Page images

prince of Orange; and who, though brought by his conduct to the most exquisite tortures, yet, conscious of what he had done, could bear them all unmoved? Or (if you will have a better man) what think you of that sturdy Roman who would have despatched Porsenna, and who, full of his design, and superior to all events, could thrust a hand into the fames with the steadiest intrepidity ?-I replied, that these indeed were very uncommon instances.

Attend, too, continued he, to Epicurus dying, the founder of a philosophy, little favouring of enthusiasm : "This I write you (says he, in one of his epistles,) while the last day of life is passing, and that a happy one. The pains, indeed, of my body are not capable of being heightened. Yet to these we oppose that joy of the soul, which arises from the memory of our past speculations.” Hear him, consonant to this, in another place asserting, that a rational adversity was better than an irrational prosperity.

And what think you? Had he not placed his good and happiness in the supposed rectitude of his opinions, would he not have preferred prosperity, at all rates, to adversity? Would not the pains, of which he died, have made his happiness perfect misery? And yet, you see, he disowns any such thing. The memory of his past life and of his philosophical inventions, were, even in the hour of death, it seems, a counterpoise to support him.-It must be owned, said I, that you appear to reason justly.

Pass from Epicurus, continued he, to Socrates. What are the sentiments of that divine man, speaking of his own unjust condemnation? "O Crito," says he, “if it be pleasing to the gods this way, then be it this way.”c And again: “Anytus and Melitus, I grant, can kill me; but to hurt or injure me, is beyond their power.

It would not have been beyond it, had he thought his welfare dependent on any thing they could do; for they were then doing their worst : whence then was it beyond them? Because his happiness was derived not from without, but from

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Την μακαρίαν άγοντες και άμα τελευ- Soon after, we have another sentiment of ταίαν ημέραν του βίου, έγράφομεν υμίν Epicurus, that a rational adversity was ταύτα" στραγγουρίατε παρηκολουθήκει και better than an irrational prosperity. The δυσεντερικά πάθη, υπερβολήν ουκ άπο- original words are, κρείττον είναι ευλολείποντα του εν εαυτοίς μεγέθους: αντι- γίστως ατυχείν, ή αλογίστως ευτυχείν. παρετάττετο δε πάσι τούτοις το κατά ψυ- Dio. Laert. IX. 8. 135. χήν χαιρον επί τη των γεγονότων ημίν • The three quotations in this page are Ocakoyouw urhun. Dio. Laert. l. x. s. taken from Plato : the first, from the Crito, 22. Cum ageremus vitæ beatum et eundem quoted by Epictetus at the end of the Ensupremum diem, scribebamus hæc. Tanti chiridion, and in many other places; the antem morbi aderant vesicæ et viscerum, second, from the Apology, quoted as freut nihil ad eorum magnitudinem possit ac- quently by the same author ; the third, cedere. Compensabatur tamen cum his from the Menexenus, or Epitaph. Plat. omnibus animi lætitia, quam capiebam me- Opera, vol. ii. p. 248. edit. Serran. See also moria rationum inventorumque nostrorum. Cic. Tuscul. I. v. c. 12. Cic. de Fin. I. . c. 30. p. 173.

within ; not from the success, which perhaps was due to the rectitude of his life, but from that rectitude alone, every other thing disregarded. He had not, it seems, so far renounced his own doctrine, as not to remember his former words: that “to whomever all things, conducive to happiness, are derived solely, or, at least, nearly from himself, and depend not on the welfare or adversity of others, from the variety of whose condition his own must vary also : he it is, who has prepared to himself the most excellent of all lives; he it is, who is the temperate, the prudent, and the brave; he it is, who, when wealth or children either come or are taken away, will best obey the wise man's precept; for neither will he be seen to grieve, nor to rejoice in excess, from the trust and confidence which he has reposed in himself.” You have a sketch, at least, of his meaning, though far below his own Attic and truly elegant expression. I grant, said I, your example; but this and the rest are but single instances. What are three or four in number, to the whole of human kind

If you are for numbers, replied he, what think you of the numerous race of patriots, in all ages and nations, who have joyfully met death, rather than desert their country when in danger?d They must have thought surely on another happiness than success, when they could gladly go where they saw death often inevitable. Or what think you of the many martyrs for systems wrong as well as right, who have dared defy the worst, rather than swerve from their belief?e—You have brought, indeed, said I, more examples than could have been imagined.

Besides, continued he, what is that comfort of a good conscience, celebrated to such a height in the religion which we profess, but the joy arising from a conscience of right energies ;f a conscience of having done nothing, but what is consonant to our duty ?I replied, it indeed appeared so.

Even the vulgar, continued he, recognise a good of this very character, when they say of an undertaking, though it succeed not, that they are contented; that they have done their best, and can

Sed quid duces et principes nominem; prius subierint, quam ibim aut aspidem aut cum legiones scribat Cato sæpe alacris in felem aut canem aut crocodilum violent : eum locum profectas, unde redituras se non quorum etiam si imprudentes quidpiam fearbitrarentur? Pari animo Lacedæmonii in cerint, pænam nullam recusent. Tuscul. Thermopylis occiderunt: in quos Simonides, Disp. 1. v. c. 27. p. 402. See before, note a, Dic hospes Spartæ, nos te hic vidisse ja- page 78. centes,

It is probable, that some analogies of Dum sanctis patriæ legibus obsequimur. this sort induced a father of the church

Tusc. Disp. 1. i. c. 42. (and no less a one than St. Jerome) to say e That there may be a bigotted obstinacy of the Stoics, who made moral rectitude the in favour of what is absurd, as well as a only good, Nostro dogmati in plerisque conrational constancy in adhering to what is cordant. Vid. Menag. in D. Laert. 1. vii. right, those Egyptians above mentioned s. 101. p. 300. and Gatak. Præfat. in M. may serve as examples. Ægyptiorum mo- Anton. See also of this treatise, p. 44. rem quis ignoret ? quorum imbutæ mentes and below, note is pravitatis erroribus quamvis carnificinam

accuse themselves of nothing. For what is this, but placing their content, their good, their happiness, not in the success of endeavours, but in the rectitude? If it be not the rectitude which contents them, you must tell me what it is else.—It appears, replied I, to be that alone.

I hope, then, continued he, that though you accede not to this notion of happiness which I advance, you will at least allow it not to be such a paradox as at first you seemed to imagine.That, indeed, replied I, cannot be denied you.

IV. Granting me this, said he, you encourage me to explain myself. We have supposed the sovereign good to lie in rectitude of conduct.-We have. And think you there can be rectitude of conduct, if we do not live consistently?-In what sense, said I, would you be understood ?To live consistently,s said he, is the same with me, as to live agreeably to some one single and consonant scheme, or purpose.—Undoubtedly, said I, without this, there can be no rectitude of conduct.—All rectitude of conduct, then, you say, implies such consistence. It does. And does all consistence, think you, imply such rectitude ?-I asked

8 To live consistently, is here explained thou mayst maintain both by thyself, and to be living according to some one single when thou art conversant with mankind.”. consonant scheme or purpose ; and our good

So much indeed was rested upon this or happiness is placed in such consistence, principle of consistence, that even to be any upon a supposition that those who live in- thing consistently, was held better than the consistently, and without any such uniform contrary. Thus Epictetus: éva oe dei tvscheme, are of consequence miserable and θρωπος είναι, ή αγαθών ή κακόν και το ηγεunhappy. Το τέλος και μέν Ζήνων ούτως μονικόν σε δεί εξεργάζεσθαι το σαυτού, και απέδωκε, το ομολογουμένως ήν τούτο δ' τα εκτός : “it behoves thee to be one uniform COT) Ka@'éva Abyov kaì otupwvov Sov, ás man, either good or bad ; either to cultivate των μαχομένως ζώντων κακοδαιμονούντων. thy own mind, or to cultivate things exStob. Ecl. Ethic. p. 171.

ternal.” Arr. Epict. I. iii. c. 15. p. 421. And This consistence was called in Greek more fully than this does he express himdooyia, in Latin convenientia, and was self in a place subsequent ; where, having sometimes by itself alone considered as the first counselled against that false complaiend. Την ομολογίαν λέγουσι τέλος είναι. sance which makes us, to please mankind, Stob. Ecl. Ethic. p. 172. See also Cic. de forget our proper character, and having reFin. l. ii. c. 6. p. 216. So also in the same commended, as our duty, a behaviour conlast-named treatise, c. vii. p. 220. Ut enim trary, he adds, ei un apéo et Taūta, 820s histrioni actio, saltatori motus, non quivis, απόκλινον επί ταναντία: γενου εις των κιsed certus quidam est datus: sic vita agenda ναίδων, είς των μοιχών-Διάφορα δ' ούτω est certo genere quodam, non quolibet; quod πρόσωπα ου μίγνυται ου δύνασαι και Θηρgenus conveniens consentaneumque dicimus. στην υποκρίνεσθαι και Αγαμέμνονα. Arr. Nec enim gubernationi aut medicinæ similem Epict. I. iv. c. 2. p. 580. “But if what I sapientiam esse arbitramur, sed actioni illi recommend to thee do not please, then turn potius, quam modo dixi, et saltationi ; ut in thee totally to all that is contrary ; become ipsa arte insit, non foris petatur extremium, a profligate of the most prostitute kind. id est, artis effectio.

Characters so different are not to be blended : It is upon this principle we find it a pre- thou canst not act at once Thersites and cept in Cicero's Offices: In primis autem Agamemnon. constituendum est, quos nos et quales esse So, too, Horace: velimus, et in quo genere vitæ. l. i. c. 32.

Quanto constantior idem So likewise in the Enchiridion of Epictetus, In vitiis, tanto levius miser, ae prior ille c. 33: ταξον τινά ήδη χαρακτήρα σαυτώ Qui jam contento, jam laro fune laborat. και τύπον, δν φυλάξης επί τε σεαυτώ ών,

Sat. vii. l. ii. v. 18. kal åv púrous étitUyxárov: “ ordain to thy- See also Characteristics, vol. i. p. 131. self some character and model of life, which

him, why not?—It is possible, indeed, it may, said he, for aught we have discovered yet to the contrary: but what if it should be found that there may be numberless schemes, each in particular consistent with itself, but yet all of them different, and some, perhaps, contrary? There may, you know, be a consistent life of knavery, as well as a consistent life of honesty; there may be a uniform practice of luxury, as well as of temperance and abstemiousness. Will the consistence, common to all of these lives, render the conduct in each, right?-It appears, said I, an absurdity, that there should be the same rectitude in two contraries. If so, said he, we must look for something more than mere consistence, when we search for that rectitude which we at present talk of. A consistent life indeed is requisite, but that alone is not enough: we must determine its peculiar species, if we would be accurate and exact. It indeed appears, said I, necessary.

Nor is any thing, continued he, more easy to be discussed. For what can that peculiar consistence of life be else, than a life whose several parts are not only consonant to each other, but to the nature also of the being by whom that life has been adopted ? Does not this last degree of consistence appear as requisite as the former ?-I answered, It could not be otherwise.

You see, then, said he, the true idea of right conduct: it is not merely to live consistently, but it is to live consistently with nature. "Allow it.

But what, continued he, can we live consistently with nature, and be at a loss how to behave ourselves !-We cannot.-And can we know how to behave ourselves, if we know nothing of what befalls us ? nothing of those things and events which perpetually surround and affect us? We cannot.--You see, then, continued he, how we are again fallen insensibly into that doctrine which proves the necessity of scrutinizing, and knowing the value of externals.— I replied, it was true.- If you assent, said he, to this, it will of course follow, that to live consistently with nature, is to live agreeably to a just experience of those things which happen around us. It appears so.

But further still, said he: think you any one can be deemed to live agreeably to such experience, if he select not, as far as possible, the things most congruous to his nature !-He cannot. - And, by the same rule, as far as possible, must he not reject

και Ομολογουμένως τη φύσει ζην. Cle- Ζην κατ' εμπειρίαν των φύσει συμβαινόνanthes in Stob. Ecl. Eth. p. 171. Con- Twv. Stob. Ecl. Ethic. 171. Diog. Laert. gruenter naturæ convenienterque vivere. Cic. 1. vii. c. 87. His verbis (scil. vivere secunDe Fin. l. iii. c. 7. p. 221. The first descrip- dum naturam] tria significari Stoici dicunt. tion of our end [to live consistently] was Unum ejusmodi, vivere adhibentem sciendeemed defective, and therefore was this tiam earum rerum, quæ natura evenirent. addition made. See Stobæus, in the place De Fin. 1. iv. c. 6. p. 286. See also the cited. Arr. Epict. 1. iii. c. 1. p. 352. same treatise, 1. iii. c. 9. p. 227. I. ii. c. 11.

i Téros dori to duo doyovuływs púoel p. 113. where it is expressed, Vivere cum την όπερ ο Χρύσιππος σαφέστερον βουλό- intelligentia earum rerum quae natura eveμενος ποιήσαι, εξήνεγκε τον τρόπον τούτον, nirent.

such as are contrary?-He must. And that not occasionally, as fancy, happens to prompt; but steadily, constantly, and without remission.-I should imagine so.—You judge, said he, truly. Were he to act otherwise in the least instance, he would falsify his professions; he would not live according to that experience which we now suppose him to possess.—1 replied, he would not.

It should seem, then, said he, from hence, as a natural consequence of what we have admitted, that the essence of right conduct lay in selection and rejection.-So, said I, it has appeared.—And that such selection and rejection should be consonant with our proper nature.-It is true.—And be steady and perpetual, not occasional and interrupted.—It is true.—But if this be the essence of right conduct, then too it is the essence of our sovereign good; for in such conduct we have supposed this good to consist. We have.

See then, said he, the result of our inquiry. The sovereign good, as constituted by rectitude of conduct, has, on our strictest scrutiny, appeared to be this: to live perpetually selecting, as far as possible, what is congruous to nature, and rejecting what is contrary; making our end that selecting and that rejecting only.k_It is true, said I, so it appears.

V. Before we hasten, then, further, said he, let us stop to recollect, and see whether our present conclusions accord with our former. We have now supposed the sovereign good to be rectitude of conduct, and this conduct we have made consist in a certain selecting and rejecting.–We have.—And do you not imagine that the selecting and rejecting, which we propose, as they are purely governed by the standard of nature, are capable in every instance of being rationally justified ?-I replied, I thought they were.—But if they admit a rational justification, then are they moral offices or duties; for thus you remember yesterday a moral office was defined. It was—But if so, to live in the practice of them will be to live in the discharge of moral offices.-It will. But to live in the discharge of these, is the same as living according to virtue, and living according to nature. -It is.—So, therefore, is living in that selection, and in that rejection, which we propose. It is.

* Ο τε 'Αντίπατρος, -το τέλος κείσθαι, tiis, quas posui, et si que similes earum 'Εν τω διηνεκής και απαραβάτως εκλέ- sint ; relinquitur, ut summum bonum sit, γεσθαι μεν τα κατά φύσιν, απεκλέγεσθαι δε vivere scientiam adhibentem earum rerum, tà rapà quoiv, únoraußável. Clem. Alex. quæ natura eveniant, seligentem quæ seStrom. I. ii. p. 497. edit. Potter. This senti- cundum naturam, et quæ contra naturam ment was sometimes contracted, and ex- sunt rejicientem, id est, convenienter conpressed as follows: To eúdoy.OTEî ev tais gruenterque naturæ vivere. De Fin. I. iii. droyais: sometimes more concisely still, c. 9. p. 227. See also De Fin. 1. ii. c. 11. by the single term tò eúdo yiotev. See p. 113. See also Diog. Laert. l. vii. c. 88. Plutarch, 1071, 1072. Cicero joins this Stob. Ecl. Eth. 171. and the foregoing descriptions of happiness | Sup. page 69. together: Circumscriptis igitur his senten

« PreviousContinue »