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leave of life, provided that it is done opportunely ; and of a fool to prolong it, though he be miserable. To this degree did the desire to be beyond mortal influences, excite them to disregard man's privilege and end of being.
Zeno boasted that his philosophy was eminently practical-his thoughts being principally fixed upon morals; yet, as a whole, it is so incongruous, that no sooner is there an appearance of a correct principle, than it is perverted in the deduction. Thus, at times, we meet with practical error which would detract from any system, put forward upon metaphysical grounds. There are some amongst the Stoics who recommend drunkenness as a means of refreshing and re-creating the soul, and who tell us that it is not enough to have our resolution fixed above the power of fortune, but that we are to seek occasions to put it to the proof. Zeno represented the action of imagination upon the faculties of the soul, by an open and expanded hand, which signified appearance; a hand half-shut, with the fingers a little bent, which intimated consent; clenched fist, comprehension ; and when, with the left hand, he pressed the right fist closer, it implied knowledge. The phantasm, or appearance of things which, through sensation, prc
duced idea, he resolved into three kinds ; the probable—or such as those which inform us of what is consistent with reason; as, for instance, that the earth is solid; the second which contradict our reason; as that the sun shines at night; and the third--whose truth we cannot ascertain; as that the number of the stars is even or odd. Rejecting, in physics, the purer form of Aristotle, this sect were essentially materialists ; according to whom, the world existed of itself, from which, in order not to exclude the idea of a Supreme Reason, they found a place for it in matter itself. But here, again, we have a mass of contradiction ; one moment Zeno admits the Being of One God, under the title of Mind, Fate, or Jove, who alone, and self-existent, changed the substance of the air into water, and (using a singular expression, as word or reason) placed his Spirit in the waters, to cause the generation of all things : anon he confounds himself with the idea that the world is the Deity; and this he endeavours to prove, according to Cicero, by the following illogical conclusion : “ Whatever is possessed of reason is better than what is not possessed of reason; but there is nothing better than the world, therefore the world is possessed of reason.” In the same manner we may prove that the world is wise and eternal, for what possesses these qualities is better than what does not possess them; but there is nothing better than the world, hence the world is God. Again, the deification of fortune, honour, fear, nay even of human vices, was permitted by reasoners who thus, indeed, “professing themselves to be wise, became fools, and changed the , glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.” Whatever possessed the power to act or suffer, they regarded as of a corporeal nature; and thus the soul being cognizant of both, became a body composed of corruptible materials ; Zeno himself considered it as merely a warm breath: neither did he stop here, but materialised the seasons, the several faculties, the portions of day and night; in a word, his theological and physical schemes are inexplicably full of contradiction; at one moment, the Deity is represented almighty, incorruptible, void of the frailties, as of the form, of man; at another, he is changed into a material harmony of perishable vapour and artistic fire.
The moral doctrines of the Stoics—though better known than their theology and physics still partake of the fallacies with which these latter are rife. The object of existence being to
pursue the tendencies of our own nature, reason, as the noblest part of it, claimed our chief regard, which, being followed by an observance of virtuous rules, happiness would necessarily result. But to these virtuous rules there was no higher impulse derived from immortalitythe hope of which, like a beacon, could cheer the soul, tossed
apprehension. It was not in submitting our feelings to the behests of a Divine law, but in vainly attempting their total extinction, that the Stoic placed his reliance. As to immortality, all was uncertain and chimerical ; Cleanthes affirmed that all souls would survive death ; Chrysippus, on the other hand, maintained that this lot accrued only to the wise and good ; or, if it belonged to any one, to exist after death in a separate state, his spirit would but endure until the general conflagration, when it was to be finally re-absorbed in the one great principle or element whence it originally sprang. It was true, they taught that vice engendered misery; but the aim of man's being--the resemblance to a Divinity perfect in his goodness--was nullified by the disallowance of affinity between the Creator and the creature. To live for the intellect alone-to defy those emotions which are at once the frailty and the
ornament of our race-to despise pain by an affected apathy, they considered, most erroneously, would elevate our moral condition ; whereas such a system depraved it, being begun in egotism and maintained by self-deceit. The principle, that whatever was conformable to reason was good, wrought out the greatest confusion of virtue and vice; all the moral duties of this life were comprised in inconsistent rebellion against the very law of nature, as to emotions which immediately afterwards the sage is called upon to obey'; and hereafter, though he might anticipate a new heaven and a new earth," into which he would physically enter, yet he could never look forward to becoming the immortal and blessed denizen of " a better country, that is, an heavenly :"
“They did not, in love, turn
To the rich sky, and, from its splendours, learn-
We must now refer to the modification of the Stoical doctrines under those of the Academy, introduced by the immediate successors of Chrysippus, Arcesilaus and Carneades. Arcesilaus, who was the friend of Crantor, expanded the modest confession of Socrates--of his