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racter, when you compare it to the weakness and imperfection of your own. On the contrary, when these dark, these melancholy thoughts assail you, immediately turn your mind to the consideration of habit. Remember how easy its energies to those who possess it; and yet how impracticable to such as possess it not.
It must be owned, said I, that this is a satisfaction, and may be some kind of assistance in a melancholy hour. And yet this very doctrine naturally leads to another objection. Does not the difficulty of attaining habit too well support a certain assertion, that, defend virtue as we will, it is but a scheme of self-denial!
By self-denial, said he, you mean, I suppose, something like what follows: appetite bids me eat; reason bids me forbear. If I obey reason, I deny appetite; and appetite being a part of myself, to deny it, is a self-denial. What is true thus in luxury, is true also in other subjects; is evident in matters of lucre, of power, of resentment, or whatever else we pursue by the dictate of any passion.—You appear, said I, to have stated the objection justly.
To return then to our instance, said he, of luxury. Appetite bids me eat; reason bids me forbear. If I obey reason, I deny appetite; and if I obey appetite, do I not deny reason? Can Í act either way, without rejecting one of them ? And is not reason part of myself
, as notoriously as appetite? Or to take another example: I have a deposit in my hands. Avarice bids me retain; conscience bids me restore. Is there not a reciprocal denial, let me obey which I will? And is not conscience a part of me, as truly as avarice?
Poor self indeed must be denied, take which party we will. But why should virtue be arraigned of thwarting it, more than vice her contrary? Make the most of the argument, it can come but to this: if self-denial be an objection to virtue, so is it to vice; if self-denial be no objection to vice, no more can it be to virtue. A wonderful and important conclusion indeed !
He continued, by saying, that the soul of man appeared not as a single faculty, but as compounded of many; that as these faculties were not always in perfect peace one with another, so there were few actions which we could perform, where they would be all found to concur. What then are we to do? Suspend till they agree? That were indeed impossible. Nothing therefore can remain, but to weigh well their several pretensions; to hear all that each has to offer in its behalf; and finally to pursue the dictates of the wisest and the best. This done, as for the self-denial, which we force upon the rest : with regard to our own character, it is a matter of honour and praise; with regard to the faculties denied, it is a matter of as small weight, as to contemn the noise and clamours of a mad and senseless
mob, in deference to the sober voice of the worthier, better citizens. And what man could be justified, should he reject these, and prefer a rabble?
XI. In this place he paused again, and I took occasion to acknowledge, that my objection appeared obviated. As the day advanced apace, he advised that we might return home; and walking along leisurely, thus resumed to himself the discourse.
I dare say, continued he, you have seen many a wise head shake, in pronouncing that sad truth, How we are governed all by interest. And what do they think should govern us else? Our loss, our damage, our disinterest ? Ridiculous, indeed! We should be idiots in such case, more than rational animals. The only question is, where interest truly lies? For if this once be well adjusted, no maxim can be more harmless.
“I find myself existing upon a little spot, surrounded every way by an immense unknown expansion. Where am I? What sort of place do I inhabit? Is it exactly accommodated, in every instance, to my convenience? Is there no excess of cold, none of heat, to offend me? Am I never annoyed by animals, either of my own kind, or a different? Is every thing subservient to me, as though I had ordered all myself? No, nothing like it; the furthest from it possible. The world appears not then originally made for the private convenience of me alone? It does not. But is it not possible so to accommodate it, by my own particular industry? If to accommodate man and beast, heaven and earth; if this be beyond me, it is not possible. What consequence then follows? Or can there be any other than this? If I seek an interest of my own, detached from that of others; I seek an interest which is chimerical, and can never have existence.
“How then must I determine? Have I no interest at all? If I have not, I am a fool for staying here. It is a smoky house, and the sooner out of it, the better. But why no interest ? Can I be contented with none, but one separate and detached? Is a social interest joined with others such an absurdity, as not to be admitted ?9 The bee, the beaver, and the tribes of herding animals, are enough to convince me, that the thing is, somewhere at least, possible. How then am I assured, that it is not equally true of man? Admit it; and what follows? If so, then honour and justice are my interest ;' then the whole train of moral virtues are my interest; without some portion of which, not even thieves can maintain society.
• See of the Dialogue, pages 90 and 105. same time promote the latter. Τοιαύτην See also notes 8 and 9.
φύσιν του λογικού ζώου κατεσκεύασεν, ίνα P Καπνός έστι: απέρχομαι. Μ. Αnt. 1. ν. μηδενός των ιδίων αγαθών δύνηται τυγc. 29. See Arr. Epict. I. i. c. 25. p. 129. χάνειν, ει μή τι εις το κοινόν ωφέλιμον
9 As the Stoics, above all philosophers, προσφέρηται· ούτως ούκέτι ακοινώνητον opposed a lazy inactive life, so they were γίνεται, το πάντα αυτού ένεκα ποιείν. perpetually recommending a proper regard “God hath so framed the nature of the to the public, and encouraging the practice rational animal, that it should not be able of every social duty. And though they to obtain any private goods, if it contribute made the original spring of every particular not withal something profitable to the comman's action, to be self-love, and the pros munity. Thus is there no longer any pect of private interest ; yet so intimately thing unsocial, in doing all things for the united did they esteem this private interest sake of self.” Arr. Epict. 1. i. c. 19. p. 106. with the public, that they held it impos- The Peripatetic doctrine was much the sible to promote the former, and not at the Πάντων δε άμιλλωμένων προς το
“ But further still; I stop not here, I pursue this social interest as far as I can trace my several relations. I
from my own stock, my own neighbourhood, my own nation, to the whole race of mankind, as dispersed throughout the earth. Am I not related to them all by the mutual aids of commerce, by the general intercourse of arts and letters, by that common nature of which we all participate? Again, I'must have food and clothing. Without a proper genial warmth, I instantly perish. Am I not related, in this view, to the very earth itself! To the distant sun, from whose beams I derive vigour? to that stupendous course and order of the infinite host of heaven, by which the times and seasons ever uniformly pass on? Were this order once confounded, I could not probably survive a moment; so absolutely do I depend on this common general welfare.
“What then have I to do, but to enlarge virtue into piety?' καλόν, και διατεινομένων τα κάλλιστα έστιν ή κοινωνία. “Οτι γαρ το δίκαιον πράττειν, κοινή τ' αν παντί είη τα δέοντα, συνέχει την κοινωνίαν, δηλόν εστιν επί και ιδία εκάστη τα μέγιστα των αγαθών, των αδικωτάτων είναι δοκούντων" ούτοι είπερ ή αρετή τοιούτόν έστι: ώστε τον μέν δέ εισιν οι λησται· οίς ή προς αλλήλους αγαθόν, δει φίλαυτον είναι και γαρ αυτός κοινωνία υπό δικαιοσύνης σώζεται της προς ονήσεται τα καλά πράττων, και τους άλ- αλλήλους. Διά τε γαρ το μή πλεονεκτείν λους ωφελήσει: «Were all to aim jointly αλλήλους, και διά το μή ψεύδεσθαι, και διά at the fair principle of honour, and ever το τιμάν το κρείττον δοκούν, και το τα strive to act what is fairest and most laud- συγκείμενα φυλάττειν, και διά τό βοηθειών able, there would be to every one in com- τους ασθενεστέροις, διά ταύτα ή προς αλλήmon whatever was wanting, and to each λους αυτούς κοινωνία συμμένει' ών παν man in particular of all goods the greatest, τουναντίον εις ούς αδικούσι ποιούσιν. “It if virtue deserve justly to be so esteemed. is necessary, society being natural, that So that the good man is necessarily a friend justice should be natural also, by which to self: for by doing what is laudable, he society exists. For that justice holds sowill always himself be profited, as well as ciety together, is evident in those who at the same time be beneficial to others.” appear of all the most unjust; such, I mean, Ethic. Nicom. 1. ix. c. 8.
as robbers or banditti, whose society with r Thus Cicero, after having supposed a cach other is preserved by their justice to social common interest to be the natural in- each other. For by not aspiring to any terest of man, subjoins immediately, Quod si unequal shares, and by never falsifying, and ita est, una continemur omnes et eadem lege by submitting to what appears expedient, naturæ. Idque ipsum si ita est, certe violare and by justly guarding the booty amassed alterum lege naturæ prohibemur. De Offic. together, and by assisting their weaker 1. iii. c. 6.
companions, by these things it is that their * Cujus (sc. Justitiz) tanta vis est, ut society subsists ; the contrary to all which ne illi quidem, qui maleficio et scelere pas- they do by those whom they injure." Aler. cuntur, possint sine ulla particula justitiæ Aphrod. tepl yux. p. 156. edit
. Ald. See vivere. Nam qui corum cuipiam, qui una also Plat. de Repub. 1. i. p. 351. vol. xi. latrocinantur, furatur aliquid aut eripit, is edit. Serrani. sibi ne in latrocinio quidem relinquit locum. 1 All manner of events, which any way Ille autem qui archipirata dicitur, nisi æqua- affect a man, arise either from within himbiliter prædam, &c. De Offic. I. ï. c. Ü. self, or from causes independent. In the
'Αλλ' έστιν ανάγκη, φυσικής ούσης της former case, he maintains an active part; κοινωνίας, είναι φύσει και τα δίκαια, δι' ών in the latter, a passive. The active part of And thus, my friend, have you my sentiments, as it were, abridged; my sentiments on that subject which engages every one of us. For who would be unhappy? Who would not, if he his character seems chiefy to be the care of δικαιοσύνην δε, ίνα ελευθέρως και χωρίς virtue, for it is virtue which teaches us περιπλοκής λέγης τε τ' αληθή, και πράσσης what we are to act or do; the passive part rå katà vóuov kai kat' aflav: “All those seems to belong more immediately to piety, things, at which thou wishest to arrive by because by this we are enabled to resign a road round about, thou mayst instantly and acquiesce, and bear with a manly possess, if thou dost not grudge them to calmness whatever befalls us. As therefore thyself; that is to say, in other words, if we are framed by nature both to act and every thing past thou entirely quit, if the to suffer, and are placed in a universe future thou trust to Providence, and the where we are perpetually compelled to present alone thou adjust according to piety both; neither virtue nor piety is of itself and justice ; according to piety, that so sufficient, but to pass becomingly through thou mayst approve and love what is allife, we should participate of each.
Not only honour and justice, and what I owe to man, is my interest; but gratitude also, acquiescence, resignation, adoration, and all I owe to this great polity, and its greater Governor, our common Parent.
“But if all these moral and divine habits be my interest, I need not surely seek for a better. I have an interest compatible with the spot on which I live: I have an interest which may exist, without altering the plan of Providence; without mending or marring the general order of events." I can bear whatever happens with manlike magnanimity; can be contented, and fully happy in the good which I possess; and can pass through this turbid, this fickle, fleeting period, without bewailings, or envyings, or murmurings, or complaints.”
lotted, (for whatever it be, it was nature Such appears to have been the sentiment brought it to thee, and thee to it ;) accordof the wise and good emperor. 'Avnkey ing to justice, that so thou mayst geneόλον εαυτόν, δικαιοσύνη μεν εις τα υφ' rously and without disguise both speak the εαυτου ενεργούμενα, εν δε τοις άλλοις truth, and act what is consonant to [the συμβαίνουσι, τη των όλων φύσει. Τί δ' general] law, and the real value of things.” έρεί τις, ή υπολήψεται περί αυτού, και πράξει Μ. Αnt. 1. xii. c. 1. See also 1. vii. c. 54 ; Kat' aŭtoù, oùs eis voûv Bemetai, dúo and Plato's Gorgias, p. 507. vol. i. edit. Serr. τούτοις αρκούμενος, αυτός δικαιοπραγείν και μην όγε σώφρον, κ. τ. λ. το νυν πρασσόμενον, και φιλεϊν το νύν ο Παιδεύεσθαι-τουτέστι το μανθάνειν απονομόμενον εαυτώ: «He (the perfect έκαστα ούτω θέλειν, ώς, &c. • To be inman) commits himself wholly to justice, structed ; that is to say, to learn so to will and the universal nature; to justice, as to all things, as in fact they happen. And those things which are done by himself; how do they happen ? As He, who ordains and in all other events, to the nature of the them, hath ordained. Now he hath orwhole. What any one will say, or think dained that there should be summer and about him, or act against him, he doth not winter, and plenty and famine, and virtue so much as take into consideration; con- and vice, and all manner of contrarieties, tented and abundantly satisfied with these for the harmony of the whole ; and to each two things, himself to do justly what is at of us hath he given a body, and its memthis instant doing, and to approve and love bers, and a fortune, and certain associates. what is at this instant allotted him. M. Mindful therefore of this order, ought we Anton. 1. x. s. 11. Návra ékeiva, ed' & to come for instruction; not indeed how we διά περιόδου εύχη ελθείν, ήδη έχεϊν δύνασαι, may alter what is already established, (for εάν μη σαυτώ φθονής· τούτο δε έστιν, εάν that neither is permitted us, nor would it Tây To taperedv katahinys, kal to uédov be better so to be,) but how, while things επιτρέψης τη προνοία, και το παρόν μόνον continue around us, just as they are, and as απευθύνης προς οσιότητα και δικαιοσύνην" it is their nature, we may still preserve our οσιότητα μεν, ίνα φιλής το απονεμόμενον· judgment in harmony with all that hapσοι γάρ αυτό ή φύσις έφερε, και σε τούτη pens.” Arr. Epict. 1. i. c. 12. p. 74.
knew how, enjoy one perpetual felicity? Who are there existing, who do not at every instant seek it? It is the wish, the employ, not of the rational man only, but of the sot, the glutton, the very lowest of our kind. For my own system, whether a just one, you may now examine, if you think proper. I can only say on its behalf, if it happen to be erroneous, it is a grateful error, which I cherish and am fond of. And yet if really such, I shall never deem it so sacred, as not willingly, upon conviction, to resign it up to truth.
Little passed after this, worth relating. We had not far to walk, and we fell into common topics. Yet one observation of his I must not omit: it was what follows. When we are once, said he, well habituated to this chief, this moral science, then logic and physics become two profitable adjuncts :: logic, to secure to us the possession of our opinions; that, if an adversary attack, we may not basely give them up: physics, to explain the reason and economy of natural events, that we may know something of that universe where our dwelling has been appointed us. But let me add a saying, (and may its remembrance never escape you :) While you find this great, this master-science wanting, value logic but as sophistry, and physics but as raree-show; for both, assure yourself, will be found nothing better.
It was soon after this that our walk ended. With it ended a conversation which had long engaged us; and which, according to my promise, I have here endeavoured to transcribe.
* Ταύτης (sc. ευδαιμονίας) γάρ χάριν tranquil and undisturbed.” Arr. Epict. 1. 1. τα λοιπά πάντες πάντα πράττομεν. «It c. 4. p. 27. is for the sake of happiness, we all of us do 2 Ād easque virtutes, de quibus disputaall other things whatever.” Ethic. Nicom. tum est, dialecticam etiam adjungunt et 1. i. c. 12. sub. fin. See before, of the Dia- physicam, easque ambas virtutum nomine logue, pages 90 and 105; and notes s and adpellant: alteram, quod habeat rationem 9. Plat. Protag. p. 358. vol. i. edit. Serr. ne cui falso adsentiamur, neve, &c. Cic.
y Ei dè datatnévta tivdedel Madeiv, de Fin. 1. iii. c. 21. p. 265. ότι τών εκτός απροαιρέτων ουδέν έστι προς The threefold division of philosophy into quas, fyw pèr noenov Thv årátnv taútny, ethics, physics, and logic, was commoply re εξ ης ήμελλον ευρέως και αταράχως βιώ- ceived by most sects of philosophers. See σεσθαι. . “ Were a man to be deceived, in Laert. 1. vii. c. 39. See also Cicero, in his having learned concerning externals, that treatise de Legibus, l. i. c. 23. and in his Acall beyond our power was to us as nothing; cademics, l. i. c. 5. Fuit ergo jam accepta a I, for my own part, would desire a deceit, Platone philosophandi ratio triplex, &c. which would enable me for the future to live Plutarch de Placit. Philos. p. 874.