Imatges de pÓgina
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party aggrieved in such a case taking it upon him to act as judge in his own proper cause, and in all probability far over-rating the injury, real or supposed, which he is to avenge. The sage, after having demonstrated in his clear and forcible manner, that injustice is never to be done, adds, that even in case of experiencing injustice, we are not to consider ourselves as at liberty to compensate the injury done, by any act which under other circumstances would also appear unjust. Σω. Οὐδαμῶς ἄρα δεῖ ἀδικεῖν ; Κρ. οὐ δῆτα. Σω. οὐδὲ ἀδικούμενον ἄρα ἀντιδικεῖν, ὡς οἱ πολλοὶ οἴονται. ̓Επειδή γε οὐδαμῶς δεῖ ἀδικεῖν. Plato. Crito.

The best of men, according to Menander, is he who best knows how to bear injuries:

Οὑτὸς κράτιστός ἐστ ̓ ἀνὴρ, ὦ Γοργία,

Ὅστις ἀδικεῖσθαι πλεῖστ ̓ ἐπίσταται βροτῶν.

and Plutarch records the opinion of Philemon, that nothing is more estimable, than to be able to bear unmerited reproach :

ἥδιον οὐδὲν, οὐδὲ μουσικώτερόν ἐστιν ἢ δυνάσσαι

Λοιδορούμενον φέρειν.

I have learned, says Apuleius, from philosophy, not only to love a benefit conferred, but also an injury, and to hold the dictates of sound judgment as of much higher importance than present advantage. In many passages of the writings of Plato, already quoted, we find the forgiveness of injuries particularly inculcated, and the reasons are assigned why such forgiveness is right, and becoming the character of a wise and good man. The Deity, says he, ordains for us what is best in this life, and nothing, whether in life or in death, can truly injure those whom he favors and protects. Death to a good man is but a transition into a better state of existence, where he is to enjoy the more immediate presence of God, unencumbered by a perishable body, which has been properly termed the prison of the soul; to enjoy also the society of the wise and the good of all ages, who before us have passed into this happy state. Thus Socrates tells his judges, while he completely justifies his conduct, and shows that the proceedings against him are injurious, that he believes his sufferings have been allotted him for the wisest purposes, and that he is not at all incensed against his accusers, who might succeed in taking away his life, but could not really hurt him. He afterwards tells his friends, immediately before he drinks the poison, that he is not solicitous

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· ̓Αλλὰ καὶ ὑμᾶς χρῆ, ὦ ἀνδρὸς δικασταὶ, εὐελπίδας εἶναι πρὸς τὸν θάνατον, καὶ ἕν τι τοῦτο διανοεῖσθαι ἀληθὲς, ὅτι οὐκ ἐστιν ἀνδρὶ ἀγαθῷ κακὸν οὐδὲν οὔτε ζῶντι οὔτε τελευτήσαντι· οὐδὲ ἀμελεῖται ὑπὸ Θεῶν τὰ τουτοῦ πράγματα.· οὐδὲ τὰ ἐμὰ νῦν ἀπὸ τοῦ αὐτοῦ μάτου γέγονεν· ἀλλά μοι δῆλόν ἐστι τοῦτο ὅτι ἤδε τεθνᾶναι καὶ ἀπηλλάχθαι πραγμάτων BEATION MOL. Apolog. Socratis,

about the disposal of his body in burial, because, says he, "I, the Socrates who now reason with you, will be no longer present when my dead body lies before you." Another reason he gives for the good-will manifested towards his accusers, viz. that they very probably believed themselves acting right and doing good in prosecuting one whom they thought guilty, and this consideration ought to have weight with all who think themselves injured, under whatever circumstances. Epictetus taught, that every thing might be considered in two several points of view, and that injuries received become supportable, and ought to be pardoned, when we bring to mind circumstances of alleviation, which in every case exist. "If," says he, "a brother injures you, do not consider the mere injustice committed, for that is intolerable; but consider that he is a brother who has been reared and educated along with you, and the injury appears no longer insupportable." Agreeable to this precept is the injunction of Pythagoras, as long as possible to bear with the errors and faults of a friend; and it is possible thus to bear with these faults until there exist an absolute necessity that they are no longer to be endured.

" I

The proofs that forgiveness of injuries and love of our enemies was an important part of the doctrine of ancient ethics, are so numerous, that they would of themselves fill a large volume; and it is to be remarked as something very surprising, that a belief should at any time have prevailed, that such precepts were first introduced into the world by Jesus Christ. The earliest philosophical works which have descended to our times, distinctly inculcate this doctrine, and for centuries both before and after the coming of Christ, it was taught in the most celebrated schools, until these schools were finally suppressed as the Christian and Mahometan religions prevailed. It appears certain that in the earlier ages of Christianity, the indiscreet zeal of some of its professors urged them to misrepresent the doctrines of the ancient philosophy, and it has been contended that in place of charity, placability, and good-will, revenge and the strict enforcement of the lex talionis was enjoined, until the mild spirit of Christianity introduced a purer and more excellent morality. A passage from the works of Isocrates has been quoted in order to prove this, but it appears probable that the meaning of the author has been mistaken, because his doctrines in general agree with the authorities already quoted, and the words will fairly admit of a signification

· Πᾶν πρᾶγμα δύο ἔχει λαβὰς, τὴν μὲν φορητὴν, τὴν δὲ ἀφόρητον· ὁ οὖν ἀδελφὸς ἐὰν ἀδικῇ, ἐντεῦθεν αὐτὸ μὴ λαμβάνῃς ὅτι ἀδικεῖ· αὕτη γὰρ λαβή ἐστιν αὐτοῦ οὐ φορητή ἀλλὰ ἐκεῖθεν μᾶλλον, ὅτι ἀδελφὸς, ὅτι σύντροφος· καὶ λήψῃ αὐτὸ καθ ̓ ὁ φορητόν ἐστιν. Encheiridion. c. 65.

altogether different. Amongst the many excellent precepts contained in his oration addressed to Demonicus, he gives the following ; Ομοίως αἰσχρὸν νόμιζε τῶν ἐχθρῶν νικᾶσθαι ταῖς κακοποιΐαις· καὶ τῶν φίλων ἡττᾶσθαι ταῖς εὐεργεσίαις. This does not imply, as has erroneously been supposed, that it is to be accounted shameful to be outdone by our enemies in acts of unjust aggression, but that we should hold it equally shameful to be overcome by the injuries of enemies and succumb to their malice, and to be surpassed by our friends in acts of friendship. That this is really the meaning of the author, appears from other passages of his works, in which he expressly teaches that injury (adixía) never can produce real advantage, although some in his time had been so foolish as to represent acts of injustice as indeed disgraceful, but often profitable. But it is not to be understood that philosophy taught unconditional submission to all injuries and insult; attacks upon life, character, near relatives, country, and even property, were to be vigorously repelled, according to the precept of the poet;

"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito."

In repelling injury, however, the utmost care was to be taken that the resistance should not from excess become itself liable to censure as injustice; and such is the doctrine of resistance to injuries amongst us at the present day, although the conduct of states and individuals often appear to be directed according to principles widely different. We see then that the morality taught in ancient times had for its basis truth, the application of which to human affairs is justice; and we find that the wise and good of remote ages regulated their lives as firmly believing human nature to be a state of probation to prepare man for a better and more exalted order of existence in a future state. The Deity they worshipped as the supreme God of all, believing that immortal beings of infinite excellence, when compared with man, are employed in the execution of his will, as energies directly proceeding from him. Prayer to the Deity they held to be the first and most sacred of all duties, and Pythagoras has said that no human enterprise ought to be undertaken without prayer to God that it may prosper according to its justice. Religious rites differed according to the customs of different countries, and it was a precept of the Pythagorean school to worship the immortal Gods, according to the law of our country; but although temples were erected in honor of many gods, these were all regarded as agents of the divine will, and ministers of the supreme God. Boetius has, in very beautiful verses, laid down the general doctrines concerning the Deity, and exhorts mankind to virtue on account of the divine origin of human souls:

Omne hominum genus in terris
Simili surgit ab ortu:
Unus enim rerum pater est,

Unus cuncta ministrat.
Ille dedit Phœbo radios

Dedit et cornua Lunæ.
Ille homines etiam terris
Dedit et sidera cœlo.
Hic clausit membris animos
Celsa sede petitos.
Mortaleis igitur cunctos
Edit, nobile germen.

Quid genus, et proavos strepitis?
Si primordia vestra
Auctoremque Deum spectes,
Nullus degener extat,

Ni vitiis pejora fovens

.

Proprium deserat ortum.

He concludes his work on the Consolation of Philosophy, by recommending a pious and just life, with a constant and humble dependence upon the Deity, who witnesses all our actions. "Nec frustra sunt in Deo positæ spes precesque; quæ cum recta sunt, inefficaces esse non possunt.' Aversamini igitur vitia, colite virtutes, ad rectas spes animum sublevate, humileis preces in excelsa porrigite. Magna vobis est, si dissimulare non vultis, necessitas indicta probitatis, cum ante oculos agitis judicis cuncta cernentis."

These sentiments of a philosopher, it will be admitted, are highly elevated, and convey sublime ideas of the Omnipotence, Justice, and Providence of the Deity. Indeed, for several centuries after the coming of Christ, ancient philosophy retained its former high estimation, even among those who had embraced the doctrines of Christianity. As soon, however, as the Emperor Constantine had declared himself a Christian, and altered the forms of religious rites, destroying the temples of the gods throughout the empire, the professors of Christianity began to represent the doctrines of philosophy as unfounded in truth, irrational, and altogether unsatisfactory. Lactantius, in a work addressed to this emperor, finds fault with the very name of philosophy, which, he says, implies the pursuit of knowledge not yet attained. "Philosophia est (ut nomen indicat) studium sapientia. Unde igitur probem magis, philosophiam non esse sapientiam, q am ex ipsius

+ This expresses the sentiment of Chrysostom, where, adopting the energetic style of Demosthenes, he says: Οὐ γάρ ἐστι, οὐκ ἐστι τοὺς αἰτοῦντας παρὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ Σωφροσύνην, καὶ δικαιοσύνην, καὶ πραότητα, καὶ χρηστότητα, μὴ τύγχανειν τῆς εὐχῆς. VOL. XVIII. NO. XXXV.

CI. JI.

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nominis significatione? Qui enim sapientiæ studet, utique nondum sapit, sed ut sapere possit studet. In ceteris artibus studium quid efficiat, et quo tendat apparet: quas cum discendo aliquis assecutus est, jam non studiosus artificii, sed Artifex nominatur. At enim verecundiæ causâ studiosos sapientiæ non sapientes vocaverunt." This writer does not appear to have known that the philosophers, holding knowledge to be infinite, did not think the appellative of a wise man could consistently be assumed. They believed, however, that truth is discoverable by patient investigation, and that in the acquisition of real knowledge a well-constituted mind may continue to make progress while the natural faculties are unimpaired. Lactantius, however, boldly affirms, that science is not to be acquired by studying the precepts of philosophy, and he adduces as a proof of the false conclusions of the philosophers, that they had affirmed the earth to be round, and that some of its inhabitants are antipodes. "But," says he, " 1 can prove by many arguments that it is impossible the heaven can be lower than the earth," &c. "Quid dicam de iis nescio, qui cum semel aberraverint, constanter in stultitia perseverant, et vana vanis defendunt, nisi quod eos interdum puto joci causa philosophari, aut prudentes et scios mendacia defendenda suscipere, quasi ut ingenia sua in malis rebus exerceant vel ostentent." How very ill qualified this father of the church was to pronounce an accurate judgment on the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, appears from the short passages quoted; but he probably wrote with the view of doing what would be agreeable to the emperor, and then first commenced the connexion between church and state.

But although Lactantius and other flatterers of the earlier Christian emperors much misrepresented the doctrines of philosophy, there were not wanting many distinguished characters who, professing the Christian religion, and taking a principal share in the management of the church, continued to cultivate philosophy with unabated ardor, well assured that true religion and true philosophy, proceeding from one source, must ever harmonise and mutually support each other. Synesius, the learned bishop of Cyrene, was at once a Christian and a Platonist. As he was descended of a hero's race, and universally respected for his virtue and great acquirements, the Christians of his time were at great pains to obtain such a convert, and actually appointed him a bishop before they could bring him to profess his belief in the resurrection of our bodies after death. Eustathius, the learned commentator on Homer and other ancient authors, was a Christian bishop; and in later times we have had examples of the same kind, in which the piety of the Christian has been united to the researches and study of ancient philosophy, in one and the

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