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Marcus, however, deserves great commendation upon many accounts. Tillemont, having given a history of the rude and disagreeable treatment which he received from Herodes Atticus, and Marcus's obliging behaviour to him afterwards, adds: “ There * are many christians, whom this ‘mildness of a heathen emperor will condemn in the last * day.” †. the year 175, Avidius Cassius rebelled, and set up himself for emperor, and was soon defeated. Marcus's" clemency toward the family and the accomplices of Avidius is universally allowed # to have been very extraordinary, and even above all commendations. Upon that, and many other occasions, he showed that he was master of himself, and had a great government of his temper. But, to be a little more particular concerning this renowned emperor and much admired heathen philosopher:" He was a youth of great expectations, ...] was beloved by Adrian from his childhood. That" emperor introduced him into the college of the priests, called Salii, at the age of eight years. And Marcus made himself complete master of all the rules of that order, so as to be able to discharge himself all the functions of the priesthood. He was early initiated in the principles of philosophy, and put under the tuition of the most able masters of the several sects. At" the age of twenty years he put on the habit of a philosopher, and wore their cloak. He also practised austerities, so far as to lie upon the bare ground; and was difficultly persuaded by his mother to make use of a mattress, with a slight coverlid. When emperor," he sometimes went on foot to the schools of Apollonius and * Sextus, stoic philosophers. I do not know whether it be worth mentioning, thatP he placed in his private chapel golden statues of his deceased masters, and honoured them by visiting their sepulchral monuments, offering there sacrifices, and strewing upon them flowers. g Zonaras, entering upon the history of a war in Germany, to be taken notice of by us hereafter, says that" Marcus was weak in body; and so intent upon his studies, that he went to school after he was emperor, to hear several philosophers, and others, whom he there names. Dion Cassius' speaks to the like purpose, and Zonaras seems to have copied him : but, by the place where it is brought in, it seems to have been the intention of Zonaras to insinuate that the great difficulty into which Marcus was brought, in the war with the Quadi, was owing to his want of military skill, he having been so much taken up with philosophical studies. Before" he entered into the war with the Marcomans, and other people in Germany, he performed lustrations for the city of Rome, and called together priests from all quarters to offer sacrifices, and adopted even foreign rites; for the doing of all which things his departure from Rome was delayed. He seems to have been sometimes ridiculed for the great number of his sacrifices. Marcus had faith also in dreams: and says himself that"
venerari videbantur leges, turpissime violabant. Moshem. de Reb. Christianorum, p. 244. Dubitavi dudum, tantus mum fuerit Marcus, quantus esse plerisque omnibus et olim visus est, ethodie videtur—Bonum virum fuisse, valde licet superstitiosum, dubitare nolo; boni vero imperatoris et principis nomen an mereatur, dubito. Id. ibid. * L'Emp. M. Aurele, art. xiv. f Vid. Capitolin. Wit. M. Antonin. cap. 24, 25. Vulcatius Gallicanus in Vità Avidii Cassii, cap. 7, &c. Basnag. ann. 175. Tillem. Marc. Aurele, art. 18–21. & Laudes Marci exuperat omnes, quod scriptas ad Cassium epistolas cunctas prius conscidit, quam legerit, ne cogeretur quempiam invitus Odisse. Basnag. ann. 175. num. iv. * Propterea vir ille divinus, neque satis unquam cognitus, vel laudatus. Is. Casaub. ad Capitol. de Vità M. Aurel. cap. 2. p. 293. * Fuit a primâ infantiã gravis. Capitolin. cap. 2. in. tionis adhuc juvenis, &c. Eutrop. l. 8. cap. xi. * Educatus est in Adriani gremio, qui illum (ut supra diximus) Verissimum nominavit; et qui ei honorem equipublici sexenni detulit, octavo aetatis anno in Saliorum collegium retulit. Fuit in eo sacerdotio et praeses et vates et magister, et multos inauguravit atoue exauguravit, nemine praeeunte, quod ipse carmina cuncta didicisset. Capit. ib. cap. 4. & At ubi egressus est annos, qui nutricum foventur auxilio, magnis praeeeptoribus traditus ad philosophiae scita pervenit. Id. ib. cap. 2. in. * Philosophiæ operam vehementer dedit, et quidem adhuc puer. Nam
duodecimum annum ingressus, habitum philosophi assumsit, et deinceps tolerantiam, quum studeret in pallio, et humi cubaret, vix autem matre agente instrato pellibus lectulo cubaret. Id. cap. 2.-Kaw to okup troëog kai čopag o kat oga rowavra rmg ‘EMAmvikmc aywyng exopewa. De Reb. Suis, . i. Sect. 6. * Usus est et Apollonio Chalcedonio Stoico philosopho. Tantum autem studium in eo philosophiae fuit, ut adscitus jam in imperatoriam dignitatem tamen ad domum Apollonii discendi causá veniret. Capit, cap. 3. • Philostr. Wit. Sophist. l. 2. c. ix. Dion. Cass. l. 71. Sub in. Suid. V. Mapicog. P Tantum autem honoris magistris suis detulit, ut imagineseorum aureas in larario haberet, ac sepulchra eorum aditus hostiis, floribus semper honoraret. Capit, cap. 3. ‘i Zon. Tom. 2. p. 207. * Dio. l. 71. sub in. * Tantus autem terror belli Marcomannici fuit, ut undique Sacerdotes Antominus acciverit, peregrinos ritus impleverit, Roman omni genere lustraverit, retardatusque a bellică profectione sit, &c. Capitol. ib. cap. 13. * Marci illius similis Caesaris, in quem id accepimus dictum. Oi Aevkot 8osc Napkp rip Kataape Av ov virmanc, justc atroXops0a. Amin. Marcell.l. 25. cap. 4. * To ot' ove-parov 30m 9mpara ö00mvat, ax\a ré, kat is an irrvew aspia, cat on Aiyyav. De Reb. Suis, l. i. Sect, ult.
he had thereby learned remedies for staying his spitting of blood, and for curing a dizziness in his head. Of Antoninus his predecessor, and father by adoption, he says, “he " was religious without superstition;' and, in another place, that “he " was not a superstitious worshipper of the gods.” Marcus therefore knew that religion and superstition were different, and that there might be one without the other. Whether he was so wise as to separate them, may be partly discerned from what we have now seen. II. There is still remaining a work of this emperor in twelve books, which we generally * call his No. They must have been put together at several times as he had leisure. However some have computed thaty they were composed before the year 175. In the eleventh book of that work there is an observation which I shall now transcribe, and place here. “What” a soul is that which is prepared, even now presently, if needful, to be separated from the body, whether it be to be extinguished, or to be dispersed, or to subsist still. But this readiness must proceed from a well weighed judgment, not from mere obstinacy, like the christians. And it should be done considerately, and with gravity, without tragical exclamations, and so as to persuade another.’ In the English translation, published at Glasgow in 1742, the same passage stands thus: “How happy is that soul which is prepared either to depart presently, or to be extinguished, or lo. or to remain along with it ! But let this preparation arise from its own judgment, and not from mere obstinacy, like that of the christians: that you may die considerately, with a venerable composure, so as even to persuade others into a like disposition, and without noise and ostentation.’ p. 259, 260. Upon this passage Dr. Jortin has a remark which is to this purpose: ‘The emperor Marcus was prejudiced * against the christians; and in his own book, xi. 3, censures ‘ very unreasonably what he ought to have approved—this ‘readiness and resolution to die for their religion.’ Certainly that remark is very just, and I think very mild; for, if I were to allow myself to speak freely, I should say
that this is the basest reflection upon the christians that I remember to have met with among all their old enemies. To say it is unbecoming a gentleman, and an emperor, is to say nothing. It is insensibility and inhumanity—in a word, stoicism. It is the worse, as it comes from a magistrate; who, if he had been pleased to send proper orders to the officers under him, and particularly to the governors of provinces, he might have delivered the christians from that trial which is here supposed. It may seem strange to some that" such a man as Marcus Antoninus should pass any censure upon the christians’ fortitude. One would rather think that, as a stoic, he should have admired and commended their resolution: but it may be accounted for. 1. The christians refused to join in the common worship of the heathen deities: and they were likewise very free in their reflections" upon the philosophers. 2. They" outdid the stoics themselves in patience under all kinds of sufferings. The women and children and common people among the christians had in a short time shown more examples of true fortitude, than the stoics had done since the origin of their sect. 3. Once more. This emperor was a bigot in religion and philosophy: whereas bigotry in any one thing will have bad effects, and make the best tempers act contrary to the laws of equity upon some occasions. It will not be thought that I speak with too much severity, if we examine the several particulars of this passage; which I now intend to do; and afterwards I shall mention some corollaries. (1) Marcus's ‘ expressions denote great uncertainty * Nisi constaret, Stoicorum doctrinam, cui M. Aurelius addictus erat, plenam fuisse repugnantiis, quod singulari opere ostendit Plutarchus, mirum esset mortis contemptorem is detrahere, qui eam despiciebant. Atque non licuit, Philosopho praesertim, in aliis damnare quae in se et suis probaret. Cleric. H. P. ann. 165. n. iv. • Vid. Justin. M. Ap. 2. p. 46. B. E. et 47. Paris. num. 3. p. 90. Bened. et Tatian, contr. Gentes, p. 157, 162. al. num. 19. p. 260. et num. 25. p. 264. ° Nostri autem (ut de viris taceam) pueri, et mulierculae, tortores suos taciti vincunt; et exprimere illis gemitus nec ignis potest. Eant Romani, et Mutio glorientur aut Regulo Ecce sexus infirmus, et frigilis a tas dilacerari se toto corpore, urique perpetitur, non necessitate, quia licet vitare, si vellent, sed voluntate, quia confidunt Deo. Haec est vera virtus, quam philosophi quoque gloriabundi, non re, sed verbis inanibus jactant: disserentes, nihil esse tam congruens viri sapientis gravitati, atque constantiae, quam nullis terroribus de sententiae proposito posse depelli, &c. Lactant. Instit. l. 5. cap. 13. * Nesciebant enim [Stoici] an “qui corpore migrässent, animi extingueren‘tur, vel dispergerentur, vel permanerent, quod cum ifa haberet, nemini poteraat probare virtutem. Numini gratam, vitium contra invisum esse; cum concerning a future state of existence; being doubtful whether the soul, when separated from the body, should be ‘extinguished, or be dispersed, or still subsist.’ He speaks again to the like purpose elsewhere: ‘Too what ‘purpose all this? You have made your voyage, and ‘ arrived at your port. Go ashore; if into another life, the ‘gods are there: if into a state of insensibility, you will be * no longer distracted by pains and pleasures, nor be in ‘subjection to this mean vessel.” (2.) The christians had a strong persuasion and good hopes of another life, a life of happiness without end for all good and virtuous men. No men therefore could be ready to leave this world upon better grounds than they, when they could no longer live here with innocence. (3.) Marcus ascribes the christians’ willingness to die to obstimacy; and says that men ought to resign life only ‘ upon a well formed judgment, and considerately.” Dido not the christians die in that manner? Should they have denied themselves to be christians, when they were brought before Pliny, or other governors, and were examined by them? Should they then have told a lie, and so redeem their lives by falsehood, or by worshipping images contrary
bonos et malos nullo discrimine negligeret.—Quod simumen talia non curaret, quid opus erat homines vel ipsius vitae jactură virtutem colere, et vitio adversari —Exclamationi ergo, aut interrogationi M. Aurelii, ‘qualis est anima, * quae parata est, si jam e corpore migrare, aut extingui, aut dispergi, aut per‘manere oporteat P’ respondebimus: Misera et infelix, quae nescit, quid a summo Numine exspectare virtus possit, aut vitium timere. Quod ferme perinde est, ac ignorare, an sit Deus, &c. Cleric. ubi Supr. num. v.
* De Rebus suis, l. 3. sect. 3.
* Verum inquiet, Philosophus mortem spermit “proprio judicio, conside“rate."—Audio. Sed annon christianus quivis mortem ferebat ‘ex proprio ‘judicio, qui cinctus Ethnicis furentibus, aut ridentibus, et a morte revocantibus, si modo Diis sacra faceret, moriebatur tamen, quod mentirinollet, nec ore, nec factis; quia nefas putabat, veritatem ejurare. Annon considerate satis, qui deprehenså Ethnicae religionis falsitate, et veritate ejus, quam Christus et apostoli docuerant, Sese dudum parărat ad mortem, siquando vitari non posset, sine abnegatione veritatis 2—Fac Epicureos fuisse rerum potitos, et furore quodam actos ad tribunalia sua traxisse Stoicos, omnibus suppliciis propositis et morte ipså intentatá, misi Zenoni, Cleanthi, Chrysippo, casterisque sectae conditoribus maledixissent, negåssentque se is adsentiri, et facerent quaecumque principes sectae vetuerant, cum scirent se mentiri, et improbe facere; an Se Stoicae familiae defensoribus, et mortem fortiter obeuntibus, exprobăsset M. Aurelius traparaštv Immo vero summopere eos laudāsset, ut laudati sunt apud Ethnicos omnes, qui maluerunt mori, quam quidquam facere, quod inhonestum et impium judicabant. Si voluisset Socrates contra animi sententiam logui, et mentiri, ac Sese ad pedes judicum abjicere, vitae suæ sine dubio consuluisset; Sed ejus absolutionem asterna infamia esset consecuta. Quod de caeteris omnibus, qui virtutis causā mortui sunt, dictum puta. Cleric. ib. slüIII]. 1 W.