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had the Vogue for Acuteness and Subtlety of Wit; with what Justice we may easily discern. Hence proceeded that dead Weight of Sums, and Courses, and Comments, which stifled all the Remains of good Letters in the World. Yet we must confess, That the scholastick Method, how barren foever, was strong and substantial, and very proper for the Detection of Falshood ; Error and Sophistry not being able to stand before its Light. And, as for that Sharpness and Severity, those Animosia ties, and Heats, and Transports, that appear’dı in the publick Contentions, they were not so much the Fault of the Schools, as of those who disturb'd the Schools, and perverted their genuine Use.
XVII. The fame Ages 'produced three other Philosophers, who by a Spirit of Innovation, deserted the scholastick Rules, and set up a quite opposite Method. These were Remondus Lullius, Cardan and Paracelsus, who seem'd to have follow'd almost the fame Character under three very different Views. Lully, by the Commerce he held with the Arabians, attain'd an eminent Skill in natural Philosophy, Astronomy, and Medicine: Out of these three Sciences he compos’d a Fourth, that of Chy mistry, of which he desired to pass for the great Restorer in Italy and Spain. He attempted utterly to displace the Order establish'd in the Schools, by a Method of his own Invention, which is so far from making Men learned, that it has scarce ever suffer'd them to continue rational. Cardan's Gea nius is irregular and vast, flying at all, and fixing upon nothing. What he tells us of his own In Dial.
Tethm. Spirit, that it was form’d of a Mixture of Sa. turn and Mercury, is ridiculously whimsical: And Сс
what he adds, that he held no Communication with it but in Dreams, has ftill more of the Enthusiast, or the Madman. It was he, that by bringing the dark and cabalistical Philosophy again upon the Stage, fillid the world with airy Appearances; and pretended, by the
Refinements of his Art, to turn Men into the Magnus Similitude of pure Spirit: But Paracelsus, who Chymifta- had more the Air of an Operator, than of a rent Peter Philosopher, was the most extravagant of these
Undertakers. He had entertain'd an unaccounjus, cujus philosó table Design of framing a new Philosophy, poia pec- new Physick, and new Religion ; and by this cat magná Means had absurdly hoped to be the Media. præcepto
tor of a Peace between the Pope and Luther, and dusdodice to bring them both to subscribe to his Notions.
info Gohory was the first that declar'd for him in France ; lentiâ ter• a very superficial Naturalist, but a great Distilminorum, ler. Paracelļus was profound in his Genius, bwa bonis dark and obscure in his Expressions; every Word artibus he said was a Riddle, and he never deliver'd belluæ in- himself but in Mystery. Rullandus, a German dixit,
Chymist, compos'd a Dictionary of his peculiar Sennert.
Terms, in spight of which, he is still unintel-
Doctrine of Pythagoras in Germany, as Marcilius Ficinus had re-establish'd that of Plato in Italy. Such were the Distempers of those Ages, the Weakness of which sufficiently shews it self in these different Ragouts of Philosophy, this Con. trariety in Opinions, and general Instability of Judgment.
XVIII. To proceed; as the Love of Learning, and especially of Philosophy, was now confin'd to Europe, fo different Nations applied themselves to it, according to the Difference of their Genius. The Spaniards grew subtile in their Rea= ? sonings, great Formalifts and Metaphysicians, as having an Head turn’d, for severe Reflection, and grave Disputes. The Italians allum'd a more agreeable Character of Wit, and were choice and curious in fine Ideas, The Works of Niphus gave them a Value for Aristotle's Philosophy, as those of Cardinal Beffarion, and Marcilius Ficinus, inspired them with a Pallion for the Doctrine of Plato; to which they were more inclined than their Neighbours, by the Beauty of their Genius, which is publick and lively, and impatient of hard Labour. The French, as they found themselves capable of all Sciences, so they ventur'd upon all ; and by their ingenie ous and inquisitive Temper, successfully copied whatever was excellent in other Nations. The English by that Depth of Genius which is natural to them, undertook the more abftrufe Researches into the Causes of Things, and by an invincible Application to Labour, excelled the rest of Europe in their Improvements of natural Knowledge ; as appears from the Works they have publish'd on this Subject. The Germans, by the Necessity which their Climate lays upon them of keeping near the Fire, and by the Сс 2
Convenience of their Stoves, apply'd themselves to Chymistry, together with the other People of the North. Thus the southern Countries were imploy'd, in rendring Philosophy profound and subtile'; the Northern in rendring it laborious and mechanical. Of modern Philosophers, those who have made the greatest Noise, are Galilei, an Italian, Bacon, Hobbes and Boyle Englishmen, Gafsendus and Descartes Frenchmen, and Vanhelmont a Fleming. Galilei seems to have had the finest Genius, and ought, in my Opinion, to be look'd on as the Father of modern Philofophy. His Method holds a near Resemblance with that of the Platonists; his Style is agreeable, and he disguises a great many Faults under his artful Manner of Writing. Whatever he has borrow'd from the Ancients he niakes his own; and in many places where his work is but a Copy, we' take it for an Original. Bacon's Genius is extensive and vast, the Largeness of his Capacity hinders him from being ftri&tly accurate; and he cannot stay to go to the Bot. tom of Things. The greatest Part of his Maxims, are rather Heads of Meditations, and Noble Strictures of Thought, than Rules of Pracice; his Opinions seem too fine and too glitte. ring; more like sudden Sparks of Fire, than like a continued and natural Light. Hobbes is obscure and unpleasant, fingular in his Notions; learned but not folid, inconstant in his Sect and Party, sometimes an Epicure an, sometimes a Peripatetick. Boyle is exact in his Observations; no Person in Europe has enrich'd Philosophy with so many Experiments and he reasons very justly from those Experiments; which yet are not always infallible, because the Principles on which they proceed have no absolute Certainty. After all, he must be own'd to be a noble Philosopher, and a great Master of Nature. Gafsendus, who acts only as a Restorer of the Philosophy of Democritus and Epicurus, advances little himself, and has scarce any Thing of his own, but his Beauty of Stile, in which he is admirable. To refute his natural System, we need only make use of the Arguments urged by Aristotle against Democritus and his Followers. Defcartes is one of the most extraordinary Wits that has appear’d in these latter Ages; of a fertile Invention, and a profound Meditation; the thread of his Doctrine is finely drawn out; the Method, according to his Principles, exactly contriv'd; and his System, tho' partly ancient and partly modern, very well put together. Indeed he inclines too much to Scepticism, and is a very ill Pattern for those who are naturally of an incredulous Temper; but still he is more of an Original in his Way. Vanhelmont, by the Skill in natural Causes which he had obtain'd after his peculiar Manner; perform’d so prodigious Cures, that he was put into the Inquisition, as fufpected of doing Things beyond the Powers of Nature. In a Word, Galilei is the most agreeable of the Moderns; Bacon the most subtile; Gaffendus the most learned and knowing ; Hob bes the most roving and capricious ; Boyle the most curious; Descartes the most ingenious; Vanhelmont the most of a Naturalist, but too much addicted to Paracelsus; the general Method of his Doctrine is founded upon the Sympathy and Antipathy of Minerals and simples, of which he had a very great Comprehension.