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worthy to receive them, but neither explained with sufficient perspicuity, nor stated with sufficient simplicity, for the comprehension of the multitude *. The poor and ignorant, therefore, could not collect them if they could comprehend, nor comprehend them if they could collect; and, even if collected and comprehended, they would have been defective in influence, because enforced by no recognised authority in the teachers who had uttered them,

The teachers themselves diminished the efficacy of their tenets, by their cavils and contradictions. If they had been the uniform and consistent advocates of virtue, their combined authority might have afforded a very just and a very powerful sanction to their doctrines. But when those instructors of men were often to combat with each other, and as often to be at variance with themselves; when they involved their pupils, at one moment, in the mazes of metaphysicks, or entangled them, at another, in the subtle perplexities of categories and syllogisms t; when they promulgated two hundred and eighty different opinions on the subject of the chief good;

Est, inquit Cicero, philosophia paucis contenta judiciis, multitudinem consulto ipsa fugiens-maximum itaque argumentum est et philosophiam neque ad sapientiam tendere, neque ipsum esse sapientiam, quod mysterium ejus barba celebratur et pallio. Lactant. lib. iii.

† The doctrines of two of the mighty masters of syllogism continued to govern and mislead the world for more than two thousand years after their authors had perished. Schools and colleges, and all Europe, were under the dominion of the spell; and the human understanding, at once limited and subdued, was to know no glory but that of implicit and slavish submission to the doctrines of a dark, confused, and often unintelligible philosophy. Fortunately the star of reformation, and of Bacon, at length arose, and Aristotle and Plato were renounced for truth and freedom.

when the Stoic denounced all sins as equally criminal, and announced insensibility to pain as a test of virtue*; the Epicurean advocated pleasure as the first object of reasonable beings, yet maintained that the wise man might be happy in the agony of torture; and the Academician, secretly despising both, discountenanced and rejected their inferences, without affirming any opinion of his own f; when so many of these ancient masters, after having maintained, with zealous pertinacity, the most discordant, and, often, the most whimsical theories on the subject of moral obligation, were eompelled, after all, to acknowledge that the senses were fallacious, reason was infirm, truth inscrutable, prejudice and custom every where predominant, and all things involved in eternal and impenetrable gloom $; it was not to be expected that their doctrines would be heard with much deference, or much submission, and we can no longer wonder at the express acknowledgment of somé among them, that none but a divine instructor could reform the ignorance of the world, and that " there was yet wanting some method of delivering

• Sapientem gratiâ nunquam moveri, nunquam cujusqnam delicto ignoscere, viri non esse neque exorari, neque placari, omnia peccata esse paria-nec minus delinquere eum qui gallum gallinaceum, cum opus non sit, quam eum qui patrem suffocaverit-sapientem nihil opinari, nullius rei penitere, nulla in re falli, sententiam mutari nunquam. Cicer. pro Muræn. The character of the Stoic is here strongly, but not unjustly described.

† Cicer. Tusc. Quæst. v. 4. De Fin. lib. ii. 1. De Orat. iii. 18.

† Qui (omnes pene veteres) nihil cognosci, nihil percipi, nihil scire posse dixerunt, angustos sensus, imbecillos animos, in profundo veritatem dimersam, opinionibus et institutis omnia tenere, nihil veritate relinqui; deinceps omnia in tenebris circumfusa esse dixerunt. Cicer. Academ. Quæst. i. 13.

«'men's souls, which no sect of philosophy had ever

yet found out*.”

The contradictions which were permitted to disgrace the writings of almost every philosopher of every school, were not merely of a theoretical charac, ter, marked by the most absurd, and wanton in extravagance. They extended to life and manners, to principles and motives, to all the individual and social interests of men. The sage who would have proscribed commerce and poetry as dangerous to the morals of a people, saw no criminality in the exposure of infants t, and in the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes I. They who maintained that truth was founded in the eternal right and fitness of things, and that the laws of virtue were immutable and immortal, were to admit an authority superior to both, and to degrade morality into the creature of accident, versatile as time and chance, and governed by them. And others, who occasionally and wisely announced the precepts of hu

• The sagacity of Bacon has adverted, with force and truth, to the great defects of the schools and sects of ancient philosophy. Et de utilitate aperte dicendum est; sapientiam istam, quam a Græcis potissimuni hausimus, pueritiam quandam scientiæ videri, atque habere quod proprium est puerorum, ut ad generandum invalida et immatura, sit. Controversiarum enim ferax, operum effeta est. De Augment. Scient. Præf.

† Appendix, Note Z. Z. Plato de Leg. lib. iv. The polite and accomplished philosopher maintained these opinions without a blush, and without a rebuke.

Il Cicero, after having asserted that truth and law were coeval with the divine mind, coolly and calmly admits that, “ multa quæ honesta naturâ videntur esse, temporibus fiunt non honesta." Cicer. de Legib. 2, 4, 5. De Offic. iii. c. 25. The latitude of interpretation is here sufficiently ample.

manity and of mercy, were yet to concede the right of slaughtering the brave but unhappy gladiator for public diversion; to limit the intercourse of nation with nation, by the unnatural distinction of mankind into masters and slaves; and to flatter Greece into the opinion, that, while she alone was entitled to empire by the glory and pre-eminence of her attainments, subjection and labour were the just portion of the stupid and worthless barbarians who occupied the rest of the world *. - I. In adverting more minutely to the moral philosophy of Greece and Italy, we may commence our review with the school of Epicurus. From the superintendence of the gods over the affairs of men, and from the hopes and fears of future recompence and retribution, the Epicurean disdained to derive either principle or motive. Pleasure was his chief or only good; and pain his sole, or his greatest evilt. Though the wisdom of philosophy was to supply him with more than stoical fortitude; and no suffering, however protracted or acute, was to diminish his felicity 5; he was to govern himself by

Aristotle delivers a doctrine so pregnant with evil, and so well calculated to convert the spirit of patriotism into a ferocious principle of external and unlimited subjugation, as a moral and political axiom which required no proof. Aristot. de Repub. c. 5, 6. Politic. lib. iii. c. 3, 7. The pride of Rome adopted all the insolence of the precept.

+ Lætantem enim mentem ita novi, spe eorum omnium quæ supra dixi (nempe voluptates sensuum), fore ut natura iis potiens dolore careat. T'uscul. Disput. lib. ii. 18. Nec intelligere quidem, quod sit ullum bonum, præter id quod sensibus corporeis, cibo, potioneque, et obscæna voluptate percipitur. Cic. de Fin. lib. i.

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i Diog. Laert. lib. x. segm. 118. Tuscul. Disputat. lib. ij. c. 7. lib. v. c. 20.

Lactant. Div. Instit. lib. iji, C. 27.

the most soft and selfish of all maxims, and to live and act for sensual indulgence. It was not for him, to suffer for the welfare of his country, and to submit, for the good of his family, to toil and trouble * Friendship, gratitude, and humanity, had no legitimate claim upon his observance, but in proportion as they became accessary to his profitor his pleasuret. Honesty, virtue, baseness, and crime, were things existing only by human convention, and were to be observed, or shunned, with reference only to the attainment of his ultimate objectt. If he was to be just, it was because justice might promote his views of enjoyment; if he was not to be unjust, it was because injustice might be followed by detection and punishment, and, therefore, might impede or impaię his pleasures. The pernicious and extravagant system which he thus avowed, a system in which self was every thing, and truth and virtue were nothing \, was embraced by a numerous and ap

* Diog. Laert. lib. V. segm. 77. + They were of no intrinsic worth, and to be considered only as instruments of prudence. Cicer. de Fin. lib. i. Diog. Laert. lib. x. segm, 18.

I Appendix, Note A. A. A. # The Epicurean of modern times has adopted this pbilosophy of the senses; and Voltaire, or whoever was the author of “ Les Six Discours sur l'homme," may be classed with the ancient teacher of sensuality.

La Nature attentive a remplir nos desirs,

Nous rapelle aux Dieux par la voix des Plaisirs. Helvetius, and his sect, while they despised the sober simplicity of revelation, bave had the hardihood to profess the same prin. ciple. De l'Esprit. tom. i, Disc. ii, c. 15. And the Lettres Critiques of the Abbe Gauchet.

Many of the ancient philosopbers avowed the same opinions, and Theodorus, Archelaus, Aristippus, Pyrrbo, and all the sceptics,

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