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Introduction to the philosophy and writings of Plato


the country through which he is passing is his native
land. At, least, if
his sight should be dim, and his memory oblivious, (for
the objects which
he will meet with can only be seen by the most piercing
eyes,) and his
absence from them has been lamentably long, let him
implore the power
of wisdom,
From mortal mists to purify his eyes,
That God and man he may distinctly see.
Let us also, imploring the assistance of the same
illuminating power, begin
the solitary journey.
Of all the dogmas of Plato, that concerning the first
principle of things
as far transcends in sublimity the doctrine of other
philosophers of a
different sect, on this subject, as this supreme cause
of all transcends
other causes. For, according to Plato, the highest God,
whom in the
Republic he calls the good, and in the Parmenides the
one, is not only
above soul and intellect, but is even superior to being
itself. Hence,
since every thing which can in any respect be known, or
of which any
thing can be asserted, must be connected with the
universality of things,
but the first cause is above all things, it is very
properly said by
Plato to be perfectly ineffable. The first hypothesis
therefore of his,
Parmenides, in which all things are denied of this
immense principle,
concludes as follows: "The one therefore is in no
respect. So it seems.
Hence it is not in such a manner as to be one, for thus
it would be
being, and participate of essence; but as it appears,
the one neither is
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