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creation by chance. There can be no truth in a doctrine which reduces man's being to a state of almost mental torpor, and bounds his view within the narrow circle of a fast fleeting existence; and, as the tenets themselves are contradictory, so none would adopt the creed except such as had a dread of a future, and lived only for the present. In fact, it would have speedily evaporated altogether, had it not possessed, in its offer of mental repose, a prejudicial concurrence with ignorant inactivity, which detests the trouble of thought. As it was, it procured adherents for a long series of time, and, in form, its principles are somewhat acceptable still ; but it has never advanced, remaining ever as decided a check to moral inquiry, as scepticism had been to science--the charm of those who possessed no higher wish than earththe frail effort to console man in his corruption and misery, by adopting the first opinion that

may offer.

CHAPTER X.

THE STOICS AND LATER ACADEMY.

66

As the general debasement of the Athenian character perverted the real principles of Epicurus, so we have now to consider its influence in calling forth the system of the Stoic, in which-with the love of human nature for extremes--it was expected to cure effeminacy by unnatural harshness. It has been well termed “the pedantry of virtue ;” and its bias for exaggeration is equally proved by the assertion of its supporters, that

only the virtuous man could even be handsome," as by their discarding all passions or emotions altogether : “ If thou seest thy friend in trouble," says Epictetus, “thou mayest put on a look of sorrow, and condole with him; but take care that thy sorrow be not real.” It is true that they could not altogether extinguish the natural surprise and emotion incident upon a sudden and startling event, nor pretend that the soul could be proof against them; but, while they

own the irresistible law of nature, so far as to permit their philosophy to evince some signs of perturbation, their objection forcibly extends against that disturbance being long : in fact, the exact condition of the Stoic may be thus expressed :

“His humid eye, frail, fruitless tear-drops rains;

But the firm purpose of his mind remains."'* Zeno of Citium-a Phenician colony in the island of Cyprus-was originally a merchant, and, in early life, studied the philosophy of Socrates. Having lost his property by a ship

a wreck, near Piræus, he was incited by the perusal of the works of Xenophon, to inquire of the bookseller, into whose shop he had entered, where such men were to be found ? The reply was a recommendation to Crates the Cynic, whose disciple Zeno became for ten years, and studied for the same period under Stilpo the Megarean, and the Academics, Xenocrates and Polemon, His disgust at Crates is said to have arisen from the rough usage he experienced from that Cynic; connected with whom Diogenes Laertius gives the following anecdote. Upon one occasion, Crates desired his pupil to carry an earthenware pot of boiled herbs through the Ceramicus—at that time the most

* Æneid, iv. 449.

thronged thoroughfare in Athens. Ashamed of his office, Zeno endeavoured to conceal his burden beneath his cloak, which Crates observing, broke it with a stick, so that the pottage ran down the legs of his scholar, to the latter's public discomfiture.

At length, when experience of the prevailing theories of the day had rendered him competent to decide upon a view of his own, he opened a school in the Colonnade or Stoa, in Athens, where the public paintings were placed ; and though, as Cicero justly observes, he must be considered the inventor of new terms, rather than the discoverer of new topics, yet, by his self-denial, rigid temperance, and high integrity, he obtained very general repute.

It has been well said, that, whatever were the contradictions and false consequences in his doctrines, it is most probable that his own mind was influenced by the sublimer part of them, and that he had overlooked those discrepancies which were so much animadverted on by his opponents. His error was, in losing himself in the mazes of natural philosophy, while endeavouring to tell more than he knew. Individually, though austere, he was still humane, and the person to whom he manifested the least benevolence, by denying the wishes and neglecting the wants of the natural disposition, was himself, He seems to have regarded the purpose of his being to consist in placing himself as far as possible from the influence of the passions, that the affections might run in one channel towards virtue, which he loved for its own sake-and towards even his enemies, who afforded him the opportunity for its exercise.

After a life which temperance long preserved from disease, though he himself was naturally of a weak constitution, his death occurred under circumstances which, if faithfully related, tarnish with the grievous sin of suicide his otherwise illustrious fame. In stepping out of his school, when nearly ninety-eight years old, he fell, and broke his finger. With the querulous impatience of sudden pain, or—as it has been supposed-affected with the consciousness of man's frail condition, he exclaimed, as he struck the ground, "Why am I thus importuned ? Earth ! I obey thy call;"-and immediately going to his house he strangled himself. This melancholy comment upon his religious and philosophical principle is said to have occurred B.C. 264; and, so far were his followers from repudiating it, that they do not hesitate to proclaim it the part of a wise man to take

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