Obrazy na stronie

upon Authority; the Modern upon Experience : The Antient is simple and natural; the Modern artificial, and refin'd: The former has more Gravity and Modesty ; the latter a more assuming and magisterial Air. The Antient is quiet and peaceable ; so far from disputing, that it advises the forming and preparing younger Heads by the Help of the Mathematicks, to submit readily to Demonstration. The Modern has made it an Art to dispute of all Things, and to train up Youth in the Tumult and Contention of the Schools. The Antient searches after Truth, with a sincere Desire of finding it: The Modern takes a Delight in fencing and parrying with it, after it has found it. The one proceeds by a more regular Course, as taking the Metaphysicks for its Guide: the other, whenever it neglects this Allistance, is but uncertain in its Motions.. Constancy, Fidelity, Resolution, and good Sense, was what they meant by Philosophy in Plato's Days. But Philosophy, in the Language of many in our Time, is a general Disgust to Business; a Chagrine and Melancholy; a renouncing of Pleasures when the Taste of them has been lost by the Mortifying of the Passions; together with I know not what Kind of Authority, resulting from an hoary Beard, a false Austerity, an unactive Phlegm and Moderation, and all the Wisdom that is usually owing to Weakness of Age and Conftitution. The antient Philosophy is generally, the more knowing, as extending its Views on all sides; whereas the Modern contains it self within the Bounds of natural Speculations. The Antient is more constant and severe in its Studies; more laborious and indefatigable in its Undertakings: For the first Professors carried on the Course of their Enquiries with that of their Lives. The


Modern is more unsettled in its Application, more superficial in its Labours, more precipitate in its Designs and Pursuits. And this Precipitation gradually accustoms it to rely too easily upon inaccurate Reasonings, groundless Reports unfaithful Witnesles, and ill concerted Experi. ments. It pronounces boldly upon Doubts and Uncertainties, to satisfie the Ambition it fometimes has ofbroaching its particular Opinions and giving Vent to its novel Conceits. So that were the Prize in my Disposal, i should (with a great Judge,) be inclin’d to beltow it in favour of the MonAntients, whose good Sense alone seems prefer- sagne EfT. able to all the Art, and all the Refinement of the l. 3. c. 5, Moderns. But let us, without prejudice, conclude, that as the Light is pleasant from whatsoever Quarter it breaks, so Truth ought to be valued, tho' coming from any Party. Don't let us fancy a Distinction between antient and modern Reason: For Reason, from what Side soever we look upon it, or whatsoever Colours we give it, will always be the same. Let us reflect, that if some Opinions have had the good Fortune to meet with a more kind Entertainment in the World than others, their Success was perhaps owing to more auspicious Planets, or more vigorous Societies and Cabals.

XX. So that in managing our selves between the antient Philosophers and the modern, there are two Extremes to be avoided. The first, of those who by a strong Conceit of their own Ability, obeft plethink nothing comparable to the Age in which, úmque iis they live. The Ambition they have to disen- qui dijiere thrall themselves from the Bondage and Usur-volunt,aupation of antient Authority, is but a false Zeal; toritas eo

Prum qui for, by this means, they would impose new Laws on Reason, under pretence of asTerting its Cic. de

Freedom, N. Deon



tum dif

Nos vino Freedom. And all those fine Admonitions fcortify which they give us, to divest our felves of the demerfi, accufato

Prejudices of Education, Custom and Authores amti- rity, and to cure oậr Minds of popular Errors quitatis and Prepossessions, are but so many Snares witia tan- which they lay for our Easiness of Belief: They cimus

talk to us of Liberty, with no other Design docemus.

but to bring us under a new Yoke. They Petron, would add to the Moderns whatever they de

tract from the Antients; and desire to ruin the Authority of Aristotle, only that they may build up that of Descartes. But can it be reasonable to despise those, whom all Antiquity has had in Veneration ? Bare Tradition, and the universal Consent of Mankind should engage us to do Justice to those great and excellent Persons, who have been the Inventors of Arts and Sciences. The World is a wide and vast Assembly, in which every Age has its free Vote; and therefore, to know whom we ought to prefer in our Judgments and Characters of Men, we must confider who has deserved the most universal Approbation of the Publick. Superficial Spirits find the greatest Charms in new and upstart Opinions. But he that is happy in folid Wisdom,

cannnot suffer himself to be surpriz'd with the Sapienti. false Lustre of Novelty, but will be guided am anti- by the constant Suffrage of the Ancients; quorum according to the Advice of the wise Man. exquiret « Can it be believ'd, says Tully, that nofapiens. Ecclur. " thing good, nothing even tolerable, should XXXIX. « be produced by the united Labours of fo

"many Ages, so many excellent Wits, such quis eft

u invincible Application and Study?” If therefapientia fore we are dispos’d to compare our felves, with to tempore prudentia.. Job. XII. Nibi.ne tot fæculis, summis ingeniis, maximis ftudiis explicatum pum Qu: Acad. 4.


In anti


mus, illi

the great Men of the first Ages, yet let us Nikingre not pronounce rashly in our own Favour ; we tissimi firm are interested and partial Judges, 'and Posterity

clarissimi alone ought to decide the Cause. To look back- Sacrarum wards, and take a Survey of elder Times, is a opinionum powerful Lesson of Modesty and Sobriety. The conditorenown'd Persons then upon the Stage, beside

res nobis

nati funt: their extraordinary. Genius for Knowledge, adres pul. spent their whole Lives in unwearied Pains and cherrimas Travels, with a Docility of Temper, not to be alieno laparalleld in our Days. Pytbagoras, till the fif- børe dedu

cimur.Sen tieth Year of his Age, was a Scholar under

de Br. Vit the greatest Masters in the World. Eufebius testifies that Democritus spent no less than fourscore Years in hard Study. Parmenides shut himself eighteen Years in a Cave, to finish his Logical Speculations. " Plato gave forty Years Attendance to the Lectures of Socrates, Archytas and Eurytas. Aristotle labour'd more than twenty Years under Plato: And we after some two Years slight Practice under indifferent Masters, dare to enter the List against those Heroes.

XXI. The other Extreme to be avoided, is the too Veterum servile Adherence of some Men to the Ancients, autoritati | making an Idol of their Authority, and paying mium vo

a blind Worship to their Merit. Such was the lebat PlaExtravagance of George Trapezuntius, who writ a to, quod Book to prove the Conformity of the Aristotelian ipfe ita Doctrine to the sacred Scriptures: And that of doitus effet

apud EgypMarcilius Ficinus, who pretends that Plato acknowledg’d the Mystery of the Holy Trinity ; in Alcina in which refpe&t he is justly condemn'd by 11e-Li 2. de dina a Spanish Divine, for a Boldness highly in- Compar. jurious to the Purity of our Religion, and to Plut. &

Aristot. the great Objects of Faith.which are supernaturally reveal'd. The Pallion of Hermolaus Barbarus, Patriarch of Aquileia, for the Philosophy of


tios. Carpo

Bodinus. Aristotle, was much more fcandalous. This

learned Man, by a detestable Infatuation, is said to have consulted the Devil upon the true Meaning of the Word 'Erzenéxerco But the wildest Enthusiast was the Emperor Julian, who by the Confession of his own Historian, facri. ficed many Virtues and good Endowments to the affected Title of a Philosopher. He was chaste, and sober, and vigilant, and just, and brave. Yet by a ridiculous Bigotry to the an. tient Masters, he preferr'd the Doctrine of Plato to that which St. Paul taught at Athens; and by so horrible an Estrangement of Mind, he became a Slave to all the evil Curiosity of an abused Superstition. The Pride and Folly of his Pagan Wisdom would not stoop to the wise Foolishness of the Cross, which he thought a Disparagement to his boasted Philosophy. And having chosen this Philosophy for his Religion, when once he became Master of the World and of his own opinion, he renounc'd the Doctrine of Jesus Christ, to embrace that of Socrates and Pythagoras; by the Help of which he hop'd to raise to himself a Romantick Character, and to

outshine the Philosophers his Contemporaries. Loquix So abominable was the Mixture of his Vanity talpa, pur and Impiety, that he would confess and own no purara ficGods, but those whofe Divinity depended upon mia,literio GræCUS,

his Suffrage. And his unreasonable Veneration bomo bre- for Antiquity, was the Thing that thus horribly vis

, Idolia- corrupted and vitiated his Spirit. We ought, nus. Amm then, to observe a Temper between these conMarcel.

tending Parties, and to thew such a Deference to the one, as shall not be conjoyn'd with a Contempt of the other. Let us advance in making larger Discoveries, without rejecting those that have been made to our Hands. Let us preserve the Freedom and Privilege of our Reason, and


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