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Noah took with him into the ark both of clean beasts and fowls by sevens, which, after the subsiding of the waters of the flood, he offered in sacrifice to God,' &c. This analogy between their traditions and the facts of the sacred records might easily be extended,” but the above are deemed sufficient for our present purpose; which is simply to demonstrate that the antiquities of China reach no further back than the times of Noah, the difference between their chronology and that of the sacred text, according to their own writers, coinciding very nearly therewith.” And, what is true of the Chinese Fohi, is true also of the Indian Bacchus, a name which originated first in India. “He was the first who pressed the grapes and made wine." He lived in these parts before there were any cities in India. They say that he was twice born,” ” &c., all of which is signally applicable to Noah. As most of my readers are doubtless more or less familiar with the coincidence of the antiquities of the Assyrian empire with those of the sacred Annals, I shall not detain them with any further amplifications of the subject in the department of history; but shall proceed at once to a further confirmation of the precedence of sacred over that of profane antiquity, by a comparison of the various systems of ancient profane, physiological philosophy, with the cosmogony of Moses. Of the PHILosophers of various ancient nations, — Orpheus, Thales, Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle, were the most eminent. Pherecydes, Anaximander, Anaximines, and Anaxigorus, were mere copyists ; nor was any thing like a rational system of natural science concocted, till the days of Leucippus and Democritus. But, of these, and with them, the whole world of ancient philosophers it may be said, that, when once they ventured beyond the bounds of their traditionary knowledge, by which means they had been enabled for ages to retain a tolerably correct idea of many important truths, and threw themselves upon an attempt to or IGINATE systems of philosophy by which to account for the how and the wherefore of long-received and established principles, they went beyond themselves, and were soon bewildered in the mists of vain speculations. True, in the departments of geometry, astronomy, physics, and some other arts, the Egyptians from an early period had formed some tolerably correct notions. But in physiology, they contented themselves to receive what was handed down to them by their ancestors, and out of the treasures of their traditions, to instruct others; not by the process of individual philosophical experiments, but by the established rule, “ask, and it shall be told you; search the records of antiquity, and you shall find what you inquire after.” Nor were the systems of ancient philosophy at all controverted, till the introduction of the science of physiology into Greece, by the poets Hesiod, Homer, Linus, and some others. Of the “eminent masters” of Greece, from Pherecydes to Aristotle, an interval of about three hundred years, Thales, Pythagorus, and Aristotle only can be named ; and it is remarkable, that even they did not invent that part of their philosophy of which I am treating, but travelled for it, and collected it from the records of other nations. In connection with this subject we have further to observe, that it is no less extraordinary than true, that of all the philosophical speculations of ancient Greece, their physiological discoveries almost invariably excluded a recognition of the Great First Intelligent Cause. Even Aristotle, who “rejected the ancient traditional knowledge, thinking it unbecoming a philosopher to offer opinions to the world, which he could not prove to be true,” fell equally short with his predecessors of the same school, in producing “a wellgrounded theory of natural knowledge.” " If asked, “whence has arisen the high and widespread reputation which has long crowned the name of Aristotle 2 ” we answer, it “is to be traced principally to the occupations of the Scholastics of the middle ages, a body of men whose existence, origin, and influence, were based on superstition, ignorance, and bigotry alone; and whose members occupied their time in distorting, magnifying, and perverting the language of the Holy Scriptures, and in inventing shackles and fetters for the human understanding,
1. Gen. vii. and viii.
2. See Martinii Hist. Sinica. p. 11; Le compte, mem. of China, p. 313; Couplets Confucius, Proacm. p. 38, 76.
3. Shuck Con. vol. i., p. 48.
4. Gen. ix. 20. 5. Shuck. Con. vol. ii., p. 74,
which have continued ever since in a great degree to bind it, and must still do so until the diffusion of knowledge and of judicious education shall counteract the efforts of interested hypocrisy and imposition. The admiration of Aristotle's name and doctrines is principally to be ascribed to the fondness of these “illustrious” and “illuminated” doctors for idle logomachies and dialectic subtilities; ” his doctrine consisting rather “of Words than of Things,” and consequently is “ dialectic and disputatious, rather than practically useful and beneficial.” He divided his system “into two branches, – the THEORETICAL and the PRACTICAL, each of these comprising several distinct and very different subjects. Thus the theoretical embraces physics, metaphysics, logic, and mathematics; — and well might it be called theoretical, for the notions of Aristotle were founded upon mere fanciful speculations, without reference to facts, and without being the result of any series of scientific induction. It is only when we perceive, through the intricate jargon which he employed, the portions which he borrowed from some previous school, that we discover any approach to truth or to accurate research.” We now ask, therefore, in that part of his theoretic philosophy which included the department of PHYsics, what were the views entertained and taught by him of the SUPREME BEING ! “What were the attributes which he ascribed to God? Ans. – He
1. Prog. of Philos. pp. 337,338.
regarded him solely as the cause of motion ; the attributes which he ascribed to him were solely those of a Being, immoveable, eternal, indivisible, and incorporeal; inactive himself, yet causing motion, — not voluntarily, but by necessity; not the creator of the world, but co-eternal with it; happy only in the contemplation of himself; not taking cognizance of, and not regarding the affairs of the world, which owed not its existence to him, and to which his presence and influence do not extend; which must be, indeed, far beyond his view, his observation, or his care!”.' * Nor do we rest this representation of the doctrine of Aristotle respecting the Deity, as extracted from various portions of his writings, on our own authority alone. Cicero, two thousand years ago, speaking of Aristotle in connection with this part of his system, says, “at one time he assigns all the attributes of divinity to the mind alone; at another time he tells us that the world itself is God. Here he speaks of something superior to the world, and assigns to it the office of ruling and directing the motion by which the changes of the world are effected, - while there, we are told that God is but the “ardor’ — the motive power of heaven, – not remembering that the heaven itself is but a part of that world, which we had been previously informed was God.” To this Cicero further adds, that Aristotle considered the world to be eternal in duration, having had no begin
1. Prog. of Philos. pp. 337, 338, 345–347. 2. Prog. of Philos. p. 349. De, nat. Deor. I., § 13.