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Introduction to the philosophy and writings of Plato


nature. Hence it
is easy to collect its pre-eminence to all other
philosophies; to show
that where they oppose it, they are erroneous; that so
far as they
contain any thing scientific they are allied to it; and
that at best they
are but rivulets derived from this vast ocean of truth.
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[1] In the mysteries a light of this kind shone forth
from the adytum of
the temple in which they were exhibited.
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To evince that the philosophy of Plato possesses this
preeminence; that
its dignity and sublimity are unrivaled; that it is the
parent of all
that ennobles man; and, that it is founded on
principles, which neither
time can obliterate, nor sophistry subvert, is the
principal design of
this Introduction.
To effect this design, I shall in the first place
present the reader with
the outlines of the principal dogmas of Plato's
philosophy. The undertaking
is indeed no less novel than arduous, since the author
of it has to tread
in paths which have been untrodden for upwards of a
thousand years, and
to bring to light truths which for that extended period
have been
concealed in Greek. Let not the reader, therefore, be
surprised at the
solitariness of the paths through which I shall attempt
to conduct him,
or at the novelty of the objects which will present
themselves in the
journey: for perhaps he may fortunately recollect that
he has traveled
the same road before, that the scenes were once familiar
to him, and that
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