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Chambers, Ephraim, 1680 (ca.)-1740 / Cyclopædia, or, An universal dictionary of arts and sciences : containing the definitions of the terms, and accounts of the things signify'd thereby, in the several arts, both liberal and mechanical, and the several sciences, human and divine : the figures, kinds, properties, productions, preparations, and uses, of things natural and artificial : the rise, progress, and state of things ecclesiastical, civil, military, and commercial : with the several systems, sects, opinions, &c : among philosophers, divines, mathematicians, physicians, antiquaries, criticks, &c : the whole intended as a course of antient and modern learning

The preface,   pp. I [i]-xxx PDF (27.2 MB)

Page x

i                             The P R E F a XF A
Subftances arife. Under other Circumftances, the fame Matters become fubjea
to other I
A&ions of the Creator, for Laws are no other) and return the way they
came; Anirr
and thefe into Minerals.---Nothing can be more fimple and uniform than the
whole Difpen
is only what it is, in virtue of a Law of Nature, i. e. of the Will of the
Creator; and
this alone can' alter it. Hence, a piece of Matter, under the different Circumftances
Contiguity with this or with that Body, falling in with new Laws; by the
Concurrence and
becomes a Means of exhibiting different Phznomena: on occafion whereof we
give it a differei
and rnnri- ;r itnder a different Clafs of natural Things: And to the Means
whereby thofe Circumni
min'd, we give the Names of Generation, Corruption, Putrefafion, Fermentation,
kegetation, Animation, 4Oimi/ation,
Accretion, &c. which are all accountable for on the fame Principle. 'Tis
no more wonderful, a Fungus, with
all its Furniture of Flowers, Seed, &c. fhould arife from a Mixture of
Earth and Dung; than to behold
fo wonderful a Body as Flame, arife from a cafual Collifion of Flint and
Steel; or Air from  the mere Diffo-
lution of a Metal.
WE fee, then, how far Man is concern'd in the Produafions of Art. Our Endeavours
are contriv'd by
Nature to be Means acceffory to the Law's taking place, from whence the Effeds
are to arife. We are part
of the Chain whereby the Effea is connected to the Caufe. The Circumiftances
are in our Power on which fuch,
and fuch Laws depend ; and thus far we may be faid to be Ac3ive, in the Cafe
of Art : fuppofing that
there is nothing higher, or further; and that the Chain ends with us ; in
a word, that ouIr Agency is not fub-
ordinate, but collateral to that of the Almighty. But if there be other fuperior
Laws which refpeft thofe fame
Circumftances, and which are not in our Power, i. e. if the Circumftances
neceffary to the former Law, be
themfelves fuppofed neceffary Laws, and the immediate Work of Nature; our
Agency will dwindle into nothing.
The utmoft that can be faid of us in fuch cafe, is, That we are Adive in
refpe6a of the one, and Paf-
five in that of the other; which to moft People may appear a kind of Contradi~tion.---The
Statue can't
be form'd, unlefs our Defire or Inclination concur thereto ; fo far its Exiftence
depends on us : But are
our Defires and Inclinations with refpect thereto of our own growth; or do
they arife naturally, in consequence
of an Apprehenfion of Good, and Advantage in the Subje& ? That is, does
any thing appear good and ad-
vantageous to us abfolutely and of it felf; or only what the Creator represents
to us as fo ? And do we
defire or purfue this feeming Good, from  any Principle or Tendency that
is in us, other than what we owe to
his Laws ?  The Difficulty feems to amount to this ; whether between our
Faculties of apprehending and
willing, and their refpe6live Objeds, there be any Relation which he did
not create or eflablifh ?----If any
alledge, that 'tis fuch Relation conftitutes the Faculty; and therefore that
the Queftion ends in this, Whe-
ther our Faculties are from God or our felves : i. e. whether they can be
the Caufes of themfelves? I fhould
fufpecf fome Sophifm in the Cafe, which at prefent I have not leifure to
B U T having traced the Agency of Man thus far, we muft be obliged here to
defift; and from the Fac-
tfve Arts refurne the Confideration of the Agive ones; i. e. pafs from what
Art does out of us, to what it
is in us: or rather, from the Arts whofe Source is fuppofed in our felves,
and which proceed outwards ; to
thofe whofe Source feems without us, and tend inwards: That is, from thofe
which arife from our Obfer-
vation and Reafon, direating us how to minifter Occafions to the Laws which
obtain in the external World;
to thofe which flow into our Imagination, and furnifh Occafions to the Laws
which obtain in the internal
World.----An Inquiry which may perhaps carry us where the Reader little imagines;
but which will afford an
ample Difcuflion of the Principle above eftablifh'd; and a further Infight
into the Origin and Caufe of Science
and Art; and the Nature and Meafure of our Agency and Paffion therein,
WE have already fpoke Something concerning Poetry; not for its own fake,
but as a proper Inftance to illu-
ftrate the Nature of Art in. It makes the loweft Article in our Analyfis;
which, in reality, is the - higheft in
the Scale of Art; there being a fort of progreffive Rifing from the Beginning
of the Analyfis to the End. It
begins with the firft Matter of Knowledge the common Objeaffs of our Senfes;
and proceeds thro' the various
Modifications they undergo by the other Paculcies of Imagination and Reafon,
till thofe fenfible Obje&s be-
come fo much our own, are fo affimilated to us, and as it were humaniz'd;
that they are part of our felves,
and obey and take DirecHions from our Will, and minifter to all our Views
and Purpofes: of which, this of
producing Images and making Fables, is in one Senfe the higheft ; inafmuch
as the greateft Efeaets here arife
from the flenderefi Means and Endeavours. The Poet firs but little in the
Matter; but Nature co-operates fQ
firongly with him, that this little fuffices, even to make new Worlds. In
effeft, the Poet feems, as it were, to
fit nearer the Spring of Aaion than other Men; and to have only to do with
the general and higher Principles
thereof, which command and direct a Number of other Subordinate ones, that
he himfelf is not aware of.---What
we Ihall fay of Poetry, therefore, will hold proportionally of all the other
Arts ; and we have only kept to that,
becaufe the Influence or Infpiration is here confeffedly the pureft, and
the neareft to Heaven of all others *
The Principle or Spirit of Poetry, may be faid to be that of Art in general;
and hence many t Authors
make no fcruple to make all Arts the Invention of Poets: Thus it is Homer
is often complimented with being
the Father of all Arts.----This has, indeed, an Appearance of Truth; but
'tis only an Appearance: For Homer,
fuppofing him the Inventor of Poetry, or at leaft the beft Poet; has no other
Title to the Invention of other
Arts, than what he derives either from a greater Share of the Spirit whereby
they are produc'd, than other
People ; or from his having communicated that Spirit, by the Force of his
Poems, thro' other People, where
it has generated, and brought forth other Arts; or from the Seeds and Principles
of Arts and Inventions,
which his Imagination was fo pregnant withal, and which he diffeminated over
the World, where many of 'em,
by due Cultivation, have fprung up into the Form and Maturity we now fee
T HE Mind is allowed to be paffive in refpe6& of the Matter of the Art
of Poetry. We need not quote the Poets
to prove it: No true Poet ever queftion'd his Infpiration: Every body knows
that their whole Syftem is built on
the Suppofition.  And hence the Stories of Apollo and the Mufes, of Helicon
and Parnajfus; the Dreams of Pindus,
and the Jonian Maids: with a thoufand other Reveries t:.  But the Philofophers,
and Criticks alfo, give 'em their
Suffrages, and atteft their Infpiration, in the ftrongeft Terms. Plato has
already been cited to this Purpofe : He
contends, at large, that all Poetry is " by immediate divine Infpiration,
in the proper, and literal Senfe of the
Word II." ' Arifotle confirms it: " b9ay irofm;, Poetry comes by
divine Infpiration *'."  And Plutarch fays as
much of all the Branches of Enthufiafim; Poetical, Divinatory, Bacchical
or Corybantical, Martial, and Erotick : to
w .1  which, he afferts, the Appellation, 'Epraov, or 'Ep8.scxo', vvla&
t*, equally agrees.---And not only fo, but they
'hold the Enthufiafm communicable from one to another. It arifes from the
Poet, as its Centre, and is diffussd, in
Orbem; in a lefs degree of intenfenefs, the further it recedes from him.
 Plato afferts, that the T.~aa, or
thofe who fung and rehears'd the Poets Works on the publick Theatres; nay,
and the Spe~tators themfelves,
Cafaub. of Elf.                t Vid. Rapin. Reflex. ]Dadcer's Homer, in
Pryf.  Mar. Tyrius.  Porphyry, fl1d
WC 'O14,6p 01A04o09.            i Vd. Perf. in Prol. ad Satyr. i.  -   In
Dial. Ion. or 9t   a  IKJ',
_ nled flOWflK;-.                  t In '+

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