Page:Aristotelous peri psuxes.djvu/229

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CH. II.] NOTES. 219

Note 8, p. 22. In the treatises "upon philosophy," &c.] These books are said to have been expositions of the teaching of Plato and the Pythagoreans upon ideas and the nature of the sovereign good, or philosophy, and to have been gathered by Aristotle from the oral teaching of his great preceptor. It is generally believed that they have not come down to us; but a more modern commentator seems to have been persuaded that they are still pre-
served in the Metaphysics, (that store-house, where lie scattered the fragments of every system of philosophy that ever had any authority,) and yet there is no passage[1] in that work, in which Aristotle alludes directly to the topics here cited by him. If a digest of Plato's[2] doctrine of the elements may be offered, he makes fire and earth to have been the first of created elements, because what-
ever is produced must be visible and tangible and corpo-
real, and nothing can be visible without fire, or tangible without solidity, whence the body of the universe was, in the beginning, constituted out of fire and earth; but since it is scarcely possible for two elements so to coalesce as to form bodies without the intervention of other combining elements, the Creator placed water and air between fire and earth, and made them to be in the same relation to the first elements which they are to each other and thus fire is to air as air is to water, and air is to water as water is to earth. The Pythagoreans[3] were

  1. Vide Trendelen. Comment.
  2. Timæus. 31. B. et seq.
  3. Metaphysica, I. 5. 6.