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of a covetous man's reasoning, and money on the other, it is easy to foresee which will prevail; though men cannot always openly gainsay or resist the force of manifest probabilities that make against them, yet yield they not to the argument. Not but that it is the nature of the understanding constantly to close with the more probable side, but yet the mind hath power to suspend and restrain its inquiries, and not permit a full and satisfactory examination; until that be done, there will be always these two ways left, of evading the most apparent probabilities.
“First, that the arguments being brought in words, there may be a fallacy latent in them; or they may admit of a different construction; and the consequences in train being perhaps many, some of them may be incoherent. There are few discourses so short and clear, to which men may not, with satisfaction enough to themselves, raise this doubt, and from whose conviction they may not, without reproach of disingenuity or unreasonableness, set themselves free.
“ Secondly, manifest probabilities may be evaded upon this suggestion, that I know yet all that may be said on the contrary side; and, therefore, though a man be beaten, it is not necessary he should yield, not knowing what forces there are in reserve behind ;'* and Hobbes said, “ If it had been a thing contrary to any man's right of dominion, or to the interest of men that have dominion, that the three angles of a triangle should be equal to two angles of a square, that doctrine should have been, if not disputed, yet, by the burning of all books of geometry, suppressed as far as he or they whom it concerned were able."
An ultra-tory periodical, predicting the ruin of the country, from the passing of the Reform Bill, thus pronounced its dictum, on the retirement from office of the Noble Earl under whose auspices the measure was introduced:
“ History is not an old almanac; it is the faithful mirror of the future, reflected in the images of the past. The laws of nature are unchanging in their operations, political passion still produces its wonted effects; those who destroy a nation's weal are the first to fall by the mischiefs they have occasioned.”
The denunciation was equally rash with the prediction; the constitution survives the shock, and has gained strength in the struggle; and the distinguished statesman was honoured in his old age, and his memory is embalmed in the recollection of a grateful posterity.
Plutarch says he thinks it strange, when actions are good in themselves, and manifestly laudable in all respects, that men, purely to discredit illustrious personages, should pretend to dive into their hearts, and, from a spirit of abject malice, should ascribe such intentions to them as they possibly never so much as imagined. He wishes that, on the contrary, when the motive is obscure, and the same action may be considered in different lights, that they would always view it in the most favourable one, and endeavour to bring themselves to judge candidly of the motives of others, only knowing their own. He divides the life of statesmen into three ages—in the first, he would have them learn the principles of government; in the second, reduce them to practice; and, in the third, instruct others : thus retired from the fatigues of office, undisturbed by its incessant demands upon his time, the experienced
legislator may still benefit his country, looking for. ward to the reward.
“ There is a particular place allotted in Heaven for those who have preserved, protected, or improved their country, where they shall enjoy a happy life to all eternity; for there is nothing done in this world more acceptable to that supreme God who governs the whole universe, than the agreement and assembly of man, under those rules of society which are called states; the rulers and protectors of which, as they proceeded from Heaven, so will they return thither
" () philosophy! thou guide of life, thou searcher after virtue, thou banisher of vice! of what avail would the life of man be without thee? Thou hast founded cities, thou hast called mankind, who were dispersed over the earth, into social life, Whence have arisen all the polite arts, which have a certain common bond, and are connected together as it were by a certain affinity between them, but by thy aid and guidance ?"*
Pythagoras was the first Greek who assumed the title of philosopher, and Aristotle says the Pythagoreans were the first who determined anything in moral philosophy. Their ethics are of the loftiest and most spiritual description; virtue was with them a harmony, unity, and an endeavour to resemble the Deity. They taught, that the mind should have the body under the most perfect control ; that the gods should be worshipped by simple purification, offerings, and above all by sincerity and purity of the heart. They soon acquired an overwhelming in
fluence in Croton, the residence Pythagoras had chosen, as well as in other Italian towns, where branch institutions of that of Croton seem to have been established ; a contest between the popular and aristocratical parties in the neighbouring town of Sybaris, in which the Pythagoreans were supposed to have taken the part of the aristocracy, ended in the destruction of that town, and the dispersion of the Pythagoreans; some of them fled to Greece, where they taught the doctrines, and had considerable influence on the philosophy, of Plato.
The history of no ancient sage is so obscured by fables, as that of Pythagoras. He himself may, by his own priestly appearance and conduct, and by the secret proceedings of his societies, have given rise to them; and may even have encouraged the general opinion, that he was endowed with supernatural powers; but, on the whole, these are mere symptoms of the mighty impression which he made on his contemporaries, as well as on subsequent ages, for such an impression is the most fruitful source of marvellous stories of every description.
“Knowledge is power:" this adage is now come into general use, and acknowledged wherever science exists. But it is necessary to fall back upon first principles, every now and then, or we reason upon error, and found our arguments on fallacies.
Speech, says Aristotle, is made to indicate what is expedient and what is inexpedient; and, in consequence of this, what is just and what is unjust; it is, therefore, given to men, because it is peculiar to them, that of good and evil, just and unjust, they only with respect to other animals possess a sense of feeling. "In brutes, besides the exercise of sensitive per
ception and imaginations, there are lodged instincts, antecedent to their imaginative faculties; and instinct is defined a propensity prior to experience and independent of instruction; its attribute is self-preservation."
Philosophy inculcates self-immolation, for the success of social principles.”
Pythagoras required the entire submission of the body to the mind, of matter to intellect; and wished to establish an aristocracy of literature and knowledge.
Plato endeavoured to draw the attention of his disciples to the immortality of the soul, the superiority of its essence, and the possibility of attaining a perfection of purity.
Meditating on the fall of his native island, lamenting its fate and that of its unfortunate inhabitants, he desired to show how a society might preserve the power it had acquired; and, establishing himself almost in sight of the place where he drew his first breath, dedicated his best powers to educating the youth of that community with whom he was associated, and which had become his country, having adsorbed the power and population of the celebrated little spot, once so renowned.
“ Who has not heard of Egina," exclaims Strabo, “ the birth-place of Plato," the cradle of Aristophanes, the seat of the great Temple of Jupiter Panhellenius: which with an area of less than a quarter of a hundred of square miles, contained and supported a population of half a million of inhabitants; whose ships brought the corn that fed the hardy seamen of the Ægean rocks, whose colonies furnished the rich garments that clothed the proud aristocracy of Greece, and the precious materials that adorned the statues and shrines of her deities.