« PoprzedniaDalej »
true and heavenly Wisdom, in the School of the holy Pantanus, and fucceeded him in that famous Chair; Origen, fucceffor to Clemens, who run through all the various Schemes and Hypothefes, the better to confute his Adverfary Celfus; LaEtantius, who had a Mastery of all the Antients Sects and Opinions; Arnobius, that wrote against the Gentiles with fo much Learning and Capaci ty. Gregory Thaumaturgus, mention'd with fo many juft Praises by Eufebius; Ammonius, admired by the very Pagan Profeffors, and who was the first that taught the Philofophy of Aritotle in the Chriftian School. To these great Men we may add St. Bafil, affirm'd by St. Gregory to have been the ableft Logician of his Time; St. Chryfoftom, no lefs eminent for Philofophy than Eloquence; St. Auftin, who befides his three Books against the Platonifts, compos'd a Syftem of Logick, extant in the first Tome of his Works. I might name many more, who adorn'd thofe Ages with the Luftre of their great Attainments, who authoriz'd and enforced their Religion by the Purity of their Lives, and brought Fruit from the dry Trunks of Pagan Learning, by letting in the Stream of chriftian Doctrine, and Watering them from the Fountain of Truth,
This bright and flourishing State of Philofophy occafion'd by the Rivalfhip of the Chriftian and Heathen Profeffors, was foon overcast by the most deplorable Barbarifm and Ignorance. It was in thefe miferable Times, that the Huns, the Vandals, the Goths and Lombards, pour'd themfelves like a Deluge into Italy. This Confufion began with the Ruine of the imperial Library at Conftantinople, under Zenon, where Philofophy
and all other good Arts fuffer'd beyond Retrieve, Ifti, pro by the Lofs of an hundred and twenty thou-flofculis fand Volumes. The Arabians, in the fucceed-philofo phia, & ing Age having rendred themselves the Masters arboribus of the World, by their Conqueft, made a Kind placidiffi of a Revolution in Learning as well as in Em-mis, crupire. The Character of their Genius, which was cem ingeniis fixefubtil, deep, and mufing, by fixing too close up-runt." on the Text and Letter of Ariftotle, gave them Vives de an abstracted Way of reafoning fomewhat dif- cauf.com. ferent from the Solidity of the Greeks and Romans. Art. And tho' this new Manner had an Appearance of great Sagacity and Acutenefs; yet it demonftrated it felf to be falfe, by the Wild Conceits of Avicenna, Alkindus, Algazel, Averroes, Alpharabius, Albohafen, and others, whofe Errors Coffevinus has collected to an enormous Number, in the thirteenth Book of his Bibliotheca. Ludovicus doctrina, Vives, fpeaking of the Metaphyficks of Avicenna, & Metaand the Philofophy of Averroes, cenfures both phyfica Aof them as the Dreams of a roving Imagination, vicenna, and near of Kin to the Fables of the Alcoran. omnia denique illa And Thomas Aquinas in one of his Opufcula, de- Arabica clares that Averroes who pretended to be a Fol- mibi vilower of Ariftotle, was indeed but a Corrupter of dentur re his Doctrine. But as Philofophy, under the Con- fipere deliduct of thefe new Mafters, grew peevish and Alcorani: cavilling, by means of thofe Precifions and ab- nibil fieri ftracted Ideas, which they brought into the poteft illis Schools; fo it grew at the fame Time, Barbarous infultius in its Expreffions; and Reafon feem'd to have for-frigidiuf ve. Ibid. gotten to deliver it felf in a reasonable Stile. It Averroes must be confefs'd, that the Arabians, by the Fame non tam of their Spirit and Genius, and by the Leifure fuit Perithey enjoy'd in Victory and Plenty, made fo pateticus quàm Phi lofophia
Peripatetica depravator. Opufc. 14. contra Averroiftas.
vigorous an Effort on thefe Studies, together with the Mathematicks, as to be, in a Manner, the moft diftinguifh'd Scholars of the World. Averroes, as he was naturally profound, and thoughtful, fo by his conftant Study of Ariftotle, deferv'd a Name among his Commentators. He founded a Sect of Philofophers, under his own Name, who oppos'd themselves to Aphrodifaus, Philoponus, and the other Grecians of thofe Times. Yet, making ufe only of a most unfaithful Tranflation of Ariftotle's Works, he has fo grofly mistaken the Senfe, that Bagolinus of Verona, Zimara and Mantinus, in vain enEx Græcis deavour'd to correct him. Vives obferves, That bonis falta as he had a very bad Verfion of Ariftotle in Lafunt Lati- tin, fo he made a worse Version of Him into ma non bo- Arabick. Indeed, befides the faulty Copies of sinis malis Ariftotle's Text, we are told by learned Men, Arabica that the Genius of the two Languages, the Arapeffima. de bick and the Greek, is fo very different, that 'tis Corr.Art. almost impoffible to render the Sense of the one in the Expreffions of the other. For what Calinguæ lius Rhodiginus fays of Avicenna, we may fay in Græra ig. Proportion of all his Country-Men. Picus Minarus cum randula informs us, That Averroes applied himlibros Ari- felf to Ariftotle, and Avicenna to Plato, and that ftotelis this was the Ground of the Contention between perverfof them. After all, they must both of them be alque lege- low'd to have been very great Perfons, and to ret, auto- have held a confiderable Figure in the State of nentiffi- Learning.
na; ex La
mum minus confequi potuit. Cæl. Rhod. Pic. in Apolog.
The Schoolmen, who adher'd ftrictly to the Doctrine of Ariftotle, and fram'd their Genius upon the Arabian Comments, whence it became fo knotty and fo fubtle, were the last Sect of Philofophers
Philofophers that appear'd with Reputation.
nium fanissimus. Lud. Viv
and the other were fo renowned for their Parts and Knowledge, as to become the Heads of the two most celebrated Tribes in the Schools; and, but for the Misfortune of barbarous Timės, might have been equal to the greatest Philofophers of Antiquity. The third fcholaftick Age began with Durandus, and continued to Gabriel Biel the German, who pillaging his Predeceffors, exprefs'd ill what he conceiv'd well; his Harfhnefs of Stile rendring him dry and unpleasant. At this time, the Emulation between the Nominalifts and the Realifts, ferv'd farther to sharpen and fubtilize the Spirit of the Schools. Ocham was the Chief of the nominal Way, who taught that univerfal Natures were but Names and Notions: And Scotus was the Leader of the Realifts, who maintain'd that univerfal Natures were Things truly exiftent. As Learning was now tainted with the corrupt Air, and vicious Infe&tion of the Age, fo the Animofity between thefe Two Parties was carried to fuch an Extremity, as is not to be parallel'd by the Records Aventin. of former Times. In Germany the Extravagance Ann. 6. and Madnefs broke out into an actual War: The Contentions in the Universities were not Difputes but Battles; and Thefes were propofed, and anfwer'd by main Force. It was then that Philofophy wholly amus'd it felf about the Operations of the Intellect, the Method of Abftracting, and the Beating out of Ideas. Men contrived to whet away the Edge of their Wit, to wire-draw their Judgments with vain and frivolous Questions, and to put their Paffions in a Flame about Forms and Trifles. Phantoms and Spectres were rais'd, and set in Combat against each other: Reafon was oblig'd to cavil in its own Defence, and Truth was no longer the Prize of Mens Difputes. This Humour had