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was persuaded that he was born to make profelytes. After having taught some time in Greece, he went into that part of Italy, which is called Magna Grecia, because of the colonies by which it was peopled. Crotona, Metapontum and Tarentum, were the places ja which he chiefly resided. Here he did not fhut himself up in the shade of his closet, but openly harangued in the cause of virtue, to reform the manners of the people. Crotona, a place noted for debauchery, very soon changed its appearance; a reformation took place, the women stript themselves of their ornaments, and the marriage vow became inviolably sacred. Several other towns of Italy likewise followed the instructions of the philosopher, and were governed by his counsels. One of his maxims was, that there were but five things which ought to be combated; the diseases of the body, the ignorance of the mind, the passions of the heart, fedition in cities, and discord in private families.
• He lived in the same society with his disciples, and made them submit to a kind of noviciate, for at least two years, and some for five, during which time they were to learn in filence, without being entitled to enquire the reaion of his doctrines, because he did not imagine they were capable of reasoning until they had imbibed good principles. He taught them to reason by making them acquainted with geometry, without which they could not discover a quack or impostor. Whatever he said, was received as an oracle. The master faid so, was sufficient to stop the mouths of his scholars. Did he then order a blind submission, or did he dispel their doubts by persuasion: The true philosopher can never think of tyrannizing over the human mind, and it is not probable that a geometrician would desire to be believed
his word. • His doctrine of the divinity was excellent. He taught the unity of God, the author of all things, an infinite almighty spirit, incapable of suffering, who is not an object of our senses, or perceivable but to the underitanding. His defire was, that all our actions, and all our application, should be directed to make us resemble the Deity, by the acquisition of truth; adding, that to know the truth, it is necessary to seek it with a pure heart, and keep the paliions in perfect subjection. Perhaps it is without any foundation that the opinion of the Stoics has been ascribed to him; that God is the soul of the universe, from whence human souls are derived as parts from their whole : but at least he does not seem to have taken i: in the fame sense with the materialists.
• The metem psychosis was a fundamental part of his doctrine, in consequence of which, he forbad the killing and eating of animals. The rewarding the good, and punithing the wicked were connected with this idea, which was spread over ail Asia and Egypt. I muit be owned that this was 'an useful error for those people who had not the advantage of revelation to inform them of a future state.
• Some miracles and absurd stories have been handed down about Pythagoras, because he was looked upon as inspired. Impositions equally improbable, have likewise been attributed to him ; but the laws of his disciples, Zaleucus and Charondas, of which fome valuable fragments have been preserved by Diodorus, serve as a proof of his profound wisdom, amidit the ignorance of idolatry, The firft
of these was a lawgiver of the Sibarites, a people formerly noted for their effeminacy; the second, of the Locrians in Italy. The preamble to the laws of Zaleucus dwells upon the existence of the Dcity, to whom every good which we enjoy ough to be ascribed, who disdains the facrifices of the wicked, and who should be ho. noured by purity of morals and the exercise of every virtue. A body of laws erected upon such a foundation, is the more to be respected, as it inspires mankind with a love of those duties which it prescribes.
Thales, the chief of the lonic sect, said that water was the first principle of all things, and that God, a spiritual substance, which he believed to be the foul of matter, had formed every thing out of water. Anaxagoras, about an age after Thales, taught that the fora mation of the universe ought to be ascribed to an infinitely powerful and wise being. He believed that matter was eternal, and his fucceflors adhered to that opinion. However, it was the greatest step that could be taken by a philosopher to exalt his knowledge to the belief of a Supreme Being, whose wisdom had formed the world. Anaxagoras appeared impious in the eyes of the Athenians, because he said that the sun was a flaming substance ; for which he would have been put to death, if Pericles had not made him fly from that fuperftitious city. Such are the decisions of ignorance, animated by a blind zeal, which is a disgrace to that religion it pretends to support. Upon that Philosopher being asked whether he chose to have his body, after his death, carried to Clazomene, the place of his nativity : To what purpose ? replied he, the road to the other world is as sport from one place as another.
Socrates, the disciple of Anaxagoras, dedicated all his labours to serve the cause of virtue; he laughed at the vanity of the sophifts, and taught his pupils to think that the proper study of man, was to know himself, that he might become better; he devoted his philosophy to the good of the public, from which it never should be separated, and was made to drink the hemlock like an impious criminal, as a reward for his piety, and services to his country.
• Socrates committed nothing to writing; but Plato, his disciple, composed many excellent pieces in an eloquent style, upon the Deity, the foul, laws, and the duties of morality, though he introduced a number of extravagant ideas, from whence an infinity of chimeras were produced. He was governed by fancy, but a philosopher
ould hearken only to reason. He created an intellectual world, in which genii, numbers, and fantastical relations, formed a perfect chaos. Pythagoras had employed numbers, probably as signs; but Plato employed them as reasons, and nature was forgot in all his fysiems: it could not be found either in his physics or metaphysics, nor even in his morals, and Nill lefs in his politics, the principles of which are impracticable: nevertheless, he is often fo admirable, that even his imperfections are enticing. I should like better to be deceived with Plato, said Cicero, than to think right with the other philosophers (Tufcul. 1.). A strange maxim indeed, but ferves to thew that the greatest geniuses sometimes are dupes to prejudice.
• Ariftotle, of Stagyra in Macedonia, the most celebrated of all the disciples of Plato, was of very different sentiments, and was the
founder of the feet of Paripatetics. When Alexander set out on his expedition to Alia,. Aristotle went to teach at Athens, from whence he withdrew upon being accused of impiety by a priest of Ceres, though without any proof being offered ; to prevent the Athenians, as he faid, from committing a second fence against philosophy. His doctrine of the Deity is equivocal. Sometimes he would have it that the world is God; at oiher times that there is a God superior to the world. The obscurity in which almost every subject he has handled is immersed, has been greatly increased by the ignorance of modern peripatetics; but he has left some very valuable monuments of his abilities upon politics, natural billory, and the belles lettres, in which there is ample room to admire che extent of his knowledge, and the acuteness of his genius.
The academy, or school of Plato, grew very soon tired of that dogmatical philosophy, whose opinions adopted at random, could not convince people who were capable of reasoning; they therefore followed the method of Socrates, who maintained nothing that was doubtful. Arcesilas, who was founder of the middle academy, went from one extreme to another. He seemed to doubt of every thing; and suspended his judgment upon all subjects, as if there was no such thing as truth in the world. The new academy founded by Carneades, followed a system, which in appearance was por lo extrava. gani, but in the end amounted to almost the same thing. He acknowledged that there were truths, but so obscure, and confounded with so many errors, that they could not be discerned with any degree of certainty; and thus his followers were permitted to act from probabilities, provided they affirmed nothing positively. There was at least modesty in this philosophy. What a multitude of errors and contentions would have been prevented, if doubts had not been extended to those principles which have been best established by reason and sentiment!'
Our Author concludes what he says upon this subject with observing, that the speculative philosophy of the Greeks has produced scarcely any thing but errors and disputes ; because, instead of having recourse to experiment, they erected systems, and dreamed when they ought to have been employed in making observations ;-that a taste for sophistry and ill-founded subtleties became common to all the different sects, and gave rise to thole numerous follies and chimeras which have been handed down to the present times.
He introduces what he says concerning the poetry of the Greeks with the following observations:
• A delicate sale, a lively imagination, a fertility of genius, a rich harmonious language, eminent abilities excited by the most ardent emulation, all together contributed to make the Greeks in point of learning, the malters and models of the whole world. Their incomparable language, universally flexible, and fit to embellish every subject, had under the pen of Homer, united grace, strength, and majeity, and was worthy either to celebrate the praises of Jupi. ter, or of Venus; which, if I am not mistaken, evidently proves, that there were good writers before the time of Homer, for languages
are formed but very slowly, and can be improved only by the labours of the learned.
* Poetry has almost always been prior to every other kind of learning, which is undoubtedly owing to its being the produce of sentiment and fancy, two faculties of the mind always e nployed before reason. Sensible minds are led by a kind of instinct to sing their pleasures, their happinefs, the gods whom they adore, the heroes they admire, and the events they wish to have engraven upon their memories : accordingly poetry has been cultivated in all savage nations. The warmth of the paffions has been of great use in promoting this delightful art, but the cause of humanity as often given a Subject for the song of the poet. The intention of the Iliad of Ho. mer, was to ftifle that discord which prevailed in the minds of the Greeks, and by exhibiting a view of the noble deeds of their an. ceilors, to inspire them with a paffion for performing heroic actions. If the milder virtues had been known at that time; it is probable they had likewise been celebrated by Homer.'
The second volume carries the History of the Romans down to the establishment of Mahometanism in the seventh century.To the first volume is annexed a Table of ancient Geography, and to the second a Chronological Table of some of the principal Facts recorded in ancient History.
Art. VII. Considerations on the present State of public Affairs, and the
Means of raising the necessary Supplies. By William Pulteney, Esq;
8vo. 1 8. Dodsley, &c. 1779. THE sensible and moderate Writer of these considerations,
laid before the Public, last year, the sentiments he then entertained concerning our American affairs. As matters are now in a very different situation, he thinks it his duty, in a crisis of such importance, and even danger, to contribute every thing in his. power to the public service, by giving his opinion upon a subject, which, he says, must have exercised the anxious thoughts of the ableft men in the kingdom.
Whatever may be thought of his plan for raising the necessary supplies, within the year; or whatever sentiments may be entertained in regard to what he advances concerning our'unhappy contest with America, every unprejudiced reader, we cannot but think, will be pleased with the temper and spirit with which he writes. He delivers his opinion with a manly but decent freedom, like one who has nothing in view but the pubJic good, and who means to serve the interested views of no party whatsoever.
It were much to be wished, that gentlemen of leisure and ability, of large and comprehensive views, would follow Mr. Pulteney's example, apply themselves, with the utmost seriousness and attention to the consideration of public affairs, and publith their sentiments, not with that bold, illiberal and decisive tone which marks the mere party-writer, but with that
decent, liberal, and candid spirit which becomes the fincere lover of his country. For surely the present critical fituation of Britain calls loudly for the exertion of every virtue, and every useful talent, and renders unanimity, vigour, firmness, and wisdom in our public meafures, absolutely necessary to save our country from those dangers which threaten it on every side.
Mr. Pulteney sets out with telling us, that the great load of our public debt has always appeared to him a millstone, which, fooner or later, would endanger almoft the existence of this kingdom; that he thought so at the last peace, and saw with indige nation the alarming addition that was then made, to our ordinary expences, commonly called our peace establishment : that he has great reason to speak confidently, when he says, that the enormous amount of our national debt, has been one of the chief causes of the American resistance; and has, above all other things, encouraged France to engage in the present contest; that it has not only encouraged our enemies, and depressed our own minds, but that the taxes upon many of the necessaries of life, which it has occafioned, have cramped the industry of our people, and thereby diminished our power, as well as our importance.
He goes on to tell us, that as the congress is understood to have entered into a treaty, offensive and defensive, with our natural enemy, no option seems now to be left us, but either to proceed with the utmost vigour, in prosecuting the war, or to submit not only to the claim of American independance, but to such further conditions of peace, as France and the Congress may think proper to impose: for it is not to be imagined, he says, that France, if we were ready to yield, would demand nothing for herself; or that the Congress would, in such a case, either disunite themselves from France, or be contented with the simple acknowledgement of independence:--Besides, it would be dishonourable, Mr. P. observes, in the highest degree, on our parts, to desert, unconditionally, those friends in America, who, from a sense of duty and allegiance, have hitherto stood firmly by us, at the hazard of their lives and fortunes,
• In the present situation of our affairs, those who are fufficiently detached from party.connections, and are influenced by no other motive, than that interest, which all men have in the public profperity, are naturally led to consider, whether the object we are now contending for, by the war, deserves to be pursued ; and if it does, whether or not it be attainable, and by what means ?
• The object pow, I apprehend, is, to preserve such a connection with the Colonies in North America, as to unite the force of the whole empire, in time of war, for the common safety; so that no one part may be thrown into the scale of a foreign enemy, to che prejudice of the other part.