philosopher himself retired to Metapontum, in Magna Græcia, where he also met his death. This dispersion, and the mysticism of his method, generally obscured his system ; even if we do not adopt the probability that the founder presented only general topics of thought, which each pupil subsequently elucidated according to individual ability.

The abstract nature of his speculations obtained the title of mathematical for his era of philosophy, which was defined by the principle he affirmed, that number was the ultimate nature of things; a mere periphrasis, in expressing the truth that one absolute and self-existent Being is alone invariable, the Infinite beginning of all. Another celebrated theory was the comparison which he instituted between the seven primary planets and musical instruments, the sounds of which were emitted in different proportions of tone, according to their respective magnitude and distance. Thus, Saturn, being the furthest from the earth, yielded the deepest sound; and the moon, being nearest in approximation, produced the shrillest.

Like Thales, he reduced matter to invisible atoms, which, by certain arrangements of number, formed the elements according as the

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particles were condensed or separated; the universe was created by re-union of the opposite principles of the even and odd number, always premising, however, the perfect distinctness of the primary One, which possessed the faculty to manifest itself in a multiplicity of things. One deity was the soul of all, whence the spirits of men issued ; fire acting almost as the principle of life, and animating man as it diffused animal heat from the centre of the world, in which he fixed this element.

As to the soul of man, he considered it as comparatively imperfect from the prevalence of desire, which it possessed in common with the brutes, over reason and intelligence, its own appropriate qualities. The famous theory of metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls into other bodies, resulted, in some degree, from a wish to restore man's spirit by successive changes of relation to its original state of excellence; its existence prior to its union with the body resembled, in his opinion, that of heroes and demons, of which all space is full ; and which description of beings signified no other than souls which had not yet entered into a human form, or, after a virtuous life, had put off their mortal covering, and were worthy, for the sake of their piety, to receive honour and adoration. To this doctrine was appended the belief of a retribution after death, by which the evil were assigned to Tartarus, the virtuous to the society of the good, in whom holy dispositions had been strengthened here by the constant exercise of devotion to the God, who, he thought, bestowed blessings upon those who diligently sought him.

To corroborate his theory by the attestation of personal experience, Pythagoras asserted that he remembered himself to have assisted the Greeks in the Trojan war,

in the character of Euphorbus, then to have become Hermotimus ; and that his instructions might derive weight from supernatural authority, it was his habit to retire to a subterraneous cave for

many months, and to declare, upon his return,

that he came from the region of disembodied spirits. The highest order of moral self-discipline, was the end of all his admonitions. To cultivate prudence and patriotism ; to sacrifice selfishness upon the altar of the public good ; to instil a habit of devotional self-examination ; to converse with propriety upon subjects of the purest intellectual research ; and to regard as the reward of diligence, greater clearness and

harmony of mind in the quietude and approval of a contemplative spirit-such were the themes which, as Aristotle remarks, raised the student above mere physical knowledge into the highest domains of science ; and, it may be added, as far as unaided reason could attain, of moral improvement also. Considered philosophically, the Pythagorean theory of numbers forms a connecting link with Anaximander; but two great benefits were superadded by the founder of the Italic school ; namely, an attention to the mathematical aspect of phenomena, and an endeavour, though his exposition was obscured by symbols, to establish the fact of one first great Cause existing singly and independently.

In the tenets, indeed, which have reached us of the Samian, there is so much of thoughtful elevation, that we agree with those who think that he has suffered from the misapprehension of his age and of commentators. As, however, we attribute to the power of truth the influence he widely exercised to oppose prevailing vices, we have continual and striking evidence, in the dimness and infirmity to which even so clear a mind was subject, of man's inability to ascertain a pure course of life, upon principles of a known acceptation with God, without the


teaching of revealed religion : this only declares both the nature of the Creator and the terms upon which he will forgive the sinner, establishes a covenant relation between him and his fallen children by a Mediator, and, as Addison remarks, "sets forth the proper object for imitation in that Being who is the pattern as well as the source of all spiritual perfection."

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