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remains for the people of God, could hardly be presented than in the instance of this
“Gray spirit yearning in desire To follow knowledge like, a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought."* All his conclusions terminated in the vague conjectures of unsatisfied intellectual desire for a better state ; and tame hope was void of the certain assurance of immortality.
“He might become immortal-might unclose
The wings within him wrapt, and proudly rise
Parmenides, who was born at Elea about the sixty-first Olympiad, was early instructed in all the previous systems, and appears to have endeavoured, as far as possible, to unite their conflicting tenets. His attention being directed to politics, he framed laws so wisely adapted to the constitution of the state, that his fellow-citizens yearly renewed their oath to abide by them; and his scientific researches rank him, in the opinion of Plato and Aristotle, as the chief of the Eleatics, his doctrines being propagated by Zeno, his friend and pupil. In a poem,
called Nature," or an allegorical description of the soul's search after knowledge,
we have his main peculiarities. « The soul is represented as drawn by steeds, led by virgins along a road untrodden by men, and brought to the residence of Dicé, who promises to reveal to it, all; alike the undismayed heart of smoothspeaking truth, as well as the opinions of mortals, wherewith truth and certainty abide not.” These Dicé “exhorts the soul not to follow, nor to suffer itself to be led by custom and opinion, but to test, by reason, the multiform proof she is about to lay before it, courage alone being needed for the route.” Thus a decided distinction between the two species of things, or rather ideas-the one uncertain, which is viewed by the external senses, and the other certain, which is discovered by our reason--stamps his philosophy; which, as with Xenophanes, if carried out, would have terminated in scepticism, had not Parmenides anticipated the more modern theory of innate ideas, by admitting the existence of certain fixed convictions in the mind.
He thought that our opinions depended on our organization, “ that it is the nature of limbs which thinketh in men;" hence, that all mankind being different as to these, senseknowledge must be all equally false, but that
reason being universally alike, her deductions are absolutely true. His theory of the earth is peculiar, in that it seems to have been the foundation of an error which continued to the days of Galileo. He placed the habitable globe in the centre of the universe, equally distant from all parts, and suspended in a fluid lighter than air. All bodies left to themselves, fell necessarily to its surface : and the latter conception, indeed, induces us to believe that, had his works reached us in a more complete state, we should have discovered in them somewhat of a scientific acquaintance with the laws of gravitation. It has, however, been well remarked, that though he retained the certainty of reason, as a check to utter scepticism, as it resulted from the admitted uncertainty of sense-knowledge, he left it only for his successors to apply the same distrust to reason itself, for Pyrrhonism, the digest of all doubt, to be complete.
Parmenides was succeeded by Zeno of Elea, the pupil, and even adopted son, who was born about the sixty-ninth or seventy-first Olympiad, and derived from the calm philosophy of his teacher a fondness for the same pursuits, and an equal reluctance to accept those splen
dours of rank which his merits, when labouring in behalf of his country, elicited from his fellow-men. His extreme sensibility exciting the question, why he was so affected by blame? he is said to have replied, “ If the censure of my fellow-citizens did not cause me pain,
their praise would not cause me pleasure.” His patriotism enabled him to cope with all the difficulties of political strife at a period when throughout Greece an effort was being made to establish civil liberty, by throwing off the Persian yoke; and his memory is invested with tragical interest by the current report of his amazing resolution, when examined by Nearchus, the usurper of Elea, against whom Zeno had conspired. His plot being detected, the soldier philosopher was sentenced to extreme tortures in order to discover his accomplices, when, to the horror of the tyrant, he declared these to be the courtiers, then present, and after sharply rebuking the people for their servility, gave them an example of fortitude, by biting off his tongue, which he spat in the face of his persecutor. The story goes on to relate, that, roused by such determined heroism, a general insurrection took place, in which Nearchus was killed; others, however, report
that the death of the philosopher was caused by his being pounded in a large mortar.
Reasoning derived assistance from him by the invention, not of a new system, but of the famous method in argument termed dialectics, which, subsequently employed by Socrates and Plato, consisted in establishing truth by reducing its contradiction to an absurdity. Cousin remarks, that “his destiny was altogether polemical ; in the external world, the impetuous existence and tragical end of the patriot; in the internal world of thought, the laborious character of a dialectician." terse and condensed habit of thinking, Zeno rejected the rhapsody, while he supported the system of Xenophanes, and opposed the subtleties of the Ionic school, by turning the shafts of satire upon its disciples ; forcing them to admit from daily experience, the greater probability that the many were produced by the One, than the One by the many.
Again, he denied, by negative argument, the reality of appearances; and a curious story is extant that Diogenes, the Cynic, attempted to refute Zeno by rising from his place and walking, when the latter affirmed motion to be only an appearance. This was, however, no refuta