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“names” which, to the annals of old Greece, have indeed“ bequeathed a name”—were here blended, whatever the jarring nature of political or private interests, in one harmonious band of intellectual pursuit and amity. Neither Socrates nor Aristippus—the one famous for his rhetorical, the other, for his ethical teaching, though both contemporaries of Plato-could detract from the brightness of a mind, or eclipse a fame which influenced distant territories by its pervading power!

His connexion with the Pythagoreans seems to have induced him to show an interest in the political events of Sicily ; as contempt for the democracy in his own city, and perhaps adherence to the example of Socrates, who eschewed politics, were the causes of his avoiding any interference with the Athenian government. Both occasions of his visits to Sicily resulted from an attempt by the Pythagoreans to establish a hold on the mind of the younger Dionysius; and notwithstanding his mission was unsuccessful, the tyrant himself, to the last, treated his guest with kindness, whilst he was jealous of Plato's regard for Dion, whose restoration to his country the philosopher had interceded to effect. The quiet pursuit of reflective science, the practice of gentle, unobtrusive virtue, were more congenial to a taste at once purely moral and refined ; for in such Jabours he passed that time which he considered was bestowed on man to exercise the soul in preparation for immortality. The accounts given of his death are various : by some, he is represented to have died on his eighty-first birthday; by others, including Cicero, to have expired in the act of writing ; nor has an enemy been wanting to attribute his end to a disorder induced by excess or indulgence, although confuted by the notoriety of his strict temperance, which enabled him to resist the malady for upwards of eighteen months.

Represented as at once graceful and vigorous in form, and modest in demeanour, the only corporeal imperfection was weakness of voice; and the single peculiarity, which sometimes excited censure, a gravity so predominant, that he was hardly ever observed to laugh. Thus, Amphis sneers at him for “knowing nothing except solemnly to raise his brow," and Aristippus censures him for arrogance, most probably because he did not assimilate to his own reckless levity : in fact, like his master, Plato was made the butt, in a licentious age, for the shafts of that enmity which his virtues excited, or of the envy roused by his fame. Sone have even gone so far as to impute to him utter profligacy; but this charge is not less refuted by preposterous causes of their hostility being known, than by the tenor of his doctrine, to restrain vice, by enforcing the strictest moral discipline, and to elevate man's nature, by the loftiest of all incentives, imitation of Divine goodness. As his writings have survived the changes of long years, and transmit to us the sparks of immortal truth, which were vouchsafed to illuminate his own mind, so death did not obliterate his fame, but rather gave occasion for its aggrandizement through the medium of posthumous fiction. This circumstance is remarkable, as it shows not only the admiration of his tenets, but the desire of a more enlightened age to approximate his views to those of the Christian ; since to this spirit only can we ascribe the tradition mentioned by Brucker, that, in the time of Constantine, his body was found with a golden tablet on the breast, whereon was predicted the birth of our Lord, and his faith in him as the Saviour of mankind declared. No one would have condemned

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any deception more than the philosopher himself, who entertained so just a notion of the Almighty's aversion from everything false and erroneous, that he regarded truth as one of the most necessary qualities to prepare the soul for enjoyment of a future state. It is true that be uses great caution in development of his doctrines, and hence arises the difficulty existent in forming a just estimate of them ; for the death of the master had instilled into the disciple's mind distrust of that reception which truth was likely to meet with at the hands of a depraved and unstable populace. For this reason also, Socrates, in his Dialogues, is continually made to broach opinions which were really those of Plato, in order that the latter might be prepared with an excuse, if suddenly obliged to vindicate them. To carry out this scheme, chronology has been frequently sacrificed, and Socrates figures as an important character, in circumstances which really occurred long after his death, besides involving, also, Plato himselt in constant inconsistencies, who, one moment, ridicules his countrymen's superstition severely, and, at another, appears hardly to touch upon religion, but to avoid it with the greatest dread. Notwithstanding, however, these fimsy

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attempts at evasion, so jealously was he watched by the upholders of ignorant cunning, who, in the name of religion, traded with the passions of the people, that he was significantly reminded that “ some of the hemlock of Socrates was still left in the cup.'

During his life, his writings were eagerly read and widely diffused, nor did they influence the philosophy of the Romans only, but continued in favour amongst the early Christians ; Cicero no less declaring his admiration of them by the assertion, that he would rather follow error with Plato than truth with others; than St. Avgustine, who speaks in terms of the highest commendation of Platonic speculations, in regard to the Chief Good. The elementary principle of his system seems to have been, to submit all previous theories to the searching analysis of his own vigorous intellect; and thus, like the bee, extracted the most minute particle of the sweetness of truth, yielded by separate blossoms, to combine in the richness of its own store. With Socrates, he was induced to adopt this plan, by perceiving the erroneous tendency of men to take up any views without sufficient inquiry ; his estimate of general opinion was

* Diog. Laert. lib. iii. 22.

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