Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

ties, and even consider a pernicious extreme as superior to the true moral quality. Sometimes the too much is considered as noble and praiseworthy; as when temerity is preferred to true valour, and a reckless hotspur is mistaken for a hero; so that he who wantonly exposes his life, which, apparently by mere chance, he escapes losing, is lauded as if his inconsiderate daring were true courage. At other times, the opposite extreme is preferred. The too little is alone held to be worthy of admiration; so that cowardice becomes dignified with the name of forbearance; the slothful idler is praised for his contented disposition; and he whose frigid apathy renders him callous to every joy, is reverenced as a saint who eschews sin. In like manner, profuse liberality and stolid fondness are sometimes mistaken for virtues. But how perfectly erroneous and pernicious are all such deviations from the strict line of moderation ? which alone is praiseworthy; to which every man ought to adhere, so as always to weigh his conduct with just discrimination.

“ Know, that neither moral perfections nor defects can be acquired or implanted in the soul exccpt by means of frequent repetition and continued practice for a length of time, until they become habitual. When repetitions and practice are confined to good or moral actions, the habitude which we acquire is virtuous; if the contrary, it is vicious. And as no man comes into the world with either invate virtue or innate vice (as we shall fully prove in the last chapter of this treatise), every one's conduct does, doubtless, become regulated by the example of his relatives and the customs of his countrymen. The conduct thus formed may be in strict accordance with the rules of moderation ; but as it may likewise depart from thesc, and diverge into either extreme, it results that the soul may become diseased ; in which case the saine care must be bestowed on its restoration to health, as in cases of bodily illness would be employed for that purpose. When the corporeal functions are deranged, and the necessary equilibrium of the varicus parts is disturbed, it is the care of him who prescribes the medicine to note which susceptibility preponderates, and to apply such remedies as will restore a due balance of action. In diseases of the soul, the same course must be pursued, till the moral equilibrium is restored and adjusted. Let us, for instance, suppose a man so much under the dominion of avarice as to deny himself every comfort; which, as we have before enunierated, is a most pernicious moral defect, a detestable vice. If we desire to cure this sick man of his soul's disease, we must not begin to accustom him to the practice of generosity (as a physician would not content himself with prescribing to his patient mere cooling medicines, during the paroxysm of ardent fever, as sufficient to effect his cure); but we must lead him to be profuse, and to repeat his acts of profusion, until the grovelling propensity for avarice which dwells in his soul becomes totally dislodged, and the vacancy is about to be occupied by the opposite extreme, an aptitude for profusion. Then we teach him gradually to modcrate his profusion, until it settles into generosity, which we direct him to watch with due care, so that he may not relapse into either of the extremes from which we have reclaimed him. If, on the contrary, profusion is his besetting evil, we must reclaim him by teaching him the practice of strict economy. But, in that case, we must not enforce a repetition of this practice until it is about to become avarice; and this deviation

from the rule we laid down before is founded on the certainty, that it is more easy for a man of profuse habits to moderate them into becoming generosity, than it is for the miser to elevate himself above his sordlid rice. Thus, likewise, the apathetic man is more easily excited to moderate enjoyment or abstemiousness, than the ardently impassioned is restrained. It is, therefore, needful to let the latter practice restraint in a stronger degree than the excitement to which we subject the former. The coward requires frequent exposure to danger, in order to get rid of his defect; whereas the overbold does not require to have his daring curbed equally often in order to temper it into valour. The churl requires stimulants frcquently repeated to render him good-natured; whereas a little reflection will teach the man who is of too easy a disposition to moderate it. This is the true and approved method and science of curing diseased souls—to teach men the observance of due moderation."

This work was originally written in Arabic; it was translated into Hebrew by S. Ibu Tibbon, and is now already translated into Latin, German, French, and English, and is highly appreciated by Hebrew and Arabic scholars. *

Next in order comes his work on “IIappiness," being a treatise in two chapters, addressed, according to Rapaport, to his disciple Ibn Aknin. It was originally written in Arabic. Its llebrow translation is, as yet, unknown, nor has the time of its composition been ascertained. It was first published at Salonica, 1567, by J. Arvivo; and then in Amst., 1765, by M. Tama.

Next comes his treatise on the “ T'nity.” This was originally written in Arabic, and thence translated into llebrew, by Rabbi Isaac ben Nathan. It has been recently edited and published for the first time, by M. Steinschneider, with a preface, by Rapaport. Berlin, 1816. It is a complete digest of what Maimonides has stated on this dogma in his work “ Manusfortis.”

Next comes his " Book of Existence." This is a medical and moral treatise. It was published at Salonica, 1596.

Next comes his "Book on the Calendar,'' written in IIebrew, and is still in manuscript, preserved in the royal library of Paris. Dr. Carmoly, however, who gives an account of this work, ex

* C. C. Vythage, Explicatio R. J. Maimonides Cordubensis super Patrum sive Seniorum Judæorum sententias, complectans octo capita, ubi præclara multo cum in theologia tum philosophia doctissimi explicantur. Leyden, 1683.

J. Mantino, Octo Capita R. Mosis Maimonidis, etc., in versione latina, etc. Bologna, 1526.

Die 8 Einleitungskapitel dles Maimonides, mit deutscher uebersetzung. Basil, 1804 ; Dessau, 1809; and Königsberg, 1832.

Le huit chapitres de Maimonide, etc., traduit en français. Paris, 1811; by M, Berr.

The eight chapters of Ethics, by Maimonides. II. R. London, 1810; by Rev. Dr. M. J. Raphall.

presses doubts as to whether Maimonides is the real author of it.

Next comes his treatise on the “Sanctification of the Name God.” From this work, Dr. Carmoly has published some extracts in German. It was published in Ilebrew, with annotations, by A. Geiger. Breslau, 1850.

Next comes his " Epistle to the South ;” originally written in Arabic, and subsequently translated into IIebrew, by Rabbi N. Ilammaarabi, under the title of “The Door of Hope;" and published at Amsterdam, 1660; also at Wilna, 1835, by J. Landon. This epistle was addressed to the Israelites inhabiting the countries of the south, in order to strengthen them in their faith, and to inspire them with fortitude under the religious persecutions to which they were then subject, and to caution them against the imposition of a pretended Nessiah, who was then endeavouring to mislead the Israelites. The circumstance which called forth this epistle is thus related by himself: "Twenty-two years ago, a certain inan arose in the south country, and stated that he was the messenger sent to prepare the way for the Messiali's coming. He further said, that the king Messiah would reveal liinself in the south country. Upon this, many people, both Jews and Arabs assembled round about him, and with them be wandered about in the mountains, calling out, Come with me, and let us go out to meet the Messiah, for he has sent me to you to make even the path for him. Our brethren in the south country wrote to me a long letter, informing me of his manners and liabits, and of the innovations introduced by him into the daily prayers, and of what he had told them. They further stated, that they had witnessed such and such of his miracles, and asked my opinion of him. I inferred from the letter that this unfortunate man was insane, without any learning, but still fearing God, and that what he said he had done was all a lie. Fearing for the Israelites there, I wrote an explicit epistle on the Messialı

, his characteristics, and the signs of the times in which he is to appear, and warned them to caution the pretender, lest le perish, and the congregations with him. After a year, he was taken prisoner, and all his adherents fled from him. One of the kings of. Arabia, who took him prisoner, said to him, 'What Last thou done? Upon which he replied: ‘My lord, or king, I speak the truth, for I have acted at the command of the Lord. The king said, "What proof hast thou? He replied, "Cut off my head, and I shall be restored to life, and be as before. The king said, “There is no stronger proof than this, and if it be so, I and the whole world will believe in yon. At the command of the king his head was cut off, and the Israelites, of many places, were heavily fined. There are still, however, many silly persons who say he will be restored to life, and rise from his grave."

There exists a Latin version of this epistle, under the title of “ Epistola Meridionalis, lat. vers." Altenburg, 1679; by W. H. Vorst; also, a German version, “ Der Brief nach Teman,” Ff. a. M., 1700; and Berlin, 1711 ; by J. A. Eisenmenger.

Next comes his “Epistle to the Learned of Marseilles.” This is an answer to questions put to him concerning certain persons, who, believing in astrology, wished to explain every thing by means of that pretended science, and concerning a certain Israelito who boasted to be the Messiah. It has been translated into Latin, by J. Buxtorf, and is to be found in his “ Institutio Epistolaris." Also by J. J. Hallevi, under the title of “Maimonidis Epistola de Astrologia.” Köln, 1855.

Next come his « Treatise on the Resurrection of the Dead.” This was originally written in Arabic, and subsequently translated into Hebrew, by Rabbi S. ibn Tibbon. It has also been translated into Latin.

Next comes his “General Epistles.” This is a most interesting collection of letters, addressed to him on various subjects, and his replies to the same. It appeared in IIebrew at Constantinople, 1522, and has been several times printed since then. Some of these letters were originally written in Arabic, manuscripts of which are still extant in the Bodleian. This collection is of great importance, containing, as it does, literary notices, and very interesting information as to the author, his contemporaries, and the views and movements of the age in which he lived. Besides this collection, there is another extant, entitled, “ Peer Haddon.” This contains two hundred and twenty-four sentiments of Maimonides. It was translated into Hebrew by M. Tama, from an Arabic manuscript, formerly in possession of Sasportas of Amsterdam, but now belonging to Dr. Geiger, of Breslau. The Hebrew version has been published at Amsterdain, in 1765.

Next come his medical works, viz. :

“A Compendium of the Canon of Avicenna." A beautiful Hebrew manuscript of this work is still preserved at the Dominican convent at Bologna. B. Montfaucon relates in his diary on Italy, that an Italian epistle, added at the end of this manuscript, states that Ferdinand I. had offered in vain two hundred gold pieces for this copy.

“On Regimen of Health.” This treatise, originally written in Arabic, is an epistle addressed to the king of Egypt; and is also known under the given title. A manuscript in that language is still preserved in the Bodleian. It has been translated into Latin, by E. S. Kirschbaum, under the title of “Maimonides Specimen Diæteticum." Berlin, 1822; and, into German, by D. Winternitz, under the title of “Das diätetische Sendschreiben des Maimonides an den Sultan Saladin. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der

[ocr errors]

Medizin für Aerzte und Freunde des klassischen Alterthums, mit kritischen und sacherlänternden Noten." Wien., 1843, 8vo.

“ The Book of Cures.” The manuscript of this work is still extant in the imperial library of Vienna.

“ A Commentary on the Aphorisms of Hippocrates, according to the Doctrines of Galenus," in seven chapters. A Latin translation of this work, maile from the IIebrew version of Rabbi M. ibn Tibbon, has been printed. The llebrew manuscript, under the title of “Sepher al Rephuah,” is still extant in the library of the Vatican.

6 Garden of IIealth.” This work treats of the animal and mineral productions of nature.

Aphorisms of Melicine, extracted from Ilippocrates, Galen, Al Razi, Eben Massou, and Alsuzi,” with his own annotations. It consists of twenty-five chapters, and has been translated from the original Arabic into IIebrew, by N. llamsati. It was translated into Latin, by II. Mercurialis, under the title of “ Aphorismi R. Mosis Medici antiquissimi et celeberrimi, ct Galeno, Medicorum Principe, collecti, etc.” Bologna, 1459; Venice, 1497, and 1500. Mercurial asserts that the aphorisms of Maimonides are not inferior to those of Hippocrates.

Compendia from twenty-one books, viz. : sixteen from Galen, and five from the works of other authors. They are written in Arabic. Mons Munk brought portions of it to Paris, and rectified the inistake of the bibliographers, his predecessors, who mentioned only the compens from the sixteen books of Galen. Morejon asserts that “it is a inost useful work, and merits the highest eulogium, by forming a methodical and learned extract and compendium of the clinical and hygeian spirit of the Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic works. It was a beneficial and glorious undertaking."

6 À Treatise on the Hemorrhoides and their Treatment." It was originally written in Arabic, and translated into IIebrew, by Rabbi Š. ibn Tibbon. Manuscripts of both the original and version are still preserved in the royal library of Paris.

6 A Treatise on Poisons and Medicines which may cause Death;" written in Arabic. A IIebrew version of it made by R. ibn Tibbon, is still preserved in the royal library of Paris.

“ Consultation on the Snoring of the Nose and Throat;" written in Arabic, and translated into IIebrew, by Rabbi S. ibn Tibbon. A manuscript of the IIebrew version is still extant in the royal library of Paris.

A Treatise on Coïtus;" written in Arabic, and a Hebrew version of the same, exists both at Paris and in De Rossi's library at Parma.

“ A Treatise on the Asthma, and the Remedies for Curing it;"

« ElőzőTovább »