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  • Robert Baron

LECTORI BENEVOLO. S.

ROB. BARONII,

Theologi ac Philosophi celeberrimi,

METAPHYSICA GENERALIS.

Accedunt nunc primum quae supererant ex

PARTE SPECIALI.

Omnia ad Vsum Theologiae accommodata.

OPUS POSTUMUM.

Ex museo

ANTONII CLEMENTII Zirizaei.

LONDINI, Ex Officina R. DANIELIS, & vaeneunt apud Th. Robinson & Ri. Davis Bibliopolas Oxonienses. 1658.


LECTORI BENEVOLO. S.

​Ita semper apud animum meum constitui, bene illos consulere Rebus humanis, qui relicta ab excellentibus Viris praeclara & Praesentibus Posterisque profutura ingenii monumenta, publicis utilitatibus destinare satagunt. Quod ergo privatim saepe apud amicos laudavi, pluribusque argumentis adstruxi, idem, cum primum occasio se offerret, persequi ipse non sum veritus.

Thus I have always resolved in my mind: that those who well consider human affairs, who dedicate the splendid monuments of genius left by excellent men for the benefit of present and future generations to the public good, are acting wisely in their efforts to serve humanity. Therefore, what I have often praised privately among friends and supported with many arguments, the same I have not hesitated to pursue when the first opportunity presented itself.

Et praecedenti quidem aestate Magni Herois CLAUDII SALMASII Literas, quas quidem cum utilitate aliqua vulgari posse judicabam, publicas facere auspicatus sum: malis & inimicis fortean tacite indignantibus, sed applaudentibus bonis universis, & Viris undique doctissimis ac celeberrimis liquide & exerte hanc operam nostram approbantibus. Neque enim aliter eas curas interpretantur, quam si redivivum SALMASIUM orbi Literario sisterem, & horrendam illam tot exustorum operum ejus jacturam aliqua parte sarcirem. Quid alii contra oggerant, flocci equidem non facio. Aiunt non esse vulgandas eruditorum literas; fortean nec aliud genus Postuma scripta. Ego verò tantopere istorum hominum inscitiam & imprudentiam demiror, ut dubitem risu magis an argumentis sint confutandi. Tamen ut eorum animo obsequamur, locum singularem ei rei destinavimus, ubi operam dabimus ut deducantur ad meliorem mentem.

And, indeed, in the preceding summer, I, having dared to make public the letters of the great hero Claudius Salmasius, which, indeed, I judged could be made known with some utility, have perhaps silently aroused indignation in wicked enemies, but engendered applause from all good men and from the most learned and renowned men everywhere, who clearly and openly approve of this work of ours. For they interpret these efforts no differently than if I were causing the revived Salmasius to stand before the literary world and were repairing that dreadful loss of so many of his burned works. As for what others may object, for my part, I do not make it to be worth a trifle (flocci equidem non facio). They say that the letters of scholars should not be made known, nor, perhaps, any other kind of posthumous writings. But, indeed, I am so amazed by the ignorance and imprudence of those people that I doubt whether they are to be refuted more by great laughter or by arguments. Nevertheless, in order to comply with their wishes (animo), we have designated a unique place for this matter, where we will work so that they may be led to a better state of mind.

Interea ego me solabor, quod habere contingat Viros illustres & pereruditos hujusdem culpae socios, Casaubonum, Heinsium, Spanhemium, Gronovium, aliosque hujus ac superioris seculi pene infinitos, qui & Epistolas, & Scripta alia Postuma, varii gener is atque argumenti, modo aliquam essent publicis rebus allatura utilitatem, & conquisivere diligenter, & summa cura ac studio in communes usus cum applausu doctorum omnium adornarunt.

Meanwhile, I will console myself that it comes to pass that I might have illustrious and highly learned men as companions in the same fault, such as Casaubon, Heinsius, Spanheim, Gronovius, and countless others of this and the previous age, who, diligently seeking after both letters and other posthumous works of various kinds and subjects, in such a manner that they could contribute some benefit to public affairs, acquired them carefully and adorned them with the utmost care and zeal for the common use, to the applause of all scholars.

Istorum ergo tam laudabili instituto primum excitatus, tum & rationibus non paucis ex ipsa operis utilitate desumptis, accedentibus quoque magnorum virorum adhortationibus, ante hoc biennium BARONII Metaphysicam Generalem ex Museo nostro in publicam lucem emisimus. Quod & quale interim de eo opusculo judicium fuerit Doctorum Virorum, sane nescio; & molestum est, indagare. Hoc constat, feliciter & cum fructu admissum in Primariis Belgii nostri Academiis, ab iis qui erudiendae juventuti praesunt. Ea quidem contentione, ut intra unum biennium omnis exemplarium copia fuerit dissipata. Et quis Baronium ignoret, tot Theologorum pridem ac Philosophorum laudibus decantatum? Philosophiam Theologiae ancillantem quis est qui non efferat? utilitatem, perspicuitatem extollat? At ista & infinita alia ab ipso fundamento deducta, ac pertractata fusius atque copiosius, in illo opere quod damus exhibentur. Perspicuitatem amas: nulla major quam in his Disputationibus: tam distincte Quaestionis statum, tam aperte Diversorum sententias, suam denique ἐπίκρισιν assensusque aut dissensus rationes Lectoribus tam fuse, tam perspicue proponit, ut vel sine Duce ad ipsa Metaphysices adyta penetrare hoc Magistro diligentiores queant. Sed & hoc habet Author noster, ut nonnunquam, veritatis indagandae causa, liberius exspatiatus sit à receptis nostrorum Theologorum ac Philosophorum dogmatis, communes opiniones everterit, novas substituerit. Talia leguntur in Disputationibus de Concur su Dei, ac Propagatione Peccati; fortean & alii locis. Ea cum attingere ipse aut immutare pridem formidarem, res enim videbatur difficilioris moliminis, & ingenium requirere in hoc ludo exercitatum; Clariss. atque doctissimum Virum Adrianum Heerebortium rogavi, ut hoc quicquid est in se reciperet: & annuit. Pollicitus Dissertationem huic opusculo adjungendam, qua Baronii nostri rationes pro nova sua sententia congestas oppugnaret. Fecerit an facturus sit, huic an alii editioni sit adjecturus, an seorsim alibi exhibere ista nunc decreverit, non habeo dicere. Tantae enim & tam crebrae perpetuo occupationes hominem quasi sepiunt & circumvallant, ut nec sui juris sit, neque amicorum. In totum horas & vigilias ejus occupantibus verae ac solidae Philosophiae studiosis. Sed licebit hoc cui lubebit: & Palaestra illa omnibus patet. Nos officium nostrum secisse arbitramur, cum tam praeclari & excellentis Philosophi in hoc genere relicta monumenta sincere & sancte dedimus universa. Nunquam magis elucet veritas, quam cum adversantibus sententiis oppugnata, vi sua stare comperitur, & post hujusmodi novos assultus, tamen sarta ac tecta conservatur: de quo videndum.

Therefore, having been first roused by the praiseworthy endeavor of these men, and then with not a few reasons drawn from the utility of the work itself, and with the encouragement of great men also, two years ago we released Baron’s Metaphysica Generalis from our repository into the public light. As for what judgment has been made by learned men regarding this little work, I honestly do not know, and it is bothersome to investigate. This much is certain, it has been happily and fruitfully received in the leading academies of our Belgium, by those who are responsible for educating the youth. Indeed, it was recieved with such enthusiasm (contentione) that within two years, all of the many copies were dispersed. And who is unaware of the many praises sung for Baron by theologians and philosophers long ago? Who does not raise up his Philosophia Theologiae ancillans? Who does not extol its utility and perspicuity? But those topics [treated in Philosophia Theologiae ancillans], along with countless others, deduced from the very foundation itself and treated more extensively and abundantly, are exhibited in the work that we offer. You love clarity; there is no greater clarity than that which is found in these Disputations: he presents the state of the question so distinctly, the diverse opinions, and finally his own judgment, assent, or dissent to the readers so thoroughly and clearly, that even without a guide, diligent readers can penetrate into the innermost recesses of Metaphysics itself with this Master. But our author also has this, that sometimes, for the sake of seeking truth, he has roamed more freely from the established doctrines of our theologians and philosophers, overturned common opinions, and substituted new ones. Such things are read in the Disputations on the Concurrence of God and the Propagation of Sin; perhaps also in other places. While I myself have long hesitated to touch or alter them, for the thing appeared to be a quite difficult task and required a mind well-trained in this arena, I asked the distinguished and most learned man, Adrian Heereboord, that he should undertake this task with whatever is in him: and he agreed. He has promised to have a Dissertation added to this little work, in which he would oppose our Baron’s collected arguments for his new opinon. Whether he has done it or will do it, whether he is adding it to this edition or to another separately elsewhere, I cannot say. For so great and such frequent occupations perpetually surround and besiege the man, so to speak (quasi), such that he is neither the master of himself nor of his friends. True and solid students of Philosophy occupy all his hours and vigils. However, anyone who wishes is free to do so, and that arena is open to all. We believe that we have fulfilled our duty when we have sincerely and faithfully presented all the works of this kind left behind by such a distinguished and excellent philosopher. Truth never shines more brightly than when it is attacked by opposing opinions and found to stand by its own force, and after such new assaults, it is still preserved intact and secure: which things are worthy of notice (de quo videndum).

De Reliquiis vero Posterioris Partis, quas nunc primum facimus publici juris, quid addam, nisi paria facere cum caetero scripto? Et dolendum sane tam paucas superesse: nos quod in exemplari nostro reperimus, id totum quoque exhibemus, neque arbitramur Authorem hoc opus suum protendisse ulterius; fortean aliarum occupationum mole praepeditum, de quibus alibi passim conqueritur.

Regarding the rest of the latter part, which we now make of public right for the first time, what more shall I add, except to make comparisons with other writings? And it is truly regrettable that so few of them remain. We present the whole of what we found in our exemplar, and we do not believe that the author intended to extend this work further; perhaps he was hindered by the burden of other employments, about which he often complains elsewhere.

De ipso Authore ejusque vita & excessu plura fortasse alias trademus, si necessaria subsidia suppeditentur. Lubet interim hic attexere, quod à B. M. Parente meo notatum comperio, dum in Andreapolitana Academia studiorum causa versaretur. Narrat ergo in Pugillaribus suis, nostrum hunc Baronium imberbem adhuc, & admodum juvenem, Anno MDCXVII coram Rege JACOBO, & frequentissimo Auditorum coetu, summa ingenii ac judicii dexteritate Disputationem sustinuisse de materia miscelli generis, maxime Politica: Regem inter haec vultu in Baronium defixo, singularem attentionem atque admirationem prae se tulisse. Tandem in verba erupisse, Baronium interrogasse, ut sibi vellet exhibere demonstrationem certae cujusdam Theseos, (quae fuerit, non possum scire;) qua ab Adolescente accepta, palam & illum & illam laudavit, pluraque in eandem rem adjecit, omnia Latino sermone: admirantibus cunctis, tum singularem Maximi Regis affectum & benevolentiam, tum ipsius Adolescentis miram jam illa aetate sagacitatem ac promptitudinem. Alia plura narranda essent hujus generis, si in hunc campum descenderem. Quod fiet fortasse alias à me, cum & otium & caetera adjumenta erunt ad manum. Interea vale, benevole Lector, & Baronio meisque conatibus porro fave.

Regarding the author himself, his life, and his passing, we may deliver more details on another occasion if the necessary aids are supplied. Meanwhile, it is agreeable to add here what I find from the notes of my esteemed parent of blessed memory, written while he was residing at the Academy of St. Andrews for the sake of studies. He narrates, therefore, in his memoranda that our Baron, still beardless and quite young, in the year 1617, in the presence of King James and a most numerous assembly of auditors, with the utmost genius and dexterity of judgment, sustained a disputation on a matter of a mixed, chiefly political nature. The King, during these proceedings, with a fixed gaze on Baron, openly showed singular attention and admiration. Finally, he erupted into speech, to ask Baron if he would be willing to exhibit a demonstration of a particular determined thesis to him (which it was, I cannot tell). Which demonstration, having been received from the young man, he publicly praised both him and it, and added many things on the same matter, all in the Latin language: at that time, everyone was marveling, both at the extraordinary affection and benevolence of the Great King, and at the remarkable sagacity and readiness of the young man himself at such an age. Many other things of this kind could be narrated if I were to delve into this field. Which will perhaps be done by me on another occasion, when both leisure and other aids will be at hand. In the meantime, farewell, kind reader, and may you further countenance Baron and my endeavors.

Dabam raptim Zirizaeae in Zelandia, d. XV. Febr. MDCLVII.

Given hastily in Zierikzee, Zealand, on the 15th of February, 1657.


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