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No more wounded were taken to the hospitals of Louvain, as it had been decided to send them straight on to Germany for the present; yet there were many wounded men who were being nursed there already, and the doctors had their hands full attending to the wounded who passed the town. Dr. Noyons told me that the previous Sunday a train with 600 wounded had arrived from Northern France, and he and his assistants had been requested "just" to dress the wounds again of some of them. The condition of these unfortunate men must have been awful; not one had a dressing less than eight days old. Most of them had had it on much longer,209 and then these were merely emergency dressings. They were laid on straw in cattle trucks, many of them even in filth, and infection had worsened their condition to a great extent. Dr. Noyons and his colleagues tried to give the poor fellows as much relief as possible, but as a matter of course they could not do very much during a short stay at a station.
Previous to his forty-ninth year, Plotinus wrote nothing. At that age he began to compose short essays on subjects which suggested themselves in the course of his oral teaching. During the next ten years, he produced twenty-one such278 papers, some of them only a page or two in length. At the end of that period, he made the acquaintance of his future editor and biographer, Porphyry, a young student of Semitic extraction, whose original name was Malchus. The two soon became fast friends; and whatever speculative differences at first divided them were quickly removed by an amicable controversy between Porphyry and another disciple named Amelius, which resulted in the unreserved adhesion of the former to the doctrine of their common master.415 The literary activity of Plotinus seems to have been powerfully stimulated by association with the more methodical mind of Porphyry. During the five years416 of their personal intercourse he produced nineteen essays, amounting altogether to three times the bulk of the former series. Eight shorter pieces followed during the period of failing health which preceded his death, Porphyry being at that time absent in Sicily, whither he had retired when suffering from the fit of depression already mentioned.
page314Still Dick began, and then, looking down the street, he became alert.
Such are the closing words of what was possibly Aristotles last work, the clear confession of his monotheistic creed. A monotheistic creed, we have said, but one so unlike all other religions, that its nature has been continually misunderstood. While some have found in it a theology like that of the Jews or of Plato or of modern Europe, others have resolved it into a vague pantheism. Among the latter we are surprised to find Sir A. Grant, a writer to whom the Aristotelian texts must be perfectly familiar both in spirit and in letter. Yet nothing can possibly be more clear and emphatic than the declarations they contain. Pantheism identifies God with the world; Aristotle separates them as pure form from form more or less alloyed with matter. Pantheism denies personality to God; Aristotle gives him unity, spirituality, self-consciousness, and happiness. If these qualities do not collectively involve personality, we should like to know what does. Need we351 remind the accomplished editor of the Nicomachean Ethics how great a place is given in that work to human self-consciousness, to waking active thought as distinguished from mere slumbering faculties or unrealised possibilities of action? And what Aristotle regarded as essential to human perfection, he would regard as still more essential to divine perfection. Finally, the God of pantheism is a general idea; the God of Aristotle is an individual. Sir A. Grant says that he (or it) is the idea of Good.247 We doubt very much whether there is a single passage in the Metaphysics to sanction such an expression. Did it occur, however, that would be no warrant for approximating the Aristotelian to the Platonic theology, in presence of such a distinct declaration as that the First Mover is both conceptually and numerically one,248 coming after repeated repudiations of the Platonic attempt to isolate ideas from the particulars in which they are immersed. Then Sir A. Grant goes on to speak of the desire felt by Nature for God as being itself God,249 and therefore involving a belief in pantheism. Such a notion is not generally called pantheism, but hylozoism, the attribution of life to matter. We have no desire, however, to quarrel about words. The philosopher who believes in the existence of a vague consciousness, a spiritual effort towards something higher diffused through nature, may, if you will, be called a pantheist, but not unless this be the only divinity he recognises. The term is altogether misleading when applied to one who also proclaims the existence of something in his opinion far higher, better and more reala living God, who transcends Nature, and is independent of her, although she is not independent of him.
I never will, Dick declared.