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particle of matter has length, breadth, and thickness. Figure in the fame manner enters into the conception of every particle of matter ; because every particle of matter is bounded. By the power of abstraction, figure may be conceived independent of the body that is figured; and extension may be conceived independent of the body that is extended. These particulars are abundantly plain and obvious; and yet observe what a heap of jargon is employ'd by the followers of Leibnitz, in their fruitless endeavours to define extension. They begin with simple existences, which they say are unextended, and without parts. According to that definition, simple existences cannot belong to matter, because the smallest particle of matter has both parts and extension. But to let that pass, they endeavour to show as follows, how the idea of extension arises from these finple existences. “ We
may look upon simple existences, as ha
ving mutual relations with respect to " their internal state : relations that form a certain order in their manner of exift
And this order or arrangement so of things, coexisting and linked toge
« ther but so as we do not distinctly un
derstand how, causes in us a confused “ idea, from whence arises the appearance “ of extension." A Peripatetic philofopher being asked, What sort of things the sensible fpecies of Aristotle are, answered, That they are neither entities nor nonentities, but something intermediate between the two. The famous astronomer Ismael Bulialdus lays down the following propofition, and attempts a mathematical demonstration of it, “ That light is a mean
proportional between corporeal substance and incorporeal."
I close with a curious fort of reasoning, so fingular indeed as not to come under any of the foregoing heads. The first editions of the latest version of the Bible into English, have the following preface. “ Another thing we think good to admo“ nish thee of, gentle reader, that we have
not tied ourselves to an uniformity of phrasing, or to an identity of words,
some peradventure would wish that we had done, because they observe, that some learned men somewhere have been as exact as they could be that way. Truly, that we might not vary from the
" sense of that which we have translated " before, if the word fignified the same in “ both places, (for there be fome words " that be not of the same sense every
where), we were especially careful, and “ made a conscience according to our du
ty. But that we should express the same “ notion in the same particular word; as,
for example, if we translate the Hebrew or Greek word once by purpose, never to call it intent ; if one where journeying, never travelling ; if one where think, never suppose; if one where pain, never
ache ; if one where joy, never gladness, " &c.; thus to mince the matter, we
thought to savour more of curiosity than “ wisdom, and that rather it would breed « scorn in the Atheist, than bring profit
to the godly reader. For is the king, dom of God become words or fyllables?
Why should we be in bondage to them, “ if we may be free; use one precisely, " when we may use another, no less fit,
as commodiously? We might also be “ charged by scoffers, with some unequal “ dealing toward a great number of good “ English words. For as it is written by a certain great philosopher, that he
“ should say, that those logs were happy “ that were made images to be worship
ped; for their fellows, as good as they,
lay for blocks behind the fire: so if we “ should say, as it were, unto certain “ words, Stand up higher, have a place
in the Bible always; and to others of “ like quality, Get ye hence, be banished “ for ever, we might be taxed peradven
ture with St James his words, namely,
to be partial in ourselves, and judges “ of evil thoughts." Quæritur, Can this translation be safely rely'd on as the rule of faith, when such are the translators ?
A P P E N D I X.
curred, that a fair analysis of Aristotle's logic, would be a valuable addition to the historical branch. A distinct and candid account of a system that for many ages governed the reasoning part of mankind, cannot but be acceptable to the public. Curiosity will be gratified, in seeing a phantom delineated that so long fascinated the learned world ; a phantom, which shows infinite genius, but like the pyramids of Egypt or hanging gardens of Babylon, is absolutely useless unless for raising wonder. Dr Reid, professor of moral philosophy in the college of Glasgow, relished the thought; and his friendship to me prevailed on him, after much folicitation, to undertake the laborious task. No man is better acquainted with Aristotle's writings; and, without any enthusiastic attachment, he holds that philosopher to be a first-rate genius.