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Bruno's other

14. These bold theories of Jordano Bruno are chiefly contained in the treatise Della Causa, Principio writings. ed Uno. In another, entitled Dell' Infinito Universo e Mondi, which, like the former, is written in dialogue, he asserts the infinity of the universe, and the plurality of worlds. That the stars are suns, shining by their own light, that each has its revolving planets, now become the familiar creed of children, were then among the enormous paradoxes and capital offences of Bruno. His strong assertion of the Copernican theory was, doubtless, not quite so singular, yet this had but few proselytes in the sixteenth century. His other writings, of all which

ove si trasporte, atteso chè sia il tutto.
Non si genera; per chè non è altro es-
sere, che lui possa desiderare o aspettare,
atteso che abbia tutto lo essere. Non si
corrompe; per chè non è altra cosa, in
cui si cangi, atteso che lui sia ogni cosa.
Non può sminuire o crescere, atteso ch'
è infinito, a cui come non si può aggiun-
gere, cosi è da cui non si può sottrarre,
per ciò che lo infinito non ha parti pro-
porzionali. Non è alterabile in altra
disposizione, per chè non ha esterno, da
cui patisca, e per cui venga in qualche
affezione. Oltre chè per comprender
tutte contrarietadi nell' esser suo, in unità
e convenienza, e nessuna inclinazione
posser avere ad altro e novo essere, o
pur ad altro e altro modo d' essere, non
può esser soggetto di mutazione secundo
qualità alcuna, nè può aver contrario o
diverso, che l' alteri, per chè in lui è ogni
cosa concorde. Non è materia, per chè
non è figurato, nè figurabile non è ter-
minato, nè terminabile. Non è forma,
per chè
non informa, nè figura altro,
atteso che è tutto, è massimo, è uno, è
universo. Non è misurabile, nè misura.
Non si comprende; per chè non è mag-
gior di sè. Non sì è compreso; per chè
non è minor di se. Non si agguaglia;
per chè non è altro e altro, ma uno e
medesimo. Essendo medesimo ed uno,
non ha essere ed essere; et per chè non
ha essere ed essere, non ha parti e parti ;
e per ciò che non ha parte e parte, non
è composto. Questo è termine di sorte,
chè non è termine; è talmente forma,
chè non è forma; è talmente materia,
chè non è materia; è talmente anima,
chè non è anima; per chè è il tutto in-
differentemente, e però è uno, l' uni-
verso è uno. P. 280.

Ecco, come non è possibile, ma necessario, che l'ottimo, massimo incompren

sibile è tutto, è par tutto, è in tutto, per
chè come simplice ed indivisibile può
esser tutto, esser per tutto, essere in
tutto. E così non è stato vanamente
detto, che Giove empie tutte le cose,
inabita tutte le parti dell' universo, è
centro di ciò, che ha l' essere uno in
tutto, e per cui uno è tutto. Il quale,
essendo tutte le cose, e comprendendo
tutto l' essere in se, viene a far, che
ogni cosa sia in ogni cosa. Ma mi di-
reste, per chè dunque le cose si cangiano,
la materia particolare si forza ad altre
forme? vi rispondo, che non è muta-
zione, che cerca altro essere, ma altro
modo di essere. E questa è la differenza
tra l'universo e le cose dell' universo;
per chè nullo comprende tutto l' essere e
tutti modi di essere; di queste ciascuna
ha tutto l'essere, ma non tutti i modi di
essere. P. 282.

The following sonnet by Bruno is characteristic of his mystical imagination; but we must not confound the personification of an abstract idea with theism :

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Buhle has furnished us with an account, are numerous; some of them relate to the art of Raymond Lully, which Bruno professed to esteem very highly; and in these mnemonical treatises he introduced much of his own theoretical philosophy. Others are more exclusively metaphysical, and designed to make his leading principles, as to unity, number, and form, more intelligible to the common reader. They are full, according to what we find in Brucker and Buhle, of strange and nonsensical propositions, such as men, unable to master their own crude fancies on subjects above their reach, are wont to put forth. None, however, of his productions has been more often mentioned than the Spaccio della Bestia Trionfante, alleged by some to be full of his atheistical impieties, while others have taken it for a mere satire on the Roman church. This diversity was very natural in those who wrote of a book they had never seen. It now appears that this famous work is a general moral satire in an allegorical form, with little that could excite attention, and less that could give such offence as to provoke the author's death.

General cha



15. Upon the whole, we may probably place Bruno in this province of speculative philosophy, though not high, yet above Cesalpin, or any of the school racter of his of Averroes. He has fallen into great errors, but they seem to have perceived no truth. His doctrine was not original; it came from the Eleatic philosophers, from Plotinus and the Neo-Platonists, and in some measure from Plato himself; and it is ultimately, beyond doubt, of oriental origin. What seems most his own, and I must speak very doubtfully as to this, is the syncretism of the tenet of a pervading spirit, an Anima Mundi, which in itself is an imperfect theism, with the more pernicious hypothesis of an universal Monad, to which every distinct attribute, except unity, was to be denied. Yet it is just

4 Ginguéné, vol. vii., has given an analysis of the Spaccio della Bestia.

See a valuable analysis of the philosophy of Plotinus in Degerando's Histoire Comparée des Systèmes, iii. 357 (edit. 1823). It will be found that his language with respect to the mystic supremacy of unity is that of Bruno himself. Plotin, however, was not only theistic, but intensely religious, and if he

had come a century later would, instead of a heathen philosopher, have been one of the first names among the saints of the church. It is probable that his influence, as it is, has not been small in modelling the mystic theology. Scotus Erigena was of the same school, and his language about the first Monad is similar to that of Bruno. Degerando, vol, iv. p. 372.

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to observe that, in one passage already quoted in a note, Bruno expressly says, "there are three kinds of intelligence: the divine, which is every thing; the mundane, which does every thing; and the particular intelligences, which are all made by the second." The inconceivableness of ascribing intelligence to Bruno's universe, and yet thus distinguishing it as he does from the mundane intelligence, may not perhaps be a sufficient reason for denying him a place among theistic philosophers. But it must be confessed that the general tone of these dialogues conveys no other impression than that of a pantheism, in which every vestige of a supreme intelligence, beyond his soul of the world, is effaced."

16. The system, if so it may be called, of Bruno was essentially dogmatic, reducing the most subtle and incomprehensible mysteries into positive aphorisms of science. Sanchez, a Portuguese physician, settled as a public instructor at Toulouse, took a different course; the preface of his treatise, Quod Nihil Scitur, is dated from that city in 1576; but no edition is known to have existed before 1581. This work is a mere tissue of sceptical fallacies, propounded, however, with a confident tone not unusual in that class of sophists. He begins abruptly with these words: Nec unum hoc scio, me nihil scire, conjector tamen nec me nec alios. Hæc mihi vexillum propositio sit, hæc sequenda venit, Nihil Scitur. Hanc si probare scivero, merito concludam nihil sciri; si nescivero, hoc ipso melius; id enim asserebam. A good deal more follows in the same sophistical style of cavillation. Hoc unum semper maxime ab aliquo expetivi, quod modo facio, ut vere diceret an aliquid perfecte sciret; nusquam tamen inveni, præterquam in sapiente illo proboque viro Socrate (licet et Pyrrhonii, Academici et Sceptici vocati, cum Favorino id etiam assererent) quod hoc unum sciebat quod

Sceptical theory of


I can hardly agree with Mr. Whewell in supposing that Jordano Bruno "probably had a considerable share in introducing the new opinions (of Copernicus) into England." Hist. of Inductive Sciences, i. 385. Very few in England seem to have embraced these opinions; and those who did se, like Wright and Gilbert, were men who had somewhat better reasons than the ipse dixit of a

wandering Italian.

Brucker, iv. 541, with this fact before his eyes, strangely asserts Sanchez to have been born in 1562. Buhle and Cousin copy him without hesitation. Antonio is ignorant of any edition of "Quod Nihil Scitur" except that of Rotterdam in 1649; and ignorant also that the book contains any thing remarkable.

nihil sciret. Quo solo dicto mihi doctissimus indicatur; quanquam nec adhuc omnino mihi explêrit mentem; cum et illud unum, sicut alia, ignoraret."


17. Sanchez puts a few things well; but his scepticism, as we perceive, is extravagant. After descanting on Montaigne's favourite topic, the various manners and opinions of mankind, he says, Non finem faceremus si omnes omnium mores recensere vellemus. An tu his eandem rationem, quam nobis, omnino putes? Mihi non verisimile videtur. Nihil tamen ambo scimus. Negabis forsan tales aliquos esse homines. Non contendam; sic ab aliis accepi. Yet, notwithstanding his sweeping denunciation of all science in the boldest tone of Pyrrhonism, Sanchez comes at length to admit the possibility of a limited or probable knowledge of truth; and, as might perhaps be expected, conceives that he had himself attained "There are two modes," he observes, "of discovering truth, by neither of which do men learn the real nature of things, but yet obtain some kind of insight into them. These are experiment and reason, neither being sufficient alone; but experiments, however well conducted, do not show us the nature of things, and reason can only conjecture them. Hence there can be no such thing as perfect science; and books have been employed to eke out the deficiencies of our own experience; but their confusion, prolixity, multitude, and want of trustworthiness prevent this resource from being of much value, nor is life long enough for so much study. Besides, this perfect knowledge requires a perfect recipient of it, and a right disposition of the subject of knowledge, which two I have never seen. Reader, if you have met with them, write me word.” He concludes this treatise by promising another, "in which we shall explain the method of knowing truth, as far as human weakness will permit;" and, as his self-complacency rises above his affected scepticism, adds, mihi in animo est firmam et facilem quantum possim scientiam fundare.

18. This treatise of Sanchez bears witness to a deep sense of the imperfections of the received systems in science and reasoning, and to a restless longing for truth, which strikes us in other writers of this latter period of the

" P. 10.

* P. 39.

sixteenth century. Lord Bacon, I believe, has never alluded to Sanchez, and such paradoxical scepticism was likely to disgust his strong mind; yet we may sometimes discern signs of a Baconian spirit in the attacks of our Spanish philosopher on the syllogistic logic, as being built on abstract and not significant terms, and in his clear perception of the difference between a knowledge of words and one of things.

19. What Sanchez promised, and Bacon gave, a new method of reasoning, by which truth might be better determined than through the common dialectics, had been partially attempted already by Aconcio, mentioned in the last chapter as one of those highly-gifted Italians who fled for religion to a Protestant country. Without openly assailing the authority of Aristotle, he endeavoured to frame a new discipline of the faculties for the discovery of truth. His treatise, De Methodo, sive. Recta Investigandarum Tradendarumque Scientiarum Ratione, was published at Basle in 1558, and was several times reprinted, till later works, those especially of Bacon and Des Cartes, caused it to be forgotten. Aconcio defines logic, the right method of thinking and teaching, recta contemplandi docendique ratio. Of the importance of method, or right order in prosecuting our inquiries, he thinks so highly, that if thirty years were to be destined to intellectual labour, he would allot two-thirds of the time to acquiring dexterity in this art, which seems to imply that he did not consider it very easy. To know anything, he tells us, is to know what it is, or what are its causes and effects. All men have the germs of knowledge latent in them, as to matters cognisable by human faculties; it is the business of logic to excite and develope them: notiones illas seu scintillas sub cinere latentes detegere aptèque ad res obscuras illustrandas applicare.

20. Aconcio next gives rules at length for constructing definitions, by attending to the genus and differentia. These rules are good, and might very properly find a place in a book of logic; but whether they contain much that would vainly be sought in other writers, we do not determine. He comes afterwards to the methods of distributing

Y P. 30.

Logic of
A concio.

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