective countries. The grand inquiry, therefore, is, what are the different arrangements that have been found under given circumstances, practically most conducive to these main and ultimate purposes? This question the Author endeavoured to answer in his “Politics,” by a careful examination of two hundred systems of legislation, many of which are not any where else described; and by proving how uniformly, even in political matters, the results of observation and experiment conspire with and confirm the deductions of an accurate and full theory. In this incomparable work, the reader will perceive “the genuine spirit of laws” deduced from the specific and unalterable distinctions of governments; and with a small effort of attention, may discern not only those discoveries in science, unjustly claimed by the vanity of modern writers, but many of those improvements in practice, erroneously ascribed to the fortunate events of time and chance in these latter and more enlightened ages. The same invaluable treatise disclose the pure and perennial spring of all legitimate authority; for in Aristotle’s “politics,” and HIS only, government is placed on such a natural and solid foundation, as leaves neither its origin incomprehensible, nor its stability precarious: and his conclusions, had they been well weighted, must have surmounted or suppressed those erroneous and absurd doctrines which long upheld despotism on the one hand, and those equally erroneous and still wilder suppositions of conventions and compacts, which have more recently armed popular fury on the other.

But our Author’s principles and doctrines will speak convincingly for themselves. The intention of this Preface is merely to explain the plan and object of the present performance; which, besides giving a translation of Aristotle’s practical philosophy, contains a new analysis of his speculative works. This addition appeared the more necessary, because the Stagirite’s intellectual system is so compactly built, and so solidly united, that its separate parts cannot be completely understood, unless the whole be clearly comprehended. The writing indeed here translated, stand more detached and more independent than almost any other; yet, without the aid of the prefixed “Analysis,” even the Ethics and Plitics would require frequent, almost perpetual elucidation. The reader, I feared, would be soon tired with the unconnected prolixity of notes; he will, I hope, be entertained by the Analyses even of those treatieses to which, independently of any substantial utility, his attention may be still allured by a liberal and commendable curiosity. . . .

 

 

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Filed under 1790's, Ancient Greece, Greek/Roman Translations, Philosophy, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: Akenside’s Poems (1772)

Full Title:

The Poems of Mark Akenside, M. D.  London, Printed by W. Bowyer and J Nichols: And Sold by J. Dodsley, In Pall Mall.  MDCCLXXII.

The Pleasures of the Imagination: Book the Second.

Introduction to this more difficult part of the subject.  Of truth and its three classes, matter of fact, experimental or scientifical truth, (contradistinguished from opinion) and universal truth: which last is either metaphysical or geometrical, either purely intellectual or purely abstracted.  On the power of discerning truth depends that of acting with the view of an end; a cicumstance essential to virtue.  Of virtue, considered in the divine mind as a perpetual and universal beneficence.  Of human virtue, considered as a system of particular sentiments and actions, suitable to the design of providence and the condition of man; to whom it constitutes the chief good and the first beauty.  Of vice and its origin.  Of ridicule: its general nature and first cause.  Of the passions; particularly of those which relate to evil natural or moral, and which are generally accounted painful, though not always unattended with pleasure.   

Thus far of beauty and the pleasing forms

Which man’s untutor’d fancy, from the scenes

Imperfect of this ever-changing world,

Creates; and views, inamor’d. Now my song

Severer themes demand: mysterious truth;

And virtue, sovran good: the spells, the trains,

The progeny of error: the dread sway

Of passion; and whatever hidden stores

From her own lofty deeds and from herself

The mind acquires.  Severer argument:

Not less attractive; nor deserving less

A constant ear.  For what are all the forms

Educ’d by fancy from corporeal things,

Greatness, or pomp, or symmetry of parts?

Not tending to the heart, soon feeble grows,

As the blunt arrow ’gainst the knotty trunk,

Their impulse on the sense: while the pall’d eye

Expects in vain its tribute; asks in vain,

Where are the ornaments it once admir’d?

Not so the moral species, nor the powers

Of passion and of thought.  The ambitious mind

With objects boundless as her own desires

Can there converse: by these unfading forms

Touch’d and awaken’d still, with eager act

She bends each nerve, and meditates well-pleas’d

Her gifts, her godlike fortune.  Such the scenes

Now opening round us.  May the destin’d verse

Maintain its equal tenor, though in tracts

Obscure and arduous.  May the source of light

All-present, all sufficient, guide our steps

Through every maze: and whom in childish years

From the loud throng, the beaten paths of wealth

And power, thou did’st apart send forth to speak

In tuneful words concerning highest things,

Him still do thou, o father, at those hours

Of pensive freedom, when the human soul

Shuts out the rumour of the world, him still

Touch thou with secret lessons: call thou back

Each erring thought; and let the yielding strains

From his full bosom, like a welcome rill

Spontaneous from its healthy fountain, flow […]

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Filed under 1770's, Eighteenth century, Literature, Philosophy, Poetry, Posted by Matthew Williams

Item of the Day: Locke, The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695, 1777)

Full Title:

The Works of John Locke, in Four Volumes.  The Eighth Edition.  Volume the Third.  London:  Printed for W. Strahan, J. F. and C. Rivington, L. Davis, W. Owen, S. Baker and G. Leigh, T. Payne and Son, T. Caslon, S. Crowder, T. Longman, B. Law, C. Rivington, E. and C. Dilly, J. Wilkie, T. Cadell, N. Conant, T. Beecroft, T. Lowndes, G. Robinson, Jos. Johnson, J. Robson, J. Knox, T. Becket, and T. Evans. 1777.

The Reasonableness of Christianity, as Delivered in the Scriptures [originally, 1695]

It is obvious to any one, who reads the new testament, that the doctrine of redemption, and consequently of the gospel, is founded upon the supposition of Adam’s fall.  To understand therefore, what we are restored to by Jesus Christ, we must consider what the scriptures shew [sic] we lost by Adam.  This I thought worthy of a diligent and unbiassed [sic] search: since I found the two extremes, that men run into on this point, either on the one hand shook the foundations of all religion, or, on the other, made christianity almost nothing: for whilst some men would have all Adam’s posterity doomed to eternal, infinite punishment, of the transgression of Adam, whom millions had never heard of, and no one had authorised to transact for him, or be his representative; this seemed to others so little consistent with the justice or goodness of the great and infinite God, that they thought there was no redemption necessary, and consequently, that there was none; rather than admit of it upon a supposition so derogatory to the honour and attributes of that infinite Being; and so made Jesus Christ nothing but the restorer and preacher of pure natural religion; thereby doing violence to the whole tenor of the new testament.  And, indeed, both sides will be suspected to have trespassed this way, against the written word of God, by any one, who does but take it to be a collection of writings, designed by God, for the instruction of the illiterate bulk of mankind, in the way to salvation; and therefore, generally, and in necessary points, to be understood in the plain direct meaning of the words and phrases; such as they may be supposed to have had in the mouths of the speakers, who used them according to the language of that time and country wherein they lived; without such learned, artificial, and forced senses of them, as are fought out, and put upon them, in most of the systems of divinity, according to the notions that each one has been bred up in. 

To one that, thus unbiassed, reads the scriptures, what Adam fell from (is visible), was the state of perfect obedience, which is called justice in the new testament; though the word, which in the original signifies justice, be translated righteousness: and, by this fall, be lost paradise, wherein was tranquility and the tree of life; i.e. he lost bliss and immortality.  The penalty annexed to the breach of the law, with the sentence pronounced by God upon it, shew this. The penalty stands thus, Gen. ii. 17. “In the day, that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.”  How was this executed?  He did eat: but, in the day he did eat, he did not actually die; but was turned out of paradise from the tree of life, and shut out for ever from it, lest he shoul take thereof, and live for ever.  This shews, that the state of paradise was a state of immortality, of life without end; which he lost that very day that he eat: his life began from thence to shorten, and waste, and to have an end; and from thence, to his actual death, was but like the time of a prisoner, between the sentence passed and the execution, which was in view and certain.  Death then entered, and shewed his face which before was shut out, and not known.  So St. Paul, Rom. v. 12. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;” i.e. a state of death and mortality: and, 1 Cor. xv. 22.  In Adam all die; i.e. by reason of his transgression, all men are mortal, and come to die.    

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Filed under 1690's, 1770's, Church of England, Eighteenth century, Philosophy, Posted by Matthew Williams, Reason, Religion

Item of the Day: Hobbes’s Tripos (1684), continued.

Full Title:

Hobbs’s Tripos, In Three Discourses: The first, Humane Nature, Or the Fundamental Elements of Policy. Being a Discovery of the Faculties, Acts and Passions of the Soul of Man, from their Original Causes, according to such Philosophical Principles as are not commonly known, or asserted. The second, De Corpore Politico, Or the Elements of Law, Moral and Politick, with Discourses upon several Heads, as of the Law of Nature, Oaths and Covenants; several kinds of Governments, with the Changes and revolution of them. The third, Of Liberty and Necessity; Wherein all Controversie, concerning Predestination, Election, Free-will, Grace, Merits, Reprobation, is fully decided and cleared. The Third Edition.

Written by Thomas Hobbes. Printed in London for Matt. Gilliflower, Henry Rogers, Booksellers in Westminster Hall, and Tho. Fox next the Fleece Tavern in Fleetstreet, and at the Angel in Westminster-Hall, 1684.

Chap. VI.

[Continued from post on Thurday, Feb 7.]

5. A Proposition is said to be supposed, when, being not evident, it is nevertheless admitted for a Time, to the End, that, joyning to it other Propositions, we may conclude something; and to proceed from Conclusion to Conclusion, for a Trial whether the same will lead us into any absurd or impossible Conclusion; which if it do, then we know such Supposition to have been false.  

6. But if, running thorow [sic] many Conclusions, we come to none that are absurd, then we think the Proposition probable: likewise we think probable whatever Proposition we admit for Truth by Errour or Reasoning, or from trusting to other Men: And all such Propositions as are sdmitted by Trust of error, we are not said to know, but think them to be true; and the Admittance of them is called Opinion

7. And particularly, when the Opinion is admitted out of Trust to other Man, they are said to believe it; and their Admittance of it is called Belief, and sometimes Faith

8. It is either Science or Opinion which we commonly mean by the Word Conscience: for Men say that such and such a thing is true in or upon their Conscience; which they never do, when they think it doubtful; and therefore they know, or think they know it to be ture.  But Men, when they say things uopn their Concience , are not therefore presumed certainly to know the Truth of what they say: It remaineth then, that the Word is used by them that have an Opinion, not only of the Truth of the Thing, but also of their Knowledge of it, to which the Truth of the Proposition is consequent.  Conscience I therefore define to be Opinion of Evidence.

9. Belief, which is the admitting of Propositions upon Trust, in many Cases is not less free from Doubt, than perfect and manifest Knowledge : for as there is nothing whereof there is not some Cause; so, when there is Doubt, there must be some Cause thereof conceived.  Now there be many Things which we receive from Report of others, of which it is impossible to imagine any Cause of Doubt: for what can be opposed against the Consent of all Men, in Things they can know, and have no Cause to report otherwise then they are, (such as is great Part of our Histories) unless a Man would say that all the World had conspired to deceive him.  And thus much of Sense, Imagination, Discursion, Ratiocination, and Knowledge, which are the Acts of our Power cognitive, or conceptive.  That Power of the Mind which we call motive, differeth from the Power motive of the Body: for the Power motive of the Body is that by which it moveth other Bodies and we call Strength; but the Power motive of the Mind, is that by which the Mind giveth animal Moion to that Body wherein it existeth: the Acts hereof are our Affections and Passions, of which I am to speak in general. 

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Filed under 1680's, Eighteenth century, Philosophy, Posted by Matthew Williams