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Where, upon the face of the whole impersonation of some very disgusting earth, shall we look for a monument propensities, an unavailable and unof their industry, their ability, or their seemly fragment of a man. usefulness? With the exception of Such were some of the organic dethe stoical element in the Roman ju- fects in the prevailing systems of phirisprudence, which, doubtless, contri- losophy at Rome, as they appear in buted much to the justness of that the pages of their most enlightened body of law, we know of no offspring expositors. One word farther touching of that philosophy, which deserves to those expositors, their deportment, and awaken in us an enthusiastic emotion. claims to consideration at the time If there be any exception in their favor, when Lucian was erecting against it is in their reach toward the doctrine their venerable fortifications the mighty of individual independence, to which enginery of his ridicule and his sound the Cynics, from whom the Stoics common sense. derived all that was most meritorious It is true that all the dignity which in their system, appear to have made the imperial patronage and encouragethe most decided advance.* In this ment of the Antonines could confer on respect we have always thought Dio- philosophy was hers. True, the purest, genes a sort of anachronism. He came yea, the purified doctrines of the Stoa, into the world before his time, half were publicly taught from the throne, f made up. He wished to disengage and colleges founded to diffuse them. man from his trappings, to free our True, the yet recent epic of Lucrejudgment from all social illusions. tius and the “ Discourses”of Epictetus This was putting an estimate upon the still kindled the enthusiasm of the individual which the old Greek civili- Roman patriot and student. sation never recognized, and which the kiss, which was expected to have was never elsewhere so practically protected, betrayed. The patronage, preached before the coming of Christ. which was intended to foster the When the Canopian, with his lanthorn philosophical spirit of the nation, served in his hand, wandered about the streets rather to disguise ignorance and preof Corinth, looking for an honest man, tension in the uniform of the schools. he sought what Christ sought, and The useful professions were deserted, what society is now striving, to create. while their incumbents were scramBut when, in striving to free himself bling for the wealth and preferments from the trappings of conventionalism, which were distributed without the he stripped himself naked-when, to least discrimination from the hand of show his independence of all artificial Adrian and his successors. “ You would appetites, he permitted his person to as soon fall into a ship,” says Lucian, become filthy, and an object of loathing “and miss striking the timbers, as to -when, to protect himself against the miss of a philosopher now-a-days in undue influence of other minds, he our streets." Tradesmen, artistified every emotion of generosity, sans, alike stupid and uneducated, derejected with insults the most court- serted the trades in which they might eous advances of his fellow-citizens, have made themselves useful," adds and trampled upon all the severe and the same author, “ donned the mantle delicate sentiments both of his own na- and wallet, and let their beards grow ture and of those who came in contact -a disgrace at once to the sect to with him, he no longer presented an which they attached themselves and the example of manhood, but rather the government that encouraged them."
* Et qui nec Cynicos nec Stoica dogmata legit.
A Cynicis tunica distantia.—Juvenal, Lib. v., Sat. 13, 121. † The following is characteristic of the man, the philosopher, and the Emperor. Antoninus was about embarking in a fatiguing and hazardous war in his old age, and the Romans testified their anxiety about his fate by requesting him to give them some good advice before parting. Antoninus was so much affected with the probity and good disposition of this address, that he spent three whole days in moral discourses, explaining the greatest difficulties upon that argument, and giving the people some short maxims to assist their memory, and govern their practice.-See Dacier's Life of the Emperor Marcus Antoninus,
Their conduct and success might well gaged, he always finds some opporhave suggested to Halifax one of his tunity of reminding them of their inmost excellent maxims, that " where firmities. His most deliberate attacks the least useful part of the people have upon philosophy are made in the Conthe most credit with the prince, men vivial Entertainment of the Modern will conclude that the way to get Lapithæ," the “Sale of the Philosoeverything is to be good for nothing." phical Sects,” and “Hermotimus." In
So utterly degraded had their order the first, the author takes advantage become through indiscreet patronage, of a nuptial entertainment, at which a that with their ridiculous sophisms number of philosophers representing and syllogisms and fanciful conceits different sects were present, to expose they anticipated the court fool of latter the unkempt and vulgar behaviour of times, by prostituting themselves to these pedants of the schools when the silliest buffoonery wherever such allowed access to the tables of the exhibitions were a consideration for wealthy. They there find strong incountenance and protection.
ducements to violate every principle of “ Ascribing to themselves the vener
professional consistency, which, by the able name of virtue,” says Lucian's Ju- ingenuity of the writer, is made to lead piter, who gets into a terrible rage about
to the most ridiculous exhibitions. their' infidelity, “ they strut about the This piece, though full of wit, humour, world with elevated brows and pendulous and real dramatic power, is inferior to beards, and hide the most despicable man The Sale of the Philosophical Sects, ners under a varnished outside : like tra- which is generally and justly considere gic actors, of whom, when stripped of ed one of Lucian's choicest productheir vizors and embroidered robes, no- tions. Jupiter, who appears to have thing remains but a miserable fellow, who, been substantially of the same opinion for seven drachms,* is hired to play the as Cicero, that " Eos qui philosophie hero. If you should ask one of these dant operam non arbitrari Deos esse,” declaimers, · What, then, I beseech you; determines to sell them all off at a are you good for yourself? What in all public auction. Mercury, who is the the world do you contribute to the general emolument ?' If he should speak the
auctioneer, puts them up, and each truth, he must answer, “ Although I think philosopher, as he is called, states his it not necessary either to till the ground, value to the buyers, which gives Luor carry on trade, or to perform mili- cian a convenient opportunity of ex. tary service, or to make profession of any posing all the absurdities of their reother art, yet I roar out upon all men, spective systems. The sale of Chrylive in dirtiness, bathe in cold water, go sippus is a favourable specimen : barefoot in winter, and earp, like Momus, at all that other men do." "I
« Chapman. Hola! draw nigh, good
friend. I have an inclination to buy you; Such is the character of the philo- tell me who you are, and whether it does sophers that patronage in all ages has not grieve you to be sold and made a sergenerally had the misfortune to pro- vant ? duce. The Stoic who paid a hundred “ Chrysippus. By no means, for these pounds for the earthen lamp of Epicte- things are not in our power, and whattus, under the expectation of thus in ever is not in our power concerns us not. heriting his wisdom, was a fair type
“Chap. I understand you not. of the order. He had acquired, by that
“ Chrys. What? Do you not underpurchase, about all of the peculiarities stand the difference between acceptable of that man's greatness which he could
and rejectable objects, (IIpongueva and comprehend.
αποπροηγμενα.) Against this inharmonious gang
Chap. Still less.
“ Chrys. No wonder, because you are of charlatans and mercenary impos- not accustomed to our technical terms, tors Lucian prepared several of his and have not a cataleptic imagination. most clever pieces. Indeed, upon Whoever has taken the pains to study our whatever matter he happens to be en- logic fundamentally, knows not only that,
• In allusion to the salaries allowed by the Emperors to the heroes of the various sects of philosophy at Rome.
| Icaro Menippus. Vol. ii., p. 139. * Ibid., p. 140.
but likewise what a great and important “ Chap. I should think so. difference subsists between symbana and “ Chrys. If I should now produce to parasymbana.
you a hooded man, and ask you, do you “ Chap. In the name of all philosophy, know him? What would you answer ? be so good as to explain to me what sort “ Chap. That I know him not. of things these are. According to the “ Chrys. Ridiculous ! The hooded bare sound of the words, I am persuaded man was precisely your father. As you they must be something surprising. knew him not, it is clear that you do not
“Chrys. Cheerfully. Suppose somebody know your own father." having a lame leg should stumble against a stone and hurt himself, his lameness Highly as we admire the spirit and would be a symbana, and the hurt on the humor of this whole satire, we do not lame leg he would get additionally as a think it, nor any other of the producparasymbana.
tions of Lucian, inspires so much con“Chap. This I call being very ingeni- fidence in his judgment, or so much But what else can you do?
faith in his purposes as his “ Hermoti“ Chrys. I can make speech-traps, in mus. He here seems to vindicate the which I catch those who talk with me, sincerity of his declaration in the “ Anand shut their mouths as completely as if gler," “ I am the declared enemy of I put a múzzle on them. This stratagem, all false pretences, all quackery, all my friend, is the far-famed syllogism.
“ Chap. By the great Hercules, that lies, and puffing, and hate from the must be a powerful stratagem truly.
bottom of my heart all and every one “ Chrys. You shall immediately see a
who belongs to that infamous tribe, specimen of it. Have you a son ?
including a mighty host, as you know “ Chap. Well, what if I had ? full well.”+ Lycinus, who is Lucian's
“Chup. Suppose a crocodile spying the organ, meets his friend Hermiotimus, boy as he walked near the Nile, should an aspirant for the eudaimony, or divine dart out of the river and seize him, and good, on his way to his master, and then should promise to restore your child, enters into conversation with him upon if you could guess whether he would re- the subject of his studies. By a course store him or not, what would you say to of skilful interrogation, he gets his him?
friend to take the popular position upon “ Chap. That is a difficult question ! all the important topics connected with I fear I should not get the boy again, the sect to which he belonged, and whether I said yes or no.
then, with those admissions for presake do you answer for me, and rescue the lad before the crocodile has devoured mises, forces Hermotimus into the most him.
transparent inconsistencies, without “ Chrys. Do not make yourself uneasy himself assuming a single questioned on that account. I will teach you many fact. He forces him to admit finally more stupendous things.
that no person in an imperfect state, “ Chap. As for example ?
in other words, no student of philoso“ Chrys. The reaper and the hornet; phy, is competent, from any inner light, but, above all, the electra and the hooded. to judge which of the numerous schools
“ Chap. And what may be a hooded or teachers he should attend--that and an electra ?
there is no outer means provided for Chrys. The electra is no other than informing himself-that he must enter that famous daughter of Agamemnon, a school,
at the risk of being in errorwho at the very same time knew and knew that human life is seldom, if ever, long not ; for when her brother Orestes stood, as yet unknown, before her, she knew, enough to achieve the required perfecindeed, that Orestes was her brother, but tion, if he commence right—that failshe knew not that the man standing be- ure, which is probable if he takes a fore her was Orestes. Now I will like right start, is therefore certain if he wise teach you the veiled. It is a most takes a wrong one-that if he perishes amazing syllogism. Answer me directly, before compassing his object his labor do you know your father ?
has all been fruitlesst—that most of the
* Sale of the Philosophical Sects. Vol. i., p. 229 et seq. | Ibid., p. 248.
1 The Stoics made no distinction between the different degrees of vice and virtue. Everything short of perfection was equally imperfect. It was as fatal to their catechumen as to Orpheus, to look back for a moment upon the gloomy world which they were striving to leave.
guides upon whom he is to rely live in and a shaking of the head unto the open violation of their principles, and, nations. About five hundred years befinally, that none of them have ever fore, the sophist Protagoras had been arrived at the condition to which Her- banished, and his writings had been motimus is so zealously aspiring: By publicly burnt in the streets of Athens, this time Lucian has completely si because he had therein expressed senlenced his friend: he then leciurestiments of disrespect for the prevailing him upon the absurdity of the course religion. We now behold one of the he has pursued, and advises him very most witty and accomplished satirists judiciously as to the course he should that ever lived devoting the best enero adopt. Hermotimus is convinced, and gies of his mind to bring that same redetermines at once to set about altering ligion into contempt during the reigns his externals :
of the very devout Antoninus Pius and
of his adopted son and successor, the “ You shall see this long, shaggy beard equally devout Marcus Aurelius. For very soon disappear, and the melancholy his exertions in this behalf, there life I have hitherto led exchanged for awaited him, not disgrace nor persecuone upon a more easy and liberal plan. tion, but an office of dignity and emoI will, in the next place, dress in scar- lument, to comfort his declining years. let, that all may see that I have no- It should not be forgotten, that the imthing more to do with these follies. perial philosopher, who was so considWould to heaven that I knew some emetic, that I might bring up all the idle trash himself an aspirant for the glory of a
erate for his unbelieving subject, was I have taken in from them. I do assure you I would not be long hesitating to he was elevated by his grateful sub
seat in the Olympian councils, to which swallow twice as much hellebore as Chrysippus took to strengthen his memory, if jects at the very first opportunity that thereby I could sweep away all their rub- occurred after his soul had taken a conbish out of mine. And if I should venient form for the transportation. ever hereafter meet a philosopher by pro
Whence this difference in the moral fession, though only on the public high power of the Olympian faith in five road, I shall get out of his way, as I see hundred years ? The Romans had not, him at a distance, no otherwise than as I as yet, given any convincing proofs of would avoid a mad dog."
moral or intellectual superiority over
the worthy fathers of their church in In reviewing the religious aspect of the East. "They had originated no betthe age, we shall leave entirely out of ter faith. Their literature was still, as view the intrinsic defects of the Roman ever, but a feeble copy of its Greek mythology, presuming that it will at original. They seldom changed the once be conceded to have been one of Greek philosophy but to corrupt it, and the most indefinite, unauthentic, and never relinquished it for a better. In unworthy bodies of theology that has physical sciences, and in the fine arts, ever risen in any civilized society to they had never approached the Greeks. the dignity of a religious faith. That Why, then, did that religion, which such was the case, its utter and total was strong in its association with the extinction among men would be a suf- state, venerable from its age, enriched ficient proof, were there no other. This by every style of enchantment which fate, which was to signalizet it among poetry and art could confer upon it, and that countless offspring of the imagin- imposing from the long line of an illusation baptized by human credulity trious priesthood, command less respect with the name of religion, had been from the subjects of Antoninus Pius maturing with portentous rapidity for than it had done from the contempomore than a hundred years before raries of Socrates and Æschylus, who, Lucian turned upon it that jeering in almost every other respect, have smile which was make it a bye-word shown such superior sagacity in de
Hermotimus. | The ruin of Paganism, in the age of Theodosins, is, perhaps, the only example of the total extirpation of any ancient and popular superstition, and may therefore deserve, to be considered as a singular event in the history of the human mind.Milman's Gibbon, vol. 2, c. xxxviii.
tecting and exposing error? Because human contrivance, of man's dewith the Romans it could no longer be vising; that they were the capital idealized. The elder Greek, whose furnished by poets to a few designing first and only revelation was Homer priests and potentates, upon which to and Hesiod, very naturally deified the traffic with the credulity of the mulvaried and surprising powers of nature titude, and that, in fact, and of man. He had no explanation of that mysterious mechanism through “Nos prêtres ne sont pas ce qu’un vain which he lived, and moved, and had peuple pense, his being. It was very natural that Notre crédulité fait toute leur science.” he should take omne ignotum pro mirifico, and people a heaven with his own
Against the growth of this convicunaccountable attributes. To him, tion the priesthood had no eridences of that multiplied Godhead represented paganism; no inspired revelation or powers which deserved his worship. standard creed, upon which they could But to the Roman of the age of Antoni- unite for their common defence. Poets nus,the Olympian mythology represent- had been not onlytheir chief theologians, ed no such sublime constituency of pow. but also their evangelists, and no better ers. He had seen men polluted' by every authority could be produced to sustain species of vice which absolute power the most vital dogma of their faith. A could suggest or human depravity con- singular proof of their defencelessness trive, raised to an equal participation in this particular is reported by Tacitus. in the honor, and the power, and the The Messenians prosecuted the Lacedeglory of those whom he supposed were monians before the Emperor Tiberius, one day to reward and punish his con- for the exclusive possession of the temduct according to its deserts. How ple of Diana Limnatide. The Lacedecould he respect the divine councils monians relied on sundry traditions, which were to be influenced by the some old scraps of verses, and a subsenod of a Tiberius or a Caligula ? where quent recognition of their title by Cæsar Domitian divided with Mars the pa. and Antony. The Messenians, on the tronage of heroism, and where intele other hand, rested their claim upon an lectual merit had to receive the impri- ancient partition of the Peloponnesus matur of Claudius as well as Minerva ? among the descendants of Hercules,
It does not require history or philo- by which this temple fell to one of sophy to teach us, that this right of their ancient kings, as appeared by vaadvowson to the vacant seats of Olym- rious inscriptions on stone and brass pus, which the Roman Emperors and then remaining. They claimed also to Senate began to exercise after the ac- have more abundant poetical and tracession of Augustus, did not exalt the ditionary authorities than their antanew incumbents to the dignity of their gonists, and several prætorian decrees celestial station in the popular mind. in addition. Not a single fact is put On the contrary, it provoked a scrutiny in evidence, however, which could of their title--a scrutiny which they affect the rights of either party to anycould not endure, and which resulted thing but the real estate, tenements, in the extirpation of the venerable de- and appurtenances of the matter in suit. lusion which had sustained them, and Not a word is said nor an authority with it of all genuine religious faith. quoted to indicate the location which
Not thus, because the mysteries of the divinity had herself selected. No nature were no longer unexplained, or evidence is offered to show her own because unbelievers felt no sufficient preference or original intentions. How indebtedness to the orderer and disc different is this from the line of defence poser of the universe. On the con- which the Jews might have adopted, trary, there was hardly ever a people had their title to the temple of Solomon under heaven so credulous or so super- been assailed by the Babylonians or stitious as the Roman,during the second the Egyptians. and third centuries. But they were About three hundred years later, and discovering that the gods whom they after the predominance of the Christian so ignorantly worshipped were all of faith in Rome, the venerable and elo