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their utility to that whole universe of which you are a part. In every regular structure, that must always be good to a part, which the nature of the whole requires, and which tends to preserve it. Now, the universe is preserved, as by the changes of the Elements, so, by the changes of the complex forms. Let these thoughts suffice; let them be your maxims, laying aside that thirst after multitudes of books, that you may die without repining, meek, and well satisfied, and sincerely grateful to the Gods."i
“But I have fully comprehended the nature of good as only what is beautiful and honourable; and of evil, that it is always deformed and shameful.” 2
"Preserve your simplicity of manners, goodness, integrity, gravity, freedom from ostentation, love of justice, piety, good-nature, kind affection, steadfast firmness in your duty. Endeavour earnestly to continue such as philosophy requires you to be. Reverence the gods, support the interests of mankind. Life is short. The sole enjoyment of this terrestrial life is in the purity and holiness of our dispositions, and in kind actions.”3
“We are all co-operating to one great work—the intention of the universal mind in the world—some, with knowledge and understanding, others ignorantly and undesignedly. Thus, I fancy, Heraclitęs says, that 'men asleep are also then labouring,' accomplishing on their part the events of the universe. One contributes to this one way, and another another way. Nay, what is beyond expectation, even the querulous and the murmurers, who attempt to oppose the course of nature, and to obstruct what happens, contribute also to this purpose ;
1 Meditations, Book II., 3. 2 Book 11., 1. 3 Book v1., 30.
for the world must needs have within it such persons also. Think, then, in what class you would wish to rank yourself. The presiding mind will certainly make a right use of you, one way or other, and will enlist you among his labourers and fellow-workers.”ı
“Remember these things always : --what the nature of the universe is; what thine own nature; and how related to the universe: what sort of part thou art, and of what sort of whole; and that no man can hinder thee to act and speak what is agreeable to that whole, of which thou art a part.2
“Whatever is beautiful or honourable, is so from itself, and its excellence rests in itself: its being praised is no part of its excellence. It is neither made better nor worse by being praised. This holds, too, in lower beauties, called so by the vulgar; in material forms and works of art. What is truly beautiful and honourable needs not anything further than its own nature to make it so. Thus, the law, truth, benevolence, a sense of honour--are any of these made good by being praised ? Or would they become bad if they were censured ? Is an emerald made worse than it was, if it is not praised ? Or is gold, ivory, purple, a dagger, a flower, a shrub, made worse on this account ?”
The Fifth Book contains an allusion to conscience. “We should,” says he, “live a divine life with the gods. He lives with the gods who displays before them his soul, pleased with all they appoint for him, and doing whatever is recommended by that divinity within, which Jupiter hath taken from himself, and given each one as
* Book vi., 42.
2 Book 11., 9.
3Bk. iv., 20.
the conductor, and leader of his life. And this is the intellectual principle and reason in each man.”
“If the sense of moral evil is gone, what reason could one have for desiring to live?”1 And in the Tenth Book we find the following passage, perhaps one of the most singularly interesting on record, as giving expression to the earnest aspiration of an upright truthseeking mind feeling itself unequal to grapple with the great mysteries of being and destiny-a soul longing for a closer walk with God, yet ignorant of the way-conscious of a void which it is unable to bridge-praying for more light where there is only enough to render the darkness visible-yearning after a more perfect, higher, and unseen future; hereby plainly indicating the absolute necessity for a Divine Revelation. “Wilt thou ever," says he, “O my soul ! be good, and simple, and one, and naked, more apparent than the body that surrounds thee? Wilt thou ever taste of the loving and affectionate temper? Wilt thou ever be full, and without wants ; without longings after anything, without desires after anything either animate or inanimate, for the enjoyment of pleasure? or time for lengthening the enjoyment? or of place, or country, or fine climate ? or of the social concord of men ? but satisfied with thy present state, and well pleased with every present circumstance ? persuade thyself thou hast all things: all is right and well with thee: and comes to thee from the Gods. And all shall be right and well for thee which they please to give, and which they are about to give for the safety of the perfect animal; the good; the just; the fair; the parent of all things; the supporter, the container, the surrounder
1 Book vii., 24.
of all things; which are [all] dissolving for the birth of such others as themselves. Wilt thou ever be able so to live a fellow-citizen of Gods and men, as, neither, in any respect, to complain of them, nor be disapproved by them ?” · The early fathers, adopting the thought and phraseology of Plato, speak of “the music of the soul,” such views were common on the revival of learning in mediæval times, and are now confirmed by the clearer scientific light and larger vision of modern days. “Happiness," observes Leibnitz, “consists in a true and harmonious development of the faculties of our nature ; and all unhappiness may be regarded as arising from some disease or injury of our faculties, by which their unity is interrupted. By the unity of our powers or faculties, I mean that course of development in which one is unfolded in harmony with all the others—(for instance, a physical power in harmony with the moral power of conscience). This rule of unity in variety produces in human, and also in external nature, that harmony and order which we delight to behold. From this fair order, beauty springs, and beauty awakens love. . . . All external pleasures fail, and those who have depended upon them find that they have been deceived, as they now possess no permanent, internal enjoyment. . . . It is not so with the joy which springs from internal harmony and order, an enlightened reason and a love of goodness. This harmony in our nature prepares us to enjoy the general harmony and beauty of the universe. We explore the fountain, trace the course, and see the end of all creation. We rise above earthly cares and fears, and look down, as from a station among the stars, on all mean pleasures. As we understand the harmony of that great system of nature of which we form parts, we rejoice over all the goodness manifested in the past, cheerfully anticipate the future, and gladly take our part in promoting the universal well-being and harmony."
"Difficulties appear to vanish,” says Oersted, "if we admit that the world, and the human mind, were created according to the same laws. If the laws of our reason did not exist in Nature, we should vainly attempt to force them upon her; if the laws of nature did not exist in our reason, we should not be able to comprehend them... A harmony does here exist, for man is a production of Nature, therefore the same laws must rule in both. :. Our spiritual nature and the world were both created by God, and it will thus appear that both propositions denote the same thing, only in different ways. . . Every direction by which we reach the truth, only shews it us on one side. If we give precedence to the thinking principle, the image which we form of the external world becomes faint and shadowy, somewhat like a landscape hidden by a cloud; if we begin with the sensible world, our freedom retreats too far back. We must approach truth from more than one side, in order to comprehend it in that totality and completeness which it is possible for us to reach.' . . You must never forget that it is our spiritual nature which renders man the image of God, and that it is science which constantly developes this divine spark within us, partly by showing us our own internal being as in a mirror, partly by keeping before our eyes the impression of the Divinity, which is everywhere manifested around us in nature. Let the convic
1"Soul in Nature," pp. 18-19.