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The world1, and whatever that be which we otherwise call the heavens2, by the vault of which all things are enclosed, we must conceive to be a Deity3, to be eternal, without bounds, neither created, nor subject, at any time, to destruction4. To inquire what is beyond it is no concern of man, nor can the human mind form any conjecture respecting it. It is sacred, eternal, and without bounds, all in all; indeed including everything in itself; finite, yet like what is infinite; the most certain of all things, yet like what is uncertain, externally and internally embracing all things in itself; it is the work of nature, and itself constitutes nature5.

It is madness to harass the mind, as some have done, with attempts to measure the world, and to publish these attempts; or, like others, to argue from what they have made out, that there are innumerable other worlds, and that we must believe there to be so many other natures, or that, if only one nature produced the whole, there will be so many suns and so many moons, and that each of them will have immense trains of other heavenly bodies. As if the same question would not recur at every step of our inquiry, anxious as we must be to arrive at some termination; or, as if this infinity, which we ascribe to nature, the former of all things, cannot be more easily comprehended by one single formation, especially when that is so extensive. It is madness, perfect madness, to go out of this world and to search for what is beyond it, as if one who is ignorant of his own dimensions could ascertain the measure of any thing else, or as if the human mind could see what the world itself cannot contain.

1 "Mundus." In translating from one language into another, it is proper, as a general principle, always to render the same word in the original by the same word in the translation. But to this rule there are two exceptions; where the languages do not possess words which precisely correspond, and where the original author does not always use the same word in the same sense. Both these circumstances, I apprehend, apply to the case in question. The term Mundus is used by Pliny, sometimes to mean the earth and its immediate appendages, the visible solar system; and at other times the universe; while I think we may venture to assert, that in some instances it is used in rather a vague manner, without any distinct reference to either one or other of the above designations. I have, in almost all cases, translated it by the term world, as approaching nearest to the sense of the original. The word mundus is frequently employed by Lucretius, especially in his fifth book, and seems to be almost always used in the more extended sense of universe. There are, indeed, a few passages where either meaning would be equally appropriate, and in one line it would appear to be equivalent to firmament or heavens; "et mundi speciem violare serenam," iv. 138. Cicero, in his treatise De Natura Deorum, generally uses the term mundus in the sense of universe, as in ii. 22, 37, 58 and 154; while in one passage, ii. 132, it would appear to be employed in the more limited sense of the earth. It occasionally occurs in the Fasti of Ovid, but it is not easy to ascertain its precise import; as in the line "Post chaos, ut primum data sunt tria corpora mundo," v. 41, where from the connexion it may be taken either in the more confined or in the more general sense. Manilius employs the word very frequently, and his commentators remark, that he uses it in two distinct senses, the visible firmament and the universe; and I am induced to think that he attaches still more meaning to the term. It occurs three times in the first eleven lines of his poem. In the third line, "deducere mundo aggredior," mundus may be considered as equivalent to the celestial regions as opposed to the earth. In the ninth line, "concessumque patri mundo," we may consider it as signifying the celestial regions generally; and in the eleventh, "Jamque favet mundus," the whole of the earth, or rather its inhabitants. We meet with it again in the sixty-eighth line, "lumina mundi," where it seems more properly to signify the visible firmament; again in the 139th, "Et mundi struxere globum," it seems to refer especially to the earth, synonymous with the general sense of the English term world; while in the 153rd line, "per inania mundi," it must be supposed to mean the universe. Hyginus, in his Poeticon Astronomicon, lib. i. p. 55, defines the term as follows: "Mundus appellatur is qui constat in sole et luna et terra et omnibus stellis;" and again, p. 57, "Terra mundi media regione collocata." We may observe the different designations of the term mundus in Seneca; among other passages I may refer to his Nat. Quæst. vii. 27 & iii. 30; to his treatise De Consol. § 18 and De Benef. iv. 23, where I conceive the precise meanings are, respectively, the universe, the terrestrial globe, the firmament, and the heavenly bodies. The Greek term κόσμος, which corresponds to the Latin word mundus, was likewise employed to signify, either the visible firmament or the universe. In illustration of this, it will be sufficient to refer to the treatise of Aristotle περὶ κόσμου, cap. 2. p. 601. See also Stephens's Thesaurus, in loco. In Apuleius's treatise De Mundo, which is a free translation of Aristotle's περὶ κόσμου, the term may be considered as synonymous with universe. It is used in the same sense in various parts of Apuleius's writings: see Metam. ii. 23; De Deo Socratis, 665, 667; De Dogmate Platonis, 574, 575, et alibi.

2 Cicero, in his Timæus, uses the same phraseology; "Omne igitur cœlum, sive mundus, sive quovis alio vocabulo gaudet, hoc a nobis nuncupatum est," § 2. Pomponius Mela's work commences with a similar expression; "Omne igitur hoc, quidquid est, cui mundi cœlique nomen indideris, unum id est." They were probably taken from a passage in Plato's Timæus, "Universum igitur hoc, Cœlum, sive Mundum, sive quo alio vocabulo gaudet, cognominemus," according to the translation of Ficinus; Platonis Op. ix. p. 302. The word cœlum, which is employed in the original, in its ordinary acceptation, signifies the heavens, the visible firmament; as in Ovid, Met. i. 5, "quod tegit omnia, cœlum." It is, in most cases, employed in this sense by Lucretius and by Manilius, as in i. 2. of the former and in i. 14. of the latter. Occasionally, however, it is employed by both of these writers in the more general sense of celestial regions, in opposition to the earth, as by Lucretius, i. 65, and by Manilius, i. 352. In the line quoted by Cicero from Pacuvius, it would seem to mean the place in which the planets are situated; De Nat. Deor. ii. 91. The Greek word οὐρανὸς may be regarded as exactly corresponding to the Latin word cœlum, and employed with the same modifications; see Aristotle, De Mundo and De Cœlo, and Ptolemy, Mag. Const. lib. i. passim; see also Stephens's Thesaurus, in loco. Aratus generally uses it to designate the visible firmament, as in 1. 10, while in 1. 32 it means the heavenly regions. Gesner defines cœlum, "Mundus exclusa terra," and mundus, "Cœlum et quidquid cceli ambitu continetur." In the passage from Plato, referred to above, the words which are translated by Ficinus cœlum and mundus, are in the original οὐρανὸς and κόσμος; Ficinus, however, in various parts of the Timæus, translates οὐρανβὸς by the word mundus: see t. ix. p. 306, 311, et alibi.

3 The following passage from Cicero may serve to illustrate the doctrine of Pliny: "Novem tibi orbibus, vel potius globis, connexa sunt omnia: quorum unus est ccelestis, extimus, qui reliquos omnes complectitur, summus ipse Deus, arcens et continens cœlum;" Som. Scip. § 4. I may remark, however, that the term here employed by our author is not Deus but Numen.

4 We have an interesting account of the opinions of Aristotle on this subject, in a note in M. Ajasson's translation, ii. 234 et seq., which, as well as the greater part of the notes attached to the second book of the Natural History, were written by himself in conjunction with M. Marcus.

5 The philosophers of antiquity were divided in their opinions respecting the great question, whether the active properties of material bodies, which produce the phenomena of nature, are inherent in them, and necessarily attached to them, or whether they are bestowed upon them by some superior power or being. The Academics and Peripatetics generally adopted the latter opinion, the Stoics the former: Pliny adopts the doctrine of the Stoics; see Enfield's Hist. of Phil. i. 229, 283, 331.

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