manifested itself, we perceive that reason had ascertained the fact, that some Mind, or first Intelligence, must have been the original creative power: and again, the apprehension of the senses was corrected by the inherent rational faculty ; but there was, nevertheless, even here, great confusion, as to the relation of matter to mind; and the cultivation of the intellect had so absorbed the attention, that the voice of conscience was neither appealed to nor admitted. Thus, after all the labour of these wise men, we arrive only at the depraved maxim of Archelaus, that good and evil were not by nature, but by convention; a tendency to decided profligacy but too speedily completed. Their absorbing notion of mind, ren

. dered it the ruling impulse ; responsibility of thought and of act to the Father of spirits was indistinctly and rarely expressed ; and the teacher himself disposed at any moment to change the incorruptible into the likeness of a creature, whose elements he considered a partial emanation from the one great All, and whose nature was physically the same.




A GREATER degree of historical doubt invests the records of the wonderful man who founded the mathematical or Italian system, than meets the inquirer into any of the preceding annals of philosophy. The materials are so scanty and conflicting, that the date of his birth is variously assumed by a host of eminent chronologists, from the forty-third to the sixtythird Olympiad, the most probable period being 586 or 568 B.C. At the same time, we can only form an idea of the grandeur of his own intellect, and the extensive influence of his political and scientific method, by the wild legends which tradition has retained of him, and which attest his greatness by the extravagance of romantic fiction. He was said to be the son of Apollo, or Hermes ; whenever he appeared, a divine glory shone around him; one of his thighs was of gold, and he was seen at different places at the same time ; wild beasts were obedient to his call; the river-god held converse with him; he received from Hermes the gift of the recollection of his previous existence, and the power to awaken the same remembrance in others; he heard the harmony of the spheres ; and his sayings passed for unerring wisdom. We shall confine our account, divested of these traditions, as strictly as possible, to topics of historical certainty.

Pythagoras was born at Samos, and first distinguished himself at the Olympic Games, where he gained the prize for wrestling. His hours of meditation were devoted to the study of harmonics, astronomy, and medicine. Notwithstanding the opinion of Ritter, that the priests of Egypt would have been reluctant to impart their strictly-guarded knowledge to a stranger, it is impossible to examine the sublime theology of Pythagoras without being struck with its marked resemblance to the inspired Hebrew writer; and we, therefore, recognise his visit to Egypt as the source of his correct information. Brucker's legend, which is unsubstantiated, makes Polycrates, an ally of Amasis, king of Egypt, recommend Pythagoras to the notice of the latter sovereign, with the expressed desire that he might derive instruction from the priests, which he obtained only after severe tests of his fidelity and patience; and that he thence returned, after twenty-two years' residence amongst them, thoroughly versed in their whole system. However this fact or fiction may represent the case, it is clear that rumour has attributed nothing of the education of this distinguished philosopher to Greece ; his geometry being derived from Egypt; numbers from the Phoenicians ; astronomy from Chaldea ; while the Magi are said to have given him the first rudimental scheme of holy rites and morals. In fact, his doctrine presents points of resemblance to many eastern characteristics ; but, after all, we trace rather the efforts of individual intelligence than the results of derived impression, except as to his theology.

His first educational institution was in the form of a collegiate association, wherein attention was paid, not only to the morals of his followers, but to regulations of their dress and food. A long period of silence was enforced upon the candidates for initiation - to instil

alike habits of discretion and of respect to their teacher -- before they were admitted to speak in his presence. By the general tenor of his discipline, indeed, he constrained the most obstinate to submission; and the single expression, 66 The master said so," at once checked reply. When the mind had been thus trained in habits of self-control, mathematics were recommended to exercise it in matters purely intellectual. Women also were admitted into this society, and his wife, Theano, continued his school after her husband's death.

Religious sentiment, in connexion with philosophy, formed the characteristic of his plan; although it is much to be regretted that neither Plato nor Aristotle has informed us of his peculiar doctrine. Having raised his own country, by the institution of a council of three hundred of his disciples, to unexampled greatness, his philosophical policy extended to other kingdoms; until, upon the conquest of Sybaris, the house of the Pythagorean Milo was attacked by the people of Crotona, who demanded an equal division of the conquered lands; a great number of the sect was slain, and the persecution of it, as a political body, was ruthlessly followed up throughout the Italian states. The


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