Page images


Light from above, from the fountain of light,
No other doctrine needs, though granted true;
But these are false, or little else but dreams,
Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm.
The first and wisest of them all profess'd
To know this only, that he nothing knew;
The next to fabling fell and smooth conceits ;



giveth to all men liberally, &c. " of metaphors, allegories, and Dunster.

“ all sorts of mystical represent293. The first and wisest of “ations, (as is vulgarly known.) them all Socrates professed to All which, upon the account know this only, that he nothing " of their obscurity and ambiknew. Hic in omnibus fere ser- "guity, are apparently the unfitmonibus, qui ab iis, qui illum “ test signs in the world to exaudierunt, perscripti varie, copi- press the train of any man's ose sunt, ita disputat, ut nihil ad- thoughts to another: for befirmet ipse, refellat alios: nihil “ sides that they carry in them se scire dicat, nisi id ipsum : eo- “no intelligible affinity to the que præstare ceteris, quod illi “ notices which they were dequæ nesciant scire se putent; signed to intimate, the powers ipse, se nihil scire, id unum sciat. “ of imagination are so great, Cicero Academic. i. 4.

" and the instances in which one 293. Ειδιναι μεν μηδεν, πλην αυτο “ thing may resemble another τουτο ειδεναι was what Socrates

so many, that there is frequently said of himself, accord

scarce any thing in nature, in ing to Diogenes Laertius, Vit. " which the fancy cannot find Socrat. And so Flato makes him " or make a variety of such symcompare himself with some great bolizing resemblances; so that pretender to wisdom, (see the "emblems, fables, symbols, alleApology of Socrates, ed. Serran. “gories, though they are pretty vol. 1. p. 21.) ούτος μεν ουεται τι “poetic fancies, are infinitely ειδεναι, ουκ ειδως εγω δε, ώσπερ ουν “unfit to express philosophical ουκ οίδα, ουδε οιoμαι εδικα γουν τουτου

or notions and discoveries of the γι σμικρο τινι αυτο τουτο σοφώτερος “ natures of things.—The end είναι, ότι α μη οιδα, ουδε


aderat “ of philosophy is to search into, Dunster.

" and discover the nature of 295. The next to fabling fell “things; but I believe you unand smooth conceits ;) See Parker's - derstand not how the nature Free and impartial censure of “ of any thing is at all discovered the Platonic philosophy. Oxford “by making it the theme of al1667. p. 71. " Plato and his “ legorical and dark discourses.” “ followers have communicated Calton. “ their notions by emblems, The fictions of this philoso“ fables, symbols, parables, heaps pher were noticed in early times. VOL. III.


A third sort doubted all things, though plain sense ;
Others in virtue plac'd felicity,
But virtue join'd with riches and long life;
In corporal pleasure he, and careless ease ;

ματα ειδως. .

Diogenes Laertius cites a verse Peripateticorum, ut finem bonoof Timon to this purpose,

rum dicerent, secundum naturam S25 antheos II actwv Tisharusna tavo vivere, id est, virtute adhibita,

frui primis à natura datis. De What wondrous fictions learned Fin. ii. 11. Plato fram'd!

297. Cic. de Fin. ii. 6. Multi Compare the conclusion of Mil. enim et magni philosophi hæc ton's Latin poem De Idea Pla- ultima bonorum juncta fecerunt, tonica.-Smooth conceits are the ut Aristoteles, qui virtutis usum Italian concetti; by which term cum vitæ perfectæ prosperitate an Italian writer would, I ap- conjunxit. Dunster. prehend, characterise any far- 299. In corporal pleasure he, fetched or fine-spun allegories and careless ease ;] Epicurus. Dunster.

Confirmat autem illud vel maxi296. A third sort doubted all me, quod ipsa natura, ut ait ille, things, though plain sense ;] These adsciscat et reprobet, id est, vowere the Sceptics or Pyrrhonians, luptatem et dolorem: ad hæc, et the disciples of Pyrrho, who as- quæ sequamur et quæ fugiamus, serted nothing, neither honest refert omnia. Cicero de Fin. i. 7. nor dishonest, just nor unjust, 299. The he is here conand so of every thing; that there temptuously emphatical. Comis nothing indeed such, but that pare Par. Lost, i. 93. And so men do all things by law and Demosthenes, in the opening of custom; that in every thing this his first Philippic, refers to Philip, is not rather than that. This whom he had not mentioned by was called the Sceptic philosophy, name, xoli tn ruv jogu TOTTOY, di from its continual inspection, and so Taquittopeeba. As to the prinnever finding; and Pyrrhonian ciples of Epicurus, see his Epistle from Pyrrho. See Stanley's Life to Menæceus, preserved by Dioof Pyrrho, who takes his account genes Laertius, where he points from Diogenes Laertius. out as the only essential and truly

297. Others in virtue &c.] These interesting objects of a wise were the old Academics, and the man's attention the tou rLOTOS Peripatetics the scholars of Ari- υγιειαν, και την της ψυχης αταραξιαν stotle. Honeste autem vivere, -- τουτυ του μακαριως ζην εστι τελος fruentem rebus iis, quas primas *. 5. a. and sometimes he exhomini natura conciliet, et vetus plicitly places the co tou opetos Academia censuit, et Aristoteles: αγαθον in τας δια χυλων ηδονας, τας ejusque amici nunc proxime vi- δι' αφροδισιων, τας δι' ακροαματων, dentur accedere. Cicero Acade- και τας δια μορφης κατ' οψιν ηδιας mic. ii. 42. Ergo nata est senten- Kinous.


passage is preserved tia veterum Academicorum et in Athenæus, 1. viii. and Dioge


The Stoic last in philosophic pride,
By him call’d virtue; and his virtuous man,

nes Laertius, l. x. Cicero ex- of this sect. They maintained hibits the sense of it, Tusc. Disp. that the end or purpose of man 1. x. c. 20. See also Lucretius, was to live conformably to naii. 16. and Lucian, Necyomant. ture, (see Diogenes Laertius in p. 460. Ed. Reitz. where also see his life of Zeno,) and that this the account of the Stoics and consisted in an absolute perfecPeripatetics. Dunster.

tion of the soul, of which they 300. The Stoic last &c.] The believed human nature to be reason why Milton represents capable; a doctrine which might our Saviour taking such parti- tempt even the best of men to cular notice of the Stoics above philosophic pride. See Mrs. Carthe rest, was probably because ter's preface to her translation they made pretensions to a more of Epictetus. Plutarch mentions refined and exalted virtue than their arrogance and assumption any of the other sects, and were of superiority over the Acadeat that time the most prevailing mics. De Stoicorum Contrarieparty among the philosophers, tatibus. Of their virtuous man, and the most revered and wise, perfect in himself and all esteemed for the strictness of possessing, see Cicero de Finibus, their morals, and the austerity of iii. 7. where Cato is introduced their lives. The picture of their summing up the principles of the virtuous man is perfectly just, as Stoic philosophy; cum ergo hoc might easily be shewn from many sit extremum (quod tidos Græcus passages in Seneca and Anto- dicat,) congruenter naturæ conninus, and the defects and in- venienterque vivere, necessario sufficiency of their scheme could sequitur omnes sapientes semper not possibly be set in a stronger feliciter, absolute, fortunate vilight than they are by our author vere, nulla re impediri, nulla in the lines following. Thyer. prohiberi, nulla egere. This is

300. The Stoics were held in to ascribe to their wise man esteem not only among the philo- many positive attributes of divisophers of antiquity, but among nity; but Seneca spisaks more some of the earlier writers on fully, and equals hi?: to God, Christianity. Clemens Alexan- Epist. lxxxvii. Quæ: is quæ res drinus in many parts of his works sapientem efficit? quæ Deum. professes himself a Stoic. St. See also epist. lix. lxxiii. xcii. Jerome in his Commentary on Indeed he every where abounds Isaiah, c. 10. acknowledges that with such passages. Epictetus the Stoics in most points of doc. also says, (1. i. c. 12) Ou Beaus our trine agree with the Christians, καθ' ά ισος εν τοις Θίοις, εκει που τι“ Stoici cum nostro dogmate in beobar to ayalov; oft shames not to plerisque concordant." Hence prefer; Seneca, epist. liii. Est the greater propriety in bringing aliquid quo sapiens antecedat Deforward, and censuring in this 'um; ille naturæ beneficio non place, the exceptionable doctrines timet, suo sapiens. See also, De


Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing,
Equals to God, oft shames not to prefer,
As fearing God nor man, contemning all
Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life,
Which when he lists he leaves, or boasts he can,
For all his tedious talk is but vain boast,
Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.
Alas what can they teach, and not mislead,
Ignorant of themselves, of God much more,
And how the world began, and how man fell
Degraded by himself, on grace depending?
Much of the soul they talk, but all awry,
And in themselves seek virtue, and to themselves


Provident. c. 6. Ferte fortiter, and of Seneca again, epist. lxx. hoc est quo Deum antecedatio. Dunster. Ille extra patientiam malorum 303. Equals to God,] In Milest, vos supra patientiam. Aston's own edition, and all followfearing God nor man. Seneca de ing, it is Equal to God: but I Beneficiis, iv. 19. Deos nemo sam cannot but think this an error of nus timet. Furor est enim me- the


the sense is so much tuere salutaria, nec quisquam improved by the addition only amat quos timet; and again, 1. of a single letter. vii. 1. Si animus Deorum homi

Equals to God, oft shames not to numque fyrmidinem ejecit, et

prefer. scit non multum esse ab homine timendum, a Deo nihil, &c.- 307. For all his tedious talk is contemning all, wealth, pleasure, but vain boast, &c. These are the well known Or subtle shifts] doctrines of the Stoics; our au- Vain boasts relate to the Stoical thor in alh probability had here paradoxes, and subtle shifts to in his mind the conclusion of their dialectic, which this sect Seneca de Providentia-contem- so much cultivated, as to be as nite

paupertatem, &c. contemnite well known by the name Dialedolorem—fortunam-mortem ctici as Stoici. Warburton. patet exitus. Si pugnare non $13. Much of the soul they talk, vultis licet fugere &c. Exactly but all awry,] See what Mr. similar to which last passage is Warburton has said upon this the language of Epictetus, 1. iv. subject in the first volume of the C. 10. ει ουτω ταλας ειμι, λιμην το Divine Legation. αποθανειν-δια τουτο ουδεν τον εν το 314. And in themselves seek βια χαλεπον εστιν· οταν θελης εξηλθες.

virtue, and to themselves.


All glory arrogate, to God give none,
Rather accuse him under usual names,
Fortune and Fate, as one regardless quite
Of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these
True wisdom, finds her not, or by delusion
Far worse, her false resemblance only meets,
An empty cloud. However many books,
Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not


All glory arrogate, to God give and Nat. Quæst. ii. 45. and Senone,]

neca, the tragic poet, Edip.980. Cicero speaks the sentiments of The Stoic poet, Lucan, freancient philosophy upon this quently terms the Deity, fate, or point in the following words:- fortune, as Pharsal. i. 87. iii. 96. propter virtutem enim jure lau- Dunster. damur, et in virtute recte gloria- 321. An empty cloud,) A memur: quod non contingeret, si taphor taken from the fable of id donum a Deo, non a nobis Ixion, who embraced an emply haberemus. At vero aut hono. cloud for a Juno ribus aucti, aut re familiari, aut 322. Wise men have said,] Alsi aliud quippiam nacti sumus luding to Eccles. xii

. 12. Of fortuiti boni, aut depulimus mali, making many books there is no end, cùm Diis gratias agimus, tum and much study is a weariness of nihil nostræ laudi assumptum the flesh. arbitramur. Num quis, quod 322. Aiunt enim, says the bonus vir esset, gratias Diis egit younger Pliny; multum legenunquam? At quòd dives, quod dum esse non multa, 1. viii. ep. 9. honoratus, qudd incolumis.--Ad It is indeed a Stoical precept, rem autem ut redeam, judicium thods Bobrowe dofar perfor. Antonin. hoc omnium mortalium est, fortu- Meditat. 1. xi. 3. And Seneca nam à Deo petendam, à se ipso has the same sentiment, ep. ii. sumendam esse sapientiam. De Nat. and De Tranquillitate Animi, c. Deor. ii. 36. Warburton. 9. Dunster.

316. -under usual names ; 322. -who reads Fortune and Fate,]

Incessantly, &c.] Several of the ancient philoso- See the same just sentiment in phers, but especially the Stoics, Paradise Lost, vii. 126. thus characterised the Deity. Sic hunc naturam vocas, fatum,

But knowledge is as food, and needs

no less fortunam ; omnia ejusdem Dei Her temp'rance over appetite, &c. nomina sunt, varie utentis sua

Thyer. potestate. De Beneficiis, iv. 8.

« PreviousContinue »